Inside the Biscuit Tin #2: Ikea Bekvam Kitty Playhouse

IKEA Bekvam Kitty Playhouse DIY by Nikki McWilliams

At almost 12 weeks old, our kitten Frankie is getting bigger and learning new things every day (his Pinterest Photo Diary is coming along well too!) We’ve been trying out different ways to keep him entertained (he loves to watch us draw or make anything) so we decided to draw something for him.

He’s currently adopted an IKEA Bekvam stool as his climbing frame, so we decided to give it an added dimension! Frankie loves to collect things from all over the house (hair bobbles, pens and his toys) and hide them away, so creating a little “house” for him to hide them in seemed appropriate.

Using some cardboard, a marker pen and a craft knife, I drew a facade for Frankie’s playhouse, in the style of a wee shop and attached it to the stool with string. Frankie enjoyed helping with this part!

Adding the panel to the front of the stool gives him somewhere to hide behind too- and it’s great for playing pouncing games with him (when he’s not keeping shop!)

What do you think? Have you ever made anything that your cat loved to play with? Let us know if you give this a try!

Nx

NEW: Biscuit Banners

You Take The Biscuit Banner - by Nikki McWilliams A Cup of Tea Solves Everything Banner - by Nikki McWilliams A Cup of Tea Solves Everything Banner - by Nikki McWilliams

We’ve been settling in to our new workspace over the last few weeks- there’s no better way to do this than to design something new!

This week, we’re introducing our brand new line of Banners! We’ve carefully designed these to showcase our art and illustrations, along with the high standard of production that our cushions are known for.  Our Banners are currently available in our “You Take the Biscuit” and “A Cup of Tea Solves Everything” designs.

Every banner is digitally printed onto heavyweight upholstery cotton with original artwork by Nikki McWilliams. We then back this with a fine white cotton and press neatly before adding a hand-cut pine dowel and natural cotton string for hanging.

The best thing about these Banners is that unlike paper prints, there’s no need for fussing with a frame! Just pop them on your wall with a pretty pin or piece of washi tape and you’re good to go!

Our Banners area available to shop in store now at £14 each.

SHOP BANNERS NOW

August in Pictures

Nikki McWilliams - August in Pictures

August is a month synonymous with the changing seasons- and for us, it’s been a period where a lot has changed in our lives. It feels like it’s happened quite quickly, but I’m feeling surprisingly well-adjusted!

1. We took a trip to IKEA to get a few new bits for the house. This included this delightful little succelent! I’ve started a series of posts entitled “Inside The Biscuit Tin” to document our progress behind the scenes of the business, in our new home. 

2. I spent a lovely evening with Hege as she hosted the very first Pinterest Pinbassador event at the South Block in Glasgow. You can read Hege’s post about the event (and see the moodboard that I made!) over on her blog here and follow her beautiful Pinterest boards here.

3. We tried these for the first time. They’re a pink, squidgy teacake type biscuit by Lees. I’m currently undecided on whether or not I like them!

4. WE GOT A KITTEN! Frankie has been settling in well since we got him 2 weeks ago. I wrote a post about him here and have also started a Pinterest board to document his growth

5. We’ve been doing a bit of painting at the new house. This beautiful “Arsenic” green by Farrow & Ball seemed appropriate for our front door.  

6. It’s been nice having visitors to our new space. My cousin Danni brought these lovely flowers! 

7. Have been adjusting to having a garden to tend to! We eased ourselves in gently with these pot rockeries.

8. Our new studio is taking shape! I DIY’d this using our an old IKEA Rusch Wall Clock and our Jammy Heart design.

9. A wee moving-in treat: have coveted this Swedish Green Trim phone for years. Finally, it’s ours! 

And that was our August! September is one of my favourite months of the year- starting t0 dress for the winter months, making preparations for the festive season ahead…and it’s also my birthday!

Hope you’ve all had an awesome August!

Nxx

Inside The Biscuit Tin #1: Green/Gold Fingers

For those who follow our Instagram feed- you’ll know that we’ve recently moved into a new (to us!) house. When I’ve not been doodling Biscuits and packing up cushion orders over the past few weeks- we’ve been getting settled into our new home. We’ve been doing some painting, DIY, and have been getting accustomed to having our very first outdoor space- we have a beautiful garden! I thought it would be nice to share our progress through our blog- we’ve got a lot to learn!

