20 December 2011

Free printable: Christmas Tree Cards

If you have some last minute Christmas cards you still need to give out or want to be super organised for next year, here's a free printable card for you. (Scroll further down the post for the instructions for use.)

The design is based on my A6 printable Christmas tree card featured on my online shops, Etsy and Folksy. This is how is will look when finished (below) but in a brighter apple green.

Instructions for use:
  • These designs are for PERSONAL use only and may not be used commercially or resold under any circumstances. All artwork © Lovely Designs.
  • Just download by clicking and saving the image template PDF below. 
  • Print on one side, with the print options set to centred and scaled to fit on A4. Cut in half using the small grey mark on each side of the longest edge. If you are printing on thick card, you can score an edge from top to bottom (dotted line) before cutting in half. Fold in half.
  • Card measures A6 (148 × 210mm or 5.83 × 8.27") when folded. 
  • 2 cards prints on A4 (210 × 297mm or 8.27 × 11.69") sized paper.
  • Fits inside a C6 envelope (162 x 229mm or 6.38 x 9").
If you have any questions just get in touch.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Click on the link below to download the PDF to print from:

This free printable is curtesy of Marie-Louise at Lovely Designs. This is for personal use and not to be sold or used for commercial purposes. Enjoy!


15 December 2011

East London Design Show 2011

In the beginning of December, I took my mum along to the East London Design Show to support my friend Tina's jewellery stall.

It was held in Shoreditch Town Hall and offered a refreshing alternative Christmas shopping experience to the humdrum conformity of the high street. There were over one hundred of independent product, interior and jewellery designers all under one roof.

It was my first time attending and I was impressed with the quality and range of products available. It was like the best bits of Etsy or NotOnTheHighstreet.com on show but you were able to pick up the items and take a good look in person.

Here is are some links to my favourite sellers from the show whose business cards or leaflets I picked up:

1. Larios Jewellery & Design
This is my friend Tina's company and the reason for me to come to the show in the first place. This was her third time exhibiting there and was downstairs this year. She wrote a blog post about her experience which you can read here.

2. Rachel Black Milliner
This was one of the first stalls that caught my eye and I had a lovely conversation with the owner and maker. She suggested that I sell my Lovely Designs cards on Folksy and Culture Label. So far I have got myself my own shop on Folksy and sold my first Christmas card! It pays off to follow advice from more experienced people. Also I love her hats and fascinators and if I had reason to wear them, I would buy most of them!

3. Formation
Graphic prints and designs by Swedish artist Maria Holmer Dahlgren. Her 'London' and 'Alpha Britannia' were designed as a response to tacky souvenirs and cheap, throwaway design. I bought an Alpha Britannia tea towel in olive and turquoise which will look great framed and hung in the kitchen. It's far to cool to use and dirty up!

4. Tanja Ufer
My mum bought a gorgeous handmade ring and earrings from this designer. She spent ages at this stall and tried every ring on at least twice. The designs are so unusual and one of a kind.

5. Janie Lawson
After much umming and ahhing, my mum also bought one of these fascinator kits in cream and black. She had been toying with going on a fascinator course since she bought one from a sample sale by Attelier Millinery based near Carnaby Street. Now she can have a little taster before signing up to a course.

6. Kate Clarke
Unique range of hand screen-printed home ware products. Her fresh, bold and colourful designs have a contemporary feel with a retro twist.

7. Linnie Mclarty
She is one of the first licensees worldwide of certified Fairtrade, Fairmined 'Ecological' gold. Linnie also works in 100% recycled silver and uses ethically and responsibly sourced gemstones.

8. Muru
Both me and mum bought some cute little items from the reduced box. Muru is a UK based designer jewellery label that specialises in silver jewellery. Each sterling silver design is a limited edition masterpiece and comes beautifully presented in our luxury jewellery packaging.

9. Farah Qureshi
I had a really nice chat with the designer on this stand. I loved her contemporary ranges of jewellery in precious metals. She currently works from Craft Central in Clerkenwell.

10. Yume Jewellery
Mum and I were eyeing up the multi-banded Buttercup rings. They looked so nice on but I didn't have the spare cash to spend on myself at the time. Yume Martin grew up in Japan and now works from her small courtyard studio on the edge of Dartmoor, Devon. Her designs are largely inspired by nature; flowers, butterflies and dragonflies.

