Monday, 15 June 2015

Marvellous Mail ❤

hello again! Today I want to talk a bit about that most marvellous and magnificent of doodahs that is... POST! 

I man Post is amazing isn't it! You can send stuff ALL over the world and get nice stuff back no bother, it's like magic. You're probably thinking, 'but Jade, the internet lets us do that instantly' and yes, it does, but it's not quite the same as getting a letter in the post is it. To sum it up better, i'm going to need to use a Terry Pratchett quote from his brilliant book Going Postal. In this particular case let's pretend the 'clacks' is an email and you'll get the point!

"I dare say the clacks is wonderful if you wish to know the prawn market figures from Genua. But can you write S.W.A.L.K. on a clacks? Can you seal it with a loving kiss? Can you cry tears on to a clacks, can you smell it, can you enclose a pressed flower? A letter is more than just a message." 

Now let's be honest, we ALL love getting stuff in the mail don't we! No i'm not talking about bills and boring nonsense like that, i'm talking about birthday cards, letters, invitations, postcards and... PRESENTS!

Not quite as magical as surprise gifts in the post but still WAY up there with general mail excitement is ordering things! You know how it is, it's 2am on a Sunday, you can't sleep, so you inevitably end up on Ebay and buy a bunch of random stuff then forget about it...
no, is that just me then?!

anyway, you order something nice for yourself then forget (like me) or wait excitedly for it to arrive and when it does, doesn't it make a WORLD of difference when what you've ordered turns up in pretty packaging?!

now some of you might be thinking, 'meh, I don't really care how it's packaged as long as it arrives!' but that probably means you've never received something parceled up so beautifully that you couldn't quite bring yourself to open it straightaway until you'd fully appreciated how MAGICAL it looked!

This happens to me occasionally, usually when I've ordered something from another artist or maker, they'll send my order in a pretty box or envelope, peppered with cute stickers, bakers twine or doodles.

One of the best things I have ever received in the post was a parcel sent all the way from Portland, WA in America. It arrived wrapped like a parcel you might see in a period film or show, with thick brown parcel paper and carefully tied twine. Inside was a handmade book bound in vintage silk tied with a length of white lace trim, along with a beautifully handwritten letter artfully folded and sealed with a stamp of dark blue sealing wax...

It was so beautiful that it took me THREE WHOLE DAYS to bring myself to open it!!! Why? because I literally couldn't bear to spoil the wax seal, even though I knew there was a lovely letter waiting inside, I just couldn't do it straightaway.

No photo could do the thing justice because to me, right at that second, the experience was like being pulled back in time, and just for a moment I felt like a girl in a Jane Austen novel being handed a parcel from afar, all that was missing were the pretty regency gowns and handsome guys wandering around in fancy tail coats.

The parcel inspired me to get my hands on my own stamp and sealing wax (in green to match the ink in my fountain pen) so that I could send out some beautifully presented letters of my own to two friends in Maine.

Because even after i'd finally opened the parcel, unwrapped the book and broken the wax seal to read the letter, I kept thinking about how beautifully packaged it had all arrived and it got me thinking that surely ALL post should be as magical and heartwarming an experience.

Because you see, my dears... if there's one thing I love more than receiving pretty envelopes in the post, it's sending them out!

There's nothing more fun that packaging up an order and making it looks as cute and fun as possible! A lot of my customers are quite far away and sometimes have to wait weeks to receive their postcards or stickers, so I try to make it even more worth the wait by packaging up their order as prettily as I can.
This of course means rainbow hued envelopes, cute stickers and candy stripe bags to keep everything safe and sound as it flies across the world! And I don't just mean that I do this for international orders, EVERY order from my shop gets the same treatment, whether you live in Norfolk or New Zealand.

