Special Days and Birthdays

Birthdays and special days which are landmarks in our young children’s lives.

Little Silver Leaf

Well, the Christmas shopping is well underway! Presents are being bought (and hidden!) and cards are being written. We’re writing lots of lists to make sure we don’t forget anything – or anyone! I love this time of year, especially shopping for something special for family and friends.

I’m a stationery addict, and this extends to Christmas cards and gift wrap! So many colours, styles and designs to choose from – it really can be a bit bewildering! Sometimes I think it helps to go with a theme each year, and work to that as a guide. This year ‘handmade’ is a part of my theme, and I’ve extended it to those all-important Christmas cards!

Little Silver Leaf

A couple of months ago I came across Little Silver Leaf, and the designs caught my eye immediately.

Handmade Christmas Cards

 

Little Silver Leaf is a hand-crafted stationery business based in central Scotland, with a focus on individuality, creativity, and quality. The owner, Karen, is a self-taught designer and maker. From her little studio in central Scotland she produces a growing range of original paper goods, including greetings cards.

I love that she prefers to work with recycled card and paper wherever possible, and her work features her own illustrated embellishments, and hand-painted designs and lettering.

I love all her Christmas cards, the ‘Scottie’ is a real favourite of mine – totally impossible to resist! I’d go so far as to say it’s my favourite card of the year!

Do pop over and take a look at Karen’s new website, it’s full of lots of lovely designs for all those special occasions – not just Christmas!

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Christmas Colour with Kali Stileman

With Christmas fast approaching (yes, I’m finally blogging about Christmas!), my thoughts are turning to Christmas cards. This year I’ve fallen in love with the gorgeous range of Christmas cards by Kali Stileman! I have long been a fan of Kali’s work, I love her bold and fun use of colour, and her distinctive style which sets her apart from so many other designers.

In her varied career Kali has illustrated for the Body Shop, painted murals, taught primary aged children, painted botanical images for a ceramics company and then (when her son began full time school), she started up The Square Card Company which later became Kali Stileman Publishing.

Snowflake

 

Kali’s children are her greatest inspiration and her fiercest critics, and they have come up with lots of ideas for her over the years!

In recent years Kali has been writing and illustrating books for Random House, designing calendars and family planners for a German company, bag and wrap designs for Glick, a range of wall stickers with Stickerscape, and cushions for ‘We Love Cushions’.

Christmas Colour with Kali Stileman

Kali has a wonderful range of Christmas cards, all fun and brightly coloured – and full of festive cheer! My children love her designs and have recently ‘acquired’ quite a few from my collection which they want to give to family, friends and teachers this Christmas! I think even the annual chore of card writing might be a little more fun for them this year as a result of these lovely designs!

We loved the mini Christmas cards, especially the snowflake and angels designs. Kali also has personalised cards available too, where you can personalise the bubble above the illustration on each card – such a clever idea! You can write your own message, or get Kali’s company to print them out for you!

Personalised Cards

 

Kali sells her designs through shops, her website and her Not On The High Street shop!

If that wasn’t enough festive fun, she also has some super cool and colourful wrapping paper too!

Happy shopping!

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How To Celebrate Christmas Birthdays with Children

I love planning children’s birthday parties and my first post for Muff and Teacake was on planning an eco-friendly birthday party.

When it comes to planning, I tend to pride myself on a good sense of timing, but clearly that didn’t apply to my pregnancies as I have two children who both have their birthdays on or near Christmas! My daughter’s birthday is 27th December and my son’s is 16th January. My son was very late, so he also narrowly missed a Christmas holiday birthday!

I have no idea whether, as my children grow up, they will enjoy having their birthdays at this time of year, at present they seem un-phased by it all and it is just me who is left with the planning and a few logistical difficulties…

Here’s a few tips I’ve picked up along the way which might help other parents in the same predicament:

How To Celebrate Christmas Birthdays with Children

1. Treat both celebrations as separate events! I know that sounds obvious but every child deserves a Christmas AND a birthday to remember.

2. Ask family and friends to keep presents separate – they can be very modest gifts (picture books or warm winter accessories are always useful!) but separate is always best!

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Toby Tiger Gift Wrap and AW15 Collection

 

3. Leave one room or area of the house free for some birthday decorations amidst all the Christmas tinsel… We don’t have a separate dining room so we keep our tree and take down the Christmas cards to make a ‘birthday area’ on Boxing Day. Another idea I’m tempted to try is to have a birthday tree – taking decorations down on Boxing Day and decorating the tree with a birthday theme – with colourful small toys, streamers and balloons!

