Monday, June 1, 2020

At the heart of small business is a family

Hi there #Creativegirls and #Paperlovers,

It's been a while since I blogged. Actually a year. I just have been swamped with a ton of things. I broke an ankle with a serious injury in November 2019 and have been trying to get back on my "feet"...literally.  Then just as I was feeling things returning to "normal", this virus happened. My goodness, and I thought 2020 would be a great year and now the world is on its head. 

Creatively, things are business as usual, but we are all in one boat and nobody can say they are not affected by the current change in the world. As a believer, on the other hand, I am still saved, God is still God, and eternity awaits. So, not affected at all. 

As a business owner, yes very much affected as are all small business owners. As we are constantly reminded to shop local and support local business, I wanted you to see the family behind our little design studio so you know whom you have been supporting.

We are two artists who design and develop our products from scratch. We always have. We never buy image packs to make our life easier. We rely on the art God gives us and the creativity that He allows us, to develop our products. We distribute our own products. Our physical products, when we offer them, are always made to order and we offer "Print&Play" digital products to ensure that our creative community is always supplied with quality art within their reach. Our printable products are affordable and excellent quality. The main focus of our art and products is encouragement as is our heart for our community of #Creativegirls and so we also offer a club you can join with regular online playdates, a special journal to be creative in together and of course all the Print&Play collections to play with. Our products are also friendly and can thus be used in activities with kids too. Secondary to this is the development of personal creativity with a focus on creative journaling. 





My name is Ansu and I am the owner and Managing Director of Ivytree Studio, a boutique design studio in the heart of Pretoria, South Africa. I have nearly 2 decades of experience in the Educational Industry and now also nearly 2 decades of experience in the Graphic Design Industry. I will always
be an Educator at heart, but I regard myself to be an Artist and Content Developer. For the past 5 years
I have focussed my efforts on building an online presence for Ivytree Studio, a boutique design studio, and developing quality products for the creative community at large. I am also HSP (High Sensitive Personality Tempremant), INFP (Mediator Diplomat) and an Ambivert (50/50 Intro/Extrovert). I love kids, cats, art, design, interior design, architecture, someday I will build my own home and write a ton of books. I love to cook, I love watching movies with my besties and I love my online community and the fact that it is growing daily. 

This is my Dad, Pieter. He is our Prayer Partner, my Managing&Business Consultant, and all-round super Dad! I love him so. He is 80 years old with a vast amount of general knowledge
and business savvy. He is also a journaler, family history expert, and memory keeper like me. He is the only full Extrovert in our little circle. 

"No respect for management"
Just joking. This is me and Surita, my partner in "crime". Wink, wink. 



We have been working together for many years on all kinds of creative projects.
We started Ivytree Studio nearly two decades ago, but in its current form, creating our own
products instead of working for design clients, we have been at it since 2016 (5 years).

Surita is our in house Illustrator and Chief Designer and she manages our parent's care, our family home, and sometimes me. Wink wink. She is just like my dad a bit of a genius. She is good at nearly everything. She is a great cook and even greater baker like my gran use to be. She also has a little cat baby called Daisy who is the granny in the home. She can build you a kitchen with basically nothing and our favorite thing to do together is snack on chocolates, Doritos and cream cheese, and watch our favorite movies. 

This is our Mom and she is the inspiration behind our design and art thumbprint.
She worked for the NBI - National Botanical Institute as a typesetter for 30 years. We literally grew
up around the publishing sector. She is also 80 years old and my parents have been married since 1965. Jip, it's possible. 55 years in total. 


This is hubby Henry, who helps out and supports us in all our endeavors. 
He is my hero and best friend. He is currently the owner of his own online teaching business.
He teaches English to Russian students. 

This is my sweet baby Klouye and she is my companion while I work. She does nothing but love on her mommy and has her dad wrapped around her little paws. He is her butler and even opens the door for her when she comes and goes. Totally spoiled rotten. 

So now that you have been introduced to our family, you know who you are supporting when you buy anything form Ivytree Studio.

At the heart of our business is also the desire to create jobs. Henry and I talk about this daily. Both of us have a heart for the poor. In particular for abandoned kids (my heart) and feeding people (both our hearts). It is our desire to uplift and help save lives, so I wanted you to know that about us. We have not been able to employ anyone to date, but it is part of our future growth plan. As we grow over time, we will definitely need to employ more people and your continued support can help us do just that...put food on the table of someone who just lost a job, or who's income dropped or who's kids are going hungry. 

