Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Two Days in Japan - Kanazawa

I'll just finish this little series of posts on our Japan adventure with some random photos of things that appealed to me.

Of course, the cherry blossom caught me every time I saw it

We had a quick look in the gold leaf museum and thought maybe I'd fancy this set up for my studio next time I have a re-arrange! The history of gold leaf in Kanazawa goes way back. It was a really interesting museum; such a complicated process, but so little time to absorb all the information.

I have a fascination for pavements and grills - love this one

One of the many temples we stumbled upon, this one in the old part of the town:

A tiny but enchanting garden:

Everywhere you went you could come across little strings of things dangling, like these segments of bamboo with faces drawn on them. They made us smile!

Another little garden, just beside a house where you could take a rest from your busy tiring day:

Walking your dog - we saw lots of dogs being walked, or pushed in prams, or carried. 

And just like in Taipei and London, you can rent a bike:

We stopped for some lunch and a cup of tea; here our water is being boiled for our tea, just in front of where we were sitting at the counter.

Japan is good at cute - I've no idea what this poster is about but I loved it. If any of you know what it says, do write the translation in the comments

Another temple, with the fortune telling papers that they so love

These were stacked up beside one of the temples - we think they may be filled with sake

The umbrella stand at the entrance of the Museum of Contemporary Art - no wet umbrellas go into shops or museums. If you have a particularly precious umbrella, you can put it in the lock up stand instead.

Now this was handy for us, not reading Japanese - all the meals on the menus are made up in plastic so that you can see what you can expect on your plate. 

And we thought this a rather fine newspaper display:

We braved a truly Japanese lunch bar where we sat on the floor and had our lunch of tofu and noodles. Really delicious as it turned out

And finally the new Shinkansen bullet train that took us back to Tokyo and our flight back to Taipei:

A truly inspiring and memorable experience

Monday, 13 April 2015

Two Days in Japan - Kanazawa Old Town

Day 2 of our Japan adventure took us to the old part of Kanazawa, known as the Higashi Chaya District. What a contrast to the rest of the town! 
Chaya translates as teahouse, and this is one of the areas of teahouses, entertainment and Geishas. We could have rented a kimono each and spent the day wandering gracefully around the area - there were plenty of kimono-clad girls walking about

Two-storey wooden buildings with paved streets and lanterns. 

And then quite by chance we came across a wedding where we were made most welcome:

We really did have a memorable time, filled with calm, bowing and smiling. Perfect.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Two Days in Japan - Cherry Blossom

Since September it's been full on work down in the studio, but I've taken a whole month out to recharge and to visit my daughter in Taiwan.We made a quick visit over to Japan as we reckoned it may be the only opportunity I get to visit. Two full days, that's all. Bonkers, but fab and full of inspiration!

Landing in Toyko, the plane was delayed so we missed the train up to Kanazawa where we were headed. An early start the next day and a ride on the new bullet train, Shinkansen, meant we arrived by 9 am and still had a full day ahead of us. The weather forecast suggested that today would be the finer of the 2 days, so cherry blossom it was.

The little loop bus took us straight to Kenroku-en Gardens and the Castle park. I hope you enjoy these cherry blossom photos:

Monday, 1 September 2014

National Thinking Of You Week Event

National Thinking of You Week has been launched by the Greeting Card Association to highlight the emotional power of sending and receiving greeting cards. The aim is to create a wave of love, caring and happiness across the nation by getting everyone to send a card a day during the last week in September.

We're so happy with this initiative as it's just exactly what our cards and our philosophy is about. We've never been about birthday cards; we've always been about special cards for special people (and that's all of us) for any occasion and for "just because" occasions. 
So completely out of character, we are joining in the celebrations and are holding a week long event at our HQ - it's actually quite exciting!

Woolly Sheep Greeting Cards

This is what we are going to do, and it would be fab if local people could come along and support us:
  • Pick up your address book and come to our HQ in Garboldisham between 9 and 12 every morning in the week of September 22 - 26
  • Choose up to 7 of our woolly cuddly cards at half price - what a great opportunity to have a good look at all the zillions of woolly animal cards we do, and to discover that we're more than just about sheep and dogs.
  • Sit at our lovely big kitchen table and write each of the cards to someone special in your life. We will have some creative help on hand to help inspire you 
  • Drink our tea or coffee, eat our cake (I must improve my baking skills, so am keenly watching the BBC's Bake Off series for some hints and tips!)
  • Enjoy some time out of your normal routine to sit and relax. 
  • We will post the cards for you - we will have stamps available.
  • For every card you write and send, you will receive a free raffle ticket. So 7 cards sent gives you 7 chances to win the raffle (which will be some sort of stationery products from our portfolio)


We will also be highlighting how we will be supporting our charity of the year. This year we have chosen to support Nelson's Journey, a Norfolk charity supporting bereaved children. You can read about the amazing things they do here

We will be showcasing these 2 activities at the business exhibition in Diss (open to the public and to businesses), Diss on View so do pop along and find out more

It's going to be a really fun week, and we would love to see lots of people queuing at the door with pen and address book in hand.
Will you be there?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

How to Turn Unwanted Greeting Cards into Colourful Bunting

For an inexpensive bunting have a go at doing something along these lines. 

I had a pile of greeting cards that we had discontinued, and since I hate waste of any sort, I thought I'd recycle them into a colourful length of bunting. Here's what I did:
I roughly tore the cards into triangle shapes aiming to get a rough edge along the torn edges

The rough edges will soak up water nicely; mix up some colour in water. Using what I had to hand I used ink for one colour and dilute watercolour for the rest. But you could use anything that is water soluble - experiment with acrylic or even food dye.

Dip the torn edges into the dilute colour so that the colour can be taken up by the paper: 

And hang the triangles up to dry; I used a clothes airer and some pegs as they were both handy:

Once you have a nice stack of colourful triangles it's time to chose your ribbon. I decided on this simple green and white gingham ribbon from Jane Means Ribbons. I think it looks fab with these colours and brings the whole together.

Collect together all that you will need to assemble your bunting. White pva glue is perfect, and I use either bulldog clips or clothers pegs to hold the ribbon in place while the glue is drying.

Sometimes it's easier to work on the floor!

And then you're ready to party, or decorate your room. The bunting is one sided, since the greeting card design will be on the back, but hey, it just feels so good to create something fun out of all those old cards (especially all those Christmas cards from previous years)

How have you recycled old cards in the past? I'd love to hear your creative ideas.