Another crafternoon…

December frequently escapes me somewhat, with birthdays, increased busy-ness at work, and the forthcoming seasonal festivities, all piling on top of my days which already feel very full.  But earlier this week I did manage to make time for another get-together with the lovely Britta of JaguarSnail.  We had some fun playing with my new envelope punchboard – we struggled to follow the instructions, bluffed our way through to success by trial & error, then found that the instructions did make sense, after all… 😉  I really love the results & there will definitely be new TangleMail-designed envelopes  coming soon (probably not until the new year).

Britta brought with her a brand new zine, the seeds of which were sown on our last crafternoon a few weeks ago.  On that day she made a miniature mock-up of the concept, and I have to say she’s done an awesome job of following it through.  If you have ever aspired to invent a new life form, this is the mini-zine for you!

Mythical JaguarSnailEach page features an ordinary creature – man, lion, eagle, cobra, goat and carp (some interesting choices!) – and each page is split into 3 segments so that you can mix & match your own mythical beast!  There is even a section at the back of the zine where you can log and name your favourite hybrid creations.  The drawings are really cleverly done, with lots of character, and perfectly aligned so that any combination (of the many possible!) slots together smoothly – yet another example of Britta’s talent!  There are only currently 5 copies available of this labour-intensive, slightly-larger-than-average mini-zine, so don’t miss out!

first class notebooksBritta was also inspired by the sea of stamps that were overflowing in a corner of my craft room, and followed up on her previous stampy works by customising a couple of stray notebooks I had lying around.  One of these was snapped up overnight (the other is still available, at time of writing), inspiring me in turn to follow her example – see pic to the right for even more First Class Notebooks, this time stampified by me.  These are all one-of-a-kind creations, so if one of them catches your eye, be quick!

There’s something about that repeated motif – the same but different every time, thanks to the unique combinations of postmarks – and the patchwork effect of the randomly combined colours that never fails to fascinate me…

Britta and I generally have no problem thinking of new creative ideas, but our ‘crafternoons’ are definitely motivational for both of us to actually get down to putting the ideas into practice.  When I say that a sea of stamps was overflowing in my room, I’m actually being literal rather than gratuitously poetic – but now we have actually made a real start on crafting them, I feel far less like I am about to drown in them…!

Here’s to crafty afternoons!

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A question for you (about notecards)

I must confess, I’m really not much of a letter writer (something which I’m sure will be readily confirmed by anybody who has corresponded with me in the past).  It’s a little odd, you might think, because my zines are generally pretty wordy; but for some reason I just don’t seem to have many words left over when it comes to actual personal communication.  I can usually fill a postcard, but not much more.  If I’m sending somebody a zine (etc), usually a mini card (/business card) has more than enough space for what I have to say.  Thus, my latest range of postage stamp stationery consists of flat notecards (/blank postcards) and mini notecards.  Because these are the sizes I’m most likely to use myself.

My question is…actually a series of questions…  I’ll list them instead!  So, are you ready?  When it comes to correspondence:

  • What kind of cards do you prefer?
  • Are you a full-on letter writer and would prefer notepaper, instead?
  • Do you ever/often use notepaper & notecard combined, or would it usually be one or the other?
  • If you use notecards, do you prefer a flat, single-sided notecard or a single-fold notecard with more space to write inside?
  • If you prefer a folded notecard, do you prefer a design printed on the back as well as the front, or do you prefer the back to be left blank so that you can continue your note?
  • Do you have any other thoughts about notecard design which might be relevant?

You might gather, I’m thinking of adding a blank-inside single-fold notecard to the range in the future, so I’m just trying to establish what would be the most practical, attractive-to-a-buyer/notewriter option.  But I’m also genuinely interested in your correspondence habits & preferences, so please do share.  And browse the current range, too. 😉

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! 😉

Bookalogging (new TangleClub freebie)

In between projects, I’ve been reading a lot, lately.  Despite the fact I lived with my nose in a book when I was younger, it always feels very decadent now to spend a day with a comfortable chair and a good novel – but sometimes it just needs to be done!  Do you ever think back on the books you read years ago and find you only have the sketchiest memories of the details?  I’ve been lucky enough to be selected as a World Book Night ‘giver’ this year (one of thousands of people across the country – & I believe in other countries, too, this year – giving away free copies of books in order to ‘spread the joy and love of reading’), and the book I chose to give was Small Island by Andrea Levy.  I read it and really enjoyed it probably 5 or 6 years ago, and of the available titles, it was definitely the one that spoke to me.  But I realised that I only had the vaguest recollection of the actual plot, which isn’t really the best way of convincing somebody else they also want to read that book…  I’m currently re-reading Small Island, and relieved to say I am enjoying it just as much second time around!

