Going Green

Delighted to have my green recycled 3.5" floppy notebook featured in a recent ArtFire collection, "Go Green with Recycled Treasures" curated by Silver Wishes which sits amongst some really interesting creations made from recycled items from fused glass candle holders to vintage silverware garden markers! Loving this cool collection.

For Earth Week - Green is Universal!

On a roll! My recycled notebooks have been featured three times in three days!

This time another feature for the ever popular recycled green 3.5" floppy notebook which was selected for the For Earth Week - Green is Universal collection on ArtFire curated by Discord Threads.

If you're after an even "greener" floppy disk notebook, take a look at one of my soft white TWICE recycled 3.5 inch floppy disk notebooks. Once floppy disks, they were used and recycled within the industry and sold and used again. I gave them a stay of execution and created floppy disk notebooks from them instead of them being dumped in landfill!

Truly Green

Today I've been fortunate enough to be featured in another curated collection on ArtFire. This time Truly Green curated by Gossamer Tangles.

Most of the items in my range features something recycled and these notebooks have been huge hits, especially as boyfriend/husband/dad gifts and also for wedding speeches for the best man! Truly Green indeed since the floppy disks and paper used to make them are both recycled and the only totally new elements in them is the wire binding. :-)

Doing the double header in the UK and the USA today...

...with my new range of hand drawn and custom hand painted rosebud garland favour boxes. Specifically the cube ones with lids.

I hand cut each box and then draw the rosebud garlands by hand in ink and paint them in a combination of pearlescent and/or matt acrylic inks to compliment the colour scheme of an event or big day celebration.

The boxes are supplied with plain lid tops for you to add your own tags, labels, fresh flowers or my paper cut flowers which will appear in my shops on ArtFire and Folksy this week.

Got an idea but don't see it here? I'd love to talk! :-)

And if you want to have a look at the beautiful collections that I have been featured in today, then here they are: Spring at Last! by Javagoth (USA) and Uniquely Yours by Linda (in the UK)!

Are weekends supposed to be THIS busy?!

I don't think I've put my head above the parapet for three solid weeks now and the weekends and week days have been blending into one.

However, suffice to say that some big deadlines have been met, some new orders in, made and shipped, my signature rosebud garlands now adorn a new customisable favour box range in my Folksy and ArtFire shops and some new designs are buzzing around on the table. On top of that I got involved in a couple of Folksy Fridays of my own and met some fab people in the process and I was featured in another curated collection over on ArtFire, so it's all good.

Oh and I took the handmade pledge today too! :-)

Now if the clocks would add in a few more hours per day for a little rest and relaxation and "me" time, all would be perfect! Must put that on my agenda from tomorrow!

Good job I LOVE what I do! (And how many people can say that these days?) :-)

Folksy Friday - series 1, episode 2:"TO"

To continue my first series of Folksy Fridays, this week the theme is "TO" (can you see where this is going?!) and I'd like to share with you a beautiful and varied collection of my favourite two, duos, two colour and pairs.

Since Mother's Day UK is right around the corner why not have a look at some of the goodies in this collection and the owners' Folksy shops - you might just find exactly what you are looking for. Enjoy.

Lovebird bowl duo £29
Prince Design UK

Peridot & Moonstone stacking rings duo £44
Silver Synergy

Pair of red & white gingham cushions £12
Shabby by Sharon

Pair of ceramic daisy coasters £9
HB Ceramics

Pair of metal button hair slides £4
Rags to Roses

Two Mellow Yellow handmade big hole lampwork beads £9
Blue Box Studio Too

Red ceramic flower and chain maille earrings £12.50
Blue Forest Jewellery

Brown, Black & Tan Polymer Clay Cufflinks £10
Victoria's Polymer Art

Lovebirds Mirror £4
Lou Peajeux Illustration

Pair of toadstool appliqued hoop £15
Bella Bobbin

Custom wee horse £20
Quernus Crafts

Hand drawn, hand painted rosebud garland heart shaped favour boxes from £48.75/set
Mint To Be Stationery

Finally, a big thanks to all the Folksy shop owners who kindly let me include them and use images from their shops to feature in this TO episode!

Like what you see here? Subscribe to this blog or my MintToBe on Facebook page for the latest news and photos.

Please join me next month for the next episode in the series, which will be "BE".

Love is in the Air

Trading across time zones means that I often wake up to lovely surprises in my inbox. Today is no exception. Canada calls! Brain of Jen has curated a beautiful and unusual collection Love is in the Air inspired by Tennyson on ArtFire today and my hand foiled binary art card "I love you more than words can say" has been included! The day just got even sunnier! :-) Gorgeous collection, but check out Jen's creations too – some truly beautiful creations. My faves are definitely the sterling silver wire wrapped Newfoundland seaglass… decisions, decisions…

Well I have another hectic day ahead of me. Hopefully you'll see some new goodies featuring some of my signature pen and ink rosebud garlands on here and in my shops in the next few days. Thanks Jen for giving me the boost that I needed! :-)

OK… Off to paint. Let's hope that I don't drink too much of my paint water today… It happens. Frequently! Am I the only one? :-(

ArtFire wins Best Handmade site over Zibbet

ArtFire has won the 2011 About.com DIY Fashion Readers' Choice vote. Ahead of Zibbet by about 6 or 7%, it was great to see such a well supported poll.

