The studio book of alphabets

The in-house studio that I work in has been going for a really long time and it originally started as a cartographic unit in the geography department. As a result when we are having a bit of a clear out in the studio we often stumble across lots of lovely old school treats. I have found so many lovely maps over the years, some of which I have kept to put up on my walls and some of which I've made into envelopes in my shop

Anyway we were recently having a sort out and I stumbled across this lovely little book called 'The studio book of alphabets' - and being a design geek and a lover of typography I was pretty excited about it. It was first published in 1953 and the aim of the book (as stated in the introduction) was to 'provide a useful collection of well-designed alphabets, each in its entirety.' 

I took a few photos of the book and included some of the beautiful and lovely typefaces that are my favourites. I am going to treasure this book...such a lovely little find. 

Happy Friday type nerds! 

Visiting Venice


You may have worked out from my Instagram or this blog post, that NM and I went for a week's holiday in Venice. I thought I would do a little post about our time there in case anybody is planning a trip and wants some tips and advice. 

Accommodation
We decided for this trip to rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel. Partly because hotels in Venice are pretty expensive and partly because we love food and we wanted to be able to buy and cook our own food from the local markets. We booked an apartment from this place - it was small but very central, perfect for two people and just what we wanted. 

Food
We are total food lovers, so when we travel food plays a big part in our plans and what we do! It can be hard to find good restaurants in Venice as there are just so many geared up for tourists that don't serve anything very special or that appetising. Our general rule was if they had photographs of the food in the windows we would give it a miss. We were lucky to have a few restaurant recommendations from friends which served us well, and I would definitely recommend doing a bit of research about places to eat. The other thing we discovered early in the week was Cicchetti which is basically an Italian form of tapas. It's common for Italians to head to their favourite Bacari for Cicchetti and a glass of wine or prosecco throughout the day. When we discovered it we realised this was much more our sort of vibe rather than fancy meals out, so we would plan our days around various Cicchetti stops and on the last day decided to do a Cicchetti crawl where we visited a few great Bacari's that we had seen throughout the week. 

Here are a few of our favourite places that served Cicchetti: Cantine del vino gia schiavi, Osteria Al Squero, Al Bocon Divino, Do Spade

Some restaurants we liked were: Osteria alla Frasca, Taverna Al Remer,

The other thing we did in Venice was head to the Rialto market (which opens in the mornings) and bought fresh ingredients to make our own dinner. We got some fantastic sardines and king prawns and made a really lovely pasta dish. The seafood in Venice really is pretty spectacular, and so if you enjoy cooking and are staying in an apartment with a kitchen I would totally recommend this! 

Also GELATO - eat it, lots of it...it is amazing. (especially the pistachio flavour) - We went to: Gelateria Nico

Travelling around
On our way to Venice we were debating on whether we should buy a week's Vaparetto pass (it works out cheaper than buying a ticket each day or for each trip) - but we decided not to in the end and I'm so glad we did. Because our apartment was pretty central in the San Marco sestiere (district) we were able to easily walk to all of the 6 different districts to explore them each day. We found that we had no need to take the Vaparetto. Going everywhere on foot ended up saving us quite a bit of money. We did get a Vaparetto pass for one day and that was to go to the islands further out to the North, called Murano and Burano. It was totally worth a day trip as they are absolutely stunning islands - especially Burano which is very small but full of brightly coloured houses. 

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I would definitely recommend getting the Vaparetto for at least one of the days you are there because it is nice to see the city from the Grand Canal - even though the boats are often very crowded.

I am hoping that all the walking we did cancelled out all the eating and drinking we did. We did find we had to make stops to just sit and watch the world go by because if we walked for too long we both got tired and grumpy. ha. 

Things to do
There are lots of things to do in Venice and to be honest we didn't really do any of them. We needed a chilled week and so we decided to do Venice our way. This consisted mostly of walking around and exploring the different districts, stopping off for food and drinks when we wanted and just generally taking it easy. As I mentioned above we did go to Burano and Murano one day which was really fun. Venice is SO touristy. It kind of bothered me a lot at the beginning (even though I know, I know, I was one of the tourists) - I think because Venice is not that big the concentration of tourists is just way more intense, and everywhere you go there are people speaking different languages and taking pictures of themselves with selfie sticks. As the week went on I was more chilled about it and just embraced it though. We would often try and go off the beaten track to area's that were more residential, a lot quieter and a lot less touristy. We went to two art galleries when we were there. The Peggy Guggenheim and also the Ca'Pesaro where they had an exhibition of modern art called 'Rauchenberg to Jeff Koons'. I loved this exhibition, partly because it was full of artists that I love, but also the building was spectacular and there weren't loads of people there. I would recommend the Peggy Guggenheim too but it was much busier so it was harder to really appreciate the works of art. 

