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31 December 2013

A handmade Christmas, part 3

My lovely friend, Helen, gave this gorgeous notebook to me. 
It has been designed and hand stitched by her Mum.


It is truly beautiful. The colours. The neatness. The pattern.


The pretty design has been glued on to a lovely notebook, which has gorgeous, quality paper inside.
I can't wait to start writing and drawing in it!


If you fancy a sneak peek at more handmade loveliness, have a look at these gorgeous egg cups and stunning blanket.

Did you give or receive anything handmade this year? Do tell!



30 December 2013

A handmade Christmas, part 2

My awesome friend, Ruth, made a hand knitted blanket for me this Christmas. 
I was (and still am) totally blown away by it. 



The colour combination. The softness. The neatness. The snugglyness.




I have already had: 2.5 snoozes under this blanket; wrapped it around my shoulders when I was feeling chilled; sat under it while knitting; and watched 3 films snuggled up in it. I officially love it!




Ruth first inspired me to start knitting. I bet you can see why. When I knit I always think of her. 
Thanks Ruth, you rock!



29 December 2013

A handmade Christmas, part 1





Christmas was all about giving handmade and supporting independent businesses this year. 

I gave my brother a handmade, leather wallet from Watch.This.Space (must take a photo). My bro gave me these hand made pottery egg cups.




I.LOVE.THEM.SO.MUCH.




I particularly love the fold and of course, the polka dots.


More handmade Christmas gift loveliness will be shared tomorrow.


Did you give or receive anything handmade this year?




23 December 2013

Shop sale!

It's true, the Christmas sales have begun! 

If you fancy a bargain or two, then head on over to my Notonthehighstreet shop for 20% off selected items only. There's only 1 of each item in stock and once they've gone, they've gone!


Ice Cream Sundae Necklace - was £20, now £16!

Washing Line Brooch - was £20, now £16!


The sale runs from today until January 27th, so there's plenty of time to pick up something handmade from all those awesome designers and makers out there. Here's to all things handmade!

Happy sale shopping!


19 December 2013

Shop closed for Christmas but...

I've just posted my last Christmas orders and I feel kind of giddy! 

I honestly cannot thank you all enough for keeping me so busy with orders. Truly, I am completely over the moon at the number of lovely orders!!!


Thank you all 
so much!

As some of you may have seen, my shop is now closed but it will be re-opening on the 23rd December for the Christmas sales, so stay tuned!

Merry Christmas!
Joanna x


15 December 2013

Update on Christmas orders

Just a quick update and reminder....

I'll be accepting all shop orders until 5pm on Monday 16th, so don't forget to grab your goodies here! All lovely orders will be posted out on Thursday 19th December.


If you miss this deadline and there's something you desperately want, please don't hesitate to drop me a line and I'll see what I can do for you ;-)

On the 23rd December some of my products will be in the huge Christmas sales over at 'Not On The High Street', so stay tuned to catch a bargain or two!

Thanks so much to everyone who has purchased something already. I cannot tell you how happy it has made me. In fact, it's safe to say I'm pretty much over the moon with the lovely response I've received. Thanks folks and happy Christmas shopping!


7 December 2013

Small Business Saturday

Today is Small Business Saturday in the UK, an initiative to encourage everyone to start supporting small businesses. It's run across the world but this is the first time for the UK and today, being the busiest Christmas shopping day, is the perfect day to start supporting all those wonderful, independent businesses.

With a rising number of talented folk starting up independent shops, I thought I'd share some of my 
favourites.


Onetenzeroseven

Photo credit: Onetenzeroseven

Run by the gorgeous Sophie, Onetenzeroseven is full of beautiful handmade jewellery. I have a liberty fabric ring, with matching earrings and I LOVE them! The fabric is so pretty and even matches a dress, so I honestly wear them several times a week and they regularly get commented on. Head over to Sophie's shop for a look-see!


Claireabellemakes

Photo credit: Claireabellemakes

Claireabellemakes is run by the endlessly talented, Claire, who makes handmade jewellery, from brooches, rings, hairgrips and more. I have one of Claire's bicycle bracelets, in pink. I adore it and wear it whenever I'm out on my bike - why not! Take a peek at Claire's shop here :-)


Miss Beatrix


Photo credit: Miss Beatrix

Anna is the lovely lady behind Miss Beatrix and my-oh-my, her buttons are the cutest things you've ever seen! They are 100% handmade. Yup, not only does Anna paint her original images on to the buttons but she makes the buttons too!! And I own nine of them! I honestly find it hard to leave her shop without buying something. Check out this talented lady's shop here.


If you're out in town today, then I cannot encourage you enough to check out those independent shops (every town has them!). I can guarantee you'll find gorgeous Christmas presents and you'll be supporting all those businesses who work tirelessly to bring something different in to the world, pay their taxes (not like other big businesses I won't mention!) and who offer a personal, friendly and inviting experience. So, whether you're shopping online or stomping the pavements today, be sure to show support for Small Business Saturday.

