Wednesday, 26 August 2015

'Back 2 Skool' Stationery Shopping

back to school time usually means tons of really cool stationery hitting the shops! I remember fondling wandering the aisles of Woolworths picking out just the right items that I wanted for the new year. I have always been a stationery addict you see, always! Every term I always used to have a new pencil case and bits and bobs. I think all of my pocket money went to Woolworths. Back in the day we had no where else in my town to really buy stationery so Woolies it was!

Nowadays Woolies has gone and the town still doesn't really have many places to buy nice stationery. I mean you can buy a boring old yellow sticky note but that is about it, I am talking about the stationery that we all love as journal and planner addicts. There isn't much about in the high street.

I don't very often go to a supermarket as I have my food delivered but I was over the other side of town last week and so decided to pop into Tesco to have a look at the stationery items on offer. They had a big aisle of stationery and back to school stuff but I have to say I wasn't all that excited. There were a few things that caught my eye and I did manage to snap a couple of pics with my phone without too many people thinking I was a weirdo! Here are the things that caught my eye:

I did love the cloud design but like I need another notebook!!!

I didn't buy anything though. Whilst I liked them, I didn't LOVE them, not enough to part with my cash anyway. I am trying to buy less and use more and my philosophy at the moment is if I don't fall in love with it OR absolutely need it then I don't buy it. So far it is working ok. So far!

I don't know if it is me looking back with a nostalgic view on things but I personally just don't think that the back to school range is as good as it used to be. Is it just me? Maybe because kids don't use stationery any more? I dunno, maybe I am getting a grumpy git in my old age. Or maybe, and I think I have the answer here, maybe it is because I am just so used to seeing stuff on the internet from all over the World that I get to see such exciting things that I have been spoilt. I have to say I love researching and sourcing the items for the Brimbles Box and in doing so I do get to discover some amazing items.

What do you think? Have you been doing some back to school shopping?

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Letter Bee Box - Stationery, PenPals & Journals - August Unboxing

It's Letter Bee time again! 

The Letter Bee box is a monthly box curated by Patty from Furthermore Press. The box is aimed at everyone who loves letter writing, stationery and journals. Each box is themed and all the goodies inside the box relate to that theme in some way.

About the box:
Boxes can be ordered through Patty's Etsy shop - Furthermore Press
Letter Bee box: $35US inc shipping in US   $30US + $22.50US shipping for UK which in totaly equates to £36. Patty also offers a Petite Letter Box: $22US + $5.95US shipping, outside of the US you need to get in touch with Patty so she can give you a quote.
As many of the items are unique and hand made there are a limited number of boxes each monthso get in quick if you want one!

Another super fun box and a delight to receive, use and spread the love when I write to pen pals. Next months theme looks fab too so if you don't want to miss out make sure you head on over to Furthermore Press on Etsy to buy yours!

PLEASE NOTE: I was given this / these product(s) in exchange for my honest review and opinion, the fact that I was given these does not alter my opinion in anyway. This review is my own personal opionion on the product / company, given in good faith and has not be sponsored or endorsed. The photography unless otherwise stated / credited is also my own. None of the links are affiliate links

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

How to appy to a creative design team - hints and tips!

As you guys well know, I just yesterday announced the Mrs Brimbles Creative planner and jounral design t eam which was super exciting! I recieved loads of applications (62) so I know many of you would like to be on a design team. I myself have applied to design teams and was very lucky to be accepted onto the Websters Pages design team for 2015 and to be on the guest design team for Bella Creationz / Timeless twine. Having read through all the applications and knowing what I was looking for I thought it might help to impart some of what I have learnt and found to you lovely lot to maybe help you in applying to any design team calls in the future.

So here are my tips for applying to be on a creative design team (or media team as some call it)...

*Please note: Most of these are just things I thought of along the way, please don't think I am digging at any individual in particular, I am not. These are just generalisations to help you in the future.

