New at Zazzle

mt fuji zazzle

I’ve been adding my Mt Fuji design to my Zazzle store and discovered a whole load of new products. I really like the spiral notebooks, sticky notes and necklaces, but you’ll also find cutting boards, blankets and jigsaw puzzles!

I’ll be adding the rest of my characters to the new products this year, but if the character you want isn’t available on something, definitely email me so I can add it for you.

There are still even more fun new products that I haven’t even tried yet, so I really must find the time to design things for those too.

Getting Started with your 5 Year Diary

5 Year Diaries

If you got one of my 5 Year Diaries for Christmas, I hope you’re enjoying keeping track of your daily doings. I’m still keeping mine going in my fourth year and it’s turning into a pretty great, if limited, record of my life.

If you’re struggling, here’s a few tips.

1. DON’T STOP!
Whatever happens, keep going. If you haven’t started yet, start today! If you filled it in for months and then stopped, start again today! You can always go back later with the help of your social media accounts. photos etc. and fill in some of the blank days. And if you got one another year and never touched it, just ignore the printed years and pretend it starts this year.

2. If you find it difficult, keep it short.
My entries have been getting more and more compact over the years and are now written in a kind of shorthand. A boring day can literally just say ‘Up late. Packed orders. Walked around town – P.O. Co-op. No post. (Client) work. Blogged. Cooked X. Watched (TV shows). It might be dull, but it means I keep the habit going for more interesting days.

3. Keep notes when you’re away.
I don’t take my diary on holiday, but instead either take notes (if it’s an exciting holiday that I might also want to blog about) or just make sure to take a few photos each day so I remember what I was doing. I can then fill out my diary when I get back.

Test copy just arrived and fits today's #ctmonthinthelife. My favourite thing to design every year is a new 5 Year Diary. The next one is space-themed and will be available in September!

4. Remember why you’re doing it
Keep thinking about how fun it will be when you’ve got a few years down and can compare what you’ve been doing on the same day. This is so awesomely fun that it keeps me going. I love when I see that I’ve been doing exactly the same thing, or being reminded of silly things I did a few years ago, or fun trips and my birthday outings. I forget so much, that it’s nice to have it all recorded.

5. Have fun!
If after all that, you’re still not enjoying it, then take a new tack. Why not just draw the weather each day, or write down everything you eat, or what book you’re reading, or do something different every week or month. It’ll still be fun to look back on. Here’s some other great ideas too.

If you didn’t get a diary and are kicking yourself, the spiral-bound diaries are available on-demand from Lulu so you can still catch up.

How are you getting on with your diaries?

To Read

2015 books

If you remember, one of my resolutions is to read all the unread books on my shelves. I went round and took notes and was very surprised to discover there are a mere 12! I guess my pre-moving decluttering was more successful than I realised.

I’ve added them all to the To Read shelf of my Goodreads account so I can see them all and hopefully have them moved to the Read shelf by the end of the year. Here’s a list and why I haven’t read them yet.

A History of the World in Twelve Maps by Jerry Brotton
Northern Delights – A Guide to the Hidden Joys of the North of England by Anne Ward
These were Christmas presents so fair enough.

Bust DIY Guide to Life: Making Your Way Through Every Day
Kawaii!: Japan’s Culture of Cute
I’ve read bits of both of these and could have left them off, since they’re more for dipping into, but I want to make sure I have a proper look through and read some of the articles.

S. by J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst
Being JJ Abrams, this is a book within a book within an art project and not really good for taking anywhere. There’s the actual book story and then another story told though margin notes and postcards, tickets and other ephemera stuffed throughout the book.

Equator by Thurston Clarke
I have no idea why I haven’t read this. I enjoyed his book about islands and it’s a fairly light paperback. Just Kindle laziness.

Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky
I have two copies of this – a beautiful huge hardback and a small paperback I got on sale to actually read. I’m sure I’ll enjoy this, but it’s not light reading.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson
Infamous conspiracy novel that I’ve had forever but barely looked at. Re-brought to my attention by insane KLF book.

The Tale of Genji: Scenes from the World’s First Novel by Murasaki Shikibu & Masayuki Miyata
I’ve tried to read the actual Tale of Genji a few times, but the enormous hardback always sent me to sleep. I got this illustrated excerpts book in Dublin years ago so I should read it and then get the full thing as an ebook.

Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group by Ian F. Svenonius
I’ve read about a third of this, but it needs to be read in one go in the right mind.

New Spring by Robert Jordan
Wheel of Time prequel that I just bought at the weekend in a charity shop since it was cheaper than the ebook.

Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking by Tilly Walnes
I know I said I wouldn’t buy this until I’d made my skirt, but I’m feeling demoralised about dressmaking so hopefully starting back at the beginning will help.

