dottie angel: a wonderful book, a wonderful experience

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It's a bittersweet moment when a book is about to go "out of print"... I am happy when a book does well enough to sell all of its copies, but sad that I don't have a wonderful stash of these beautiful books available in perpetuity. As a small publisher, I don't have the funds to keep reprinting a book or a magazine once it sells out. By the time the inventory reaches this level, it is a few years on and the lower demand for the book doesn't justify the expense of reprinting. In the case of Dottie Angel, there were so many hand details, that it really was a once-in-a-lifetime project.

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The Suitcase Series, Volume 2: Dottie Angel is all about the wonderfully crafty and quaint Tif Fussell. The production values of the book are beautiful — a textural cover evocative of fabric with a tipped-on postcard with sewing-machine-stitched detail (sewn by my industrious mother!) and a fabric label glued on the back cover. Inside, there's a glassine envelope of various hand-assembled goodies.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with Tif and visiting her and her clan a few times in Seattle. I think the love and dedication we had for this project definitely shows in the final books.

Posted fondly below are the various videos I made in relation to the Dottie Angel book.

To revisit our past posts about this book, click here.

I am happy to say that this book has been translated into Japanese (see below) and will be also released in the Chinese language next year! 

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Purchase one of the last available copies of Dottie Angel right here.

Thank you!!!

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button tree decorations

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It is that time of year when I bring out my typewriter Christmas tree! Finley was spending the afternoon at the office, so I let him do the honours of unfolding the tree.

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I didn't have any decorations for it—normally its tinsel branches and strange typewriter base are enough for me—but Finley thought it needed something more...

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Lucky for us, I have no shortage of creative odds and ends... like a jarful of vintage buttons. These are the leftovers from assembling the goodies that come with the Dottie Angel book we published a few years ago (by the way, there are just a few copies left in the shop). Since all these buttons have shanks, we couldn't include them in the flat goodie envelopes that come with each book.

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Also on hand? Some handy waxed thread from the Maine Thread Company—we profiled them in issue #16 earlier this year.

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Finley and I proceeded to string multiple buttons onto lengths of the thread and I tied them into a loop.

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I also made a string garland of buttons by knotting the shank of the buttons at even intervals on a 6-foot length of string. The waxed thread worked really well since nothing slips out of position.

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This was a fun! And super easy. The best kind of spur-of-the-moment creative activity.

an internship with Lisa Stickley-Levis

guest post by Meg Fussell

MEG FUSSELL

MEG FUSSELL

UPPERCASE readers will recognize the Fussell last name… I am pleased to welcome Tif Fussell (aka Dottie Angel)'s eldest daughter Meg Fussell as a guest on our blog today. Meg is studying in the UK and over the summer she had the opportunity to intern for Lisa Stickley-Levis.

Lisa is probably best known by her maiden and business name Lisa Stickley. Unfortunately, Lisa had to step away from the brand that she founded and has started fresh with numerous projects. Just launched is Betty & Walter, a vintage-inspired line of cosmetics available through Boots in the UK. 

Meg shares her internship experience with us, along with some images of Lisa's inspirations.

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During my internship I’ve hunted for luggage tags, lottery tickets, balloons and miso soup near London Bridge where her new studio lies. When I’m not running errands for lunch, I spend time tip-tapping away on the computer, helping with techy-stuff and blogs, in her beautifully decorated studio.

Some inspiring packages in Lisa's studio.

Some inspiring packages in Lisa's studio.

Lisa’s studio is full of old teapots, jars stuffed with plastic flowers leftover from her wedding day, and drawers full of odds and ends. Boxes full of treasures tower up to the ceiling, resting against the walls around her desk that are covered in recent designs. It’s rummaging paradise. 

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Transient

She starts work on an idea by painting, drawing and collecting to create mood boards. Once Lisa’s found a creative direction, she narrows down her vision and consolidates her collection into display books and sketch books. Full to the brim with magazine cut outs, these sketch books give insight into what Lisa finds inspirational, which is mainly her interpretations of the 1930’s to 1950’s. Throughout these books you find little quirky doodles and photographs that Lisa added. When you spot them, you can’t mistake her whimsical and playful style!

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As a creative person, I am always struggling with the dreaded ‘creative rut’. One thing that fascinated me about Lisa was her endless creative steam, so I asked her how she kept it up. She said that her foolproof way to get out of a creative rut was to sew lines repetitively onto a piece of fabric, essentially freeing up her mind.  I reminded myself to give this a go next time I’m stuck for ideas.

Illustrations by Lisa Stickley-Levis showing some of the pattern designs used on the new line of cosmetics packaging.

Illustrations by Lisa Stickley-Levis showing some of the pattern designs used on the new line of cosmetics packaging.

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Transient

Lisa has never-ending enthusiasm and an impeccable amount of courage. Not many people could pick themselves up and dust themselves off after deciding to resign from being the creative director of Lisa Stickley London. She is coming back with full force with a new toiletries brand, Betty & Walter, launching in Boots stores in the U.K. mid September. It’s a quirky collection of 1950s-inspired toiletries with alliterated names like ‘Handsomely Hydrating Handcream’. When the samples arrived I had to stop myself from testing all the lotions and potions right there in the studio!

Sadly, the summer went by far too quickly and it’s back to Cardiff to finish my illustration degree. However, I am so honoured to have had the opportunity to work under such an influential designer. Look for Lisa’s new brand at www.bettyandwalter.wordpress.com.