Every time someone orders something from me, I get a fizzy thrill knowing that they liked my stuff enough to want to buy it! I mostly sell stickers and postcards so I don't get many opportunities to crack out the bakers twine and parcel boxes unless someone orders a tote bag or a Mystery Bundle Box.
Extra special handmade treats going into the Mystery Bundle Boxes
I'm constantly working on new ways to update my packaging, making everything as pretty as possible, while still making sure orders arrive in perfect condition regardless of their destination. I spend an inordinate amount of time on Instagram and Pinterest gathering inspiration. One of my packaging idols (as it were) is Laura at I Love Crafty, she puts a lot of time and effort into her packaging and it really pays off so that every order looks completely gorgeous!
gorgeous packaging details for a Valentine's Order
 If you're lucky enough to have ever received something like this in the post then you know what a pleasure it is to open something so pretty! I mean sure it's great if you order a gift for someone and it arrives looking nice but why shouldn't it look as good if it's something you've ordered for yourself! After all, what's online shopping if not a way of gifting yourself glorious things every now and again, you know you gotta treat yo self!
Laura at I Love Crafty - packaging orders
I've followed Laura and her brilliant business online for a few years now and she's always inspired me to put in that extra bit of effort with my work, especially with the packaging. And if it means that one day my designs and products can be even half as lovely as hers, then it will be completely worth it!
pretty iridescent packaging for Unicorn brooches!
You see what at difference it makes to a plain white envelope or bubble mailer, isn't it heaps more FUN when things arrive wrapped in candy colours and cuteness?! You bet it is. And regardless of whether you spend £1 or £100 in my shop, I will wrap up your goodies in the sweetest way I can manage, and I have a whole side of my desk dedicated to cute packaging and sticker application (I take this very seriously).

Mystery Bundle Boxes, packed full of lovely stuff!
I could (and do) spend hours arranging my rainbow envelopes and preparing the mystery bundle boxes. I stick on spotify and crack out the stickers and it's so much fun I don't even notice the time flying. In fact, the only thing better than packaging up and sending out pastel pretty orders, is when a customer sends me a snap of their goodies letting me know that everything turned up safe and sound and that they LOVE it!

a few snaps posted on instagram from some of my lovely customers
if YOU have ever received something in the mail from me, whether it was an order or just some random thing I sent you, chances are it arrived looking like it had been parceled up by a rainbow unicorn! Which was of course my exact intention.

and if you've NEVER gotten anything in the post from me, then isn't it time you did! Treat yourself (or someone else) to something sweet, you'll find various candy coloured bits n' bobs in my Etsy Shop, my Depop Store and now also on Storenvy

go on then, go pick something nice and then I can pop it in a pretty envelope and COVER it with cute stickers before I post it to you!

and on that note, i'll say goodbye for now, thanks for visiting, see you again soon dearhearts...

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Feelin' Thirsty? ❤

Why hello dear readers! It's been a whole WEEK now since I turned 24 and to be honest I don't feel a single bit older. I'll never really grow up so all this birthday and ageing business seems a bit pointless really. I mean i'd have birthday cake and kinder eggs for breakfast every single day if I had my way!

anyway moving swiftly on, you'll be delighted to know that I've just finished another new Candy Doll Club illustration!
 If you keep up with me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook then you might have seen that I've posted the odd sneak peek WIP shots over the past few weeks as I was working on the illustration during my recent trip to France/Spain/Andorra. Well I've actually finished the design now, so let's meet her properly shall we?!
As you can probably tell, she's quite the sultry pinup babe! But don't be fooled by her sugary sweet appearance, she'll mess you up... if you're dumb enough to try and mess with her!

It's been a while since I worked on a brand new Candy Doll and this one was SO SO SO much fun to work on! Especially the tattoos, I spent hours trying to get them as fun and colourful as possible!

Intergalactic space babe themed tattoos + a very tasty beverage to relax and refresh in the sunshine, because every Candy Doll knows that nothing tastes sweeter than a carton of 100% fresh boy tears! Yum.

Don't forget a pair of cute bleach striped denim shorts to show off those pretty pins and tasty tattoos! Throw in a few neat little pins and badges and you're good to go.

Sassy brooches on a pink lolita sailor girl top to ward off potential suitors, check. Fight like a girl tatts + a busty mer-babe = Girl Power 24/7!

seriously... SO MUCH FUN!