B&Q recently got in touch asking if i’d like to try out their new “Easygrow” bedding plants. I’d seen them at Blogtacular earlier on this year and was intrigued to find out a wee bit more about them (they’re easy to plant as their roots are encased in a biodegradable teabag-type material! I couldn’t find any at my local store (see Sarah-Lou’s lovely post about them here) so decided to try out a few other bits and bobs instead.

I picked up a pack of 6 miniature bedding plants- which included a very cute holly and a baby ivy. I had a few old terracotta pots in our garden, so I also got some metallic enamel paint so that I could update them.

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I’d bought a few toy dinosaurs from a charity shop a few weeks previous- after having seen some excellent Dino DIY ideas on Pinterest. The enamel paint worked on plastics too- so I decided to give my dinos a metallic make-over. I gave the dinos 2 coats of the paint- which went on really easily. I’ve spray painted plastic toys before- and this was definitely much less messy. I also liked that the paint was water-based- which means there was no fuss cleaning brushes with white spirits at the end.

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My dad dropped by to help me pot up the bedding plants before we added our brass dinos to their new home.

We had a few indoor succelents and cacti at our old flat- so I decided to continue that theme by creating a pot-rockery with these three varieties. These were also from B&Q and as I recall were part of a multi-buy deal.

Creating a full sized rock garden was a bit daunting- so as a new gardener- this was a great starting point. Using a pot has also allowed me to move them around while I’ve been rearranging our outdoor seating area also- which is super handy!

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It’s been lovely to be able to enjoy our new outdoor space while the weather is still mild…and I’m looking forward to being able to use the baby Holly for some photos nearer Christmas time!

Thank you so much to B&Q for kindly providing the plants and materials that we used in this post. 

 

New home, new studio, new kitten!

Nikki_Studio_MovingOut It’s been an emotional week.  We spent some time packing up the studio at WASPS Dundee, and handed in our notice. It’s been an incredible space to work in over the last few years and I’m so very grateful to have had the opportunity to be based there.  Dundee has a wonderful creative community and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of it- however we’re so excited about moving on to a new workspace- in the heart of central Scotland. We’ll be closer to Glasgow and Edinburgh- as well as our 2nd production studio in the neighbouring area. I’m looking forward to be able to streamline our processes and give myself more time for designing new things. Plus- there’s nothing like a change of scenery for a bit of inspiration! We’re in the middle of setting up our new studio workspace- currently it’s a white shell with a few desks (We’ll share some photos soon) However- probably the most exciting addition to our lives is….FRANKIE! Frankie_Windowsill We brought Frankie home to live with us and share our studio space last weekend. He’s a Norwegian Forest Cat Cross and he’s settling in nicely!  He’s currently just 9 weeks old, being born on the 22nd of June, just outside of Edinburgh. So far he’s shown quite an interest in chewing paintbrushes and playing with a Cat’s Painting app for the iPad- so it’s looking like he’s going to be a fairly helpful studio cat!

We’ve spent the last few weeks also trying to squeeze in some decorating at our new place as well as doing some gardening! We’ve never had an outdoor space- so we’re trying to ease ourselves in gently with a little bit of pruning and potting up some plants. The previous owner of our house had the garden done (as a surprise!) by BBC’s Groundforce in the late 90′s. It’s pretty amazing- and definitely one of the reasons that we fell in love with the place earlier on in the year. I’m planning to do a few interiors (and exterior…as I couldn’t exclude the garden!) blogposts about moving into our new space to document our progress.

Has anybody got any good tips for moving into a new home? We’ll share ours over the next few months.

Nikki.xx

All Change

Nikki McWilliams - Farrow & Ball Arsenic

If you’ve been following our tweets over the past few weeks- you’ll have seen that we’ve been doing some flitting! It’s all change for us at Biscuit Towers and we can’t wait to share it all with you.

The first thing we have to show you though, is the beautiful new front door to our home! We spent a week preparing it before treating it to a fresh coat of Farrow & Ball‘s Exterior Eggshell in Arsenic. It makes me pleased to come home every time I see it.

