Cat news!

Ooops, has it really been that long since I blogged? Oh dear… Well here’s a little update of what’s been going on in the wonderful world of stupidcats!

I’ll start with something festive seeing as it’s nearly Catmas – sorry, Christmas!

Bob and Dave have their own range of Christmas cards, hurrah:

image

Dave took *ages* trying to decide how to wear his hat! Each card features a two-colour Gocco-print on lovely textured Brampton Felt card, and comes with a Kraft envelope. There’s still time to order them in time for Christmas from my Etsy store if you’re in the UK (last orders 16th December), they’re £3.50 each or mixed 4-packs are £12.50.

Most recently I finally managed to release my line of t-shirts featuring the gang! Dave is also available on pink, orange, green and grey shirts, and I have a few childrens’ sizes available too!

image.jpeg

The designs are screen printed by hand by me, using the facilities at Nottingham’s very own School of Print in Cobden Place – I’m really enjoying this screen-printing lark. As with my tote bags, I sew a little label on to each shirt, so you know you have a real stupidcats shirt and not some kind of fake! The labels are on the outside of the bottom hem on the left hand side:

image.jpeg

Also new are hand-pressed pocket mirrors featuring the gang, to match the little button badges I showed you in a previous post:

image.jpeg

And my handmade notebooks now feature all four cats, and I now Gocco-print my own lined paper so you can choose blank or lined versions:

image.jpeg

A really exciting side project recently was being asked to be guest illustrator for the Crafty Creatives Paperhaul stationery subscription box, eeep! I choose a doodle of Dave and a birthday cake he made – I originally drew it to wish my pal Lesley from The Royal Bakery happy birthday (check out her AMAZING cakes!), and re-drew it especially for Paperhaul. The box features wrapping paper (my first attempt at a repeating pattern design), a birthday card, small cards (or they can be used as gift tags), postcards, a notepad and sheet of stickers:

image.jpeg

I was so pleased with how everything turned out! There *might* be a chance to win a box soon, keep your eyes peeled if you want to get your paws on one!

A new range will be appearing in my store soon in the form of hard enamel badges featuring Dave and Bob! I’m hugely excited about these – the backing cards are already printed and waiting for the badges to arrive. Here’s a sneak-preak – the Dave badge is a prototype
shrink-plastic one I made a while back:

image.jpeg

Watch this space for the real things!

Phew, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something… Oh yes! In my last post I talked about getting ready for Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair! I had an AWESOME time – here’s the space I had to fill (I couldn’t resist going for an orange carpet!):

image

And here it is full of stupidcats!

image

Squeeeeeeee!

Last but not least, there’s been addition to the gang – Maggie (modelled on a real-life cat called Maggie who lives at Newcastle’s Mog on the Tyne cat cafe) just needs a bit of fine-tuning, then she’ll be available on notebooks, cards, badges, pocket mirrors, tote bags and t-shirts next year:

image

Well, that’s enough for now! If I don’t post again this month, have a very merry Christmas and a fab New Year!

x

Advertisements

New notebook designs, hurrah!

A while back I had a play with an idea for a new notebook design, and now thanks to the joys of Christmas holidays I’ve been able to bring them to life!

I wanted to do a repeating pattern on the covers, using thick 300gsm Kraft card, but without printing it from the computer as that felt like cheating. So I knocked up a little stamping guide from balsa wood (the smell of the Bostik glue took me right back to making models with dad when I was little!):

  
As with my other notebooks, the new ones are then hand punched, hand stitched with gorgeous waxed bookbinding thread (in stupidcats orange!), pressed overnight then each of the three edges is trimmed by hand using a carpenter’s square and a Very Sharp Knife. Inside each book are 28 pages (56 sides) of beautiful 85gsm Fabriano blank paper.

  
These are available as a pack of four (one of each design) for £14:

  
Or each design is available separately for £4 each – here’s “Sir Reginald”:

  
“The sad one” (click on the pictures to visit the items in my Etsy store!):

  
“The alien”:

  
And last but not least, my Coraline-inspired “the other one”, with button-eyes:

 

My logo is stamped inside the back cover, and as a finishing touch, a wrap is added to each notebook – in stupidcats orange of course!

My little booky-wooks…

Hello! Remember me? I’m the one that hasn’t blogged for ages!  

