Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart ~ William Wordsworth
You may have heard me mention, or read here on the website, that I use Fair Trade handmade papers in my work. But what does this actually mean? What exactly is fair trade? Put simply, Fair Trade is a social movement that is all about empowering farmers and workers in … Continue reading →
If you’re one of my awesome newsletter subscribers, you’ll already know about this, but I’m so excited to share it with the rest of you now as well! This year, in addition to my regular products, I will be releasing a limited number of extra-special one-of-a-kind journals! If you love … Continue reading →
I met Zoe at the Brisbane Planner Market last year. She was attending the event with her Mum and they were so excited to have just discovered the world of bullet journaling and creative planning! I was pretty chuffed when Zoe chose one of my journals – a dot grid … Continue reading →
If you do a Google search for bullet journals or planner ideas, you will see thousands of images and ideas for using trackers in your journal. They are an important part of many people’s journals. I myself have several different trackers in my planner and I find them extremely useful. … Continue reading →
Today I’m going to talk about elephant dung paper quarantine. It’s one of the most common questions I get asked – How can I use elephant dung paper in my notebooks here in Australia, when so many Aussie travellers have their elephant dung paper products confiscated by customs when they … Continue reading →
I will be away from the studio from 28th October until 15th November, to attend the Tasmanian Craft Fair and the Melbourne Planner Market. The online store will remain open while I’m away but there may be a delay in processing some orders until after I return home. Now until … Continue reading →
I’m very pleased to announce that my new range of hard cover journals is now available to purchase in the online store! These new journals are the same size as my other A5 spiral notebooks but they have a much sturdier cover. This is great if you want to journal … Continue reading →
Friends, we are getting to the busy end of the year, when the bulk of my time will be taken up with filling online orders and restocking my market stall in the lead up to Christmas. I’m also going to be away from the studio for several weeks during … Continue reading →
I received an unexpected honour last week with this article about Little Deer Studio published on the Collective Hub website! I’m so grateful to the author, Rebecca Cason, for penning such a lovely article and to Collective Hub for publishing it! I am always amazed and feel quite humbled when … Continue reading →
Around this time last year, I posted about the special custom order I created for a lovely couple, Trini and Mike. They asked me to create this set of bookmarks to be used as the invitations for their wedding. Their wedding has recently been featured on the Hello May … Continue reading →
I’ve kept a journal since I was 15 years old. I have a box full of notebooks of all kinds, filled with stories of my life – what I was doing, how I was feeling, my hopes and dreams, my anguish and despair. Sometimes I would write pages every day. … Continue reading →
A lovely customer of mine, Sally, asked me to create this special journal for a dear friend of hers who was about to embark on the trip to Africa she had been dreaming about for years. It’s based on the Little Book of Smiles design, and includes two beautiful poems … Continue reading →
Have you ever wondered how I make handmade paper? I am often asked this question so today, I thought I would share my process with you. I use a few different methods, depending on the sort of paper I want to create, but the process I share here is the … Continue reading →
I want to say a huge heartfelt thank you to every single one of you who purchased something from Little Deer Studio in the past 12 months. As you know, I had pledged to donate 10% of profits for the year to support the wonderful work of Ausnep – a … Continue reading →
I have some wonderful news for all you bullet journal and creative planner addicts – you can now have WHITE eco friendly journal pages with no ghosting! One of the great things about the 100% recycled natural grey/brown paper I use in the pages of my notebooks is that it … Continue reading →
I recently had a special order for a lovely customer, who asked me to make a box to fit some A5 cards in. I’d never made a box that size before, but I based it on the design of my little flip-top note boxes, and although it was a bit … Continue reading →
It has taken a lot longer than I planned to get these letter writing sets ready for sale, having had to contend with missing supply deliveries and printer malfunctions, but I am VERY pleased to say that they are finally here, and I’m really happy with the finished results! Many of you … Continue reading →
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart ~ William Wordsworth
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there!
With Mother’s Day getting closer, I’ve had many customers shopping for gifts for their Mum.