She's available now on prints and tees and bags and stuff over in my Society6 Shop + there's FREE worldwide shipping on today! So it's a good time to treat yourself to something candy coloured! 

oh and in case you were wondering what's going on with the different coloured bunches, the amazing hairstyle is inspired by super lovely and fab youtube blogger Chloe aka xxchlozaahxx who has the most perfect pink/blue split dyed hair. Check out her Instagram for more magical pics.

so, yeah. Lots of fun to work on a new Candy Doll design, I'm not sure what the next one will be like, I'll have to draw some more inspiration from some of the pastel babes I follow on Instagram and Tumblr.

* * *

in other news, last Thursday my dad took me out to lunch in Peel in the West of the island. I don't get to spend much time with my dad, despite living in the same house as him. We're both very quiet and isolated people, preferring our own company most of the time, and there are enough rooms in this house to mean that we can go days without exchanging more than a 'hello' or 'good morning'. So every now and again we head out to somewhere on the island and get some lunch and have a mooch about the local shops, visit a museum or just wander around and look at stuff.

It sounds strange but it's something we've done since I was a little girl. Obviously I spent time with my dad as a kid, we'd play football and tennis and i'd put furniture together after my dad had given up on the instructions and stormed off. But growing up I would spend most of the week talking to my mum and spending time with her practicing my reading or spelling etc, then on Sundays my dad would take me on the electric railway or to the Laxey Wheel or to get flowers and fruit plants at the garden centre. Or sometimes he would try to teach me how to fish off the bridge in our garden (the river Cornaa runs right alongside our house) but after I dropped the rod into the water I didn't get many more lessons!

Anyway, we went to Peel and had a lovely afternoon watching the boats in the harbour and all of the bikers flooding into the town for lunch and to visit the Castle and the museum (the TT races are on at the moment so our normally quiet island has been overrun with bikers from all over the world!) there were people everywhere and the sun was shining, it was a good day for visitors and locals alike.

And since I had such a nice day I decided to snap a selfie when we got home because my mood was so bright and I don't feel that way very often so I have to make the most of it when I do.

I know, I know, if I get any paler i'll turn into a vampire! But so what, I liked how my hair looked, hence a selfie. For more about my thoughts on 'selfies' and why there should be NO shame in occasionally turning into a big poser and photographing yourself in the mirror, check out my old blog post here

and on that note i'll say goodbye for now!

thanks for stopping by dearhearts 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Older and Wiser ❤

hello dearhearts, here I am, back at last from my travels! I actually got back late Thursday night but i've been so busy with appointments and stuff i've only just found time to sit down and work on a little blog post to share with you all.

in case you don't keep up with me on social media, let me tell you that yesterday was my 24th Birthday!

Shoot by Laura Stolfi
I spent all day yesterday out with my closest friends in the South of the Island (which made a nice change seeing as I live in the North and rarely get to visit the South any more). I don't really have any photos of the evening out in Port Erin but it was lots of fun, even though it was cold and raining! I'm lucky that they were all kind enough to come out for a few drinks and some food on my Birthday-Eve.

one of my birthday cards, since i'll never really grow up!
I know that to most people Birthdays can be quite a big deal but I come from a family where it's usually 'just another day', we don't really go out for Birthday celebrations or throw parties (I had parties when I was a child but as i've gotten older, Birthday's have become less of a big deal). I don't mind this though, as long as I get a cake, i'll spend the day doing whatever!
this year's delicious Birthday Cake + glitter crown!

