New Bob cards…

Just a quick one!

Yesterday I got my little Gocco printer out to print some new cards…

First I traced the colour separations with a carbon pen – it has to be done with a carbon pen to expose the screens…


After I’d exposed the screens (three for this card – red, grey and black) I started printing… red first, then grey…


…and finally black…


…then I stamped my logo on the back of each one…


And ta daaaaa! Here’s the finished card, now available in my Etsy store


I also have a clearance/seconds sale in my store at the moment – drop by and you might find a bargain!

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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:

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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!

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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:

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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!):

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And here it is full of stupidcats!

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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:

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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

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!

Like a rolling stupidcat…

Way back in 1965, Bob Dylan went electric, which upset some of his fans so much that they booed him at the Newport Folk Festival.

Fifty years later, stupidcats went digital – please don’t boo me!

I’ve wanted to re-create some of my cats digitally for ages, so I can put them on button badges and other things. Recently I was able to invest in a professional badge making machine after a run of sales of my drawings (thank you!) so I sat down at the computer, opened Adobe Illustrator, and started playing.

I started with a design based on a stupidcat original that was bought by a chap in America – he’s been nicknamed Sir Reginald (the cat, not the chap) and here’s the very first badge I made on my shiny new press:

  
The next cat to get the Illustrator treatment was my sad black one – here’s an early badge test of the two of them:

  
I began to think about packaging – most badges tend to be put in plastic bags with a folded card stapled on the top. I wanted to do something a little different. Here are a few things I tried:

  
   
 

I loved the idea of the matchbook-style packaging…

  
…but it was a bit too slow and fiddly to make, and the visible staple irritated me a bit. Around this time I started referring to them as “badgebooks” and then had a thought – I was already planning on making stupidcats notebooks, so why not just make a simple, folded book-cover type thing with the badges inside?

Here are some prototypes, with mock-ups of the notebooks:

 
The added bonus of giving the badge packaging a bookish theme meant I could give each set of designs a “volume” number. I’d now added two more designs based on old drawings – the alien, and the other stupidcat, inspired by Neil Gaiman‘s book “Coraline“.

I still had a problem though – I didn’t want to use a plastic bag in the packaging, and cutting little flaps or punching holes was fiddly, time-consuming, and looked messy on the back. So how could I attach the badges to the card?

Then I received a new bank card in the post.

So I looked up “glue that sticks bank cards onto paper” (or words to that effect) on the internet, and my little problem was soon solved! I posted a set of badges to myself, and was relieved to find that despite travelling through the postal system, the badges were still attached to the card when I received them. Success! 

After much research I’d settled on a range of card from GF Smith called Colorplan to use for my notebook covers and badgebooks, and I matched the colours used on the artwork as closely as I could to the card, then went to visit my friendly local printer (the same one that does my Giclée prints) and he printed out the badge artwork on his posh laser printer. You can really see the difference between my fuzzy inkjet prints and the vibrant, crisp laser prints (the top row):

  

Here are the badges against some of the cardstock – not a bad match at all!

  

Once I’d finalised the design for the badgebook covers, I had a rubber stamp specially made, and also one for the back with my logo and website address that I’ll be using on my notebooks too:

  

And here’s the finished badgebook! I asked Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for help choosing the colour for volume one and blue won, so I promptly chose orange which came in second place!
   
   
The final touch was making teeny brown paper bags that just fit a badgebook and a business card:

  

So there they are! I already have four new designs in progress for volume two – but before I release that, I’ll be launching my notebooks – here’s a preview of the first one, which explains why I didn’t go with blue for volume one of the badgebook. As you can see, I’ve dropped the text on the cover that I had on earlier mock-ups to draw more attention to the cutout and the thinner, contrasting card of the inner cover. They’ll be handstiched, using thread that is colour-matched to the inner cover.

  
Volume one of my badgebook is available now from my Etsy store, and if all goes well my notebooks should be ready to go on sale in a couple of weeks time.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you haven’t booed me! 😸

ps – I still love the matchbook idea, so will probably use it for one-offs or something later!

Heeeeeeeeere’s stupid!

Hello! I’m back! My Etsy shop is open for business again and I’m raring to go!

I’ve was mulling over having a go at a sugarskull stupidcat a while ago, and did a rough doodle:

  
I’m now itching to have a proper go at it, so watch this space! It’ll probably be a larger size than my usual stupidcats due to the amount of detail. And I haven’t decided yet if whiskers will work or not…

And speaking of whiskers, this little chap is almost finished, just needs whiskering and framing:

  
More news when I have some! Hope you’re all fine and dandy out there in the big, wide world. 🙂

Tiny turf houses…

Look! Sunshine! Out there! How lovely! Hope it’s nice where you are.

I have some noofings to share with you… I’ve been building houses…

Okay, not real proper big ones – tiny Icelandic turf houses, but instead of using turf I’ve used felt (no surprise there!).

“But what’s a turf house, stupid?” I hear you cry…

Turf houses go right back in history to the time when Iceland was first settled in the late 800s. Whilst there was a fairly plentiful supply of birch trees, they weren’t particularly suited to heavy construction, so frames were built and something that was plentiful – turf – was fitted around the frame in blocks. Turf houses continued to be constructed, and their design continued to evolve, right up to the 18th century. The most commonly seen Icelandic turf houses date from this later era – they’re called burstabær…


The turf provided very good insulation, and also stopped drafts getting in – in fact, it’s making a little bit of a come back as building material these days.

And so without further adoooo… I give you my very own turf houses…


And here’s one on it’s own…


They’re made by needle-felting together pieces of thick wool felt sheet, then tiny details (the door and window frames and door handle) are added by needle-felting in merino wool, and the window panes are made with a couple of tiny cotton stitches to the back of the final layer of felt. I’m rather pleased with how they’ve turned out.

In fact, I got so into this building lark that I made a church too…


It’s loosely based on this little blue church in the village of Seyðisfjörður in east Iceland, where my father lived.


So there you have it! Hope you like my little constructions!

Until the next time… x

Noofings & votes for teamies…

Well hello there! What’s new with you?

I have a few noofings (that’s Craftbritannia-speak for new things) to share with you, but first I’d like to ask for your assitance in helping a couple of Craftbritannia teamies. Both have applied for funding from Enterprise Nation, and need your votes!

Rachel Elliot is hoping to secure funding to buy a bit of kit enabling her to flock glass – vote for her here.

The Femine Touch is hoping to get funding for an electronic cutting machine – vote for her here.

Voting is quick and easy – just register on the site and click vote! Please share these links and help my teamies achieve their voting targets! Thanks!

And now onto noofings…

First off is my little sheep brooch – baaa-aaa-aaaa!

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He was originally going to have dangly bead legs, but that just looked wrong!

Then came the elephant

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This was a custom request, and he looked so cute I just had to offer him in my shop! I want to make a pink version of him too, watch this space!

And finally, my scary skull

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He has a metal loop on the top so you can attach him to your bag (or whatever else takes your fancy) to scare away monsters!

Well, that’s all for now – except to say that if you’re still searching for a Mother’s Day card, take a peek at my selection of felted cards, maybe something there will take your fancy!

Laters! x