Saturday, 31 January 2015

Having had a go at oversized flowers, my thoughts turned to a more dainty sort.

As you can see from the top of my blog, there is an option to go to my other site: and The de Winton Paper co is my latest venture of beautiful hand painted wedding stationery.

I am starting the rounds for Wedding Fairs and it has suddenly dawned on me that I need an eye catching stand. Set design is my day job, but after a bit of research, I have realised there are some seriously impressive and professional stands out there and I need to keep up.

In all the stationery companies that I admire, there seems to be a common design for presenting their wares: neat minimal shelves with the cards laid out side by side in neat rows with gaps in between. Makes sense: keep it simple, stupid.

Here are some examples from some of my idols in the stationery world: Ladyfingers Letterpress

...and Rifle Paper co.

To set about making some shelves of my own, I realised I needed to create some 'walls'. Now my stand is nowhere near as grand as the National Stationery Show or TopDrawer. I don't get to create a room. So instead, I purchased some large art easels with the intention to prop some boards with neat little rows of shelves upon them.

After a scavenge at the Ikea returns station and a lovely visit to the local hardware store, where the proprietor and I talked at length about the home made card market, as his Wife, it sounds, has taken over their entire house with her card making stock. He spotted my card shelf making intentions a mile off.

My unorthodox tool kit
Fortunately, a beautifully sunny day allowed me to assemble the shelves in the garden without too much fuss, although the bitter cold slowed down the wood glue's drying time considerably.

I had some paint left over from one of my first salvage projects, and despite my boyfriend's protests against 'funeral' grey, I think it is a really good colour to put my watercolours against, not to strong to overpower the work but not white so that they disappear all together!

Despite my best efforts, the edges weren't as crisp and neat as I was hoping, but not to worry! I really loved making those paper flowers, and thought this was an opportunity to make a beautiful abundance of blooms to cascade around my stationery.

This time I needed to make the flowers in a bit more detail, so after a bit of internet trawling I found a few beautiful methods and morphed them into my own step by step project.

You will need:
  • florist's wire
  • pliers
  • florist's tape
  • all purpose glue
  • scissors
  • lots of tissue paper. I chose to do them ALL WHITE.
The first step is creating a stem. Cut a short length of wire for your stem. Cut a 4cm x 20cm rectangle of tissue. (if you are going to be making lots of flowers, remember you can cut out multiple tissue shapes without much trouble, just fold up a piece of tissue many times). Take one of your rectangles and snip down along one side, lots of snips about 2cm long to make a fine fringe. Roll the unsnapped side around your wire and fix with some florist tape.

To create petals, you can get creative and vary on this original template. To make a daisy like petal row, cut out a rectangle of tissue paper 6cm x 40cm, fold it up a few times length wise and cut curved petal shapes. Make sure not to cut the folded shape out completely, like if you were making a string of paper people.

Take one line of petals and pleat and fold around the stem head. I added dabs of glue as I went as well as finishing off wrapping a piece of florist's tape around the tissue.

And this is the point you can strike out on your own. cut different length and width petal shapes, add extra layers of petals.

Back to my shelves. The time had come to assemble the flowers around the edge of the board.

For this section you will need:
  • a drill
  • drill bit to make a hole large enough to fit the flower stem through with all its bulk of florist's tape
  • all purpose/pva glue and spatula
  • gaffa tape/

I just went with my intuition in terms of layout. It is important to make sure you have a range of different flowers to give it that organic feel. It is also useful to have lots of little ones to plug any small gaps.

Drill a hole in the board, dab some glue around the hole, poke the flower through, pressing firm, but making sure not to squash the delicate petals (you can always fluff it up afterwards). At the back of the board, bend the wire so it sits flat on the back of the board and place a piece of gaffa tape over it.

I also glued some of the petals in place on the front of the board to ensure the flowers looked present and correct at all times.

Friday, 30 January 2015

More Alice in Wonderland Photoshoot DIY makes

I'm pretty chuffed with these Queen of Heart Cupcakes, as I am in the small minority of people who are not avid bakers, and certainly not keen cupcake decorators. I also didn't have a heart cut out so these were all cut free hand. The cupcakes graced the mad hatters tea party table. 

We also had an option for some oversized tissue flowers floating around in the background. The internet is awash with tissue paper flower DIY projects. Here is how I did mine: 

I first chose my palette, this is Wonderland so I was afforded a bit of artistic licence. Pale peach and deep blue seem to create a pleasing contrast. 

I cut out my petals: the joy of tissue paper is that you can cut out numerous pieces in one go, so I took a folded wedge of tissue paper in each colour and cut out roughly 12 petals in three increasing sizes.

You must forgive me for less than beautiful photography. These were very much taken in the heat of making, often with my wrong hand free!

I took half of the smallest petal size, and pleated the narrower ends in my hand, bunching up a bouquet of petals and creating a stem stump which i wrapped with some sellotape. This stem is very important to keep pronounced throughout adding petals as it helps centre the flower and will also be a useful protruding piece to attach a real stem to later on.

Turn it over and you will see you have the start of a flower forming.

Turn the flower back over so it's wrong side is facing you. Take the remaining smallest size petals and do another layer of adding, keeping the stem pronounced. Always add petals from behind and always start with the smallest size.

