Some of My Favourite Script Fonts

Some of you might already know about my sister Josella's wonderful site Tack-O-Rama, but for those who don't, it's a treasure trove of retro fonts, design & clipart, & you must visit it at once! She not only has free samples of her clipart for y'all, she also sells large-format & scaleable images individually & a collection of all 714 images.

Jo & I were talking typography the other day, & I was looking at the new additions to her font archive including some lovely, lovely new script fonts. I'm about as fanatical about script fonts as I am about circus fonts, so I felt it was time to post some of my old favourites, & some of my new favourites courtesy of Tack-O-Rama.

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Script fonts bring bags of vintage charm & glamour to your design projects. I've used a few of them right here as part of my blog design (which is not particularly glamorous, but I hope it's a little charming!). Some of them will come in handy for the holidays, don't you think - for very festive cards, tags, labels & invitations? I hope you love them as much as I do!

Please note: The fonts marked with an asterisk in the list below are for personal use only, but the rest are free to use in commercial projects; but just to be sure, please read each individual designer’s licensing agreement.

From the Archives: Mirror Writing

Thank you to the people who've entered my Haiku contest so far - so many beautiful poems! There's still time to enter if you're interested. I thought you might like to see this fabulous example of mirror writing on a postcard I have from 1908. People used to find ingenious ways to make their correspondence difficult for the postman to take a peek at, including writing backwards, upside down, & even leaving secret messages beneath the stamp. Bottom left is the right way around version, & the mirror image on the right. How amazingly clever Minnie was to master the art of writing backwards in cursive!

Memory Lane: Stationery & Office Supplies

Memory Lane: Make Do and Mend

We've all seen the Keep Calm and Carry On British wartime propaganda poster (& the countless modern variations) - 70 years later, that's still a great message to live by, isn't it? No wonder that poster is so popular!

I have a big collection of vintage British, Australian & American magazines published during World War Two; reading them really makes it hit home how difficult life was with such limited resources, but how people used their tenacity & ingenuity to cope, & make life as comfortable for themselves & their families as possible - so many worthy practices came out of these times of rationing & deprivation. In some ways, with the realities of global warming & the uncertainties of the global economy, living frugally is equally relevant today.

Up to the 1960s, most Australian backyards contained a vegetable patch & fruit trees. Nowadays you're more likely to find landscaping & lawn, yet how we'd all benefit from fresh, organic, home grown produce that hasn't been in storage for months or transported across country. One of the positive shifts in the way we eat has been that people seem to eat less processed foods than, say, 20 years ago (despite time management being a constant issue for most of us), with a renewed interest in cooking & baking at home.

As well as Digging for Victory, other messages  from the British government during the war encouraged people to walk whenever possible due to fuel shortages (Shank's Pony is such a reliable old nag!), & to Make Do and Mend. We all know the virtues of sustainable living, but can always do with some encouragement every so often to consider all the little things we can do that make such a big difference. Don't you think these fantastic posters serve as a timely reminder, from an era when people had no choice but to buckle down, make do & carry on.

My Vintage Postcard Collection #1

I have a big collection of Victorian & Edwardian postcards, mainly collected in the '80s when they were cheap & plentiful. They're so pretty! I keep them in vintage postcard albums & nice boxes & take them out of the cupboard every so often to play with. Many of them are from this fabulous secondhand book shop called Edmonds (now sadly closed) where we'd spend wintery Sunday afternoons rummaging & foraging & coaxing out treasures. It was dark & cluttered & smelled like dust & musty old paper & gas from the fire & tobacco. I loved that place...

Memory Lane: It's Cracker Night!

After Christmas & birthdays, there was nothing so exciting to my younger self as Cracker Night, when the suburbs were aglow with catherine wheels, sparklers, roman candles & bonfires. Cracker Night was held in late-autumn here in Australia (a lingering tradition of the Empire Day holiday of May 24th that were phased out in the 1960s), & it was commonplace to set off fireworks on the abandoned circle of sand in your backyard that, come summer, lay beneath your 3-foot swimming pool. We also observed Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th. I recall an exciting evening at my primary school, where they assembled (what seemed to me) a gigantic bonfire on the school oval & burnt a floppy effigy made of newspaper-stuffed pantihose. I had no idea what the Gunpowder Plot was all about, but it was all very thrilling nevertheless!

