Saturday, 13 August 2011

Brand New Website Launch

Friday was a big day for me - it saw the launch of my brand spanking new Website!!  It's taken me forever to do and listing 136 cards was a task and a half but now it's finished I know it was worth all the effort. 

I've only sold on Folksy up until now and to be honest the sales haven't been that great over the last couple of months and I seem to be spending more on listing and re-listing than what I'm selling.

I still have a Folksy shop for the time being but as items de-list it's unlikely they'll be re-listed.  The advantage of selling on your own website is they stay listed until sold and there's no listing fee!! 

Go and check out the new Website and why not leave a comment in the Guestbook!!

Friday, 5 August 2011

August's Feature Friday - Honey Cottage Handicrafts

It's August already - where has this year gone!  Time goes so quick now!!

I'm very happy to introduce my August Blog Feature - Honey Cottage Handicrafts.  Lorna very kindly gave me lots of lovely information regarding their venture, I hope you enjoy reading! 
Describe what you do,when you started doing it and what made you decide that was what you were going to do.

There are 3 of us involved at Honey Cottage Handicrafts – 3 generations.  Hilary and Bernice have always been making crafts, since a very young age. Together they have been crafting for over 100 years combined. I (Lorna) don’t really do much making, but I do look after the website and all the content on there. Before we launched the website, we did occasionally and unofficially sell our crafts to friends and families and managed to raise money for charity Smile Train. This year we launched the site to raise awareness and sell some items to try achieve our goal of raising £1000 by the end of 2012 for Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team.  We’ve also in the past done some special commissions work and little projects and all the money from this also went to charity.

What makes you different from other people selling/ doing the same craft?

We’re very different to everyone else, and in actuality we don’t really do the same as any other businesses I’ve heard of. One of the main things we do is tatting, which is rarely done anymore and the ethos behind Honey Cottage Handicrafts is also very different to anyone else. We’ve got so much experience in arts and crafts over the years – but we see it as more than that. It’s not just crafts, it’s lifestyle. We believe in making the most with what you’ve got, we recycle, we re-use and we try not to waste anything.

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

We get our inspiration from all kinds of places, but mainly from our ancestors.  A lot of the things we make and methods we use is something we’ve always done. Tradition is very important to us, and I think we’ve found a way to combine age old methods of tatting, sewing, needlework – but with a modern twist.

Is this run as your business full time or just as a sideline?

Currently, this is just a sideline for us.  1 of us is retired, 1 works part time, and another  full time. Yes it is something we’d be interested in perusing but we’ll have to see how things go. At the moment I’d say we don’t fully class ourselves as a business, as the money we are raising currently goes to charity. 

Where do you make your items, do you have a craft room/ studio?

We are lucky enough to have a special craft room/studio in Honey Cottage. You can read more about it here:

 Where do you sell and how do you market yourselves?

Mainly we sell to friends/colleagues. Now we’re starting online on Folksy and just trying out other options. It’s very much try and see with our marketing strategy at the moment but we hope to attend some festivals over the summer to spread the word and possibly some Christmas fairs later in the year. Word of mouth is a great marketing tool.

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?

In 5 years time, hopefully we’ll be making a success of Honey Cottage Handicrafts. But before that we want to reach our goals for charity. Anything over and above that would be a bonus but charity is our main aim for now.

Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?

Do what you enjoy, and enjoy what you do!

I then asked this month's random question - if you had 3 wishes what would they be and why??

1.       Make a success of our site so we can eventually inspire and educate others on what we do and our tradition. We’d love to be able to pass this on so we don’t see our skills go to waste

2.       To raise as much money for charity by selling our crafts

3.       A new sewing machine to be able to make more union jack cushions!

If you'd like more information regarding Honey Cottage Handicrafts or the Calder Valley Search & Rescue here's how you can contact them:

Folksy Shop
Calder Valley Seach & Rescue Website

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Great day selling at Uppermill Craft Market

I had a great day selling at the craft market in Uppermill yesterday.  As well as lots of sales I also met lots of lovely people including one of the organisers of the event Maria Hourigan.  Maria sells the most gorgeous patchwork creations and you can buy her items here. I also met Claire Ogden who specialises in handmade jewellery, tiaras and bridal pieces.  Claire sells her creations on Folksy.