Last weekend, I had a lovely gentleman come in to buy a notebook for his mother. He told me she was 92 years old and still quite active, walking 5km every morning as well as riding an exercise bike and lifting small weights at home! He spoke of her so fondly and it was such a lovely and inspiring story to hear. She sounds like an amazing woman.
Then there was the little girl who told me how much her mother liked to draw and sketch, and then shooed her mother out of my stall so she could pick out a notebook to give to her on Mother’s Day!
It’s stories like these that are the reason I love my work so much. It’s not about the books themselves, but about how they’ll be used, and the way they help to connect people.
Last year, at the Green Heart Fair in Brisbane, one of my market stall customers asked if I had any dot grid notebooks for sale. Sadly, I had to tell her I did not, and until that day, I had not even heard of such a thing. I spent the … Continue reading →
I was so pleased to debut my new market stall this weekend! It has been such a huge project the past few weeks, but I just love the result and I think it was worth all the effort. It seems my customers agree too as it was a huge hit … Continue reading →
It hasn’t all just been about making books in the studio this month. I have also been busy with another huge project – a brand new market stall setup! My current setup is fine, and I get a lot of very positive comments about how great it always looks, but … Continue reading →
Recycled paper is becoming more popular as people strive to minimise their impact on our precious Earth. But with so many different labels and terms used to describe paper, how do we know if what we’re buying really is as good as it seems? In this post, I explain what the different … Continue reading →
Great news this month for West End market lovers! I’ve been granted a fantastic permanent spot at Davies Park market so now you can easily find my stall every week! I’m located right in front of the Leagues Club, near the path to the ATM, under the shade of the … Continue reading →
There has been a lot on social media recently about what a horrible year 2016 was. I’ve tried not to buy into any of it.
Yes, some horrible things happened, but there were also a lot of good and positive things too.
For me, personally, 2016 was a wonderful year. I had some challenges, sure, but it was the most successful year ever for Little Deer Studio and I have much to be grateful for. This is what I choose to focus on.
This year marked a turning point in my business and I will forever remember 2016 fondly for that.
Tonight when you celebrate the new year, don’t just kick 2016 heartlessly to the ground. Remember the good things that happened to.
I want to thank each and every one of you who have helped Little Deer grow this year and I hope that 2017 brings you many joys and things to be grateful for.
A handmade book may look beautiful on the outside but it’s the stories that fill its pages within that really give it a soul.
The words don’t need to impress, the drawings don’t need to be perfect.
What matters is that you write the words, that you sketch those drawings. What matters is that you are creating. Expressing yourself. Recording your story. Giving life to your dreams. It doesn’t have to be for anyone else. It can be just for you. And then it is honest and unique. It has a soul all its own.
What will be your next story?
YOU guys are my support!
Each and every one of you who read my blog, who follow me on social media, who like my posts, who subscribe to my newsletter, who browse through my market stall, who buy my stuff – YOU are the ones who lift my spirits and keep me going.
You are AWESOME!
This photo of me was taken back in August 2008.
I was setting up for my first ever market stall. This was before I quit medicine. Before I had any notions of starting a business. Before I made the commitment to myself to only use recycled and tree-free papers in my craft.
I sold handmade greeting cards made from ordinary scrapbooking paper and embellishments.
This is the only photo I have from that day. I really had no idea what I was doing and I was nervous as hell but I just wanted to give it a go.
I did pretty well that day and I think that was when the little spark inside me was lit.
I keep this photo pinned to the noticeboard in my studio as a reminder of that first time I stepped out of my comfort zone and of how far I have come since then.
A little peek at how I make some of my handmade paper
A snapshot of my products out in the world at this weekend’s market stall
The past 5 years have been one huge learning curve for me, learning about the zillion things you need to know to run a business. When I look back over that time, I’m proud of the fact that I taught myself how to do so much. But I think the thing I am most proud of is how I learned to use Filemaker Pro to create my own database program to manage my business.