4. Plan ahead, especially when it comes to buying birthday cards and gift wrap. Shops don’t have such a big selection as shelves are taken over with Christmas things, so online is a good option. I’m a great fan of Toby Tiger, and they have a great selection of gift-wrap and present ideas, great doing an online shop in one place!

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Toby Tiger Gift Wrap and AW15 Collection

5. Plan parties for after Christmas – this provides you all with something to look forward to and means people are more likely to accept than they would be if you plan something in the hectic lead-up to Christmas or over the holiday season. Again, try to work with the season – I’d love an ice-skating party next year when my children are a little older!

6. Don’t forget to buy a cake (the shops won’t have a great selection at this time of year), possibly opt for a winter theme!

Finally, if all else fails, have a summer half-birthday celebration too!

If you have any tips on how to celebrate Christmas birthdays with children, then do let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

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For Your Mistletoes

Well December is here, and I’m getting into the Christmas spirit! I’ve put a few house decorations up (they will be appearing in my Instagram feed during the coming days!) and am also busy planning, buying and wrapping presents.

I’m feeling fairly organised this Christmas, possibly a legacy from having two Christmas born children – my organisational skills are definitely needed at this time of year with both Christmas and birthday presents to buy!

For Your Mistletoes

I stopped by today to share an idea I saw recently and really loved… One of my best friends (and Godmother to my two children) has three girls and I have been busy making ‘For Your Mistletoes’ gift bags for them as a Christmas treat…

I’ve used these Kimono Doll nail polishes from Little Ella James at Not On The High Street, they are so cute I couldn’t resist them! I’ve also added a nail file and toe separators to each gift bag to complete the set.

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For Your Mistletoes

 

I’m planning on making a few more sets for my friends, and will be following the same principle, nail polish and toe separators, and also adding a gorgeous pot of Blended Therapies foot cream for a little added extra indulgence!

I’m putting my gift sets into clear plastic bags, tied with ribbon and then popping a gift tag on too. You could put them straight into a Christmas gift bag, or even a small gift jar… The options are endless!

I’ll be popping some photos up on my Instagram feed of the finished items in the coming days, so do take a look!

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Brown Paper Christmas Gift Wrap Ideas

I do love buying presents for other people! I know it can sound a bit corny, but there really is a lot of pleasure to be gained by finding the right present for the right person. For me, part of the fun is also wrapping the present so that it looks really beautiful when handed over…

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Super gift wrap ideas…

 

I think sometimes the simplest wrapping looks the best, so I have been collecting ideas for a while on Pinterest and thought I would share them with you… They are all simple and effective and don’t need lots of expensive accessories either as I’m a great believer that sometimes less is more! This really is a case of brown paper packages, tied up with string…

Brown Paper Christmas Gift Wrap Ideas

1. A lovely idea for using brown paper, twine and either red Candy Canes or Lollipops to create a splash of colour on a very simply wrapped gift. Idea from Kotipalapeli blog.

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Lollipop love…

 

2. Source some coloured ribbon and some sparkly wands in either silver or gold and you can add a little bling to your brown paper package! Idea from the Etsy shop of Ghirlandadi Popcorn.

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Sparkly loveliness…

 

3. Super cute Reindeer Print gift wrap idea from Splash of Something.

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Reindeer rocks…

 

4. Twine and a tag and small decorative peg is all that’s needed… I love this simple yet oh so elegant design from Style Logistics.

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Simply elegant twine…

 

5. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous then maybe this post on printing your own Christmas gift wrap will inspire you to get creative! Great tutorial from The Pretty Blog.

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Printed patterns…

 

6. A statement ribbon and a spring of evergreen loveliness, this idea from Satori Design for Living ticks all the boxes!

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Evergreen elegance…

 

You can see lots of other examples for gift wrapping (and not just for Christmas!) on my Wrap Pinterest board too.

Follow Muff and Teacake’s board W r a p on Pinterest.
 

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The Square Card Company

As many of you will already know, I’m a huge fan of all things stationery and design related! I’m never happier than when I’m shopping for gift wrap or birthday and occasion cards, I can literally spend hours choosing and browsing through designs!

At the same time, as a busy Mum I do opt for favourite designers and companies (to speed things up!), especially as both my children are school age and seem to have a never ending list of birthday parties to attend!

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Boys Cards

 

The Square Card Company

I recently came across the wonderful The Square Card Company, and fell in love with their designs. It was clear that there was a strong artistic influence at work, and that was when I became aware of talented designer Kali Stileman!

