Source: BusinessGhana

Award-winning South African designers are taking on the world of online stationery with beautiful, locally illustrated designs.

Ink & Bash is a new Stellenbosch-based start-up that’s making it easy for anyone to design their own high-quality, one-of-a-kind event invitations. Their online store features a range of 65 invitations that allows people to insert their own event details into the designs. Invitations can then be e-mailed, sent via WhatsApp or printed for guests.

The Ink & Bash brand was incubated at Fanakalo, an award winning design team from Stellenbosch. They’ve long been known for their original, offbeat design work for wineries, craft spirits and beer both locally and abroad. They recently won a double Gold for their wine label work at the San Fransisco International Wine Competition and walked away with two golds at the fourth annual South African Wine Label Design Awards.

It was a simple problem that led to the creation of Ink & Bash: most people can’t afford to pay for a designer to craft an special invitation to their event, be it an save-the-date, kids birthday party or just a get together between friends. To solve this problem, Ink & Bash created 65 editable invitations for their website at R25 per design. If compared to the average cost of between R2 500 – R7 500 when using a designer, this is significant.

Customisable templates are a quick and easy way of creating stationery for special occasions, but the work that goes into the Ink & Bash templates is everything but instant. They’re thoughtfully created with a whole lot of love, and feature painstakingly hand-drawn illustrations. There are also plenty of themes to choose from, ensuring that there’s something for every kind of bash, from braais and kids birthday parties to kitchen teas and weddings.

“We saw the need for event stationery that is well-designed and different. An invite is the first thing guests see. It should say ‘this event is special and the party is going to be loads of fun’. Unfortunately the somewhat cheesy and cliched event stationery designs that are out there today aren’t making a great first impression. So with Ink & Bash we want to kick so-so, same old stationery to the curb,” says Frans De Villiers, one of the co-founders of Ink & Bash.

Traditional hobbies are dying out

By Neil Shaw for DevonLive 

Trainspotting, quilting and astrology are among the hobbies which are dying out, a study has found.

Researchers found working longer hours, having less disposable income and social media distractions mean fewer of us are able to take time out and enjoy traditional pastimes.

Stamp collecting, embroidery and building models also featured as interests which Brits aren’t so interested in any more.

The study found playing sports, travelling and gardening featured among the more popular hobbies.

The study also found three quarters agreed hobbies bring them and their partner closer together with half using it as something to talk about.

One quarter enjoy gardening and pruning the bushes with their loved ones, with one in 10 couples hiking and four in 10 going for nice walks together.

In fact, one in 10 are keen to take up a new interest with their significant other but worried it might be a bit on the unusual side. Nearly one quarter were willing to take up wife carrying and husband dragging as a hobby.

In a bid to offset boredom, one quarter would like to try pie eating as a hobby, with 9% willing to have a go at bog snorkelling and 6% keen to attempt extreme ironing.

Of other absurd activities, one in 10 would participate in egg tossing, with as many Brits willing to try gurning and 16% would give marbles a go.

One fifth of those polled get involved in different leisure pursuits to keep their mind sharp.

Eighteen per cent use their interests as a chance for a bit of “me-time”, with one in 20 treating it as a chance to make friends.

Despite a nation with keen interests, of the one quarter with no hobbies half of them wish they had an interest to call their own.

But a lack of time, interest and companions to kick-start it with means they aren’t spending any free time they have in a way they would like.

Nearly half of Brits reckoned they have less time now than they used to for leisurely activities and nearly a third agreed hobbies are becoming less commonplace.

However, the poll of 2 000 adults revealed some of the more unusual hobbies circulating the nation including candle making, origami and even collecting Aston Villa football programmes.

One Brit even invests their time in a spot of scripophily – the study and collection of stock and bond certificates.

The 20 least common hobbies:

1. Trainspotting
2. Quilting
3. Astrology
4. Scrapbooking
5. Home brewing
6. Squash
7. Mechanics
8. Astronomy
9. Woodworking
10. Toy collecting
11. Model building
12. Embroidery
13. Cards
14. Stamp collecting
15. Dancing
16. Coin collecting
17. Painting
18. Camping
19. Golf
20. Genealogy

Source: Simply Kierste

Create this lovely serving platter with meaning – use your children’s thumbprints to create the heart shapes on a serving platter you can use all the time!

You will need:

  • A white serving platter – choose a size and shape suitable for the size of your family
  • Glass paint or multi-surface paint that can be cured in the oven and be dishwasher safe
  • A permanent marker
  • A wet rag or damp paper towels

Directions

1. Decide how you want to lay out the fingerprints and text and place a tiny dot of paint where you want each fingerprint to go, so the spacing is as equal as possible.