11. Noodoll
Noodoll is the creation of designer and author YiYing Wang. With a constantly expanding product range, from creative toys to practical stationery sets, Noodoll's playful designs are reaching a wider audience than ever before.

12. Snowden Flood
An interior accessories designer whose work celebrates urban and rural landscapes through an ongoing exploration of the theme of souvenirs and keepsakes.

13. Reiko Kaneko
She was born in Britain but spent her childhood in Japan, influencing her products. Her love of ceramics has led Reiko to specialise in ceramic design and supplies bone china designs based around her typically British fine bone china tableware and home accessories with a Japanese twist. 

14. Harriet Sanders
Handmade leather handbags made from ethically produced leathers. Each bag is individually handmade in England, offering true British fashion with a unique touch.

15. Malcolm Morris
Has been making jewellery for 37 years with a client list that reads like a who's who, including The Duchess of Gloucester, Joan Collins and Dawn French. He has also made jewellery for films like 'Shakespeare in love' and the 'Wedding Date' and has work in several National Museum Collections.

16. Peculiar Vintage
Her collections are eclectic, quirky and beautiful using charm motifs, high quality beads and gemstones, mixed metal, and personalised future-heirlooms handmade in silver and gold vermeil.

17. Space 1a
A husband and wife team producing functional yet quirky designs for the home, includes tea towels, cushions, tablemats, oven gloves and aprons all made with 100% Organic Cotton. 

18. Toothpic Nations
Theme-based online shop and platform that promotes and sells contemporary Asian design products. Our products are sourced from independent designers and design companies based in Asia as well as expatriate Asian designers based abroad. 

19. from caterpillar to butterfly
After battling and defeating cancer twice in the last seven years, Rebecca Watson came to notice that there were no specific cards available for friends and family wishing to offer support, inspiration, or maybe even just a smile to those fighting this horrible disease. Rebecca's cards spread awareness about cancer, maybe crack a smile, and above all else, help those who are fighting every day.

20. World Of Moose
Moose Allain is an artist, illustrator and Tweeter. He works mainly in pen and ink and sells his work as original drawings and as prints.

21. Katy and June
Started in the autumn of 2007, Katy and June Company Limited was founded to source the finest stationery and gift products from Korea and deliver them to the whole world!

22. Taylor Black
Handmade jewellery in London by British designer maker Philippa Black. Her jewellery is characterised by an English sensibility and its contemporary take on classic items such as solid perfume lockets.

23. Vic Lee - Prints of London
Each Londonerea is drawn & printed by hand by the artist VicLee on fine art paper made from 100% cotton. 

24. A Little Bit Of Art
Specialises in selling affordable printed artworks. Sourcing a diverse selection of artists, illustrators and printmakers who are using different mediums and techniques to create exciting imagery. 

08 December 2011

A little bit of news

My biggest news (well, big for me anyway) is I am now on Twitter. I have shied away from opening an account until now as I thought that I would never have anything interesting to say. I thought the idea of people posting about feeding the cat a bit mundane even if you are a celebrity... who cares about the cat food?

But I have had a few people over the last month or so saying I should get onto Twitter so I can spread the word about Lovely Designs. Reading various blog posts about marketing your small business online has confirmed the same.

So if you would like to follow me on Twitter, my name is @LoveDesignGirl. It links news feeds onto my Lovely Designs Facebook group as well. I will be 'twittering' about what I have been up to with my lovely business and things relating to design and weddings. Basically a bite sized version of this blog. I look forward to getting to interacting with you too!

Christmas Shopping

My most recent design added to my online shops.

I have uploaded a couple of more designs on to my Etsy shop which you can check out on:

Also I have booked a Showcase spot with Esty for Wednesday 14th December. Hopefully it will raise a bit of interest in my work and future visitors back to my shop. Wish me luck!

I have opened an account with the UK online sellers site called Folksy. You can see my new shop here:

It's very similar to Etsy and will upload the same cards that are on my Etsy shop. I figured it's best to get my designs available as many places as possible.

