Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Bank Holidays and Birthdays

It's been a busy weekend here as Drew celebrated his birthday last Friday then our younger son, Jack, celebrated his 12th birthday on Saturday.  There has been lots of cake and good food. Oh and we did go swimming and played foorball and frisbee in the park to burn off all that cake! Family time is so important, especially when you're busy working and trying to just stay on top of everything. 

Cake made for Drew by Connor & Lucy

 I took some time out this weekend too after a busy couple of weeks and feel alot better for doing so.  Taking some time to stop helps me think of new ideas, although this can be dangerous, but I am learning to reign them in and only do about 10% of what I think of! I now have lots of ideas for designs and products but am pondering whether to try and streamline in to collections or product lines or to just try a few things out and see how it goes.  I guess the latter is the way to go as a new business but when you've been looking at how other businesses do things you realise how many have fixed collections or product ranges. So much to consider!

I hope you all managed to enjoy a rest and some time away from the office or studio this weekend.  Bank holidays are a strange concept for the self employed.

Have a fab week, last one of the school holidays.

Take care

Friday, 26 August 2011

Fabric Friday - Autumn At Cath Kidston

I had planned a more in depth Fabric Friday but again time has disappeared.  Soon the school holidays will be over and I will have more time but I also wish I still had another four weeks left.  Anyway I noticed this week that Cath Kidston has been sending out little treats in the form of emails of new products for their Autumn collections.  So with thoughts of cooler days and nights I thought I'd share a few lovely things from the fabulous quinessentially English fabric lovers heaven. 

On my Christmas list!

Perfect for when it rains on the school run.

I'm a big fan of big handbags. I guess that's what comes from having lots of children, too many things to carry!

With cooler days on their way.

And of course cooler nights too, so new jim jams are on the list!

Cosy evenings mean new projects so I will be wanting this new book from Cath Kidston

You all know how much I love a cup of Earl Grey!

Not forgetting my daughters, this satchel is gorgeous, I may have to borrow it!

Now I wish my sons were still little as they would have loved this!

So what is on your wishlist from the new Cath Kidston collections? I'd love to know.

Have a fab weekend everyone

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Academy - Blog for Creative Independant Businesses

In the past I have written Business Wednesday posts but I've been thinking about this little ol' blog and am not sure it will fit anymore.  Don't panic, I have an amazing resource for you to help you with your creative business.  Some of you have probably already discovered The Academy, but for those who haven't you are in for an enormous treat. 

The Academy is the blog to go to for business advice if you have a small business, specifically in the creative sector. However I believe the advice and tips shared on The Academy could easily be transposed for any small business.  Isa Maria, the editor of The Academy has written some fantastic posts sharing insider knowledge from the world of PR and marketing. 

So there you go, I can now pass you into the very capable hands of my dear friend Isa Maria and her fantastic blog.  As for Business Wednesdays here on Zoe & Drew, they are turning into something else, all will be revealed at the beginning of September!

Take care

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Zoe & Drew Etsy Shop Is Open

Wow what a few days it has been, I am now crazy busy with organising the Riot Raffle after a phenomenal response to Tuesdays post. I am overwhelmed by peoples generosity and cannot thank you all enough for your support.  I will write a proper update in the next couple of days.

Quietly at the end of last week I started listing things in the Zoe & Drew Etsy Shop.  So far I have only listed three products and have already sold two items so have also relisted two, which is fantastic!  I am planning on trying to list something daily over the next three weeks whilst the children are still on school holidays. Then in September I hope to work on some more design ideas that I am putting on hold whilst it's still the school holidays and so I can concentrate on the launch of Riot Raffle.

As you can see I only have paperchains and paper bunting listed at the moment and will be adding the matching paperchains to the '1,2,3,4,5, Once I caught a fish alive' paper bunting.  I will also be listing cushions this week continuing with the theme of seaside songs, ditties and rhymes. 

I am not entirely happy with my photos as I don't feel they do the product justice. But I know this is something that will take practice and time!

Now back to that to do list. Hope you're all surviving the Summer holidays and I wish all our Scottish friends a good first day back today.

Take care

Friday, 12 August 2011

Book Review - Papercrafting In No Time

Here is the post I orginally planned for Tuesday! I hope you have all had a good week and thank you to everyone who has supported my idea of a raffle. I'll post further updates very soon.

Back in March I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Papercrafting In No Time by Clare Youngs to review on Inspired Celebration.  I have become a little obsessed with paper and papercrafting over the past few months and was thrilled to receive this book and have tried some of the projects already and plan to try the rest very soon.  After Mondays post about my papercutting trial I thought I would share with you my review of Papercrafting In No Time.

With 50 projects all crafted from paper in this book I was keen to see exactly what delights lay inside the inspiring cover. Papercrafting In No Time offers projects for the novice papercrafter through to the more seasoned designer. Starting with ideas and projects for our living spaces Clare shows us papercutting, the traditional art of Poland alongside creating an origami fan lampshade. Yet my favourite project in this first chapter is the wreath, offering so many potential colour and pattern combinations, which means this wreath becomes very versatile as a decoration for many occassions, or just because!

The second chapter offers ten fabulous projects for the little ones in our lives. Boats, birds and bird boxes feature alongside sausage dogs, butterfiles and monkeys, which are all perfect deocrations for bedrooms or parties. The next ten projects found in the 'Gifts' chapter which of course includes beautiful gift boxes and bags, aswell as paper beads and dragonfly clothespins.