It was certainly a challenge, but I now have an awesome program that lets me keep track of product inventory, manage my orders, email invoices, record expenses etc as well as generate reports that let me track how my business is going. It works so well and I’m pretty pleased with myself for creating it.
I always wear my protective eye shield when I’m glueing or sealing my books as I tend to be a bit messy and splash stuff around a bit.
Glue in the eyes is not a fun thing!
I love that more and more properties in my neighbourhood are displaying these signs now, with protective covenants against future development in place.
This is something I would love to do someday if I am fortunate enough to get my own piece of land.
There are many reasons why I do what I do. Why I make what I make. Why I gave up my old life to start my own business. But this is the core of it.
I value these things above all else.
I want the freedom to live life the way I choose. To be my own boss. To spend the short time I have on this Earth doing something I love. I want to earn a living doing something meaningful and enjoyable. To combine my love of creating with my love for the planet and the creatures that inhabit it. To connect with people who share the same values. To inspire and encourage others to reconnect with the things that are most important to them and to make a positive impact on the world around me.
This is my why.
I have many goals when it comes to my business – some big, some small. I’m working out the parameters for another goal today – getting the list of items I need to get made in the next few months to stock my market stall in the lead-up to Christmas.
Some of these numbers are a bit scary! Meeting this goal will be a challenge that’s for sure!
This is how I spend my Sunday mornings – manning my market stall at Northey Street Organic Market.
It’s a bit chilly this morning so I might need more than one cup of coffee to warm up before the customers start arriving!
I recently did a custom order for a lady who requested one of my Keepsake Journals in earthy browns and yellows.
I loved this colour combo so much that I decided to make another one – and here it is, finally finished!
These are the tools I use to create my Keepsake Journals.
I am so grateful and thankful for all my customers and I love it when they take the time to give me feedback.
This particular piece of customer feedback, from a young girl who had bought one of my bead-making kits, was delivered to my stall at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2015, and it still makes me smile.
This is my trusty DSLR that I’ve had for almost 12 years now!
It has travelled to some amazing places with me, from the Amazon to Antarctica, and has survived some pretty rough handling. It is basically enjoying retired life now, since I tend to use my iPhone for most pics these days, but it gets called back to service when I need to take product shots for my shop.
So this is the view from the side window of my studio today – our resident male scrub turkey is scratching the leaves off the roof of the shed next door. He’s making quite a racket on the tin, but I’m not complaining because it saves one of us having to do it!
Today’s prompt is rather appropriate as Monday is my day off. I do markets every Saturday and Sunday now which both involve 3am starts, so I’m usually pretty tired when Monday comes round. It’s not always easy having a day away from the studio as there is usually something I want to be working on, but I force myself to do it because I know how important it is to rest and take care of yourself.
And on my rest day, this is usually where you can find me – in my veggie garden.
And even though I’m “working” – pulling weeds, making compost and planting, it’s a completely different kind of work from the work I do for my business, and I really enjoy it.
I love being out in Nature, getting soil under my fingernails, watching the bees and the little skinks and the birds that come to eat grubs. It is immensely satisfying eating food that you have grown yourself and I find that I am always most at peace in my garden.
By the way, if you want to see more pics of my veggie garden, you can follow me on my other Instagram account @littledeerdyani
A special little corner of my studio
6 years on and I still miss my pooch 🙁
Most of the time, when I venture out to my local post office, it’s to send off customer orders.
But it was around this time, four years ago, that I sent off something else quite significant.
That was the day I cancelled my registration with the Australian Medical Board. The day I officially stopped being a doctor. My business was only a year old at the time, and I had no idea whether it would survive another year, let alone four, but I knew this was the life I wanted and that I would never want to go back to medicine.
And I have not once regretted that decision.
This is my favourite part of the studio, and one of my favourite things about my work. It’s the place where I store all my paper scraps and all the used paper that folks have given me, before I turn it into new handmade paper.
It makes me happy to think that I can turn what other people see as waste, into something beautiful and functional. Sure, I could put it in the council recycle bin, but it would probably just end up as toilet paper or paper towel. These scraps are destined for a much grander reincarnation!
