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30 December 2014

Sale time!

Hey folks, it's sale time over in my online shops! There's 20% off selected items in my NOTHS shop and further reductions in my Etsy shop. Instead of battling with the hordes of sales shoppers, hit the sales from the comfort of home, with a cup of tea to hand and some left over Christmas cake! 

29 December 2014

Blog Gem Catch Up - Debbie Greenaway

Hola and happy Christmas everyone! Hope you all had a lovely, festive time! I had such a fun time with family that I got a bit sidetracked and my poor old blog was left in the corner with just a mince pie and sherry to keep it company, poor blog. Anyway, we've now reunited and are bringing you the penultimate post in my December Blog Gem Catch Up series, woohoo! Today's post sees me catching up with the super, talented Debbie Greenaway, who I interviewed back in February 2012. Debbie is now blogging on her fabulous, brand spanking new website. Take a look here, isn't it GORGEOUS! Soooo, want to know what Debbie's been up? Lets find out!

Hi there, Debbie! Have there been any changes in your blog and business since last we met? 
Hello! There have been many changes since we last met. I now live and work in Coventry - soon to be moving to a new home. I am still drawing and painting in a spare bedroom that I call my workroom so I have lot more space. Space that is filled with desks, drawers, storage units, paper, paint and fabric. I also work part time in a library! This year I have invested some (most) of my business money in equipment that allows me to expose and clean silkscreens at home. Hopefully this will encourage me to experiment and print more. Blog wise - I have desperately tried to stick with it and keep it updated but I haven't been as confident with creating posts/writing. 

What are you working on at the moment? 
I am always trying to draw - at home or at work - whenever I can as you never know what may appear on the sketchbook pages. At the moment, I am trying to work out the final details of a couple of card and notebook designs - keeping them simple and small so I can trial my new print set up. I also have a new Christmas themed design in mind involving a turtle and robins but I have yet to work out the finer design elements. I do have some robin badges and a couple of Christmas card designs on the go. The Santa's Cat card has been very popular! 

With regards to my blog, I keep thinking about how to jump start it, so the idea there is to use old blog post suggestions that I have kept from previous blog challenges and take a step back from Twitter and Instagram. These social media platforms are super but I think I probably stopped using my blog because they are quicker and easier to use and update so the plan is to find a better way to use all three together in the future.

What are your thoughts about blogging and running your own business? Have your thoughts changed since we last talked shop?
Ohh a difficult question. I have been asking myself a lot of questions lately. Why am I doing this? Why am I running my own business? Why am I putting my work out there? What is the point? - and that last question is a big question. Being an artist is not something I can turn on or off like a tap. For me, I have to keep the tap on, trickling away. Some water will be excellent and some water will be a bit murky. There are good creative days and there are murky creative days. This in turn is affecting not only my business but me personally and in turn, others around me. To sort things out, I am trying to take things slow. I am still selling online and through a couple of shops and galleries but I am not pushing the sales. I still love drawing and printing but I have decided that this part and other aspects of my life, come first before the business side of things. I guess you could say that I am still trying to find the right life/work balance. 'the imagination of ladysnail' business will always be there but my goal is to keep it going as a little business. I have no plans for world domination.

If you could invite 3 people (dead or alive, real or fictional) to Christmas dinner, who would you invite?
Decisions, decisions - let me think about this one as I have no idea! I always pick Sir David Attenborough for things like this so he would be my first guest and then one could be my husband, can't have Christmas dinner without him! And the final guest would be Kermit or Homer Simpson, or maybe Sir David would pick a guest! A surprise guest.

Wowza, sounds like you've been super busy with moving counties, printing, drawing and a new job on top, impressive stuff! That's really interesting about social media being so instantaneous that it can distract from blogging. It's a full time job keeping all those plates spinning! 

Thanks so much for stopping by, Debbie. It's been wonderful hearing what you're up to. Best of luck for the future m'dear!

I hope you've all enjoyed this post! Don't forget to stop by for the last interview in this series, which will be up on the 31st December :-)

All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Debbie Greenaway. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.

