Sunday 30 December 2012

Honeybear: January, Printable Freestanding Calendar

So here we are at the end of 2012. I hope you have had a lovely holiday break. I've been using the down time to get on with lots of little creative projects, including this one for a printable calendar buddy. This little guy is the 'Honey Bear', part bumble bee part grizzly bear! I wanted to call these calendars 'Cutants' but Polly Pocket has already beaten me to that name, darn it! That's the idea though, cute mutants. Each month there will be a new Cutant to keep you company while you work. You can create a little desk top zoo or recycle at the end of each month.

Download the 'Honey Bear' calendar here... 

1. You don't need much to make the Honey Bear,  just some thick paper/card, a little ruler, some scissors and double sided tape or glue. Firstly download and print out the design.

2. Roughly cut around the outline.

3. Use the back edge of the scissors and a ruler to score along the grey fold lines. Be careful not to score through the ears!
4. Using a small sharp pair of scissors cut along the black dotted line. Go slowly when cutting around the ears and wings, these are a little tricky.
5. Once you've cut the Honey Bear out fold along the scored grey lines.

 6. Put double sided tape or glue on the top side of each flap. Stick the flaps to the body, so the flaps stick behind the adjacent part of the body.

7. Stand on your desk and enjoy.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Free Printable Gandalf Swag!

Goodness I think I've just shipped my final parcel for 2012. My plan is to stay open over Christmas and I'll send any really last minute orders tomorrow but I can't imagine anyone doing more online Christmas shopping at this point. All orders from Saturday on will be shipped on 3 January.
Anyway, so, Gandalf. I live in New Zealand where a lot of 'The Hobbit' has been filmed and I think it's fair to say it's been Hobbit fever in these here parts. I did this silly sketch in my notebook and it was quite popular. I have no plans to do anything commercials with it so I decided to put it up as another freebie. The download includes two A6 (148mm-105mm) Christmas card to fit a C6 envelope (once folded. Or four mini folding cards to use as swing tags on gifts. I know it's a little last minute but I also know not everyone has done their wrapping yet. Side note chooce a nice paper around 210gsm-280gsm it will make all the difference. Download here... 
I hopefully have one more download to share, but if I don't get round to it thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. I wish you all a Happy Christmas. 

Also if anyones actually using these I would so love to see pics, you can find me on facebook and twitter:)

Monday 17 December 2012

DIY Human Centipede Bunting!

Ever wondered how Dr Heiter from the Human Centipede movie decorates his home at Christmas? Yes? Me too!
Although the Doctor is a master Surgeon by profession his real strength lies in the arts and crafts. Where his drawing skills may be lacking though, he, as you know is quite resourceful and very into DIY. So here we can unveil his latest creation just in time for the holiday season, Human Centipede Bunting! A festive addition to any fireplace or to hang ass-to-mouth across the living room as you open presents on Christmas morning.  
1. Download the design here! Print it out on to some heavy weight paper/card, you might want to check your printer guidelines but 210-280 gsm should be fine. Print out as many as you need for the length you desire. There are six 'humans' per page.
2. Cut out each 'human' around the black broken key line. As these will be hung it is probably not necessary to be terribly neat with the cutting out.
3. On each, use a small hole punch to make one hole in the mouth and one in the butt of the 'human'. Use the x's as guide for where to punch. If you don't have a small hole punch you can just leave it 'as is' for the moment. 

4. Once you have two 'humans' cut out you can begin pinning them together. Place the mouth hole of one over the top of the butt hole of another (so the face is visible). Push a paper fastener through the lined up holes and flair out the end once it is through. Repeat this step for as many 'humans' you wish to centipede. If you do not have a small hole punch you can probably just push the tack through the card or make a very small incision first which goes through both.
5. To hang, you have a few options. The cleanest would be to tie cord through the mouth and through the butt at each end and pin on the wall in place. Alternatively use a low tack masking tape or a washi tape and adhere to the wall. Bluetac would work too but it does tend to rip wall paper. 

Dr Heiter wishes you all a very merry Christmas. He unfortunately will be spending it alone in the lab but hopes to 'join' you soon.  

Sunday 16 December 2012

Free Printable Grumpy Cat Swag!

Firstly some house keeping if you're in New Zealand and you want a 2013 Seasons Eating Calendar you have until end of tomorrow to order. They will not be available at all past this point.

