Friday, August 16, 2013

Stockeld Park Showcase

Hello to the summer holidays! 
(and hello to the challenges of child care and work at the same time!)

The sun has been delicious but with hardly any rainy days there's not been many chances to set up crafts for the kids and work along side them. I have been finding that there has been a lot of 6am starts, cramming in a couple of hours while the kids sleep in and then finishing things off on Fridays when Cathy Grandma and Nana Linda whisk them off for a whole days fun. Although I have missed out on little shiny smiling faces I have been so grateful not to have to close the Etsy and NOTHS shop so far AND in the evenings (the ones where I managed to scrape myself off the floor) continue with design work ready for Christmas.

These mini make finger puppets are going to be part of the 'Christmas Countdown' Mini Make Book and I am really excited about! 

 As the book needs to be complete by the 26th August, ready for proofing and printing, it is the biggest challenge for halfpinthome! 25 pages of illustrations and makes and I have 10 days left and 3/4 of the work left to do......but us mums rock right?.....I will do it, and it will be brilliant, even if I am telling myself this in a pep talk kind of way!

So, pep talk over and onto why I am really blogging! 

A little while ago halfpinthome was approached by Stockeld Park to enter a competition that they were running to find local talent to showcase at Christmas. With a footfall of 100,000 in the lead up to Christmas this was definitely an opportunity not to be missed, so I excitedly scheduled it in. It was a submission based entry including a little bit about halfpinthome and 5 pictures of products which best showed off what halfpinthome had to offer. 

A few weeks later an e-mail came started as many do........

"Hello. Thank you for contacting Stockeld Park and taking an interest in our search for fabulous local talent that we can showcase in our Magical Gift Emporium.
We have had an overwhelming response to our competition and have struggled to choose 3 winners who will be given the chance to retail their Yorkshire made products this winter season."

*Insert a little (big) sigh (we all know what comes next) and I actually, really, nearly, did not read on.....thank goodness I did!

"I am pleased to say that you have been selected as one of our lucky winners."

I quickly gathered back up my (little-big) sigh, felt sheepish for jumping to negative conclusions and let my inners do a little dance around my happy heart. Sounds weird but it's quite hard to describe genuine happy feelings. 

So now, I am almost finished making up the order for Stockeld which includes notebook sets, ladybird cushions, ant and ladybird height charts, elephant and lion cushions and cards which are not yet designed....(something else to add to the summer holiday to do list!) ...Happy Days! So if you are popping to Stockeld Park soon and visit the shop look out for halfpinthome on the shelves! 

I am so super pleased to be a part of something so fabulous for children and totally think these kind of venues are perfect for my happy halfpinthome bugs and characters!

OH and I almost forgot, the 'lookbook' promos I was making recently are for Stockeld Park too. I thought it would be a nice way for customers who are new to find out a tiny bit more about halfpinthome and see what else is on offer! 

Hope YLL are all well and surviving being working mums too!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hello You Lovely Lot!

I have been so busy lately with Mini Make Books, design work and the shiny new halfpinthome Not On The High Street shop I've been trying to get around to doing this giveaway since 400 likers! Hopefully it will be better late than never!

This is also something I've been trying to get around to doing for ages too......shrink plastic! You all remember putting crisps packets in the oven and watching them shrivel up and then turning them into magnets or brooches right????  

YES! Well it is still THAT awesome as an adult, minus the crisp packet :)

Being me it had to be bunting to begin with! I may do magnets and brooches at a later date, but I may also not, there are some super cool ones already out there like illustrator Clare Shrouder's gorgeous ones! 

I choose to re-work my 'Up in the Clouds' pattern into blue which I thought would make a lovely, not too girly, set of bunting.

This is what they look like after they have been baked, super diddy......super cute! It's unbelievable how the detail still shows up even when it's shrunk so small as well.

 Et Voila, all ready for a new home! 
I may shrinkify everything halfpinthome now :)

If you'd like to go into the hat to win a very newly designed and money can't buy 'Up in the Clouds Mini Bunting' then all you have to do is leave a comment here OR on the facebook page on the link pinned to the top of the page. I will title it 'YOU LOVELY LOT' just so you ALL know it's for you! Thanks for sharing my adventures!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fanatical About Fabric!