In my last post I showed you a sneak-peek at a notebook I wanted to make. Well, this post carries on from that…  

I’d chosen the card I wanted to use for the covers (from GF Smith‘s Colorplan range – a hefty 270gsm for the outer covers, and 135gsm for the inner covers), and after much sampling I settled on Fabriano Bioprima for the inside pages, because… well Fabriano papers are delicious to write or draw on in pencil, pen or ink! 

Next I needed to find some waxed bookbinding thread that matched the colours of the inner covers as closely as possible, and after getting samples from various places I was pleased to eventually find the perfect matches – and they were from an Etsy seller in Nottingham. Nice to keep things in the Etsy family, and also shop local! The thread is beautiful. It’s made in Ireland by Crawfords, who are reknowned for their high quality threads. It’s heavily waxed, which helps to keep the colours bright, makes stitching easier, and ensures that it holds its shape well so knots won’t come undone. 

  
So. I’d selected my materials, bought bookbinding needles, a bone folder, an awl to make the holes in the spines, a circular cutter to make the round windows in the covers, and a heavy duty corner cutter to round off the corners. And I’d done hours of research and reading about bookbinding techniques, and made a lot of practice notebooks. 

Then I ordered The Guillotine. 

Meanwhile, I was folding, punching, stitching and pressing… 

  
   

I “made” a makeshift press from two bits of wood and some g-clamps – it doesn’t look very sexy, but it does the job perfectly!

  
And The Guillotine arrived.  

Broken. 

And the seller was a nightmare. Not in the UK as they’d stated on their site, barely spoke English, and they just kept repeating that I had to send it back to them for repair or refund. Which they’d do or issue on receipt of the damaged one. But they wouldn’t provide a return address…  

And the craft fair I’d booked was now less than a week away – my stall would look pretty bare without the notebooks! 

So I activated Plan B. Forget the guillotine – trim the books the traditional way. A quick trip to our local hardware store provided a carpenters square and a very sharp, titanium bladed knife.

  
As it turned out, I’m glad the guillotine thing fell through. Trimming the three edges of each book by hand is very therapeutic, and much more rewarding. Just look at the edge on that!

  

After folding, stitching, pressing, and trimming, the books are ready to have the holes cut in the outer covers and the text and images stamped on. That might seem a little backward, but I didn’t want to cut or print the covers first as there’s always a slight variation in size after the hand trimming, and I didn’t want them to look off-centre.

  
And once the ink has dried, the final touches are added – the corners are rounded off…

  
…and the coloured packaging strip and the badge are added.

  

     

  
Ta daaaaaa! Here are the four finished designs…

  
They’re all available from my Etsy shop here

And finally, here they are on my stall at the local craft fair – it was the first proper one I’d attended, and went really well!

  

So there we have it! After Christmas I’ll be starting on cat designs for a new badgebook, and four more notebook designs. I was hoping to do a Christmas badgebook, but unfortunately the full-time job got in the way. At least I have some festive designs ready for Christmas 2016 though!

Oh, and I did eventually get a refund for the broken guillotine. Phew!

A first attempt at something new…

I’ve done a thing!

Bookbinding has fascinated me ever since I went to a craft fair in Chelsea* in the mid-nineties and watched a chap from Rook’s Books patiently sewing pages together to go in the most beautiful leatherbound journals I’ve ever seen.

“One day,” I thought, “I’ll have a go at that.” *

Today, after a chance bit of free time in Manchester, I discovered Fred Aldous (the most amazing arty-crafty shop EVER!) and came out eagerly clutching an awl (note spelling – not the hooty kind), some waxed thread and a chunky needle. Amongst other things.

And I’ve made a little book! Nothing flash, just an A7 (cat-sized!), stitched notebook, but I’m so chuffed with it! Obviously I need more practice, but hopefully sometime I’d like to be able to offer a few perfected versions in my shop. You’d love to own a little stupidcats notebook, wouldn’t you?!

So without further ado… here it is!

   

Okay, so I smudged the lettering a bit in my excitement, but we don’t talk about that! 😁

What I’d really like to have a go at is Coptic binding, but I think I have a way to go before I should attempt that…!

Right, now I need to clear all this mess up and go to bed!

Nighty night!

*Well, apart from the teeny tiny books and holiday photo albums made for dolls and teddies when I was wee!