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.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Feature Friday - Silver Birch Crafts

Friday again already and it's Easter Friday which mean no work and tomorrow we go on holiday to our favourite destination in the Lakes - Keswick!!  Next week I plan to do a special Royal Wedding Treasury so watch this space!!

Anyway as it's Friday I'm happy to introduce this week's Feature - Sarah from Silver Birch Crafts. 

I'm Sarah from Silver Birch Crafts.  I started the business in November 2009 and after making a few bits for family and friends, I decided to start making gifts to sell.   My husband has quite extensive spinal problems and unable to work, I am his full time carer so working from home is the best option.

My gifts are different from others as every item is unique and I put a lot of love and care into every item and with the Yellow Spotty Range developing all the time they are unique in every way!

Running Silver Birch Crafts is my full time job and  I am just setting up my own sewing area in my spare room, which I can’t wait to get in.  I sell from my website, but I also do a regular monthly craft market at The Village Hall in Tring the last Saturday of the month.  I aim  to have a regular client/customer base and perhaps an employee and a shop.

My advise for anyone considering setting up their own craft business is to research, and don’t expect to be successful straight away, it takes a lot of hard work and many hours.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter
Like her on Facebook
Email her at
Sarah also sells on Folksy

Happy Easter!!!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Wedding Card

One of my work colleagues get's married on the 7th May and as I can't attend I thought it would be a nice idea to provide a card for everyone to sign at work..... eek!!  I realised that probably about 50 people are going to see it so it had to be good!! 

I recently purchased a Sizzix Big Shot and a wooden die cutter which is what I've used to create it.  I'm quite pleased with the end result having never made my own die cuts before.

Here it is.... what do you think??

I have to also add that cake is Michelle's favourite thing in the world so it's very appropriate!!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Feature Friday - Not Just Handbags

Wow Friday's come round quick don't they.... quite scary that we're halfway through April already and all the Bank Holidays are gonna make it seem a short month!

So this week my feature is all about Elissa from Not Just Handbags.

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

I design and create handbags and homeware.  I actually started my current business as I had planned to go on to do Graphic Design when I finished my Art & Design course, however, due to cutbacks for adult education I was unable to find a place on a course.  The lady interviewing me at one college commented on the handbag I had, which was made from an old tweed jacket.  She said that it was very unusual and when I explained my hobby she said that I could probably find a good market for my work.  As no-one would give me a place on a course I decided to see if she was right and it actually worked out that she did me a favour and I absolutely love what I do now!

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

I use all kinds of different materials and I also like to upcycle, therefore I will use anything from an old pair of jeans or a curtain!  I like to think of it as giving an item a new identity and new purpose.

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

I read a lot of fashion magazines, all in the name of research of course! However, I also love history books particularly social history and have a great love of vintage handbags.  My inspiration also comes from art in particular I love modern pop art.

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

This is my full time business and I have worked extremely hard, lets just say it has been a very steep learning curve!

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

I currently have a half a dining table, however, I have been hinting very heavily for my own studio in the garden which is my dream.

Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?
I currently sell online and via a couple of stockists.  Online marketing takes up an enormous amount of time as I use every free online marketing tool that I can in the form of Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Craft Juice and the list goes on. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Hopefully working from my studio in the garden!  Ideally I would like to be selling my pieces primarily through stockists.

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

I would say do it!  Nobody in my husband's or my family has ever had their own business so needless to say it was a little daunting.  However, there is plenty of help and information out there and I always believe that life is too short to have a job you hate.   One thing I would say is do not underestimate the amount of time you have to spend promoting.  I see so many people asking on forums why they are not getting any sales and it turns out they opened their shop and expect people to just find them.  You have to imagine that you are one person in a very large stadium and to get noticed you have to shout very loudly!

This week's  random question - if you could invite 3 famous people round to dinner (dead or alive) who would you choose and why?

Coco Chanel - Amazing woman and an inspiration both as a person and a designer.  A true testament to what a woman with very little resources and talent can achieve.
Rosa Parkes - A true heroine and someone who I use as an example to my girls of someone ordinary who instead of accepting a very bad situation said No and helped to change history.
Peter Kay - as he is hysterical and I imagine he would have us all in stitches!
Wow that would be a random dinner party!!

If you are interested in finding out more about Not Just Handbags here's a few links:-

Folksy Shop

Friday, 8 April 2011

Feature Friday - Booties by Dannie

Happy Friday everyone and this week I have the pleasure of introducing Danielle Mansell from Booties by Dannie.

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

I crochet baby booties & hats as well as collectable movie and tv characters, such as Star Wars and the Angry Birds. I started out just making a pair of baby booites for my son who was probably 9ish months and after many mums asked me to make them some I started taking things more seriously.

