Monday, 27 December 2010

Open for business

'I would like the cookie' by ara133photography on etsy

Just popping in to let you know that I have opened my shop after my christmas break. I hope you had a lovely christmas wherever you were and are looking forward to the New Year. I have a sale on my christmas decorations with 25% off until Tuesday 4th January. I have already adjusted the prices so you won't need a code.

The post in the UK is back to normal apart from a few exceptions so I can post items on:

Wednesday 29th December
Thursday 30th December
Friday 31st December before noon
Tuesday 4th January onwards

I will post items by Airmail or First Class post as soon as I can when you place your order.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Photo by SweetBlue on Etsy

Just dropping in to wish all my readers a very merry christmas this weekend. I've had a wonderful year craft wise with such a sense of fulfilment even when things haven't gone my way and such a thrill when they have!

I've learnt to listen to harsh criticism and to persevere. I've learnt that the outcome of a project is absolutely proportional to the effort put in. I've also been constantly reminded of what a beautiful place the craft web community is. The novelty of being surrounded by wonderful people who understand my love of handmade never wears off.

I'm looking forward to a year which will hopefully be more financially productive as well as spiritually and intellectually fulfilling.

I hope you are too...x

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snow falls in Somerset

I've been ankle deep in snow on a long walk this morning...hope you like this picture taken at firepool lock. Have fun if you are out and about in the snow!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Paper Chains

Here is what I have made with the free downloads from Bonnie's magazine ...lots of paper chains to decorate all our rooms. Printed on recycled printer paper and reused next year, of course!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Sale in my etsy shop!

I'm having a sale in my new shop! I'm offering 15% off in my etsy shop when you type the code 'LASTMINUTE' in at checkout. The offer will be on until next Thursday 23rd December when I will close. I will then re-open on Tuesday 28th December. I am not expecting any problems or issues with the post even with the snow forecast as I live two streets away from a post office in a large town. However, if you order now your package may not arrive in time for December 25th.

Also, if you need any last minute crafty ideas I've found a lovely free magazine from Bonnie at 'Going home to roost'. Lots of ideas from free wrapping paper to print to how to make bath kind of magazine, and I hope, yours : )

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Christmas shopping on etsy

I recently finished this christmas pudding which is crocheted with acrylic yarn. I am still in the process of learning crochet and the other week I read about the official way to increase and decrease stitches, but I had made it up myself and stuck to my own seems to work just fine so who cares huh?

I bought a huge ball of brown and white acrylic yarn over the summer and didn't think I would ever reach the end of them! So much cheaper than making mittens or hats and infinitely more fun...

Here are a few other christmas decorations in my shop which you can buy before christmas if you are in the UK and order before Saturday 18th December (this saturday). Unfortunately all other christmas postal deadlines for postage from the UK globally have now passed if you want items in time for December 25th. If you don't want them before xmas then feel free to shop away...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Gifts for men on etsy

I had my first two sales today after opening my new shop 'SweetCuteHandmade' on etsy and so to celebrate I've rounded up a mini selection of gifts for men which have been handmade in the UK just in case you can't decide what to buy the men in your life:

'Dandelion with silver chain' by "AliBaliJewellery" from Scotland.

'Handmade soap gift box' by "SoapDragon" from Kent.

'Snowflakes Pure Silk Hand Painted Silk Tie' by "Julieriis" from Derby.

'Bedroom set cushion cover and hot water bottle sweater' by "ACrookedSixpence" from County Durham.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

My new shop!

It seems like a month has passed since my last blog post...I've been doing so much on etsy! I was in a virtual lab one night last week and finally made the decision to change my shop/business name. I felt I had learnt enough to make starting over completely worth while so took the plunge. The advice you get in etsy virtual labs is fab and I definitely recommend them. As you can see there are some new items in with my 'Celia Sews' stock and there will be plenty of new supplies being loaded over the coming weeks. It's called 'SweetCuteHandmade' if you want to take a look : )

I will blog soon on some knitted and crocheted items which I have finished...