Big Cartel
Another online selling site that I found when I was looking at an independent designer's site and their shop was done through Big Cartel. You can customize the look with more choices than Folksy and Etsy. I have gone for the basic free template to start off with so the choices where very limited. The plus side is they don't charge a fee to list each item.

My Big Cartel shop can be viewed here:

Early next year I will be developing my shops further and adding more stock. I hope to sell my customisable Tailored to Fit range online and offer other designs for birthdays, anniversaries and other events.

29 November 2011

Printable Christmas Cards

I have been wanting to branch out and sell some of my designs on Etsy for a while. Earlier this month I went to an Etsy Selling Seminar to find out more and get some tips.

As I am a newbie to online selling and using Etsy and I thought it best to warm up with some printable Christmas cards. Here's how they turned out and are available to purchase from my new shop Lovely Designs UK.

Gift Tag Design


Christmas Trees

Soon it's time to try selling my Tailored to Fit range online. My new year's resolution is to get the whole package of items for the Damask, Peacock, Ribbon and Bright Butterfly ranges on to Etsy. Wish me luck!

22 November 2011

DIY Wedding Ideas

There are loads of great ideas to be found out there on various blogs and wedding magazine websites. With everyone feeling the pinch, more and more people are turning to DIY to cut costs and personalise their day. Vintage is a popular theme at the moment and making homemade stuff gives an added whimsical charm.

It is worth noting that 'doing-it-yourself' is not always cheaper once you have bought all the materials for your project. You also need to factor in all the time it takes to make the items. Why not get friends and family to help out and arrange a day of crafting?

Bows for the aisle  

These big bows to decorate the aisle are from my own wedding. I made these one evening with my chief bridesmaid, Philippa. We only made four, two for the front and two at the back, as the aisle was fairly short. Compared to having flowers decorating the aisle, it worked out a lot cheaper.

I used a roll of white organza to create the big basic bow that was shaped and bunched in the middle. Coloured ribbon were tied in front with silver ribbon holding it all together and tied to the chair. Then it was finished off with a silver butterfly and wire twinkly bits.

Here are some other great ideas from my favourite blogs and other sites on how to give your wedding have a personal touch by making stuff yourself. Click on the links to take you to the original article and instructions.

Cake Decor

This sparkler/streamer cake topper is a great idea. It would work for all sorts of celebrations as well as your wedding cake. I would maybe add some streamers to stick out the top to give it a more firework look. Get DIY-ing now.

Romantic floral centre piece

If you have the time and energy, why not consider creating your own table centre flowers? Keep in mind that you will need to store the flowers somewhere chilled or as cold as possible to keep the flowers fresh. Don't start making them too long before the wedding, ideally the afternoon or evening before the wedding. Make sure you buy the freshest flowers possible (obviously!). And consider using flowers that are in season as they tend to last longer and can be more cost effective.

Guest book tree

Instead of having a traditional guest book for people to sign their comments in, why not create this novel guest book tree. It's fun, interactive and makes a great decoration itself!

Beautiful pearl necklace

This is a gorgeous and simple way to make a statement pearl necklace to finish off a simple strapless wedding dress to perfection.

Pimp up your envelopes

If you have a retro theme to your wedding, these dotty envelopes can give your invites a real pop of fun. Imagine getting one of these through your letterbox!

Chiffon and tulle flowers

These flowers are a great way to create your own stunning hair piece by sewing into a comb or hair band. Or you could attach it to a sash or a ribbon for a corsage.

Have you got any ideas of your own that you would like to share? Just get in touch with pictures and how-to instructions and you could feature on this blog!

15 November 2011

Michelle & Paolo's South African Safari Wedding

My old school friend Michelle got married a few months after I did. I had the pleasure of giving a bit of support and advice whilst she was living in the UK. Her 'something borrowed' was my wedding tiara so the price per wear went down on that!

Sadly I don't get to see her in person anymore as she has moved back to her native South Africa with her husband. But it's great to revisit her beautiful wedding photos and share her experience with you.

Here are Michelle's pictures and comments about her and Paolo's special day...

