London: Card Shopping at Selfridges

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

I’ve been meaning to visit Selfridges for a while.  After an afternoon walk around Marylebone (more in another post), I was so close that I thought I’d pop in.

Wow.  If Harrod’s is fancy, Selfridges is just cool.  It’s still a massive department store, true, but the feel was totally different.  I could have wandered all day!

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

thought I was just going to pop in and check out the food hall.  Then I went through the food hall to the chocolate section.  Then beyond the chocolate section was . . . wait for it . . . the stationary section.  Be still my heart.

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

Seriously, this is where British department stores get it right.  A whole section dedicated to stationary plus several stores-within-a-store displays from prominent companies like Paperchase and Smythson.

I about keeled over when I saw the Smythson stuff, then came to my senses when I saw the price tags.  Birthday gift for me, anyone?  I’ll take anything in yellow, especially this.

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

They had fabulous card and stationary sets.  I saw a map-themed letter writing set and really had to restrain myself.

The card selection was just excellent.  I had to actually put a couple back because I was close to buying all the cards.  I was happy though – I got a cute little yellow Selfridges bag of my very own to carry back to my flat.

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

Mission accomplished.

If you go, I think the perfect experience would be to sample some chocolate, buy some stationary, then get a manicure (in the same section as the stationary, £19 for an express manicure).  You can’t go wrong!

IF YOU GO

Click here for a map of all the locations I visited (peach pins are stores).

I traveled solo to London for the month of April on a business trip.  I kept myself entertained on the weekends with a few adventures that I’m sharing here.  Click here to see all of my travel posts grouped by destination.

London: Shoreditch Design & Shopping Walk

Shoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie Parker

I spent one of my Saturdays in London wandering around Shoreditch, looking for design stores.

Okay, I confess: I never wander.  I walk with purpose and always know where I’m going.  It’s an affliction.

The Plan

My plan of attack for the day:  start at Old Spitalfields Market to check out the vendors and the area stores, make my way toward the Old Truman Brewery and Backyard Market, have lunch at some point, walk up Shoreditch High Street to Material, then bus down to the Design Museum if I had time.  While not technically wandering, I stopped at any store that looked cool along the way.

Shoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie Parker

The Results

I had a love-at-first-sight moment with Oliver Bonas.  Bright colors, homewares with clean lines, cards, furniture, and more.  I thought about moving in.  I snapped a pictures of these quirky chests and sent them to my mom so we can make one (they don’t ship internationally).  I got out of there with a scarf and a couple of cards.

I almost tried on some clothes because the Old Spitalfields vendors were awesome.  But I was cold and couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I stumbled onto BoxPark and Tusch und Egon, contemplating for a while how I could pack home a beautiful modern fire extinguisher.  The shopkeeper told me they can’t be packed, even in the cargo hold.  Rats.

Double rats: I didn’t realize there were more BoxPark shops upstairs!  I really should learn how to wander.

I found a solar-powered dashboard corgi at Maiden and quickly snapped it up for the corgi-lover in my life.

I stopped to admire all the street art and got to see my very first Bansky!

I had an argument with myself at the Backyard Market about taking off my scarf to try on a necklace (it was cold).  The necklace won!  I bought it and a lovely hammered ring from Boém.

My patience rewarded, I found the street food vendors near Backyard Market and got a fresh juice and halloumi wrap.

Finally, I bused across Tower Bridge and walked to the Design Museum to check out the gift shop.  I’m not sure it was worth the trek since it was so out of the way from the other shops.  However, my opinion was probably influenced by the fact that it was cold and very windy on the walk there.

Not a bad day’s work!

Shoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie Parker

If You Go

Click here for a map of all the locations I visited (peach pins are stores).

Websites: Oliver Bonas | Old Spitalfields Market | InSpitalfields | Backyard Market | Boém | BoxPark | Tusch und Egon | Maiden | Material | Design Museum

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on London

I traveled solo to London for the month of April on a business trip and kept myself entertained on the weekends exploring new places.  

The Day I Bought All the Neon in Dublin

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

All. the. neon.

Or at least it felt that way.