We decided not to go on a Gondola ride while we there...some people have their hearts set on it, and if that is you, I would say go for it. I enjoyed watching them go by - those Gondola men have some serious skills navigating the canals but yeah actually getting on one didn't appeal. 

Shopping
There are lots of shops selling leather made goods, glass goods, Venetian masks and things like that, and also much to my delight stationery shops selling absolutely stunning hand printed papers and things made out of those hand printed papers. haha - I am such a geek but these are the shops that got me really excited. I spent all week going into them and then at the end of the week found a shop that had a beautiful range of handprinted and machine printed paper, so I treated myself to 6 sheets. 

Venice is a truly magical city. It is just like you have seen in the films - there is a stunning view around every corner and it is unlike anywhere else in the world. It is the most touristy place I have ever been to too, but I loved exploring this city. Lots of people were surprised when we said we were going for a week, and on reflection I can see why, you could totally get a sense of what Venice is like in a few days, but we took things at a slow pace and wandered around in the sunshine and had a really lovely relaxing time. If there is anything else you want to know feel free to ask in the comments below...I might not know the answer but will do my best to help! 

Linocut experiments

For my birthday this year NM bought me a linocutting starter kit from Linocut boy on etsy. It was such a great gift and I love how it was all packaged and presented. Sadly it sat on my shelf for a few months before I found time to have a play around, but last week I finally got the chance. 

I have done screen printing before at art college and couple of years ago I did a letterpress course which I loved so I was really excited about learning a new printing technique. 

The box included everything I needed to get started. A roller, a beautiful set of carving tools, some small pieces of lino (which are easy to buy more of when you run out) black ink (am excited to experiment with other colour later on but black was all i needed to get started).

If you decide to give lino printing a go, my top tip to you would be make sure you have some plasters handy. Haha. It wasn't too bad but i did cut myself once - am hoping as my technique improves that will happen less often. 

So I started off pretty simple and inspired by autumn drew some simple leaf shapes. The smaller one on the left above worked much better for printing than the one on the right. I also had an old stamp handle so I stuck it onto that since it was so small and I found it easier to stamp it rather than lay the paper on top of it (which is what you do for larger prints). I really like how the pattern came out below. I actually used an ink stamp I had in a green colour rather than the black ink. It is pretty rough and basic but it was an encouraging start. I would really like to make some more patterns like this incorporating different shapes and colours. 

I then experimented with the black ink on different scraps of coloured paper I had lying around. For some reason the black ink didn't seem to stamp as well for me, but I think I just need to keep experimenting to see what works best and also making sure that I roll the ink on smoothly. I think often I want to see amazing and perfect results straight away and forget that I actually need to practise and take time to learn a new skill. Patience does not come naturally to me! Ha.

I started sketching out and carving a new design for a greeting card (below). I am not sure how it will turn out but I will keep experimenting and let you know how I get on. 

I don't think linocut boy is selling these started kits at the moment but if he ever does again I can't recommend them highly enough - such a good place to start. (Check out his shop anyway though because he obviously has skills when it comes to linocutting and it gives me inspiration for something to work towards).

You can buy linocutting kits all over the place so if you are keen to have a go just google and see what you can find. 

Underwater adventures

I have some pictures to share in the up coming weeks from our travels to Colombia in the summer but one of the highlights was snorkeling off the carribean coast while we were there. My little sister it seems was born to be in the water..she loves it. It was almost as fun watching her diving down to the sea bed as watching the beautiful fish. she had an underwater camera with her so we had lots of fun taking photos. I think she took most of these because she was just a total natural diving down and getting close up to the brightly coloured fish. 

My favourite thing about it all (apart from the amazing fish obvs) was the way the sun made patterns through the water. Nature is seriously inspiring and I want to let it inspire and influence my work more. I am going to see if I can recreate and incorporate this pattern in some way. 

Also see that coral in the second image. That maze sort of pattern is incredible!

Anyway I hope you enjoy some of these underwater photographs. 

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things I am loving on etsy

Since re-launching my etsy shop I guess I have been hanging out on there quite a bit more, and so I have been discovering lots of beautiful shops and things that I love. Etsy really is such a lovely and wonderful community and I just love exploring and finding creative and inspiring people – So I thought I would share some of the things I have found recently and that are on my wishlist! Expect more of these sort of posts in the future! 

Miplusedesign has become a firm favourite etsy shop of mine. I just love the beautifully simple designs > and I pretty much love everything in this shop. 

If I had a bottomless pit of money I would snap these beautiful dishes up in a heart beat. Can you imagine these on your chest of drawers holding rings and jewellry? Stunning. 