Your Written Application:
  1. Always read the submission criteria carefully and use that as the basis for your application. 
  2. Remember that the email that you send is your very first introduction to the company who may not know who you are. Introduce who you are with your name and where you are from in the first paragraph or opening sentenses. Believe me it is really nice to know who you are!
  3. When the company reads your email they will be thinking about how your email comes accross to them, if you are chosen to be on their design team you will be representing them and their products so they need to feel comfortable with that. Sentences and paragraphs are much nicer to read than bullet lists BUT check the submission criteria as some companies may want a list. I wanted to read about why you like planning and journalling, I didn't want one or two words.
  4. If you are worried about spelling or grammar etc, get a friend to read through it for you. Whilst you are there maybe they than can help you write a bit 'about you'. Writing stuff about yourself can be hard but a friend will always do it well and positively.
  5. Whilst we are on the subject of positivity, please don't start your application with "I doubt I will get picked but I thought I would try". Don't be so hard on yourself, for a start, why wouldn't you? You have as much chance as the next person and secondly it puts the reader on a downer before they have even read your application. Be positive, you want this so tell the company why you want it and why they should pick you. It's kinda like a job interview OK.

Supplying Photographs:
  1. If you have been asked to supply photographs of your work etc ensure that they are of a small enough size to send by email but not too large that they get clogged up. There are many online free editing software apps for you to be able to do this or if you can't use something like Dropbox and provide the links in your application. A resolution of 72 dpi is best and no more than 1000 px I would suggest.
  2. When it comes to photographs make sure that you are using and supplying your BEST images of your best work, or a project you are most pleased with. Your not expected to have the latest professional photographic kit by any means but you do need to supply the best photo possible. This means taking your photo in natural light or with as much white light as possible (household 'tungsten' bulbs produce yellow light and flourescent lights produce a blue light. Consider investing in a day light bulb which are not that expensive and will be great for when you are crafting anyway!). Try not to use flash as this blows parts of the photo out and often makes the photo look a bit naff. Yellowy dark photos aren't great and it doesn't make your work look its best nor does it make the companies products look great either. Remember you are also representing the brand when  you post images on line and over and above your written application this is what they will be looking at the most. Are the photos any good! Use your online image editing to lighten the image and make tweaks so it looks great, you can do all this on your phone these days!
  3. Take your photos on a clean, clear surface. Patterned backgrounds are great as long as they compliment the subject of your photo and not clash. Add props to stylise your photo if you like but that is different to having your general desk (or other) clutter in the background. 
  4. Not being rude but as much as your kid or cat is cute, if you are applying for a planner design team spot, send a pic of your planner on it's own without your cat on it. (no one did this, I am just saying as it popped into my head lol!)
  5. Remember that you have time to complete your application so if you work in the day and can't take photos in good natural light, wait until the weekend and submit your application then. It is better to wait and send in the best than rush it in one evening.

 In General:
  1. Again talking of links, if you have been asked to supply links to your blog and other social media accounts don't just put "you can find me on Twitter at @MrsBrimbles" because then the reader has to copy your name, open a new browser, go to Twitter...see what I mean, it can be quite long winded especially for every social media platform for every application. Always provide the url in hyperlink so that the reader can just click and go. Like this:
  2. Bigger companies may have even more applications so you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find and read and see all your information. Use a 'regular' font and size for your text too and keep it to black. Believe me when you are reading loads on screen, it is little things like this that make it so much easier.
  3. Ensure you use the subject title in your email that they have asked for. Many people set 'rules' on their email that if an email comes in with the title 'DT Application' for example, it goes into one folder or gets forwarded to another person. If you have supplied a different subject to the one that they have asked for it may go astray and get missed. 
  4. Be patient. I know it is hard as you want to know straight away but the company will have other jobs to be doing whilst waiting for applications and they make not even look at them until the deadline. There is nothing wrong in checking to make sure that your application has been recived but just be patient if it takes a couple of days for them to reply. Not all companies may be able to reply to every single application that wasn't successful so please bear that in mind and don't take it personally.
  5. As a last point, before you apply, make sure that you can commit to what they are asking. Each team is different with some requiring more commitment than others. There is nothing worse than selecting a team only to have someone drop out because they can't do however many posts a month etc.