19 December 2014

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

The dukebox has just been cranked back up after last week when it was devoid of tunes. This week it's a total mish mash of tunes to reflect my feelings!
Now that my shop is closed, I can see the light at the end of what has been one busy tunnel! This 60s tune by the Five Americans is perfect for that! With the imminent prospect of a week of some much needed r&r and SLEEP, this old fav by The Shins is ideal! And well, despite looking forward to a rest, I'm also looking forward to the whole festive, party spirit and my dancing shoes are warming up to this awesome Daft Punk tune

16 December 2014

Blog Gem Catch Up - Claireabellemakes

Hey folks! Soooo, I've kind of been a bit quiet round here recently and totally failed on my blogging schedule as things have been CRAZY with: one house move, record number of shop orders, ridiculous amount of admin and one bout of tonsillitis, followed by a horrid cold and major exhaustion, bleurgh!

Anyway, to cheer things up and get back on track, here's a little catch up interview I did with one seriously talented lady, who always puts a smile on face...
....I last interviewed Claire as part of my Blog Gem series back in February 2013, so was eager to find out what has changed since then!

Hi there, Claire! Have there been any changes in your blog and business since last we chatted?
Actually quite a lot has changed! My blog/business has had a rebrand and I now have a made over website and home studio space. I've also developed and released new products for my store and have expanded my business to include Cambridge Craft Parties where I host craft events in my city. To add to that I have now written for 3 craft books, which was something I never expected to happen! It has been busy and wonderful and I've learnt so much. I feel like I am in the swing of things now!!

What are you working on at the moment?
My latest range in the store has just released - Scrabble Christmas Cards. I am so proud of them as it challenged my photography skills to design them and I have such a passion for stationery. I have a few established blog series' running at the moment including a monthly favourites post, a Filofax inspiration series and a Tourist in Cambridge series. The latter is such fun as it gets me out exploring my home city and allows me to appreciate where I live. 
I have a long list of things to learn for future projects too. Top of the list is video editing and writing book proposals.

What are your thoughts about blogging and running your own business? Have your thoughts changed since we last talked shop?
I guess now I feel more established and I think of my blog as part of my business. When we last spoke I thought of it as a hobby that could be a potential income stream in the future. Now I am happy to be making money from blogging and this is almost equal to what I make from my store and writing for publications. My blog allows me to connect directly with my customers and to share more of the values behind my business. I love blogging so much and can't imagine life without it now.

If you could invite 3 people (dead or alive, real or fictional) to Christmas dinner, who would you invite?
Santa because it would be great to know how he managed to get so much done in so little time (and maybe borrow some magic powers), Zoey Deschanel so I could borrow a party dress and act like a silly girl with her and Mark Montano who is a DIY You Tuber. He looks really fun and we could chat crafts.

Wowza, you sure have been one busy lady progressing your blog and business to those levels people only ever dream of! Congrats! And thanks so much for stopping by, it's been fab catching up! Good luck with those Christmas orders, Claire!

I hope you've all enjoyed this week's Blog Gem Catch Up interview and don't forget to check out Claire's DIY Felt Succulent Wreath (as pictured above). Love it!

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

1 December 2014

Blog Gem Catch Up - Tea With Miss Beatrix

Hola folks! Instead of my regular Blog Gem interview, for this month only I'm changing the series up a bit. Each week throughout December I'm going to be catching up with some of my previous Blog Gem interviewees to find out how life has changed since their first Blog Gem interview.

To kick start proceedings is the fabulous, talented Anna of Tea With Miss Beatrix. I interviewed Anna back in November 2012, so over 2 years ago! Neither of us could believe it had been that long!! So, you can imagine I was eager to have a proper good catch up! On that note, lets find out what Anna's up to these days.

Hi there, Anna! So, we last chatted about blogging back in November 2012. Have there been any changes in your blog and business since then? 

    Now I think about it, things have changed quite a lot! The main development has been moving to a self-hosted blog. I decided to develop it myself, so that meant a fair few days swotting up and tweaking this and that, but in June this year it went live and I feel it's a little more grown up, and reflects my broader interests as a creative lifestyle blog. My handmade button business, #PostCircle and Creatives Unite now takes more central roles, too.
 Business-wise, I've had stalls at several craft fairs, churned out a fair few new designs... and yes, dipped my paintbrush in my cup of tea more times than I can remember!