I’ll be adding a reading update to my monthly updates so we’ll see how I get on. I’d say this is easy, but a lot of these books are BIG and HEAVY and so not enjoyable to read in bed, and I have quite a few unread ebooks that will be far more tempting.

Weekend Wrap Up

Lots of Jammie Dodger brooches expertly sanded by my dad, hand painted by me and now off to Penny Black in Glasgow!

I haven’t been doing anything too exciting this week – just working away on shop admin, blogging and client work and trying to keep warm. I’ve been enjoying painting my Jammie Dodger brooches a lot so I got the train into Glasgow yesterday to pick up some new art supplies, just for fun.

News, Offers and Reminders

My Sample Sale, Gift Wrap Clearout and Winter Sale will be ending in another week or two, and a lot of it will be going away whether or not it sells, so don’t miss out on some bargains.

Back in Stock

Magnetic meal planner pads are back in stock. Save £2 if you buy a shopping list pad too!

Meal Planner pads are back in stock after a small redesign and now feature a cabbage instead of an onigiri. There’s £2 off if you buy both to get organised.

Glad to have my banana brooches back in stock. It hasn't been the same without them.

Banana brooches are back too after quite a few weeks off. It hasn’t been the same without them.

cards

5 A Day and Little Ghost cards sold well enough to become part of the permanent range, so they’re both back and part of my 2 cards for £3 offer.

5 a day tote bags

I’ve also ordered some more 5 A Day tote bags as a lot of people have been asking about them. I won’t have many so if you really want one, click that link and sign up to be notified and I’ll email you as soon as they arrive in a couple of weeks.

Behind The Scenes

I should really do something about all this soon.

I’ve been re-ordering a lot of products that sold out over Christmas and my desk has been piling up with things to package and make. I took a few photos while I worked so here’s a peek behind the scenes.

Peeling protective paper off ghosts this afternoon. These three think they're cool.

Peeling the protective paper off my brooches is fairly tedious, but my ghosts seem to always make it fun. These three have been trying out some face paint.

stickers

I’m trying to retire my colour printer and instead getting things printed professionally. The amount of time and effort I save not having to print and cut out stickers for my gift wrap sets and letter sets makes it well worth the money.

Stamp stamp stamp all afternoon :)

I’ve been doing a lot of stamping too, getting some more notebooks ready for painting and felt hearts, and making a load of envelopes for your brooch, stamp and badge orders. Having a whole flat to spread out in has really helped my stamping accuracy – I don’t think I messed up a single one!

Which is bad news for bargain hunters, but there’s still a few good wonky bargains left in my Sample Sale.

Mt Fuji at Society6

mt fuji clock

As promised, I have added Mt Fuji to my Society6 shop, where you can enjoy looking at him on a variety of products, and buying them too! The clock is definitely my favourite, though I have quite a hankering for the duvet cover. As with pretty much all my designs, the first sight of the shower curtain made me burst our laughing. Amazing.

Mt Fuji products at Society6

Also amazing – there’s free shipping worldwide on almost everything in my store through Sunday. No code required!

Jammie Dodger Brooches

Which Jammie Dodger brooch is your favourite - felt heart or painted heart? They're both in my shop!

My Jammie Dodger brooches have been getting ready for Valentine’s Day. As well as the felt heart versions, there are now hand-painted ones available too. Which is your favourite?

The laser cutters sent my stuff flat this time. It's like a very easy jigsaw puzzle!

The laser cutters sent them flat this time, which was fun. It’s like a very easy jigsaw puzzle!

2015 Desktop & iPhone Wallpapers

january 2015 desktop wallpaper

Sooo, better late than never, right? My plan for the blog this year was to pick a different character each month to play around with. Make a desktop wallpaper, design some new on-demand products or repeat patterns, do a printable or tutorial, etc. But of course I didn’t get much of a holiday to plan, thanks to my horrible cold. BUT that’s no reason to throw away a good idea, especially since January feels as long as two months.

fuji iphone wallpaper

So, here’s a desktop wallpaper for January with or without a calendar, plus iPhone 5 + 6 wallpapers too. These should fit most computers and smartphones – if you’d like me to do a tablet one too, let me know. Download the January Wallpapers

I’ve given myself some restrictions to for this year’s designs to try out some new things. They have to feature circles/dots and use different colour combinations than my usual favourites. January features my Mt Fuji character and uses some traditional colours you see a lot in Japanese woodblock prints. Mt Fuji is only available as a badge so far, so I’m looking forward to seeing him on some more products.

Kawaii Japan Badge Set

If you’d like to be emailed on the 1st of every month with a link to download the latest wallpapers, plus any other recent freebies you’ve missed, join my mailing list as I’m planning to send out more regular emails. That won’t be more than twice a month and you can unsubscribe any time with one click.