Anyway enough of the boring stuff, I know you're only here for some cool grumpy cat printables! Like my bookmarks these are totally free. The cards and tags are designed for grumpy cat fans (but come on who's not :). They are ideal for your less than enthused friends and family. Everyone knows someone who's not a big Christmas lover.... I'm looking at you Dad!
These printables are so simple they don't have any DIY instructions, apart from a couple of arrows built into the design. I would personally choose a nice matte paper around 210gsm-280gsm. The Christmas card is A6 (148mm-105mm) once folded and should fit a C6 envelope. You can download the card here...
As you can see from the picture above I used my much loved rounded corner punch on the grumpy cat tags. There is no need to worry about this unless you're feeling fancy. I tied them onto the gift using Devine twine, I bought mine from Tea Pea but I think Wanda Harland also has some. You can download the tags here...

A little side note that the design of this has ended up looking like my friend Evie Kemps work, it's not copied in anyway but there is a clear style cross over. She's been a sweetie and has OKed me posting this however if you like this design you should check out her shop for a lot more awesome cat, dogs and other fierce beasts:)

Thursday 13 December 2012

Free Printable Bookmarks

This is a very simple DIY, it’s so simple it’s really just a printable, with a brief 'how to'. 

I know lots of people give books at Christmas. When I gift a book, instead of writing or sticking anything on the inside cover I like to add a bookmark with a note (something about defacing books, even though it’s nice it just doesn’t sit well with me). Bookmarks are handy and a thoughtful extra. When I send orders I try and add little gifts in with the parcel and bookmarks are one of my staples. I have a number of design but my two newest are my favorites so as a nice seasonal gesture I’m offering the designs as printables.
The first design is a silly word play joke, like all jokes it won’t be for everyone but it made me giggle so I figured at least a couple of people might like it as well. It’s a Facebook(Mark), basically a bookmark with a picture of Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook on it. Yeah I know it’s a bit of a Dad joke but if you like it you can download it here...

The second design is this sweet little carrot with a green ribbon stalk. It was design to send out with my Seasons Eatings calendars and would be a perfect little extra for any green fingered friends or family. The way the top pops out looks like it’s growing from the book. It’s so sweet. You can download this design here...


Download the design and print it out on to some heavy weight paper/card, you might want to check your printer guidelines but 250-280 gsm should be fine. You can pick this up from any good stationary shop.

Cut out the bookmark using the black key line. Try and carefully cut just inside the line so you don’t have any black border on the bookmark.

Optional, if you’re feeling fancy you can use a rounded corner punch to make the corners rounded. You can buy them in good stationary shop too or from amazon.

Use a hole punch to make a hole in the top centre of the bookmark. Make sure it doesn’t end up so high that you cut through the top of the paper. I have a small one hole hand punch but a single hole from a double standard hole punch will do just as well. Note, measure the size of the hole your hole punch makes before buying ribbon. Ribbon comes in different widths. I bought 3mm wide ribbon as my punch makes small holes. You may need 5mm or 8mm with a standard larger punch.
Once you have the right width of ribbon cut a length of around 10cm. Use green ribbon to make the stalk of the carrot and what ever colour you like on the Facebook(mark).

Fold the cut ribbon in half and push the folded point through the hole at the top of the bookmark.
 Once the ribbon is half way through the hole, open the folded half out to form a loop.
 Place the open ends over the top of the bookmark and thread them through the loop.
Pull the open ends tight... Bookmark made, write a message on the back or just use yourself for fun.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

What are you doing on Saturday?

Sorry it's been so long between posts, again oops. I've been ill, nothing that's going to kill me thankfully but more that a bit of a sniffle. I've managed to keep business ticking along but any extras have fallen by the way side. I final have a diagnosis and I'll be getting my Gallbladder out very soon just waiting on dates. I've been finding ways to multi task like you wouldn't believe and using down time in doctors waiting rooms to fill note books with plans and ideas. Below is a picture of the plan for the cover of my seasons eatings calendar, I did this while waiting on a blood test.

My boyfriend has been away in the States at Designer Con a huge designer toys conference in LA. He was very missed but came home with some amazing new toys and this cool Bill Cosby retro jumper for me (boy I look ill in that picture).  I grabbed these images from his instagram feed.

Anyway, I was very excited to be heading up to Auckland this week to hang out with some good friends and man a table at MoAD. Sadly I heard from my doctor on Monday that my lastest blood test haven't come back looking so hot and she doesn't want me to travel. To cut this boring story short I'm no longer going to be up in person but a friend is going to run things for me. I might not be there in person but 'Dear Colleen' will still be there and offering spacial fair prices. Now I'm unable to visit Auckland I'm free this weekend to give the local Dunedin fair Market22 a go. I'm going to have to break my one rule when selling and have a seat behind the table but I'll be there with calendars and tea towels if you're looking for Christmas gift ideas.


