News: Top Drawer 2014

So I’ve been rubbish at blogging of late but can I just say in my defence that I have been working all hours since November and I just haven’t been able to do it! Part of this manic amount of work was due to January’s Top Drawer preparations!

We had a great show, super busy and a really great response to all our new ranges! Here’s some piccies of our stand, with the crepe paper flowers I made (with help from some lovely friends, as it turns out crepe paper flowers take a while to make!) I also made a late decision to sign up for Spring Fair so we’ll be there next week in Hall 4 on standA438. I’ll post more on Top Drawer later.

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inspiration: Judith Kerr

So I’ve been very busy and finding it hard to find the time to blog but I’ve got a few minutes whilst I have my cup of tea to show you – if you’ve never seen, or remind you if you grew up with – the gorgeous world of Judith Kerr.

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I grew up with her ‘Mog’ books and of course ‘The tiger who came to tea’, I loved these stories, the illustrations, the world she drew which was so identifiable to mine, it was the kitchen in the Mog books with the seventies(?) Formica units like ours, the food, everything. We had a cat too, later on that was abandoned and looked like Mog’s double, I remember I used to get upset as child when Mog was thrown out in the cold, or with the trauma of the new baby! Her picture books represent everything that I loved about growing up when I did, and they stand the test of time as children still love them today, I recently read ‘The tiger who came to tea’ to my best friends little girl and she loved it as much as I did.

Her life too is a fascinating story in itself and if you want to know more then try here.

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Judith Kerr with Mog

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Judith Kerr’s studio

I heart… Saul Bass

Ok, so I have been finding it hard to find time to blog lately, but this morning in my studio I came across the Saul Bass Google and was reminded how much I love the guys work, and how I think this is a pretty cool little tribute piece.

Basically if you are interested in design and know nothing about Saul Bass then you should go check his stuff out. I used to really want to design title sequences, and American graphic designer Saul Bass has designed brilliant ones for the likes of Hitchcock, Scorcese etc.

Here are some of my favourites, and if you like what you see go and find out more about this amazingly talented man.

‘Casino’ was the last sequence he did before he died in 1996.

I also really like the following title sequence to ‘Catch me if you can’ which as you can see is heavily Bass influenced.

So today when I saw this google tribute it reminded me of his amazing work, and I think their tribute is pretty neat to a man who has created some of the best work in cinema in the 20th Century and influenced so many.

If you want to know more about Saul Bass look here. You can buy his Children’s book ‘Henri’s walk to Paris’ here or this book all about his work.

Here comes the sun

Finally, the sun has decided to shine on this rainy (well actually more snowy of late) little island, and I for one am rather happy about this as my creativity was hitting an all time low! So some nice news for a change, I am at last back with a computer, although yet to reinstall all my software, so you’ll have to wait for some more visually interesting posts!

A lovely friend has written some rather nice things about me on her particularly splendid blog which I would recommend you check out especially if you like me love interiors and making things, (not for the bit about me but because it’s rather nice!)

Today is a lovely sunny Sunday on which I intend to:

Walk Pip around her favourite woods

Install software on my laptop

Finish my die-cutting

Make a nice Mousakka or Mouse-ache as I prefer to call it, as my last supper before I start on my juice detox for the next 5 days, as I have succumbed to the ravings of the ‘juice master’ bought a juicer and become obsessed with juicing any fruit or vegetable that I see and want to kick start my annual pre holiday panic diet.

Wish me luck!

 

Top Drawer – well overdue!

So, it’s been a while since I had a chance to update my blog since I have been insanely busy! To quickly fill you in… So I spent all of December working loooong days getting my collection together for Top Drawer, then my long suffering friend Danielle and I went down to London for the show, we spent 2 days setting up the stand Danielle helped me set it all up and I spent a long time with some chalk!

We then had three very intense days but we met sooo many lovely people and had the most wonderful feedback to the launch of my company! It was a really great experience, exhausting but great and we took lots of orders.

So then to pack up and come home for a well earned rest apart from that didn’t happen as I came home and haven’t stopped working since!!

So now I’m just starting to work on my new collections and finding the time to catch up with my blog! (on my iPhone as my computer just decided to die!)

Here’s a few piccies of the Top Drawer stand…

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It’s been a while!

So… it has been a while since I have written any blog posts but this is because I have been so busy with work! My letterpress has consumed my life! I have taken the big step of taking a stand at Top Drawer and am madly designing new ranges and products in quite a short space of time! For anyone visiting Top Drawer I will be stand F23a in the Stationery & Greetings section. I will of course share my new designs on here in due course but as I have only just got round to photographing my Christmas collection and putting it on my shop I am majorly behind! I will be back soon to share some of my work and other news.

Life is peachy!