With this in mind, I have just added a brand new TangleClub freebie: the Bookalog!  Maybe you have a journal where you keep track of the books you read, maybe a spreadsheet, maybe a blog, or maybe you just rely on your memory (all I will say about that is, I hope your memory is better than mine! 😉 ).  Whatever your preference, the Bookalog is designed to supplement rather than replace your preferred method of record-keeping.  Simply print & fold the mini-zine ‘blank’ – maybe use as a makeshift bookmark (I don’t know about you, but I always lose nice bookmarks & end up using business cards or till receipts, instead) or just stuff a couple into your purse or handbag.  Then when you finish a book, wherever you might be, you can jot down a few notes to keep everything fresh in your mind until you have chance to update whatever other system you might use.  You can, of course, use the Bookalogs as a record system in their own right, but if you read a lot, be warned that this may soon become impractical! 😉

The Bookalog includes spaces for:

  • your name!
  • an index of titles
  • dates read
  • a log of your thoughts about 3 books
  • space to add doodles or pictures or extra notes
  • books similar in style/theme
  • ratings
  • books added to your wishlist

(Please note, if you are not currently a TangleClub member but you wish to partake of the TangleClub freebie goodness, membership is available here, or is FREE with any purchase of £5 or more from the TangleStore!)

In the meantime – have you read any good books lately?  These are my favourite reads from the last month:

Ella Minnow Pea by Matt Dunn
A clever & enjoyable fable set on an island where an overzealous council bans more and more letters from daily usage as a historic monument begins to decay.  If you enjoy word puzzles, this is a really fun read, but more importantly, it’s a good story, too!

The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki
A career conman reflects on his life as old age catches up with him, in this surprisingly touching portrait of a charming egomaniac and the lives he has touched.  This story could easily have produced a caricature but instead revealed a very perceptive look at human nature.

War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen
In this sharply witty tale, Gloria looks back on life with her sister during the war, and discovers why certain memories are more reluctant to re-surface than others.  I was relieved that the ‘twist’ (evident that it would be coming from early on in the story) was slightly different than I had imagined.

The next small thing!

We all know that often the best things come in small packages, so to celebrate the long-awaited launch of the Society for the Preservation of Borrowers, I have created an Etsy Treasury of all things Tiny!  There are some exceedingly cool (& tiny) things included (such as the wonderful miniature message embroideries from Of Little Consequence (right), so please take a look!

This month’s TangleClub freebie continues the Borrowers theme but moving away from miniatures and toward recycling,  with a set of printable envelope re-use labels & seals featuring the Borrowers Recycle! logo.  If you want to share the TangleClub freebie goodness, all you need to do is spend £5 or more in the TangleStore – Etsy, Folksy or Storenvy – and you will receive a free membership card plus password to access the TangleClub Archive of FREE projects & printables.

And on the subject of clubs, you are all hereby invited to join the Society for the Preservation of Borrowers!   Membership packets are now available from the TangleStores.  Each miniature manila envelope includes:

* a copy of the micro-zine Borrowed Time (you will need a magnifier to read this!)

* a membership card cut from discarded packaging

* and an upcycled pinback badge made using pages from a vintage copy of Mary Norton’s original ‘Borrowers’ book.  

The first 10 Membership Packets will be signed, numbered & dated.

Everyone knows that the Borrowers were the true pioneers of the upcycling movement, so SPoB is the ideal cause for crafters & literature lovers to support! 😉

TangleClub New Year Update

Happy New Year, everybody!

I’m sure everybody has been too busy with celebrations to notice that this month’s TangleClub Freebie is a day late, but it is now up and ready to access for all you lovely TangleClubbers.
It is actually not at all what I had intended to post this month, but over the New Year weekend, Corey and I re-discovered a card game which we invented several years ago (it’s very cool; more to come about that another time!), and that sent my train of thought in an entirely
different direction.

Thus, this month’s freebie is a set of printable playing cards (to use in conjunction with the 1000 Blank Cards site/game which I have blogged about previously) – or alternatively a set of mini notecards/enclosure cards; your choice!  The PDF includes 3 pages: Dandelion Smile cards as shown, optional lined backs, and a template sheet for you to design your own cards.

N.B. If you go for the notecard option, check back to the January 2011 freebie for matching Dandelion Smile mailing labels!

If you are not currently a member of the TangleClub but want to share the monthly freebie-ness,  simply spend £5 or more in the TangleStore or TangleStore UK & you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free!

TangleClub December Update

It’s been a busy old month in Tangledom!   This month’s posts have mostly been with regard to new shop items added, and since I last posted, still more new stuff has occurred – the latest addition being 2 different Truth-Be-Told Pocket Mirrors (choose from ‘Bold as Brass’ or ‘White Liar’, depending on how honest a reflection you prefer!).

The latest TangleClub Freebie is a printable mini-zine notebook of Dates to Remember (both A4 & letter-size versions available), inspired by the Art Nouveau poster (c. 1899) by Kolomon Moser shown left.  What can I say, I’m just a sucker for diaries…  The approaching end-of-year brings it out in me. 😉

If you are not currently a member of the TangleClub but want to share the monthly freebie-ness,  click here for all current membership options, and remember, if you spend £5 or more in the TangleStore or TangleStore UK you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free!

 Some shortcuts to the latest TangleStore additions (click on an image to be taken directly to the relevant listings):