Friday, August 30, 2013

For nice friends

Hey chaps. New pretty pillows for you to buy for nice people.  Nice people deserve to be told they're nice, you know that.


I've been working on a font! I literally have no idea what I'm doing or what to do with it next. If you have this knowledge I am willing to trade you some lucky rocks and a chunk of dark chocolate if you can point me in the right direction.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

D O double G

Due to a sort-of popular demand, I've brought a select few of the infamous Czech Dogs back into the world.  I asked and you told me which of the chaps you wanted to see again and thus my etsy shop now contains sixteen of the most wanted dogs on the block.  A couple of them (doggy number 25, red and number 9, black with pink cheeks) sold out even before making it into my etsy shop last time so act quickly if you want one of these scoundrels barking his way to your living room.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dear Doris tote bags

I designed these tote bags for a little shop in South Wales called DEAR DORIS.  I used the branding I had previously created and added some bunting and pretty borders and then created two different colours for people to choose from.  Deb, the shop owner, said "I'm all emotional .... Nose tingling .... Very special moment ... Want to give them to my family as pressies too they are spectacular!!!!"

You know you've done the job right when you get a nose tingler! 

Accidental twenty miler

I got sent some neon Greeper Laces to try.  They're great for jazzing up an old pair of runners!

So today I'm feeling a little rusty and slow-moving.  I skipped my Sunday long (10 miles) run in favour of Bikram yoga and some hamstring TLC and decided instead to add Sunday & Monday's run together and go out for an 18 miler yesterday.  As we had the day off (well, being self employed that doesn't mean anything but Richard had the day off thus it felt like I should too) we decided to get up as Sparrow's Fart and seize the day.

Breakfast in us, we were both at the golf course for 9am.  Fortunately I had no plans to walk around hitting a silly little ball around on the grass - it was just a great starting point for my run.  Near Dunham Massey it's lovely and green and sometimes you can see deer in the park.

Well I got the job done.  It wasn't pretty though! I stopped to fix my hair, change my playlist, take my tank top off (It was so hot, I threw any prejudices I may have against people that run in just a sports bra out the window - and joined in.)  I stopped to take my compression sleeves off my calves.  My drink felt heavy in my hand and was giving me a stitch.  The battery on my phone was low so my music turned itself off halfway round.  It felt like I didn't really stop faffing around until around mile 13 so by the time I reached mile 18 and was slightly lost and realised I was around 2 miles from home I didn't really care anymore and just carried on.

So due to my messing around, handful of pitstops and time spent figuring out where I was my pace was shitty... I got round the 20 miles in 3 hrs 6 minutes... meh.

However, despite being a bit stiff today my legs haven't complained.  My feet are a bit achy, actually... but touch wood I'm proud of my limbs for doing what they do best and not wussying out on me.

Onwards and upwards!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Doggy styling?

I've got some good news for you fans of the French Dog pillows.  They are now available as a set of two either through my etsy shop or if you contact me directly.  This design is also orderable at wholesale so get in touch if these dogs need to be on your shelves.  Look them hanging about the shelves of Fig + Sparrow, Manchester:

Mixed Bags

Been sorting some deliveries the past few weeks, so that Nicola goods can be conveniently bought from a gift shop near you.  Some funny totes went to Chifferobe in North Carolina:

Keeping Manchester's Fig + Sparrow stocked up with pocket manfriends always and always:

Kitty cat stickers, tote bags and cards went to Shop at the Old Fire Station in Oxford. 

Also, a few more vaguely interesting things:
1.  My house portrait was featured on a lovely blogpost last week! Thank you Kate!
2.  I am doing a giveaway on my facebook page.  This is the loot up for grabs.

3.  I'm looking for an intern.  If you're a student in the Manchester area please drop me an email with a link to your website and just a little hello.  One day per week, travel expenses covered.  Approx 5 hours per day.  Tasks will include packaging things up, making cups of tea, cutting fabric, going to the post office and keeping me sane.

That's enough from me for now.  Lots of miles to run this weekend.  Lots of dogs to draw. Lots of coffee (/beer) to drink.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sweet sweet greeting card subscriber deal

It's stocktake week here at my messy studio.  Funny how that falls directly in line with wedding-stress week, crazy anxiety week, and worlds messiest studio awards week.

Anyways while I try and get my shit together, here's something for you to feast your eyes upon.  For one week only I'm offering a special discount on yearly card subscriptions.  Normal price for these is £24 but use the code SUBSCRIBEME at checkout for an £8 discount, bringing the price down to just £16. Crazytown discount right there! This code expires in one week so grab this sweet deal while you can.