AUCKLAND: Saturday November 24, Tyler Street Garage, 120 Quay Street, Britomart, From 10.30am - 2.30pm.

 Saturday November 24, 22 Vogel Street, Dunedin. From 9am-3pm

Sunday 14 October 2012

New Stuff

Sorry, no I clearly couldn't think of a better title for this post but as folks say 'it does what it says on the tin'. I have a few new items coming out this week (not in the exciting gay way, I'm not sure paper goods have any sexuality! Although that's a whole new interesting thought). If you're keen to be the first to see then sign up to my mailing list. It's easy just type your email at the side on the blog bar where it says 'Subscribe to our mailing list'. I aim to do 3 letters a year, 4 max so I'm not much of a spammer. Below is a little sample of some of the illustrations I've been working on recently. 

News from my life is all rather boring at the moment, it's meant to be Spring here in New Zealand and we are having some beautiful sunny days mixed in with cold spells and torrential rain. It's funny how you start to care a lot more about the weather when you have a dog that needs walking twice a day. I've been awfully hooked to a couple of trash telly shows mostly the hyper bitchy Gallery Girls (shakes head in shame) and Ink Masters. An American show where tattoo artists compete for a prize of $100,000 by tattooing real people (who are the fools that valentie for this!). I'm doing lots of drawing/illustration work at the moment and I like the TV as background rather that music. This means I'm half watching a shameful amount of it. If any one has any program gems to share or recommendations for podcasts I'd love to hear them.

One final piece of info, I'm selling at Market22 in Dunedin on Saturday 27, 9am till 3.30pm, 22 Vogel Street. This might be the only Dunedin market I manage in the run up to Christmas so if you're local please do drop by to say Hello.

Friday 5 October 2012

Market time

I know it's only October but I'm going to drop the C word. Working with products for retail, means Christmas starts creeping up on you a little ahead of most. I know of creatives that started planning their Christmas designs as early as May! I'm never one to be that organised but I am gearing up for a couple of pre Christmas Markets. 

I have a friend manning a table for me in Wellington for Craft2.0, which is now at the St James Theater on Courtenay Place (I'm so sad I can't make it up myself but the date clashes with some other stuff). I've been working on the marketing material for the fair, which has been greet fun. I really like the little Craft2.0 creatures. If any Wellingtonians get chance to snap a picture of the posters or banners once they start popping up, please let me know as I would love to see what they look like out in the real world.

I'm also heading up to Auckland for 24 November MoAD market at Tyler St. Garage, 120 Quay Street Britomart. Although truth be told I'm using this visit as an excuse to catch up with friends as much as a business trip.

I was also very excited to see word of a new art and design fair being set up in Dunedin called Market 22. I'll let people know if I get a sellers spot. Hopefully I'll get to see a few friendly faces, it's always so lovely to meet customers in person.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Why didn't anyone tell me!

So last week after a month of having one kind or cold or another, I felt like going on a bit of a health kick. I'm pretty good at eating fairly healthy home cooked meals but my weak spot is my sweet tooth. I decided for once instead of fighting my love of sugar I'd look for healthier ways of enjoying sweet treats without so much guilt. That's when I stumbled across this recipe, Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding. Apparently Chia seeds have been the darling of the health food world for a few years. They are high in protein, fiber and all kinds of different vitamins including B.

The best thing about Chia seeds though, is when you leave them in liquid they swell up and turn to a gelatinous texture with a crispy center. The texture is a little unusual but I quite like it and once it tastes all sweet and chocolatey, well who am I to let some weird texture get in the way of eating some yummy pudding.

Here's the recipe for those who are as behind the times as me. It was taken from food doodles blog but I've added cinnamon, because I like it and used honey instead of maple syrup because it's half the price here in New Zealand.

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 C  unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together well. Put a cover over it and leave for 20 minutes. Eat. It really is that simple. The phase too good to be true springs to mind.
Quick note to say sorry for the terrible phone photos but to be fair it does taste better than it looks.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Busy having birthdays!

Oh dear it's been far too long between posts. I'm not sure why maybe just a lack of exciting news to write about. Here in Dunedin we have mostly been trying to keep warm and dry. I'm very pleased to report winter is over and we now have some much needed sunshine.

'Dear Colleen' is ticking along. Back in August I had a fun/stressful (I hate being photographed) photo stoot for one of my favourite New Zealand publications, so I'm very excited for that to be on the selves towards the end of the year. I'm slowly working away on a handful of new designs including an idea which I've had sitting around in sketchbooks for over a decade. Hopefully these will be ready for release mid/late October. 