Happy shopping!



4 December 2013

Starting an online shop, part 7: networking, social media & marketing

Something I have learnt and continue to do so, is the value of networking, social media and marketing . I honestly think that without it there would be no business. I certainly wouldn't be writing this blog series, that's for sure.

But is it really all about networking, tweeting and marketing? Well, I for one immediately see the difference in my sales and stats when I tweet my latest design range BUT it will only turn into a sale etc if I have got those other crucial factors right. But what are those crucial factors? Well, everything I've been focusing on in this series: research, practice, organisation, prices, photography and presentation. They all work together very closely. Without one, they would all crumble.

For example, you tweet a pic of your latest design and the photo isn't up to scratch or the price is questionable (too cheap, too expensive), then no one's going to purchase it, let alone follow the link through to your online shop. It's quite simple when you put it like that but getting all those factors to play ball can be hard work, which is why it's key to allocate time to each one and practice, practice, practice! You'll soon find that once you've got on top of your prices, have learnt how to take a great photo and have your beautiful packaging ready, then you've done all the hard work, so marketing is simply the next piece in the puzzle.

  

Right, so lets talk marketing with social media first. There's a whole host of free social media tools you can use to market your products with and network too, such as:

Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
Instagram
Blogging
Google +

A few pointers on these:
  • Don't bombard your fans with marketing, shop talk etc. Stagger your updates. Not only is this kind on everyone's patience levels but it helps build a steady flow of traffic to your shop.
  • Remember to use hashtags where you can. They work like SEO terms, helping people find your products.
  • Share the love! Support your fellow makers, designs, bloggers, people you admire by sharing, retweeting, favouriting their latest design, commenting on blog posts, etc.
  • Play nicely and be professional. In my personal opinion, I think it's A-ok to tweet a pic of some tasty cake you're tucking into, or even saying that you're struggling with inspiration at the moment but it's not ok to be putting people down or jumping on the bandwagon and slating someone you don't know. Not only is it not nice but it's unprofessional and doesn't do your business any good.
There are so many free apps and devices out there to help market and network with that I've probably only skimmed the surface. Do post below anything else you feel is crucial for this list or any thoughts you may have.

...................

As well as marketing through social media, you can also market your products and business by:

  • Asking your fellow bloggers to review your products on their blog.
  • Running a giveaway competition.
  • Advertising your products in magazines.
  • Sending a brochure (and your business card!) of your beautifully photographed products with all your orders.
  • Getting your shop button/link included on a popular blog by sponsoring.
  • Start an online newsletter and include pics of your latest products, maybe even a great offer for your readers only!
  • Going to networking events and getting those business cards circulating!


Marketing is such a HUGE topic, so this is by no means the be all and end all but it should hopefully get you thinking like a pro and remembering that marketing is crucial to your business!

...................

Now on to networking! What is it? How? Why? 

Well, it's exactly what it says on the tin! Get to know the people and groups in your field and work with them. 

How? Easy! Join in on hashtag conversations on twitter; join and contribute to Etsy teams; share your fellow business pals' work/shops updates/competitions; go to networking events; start a group e.g. a crafting blog group; and so on! 

By meeting and working with the people in your field, you will instantly help each other's business and the best bit, you will make new friends! 

...................

I hope you've found this useful. Next month (2014, eek!), I'll be sharing the final in this series - dealing with feedback and learning to be thick skinned when you get knocked!

Until then, happy networking!




1 December 2013

Blog Gem - Miss Jojangles

It's the last Blog Gem interview of the year (don't worry, plenty more to come next year!) and I'm super chuffed to be finding out about the face behind Miss Jojangles. I simply love this blog. It's creative, inspiring and most of all, it's always fun! Wanna know more? Me too, so lets dive on in!

Hello there! Who be the face behind the blog?



My name’s Jojo and I’m a nineteen-year-old crafty blogger. Ever since I can remember I have been obsessively making things, right from when I used to make Pokémon out of papier-mâché for my brothers at the age of six, I think! When I’m not crafting I like to dance around my bedroom with my mittens on, listening to musical soundtracks.


What's your creative space like? 



I would love to be able to tell you that my creative space looks just like those beautiful arty workspaces that I am constantly pinning on Pinterest, but the truth is I am unbelievably messy! It’s horrendous! Let’s not even discuss the state of my knitting bag at the moment. One day a wool monster will crawl out of it and I won’t even be that surprised.


If you had to take only one of your crafts to a desert island, what would it be and why? 



My obsession is knitting, but my hot glue gun has a special place in my heart. Hardly a craft project goes by without me skipping a corner and using a glue gun to fix it. You can genuinely make anything with those things. What I’d glue gun together on a desert island, I can’t imagine!