What are you working on at the moment? 

  As usual I have more ideas than I have time to implement them, but I'm going full steam ahead on new buttons designs for Christmas, and new products such as button brooches, lanyards and some collaborative pieces with a talented crochet designer maker, which we will be debuting at a craft fair next month. My blog has had to take a slight back seat while all this is happening, but I can't wait to document it all on there. 
What are your thoughts about blogging and running your own business? Have your thoughts changed since we last talked shop?

    I'm more in love with blogging than ever, partly because since we last chatted I have become the Chief Writer at Craft Candy, so I get to see a very different side of creative blogging, but I think it's also down to having a fresh new look for my blog, and the fact that I never stop being excited about creating and learning new crafty skills. At the moment, it's crochet - I've gone crochet mad and am loving teaming the craft with my buttons.
For me the challenge of running my own business is doing it well while working full time and having a second part time job. Luckily I really enjoy reading about time management, writing lists and finding new ways to stay organised, so I do see it as just that - part of a personal challenge. That feeling of ticking tasks off my to-do list is so satisfying!

If you could invite 3 people (dead or alive, real or fictional) to Christmas dinner, who would you invite?

    One of my answers to this question is always Beatrix Potter! I think she must have loved Christmas, judging by some of her stories and paintings being based around this time of year. Charles Dickens might be fun - he tells a great Christmas ghost story, and to stop things getting too Victorian, perhaps someone from the creative business world, like Jo Malone or Emma Bridgewater, though would I be in trouble for talking shop on Christmas Day? Potter and Dickens were both astute business people, so I think their minds would be blown by our talk of modern day commerce! I have a feeling Dickens would have enjoyed serialising his novels via Twitter. 
Wow, that's fantastic you're now chief writer at Craft Candy and your new blog looks incredible! It's been lovely catching up with you, Anna! Lets hope the next two years bring more exciting adventures for you!

I hope you enjoyed the first in this Blog Gem Catch Up series! Don't forget to check out Anna's gorgeous Etsy shop! It's full to the brim of handmade goodies, which make wonderful Christmas presents!

Stay tuned for next week's Blog Gem Catch Up!

All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Anna at Tea With Miss Beatrix. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.

30 November 2014

Handmade gift sets

Today I'm sharing my handmade gift sets. I currently offer three different gift sets: the Autumnal Accessory Gift Set; the Gentleman's Gift Set and the Lady's Gift Set. They're entirely made by my own fair hand and come in a range of colours and patterns. All three are available in my Etsy and NOTHS shops. Included are a mixture of accessories in matching patterns. They make the perfect Christmas gift as all the hard work of gift wrapping is done for you...all you have to do is choose!

28 November 2014

Black Sale Friday!

Today is Black Sale Friday!!!
That means a tonne of discounts EVERYWHERE! Loads of places are taking part, including Not On The High Street. And I've got a load of my handmade products up for grabs in my Not On The High Street shop, with a whopping 30% off! It lasts for 24 hours only, so get in there quick folks!
Happy shopping!

27 November 2014

Black Sale This Friday!

On Friday it's Black Sale Friday! 

That means a tonne of discounts EVERYWHERE! Loads of places are taking part, including Not On The High Street. And I've got a load of my handmade products up for grabs in my Not On The High Street shop, with a whopping 30% off! It lasts for 24 hours only, so pencil it in your diaries folks! 

23 November 2014

Handmade Cufflinks

Today I'm sharing my handmade cufflinks, which are available in both my Etsy and NOTHS shops. They come in a range of colours, patterns and are gift wrapped in a cute box, complete with ribbon!

I make all my cufflinks to order in my little ol' studio in Leicester and I really love creating them! And ooh, did someone say they might be featuring in the Black Sale Friday on the 28th November on NOTHS?!? Well, they sure will, so stay tuned and I'll be sharing more details on my blog next week.