My boyfriend Scott and I also celebrated our birthdays (hence the title). We both had lovely days, Scott spoiled me rotten on mine and bought me this beautiful yellow cambridge satchel from the wonderful Wocolate

But I digress! I was actually writing about birthdays so I could share the magical custom toy I had made for Scott by Melbourne base artist Cat Rabbit. Chances are you've already heard of her but if not you really should check her work out as it's amazing. I asked her to make a rabbit toy portrait of Scott wearing his teen wolf tee and our dog Castro as a fur hat. This photo doesn't really even beging to show how amazing it is in person. The thing is, it's really hard to photograph as Castro is obsessed with it, I think he's itching to tear it to shreds. Maybe he just objects to being turned into a fur hat!

Really am sorry it's been so long between posts. I have a couple of things I would like to share in the coming weeks so I'm promise to write again soon.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

On the walls

Over on Decor8 blog there is a little tour of my studio. I thought I should quickly share a few links to some of the cool things in the space. My pink office chair is a story from 2010 which you can read about here.

1. Click of Art, Limited Edition Pillow £39UK
2. Gemma Correll, Ampersand (no longer available)
3. Sucklord, Gay Empire Toy $50US
4. Devon Smith, Weep for the Pigeons $10US
5. Buff Monster's Destroyer Toy $115US
6. Watch Print, Dear Colleen $19US
Finally tea towels including Hey Girl all from my shop, Dear Colleen

Tuesday 12 June 2012


Am I the only one that isn’t finding the Comic Sans joke all that funny anymore?  See example below (ok that is kind of funny, bad choice).

I don’t mean to rain on the Graphic designer parade. I know a lot of people have been enjoying a giggle at it’s expense for the past four, five years but I wonder if we (designery folks) have really thought through how it makes us look to non ‘designer’ types. You know our clients, the people who pay us. I kind of get the feeling it’s making us look a bit snobbish and unapproachable. 
I know it’s become a common theme for graphic designers to bond over, almost like a Mason handshake. I also know I’m in line to get a lot of flack for writing this piece but I can't help it I’m just over it. I follow a lot of smart talented graphic designs in all forms of social media and I witness the joke in one form or another at least once a day. Tell me any joke once a day for four years and at some point I’ll stop laughing and start pulling my hair out. 

Ok and here’s were the post gets real dangerous... (Hastily looks up tickets to Hawaii) I’m not all that offended by Comic Sans. Ok it’s not very fashionable at the moment but a lot of fonts I hated at art school ten years ago have since come back in trend. Fashion is cyclical and it’s perfectly possible some great young designer with more vision than me will take on this font and do something great with it, something that we’ll all want to emulate and bam suddenly we’re eating our roundly san serif words.

Sunday 3 June 2012

Snap shot

It's been a long time coming but I finally have my new line released and a shiny new shop to showcase them in. Inspired by watching far too many trashy shows about tattooing and many happy hours reading vintage typography books, the new designs have a different look but still, hopefully, very much feel like 'Dear Colleen' pieces.

Mostly today I wanted to share a couple of behind the scene pictures from the photo shoot I did just over a week ago. I'm very lucky that my studio is next door to a talented young photographer Emily Hlavac Green. My boyfriend has already been working with her and I've been very impressed with the images they have created together. As always working on a shoe string budget meant I had to call in a number of favours. The biggest being the kind and pretty folks who agreed to model for me. A big thank you to Gillian, Luci and DJ. Not only did they look fantastic they were all lovely and great fun to have on set. What should have been stressful actually ended up being a right laugh. 

I had this notion that I wanted to use balloons in the shoot, which I think has worked really well. The idea being that they would firstly be a subtle why of reflecting my speech bubble logo and secondly because I wanted to add graphics in a more organic why, making the text a prop in the photos.

I would highly recommend working with a professional photographer the results are so far beyond anything I could have achieved on my own. Thank you Emily.

One final note to thank my boyfriend Scott who has been beyond amazing through out this difficult process. A very talented designer in his own right with a sharp eye for detail. He's not let me settle for first goes or oks. It's not always easy to hear but I'm grateful for honest thought out feedback on tap. I'm also grateful for his endless surport, encouragement and love.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Allbell studio

This is just a short post about a few things happening this Friday night in and around Allbell studio, Dunedin (the building my space is in). The talented photographers Emily Hlavac Green and Alex Lovell-Smith have partnered up to form a new business venture A&E Studio, it's their opening at 5.30pm, then another studiomates, Moodie Tuesday (Official), are launching over the road at The Attic and after that The shocking and stunning are playing The Attic Rattle.

