Point of Inspiration - Vintage Obi

I'm really interested in sources of inspiration. The things that inspire us and what they inspire us to create. For this "point of inspiration", I'm turning to a page in my own sketchbook!

While I prefer to draw from a picture in my head - for better or worse - some days I find myself baffled on what to actually put down on paper. On those days, I turn to the internet for a little inspiration/soul searching. One of my favourite things to do is head over to eBay and browse the vintage textiles.

I was drawn to this vintage obi because of the bold colour scheme but also because of the interesting mix of geometric and floral elements. It seemed like a nice jumping off point for a little pattern play.

And here's my finished sketchbook piece (on its side - tilt your head to the left to see it as I drew it). You can see where I pulled elements from the original design and how I altered it. While it's fun to try to replicate something you love, it's also nice to take your favourite elements and then head in a slightly different direction. I really like the final pattern though I do wish I'd chosen different colours. That "pink carmine" is shockingly burgundy-ish... live & learn! 

Since I loved the concept but not the colours, I decided to try again, continuing to play with the geometric and floral combo but with some sunnier colours. What do you think - vintage tiles or powder room wallpaper? Either way, patterns are my favourite!

How about you? Where do you find inspiration?

Send Tropical Mail

My recent mail swap reminded me of how much I love sending pretty mail. While my creative mail project two years ago was loads of fun, without a monthly deadline I've really gotten out of the habit of sending mail. I know, I know! 

I'm going to try to make an effort to be better about it without setting any specific goals - I want sending pretty mail to be something that I do when inspiration strikes and I have time to play around rather than feel that it's an obligation. So, in that spirit,  here's some tropical mail I just packed up to send. Featuring ideas for a hand drawn card, cute washi tape sampler and wrapping, I think there's plenty of ideas here to play with even if you're not a snail mail fanatic!

I always like to start with one image, idea or colour combo and build my pretty mail from there. This time my starting point was Bananas so a banana-covered doodle card was in order.

A blank card and a few paint markers are all you need to make colourful doodle cards. It's fun - you should try!

Of course, (wo)man cannot live on bananas alone - though there is a corner of the internet where the raw vegans may try to convince you you can - so I expanded from the bananas to a tropical colour and fruit theme to build the rest of my pretty mail package.

A washi tape sampler dressed up like Carmen Miranda - or is that Carmen Miranda dressed in washi tape? Either way - I'm pretty smitten with her!

Layered doilies, solid colour twine and a mini collage of washi tape strips dress up a small parcel.

Washi tape stickers - my favourite - packaged simply with a pretty header card. Plus some other lightweight treats that slide easily into a colourful paper bag sealed with tape and a glittery sticker.

All bundled together with another piece of twine and an extra blue doily to tie in the original colour scheme.

Basic manila mailers deserve a little love too! A paint marker doodle and a sprinkling of washi tape dots make this mail pretty from all angles.

Ready for her close-up! Maybe I should've called this post "Send Carmen Miranda Mail" or "If you need me, I'll be shopping for fruity hats on Ebay".

And there it is - a pile of tropical fruity goodness ready to be mailed. I hope the recipient enjoys it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Have you sent any pretty mail lately? 

Five Ways To Upcycle Colouring Books

I'm loving the current adult colouring trend... but once I'm done a page, I kinda think to myself now what? I'm not likely to display my colouring on the fridge and leaving it to gather dust on a shelf seems a bit of a waste, so I decide to dream up some different ways to use completed colouring pages for even more creative enjoyment.

Here are five ways to transform your finished colouring books:

Upcycled Wrapping

Make Wrapping Paper 
Have a colouring book with thinner pages? Use your completed pages to wrap small gifts - one of a kind gift wrap in your favourite colours. Top with twine or ribbon or keep the upcycling trend going and use up scraps of yarn or fabric in place of ribbon.

Make Gift Tags 
This is actually the project that got me thinking about crafting with colouring books. I was wrapping up some books to send out to giveaway winners and friends and wanted to add a finishing touch that tied into the books. Eureka - tags made from colouring book pages!

When making tags, try to use to use thicker pages and avoid ones where markers have bled through. Simply cut your page into a standard tag shape and punch a hole. Easy!

Upcycled Celebrations

Make Confetti
Use paper punches to create colouring book confetti. Sprinkle your custom confetti on party tables, add to gifts or slide into outgoing snail mail.

Everyone loves confetti! (Though no one likes cleaning it up...)

Make A Garland
Punch circles or other desired shapes from the colouring book page. Cut a length of twine or string. Apply glue to the blank sides of two circles and stick together with the twine sandwiched in between. Continue until your garland is as long as you'd like.

Upcycled Art

Make Collages
Create cut paper collages using colouring book pages. Cut a variety of shapes out of your finished pages and assemble into new pictures. Try mixing pages from different books together or add drawn or painted elements.

In case you're wondering, here are the colouring books I used in these projects. Joyful Designs by Joy Ting - perfect when you're in the mood for florals. Colour Me Calm by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter - full of mandalas and other relaxing scenes. Carnival by Sarah Walsh - quirky scenes and a festive fun!

Happy crafting!

Would you try any of these projects to give your finished colouring pages a new life? 
Do you have any other project ideas using colouring books?