If you feel as strongly about this as we do, and you want to help us achieve this dream, the way you can do so, is by supporting our online store on a regular basis, sharing our posts, and spreading the word. 

So this is our Carona plan: Keep doing what we have been doing. Encouraging the world with our art and a message of HOPE. Be consistent. Put out quality products for our target community and keep doing that. Be brave and pitch up. Keep doing that until God brings the breakthrough not just for us but for those He has called us to love and look after.  

Your challenge: If you pop over to the grocery store and you see someone leave some items they couldn't afford, pay for it and hand it to them. Change a life, give to someone the things you would have wanted someone to give to you if you were in need. Don't wait for someone to ask. Offer to help and then act. #LetsChangelivestogether #BeKindToday #SupportLocalSmallBusinessRegularly 


We would love to have you in our community.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

September Design Team Challenge: #PaperLove Wall Art

The mandate of the Ivy League Design Team
(the fab name we gave our DT),
is to create paper crafting projects of their own choosing that
showcases Ivytree Studio's Print&Play Collections.
They absolutely have the freedom to create whatever they like/love.
But we thought it would be a good idea to shake things up a bit
by introducing a DT Challenge now and then.

And the ladies have stepped up beautifully to the recent challenge we set for them.
They each had to create a piece of #PaperLove Wall Art.

The challenge was to use elements from our new Print&Play Collection - "Vibrance",
along with a favorite quote or Scripture verse, to create an encouraging piece of
Wall Art that could be framed in a 200 mm x 250 mm frame.

Here is a little pop-up gallery of their efforts:
















They really are lovely projects, and I wouldn't mind
receiving any of these pieces as a gift myself.

A project like this is so fabulously easy too. 
Just get yourself some Print&Play goodies and make it happen.
A bit of printing, a little snipping, some stenciling or splashing paint,
& a smidge of gluing...and there you have it!

As I said, it's a great gift idea, especially with Christmas around the corner.

What are you waiting for...get creating!

The Vibrance Collection can be purchased here.



Design Team Round-up: Vibrance Collection

 Our Design Team members have been like busy little bees this month,
having fun fun fun playing with the new Print&Play Collection - "Vibrance".
Here's a quick round-up of a selection of their projects.

Scrapbooking - Single Layouts: 



Travel Notebook Spreads: 



Bible Journaling:



Miscellaneous Paper Crafting Projects:

The girls tackled all kinds of different projects. Everything from Gift Boxes, Birthday Calendars, Cards, Mixed Media Art, Pocket Letters to Scripture Memory Cards.


We've also set a special DT Challenge for the team this month. The #PaperLove Wall Art Challenge.
Can't wait to share with you what they came up with. But that will have to wait for the next post.

In the meantime, you can purchase the Vibrance Collection here.




Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Spring Floral Wreath Tutorial - by Surita Brink (a.k.a. Pearli)


Hi there #CreativeGirls ! We have a lovely NEW #PrintAndPlay collection in the store called 'Vibrance', and I would love to share a quick project I made with the #CuteCutsFlowerShop KIT. I LUV the Flower Shop elements soooo much and had to dig into those first as usual. Also it's Spring in the Southern Hemisphere and we have to do something to celebrate the newness and beauty of my favourite season.



This is an easy-peasy project.

You will need:

1. The Vibrance #CuteCuts Flower Shop KIT
2. The Vibrance #PaperLoveKIT 's Cover Page (to punch out flowers using the paper swatches, you can also use other paper from your stash that match the color scheme).
3. 160 gsm or thicker cardstock (white or colored) to make the 200 mm x 200 mm Wreath Base - you will need 2 pieces.
4. The usual tools: scissors, cutting mat, glue stick, white craft glue of choice, A4 craft foam sheet (or lots of foam tape/squares), twine & a flower punch (or template to hand cut 12 flower shapes) & a bit of bling like Stickles (glitter glue) or diamanté.
5. Optional Extras: a Butterfly or two from the #CuteCutsButterflies set from the collection. 

