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1. EASTER 2014 - petra boase

If bunnies and chicks are not for you this Easter you could find something much more sophisticated at Petra Boase. Theare six different bird cards in her range, along with a co-ordinating gift wrap would make a very stylish Easter alternative. Each card has a printed design embellished with an embroidered bird that has an iron-on backing so it can be removed from the card and ironed on to a

0 Comments on EASTER 2014 - petra boase as of 4/15/2014 4:31:00 AM
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2. CARDS - xenia taler

Xenia Taler design Inc have been steadily increasing their card collection with lots of new designs and they are currently seeking a distributor in the UK. If anyone is interested they can contact Xenia directly at this email : info@xeniataler.com.

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3. DOT COM GIFT SHOP - kids design

And finally from the Dot Com Gift Shop comes a selection of items for children with vintage style bright greetings cards and stylish card stacking blocks. Everything posted and more is available online here.

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4. Facing the Kickstarter Fears: Take a Risk

Guest post by Deb Lund

Most of you know me as the author of rollicking rhyming romps like my dinobooks, Dinosoaring, and Monsters on Machines, but preparing for a retreat with Darcy forced me to finally complete a first draft of an upper middle-grade historical fantasy. But kidlit isn’t where my writing started. My writing dreams began with wanting to write for adults, so I played with novels, short stories, and poetry. I’m getting back to trying an adult novel right now, but I’m jumping ahead here. Let me back up.

Deb Lund online.

Deb Lund online.

[DebWeb.jpg] Web site link for here and/or in bio below. http://www.deblund.com]

Years ago, I was an elementary teacher librarian who wanted a sabbatical, but my school district didn’t know what to do with me since I already had my master’s degree (which focused on teaching writing). The personnel director said I could plan out my sabbatical year and list activities that I would do, comparable to a master’s degree, and my list had to relate to my job. My first thought was, “But I wanted to work on my novel!” And then the light went on. *Kids’ books!*

These days I find myself teaching more adults than kids. I love presenting at conferences, providing continuing education courses for teachers, and offering writing classes when my schedule allows. I often say that once I figured out I could teach adults the same ways I taught kids, we all learned a lot more and had a lot more fun.

Fiction Magic Title

That’s how my 54-card deck and guidebook set Fiction Magic: Card Tricks and Tips for Writers got its start. You’ll find them on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter right now, but they won’t be there long. Why Kickstarter?

Kickstarter makes it possible for people with creative ideas to get the backing they need to pursue those creative ideas. I thought about sending the cards out to publishers, but since this project wasn’t the usual kidlit submission, I didn’t want to face another huge learning curve for this one unique project. In what genre would you place a writing-teaching card deck and book set? And with all the presentations and teaching I had done using my homemade deck, I already knew I had an audience, especially after all the requests I had from writers who saw what the prompts could do for their manuscripts.

Here’s how Kickstarter works: You design your project, come up with rewards for people who contribute to the project, explain your project in print and on a video, have it approved, set the date, tell everybody about it, and then try to reframe the ensuing anxiety as exhilaration and excitement.

Risk it All

Fears About Kickstarter

Failure. It was daunting to put myself out there like this. To be so public about the possible failure. But as a creativity coach, I know taking risks is an important part of the creative process. Failing is part of it, too. And so is picking yourself up after a fall. I’m no longer the person who had her first rejection years ago and didn’t submit anything again for 15 years.

Imposter. And then there’s the imposter syndrome. That’s how I felt today after seeing another big-name author back my cards. This one is not only getting the cards, but paying me to talk to her. I’m used to the imposter syndrome now and I don’t stay there for long any more.

This imposter business is where it’s good to have my own inner creativity coach to balance out my inner critic. Even though I’ve always prodded and been drawn to people who mentioned something they’ve “always wanted to do,” I have to admit that there were definitely selfish reasons for taking creativity coaching training, and even if I never worked with a client it would still have been worth it.


