The Blog Society & a Collaboration


Yesterday I went to the Blog Society Workshop Launch: Embracing The Art of Digital Story-Telling.  I’ve been a little neglectful of my blog and thought I should go for a little jump start.

I went quite early and had a coffee at a cafe in The Rocks (oldest part of colonial Sydney) before I met up with Anastasia from Anastasia Drawing & Dreaming and Sally from Jambo Chameleon for lunch and a catch up beforehand.  I love the grounding feeling I get from catching up with other creative people and seeing how they’re doing juggling the whole life/work/family/design/make/blog thing. It’s nice to know we aren’t all superhuman and that doing it all is a struggle for most (I suspect all) of us.

It was nice to hear the blogging stories of Jaclyn, the founder of Blog Society and blogger from Little Paper Trees, Jen Bishop from Interiors Addict and Vivian Mansour from Ish & Chi.  After listening to their stories we wandered around and asked questions of various experts on photography, styling and some of the commercial ins and outs too.  Aside from getting great advice we were also able to apply some of this with all the props they brought along for us to play with.

Here are some tips that I took away from the workshop.

  • When you’re setting up a photo, position objects to lead the eye around the shot by using objects that have a relationship to each other (such as the same colour)
  • Using all hard angles can be jarring and it’s nice to contrast a hard line with something curved or soft.  It’s also just gives the shot some more interest.
  • Blog about something you are truly passionate about. (Done!) Make it something you could talk about endlessly.
  • Make a connection. Although I think we’re all trying to do that and I think this is often what drives us. That’s what I’m trying to do here: give people some access to the person behind Paper Ivy and share my creativity with others.

I should also mention that the refreshments being served were lovely.

straws and oj

Apologies for the blurry shot. I was trying to get out of the way quickly so others could grab something to drink!


Jars from Rainy Sunday

We were given pretty awesome goodie bags as we were leaving: with everything from organic chocolate to Gorman socks.  Nice!

I wish I could’ve gone out for a drink afterwards, but I didn’t feel it was fair to be coughing around people anymore (seriously, when will this cough go away)!  Despite the reassurance I received that the alcohol will act as an antiseptic barrier of some kind, it didn’t feel right!  I hope everyone had a great night.

Before I go, I should also mention that towards the end of the workshop Anastasia, Sally and I ended up talking about pretty much the same thing we started with before the workshop: how it’s hard to do everything and THEN find time to be creative.  So aside from wanting to pay more attention to our blogs, we also talked about how it would be good to sometimes just forget about the commercial side of the creative stuff we do and just release the creative valve without worrying about how it would fit in with everything else.  Sally connected the dots and suggested that we do some sort of collaboration that allows us to do what we want, but doesn’t add to our already unwieldy to-do lists too much, allows us to have some creative playtime AND also gets us to post on our blogs. A plan was hatched, but more about that in another post!

Bespoke Press TV

A while ago I received an email from Bespoke Press TV who were doing a call-out to creative businesses who might want to be featured in one of their videos. I went to take a look and I loved their work. I watched EVERY SINGLE VIDEO they made. I did not, however, respond to their call out, because I’m a chicken. I also don’t know how much time they could spend filming my coffee table and my desk, as this is where I do most of my work. ( I’m pining for for my own space to work in though.) One day I will email them back. In the meantime, if you want to see some really inspirational footage and get an insight into some other creative businesses, I suggest you go and check them out. logo


Creative Advice

I could sit here and give you unsolicited creative advice ALL DAY. Really, I could. I also suspect that I should sit down and give this one some thought before posting away. So what I might do, is share this with you in the meantime. I have shared this on facebook before, but I like the idea of having it embedded in my blog too.

This gem of wisdom is from Ira Glass. He is a bit awesome. If you are not yet across it, you should also check out his (deservedly) wildly popular podcast: This American Life. Trust me when I say you should not care that this is American if you are not. There are themes in this that we can all relate to and are just plain interesting.

Anyway, here is the bit you really should listen to…

Life inStyle Sydney – February 2013

Life inStyle is a design trade show showcasing lots of eye-candy from stationery, linen, shoes, jewellery, kids clothes and toys and lots more.  I’ve chosen to just focus on 4 exhibitors, because honestly, there was so much to look at and so much great stuff that I couldn’t possibly cover it all and I really wanted to spend some time just absorbing.

The first exhibitor I approached was Yumi from and O design, based in Melbourne, Australia. The thing that attracted me to her work was actually the porcelain brooches she had tucked away at the back and her gold and silver coated lustre pieces, but she also seemed to have her own take on the “round bead necklace” (you know what I mean, everyone has a version). I googled her and discovered her Etsy shop. Oh my!  I already liked her work, but this was a bit of a revelation. She was immediately favourited. My husband will be directed to my Etsy favourites on the next gift-giving occasion! The Japanese feel of her work really shone through. Yumi keeps her eye on current trends, but isn’t a slave to them and I love that she references her roots. (I should add a slight disclaimer and say that I have a thing for Japanese design and my own work even reflects this a little).


Beautiful Ceramic Jewellery from and O Design

Next up was Amy from Kookery. Her aim is to help you “Quirk your kitchen”. She has lovely linen teatowels in neutral colours, printed with witty kitchen related fun. She can also sort you out with prints for your kitchen, market totes and cards for all the foodie gifts you give. My favourite is: “To brie or not to brie. That is not a question.” So true!


Kookery – Giving you a laugh in the kitchen.

