West Hampstead Christmas Market 2014

Hello! On Saturday we attended the 2014 West Hampstead Christmas Market. We woke up to perfect weather – brilliant blue skies and a dusting of glittering frost – and headed to West End Green to set up our stall. We had great day chatting to customers about our items (our Retroviral mugs elicited more than a few double takes), getting to know our fellow stall holders, and enjoying live music, carols…and plenty of hot mulled wine. And chicken soup. And falafel. O! What fun!

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Our Retroviral mugs made their market debut on Saturday! It was lovely to see customers’ reactions face-to-face, and to see how many design-nerd-science-lovers there are out there. Viruses on a mug might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they sure make for an excellent conversation starter! You can read more about them here.

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We were also selling art prints, postcards and Christmas cards at our stall. Our Christmas cards are still available online, so go and get ’em while stocks last.

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Above: South London Samba kept us entertained with their drumming, although I probably put off multiple potential customers with my aggressive dance moves.

Below: The super-lovely ladies from The Village Haberdashery. If you find yourself in NW6, make sure to visit their colourful store on Mill Lane.

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Below: Eyecatching luxe clutch bags by ClutterClutch. So many metallics, so much fluoro, so much sparkle! If I knew how to use emojis on WordPress I’d insert a heart here.

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West Hampstead Christmas Market 2014 – We’ll be there!

Hello! If you fancy doing some Christmas shopping this Saturday, come and find us at the West Hampstead Christmas Market!

 Thefty is part of a great line-up of 30+ stall holders, including Monsters of Art, ClutterClutch, Bake-A-Boo, Hiro+Wolf and Lombary Gourmet. We’ll be selling our Retroviral mugs as well as Christmas cards and art prints (although, having looked at the other sellers, we’ll probably be taking frequent shopping breaks).

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Many of the local stores will be participating in the festivities – you can see all the events and happenings here. This is the market’s fifth year, and if it’s anything like the last four, it’s bound to be an A+ day out.

West Hampstead’s 5th Annual Christmas Market 
West End Green, West End Lane
Saturday, 6 December 2014
10:00am to 4:00pm

Black Friday Sale!

Hello! It’s Black Friday! Get 15% off in my shop until midnight tomorrow* with the code 15WOOHOO.

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*Yes, midnight (in London) of the 29th of November…so it’s a two day sale. Lucky you!

 

Blog and Buy Sale Christmas Wishlist: My Top Picks.

Hello! The epic annual Blog And Buy Sale Christmas Wish List is now live…and we’re so pleased to announce that our Retroviral mugs have been featured. Hooray! The wish list is ‘a curated list of the very best creative products available online’, so it’s incredibly exciting to be included.

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You can shop directly from the page – each item links to individual designers’ stores and social media pages. With several hundred hand-picked items to choose from, Christmas shopping should be sorted! I’ve already bought a handful of items from the Wish List because I couldn’t resist. Here are a few of my favourites. (And yes, of course I included our mugs!)

Thefty-blogandbuysale-favesItem list (I want them all!):

1. Dinosaur Print, by Cha Com Letras

2. Ohh-Ahh Wall Hook, by Ohh Ahh

3. Quartz Candy Print, by Paul Farrell

4. Fabric Letters, by Kitty McCall

5. Handmade Geometric Ceramic Necklace, by Isla Clay

6. Love Card, by Karolin Schnoor

7. Retroviral mugs: Herpes, HIV, or Rabies, by Thefty

8. Star Christmas Baubles, by Stories for Autumn

9. Colourful Deep Sea Pouch, by Gabote

10. Sunny Forest Tray, by Anna Lindsten

11. Angel of the North Tree Topper, by Susan Bradley

There are so many great products, so make sure to check out the full list! Blog and Buy Sale Christmas Wish List will run until December 28th.

Christmas 2014 Last Order Dates!

Hello! I know, I know, it’s only mid-November…but in terms of postal deliveries Christmas is closer than you think! If you’re planning to order Retroviral‬ mugs in time for Christmas gift-giving, we recommend placing your order before the dates listed below. Please keep in mind that mail can be delayed at busy times such as Christmas, so get your shopping done as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Happy shopping!