Ultimate Origami For Beginners Review

Knowing my love for both books and paper craft, Tuttle offered to send over a new origami kit to review. But, since Ultimate Origami For Beginners is geared towards those just getting into origami and/or kids, I decided to ask my 9-year-old niece who loves all thing arts & crafty to review it instead. Nothing like a little delegation, right?

Alice folded while her mum snapped pictures and here's what they thought:

The Ultimate Origami For Beginners kit by Michael G. LaFosse and Richard L. Alexander includes a small book with 19 origami projects, instructional DVD and 62 pieces of origami paper in a variety of colours and sizes. There's even special paper that looks like real money!

The kit features an interesting collection of paper folding designs. Rather than just the typical origami models repackaged, the book has unique designs that they hadn't seen before.

The assortment of projects and papers is both colourful and gender neutral which is always a nice combo. How cute are those dogs?!

The projects are geared towards beginners but not necessarily children. The kit actually includes a wide range of difficulty.

Alice was most excited to try the projects which used the special money paper. However, those origami models were too challenging and her mum ended up having to make them with help from the video instructions.

When the book instructions were difficult to follow, they watched the videos on the included DVD. The videos are excellent and really helpful if you find the instructions confusing (anyone who has tried origami can understand the frustration that is trying to decipher origami diagrams!) However, as CD drives on computers are pretty rare these days and most people won't want to fuss with a getting their DVD player set up to watch origami instructions, a Youtube channel or other source of online videos would be a fantastic alternative to the DVD.

Overall, Alice enjoyed the Ultimate Origami for Beginners kit and felt that she would buy it for a friend who likes a challenge. Her mum liked that it was gender neutral and thought the price point was right on. (Bonus, it's currently on sale!)

And I think they did a great job of folding and reviewing this kit! Thank you!

All photos courtesy of Alexis Edghill.

Spring Is For Sakura Lovers

While your Instagram feed is filled with cherry blossoms (and plum blossoms, peach blossoms, apple blossoms...) but the world outside your window isn't quite there yet, it's time to make your own!

Kirigami flowers are my favourite and are lovely tied onto a present, strung into a garland or simply admired. Find templates for four blossom styles here.

And get inspired to try even more ruffly pink varieties here.

Happy crafting!


I just realized I haven't done an update in 2015 so forgive me if this is a little photo-heavy but I just couldn't narrow it down any more! Here's what's been happening around here through the eyes of Instagram:

A handful of really good great mail days...
Q & A Letterbox launches in May and I was lucky enough to get a preview edition. Fantastic selection of greeting cards (and Canadian too!)
More fab cards! These ones from Think & Ink Studio in Vancouver.
It's a croissant pouch! This arrived in the mail and many many croissant cravings arrived with it. Don't look directly at it or you might suffer the same delicious fate.
A really thoughtful gift from friends in Japan. That's a paper craft sumo game - so fun! Who wants to play?

Always looking for the best way to wrangle tape. For now the regular tapes are in containers - well, most of the time - while the skinny and wide rolls are on embroidery hoops.

How do you organize your collection?

A little book love!

One of my favourite Washi Style projects hanging out on our kitchen wall.
Flow Magazine - a Dutch magazine for paper lovers (in English). So beautiful. The Book For Paper Lovers is by far the best thing I've purchased in 2015.
Signed copies of my book will be in the shop next week. Exciting!
Also exciting? I discovered that Pinterest Perfect was published in German. Clearly had to get a copy.
And my non-craft reading list. Ones on the left to-be-read. Ones on the right recently-read. I love books!

Some recent customer palettes that caught my eye. My pink love is holding strong!
Plus my favourite section of the washi gallery wall. I have a soft spot for soft serve ice cream and adorable postcards - this is the perfect combo.

Carina's Mini Embellishment embroidery club started this week. I'm enjoying learning new stitches - I mastered the french knot on my first try. So proud!
I've been thinking (and talking) a lot about markers this week. Blame the doodles! Just ordered some new ones from DeSerres to try.
Trying to translate a sketch into something more 3-dimensional.
Speaking of 3D, these flowers are another favourite Washi Style project.
While it's nice to get fancy with tape, sometimes the tape is fancy enough that you only need a strip.
I've been sending out lots of orders dressed like this - grid bags and a touch of neon pink.

Wool felt in 63 colours arrived - hoping to get it listed soon!
Washi tape mini stickers have been listed - 24 designs and colours.
Loving these new tapes. See how they were designed here.
Our favourite envelope templates are back in stock.

Until next time, see you over on Instagram!

Shaped Tapes Have More Fun!

Do you have any die cut tapes in your collection?

They are so much fun! Everything we love about regular washi tape but with fancy edges... and totally adorable designs. We've added a selection of shaped tapes to the shop from a few different brands. Hope you like them as much as we do!

Multicolour deco hearts, stars and dots are dynamic! How great would these look on your outgoing snail mail?

These shaped designs from Yano are a bit more sophisticated - I've had the top tableware design in my collection for awhile and it's a favourite!

Pesky in real life, cute tape can even make mice look appealing.

My favourite of the bunch are these illustrated designs from Spacecraft. So many beautiful ones - I want to keep them all for myself. Not all are shaped but there are some die cut tapes in the mix - like that fab cake design and the watercolour moons.

Find all the new designs over in our New Arrivals section.

I'm pretty smitten with the sumo wrestlers, space, deco dots and cake designs. Which ones do you love?