If you are local to Saddleworth and love handmade then this market is definately worth a look.  The next market will take place on September the 9th in the Museum and Art Gallery in Uppermill.

If you are a local crafter and interested in selling at the next event then why not join the Saddleworth Handmade and Vintage Network - details can be found  here or contact Maria on 01457 765632

Saturday, 2 July 2011

New Generation Craft Market - 9th July 2011

Next Saturday the 9th July I will be taking part in the New Generation Craft Market.

The market takes place in the Saddleworth Museum & Art Gallery in Uppermill from 10am - 3pm and is organised by the Saddleworth Handmade Vintage Network

If you're in the area why not pop along to have a peek (and also purchase) some local handmade items - admission is free!!

Friday, 1 July 2011

July's Feature Friday - Maybe Daisy

I'm so glad to see the back of June - the weather's been rubbish and work.... well that's another story but all fine now!

As it's the 1st of July I thought it would be a good time to do July's Feature and this month I've chosen to highlight Emma from Maybe Daisy.

Describe what you do,when you started doing it and what made you decide that was what you were going to do.

I make jewellery, mainly from old, broken, unloved pieces. You know, the kind of thing you find in the bottom of your jewellery box or down the sofa next to the crumbs, the 1p coins and the empty crisp packet that's a flavour nobody in the house actually eats... I take them to bits and mix them with other bits and pieces before lovingly re-making them into something you'd actually like to wear....I hope!

What makes you different from other people selling/ doing the same craft?

My pieces are unique, you're not going to see someone else wearing the same thing! Unless of course that's what you want, I did make four necklaces the same for a customer recently.

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

I find it helps if you have a glass of wine in hand! I've only been jewellery-making seriously for six months and I can honestly say I've never yet sat down at my desk and not been inspired by the bits and bobs overflowing from it. If I can't see something interesting on my desk, I try the floor, where I re-discover all those bouncy beads that I've dropped recently.

Do you do this as your business full time or is it just a sideline.  If you dont do this as a job would you like to?

I work full-time as an online journalist for the Beeb, but would Love (yes, with a capital 'L') to do this full-time. It's tricky trying to balance work, two teenagers, husband, dog and cat with playing with beads. I won't lie to you, sometimes one of us runs out of clean pants.... or food!

Where do you make your items, do you have a craft room/ studio?

I share an office at home with my husband. He's on one side, I'm on the other and the dog usually lies in the middle looking confused. I'm a very organised person, but my side of the room is a tip. Hubby's side of the room is a tip. He often accuses me of messing it up, but that's not true, he's quite capable of messing it up himself. If we're both in the room at the same time, you can hear him sighing as bits of metal ping off the blinds in the bay window where I sit trimming them. He also looks disapprovingly at some of my pliers... that used to be his....that I stole from the garage! Occasionally a teenager stumbles in looking for food or clean pants!!

Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?
I tried Esty, didn't like it as much as the lovely folk on Folksy. I also use my own Facebook page - - it's my personal one, there's just not enough hours in the day to have a fan one too! But feel free to offer your friendship!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

In a huge barn conversion, in my own craft room, husband playing with computers across the hall, house full of teenagers, wine in the fridge, dogs playing in our acreage. And all that's stopping me is a massive win on the lottery. (note to self - buy lottery ticket)

Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?

Go for it! What have you got to lose? If you like the stuff you make, chances are someone else will too, so share the love. Keep up to date with your books though! And buy extra pants because you'll get behind with the washing.

and last but not least this month's Random Question to Emma was... If you could invite 5 famous people round for dinner (dead or alive) who would they be and why??

