GF Smith and Colorplan


I’m having another sort out of my stationery cupboard at home today which consists of three cartons and a shoe box crammed with stuff.  I’m obviously not focussed on work, as I wouldn’t be having a sort out if I were.  During my delvings I came across some old swatches of paper from GF Smith, which in turn led me to have a little browse on their website, which in turn took me to their Colorplan website, which is a lesson in how to use up an hour without really trying – it’s fun.

When Papernation had a store in Bristol we used to buy papers from GF Smith and they were a fabulous company to deal with.  They managed to make paper sexy and stylish and fun.  They win awards for their products and for their design skills and it’s certainly easy to see why.  Even their trade swatch books are highly sought after because they are so cool and all round lovely.

GF Smith make Colorplan paper.  It’s a range of papers that comes in 50 colours, in 8 different paper weights and can be embossed in 25 different finishes, and last year they launched a website devoted to Colorplan.

The website has all the color swatches on the  page which you can then drag and drop to different positions to see how colours work together.  If you’re a designer it’s a really useful tool, and great to just play with too.

Watch a short video of how the Colorplan website works

GF Smith is a lesson in how to get things right.  Their attention to detail is fantastic.  They even had a font designed especially for their new website, yep, you’ve guessed it, called Colorplan.  Their website tells you to pay particular attention to lowercase ‘g’, uppercase ‘M’ and the numerical character set.

I wish I still lived in London as they’re currently advertising a job at their offices in Southwark.  I’d be very tempted to apply.


Noodoll Artist Pocket Sketchbooks


I’m in the throes of planning a trip in my motorhome and I’ve been remembering some of my earlier travels, and in particular my visit to the Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain, Dali’s home town.  It’s an amazing place, eccentric, surreal, all round awesome, and bone-crushingly busy.  If you’re ever close by you should pay a visit.  As if by coincidence too, I had an email from the lovely Noodoll, makers of cute stationery, and featured in the email was their range of artist pocket sketchbooks, and one of them has Dali on its front cover….



It’s a really cool sketchbook with 50 sheets of cartridge and coloured paper and it truly is pocket sized at just 11.5cm x 8cm.  Dali doubles as a bookmark too.  There are some of my other favourite artist in the range:

Andy Warhol



and Frida Kahlo



and Pablo Picasso



I see that Gilbert and George, David Hockney, Jackson Pollock and Yayoi Kusama are joining the range.  Just as soon as I have photos, I’ll add them to this post.

And here they are, hot off the press from Noodoll…



I didn’t know anything about Yayoi Kusama but her story is a fascinating one and you can read about her here.

The notebooks are designed by Clifford Richards (graphic artist), not to be confused with Cliff Richard (pop singer), and you can see more of his work at

You can buy the notebooks direct from Noodoll here at £4.50 each.

If you fancy visiting the Dali Museum you can find out all about it here.  It’s a great location, close to the French border and also not too far from Barcelona, so it’s an ideal day trip if you’re holidaying in the South of France or spending a bit of time sunning yourself on the Spanish coast.



North Bristol Art Trail 2013


It’s that time of year again when you get to see some great art from local artists and get to have a quick peek in people’s living rooms at the same time, yes, it’s the North Bristol Art Trail 2013.  It runs over this weekend, 23/24 November.

There are more than 100 artists showing in over 50 different locations around north Bristol, from Antrim Road, BS9 down to York Road, BS6.  Looking at the interactive map on the Trail’s website, if you put your walking boots on, you could visit all the venues on foot over the two days of the event.

It’s a great way to explore the area as well as see works from up and coming artists as well as those who’ve done the trail for many years.

I’m hoping to get to visit a few venues.  I’ve got guests this weekend so I probably won’t get round them all.

Simon Tozer, of Gromberry fame will be exhibiting work at Chesterfield Road.  We bought a small print of a horse and five clouds from Simon a few years ago, which is hanging on our kitchen wall.


I’ve had a quick look at his website and I’m sure there will be something to tempt me again this year.

I shall also go and visit Mary Collett.  I love this print entitled ‘Tatty Fox’.


You can find out more about Mary Collett from her website.

The North Bristol Arts Trail has a very good website with information on all the artists and where you can find them.  There’s also a downloadable map.