I hope this has helped and encouraged you to just give it a try - remember you have nothing to loose!

Good Luck, and let me know how you get on!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Introducting The Mrs Brimbles Creative Planner & Journal Design Team

I just want to start by saying that I never realised how incredibly hard it would be to choose a design team. I was totally overwhelmed by the response that I had to the call out. I couldn't belive it, 62 of you applied. 62! That is just amazing and I am thrilled and honoured that 62 of you would like to be a part of that, to me that truly blew me away.

I want to say thank you to everyone who applied. I loved reading your applications and seeing your photos. I read everyone with care and browsed all of your social media sites too. I know how long it can take to compile your application and how much love, care and attention went into that as well as your time. So again I wanted to thank you most sincerely!

The task was incredibly tough as I said. 62, that is a lot and if I could, I would have you all. It took me ages to whittle it down and several cups of herbal tea I can tell you. I did in the end whittle it down to 8 people. I always said I would leave it open to how many as I knew it would be difficult to choose but I thought maybe 10 people would apply at the most you know. I felt so bad choosing between people, it was truly horrible, you all deserved it so the decision was truly agonising.

A decision was finally made though and so I am thrilled beyond words to finally announce... The Mrs Brimbles Creative Planner & Journal Design Team for 2015 - 2016 as....

Do you recognise any of those lovely faces there? I bet you do, if not I hope you will head over and show them some love.

Throughout September these lovely ladies will be blogging here introducing themselves and telling you all about them, their planners and all that good stuff but in the meantime if you would like to go and follow them here is where you can do that:

 Geraldine Jayne

Instagram: geraldinejayne
Twitter: Geraldine_Jayne


Instagram: @abstractinspiration




Twitter: @SeaSaltandPaper
Instagram: @SeaSaltandPaper


I can't wait to see what this talented bunch will get up to over the year. Each one of these ladies will be blogging here once a month to show you what they get up to in their planners and journals and I can't wait to see!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

A weavers tale...

I thought I would share something different with you today...

Many moons ago I went to college (I'm not gonna tell you how long because it makes me feel old he he!) and at college I studied art in many forms. I did the traditional drawing and painting but also some textile arts. I loved the textile arts more than I did the paining and drawing as I had less criticisms from the tutors for these. Yes I was criticised heavily by my teachers who just didn't 'get me', it's only because I loved art so much that I carried on regardless but that is another story for another day! The two textile art modules that I took where weaving and batik.

I haven't thought about my weaving for a long, long time. I used to love it though and got some very good marks for it. One day I was browsing on instagram and a weaving came up in my feed. I followed some of the hastags as I often do and found myself immersed in various weaving accounts which I have been lusting over ever since.

I decided to get my loom out again, I kept it becuase I knew one day I would use it again. Since I saw those photos I have actually made a few weavings, it's a bit like riding a bike, how to do it came flooding back to me. I am not quite as good as I used to be as following an accident I had last year with one of my hands my dexterity skills aren't quite as good as they used to be for finer work. Still I don't let that deter me, I enjoy it and find it very relaxing. As much as I like to paint and draw, there is something to be said for making or crafting somthing 3d with your hands and seeing it come to life.

I am always looking at different woold and fibres as my love for the art has never waivered. One of the things with weaving or textile arts is that it can be more pleasing to the eye to have more textures to look at so when I saw the twine from Timeless Twine I knew it would be perfect to incorporate into a weaving project!

I used the pink and white twine to create the warp. The warp is the vertical threads that you then weave your project onto. Once this was done I was then off! Here is what my finished piece looks like:

As you can see I used various shades of pink and white. I used this colour scheme as I had a friend in mind that I wanted to make this for and she loves pink!

I used a stick that I found when out on one of my walks in the woods near where I live. I love that you can bring personal elements that mean something to you into your art and your work. I used the same twine for the hanging loop.