Gary Barlow - 'Nuff said.

The actor David Boreanaz - (see Gary Barlow).

The architect George Clarke, because he is amazingly talented and lovely. My daughter is into interior design and he has advised her on a college project, and when I asked him to autograph a book for her as a surprise he was happy to oblige. Plus I want him to redesign the barn conversion I can't yet afford. And I did once see the outline of his bottom against a shower curtain on one of his programmes. It looked peachy.

Katherine Middleton (as was) because she just seems lovely and it would be interesting to see life from her side of the balcony.

And of course Katherine Brookes because she was nice enough to ask me these questions. :)

If you'd like to know about Emma you can find her on Folksy or Twitter

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Calling All Card Makers!!!

Now I'm a sucker for a good cause so this was right up my street!! 

Operation Blue Witch Squadron was set up here in the UK by Cazz Wright, a fellow crafter  She'd heard about schemes around the country that were sending handmade cards to the guys and gals serving overseas to enable them to send cards back home to their family & friends.  As Cazz has a family connection with the RAF she chose to set up and co-ordinate a similar scheme for RAF Personnel serving abroad.

If you are a card -maker and have a few spare cards knocking around that you can't sell why not send them over to be used by RAF Personnel via Operation Blue Witch Squadron.  Cards are accepted from anyone and everyone and if they are not handmade but shop-bought then that's okay too.  All they ask is that there is NO LOOSE GLITTER on the cards for safety reasons. Cards must be packaged individually with an envelope inside a cellophane bag.  Cards can be any size up to A5 and apart from specific occasion cards, they are looking for general birthday cards, anniversary cards, blank cards & baby cards.  Please remember that there are both men & women serving abroad so cards are requested for both.

Please send cards to the following address and include your name & location:

FAO Cazz Wright
Operation Blue Witch Squadron
Flat14a Cambridge Street
St. Neots
PE19 1JL

Details of the scheme can be found at

I am sending a large package of cards to Cazz tomorrow - hope you will too!!

Friday, 10 June 2011

June's Feature Friday - My Crafty Candles

What a week it's been!!  I'm very very busy in the day job at the moment and finding it difficult to get the features prepared every week so I've decided that for the next few months I'm just going to do one a month.

For June I've chosen the very wonderful, and humourous Martina Gomez from My Crafty Candles.  I've recently been conversing with Martina via Twitter and I have to say she cracks me up!!  She's definately worth a follow if you are a Tweeter!!

Describe what you do,when you started doing it and what made you decide that was what you were going to do.

I make personalised candles to order, the website has been live since Aug 2008 when I started out this new venture whilst on maternity leave with baby number 4.  Over the years I have added new lines to the site but have found my speciaility seems to be weddings, memorials and christenings  - goes in hand with keepsakes and remembering.

What makes you different from other people selling/ doing the same craft?

Well I am not the only person to make personalised candles, what I am always doing is changing my designs and themes and making them really unique to me! My most recent images that customers may use for their candles were shot on location in Bali! (I wasn't the lucky one holidaying!!) I am not a follower but a creator and take pride in designing my own ranges from start to finish. I like knowing that my work and ideas are mine and that makes the piece purchased for the customer quite unique. I also get frequently asked to make bespoke orders too, these are fun as it's nice to make something as a one off for someone.

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

It usually occurs at the most random time! Not all of my ideas are good ones!  Take the made moment of the ribbon printer.......sometimes I get caught up, I mull things over in my head and other times I need to order things and make straight away.

Do you do this as your business full time or is it just a sideline. 

The website came from some strange need to try something out! I didn't really know what I expected from it as it really was a bit of a giggle! It isnt my 'real' job, well the one that pays the bills anyway, but it has now grown bigger than a hobby and it's keeping up that's hard. I have managed to reduce my real job hrs by a few each month which is great as I am home with my family.  Anyone that has a website will know and understand how time consuming it is updating, emails, photo shoots - not to mention Facebook and now the takes over!!

