Styling the Creative Flair workshop

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How did you enjoy my notes from the Creative Flair workshop yesterday? Weren’t those images just glorious? I wanted to take a moment today to celebrate the creative process that went into styling and preparing for this event. It was something that I found thoroughly inspirational and I hope you’ll enjoy this insight into my thinking and how the whole thing came about.

Now, the first thing to mention is probably that this was an event that wasn’t going to have its’ own bits at all. I’d created a really beautiful enchanted garden concept for the June workshop at Middleton Lodge (and invested pretty heavily in licensing the botanical illustrations) and quite honestly, my plan was to bring all of that into service again for the November dates. I know it seems a bit nuts now, especially when you see how it all came together, but the truth is that I really loved that secret garden pattern and creating something new was going to be a lot of work.

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A seasonal concept for winter

Everything changed in October half term. I was off with the children when The White Company catalogue plopped onto the door mat. I was instantly captivated by their Fir candle and it sparked so many ideas, I was just enchanted. One of the happy side-effects of taking off every school holiday with the children is that I get to really have my headspace back. I don’t use that time to think about work, and I certainly don’t check my emails, but it does allow for ideas to emerge and I find that when an idea comes, it really takes root powerfully.

We were in Bath that week, staying with my sister and the ideas completely started running away with me. I was imagining fir, eucalyptus, mistletoe… A glorious green and white scheme that would be heady with the scents of the forest and appropriately seasonal without being too Christmasssy.

I hastily texted my wonderful friend Gail, a botanical illustrator, to see whether it was even possible to pull this together from such short notice and happily, she was as excited as I was, and so it began.

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Gail illustrated a beautiful new fir illustration just for the event, and licensed me plenty of other gorgeous greenery, which I transformed into a botanical pattern. As always, Century Studios printed everything beautifully and speedily and I’m now the owner of the most gorgeous notebooks, wrapping paper and Christmas cards (it’s debatable whether I’ll actually get round to sending them this year…).

Beautiful botanical illustrations by the super-talented Gail Jones

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It (almost) goes without saying that these glorious images are the copyright of Gail Jones and are not to be used… These are for illustrative and celebratory purposes only…

So I think this is my favourite thing that I did with the illustrations… two beautiful botanical patterns - one dark, one light combined with a gentle gold foil. Each guest had a pack of three to enjoy for the workshop and beyond. Which is your favourite? I’m undecided about whether I like the dark blue/black or the stone but in the end, I think the light one wins out for me.

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The welcome box

I think this is quite possibly the most ‘wow’ welcome box I’ve ever created, and lots of that is down to my wonderful friends at Cutture. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen a few sneak peeks of the journals on my stories, but I wanted to keep the fir topper as a complete surprise until the event. It caused a lot of excitement and a few squeals of complete delight as they worked their way through the boxes which was just lovely.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll know that Cutture created a palm leaf topper for the welcome boxes for my 2017 retreat. They were utterly gorgeous and created such an impact and I knew that they could do something equally astonishing for this theme. The guys at Cutture completely blew us away with this one and I absolutely love the effect of a very simple and light silhouette of fir on the GF Smith Forest cardstock.

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I couldn’t actually believe how patient everyone was… I’d put the boxes out in the morning and every single person waited until we’d done the introductions before they delved in. I’m not sure I’d have been that patient!

Inside were three notebooks, a sketchbook and a small envelope containing a piece of greenery that had featured on the pattern. We sealed each using the Artisaire wax seals that you’ll find featured in the Gifts for Entrepreneurs guide.

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So much love and thought went into these boxes and especially into creating the bespoke botanical pattern for the notebooks. I feel a bit sad that they may not be used again, but I think that’s what makes it so exciting. The fleetingness of it. The joy of creating something new, seasonal and very personal for each event. And of course, the joy of sharing afterwards…

Now tell me, which is your favourite notebook - the dark, or the light?