Well Hello Again!

Fanatical about could say that! 

From the youngest age, I have memories of cosy snuggles with my mum under a blanket. Rainy days are my best, I know you already know this, but perhaps so as this was the perfect time for those happy hearts to relax. I am sure my blankets and covers weren't fancy pants one like you see now everywhere, Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely or Marimekko, but whatever the pattern when I close my eyes, the all comforting cosy feeling comes back to fill me with love! In fact my best one, my baby one, which I still have now, all worn and thin, was a pale yellow floral thing, with dodgy velcro bit down one side. I think my Grandma made it from a sheet originally. After I grew out of it, it became the cats blanket...... they were the snuggliest cats you could have imagined. 

So maybe that's where it all began for me, and many others I am guessing. A love of being comforted, cosy and soft familiarity. 

And now, I love patterns and I love fabric. The thing I like most when creating a pattern is the simple repeat, so silly a simple thing, yet somehow it fulfills every bit of me, perhaps that's the conditioned consumer in me, to love multiples and choice and lots........ what ever the reason, these are some of my favourite designs for halfpinthome, and probably with no sensible reason why!

This was the first baby dolly quilt design I made, it's in lots of colours now but I really loved working towards a retro feel! Loads of people think you should never put red and pink together but I happen to think it's immense. I may be the only one!

This was the first batch of number bunting fabric I ordered. With some designs I grow out of them really quickly and move onto the next thing but I still really love this design!

When it comes to the colour combination of baby blue and red I just can't help myself......bonne nuit fabric, the clouds with stripey red nightcaps, has the same effect for me, I thought it would be a passing colour phase but it makes me smile every time!

Accidental Acorns.
I never intended to use these fellas as a pattern design but I am so glad I did. I like it equally in green, pink and blue. I have lots of future plans for these little characters!

For those of you who may not know where the fabrics are ordered from, I get them from an online digital fabric printers Spoonflower. It really is easy peasy, and anyone can have a go at creating their own design. < Such fun >

BUT with pretty much anything in life there are pros and con's......the pros being

1. It's all eco-friendly! No nasties at all, especially great for children!
2. It's easy, well we all love that!
3. And it's a super massive company so prices are more affordable than anywhere else I have seen.

The con's are that
1. Shipping from the USA has it's own issues*

 (see my rough guide to spoonflower orders below)

 2. And there are special washing instructions!

Both of which are not so bad really once you know what to do!

BTW THANKS to all of you who have already ordered fabric samples/fabric bundles/fabric M's and FQ's and wall paper samples from spoonflower, or through facebook,
it's really nice to know some of you like what I do! :-)

See you next time!

*So below is my very rough guide to spoonflower!
(please note things can change and I am not an accurate source of anything- I am covered now? lol)

1. There's a whole lot of choice so be prepared to trawl. Alternatively just search 'halfpinthome' ;-)

2. Approx 4 or less test swatches will not incur any fees.
(You'll have to check the ever changing exchanging rate)

3. A single FQ in any fabric type will not incur any fees. Handy for the new halfpinthome FQ 'MYO' designs!! (Less than £15 of ordered goods excluding postage.)

4. A single metre in Kona Cotton (the fabric type I always use) will not incur any fees.
(Less than £15 of ordered goods excluding postage.)

 5. It's eco-printed, so whilst its awesome for the environment and kids, it means for best fabric care it's hand wash with phosphate free powder. It can go in the machine on 30 degrees with phosphate free powder but colours may loose a little each time. Some people would not mind for the ecological benefit, others would. It's a personal thing!

6. Patience! You'll have to wait a few weeks for things to arrive! Unless you order express which will attract fees/tax/import duty. Small orders under £15 and huge orders 20m + (lots fees here!) come pretty quickly but those middle orders can be a drag if like me you are impatient for new fabric!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cake Pop Pay Day!

Time flies! 
Hope you are all well?!