During our trip to Dublin, I spent a morning shopping the Creative Quarter.  Apparently I’m really into neon at the moment because I bought a lot of it.

So very neon: these cute tiny “Merci” cards with little craft envelopes.  These are too small to mail in the US, but that didn’t stop me.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

They’re made by Belgian printer le typographe.  I can’t wait for my next trip to Brussels to check them out in person.  Mr. P’s already been warned.

I swooned (almost) over these letterpress cards from Nineteen Seventy-Three.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

Seriously.  I scooped up every one available at Article.  They are high quality and the colors are very vivid in person.

Since one can never have too many notecards or washi tape, I bought this pad of notecards, also by le typographe.  They are heavy duty stock with a neon pink paperclip printed in the corner.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

The neon orange washi is by Mark’s Inc.

Okay, so not everything was neon.  I couldn’t resist this laser cut card with an Irish postbox.  Love.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

And finally, a birthday card with an Irish greeting, which I’ve already earmarked for a friend of ours.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

Pro trip: if you see cards you like in Dublin, buy them.  Several items I saw a couple weeks later when I was paper shopping in London and they were much more expensive (even before accounting for the awful exchange rate with the sterling).  Dublin had really reasonable prices!

Mr. P stood by as I said “excuse me, I’m going to buy all the cards.”

Click here to read about the shops in the Creative Quarter where I bought these items.

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

My 2015 Valentines

Valentine by Natalie Parker

Happy Valentine’s Day lovelies!

Just popping in to share my 2015 valentines.  I started designing and sending valentines to my girlfriends in 2013.  I love the chance to work on a different project and I love sending mail (obviously).

I also like to challenge myself to use up supplies.  This year, I had a bunch of 5×7 envelopes. 5×7 valentines here we come!  I’m in love with how it turned out — it’s huge.

I used a photo from a Paris market I took a couple of years ago.  Then I added some text on top in Photoshop (this easily could have been done in Picasa too).

Have a great weekend!

Earlier: 2013 Valentines, 2014 Valentines

Our 2014 Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards by Natalie Parker

Our 2014 Christmas cards are making their way to their destinations and I’m sharing them with you today!

As per usual, this crafty design-loving cardaholic buys rather than makes Christmas cards.  More on why here.  This is one of the few times I prefer quantity over quality: I’d rather spread the love and send more cards than spend the time to make them for fewer people.  I’m still keeping up with my always-send-a-card mantra, so I had about 90 on our list.

I bought these at Papyrus a few weeks ago.  Normally I shop the after Christmas sales, but we were on a boat heading home from Antarctica last year.  No after Christmas sales there, I’m afraid.

These cards are extra awesome because the envelopes have this cool festive design on the front!  I stamped the back with my trusty return address stamp from Paper Source.

Christmas Cards by Natalie Parker

In other news, I’m in love with the Postal Service’s Rudolph stamps.  Love.  I wish I could get a sheet of just Bumbles though.  Did you know that the Postal Service makes holiday-themed international stamps?  My list of international cards gets a tiny bit bigger every year and I love these rad round stamps!

Hope it’s getting merry and bright in your neck of the woods!

Christmas Cards by Natalie Parker

And if you’re looking for ways to upcycle old cards, make sure to check out my tutorials on making Christmas card gift tags and Christmas card notecards!

Previously: Our 2012 Christmas Cards, our 2013 Christmas Cards

Making Some Notecards

Notecards by Natalie Parker

I went paper shopping last year in Sydney.  I brought home lots of goodies.  I’ve used some of them but haven’t touched these cute envelopes.

Notecards by Natalie Parker

I picked them up at Kikki.K, a rad stationary store chain.

The thing is, since the envelopes are by themselves, I’ve never used them.  It’s been over a year.  I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use them but never think anything is cool enough or matches well enough to go with them.

Notecards by Natalie Parker

My stationary box is busting at the seams, so these have to get used.  I decided to make some matchy notecards so they’re ready next time I have to send a note.

I had this shimmery stock laying around.  It isn’t acid free so I can’t use it in my scrapbooks.  I’m psyched I found a use for it.  I glued some white stock to the other side to make the cards nice and hefty.

