Christmas greetings

This is just a short but sweet post to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and to share a few simple images that sum up my Christmas Eve.
Thanks for your interest, comments and support and I look forward to more blogging with you in 2011. Love, Kathryn.

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The best Christmas present ever….?

I’ve been searching for a Christmas present for my husband for a while now. You know how it is, December ticks on, it’s crazy busy, it snows and you can’t get to the shops for inspiration etc etc and as the big day neared I was starting to panic.
And then I came across Blossom and Bill. Sandra Isaksson is the designer and founder of ISAK, a Scandinavian range of design-led products and the creator of cute couple Blossom and Bill. I discovered this range via fab online store www.hunkydoryhome.com in the UK (whose customer service was brilliant by the way!).
There’s something about this design that just makes you smile, making it perfect for a mug you use everyday. I also think there’s something about this fictional duo that will remind you of someone you know, making it a great present for a partner or another couple. It is available in several different colourways, to include a brunette Blossom and a red-haired Bill with contrasting backgrounds but I fell for this one because I think it looks a bit like me and my husband! Happy Christmas Greig xxx

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A handmade card

Just a quick post to show you this great Christmas card I was given today. My very creative friend made it using last year’s recycled Christmas stamps to create a kind of stained glass window effect. The stamps are simply stuck down on to plain card and then it’s just a case of ruler and black marker. I think religious stamps work better if you want to recreate this look but you could certainly experiment with others. I particularly like the way that the print from the franking machines has added an extra texture and detail to the image. 

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Crafting in the cafe

I’ve always been a fan of Cafe Rouge. Yes, I know it’s a big chain and it’s not that authentically French but it does a great onion soup/Croque Monsieur, it’s really family friendly and I’ve always found the interior design appealing, reassuring, even heartwarming.
On one of our recent visits I noticed that Cafe Rouge had introduced its new Christmas artwork, which is used across the seasonal menus. The design really caught my eye because it was created using the craft known as quilling.
Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is wound around a quill to create a basic coil shape, hence the name quilling. 
The artwork was created by artist Yulia Brodskaya who combines her interests in typography, paper, and highly detailed hand-made craft objects to produce her designs, which have won her international acclaim. 
The precision and detail of the work is incredible and yet the overall effect is so vibrant and fun. I also love the way it uses one of the most traditional forms of craft to present Christmas in a cool and quirky way; it’s a great example of old meets new and in that sense is also perfectly on-brand for Cafe Rouge.
If you want to find out more about quilling and even see video demonstrations of the technique, there’s more info on the website: www.caferouge.co.uk/christmas/quilling

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Christmas crackers

There is such an amazing, diverse range of original design out there, Christmas need never be a boring, predictable affair again. And while there will always be certain motifs that we all hold dear such as Santa, reindeer, angels and robins, it’s great to see that there are new and unique takes on these images all the time.
I love graphic design as well as paper craft and textiles, especially when some or all of these things combine to create something really beautiful. So, particularly at this time of year, why not gift yourself or someone special something a little bit different. Here’s a few of my favourite festive designs…

Jurianne Matter

These pretty paper angels are also multi-tasking ladies – you can write a message on one to be used as a card or a place holder at the table or they can simply be used as home decorations.

Rachael Taylor
This talented Leeds based surface pattern designer and illustrator has transferred her work to gift wrap and cards, while the handmade decorations are made from her Etched Floral screen printed fabric.

Lovi 
This beautiful plywood bird comes in a postcard-like package which can be posted just like a Christmas card. It comes flat packed with instructions for simple assembly and I think they make great festive decorations that you’d like to leave out all year.

Jenny Arnott
This textile designer based in Somerset, creates beautiful embroidered textiles and accessories. Everything is carefully made by hand, using a combination of machine embroidery and appliqué, so each one is unique.

Al Heighton
I wish this design was available as a card/wrapping but here’s hoping it will be one day. In the meantime, I just wanted to mention this Doncaster based illustrator’s work, which spans editorial, fashion, publishing and music including Creative Review, Schuh, The Guardian, Arctic Monkeys and Boots. Limited edition screen printed posters of his original artwork are available. This recent illustration for Ripon-based Hornsey gallery conjures up lots that is good about Christmas shopping and makes me smile.

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