Where do you make your items, do you have a craft room/ studio?

Not lucky enough to have a studio but the other half has said he is going to build me a studio at the end of the garden..........or is he trying to get rid of me and my candles?! These are all made from my home, very tricky with 4 kids.  The stock alone is stored everywhere!
Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?

My main outlet is the website, then I use facebook which for me has been a great platform and generates a lot of sales. I am new to Twitter!/mycraftycandles and will get a famous follower if it is the last thing I do! I dabbled with Misi but to be honest I don't have the time to keep up with lots of sites. I have run a few big magazine ads for high end wedding magazines, these do generate some work but the best way for me is internet lead, more search specific leads and then of course my loyal and faithful customers that come back to me! I have been approached by other websites to sell my products but I tend not to go there!!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Under a pile of wax if I do not get a workshop soon! But seriously I have no idea as I really didn't expect the site to do well.  What I mean by that is that I never really thought about it, this may sound strange I know. I do at times wonder why I am doing this at all when I am in my kitchen at 1am wrapping parcels to post - it takes over!! But I just love seeing my inbox beep with 'Website Order Notification' I think to myself I did that!

Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?

Go for it and don't expect it to just happen, the internet is HUGE!! It takes a lot of time and dedication and an actual love and passion for your 'baby' and don't underestimate what you can do! I haven't been on any courses in business or web marketing, I taught myself and learnt by doing a bit of homework.

Random question - name 5 things you just can't live without!

Well apart from my kids and family.....
1. My Blackberry
2. Social very sad!
3. Earl grey tea - cant manage 'common tea' since baby number 4
4. Crocs flip flops
5. Spotify...for when I am working, I can stream music

Anything you'd like to add?? 

I feel very fortunate to have made this mad venture a semi successful one, I have 4 children one who has autism so life in 'our house' is busy, mad, loud and different!!  This year my friends nominated me for a Mum's Club Business Award - I was short listed and then a finalist!  I was entered into the resiliance category.  I was thrilled just with the nomination. I have all the rosettes on my homepage and am proud to show them off!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

My One & Only Event - Saddleworth Show

I'm in preparations for my one and only craft event of the year.  I used to do a lot of craft fairs, but found that most of them barely made me back the stall fee, so I made a decision a couple of years ago to just do the events I knew would be profitable.

Saddleworth Show is a local event which is organised every year by the Rotary Club and pulls in 5000+ visitors.  There are lots of things going on, last year they had racing camels!!  The first time we did this event the weather was fanastic and it was really busy in the craft tent.  Despite sharing the tent with Phoenix Cards I still managed to do well.  Last year it rained and we had issues with the tent roof leaking - we still sold well and hoping for another successful event this year.

The show takes place on the 12 June from 10am until 5pm at Churchill Playing Fields, Greenfield, Oldham. OL3 7AQ.  Admission prices are £4.00 Adults, £3.00 Concessions £2.00 Children, £10.00 Family tickets include 2 adults and up to 3 children.
If you're in the area why not pop along.
Come say hi if you do!!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday Feature - One Stop Pamper Shop

Wow another week done and I'm so looking forward to a long weekend.  Really hoping for better weather than what we've had lately - hopefully off to Formby on Sunday or Monday for a nice day out.

So this week I've got another lady's talents to share with you - let me introduce Maryann Morris from One Stop Pamper Shop. 

Describe what it is you do, when you started doing it and what made you decide on your chosen craft.

I create candles, Really smelly ones! I started off when I was a teenager, but when I was 24 I decided to try and make some money from it. 6 years on and this is how it worked out!

What makes you different from other people selling/ doing the same craft?

I believe 100% in handmade, its not just a means to make money, but a whole way of life. I care about the products I make and therefore do everything I possibly can to make them the best scented candles ever!

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from? 