Sadly, Cracker Night came to an end in the mid-70s, but I still have fond memories of the excitement of backyard fireworks. To celebrate the exuberant packaging design & advertising of the fireworks of my early childhood, I thought I'd dedicate a series of blog posts to them. This first one is devoted to the beautiful patterns & colours of fireworks labels, & coming up will be a post packed full of fireworks typography, & another about posters & advertising.

I think fireworks packaging & branding was absolute genius - so evocative & exciting - I'm sure you'll agree these patterns are gorgeous. I love that so much attention to detail was lavished on something that would eventually be set alight & explode! But what an explosion...raining stars, fizzy, sparkly, noisy & glorious.

The names of the different fireworks were as colourful as the packaging, conjuring images of fountains & fire bursts, space travel, magical creatures, snow storms, bombs, warfare, jewels & flowers.  Here are some of my favourites...

Twinkler, Floodlight, Crackling Pearl, Emerald Cascade, Harbour Lights, Golden Rain, Sequin Shower, Carnival Torch, Jewel Casket, Silver Fountain, Crystal Spray, Magic Flowers, Star Stream, Silver Cloud, Silver Mist, Silver Streamer, Glittering Cascade, Scarlet Runner, Shimmering Cascade, Golden Zodiac, Jewelled Pyramid, Silver Tree, Jewel Fountain, Harlequin, Magic Tracer, Jewel Torch, Flower Pot, Whistle Stop, Shamrock Shooter, Snow Drop, Snow Blizzard, Royal Squib, Jack in the Box, Signal Beacon, Whirligig, Spitfire, Smasher, Spangled Star Bomb, Fiery Whirlwind, Thunder Flash, Electric Whizzer, Air Bomb, Flash Gun, Dam Buster, Wonder Banger, Mine of Fiery Serpents, Humming Spider, Will o' the Wisp, Pixie Tree, Banshee, Screech Owl, Fairy Fountain, Little Demon, Flying Imp, Fairy Fern, Crackling Cauldron, Moon Travellers, Radium Dazzler, Mighty Atom, Meteorite, Lunar Rocket, Silver Orion, High Ball, City Flicker, Sunset Strip.

My Favourite Circus Fonts: Round #2

A long time ago I posted a list of some of my favourite typefaces of the circus/carnival/sideshow/wild west persuasion (which you can take a look at here). Since there are so many fabulous fonts to choose from, I thought I'd post some more for your typographic pleasure! The fonts marked with an asterisk in the list below are for personal use only, but the rest are free to use in commercial projects; but just to be sure, please read each individual designer's licensing agreement. (By the way, the pointy hands are actually part of the Joe Clement font - the left & right angle brackets). I shall be posting a list of some of my favourite vintage & script fonts soon too.

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I hope you have fun using these in some of your projects!  :)

And here are a couple more beauties...

  • Tightrope (Lost Type Co-op)
  • Nelma (Lost Type Co-op - .eps & .ai format only, but a beautiful display typeface)

Paper Chase Continued...

EDIT: The Paper Chase Project has now closed.Wow!!! The Paper Chase Project has exceeded my wildest expectations - not that I actually had any expectations really, it was kind of a spur of the moment thing.

So far, I have 44 people (from 5 different countries) who've expressed an interest in participating, & 8 people I know of have already posted their packages off! That's potentially a lot of collages I'm going to be making, but please don't be discouraged by that if you were thinking of taking part - I'm expecting the arrival of the packages will be spread out over a manageable time period, & I'm up for the challenge! I'm really amazed by how many people are eager to join in, & how incredibly kind & generous they've been. This is shaping up to be a lot of fun!

If you'd like to participate in the Paper Chase, you can find out all about it from my previous post, where I've given all the details, my postal address, etc. I'm asking people to enclose with the packages their online details (along with their return address of course), as I intend to post regular updates on my blog & link to everyone who takes part. There'll be photos of the packages as they arrive & I'm also posting pics of the finished collages. Yay!