I then wandered along to chat to Rachel and Ishak from Milk and Masuki. This gorgeous couple were generous with chatting to me about the details of their beautiful and eco-conscious baby products. The fabric they use is 100% organic cotton, the designs are created and screen printed by hand, by them. Did I mention that the design is very cool too? I don’t know why so many brands think we want to dress our kids in cheesy frou frou, not here though. I loved the colour, patterns and illustrations that they use. Let’s face it. That’s what attracted me in the first place. Have a look!


Lovely baby products by Milk and Masuki

Lastly, I have to mention the great booth design from Down to the Woods. Their booth rained trails of colourful pom poms. I kind of just wanted to hang out there! I’m also big fan of their freckle rugs, hello, arrow and cloud signs, felt ribbon, mushroom lamps and other dreamy childhood themed objects.


Pom pom rain at the Down in the Woods booth.

Ah, design heaven.

Etsy Love

It’s been a pretty great couple of days for me and I think most of this good news stems from Etsy. I’m not sure whether to go with the most exciting news first or wait until the end!

Ok, most exciting first. Out of the blue I was contacted by Etsy PR in Germany (!) asking for a high res image of this card of mine (!!), because a German magazine with a rather large circulation (!!!) wanted to feature it!


Happy Birthday (to you) – Pink and Black Stars

I’m thinking it must be for a shopping page and in with a bunch of other stuff, but that’s still very exciting! I’m just really hoping that they use it. They said they needed it really quickly, but due to timezone incompatibility they wouldn’t have received it until the following day. I should really stop being so chicken and actually pitch to some magazines here! (Advice on how to not be chicken is most welcome.)

Next. A friend I met on Etsy, the lovely Anastasia asked me to come to the next ABCD meetup at Life InStyle. So I joined the group’s mailing list and registered my interest. This has resulted in me having a media pass for the event.  This means I get to bring my camera in and take lots of photos of goodies from great Australian designers and share them here on the Paper Ivy blog with you. Unless you are trade or press you wouldn’t be seeing all these goodies in one spot, so I’m very excited to introduce you to lots of new and exciting design.

What else? This week I have had items on the Etsy Australian front page twice! I had my “Thinking of you” card in green in this lovely treasury: “Green is Good” by Deb Ritchie


My blue wave cards were then on the front page in this beautiful treasury: “Sure as I’m Sittin’ Here” by Marisa.  I also have to do a shout out to the very kind Nicole from Red Elephant Creative who spotted this for me.


A big thank you to all the Etsy curators who include my work in their treasuries.

2013 The Year Ahead

At the beginning of the year I like to think about what I’d like to achieve for the next 12 months. I wouldn’t call them resolutions exactly, it’s more a planning phase. I thought I’d share some of these with you.

The first (as my newsletter subscribers will know) was to have a rest! Actually, I should say this one wasn’t planned so much as it happened organically (read: I pushed myself too hard and my body pretty much told me to ease up). This explains the month-long silence on the blog. I really needed to do a little nothing for a little while. Just to sit and watch an episode of something on TV without sitting there making something became unheard of and I think I needed to just sit still for a while and enjoy some family-time and some me-time.

Extend My Skills
So, after going on about resting, it really didn’t last all that long because I’m now doing a course in silver-smithing, on top of everything else. I’m so excited about it though and very curious to see how or if it changes the way I make jewellery… aside from it updating my personal collection. I did minor in jewellery and object design at uni, but I want exposure to other techniques. Wish me luck!

List All Current Stock
I have a lot of laser cut jewellery that I haven’t added to the shop yet, so I need to allocate lots of time to photographing and listing them all. This brings up yet another listing point…

More Occasion Items
I really want to offer a bigger range of options for people interested in special occasion cards. To start with, I have two Valentine’s Day items in the shop: a heart pendant in walnut (the first pendant offered in the online shop!) and a matching heart grid card.


Of course not everyone is a heart-pendant-wearing type, so don’t forget that other styles of brooches and earrings are available too.

More Single Cards
Traditionally I’ve offered occasion cards as single cards and art cards as packs. Now I’m starting to list all cards as single cards, but the art cards will still be available in packs of 6. A couple of single non-occasion cards have already made their way into the shop, like this one!

Update the Website
I need to do some housekeeping with the website and add a few nice visual things to make it a better experience.

What Else?
I do have some other, slightly grander plans, but I don’t want to jinx them. I’ll let you know further down the track!

Why is Paper Ivy Passionate About Stationery Design?

It should be obvious to anyone reading that I am passionate about stationery design.  I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it, but there’s probably more to it than that.  Firstly, it’s not actually just stationery that I’m passionate about.  I love all kinds of design, illustration and art.  I don’t just like to make it myself, I love the work of others, and I love to collect it, to look at it and wonder at it.  So what is it about stationery in particular?  There are a couple of things:

I love that it is tactile and sometimes textural. I love that I can hold a card and wonder about the person who made it.  It is something very real.  This is one of the reasons that at time of writing, 100% of Paper Ivy card and paper stock is textural.

I also love that it is art that people share with each other and a connection can be made with it.  This connection is enhanced by the textural aspect.  A person can be made more alert to what they are holding if it has a texture or emboss.

However, one of the great things about stationery is that it I consider it the great leveller.  I don’t require that this visual (and sometimes sensory) treasure be expensive in order to value it.  I love that for a small price, I (or someone else) can take home a small, precious piece of art.  It is precious, because being on this side of the business I can tell you that what goes into the effort is not trivial.  I think most artists, designers and illustrators deliberate long and hard over their creations.  We agonise  and obsess over colour combinations, typography, shapes, composition, character representation, sometimes narrative, look and feel.  In the end, you still don’t need much money or wall space to buy a little card with a cute design, illustration or painting on it and I love that I can send someone a little piece of something I have created.