Sunday, 28 April 2013

Life: London Transport Moquette Cushions.

Last Friday King Kwak and myself had a very rare/ possible first day alone together and decided to go for a wander around London town. Now I have no photos of this as I forgot the camera and my phone had no battery but in brief we had a little mooch around Spitalfields Market, was lovely, though not enough second hand/ vintage/ junk stalls for my liking. We did stumble upon the shop Elemental  which was amazing, and we both found ourselves muttering if only we could win the lottery (possibly need to be in it to win it but details, schmetails). We next wandered around Covent Garden and found ourselves in the Transport Museum. Now this is a bit odd as my little chap, the choo choo fanatic was not with us but lucky really as they had some surprising things and we spent rather a while admiring their home items and found ourselves smitten with these two beauties.


Now I am not one to normally get excited by a cushion I admit plus they are a bit pricier than I would like, but my thinking is if the moquette fabric can withstand trillions of bums and who knows what else per year, then surely they are going to withstand my two little, rather prone to spillages babies for a good few years, or may I say possibly forever? Well lets hope. Plus they are prettily patterned and brightly coloured, win win.

Up close:

The blue moquette is from the Victoria Line, off the newer released trains and the orange check is from the district line 1978. The colours don't necessarily match our kitchen, where they now live, but the trains had meaning to us so that is what we went for, and I do rather like both. If you are looking for a hard wearing cushion, like myself and would like to purchase similar, then head over here. The rectangular one does not seem to be on the website, but there are a lot in the shop.


To finish the day we stopped by Chinatown for a spot of lunch and picked up a takeaway to take home for dinner... Crispy Pork, King Kwaks absolute most favourite Chinese food. He was a happy, happy boy.

So do you think these cushions are going to withstand the two babies? And to any other crispy pork fans out there... why oh why do local Chinese takeaways not sell it?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Illustration: Fairytale Princess party Invitation.

Another invitation for you today. I was contacted to design a Fairytale Princess party invitation for a 6th birthday. This was the entire brief, so I was free to create whatever I so fairytale inspired wished. I decided to go along a magic wand route, as six year old girls are generally rather partial to fairy wands, and this is what I came up with. The main body of the card is A6, with a separate tag, tied on with gift ribbon. The little tag is fully personalised, holding the party details and has a photo of the birthday girl herself and a line to fill in the recipricants name.

Tag detail:

Close up displaying the separate tag, details and gift ribbon. 

All together now:

Matching envelopes were made, which were C6 Kraft envelopes, with a coordinating patterned craft paper inserted inside. Very simple but poshes it up a touch and adds to the overall prettiness. And to go alongside the invitation , I could not resist adding these little party wands and naturally it needed some sparkle, aka fairy dust in the form of silver confetti. Overall the client and her soon to be six year old daughter were very happy indeed.

Matchy matchy:

The Thank you cards were requested additionally, for the now six year old to send to thank all her party goers and gift givers. I made the same envelopes as the invitations and they became a nice addition to the whole set.

These invitations will also be available, fully personalised, in my forthcoming Etsy shop... Coming soon.

Artwork copyright of Queen Kwak.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

DIY: Portable Rainbow Party.

For the little ladies last birthday, we threw her a little rainbow party. We held it down in Devon and not one to make life easy, there was no time to put the party together down there, so it had to be made in London and transported to Devon. Not. A. Problem. She requested the rainbow theme, I have no memory why but her wish was my command as they say and I set about putting together a portable rainbow party. Now fortunately this was a mini little party, for just 6 children in total, to be held in a country pub with a soft play barn, in the middle of absolute no where. As there was six children I chose to go with six colours of the rainbow, giving each child an allotted colour and threw in a bit of black and white for good measure. I purchased a roll of b&w wrapping paper, and as always the rest of it I made from bits and bobs I already had. The most used items consisting of: felt squares in each of the 6 colours, coloured craft paper, rainbow washi tape and a roll of b&w gift ribbon.