The Trail opens from 10am til 6pm Saturday and Sunday.  I’ve checked out the weather forecast and there’s no rain so it should be a busy weekend.

For more information visit The North Bristol Art Trail website.



Denyse Schmidt


I’ve just bought a new motorhome and the curtains in it are horrid so I just have to change them.  I’m not very handy with a sewing machine but a lovely haberdashers shop close to my house sells some beautiful fabrics and I got inspired.  The fabric I have chosen is designed by Denyse Schmidt, an American graphic designer and quilt maker.

Some of her amazing designs are also featured on a range of stationery published by Chronicle Books.


Dottier & Jottier Mix and Match Stationery Set


Hope Valley Sticky Notes & To-do’s


What a Bunch of Squares Notecards


Dots & Jots Journal

If you fancy getting creative why not take a look at this Quilt-It Kit



And finally.  Here’s my curtain fabric that I bought from a fabulous shop here in Bristol called Flo-Jo Boutique




Mid Winter Starlings


The clocks went back at the weekend making the days so much shorter, and when I woke up this morning and looked out of the window it was misty and grey.  Winter is definitely on its way, and while I don’t like the cold, I do like the fact that the birds in the garden are much more visible now that the trees are losing their leaves.

I found some birdy cards that are very evocative of this time of year.

Robin from Archivist Gallery

Robin from Archivist Gallery


Owls from Archivist Gallery

Owls from Archivist Gallery


Sparrows from Emily Burningham

Sparrows from Emily Burningham



Fays Studio Collection

Fays Studio Collection



Linocut from Rachael Willis

Linocut from Rachael Willis

Rachael Willis on


Blue Bird from Art Angels

Blue Bird from Art Angels


English Partridges by Mark Hearld

English Partridges by Mark Hearld


Mid Winter Starlings

Mid Winter Starlings

Keep an eye out for huge flocks of starlings at dusk and their amazing murmuration.



Renegade Craft Fair – London


If you’re in London over the weekend of 9th and 10th November, you should make sure you get along to The Old Truman Brewery in East London for the annual Renegade Craft Fair.

I first went to a Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco back in 2009.  It was on one of the piers overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge on a crisp December day.  From that first visit I’ve been hooked.  In the UK a craft fair can sometimes conjure up images of something your Nan might have made, but Renegade curate a talented bunch of crafters and artists at each of their shows.

I always come away from a Fair with lots of goodies.  My favourite is a screen print of a theatre poster, now hanging on my wall at home, that I manged to get 6000 miles home without creasing.


There’ll be entertainment from the Renegade Gang and a free photo booth from LookLook as well as tea and cakes.

The Old Truman Brewery is in the heart of the East End on Brick Lane so once you’ve toured the Fair there’s plenty more to see and do in this fantastic, vibrant, diverse and exciting part of the city.

Renegade Craft Fair is on from 11am – 6pm on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November 2013 at The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL


Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

A small gallery and gift shop around the corner from my house, Room 212, has an exhibition centred around The Day of the Dead.  I wasn’t really sure what The Day of the Dead was, so I thought I’d find out.

I know about Halloween on 31st October.  All ghouls and ghosts, witches and spiders, and things that go bump in the night, but what of The Day of the Dead. It sounds much more scary.


The Day of the Dead is actually a celebration, to remember people who have died, to celebrate their lives and to remember them with favourite foods and posssessions.


The celebration of Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertos in Spanish, has its origins in Mexico, and is on the 1st and 2nd November,  All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the Catholic calendar.  It’s a public holiday there with parades and parties and rich symbolism.  Sugar skulls are eaten and marigold flowers laid on the graves of loved ones.

Whilst it’s less well known in this country, it’s also celebrated widely throughout Spain, and by Spanish speakers throughout the world.

Room 212 has a fantastic display, including this unfortunate chap, taking a rest outside the shop.


Why not pop along to Room 212 at 212 Gloucester Road, Bristol BS7 8NU to view their exhibition which runs until 3rd November.



Shhh My Darling Stationery


Shhh My Darling is a little find from Top Drawer, London, yesterday.  I found the show a little downbeat and this company stood out for me as a ray of sunshine.

Shhh My Darling is the design studio of Italian couple Jenny and Gra, who  have designed and produced a very cute range of letterpress greeting cards and prints.


This set of 4 cards are great for sending, just to say hello or thank you.