How do you work and get inspired?  



I get a lot of inspiration from blogs, Pinterest and craft magazines. But my main source of inspiration is other people. It’s not until you start talking to someone who tells you they super love raccoons that you get the idea to knit them one. Or is that just my crazy brain?


What top tips would you give to anyone starting a blog?  



I don’t consider myself a pro blogger, so I can’t give the best advice. But what I would say is ‘be yourself’ – cheesy, I know. But blogging has become such a big thing all of a sudden and there are so many bloggers trying to be like other bloggers, blogs that post the same content. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd and do your own thing. Be original. No one has written any rules for blogging, you can do what you want!


Is there a story behind the name 'Miss Jojangles'?



My mother came up with it, funnily enough! My first ever craft business venture was when I was sixteen. I had a little stall at my local Christmas market. I wore a beret and sold everything super cheap. I’d worked so hard on these brooches I’d made by glue gunning safety pins to dominos and sewing hair bows. When I couldn’t think of a name for my business, I turned to my family. My mum suggested ‘Miss Jojangles’ and it stuck. I loved it because it was just the right amount of quirky and cute. I’m also a big Frank Sinatra fan girl so it was kind of my own subtle nod to being a modern day bobby soxer.

A lot of people now think ‘Jangles’ is my real last name, which is kind of awesome too.


If you could go to a Creative Blog Award dinner with any 5 people/fictional characters (dead or alive), who would you choose? 



Oh, I say! What a fab question. Jazz Domino Holly is definitely top of my list. She’s my hero and I’ve read her book ‘Queen of Crafts’ cover to cover so many times. She’d come with her current quilting project. Representing the bloggers, can Joy the Baker be there? She’s the best. She’d bring the cake. I would have to invite Claire from Claireabellemakes. She’d bring the tea! Herbal, of course. Kirstie Allsop would come with a hamper full of crafty supplies for us all. And last but not least, Zooey Deshanel would be there. She would bring her crochet.

I realize that it’s an all female party so obviously we would watch Mean Girls, paint each other’s nails and talk about boys. Almost like a WI meeting.

Naturally, my plus one would be Prince Harry. He would hold my ball of wool so it didn’t get tangled while I knitted him a jumper.


And finally...book & tea or film & wine?



I’m a book and tea girl, all the way! By now you have gathered that I am a truly wild teenager! I love nothing more than a cup of tea while reading. Until I get fed up of that and go back to my knitting! 


What a wonderful advice about blogging, Jojo! Be original and don't be a sheep. That's a great collection of people to go to the Blog Award dinner with! I would definitely be popping over to your table to say hi! 

Thanks so much, Jojo. It's been great hearing all about you, your blog and what inspires you.

I hope you've all enjoyed this month's Blog Gem. Stay tuned this week for another tune from 'What's on the dukebox, Jo' and the next chapter in my 'Starting an online shop' series.

Happy December!



All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Jojo at Miss Jojangles. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.


25 November 2013

Last Christmas postal dates

I hope everyone's Christmas shopping is going better than mine! I've been so busy with Adventures and Tea Parties that I haven't even begun shopping! If, like me, you still haven't figured out what to buy Aunty Sue or Uncle George, then I still haven't plenty of goodies for sale!

Some items that have been particularly popular are my polka dot earrings and cufflinks:


They come in 4 different shades and *shush* don't tell anyone but they will be available in 4 more colours in 2014, exciting!



My personalised handkerchief design is also a popular Chrimbo gift. You choose the fabric and I create your bespoke, personalised handkerchief for you. Simply choose which personalised option you would like from the choices offered. If you have something else in mind, please don't hesitate to drop me a line.


There are lots more gifts to choose from in both my Etsy and Notonthehighstreet shops, including hand embroidered brooches, party earringsChristmas handkerchiefs and personalised rings!!!

And don't forget my last postal dates folks:

UK:
Last date for placing orders: Monday 16th December
Last first class postal date: Thursday 19th December

Europe:
Last date for placing orders: Sunday 8th December
Last airmail postal date: Monday 9th December

Worldwide:
Last date for placing orders: Sunday 1st December
Last airmail postal date: Monday 2nd December

Happy Christmas shopping everyone!


24 November 2013

The Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link-Up

Last week I shared my two Christmas craft projects, one of which featured as part of the Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link-Up!

The Link-Up has been organised by the lovely Laura of Bugs & Fishes and features a whole host of gorgeous, free Christmas themed craft projects. Just look at them all, aren't they scrumptious! 

As part of the Link-Up group, we are all sharing the projects on our blogs, so that as many people as possible can benefit from LOADS of free Christmas craft projects. Below the pictures you will find the links to each project, including to my DIY Christmas Ribbon. 

