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18th Birthday Card Cartoon Portrait

18th birthday card with cartoon portrait

Case Study

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen that I posted a while back about a happy customer I’d designed an 18th birthday card with a cartoon portrait for. I thought I’d share a bit more detail about it on here.

The customer had previously found me on Etsy and ordered a custom 21st birthday card for one of her sons. Apparently he loved it so much he decided to frame it. So when her other son was going to turn 18 she came back to me to design an 18th birthday card for him too 😊

She was a lovely customer to work for, as she sent plenty of photos and knew what outfit she’d like. A lot of people don’t give instructions until after I’ve already drawn the portrait then decide they want something different, so it was a joy to work with someone who knew exactly what she wanted.

She asked for him to be wearing a specific top from one of the photos and grey jogging bottoms, and to keep his ‘Movember’ moustache 😁

Here’s the cartoon portrait I came up with…

And if you’d like to see the replay of how I drew it then here you go…

And here’s the final card design. (Although he and his Mum said it was fine to share, I’ve blanked his name out just to be on the safe side…)

His Mum was really pleased with it and said when she gave him his card he loved it as well. She even sent me a photo of him opening his card and both of them were happy for me to share that too, so here it is!

And here’s the lovely review she wrote for me on Etsy…

It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside 🥰

I do custom cartoon portrait cards for other birthday milestones as well. Here’s how it works:

When you place your order you can upload a photo and send some instructions at the same time. It helps if you can be specific about what type of clothing you’d like them to wear, whether or not to include their glasses or facial hair or anything else that is relevant. If you’d like to send extra photos then just let me know in the instructions too and I’ll get in touch to help you do that.

I’ll then draw the cartoon portrait, add it to the card design and send you a proof to check. If you have any changes I’ll make those and, once finalised, will print out and post the card to you. It’s an A5 size card and comes with a kraft envelope too.

Here’s where to order your custom cartoon portrait milestone birthday card.

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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. If you’d like more ideas you can take a look at Etsy’s own Personalised Gifts Guide too. 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!

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Custom Illustration Prints as Gifts

Custom illustration prints - Eiffel Tower

As well as selling greeting cards and doing custom cartoon portrait cards, did you know I also do custom illustration prints that make great personalised gifts? You may already have seen some of the cartoon portrait prints I do, but enjoy doing other custom illustration too.

I was approached recently by someone who had seen this drawing of Tower Bridge that I did a while ago. She want a collection of specific landmarks and places in the same style to put in some new frames she and her husband had bought, including the Tower Bridge illustration.

Here’s what I came up with. She chose the subject of each custom illustration print and let me know what size they each needed to be to fit her frames.

Custom illustration prints - Lions at Trafalgar Square
Lions at Trafalgar Square

Little Mermaid Copenhagen
Little Mermaid Copenhagen

Lyme Park
Lyme Park

Stippy Stappy St Agnes
Stippy Stappy St Agnes

The Ritz
The Ritz

The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

Each of those places was special to her and her husband in one way or another so now every time they look at their prints they’re reminded of the memories associated with each illustration.

I loved doing completely different illustrations to my usual for this order – I do enjoy doing the cartoon portraits, but it’s nice to have a change as well 🙂

A custom illustration of a place or topic that is special to the person you’re giving it to would make a really great personalised gift that you know they’ll love. And I’m happy to adapt to a variety of different styles to suit your tastes, from the detailed monochrome drawings above to my usual cartoonish style, or perhaps something in-between.
Here’s an example of a custom cartoon family portrait I did earlier this year for a wonderfully loyal customer – this would be ideal as a Christmas or birthday gift for parents or grandparents. If you’re interested in the process behind this particular portrait then I wrote about it here: My custom cartoon portrait process.

Custom illustration prints
So if there’s anything particular you have in mind then please feel free to get in touch. My cartoon portraits are all available to order in my shop, but if you’d like something more customised or even completely different, like the landmark illustrations, then I’m always happy to quote based on the time it will take to complete.

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New Christmas Card and Seasonal Collection

snow joke Christmas Card

I’m very excited to let you know that my new Christmas card and seasonal greeting card collection for the holidays is now available in my shop. This collection is for those people who you want to give an extra special card to this Christmas or holiday. People like significant others, parents, best friends. The ones you love the most!
If you buy a lot of cards for a lot of people then I hope you’ll support a charity by buying your cards from one of their shops. My cards are for when you need something a bit different for your very favourite humans! They’re all A5 sized, which is quite a bit bigger than a standard card but can still be posted with an ordinary letter stamp.
You can see the full collection in my greeting card shop, or take a look at a selection below.

Cards for your significant other

For your other half you can choose from a selection of romantic, cheeky or cute cards…

Melt my heart snow couple card
silver jingle bells card
you light up my life holiday card
Or why not get a custom cartoon couple portrait drawn of you and your favourite squeeze in Christmas outfits?

Holiday cards from the whole family

For parents/grandparents, give a card from the whole family.

snow family holiday card
Or these family cartoon portrait Christmas cards are as unique as you can get…

Holiday cards for besties

And don’t forget your best friend!

Christmas cards for businesses

Of course if you have a small business, your top clients are also very special, so why not send a holiday card that stands out from the usual corporate seasonal greetings? They’re A5 size so there’s plenty of space for everyone to sign.