I coach myself pretty much daily. It’s not magic. You can be your own coach, too. I remind myself of my teaching and training. Of all the successes of my students and clients. Of the accomplished writers who seek me out when they hit blocks. I must have something to say. And if I do, you do, too.

Say it. Say that something that can help another find their way, see a new vision, take a risk. A risk like going on Kickstarter. A risk like joining a critique group. A risk like signing up for one of Darcy’s workshops. A risk like writing.

What risk can you take today? Not the big dream. Just one little step broken down as far as it can go. Take that step. Let us know how it went…

Deb Lund is an author, teacher, and creativity coach. She is proud to be on the Western Washington SCBWI Advisory Committee and to chair the original Inside Story. She babbles on her blogs and dabbles in the arts on Whidbey Island. See what Deb is up to at www.deblund.com.

From Darcy: Support Deb’s Kickstarter Project here. Only 6 Days to Go! The main goal has been reached, but the stretch goal is still looming! Read about it now! (“I want all my writers to have your cards.” Jen Rofe’, Agent)

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5. NEW SEASON - rosehip

Rosehip have a cute new gift wrap & greeting card collection called 'Little Dolly Wotsit'. The designs were launched at Top Drawer this spring and Silkie at Rosehip hopes to expand the range and grow her Little Dolly character into a mini brand. She also hopes to move into home wares and this super cute range will hopefully fit into that plan. Scroll down to see the gorgeous gift tags, wrap and

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6. CARDS/WALLPAPER - jessica hogarth

I love these beautiful new greetings cards from designer Jessica Hogarth which were spotted in her Etsy Shop. The designs feature a beautiful bright pastel colour palette with a hint of mid century style to the motifs. Jessica has been working as a freelance designer since 2011 and some of her designs, including her new wallpapers below, are inspired by her native North Yorkshire.

0 Comments on CARDS/WALLPAPER - jessica hogarth as of 3/19/2014 5:11:00 AM
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7. CARDS - lou mills

Lou Mills is a card designer based in Cambridgeshire. Lou creates greetings cards, which are printed in the UK, along with stationery and gift wrap. Her studio is located in a 300 year old house where a garden full of chickens inspire her designs. Lou currently has 22 ranges of cards available including fab designs for Mother's Day and Easter. See much for from Lou Mills online here.

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8. DESIGNER - madame chalet

Talking of Pulse here is another designer who will be exhibiting at the Earls Court show in May. These cute designs are from Genevieve Closuit at Madame Chalet who have an eclectic range of gifts, cards and prints for both children and adults. Genevieve is based in East London but is originally from Switzerland and all her designs are inspired by nostalgic Swiss culture. Products include

0 Comments on DESIGNER - madame chalet as of 3/13/2014 4:57:00 AM
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9. ETSY - lucy darling prints

Lucy Darling Prints is an Etsy Shop based in Scottsale Arizona. The print shop is a sister to designer Haily Meyers main store selling her cute baby sticker designs. Lucy Darling design all of their own products and print them in the USA (though they ship worldwide) and make great gifts for baby showers and are ideal for nursery decor. As seen online here at Etsy.

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10. NEW ARRIVALS - zü shop

There have been some lovely new arrivals at the Zü shop recently from designer and owner Juliette collet. These include beautiful new floral cushion designs and  gorgeous pastel colours on this set of four fruit postcards (above & below). Also new for 2014 is the little cat range of cards and bookmarks. Based in Lyon France all of Juliette's products can be found at  Zü online here.

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11. CARDS - woodmansterne

Designing cards for men can be tricky but these additions to the 'Graffiti' range from Woodmansterne certainly cracked the challenge with bold graphics and masculine colours. As seen at Woodmansterne's Pinterest page.

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12. CARDS - ellen giggenbach

this is the latest range of cards and prints for 'Image Vault' by artist and designer Ellen Giggenbach. The designs will be available soon and feature six flowers native to New Zealand. you can see these and more of Ellen's awesome works online here.