Oh and if you're unfamiliar with the greeting card subscription, how it works is this: you get four deliveries throughout the year.  Each delivery contains seven specially selected, seasonal cards and seven white envelopes.  It's perfect for those of you who forget to buy cards or can never find a good card when you need to buy one.

Monday, August 12, 2013

New stockist x

You can now buy my totes and stickers from Magnesia Barcelona.  A lovely lovely little shop!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bonjour totes

Sometimes as you get older your relationship with your parents changes and the kid becomes the parent and the parent becomes the kid. Like when you go for a few pints with your dad and you text him 83 times when he gets the train home to make sure he got home safely.

And like when your parents actually ask your advice on pretty hefty life decisions and you tell them they should go for it and despite feeling sad that you will miss them loads you wholeheartedly want them to go for it because you know it will make them happy.

So when your parents listen to your advice and move to France to start a business, and make friends almost immediately with loads of people and take french classes every week and produce potatoes and figure out how to get a (french) plumber in to fix a leaky shower (over and over again.) And despite a lot of people doubting them they succeed and most importantly they're happy and they have made something you're so proud of,

You sort of become the proud parent.

This is Maison Calon Lan, a pretty darn sweet place to stay in the beautiful Breton countryside.

And this is the new supercool tote available for Maison Calon Lan guests to purchase, as a reminder of their stay.  "Bienvenue dans notre Maison Bretonne" The totes are part of a range of cool products I am working with my Mom to develop.  The greetings cards especially have already been a hit with the guests!

If you're interested in purchasing one of the tote bags just give me a shout and I'll put you in touch with La propriƩtaire!

In the meantime, if you're looking for a peaceful and relaxing getaway, listen to this proud parent and seriously consider booking a week at Maison Calon Lan.

...tempted yet?

They're also on facebook and twitter so please go and say hello :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Trial trail shoe and I liked it!

A little while back the generous chaps at Salomon sent me a pair of their new Sense Mantra trail shoes to try out.  I guess I never considered myself a trail runner but to be honest I probably run more on the trails near the canal and water park by our house, than I do on roads!  I'd never actually tried a specific 'trail' shoe so when they arrived I really didn't know what to expect.

The Sense Mantra is a "Door-to-Trail" shoe, so a nice transition for someone like me who isn't necessarily scaling mountains or actively seeking fallen tree trunks to leapfrog but will gladly run up the road a little further to get to the canal for a more picturesque run.  The website describes the shoe as having 'the cushioning and feel of road shoes, with the protection and grip you need for trails.'  ooooh.

First impressions were that they felt SO LIGHT.  I was worried as they didn't feel like they offered loads of support - when I put them on they felt different to the cushiony cloudy Nikes I've been alternating between lately.  But reading up on the Salomon site these shoes are a 'Light weight training shoe for midfoot strikers who want natural motion, protection and neutral cushioning for high mileage training.' That's where I got confused, so basically I told myself to CHILL OUT and stop being a worryhead and just go and freaking run in them.  

So Tuesday night run club is primarily trail, hill and (more often than) not mud-based running - perfect opportunity for these shoes to get their first trial 'run.'  It was very fitting that the particular night I took them out was a rainy, muddy one which involved a heinous 30minute loop we run on the 1st Tuesday of every month - the loop is not lacking in hills I'll just say that.

And I noticed the change from my regular trainers almost immediately.  It was while I was running downhill that my feet actually felt much lighter and not cumbersome.  On the gravelly pathways I felt more in control of my footing especially on the rockier, uneven paths.  My legs also felt less sluggish.

I have since ran the same routes once in my normal road shoes and then again many times in the Sense Mantras - and I'm totally converted!  I really notice the difference!  I really like how in control my feet feel - just so light yet grippy and grounded.  I've even started checking with my training buds to see whether we'll be running on roads or trails - so that I can coordinate my footwear.

So yeah, in conclusion these are a really nice shoe and the technology that goes into them is pretty smart.  Apparently they are designed so that your muscles absorb more of the shock instead of your joints - and thus building better balance and overall running efficiency.  Smart stuff right?  I'd say if you're thinking about investing in an alternative footwear for training, definitely check out Salomon as a company, they sure were nice to me- and my legs!

(PS I wasn't paid to write any of this.)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Put a frame on it

Recently did these silly pet portraits for a science teacher dog mommy.  She asked could she get them framed so I popped them in these cute little wooden frames.