Maybe it’s a little early to be thinking about Christmas cards but these are just so cute that I couldn’t resist.


I love the foxes walking hand in hand and the snowy animal face house.  These come in a set of 3.



I love this print too.  You have to look quite carefully at the design so that you don’t miss anything.  I always like that about pictures to put on your wall.  You may look at them every day but there’s usually something  new to enjoy.


They also do a range of bespoke wedding stationery – save the date, invitations, thank you cards.  So if you want something truly original for the big day then why not get in touch with Jenny and Gra.


This was Shhh My Darling’s first visit to a UK trade show.  Checking out their website, they don’t yet have any retailers here.  I’m sure that will change after this week.  They do have a good website and you can buy direct, so why not take a look at Shhh My Darling.


All images are coutesy of Shhh My Darling.






Jamaica Street Artists' Studios

Jamaica Street Artists’ Open Studios

Jamaica Street Artists' Studios

Jamaica Street Artists’ Studios (JSA) are based in a large and slightly dilapidated building in Stokes Croft, Bristol.  Graffiti central and location for the riots against Tesco a couple of years ago.  It’s an area of the city with a re-invigorated beating heart, home to trendy cafes, pop-up shops and the JSA.

The studios have had a rocky ride over the 20 years that they’ve existed with threats of closure and a massive fund raising drive needed to buy their building.  They open their doors to a nosey public who want to have a look at what goes on and how artists work.  I love the studios almost more than the work on show as they in themselves can sometimes be works of art.

This post is about the building and the studios themselves rather than the artists’ work.  Here are some of my favourites:

Mark Kidel - Film Maker

This is Mark Kidel in his studio.  Mark is a documentary film maker and photographer.  His studio was an oasis of calm and felt a bit like going into someone’s living room.  He’s got some beautiful book cases, which you can see in the background, which I coveted on the day.  He very kindly posed for a photo.

Rose Sanderson - Fine ArtThis studio belongs to Rose Sanderson.  Many of her paintings feature delicately coloured birds.  This year more of them seemed to be alive.  In previous years they were dead and slightly more macabre.  I like her work.

Helen Williams - Textiles

Helen Williams is a textile artist and makes these very cute creatures.  She had made her studio into a shop for the weekend with all her work styled for maximum impact.  Some artists really make a huge effort and understand that it’s a great opportunity to sell some work.


An eccentric  display by the Argentinian artist Romina Berenice Canet.

Bjorn Rune Lie - Illustrator

This is one of my favourite artists from Jamaica Street, Bjorn Rune Lie.  He’s an illustrator originally from Norway.  I love his work and always love his studio.  I’ve been going to this event for a few years now and every year his studio is different, full of quirky ephemera and examples of works in progress.

Tom Mead

The building is on four floors and has a central staircase and ancient lift and the artists display some of their work in these spaces.  Tom Mead is another of my favourites.  It’s his studio below…

Tom Mead

Tom Mead’s work is quite dark and the more you look the more you see.

Each artist at the studio creates a small canvas that are auctioned at the end of the open studios weekend.  You can place your bid anytime and the highest bid is shown against the work until the final auction.  I was tempted with Tom Mead’s canvass but the price was already too high for me on the Sunday morning.

Rose Vickers


Rose Vickers

Rose Vickers studio was a very calming space – she works with paper and creates some stunning work.

It’s over for another year but you should make a note in your diary for next year as it’s great fun and the chance to look in on someone else’s world.

For more information on any of the artist visit the Jamaica Street Artists website.

Retro Rulers

Retro Rulers

Retro Rulers

I was sorting through a box of my office stuff this morning and I came across these retro rulers and I just thought I’d share them with you.

My favourite is the Pan Am ruler.  I must have got this from my dad who worked for an American company.  He in turn must have got this as an in-flight gift on one of his trips to New York.  Can you imagine an airline giving you a plastic ruler these days.  I think I had a Pan Am flight bag too when I was young, which is long gone, not appreciating that it would be a design classic in the future.

Pan Am ruler

It seems that rulers were big corporate gifts in the 1960s and 70s with any number of companies stamping their name.  I guess they were replaced with the slightly less cumbersome pen from the 80s onwards.

Retro Ruler

Katy ‘n’ June do a retro wooden folding ruler, which looks like fun.