I don't usually take on logo designs as a rule, but I super love Erica Murfitt's Cake Pop business. She really has an amazing eye for detail with those pops! So when she approached halfpinthome to help her come up with something for her business I knew it was something I wanted to do!!

While I am no logo master, I do know it's a serious sets you apart from the rest and has to be something to get you noticed and remembered by! In essence, a simple relay of information which looks glossy and sleek, yet approachable and friendly.......a business is no good without customers after all!

As Erica already had an idea in mind, that's where it started! A rhino, with moustache, holding cake pops, in the style of Foxy and Miss Mouse. A Rhino Manimal, lol, I worked hard on this, but really rhino's aren't the cutest animal, and the colour doesn't leave a lot to be desired! Let this be known as 'The Ugly'.

Erica and I talked about how we could make changes to improve the look, she wanted to include hand lettering and smaller pops....she really had her heart set on the rhino and when you have an idea in mind, it's hard to leave the vision behind. So this is what came next!

Still no where near right! The pops were now too small to be seen on smaller promotional items such as stickers, and rhino manimal just wasn't the bees knees, poor fellow! Let this be known as 'The Bad'

At this point I asked Erica to bear with me (I think she was loosing the will to live for logo's!) while I showed her what I imagined for her cake pop business. As she loved the hand lettering which we had already used and the colours this is where it started.........

I loved the idea of pop 'characters' from the beginning, so I went back to this as a concept, and the huge donut pop Erica makes looks amazing, so colourful and fun and definitely something to remember! Hoorah, Erica hung in there and when she saw the progress she liked it too! After some further discussions we were getting somewhere!

A pig and a clown! The pig pop being a best seller and the clown pop a new venture for her. It soon turned into this logo below (almost there) and I know exactly what I will being doing next to complete it! Shhhhhh, don't tell Erica ;-) Let this stage be known as 'The Good'.

So whilst work on the main logo will continue, a huge selection of little pop pics have been produced to use as stickers on cake pop boxes, postal orders, and bags etc......

Ta-dah! The Fin & Sully's 'look' is's a great base to work from, and (hopefully) says everything it needs to for Erica's tasty cake-tastic pop business! New pops can be added into the Fin & Sully's circle when Erica creates and launches them and it's always exciting to see different imagery as a customer, even if you have already have a favourite.........donut pop for me!

This design process really was 'the good, the bad, and the ugly' but I am so looking forward to seeing them all glossy and on all her packaging! To check out Erica's facebook page click on the link!

It was such a treat to do this, especially as I REALLY was part paid in pops!! YUM!

Thanks Erica!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Alice in Wonderland

No rules, no rhyme and no reason.......

It's almost 3 years since I met my friend Amanda, an illustrator, 'Amazing Amanda' when she not there, and also C'Amanda since my little girl once upon a time thought that was her name.

*First eye open*

A talented person who works for herself, being creative, enjoying what they do and earning a living! Without her I don't know what I would be doing now. It's not that I didn't know which direction I wanted to go in or what kind or career I wanted, or that I lacked determination or a work ethic. I've always been an artist at heart, a person who had to make things for the love of it.

I graduated from my Art & Design degree with a first in 2005 before creating a clan of mini me's. I just didn't know how to go about bringing that into my daily life in a tangible way. The very minute I saw what Amanda did I knew I wanted to be a commercial illustrator. But how?

I lacked courage and conviction.....and then I accidently, one day,  found  AND

*Second eye open*

This was such an injection of faith.  That you can be who you want to be, create what comes naturally, put yourself out there, and you don't even need as much courage as you think....... just enough to press publish, send, post, tweet, make public or submit. That's 2 seconds of courage......and a door open.

So when I sit down to my mad hatters tea party everyday at 9.30am, after the school run, conjuring up illustrations and design ideas, there will always be room at the table for C'Amanda and Bora who led me to my own front door and showed me the right key.

I am just at the beginning of my trip down the rabbit hole...............where I shall always try to do things for the love of it, with no rules, no rhyme and sometimes no other reason than I want to!

To see what I create on a daily basis pop here!

To see what's currently for sale pop here!