Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Pantone Colour of the Year - 2011

Those of you who know me will also know that I often wear pink and that I've painted my previous studio and even our bedroom (with Hubby's blessing!) different shades of pink. So I was very pleased when Pantone anounced a vibrant shade of pink as the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2011! Pantone calls this beautiful reddish shade of pink "honeysuckle", but other flowers also come to mind: peonies, roses, fuchias and my favourite tulips that will hopefully bloom in the spring!
What signature colour will you choose for your wedding? Considering Honeysuckle?  Then you need to read on! I love Pantone's passionate description of the colour and since I couldn't say it better myself, I've reprinted a part of the article here:

Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it.

While the 2010 color of the year, PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”

Eiseman continues, “The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”

Honeysuckle is guaranteed to produce a healthy glow when worn by both men and women... It’s a striking, eye-catching hue that works well for day and night in women’s apparel, accessories and cosmetics, and in men’s ties, shirts and sportswear. Add a lively flair to interior spaces with Honeysuckle patterned pillows, bedspreads, small appliances and tabletop accessories. Looking for an inexpensive way to perk up your home? Paint a wall in Honeysuckle for a dynamic burst of energy in the family room, kitchen or hallway...

You will find the original article here.

Monday, 1 November 2010

My Favourite Tools

At present I have a few plans up my sleeve. One of them is the launch of a new Etsy shop! Yes, I've been in The Netherlands for more than a year now and I've decided to share some of my favourite paper products and a few of my own creations with the DIY brides and bridegrooms out there! I don't want to say too much too soon, but while I am waiting for my paper orders to arrive from Italy I thought we could start with a few basics for making wedding invitations and stationery, so that you know the basics by the time that my Etsy shop opens! (I hope to be up and running by the end of November.)

Today we'll look at my favourite tools that I use for making invitations by hand. Depending on the nature of your design, you might not have to use all of these, but these are what I use all the time!
Cutting Mat
At the bottom I have a plastic sheet on which I work when I cut, punch and go crazy. Mine is just a simple sheet of plastic (3mm thick), but more fancy self-healing mats are also available from craft shops. A cutting mat protects the surface of the table that you're working on. Keep your cutting mat clean! You don't want dirt sticking to the mat to stick to your precious invitations!
Paper Trimmer
Another favourite tool is my desk cutter or paper trimmer. Mine is by Carl, but many brands are available at scrapbooking or craft shops. They can be quite expensive, so if you're not convinced that you'll be papercrafting after the wedding, it's probably not worth buying one. But please don't use scissors to cut your paper. Use a hobby knife/scalpel and a steel ruler on a cutting mat as an alternative. You just cannot achieve those neat straight edges that a well designed card requires with scissors!
Bone Folder
A bone folder is used to score paper and to flatten folded lines so that they're nice and crisp. Bone folders were traditionally made from bone, but nowadays you also get variations made from plastic. Once again your bone folder should always be clean to avoid marks on especially light coloured paper. If you can't find a bone folder or prefer not to invest in one, you may also use an old, dry ballpoint pen and a ruler to score paper and cardstock. (Just make sure that it is completely dry!) For crisp folds a plastic ruler should also do the trick, although I find a bone folder much easier to work with, because of the smooth surface and the rounded shape.
Embossing Tool
My embossing tool is nothing fancy - one that I've picked up at a flea market years ago. It has two fairly small points and may be used to score paper (against a steel ruler) or to emboss paper. (Embossing templates are available from most craft shops.) I use my embossing tool to sharpen creases if a fold of a diecut isn't as crisp as I would like it to be. I also (a)buse my embossing tool by using it to push small embellishments such as flat-backed pearls or crystals into position.
I also do embroidery, so I love my very sharp, pointed embroidery scissors, but any sharp scissors would be useful. I don't allow anyone to cut paper with my embroidery scissors, since paper very soon makes scissor blades blunt, but I use the scissors to cut ribbon, fabric scraps, plastic film, threads, etc!
Tweezers are available from craft shops, but you might find them for much cheaper at your local pharmacy. Tweezers are optional, but I always keep mine handy to pick up small embellishments or to position them on cards.
Eyelet Setter
My eyelet setter is by Making Memories, but there are many brands available. An eyelet setter is used to set eyelets, but it also comes in handy to make neat holes for ribbon, string and so forth. The Making Memories eyelet setter is quite noisy, so don't use it while the baby sleeps, but it is my favourite. Once again it was quite expensive, but if you plan on using it often, it certainly is value for money. I will, however, recommend a cheaper eyelet setter, if you're not that keen on doing a lot of papercrafts after the wedding! Or, if you don't need holes or eyelets, you don't need an eyelet setter at all!
Steel Ruler
I use a steel ruler, because the steel doesn't damage so easily when you use the ruler as a guide for a cutting blade. A plastic ruler just doesn't last when you use it with a craft knife or scalpel. If you know you are going to use your ruler with a craft knife, try to find one with a layer of cork at the back. This prevents the ruler from slipping too easily.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Mosterd na de Maaltijd!

