Enchanted Times enchantment

While the ETPrintworks presses have not rolled for a few months and Enchanted Times journalists roam the Enchanted Realms in search of new stories to bring their readers, it’s great to see that the populace is still soaking up the timeless, magical news of the various ET back issues in circulation (as they enjoy the early summer sun, at the end of the garden):elf pics

Photo courtesy of local artist Rachel Gallagher, whose beautiful plush elves (etc) are available to purchase from Titania’s Tea Party. I’m looking forward to meeting Rachel and her creations at Derby’s Furthest From the Sea Festival next month!

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Fairy tales & faux postage for the festive season

My little sidetrack regarding perfection & fir trees the other day came about while I was browsing for Christmas card ideas.  But for once, I have actually managed to make some Christmas cards before December (even better, before Christmas Eve!).

Inspiration finally came in the form of a sheet of ‘real’ faux postage, which I was recently able to add to my fairy tale/postage stamp collection.  Since 1904, Denmark has issued an annual sheet of Christmas ‘seals’ which look just like postage stamps (but without any marked value) and are sold in aid of charity.  Similar to artistamps except commercially produced, they’re just used to dress up letters and cards sent during the festive season, and in 1994, an amazing set was released featuring scenes and tableaux from Hans Andersen’s fairy tales:

Denmark,1994 Christmas Seals

Amongst others, you can pick out the Ugly Duckling, the Six Swans, Thumbelina, the Little Matchgirl, and the Snow Queen, but the story that wanted me to work with it this time around was the Little Fir Tree (top row).  I don’t know how well you know the story – if you re-read it, you might be surprised by how sad it is – but at the same time, it celebrates the beauty of nature (in its natural habitat!) and evokes some wonderful festive imagery to balance out the poignancy.  I was so happy when my sheet of seals arrived, and have picked out just a few of the images and combined them with short extracts from Andersen’s original tales to make a lovely seasonal collection of cards:

Little Fir Tree cards

They really emphasise for me the magical (,perhaps a little old-fashioned) but natural aspect of Christmas that can be overlooked amidst the swathes of red & green & gold & glitter of commercial festivities.  In fact, only one of the quotations includes a specific mention of Christmas, so if you prefer to celebrate a non-denominational or pagan or ‘other’ seasonal solstice festival, they are suitable for almost all occasions.

Fir Tree Zine 2013I was so taken with the illustrations that I also ‘re-jacketed’ last years ‘Seasonal Celebration of Trees’ to match (the inside of this combination zine & card is still the same).  It’s now called ‘The Fir Tree: a Celebration‘ which suits the contents just as well. 🙂

Click here for the original Andersen Little Fir Tree fairy tale.

Click here for a gallery of & further information about Denmark’s tradition of Christmas Seals – this site is fascinating & well worth a visit!

Little Red Hoods & Big Bad Wolves

Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood set off through the forest to visit her Grandma. On the way, she met up with a Big Bad Wolf who struck upon the clever plan of taking a shortcut to granny’s house so that he could gobble her up then have little Red for dessert. Ms Red didn’t fall for it, though, and a heroic woodcutter saved the day by chopping the wolf’s belly open with an axe & retrieving Grandma (thankfully still undigested). End of wolf, end of story. So the Grimm Bros would have us believe, anyway…

But what if Little Red Riding Hood is not necessarily the innocent heroine of times gone by? What if she is a little older, a little cannier, a little altogether sneakier? In our new Enchanted Times report, a warrant has been issued for the arrest of itinerant seamstress Ms Scarlet Hudd, after a Mr. B. B. Wolf claims to have been stitched up in every sense of the word…  Who do you believe? Read the brand new issue of Enchanted Times Mini & make up your own mind!

little red set

A complementary Little Red Stamp Booklet has also been issued by the Fast-As-You-Can Courier Company (staffed entirely by rehabilitated Gingerbread Men), featuring genuine FAYC (lick & stick) stamps and further variations on the Red Riding theme.

Hop on over to the Enchanted Times blog for an exclusive online interview with the aforementioned Mr. B. B. Wolf, who offers his own views on the subject as well as additional points regarding lupine discrimination.

Ideas

Have you ever noticed how when a deadline is approaching, creativity often sneaks out the back door?  Similarly, when I am determinedly trying to keep new ideas on hold until all moved into the new house next month (because I need to be packing & cleaning & doing boring things, not tapping away at my laptop and happily running things through my new printer) it seems that my imagination goes into overdrive.

Sneak preview of Enchanted Times Mini #4.5 v.iii - coming soon!  (-ish.)
Sneak preview of Enchanted Times Mini #4.5 v.iii – coming soon! (-ish.)

