Thursday 26 August 2010


Sorry that I haven’t been around much online this week. This is for two reasons firstly I’m very busy with work, real world and Dear Colleen. Secondly and more importantly I’ve given up coffee. I developed a taste for it about seven years ago having prior to that considered it the work of the devil. Since then I’ve had a fairly manageable habit until moving to New Zealand where the coffee is so strong that my weak English constitution can't handle it (really it gives me heart populations, which can't be a good thing).
New Zealanders have a bit of a reputation for being laid back easygoing folk, to make a sweeping generalization. I would say that’s fairly true, until you get them talking about coffee that is. I know what you’re all thinking, rugby right, everyone knows that’s a kiwi’s first love but after living here for a while I would dispute this, you want to see a New Zealander all fired up just say the c word. Heaven forbid you ever mention coffee and London in the same breath, that will result in a 20-minute rant, which will end in the line – Thank god we found Flat White. Flat White is a kiwi owned cafĂ© in Soho named after the New Zealand version of a latte. Of cause I better hastily add that a flat white is far superior to a latte (or any other coffee in the huge wide world) before one of my caffeine fuelled colleagues beats me about the head to knock some sense into me. Anyway my downfall has been the Flat White as it packs a much stronger hit of caffeine and although I love it dearly, I’m pretty sure it’s not doing me much good and as much as anything else I really don’t need to be drinking that much full fat milk everyday.

So here I am hopefully over the worst (2 straight days of headaches in my case) and feeling human again, if a little less buzzing with life. I’ve found my own form of nicotine patch in the form of a Soy Chai Latte (as pictured above), Mojo make the best in town for my money. I’m not sure if this change is for good - we’ll see.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

I see a red door...

I'm so pleased to say that you can now find a selection of Dear Colleen prints, tea towels and bags in the Red Door Gallery Edinburgh. I studied, taught and lived in Edinburgh for years and that city still very much feels part of me. I remember when the Red Door openned I changed the way I walked home so I would pass their window and get to have a little nose in at all the lovely goodies. Now I've been traveling and seen a thing or two, I can say with a little more honestly that they are one of my favourite shops in the world. If you live in Edinburgh or if you're planning a visit for the festival then please drop by, you wont regret it.

Well still lots of big things happening in my world, that I can't quite talk about yet (I'm not great at keeping secrets so it's hard work)... Fingers crossed I'll be able to share a few photos soon.
* Just a little note to say a big thanks for all the job apps I've had in I've already got lots to think about.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

on the fringe!

I’m in the middle of writing a blog piece at the moment about my place in the craft movement as a digital designer. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and was so pleased to see this scoutie girl article on the topic. I’m not 100% with her on every point but on the whole I think she makes a compelling case and achieves her goal of opening up the debate. Hopefully my two pennies worth will be ready in the next couple of day. If you’ve got a minute I would love to hear your thoughts on defining/naming what we do (or am I just worrying about nothing:).

Anyway in the mean time I thought I would share a couple of images from my personal collection of ‘dark haired girls with fringes’ – yes I’m a dark haired girl with a fringe so there's no denying it’s a little narcissistic. Sadly because a lot of the prints are in the UK I can’t show you my whole collection just the few pieces I’ve bought whilst in New Zealand. A couple are very new… so new in fact that they haven’t arrived in the post yet.

1. belle and boo - my favourite spot in winter
2. devon smith for foxes - catrabbit
3. the rabbits nest - a song of deep space

4. hide 'n' seek - my captain5. amy blackwell - me and you number 7

Saturday 14 August 2010

I need help!

Yesterday my business ‘Dear Colleen’ turned six months old, I find this unbelievable as on one hand it’s gone so fast and on the other I can no longer remember what life was like before I did this every spare hour of everyday. Either way something has become very clear over the last month – I can no longer manage the workload! This has left me with two options to start working on ‘Dear Colleen’ full time or take on a staff member part time to help out. I’m going with the second as I love my day job and I’m nowhere near ready to walk away from my career.

All about the job. This is not a glamorous design job. Your primary role will be managing the wholesale and consignment side of my business this means you will be corresponding with shops from around the world to sort bulk and replacement orders. You’ll need to put together inventory sheets, quotes and invoices. I can show you the ropes on all of this but I need someone who is well mannered, efficient and computer literate. I propose paying you on a profit split basis, this should directly reflect the workload you take on each month. You will need to have your own computer, as this aspect of the job will be done remotely. At the moment I would estimate that it will be around 1-6 hours a week but if you do your job well this along with your profit will grow.

The second part of the job is a little more fun. For four hours on a Sunday you’ll work with me directly on all things ‘Dear Colleen’ this will include things as mundane as packaging and organizing my diary to more exciting tasks like helping out on photo shoots and overseeing the build of my website. This part of the job will pay a rather rubbish $15 an hour.

This job offers zero job security but it will give you something a little more interesting to add to your CV than dish washer. You will work on a freelance basis and invoice for your time at the end of every month. We'll go into greater detail about pay and hours at the interview.

Things you will need to be:

1. living in Wellington New Zealand

2. friendly, polite and good-natured

3. able to use a computer ideally a Mac

4. organized

5. interested in graphic design, indie design and etsy, felt etc…

6. some experience of working freelance and sorting quotes and invoice would be desirable.

Would suit. Graphic design or marketing student and/or recent graduates looking to add some creative and business experience to their CV.

If you’re interested then drop me a quick email with an outline about yourself and a basic CV (the CV isn’t as important as a well written letter). Deadline for applications is Thursday 26 August, you’ll hear from me by Monday 30 if you’ve been successful. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Colleen

Sunday 8 August 2010

it's my birthday and I'll buy if I want to...

Well next week is my birthday so my head is filling with a little wish list of things I need and things I just want. I think it's something to do with getting older but I no longer worry about people buying me presents, it's now more about treating myself to a special something extra. I think this shift happened around the same time as I started thinking of nice food or bath stuff as a really lovely gifts rather than just plain boring. So here's my current wish list.
Giant Suede City W bike, I really miss having a bike and this one would be great for cruising around Wellington bay. I walk everyday but really need to fit in a little more exercise and I would rather cycle than join a gym.
My iphone is on it's last legs, little cracks are appearing on the screen :( and I know I sound like a sad'o but I really have no idea what I'll do without it. It's maybe the greatest value per use item I have ever owned. So I think new iphone will bump bike from the number one spot.
Totally frivolous but I love this print from Lazy Oaf. Prog rock, bright colours and a unicorn what's not to like.
I always want books and these three would be given a good home with me. An Education by Lynn Barber I heard her interviewed on Desert Island Discs this week and she was so interesting, I'm desperate to read this memoir. Eat Yourself Thin I really need a heathy eating cook book and this one seems a little more light hearted than most on offer. Finally for some reason I'm fascinated with Ted Hughes, I guess because he had an extraordinary and deeply tragic life and I really want to read The Letters of Ted Hughes to get a little more insight into him and his poems.
Finally my parents have kindly bought me this lovely chestnut brown leather bag. It's exactly what I need now I carry post - including poster tubes in and out of town everyday of the week. It's being made to order by Jenny n design on etsy.