It seems like all of my workshop wishes are coming true.

First, the Calligraphy for Designers workshop popped up last month. And now, after far too many wishes for a letterpress workshop to be in Auckland, one pops up!

I'm actually mad at myself for not looking hard enough the first time when searching for Auckland-based letterpress studios. Just a few weeks ago I stumbled upon the GTO Printers website again and noticed they had a little button called 'Workshops'. Why, oh why had I not seen this when I looked at this website last year?!

I emailed Graham, the studio owner, instantly (it happened to be 11.47pm at the time) enquiring as to when he might hold another one. He replied in the morning to tell me he was planning two for this June! I couldn't believe my luck!

Next Monday - Queens Birthday, so it's a long weekend - I will be spending the day at the letterpress workshop! I cannot wait to get my first taste of using a press. I'm going into this knowing pretty much nothing at all so it should hopefully be a real eye-opener, and I will see if it's something I'd like to pursue further in the future. Eeee!

Images above are from GTO Printers' previous workshop.

Sick, sick, sick.

This post is laaaaaaaate. My fault. Sort of.

You see, last week at work was crazy. Aishia and I ended up working about 50 hours each in 4ish days. Not cool. One night we didn't leave the office till about 1am and then had to go back at 8.30am again. Booooo. Don't you just love those jobs that escalate and take over everything in your life? NOT. Ah well. It's all over now. Yay!

I took Friday afternoon off, had a nice lunch with some girls from work and then had a celebratory cocktail with Aishia at Monsoon Poon. Then I thought I better get to the doctor (which I had to put off for weeks due to work being so busy). Little did I know, the nurses there decided to give me the works. This included the flu vaccine. I've had it before and all it did was give me a sore arm for a few days and I didn't get a cold or flu all year! However, I failed to think about the fact that I was extremely run down and that my immunity being so low at the time might mean that I would get sick from the jab.

By the end of Friday night my arm was killing me, I was so freaking tired and I was starting to feel pretty icky. It's now Monday night and I've probably only been awake a good 25 hours in the past three days. And yet I'm still yawning like crazy! It hasn't been the funnest of weekends...

Anyway... That's why this post is horribly late. It's taken me so long to do as well because my eyes really struggle with staring at the computer screen. No idea how I'm going to cope going back to work and having to stare at a computer for 8 hours a day. I'm sure I will survive.

Currently listening to: Taylor Swift - Speak Now
I cannot get enough of this album. I wish she would come to New Zealand!

  1. I'm the same as Jessica... Love coffee cake, ice coffee, tiramisu, cookies cookies, but hot coffee? YUCK. Her homemade iced mocha looks crazy good.
  2. An inspiring read for anyone thinking they are going down a career path that isn't what they really want. Love what you do!
  3. Loving this wedding station suite! It's travel themed and it's just so well designed! Love it.
  4. This soda bar and classic games wedding shoot is totally adorable! One of my favourite parts of it is the amazing calligraphy.
  5. If you're looking for something neat to add to your wedding invitation you should consider a custom hand drawn map. They're so cute!

Calligraphy For Designers.

Calligraphy is something I've always wanted to be able to do. I remember looking at the pens, nibs and ink at my old work (an art supplies store) and wishing I could use them. I'm not sure why I never just tried... I guess I had no pressing need to so I never bothered.

Since I've become more interested in wedding stationery, I've noticed how much an invitation design can benefit from fantastic custom calligraphy. So when Design Assembly sent out an email about a class called 'Calligraphy For Designers' I jumped at the chance to sign up.

We've been learning the basics of calligraphy; the different tools of the trade, the techniques and the styles.

It's hard to deviate from your own personal handwriting at times. I have trouble with the width of my letters because my normal handwriting is quite wide. But I'm learning. I'm not at all comfortable with capital letters yet either. Maybe it's just the font we are working with - a basic italic - but I just cannot get the hang of them. With more practice hopefully I will improve.

