Thursday, 27 January 2011

All You Need Is Love!

"Love, is all you need." Everyone knows the song, but here's some lesser known quirky little Valentine's Day facts to go along with our new quirky little Valentine's cards we launched in our Folksy shop today!

'LOVE' Valentine's Day card - from our online shop

St Valentine was a Christian priest in 3rd Century Rome, and was executed on the day of the Roman Festival of Lupercalia - a day that honoured Juno, the goddess of women, marriage & fertility. In 496 AD, the Pope declared it a day in his honour, and he became the (rather unexpected) Patron Saint of lovers!

A French Duke, Charles of Orleans, imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415, wrote over 60 poems about his wife during his 25 year sentence. In one poem, he called her 'Ma tres doulce Valentinée' which was the first use of the word 'Valentine' as the loved one!

Ever since the 14th Century, the 14th February is generally thought to be the day that birds start mating, bringing the association of 'love birds' to St Valentine's Day.

In the 1840s, a young American woman Esther Howland received an English Valentine's card and decided to make it popular in the USA too. One of her card designs read "Weddings now are all the go. Will you marry me or no?" We don't recommend you write that on your card if you've only just met!

'Hubba Hubba' Valentine's Day card from our online shop

A billion Valentine's cards are sent every year throughout the world, and over 85% are sent by women. Come on guys - a little romance goes a long way! 

St Valentine is also considered the Patron Saint of fainting, greeting cards manufacturers and rather horribly...the plague! Erm...let's ignore that last bit...and just focus on roses, champagne, candles and the person that makes you go 'hubba hubba hubba'!   ;)

Monday, 17 January 2011

Do me a favour!

If you're a Northern Irish bride or groom-to-be, how do you feel about wedding favours? They can be really lovely if they complement the wedding theme or add a quirky touch to a well-thought out day. But they can also be an obligation you'd rather not have to spend money on.

But does anyone really need another bag of sugared almonds at their place setting?! So when I was recently approached by the Northern Irish charity, Aware Defeat Depression to help them create charity favours I was very happy to help out. Aware Defeat Depression work with the one in four people in Northern Ireland who experience depression and bipolar disorder, with a support group network, helpline, support and advice across the country.

There is a suggested minimum donation of £1 per guest for the favours, and each guest will have a small card sitting at their place setting to tell them of your donation. A friend who was married last year was quoted £400 for mini-cupcakes for her guests - imagine how delighted any charity would be to receive a quarter of that, and how much nicer a way to celebrate your marriage with a donation.

The favour cards mark the couple's names, wedding date and inform their guests that a donation has been made on their behalf. Aware's contact details and brief information are printed inside for reference.

I know how important the reception's table presentation is to many brides, so there's 3 different styles of favours to match most wedding tables: (top to bottom) 'Simple' style, 'Elegant' style and 'Vintage' style. 

There is also a choice of three card colours: (top to bottom) Natural White (also recycled for eco-minded couples!), Pearlised Cream and White Shimmer. They will look gorgeous on your tables, and more importantly be supporting for a charity that offers support, advice and information for anyone in Northern Ireland affected by depression or bipolar disorder, whether it's for themselves, a family member or friend.

To order favours or find out more, please click here to go to our website page on the favours or email us. Aware Defeat Depression's website is

Friday, 14 January 2011

Crafty Business

Last weekend, Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th January, was Belfast's St George's Market's first weekend back after a 2 week break for Christmas. Many of the stall holders are professional crafters and artists who make all the goods on their stall, and so to get the new market year off to a good start, several of the stallholders took part in textile and craft demonstrations all weekend. I was delighted to be included and took along my camera to get some pictures of what everyone was up to.

On display and part of the demonstration was a 100 year old handloom, brought to the market by Flax Mill Textiles, a weaving company keeping the Irish Linen tradition alive and well. Visitors were able to both see a weaver working away at the loom, and have a go themselves - something that younger visitors particularly enjoyed.

And the result of the weaving...

Julie, who works with Flax Mill Textiles, was there with her baskets of yarns full of all sorts of interesting shells, threads, beads and bits. She was demonstrating making yarn daisies from a vintage daisy wheel, brooches and creating textile decorations from the offcuts of linen from the Mill.

I had a tiny selection of my collection of vintage buttons, papers, textiles, lace and haberdashery on the Arbee Cards stall and loved spending the day on the stall sewing and chatting with customers, making vintage collages that I frame and sell at the market and vintage fairs.

One of the collages made during the weekend, featuring a dressmaking advert from a 1962 'Needles & Pins' sewing magazine.

The absolute star of the show was a hand-embroidered tipi (tee-pee?) made by Emma, a textile artist who can regularly be spotted sewing away on one of the artist's stalls at the Sunday Market. It's a work in progress over many years, and is embroidered with all sorts of wools, threads, glitter threads, beads, mirrors and whatever Emma has collected over the years. It's simply stunning!

Close up of the embroidery with gold threads through the beautiful jewel-like colours

Emma was very generous with letting lots of enthusiastic and curious children crawl around inside the tipi - one little girl said it was the best tent in the world and took up residence in it for quite some time!

The creativity to be found at St George's Market is wonderful - not just textiles, but photographers, artists, printmakers, glass designers, jewellers, knitters and other crafts. If you're near enough to visit but haven't been yet - I hope this blog has inspired you to visit soon! For details on the market, please click here

Thanks to Flax Mill Textiles, Julie & Emma for letting me photograph their work for this post.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Colour Therapy

It's been so cold, dull and rainy this week and I'm already missing the colourful fairy lights that have been packed away for another year. What I need is some sunshine and colour! Lots of colour seeping into our latest stationery designs and I didn't have to look too far to find some other gorgeous handmade stuff to brighten the blog. A little bit of sunshine on a rainy day - and since I started writing & looking for items for this post, a little bit of sun has started peeking through the clouds...  ;)

Hello Sunshine! Notecards by Arbee Cards

Colourful Little Thank You's by Arbee Cards

'Red Sofa' Purse & Mirror by Nickynackynoo

Mini Liquorice Allsorts bracelet by delight yourself

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Handmade 'n Happy!

Today Arbee Cards became a member of UK Handmade - an online organisation that supports, promotes and celebrates UK designer-makers, with a quarterly online magazine, blogs, forums, gift guides & collections, directories and advice.  As I'm so new to UK Handmade, I can't wait to have a really good look around the blogs & forums and see what everyone's up to - always very inspiring! Can't think of a nicer start to 2011!

If you haven't come across UK Handmade before now, you can click on the circle above to go to their home page.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy 2011!

Wishing all our blog followers, readers, 
customers & friends a very Happy New Year

Here's to a happy, healthy, wealthy, 
crafty & creative 2011!