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April Favourites & Huxley’s Egg Rolling Adventure

So March got skipped over – I was so busy that I kind of forgot most of what I actually did that month… but April was great, so here are a few of my favourites from last month!

Illustration of favourite things in April

1. I made some more hand-blown Easter eggs! The one with the boxing hares is my favourite of the three I painted this year.

2. Egg rolling at Kelvingrove Park! It was my first time ever and Huxley made it the funniest experience! He loves eggs, so he ran after the first egg that went down the hill and immediately started eating his snack. Then he noticed more eggs tumbling down the hill around him and started going from one to another eating them as fast as he could, he probably thought he was the luckiest dog in the world. We ended up picking up as many as we could, but he still managed to eat 5 or 6, which really can’t be that good for a little dog… he seemed happy enough though.

3. New plant friends! I love being out in the forest or on a beach and since that isn’t always possible due to the weather here, it’s nice to have some of the outdoors inside too for those days I’m stuck at my desk. I ordered a few plants from Perfect Plants – highly recommend! They are really healthy, good quality plants and there was only one broken leaf. They also have a great selection, so I have a little wish list going now. I got a little maranta (aka prayer plant) from a shop around the corner too and I am in love with it. I’m still not bored of watching the leafs fold themselves up at night.

4. I brought my empty Lush containers back to one of the shops and the girls marvelled at the French on some of the labels! I’ve been collecting them for a while, so there are a few from Canada. Apparently there was at least product they actually don’t make anymore so I guess I need to bring the pots back more often… Anyways, I got a free face mask in return for this long-term recycling project and I chose the BB Seaweed. It smells like lavender and seems to be gentle enough for my sensitive skin.

5. Pierogis! It’s been years since I last made any and I made a batch of cheese and onion and another of bacon (which were kind of like if a baked potato was in a dumpling) and it took about a day and half from start to finish. Never again am I making dumplings on my own unless it’s a tiny batch, which I don’t seem to be able to do… I’m also pretty sure I managed to bruise my hands…

6. Wax melts from Candelle & Co! I met Danielle at the Pop Up Shop in Kirkintilloch back in March and have only just finally gotten around to trying out some of her wax melts. They are amazing – I’m currently in love with the Salted Caramel and Pistachio.

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Hand-painted Easter Eggs

Happy Easter Weekend!

Last April, I made a tutorial on how to create hand-blown Easter eggs. You can find the tutorial here if you’re interested in trying it yourself. This year, the only things I did differently was to spray paint the white base-coat on the eggs. I highly recommend doing this since it saves a lot of time and it dries quickly so that means you can start doing the fun painting sooner! I also used gouache instead of acrylic paints this time, since I could use up the leftover paint from some of my palettes.

Here are the results:

Hand Painted Easter Eggs with tulips

If you’ve painted eggs this year leave a link in the comments, I’d love to see them!

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Spring Sale & a Mother’s Day freebie!

It’s only 3 days into Spring here in Scotland and so far it seems a lot like where I’m from in Canada, which means rain and sun and snow all in the same afternoon! I love all the daffodils and narcissists that are growing absolutely everywhere here despite the weather though, they’re a little bit of cheer amongst what can turn out to be a grey and dreary day.

Our cards and notebooks are so very bright and happy too, so to create a bit of cheer ourselves we’re having a one day sale in the Hux Loves Honey Etsy shop this Sunday 26 March! Use the code ‘SPRINGAHEAD2017’ during checkout to receive 10% off your order.

Stationery Sale Banner

It’s also Mother’s Day in the UK on 26 March! With our move at the beginning of the month I unfortunately wasn’t able to get the Mother’s Day cards finished up and sent to the printers in time. Luckily I made a postcard last year that you can download and print for free though! Find it here.

Lastly, if you’re in the area we’re at the Regent Centre in Kirkintilloch until Saturday for a Pop Up event! Come by to say hi, peruse some lovely local talent and have a taste of my first attempt at homemade tablet – don’t worry, it actually turned out well enough that I’ve been asked by a few people if I’m selling it!

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February Favourites

Illustration of February favourites

This is the first thing I’ve had time to sketch since we’ve moved into the new flat!
Here are a few of my favourites from last month:

1. Corgi Kisses Card – I had a new card printed for Valentines Day! It’s great for other occasions too of course, such as an anniversary, love card, for your friend who adores Corgis or maybe even as a just because card. Lots of possibilities.

2. Vintage Goodies – Since the flat we moved into is unfurnished we’ve had to purchase well, pretty much everything. Chris and I found some great second-hand mid-century furniture and drove to a few different towns around Scotland to pick it up. I’m in love with all of it! We also found some mismatched vintage dishes. I prefer to have my dishes with all different patterns because A. There will always be some particular mug, etc that is someone’s favourite for when they visit. B. Because things get broken anyways, so it won’t matter since nothing matches anyhow. And lastly, C. Probably because that’s how I grew up.

