Saturday, 30 April 2011

proud to be british

hugo burnand

I'm no fervant royalist, but neither am I anti-royal. Just your average Brit who has grown up with the Royal Family. I waved my flag at the Queen as she rode past in her car during her Silver Jubilee. I saw Charles & Di get married. I saw William grow up. And I watched Diana's funeral cortege pass by me as I stood with the crowds in Regent's Park in 1997. I guess when you live abroad it makes you just that little more patriotic and I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's wedding. Kate looked stunning in that dress! Everyone looked good! Well nearly everyone...

press association

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

evolution of a wedding invite

Weddings are quite the thing at the moment! Ours is only about 6 weeks away and I hear there's something going on in Westminster next week. My sister-in-law Matina and her boyfriend George got married last Friday. From what I heard, as I wasn't there, it was a charming and simple little affair, a civil wedding with no fuss, and a dinner afterwards. I was very sad to have missed it, but as weddings are often held in the evening here in Greece and with no one but me to look after Leo, I had to let my husband represent us. We had triumphed however in finding a baby-sitter for the next evening when an after-wedding party for friends would be held and I looked forward to my first evening out in 4 months and a chance to put on some slap and wear my gladrags. I have to explain it was the first time that Leo had been baby-sat (the reasons for this are long and boring), but as he never wakes up once he's gone to bed, we thought nothing could go wrong as we danced the night away. The plan was simple, the baby-sitter would turn up before Leo's bedtime. I would then put Leo to bed as always and after we had made sure he was sound asleep, we would sneak out and he would be none the wiser...

All too easy in theory of course. Do babies have a 6th sense? We drove to the centre of town, picked up George's cousin, found somewhere to park, got to the entrance of the venue and the phone rang. Leo had woken up and having discovered he was in the company of a stranger with his parents nowhere in sight decided to have hysterics. So I had to jump in a cab, go straight home and take care of the poor little soul. It took him 2 hours to calm down with an extra bottle of milk! At least I looked nice...

Anyway, that's by the by. Matina had asked me to design her wedding invite. Being an architect, she wanted something simple, strong and graphic, but lighthearted. Her idea was to have a very stylised illustration of her and George on the front and some very simple text on the back. The illustration was inspired by matroyshka and kokeshi dolls but Matina was adamant on no headscarves (which would've been a shame as Matina has best hair in the world - that's official from me) and George was to have a cute little tin tin hairstyle.

I always have quite a strong idea in my head of how something should look when I start designing. However, that rarely transposes onto the screen.


My first attempt was completely disastrous. The bodies were good, but Matina's face looked fat, her hair was too literal and George had a paintbrush on his head. Of course this was rejected immediately.


Matina definately wanted less facial features and simpler hair. I decided to remove both faces. This resulted in a rather dull, bland and souless couple with boring hair. Off to the drawing board again...


Matina was definately starting to take shape. She liked the OTT hairdo, but there was still a problem with George's hair and he didn't like the hearts. Matina did! So I kept hers and we brainstormed about what George would like to 'wear'. They wanted something silly. We tried a superman logo - that didn't work - then we tried the medallion, which just made him look Masonic...


Finally we decided on a nice retro tie for George and we got the hair right! Everyone was happy and all the guests loved the invite! I'm just sad that we didn't manage to letterpress it which was in the plans, but I'm very pleased with it none the less... cute eh!

Monday, 18 April 2011

happy easter

Just to let you know...

if anyone's still reading...

that I'm still here...

waiting for my PayPal account problems to sort themselves out!

Shop still closed.

Still raining.

Still cold.

Just looking forward to the long weekend away in beautiful Nafpaktos! Wonderful massive bunches of flowers in the market this week for just 2 euros!

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, 8 April 2011

the original thrifting queen

Thriftiness seems to be quite in vogue these days! Nothing more fashionable than rummaging around a garage sale or a car boot sale or a charity shop and bagging a good find. But I've just been reminded of the original thrifter... young Miss Emily!
I don't want Leo to watch much TV, especially while he's so young. And I just don't think that they made them like they used to. When I was small I remember watching Fingerbobs, Trumpton, Camberwick Green, The Clangers and The Magic Roundabout to name but a few. But my favourite of all was that saggy old cloth cat Bagpuss. And it's his owner Emily who I have already mentioned.

I've found quite a lot of episodes of Bagpuss plus other old favourites on You Tube and I let Leo watch something every now and then. I was particularly delighted to find a Bagpuss episode called 'The Owl of Athens' which we sat and watched together... Leo loved it! Here is Part 1 for you too... (wait til the end to watch Part 2)

Monday, 4 April 2011

your generous contribution

Well done everyone who bought my print Japanese Girl! You have helped me raise £275 (that's around $440) for Japan. I have donated that money to Global Giving UK who have so far raised over £18,000,000 which will initially go to provide emergency disaster and long-term relief for victims of the tsunami and 9.0 earthquake which struck Japan on March 11.
I can't thank you all enough for your help and support over the past couple of weeks.

lovely clusters

It's finally a beautiful spring morning here in Athens! It seems Greece and the UK have had a weather swap for the past week and while we've been wallowing in cold and gloom the UK have been enjoying some lovely spring sunshine. Anyway, I hope that's what we all have today!

To get you even more in the spring mood, if you've never heard of Lovely Clusters you really should give your eyes a treat. It's a special place to browse and shop beautiful handmade and vintage items from creative artists and designers from around the world. Each item links to the sellers shop site where you can purchase and find more information. It's run by lovely Rachel Follett from Hawaii who has a seriously good eye for things. Just look at these wonderful mood boards from the Lovely Clusters blog:

The latest Lovely Clusters catalogue is out now, so hop on over and check it out!

Friday, 1 April 2011


I'm loving these clever and sweet products from british design team Mibo!

cut-out & stick paper animals

a cute lion tea towel(I'm lion obsessed... don't forget my son is called Leo!) which you can make into an even cuter plush toy

clever tile tatoos

the talented miss viviane schwarz

My lovely and talented friend Sofia told me about her lovely and talented friend Viviane the other day. Viviane is a children's book artist and author and I instantly fell in love with her delightful illustrations, but especially her beautiful books.

There Are Cats In This Book and There Are No Cats In This Book are two of my favourites, full of humour and wonderfully clever use of layout and format. Here is a little video of her reading her book with cats in:

Psst... if you hang on til the very end you can also see her read her book with no cats in too!

Viviane is a keen knitter like all the best people are. If you'd like to knit her cats, well she's even thought of that as well!