It sounds like that's friday night taken care of then. If you'r in Dunedin you're welcome to drop by and say hello. I'll be hanging around for the first half of the evening at least and if you ask nicely I might let you take a quick tour of my space:) 

Level 2, Allbell Chambers, 127 Lower Stuart Street Dunedin.

Monday 7 May 2012

Pre order

If you're interested in taking a nosey at my new line of tees and sweatshirts before they are released, all you have to do is join my mailing list. It's very easy to join, the link is in the side bar next to this post called 'Subscribe to our mailing list'.

There is no obligation but I'll be offering a pre-order service. This service will let you order your size and give you a choice of base colours/styles. I won't bore you on the blog, I'll save that for the newsletter:) I'm aiming to send it mid day, tomorrow, 9 May, New Zealand time. So if you're interested please sign up so you don't miss out.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Mash up

Ok this is a quick post about a few things, hence the title. First I just received these macaroons in the mail, totally out of the blue with no note or anything. It's not my birthday for a few months and I haven't done anything nice in ages. I'm utterly undeserving, not that that's going to stop me from eating them. I'm no Colombo or anything but given where they came from I think I might have figured out who sent them. Look out lady some love coming back your way soon.

Secondly I'm setting up a news letter for 'Dear Colleen'. It probably won't be more than 3 or 4 times a years so it's not going to block up your inbox but will keep you informed about any interesting news and offer little discounts here and there. Plus it'll mean you're amongst the first to see new designs. 
Signing up is easy:
  1. See that little gadget, the one in the side bar it's a bit ugly and called 'Subscribe to our mailing list'! Well you type your email in the box under that.
  2. Next you'll get a little box pop up asking if you're sure you want to go through with it, hopefully here you click the 'yes' button.
  3. Then you'll get sent an email to confirm the address is yours and asking you one more time to OK things.
  4. That's it. Now you can make a cup of tea and forget about it until I send you a message in a few weeks time:)

Third and finally you may have read that I had a deadline for today. I had planned to have a website of sorts up and running plus new branding. Well last week put a bit of a spanner in the works. I have been quietly working away on both but neither are ready to hit the go button on . Trying to repoint a web address is melting my brain. For today I thought I may as well share the new logo. I loosely have been using 2 branding marks up until now, the 'hi' speak bubble and 'dear colleen' in woodblock type. The new mark shows a mix of both but in a style that sits with the new designs I have be working on in 2012. There is more thought behind it but I'm heading out any minute and don't have time to get into that now. 

I actually spent a day on this mark, unlike my existing 'brand' (if you can call it that) which I pulled together in under an hour. I'm not sure why but designing for myself just isn't fun. Big sorry to Amy and Liora who I made the deal with but at least it's got me going on it if not all the way there.

Wednesday 2 May 2012


I'm a plus size girl and I for one get sick of not being able to buy many of the cool clothes on etsy because they only come in XS, S, M or sometimes/rarely  L. When it comes to tops I'm sort of lucky (if you can call it that) God didn't bless me with a large rack so I can usually wriggle into high street and if I want something on the loose side I just buy boys. I'm cool with this but I am an eternal tom boy at heart. Anyone who takes I look at my Pinterest stream could be forgiven for thinking I'm pinning mens jumpers for my boyfriend, well I'm not they are all with myself in mind. I have my eye on the ASOS number below. I think it'll look pretty sweet with skinny jeans and my winter biker boots.

Anyway as always I digress. As you may have already read I am about to release a line of tees and sweatshirts and I would like to offer a plus size option. The only thing is I've hit two problems. One the wholesale base stock I'm buying doesn't go any larger than XL which in women's will be around a 14-16uk and in mens the XL will work out at around a 18-20uk maybe 22 at a push. The second problem is that I know high neck line tees and sweatshirts are a bit of a no no for big boobs... if you've got them you may as well be proud of them, right. I personally get round high neck lines by wearing a scarf as shown below (how cool is this olivia mew silk scarf!) this brakes the visual and stops the overwhelming wall of jugs look. So I'm putting a call out to other plus sizers, help me:
1. Are you ok with wearing boys stuff? 2. What type of tee/sweatshirt style do you like (if you have links please share below)? 3.Would you like me to offer a custom print serves, you provide the base item of clothing and I have it printed for you at a discounted rate*? 

*The last option would be good because you would get the exact fit you like but as I have to have printing done in runs of at least 20 I would need to get a few people on board. This would mean a lot of organising and with anything that involves getting a number of people to pull together it will take time. You may be waiting 5 weeks or more to get your item, can/ would you wait that long?