This second layer is to ensure you have an even distribution of petals, so keep looking at it from the front to see where new petals need to go.

Before you add the next size up of petal, my advice is to spiral a bit of glue around the centre back of the flowers, this helps the flower stay together and keep that cupped petal shape as you add more and more petals.

Once you are out of the smallest size, move on to the next size up. Repeat the initial petal adding steps.

Looking at it from the front you will see a beautiful (and in my case, a bit bonkers) flower forming.

Keep that stem stump pronounced!

Once you have added all the petal layers, add a few pieces of tape to the back of the final layer to keep the back petals from flopping backwards.

These look pretty beautiful in their abstraction. If you want to go a bit further in creating a more flower like bloom you can do the following:

Next steps: I added scrunched up fine strips of a bright orange tissue paper to the centre, just by putting a blob of glue to the centre and pressing a bundle of the scrunched up tissue in.

I got some dowel from a local builders yard (also available at craft shops but often a lot more expensive), fitted a foam board base and sprayed it a bright and strange turquoise green colour. To attached the flower to the stem, I made sure the flower stem stump was pronounced enough and took two thin strips of gaff tape and wound them round both the stem and the flower stump.

To weight the foam board base, I simply sprayed a large pebble the same colour as the base and placed it on the base.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Alice in Wonderland shoot DIY makes: Bow

There seem to be bows a plenty in Alice in Wonderland. It may have something to do with it's edwardian origins; ruffles and bows on everything possible. 

For this shoot, I am styling four characters with a playful nod to the images and icons from the stories, but not going too literal or 'costumey'.

Timing is everything, and this Christmas I managed to obtain not one, not two, but THREE miniature packs of playing card from the inside of numerous pulled crackers.

They are a fantastic resource as their diminuitive scale allows you to do some really delicate work. This fan of cards is the beginnings of a hair accessory for the Queen of Hearts.

Bow Tie

You will need:

  • miniature playing cards
  • all purpose glue
  • scissors
  • sellotape
  • 3/4 m black ribbon 1 cm width.

I took four cards, two for each side of the bow tie and concertina folded them. I overlapped the inner edges on each side to give it a bit of structure.

I fixed it with glue and some tape on the back edge. I then took one more card and concertina folded it to match the central folds and placed it on top of the centre of the bow tie and glued in place.

I wrapped black ribbon around the middle and strung another piece of black ribbon inside this loop to make a neck tie for the bow tie. This one ties at the back and is hidden under the collar. I am sure if you wanted a more permanent playing card bow tie you could fix a proper bow tie fastening, but this works perfectly for this shoot!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Style File for The Bristol Magazine, behind the scenes

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes on a photoshoot? My blog takes you into the unseen world of the hard working people you don't see in front of the camera. For the Bristol Magazine Style File it was a different kettle of fish as I became the model.  Thankfully, years of watching models at work gave me an ounce of hope. 

We had a great time shooting the looks for the style file at The Strawberry Thief, an elegant beer bar on Small Street in Bristol
photo Anthony Jolliffe
photo Anthony Jolliffe
Here I am with Shari Knowles, our incredible makeup artist, getting ready for the January look. You can read all about Shari's techniques and chosen products in the magazine, but just in case you aren't local, here's how she achieved this look

"I wanted to define the features without trying too hard to make a statement with makeup. 

I prepped the skin with Oilatum natural repair face cream. I used Bobbi brown foundation stick in porcelain to give a satin finish to the skin. To reduce under eye darkness I used a Bobbi brown tinted eye brightener in bisque and a Bobbi brown concealer in porcelain. To keep skin fresh, I only powdered the T zone. 

I mixed a mid brown and an ash coloured eyeshadow and ran this through the brows with an angled brush. Using an eyeshadow is much softer than a pencil. 

On the eyes, I used a neutral eyeshadow from mac with a satin finish. I used a soft brown eyeshadow in the socket to define the eye shape. I lined the eyes with Bobbi brown gel liner on a fine brush in the colour caviar ink. It's slightly softer than black. Always end with black mascara, it will make the whites of the eyes look brighter! 

To keep the skin fresh, I used a cream blush in the colour something special from mac. It works so well over a creamy foundation. 

Finally the lips have a hint of coral and a clear gloss on top."
Shari Knowles

photo Anthony Jolliffe

 Amanda Thomas was shooting and Ella Hawkey of Atelier Clifton did wonders with my hair!

'With Harriets's hair we first worked a soft set,  pin curled the nape to accentuate the A- line shape, then blasted the curls out with Label M's Sea Salt spray. This creates maximum texture and a contemporary take on vintage waves.'
Ella Hawke

photo Anthony Jolliffe
What I'm wearing for this January shot 
  • Snood Amber Hards knitwear leather fringe from recycled leather jacket 
  • Vero Moda Banita cable knit jumper £25 Amulet Boutique 
  • Ingenue CeCe Trousers in Chocolate Snake Print - £54.00 Amulet Boutique 
  • Boots stylist’s own
photo Anthony Jolliffe
l-r Harriet, Shari, Ella, Amanda
leaning in to getting a look at the shot
It took a fair amount of makeup to get me looking good!
photo Anthony Jolliffe
Posing up a storm in the Strawberry Thief bar
Here is the finished look, complete with liberty print covered heels, which you can find out how to make here
photo Amanda Thomas