Tomorrow evening is my final class. I'm excited but also a bit sad about this. It's been fun going to classes again, having homework, etc. I'm hoping that the teacher, Peter Gilderdale, does another course to follow on from this basics one.

Anyway... I'll post some more once I've gotten more of my own style down! Hopefully I can use these skills in some wedding stationery designs and more!

Beautiful you.

I never used to wear jewellery when I was younger but recently I've started to love wearing necklaces, and sometimes the odd ring if I like it enough (and if it fits - stupid giant knuckles!).

I came across the Beautiful You store on Felt (which is sort of like New Zealand's version of Etsy) a few weeks ago and HAD to buy a few things.

I've wanted an octopus necklace for a while now so that was the first on my list. Then I made a list of about 6 others that I wanted and decided I should really cull it back and ended up adding the wishbone necklace to my cart.

Then I found these cute cream flower studs and decided that those were a necessity also.

And while I was at it I thought I'd see if any of my friends wanted to add to my order (save on shipping and all that!). Brit decided on the tea party necklace and Jessamy decided on the rawr means I love you in dinosaur necklace. So cute!

I might do another order and grab the swooping bird, mixtape and origami crane necklaces... one day...

I'll eat you up.

Sometimes work gets busy. This week was one of those weeks and next week will be no different. It's nice to be busy though. I prefer it over being bored.

I've got no plans whatsoever for the weekend. Perfect! Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on some work I've got to do at home. And maybe do some baking! Looking forward to sleeping in... Zzzzz.

What are you all up to this fine weekend?

  1. These cookies and cream cheesecake bars sounds crazy delicious. Popping that one on the list of recipes to try.
  2. I love this DIY chocolate bar label! You can download their printables, or just design your own for a wedding or party. Totally going to do this, just need to find a reason why!
  3. Wish I had some sweet illustration skills like Alyssa Nassner has. Her work just such character to it. Definitely check out her cute 'sewing sentiments' series.
  4. I think everyone needs this How To Cook Breakfast print - partly because it's hilarious and partly because of the awesome typography design.
  5. The cakes from this amazing wedding look far too pretty to eat. Ruffles!

Ever so sweet.

Well over a year ago, The Inspired Bride posted this awesome dessert buffet save the date DIY which I downloaded immediately.

Not long after downloading it my mother's birthday came around, right when I was extremely busy, so I edited this save the date to become a birthday card!

I used one of the cupcake designs to make a little note inside the card with some lyrics from a song that I love - 'Ever So Sweet' by The Early November - which I though fit nicely with the dessert table / baking theme.

I made a matching DIY envelope for the card, as well as a matching address label.

The design worked great as a birthday card. I thought about changing the colours but I actually really liked that minty green / teal colour and it went so well with the brown so I left it as it was.

Free printables are fantastic and I download every one I come across in case I can use it for something later on. I might have a go at designing some of my own and putting them up for download sometime soon!

*shakes fist*

Stupid Blogger. It's been down for well over 24 hours so this post is now late. Boooo. I think it's a sign that I need to sort out this blog asap. In other words, move it over to Wordpress. The faster the better...

I'm off to Tree Adventures now since they didn't let us on the high courses last time due to wind. Excited!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! And enjoy these fun links...

  1. If you're a big fan of wedding invitation design you really need to check out this newWedding Invitation Ideas book by Invitation Crush. Full of inspiration!
  2. Jessica Hische is one of my favourites and this interview with her is fantastic. Also, she just got engaged and you can follow her girly wedding inspiration here!
  3. Innovative, cost effective and eco-friendly design studio stationery that is so well designed it's just one sheet of paperboard that makes 9 different items!
  4. Just the thought of these s'more cakelettes is making me drool!
  5. Letterpress fans should really watch this cute little instructional video.

We Can Create.