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13. NEW WORK - caroline pratt

these are some brand new works from designer caroline pratt who launched them as a range of cards and screenprints yesterday at the british craft trade fair in harrogate. the show will run until tuesday 9th if you are in the area. you can also see more from caroline at her lovely website here.

3 Comments on NEW WORK - caroline pratt, last added: 4/8/2013
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14. STATIONERY - pleased to meet

pleased to meet is another label i found through hus & hem, who are currently stocking their beautiful cards. based in berlin, germany pleased to meet is the work of daniela konn and marcel hornung who met whilst working in new york. check them out online for a cute collection of notebooks, wrapping paper and cards.

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15. NEW WORK - petra wolff

petra wolff has a fun selection of new A6 cards for  sale in her shop for 2013 featuring cute cats, pretty birds and tribal geometrics. petra is a finnish designer who is based in dresden germany who works on freelance designs for textiles, graphics, and illustration projects. more details and designs can be found online here.

4 Comments on NEW WORK - petra wolff, last added: 5/2/2013
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16. CARDS - fawnsberg

fawnsberg is an illustrated stationery range created by sisters rachel and patricia mumau. the collection of cards, papers, and stamps was born out of love for handwritten letters and besides fawnsberg the sisters also work with their mother kim at the primele creative studio. if their beautiful cards have captured your heart you can find them for sale at fawnsberg or on etsy.

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17. CARDS - marks & spencer

i have been into marks & spencer this weekend looking at greetings cards and found some lovely new arrivals... Read the rest of this post

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18. PG LIVE - shirely copperwhite

besides surtex the month of may also sees london hosting progressive greetings live, the international card show which has been brought forward this year to take place before surtex. i was sent a flyer for 'PG live' by shirley copperwhite a dublin based designer who will be showing her work for the first time on stand 146.

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19. DESIGNER - emily pickle

all these lovely works are by kate yorke for her new business called emily pickle. kate designs cards, tea towels and prints for her label which is named after her daughter. recently her tea towel above was named in a top 10 selection by the guardian newspaper and her design below has been shortlisted in a brabantia design competition. see more online at emily pickle.

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20. A spark, a robot, a whirlpool and a card.

When the new stationery layouts landed in my mailbox a few weeks ago, I knew the "Thank You" card was trouble. I can't say why, but while the rest of them had little sparks of inspiration all over the edges, this card was a big, blank space. I left it for last and moved on with the rest of my work…

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I have a son, Elia or E. as most of my online friends know him. He will be 8 in July. He's curious, imaginative and won't take an easy answer. His questions demand spectacular revelations or something vague and mysterious enough to leave him thinking for a while.
You don't have to be a parent to work as a picture book illustrator. I've always lived the two things separately. For a long time, the illustrating process was just my own big ego trip. It was me, my 6 year old-self and sometimes, a more feminine version of Gaia appearing in my drawings. Then as E. grew older, I started to listen more. Not only he has a lot of questions, but has opinions, plans and most of all, stories!

Two weeks ago, I was finishing a big illustration and part of it was the image of a cycle. I won't go into details, but I had this flat circle and I was trying to avoid using arrows, while giving the idea of movement. Another blank space, no spark at all…
E. asked what it was and I told him the blue circle was water with different life stages of a sea creature. He looked at the screen for a while then pointing his finger and moving it around, said: "Like water in the bath tub". Boom! It was under my nose. A whirlpool!

As I solved this puzzle, I also had an idea for the Thank You card. The old robot needed new batteries and a new spark. A small explorer arrived to help. I had more fun designing this, than any other card in the group. I wasn't reaching out to the princess I've never been as a child, but to a little boy with golden wings.

There are so many things I don't do anymore, now that I am a parent. In the past I used to travel a lot and everything was a little bit easier and more adventurous. I could take risks. These thoughts only lasts a little minute though. Most of the time I'm too busy finding a good answer to the many questions I receive:

- Is a "brown dwarf" a sad star? The guy on tv says it's a star without light, a failed star...
- Is Mercury cold or entirely covered with olives? Not trees, just olives.
- If Mothra lands on our house, will my Flytrap plant be enough to fight it off?
- I think Dante the Elephant has a small phone book, do you know why?
- Do you keep cosmic piranhas in your socks drawer?
- Do you know the cartoonist who draws this comic? Really? Let's send him a note saying "Dude, you're awesome!"
- Would you rather have a daimon or a backpack with tentacles? Answer carefully, both are very cool, but you can have only one!