I’m guilty! I’ve been away for a long time! Please accept my apology! I’ve actually planned to do a post to inform you about my plans, but right at the end everything was such a rush and it was actually only after I’ve arrived in South Africa that I realised that this picture was still to be published! But, since I’ve prepared the image, I thought I might just as well show it to you anyway. “Het is wel mosterd na de maaltijd!”*, for those of you who knows a little (or a lot) of Dutch, but since I love hippos I thought you might enjoy this lazy bunch with me. I will try to make up for my absence by posting a bit more often in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Kaart: Wit vierkant (145 x 145 mm) met geronde hoeke
Drukwerk: Laserprinter
Decoratie: Kant (zwart, ongeveer 110 mm breed)
Envelop: Wit vellum

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Why "Almost Amsterdam"?

A few days ago a friend of mine asked me why I call this blog "Almost Amsterdam", so I thought more of you might wonder why!

Ever since I've learned to speak German in school I wanted to travel through Europe. I was dreaming about visiting cities like Zurich, Munich, Copenhagen, Amsterdam ... I never thought I would be able to visit all these cities! (Travelling through Europe on the South African Rand is a luxury that very few South Africans can afford!)

A little more than two years ago my hubby and I have decided that, if we really wanted to experience Europe, we had to come and live and work in Europe! We thought it was going to take a while for one of us to find a job here, but Marc found a job within two weeks after making his first call to a personnel agent!  We were actually still getting used to the idea of moving to another continent and the job opportunity came completely unexpected! We weren't really prepared, but at the same time we didn't want to turn down a good opportunity and a month later Marc came to The Netherlands. Having Dutch parents, Marc was in possession of a Dutch passport, and it was relatively easy for him to come over to work in Holland.
I was less lucky. I stayed behind in South Africa to sell our house, to get my paperwork sorted out, and to prepare our animal "children" for life in The Netherlands. Because of problems with my birth certificate (which was apparently lost), I had to wait for almost a year before I could join Marc! It was an incredibly difficult time for both of us, having to live on different continents! (Thank goodness for Skype!) But after a year my paperwork was finally sorted out and the animals and I were able to join Marc here in Vleuten, in the Provence of Utrecht, in The Netherlands.

Now, after almost a year on European soil, I sometimes still find it hard to believe that I am actually here and that I already had the privilege of experiencing quite a bit of Europe! It's almost unreal, like a dream from which I might wake up any time! So, on those days when I can still hardly believe that I actually live in Europe, I deliberately walk past the sign at the end of our street that points the way to Amsterdam, just to remind myself that this is not a dream - that Amsterdam is in fact only 31 kilometres away!

Since Vleuten is a very small town in The Netherlands, that very few people know of, I thought Amsterdam might also serve as a nice reference point for the rest of the world to figure out where we live! So, I've decided to call my blog Almost Amsterdam!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Lace - A Major Trend for 2010 and 2011!

This card is a new design. I love a bit of whimsy, so I’ve combined a vintage rose pattern with bird shapes and crowns on the top layer of a simple rectangular card. A delicate lace pattern runs down both sides of the top layer of the invite, which is fastened to a second simple white card, printed in the same colour pink with the details of the wedding and a single pink feather. The card may be fastened with a brad or an eyelet, or it may be dressed up some more by attaching a tassel, a piece of lace or a ribbon. I still need to decide whether to use a pink shimmer envelope or a transparent white envelope for mailing the card. (I think both options work well, so I can’t make up my mind!)