A big thanks to mega-talented artist Gemma Jones for mentioning the Paper Chase on her blog, & hi to all my blog visitors from Argentina who've found me via Diseño Club, who've made me the Feature Link of the Week!

Rummaging Pays Off Yet Again!

Well, I set my alarm for an indecently early hour on Saturday morning (& promptly snoozed through it) because it was the opening day of an annual secondhand book sale, held every June long weekend, that I never miss. Arriving an hour later than desired with two friends, we set about struggling through the dense throng of rummagers in the hopes of getting our grubby hands on some coveted treasures. Side note: Coincidentally, the three of us were wearing fair isle jumpers (or sweaters, if you like to call them that) & so inadvertently set a new book sale trend. We're thinking next year everyone will be resplendent in fair isle, but by then we'll have moved onto houndstooth or paisley or something.

These book sales are brutal. Secondhand book collectors are a particularly aggressive breed. After jostling through the masses, feverishly (& rather possessively) stooped over trestles piled with dusty books, I finally unearthed a few bargains that made the struggle worthwhile. Actually, it was my friend Mark who found this little beauty for me.

Brimful of Interest, Excitement & Skill

Look at this great board game my friend Mark brought home for me from a secondhand market a few weeks ago. You're all invited to come around to my place on a rainy Sunday afternoon & we can sit on the floor & play Fairyland & have fizzy grape juice & ginger cookies. Hooray! Well it was just a matter of time I suppose...it looks like I've been tagged by the well-preserved & fabulously talented benconservato & illustrator extraordinaire Racheal Anilyse. I won't tag another 7 unsuspecting bloggers, but here are my 7 random or weird facts about myself:

  1. When we were kids, my sister Jo & I had a cardboard box with a human skeleton (Jo traded it at school for one of her Barbie dolls!), a scary black wig she got for Christmas, & a bunch of spiders (that escaped from my bugcatcher) in it.
  2. My sister & I used to play a game we called The Chocolate Nun. I'm not sure there were proper rules, but it involved hand signals somehow...& I think one of us wore a cape.
  3. As a child, I was obsessed with the trappings of bureaucracy & made my own stamps & forms. I glued homemade library cards in the backs of all my books.
  4. Ironically, this obsession was later quelled by 12 witheringly boring years spent working for the Tax Department.
  5. My family nickname is Weanie Beans & has many, equally embarrassing, variations - Beanie, Beans, Queenie, Queena, Kreenie, Reenie...& my Mum's personal favourite...Beans On Toast.
  6. I'm a neurotic perfectionist. People deliberately move my fridge magnets a fraction of an inch, just to torture me.
  7. I have slept through the room adjoining my bedroom being ransacked by a crazed burglar, & a speeding car careening through my neighbour's living room wall (the resulting evacuation attempt by the Fire Department, due to a gas leak, didn't stir me either).

So there you are! 7 things you didn't really want/need to know about Magic Jelly! Jot them down...if I ever become famous, they may crop up in Trivial Pursuit.

Recently Dick & Dora featured me in their blog...thank you! They also have an Etsy shop & make fab jewellery! And Fric de mentol included one of my Benediction collages in an Etsy Treasury list that made it to the front page. Hooray! Thanks Julian for getting a screenshot for me (a bouquet of parsnips is forthcoming) - it appeared in the middle of the night here in the Southern Hemisphere, so I would have missed it. Fellow Etsy sellers Anna Laura, Sherry Truitt & Salmon Street Studio also kindly let me know about it - thank you! It's so nice to see such a great collection of artists make the front page - it was an honour to be among them!

Finally, thanks again to everyone who took part in my giveaway - the winners' prizes are all in the post & on the way to their letterboxes.

Toodle-loo for now!

My Favourite Circus Fonts

I collect fonts of the Circus/Sideshow/Carnival/Wild West ilk. I tirelessly trawl the depths of the internet to find them. Here are 12 of my favourites, & I've spared you the trouble of searching for them...

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