And yes, the wall is painted purple – it’s my favourite colour!
I don’t have any human assistants. Everything at Little Deer Studio is designed, created, photographed, packaged and shipped by me!
But I could not run my business without my trusty Mac.
I spend literally hours on my computer every day, processing emails, updating websites, editing product photos, using social media, book-keeping, completing market applications and so much more. This little machine is almost 7 years old now and pretty much runs 24/7 but has never once let me down. Some days I think it works harder than I do!
I LOVE COLOUR!
But you probably already guessed that right?
Images taken from my Pinterest boards
This is me 🙂
(taken at my market stall at Northey St City Farm)
I like to think of my work as being a bit like a little deer – beautiful, natural and treading lightly on the Earth, and I hope that is how others will see it too.
My packaging is still a work in progress as I try to find the balance between protecting my journals en route to their new homes, and minimising the amount of materials I use.
I try to stick to materials that are recycled and biodegradable and all my parcels come tied with natural hemp twine and a handmade paper thank you gift tag.
Just finished making this one today.
I can’t get enough of these beautiful Nepalese papers. Such rich colours and wonderful to work with!
All handmade from sustainably-harvested lokta fibres and other recycled materials.
I always welcome custom orders, and I’ve had the privilege of being asked to do some awesome things over the years, from photo CD cases for a Brisbane-based photographer, to the menu folders for the cafe at Redlands Indigiscapes Centre. I thought I’d share with you all a recent custom … Continue reading →
Stitching up some more bookmarks
My hands aren’t pretty. Long, perfectly manicured nails wouldn’t last long in studio (or in the veggie garden!) and I don’t really go in for that sort of thing anyway. And I’m starting to get arthritis which makes stitching books a bit hard sometimes, especially in Winter, but keeping them warm while I’m working seems to help.
But I don’t mind how my hands look, because they work just fine and I couldn’t do what I do without them so I am grateful for them every day.
This is where the magic happens!
Do you follow me on Instagram?
Fellow Brisbane creative Jess Van Den from Create and Thrive is running her “Month in the Life” Instagram photo challenge this month and I thought I would join in the fun.
The daily prompts relate to different aspects of an artist’s life and there are lots of folks all over the world taking part so if you want to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it’s like for everyday folks running a creative business, be sure to follow the hashtag #ctmonthinthelife
I use natural hemp twine to bind all of my handmade journals. Not only is it beautiful and very strong, making it perfect for use in my books, but it is also very eco-friendly! This modest little plant has the potential to change the world, if only people would change their perception … Continue reading →
I have some news to share with you today my friends, and it relates to something I have thought about doing for quite some time. It represents a significant step forward for me in terms of the kind of life I want to live and the kind of business I … Continue reading →
Have you tried gratitude journalling? Lots of folks are getting into it and finding that it really does help reduce stress and shift your overall mindset to a more positive way of thinking. I have had several customers tell me they have been amazed at how much more content they … Continue reading →
A couple of weeks ago, I set up a little workspace in my stall at Northey Street City Farm, and demonstrated how I stitch up my Little Books of Smiles. It generated a bit of interest amongst visitors and I enjoyed chatting and answering questions about my work. It was quite … Continue reading →
Did you know I have a donation basket on my market stall at Northey Street City Farm where you can leave your unwanted paper scraps? I am always on the hunt for scraps to turn into new sheets of handmade paper, or even into paper beads, so if you’re in … Continue reading →
Although I make a lot of my own handmade paper, I also use other handmade papers in my work. One of my favourites is the beautiful range of Maximus Elephant Dung Paper. Yes it really is made from elephant dung! The paper is produced by an environmentally and socially-responsible company called … Continue reading →
Normally, I would not be keen to leave the cosy warmth of my bed and venture out into the dark to head to work at 3:30am, but I now have an excellent reason to do just that every Sunday, because I have a new regular gig at the fabulous Northey Street … Continue reading →