Here are some close up images of the finished piece:

As I mentioned, this was a gift for a friend so I had to package it up all nicely. Funnily enough, packaging and wrapping is not my strong point what so ever! I have never been very good at it, I don't know why! Anyways I try my best. I used manilla tissue paper to wrap it up, folded a doilly round (I have Pinterest to thank for that!) and then used one of the other twines to 'string it up'. If I do say so myself, it looks rather nice.

I really hope my friend likes it and I hope you have enjoyed seeing something a little bit different to my usual art / journal / planner posts!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Great Outdoors - Planner Pages

Hi All, it's planner pages share time again!

I am lucky that I get to use the goodies from the Brimbles Box early and because I love everything I couldn't help but go to town with the goodies!!

Products Used

Planner: Websters Pages Color Crush Planner in Blue with matching folio
Planner Inserts: Websters Pages week on two pages
Washi Tape: White with Black hearts from Cloudy Cow, multi coloured trianges received from a RAK. The narrow washi was from the August Brimbles Box and the mint stripe and wood effect is from the Amy Tangerine 'Remarks' Washi tape booklet available in my shop.
Pen: Bic crystal in turquoise (shown in photo but not used on pages)
Pencil: From the January Brimbles Box
Paperclips: Bunny magnetic clip from Cloudy Cow, gold binder clip from the Heidi Swapp 'Minc' range available in my shop
Planner Stamps: PlanNerd series from Bella Creationz
Stickers: House (Tuesday) and Haircut (Sunday) from EllieBethDesignsUK, 'kraft' stickers I am 'test driving' for possible inclusion in future Brimbles Boxes. Happy Camper Sticker and 'a simple note' was from the set in the August Brimbles Box 'Pebbles Lakeside'. Word stickers again were from the August Brimbles Box 'Heidi Swapp Adventure Epoxy stickers'.
List Pad: Mountain design from Pygmy Cloud available in my shop.
Sticky Notes: Mountain design from Pygmy Cloud available in my shop.
Project Life Cards: Becky Higgins 'Great Outdoors' available in my shop
Planner Charm: S'mores design from the August Brimbles Box.

**None of the links are affiliate links although some of the links are for my own online shop**

As you will see my stamping is coming on leaps and bounds! I seem to make less of a mess with an older ink pad and although the ink is paler, I am actually quite liking this looks as to me it does look more 'vintage' which matches the type writer font perfectly!

I felt a little doodling was in order again this week! This is just an ink doodle coloured with watercolour.

Mr B wears 'nerd glasses' so I thought it would be great to use that stamp for our date night he he!

I love the mix of my handwriting, stamping, my doodles, washi tape and stickers. It is all of me, all of who I am rolled into my planner pages. I keep my pages all decorated up to look back on as a reflection of what I have done and what we have been up to. For me 'creative planning' is just an extension of my memory keeping and journalling!

I hope you enjoyed seeing my pages as much as I enjoy sharing them with you!

Monday, 3 August 2015

August Brimbles Box Unboxing

**If you haven't received your box this month yet, you might want to not read!!**

It's time to reveal what was in the Brimbles Box this month, the month of August! if you haven't received yours yet you might want to stop reading! UK boxes should be with you by 5th / 6th August and International after that.

If you would like to watch videos of unboxings from genuine customers as well as honest reviews from bloggers you can watch the YouTube Brimbles Box playlist As I say they are all very honest so you can get a better feel for what was inside. Here is my unboxing and video talk through of this months box:

So what was in the box this month? This months box is all about the great outdoors...

Of course there is always a postcard from me letting you know all about the theme:

All boxes follow the same theme you will have received 6 - 7 items with a total RRP of £22.50

All boxes will have received:

  • Sticky Notes
  • List Pad*
  • 60 Project life cards
  • Pack of stickers*
  • Washi tape*

*Designs received may vary from what is photographed.
Products in the photographs shown together are not to scale.

Those that ordered a planner box will have received an art (painted by me) dashboard* as well as a planner charm. One of the following dashboards will have been received (randomly chosen by me) as either Personal or A5 size depending on which box size you signed up for.