I don't think you must be a parent to illustrate or write picture books, but if you have one of these creativity bombs walking around your house, listen. Give answers, ask question, but mostly listen. They have opinions, unexpected solutions, silly plans and most of all, they love a good story as much as you do.

2 Comments on A spark, a robot, a whirlpool and a card., last added: 5/28/2013
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21. CARDS - ma and grandy

these gorgeously simple and colourful cards from Ma and Grandy seemed like a great way to return to print & pattern after the summer break. Designed by Natala Stuetz in Brisbane, Australia. The company is named after Natala's grandparents and here is what she says about them "Grandy was the most chivalrous of men, and Ma was every bit a lady. They fell in love and were known by friends and

2 Comments on CARDS - ma and grandy, last added: 9/10/2013
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22. CARDS - marks & spencer

I've come a bit nearer home for the next card post with a selection of lovely greetings cards snapped that were all snapped in Marks & Spencer last week.... Read the rest of this post

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23. BOUTIQUE - carousel carousel

its always lovely to discover new stylishly curated online shops and I recently stumbled across one called 'carousel carousel'. this small but pretty store stocks this fabulous party tableware from my little day, as well as paper goods, toys, and vintage pieces. From this online store I was led onto a trail of other fabulous french stores and artists which I have posted here today.

2 Comments on BOUTIQUE - carousel carousel, last added: 9/12/2013
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24. Illustrator Interview – Joyce Wan

I-joycewan-headshotI don’t think I shall ever hear the word CUPCAKE now without thinking of Joyce Wan (check out her website if this means nothing to you). Somehow, a frosted pink, mouthful of scrummy yum, that makes you wanna yell Mmm, Fun and More! I have been following Joyce for a while on FB because Marcie Colleen, a mutual friend, lambasted me one day in our local Brooklyn bar with, ‘What, you’ve been in New York 4 months and don’t know Joyce Wan?!!” Well, I finally got to meet Joyce at the SCBWI LA conference this summer (where I have actually met the majority of my kidlit friends), and she was one of the reasons for my SCBWI rave post, here!

[JM] Illustrator or author/illustrator?

[JW] Author/illustrator

[JM] What’s your nationality and which and how have certain cultures/regions influenced your work?

[JW] I am Chinese-American, born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, but have been living in New York City for about 17 years now.

[JM] Tell us a little of your beginnings and journey as an artist.

[JW] Art always interested me, even as a child, and has always been a pursuit and a passion of mine. I designed a greeting card when I was 6 years old for a city-wide greeting card design contest. The design won first place and was subsequently sold through a major department store chain. Because of the contest, I even got to meet the governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, and had my picture in the Boston Globe.


As you can imagine, this experience left a major impression on me as a young child and it encouraged me to keep drawing. I grew up on welfare and food stamps in low-income housing in inner-city Boston for a greater part of my youth. Coming from an immigrant family with limited means, art was not necessarily encouraged – not as a means to make a living anyway. I went on to study architecture at Barnard College thinking it was the “practical” thing to do for someone who was interested in the arts. However, after working in the field of architecture for a couple years I realized it was not very fulfilling – in fact, I hated it. With no formal art education other than a college figure drawing class and a huge leap of faith, I started Wanart in 2003 with an initial focus on designing and manufacturing my own greeting card line. When I first started Wanart, I was working at a 9am-6pm job at an architectural firm. I would spend the night/early morning hours on my own business with only a few hours of sleep in between the two “jobs”.  I did this for two years before I quit my full time job to pursue my own business full-time. I spent the early years taking lots of continuing education classes, taking odd jobs here and there when I needed money, reading lots of marketing books, trying many different things, making many mistakes, teaching myself design programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, spending lots of money (or, I like to call it, investing in myself), and drawing—lots of drawing, relying on nothing but hope and passion to keep me going most of the time. I continually put myself out there and exhibited my products at trade shows all over the country such as the National Stationery Show and the New York International Gift Show. Between the trial and error (and tears!) were some small successes, by this time I also started to license some of my designs, and then a major break came when I met the art director from my first publisher in 2008 at a gift show. The art director told me they had seen my cards in stores, had been following my work, and even had some of my cards in their office. This led to the publication of my first book Greetings from Kiwi and Pear which was based on one of my best-selling greeting card lines. I’ve had 5 books published now with 6 more under contract in the next few years. I’m working with Cartwheel/Scholastic, PSS!/Penguin, Beach Lane Books/S&S, & FSG/Macmillan. My designs are also found on stationery and gift products sold all over the world. It is a dream come true.