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Christmas Cards Thefty Style: Robots, Cupcakes & Dinosaurs!

Guys! My Christmas cards are back in stock!

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Helena-Maratheftis-thefty-xmas-15The cards are bright and festive , but they’re also totally non-denominational (i.e. there is not an angel or a nativity scene in sight).  They can be purchased individually (with hand-embellished rhinestones) or in packs of 6 (2 designs per pack).

There are 4 designs to choose from: Dinosaur Santa, Festive FroggyGingerbread Robots, and Christmas Cupcakes.

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Christmas Cards by Thefty (aka Helena Maratheftis)

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Weekly Inspiration: Happy New Year!

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

Happy 2013, guys! What did you get up to on new year’s eve? We had a little party in our flat. I made a lot of cake, as usual. There were lots of bright and kitschy decorations…as usual. Have a look:

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-05Vasilopita is a traditional Greek new year’s eve cake. It’s usually a simple orange sponge cake, but I took it to new, technicolour heights. I’m not sure my mum would approve.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-03Lemon cupcakes with blueberry frosting, inspired by this recipe.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-01I got a lot of Turkish Delight chocolate for Christmas, so I baked a bar of it into chocolate brownies. I highly recommend it!

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-04Earl Grey scented cupcakes with clementine frosting. (The cake recipe is from here, but I made a simpler frosting: icing sugar, butter, and the juice and zest of 2 clementines.)

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-07The food table at our party. Yum, yum, yum, yum.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-13Midnight! Every year, we welcome the new year by banging on pots and pans with wooden spoons (and potato mashers, tongs, and any other utensil we can find).

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-08Party poppers! We like to party like it’s 1993.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-12A doorway-ful of streamers.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-09We love a bit of neon.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-02Some gorgeous, gorgeous wine packaging.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour14-11The morning after was beautifully sunny…and totally messy.

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May your 2013 be filled with cake, friends, sunshine and happiness.


Weekly Inspiration: Christmas lights and wintry colours.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and London looked incredible. Behold:

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-01Twinkling lights and cozy colours in Knightsbridge.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-02The gorgeous windows at Harrods.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-04Decorating our flat! Every year, we bust out the kitschiest and most colourful decorations humanity has ever seen.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour15Ta-da! I’m pretty proud of our massive pile of presents – it makes me feel like a proper adult.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-07Speaking of decorating, I framed one of my calendars and hung it in our hallway. (Click here for my shop if you’d like one for your house!)

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-05My other calendar design! Again, it’s available for purchase (wink, wink).

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-06Drawings, Christmas robins, and Santa Claus teapots.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-08Pink garlands and frosty mornings.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-09Winter sun pouring into in the flat.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-11Brightly decorated buildings. (I want to live in there!)

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-12Friends with festive legs!

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour13-14Walking home in the yellow lamplight.

Christmas is such an inspiring and creative time of the year for me. I draw and bake like a fiend! I hope things are happy wherever you are, and whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

Christmas Decorations: A Doodle.

Hello! I’ve got a cold. A disgusting, horrible, unwelcome cold. I spent yesterday wrapped in a blanket, popping paracetamol like candy. On the upside, I got a great view of our Christmas tree from my spot on the couch…and so I drew some of our tree decorations. Of course.

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Our tree is a 6 foot, ‘champagne’ coloured, tinsel monstrosity. We love it. It’s loaded with decorations, most of them being gifts from family and friends.

What’s on your tree?

Gingerbread Stars: An Illustrated Recipe.

Hello! This blog post is part of my illustrated recipes series, because I love making food as much as I love drawing it.

Helena-Maratheftis-gingerbread1Every Christmas, I make gingerbread. I love the way it makes the house smell spicy and amazing, and I love spending a couple of hours decorating the cookies. For this year’s first batch, I made gingerbread stars. However, you can make any shape you like. I don’t judge.

