Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere to share the ups and downs of starting a craft business, with plenty of tips, mishaps and the odd glass of wine!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Egg Hunt & Meeting The Gruffalo!

Happy Easter!!!

Easter Bunny Bags made last year - which amazingly survived the choc-madness!

Easter Egg Hunt

So last year you may remember (for those with good memories!) that I organised an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids, which of course they loved and in the way that only children can, they've been asking for another one all year, so I duly prepared another one for today, which again, went down incredibly well :-)

 As you'll see the Easter Bunny Bags were used & filled up again this year!

So once we'd scoffed quite a lot of the chocolate & got dressed we spent the rest of the day doing exactly the same thing as last year... off to the brilliant Dean Heritage Centre where they'd just transformed the Gruffalo Trail to depict the Gruffalo's Child story.

These are brilliantly devised scenes depicting the story using chainsaw cut statues! Here are the highlights:

Patrick having a lie-down on The Gruffalo's bed

First scene - "The Gruffalo said that no Gruffalo should ever go into the deep dark wood...."

Ahhh look, The Gruffalo's Child!

All the amazing statues were carved by chainsaw!

"The Big Bad Mouse! So he does exist!"

Excitement at actually meeting The Gruffalo!
There was SO much excitement at meeting THE REAL GRUFFALO as Seren shouted at him! It was lovely :-) The kids had a great time and so did we! Just as well as we're going back in a couple of week when we have friends with kids down to stay.

Hope you've all had a wonderful day and now I'm off to enjoy a cuppa and some chocolate whilst browsing through the other Handmade Monday blog posts!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

How to Choose Where to Sell Online

What are my Options?

When I first started thinking about opening up Grace's Favours I wasn't sure where would be best to sell my products... initially I wasn't even sure if I should be thinking about online, craft fairs, in bricks & mortar shops or a combination of all of the above.

The first items I made & sold - a felt alphabet

Should I sell everywhere I can?

A lot of people suggested I sell on eBay, but that was never something I liked the idea of as to me eBay is about people wanting to buy stuff cheaply and quickly... neither of which was something I aspired to. I didn't want my items to be cheap enough to appeal to just anybody and the turnaround time & personalised nature meant making them to order as opposed to having a large stockpile was more likely to work for me.

Personalised stockings were my biggest seller in the run up to Christmas 2011

I found Etsy pretty quickly and decided immediately it was the venue I wanted to start out on, so I set up my shop. Although not terribly well known in this country, it was so big already in America, Australia and in other parts of Europe that I realised it wouldn't be long till it was as big here.

I then dithered about with applying to Not On The High Street (NOTHS), but I decided against as the joining fee is seriously high for a small business and I didn't think my photos were strong enough at the time (March 2012)

One of the early Campervan's I made & photographed
Then I came across a wonderful website called Swanky Maison which is a bit like NOTHS but not as large and with a much more realistic joining fee and commission structure, so I applied & was successful in joining this lovely site - here's my shop front:

My lovely Swanky Maison shop
A few months later I was approached by a new site that was opening up - Mady by Mums with Love and they were specifically interested in my Felt Baby Shoes:

And in the last week I have joined another new site, dedicated to upmarket children's items, who were also interested in my baby shoes, so I have now joined the lovely site Loubilou with more Felt Baby Shoes:

What are Bricks & Mortar Shops?

Bricks and mortar shops are your good, old fashioned real life shops. I have supplied two in the past year - one local to me, where I took in a sample of flower brooches and asked if they'd like to sell them (very nerve wracking experience!) and they said yes, which was lovely, but they didn't sell very fast - my local town isn't an area of much affluence and as a lot of my items are decorative, it's not the best area for my products.

I have also sent a large wholesale order to a shop in Scarborough, who found me through Etsy, they wanted a mountain of teddies and Campervans and these are selling quite well:

How about Craft Fairs?

I did try a couple of craft fairs during 2012 but it was the smaller and cheaper items that sold best, which aren't necessarily much quicker or easier to make than the bigger & more expensive items I sell, so I decided that craft fairs were probably not going to generate me enough money to make them worthwhile given the amount of work they are to get the stock levels up.

A Christmas Market I did, with my friend Pam trying to hide behind the fake fireplace!

Where to find Grace's Favours:

So you can currently find me at the following places, but be warned - this is an ever changing list!!