[JM] Do you have a preferred medium to work in?

[JW] People know me for my digital work but I have been working more with pencil (my first love) lately and have a book coming out next year that I’m excited about called Sleepyheads with Beach Lane Books, which is drawn entirely in pencil and then colored digitally.

[JM] What does your workspace look like? (Photo if you like??)

[JW] I have a studio space right outside of New York City in Union City, New Jersey in an old industrial building that was a silk mill in the early 1900’s.  These photos show my studio at its neatest, but it does get quite messy especially when I’m on deadline!



When I’m working late (which I tend to like to do these days because I find I do my best creative work between the hours of 12am and 3am) I will work at home right on my dining table.

[JM] Can you share a piece or two with us, maybe of a WIP, and the process of creating them?

[JW] I’ve included some images from a book coming out Fall 2014 from Beach Lane Books that I illustrated and was written by Sandra Howatt called Sleepyheads.

I always like to draw thumbnails first. This helps me plan the general layout of each page and text placement without having to worry too much about the details at this point.  I also jot down any other ideas or questions I may have for each page.


Since this book did not contain any recurring characters, I went straight to the drawings. If there were characters, I would do character studies which involves drawing the character with different expressions and poses before advancing to the drawings.  I wanted this book to have a soft, cuddly classic feeling so I drew this book entirely with a good old-fashioned pencil on fine art cotton fiber paper. Because of all the rendering I must have gone through over 25 pencils for this book and even a few sharpeners. It felt really nice to get back to basics and almost meditative in some ways.


After all the drawings were done, I scanned each one, inserted the text in Photoshop, compiled the files into a PDF, and emailed them to my editor for comments. My editor, Andrea Welch, and I had a phone meeting and we went through each page together and she shared her comments and requests for changes on layout, composition, character expressions, etc. I went back to the drawing board, had to redraw some of the pages and additional drawings had to be created, such as the title page and the cover. Afterward, I sent a new PDF with all the pages. Once the last round of drawings were approved, I went to color.

The book was colored in Photoshop mostly using the “multiply” blending mode so that I didn’t lose any of the pencil texture. Anyone who’s familiar with my work know that I use a lot of bright, cheerful flat colors so coloring night scenes, which I had not done much of before, was a fun, new challenge. I wanted to create a dreamy, peaceful, soothing atmosphere – a lullaby in visual form.


The colored drawings were then emailed to my editor in a PDF for comments again.  After some more back-and-forth, the book was complete! The final drawings files were then uploaded to their server without the copy. The art department usually places the text.

I recently received the proofs for the book to review. Besides some minor adjustments I need to make, I am happy with how they look and I’m excited to share this book with the world!


[JM] Are the two art forms of card design and illustrating and writing books for children related and, if so, how? 

[JW] Yes, at least in the types of books that I have been working on which are books for the very young – those that are not even quite reading yet. I spent many years working on greeting card designs (my collection now contains around 200 designs). Greeting cards are about communicating emotions and universal sentiments like love and joy which in a lot of ways are what picture books are about too. Going from greeting cards to picture books seemed like a natural progression. Eric Carle once said that when he’s working on a book every spread has to be able to stand on its own like a poster. I feel like it’s the same way with greeting cards and is something that I carry over into my books.