Peach & Rosemary Jam

I can’t stop eating peaches at the moment, Asda sell the lush little doughnut peaches from Spain for £1 a punnet and I LOVE them! So as I love these and as the price of Bonne Maman jam is now around £2 I thought sod it, I’m gonna make me some jam. After a little recipe research I found Martha Stewart’s recipe for peach and rosemary jam and I thought that sounded like just the thing, so I made it, and it was AMAZING! Here is a step by step guide if you want to do the same! It made about 6 jars worth, and I used 3 punnets of peaches and it’s definitely worth it.

TIPS:

Jars – Wash them in hot soapy water or dishwasher and then put in oven on lowish to keep them nice and hot for when you’re filling them.

Sugar – I used jam sugar as although lemon has pectin in it, it has added pectin to help it set. I also used a combination of jam sugar and vanilla sugar as wanted just a hint of vanilla but you can just use jam sugar.

Testing the jam – Get a cold plate and put a little of the hot jam on it, leave for a min to cool and then push it with a nail, if it wrinkles it’s ready!

NB:DON’T BE TEMPTED TO DIP YOUR FINGER INTO THE HOT JAM AS HOT SUGAR IS BLOODY PAINFUL!

Hot off the press and hot off the computer!

Ok so I have been busy busy busy of late, I have produced my first range of letterpress greetings cards, which I am pretty chuffed about to be honest, set up my website which I built myself from scratch and set up an Etsy shop, and secured 2 stockists! Hence my blog neglect. Please visit my new website www.imogenowen.com to see what I have been up to, and I’ll be posting more pics here soon, and if you want to like my facebook page then please do so as that would be great and you can do that here. My new card range is called ‘Say what YOU want’ and has speech or thought bubbles for you to customise with your own message/greeting.

Lavender love part II

So, my previous lavender recipe was savoury and this one is sweet, though dangerously moorish. I made these to accompany a gooseberry and elderflower fool. I love shortbread and am always on the lookout for the perfect recipe. I have adapted this recipe from Felicty Cloake’s article in The Guardian.

Lavender shortbread

Makes approx 36 heart shaped biccies!

  • 230g butter, at room temp
  • 110g Caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt (when I say pinch I mean like at least half a teaspoon)
  • 270g plain flour
  • 70g ground rice
  • Handful of lavender flowers (from pesticide-free source)
  • Zest of a lemon

Preheat oven to 150C.

If you have a magimix or blender then chuck the sugar, lemon zest and lavender flowers in it and give it a quick blitz, just so you combine the flavours really well into the sugar.

Beat the lavendery lemony sugar with salt into the butter, until it’s light and fluffy.

Seive the flour and ground rice into the butter mix and bring it together to form a smooth dough don’t overwork just make sure it’s all stuck together, roll into a ball give a little squoosh to make a very fat disc, clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill for 15 mins or so.

Lightly flour your surface and rolling pin and gently roll it out to about 5mm thick (entirely up to you how you want your biccies and how thick, but thicker biccies need longer in oven) Use your cutter to cut pretty shapes, or just make fingers. Put on non stick baking tray or line normal tray with silicon paper.

Bake in oven for about 15mins or so, until just starting to go golden around the edge.

Remove from oven, move to cooling rack and sprinkle over caster sugar. Eat when cool.

NOTE:

If you have never made biscuits before, they come out of the oven soft and harden as they cool so don’t be waiting for them to go hard in the oven or you’ll ruin them!

Letterpress tips: Using a creasing rule

Ok so, just having started using my Autovic and having not done any letterpress since uni and my memory of it being more about typesetting than setting up the machine, I have been picking the brains of anyone I can and looking all over the internet for advice. To be honest my Autovic is pretty simple to use once you’ve set it up and it’s more a matter of confidence which comes with practice. I am really happy with the results of my printing. I had, however never used a creasing rule, so after successfully setting it up and using it I thought I would share a little ‘how to…’ for anyone else out there who is new to using this.

Ok so the way I did this was to lock up the creasing rule vertically in the chase. Then to ink the edge of the creasing rule with a hand roller. Close the press up with impression on so you get a print on the tympan to help you line up where you want the creasing line. If this is in the right position clean the rule and then slide on your creasing matrix. Peel the sticky plastic tape backing off the back, close the press with the impression on and then open again. Now the matrix is stuck to the tympan and you can peel the top piece of plastic off so you are left with just the matrix channel.

You can see in the image below the matrix channel stuck on the tympan. As I don’t have gauge pins and use a lay gauge, I couldn’t use it with the creasing rule so made my own pins by cutting the ends off 2 paperclips and attaching them to some card and securing them in place with masking tape. I then lined my paper up with these and the rule, and used a piece of card and masking tape to make a side guide.

So ready to go, just pop your paper in close it with the impression on and voila perfectly creased paper.

 

The finished article! I hope this helps anyone who like me was just a bit unsure of how to do this.

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