Everywhere! Quite literally it drives my partner insane.  We could be anywhere or doing anything and an idea will suddenly pop into my head and I'll need to write it down - I'm so forgetful!

Where do you make your items, do you have a studio?

I have a studio in a craft village in Essex

Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?

I sell from my studio, my website, Folksy, Etsy and

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I would like to think I would be in exactly the same place, just bigger and better!

Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?

There's never going to be a "right time" so if its really what you want to do then just give it a go.  At least if it then goes wrong you can say you tried.  Build up from small and don't borrow a penny if you can help it, that way every penny you make goes directly back into your pocket.

And this week's random question – You can take 3 CD’s with you to a desert island – what would they be and why??
Green day -  Nimrod, Aerosmith's Greatest Hits and some Bob Marley - well if im going to be stuck there for a while I may as well rock out where no one can laugh at me!

Contact details for One Stop Pamper Shop
Website -
Facebook -
Twitter -
Folksy Shop -
Other Outlet -
Blog -

Friday, 20 May 2011

Feature Friday - Ayntre Soaps

How's your week been then??  Mines been hectic to say the least.  My boss in the day job has been on leave so I've been left to hold the fort at work (and had her mobile to answer!) I've also got another issue I'm having to deal with which I may blog about when it looks like things are going in my favour!

So there wasn't a feature last week because I ran out of volunteers but my feature is back this week and I've found another pool of talent I would like you to meet -Lynne and Peter Allen from Ayntre Soaps. 

Describe what you do,when you started doing it and what made you decide that was what you were going to do.

My Son Peter and I make handmade, cold process soaps.  We were both carers for my Dad and about three years ago we started making soap as a hobby.  We took courses in Cold Process Soapmaking and Advanced CP Soapmaking.  We used to give our soaps to family and friends but so many people were asking us for them that it became a very expensive hobby!  We decided to start up our own soapmaking business last year (cue another course in Labelling - the Eu regs for soap are an absolute nightmare).  Because we were working from home it meant that we could take care of Dad and work part-time making soaps.  After Dad passed away in January this year the business became our full time occupation.

What makes you different from other people selling/ doing the same craft?

Palm Oil is one of the three main soap making oils, however, there is growing deforestation, particularly in South East Asia, due to the growth of palm plantations.  As a result many species, including Orang Utans and the Sumatran tiger are on the verge of extinction.  We decided that we were going to develop our own palm oil free recipes and I'm proud to say that all of our soaps are completely free of palm oil.
Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

Mmm a difficult question...Usually I have most of my bright ideas when I'm lying in bed trying to get to sleep - insomnia does have it's uses I guess.  We also try to make our soaps look the way they smell, if you know what I mean so, for example, our Mango Soap is mango coloured, and the Dragonsblood Soap was just crying out for a real gold topping. 
Where do you make your items, do you have a studio?

I wish we did! We make the soap in our kitchen, the garage contains our curing racks and the dining room is our office.

Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?

We sell on our website  We also have a stall every Saturday at Ormskirk market in Lancashire, we do craft fairs when we can and we're hoping to add a couple of retailers that we'll be supplying but I can't say too much about that at the moment.  Most of our publicity is via twitter and facebook although, again, watch this space ...

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?

We would definitely like to increase the wholesaling side of the business.  It's difficult taking on too much retailing ourselves as we also need time to make the soap.
Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?

It's really important to write a business plan.  It's an absolute pain to do and everyone hates it but it really helps you focus on what you're going to do and how.  Also, when your hobby becomes your business you need to think differently and a business plan helps with this.
...and this week's random question - where's your most favourite place to be??

In the Lakes or Snowdonia with my paints and a flask of hot coffee.

More info about Ayntre Soaps:
Member of The Guild of Craft Soap & Toiletry Makers
Fulled licensed in compliance with current EU regulations

Member of Team HandmadeUK

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Father's Day - 19th June

I've been busy making some Father's Day cards today.  They are all blank and don't refer to Father's Day so they can also be sent for male birthdays too.  They are on sale in my Folksy Shop - which one is your favourite??