Have fun and happy Christmas crafting!



Felt House Gift Tag Holder – I ManuFatti

Christmas Trinket Hoop Mobile – Carina’s Craft Blog

Felt Polar Bear Ornament – La Creature and You

Christmas Hoop – Claire Payne

Embroidered Christmas Mug Rug – Button Button

Polymer Clay Star Ornaments - Saraccino

Knitted Christmas Stockings Garland – Knit Me a Cake

DIY Christmas Ribbon – Adventures & Tea Parties

Embroidered Mistletoe Ornament – Bugs and Fishes

Scented Salt Dough Ornaments – Retro Delicious

Crochet Christmas Tree Decorations – Homemade@MyPlace

Christmas Cross Stitch Raccoon Ornament – Hugs are Fun

Polymer Clay Christmas Tree – Little Creatures

Christmas Wish-List Felt Envelope - Jumbleberries

Felt Christmas Tree Toy – Pinwheels and Stories



Let it Snow Embroidery Pattern – A Little Happy Place

Festive Wanderers Embroidery Pattern – Unexpected Kitty

Festive Felt and Fabric Coasters – Betz White

Holiday Ribbon Pillow – Mrs. Saint Nick

Felt Gingerbread Man Gift Tag – Grace’s Favours

Crochet Christmas Star Jar Covers – Dinki Dots

Edible Christmas Ornaments – Hydrangea Girl

Cross Stitch Christmas Trees – Made by Mrs M

Secret Love Letter Christmas Gift Tag – Crafts of Texture

Applique Love Christmas Card – Halcyon Threads

Christmas Mini Mitts – The Crimson Rabbit

Felt Reindeer Ornament – Pickle-Lily

Christmas Carousel – Aura Verde Crafts

Embroidered Christmas Stocking Ornament - Cocojude

Stencilled Christmas Embroidery Hoop - Angharad

20 November 2013

Catch up time!

Evenin' one and all! Hope you're all having a great start to the week!  There has been so much going on at Adventures & Tea Parties recently that I thought I'd do a quick catch up in case you missed anything.

My first Christmas themed DIY projects have gone live on the blog! Have a go at making your own Christmas wrapping paper here, followed by some matching home made ribbon here!





Over the last month I've been working with the awesome Gareth of Studio Rokit on a whole new look for A&TP, which is VERY exciting! Here's a sneak peek! :-)





My hand embroidered cherry ring is featured in a great giveaway over on the lovely Dolly Dowsie blog and there's still time to enter! Go on, you're feeling lucky, right?


The fabulous Claire of Claireabellemakes gave me the opportunity to review her beautiful Macrame Bicycle Bracelet design. You can read the review here.




And finally, did you know that Adventures & Tea Parties is on not only on Facebook but also Twitter, Pinterest, Ravelry, Bloglovin', and Google +

Just follow the links and come and say hello!

Cheers!





18 November 2013

DIY: Christmas gift wrap ribbon

Making your own ribbon for gift wrapping is loads of fun and also slightly addictive; you have been warned! ;-)

It's a great project for all ages and also very portable.



Tools:
  • Card
  • Scissors
  • 7 x 2 metres of embroidery thread and/or ribbon (this makes 1 meter of ribbon)
  • Some Christmas tunes to sing along to (optional)


Instructions:

  • Cut out an octagon (8 sided shape).
  • Cut 1cm slits into each side of the octagon and a hole in the middle.
  • Place your 7 threads/ribbons together and tie a knot at one end, slip this through the hole in the middle of your octagon.


  • On the opposite side to the knot, slot each thread through the 1cm slits. The eighth slit does not have a ribbon in it. This is called the working slit.


  • Take the third ribbon from the working slit (this is the red ribbon pictured below) and pull it over the ribbons (these are the pink and orange ribbons in the picture below) clockwise and slot it into the working slit.




  • Like so...





  • You now have a new working slit.
  • Take the third ribbon from the working slit (this is now the blue ribbon as pictured below) and pull it over the ribbons (these are the yellow and green ribbons in the picture below) clockwise and slot it into the new working slit.




  • Like so...




  • Repeat this pattern and your ribbon will start to grow out of the reverse side of your octagon, like so...



  • And grow, and grow....


  • ...until you approach the end of your threads/ribbons. When you do reach the end of your threads/ribbons, remove them from the slits, place them together and tie a knot. Cut the loose ends down, so that they're neat, tidy and the same size as each other. You now have homemade ribbon, perfect for wrapping up Christmas presents with!




I chose rainbow coloured embroidery threads but you could choose any range of colours or use different types of thread and ribbon; maybe some glittery thread to add a touch of sparkle!

You can make your ribbon as long or as short as you wish and if you fancy going the extra mile and making your own Christmas wrapping paper, check my DIY project out for that too.

Happy Christmas crafting!




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