My cookie recipe is the Waitrose Christmas Gingerbread recipe. It’s essentially foolproof, so I’ll leave you to it. However, I DO have some decorating ideas I’d like to share!

GINGERBREAD DECORATING IDEA #1: Crunchy sugar icing

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Directions (consult above diagram for help):

1. Mix 2 cups icing sugar and 3-4 tablespoons of warm water in a large bowl. You want the icing to be ‘spreadable’, so add water to loosen or add more sugar to thicken it if necessary. Add a few drops of food colouring if desired (I added green food colouring to half of my icing, and left the other half white)

2. In a separate dish, spread a thin layer (half a centimetre will do) of caster sugar. If you like, combine – or replace! – the caster sugar with sprinkles of your choice. I added blue and green sugar balls.

3. Use a butter knife to spread a thin coating of icing all over each cookie. Alternatively, place a thick blob of icing in the centre of the cookie.

4. Immediately place the cookie into the dish of sugar, with the iced side facing down. The sugar (or sprinkles) will stick to the icing and create a sparkling, crunchy surface.

5. Dust off the excess topping by gently tapping the cookie, then allow the icing to harden on a tray or wire rack.

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GINGERBREAD DECORATING IDEA #2: Piped decorations

If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can opt for delicate piped decorations (see above). For example, if you make gingerbread men instead of stars, you can use a piping bag to ‘draw’ eyes, noses and buttons.

Make the icing in the same way as before, but rather than applying it to the cookies with a knife, fill a piping bag with a small, circular nozzle…and get piping! Alternatively, you can buy icing in a tube from most supermarkets. All you do is open the packet and squeeeeeze. Simple. Feel free to decorate with coloured sprinkles, and make sure to let the icing dry thoroughly before you stack the cookies.

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The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of weeks, so you can make them in advance and give them as Christmas presents. They look pretty and taste delicious, so what are you waiting for? Eh? Enjoy!

Christmas Cootie Catcher, Again.

Hello! I first published this Cootie Catcher last Christmas, but it was so popular that I thought I’d share it again for those that didn’t see it.

If you scroll to the bottom of this post, you’ll find a printable A4 Cootie Catcher (aka paper fortune teller) template. I think it would make a funny little stocking stuffer, or a cute decoration on the Christmas table! I hope you like it.

Helena-Maratheftis-xmas-cootie-catcher-04Helena-Maratheftis-xmas-cootie-catcher-01 Helena-Maratheftis-xmas-cootie-catcher-02 Helena-Maratheftis-xmas-cootie-catcher-05The fortunes are as eye-roll-inducing as you’d hope. (See below for the rest of them!)

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The template below can be printed straight onto A4 paper (click here for full size version). All you need to do is print it, cut off the excess at the bottom, and fold it up! (Folding instructions here.)

Happy fortune telling! Let me know if you decide to print some – I’d love to know what you do with them!

p.s. Don’t forget – I’ve also got a bunch of Christmas cards and Poster Calendars in my shop, in case you haven’t bought yours yet!

Weekly Inspiration: The Australian Edition.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

As you may have noticed, I recently went AWOL for a few weeks. That’s because I was in Sydney, Australia! Here are a few of my favourite photos from the trip. Keep in mind that this is by no means a complete tourist’s guide! It’s just a set of my  most colourful shots!

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour-AUSTRALIA-22Coogee Beach on a scorching day

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour-AUSTRALIA-13A very Aussie scene at Cronulla Beach

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour-AUSTRALIA-10Long Beach on the South Coast

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Christmas Cards a la Thefty

Hello! I designed some cheeky Christmas cards last year, and they’re back in stock! They’re bright and festive (and frankly, a bit silly) while remaining totally non-denominational.

There are 4 designs: Dino SantaFroggy Pudding, Gingerbread Robots, and Christmas Cupcakes.  They can be purchased individually (with hand-embellished rhinestones) or in packs of 6 (2 designs per pack).

They are A6 (10.5 x 14.8cm) when folded, and are printed on environmentally friendly paper from FSC certified sources.

Please click here to visit my shop!