July in Pictures

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Ok- so I’m a bit late with this one- but I have a really good excuse. Honest. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been juggling packing orders with packing our belongings and posting updates with painting walls…as we’re moving house! I’ll share all of the details in a post all of its own very soon- but for now I can say that we’ve made a lot of changes to our lives and we’re really excited to be on a new adventure!

So, July!

1. The sun has been shining and we’ve been enjoying all things YELLOW in the studio.

2. We got the keys to our new house! I noticed that the beautiful cornice in the living room bears an uncanny resemblance to the middle of a Tunnocks Teacake! This place was made for us.

3. Moving is hard work. Ice cream has helped on the hotter days.

4. Drawing biscuits in the sand at Broughty Ferry Beach.

5. Exploring our new neighbourhood- I’m totally fascinated by this old house. It looks like it’s been empty for years…yet the garden is very neatly kept. I’d love to explore it one day!

6. I tried to make moving as organised and aesthetically pleasing as possible with these color coded box labels. They worked a treat!

7. We visited the Confectionery Wholesaler for the first time. It was like my own version of paradise.

8. I picked the first apple from the tree in our new garden. It was crisp and sour- I think they’ll make an excellent crumble!

9. Lastly- we introduced these custom name Pocket Mirrors to our online store – they’re proving super popular so far!

We’re still in the process of moving, but will share all of the details and some photographs very soon.

Hope you’re having a great summer so far!

Nx

Dancing Teacakes – Commonwealth Games 2014 Highlights

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This summer, Glasgow (our spiritual home) is hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.  The much anticipated Opening Ceremony hit the world’s TV screens this Wednesday evening, and was an undoubted riot of Scottish-ness.

The highlight of the Opening Ceremony (and perhaps even of the year?!) has got to be the cavalcade of giant dancing Tunnocks Teacakes that surrounded a tartan-clad John Barrowman, whilst he sang his wee head off.

We’ve selected our favourite #DancingTeacake screenshots from the extravaganza to share with you, or you can watch the whole thing for the next five days on BBC’s iPlayer (skip to 01:05:25 for #DancingTeacake goodness!) Also look out for the foam Forth Bridge supported by 6ft Irn Bru cans: that’s pretty exciting!

 

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To celebrate the Games’ Teacakey tribute, we’re offering free UK Shipping on our original Milk Choc Tunnocks Teacake Cushions until the end of the games on the 3rd of August 2014.

Just enter the code, DANCINGTEACAKES at the checkout at www.nikkimcwilliams.bigcartel.com- and you could be re-enacting the Opening Ceremony’s #DancingTeacakes scene in your own living room very soon!

NikkiMcWilliams - Tunnocks Teacake Cushions

Image Credits: BBC iPlayer 2014

 

Personalised Pocket Mirrors

Nikki McWilliams - Personalised Cookie Pocket Mirrors Nikki McWilliams - Personalised Cookie Pocket Mirrors

 

Personalised products are something that we have a real fondness of- and have been looking to add to our range for some time. We’re hoping to have a personalisation option available for our Cushions very soon, however in the mean time- we’re so pleased to be able to add these cute little mirrors to our collection!

Each mirror features original artwork by Nikki, inspired by her favourite American chocolate biscuit! Every mirror is then personalised with the name of your choosing: it could be your own name, or that of the friend, teacher or lucky family member you’d like to treat! We can even add a nickname- as long as your chosen name is under 10 characters.

Personalised Pocket Mirrors are now available to order in store for only £6 each. Just leave us a “Note to Seller” when you get to checkout, or drop us a line on shop@nikkimcwilliams.com when you order to let us know which name you’d like.

Shop Pocket Mirrors Now!

New Prints: Malted Milkshakes

Nikki McWilliams - My Malted Milkshake Brings all the Boys to the YardNikki McWilliams - My Malted Milkshake Brings all the Boys to the Yard Nikki McWilliams - My Malted Milkshake Brings all the Boys to the Yard

One of our sketchbook pages got a lot of attention when we posted it on Facebook a few weeks ago. The illustration, hand painted in chestnut coloured ink, was inspired by Kelis’s “Milkshake”. Those who are fans of Tina Fey’s “Mean Girls” will have a particular fondness for this tune also!

The line itself is a little cryptic, with a hint of innuendo (does she really make a mean milkshake?!) but has nonetheless become totally iconic over the years.