[JM] How do you approach the marketing/business side of the picture book world? 

[JW] I’m a bit pro-active when it comes to marketing. having my gift business all these years really prepared me for the marketing/business side of the book world. I was already used to ‘selling’ and promoting my rat before picture books were even in the pciture. I look at creating picture books as an extension of my design business and the picture books as another line of my products. I think creative people often feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by marketing and business. THINK BIG, ACT SMALL, but ACT nonetheless- ONE STEP AT A TIME towards your goals. This helps to keep dreamers and idealists rooted, and leads one towards successful fruition of ideas and dreams.

[JM] What authors and/or illustrators influenced you growing up?

[JW] There are so many but here are several of my favorites: Richard Scarry, Eric Carle, Tomie dePaola, Lois Ehlert, Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, and James Marshall.

[JM] What advice would you give new illustrators trying to break into this challenging business?

[JW] Have the courage to keep putting yourself out there, surround yourself with people who believe in you (stay away from toxic ones!), be honest with yourself, focus on what you do best, play up and promote what you do best, create from your heart and soul (not what the next person is doing), never stop learning, and keep drawing/painting/writing! Also, I keep hearing this more and more from people in the industry and at conferences and it’s something I also wholeheartedly believe—you have to work really, really hard, probably the hardest you’ve ever had to work. Go the extra mile in everything you do and everything you put out there.

 Five Fun Ones to Finish?

[JM] What word best sums you up?

[JW] Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

[JM] If you could live anywhere for a season, where would you go?

[JW] Hawaii during the frigid months here in NYC would be dreamy. It’s such a magical, mystical, and joyous place: warm ocean, perfect sunlight, gentle sea breezes, lush green vegetation, sacred nature sites, the freshest fruits of the sea you’ll ever eat, awe-inspiring landscapes, full rainbows, fragrant flowers, friendly people, and SPAM, eggs, and rice (need I say more?).


This is a full rainbow I saw while on a last-minute Hawaiian getaway a year and a half ago. I had to stitch a bunch of photos together using a photo app because the rainbow was so immense I couldn’t fit the whole thing in one photo. As I gazed in awe at the rainbow that I spotted in the middle of a field while driving around the Hawaiian countryside (after making my friend pull over on the side of the road so that I could take pictures!), I was reminded how important it is to take a break from work and do something spontaneous and out-of-the-ordinary sometimes to reconnect with our childlike sense of wonder, discovery, and delight. [JM] Thanks for the reminder and visual!

[JM] What’s your go-to snack or drink to keep the creative juices flowing?

[JW] Skittles, specifically the one in the purple packaging which are the Wild Berry flavors, or, the Fruit Salad Haribo Gummi candies and a nice strong cup of coffee.

[JM] Cats or dogs?

[JW] Either – they just have to be chubby! [JM] Garfield meets Deputy Dawg?

[JM] If you could spend a day with one children’s book illustrator, with whom would that be?

[JW] That would be Eric Carle, but if they don’t have to be living I would also love to have been able to spend the day with Richard

[JM] Where can we find/follow you and your work, Joyce?

Visit me online at www.wanart.com.

Connect with me on: Twitter: @wanartFacebook:  https://www.facebook.com/wanartstudio                                                                 Instagram: @wanartstudio

Joyce, I love how you have known only shared yourself and your work, but I also really feel like you have graciously taught us much in this interview and shared your expertise with us. I think Marcie and I need to take a trip to visit you in your super studio space! To your success, especially with the adorable SLEEPYHEADS.

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25. TOP DRAWER 2013- show preview

today I thought I would just point out a few designers to look out for if you are off to top drawer in London, which opens on sunday. first up is the whimsical work of shhh my darling a design duo based in Rome. they specialise in letterpress, paper goods and stationery and their signature collection features animals in human dress. all their products are hand-designed and printed in Italy.

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