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Black Cats and Magic – October’s Stationery Box

Black Cats and Magic

October’s Stationery Box has landed! This month’s theme was Black Cats and Magic!  I wanted to give you all a little treat as the dark nights are drawing in!

This was a truly international box, with contributions from Canada and Australia. Waiting for parcels to arrive through customs was more stressful than I’d planned though so next month’s box is going to be sourced from rather closer to home (in fact it’s all here already!)

Aurore McLeod ArtworkThe amazing stickers were handmade for us by Aurore McLeod. If you are not familiar with her work, do check her out. I’m a huge fan and have a mini gallery in my hallway. As soon as I saw her Halloween Misfits I knew they were perfect for this month’s box!

You can find her on etsy, Facebook and Instagram. I love the Bashful Bat, Problem Hair Pumpkin and Can’t be Bothered Cat!Black Cats Paper Clip

Have you noticed the great little tabs so even those of us with the shortest finger nails can get them off the backing paper easily! Thanks Aurore x

The lovely Ashley from Sparkly Crafty Shop in Canada made these paper clips for us. I love how the hat glitters! Purple is my favourite colour so when I spotted these I knew I wanted them for our box. Fell out with Canada Mail slightly in the process though!

November CalendarHopefully you’ll find a November calendar a useful addition to your box. Let me know if you like it and I can make a calendar page a regular addition. Punch it and put it in your planner or pin it to your memo board so  you can circle the day to order next month’s box 😉

I know lots of you had been lusting after these pens! I now have lots of stock in all colours. They make great Christmas presents. I have one in most colours for myself and the neon green as my ‘packing pen’ so I can’t lose it.

Black Cats

These cheeky chaps were all hand cut and laminated by me. I went a little overboard on numbers it would seem so you may find them popping up in your orders for some time to come. 

I love what one of our subscribers has done with her black cats: 

I also couldn’t resist these cute little witches! I loved Dorrie the little witch stories as a child and my son loves reading my old book now. These lovely ladies reminded me of her. I’ve printed them onto vellum which you can punch and use as dividers, add to your scrap book or just look at and admire their beauty.  I’d love to see how you use them. Be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can share your creativity.

I chose these washi tapes as they not only match the theme but I thought they could be used all year round. The gold moons are almost festive.

The box wouldn’t be complete without a little magic!  Popping candy is truly magical in the eyes of a five and thirty five year old alike. You should also hear it when it accidentally ends up in the washing up water.  Minutes of fun!

The little glass bottle contains some very powerful magic! Be careful to keep the stopper tightly closed so that it doesn’t escape.  It will be there for you when you need it most. Just hold on tight and whisper your favourite magic word then watch as you boss sprouts a tail or the traffic warden gets lost on her way down the street. I can not be held responsible for any irresponsible use of magic though!

November Stationery Box

November’s Stationery Box is now available to order. I aim to have them posted by the 17th November and will be releasing December’s slots around the same time. If you want to make sure that you don’t miss out, set up a recurring payment using paypal. You can cancel at any time as long as that month’s payment hasn’t already gone out.

I have a handful of October boxes remaining reduced to £10 until midnight tonight if anyone would like one?

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I believe in humans! – September’s Unicorn Stationery Box

Unicorn Box

We have a winner! Penny-sue Wolfe I love your suggestion. Please get in touch to claim your prize!

September’s Stationery Box was unicorn themed and I had so much fun putting it together! I worked with lots of other small businesses this month and found some fantastic items from talented designers and makers to share with you guys. Here is what was included and links to where you can buy more!

I’ll start with the smallest item! The pin badges. These came from Tessa the owner of a long time favourite shop of mine House of Wonderland. Looks like he believes in humans too!

You will have received two out of three of these gorgeous cards from Ohh Deer! Mark and Jamie work with illustrators to produce amazing stationery. I already stock a few of their designs and hope to stock a lot more in the future. Who will you send your cards to or will you keep them for yourself?

