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!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Craft, Hobby & Stitch International at the NEC

Yesterday was the start of the 2014 CHSI event at the huge and amazing NEC:

I hadn't planned on attending this year, as it's more relevant to retailers, looking for suppliers of craft and stitch products, but I was invited to attend the British Craft Awards, which was being hosted by Immediate Media, who I made the hearts for last week so I thought it would be a good networking opportunity.

I met up with a friend who lives near Birmingham and we had a lovely, child-free, husband-free day, we nattered, shopped, drank copious cups of tea and had a great time!

I stopped by the CRS Fur Fabric stand and bought a small fortune's worth of teddy bear making materials (guess what'll be coming this way soon?!) and also some lovely ribbon from Unitrim which I'm really excited about getting my hands on!

I also had a very exciting conversation with a lady who manufactures soft toy kits.... but more of that to come soon (hopefully!)

The awards ceremony was a lovely event:

The awards were mainly for retailers, best retail websites, best gadgets and most useful products, etc but it was hosted in a conference room just up from the main hall the exhibition takes place in, there was a lovely buffet and free bar laid on and the amazing Singing Waiters who had us all in stitches!

For me this was just a nice extra at the end of a good day at the show and a bit of gentle networking, which is always useful.

All in all, a great day.

Oh, and I nearly forgot... the rest of the hearts that I made for Immediate Media!!

All packaged up, ready for the postie :-)

I might be a little quiet for the rest of the week as it's half term and we're out everyday (trying to keep my little monsters busy and wear them out!) so have a lovely week everyone!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Hearts for Craftseller's owner Immediate Media

Well, I had a very exciting moment on Thursday when I responded to a post that I'd seen CraftSeller Magazine's Facebook page:

So I emailed Jane straight away and was delighted to receive a reply within the hour saying, yes please, they'd love me to make the hearts!!


So I immediately had a panic... 50 hearts in 5 days, I could manage that, right? Er, lets hope so!

I wanted to make them a bit more exciting than just gingham so (having first confirmed that they were happy for me to be more adventurous!) I set about creating my hearts.

These are the first 3 designs:

I'm really pleased with them so far, although they're SO fiddly to make as they're only 6cm by 6cm!

This is what the backs look like:

They're taking quite a long time, but definitely worth doing right as they'll be going to advertisers and agencies that Immediate Media work with as part of a promotion for Craftseller, which is very exciting as it means my little hearts will be heading out to all sorts of different companies and will also be passing under the eyes of the editor of Craftseller and the other crafty publications that Immediate Media run.

Normally I try not to work too much at the weekend, so I can spend time with my husband and my kids, but this weekend my lovely husband has taken the kids out for a day of fun (which I'm secretly jealous of missing out on) so I can crack on.... So I suppose I'd best go and make sure I have lots to show for my alone-time!

Have a good weekend xxx

PS. I've already had an enquiry about turning these little beauties into Pincushions, so keep an eye on the Etsy Shop and the Uniquely UK website for them!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Sewing for my Kids

When I first started sewing, I made loads of things for my kids. Since it's become my day job, I make less and less for them, which I constantly feel guilty about, especially when they ask if every pretty, brightly coloured object is for them!

So this weekend I did some sewing just for them, and just because I could.

Seren had spotted this gorgeous 'make your own kit' on my Facebook news feed:

From Clara & Macy: Do you fancy a 'get your very own squirrel kit first before they are available anywhere else and at a super marvellous price' kind of offer. You do? Of course you do! 

Okay so I'm offering 20 squirrel kits with a super pre-launch offer of 30% off their usual price of £18. That makes them a mere £12.60. 

P&P is £1 for the UK, £2.50 for Europe, £3.50 for everywhere else.

The lovely Laura from Clara & Macy has designed a new kit which is going on sale soon and this was a chance to get one before they were on general release.

Initially I said no, I wouldn't buy one for Seren as I could make her something similar without needing to spend anything (as I already had the felt, threads & stuffing), but then I thought that a) she said she liked this and copying it would be wrong and b) it would be quite nice to sit with all the things I needed, with the instructions and pattern all worked out for me, by someone else and just do what I was told, rather than trying, reworking, retrying, getting annoyed, leaving it for 2 weeks, coming back to it later.... etc!

So I got the kit. I was thinking maybe Seren could try sewing it herself, but it's a bit too advanced for her (the packaging says 8+ and I think that's about right) Seren is only 5 and although I like to think she's advanced... I didn't want to set her up to fail with something too fiddly.

I was really pleased that when I measured it all out, there was actually enough felt in there to make 2 squirrels, because of course as soon as Patrick saw it, he needed one too!

So here are the two finished squirrels: (Ellie, Seren's one on the left and Bertie, Patrick's one on the right)

Front and back of the squirrels

Irritatingly not as neat as the one on the box!!

The gorgeous packaging the kit came in, including a Clara paper doll and clothes (Seren's claimed that!)
I think the kits are lovely. They do expect a level of experience, not in terms of understanding the instructions, but in terms of getting the finished product looking anywhere near as cute as the one on the box... my first attempt shows Bertie (on the right of the pic above) with very skewiff eyes and not the neatest of stitching. But Ellie (2nd attempt) fared better!

In terms of the time it took me to create these little critters... I started at 5pm on Saturday evening and finished at about 11.30pm the same evening.

As I'd expected, I needed to add more stuffing and a tiny bit of extra brown felt for the second one, but to make one squirrel, there's more than enough of everything you need in the kit and I'd definitely recommend them to anyone who wants something cute and fun to make, without needing a sewing machine or too many fancy stitches.

The other bit of sewing I did was in honour of Chinese New Year and it was to make a couple of dragons on sticks to be taken into school today:

I spotted something similar to this funny little dragony chap on a google search and decided that I could adapt it quite easily to make up a couple of dragons on a Sunday evening... so that's what I did.

The kids loved parading them off into school today and I really enjoyed the stress free experience of making things this week, just to be enjoyed and played with by my two little monsters!

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