3. Aquarius – We watched all of the first season of Aquarius on Netflix last month. Some of it is super cheese-ball 70s cop show style, but overall Chris and I agreed that it was pretty good. The best part was probably all the google searches about Charles Manson’s life to find out which bits were true.

4. Scandinavian Comfort Food – I bought this cookbook by Trine Hahnemann and the first recipe I made from it is the Roasted Chicken with Rhubarb and Tarragon. It is delicious. And so easy to put together! I’m a pretty big fan of rhubarb, but Chris is not. He decided not to tell me this until we were actually eating the meal and I got one of those “I don’t actually like rhubarb ever… but this is great!”

5. New Product Photos – Last month I took new photos for my Etsy shop! There’s still so much to do, but it’s a good start and got my Belated Birthday card featured on Craftsposure’s Instagram! This month will see new photos for the tote bags and art prints too, so keep an eye out.

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January ‘Food’ Favourites

February is more than halfway through, so I’m definitely late posting my favourites from last month, but here goes anyways:

Illustration of my favourite things in January

While thinking back through the month, I decided to focus on the food! Being back to a normal grey-rainy winter can mean not getting out and seeing many new things. Luckily it also means it’s comfort-food weather, which I can appreciate.

1. Burn’s Supper: I had my very first Burn’s Night! Not just in Scotland. Ever. And I got to have not one, but two, so I feel very lucky because it’s a simple meal but very tasty. It also totally embodies the Nordic concept of “Hygge” that everyone is so obsessed with lately because you’re having a wonderful meal with good company.

2. Borscht: I made a massive pot of borshct. And not just any borscht, Doukhobor borscht. There was/is a large Doukhobor population in British Columbia, Canada. And while I didn’t grow up in that particular region of the province, my mother did and it seems that everyone who has lived there loves the cooking of the Doukhobors and craves it once they’ve moved away, so we had this soup quite a few times during our own childhoods. It’s lovely and filling and definitely comforting with some buttered crusty bread!

3. The Rum Shack: I went to my very first pub quiz last month. It was much more fun than I was expecting, but even better was The Rum Shack around the corner! I love rum and they have some amazing cocktails and some great choices just for sipping as well.

4. Pies: Chris and I went to Aberdeen for a few days at the beginning of last month. I saw proper snow for the first time in a very long time, but we also had some really fantastic food! We had amazing Thai food that was so fresh Chris actually ate prawns (he usually avoids seafood). I also found a little bakery while I was out on my own and had my first macaroni pie and brought back pineapple tarts for Chris – his favourite. Before the drive back home we went to another bakery and got the best banoffee pie I’ve had so far. I really wish we had gotten two…

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Check out our New Product Photos!

Since it’s the first blog post of the month, I should be doing ‘January Favourites’…

But the new product photos for the Hux loves Honey Etsy shop are finally ready! It’s taken many, many hours to put them all together and although I’m not a professional, they are definitely a massive improvement on the digital mock-ups I was using for the sake of getting the shop open!

Here’s a little sample of some of the new photos:

I love you more than pancakes card

Birthday Piñata Card

Blue Floral Notebook

That’s it for the sneaky peek, check out my Etsy shop to see the rest. And don’t forget to have a look at the Love Cards – Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away!

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Corgi Kissing Booth Cards are Here!

The Corgi Kissing Booth cards have finally arrived! They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day, but would be a cute card to receive any day of the year, especially if you’re a dog lover.

They’ll be up in the Hux Loves Honey Etsy shop on Friday. I hope you guys love them as much as I do!

Corgi Kissing Booth greeting cards

This is my first corgi-themed card, as there was a customer at the Etsy market in December who requested them. I also had a request for badgers and otters, so they are in the works too if you happen to be a fan too! If there is anything else you’d like to see, just let me know – a different animal maybe, or a type of card?

Just a short post today, hope you’re having an amazing week!

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Meet the Maker with Laura M Designs

Meet the Makers Logo

This has been in the works for months now, but with all the busyness of events – moving, the holiday season and launching Hux Loves Honey – unfortunately the “Meet the Maker” series had been put on hold. Up until now that is!

The idea was to interview makers and artists in Scotland and other parts of the UK so that I can get to know my new home and we can all meet some amazingly talented people at the same time! In joining the Glasgow Etsy Team, I’ve already been able to meet some wonderful, crafty folks and I met Laura during one of the monthly Twitter chats before I’d even arrived in Glasgow. Although we haven’t met, she immediately made it onto my ‘favourite people’ list because of her warm and friendly nature.

Laura is trained in Graphic Design and Illustration and makes beautifully detailed paper cut cards, framed prints and scenes. Nature is a major theme in her work and there are plenty of animal and floral designs.