I’m very pleased to announce that The Story Tree cafe in Boonah is now stocking a range of Little Deer goodies. The Story Tree is a wonderful little cafe / bookshop in the heart of Boonah. It has a reputation for having the best coffee in town, which is well … Continue reading →
I am really excited to be telling you about these little beauties! As many of you know, I’ve been selling handmade elephant dung paper noteboxes for several years, and they are one of my most popular items, especially at this time of year because they make such wonderful gifts. In … Continue reading →
I am so excited to announce that Cobb and Co Museum in Toowoomba have chosen me to be their featured artisan this month! I had a busy day yesterday setting up the display in the museum gift shop, where my work will be showcased from today until 19th June. … Continue reading →
It’s hard to believe that six weeks have passed since the Woodford Folk Festival. It was so wonderful to take Little Deer Studio back again for the 2014-15 festival, and I am already suffering from Woodford withdrawal! So many amazing sights and sounds and smells. But to me, the most … Continue reading →
Learn how to turn junk mail and other scrap paper into beautiful, unique hand-rolled paper beads! In this 2 hour class I will teach the basic bead-rolling technique and demonstrate how to adapt it to create beads in different shapes and sizes. You’ll have the opportunity to practice bead rolling … Continue reading →
I’m very pleased to announce that you can now purchase a selection of Little Deer goodies at these wonderful stores: Two Create – handmade elegant bliss Shop 2 / 6732 Cunningham Hwy, ARATULA QLD The Collective Store 104 Bay Tce, WYNNUM QLD … Continue reading →
It’s certainly been a busy month here at Little Deer HQ, with all the behind-the-scenes work on the new website etc, some brand new stockists (more on that later!) and being involved with the BrisAsia Festival Art Bites Program. I did the last of my workshops this afternoon. Both the … Continue reading →
Today’s Brisstyle Indie Market in City Hall was my last market appearance as Little Deer Creations. Now that I have my new name and almost finalised my new logo, I’m ready to move on but Little Deer Creations has been my baby for the last 2 years and I couldn’t … Continue reading →
For a long time now, I’ve been thinking about changing my business name. I’ve never been 100% happy with the “Creations” part on the end. It seemed OK in the beginning, but as my business has grown, it now feels a bit too cutesy and naff. perhaps that is … Continue reading →
Happy Year of the Horse! To coincide with Chinese New Year, there is a wonderful program of FREE workshops happening around Brisbane over the next 5 weeks. The Brisbane City Council’s Art Bites program is linking in with the BrisAsia Festival to offer Brisbanites the chance to learn a range … Continue reading →
Last week, I took Little Deer Creations to the Woodford Folk Festival! I had been before as a patron, but this was my first time there as a stallholder. I was so excited to have been accepted, but also quite nervous, as this event was so much bigger than any … Continue reading →
I received the most wonderful news earlier this week – a much anticipated email to say my application to be a stallholder at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival had been successful – I was in!!! The Woodford Folk Festival is a huge annual event held in the beautiful Sunshine Coast … Continue reading →
A month ago, I wrote about a challenge I was taking part in over on Instagram. The idea behind the #committobeingcreative challenge was to spend at least 10 minutes every day for the month of June doing something creative and to post a picture of it. On the face of … Continue reading →
Today is World Environment Day and this year, the United Nations has chosen to focus on the environmental impact of our global food production and consumption, with the theme “Think. Eat.Save” According to the UNEP, humans waste a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year! It seems ludicrous that … Continue reading →
Challenges come up all the time on Instagram – you know the sort – take a photo a day for a whole month, and each photo has to relate to a different theme etc etc. I don’t normally do them, mostly because I know I would struggle to stick to … Continue reading →
Today is a significant day for me. October 1st 2012. Today I am officially no longer a doctor. If you followed my original blog from the start you will know that I quit my job as a doctor back in February 2011, and embarked on a whole new life, chasing … Continue reading →
Yesterday I attended one of my favourite markets of the year – the Picnic in the Park market held on the final day of the Jumpers & Jazz festival in Warwick. This fabulous festival is held over 10 days every year in July, when the town comes alive with colour, … Continue reading →