I think this will be the perfect invitation for a bride that loves the idea of lace, but who doesn’t want to overwhelm her groom with too much feminity! My husband loves the playful nature of this card.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Munten in een Zakje

Verlede jaar heb ik een noodgeval met een zeer pijnlijke tand gehad, maar ik was op pad na Nederland geweest en ik kon gewoon niet wachten op een afspraak bij de tandarts! De ontvangstdame heeft heel veel moeite gedaan om mij heel snel bij de tandarts in te passen en ik wou haar graag bedanken. Ik heb toen deze kleine zakjes gemaakt voor de ontvangstdame en de tandarts. Ik heb gewoon een kleine stukje fudge in plastic in elke zakje gedaan, maar vandag heb ik geen fudge! Muntendrop van de Albert Heijn (een favoriete snack van mijn man) werkt ook goed! Men kan natuurlijk enige iets in de zakje doen!

Ik ben een fan van organza zakjes en ik heb vaak een paar zakjes in huis om snel voor kleine cadeautjes te gebruiken.

En de ontvangstdame en de tandarts? Zij zijn heel blij geweest! De ontvangstdame heeft haar zakje lang bewaard "because it was too beautiful to open" en de tandarts heeft mij haar mobiel nummer gegeven!

Voor deze verpakking heb ik gebruik gemaakt van de volgende:
1 organza zakje (10 x 15 cm)
1 lasergesneden  plexiglas madelief bedel met Zwarovski plaksteen (hand afgewerkt door mij)
45 cm lint van 10mm breed
15 drop munten

Acrylaat & DIY

Acrylaat (ook bekend als “perspex” of “Plexiglas”) is een leuk alternatief voor papier. Voor de uitnodiging in deze voorbeeld heb ik een kroonluchter met bewoording en de namen van de bruidspaar gegraveerd. Wat ik prettig vind met transparante acrylaat is dat het goed combineert met enige kleur. Mijn voorbeeld is verzierd met een een zwart-wit lintje, maar ook een heldere kleur kan natuurlijk!

Maar het hoeft niet alleen transparant te zijn. Acrylaat komt in een hele boel kleuren! Acrylaat kan ook worden gesneden in verschillende interessante vormen, zoals vlinders, vogels, harten, bloemen ... Zeg het maar en dat kan hoogstwaarschijnlijk!

Acrylaat combineert ook goed met papier! Ik heb deze “love birds” gesneden, maar de kaart is gewoon een A4, gehalveerd ( 2 keer 148,5 mm x 210 mm) en weer door de middel gevouwen. De tekst op de binnenkant van de kaart is met een inkjet printer geprint. Deze uitnodiging is zeer eenvoudig om thuis te maken, maar de formaat (64 x 210 mm) en de vogels zijn heel apart.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Trendy laser cutting!

One of the latest trends is laser cut invitations, and I love them! They are sometimes a bit of a challenge to design and I must admit it took me several hours to get the design of the butterfly in this card just right. But after a few trial runs I am very pleased with the results.
I've used the design on a bright pink shimmer cardstock that I've cut and folded into a 145 mm square card. For the sample I've used a matching pale pink shimmer paper for a slightly smaller, folded insert, but a more neutral gold or silver behind the bright colour would also look lovely. For my diy photoshoot I've placed a light behind the card to try and capture the beautiful shadows that the lasercut butterfly casts.
I will admit that lasercutting doesn't come cheap, but the detailed precision of the cutting process is absolutely beautiful and the great thing is that you don't need anything else to achieve that WOW factor! A simple folded insert will do, so I often recommend that bridal couples with access to a computer and a printer buy the lasercut cardstock and do the hand finishing and inserts themselves to keep the costs down.
I've received a lasercut wedding invitation quite recently and the card is so beautiful that it felt like a little gift that I've received in the mail. In fact: I think I should spoil myself and frame that card and my own butterfly card for the wall in my little studio!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Ik ben een Fan van Mooie Uitnodigingen!