 Laura at the Country Living Fair

Here are 10 questions we asked Laura about herself and her paper cut illustration business back in July:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how your business started:

A little bit about me :  I just turned 25 the other day! Scary! I also live in Lanarkshire where my partner and I bought our first house a few months back with our two Papillon dogs – Louis and Eady, and absolutely love being in the countryside (where I grew up)! I’ve always been into anything, and everything art related so I knew I would always end up doing something creative! I studied graphic design at University in Glasgow, and during my final year I was asked to be a bridesmaid. I wanted to create a really special wedding gift for the bride and groom, and so I used my graphic design and illustration skills and came up with my first ever laser paper cut. It took quite a few months of people telling me I should  make a business of it for me to take the plunge, and I’ve never looked back since!

2. What kind of tools or materials are involved in making your creations?

I began by laser cutting all of my designs (the material I began using was a thick, sturdy mount board material which allowed for delicate, intricate designs which were also super strong and durable!) , but gradually I’ve added hand cut and die cut pieces into my work too – I love trying out new techniques all the time!

Bespoke Wedding Invitations

3. Where does your inspiration come from?

I get inspired from all sorts of things! Whether it’s other people, videos on YouTube or places – I recently returned from a trip to Barcelona where I was shocked by the number of people sleeping on the streets. It inspired me to help do something about it and I’m now in the process of collaborating with a wonderful charity called Arrels Fundacio, in which I’ll create a series of paper cut prints and donate all the profits from sales to the charity, to help raise awareness and much needed funds to help homeless individuals within the city get their lives back on track.

4. Are there any other makers or artists you admire or look up to?

Ooooooh SO many! Holly Exley  is a fabulous water colour illustrator – her work never fails to amaze me! Also the work of Meadow and Fawn and also Nina Stajner!

Layered Rabbit Scene in Bell Jar

5. When do you feel most creative?

On the weekends, when I should probably be taking some ‘me’ time!

6. What do you do if you have a creative-block?

Usually going for a walk, or browsing Pinterest!

7. How do you relax and recharge when you’re not working?

I love reading, drawing (kind of still working!) or if all else fails watching a good movie or TV series  with a huge bar of chocolate!

8. What can you absolutely not live without?

Ooooh….probably by Macbook Pro, graphics tablet and chocolate (yes, really!)

Birds Print

9. Do you have any advice for other small businesses/artists/entrepreneurs?

Never, ever give up. All businesses start out small, you just need to keep going with it! Believe in your own ideas!

10. What are your future goals for your business? / What is something you’re excited about that’s coming up for your business?

Oooooh I have so many dreams and plans for Laura M designs – finding time to plan them is the tricky part! I’m most looking forward to taking part in the Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair again this year and also Etsy Made Local – those events were both incredible for my business last year and really took things to another level, so I’m excited to see what happens this year! :)

Thank you so much for letting us learn more about you and your creative business Laura! 

You can find Laura M Designs on her website and Etsy, as well as:

Twitter: @illustrative_be

Instagram: @lauramdesigns

Facebook 

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Gouache Colour Swatches

Happy Wednesday!

Depending on how well we know each other you may already know this, but I hate crowded places. We left our holiday shopping until just a few days before Christmas and while it wasn’t the most awful thing in the world, I didn’t enjoy it either.

So when all the emails started rolling in advertising the holiday sales for my favourite shops, my first reaction was “Ooh!” and then “Uuuurrrghh… Nooooo…” when I remembered that meant going back into the madness that is the Boxing Week and also January Sales in the UK.

Luckily for myself and others like me who would rather be nice and cozy at home than out battling crowds, there is online shopping! So I ordered some new art supplies which arrived over the weekend – yay!

The most difficult part of the whole process was just figuring out which colours of gouache to order.

Winsor Newton gouache swatches

I know that sounds silly, but the little colour swatches on the shop page were completely different from the ones on the Winsor & Newton website, which made it that much more difficult to figure out which colours I would use the most. WN have little descriptions for some of the colours, which is sort of helpful, but after doing a search on Pinterest and Google trying to find other artists or illustrators that have used these paints, I didn’t come up with much.

Since my goal is to eventually try out every colour of the WN brand gouache, I made my decisions based on budget and the holes in my collection – I’ve been keeping track of which colours I have, which ones I use the most and which ones aren’t part of my collection yet. And I swatched these new ones, so that anyone else having the same problems can use them for reference. They still might not be 100% accurate due to the difference in monitor displays and such, but hopefully they’re helpful!

Here is the chart, with the left swatch being the colour right from the tube and the right being a roughly 50/50 mix with the same brand of Permanent White gouache:

Full size, finished swatches

As for the paints themselves, the Viridian is my favourite. It’s beautiful with some white added for a tint, but the colour on its own (with water for the right consistency) seems to be cracking even though the paint hasn’t been applied thickly. Honestly, I don’t know enough about it to know if it’s maybe due to age or the pigment is just fragile? But the lighter swatch is fine – no cracking to be found.

There are also a few colours that you need at least 3 coats to get a fairly solid result, such as the Primary Red, Ultramarine and Cerulean Blue. The tints had good coverage with just 1 layer of paint though.

I plan on making more swatches for all the other colours if anyone has any specific requests for the next chart – let me know in the comments!

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