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

I think that the style of my baby booties sets me apart for the "norm". I make retro trainers, Uggs, Doc Martens as well as other well known styles. I also crochet what I love and what I would love to put on my own child. 

The crochet dolls that I make, I haven't really seen anywhere else. Some of the patterns I use, with the permission of the designers and others, like Harry Potter, I have designed myself. 

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

With the baby booties, I make what I find fun. I also try to watch trends so that I can imitate what adults are wearing to help stay on trend. The same goes with my crocheted dolls, I keep note of up and coming trends and try to be ahead of them.  

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?

I am self employed and look at this as my full time job outside of caring for my son, who is 2. My work hours revolve around him and housework. I can often be found at 1am crocheting and enjoying the silence.

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

I generally work on my sofa. All my yarns are sorted into plastic tubs that are easy for me to transport when necessary.

Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?

Well I sell wherever I can without trying to spread myself too thin. I have my own website, I also sell on Folksy and Etsy. I am also looking for established craft fairs to sell at.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I hope that this will be a proper full time job that I have honed to a well oiled machine. I hope to have established enough connections that I will no longer have to promote so hard and have people come to me.

Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?
Do what you love, stick with it and don't be led astray. If you really want things to work, and you want to be the least bit profitable, then listen to feedback good or bad. Oh and promote, promote, promote!!!

And finally one last random question - if you could take one thing to a desert island what would it be and why?

Hmmmmmmm how about a flock of sheep. That way I would have a never ending yarn supply!

You can also follow Dannie on Twitter or "like" her on Facebook

Monday, 4 April 2011

Handmade Monday

For this week's Handmade Monday, courtesy of Wendy at 1st Unique Gifts, I thought I would share with you what I've been doing.  I've been very busy making lots of cards this last week because in June I do my one and only craft fair for the year, Saddleworth Show.  This is a great event and I always sell well hence building up my stock!!

So here are a few of my new cards, I've been experimenting with some new designs.  I'm trying to come up with a theme rather than lots of various different themes for my cards.  I  would love to know what you think and whether the designs work for you....shall I make more??

Birthday Card
Birthday Card
Blank Male Card

Blank Male Card

Blank Male Card

Get Well Soon Card

Get Well Soon Card

Want to join in with Handmade Monday?? Just add your details to Wendy's list on her blog

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Happy Mother's Day

What "Mother" Means

"Mother" is such a simple word,
But to me there’s meaning seldom heard.
For everything I am today,
My mother’s love showed me the way.
I’ll love my mother all my days,
For enriching my life in so many ways.
She set me straight and then set me free,
And that’s what the word "mother" means to me.
Thanks for being a wonderful mother, Mum!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Feature Friday - LaurasJewellery

For this week's feature I'd like to introduce Laura from LaurasJewellery.  Laura makes wonderful pieces of jewellery that are a delightful mixture of cute, kitsch, unique, funky and sometimes slightly vintage.

When did you start making jewellery and what made you decide that was the craft you were going to do?

I was 18 when I made my first pair of earrings (7 years ago). They were a pair of blue fender plectrum earrings and I'd seen some on eBay and decided I could make them.  It's spiralled ever since. I guess I fell into making jewellery, rather than deciding it was the craft for me. 

Do you make anything else besides jewellery? 

Yes, I dabble in other things too - baking, sewing, knitting and a bit of card making. I want to try making glass pendants and silver art clay pendants and learn how to crochet too!

Do you make a particular style of jewellery and what makes your pieces different to other jewellery makers?

I'd say my style is vintage, eclectic and kitsch all rolled in to one.  I try to source unique things from lots of places to make my jewellery stand out. I love rummaging around car boots and charity shops!

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I get inspiration from lots of places; my favourite things at the moment are Alice In Wonderland, tea parties and Paris.  I love butterflies and birds too!

Do you make jewellery full time or do you have a job as well, if so would you like to make a living out of jewellery?

I work full time, as a Marketing Executive. I'd love to be able to do my jewellery full time, but it’s a very competitive market and I'm not ready to take the risk at the moment.

Where do you make your jewellery?

I'd love my own studio, but at the moment I'm stationed in the spare bedroom with a small computer desk in the corner and jewellery making supplies and packing materials spread out around me.

Where do you sell your pieces and how do you market yourself? 

My main outlet is Folksy ( and I do some craft shows around the Christmas period. I have a Twitter account ( and a Facebook fan page ( ) for my jewellery and I'm in and out of a few forums as well.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I'd love to be self employed, with my own little shop, selling handmade things from around the country!

Do you have any advice for people out there who might be interested in making jewellery?

Do lots of research and make sure there aren’t too many artists out there doing similar work to yours. And, most importantly, don't undervalue your work - you'll never make a living otherwise!