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Boys Cards

After completing a degree in 3D design at Brighton Poly, Kali illustrated for the Body Shop, painted murals and then changed tack and taught primary aged children until the birth of her daughter. She moved to Bermuda for 3 years where she sold collages and paintings through local art galleries.

When she returned to the UK, she painted botanical images for a ceramics company and then when her son began full time school, she started up The Square Card Company. She hasn’t looked back since!

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Girls Cards

There are so many wonderful cards and designs, I really can’t feature them all and do them justice in one post! So for this post I’ve focussed on those all-important age related cards.

Every child gets excited about their next ‘number’ birthday, and these cards are just perfect! Great quality and I love the glittery numbers on some of the designs too! Kali introduces new ranges frequently too, as her ideas constantly evolve!

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Lucy’s Animals – New Range May 2015

I’ll be back with some more posts on Kali’s work, but in the meantime you can see plenty of examples from her ranges of cards over on her website!

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Valentines Day Roses – The Perfect Gift!

Valentine’s Day is only a heartbeat away, and for me the gorgeous red rose is the most wonderful symbol of this special day. Shops are full of cute gifts adorned with love hearts and cupids. There are also soft toys with slightly dubious sentiments – they are everywhere! Chocolates also abound, beautifully and expensively wrapped and ready to delight someone special!

The red rose has an altogether deeper history… Scottish poet Robbie Burns compared his love to one and in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland the playing cards very nearly lost their heads over the red roses! Red roses also feature frequently in classical paintings, literature and poetry, and their symbolism remains unchanged.

Valentines Day Roses

As a rose admirer (all colours and varieties!) I can’t but help admire the wonderful red rose bouquets which are given to loved ones at this time of year…

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Beautiful Blooms!

My lovely friends over at Bloom & Wild have two gorgeous bouquets, perfect for Valentine’s Day. I love their limited edition letterbox flowers ‘The Juliet’ and also the stunning classic flower selection ‘The Cleopatra’ – perfect for a wonderful Valentine’s Day surprise!

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The Juliet

If you pop over to Pinterest you can see some more Valentine’s Day inspiration on my Valentine’s Board, and also a special ‘Roses’ board compiled with a little help from Bloom & Wild themselves!

Follow Muff and Teacake’s board Roses on Pinterest.Follow Muff and Teacake’s board Valentine’s Ideas on Pinterest.
 

I’ll also be posting a few special Instagram images too for this month of love – watch this space!

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A Narnia Inspired Bloom and Wild Christmas

Today I’m lucky enough to be writing about several of my favourite things – Christmas, C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – and flowers!

My lovely friends over at Bloom & Wild sent me one of their new Christmas bouquets – The Lucy, a beautiful collection of flowers with a sophisticated touch of winter sparkle.

A Narnia Inspired Bloom and Wild Christmas

Inspired by the snowy forests of Narnia, The Lucy arrangement (named after the character Lucy Pevensie) combines a stunning collection of white bloom chrystanthemums, eryngium orion, fir, hypericum berries and gorgeous snowy birchwood!

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The Lucy

It is a beautiful collection, with the fir, pine and eucalyptus creating a great base for the arrangement, interspersed with berries. The birchwood twigs create spearkly height and the chrystanthemums give the ‘wow factor’!

I love Bloom & Wild, their Letterbox concept is just brilliant when you want to send the gift of fresh flowers, beautifully presented in a bespoke box and delivered straight through the recipients door!

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Letterbox Delivery

I’d definitely recommend taking a peep at their website – their other Christmas bouquet ‘The Beatrix’ is also lovely – Velvety petals and festive fragrances combine with a hint of Victorian Christmas featuring burgundy carnations, rosemary, cinnamon and fir.

In the meantime, if you want to create your own Narnia inspired Christmas I’d suggest keeping things very natural and rustic, but also add a touch of silver and white for a little wintery Snow Queen glamour! You can find lots more inspiration on my Narnia Pinterest board.

Follow Muff and Teacake’s board Narnia Christmas on Pinterest.
 

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Hello Autumn

I do love a change of season, it always feels like a fresh start! The change from summer to autumn is always one of my favourite times of the year, especially if we have a long warm and sunny autumn…

Hello Autumn

The light is lovely at this time of year, perfect for photography! The colours are changing rapidly and berries are everywhere… All of which makes it just a little easier to say ‘Goodbye‘ to summer!

I will be posting lots of autumn pictures on my Instagram feed, so do take a look!

I’ve also decided to make an autumn ‘wish list’ this year, just so we as a family can create and share some happy families!