This photo shows the components I made, pre-purchasing the bought goods. The hats I made from card wrapped in the wrapping paper, a piece of rainbow washi tape placed on the side, a fringed felt trim glued to the base and a piece of elastic tied to hold them on. The little lady had the pink to save arguments, she is pink and only pink so I put a little pink K on her hat, to show she was the party girl. The bubbles I had in the cupboard for years, they came from Poundland in a pack of 9. The blowers had been lost so I made these rainbow heart pipe-cleaner blowers instead, wrapped the wrapping paper around the bubbles and tied on the blower with co ordinating gift ribbon. The party poppers, were wrapped with the wrapping paper and stuck with the rainbow washi tape. The party blowers were the best from a bad selection at Sainsbury's. I washi taped on a piece of fringed wrapping paper. The drinks stirrers are skewers with little felt flags glued on, I stamped a letter K onto each one and tied a long piece of the gift ribbon. And lastly the confetti stars, I made these by hand with craft paper and a star punch. They don't look like much I agree but they took blinking ages, and if I ever went to the gym and knew what it felt like to work out then I would say, making these felt just like that. I would like to say I had abs of steel after. I didn't, but I sure could feel it for days and days after. In the future I shall be buying confetti rather than making it.


Up close.


These were put into the drinks and used as decoration.

Taste the rainbow:

As we all know, a party is not a party without a goody bag, so I set about making simple favours for each of the children. I could not find any nice party bags locally so instead purchased a pack of 8 black C5 envelopes from Tiger for a pound. Then amassed a selection of b&w/ rainbow themed goodies to pop inside. The black and white lollies were also from Tiger, the sweets and balloons from the supermarket, and the stars which I made myself. I popped it all inside and sealed. I continued the each child having their own colour theme, and evidently colour coordination overruled healthiness on this occasion, quite rightly too.

Goody bags:

Once put together they looked a little something like this, quite nice for how little they cost. I tied the gift ribbon around three times and knotted. I made little flag labels from white card, stuck on a piece of rainbow washi tape and stamped: love Koco.x upon each one, and then attached to the ribbon. They were finished off by pinning on a personalised felt initial broach, which I hand sewed them all in their corresponding colours.

All together now:

And this is it all together. The bunting stolen from little chaps nursery, seen here, the cake and candles from the supermarket, I had planned to make a cake, I am rather fond of baking cakes but again time ran out. The paper rainbow straws I purchased on eBay like here and the decorative 4's, I whipped up using glitter foam sheet, slotted onto a wrapping paper wrapped toilet roll (so glam) with the gift ribbon tied around and that is everything.

Basket case:

The plan had been to whip up a nice decorated box for it all, but time ran out and instead it was popped into this basket, which King Kwak bought me for Christmas last year. No decorated box, but once put into the car it did the job well and everything made it to sunny Devon in one piece, hoorah. 

Party, party:

The venue does not look amazingly glam, but there was more to this room than it looks, it had its very own disco, disco lights,disco ball and toy cupboard, all turned on after the photos, and for any child this is the stuff of dreams. Rainbow decorated party dreams.

Birthday girl:

My very happy, very pretty birthday girl.

Hip hip hooray:

Rainbow cake.

Birthday bike:

And the finale was the when the birthday fairy (King Kwak to you and me) dropped off her much wanted new bike outside the party doors. Lucky lady, she did circuits round and round that little room. Note: The bike did not fit in the basket.

Now I have to be honest, this little rainbow party did take a LOT more time than I expected, to put together. I carried a bag with all the materials around for ages doing bits when I could, so I will not be able to give you an honest time span, but lets just say it took ages and lots and lots of snippets of time here and there, but as the little lady had a fantastic time, it was worth every one of those snippets.

Cost: B&w wrapping paper £1, glitter foam sheet £2: Tiger.
Supplies: Endless, all explained above.
Time taken: Lots and lots of time.

So I hope you like it, if you would like details of any items I would be happy to share. Have you made any solutions for portable parties? Its a long time to go but I had best get cracking on her next birthday plan, that one will most likely be London and Devon based, any ideas?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Illustration: 80th Birthday Telegram Invitation.

Towards the end of last year I was commissioned to design an invitation for a very lovely great- granddad's 80th birthday celebrations. This was pretty much the extent of the brief, so after pondering several vintage-esque ideas I came up with this telegram idea, which I felt was fitting due to the era of his birth date. 

After researching vintage telegrams I made my design as true to the real thing as possible, tweaking the tiniest details to correspond with the clients information. The invitation was A6 size, full colour printed upon heavy paper stock and fully informative with a space to insert guest names. 


For the corresponding envelopes I used C6 Kraft envelopes with a dark red linen paper insert popped inside, I think the result matched well. Obviously not sent in the true manner of an old telegram but the overall result worked well and went down very well with the clients.

For anyone interested, I am in the process of setting up an Etsy shop, where items such as this will be available to order, fully personalised.

Artwork copyright of Queen Kwak.