If you ordered a stationery box you will have received in replacement of the planner charm and dashboard:

A pack of binder clips from Heidi Swapp:

This month I also launched a 'Big Box' which is the same stationery box but just a big bigger. You will have received all of the items listed above as well as the following items:

  • Washi tape strips booklet
  • Paper Pad
  • Stamp

Products in the photographs shown together are not to scale.

Please do watch the above video as you can see all the products much more clearly and appreciate them better and of course you can learn more about the products and what to do with them.

I hope you like it, it was a lot of hard work sourcing a collection and putting it all together! At the time of writing I have some excess boxes available to purchase as a whole as well as some individual items so check out my online shop for those. I also have some of the dashoards and planner charms available to purchase in my Etsy Shop.

See you next month for September’s box. Remember if you would like to order a subscription or a one off box and you would like that box to be the September one you can order up to and on 31st August from:

Sunday, 2 August 2015

August 'Happy Mail Box' Reveal

**If you haven't received your box this month yet, you might want to not read!!**

Last month I launched a new box to the repertoire of Brimbles Boxes...'The Happy Mail Box'.

This box is similar but different to the Brimbles Stationery Box as this box is solely aimed at providing you with the goodies to write / send to someone else. Some of the items that you could receive are: Post cards, note cards, greetings cards, paper, envelopes, letter writing sets, tags, ribbon, gift wrap, stickers, washi tape, pens, paper clips, anything that you would use in writing to someone or sending them a gift. Please note: There may be some overlap between these boxes and ‘The Brimbles Box’ but generally speaking they are different boxes so if you wanted to subscribe to both you would be OK to do that. These Happy Mail boxes are NOT themed.

If you would like to watch videos of unboxings from genuine customers as well as honest reviews from bloggers you can watch the YouTube Brimbles Box playlist As I say they are all very honest so you can get a better feel for what was inside. Here is my unboxing and video talk through of this months box:

So what was in the box this month?

All boxes were identical. You will have received 6 items with a total RRP of £21.92

Items that were in the box:
  1. Note card and envelope set
  2. tags
  3. stickers
  4. envelope labels
  5. gel pens
  6. letter set
Products in the photographs shown together are not to scale.

Please do watch the above video as you can see all the products much more clearly and appreciate them better and of course you can learn more about the products and what to do with them.

At the time of writing I have some excess boxes available to purchase as a whole as well as some individual items so check out my online shop for those.

See you next month for September’s box. Remember if you would like to order a subscription or a one off box and you would like that box to be the September one you can order up to and on 31st August from:

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Ice cream on my mind!

I had a really busy start to my week with personal stuff going on and therefore I didn't really have much need of my planner on Monday and Tuesday. That was fine with me though as it meant that I could stick pretty things down which does make me happ that and little doodles of ice creams. Well it has been hot and I have had ice cream on my mind lol!

This week I decided to change my ink pad. I decided to give my old drying up one a go to see what difference that would make in terms of my inking. I actually found it a bit on the easier side as it meant that I didn't make so many smudges although the ink colour isn't as intense as using the other ink pad. I really love the effect that it gave for the words and arrow that you can see on Wednesday. I really like that more muted / toned down look to the ink. I also realised that when I am stamping words, I quite like them without check off boxes next to them. I don't know why, but visually this speaks out to me a lot more. It looks much more 'typewritery' which I know isn't even proper English but I just love how it looks. 

I also decided to use little hearts for ticking off and I think I may be in love with them! It make the pesky housework all that much nicer don't you think!!

Products Used
Planner: Websters Pages Color Crush Planner in White with matching folio
Planner Inserts: Websters Pages week on two pages
Washi Tape: Lora Bailora on Etsy
Pen: Target $ spot
Paperclips: Bunny paper clip from Craftin Chaos on Etsy
Planner Stamps: PlanNerd series from Bella Creationz
Stickers: Bella Creationz, EllieBethDesignsUK, PinkHedgehogPretties, SWCI Stationery and my online shop 

**None of the links are affiliate links!