I must admit that I am enjoying my time on both ArtFire and Folksy, which have really worked for me so far from the start. Both are still a huge learning curve for me though, particularly as I am so busy with other artwork at the moment; it's proving a little difficult to get additional goodies into my ArtFire and Folksy shops! I promise that the wait will be worth it!

Folksy Friday - series 1, episode 1: "MINT"

Well this is my first curated Folksy Friday collection. I've decided to do linked collections to make a series, since I'm not a particularly random person. Spontaneous yes, but rarely random; my science head wouldn't allow me. ;-) So for this episode I present to you "Mint".

I enjoyed the 43 page trawl to select some of my favourite mint inspired goodies on Folksy; shame none of them are edible, I have a penchant for anything mint…

Hope you enjoy looking. I've included the links of shop proprietors if you want to have a look at their other goodies they have for sale – there are some perfect all year round gifts to be discovered!

Stained Glass Singing Bird Window Decoration £22
Through the Round Window

Wilderness bracelet £12.50

Cosmic Eden

Polo mint resin keyring £6.50

Just K Jewellery & Gifts

Mint Breeze glass pearl charm bracelet (pearly) £13

Hats & More

Set of 4 green 3.5" recycled floppy notebooks £17.10

Mint To Be Stationery

Mini rose resin earrings (mint green) £3

Nosey Rose Parker

Peppermint Ice earrings £4

Flo Nightingale

Set of 4 River Coasters £12

Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics

Delicate (Gypsophilia) 8x8" print £14

Lola's Room Photography

Handmade peppermint & poppy seed soap £3.50

Oakwood Soaperie

Fused glass pendant (green) £14

Blue Daisy Glass

Mint Green Lavender bird £7

The Linen Cat

Finally, a big thanks to all the Folksy shop owners who kindly let me include them and use images from their shops to feature in this Mint episode!

Like what you see here? Subscribe to this blog or my MintToBe on Facebook page for the latest news and photos.

Please join me next week for the next episode in the series, which will be "TO".

Featured in "A few of my Favourite Things" collection today

Nowt wrong with being featured in a slightly delayed Folksy Friday is there?! ;-)

My green recycled 3.5" floppy notebook has been featured in the Cosmic Eden collection A Few of My Favourite Things on Facebook today!

What a nice start to the week! Interesting collection too!

A Geeky (Folksy) Friday!

Wow! It's nearly the weekend already. How the time flies when you're having fun and designing new goodies.... Geeky goodies at that...

So fitting that my favoured 5.25" floppy notebooks are featured in Geeky Folksy Friday by Leopard Print Bee. :-)

So, featured in another online collection!

"So what?" I hear you say?

Well it *IS* a big deal. It's a big deal to me anyway. To be honest it really *IS* an honour for someone to notice and feature your creations - as is every customer who buys it too. How *can* anyone not fully appreciate that? So every time that I receive feedback, a little email or enquiry, or my goodies are featured somewhere, bought by someone or I receive a commission for some of the other work that I do (desperately trying to get some of it online before it is sold and shipped!) you should know that this creator really DOES appreciate it and that you have actually made my day.

If I wanted a soulless shop front with bought in goods made en masse from overseas I'd be on the high street (there are plenty of empty shop shells available), but I'm not.
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All I Want is Green...

Whilst I was at another trade show in Birmingham, I was lucky enough to have been featured in another ArtFire collection! Once again, my green recycled 3.5" notebook has been featured; this is getting to be a mighty popular notebook! Take a peek!
Green, Green, Green – All I Want Is Green collection by A Collage a Day in Germany. :-)

The ever popular green recycled 3.5" floppy disk notebook...

...has been featured again! This time over on ArtFire in the:
Eye Candy For Bibliophiles and Wordsmiths collection by Elbie Sparks in Oz – check it out!

I am LOVING some of the cool selections in this collection. Might have to bookmark some of them. Sorry, can't but help the pun. ;-)

Featured product on another Folksy Friday!

A great start to the weekend discovering that I have been included in another Folksy Friday blog collection today! There’s some great stuff featured in the MayTree Lane article Bring out your Geeks! alongside my 3.5” floppy notebook too – check it out! Particularly loving the Pacman soaps, Lego cufflinks and Space Invaders wine glass charms!

Great Britain, Spring is in the Fair...

