Tuesday, 25 August 2009

An alternative to recycling

I have so much craft stuff! It is hard to keep my tiny work room organised but I do like to be organised so I love new storage ideas but I like my storage to be pretty! I have found a really cheap and colourful way of organising my pens, pencils, paintbrushes, knitting needles and crochet hooks and also to make a little vase for a posy on my desk.
It is so straight forward it
hardly needs explaining but here goes.. get an old tin can (the ones with the easy open tops are best as no sharp edges) wash and dry thoroughly. Select a pretty piece of oilcloth (approx 20cm x 10.5cm). Using a glue gun secure one of the short sides down, wrap oilcloth around tin and glue in place. You're done. Then make another, and another.. it's addictive! Nx

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Viva office

I'm nosey! I love seeing other people's workrooms and studios. Here is my own office/refuge/place for hoarded things and treasures..

Viva decks out Lovebox Festival

Those of you who attended Lovebox Festival in London on 18-19th July will probably have seen our oilcloth and papel picado banners on show.. We supplied a lovely mix of oilcloths for table decking (emerald green hibiscus, yellow hibiscus, red strawberry, aqua rose and light blue mums) as well as over 90 metres of banners!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Mexican Wedding in Cape Town

Viva la Frida would like to send warm congratulations to Mrs Phillipa Mohr and Mr Mark Mohr who were married at the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town on 15th June 2009.

Phillipa contacted us a few months ago to see if it would be possible to send a roll of our oilcloth to Cape Town, South Africa. After looking at various options to get it there and lots of emails back and forth it was eventually dispatched to Phillipa's sister in the UK who then travelled to Cape Town with it.

We love a bit of romance here and so I was thrilled to see some of the photos from their big day! Absolutely beautiful!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Happy Birthday Viva la Frida

This year Viva is celebrating her fifth birthday and it seems like a good time to start this blog and reflect on how far we have come.
5 years ago I was living in Bristol, working in an office and spending everything (bar the rent) feeding my obsession for Mexico, books, clothes, kitchenware, food, music, folk art, you name it I craved it! The flat I shared with T became a colourful kitschy haven and we had lots of fun creating it.

It was while trying to source some Mexican oilcloth for the 'Bristol Hacienda' that I realised it wasn't available in the UK. I had discovered a niche market and the idea for Viva la Frida was born. Despite being totally inexperienced in all aspects of running a business I was determined to at least give it a go and let the experiment run its course. I took out a personal loan of £2400 and with the help of a friend started learning about websites. My first stock was 15 rolls of oilcloth and it was a happy day when it eventually arrived after getting stuck in customs for a week (my first lessons in importing were quickly learnt!)

There have of course been frustrations along the way, like trying to understand css style sheets, filling in tax returns, an early stock management system that would allow people to order items that weren't in stock and moving house and business 4 times in 5 years!
It has been a lot of work and continues to be so but I do it because I love it. I remain passionate about Mexico and Mexican oilcloth, although my house is a bit less kitsch these days! I still get excited when we have a new colour or pattern of cloth and immediately cut a length for our table to 'try it out', I still love the ritual of cutting the oilcloth to order and folding it with my husband or apprentice Laura and it makes my day when customers email to say how much they love the cloth or come back for more. It has been fun trying out new products, some of which have been a success, some not, and it has been great planning the next steps, like our sister site
Oilcloth UK which launched in 2006. I have loved this journey with Viva over the last 5 years and can't wait to see where the next 5 will take us! Nikx