2. Place a small amount of paint on a piece of foil or wax paper, carefully dip your child(ren)’s finger(s) in the paint, then make two prints to form a heart shape. If you mess up, all you have to do is use the wet rag or damp paper towels and wipe it of, then once it’s dry, you can start over again.

3. Use a permanent marker to write the names, date, and any other text you would like.

4. Follow the curing directions on the paint you used.

If you’re worried about it being 100% food safe, then either put your fingerprints around the edges instead of the middle, or laying something underneath the food you’re serving.

By Emma Featherstone for The Guardian

If you go down to the beach today, you may get a surprise: a smooth pebble painted with a colourful picture (cartoon characters and animals are common) or uplifting message.

Pebble painting, or “rocking”, is a craze that seems to have begun in the US with Megan Murphy’s The Kindness Rocks Project. She came up with the idea after collecting heart-shaped stones and pieces of sea-smoothed glass from the beach, seeing them as “rare treasures or signs and messages” from her deceased parents. “Finding them made me happy and I wanted to provide others with a similar experience.”

Now, a thriving international community of amateur artists decorates rocks before hiding them in public places.

The UK-based Facebook group Love on the Rocks has amassed more than 64,000 members since Vicki Poledoles Stansfield, from Essex, started it a year ago. “I suffer with anxiety and I was looking for a quiet hobby with no skills, that was free, and that I could do at 2am when my mind is racing,” she says.

Jacky Burns, who lives in Morecambe, is another enthusiast. She has some tips for first-timers: “Decorate a pebble using acrylic paint or permanent pens, then seal it against the weather (using clear nail polish or varnish) and write the name [of a dedicated Facebook group] on the back. Hide it in a safe place and wait for someone to find it and post on your group, then watch its journey.”

Some rocks have crossed continents, like the one found by Ian Hines in a south London park, which he later left in Morocco. Others spread a message.

Nikki Lunn, from Stockport, has planned a tribute for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack. With council permission, she is encouraging people to leave rocks painted with the symbolic worker bee and the hashtag #lovemcr in certain city spots on 22 May.

What is it about the movement that has captured people’s imagination? “People are looking to connect with one another,” says Murphy.

By Kristen Stephenson for Guinness World Records 

Julian Martinez was told by his own art class that crafting a mural using just pencils was impossible – but he’s proved them wrong by creating the largest pencil drawn mural.

While no one seemed to have confidence in his abilities, the 24-year-old never failed to believe in himself.

It was this doubt that motivated the Colombian artist to spread his talent across 84.86 m² (913 ft² 61 in²) of wall to earni his Guinness World Records title.

Julian wasn’t always interested in art, so this ambition was quite the mission to take on.

The teacher had previously been studying agriculture production, but realised after several years he had a passion for the arts and sought out to become a tattoo artist.

Thus, he began a 48-day project titled La Realidad Absoluta, which translates to Absolute Reality.

The idea behind his image is show that although others may be different from one another, we can adjust the human perspective to see eye to eye.

Although Julian began the illustration alone, his students and others in the community of Roldanillo came out to help him finish the massive piece upon seeing his intense commitment.

After going through 1 200 pencils, and sketching despite blisters and intense heat, the team of artists now have a detailed canvas exemplifying their hard work.

Source: The Kreative Life

Find some big sturdy leaves, that are waxy and veiny because they work the best. Here is my step-by-step tutorial on how to make skeleton leaves.

You will need:

  • Waxy leaves
  • Large pot
  • Water (12 cups)
  • Super washing soda – also called sodium carbonate (2 cups)
  • Metal tongs
  • Colander
  • Bleach
  • Shallow dish
  • Food colouring of your choice
  • Cooling rack

The amount of water and super washing soda will vary depending on the size and amount of leaves. I would suggest using one part super washing soda to six parts water.

Directions
In a well-ventilated room, mix water and super washing soda in pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add leaves. Allow the mixture to simmer for 2-3 hours. After the 2-3 hours, the water will look very murky.

Using the tongs, place the leaves in the colander and run under cool water. (My leaves were pretty tough, so I don’t know if adding all types of leaves to the colander will work or if you’d have to rinse them individually if they’re more fragile.)

Pour out the murky water and rinse out the pot. Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the leaves. It doesn’t have to be as much used before when simmering them. I added ½ cup bleach. Place the leaves into the bleach water and allow to soak for 20-30 minutes. This will remove as much color from the leaf as possible.

Now, this is where I did things a little differently. Instead of using the brush to remove the skin of the leaf, I placed the leaf flat on my hand and ran it under the sprayer on my kitchen sink. The skin started immediately coming off.