10th January 2009

Mangwa Valley Game Lodge, Gauteng, South Africa

Theme / Colours:
Bush theme with pink/white/green colours

Save the Date Ecard: Lovely Designs
Invitations: local supplier in South Africa
Photographer: Sonja Hilton - expensive but worth every cent
DJ: Blast (a great company according to Michelle)
Wedding coordinator: Theresa Erlank, Del Cielo Coordinators

Highlights of the wedding day:
The weather was a blessing as it was baking hot but it thankfully rained over lunchtime which lowered the temperature and meant the lighting for the photographs was great.
I am very grateful for having had a videographer, as this is the last video record of my Dad, and that I was fortunate enough to have him walk me down the aisle, as he has since then passed on from illness.

Anything you would have done differently?:
I wasn't 100% happy with my hairstyle, so i would probably have changed that. Otherwise, the catering was a little less than expected so i would have made sure we had a tasting beforehand to finetune the menu.  I also wish I had been more hands-on with the stationery instead of relying on a company to design it all.  Looking back, if had worked together with Lovely Designs to do all my stationery I think I would have had more input, but it is difficult organising a wedding from overseas.

Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?:
Magazines, friends, and wedding planner.

Any time or money saving tips?:
Definitely the wedding planner was a great investment, and they needn't do everything but having her to plan and then arrange the whole day made the whole family far more relaxed.  Don't do what I did and buy a dress that needs alterations - it ended up costing twice the price!

Advice to other brides-to-be:
Don't sweat the small stuff, at the end of the day, what people remember is the experience they had on your special day and not whether the table tops were perfect, etc. Remember to enjoy!  Also the best investment is the photographer and/or videographer, don't cut costs on these!

04 November 2011

Mother of the Bride or Groom

We all get excited about the big white dress but what about the mother of the bride or groom? They want to look fabulous too and so they should.

But there is that sometimes tricky question of should they match and coordinate with the wedding colour theme?

I personally think they shouldn't have to bring the bride's colour chart when they shop for their outfit and match it exactly. However, it is worth keeping the theme in mind so not to clash when you have the group photos. For example, if the theme is pale pink, then bright red or orange may look out of place.

It's also important to feel comfortable in your outfit and reflect your own tastes as well as scrubbing up rather well!

I have been to a few weddings over the last few years (including my own) and I wanted to share some outfits of my favourite mums. It looks like pinks and purples have been popular outfit colours!

This is my lovely mum, Ellen, at my wedding in 2008. The jacket and trousers were from Jacques Vert. The top was from M&S, the shoes and fascinator were from Debenhams. I painted the black fascinator with purple nail polish to match the outfit. My mum made a point of fitting in with the colour theme because she loves purple too.

This is my mother-in-law, Julie, again at my wedding to Matthew (pictured above right). She went for a brown and pale pink dress, with jacket and shoes in brown. I don't know where her outfit was from but I know she had trouble finding her outfit and wasn't 100% happy with it. She was also unable to find a matching fascinator that she liked, so she went without. But as our wedding was quite small and intimate, I don't think it mattered and she looked great.

Here is Julie again, this time as mother of the bride to my sister-in-law, Becci, in Dubai, February 2011. The dress and jacket were from different shops but went very well together and looks Chanel-esque. The shoes are from LK Bennet and are fantastic. 

Here is my best friend, Philippa's mother, Cathy, as the mother of the bride in 2010. Her whole outfit (possibly including the shoes too) are from Jacques Vert. She hired the lovely purple hat from a place nearby in Newmarket. 

This is my godmother, Margaret, as mother of the groom in 2010. Her jacket was from Jacques Vert and you can see it is similar to Cathy's jacket above. Her dress may also be from Jacques Vert. I love the hat-come-fascinator on a head band. It finishes the look of beautifully.

Here are some outfits that I found and put together based on what is in the shops in the UK at the moment. I have looked at a variety of places from the higher end high street, to the more budget conscious stores. You don't have to spend bucket loads of cash to have a great looking outfit, especially on the accessories. 

One stop shop outfits:
(Top left to right) spotty Jacques Vert outfit, embroidered Jacques Vert dress, blue satin outfit from Coast.
(Bottom left to right) soft and romantic from Coast, ribbon outfit from Jacques Vert, teal Monsoon dress.  