Every year, just a few months before August rolls around, I start to get excited. Two of my favourite days of the year are on their way and I just cannot wait. Once those two days are over, I'm always left with a feeling of sadness, yet, I'm inspired.

Semi-Permanent is an annual event held in Auckland, New Zealand (as well as Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia) which brings together thousands of likeminded people for an international showcase of creatives.

I have been lucky enough to see so many inspirational people such as Stefan Sagmeister, Jessica Hische, Kate Moross, Duncan Speakman, Andrew Gordon (Pixar), Storm Thorgerson, Alexia Sinclair, Pentagram, Bibliothéque, Marian Bantjes and Genevieve Gauckler. Images shown above are of or made by these designers.

Every year I plan out who I do and don't want to see and usually end up seeing all of them 'just in case'. Often some of my favourite speakers have been people I never intended on seeing.

However... this year, The Church (who pull the entire SP event together) decided to branch away from Semi-Permanent and curate their own art and media festival;

New Zealand's biggest art and creative industries showcase.

So far these are the speakers who have been announced:

1. Taika Waititi
2. Morag Myerscough
3. Hort
4. KesselsKramer
5. The Rumpus Room
6. Sara Blake
7. Stamen Design
+ 5 more still to be announced

To make it all even sweeter, Semi-Permanent will still be carrying on and will be held in April/May 2012. Now I have two awesome creative design events to attend every year!

So if there are any graphic designers in New Zealand who haven't attended Semi-Permanent before, I strongly urge you to go to We Can Create and/or Semi-Permanent. It may be a fair bit of money, but trust me, it will be worth it. And you will no doubt end up going every year from there on in. Just like me!

The truffle shuffle.

Sometimes I will eat something and the taste will taunt me for ages afterwards.

This is exactly what happened with these chocolate truffle cookies. My friend Aishia found a recipe book called Cookies, Slices and Squares and made these amazing cookies from it and brought some to work for us to try. I pretty much died eating one. The chocolate flavour was so intense and then entire thing just melted in my mouth like chocolate would.

A few weeks later these cookies were still on my mind. An opportunity to bake them for work sprang up, a birthday morning tea!

Because my boyfriend often doesn't get to have some of the yummy baking that Carly and I make because he's gluten intolerant, I decided to make these gluten free so he could have some of the extras! I used Orgran's GF plain flour in place of the normal plain flour.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

250g 70% cocoa chocolate (broken) - I used Lindt dark chocolate
60g cocoa powder
110g butter
3 eggs
200g caster sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
75g plain flour - I used that GF plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
150g 70% cocoa chocolate (chopped into small chunks) - I used Lindt dark chocolate

Combine broken chocolate pieces, cocoa powder and butter in metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally till the chocolate and butter has melted. Remove from heat, stir to combine and set aside to cool. - Thank you to Carly who did this part for me since I was running low on time.
Beat eggs and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat in vanilla extract and the chocolate mixture.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixture together with the chopped chocolate and stir till just combined.
Cover the dough and chill for 3 hours. - I put mine in the freezer for 30 minutes instead.
Roll the dough into small tablespoon sized balls and place 5cm apart on baking paper lined trays.
Bake for 10 minutes and then leave them to cool for a bit. - They taste SUPER good still warm from the oven.

The ones Aishia had made turned out a bit more smooth and rounded looking on top than mine and I assume that was because of the gluten free flour I used. They looked good when I was just about to take them out of the oven, then as soon as they were removed they blobbed back down and became sort of wrinkly looking.

Good thing they still tasted AMAZING. One of my favourite cookies I've made to date. Although it's pretty much just chocolate... so if you're a big chocolate fan, these are the cookies for you!

Three big yays.

Weekend time! Yay!

Katy Perry concert tomorrow night! Yay!

Sleep ins! Yay!

Happy weekend everyone! Hope you enjoy these fun finds from around the web...