Unicorn Magnetic Bookmark

The amazingly cute and super practical magnetic bookmarks were from Sarah at A Little Dream Come True. I’m using mine to keep my page in my traveller’s notebook. You can use UNICORNSUB09 for 10% off when ordering!

These perfectly proportioned notebooks came from Bethany at The Rhubarb Tree. They will fit perfectly in your A6 TN or pop into your handbag for keeping your lists and notes in order. She has a full range of unicorn goodies including oven gloves! Pop over and say hello.

I bought one of these pencil cases for myself and knew you’d love them! There are seven different designs selected at random. They can also be used as a make-up bag if you are sorted for pen storage. As if!

Today page markets are a fantastic way of keeping track of where you are in your planner, organiser or reading. These were made especially for us by the amazing Stephanie and Cute and Quirky Design. Her etsy shop is opening on the 8th of October where she will have lots of other amazing items!

Sparkly Unicorn

I couldn’t resist these sparkly unicorns! I feel the need for a lot more sparkle in future boxes!

These amazing stickers are from Marta at Leona Prints. She designed them in this colour way just for us! I can’t decide where to stick mine!

Of course there had to be washi tape! How do you use yours or are you just a hoarder?

Unicorn charm

Last but not least, if you were a super star and paid for your box before the 12th September then I added a little unicorn charm to your box. These are great attached to the zip on your pencil case or to the elastic on a traveller’s notebook. I do have some spares so if you didn’t get one and would like one I’ll add them to the website.

October Stationery Box

October’s box is now open for signups! As it’s halloween this month I’ve decided on a black cat theme. You now have the option to set up a rolling subscription so that your payment is taken automatically once a month so you don’t have to keep remembering to buy your box. Don’t worry, you can cancel and rejoin at any time. You can still order one off boxes and gift subscriptions.

I love to hear feedback on your boxes so please do comment in the facebook group. I’d also really appreciate it if you can leave reviews on facebook, etsy and here on the website. As a small business every single order really does make a difference and I love every single one of you for supporting me in my dream!

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Flamingo-a-go-go! July’s Stationery Box

What’s in the Flamingo box?

Flamingo Box

 

Washi!

Two different flamingo washi tapes. What can’t you do with washi tape? Decorate your planner spread; reinforce the holes in your ringed organiser; wrap beautiful parcels; embellish gift tags; make your headphones easier to spot…

Flamingo Love Washi Tape

Flamingo Stickers!

Two different types. Perfect for sealing envelopes, decorating your planner… Just hide them from the kids!

Flamingo stickersFlamingo Sticker Sheet

Iron on applique

Perfect for your jeans, handbag or pencil case! Super easy to add using the instructions below.

Iron on appliques and embroidered patch setting instructions using an Iron:

  • Step 1: Set your hand iron at the hottest temperature setting. DO NOT USE STEAM DURING APPLICATION!
  • Step 2: Place your applique or embroidered patch in the desired position and place a pressing cloth (such as a handkerchief, sheet or pillowcase fabric) over top. This will protect your item from the heat of the iron.
  • Step 3: Press the iron straight down for 35-45 seconds with as much constant pressure as possible. NO BACK AND FORTH.
  • Step 4: Turn the garment inside-out and repeat steps 2 & 3.
  • Step 5: Allow the applique or embroidered patch to cool down.

Flamingo Applique

Decorative straw. Use it to sip your perfect summer cocktail or pop it in your pencil pot to decorate your desk. Carefully pull open to allow the paper to fill out and tuck the two pieces of pink card together using the pre-cut slots. Remember it’s only made of paper so be gentle!

Pink glitter crystal pen. What more can I say! I had to keep one for myself as I love how they write and the end can be used as a stylus for your phone or tablet. I will soon have refills and lots more colours available in the shop.

Finally, everything can be stored in the cute A5 pouch and I’ve added a flamingo planner charm to the zip which you can clip to anything your heart desires!

Flamingo A5 case

I’d love to see photos of your Stationery Box in action. Make sure you tag me on Facebook or Instagram so I can see and share your posts. Join the Rowan Trees Supplies facebook group to meet other subscribers and to swap tips and ideas as well as being amongst the first to hear about new products and special offers. I’ve also created a Pinterest board full of Flamingo inspired fun. Be sure to check it out!

