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Shih Tzu Card and Labrador Card

Shih Tzu Card

These dog themed cards, a Shih Tzu card and a Labrador card are two brand new birthday designs just added to my shop. I’m going to be working on a range of pet themed cards and these are the first . What do you think?

As with most of my designs, I drew them using Procreate on my iPad. Here’s a little replay video of each one to show you the process. I use layers a lot so when things disappear and reappear that’s me hiding and showing different layers πŸ™‚

This is the Shih Tzu drawing…

And here’s the Lab illustration.

You can see that it often takes me several attempts to get something right πŸ˜†. For example I kept adjusted the Labrador’s head as it just didn’t quite look right. I feel like it’s important to show the real process though, rather than an edited one that looks perfect but isn’t real! It’s a good job I’m an illustrator and not a sculptor using marble or some expensive medium as there would be a lot of waste 🀣

I hope you like these card designs. You can buy both the Shih Tzu card and Labrador card in my online shop. They’re available in two sizes – A6 or A5. And keep your eyes open for more designs soon…

Since Brexit, international shipping has become way too complicated for my small online shop, but International customers can buy the same designs in my Etsy shop too.

Don’t forget that if you sign up as a VIP subscriber you’ll get a great discount too!

become a vip now

What other breeds would you like to see in this range? Drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook to give me your suggestions or send me an email – I’d really love to hear from you and I always reply!

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5 a Day Greeting Card Collection

I’m happy to announce that my new 5 a Day greeting card collection is now available. 2020 wasn’t the best year and 2021 isn’t off to a great start either, so I figured we all need a bit of cheering up and that’s what this collection is all about. It’s full of silly puns and the easiest way ever to get your five a day. After all, we’ve got enough to deal with without worrying about new year’s resolutions πŸ˜†

Happea Valentine card

Greeting cards to make you smile

We all need a boost right now, and my hope is that these fruit and vegetable themed cards will do just that. I’ve collected loads of daft puns, drawn all sorts of cute and silly fruits and veggies to illustrate them and created a range of greeting cards to make you smile. And when you give them to someone else, they’ll smile too. And we can all be happy bunnies for at least some of the time in these crazy times!

via GIPHY

The 5 a Day collection covers a range of occasions, including Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day as well as the usual birthday, anniversary and other occasion cards. And of course there are some that can be sent just because you want to say thanks, or tell someone you miss them.

Here’s a small sampling of some of the cards, but you can see the full range in my shop, and I’ve been gradually adding them to my Etsy store too.

One in a melon mom - mothers day card
Holy Shiitake birthday card
Bean missing you card

Get 5 of the 5 a Day greeting card collection and save

Perhaps you can’t decide which one you like best. Or you’re the organised type who likes to have a stock available so you can give a greeting card at a moment’s notice. If so, you can save with my bundle deals. Buy three or five A6 cards at once and you’ll pay less.

My VIP subscribers also get special deals every time I launch a new collection. This time they’re getting an extra card when they buy 5 in the bundle deal, as well as a 15% discount. You can still get this deal if you sign up and purchase by Sunday 10th January 2021.

become a vip now

(If you’re too late, it’s still worth signing up as you’ll still get the discount on all future purchases and special deals on all future collections. I treat my VIPs very well! You’ll also get a monthly newsletter with the latest news and a roundup of recent blog posts.)

I hope you love this collection as much as I’ve loved creating it! I’d love to hear what you think so feel free to get in touch on InstagramΒ or by email.

VISIT MY SHOP

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Homemade Gift Voucher Ideas

homemade gift voucher

Creating a homemade gift voucher or DIY coupon booklet can be a great gift solution. They’re original, can be low cost and you don’t need to wait for delivery. Need some inspiration? Read on, I’ve got Β you covered…

homemade gift voucher

Reasons to give a DIY gift voucher

Giving a homemade gift voucher or coupons solves a lot of different problems. Whether you:

  • can’t get to the shops;
  • left it too late to get a gift delivered;
  • are a bit strapped for cash;
  • can’t think of anything the recipient needs;
  • want to give a gift (like an experience) that can’t be wrapped;
  • want to offer flexibility to the recipient; or
  • want to give a gift that is a bit different and much more personal

making your own gift vouchers ticks all the boxes!