Monday, 8 April 2013

DIY Tutorial: Crate on castor's toy storage.

Crates on castor's, nothing new, I realise that but we needed something for the little chaps growing (scarily out of control) choo choo collection, as he calls it, and a cardboard box just wasn't cutting the mustard as they say but a nice little castored crate would do the job just nicely. I will keep the following simple, as well it is simple and very quick. I realise the internet is full of similar projects but on the off chance there is someone who may think this kind of thing is harder than it is, then hopefully this may be of some help. If not, ignore the writing, you can look at the pictures and check out my boys toy vehicle collection instead.

So first things first, you need to get a crate, you can buy crates on eBay, I believe on average for about £28. This is a rip off, I think they are utilising the crates being everywhere trend and personally I would never pay this, they are probably very nice crates and have been restored exceptionally but to me that is a lot of money for an old crate. My crate is an oldish pear crate courtesy of my dads loft, not an option for you lot, but you can ask in local fruit shops and wine merchants. King Kwak payed £10 for three huge crates, from a small, slightly manky looking hard wear store up by Kings Cross recently, so I suggest looking around before paying lots on eBay. Next you need castor's, mine cost £6.99 from eBay. Again I looked around, but this seems to be the best deal. If you were not fussy on colour, then you will be able to pick castor's up cheap as chips. For this project I have gone for the non braked variety.

Mark Holes, drill holes:

First give your crate a slight sand and remove any splinters. Next flip the box over, place the castor's where you wish them to be, quite near the edge and evenly spaced is advised. With a pen, mark each screw hole, once done pop castor's to one side and drill through each pen mark.

Two minute interval:

Enjoy a little break whilst the little chap comes to inspect your work and drives his little choo choo over the box.


You will need appropriate sized nuts and bolts, ours are courtesy of Homebase. Switch the drill to a screw driver, and screw in each bolt.

Nuts and bolts:

Once each bolt is in place, flip the box back over and fasten each nut. We have gone for pretty short bolts so they don't stick up too much. As the base of our crate is slated I added a piece of leftover MDF to the bottom, to stop little toys falling out all over the place. I used MDF as I had that to hand, but I am sure a piece of thick cardboard box would equally do the trick.

Boys toys:

And that is it. Once finished the little chaps toy collection was added and he was good to go.


The box is pretty durable and should last some time, outgrowing his choo choo obsession and into any following collections, and he is very happy to push it around and play wherever he chooses to play. It is also often used as a little cart with his sister pushing him around inside it.


Now I did consider putting handles on the shorter sides. First I was going for a single piece of rope pull, but thought it might not be too safe for the babies, then next I wanted something like this. I soon realised it didn't really need it right now but maybe it will be more suitable later for its next contents.

Cost: Crate: free, castor's: £6.99, nuts and bolts: £1.99. Total: £8.98
Supplies: Crate, castor's, nuts and bolts, drill with drill bit and screw bit, pen and sand paper.
Time taken: 15 minutes, with no baby naps as baby clearly wide awake.

So I hope you like it, again excuse the simpleness of it. So do you have any alternative small toy storage ideas? Particularly those for little choo choo's, and if anyone has any further tips for picking up cheap crates/ wooden boxes they would like to share, I am sure it would be most appreciated.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Our life in quarantine.

Last week was a week of illness, two poorly children... nothing serious Thank goodness but illness none the less, which resulted in a week of quarantine at Kwak cottage. The week started with mothers day, we celebrated it on Sunday 10th March here in the UK, where I was spoilt with lots of lovely goodies. (Above,Thank you lots). But sadly illness struck during our mothers day meal out. Quite literally struck in the centre of the restaurant much to the shock of fellow diners (sorry) and the week got progressively worse from there. But hey ho, winter and babies this does happen. So when not sleeping and administering cuddles, the babies and myself had ourselves a lot of quarantine fun.

Crafty Kwak's:

Lots of painting, drawing, decorating, playing, playdoughing and hide and seek occurred. Simple stuff and nothing too strenuous.

Taking it easy:

And when the craftiness got too much, they took it easy and slept, lots and lots of naps. It would seem soup is the universal saviour of poorly people, yay for soup. Everyone is back in good health now and we have had three whole nights of sleep (hallelujah). Lets hope spring will finally spring soon and some hot weather heads our way and makes everyone more healthy and happy.

What activities do you do with poorly babies? And what is your favourite soup when poorly? Tomato soup all the way for these babies.