The fourth chapter offers fabulous inspiration for card making. Clare shows us how to create a tiered Russian doll card, fold out vintage flower card, beautiful patterned envelopes, bunting and owls, that all would be perfect cards for numerous occassions. Actually I have made a set of envelopes just to store receipts in, well I need pretty things on my desk! The final chapter of Papercrafting In No Time is 'Party Time' with clear instructions for projects to make including a vintage floral cakestand, cupcake toppers, paper roses and decoupage eggs.

Papercrafting In No time offers 50 fabulous projects to inspire some beautiful works of art and more practical ideas aswell as a comprehensive list of tools and materials and templates. For each project the clearly written step by step instructions, complete with photographs make every project accessible to everyone. I highly recommend Papercrafting In No Time, whether you are looking for beautiful ideas to decorate your home, cards to make for friends or inspiring ideas for decoration your next celebration.

Papercrafting In No Time by Clare Youngs

ISBN 978-1-907030-81-9

Why not buy a copy as a treat for yourself when the children have all gone back to school and you could have hours of fun instead of hoovering and washing!!!


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

UPDATE - Using Our Talents To Help

Wow what a whirlwind the past 24 hours has been. Firstly I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has offered to donate prizes for the raffle.  The response has left me speechless, you are all amazingly generous.   I have also received offers of prizes from independant businesses that are not designer makers which is fantastic and offers of prizes from friends in the US aswell which is also amazing.  We now have jsut short of 50 businesses involved.

I have just spoken with Retail Trust, a charity working to support the 3 million people working in the retail sector in the UK.  I have confirmed with them that 100% of the funds we raise through the raffle will go directly to those retail staff and shopkeepers whose lives have been turned upside down by the riots.  This money will not go to the retail giants who can afford to rebuild and restock.  The funds raised will go to the independant shopkeepers, many of whom have also lost their homes as they live above their shop.  This money will also help fund counselling for these shopkeepers and their staff as many were held at knifepoint whilst their livelihoods were destroyed.

As independant businesses ourselves we can begin to understand the pain these people are experiencing and I felt that supporting Retail Trust was the perfect choice.  I really hope you are all in agreement and will continue to offer your support.

Now that a charity has been chosen I will finalise all the details of the raffle and contact each designer maker and small business that has offered a prize to confirm the exact prize and provide you with the full details of the raffle.  If you would like to donate a prize please get in touch before close of business on Friday as I would love to have everything ready to start on Monday next week.

Thank you.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

We Can Use Our Talents To Help

I had a different post planned for today, but will save it, in light of the awful scenes that fill our TV screens as images of the mindless destruction are shown on many news channels.  I have cehecked with various Twitter friends in London that they are safe and that their shops and businesses have not been destroyed.  But I feel so helpless, sat here in at my desk in Suffolk. I want to go and help clean up the carnage, but I can't. And I know I am not alone reading tweets from friends around the country.

So I had a crazy idea, why not use our talents to help.  The clean up will take months maybe years as people are left homeless and have had their livelihoods taken from them.  My idea is to have a a big raffle or auction of donations from designer makers all over the UK.  I know there is not an official charity to help with the riot clean up and probably never will be as I know how much red tape there is to breakthrough in setting up an official charity. But maybe we could raise money for Shelter or the NSPCC or community charities in London to help them recover and try and rebuild their lives.

Between us we can help.  Our social networks are huge so we can spread the word for a raffle or auction which I am happy to manage on line through Just Giving or a similar website.  Now I just need to workout the finer details. In the meantime if  you would like to donate a prize please send me an email -
zoeanddrew {at} btinternet {dot} com (replace the words in {} with a sign!!) or send me dm on Twitter .  Thank you.

Take care, stay safe and let's pray that is the end of it.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Papercutting - Trying a new skill

I am a huge fan of Rob Ryan and dream of one day owning his 'Can We? Shall We?' papercut.  I also love the work of Kyleigh's Papercuts and Mr Yen, Cutture and Storeyshop, but had as yet never tried my hand at papercutting.  That was until this weekend!

'Can we? Shall we?' by Rob Ryan

I know it's sensible to start a new craft or skill with the guidance of a book or to do a course, but I was feeling brave on Saturday and decided to try out an idea that had been swimming around in my head for a few days.  I decided that I wanted to try a papercut style idea on patterned paper.  Usually papercuts are on plain paper or card.  With thoughts of seaside images lodged firmly in my brain whilst designing new things for Zoe & Drew I thought I'd try a crab on spotty orange paper! And here he is -

I also had a try at some lettering and what else to cut out but 'BEACH'!

So now I have taken my paper obsession to a new level as I am busy sketching out ideas to papercut. Armed with my craft knife, which is pants by the way so recommendations are welcome for a replacement, I am looking forward to trying to turn my ideas into papercuts.  Most importantly it is fantastic to just be trying something different. So what are you dying to try? Why not just give it a go!

Take care

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


The weather has finally caught up with the season and we are basking in gorgeous hot and sunny weather here.  Sitting in the garden, enjoying these gorgeous summer days makes me think of very cold, homemade lemonade.  So to help cool us all down here are some delicious recipes.

Click on the links below to go to the BBC Good Food website for the recipes.

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