Monochrome and metallic: 
(clockwise top left) long necklace from Monsoon, patterned dress from Monsoon, glitter heels from New Look,  glitter pumps from New Look,  embellished dress from Matalan, hair band from New Look, black shoes from BHS, and crushed velvet jacket from New Look

Berry purple: 
(clockwise top left) fascinator from Monsoon but no longer available, dress from Matalan, jacket from BHS, heels from Monsoon, and bag from Matalan.

Opulent burgandy velvet: 
(clockwise top left) velvet jacket from M&S, dress from M&S, satin shoes from Clarks but are unfortunately now unavailable so why not try these instead from Monsoon, and flower print clutch bag from Matalan.

No shy wallflower with bold red: 
(clockwise top left) flower dress from Coast, fascinator from Jacques Vert, ivory jacket from Coast, and red patent shoes from Clarks.

Teal and silver: 
(clockwise top left) silver shrug from Monsoon, teal top from Monsoon, silver pleated skirt from Matalan, hair band from New Look, suede teal heels from Clarks now unavailable so why not try these instead also from Clarks or these from LK Bennet, and belt from Monsoon.

Neutrals all the way or add a pop of red: 
(clockwise top left) mock ostrich clutch bag from Monsoon, sequinned top from Monsoon, floral clutch as above, striped jacket from Principles at Debenhams, satin heels as above and no longer available, camel trousers from Monsoon, red trousers from Wallis, gold heels from Clarks, and fascinator from Jacques Vert

For more outfit and accessories ideas, check out my Pinterest board called Mother of the Bride / Groom.

27 October 2011

Halloween and Gothic Wedding Ideas

Trick or treat?

In September, I had a reader make a comment to one of my posts asking me what I would design for a couple having a Goth wedding and it got me thinking. So just in time for Halloween, I thought it would be fun to create some mood boards for a Halloween or Goth themed wedding.

When producing a design, I usually like to start by gathering inspiring images and put together a mood board. It helps to define the colours and mood of the event.

Below are four mood boards I created for Halloween or Goth themed weddings and each have a different look and feel.

I love the ghostly wedding dresses at the top! Why not use subtle pops of orange to tie in with the theme.

Vampire Diaries, Twilight and True Blood... Vampires are everywhere and more popular than ever.
What could be more romantic than pledging yourselves till death do you part?


Go full on Goth with black and more black, but why not add touches of purple or wine red 
for depth. More is definitely more!

Vintage Gothic
I love the softer, faded feel of this Vintage Gothic theme. Channel a bit of Victoriana
or the dark side of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

I think any theme can be as over the top or subtle as you like. It's important to reflect you as a couple and your tastes,  and why not have a bit of fun with it too!

For more ideas and to see the image sources, check out my Pinterest board called Halloween + Gothic.

21 October 2011

Best of the Blogs

I am fairly new to the world of reading blogs and writing my own one. Its only been the last year or so that I have been gradually building up my list of favourite blogs I like to browse. They range from style and fashion, paper and graphic design and of course wedding related.

I quite often come across posts that are really inspirational and I would like to share a few recent notable articles with you here...

I loved this post about Luci's real life wedding. Such beautiful pictures of her big day and interesting story. Very jealous!

I am a HUGE fan of Kendi's blog and have been taking notes on how she pairs items together to help me mix up my own wardrobe. She even wrote some tips on overhauling your wardrobe.

Beautiful wedding dresses to look at and an interesting interview with Alice Temperley. I loved reading about her inspirations and then checking out the ranges.

What I Wore is one of the blogs I have been reading the longest. I love that she looks so cheery and smiley in all her pictures. She also shows great ways to mix prints and colour blocking. Recently she did a series of fun Halloween fancy dress tutorials. Shame I am not going to any fancy dress parties this year.

Here is some DIY decor wedding inspiration. I love the unusual colour theme of yellow and teal and their use of minimalist room dressing.

This is a curvy girl with fantastic style and based in Oz. Its great to see someone look fantastic and a more realistic dress size. It can be a bit annoying looking at magazines and seeing all the stick thin models and thinking how will that outfit look good on me? And this blog is the perfect antidote.

Happy weekend!