I'm sure i'm not the only one that feels this way, but I can often find Birthday days to be a little overwhelming, when family and friends call or demand I make 'proper' plans and expect me to spend the day doing things. I have been known to lock myself in my room on May 31st and refuse to answer any phonecalls or open any presents until later in the day or the evening. I'm not sure why but the stress or expectations of the day can get to me and spark off some anxiety or panic.
a lovely colouring book gift from my friend Simon
 But this year I didn't have any of that! Which was brilliant. In fact NO-ONE called me all day (it was so great!) and I only got one text message. I woke up and had chocolate for breakfast (as is tradition on both Birthday and Christmas) and opened some really lovely gifts, then I spent the entire day in my room reading my new books + listening to music and editing a new illustration. Just another day...

the beautiful book my sister Nicky gave me
Seeing as it was my Birthday and i'm now a 24-year-old (which is scary) I thought i'd take a moment to look back on the past year and some of it's ups and downs! As per usual it's been a mixed year, sad times and happy times and some times in between.

lots of goodies from my friend Lorna including 30 rainbow bouncy balls!
 Since I lost my wonderful job last June, I've been in a constant state of flux, darting from one thing to the other, coming up with and discarding new ideas on a daily basis. I still miss the Family Library more than anything but I try to keep myself busy and relatively structured; spending my time at home trying to build up my online profile and promote my etsy shop via social media every day. As you know I also started painting again and i'm always working on new products for my shop. I'm not making a 'living' per se but i'm trundling along, doing my best.

one of my more unusual Birthday cards!
 It's not where I saw myself being in 2015 when I celebrated my Birthday this time last year, I figured i'd still be employed for one thing, hopefully in my own Flat at long last, maybe learning to drive, who knows. But in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, 'you can't always get what you want'! So here I am, back where I was a few years ago only now I don't have the excuse of being a college student. It's frustrating of course, I know where I 'want' to be, but like most people, don't necessarily know how to get there. But I intend to figure it out, eventually.

Star Wars Birthday gifts from others and from me!
It's been difficult coming to terms with some of the changes this past year has brought, i've lost a lot of my already ramshackle independence (no steady income means no apartment in town) but by letting myself be cared for by family and friends i've realised that it's not a bad thing to ask for help, there's no shame in needing someone to lend a helping hand or to just sit and listen for a little while.

the lovely Danish watch Mama Boylan gave me.
It doesn't do well to dwell on the negatives, I know that only too well, so let's look at the positives!

Some Highlights of the past year include:
  • Reading and devouring book after book from my 'to be read' pile (currently on number 46 of my Goodreads reading challenge).
  • Lovely holidays away in Cyprus, Andorra, France, Spain and trips to see family in the UK.
  • The helpful support and treatment for my ongoing Depression and Personality Disorder.
  • Lots of evening trips to the Movies with my best friends.
  • Fun days out with my little cousin Sienna.
  • Heaps of unnecessary cheap retail therapy via Ebay (no-one needs inflatable flamingo cup holders from China, but that did not stop me).
  • Creating brand new rainbow haired ladies for the Candy Doll Club.
  • Some nice new products for my shop and an increase in UK sales.
  • Watching my two beautiful nieces continue to grow into incredible young women.
  • Working on some new paintings for no reason other than that I want to paint.
  • Adding to my ever growing 'desk collection' of random bits n' bobs.
  • Making new friends on the island + lots of new internet friends as well.
  • Getting new international sales to countries I haven't sent stuff to before.
  • Treating myself to Ghostbusters Lego (not even kidding, one of the best parts of 2014!)
  • Gaining new followers online and reaching 14.7k followers on Pinterest.
  • Finally getting back in touch with long lost friends, because life really is too short not to!
an entire set of beautiful Nausicaa Manga from my friend Danny
May 2014-15 has been a mixed bag but i'm another year older (definitely) and wiser (possibly) so all I can do is continue to take life one day at a time and hope for the best. As always, i'm eternally grateful to my family and friends for being so nice and supportive and brilliant and for always putting up with me no matter how much of a pain I am! I wouldn't be able to make it through some days without them, whether it's a warm hug and an assurance that things will be ok or a sarcastic message telling me to stop being a prat, they're always there for me and if you'll pardon the pun, they keep me sane.

a little graphic I whipped up for my birthday
So that's that, another year done and dusted, and only 364 days left until I turn 25, I'd better start thinking of things to fill the time! 

thanks for stopping by, i'll try to make the next post a little less serious (aka boring).

so until next time, toodle-ooh! I hope to see you again soon xX