A beautiful simple triangle necklace that I would happily hand round my neck! 

sadly these beautiful cups with handlettering don't ship to the UK. 

These are quite possibly the most beautiful envelopes I have even seen. If i owned them though I don't think I would be able to send them to anyone.  The rest of Karolin's shop is lovely too.

Inspired by Jordan Sullivan

This week I stumbled across (on Fubiz) the work of Jordan Sullivan and I fell in love with this series called 'Death Valley' - seriously! imagine having a whole series of these on your wall. I love the subtle colours, the compositions of the photographs and the simplicity of them. There is something seriously striking and dream like about these images. Especially when you see them all as a set. Sullivan has a really dreamy style to his photography and you can see more of his work here. (Be warned if you are looking at this at work - there are quite a lot of images of naked ladies!) 

a little wandering in the Gower

Quite a few months ago now (yeah yeah I am way behind on posting loads of stuff!) we took a little a trip to the Gower in Wales with some wonderful friends and it was pretty awesome. The weather wasn't amazing but we still managed to get out, sit on the beach and get burnt. Here are a couple of pics. Not all of these pics were taken by me...some were taken by Steve.  The Gower area on the south coast of Wales is seriously beautiful and a place that I really want to explore more. I think in the past I have always had major wanderlust for exploring foreign climbs but I think I am coming around to the idea that holidays in the UK are pretty cool too, I have quite a long list of places that I would like to explore.

Talking of foreign adventures though - I am looking forward to sharing some pics from Colombia soon too over the coming weeks - and next month we head to Venice. Am feeling super blessed that we have got to do go on some awesome trips since we got married. I really do love adventures with that guy. 



Monday moodboard

So - I sort of fell off the blogging bandwagon this last month. I have not been very well..I went away and in the mix of life and just trying to get better the blog fell by the wayside. I have kind of missed it but at the same time it was kind of nice to have a break too. I thought to kick start myself back into it I would do a little mood board for some Monday inspiration. I am going on holiday in a couple of weeks so there is lots to cram in before we go...but hopefully I will be able to resume slightly more regular posting now! I decided to go black and white again for this mood board...because I don't know why but my b&w pinterest board has been inspiring me so much recently.

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I tried to find all the credits, but you know what it's like with Pinterest...it's not always easy to find. Here's what I found. (clockwise from top left) 1/2/3/4/5/6/7

In other news I wish I was Audrey Tatou. also that Tree pattern is wall paper - that would look amazing.

Happy Monday all.

Little Loves // 14

There  has been a serious lack of posting this past week due to a bit of sickness and this post is late due to technical problems (ahem broken charger that just miraculously fixed itself!) but there were definitely little things I loved this week. Here are some of them... 1.   This print on my new shirt

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2.  Evening sunlight on the way to dinner.

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3.   A new hair cut

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4.   This mural on the side of a house in Brixton

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5.  This poppy that just popped out of nowhere in our garden!

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Little Loves // 13

This week I continued my birthday celebrations (NM teases me that my birthday always lasts for about a month). We spent time in the garden looking after our plants, we cooked lots of yummy food, had a bbq, chilled out with friends, drank mojitos and just generally had a lovely time. Here are some of the little things I loved this week: 1. I made a quinoa salad the other day for the first time (after having an amazing one in a restaurant) and I have to say I am totally addicted to the stuff. This is the recipe I used and it was sooo good. I have to admit that I have a bit of an addictive personality when it comes to food. Recently my addiction has been avocado's and now quinoa has top spot. I'm thankful that I am addicted to something pretty healthy for a change!

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2. This tote bag that the lovely Chloe bought me for my birthday. I had been looking out for a new one.

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3. This world cup wallchart design by the epic crispin finn that now adorns our walls. NM is a tricky person to buy gifts for, but as soon as I saw this I knew he would love it.

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4. The smell of this pomegranate and mint candle

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5. These birthday cards that I made with old scraps of paper I had collected. I love how it feels to make things and also use things up.

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Moodboard Monday // B&W

I am a little bit in love with my black and white pinterest board at the moment. I did a black and white mood board before but fancied doing another...and I can't even describe how much pleasure this collection of images brought me today. I feel like they represent little quiet captures of peace and beauty. The top quote totally sums up what my head and life is like most of the time and the 'Listen' type is reminding me to do just that. I have always been a talker and I love to talk and be listened to...but I am really trying to learn the value of being a listener and not a talker. b&w   These images can be found in these places....from top left going clockwise > 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / (couldn't find credit for number 2 so if anyone knows let me know and I will updated it) You can also these and more on my b&w pinterest board. I have also been working on some black and white prints recently so hopefully will be featuring some of my own work soon.