I'm stocking up ready for the one and only craft fair that I do which is Saddleworth Show on the 12th June - it's always perfect timing just before Father's Day and always sell lots of cards.  If you're in the area why not pop along for a fab day out!!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Feature Friday - Charlee's Aunt

It's Friday again already and I hope you've all enjoyed another short week!!  We are off to Cornwall for a long weekend as some friends of ours have just moved down there.  Hoping for nice weather so we can do lots of walks and go to the beach.

As it's Friday it's time to feature another very talented crafter and this week I would like to introduce Sharon from Charlee's Aunt. 

Describe what you do,when you started doing it and what made you decide that was what you were going to do

I currently make pictures of simple shapes/outlines using a multitude of vintage and new buttons, beads and oddments. I only started it last Novemember after seeing a huge picture made out of buttons that I couldn't get out of my head. I love the tactile nature of the buttons and the depth they can give to something relatively simple. Colour is very important too in the work, and that drives me to try different things. I also work on pieces by using crochet and knitting.

What makes you different from other people selling/ doing the same craft?

I've not seen many people take the idea as far as I do, so its quite easy to say how I can be different from the crowd with my work. I use a lot of different buttons, including those with writing on them to make special individual gifts for people, or to brighten your home. I also deorate the inner edge of the mount with a selection of words that can be about the person specifically or the theme of the item. They can be made exceptionally personal in this way.

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

Colour is one of the factors that drives me, I like to try different things together. I also take inspiration from nature and the customers I have. Some work is in a gallery and the owner suggests ideas that she thinks may work in this medium too. 

Do you do this as your business full time or is it just a sideline.  If you don't do this as a job would you like to?

Its a sideline as I'm a part time teacher. I'd love to be more involved in crafts, and have just started a knitting group at the school I'm at with the pupils, which is being quite successful.

Where do you make your items, do you have a craft room/ studio?

I've a fantastic study that is decorated in white, and one wall in Dandelion Clocks wall paper by Sanderson in Blackcurrent, so the room is full of light and colour as it is west facing.  I sit looking out of the window which helps my inspiration.

Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?

I am on Folksy, and I also have a few pieces in a local gallery The Box of Delights which happened on the off chance. I am not marketing myself too well, but its enough for me at the moment due to time constraints/work.  I also have a Blog and post fairly regularly about the things I am working on but not aren't yet up for sale.  I am enjoying being able to talk about what I enjoy doing. Someone on Folksy mentioned a site called Stumble Upon which allows you to 'like' pages which make them more likely to be seen by others, so I use that too.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

More involved with crafting groups and creative teaching hopefully and a successful small sideline in my own work. I also knit, crochet and cross stitch so would like to have time to do more than I do now. British Wool is something I'm becoming very interested in.

Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?

Do it. Make what makes you smile and ask for advice from other creative people, your friends and family and from the great forums on sites like Folksy. Oh, and be very patient.

Random question - if someone gave you £1million and you had 1 day to spend it what would you do??

I've been thinking about this for a while, I would pay off my own and close friends mortgages, buy lots and lots of vouchers for the shops I like and craft suppliers. Buy a 'space' that I could create into a place where crafters could come together and chat or create in a friendly environment. Also giving chance to display their work and maybe even sell it. Then there are things like hire a gardener (pay in advance) and a workman to do the jobs I need doing on my house. Its a hard one, but I am sure it is easy to use all the money!!!

Hope you enjoyed the interview with Charlee's Aunt - if you'd like to find out more then you can email her at

Friday, 29 April 2011

Feature Friday - Royal Wedding Treasury

Happy Friday everyone and what a very special Friday it is too!!  Today is the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton so instead of my usual Feature I've decided to create a Royal Wedding Treasury.  All these items are available on Folksy and handmade by very talented people.