21 November 2014

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

I've got this song by Bombay Bicycle Club on repeat at the moment. It's gorgeous. It's beautiful. It breaks my heart. It makes my stomach do flips. Love it.

19 November 2014

Making your own Christmas presents and buying handmade

This year for Christmas I'm either making presents or buying handmade gifts from awesome, small businesses. 

Making gifts for friends and family is always great! Coming up with the idea or finding a lovely sewing/knitting/crochet pattern to use is half the fun, including going to find that perfect fabric pattern or soft, snuggly wool. This year I'm knitting a load of goodies for family but can't say what...or show a sneak peek as it would ruin the surprise! I particularly like knitting gifts because it means you can watch a good film at the same time or work your way through a cracking tv series! Although, I may well be knitting until the eleventh hour at this rate as I've got loads of work on and other commitments all the way up to Christmas!

Shopping handmade is real important to me. As a small business owner myself, I think it's essential to support your fellow sellers. They work really hard and their products come totally from the heart, are unique and not mass produced....and buying from them makes their day!

Are you making your own gifts this year or buying from small businesses? Any recommendations? I'd love to hear what you're making and who you're buying from this year!

17 November 2014

Handmade Personalised Gifts

Last week I was showcasing my Christmas themed accessories and this week it's the turn of my personalised accessories!

Available in both my Etsy and Not On The High Street shops, I have designed all of these from scratch and make every item to order in my little studio in Leicester. I love making personalised accessories because each one is unique and means something special to someone. I especially love it when I receive an order from someone giving the item as a surprise gift! Knowing that person's going to open it and it will only make sense to them, fills me with happiness!

So, what personalised gifts do I sell?

Well, I sell three styles of personalised, adjustable rings. These are made entirely by hand, with the letter of your choice hand embroidered on to the ring. They come gift wrapped for free and are totally adjustable, so they will fit any size. 

My personalised necklace designs are also available in three colour combinations, are handmade, hand embroidered and come framed in silver plated pendants, with a 24" inch chain.

Also available in three colour combinations are my handmade, personalised brooches. These make great gifts for hen-do parties and they come gift wrapped for free!

Finally, my personalised handkerchiefs are available in 16 different colours choices and now also in white, with coloured hems! They are made entirely from scratch, using a combination of machine sewing and hand embroidery. Personalised options include having 1-11 letters or a memorable date of your choice embroidered entirely by hand on to the handkerchief. Every hanky is gift wrapped in my NEW gift boxes, oooh!

Personalised accessories make great, unique gifts for those who truly appreciate handmade, so why not pick something up for Christmas!

And stay tuned for my blogging action this week as I share my thoughts on making Christmas gifts and of course, my latest 'What's on the dukebox, Jo?' song!

Have a great week everyone!

14 November 2014

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

It's a week/weekend of celebrating my birthday, so it's all about happy tunes that get me dancing! This AWESOME song by Django Django fits the bill nicely.
Happy foot tapping!

11 November 2014

Make your own gift wrap Christmas ribbon!

Hola folks! Today I'm sharing this DIY ribbon post again. It's a great Christmas handmade project for adding a little something extra to the whole festivities! Just think what your bestie, other half or aunt Mavis will say when they see your handmade ribbon, beautifully wrapping up their pressies!

Oh and did I say this project is totally addictive AND easy peasy lemon squeezy? Ha, well it really is. It's a super DIY for all ages, can be done in front of the tv (in the run up to Christmas), is really portable and doesn't require expensive, bizarre tools. Good eh?!

So, lets get cracking! And don't forget to send me your pics of your finished ribbon! :-)

  • Card
  • Scissors
  • 7 x 2 metres of embroidery thread and/or ribbon in any colours of your choice (this makes 1 meter of ribbon)
  • Some Christmas tunes to sing along to (optional)

  • 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 clockwise (these are the yellow and green ribbons in the picture below) 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 also make your ribbon as long or as short as you wish and ooh, maybe one made out of wool. In fact I might give that a go!

Don't forget to send me your pics when you're done. If I have enough pics I'll showcase them on my blog.

Happy Christmas crafting!


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