Steps:

1. Print out the Single Flower & Foliage sheet as well as the Paper Bow sheet from the Flower Shop KIT onto 160 gsm white cardstock.
2. Print the Cover Page of the #PaperLoveKIT onto 160 gsm white cardstock, or gather paper from your stash that will match the color scheme of the the Vibrance Collection.
3. Make the Wreath Base by cutting 2 x circles 200 mm x 200 mm in size. Cut out a 150 mm x 150 mm circle from the center of each. Use a craft foam sheet and glue stick or foam tape/squares to adhere the two base pieces on top of each other. Then cut a piece of twine and add it to the top of the base to hang your wreath with.
4. Cut out the top half of floral elements from the Flower & Foliage sheet.
5. Punch out or cut out 12 flower shapes and layer to make 4 flowers consisting of 3 layers each.
6. Cut out and assemble your Paper Bow according to the instructions, except use the 'tails' of the bow as seen in the photo - cutting it in half so that you can let it hang down.
7. Assemble your wreath on the wreath base as seen in the photo, finishing off with a bit of Stickles on the flower centers and the bow's center loop.
(In the end I needed two more leaves to fill in some gaps and so I used paper scraps left over from punching out flowers, to hand cut a couple of leaf shapes. I just scored them down the middle and shaped them a little before adding them in.)

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

Suggestion:
Use the wreath as an ornament to celebrate the season with and afterwards incorporate it into a Scrapbook Layout with a picture or two documenting you Spring experience.

You can purchase the Vibrance Collection here



Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Ivy League and other Studio News

Hi there #Creativegirls & #Paperlovers


I'm playing catch-up with my blogging here today and there is a couple of things I just wanted to share with you all.

First off, we have a brand new Design Team for the remainder of 2019 and they even have their own name: The Ivy League of Creative Girls.  You might have seen some of there projects on our Social Media pages lately. Hopefully, their creative bliss will keep on rolling in and rolling your way. Keep an eye out.

Why a Design Team again? Well, our team is small and we just don't get around to playing and showcasing the products that we work so hard to develop, as much as we should. So the Team will be assisting us with 'inspiring' you all.

So a hearty welcome to each and every member of our team and we hope your stay will be fab-u-lously fan-tas-tic!

Wilma, Marnelle, Charmaine, Debbie, Lisa-Mari, Rochelle and me and Surita will take turns to share our creative work with you mostly on Social Media like Facebook and Instagram but also on Youtube and this blog here. We hope that you don't just follow along but also try out the projects using our products and share it with the world. Please tag us using the hashtags #IvytreeStudio #PrintandPlay #Paperlove #CreativegirlsUnite so we can find you.




These are some of the Team's fab projects they have already shared with us.








































If you haven't purchased some of the elements of the Revive Collection yet, you still have time.


Sunflowers have been popping up all over the internet since we came out with this collection. It is like God saying, "Hey, keep your eyes on me!". Sunflowers follow the Sun and similarly we should follow God where He leads us. This collection is really something special. I have been playing with it for months and still not bored with it.



If you need a little REVIVE of your own art journey or creativity, then the Revive Creative Retreat
could be just what you need. It is the only one of it's kind in South Africa. It is fully self-paced and online. All kits are printable. It includes not only a load of downloads but also a Workbook, a private Facebook group to engage in the community, video classes to support you and a special creative system to help kick-start and keep your art flowing. This Retreat was specifically developed with the
Female Christian Artists in mind. It will teach and guide you to grow in your relationship with God and show you how you can invite Him into your creative expression. You will learn about the Artist's learning process. You will also learn how to make sure you end up making original thumbprint art and not just copy and duplicate what others are doing over and over again without really growing your own art. 

We are planning on releasing the individual classes from the Retreat program so you can purchase it individually, but you won't get the full picture unless you get your foot in the door of the full Retreat Program. We hope to see you in class soon or joining us over at the Retreat. 



UP NEXT:


Our next collection is releasing soon....like in really really soon and is called Vibrance! We are very excited as always about this next one. We have made a couple changes to how we group elements together and we think you are going to love it.  We now offer a variety of kits for specific purposes (or perhaps for specific types of crafters) and you save save save. There will be a Creativegirl Club Kit with elements to use in our club-activities and the Creativegirl Journal, a Gracelilly Faith Art Club kit to use in your Devotional time and the Foundations Book as part of the Creativegirl Journal. There will also be a Journaling kit, a Travel Journal Kit, a Paperlove kit with a Scrapbook kit and finally new to our range is the Art journaling kit which is FAN-TABU-LOUSLY delicious! I personally cannot wait to play with all of it. You can buy the collection bundle or the kits individually.