Sign up for August’s box from 9am 1st August here.  You can subscribe for up to six months at a time or fill in this form to begin a rolling subscription and receive an invoice on the 1st of each month. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter too!

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July’s Subscription Box

July's Subscription Box

I have to confess that I love getting parcels through the post. A day without a chat with the postie is a sad one! I love everything about parcels. It’s even better if it’s a surprise! I’m very lucky that doing what I do, I get stock deliveries on a regular basis. There is nothing better than opening a huge box of loveliness! Actually there is one thing better; getting to keep it!

I’ve always loved stationery and since starting my own business and using a planner more I found a legitimate excuse for lots of washi tape! In my previous incarnation as a teacher, I had many notebooks, stickers and coloured pens but only got to use them in other people’s books!

Over the years, I’ve had many subscriptions from craft magazines, to boxes of yarn, to healthy snacks. I’ve even had a stationery box but do you know what?  It was a bit dull! I love hunting for things that are fun and quirky. Stationery should be pleasurable and should add a bit of happiness to a simple task like writing a shopping list.

I also discovered the frustration of British stationery addicts having to order from the USA. Waiting with anticipation for a customs bill and getting their parcel weeks after their American counterparts. The step from mystery boxes to subscription boxes seemed like a small one but the amount of planning and organisation has taken me by surprise. If you saw the piles of boxes in my house you may think otherwise but I’m actually more organised than I’ve been in a very long time! My lovely new bullet journal is helping with that. As is my bible of a spreadsheet which is doing all the sums for me!

As we are almost half way through the month, I’ve started to reveal some sneak peaks of items going into July’s subscription box. Don’t worry I won’t give everything away; there will be plenty of surprises!

What sort of things might I get in my box?

If you don’t like stationery then stop reading now!  Who am I kidding? Everyone loves stationery!

  • Washi tape
  • Stickers
  • Pens/pencils
  • Clips
  • Stencils
  • Notebooks/pads
  • Sticky Notes
  • Planner clips
  • Stationery storage
  • Novelty items related to the theme.

Each month’s box will be around a different theme and I will try to vary the types of items month to month so you don’t end up with twelve pencil cases each year but the boxes will always contain washi tape and stickers.

Not signed up yet? Be quick there are only a few spaces left! If you have missed out, I’ll be opening signups for August on the first of the month and adding another 20 places. Sign up for my newsletter to hear about it first.

July's Subscription Box

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The Winnie Shawl

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The Winnie Shawl

This pattern has been designed with beginners in mind. It is ideal for perfecting an even tension and confidence with garter stitch.

You will need:

  • 5mm needles (I prefer a circular needle as the shawl becomes very wide towards the end).
  • 100g of sock weight yarn (this pattern would work just as well with any weight of yarn. Just adjust the needle size accordingly).
  • Tapestry needle for weaving in the ends.

Pattern:

  1. Cast on three stitches using your preferred method.
  2. Slip 1, knit front and back of next stitch, knit 1.
  3. Slip 1, kfb, knit to end.
  4. S1, kfb, k to end.

Continue until you have almost used almost all of your yarn then cast off using the method of your choice ensuring that your edge is nice and stretchy.

20160312_132941

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Hello February!

January has been rather blue all round but we can now put it behind us and embrace February with open arms!

I spent a couple of weeks in bed feeling poorly and pathetic but managed to knit up a very small storm.

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A mix of knitting, crochet and even a first attempt at weaving. I feel I’ve really neglected you all and will try to get back in the swing of blogging and regular newsletters. What have you all been up to? I’d love to see your crafts.

For more regular updates, follow me on instagram, facebook and pinterest.

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Advent – Cuddlebums Yarn

This Christmas, the lovely Jodi from Cuddlebums Yarn launched an advent box which contained 25 little paper bags of loveliness. Lots of yarnies like me signed up and on the first of December we tore them open like excited toddlers.