  1. I just stumbled upon cookieboy. Needless to say, he is amazing.
  2. Two days till Mother's Day is still enough time to download and print this DIY Mother's Day doorhanger.
  3. Whimsical watercolour illustration about the history and intricacies of the jelly bean.
  4. This BBQ restaurant identity is fantastic - very well executed.
  5. These s'mores in a jar look crazy sickening but so so so good.

Keeping me awake.

Trying to catch up with life is rather time consuming and tiring...

My to-do list seems to be getting bigger and bigger, and my ideas for things I want to do for myself are expanding as well. Oh dear. I need to somehow pause time so I can catch up on everything and then press play again.

I'm just about to get stuck into some new projects which I'm excited to work on...

  • Mother's day cards and gifts (for my own mother and step-mother that is), which I will post about once they're done!
  • Surf/beach themed 40th birthday invitation
  • A possibly lace themed wedding invitation suite
  • A record themed wedding invitation suite

So now I just need to get my head back in the game. Aaaaaaand go...

These are some wonderful white gerberas I got a few weeks ago (yes, late posting, as usual) and one of them had cute little pink tips! These flowers made me decide that I need a white vase. I just haven't found any good ones yet...

Looking forward to the Katy Perry concert this Saturday! I've heard nothing but good things about her tour so far so I'm pretty excited! Minus the fact that my best friend Brit couldn't make it up from Christchurch for it. Booooooo.

We didn't get to go to Tree Adventures last weekend. It was too windy so they closed all the high courses since the trees were swaying too much. Booooo again. We will try again probably not this weekend because the weather has taken a turn for the worse (re: the tornado that popped up in Albany, Auckland), so maybe the weekend after that. I'm excited! Even though I'm sore from just going ten-pin bowling. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME! I'm so unfit!

Alright, enough blabbing on for me. I need to get onto that list of things to do! Ciao!

Something blue.

Back in March I posted some baking I did for my friend Aish's 22nd birthday party (passionfruit cupcakes) and mentioned that I also made another attempt at macarons that didn't work out quite right. Well here they are in all of their failed glory.

They actually don't look THAT bad. And they didn't taste THAT bad either. I just wasn't happy with them. They were a little dryer than my previous ones and their feet didn't stay puffed up. They looked perfect when I grabbed them out of the oven and as soon as they were out the just collapsed back down.

They also didn't keep their colour well. The insides of them were still the baby blue colour I had made the mixture but the shell went pale and browned. Booooooo.

I'm going to post the recipe for these ones anyway cause I think it might have been that my oven was slightly too hot for them, and maybe I over mixed them a little? I'm not sure. EIther way, the recipe might still be good so I will give it another shot some time.

Basic Macarons
From the book Macarons by Annie Rigg

200g icing sugar
100g ground almonds
120-125g egg whites
a pinch of salt
40g caster sugar

Mix icing sugar and ground almonds together thoroughly.
Beat egg whites and salt together with an electric mixer until they hold a stiff peak.
Continue to beat whilst adding the caster sugar a spoonful at a time. Mix well to ensure that the sugar is thoroughly incorporated. The mixture should become thick, white and glossy.
Add any food colouring you want in now. Mix till evenly blended.
Fold the icing sugar and almond mixture into the egg whites until thoroughly combined (this could take a few minutes).

Fill piping bag with mixture and pipe evenly sided rounds - about 5cm width - onto baking sheets.
Tap bottom of baking sheets sharply once to expel any large air bubbles.
Leave these for about 30-60 minutes to 'set'.

Preheat oven to 170 C.
Bake macarons for 10 minutes.
Leave them to cool on a the baking sheet.

In our hurry to get to the party, I asked Carly to make some chocolate ganache which didn't work out so that's why they never made it to the party. I ended up grabbing some Betty Crocker Chocolate Frosting from the supermarket and filling the macarons with that later on. It was a little too sweet for my liking but they looked alright!

I think next time I make macarons I will try chocolate ones. I also really need to work on my ganache making skills... Practice makes perfect!