Notecards by Natalie Parker

I love how they turned out!  Hopefully I’ll actually use these very soon!

Notecards by Natalie Parker

For the Love of Old Stamps

Old Stamps by Natalie Parker

I have a new obsession: old, unused stamps.

It all started when I ordered a Vintage Pen Pal Kit from Saturday Morning Vintage.  The kit comes with old, unused postage!  All of a sudden, a light went off and I dreamed of sending mail Weasley style.

My mom is a lover of estate sales and treasure hunts.  She also loves a challenge, especially if one of her kids is asking.  In less than a month, envelopes started arriving filled with old stamps.  I love them!

Then she called me.  I hadn’t used them yet.  Apparently the big haul she got came from an old house that had a rat problem and I probably shouldn’t lick them.  Noted mom, noted.  I’m calling them the rat stamps now.

Regardless of provenance, I’m excited to start using them.  I ordered a bunch of penny stamps from USPS and we’re all set!  Long live snail mail.

2014 Valentines

Valentines by Natalie ParkerValentines by Natalie ParkerValentines by Natalie ParkerValentines by Natalie Parker

I participated in a valentine exchange with a bunch of my friends this year.  Because I’m me, I designed my own!

I gave myself a challenge: use up all of those pink envelopes leftover from the wedding scrapbook.  You know the ones I’m talking about: the envelopes I bought to cut up and make pink accents because no one was selling pink shimmer stock and then I overbought on the envelopes to make sure I wouldn’t run out. *Exhale*

I designed a long narrow valentine to fit in the envelope.  I went with “all you need is love,” printed in Ostritch Sans and Lavanderia.  The text is printed on white cardstock, then backed in kraft paper.

I cut tiny little gold hearts with the Silhouette and glued them to the front.  Easy enough!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sending Cards: Reviewing My Resolution

Sending Mail by Natalie Parker

My resolution in 2013 was to always send a card.

How did I do?

I sent a lot of cards.  I sent cards where I would have normally sent them.  I sent cards I normally would have thought twice on.

Birthdays for friends I’ve lost touch with, valentines for girlfriends, cards for coworkers who got promotions, thank yous after friends hosted us for dinner, bon voyage cards to people taking big trips, sympathy cards for relatives and pets lost, congratulations cards for new pregnancies, congrats for degrees earned, thank yous to professors, and cards to tell people to hang in there during difficult times.

I like how sending a card made me stop for a moment and think about important moments in others’ lives.  It takes so little effort in the grand scheme of life to send a card and it has the potential to mean a lot to the person that gets it.

I have to say, I got a lot more practice writing sympathy cards than I would have liked.  Sympathy cards are tricky and I think sometimes people opt not to send them because they aren’t sure what to say.  I learned that what I say isn’t as important as what it means to the person to get the card.  Any difficulty I have finding the right words pales in comparison to what that person is going through.  Always send a card.

I’m going to keep with this as long as I can!  Let’s keep the postal service in business, shall we?  Onward to 2014!

Articles of Interest: William and Kate send thank you cards to everyone who wrote them about the birth of Prince George, USC football coach sends handwritten note to every single member of marching band.

Recycling Christmas Cards into Notecards

Christmas Card Notecards by Natalie Parker

It’s the day after Christmas!  What does one do with all of those Christmas and holiday cards?  I’m always looking for neat ways to reuse them.  I turn some of the cards into next year’s gift tags.

Other cards have such pretty pictures that I want to reuse the whole thing!

Christmas Card Notecards by Natalie Parker

The solution?  I turn them into notecards!  I pick my favorites and use my recycled notecard tutorial to turn them into new cards.

Christmas Card Notecards by Natalie Parker

I use leftover response cards from my wedding as the base layer for these new notecards, but you can use any heavy stock you have on hand.  Craft paper would work really well here!

Christmas Card Notecards by Natalie Parker

I have this nice set of cards ready for next year in case I need to send a note to someone during the holidays.  Easy!

Christmas Card Notecards by Natalie Parker

Earlier: How to make recycled notecards, even more recycled notecards.