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The range and variety of resulting projects are amazing!

Advent Wrist WarmerI started by knitting a pair of wrist warmers following this pattern. I used days 1 to 11; splitting each mini-skein in two so that I have a matching pair.

I realised after the first two days that 25 x 5g was a lot more than one pair of wrist warmers so I cast on my first ever Hitchhiker shawl. I had seen the pattern many times and it had been in my queue for ages! In order to create a big snuggly shawl, I decided to stripe the colours with some grey from Jodi which I already had in my stash. I used 3.5mm needles with a 80cm cable which was perfect.

I love how it turned out!

Advent Hitchhiker

As a group, we shared our excitement each day. Some of us were good and didn’t peek ahead; some of us were not. Some of us knitted; some crocheted. Some of us were fast and finished by boxing day; some of us did not. But what we all had in common was that we loved the surprises and the amazing colours which Jodi and created.

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If you would like to add an image of your finished project please add it in the comments or email it to undertherowantrees@gmail.com and I’ll add it to the slideshow.

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Cloudy Day Hat

Cloudy Day Hat - Crochet Pattern

Cloudy Day HatToday I have made a simple bobble hat. This pattern is ideal for beginners; easy to adapt and really quick to make – perfect for a cloudy afternoon!

Equipment
Aran weight yarn (I used a wool/acrylic mix)
6.5mm crochet hook (I’m a tight hooker)
Darning needle
Pom pom maker

Abbreviations
Trc = treble or triple crochet (UK)
Htc = half triple crochet
Ss = slip stitch
Sts = stitches
Ch = chain

Pattern

  • Starting with a magic circle, ch 3 (counts at 1 trc) then work 11 trc (UK terms) into the ring.
    (If you find a magic circle tricky, ch 4 then join with a slip stitch to form a loop).
    Join your last trc to the top of ch3 with a slip stitch (12 sts).
  • Ch3. 2trc into each stitch around. Join to ch3 with a ss. (24 sts).
  • Ch3 trc into next stitch then 2trc. (Trc, 2trc) repeat to end. Join with ss. (36 sts).
  • Ch3. (Trc, trc, 2trc) repeat to end. Join with ss. (48 sts).
  • Ch3. (Trc, trc, trc, 2trc) repeat to end. Join with ss. (60 sts).
  • Ch3. 60trc. Join with ss. Repeat this row until the body of the hat is long enough. Approx 9 times.

Ribbing
This section is worked at 90 degrees to the main body of the hat. Half triple crochet (htc) should be worked into the back loop only to create a ribbed effect.

  • Ch 8. Turn.
  • Skip 2ch. 6htc. Slip stitch into next stitch on hat body to join row to main hat. Ss into next stitch. Turn.
  • 6htc. Turn.
  • Ch2 (counts as htc). 5htc. Ss into next stitch on hat body. Ss. Turn.
  • 6htc. Turn.
  • Ch2. 5htc. 2ss. Turn.
  • Repeat this row to the end. Slip stitch the final htc row to the first. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Use a pom pom maker or other method of your choice to make a nice big pom pom. Stitch to the top of your finished hat securely and weave in ends.

Wear and enjoy!

This pattern is available on Ravelry.

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Laser Cutting – Guest Post from Chris Braithwaite

Our lovely friend Chris from Laser Cut Supplies has written a guest post for us to explain how he brings to life amazing designs for Under the Rowan Trees.

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I’ve always been creative, and found my first love for computers 25 years ago. I started graphic and web design when I was 13. I’ve taught myself everything – never had any education in computers or design. I’ve always used technology and creativity to solve problems.

I moved to Leeds from Hull when I was 21, met a girl, fell in love and decided Leeds was my new home. 5 years later we have our first child. My partner is very meticulous with a keen eye for detail. For our son’s first birthday she bought boxes and balloons and stickers and made personalised favour boxes for the children. The comments she received were fantastic and as she enjoyed making them and so wanted to make a small business out of it. I worked out that the profit margin was tiny, and we couldn’t charge more for what is essentially a disposable item.