Hectic week again this week as I combine being out and about with shipping the last few Valentine’s Day orders (last shipping day within the UK is tomorrow – Thursday 10th February).

I love February as the temperatures start to creep upwards a little and as we all start to thaw you can almost see the anticipation of warmer spring months around the corner out in the garden. I also love February for its flurry of trade fairs and the hit of new ideas, inspirations and inventions. This year was no exception. I’ve just returned from another great visit to the buzzing and vibrant Spring Fair at Birmingham's NEC. The need for a new pair of feet as I pounded the citrus coloured carpets of the halls (I couldn't find anyone selling feet, although, quite bizarrely, I did find some ears...) has certainly not decreased this time around. Shame I didn't take my pedometer.

Visiting lots of potential suppliers, I was able to ask lots of questions in order to find the missing jigsaw piece and complete the picture for some of my goodies that I hope to share with you later this year. Spring Fair is also really interesting to see some of the upcoming trends as well as it being THE place to be this week to be making new contacts and meeting old contacts. Quite noticeably observable is the impact of the Royal Wedding in April on goods on a number of stands, which can be seen almost everywhere (from cards to Christmas). There are some 2012 London Olympic Games things creeping in now too. The British bandwagon will certainly be picking up the pace as the months go on (I’ve even got some patriotic handmade by me goodies going online in a few weeks). That's not a bad thing at all in one respect, but it'd be even *greater* to see more British themed items actually made in Great Britain. After a good rummage on some stands, sadly this does not always seem to be the case and certainly with production and labour costs being so much cheaper overseas, particularly in India and the Far East, it seemed that most of the British themed goods that were on display at the Fair this year were made and imported into Britain from these countries.

This leads me onto my own products... I go to great lengths and try, wherever possible to source my raw goods from the UK or through UK based suppliers. I certainly use British paper mills and paper merchants, use British made ink and paint and British made pencils, pens and paintbrushes. Of course all of my work is handmade in England by yours truly. However there are sometimes instances where I cannot use raw products that are made in Britain; examples of these are the crème de la crème in cut crystals - Swarovski from Austria, freshwater pearls from China, the finest pressed Czech glass beads and beautiful ribbons that are very often from India, China and Japan and which sadly are virtually impossible to find from British manufacturers these days. (Many of you won’t have seen this side of my work because it tends to be bespoke and in high demand from my existing customers and as such this artwork is not on the web at the moment.)

Of course, I’m typing this post on a keyboard and computer assembled in China, a printer and toner from the same neck o’ th’ woods and software that is bound to be from anywhere but the UK! Recycled materials are another thing again. Take for example my floppy disk notebooks. It is much more difficult to ascertain a country of origin for the manufacture of old, used floppy disks, but all the ones I have used have been rescued from people in the UK about to send them to landfill; obtaining them can be a job in itself at times! There is only so much you can do, but I’m a firm believer in making the effort and doing what little bit you practicably can.

Sadly, I did not see too many companies dealing in recycled goods at Spring Fair; a few or some with small recycled ranges, but not as many as I’d have liked to have seen given the growth in popularity for recycling and ethical choices in our lives. It seems that the cost of recycling to produce "new" items is still prohibitive which is a great shame. Certainly it is a very labour intensive process, but I think (depending upon the processes used) worth it in the long run and if items that have long been discarded can be made into something useful and loved once more, then I’m all for it.

Sorry, I love you man... more than words can say - Binary Code art cards.


I Love You Man...

...more than words can say!

I like mixing science and art. This week I am continuing my theme of mixing computer science and art in my series of Binary Code art cards. They feature binary code messages on a love theme (don't worry, I've translated them too!) and are hand foiled in gold and holographic red. They also feature some fancy cut work and some recycled floppy disks (the actual floppy bit) which were left overs from making my floppy disk notebooks that feature in my ArtFire and Folksy shops (I waste nothing)! Can you spot where I've used them? No? You need to look a little closer... ;-)

Got it yet?!

I'll be adding to my Binary Code art cards collection over the weeks and months - watch out for the latest additions!

Not only perfect for the special computer-loving person in your life, these make great cards to send to anyone who likes something a little bit different from the norm. Valentine's Day, anniversaries, proposals, weddings, declarations of plain undying love or just days where you have totally and utterly stuffed up and need to bring a smile to their face (as well as say sorry)...

Check them out in my ArtFire or Folksy shops this weekend!

Featured in another ArtFire collection!

Somewhat delighted and honoured to be included in another collection on ArtFire today! There’s some great stuff featured in the Technology Collection on ArtFire alongside my 3.5” floppy notebook too – check it out!

New Year, New You?

The doors are open once again - I promise some interesting things lie ahead for Mint To Be in 2011, in what will hopefully be an exciting year.

What does the New Year mean for you? New Year, New You? I found this a particularly interesting read today, particularly as I have migrated from "the other side": Is working with your hands better than just with your head?