17 October 2011

Seeing Red (sort of)

I have been dyeing or highlighting my hair for the last 15 years. I have been sunkissed, light blonde, yellow blonde, bright red (while at Uni and was shortlived), plum and various shades of brown. I guess I get bored of my hair colour.

For the last six months I have been obsessing about red hair. I blame it on all the pictures of Christina Hendricks, Amy Adams (naturally blonde) and more recently Emma Stone. Plenty of celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and Rihanna have also dabbled with the hue.

Christina HendricksAmy Adams and Emma Stone

So I decided to take the plunge and be a red head for a while. With mixed results...

I chose John Frieda's foam which I haven't used before, in light red brown.

I dyed my highlighted light brown hair to a light red brown as you can see below.

On the left is before using the dye and on the right is the results after.

I gave it a week or so to see how the colour settled down and washed out. I felt it wasn't red enough and looked more brown than red. I had to use a lot of conditioning and shine products for my hair as the John Frieda dye left it looking dry and dull.

After a couple of weeks of letting my hair recover I decided to try going a bit bolder/deeper with the red. I used Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color in Fiery Red and this is how it came out...

Definitely red now!

What do you think? I quite like it but my husband is not so convinced. I think I will probably like it more after it washes out a bit. Now I need to see what clothes in my wardrobe works with the hair colour!  

03 October 2011

LFW Final Favourites: Part 2

I know London Fashion Week 2011 has been over for ages and the fashion pack has already moved onto Paris Fashion Week, but here are my favourite pictures of days 3, 4 and 5.

Amanda Wakeley

I love the interesting abstract and muted colour palette of the left dress. I could see it working throughout the year. I also like the simple Grecian inspired dress on the right with the strong neck strap.

Antonio Berardi

These dresses are beautiful. The one on the left could make a great wedding dress that would make a change from the popular strapless designs. I could see the red dress in the middle on Kate Middleton and looking fabulous.

Nicole Farhi (left),  Unique (middle) and Peter Jensen(right)

These three dresses caught my eye for their simple yet effective cuts. I have see that yellow has been a popular colour with many of the designers showing at London Fashion Week. The gold detailing on the black centre dress adds interest and a toughness to a simple silhouette. I like the red satin dress on the right but I don't think I could carry it off with the check shirt!

Holly Fulton

Tribal and African style prints were popular and these were some that I particularly liked.

Holly Fulton

Cocktails in a zebra-print dress anyone? Don't mind if I do...just need to go on safari! The blue dress is georgeous with it's subtle transition from saphire blue to aqua. It reminds me of an exotic tropical coastline.

J JS Lee

Anyone for tennis? In the 1940s.

Kinder Aggugini (left) and Michael van der Ham (right)

Gorgeous prints. The jacket looks like it has a blossom tree growing on it whereas the dress on the right reminds me of slices of rough crystal. The colours in the pattern looks great with the red hair. 

David Koma (left) and Erdem (right)

I love the unusual cut of the David Koma dress with a minimalist feel. The Erdem dress on the right is exactly what I could picture myself wearing at the Queen's garden party at Buckingham Palace. Just need to wait for an invite first.

Marios Schwab

See-through dresses anyone? Aside from the underwear issue, I do like these.

Mark Fast

I predict crochet detailing will appear again on the high street next summer. The fringing on the left dress looks fabulous and I am sure will be popular on the red carpets.

Mary Katrantzou

Time and time again, my eye is drawn to the bold and bright prints. They are just so exciting and the one on the left looks so swishy.

Matthew Williamson

I thought the outfit in the centre looked a bit Autumnal but could work all year round. Again, I just love the bright patterned prints.


I have a small big obsession with Mulberry handbags and wish I could own them all. In every colour. These pictures caught my eye for the reappearance of the popular colour yellow and I loved the coordinating hues in the styled outfits. 

Peter Pilotto

Peter Pilotto is never shy of outrageous and bold prints. These have quite a fishy/reptilian feel to them yet they shape and emphasise the body so well. The centre dress reminds me a little of a mermaid and I don't think that's a bad thing!

Pringle of Scotland

And finally... knitwear. Love the grey background to the graphic geometric pattern. It reminded me of this print that I saw recently. 

More information on the designers and clothing featured at 
Photo credits: