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!

Monday, 24 August 2015

That Sinking Feeling...

Last night, just as I was about to go to sleep my husband showed me something he'd seen on the Guardian website:

Felt Campervan by Lucy Sparrow

Grace's Favours Original Felt VW Cuddly Campervan

That was my first thought.

Well, that's me done for.

That was my second thought.

Bloody Hell... why can't I be an 'artist' and be featured in the Guardian?

That was my third thought.

And then I calmed down a bit.

Lucy Sparrow is a designer/artist/maker/call her what you will that I came across for the first time last year when she set up an empty shop front to make it into a felt filled corner shop:

Felt Food made for The Corner Shop by Lucy Sparrow as part of the Folksy Interview
Everyone from the Daily Mail to Etsy and Folksy wrote about it, so it was hard to miss and of course, knowing my love of felt, lots of friends and family sent me links.

And for the most part, when my jealousy is under control, I am very pleased for Lucy and impressed by what's she's achieved... but the Campervan.... that left me feeling not so pleased.

I know I don't have the monopoly on making felt campervans and whilst I believe I was the first person to create cuddly campervans (as I did extensive research before I made my first one and found none like it out there in internetland - I first talked about them here in 2012) I cannot stop anyone else from making the same iconic vehicle in felt.

But when someone much more famous and well regarded makes them... well, that feels a bit worrying.

Although I know mine are original and very popular, does the fact that Lucy Sparrow has had her's featured in the Guardian make mine less.... I can't even find the right word... worthy? Interesting to customers? Original? Creative?

No, of course not. But it is hard to feel cheerful when you see something that mirrors your most popular item, being promoted in the popular press, created by someone else.

I suppose the one saving grace is that unless Lucy is planning to make them to order and personalise them, my shop is still the go-to place for the original personalised Cuddly Campervan!

Felt Cuddly Campervans by Grace's Favours

And now that I've got all that out there I feel ok about it all again.

But it is hard to keep the green eyed monster at bay sometimes!

Friday, 14 August 2015

A Hard Decision....

I have come to a hard decision.

Last year I started introducing sewing patterns into my shop and the idea was that I would split my time between creating sewing patterns and making made to order items:

However, since March 2014 I have only created 14 new patterns.... that's roughly 1 a month.

If I want to take make my mark on the sewing industry as a pattern designer I am going to need to make more than 1 pattern a month, or at the very least, make sure that the patterns I am offering are far more in depth than I have the time for at the moment.

So while we've been on holiday for the last 3 weeks I have been wondering how to change the status quo as all my gorgeous customers have been keeping me mightily busy with their made to order purchases!

So I have decided to remove a large proportion of my made to order listings from my Etsy Shop and now have the following sections:

So in the Made To Order sections we now have the Campervans (the big cuddly ones and the mini ones) Baby Mobiles (which currently includes the Mini Campervans and Airplanes but will be extended in due course) Framed Pictures (because I love making them) and the Poppies which I make and donate part of the profits to the Royal British Legion.

I know that this will come as a shock to some of my gorgeous customers and I am really sorry about that, but as the shop was in Vacation Mode for a couple of weeks, I took the opportunity to revamp the shop and this will give me more time to create new patterns and hopefully next year to start offering Sew Your Own Kits.

If there is anything that we were offering as a Made to Order item that you would like to purchase, I will honour all the old items and their prices until the end of September. To order any of these, you can email me at simmi@gracesfavours.co.uk

Thank you all for your continued support, comments and love. Simmi xxx

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

How to polish sea glass (and get rid of the salt)

Whilst we're on holiday I wanted to collect some shells and sea glass from the beaches of Wexford so as to make a picture of a beach scene when we get home.

I've been collecting shells from our Wexford holidays for the last 10 years, but I am determined to get something actually made with them this year!!

I have in mind a felted beach scene in a box frame with the shells and small pebbles at the bottom of the frame.... however, whether I manage to actually make it remains to be seen!

Now, for the sea glass. I've seen some amazing things (Pictures & jewellery mainly) made from sea glass but I've never really managed to find much. But this week we went to a stonier beach (we usually favour the beautiful sandy beaches that are so wonderful around here) and my husband and one of his cousins' sons were brilliant at spotting the sea glass. So I came home with this little collection:

But I'm not keen on the salt residue left on them, obscuring the gorgeous colours and natural shininess of the glass.

So first I washed them in plain water... they looked fine and shiny, until they dried out. And then the salt returned. So next I tried soaking them in lemon juice.... thinking that the acid in the lemon would strip away the salt. But still no luck:


So finally I thought I'd try the other thing that was nudging at the back of my mind... oil. The only oil I could readily find at my Mother-In-Law's was olive oil, so I put a small amount onto a couple of pieces of kitchen roll and rubbed the sea glass over the patches of oil.

And, once dry.... voila!


The piece I'm most keen on is the piece of safety glass, which is the one with the metal (Iron?) inside the glass, to toughen it. I think the sea glass will be made into a separate picture... hopefully of a fish if I can organise the pieces into a fishy shape!

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