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Etsy sale

Just thought I'd write a post to let you know that I am having a 10% off sale in my etsy shop . The sale will end at midnight EST Monday (5am Tues GMT) so you have three whole days to work out what you would like. Just enter the word 'SNOWMEN' when checking out : )

You will also receive 12 felt butterflies as a free gift with every order...happy browsing!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Taunton Christmas Lights

Just popping in to show you a video I recorded after seeing a brilliant peformance at my local town christmas light switch on. The sound isn't perfect but enjoy...

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Deliveries & Packaging

I've been busy unpacking numerous packages in the last two weeks. This week my huge delivery of felting wool arrived in beautiful colours. I couldn't believe how soft the merino wool heart leapt when I felt it and my hand glided over the surface. It was just like stroking the softest cat...

Once my heart stopped leaping and I calmed down I managed to start felting with my new sharp needles. I have been surprised at how many balls I have made this week. I am getting into a rhythm. I have been designing some packaging for them too to make them look professionally finished off : )

Monday, 15 November 2010

A big decision

Just popping in to let you know that you still have about 36 hours left to enter my giveaway here. If you have entered before do remember to leave your comment underneath the blog post otherwise I cannot enter you for the prize. Thanks very much to those who have completed my survey. It's great to get some data to guide me as I can't hear what you say when you look at my shop or read my blog and I love any feedback!

I thought I would update you with how I'm getting on with my Prince's Trust offline venture....I've decided to wait until I am a more experienced maker to sell at a craft fair as it takes a lot of confidence which is something that has taken a severe knock since losing my job. What I do have is lots of determination, so I am looking at a 'consignment' option which means I am looking for somewhere to place my best products at no cost in someone else's shop who will then earn commission on my work if or when I sell...a lot like etsy really. I've decided this is a gentler way to come offline and won't involve any risk as I don't lose anything if I don't sell.

Do you have any experience of consignment? Did you sell a lot through another shop?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Christmas on Etsy

Here are a few of my finds on etsy this week. This weekend marks the beginning of the six week shopping period for christmas. Don't forget that if you live outside the UK you will need to get thinking now as the postal deadline from the UK to outside is generally 6th December to guarantee delivery for the holidays. If you live in the UK it's 21st December...

"Decorative Christmas Snowflake Pillow Single Crochet" by 'KETCHIE'

"Holly Red Pearl Cluster Bracelet" by 'AMIdesigns'

"Little Angel stained glass Christmas tree ornament" by 'Rainbow Stained Glass'

"Dot-to-dot Letterpress Christmas cards, set of six" by 'wildinkpress'

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Rainbow felt

Just dropping in to excitedly tell you I now have 150 felt squares paid for with my business grant! The entire rainbow from titchables! What a certainly was a needed rainbow on such a dull day : )

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Italian Artist

I created a treasury today for the Treasury League Team on etsy. It features work from other members of the team and I think you'll agree when I say they are very talented indeed. I'm a huge fan of photography so always put two or three photos in. Heaven!

Friday, 5 November 2010

My first year on Etsy: Giveaway

I'm celebrating my first year on etsy this week with a giveaway. I've had a nice first year settling into the large world of etsy and have just started to sell. I'm looking forward to what the second year will bring!

I've recently started reading 'Sew Hip' Magazine as it features a wide range of independent crafters and sellers. December's edition features designs by Laura Howard amongst many others. You can win this issue of 'Sew Hip', along with 12 felt butterflies and hearts, which I'm giving away free with every item in my shop, by taking my survey below:

Click here to take survey

Please be assured the survey is anonymous and your details will be completely separated from the survey. If you are concerned about this you could always take the survey then leave a comment a few days later.

The survey is mandatory if you are to be entered. Please take the survey then leave a comment saying you have taken it in the comments section with either your blogger address, email address or somewhere else to contact you such as twitter or facebook. Also mandatory is to tweet the words: "I've just entered the giveaway on Sewing is for girls to win the latest copy of Sew Hip Magazine:!"

The winner will be picked in a random draw.

You can gain extra entries to this competition by doing one or more of the following, although you must remember to notify me of your actions in the comments section.

1. Become my fan on facebook

2. Become friends with me on facebook

3. Follow this blog either on networked blogs or on google reader - you will find the links on the right hand side of this blog

4. Follow me on twitter

This is available to anyone entering in the world. The giveaway closes at midday GMT on Wednesday 17th November 2010.

UPDATED: Thanks to everyone who took my survey and read this post. There was only one entrant so that person automatically wins! : )

Friday, 29 October 2010

Felting heaven

This is my latest addition to my etsy shop. I managed to remember to pick up felting needles when I was out shopping recently. The first needle I had bought a few months ago had suddenly gone blunt and I hasn't realised. My new ones came in a pack of three so that should keep me going for a while. Apparently they go blunt quite quickly which is understandable with the amount of use they get when stabbing wool repeatedly...or perhaps I am just heavy handed?!

Either way I found some keychains I bought last year and finally thought of something to attach to them. I felted three balls from some pink wool roving and attached some sequins on with some (very useful) invisible thread. I love the look of felted balls...they are so soft yet so firm. I hope to progress with needle felting as I really love the feeling that you can mould the wool into any shape imaginable.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Pumpkin delight

Photo source

With Halloween at the weekend I thought I would round up some vegan/vegetarian recipes available for free on the web. I think my favourite has to be the sounds delicious but the other two vegan ones are very tempting. Unfortunately if you are a meat eater you will have to do your own google search - it's my way of gently admonishing the politest possible way of course. If you're not vegan or veggie why not try one of the recipes out, you may be surprised.

Vegan Pumpkin Soup from The Vegan Family

Vegan Pumpkin and Poppy Seed Muffins

Vegan Pumpkin Curry

Vegetarian Pumpkin Pie

Monday, 25 October 2010

Dark Horse

Yesterday I bought this lovely horse from cross stitch queen 'sewingseed' on etsy. I was in heaven when I came across her shop! Such funky animals and designs. I don't cross stitch as much as I used to but still indulge occasionally. You can also buy the actual designs made up. It's now in my top 10 favourite shops on etsy!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Cornish Organic Wool

My Cornish Organic Wool arrived from, you guessed it, Cornwall this week. It looked very pretty in its hank and I was very excited as I had never tried organic wool before. After I had done all the calculations I realised I was getting two of my normal knitting balls in one hank so didn't feel so bad about the price. I started to unwind it and roll it into one massive ball with someone to help me with their arms outstretched!

As I had just put some knitting down using my usual Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran the wool felt quite rough in comparison but I think it was because it had been hand dyed. Once I had started to knit with it it felt wonderful. It's very resilient wool and is just a different look to my Debbie Bliss yarn. It's also beautifully gradiated with different shades of purple throughout the wool. It does look quite different from the picture on their website but you always have to be flexible with small wool businesses and it didn't bother me as purple is my favourite colour.

Above all it's lovely to knit with wool which has been soil association accredited and it's a symbol I could put on the label of what I'm making so I'm happy.

You can look at the website here.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Nothing to fear but fear itself?

'Handmade Gift Tags - Wish Upon A Star' by "EdgeInspired" on etsy

Well...I promised to keep you updated on how things are going offline as I try and sell at craft shows while having a limited budget and jobhunting.

I had the second of my monthly meetings with my Prince's Trust mentor which brought mixed news. Firstly I was told my application for a grant had been successful and I was glad I hadn't had it returned to me for more information as a lot of them have to be apparently!

I had submitted some of my handmade items to a very well established traditional craft show who had offered me a reduced price stand but I was told my items wouldn't fit with the show. This didn't surprise me as I thought it was a tall order. I have only really been crafting for a couple of years and couldn't see myself retaining my confidence or selling really well alongside artists who have regional reputations and cash boxes to match.

But all is not lost and I am investigating more craft shows to sell at as this is a condition of my grant. I have to seal a deal with a craft show and buy all my materials as quickly as possible and get making so I can ask for the grant via a refund.

So here is the issue. Nerves. I've never sold before at a craft show and it feels so much more serious than selling online. After all, I never hear any catty comments when someone clicks on to my shop - just the hearts, which thankfully are increasing every day now (probably due to me becoming a member of two teams but hopefully not just because of this).

It's a big step. I've practiced what I would say in response to horrible comments and I know I won't be offended now if someone picks up some mittens and asks what they are...after all online customers can see my hand in them and offline customers can't.

Overall I think the grant will entice me and push me over the nerves. I will be able to order a huge injection of craft materials just at a time when I have taken a huge cut in my income. I hope you will see the benefits of this in the online shop too. There have been so many occasions when I have wanted to make an item in a few colours but the budget hasn't stretched and I haven't wanted to take the risk after not selling.

I'd love to hear any tips for my first ever craft show/fair : )

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Taunton Carnival

I had a great time at the Taunton carnival last night. There were many brilliant floats but this one stood out as the best one for me.

Carnival is a very traditional part of life in the south west of england. Some would say it's a bit tacky but I think it's gloriously kawaii!

Such cuteness and kitsch...

Here's the front of the float I loved with Geppetto's wonderful expression...

I also thought this float was brilliantly designed and the head on the jokers moved eerily : )

Friday, 15 October 2010

UK Wool Week: Cornish Organic Wool

Wow! This is the reason why I rummage in charity shops all week. I've treated myself to a lovely hank of this cornish organic wool to celebrate UK Wool Week. I was delighted to find such an array of beautiful colours whilst being soil association accredited. Julia has 20% off her range until Saturday 16th October. I don't think I've ever been so overjoyed to buy online - all my boxes ticked and a lovely package on its way to me in the post from Cornwall.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Beatrix Potter & Flowers

I went shopping in a charity shop this morning and found some lovely craft books hiding away at the back of the shop.

This journal is certainly something I wouldn't have had the money for ordinarily. It's a very pretty place to keep all your notes on your garden. I've just been allocated an allotment about a month ago and I was starting to see articles on gardening in magazines but didn't bother to tear them out so next time I see one it will go in here!

It even has a grid so you can enter your fruit and veg...

I also found a lovely cross stitch book for another pound...

I couldn't resist this one - all the flowers are kept simple and elegant without any additions you sometimes see...

All in all a good shopping trip and only £2 spent. Happiness : )

Happy bargain hunting!

Friday, 8 October 2010

UK & Irish sellers on Etsy

I've been a member of the european street team on etsy for a fair few months now so I thought it was about time I did a blog feature on some of their members. Today's theme is bags:

'Harris Tweed Tote - made in Scotland' by 'LifeCovers':

'Maeve hand knitted bag' by Scottish seller 'Bluebelldesign':

'iPhone 4/3G/iPod classic/Cellphone/Camera Cover Cozy' by Birmingham/UK-based 'pomella':

'Handmade whimsical Cats Mobile Phone Cover' by Irish seller 'PatchworkDelights':

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Free Cabled Hot Water Bottle Cosy Pattern

I've been checking out the free patterns on ravelry (ravelry account needed) lately for some lovely cosy winter knits. I stumbled across this gorgeous free pattern given away by 'Trampled by Geese Patterns.'

I've gone from hating cables and finding them really fiddly about 18 months ago to absolutely craving them. With the right colour and yarn they can be quite easy and simply stunning.


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Noodle the Elephant

I received a wonderful gift this morning from Irene Strange thanks to the giveaway on the UK Handmade blog. I'm amazed at how perfectly made Noodle the Elephant has such a neat shape. I've just started to learn some addition stitches to go with my basic single crochet but haven't progressed to shaping yet so it's very impressive.

I have just had a meeting with my Prince's Trust mentor who has given me a gentle push towards a weekend christmas craft fair. I have been on the go for two weeks constantly and have picked up a horrible cold but I am hoping to make a start on some beautiful wool I bought after making a couple of sales...all to prepare for the show : )

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