After about a minute under the water, the skin was completely removed. I’ll admit that some of the leaves tore a little, but I still kept them because it added a little character.

Mix water and food color in the shallow dish according to the tint you want. I used a blue and green mixture.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Remove from water and place on cooling rack. Allow to completely dry.

After mine dried, I painted a cheap frame and used a piece of scrapbook paper for the background.

Now that you know how easy making skeleton leaves at home is, what will you try next?

DIY coffee candle

Source: Crafting News

At the end of a long day, all I can think about is to unwind in front of my fireplace with a good book and a tall glass of wine. And the mood is always set with a beautifully scented candle that fills the room with the aroma of relaxation and home.

So I thought it was pretty cool when I came across this DIY coffee candle. One thing I also like is the smell of coffee in the morning. It usually wakes me right up, and I can feel all my senses come alive. How cool is it that you can make coffee scented candles? I know some of you could use this in your everyday life. I had to try it out for myself, and the results were beautifully scented, to say the least.

A word of caution
Before I made my candle I had read that there is a chance of coffee beans burning if they are too close to the candle flame. I ended up placing the coffee beans around the outside of the candle so that they are not near the wick, and so far have not had any issues. And if you don’t want to take that risk, you can replace the coffee beans with another scent such as lavender or vanilla.

What you will need:

  • Small bowls or glasses. Collect a few colorful containers you have around the house
  • Candle wax
  • Candle wick
  • Coffee beans
  • Vanilla beans, chopped

Making the DIY coffee candle

The procedure and the tutorial for making the candles is pretty straight forward. It is actually pretty easy and no skill is required, just the skill to have fun.

The basic procedure is to melt the candle wax. Then you hold the wick in the center of the container you want to use. After that you just pour in the candle wax along with the coffee and the vanilla while stirring with a chopstick to evenly distribute the ingredients. Or put the coffee beans in last to keep them away from the wick.

You have to give the candle a few minutes to dry up before sniping of the wick and voila you have your candle. The end result is a beautifully scented candle that will melt away your stresses.

For the full tutorial, click here.

You’ve probably seen a few of these smart paper or smart pen things over the years — write in this special notebook and it gets saved to an app, that sort of thing. A new entrant to this niche space is the Everlast notebook, which obviates the necessity of restocking proprietary paper in that its pages can be wiped clean with a damp towel.

No, to answer your first question, it’s not a tiny whiteboard. The Kickstarter page is very clear on that:

The 36 pages (or 32 on the large-format version) are a “waterproof synthetic poly blend,” which when written on with a pen from the Pilot Frixion line can be wiped off over and over again, but only with a wet towel — normal rubbing won’t do it. It’s important to use the Frixions because they use an erasable ink that comes off the page completely (you can also just use the eraser for quick edits).

When you’ve written on the Everlast, you can then capture images of the pages quickly with the Rocketbook app. The Rocketbook, by the way, was the notebook the company funded earlier this year, which you erased by putting it in the microwave with a glass of water for a while and then vacuuming up the ink. Yes, really.

Your notes and sketches aren’t stuck in this random app, though: it’s just for scanning. When you snap pictures, it crops and processes the image and then sends it to the cloud services of your choice.

The clever bit is that you don’t even need to fiddle with the app to do that. You select the services each page should go to by marking them at the bottom. The symbols look more like Lucky Charms marshmallows, but you’ll get used to it. You can send stuff to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Box, Slack, or to an email address.

A couple minor caveats: the creators are honest about the fact that if you’re left handed and tend to drag your hand along what you’re writing, you’ll probably smudge it, since the Frixion ink takes several seconds to bond to the “paper.” And if you leave the ink on the page for more than 2 months, they say, it’ll leave a faint trace.

The Everlast isn’t going to change the world, and it isn’t for everybody, but this is a cool way to do the analog-digital thing these other notebooks do, for cheap ($34 for early birds) and without actually using any paper.

By Devin Coldewey for TechCrunch

Hobby-X 2018

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There’s a new energy and positive feeling to 2018! And nowhere is this more apparent than at the offices of Hobby-X, the well respected and highly anticipated expo for the hobbies and creative crafts industries, where I am chatting to Elizabeth Morley and Gloria Bastos, organisers of the show. The phones ring with enquiries from potential exhibitors and visitors. The bell rings announcing another contract has just been received. Preparations are in full swing, and the enthusiasm and energy are palpable.