Our newest print, “Our Malted Milkshake Brings all the Boys to the Yard” is available in 2 sizes now, from only £4 each.

Get your Malted Milkshake prints here!

Creative Birthday Celebrations – Giveaway Time!

NikkiMcWilliams_Teacake_Birthday

***UPDATE 08/07/14: This giveaway is now closed & all winners have been notified! We had over 1000 entries between all 4 channels- so thank you to everyone who took the time to enter and for your amazing response!**

Time flies when you’re having fun eh? Today, we’re celebrating a very special creative birthday. Our Teacake Cushion is 4 years old! I can’t quite believe how much our brand has grown over the past few years and continue to be totally amazed and overwhelmed by the level of support and loyalty our customers show us on a daily basis.

And for this- we want to say a great big THANK YOU.  It is because of this support that I, as creative person, get to do something that I am passionate about every day.  For this, I am so very grateful!

To say thank you for your continuing support, and to celebrate our Teacake Cushion’s 4th Birthday, we’ve got a whole host of birthday treats for you!

 

FREE LUXURY GIFT WRAP

Firstly- we’re offering FREE luxury Gift Wrap on all cushions purchased from now until Monday 7th of July at 6pm GMT. Whether you’re sending one of our Biscuit Cushions to a friend, or if you just want to treat yourself, we’ll make sure it’s ready for you to unwrap as part of the birthday fun! Just add “Gift Wrap It!” to your basket and enter the code HAPPY BIRTHDAY at checkout at www.nikkimcwilliams.bigcartel.com.

 

GIVEAWAY – WIN 1 of 4 BISCUIT CUSHIONS

We’re also hosting our biggest giveaway ever- with prizes for 4 lucky winners! Each winner will get to pick a Biscuit Cushion of their choice, as well as receiving a goodie bag filled with birthday treats. You’ll have the chance to enter via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or by completing a quick Survey. Details of how to enter on each platform plus full competition guidelines and terms are below:

Entering Via Twitter

Follow @nikkimcwilliams on twitter and RT the Giveaway Tweet including the #teacakebirthday hashtag.

Entering Via Facebook

Like the Nikki McWilliams Design page on Facebook and leave a comment on the Giveaway Post with why you’d like to win a Biscuit Cushion.

Entering Via Instagram

Follow @nikkimcwilliams on Instagram and Repost the giveaway Instagram post using the #teacakebirthday hashtag and @nikkimcwilliams in your comment. Your Instagram account must be public so that we can see your entry.

Entering Via The Survey

Complete our Quick Survey & sign up for our newsletter at the end. If you have previously signed up, you can let us know when you take part.

Nikki McWilliams 4th Birthday Giveaway Terms & Conditions

//1// The Giveaway is open from  10am GMT on Friday 4th July 2014 – 6pm GMT on Monday 7thJuly 2014. Entries received out with this period will not be counted.

//2// Only one entry per platform is allowed (you may enter once on each of the four platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & The Survey)

//3// The Giveaway is open to entrants Worldwide.

//4// Entry to the Giveaway is permitted only by the methods outlined in the guidelines above.

//5// The prize for each of the 4 winners is 1 cushion of the winner’s choice from www.nikkimcwilliams.com plus a surprise goody bag. No monetary alternative is available.

//6// The winner from each platform’s giveaway will be notified via that platform. E.g- those entering on Twitter, will be notified via Twitter.

//7// No purchase necessary.

We’ll update this post when the Giveaway has ended. GOOD LUCK to you all- and thank you again for your support & kindness.

Nikki.x

 

Happy Creative Birthday to Us!

NikkiMcWilliams_Teacake_Birthday

Time flies, when you’re having fun eh? Tomorrow, we’ll be celebrating a very special creative birthday. Our Teacake Cushion is 4 years old! I can’t quite believe how much our brand has grown over the past few years and continue to be totally amazed and overwhelmed by the level of support and loyalty our customers show us on a daily basis.

We’ve got some rather exciting birthday celebrations planned for tomorrow- which we know you’re just going to love! We’ll post an update with how you can join in tomorrow at 10am.

In the mean time, you can follow all of the updates on social media by searching the hashtag: #teacakebirthday

See you then…don’t forget your party hat!