Not counting all the ideas I’ve written down for new projects to commence following the move, I couldn’t help myself from writing & laying out an entire new issue of Enchanted Times Mini, and, um, I’m halfway through another new issue as well…

March will herald the one year anniversary of my separate E.T.Printworks store and it’s going to be all-change.  Aside from the new paper mentioned in previous post, I will be discontinuing some items, re-packaging others, and of course, adding entirely new lines, as well.  It will be an ongoing process, but I will have as much of the new presentation ready as possible for March.  Be warned, there may be a couple of price increases (so buy now with your 25% discount for the best deals!) but there should also be a more cohesive and professional feel.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I will be closing the Etsy stores while my re-location takes place.  Everything should be re-opened by March, and if at all possible I will re-open a little earlier, but this will all depend on realities and practicalities of unpacking & more.  In the meantime I will try very hard to stem the flow of ideas, because I really already have enough to be going on with… 😉

MORE Christmas cards (Fast-As-You-Can!)

Even though for once I was relatively organised & had actually made a small batch of Christmas cards before December even began, I decided I needed just a smidge more variety for all that last-minute card-sending.  I should have thought of it sooner, really, but the first part of December always disappears in a flurry of time lost, and for some reason the thought only just formulated itself.  So there you go & here they are.

festive fayc cardMy little Santa-hatted Fast-As-You-Can Courier stamps have been adorning all outgoing ETPrintworks mail for the last couple of weeks, and I decided they needed a little showcase.  A mini-sheet of festive FAYC stamps is mounted on the front of the card, and the reverse has been printed so that it can later be upcycled as a postcard by the recipient (as per the Evergreen Greetings).  The back of the card features a brief introduction to the Fast-As-You-Can CoCo, and is hand-stamped with the FAYC postmark.  I’ve been long overdue in designing a FAYC CoCo envelope, so I popped that into the mix, too…  I’m really happy with them, and hopeful that my speedy little gingerbread couriers will hasten them to their recipients in time for ‘the big day’, even despite the late date.

I have an extra batch already made up, so if you want to chance a last-minute order, I have added stock to the ETPrintworks and Folksy stores & will despatch all orders received ASAP.  I will, however, be leaving them available to purchase year-round, just in case anyone actually wants to plan ahead next year! 😉

Enchanted Times – not just for fairyland!

More readers behind the Times, courtesy of the Raven Rural Route postal service.

“Barbara and Marlene, enjoying an Autumn afternoon in the pumpkin patch, are enjoying the latest editions of Enchanted Times being delivered by Raven Rural Route postal service to outlying areas.  Their opinions are that while the news can be pretty Grimm at times, doll children need to be informed of fairy land news too.”

Many thanks to ET reader Wanda Mortensen for sharing this candid snap, showing dollkind catching up on the latest old news.  It’s great to see even more readers behind the Times & good to know that the Fast-As-You-Can Co Co (courier company) is working in successful collaboration with so many Real World postal services, as well as subsidiary branches of smaller districts such as (most commonly) the Local Post of Tangledom and the Raven Rural Route (as above).

While I eagerly await updates on Wanda’s recent yarnbombing adventures, you can catch up with her earlier crafty exploits here.

Bazaar bestsellers!

Following a week consisting almost exclusively of upcycled postage stamp badge sales, it was interesting at the (very quiet) craft fair yesterday, This is Bazaar, to find that my bestseller of the day by far was my brand new Truth-Be-Told Mirrors.  These proved very popular as stocking fillers & Secret Santa gifts, with several people unable to decide between the 2 designs, White Liar and Bold as Brass.  In celebration of this success, I have added a new twin-set of mirrors so that you don’t have to make that difficult decision (I’m so selfless!), and can explore the duality of your nature with impunity.  Or give one to a friend (with a sense of humour).  Or give one to an enemy (sense of humour optional)… 😉

One of the best things about being a vendor at This is Bazaar is seeing all the other cool stuff that local creative types are making (This is Bazaar is always very good at highlighting quirky and original makers rather than traditional/cutesy crafts).

Here are a few of my favourites:

the gorgeous mosaics of Julie Vernon.  Yes, I fell for the bird motifs again – I couldn’t find a pic online, but what I really fell in love with were some bird mosaic ‘pebbles’.  I say pebbles in inverted commas as the term feels slightly insubstantial for items which were large/heavy enough to use as very sturdy paperweights…;

the chunky and colourful resin & silver jewellery by Natonia Pickup.  We had a good long chat & I discovered Natonia also dabbles in bookbinding (amongst other things), so I’m holding out to see some unique hand-bound books at the next Bazaar… 😉

…and I also had an interesting conversation with my ‘next door’ vendor, Steve Brown of Rusty Spoons.  He writes comics(/graphic novels) by creating characters based on emotions & I felt like I got a great deal when I traded an Enchanted Times Mini for the Vanity mini comic! (In retrospect, I think my subconscious decided I should choose this one because of the mirror connection…)  The mini comic is produced on top quality glossy paper for vibrant colour reproduction, but just as importantly, it’s really a great story.  It made me laugh, but the stories are definitely on the darker side, so don’t say you haven’t been warned!  I can highly recommend the Rusty Spoons book, for a compilation of 13 tales which has rather wonderfully been reviewed as “delightfully devoid of hope”.  Love it!