My children had some lovely ideas (predictably related to Halloween!) and I’ve added a few myself!

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Autumn Wish List 2014

What would be on your autumn ‘wish list’? I’d love to hear from you!

If you are looking for some ideas and inspiration, pop over to Pinterest, there’s plenty of ideas there too!

Follow Muff and Teacake’s board Autumn on Pinterest.

Carol x

 

Magic and Mystery of The Tooth Fairy

Following on from my earlier post on the infamous Tooth Fairy, I can now confirm that she has made a couple of appearances in our house, with at least another three imminent! I think it’s going to be a very busy autumn for her!

Magic and Mystery of The Tooth Fairy

Our routine is pretty much organised now… We have special personalised Tooth Fairy bags (beautifully made by Tillie MInt), ready to put under pillows at night time…

Bedrooms also have to be tidied just before her appearance – apparently she doesn’t like messy rooms!

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Tooth Fairy Bags

My children are also currently obsessed with what they look like when asleep, and so they’ve been treated to some new warm and cosy pyjamas from House of Fraser, perfect for autumn and for creating a good impression when she arrives!

The ‘Fabric Flavours’ range is really good quality, with lots of popular branded designs!

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House of Fraser Pyjamas

Both my children are curious about her and I am often bombarded with questions…

Why can’t they open her special little door in the wall? What does she do with all the teeth she collects? Does she ever leave teeth behind? Where does her money come from?

My personal favourite has to be – What happens when the tooth fairy looses her own teeth? Who collects them?

A couple of wonderful story books have certainly helped here, we love The Night Before The Tooth Fairy, a funny story my son loved about a stubborn tooth which just won’t come out! Dear Tooth Fairy is also a beautiful book with fold-out letters and real gifts from the Tooth Fairy, a real winner with my daughter!

So many special things to keep the magic and mystery alive!

Carol x

 

Perfect Parties With Rigby & Mac!

Winning any kind of competition is an almost unheard of experience for me, so you can imagine my excitement when I won a competition launched on one of my favourite blogs, Emily Quinton’s Makelight! I have long admired Emily and her wonderful sense of style, and she has always provided enormous inspiration to me, both photographically (via her courses) and as a blogger/writer. Rigby & Mac also have the most stylish website, and a reputation for eclectic and unusual products… so their competition collaboration seemed a match made in blogger heaven!

Perfect Parties With Rigby & Mac!

An award winning family business, the three shops so unique to Rigby & Mac were founded by Penny Tomlinson. Now her son, Dan Rigby and daughter-in-law, Katharine Maclaverty (Rigby & Mac!) continue the winning formula of personal service, product knowledge and trusted advice.

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Rigby & Mac Partyware

Rigby & Mac aims to echo the different styles of the three shops and provide an interesting and inspiring experience online. The Dulwich Trader at No.9 combines country style with a touch of glamour. Tomlinson’s at No.89 has a feminine, vintage feel and proves that pale is definitely interesting. Ed at No.41 is a modern and quirky fusion of Scandinavian design and global influences. Their partyware is just lovely – with bright, bold and happy colours! It was wonderful to receive such a lovely box of items, including party bags, plates, cups, straws, napkins and decorations too! I have quite a few a few parties and events lined up and I can’t wait to use them all and share a few ideas with you! I will keep you posted, but in the meantime thank you so much Emily and Rigby & Mac!

Carol x

Treat Bags From Talking Tables

With Easter just around the corner I’ve been making up some gift bags for my children, family and friends.

I recently discovered the wonderful Talking Tables website, packed with lots of gorgeous design-led party items including some lovely paper treat bags in different colours and patterns!I love the yellow chevron yellow bag (great for spring and Easter!) and the striped pale blue, pink and green bags! There’s something slightly retro about them which I like!

Treat Bags From Talking Tables
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Easter Gift Bags!

I must admit I’m not particularly ‘arty’ so any crafts I do have to be fairly straightforward, and that’s the beauty of these gift bags. They come with co-ordinating sticker strips with stickers which can be used to decorate the front or seal the bag.

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Treat Bags and Stickers

If you feel a little more adventurous you could add other stickers, mini patterned pegs and coloured ribbon – all available from Talking Tables too!

My Easter gift bags will be containing different items (depending on the recipient!) including mini chocolate eggs, Lindt Chocolate Rabbits and some cute rabbit tins I found in good old M&S!

I’ve got some bags left over and will be using these as gift bags, party bags, goody bags – the options are endless, and they come with matching striped straws too! I’ll keep you posted!

Carol x

 

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