Ideas for homemade gift vouchers

You can either give a voucher for something that will cost money later on, or offer coupons for a gift that makes use of your time, effort and/or talents!
Here are some ideas:

  • Breakfast in bed
  • Trip to theatre or cinema to see the show of their choice
  • A romantic dinner for two
  • A back rub or massage
  • Wash the dishes for a week
  • Car wash and valet
  • A tank full of petrol
  • A night of babysitting
  • A new outfit
  • Sexy treats (for your other half only!)
  • A ‘taxi service’ to and from a destination of their choice (great for teenagers)
  • Mow their lawn
  • A home cooked meal delivered to their door
  • Daily dog walking for a week or a month
  • A bubble bath with candles, champagne/hot chocolate and no interruptions!

Hopefully these will inspire you to come up with some of your own ideas too. You can come up with homemade gift voucher ideas for pretty much anybody, from children to grandparents and everyone in between. As long as it’s something they actually want, you can’t really go wrong!

Presentation

There are several different ways to present your voucher or coupons. You could use a greeting card with the gift written inside, print out a gift voucher or certificate or create a booklet of coupons. If you’re not very crafty or don’t much like making or designing things there are plenty of gift voucher templates online you can use. You could also just buy a small notebook and write a variety of different coupon ideas on each page inside. With homemade gift vouchers it’s very much the thought that counts, so don’t worry too much if your presentation is a bit lacking 😁
If you come up with any great ideas and post them on Instagram or Facebook, tag me (@loulongworth) so I can be inspired too!

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A Gift Wrapping Station

Gift Wrapping Station

Why on earth would you need a gift wrapping station? Well partly so you can feel smug and organised, but mostly because it makes life so much easier when you need to wrap a whole load of presents! It’s really frustrating when the stuff you need is all over the place and as soon as you sit down to start you realise you’ve forgotten the sellotape or run out of paper…

The best part is that a gift wrapping station doesn’t have to take up a lot of room. There are so many great hacks for creating one in whatever space you have available. And even if you’ve left things to the last minute you’ll still have everything to hand.

A sideboard gift wrapping station

I use a set of drawers for mine. The bottom drawer is the perfect width and depth for rolls of wrapping paper, brown paper and tissue paper. The middle drawer holds all the stuff I hoard save for making my wrapping look pretty. Things like ribbons, twine and bows, gift tags and other cute bits and pieces… (take a look here to see what kinds of things I keep ‘just in case’). It also holds gift bags and little gift boxes I’ve kept from presents I’ve been given. The top left drawer has a box of cards, scissors and sellotape in it. (The top right drawer holds other stuff that’s not related to gift wrapping πŸ˜„)

A gift wrapping station in a cupboard

If you have the space a cupboard would also be great. There are loads of great ideas on Pinterest for this, including using tension rods to keep rolls of wrapping paper in place and using baskets or tubs to organise other bits and pieces. You can also use kitchen roll/paper towel holders attached to the inside of the door for holding rolls of ribbon and washy tape.

A mounted gift wrapping station

If you don’t have any storage space available, then you can easily create a wrapping station that’s mounted on a wall or door.

Here’s a quick video to show you how to use the inside of a cupboard door.

Or you could use pegboard that’s mounted on any wall. It’ll make life easier if you put it near a desk or table so that you have a surface to do the wrapping on, though I’ve often ended up wrapping on the floor anyway πŸ˜†

Peg board gift wrapping station

A wrapping kit in a box

If you really can’t find anywhere to create a gift wrapping station, then the next best thing is a gift wrapping kit in a box. Any box that will hold your supplies in will do. It’s just so much more convenient when everything you need is in one place. And this has the advantage that you can just carry it to wherever you want to do the wrapping.

