Watercolours With Cass Art*

One of my favourite mediums to work with when it comes to painting is watercolours and although they're not a huge strength of mine, I love their delicate nature and the relaxing vibe they seem to bring whenever I sit down to create some art with them.

Cass Art are an arts and crafts supplier who have a crazy impressive range of watercolour materials as well as many other things, but they recently got in touch and asked if I would like to get involved with their watercolour campaign...can you imagine my excitement? I was able to choose a couple of products from their watercolour range to test out and create some art with so I went for a couple of pretties that I wouldn't normally go for, that I currently don't own anything similar to, to really have a play about and explore something completely new.

Ecoline watercolour ink, watercolour ink, ecoline ink, ink, art ink, drawing ink, art blog, art blogger

Ecoline watercolour ink, watercolour ink, ecoline ink, ink, art ink, drawing ink, art blog, art blogger

Ecoline watercolour ink, watercolour ink, ecoline ink, ink, art ink, drawing ink, art blog, art blogger

I went for these watercolour inks because a huge weakness of mine is pretty bottles that make me feel a bit like a scientist. I chose the primary colours set of inks from a brand called Ecoline who prior to this opportunity I had never heard of before. I researched them before deciding on my chosen products because as I've mentioned in previous posts, going forward with art supplies I'd also like to stick to vegan friendly brands and according to the Vegan Womble arts supplies page, these inks are vegan. The primary set consists of a blue, green, lemon yellow, magenta and black; I had in mind a sort of galaxy animal for my artwork and thought I'd try mixing some colours to achieve a gorgeous range of purple shades. They did not disappoint!

These inks go such a long way as they're incredibly pigmented so one drop of colour packs a real punch. You can water them down, mix them easily to get lots of different shades and they're extremely clean to use due to their lids coming with a glass dropper. I dabbed just two drops of each colour onto a ceramic plate and found it was plenty to create my galaxy horse painting.

I'm also a huge sucker for pens so when I saw these watercolour brush pens again by Ecoline they seemed like the best of both worlds. Again they're vegan and I've never actually learnt any calligraphy with brush pens before so that's something I'll definitely be practising for a future blog post! But something I do like to do whenever I get new pens is swatch them all, as other brands I have tried in the past haven't been true to colour at all and this can cause a problem if you accidentally use a colour you weren't intending to use. These however, are some of the most pigmented, vibrant and true to colour pens I have ever had the pleasure of testing out. I went for the pack of 20 which is great value for money with a pretty decent range of shades, all of the main colours are there and it even comes with a clear blender brush to help blend colours together.

Ecoline watercolour ink, watercolour ink, ecoline ink, ink, art ink, drawing ink, art blog, art blogger, brush pens, brush pen art,

Ecoline watercolour ink, watercolour ink, ecoline ink, ink, art ink, drawing ink, art blog, art blogger, brush pens, brush pen art,

I had such a fun time over the weekend testing these out and I can't wait to create some more pieces with them. The pens especially I think will be fab for sketching with and adding a dash of colour. Since they are a pen form, you can take them out and about with you without having to worry about spilling paints and water everywhere. Now that's an added bonus! If you wanted to check out the products I used I'll link them down below and a huge thankyou to Cass Art for having me on board for the watercolour campaign!

Thanks for reading & take care,

*These products were gifted to me by Cass Art to review on my blog

Enamel Pins Kickstarter!

After a lot of planning and a lot of listening from what my customers want to see in my online indie store, I have just launched my new Kickstarter for...enamel pins!

I'll keep this post short and sweet, but basically there are 4 designs to unlock and they are in the above order. Each pledge from my backers means we're one step closer to achieving these brand new products which if funded, you will also be able to get your hands on as a reward! Pastel Elixir has never had enamel pins before so this is super exciting for us and we can't wait to see how many designs we can unlock. No money will be taken from any of our backers unless this campaign reaches it's first goal so please feel free to get involved by clicking through here!

Thanks for reading and let me know which is your favourite!

Eco Friendly Boxes With Lil Packaging

Packaging has come a long way with my little indie business over the years. Would you believe I started selling my handmade creations online around 7 years ago?! I started off making jewellery and that was my first ever Etsy shop 'Ellis in Wonderland' and I'll never forget it because it was my first taste of running a small business. I used padded jiffy bags back in the day to mail my products out to my customers, usually they were popped into an organza pouch then into a paper candy stripe bag. Over time, my small business has evolved and we now have Pastel Elixir which I'm very happy to be sticking with; it's my magical wonderland where I sell my illustrations and I'm exceedingly proud to call it my full time job.

When I first started to focus more on my illustration work, I used to sell a lot of badges so plastic mail bags worked a treat. They were cheap, available in lots of colours and sizes and did the job. However now more than ever, as a planet we are realising that plastic is an issue. A very big issue, something we all need to be taking action to rectify and prevent from getting worse. There are more pieces of plastic swimming through our oceans than there are fish. The animals are consuming the plastics and if they don't die a slow and painful death from a clogged up digestive system and starvation, they end up on our plates and we are effectively, also eating the plastic. As vegans we don't eat anything animal related but this doesn't stop us from being concerned about the oceans and the current state of them due to plastic pollution.