De uitnodigingen zijn de eerste indruk die jullie gasten zullen hebben van jullie speciale dag. Niet alleen geven zij belangrijke informatie, zoals waar en wanneer, aan jullie gasten. Zij bereiden jullie gasten voor op wat ze kunnen verwachten. Jullie trouwkaart zet jullie trouwstijl neer! Sturen jullie gewoon een uitnodiging, zullen jullie gasten gewoon een bruiloft (niets bijzonders) en gewoon een bruidspaar verwachten. Sturen jullie een origineel ontwerp in jullie eigen sfeer gaat het iets verder dan gewoon een kaart. Jullie uitnodigingen moeten zo uniek als jullie relatie zijn. Een goed gekozen, goed ontworpen uitnodiging communiceert de thema, de stemming, de sfeer van jullie speciale dag en bovenal wie julle zijn!

Componenten van scrapbooking stijl uitnodiging: Cirkel uit lila cardstock, 4 eyelets, scrapbook papier met lila en wit streepjes (reghoek), lila & roze scrapbook papier met bloem ontwerp (voorgestans) en koordje.
Drukwerk: Colour laser printer

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Sfeer van Toen, Drukwerk van Nu!

Ik ben blij met deze brocante stijl uitnodiging, thuis gedrukt op mijn laser printer!

Hi There, English Speaking World!

I’ve lived in The Netherlands since July 2009 and I am learning Dutch by reading, listening and, with the start of this blog, by writing! (I will do some posts in not-so-perfect Dutch and some in English to make the site more accessible.)
I have a passion for paper, stationery and anything that combines well with paper. And I love weddings, romance and wedding blogs! I also design hand finished cards, wedding invitations, menus, place cards and other stationery items for weddings and celebrations, but not the type of cards you would choose from a catalogue at your local printer!
Since I came to The Netherlands I have noticed that there are very few designers that make bespoke invitations or that finish invitations by hand! If you read the comments on the Dutch wedding blogs, it becomes evident that there is a need for ideas and inspiration for different and original invitations. Therefore I have decided to start a blog – in not so fluent Dutch! It is very important to me to learn the language and to be accessible to Dutch readers, even though I cannot offer them perfect Dutch yet! I will, however, often post in English as well, to make sure that I am accessible to English readers from all over the world! (And to be able to still post when I simply cannot express my thoughts in Dutch or when I am pushed for time!)

What can you expect on this blog?

I would like to share my ideas, small (paper) projects and personal creative adventures with your, as well as do-it-yourself ideas, links to other blog posts or websites that I find interesting. And I will share with you what inspires me! My main focus will be on invitations, wedding stationery, and favours for weddings, as well as other family celebrations and corporate events.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

New Kid on the Blog (and the Continent!)

Ik woon in Nederland sedert Julie 2009 en ik leer Nederlands door te lezen en te luisteren, en met de start van deze blog door te schrijven! (I will also do some posts in English to make the site accessible to non-Dutch speakers.) Ik heb een passie voor papier, papierwaren en dinge die je met papier kunt combineren. En ik ben gek op bruiloften, romance & trouwblogs. Ik ontwerp ook hand afgewerkte kaarten, trouwuitnodigingen, menus, plekkaartjes en ander papierwaren voor bruiloften en feesten, maar niet de type kaarten die men uit de katalogus bij de plaaslijke drukkerij uitzoekt!Het viel mij op dat er in Nederland vrij weinig aanbieders zijn die unieke en aparte uitnodigingen op maat maken, of uitnodigingen met de hand afwerken! Inspiratie en ideeën voor aparte uitnodigingen zijn wel veel gevraagd! Er zijn ook weinig nederlandstalige trouwblogs met inspiratie voor trouwen in Nederland. Daarom heb ik besloten om een blog te starten – in niet zo vlot Nederlands!Wat kan jullie verwachten om in mijn blog te lezen?Ik wil graag mij ideeën, kleine (papier)projecten en persoonlijke “creatieve avonturen” met jullie delen. Graag deel ik ook van tijd tot tijd doe-het-zelf ideeën, links naar ander blog posts of websites die ik leuk vind en natuurlijk ook wat mij inspireren!In deze blog sal ik vooral focus op uitnodigingen, papierwaren voor bruiloften (wedding stationery) en originele cadeautjes (wedding favors).Ik hoop dat jullie mij, mij gebrekkige Nederlands sal vergeven. Vergeef mij ook als ik mij op Engels verlaat wanneer mij tijd beperk is, of de vermogen om mij duidelijk in Nederlands uit te drukken mij ontbreek! Wie weet, als ik lang genoeg blog, kan ik mischien eendag vlot Nederlands spreken en schrijven?!