Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Archivist Letterpress

Anything stationery related gets our hearts beating a little faster... add the word 'Letterpress' and we're close to having palpitations...

Which is why we were so thrilled to discover these amazing greetings cards.  Made in a very traditional style in the heart of Oxfordshire: with the help of wood blocks, an intricate system of suction, gears and levers...oh, and a windmill.

Just in case you're unfamiliar with the process of Letterpress, here's a little explanation...

If you can conjure up an image from your history books of a Caxton press, you will not be far away from visualising the production process of an Archivist Letterpress greeting card 500 years later...

In contrast to the world of offset printing, the role of the 'press minder' is still key.  Armed with an oil can, an inking knife and his judgement, he constantly adjusts and tweaks the arms and the plates to create the perfect print.  

Archivist is not soulless factory printing in an industrial unit.  Instead, the workshop is suffused with the heady smell of printing inks and resonates to the rhythmic workings of the press. The human element of the process gives each impression a charming individuality.  Everytime the block hits the paper, the result will be different.  

Here are a couple of our favourites...


If you'd like to see The Archivist Letterpress in action, Click HERE for a little video (I'm sure you'll fall in love a little bit, just like we did!) 

Cards priced at £2.95 each and are available at Nora's Ilkley

Monday, 13 May 2013

Trumpet Blowing...

Back in March we found out that we had been shortlisted for two national industry awards at 'THE GREATS' Gift Retailer Awards.  Completely flabbergasted but obviously chuffed to bits, mum and I started planning a little girlie day out in London...

The day came around quickly and on Thursday morning last week we got our glad rags on and set off on the train down to The Savoy (it's so posh they wrap their loo rolls up in tissue paper...) 

        Toilet roll wrapped in tissue... 
  Original little ashtrays in the toilets...

We thought you might like to know (and see) how our day went...

(So, you remember the scene at the end of Notting Hill where Julia Roberts is holding a press conference and Hugh Grant dashes across London to declare his undying love for her blah blah blah?  Well, the awards were held in that very room - terrible picture so you're going to have to trust me on this or click here to see it on you tube!)


Our table was right at the very back by the kitchen door (the naughty table) and as soon as we found our seats I said to mum; 'there's absolutely no way we're going to win; firstly, there's about 350 people here and secondly, they never put winners on tables right at the back - you didn't see One Direction sat at the back at The Brits...'

After 2 hours of 'networking and hob-nobbing' we sat down to a lovely meal and got ready for comedian Hal Cruttenden (very funny, camp but straight bloke) to present the awards. 

Me and mum enjoying ourselves

Finally, our catagory was announced -  Independent Gift Retailer of the Year 2013 (North & Northern Ireland).  Nervously holding each others hand, mum and I tried to concentrate on the nominees... And the winner is...<X Factor style dramatic pause> 'Nora's Interiors and Gifts, Ilkley'!!!! 

           Receiving our award
Our table (who were all strangers just a few hours before) cheered and whooped for us - to say we were gobsmacked was an understatement - we made our way up to the stage through the maze of chairs and tables and collected our (extremely heavy) award, posed for photographs and then 'bounced' back down to our table. 

If I'm honest, the rest of the awards was a bit of a blur and completely overwhelming... we couldn't stop grinning and have yet to come down from cloud nine!  For our little shop to be recognised by the industry at a national level is just incredible.  

Beautiful orchids at The Savoy

Once everyone had filtered out, we decided to have a celebratory 'brew' in the American Bar at The Savoy (well we are from Yorkshire) and the staff were so lovely - our award got its own chair!

We made our way back to Kings Cross ready for our journey home (and a marks and sparks sarnie on the train - we know how to live!)


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Betty & Walter at Nora's

So, back in November last year the lovely Lisa Levis nee Lisa Stickley (she got married in September!) came to see us in our little shop in Ilkley to discuss a new range of products she was developing - as you probably know we are huge fans of Lisa's work and to say we were a little starstruck when she walked in to the shop was an understatement...

Imagine how thrilled we were when she selected Nora's as one of only a small number of stockists for her new venture 'Betty & Walter'!?!

British Cloud 'Damson Jam'' Wash Bag - £22.00

Four months has really flown by since that meeting over a pot of Yorkshire Tea and a couple of Fat Rascals and we're now excitedly awaiting the arrival of the new range of products that Lisa has spent the last 18 months designing and making.

Puddle 'Pear Jelly' Purse - £28.00

As they're due to arrive tomorrow, we thought we'd give you a sneak peak of the make up bags, wash bags, purses and shopper bags that we've ordered - we absolutely adore the colours and Lisa's distinctive style; don't you think they're just perfect for Spring? (Even if the weather isn't quite there yet!)

Our favourite is the 'Puddle' coloured 'Coconut Candy' shopper bag (below).

Puddle 'Coconut Candy' Bag - £28.00

Prices range from £12.00 to £38.00 and we'll be posting more pictures on facebook/twitter once we've completed our little display in the shop!

Sponge Fingers 'Peach Cup' Zipper £12.00