Not too long ago it hit me that whilst my business is very small, we still have responsibilities and can get through an awful amount of plastic if we don't change the way we work. I started to use cardboard boxes, which depending on the size of your order, are usually letterbox friendly sized so even if you're not home, they can fit through your letterbox and sit there safely waiting for your return. We have a little bit of standard sellotape to use up, but we have been switching to washi tapes which a lot of the time are recyclable and are perfect if you want to make your boxes look a bit more aesthetically pleasing. Of course another huge bonus to using boxes is that they tend to keep things so much safer then mail bags. If you're sending easily damaged items like greeting cards, prints or fragile goods, boxes are super useful and practical because you want your products to arrive with your customers in the best condition possible.

When the guys over at Lil Packaging asked if I would be up for reviewing some of their packaging* for Pastel Elixir you can probably imagine my excitement...it's the little things in life guys, this girl loves anything stationery related. I was able to select from their box packaging range a few options that I thought would be suitable based on the items I sell in my shop and review them here.

Hunting down the perfect supplier can seem a little daunting when it comes to packaging and I'll tell you why. They all seem so bloody bland and lacking any kind of personality. Granted as far as packaging goes it can be hard to jazz it up as a supplier, but what I love about Lil Packaging is their website is fun and easy to use. The prices are clearly listed, no minimum order is required and there is a price calculator for each product to easily work out how much so many of each item will cost you. There's no 'fill out this form for a quote' which frankly has always put me off other websites, when really you want it to be as simple and straight forward as possible. None of this faffing about and waiting for quotes to come back to you. Better yet, the range of products Lil Packaging have to offer is fabulous, from simple yet sturdy envelopes, to letterbox friendly parcels, book wraps, breezeboxes and maximisers. The guys at Lil are also passionate about helping the environment and are working towards becoming a greener business themselves and bringing out more eco friendly options. And if you have bespoke requirements, they're more than happy to chat with you about your ideas and putting them into production.

The boxes I went for are all flat packed and they only take around 30 seconds each to assemble (perhaps even less time if you're a whizz!) and what I love about them being flat packed is they don't take up as much space in my studio. I have a small room within my home that I work from so space has always been a bit tricky but with flat packed boxes I find I can stash them away easily and they don't get in the way. After using boxes for the last few months there's no way I'll be going back to plastic mailers. I do have a few knocking about which I'll be using up but after that it'll be just boxes and thanks to Lil Packaging I know I have found a place to order my packaging in a huge variety of shapes and sizes and at incredibly reasonable prices.

Thanks for reading!

*These cardboard boxes were gifted to me from Lil Packaging to review on my blog

More New Greeting Cards!

This is just a quick post from me today, but I got a fresh batch of brand new greeting card designs delivered over the weekend and I'm chuffed to bits with them! I've been moving over to professionally printed greeting cards after getting to a point with my handmade ones which was too time consuming and I wanted to up the print and paper quality too. I've been selling off a lot of my handmade ones super cheap and you can also grab a huge stash of goodies in one of my new mystery boxes if you fancy!

So onto the cards, there are five new designs and here they are!

I'm also moving away from plastic cellophane bags for my cards so that's always a huge plus! It's crazy the amount of plastic we could be getting through and I'm really pleased to have taken the #nakedcards pledge to help look after the environment. If you'd like to snap up a card they're live in my shop now just through here!

Let me know what you think & thanks for reading!

Summer Smoothies With Lio Licious

We sure have been treated to some heat this year haven't we? If you live in the UK you're probably sat next to a fan right now wondering how on Earth you're going to sleep tonight because your home feels like a green house. Being super pale, you'll most likely find me in the shade when things get a bit tropical, clutching a homemade smoothie and praying for the Autumn months to come back. It doesn't matter what time of year it is when it comes to smoothies though; they're one of the easiest and juiciest ways to get your health fix and they're so easy to make, you needn't pay extortionate prices in the shops for a plastic bottled drink.

Lio Licious sent me a selection of their freeze dried fruits to get creative with and they have taken my smoothie making to a whole new level. The brand specialise in freeze dried products so they have a couple of savoury options too like red onion and black olive granules, but their fruit range is huge with loads to choose from. 

This little beauty here contains:

x1 banana
x1 handful of frozen blueberries
x1 handful of frozen raspberries
x1 splash of pure orange juice
topped with Lio Licious strawberry slices & purple berry blend

There's no real structure to my smoothie making antics, I just chuck it all into a blender and Bob is quite literally your uncle! I even poured a little of my smoothie into a button shaped silicone mould to freeze and make cute little decor bits to top my beverage off nicely. I think it looks so delicious and refreshing!

Lio Licious also have awesome little serving suggestions on the backs of the packets and I feel really inspired to decorate some cakes with the fruits I was sent. I also gave a bag to my Mum because she had been looking for some freeze dried berries to top off a homemade cheesecake so not only are these healthy snacks, they also give your food major presentation points!

I'm also pleased to say these fruit pouches are terrific value for money and they're each between £2-£4.50 depending on which you fancy and the powders are a tad more but the amount you get is very reasonable and the pouches are resealable so you can keep your foods fresh, ready to use another day.

Are you a smoothie fiend? If so tell me your favourite recipe!

Thanks for reading!

*The fruit pouches were gifted to me by Lio Licious to review on my blog*

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