BUT that is not all...we also offer a couple of other elements standard in our collections like the Simply Lady kit, the Flower Shop kit (heck, if you're not into blooms, then just leave it out, but the rest of us we Loooooooooooooove it!) There is also the Deco Platter Kit that now consists of all the punch out items plus paper ribbons or washi and new shapes...all to help you decorate any page. We will also offer a Journal cover for your #CreativegirlJournal matched to each collection.

I am also working on a universal Creativegirl Journal version to use with any and all collections. Remember the first one we released was matched to the Revive Retreat. You can, however, if you own the Revive version, use any product collection in it anyway.

This new collection matches the Revive collection really well which means you will be able to mix and match these collections with each other as you add our collections to your collection BANK. Like, I said before in previous posts, our Print&Play collections are really more of a resource than a product. Remember, they are created with YOU, the end-user and #Creativegirl in mind so they are for #PersonalUseOnly  and so easy to use. Once payment is received, you receive immediate access to the product via a download link sent via email or you can sign into the store using the email you purchased the item with, and click on My Account/Orders to download it. You can start printing right away.

If you are interested in our physical products or doing classes or kits with our products, then you need to contact us directly. Pop over to the website and complete a contact form and give us the "down-low" on what it is you are interested in. You are welcome to inquire anytime.



Community wise we are slowly building the #Creativegirl Club and if you haven't joined us yet, I hope you join us over in the Facebook group. Purchasing the membership is a once a year thing and it basically gives you access to the store's discount grouping exclusive to the Club. A big benefit of purchasing membership is the big bundle you receive when you decide to go for the membership. You can start playing right a way.  Gaining access to the Facebook group is FREE and you can play along without purchasing the membership. Once of the biggest focusses of this club is to get you creative and help you stay that way.  Every time we bring out a new collection, we will offer a FREE prompt kit you can download from the store. It is free until we release the next collection and then it will cost you around R15 to purchase.  So, we encourage you to grab it while it's HOT! um..I mean FREE. wink wink. What's great about these kits is that they offer both the #CreativegirlClub members and the #GracelillyFaithArtClub members each their own kits. Included is the Prompt list page that you can tick off as you work through these with a separate prompt ticket page. The tickets you can add to your journal pages. We include a little self-motivation element with the Rewards Dashboard and badges you can earn as you work creatively through the kit. It will encourage you also to engage in community with fellow club members and share your work courageously.  


You can find these kits in the "Join the Club" Section in the store here. You need to hurry to download these two kits for free as we are about to release the new collection's kits and then these two kits will be priced. 





Our LIVE CLUB EVENT is scheduled for the last Friday of each month. 
It will be hosted in the #CreativegirlPrintAndPlayFriends Facebook group, so if you are not a 
member yet, you can request to join. Just remember to answer the entry questions so we can approve your request. 

This month's live event will also be a little bit of a celebration of the Revive Retreat. We first planned
to separate events but most of the Retreat members are also Club members and it just makes sense
to just have one event. 

The live events are like a pajama party with your creative friends.  I don't have creative friends who 
live close by so I need some friends to join me as I create and play in my CreativeGirl Journal. In a previous event I shared my journey with all of this and who influenced and inspired me. I love Cori Speaker and the Resetgirl and the community she has created around the Resetgirl clubs. I just needed the same experience to be more affordable and during hours I am actually awake. I want to pay forward
what I learned and received and still receive from my time with the Resetgirl's community. It's about more than inspiration to me. It is about real community and care and that is something I really felt there was a need for locally. So, I invite you to come an play with us. Grab your journal, some goodies from the store, something to sip and snip and put on your jammies and just come and relax with me and the other #Creativegirls. 





Until next time!




Visit Ivytree Studio to see more of what we are up to www.ivytreestudio.co.za
Buy some of our pretty products here
Connect with the team on our Facebook page here.
Share your Ivytree Studio layouts with us here
Join our #CreativeGirlPrint&PlayClub here
Watch our Youtube channel here.