sketches for a new series of kitchen prints and recipe cards

I just want to share with you a couple of photos I took this morning as soon as I arrived to the studio from the food market.
I'm going to make a salad with these baby beetroots, I love them raw, and I think I'm going to cook the kale with some chickpeas in a lemon sauce.

Right now I'm working on a series of kitchen prints, recipe cards and recipe books, as you can see from my sketches!


I love books

A little while ago I bought a personalized tote made by Louise Norman Studio and I'm super happy it arrived today.
I'm an avid reader and when I saw that she makes a totes with books on them I couldn't resist.
I sent Louise a short list of my favourite books (after thinking about it for a couple of days) and picked the colours and here it is!
She hand printed the books on the tote and then she embroidered the titles and authors.
Now I have a beautiful tote with my favourite books on it. Which ones are your 6 fave books?

A few photos of the lovely package that Louise prepared for me and what I found in it.

I love the little air mail sticker

Hand printed wrapping paper and cute paper bag

In the paper bag: postcard, stickers, a lovely extract from one of my fave books and her beautiful business card


Great little packet in my mail box!

I want to share with you the content of a lovely little packet I found in my mail box this morning.
I bought a few vintage beads to use as supplies for I new project I'm working on that you'll find with other things in my new little shop opening very soon! Yes you read it correctly, I'm opening a second shop on Etsy with a friend of mine. I can't reveal to much, but let me tell you that is going to be quite different form my main illustration and printing shop (that you can find here).

The reason I'm showing what I got is because I just want to let you know how much I love shopping on Etsy. On top of the little stash of beads I bought, the seller sent me a hand written card and a lovely gift. This doesn't happen anywhere else. I think this is something super special, it's that thing that allows you to connect with the seller and it makes you so much happier!


what I love today

A post about just some random things I love today. Simple and straightforward :)
amazing work by Susanna Bauer

succulents waking up after winter


inspiration bits from my terrace


My snail mail packet arrived today!

I little while back I organized an international snail mail project and today I received my packet from Wende.
When I saw it in the mail box it felt like Christmas! I was so excited and wanted to open it immediately, but I was running late so I took it with me to the studio.
I opened it as soon as I got here. Each piece was carefully and lovely wrapped, so it took me a little bit longer to discovered all my presents.
I love everything single piece Wende sent me, my fav being those little super cute acorns sachets!
My day couldn't start any better than this.

I hope she enjoys what I sent her as much as I do :)

To know more about Wende and see what she makes look at her beautiful romantic shop or follow her on twitter


Tribal inspired

I've started working on a tribal inspired mini line of handmade products.
My process usually starts putting together some sort of mood board: sometimes a tangible one, other times looking around on the Internet.
Then I pick colours and shapes and start working on patterns and/or drawings.
I try to have designs that can work well on the different materials I use: paper, wood and cotton.

Among some favourite inspirational tribal pieces:
Bow tie by Mawusi
Necklace by AnAstridEndeavor
Basket by Hadithi
Card holder by Coriumi
Tote by CreativeBosnianYouth


block printing is an ancient beautiful technique

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A few people asked me about the different processes I use to make my stuff, so I decided to write a little bit about some techniques I use.

I do a lot of block printing, using both rubber and linoleum. Everything starts from a drawing that then I reproduce on the carving block.

The carving moment is my favourite. It can be something quite quick and simple or it can take me days to finish it. I love the fact that my shoulders ache after a couple of hours.

Then I run some test prints with different inks on a few kind of papers.
I didn't do any test print of the design about, so I show you another one.

I'll use this design on recyled cardboard paper to make postcards.
The geometric design will be printed on new covers for pocket journals. They'll be my first coptic stitched journal!


I've started an art journal project

Yesterday I decided to make myself a pocket size journal to use for sketching down ideas and patterns. These patterns most of time will be turned into handmade block stamps I use for notebooks and other things.
To make the journal I used one of my previously hand carved stamps and some blue ink. The result really reminds me of beautiful hot summers spent in Mediterranean places. I'm thinking of actually list in my little shop some of these, what do you think? Maybe with the choice of text on the cover.

As soon as I finished making it I started using it!
I'm working on a new kind of pattern I'll use for postcards and hard cover Coptic stitched pocket journals.
This is what I came up with.

A bit geometric, but with some natural elements in it. I've already started carving the block. I'll post some work in progress and more sketches on my new art journal soon!


Jellyfishes and other stories

interview with Giulia from Keep Calm And Knit

1. How did you start? What's your background?
I began knitting two years ago. I had my grandmother's knitting needle for years and finally I decided to try; so I looked at some videos on Youtube and I began. My background has nothing to do with my knitting and crocheting: I studied Greek and Latin theatre and Italian literature.

2. Define your vision, your brand.
I have to say it: this is a hard question. For two years I learnt and researched techniques, the best materials and I made different kind of products. Now I am at the point where you know what products you love the most, what other people like and where I want to go for now.