You can also order these in a smaller size in bulk, or have an inside message printed – get in touch with me for a quote.

Unique to 2020

And finally, we’re all going to remember the 2020 holiday season as the year of the pandemic. That’s no reason not to make this Christmas as special as possible anyway though!
xmas jumper lockdown card
I hope you like the new Christmas card and seasonal collection. I’m always happy to quote for completely custom cards too if you have something very specific in mind.

I also offer bundle deals to buy 3 or 5 ready to ship cards at a time, which give you a bit of a discount, as most of us have more than one special person in our lives 🥰

See the full collection in my greeting card shop.


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Easy Homemade Gift Ideas

edible homemade gift

Getting a homemade gift can be a lot more special than something that has been bought. You know that the person who gave it to you has definitely put some time, thought and effort into it. And even a shop bought present can be personalised with the addition of a DIY touch, like giving a handmade bookmark with a book. I think that during the pandemic we’ve all come to appreciate things like this a bit more than before!

Of course making your own gifts can get out of hand. I remember watching Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas one year hoping for inspiration… unfortunately making the Christmas baubles involved going on a glass blowing course and quite a few of the other ideas were just as expensive!

So I’ve compiled a list of some easy and rather more financially accessible homemade gift ideas for you to try your hand at. You might still need to do a little bit of shopping for supplies, but overall it should work out cheaper. And there’s a range of skill levels to choose from so you should definitely find something you can impress with even if you’re a novice at this 😁

Just click on any heading below to go to the instructions for that homemade gift.

Container Candles

These are much easier to make than ordinary candles. The wax is designed to be poured into a container so all you need to do is melt it and add a wick. You can use different types of containers to suit the recipient. Try cute floral teacups, empty jars and tins or even a mug. You can scent or colour the candles if you like, but they’re fine plain too if you want to keep it as simple as possible.

One thing to bear in mind… Don’t melt the wax in a pan that you’re going to use again for cooking. Use an old one (your own or from a charity shop/car boot sale) or buy a cheap new one that you can use exclusively for making candles.

Leather journal

I received something similar from a friend a while back and I love it. These instructions are very easy to follow and the result looks really professional. If you don’t want to use leather you could use faux leather or suede, or even thick felt. You could make it even more special by personalising the cover in some way, such as embroidering an initial, painting/drawing a design on it or, if you’re lucky enough to own a pyrography kit or Cricut machine, you could use it to do something particularly fancy 🤩.

Edible homemade gifts

This blog post has a whole lot of different ideas for edible gift ideas which you can make at home, as well as all sorts of ways to present them beautifully. Edible gifts are great, as everyone loves a treat and as they’ll get eaten up you can keep giving them over and over!

homemade cupcakes gift
Photo by Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

Beaded bookmark

These beaded bookmarks are incredibly simple to make and make a great accompaniment when you’re giving a book or book voucher as a gift. The type of cord and beads you use can make the bookmark look very different. Plastic beads and bright colours are great for kids or use more sophisticated glass beads for adults.

Just make sure the cord you choose fits easily through the hole in each bead. When I made these I knotted the cord at the end instead of using a crimp. This means they’re even easier to make and you don’t need any special tools. Here’s are a couple I made and kept for myself…

 beaded bookmarks
 beaded bookmark

Bath bombs (and more)

Who doesn’t love bath bombs? They can be quite pricey when bought, but it’s relatively easy to make your own and you can choose your own fragrances, colours and other bits and pieces to add for decorative effect! You don’t need bath bomb moulds as a lot of instructions suggest. You can use any plastic moulds or silicone cupcake cases.

Depending on what size you make them you can put them in a large jar, a bag, a basket or a box to make a gorgeous gift.

Other bath products can also make lovely homemade gifts. I love these Tub Teas and you can buy heat sealable or drawstring tea bags to use very cheaply on eBay. Or how about these homemade bath salts? They look so pretty in the little bottles she’s used, but you could could use any jar or container with a secure lid to present them in.

If you’re on a roll, you could even make a range of different homemade bath products and present them in a gift hamper or basket for the ultimate pampering gift!

Painted terracotta pots

This has loads of ideas for different ways to paint plain terracotta pots. While I do love a terracotta pot, adding some spiffy painting does elevate them to a whole new level, without costing much at all. Add succulents, herbs or any other plants for an inexpensive gift that looks great!

Homemade gift hampers

If you want to give a thoughtful personalised gift but don’t have much in the way of crafty skills or you’re in a bit of a rush, gift hampers are a quick and easy homemade gift idea. They can be made up from favourite foods, pampering bath and body products, stationery or just about anything. If the person it’s for has a specific hobby or interest you could make up a hamper themed around that, e.g. reading, movies, knitting, etc.

A similar idea is to create gift kits, like these ‘Everything in a jar‘ ideas.

Tile coasters

These tile coasters are really easy to make with tiles that you can pick up cheaply but they look amazing once decorated with designer scrapbook papers. Tie them together with a pretty ribbon and you’ve got a gorgeous home made gift to give.

I hope these have given you some good ideas for making your own homemade gifts. If you give any of them a go, tag me on social media so I can see your creations!