Just do it…

The great thing is you can go as minimal or as crazy as you like depending on the space you’ve got available. If you really want to get gift wrapping station envy, then take a look at these ideas on Pinterest... I think I’d have to either win the lottery or become a professional gift wrapper before I could ever justify the space taken up by some of these! But even the smallest, simplest solution is worthwhile, so go ahead and create your own in your own way.

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Shopping for Personalised Gifts on Etsy

Although we’re in lockdown during prime holiday shopping time this year, online marketplaces like Etsy make shopping for thoughtful personalised gifts easy. And 2020 is a year that we really do want to show our favourite people how terrific we think they are, so ordinary gifts are not going to cut it!

While there are plenty of options for shopping online, I love Etsy because you can always find something that’s a bit different from the usual. There are so many opportunities for personalising or customising gifts so that they’re perfectly suited to that particular person you’re buying for. There’s nothing better than seeing someone’s face when you’ve surprised them with the most thoughtful gift ever!

I’ve chosen some Etsy items that I think would make perfect personalised gifts to inspire you with your Christmas shopping. IfΒ you’d like more ideas you can take a look at Etsy’s own Personalised Gifts Guide too.Β And just so you know, I’ve used affiliate links throughout this post. This means that if you click on one of the links and buy I may get a little commission for sending you there. It won’t cost you anything extra though, and I’ve only chosen gifts that I’d be happy to give myself.

Personalised gifts

One of the easiest ways to make a gift more thoughtful is to personalise it. Whether it’s adding the recipient’s name or customising the present to reflect their likes (or dislikes 😝), it means you have to put a little thought into it and that’s what makes it so special. Here are some suggestions…

This personalised oak photo frame is a perfect present for parents, grandparents, your other half or your bestie.

Personalised Oak Photo Frame
Personalised Oak Photo Frame

Particularly if you’re not able to see much of each other right now (thanks coronavirus! 😠) having a photo framed with a message that says exactly what you feel is a great way to remind your favourite people that you’re still thinking of them. I love how elegant and simple this frame is and if you’re not the soppy type you can always add a funny message to make them chuckle whenever they read it!

This personalised barbecue tool set is another thoughtful gift I reckon could go down very well with a few members of my ‘braai’ obsessed family. I just need to decide who to give it to!

Customised BBQ Tool Set
Personalised BBQ Tool Set

The personalised bag to keep the tools in is a great addition to make it that much more special.
Another gift that I think would be particularly thoughtful one of these personalised stationery sets. Perfect for stationery addicts! Staying in touch has become so much more important during 2020. And having gorgeous notepapers like the ones below will inspire them to keep it up during 2021!

How gorgeous are these sets from MadebyEllis on Etsy?!

Personalised Hearts Writing Set
Personalised Hearts Writing Set

I can’t decide whether I’d be more excited to give these sets or received them! 😍
Here’s another idea that would make a very thoughtful gift for a teenager who loves their music.

Initialled Keyring Earphone Case Set
Personalised Keyring Earphone Case Set

Love a gift that’s both pretty and practical!
This next one’s great for one of those people who have found themselves doing a lot of baking during lockdown. Whether you’ve done Zoom bake-offs together or just seen their yummy creations on social media, this personalised baking set would make a fabulous gift.

This kid’s version is also great for those who’ve been helping their parents in the kitchen…

Personalised Kids Baking Set

I know I’d love to get this stunning personalised oak bookend with the pretty vase insert – it would make a great gift for any book lover. Another present that is both useful and gorgeous looking 😍. It’s so lovely I couldn’t decide which photo to use, so you’re getting both…

And finally, for the ultimate personalised gift you could order one of my custom cartoon family portraits – you can’t get much more unique than that and grandparents in particular will love it. You could even add a frame yourself (if you’re sure you know their taste) to make it even more special.

Custom Cartoon Family Portrait
Custom Cartoon Family Portrait

(I also do custom illustrations if you would like something especially bespoke.)
I hope this has given you some useful ideas. Finding perfect personalised gifts, even during lockdown, is a breeze on Etsy. Happy shopping!