3. What inspires you?
I think what inspires me are the colours of the nature. During the fall I find myself making things in brown, mustard and beige. In the winter, like now, I love to use light grey and white, as the sky of my city and my beloved snow.

4. Plans for the future?
I want to try to do what I love and make so many wool jellyfishes, bigger and bigger.

5. Name 3 designers/artists you really admire.
Another hard question. The first name that comes to my head is Two Sad Donkeys, I love her style and what she does is amazing. Another designer is Steamylab: her jewelry is great, as she says: modern minimalist. And I'm so in love with The Poppy Tree: I want my house filled with her works.

6. What is for you "handmade"?
I think for me "handmade" is what you can do with your hands, your creativity, your desire to do the best thing you can do and never stop. It's making something with all of your heart.

7. What question would you like me to ask that I didn't ask?
Uhm, that would be: if I have a place in my dreams where I like to work. Yes I have, my cosy armchair near the fireplace in the house of my dreams in London!

Follow Giulia:


the snail mail project is here

So if you want to take part in the snail project I talked about a little while ago, here is more info.

It's going to be international.
I would like to be no more than 14 people involved this time.
What to send?
Small packets containing something handmade by you, a letter and an extra cute gift (something small). Keep cost down and love up :)

How to do it?
Send me an email with your address at miplusedesign@gmail.com before February 17th.
Then you'll have 2 weeks time to send your snail mail.

Please when you write me your address let me know if you have allergies.


a snail mail project?

I'm thinking to do a snail mail project, would you like to partecipate?
I love getting little things in the post (instead of those sad bills) and I think snail mail with people we don't know is extra love, no?

I was thinking to swap mail containing something handmade and a letter, trying to keep the cost down, but the prettiness up!
Please let me know if you're interested in it, leaving a comment below.

Meanwhile you can have a look at my snail mail board on Pinterest.

Below some little cupcake notecards I made for past snail mail projects.

You can even make some origami envelopes, look at this super cool DIY!


today was filled with some important decisions

Today was definitely decision day!
I pondered for a few weeks now about certain things and finally today I decided some pretty important stuff about my handmade business. Please stay tuned, I'll post something about this soon.

On a lighter note, I have a winter sale in my little shop starting today until Jan 31.


My fave this week

In love with black and white patterns, hands, hanging planters and large typographic posters.
I found these gems on Etsy, would love them in my home!

1. Pillow cover by bastisRIKE
2. Hanging planter by redravenstudios
3. Photograph with typography by Congostudio
4. Rose gold ring by datter
5. White cup by eeliethel


resolutions, I know I'm a bit late

For me it's that moment of the year when I start thinking about what I would like to change in my life. Nothing too serious, but small things that make our life a bit easier and happier.

I would like to have more time for reading books, at the moment I'm reading a super interesting book called "1421 the year China discovered the world" by Gavin Menzies. I love history books (I studied Modern History in college!) and I also really like anything that has to do with explorations.

I would like to make more time for making pasta from scratch. My husband a couple of years ago got me a pasta machine, I've only used it 4/5 times. To tell the truth I think sometimes I'm just too lazy!

I would like to work on new projects more often. Last week I went back to the studio and I started working on a few new things, you can see one of my new wooden magnets/brooches below.

I would love learning new techniques, such as weaving. This weekend I'm going to try this DIY loom I found on Etsy blog, it looks gorgeous, doesn't it?

Any resolutions for this year? Any new crafts you want to try?

fresh pasta recipe from Better with Butter



Merry Xmas everyone!

Hello and Merry Xmas everyone!
I hope you're spending a wonderful time with family and friends, eating lovely food, opening presents and simply enjoying being together!


Back to the basics

Lately I've found myself drawing quite a bit. Simple shapes inspired by nature are appearing on all the paper I have scattered around on my desk. Organic black and white drawings made with some ink are taking over. It's my way to get back to the basics.

unique postcard

me at work, pic by Giulia KeepCalmAndKnit

hand drawn postcard,  pic by Giulia


a post about broccoli

Lately I've been very busy settling down in the new studio and packing Christmas orders, so I had a little time to prepare dinners. As some of you know I love cooking, I find it relaxing and I love having people over for dinner enjoying a home cooked meal. This morning I was looking around on Pinterest for some recipes and I fell in love with a few, so I decided to shared two with you.
These are based on my favourite veg: broccoli.

Broccoli by Ryo Takemasa

The first recipe is Broccoli Parmesan Fritters: quick and easy and a perfect way to get your kids eating vegetables! You can serve these as finger food at party, too. The recipe is by Smittenkitchen, an amazing food blog!

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters by Smittenkitchen

The second recipe has a strong Asian influence and it looks beautiful, perfect to get the wow factor at special dinners! This is by Mynewroots, check the link for more recipes and amazing photos.

Enoki, broccoli and kimchi by Mynewroots

Links to recipes in the captions