My Website - www.gracesfavours.co.uk
Etsy - www.gracesfavours.etsy.com
Swanky Maison - www.swankymaison.com/graces-favours
Made by Mums with Love - www.madebymumswithlove.com/seller-profile?vendor_id=100
Loubilou - http://www.loubilou.com/store/graces-favours
Facebook - www.facebook.com/gracesfavours
Brit Chic (Red Bus Only) - http://britchicuk.co.uk/red-london-bus-cuddly-toy.html

Sunday, 24 March 2013

New Products for Handmade Monday

I'm very excited this week, for starters because I can now reveal the secret item I was working on last week, but couldn't share until it had been given to it's recipient - a felt picture for a 1 year old's bedroom:

Custom order, now available in my Etsy Shop

My lovely friend & an existing customer asked me for a picture like this one (which was one of my first pieces)

for her nephew, but it had to be kept a surprise as her sister is also one of my customers and follows my Facebook Page which is where most of my new pieces get shown first!

Both were really pleased with it and Benjamin (the 1 year old recipient) well, lets hope he likes it too!

The other thing I've been working on, is something that's been at the back of my mind for a while... a VW Campervan Hot Water Bottle Cover...... Ta-Da!


 As usual, my ever willing volunteers were happy to pose for pictures!

The Hot Water Bottle Covers are available in the shop and can be made in any colour with a personalised number plate (Kids not included unless I've had a really bad day ;-p)

Now I'm going to mosey over to Handmade Monday over at Wendy's lovely blog and see what everyone else has been up to - Have a lovely week!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Top O'The Morning To Ye All :-)

Hope you've all had/are having a lovely St Patrick's Day weekend if you celebrate it! What with my husband being Irish (well a Plastic Paddy) we usually manage to celebrate pretty well, but this year there was a distinct lack of planning for a night out and also our babysitter wasn't available, so we decided that we'd stay in last night (Saturday) and maybe go out for a pint of the black stuff at lunch time today with the kids - they like the pub as they know it means crisps to keep them quiet for a bit!

We also both suffered disappointment in the Rugby yesterday - although Ireland didn't win the Wooden Spoon they lost their match to Italy, which somewhat upset my hubby and then England not only lost very badly to Wales but it also meant we didn't get the Grand Slam :-( I spent 80 minutes howling at the TV and ended the evening a rather unhappy bunny!

BUT today is another day, so with all that behind us, we're going to enjoy looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

I found this CUTE image whilst searching for a pot of gold - click here for the shop link

I haven't got much that I can share with you about what I've been working on this week as the main commission I've had is something for one of my lovely customers for another one of my lovely customers! So until it's handed over and ooooh'd and aaahhh'd over I can't show you!

I'll be linking this up to Handmade Monday as usual and will leave you with one final image

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Post Wedding Slump!

Aaarrrrggg! I wanted to get this posted much much earlier as I was really excited about writing the follow up to last week's Handmade Monday post showing off the pics of me wearing my new fascinator.... but I forgot to take my camera connector leady thing (technical term!) away with me for the weekend!

So we got home about an hour ago and the first thing I did (after getting the kids to bed) was load up the photos!

Sadly most of the photos are either ones that show off my fascinator or are unfit for public display as I *might* have had one glass of champagne too many - most unlike me I'm sure you all understand ;-)

But I really like this one that my lovely husband took before the drinking started:

We had a wonderful time and, as we were child-free, a very very late and silly night :-)

I've called this blog entry 'post wedding slump' as we had such a great time, with a bunch of friends we don't see all that often and it was a really lovely couple getting married so it was just a magical day and it's always a shame when a really looked forward to day/evening comes to an end - especially with a degree of hangover thrown in!!

However... onwards and hopefully upwards! I'm afraid I haven't got much more to show you this week... except for the finished Easter Bunny Wreath which I forgot to share last week:

Complete with an Easter Lily
And some seasonal Bluebells
 Right, I'm off to catch up with everyone else over at Handmade Monday - fancy joining me for a cuppa & a good read?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

How to feel glam at a wedding

Well.... for those of you who also follow me on Facebook, I apologise that you'll already have seen these pics and have heard me getting excited about this earlier in the week, but I am now the proud owner of a one of a kind, handmade fascinator, designed & made by me!

I'm really really pleased with it as I went on a one day course last May and made this one under the one-to-one guidance of the tutor:

And then I made a couple more that same week (they were for Seren and a friend of mine - all for a wedding the following weekend!)

Seren - my ever willing model!

'Scuse the slightly blurry pic - in a rush to get to the wedding!

But since last May I've not made any headwear at all, so to have remembered all the stages and achieved something so profesional looking has absolutely made my week!

Ok, enough blowing my own trumpet! I'm off to see what's been happening on the Handmade Monday blogs :-)

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