The tagline of this year’s show is “because you love it”, and fittingly the exhibition encompasses a whole lot of fun activities that people pursue purely for pleasure. There is a complete car restoration and customisation area including Monster Trucks, Jet Dragsters and a unique car collection. Paintball and wall-climbing for those who never want to grow up. A food marketplace with exotic and interesting offerings will tempt the aspiring MasterChef.

A Kunsvlyt Theatre, with celebrity appearances by previous winners of the kykNET TV program of the same name, will run “best project” competitions throughout the show. At the nearby Kunsvlyt Café the less bold can try out the materials and projects – without the audience, and with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake to fortify them.

The workshops at Hobby-X have always been firm favourites both with retailers, who want to gain as much product knowledge as possible to be able to impart it to their customers, as well as the consumers who love to try out new projects and learn tips and techniques. This year there will be 10 workshop areas dotted around the show, with continuous hands-on craft workshops. Catering for smaller groups than the previous classroom style workshops, the new format will allow for much greater interaction with the teacher, and greater individual attention. And the choice of topics and projects is broad and on trend.

The core of Hobby-X has always been the materials, equipment, supplies and ideas for hobbies and crafts – and this sector is still fundamental to the exhibition. Paper products, adhesives, silicones and resins, mosaic, art supplies, craft materials, scrapbooking, pewter, power tools, paints, gadgets, gizmos and machinery are well represented. The exhibitors in these categories are all manufacturers, importers, distributors or agents, and a number of overseas principals will be at Hobby-X to support the local distributors of their products.

For Trade Buyers, the benefits of visiting an exhibition such as this are many. It’s a convenient way of staying up-to-date with your industry and current trends, finding new products to stock, building relationships with suppliers and networking with leading companies in your field. Part of the appeal of visiting trade shows is about getting fresh ideas for your own retail space, and finding innovative ways to update your store to give your customers a great shopping experience. But it’s also a unique opportunity to observe consumer behaviour and reaction, and analyse buying patterns at the show, enabling you to make informed buying decisions.
According to the Organisers, the take-up pattern by exhibitors was markedly different for the 2018 exhibition than it has been for the past many years, with a significant number of companies taking a wait-and-see approach before committing to the exhibition. This was directly attributable to the negative sentiment and lack of confidence felt by many throughout most of last year. But the sentiment this year is positively buoyant, and many companies are investing in their future with renewed vigour and optimism. This positive sentiment should also be reflected in the spending patterns of consumers, and so the time is ripe for Trade Buyers to take advantage of the platform presented by Hobby-X to re-stock their shelves.

As I am leaving, I overhear a phone call to a client. “I noticed that you haven’t yet confirmed your stand for the March show, and I wanted to let you know some of the exciting things that are lined up for this year which will make it an event not to be missed”. Whoever that potential exhibitor is, I think, I hope they sign up quickly. This could well be the best Hobby-X ever!

Hobbies have poor shelf lives

The shelf-life of a hobby is one year and two months, according to Brits.

Researchers who polled 5 001 UK adults found almost half have taken up a hobby only to give it up.

Twenty-eight per cent level the blame at work commitments, while 27 per cent said a busy family life prevented them from carrying on.

But this hasn’t stopped them pursuing something new – eight in ten currently have a hobby and dedicate a total of nine days over the course a year to it.

Commissioned by Barclaycard, the research also found 57 per cent believe they are happier and a quarter have acquired new friends – all thanks to their hobby.

Andrew Hogan, Head of Brand Strategy at Barclaycard, said: “Our research shows that in today’s often frantic world, having a hobby can have a huge, positive impact on both our personal and professional lives, as well as our overall health and wellbeing.

“That’s why it’s so important that we overcome obstacles to getting going, whatever that may be.

“We encourage everyone to prioritise their passions and start today.”

The biggest obstacles to spending more free-time doing pursuing hobbies and interests include work commitments, family commitments and not having enough disposable cash.

Although 13 per cent admit they are too lazy to spend additional time doing their hobbies and 22 per cent revealed they tend to procrastinate in their spare time instead.

Regardless of this, 54 per cent are more relaxed thanks to their passion, around a third believe they are healthier and 23 per have seen their confidence levels increase.

And two in five believe their outside interests have given them a more positive outlook on life.

On average, those who have made new friends as a result of their hobby have made 16 new pals.

With one fifth of those who made friends have even meeting a partner.

A third have a hobby they would like to try one day, with ten per cent hoping to give it a go some point in the next 12 months.

And a quarter would like to turn their interest into a career someday.

Over half agree everyone should have a hobby or passion.

Andrew Hogan added: “It’s fascinating to see that so many people daydream of turning their passion into a career – and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.

“Taking that first step could be as simple as signing up to ukulele lessons or buying a bike.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk By James Cox

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