I had been looking for an excuse to buy a Silhouette Cameo craft cutter, and with a small bonus from work, this was the perfect excuse and opportunity to buy one knowing I could save money by making everything from scratch.

As time went on I brought many ideas to life, but eventually my tiny craft cutter was no longer cutting it (pardon the pun) and about a year ago during a stint of depression I decided that if I didn’t change anything, nothing would ever change. I decided to invest in a laser cutter. Secretly I’d been wanting one for years, but never had the guts to outlay such an expense. I took a risk and it paid off. I love experimenting and creating. It’s the perfect tool for me. 

Laser cutting starts at the design stage.

Laser Cutting DesignWhen designing something for laser cutting, a few things need to be taken into consideration. Because a laser cutter burns the material, although not impossible, it’s very difficult to achieve shades. Any point on the material is either “burnt” or “not burnt”, so for simplicity let’s call this Black & White. All designs are created in blocks of black and white.

You also have a choice of cutting, engraving, or a combination of the two. When you decide to cut a section you need to think about whether or not that section is going to fall out of the design or not. You also need to think about how strong each section will be once cut. Because of the precision of the laser it’s easy to create objects so thin that they break very easily.

A lot of thought needs to go into the designs to ensure that they are both attractive and functional.

Once a design is created it needs to be exported to the laser.Laser Cutting Vector

A laser cutter is a type of CNC (Computer Numerical Control). CNCs don’t use pictures like a printer would, they use
vectors. A vector is two points with velocity. The machine uses two (sometimes 3) axis to move a laser beam along a vector. The laser works a lot like using a magnifying glass focusing the sun to burn things, except the focus has a much higher precision than a magnifying glass. If focused correctly it is precise to 0.01mm

Preparing a laser cutter for use is a much more complicated process than simply pressing print on a printer.

A laser is produced in a fragile glass tube – something to do with agitating co2 inside a chamber. I don’t really care for the science involved. The tube gets hot. very hot, and as such needs to be cooled. If the laser tube raises above 25C it will shatter. To keep it cool, water needs to be pumped through the tube all the time while operating. About 50 Litres of deionized water helps keep it cool for a few hours of use.

One the beam has been created, it needs to be redirected to the material, and it does this by being bounced off 3 carefully placed gold plated mirrors and then finally through a  focusing lens. All these parts need to be cleaned on a regular basis using Isopropyl Alcohol. this removes all dust and grease and soot. If you were to leave the parts dirty they would heat up and eventually crack.

As we are burning the materials a lot of smoke is produced. This needs to be removed from the machine and the room. A simple air extractor does the job here. You know the saying “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”? That is very true here. A small flame is often created at the laser point which can damage the lens, or much worse cause fires. This needs to be extinguished, and we do that by focusing a jet of compressed air right at the point. This not only puts the flame out, but it reduces the heat of the smoke, and in turn reduces the extent of the burn to the material.

The laser usually cuts at around 2cm per second (which is pretty slow) and some cuts – depending on complexity –  can take in excess of an hour to cut!

The materials that we use includes paper, card, mdf, spruce plywood, American walnut, cherry and acrylic. We are always exploring with new materials.

There are some materials that we can’t cut – anything that contains chlorine for one. This would produce chlorine gas and that’s probably the last thing you want to be inhaling. Other than the health issue, it would corrode the machine. Polyvinyl Chloride is hidden in a lot of things. A good example is LPs which sometimes get laser cut. This must be done with more advance machines and ventilation

Each material that we use has different settings, so it’s not a case of one size fits all, and as most of the materials we use are from nature, we often find imperfections and have to compensate for these.

I personally find acrylic the best material to work with; the engrave gives a good contrast, it cuts cleanly and it smells great. It can be filled with acrylic paint, and sanded easily.

Acrylic Snowflake

Who knows what the future holds? Maybe a bigger laser and a workshop. I’m still testing the water but I’m confident that one day I’ll find my niche.

Laser Cut Supplies can be found on Facebook.