Monday, 19 December 2011

Merry christmas and thanks

Just wanted to say, while I remember and have the chance, many thanks for visiting my blog over the past year.  Special thanks for those who've taken the time to leave comments - most have been very lovely and supportive, and that's what's great about blogging.  The opportunity to find lots of like minded souls, get crafty ideas and have fun!

Hope everyone has a very merry christmas and a wonderful new year.  Hope 2012 is better than this year for everyone.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Handmade Monday: Christmas wreath

Looks like we won't be having our tree up this year as OH's refusing to get it out of the roof...too unsafe with a nearly one year old (boo hiss to the pantomime villain).  However, a few weeks ago he did produce lots of holly for me in case I wanted to make decorations.

So i decided to try and make a wreath.  The hardest part was finding a frame (we seemed to have no wire coathangers to use).  In hindsight I should have paid the extra and got hold of a moss-type frame, but instead eventually found a wire circular wreath frame.

As well as the holly (I used 24gauge craft wire to attach), I had some silver fir cones and coloured bells which I filled in some gaps.  Then hung it over the door using one of those brilliant hangers (discount shops rule!).  I'm really pleased with it for a first attempt...looks great from a distance, although there's a lot of gaps and wire showing up close.

I have to say I don't think I'll make another one in the future - shredded my hands far too much, and I'm not sure how long it will last.
Check out the other Handmade Monday posts here, the last until the new year.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Pearly queen

I am so loving pearls at the moment.  Any really...rice, potato, round, coin, but particularly the potato (especially when they're the little nuggety shape).  I also love the coldness when you first pick them up...proper ones obviously, and that applies to gemstones. It's a gorgeous thought to feel them getting warmer in your hands.

I've got quite a few different colours of pearls in my stash at the moment and that's the beauty of them.  You can mix and match to any outfit.  Classic off white or ivory, or rich chocolate, or funky peacock blue.  I love them all.

My favourite makes are simple single strand necklaces or bracelets, although I do fancy getting round to making an assymetric multistrand necklace.  I have to plan for that though as usually I only buy a strand at a time so would need to buy more than one to get hold of enough beads if I just wanted one colour/shape.  Although I do have a current bugbear - why are gemstone/pearl strands just that little bit too short to make a necklace?  Or do I just have a fat neck?!!!  Sometimes you just want to use a strand and restring it to make the most of the gems, but I never seem to have quite enough beads.  Grrr.

Anyway, here's a couple of my recent pearl makes.  I've glitzed them up a bit for Christmas because it's nice to have a bit of sparkle.
Ivory potato pearls & green/blue Swarovski crystals - necklace
Ivory rice pearls with crystal rondelles - bracelet
Blue potato pearls with blue lace agate tumble chips - necklace

I definitely think I'm a bit of a pearl convert...or maybe I'm just getting older.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas bazaar completed

Phew, the Christmas Bazaar was yesterday, and yet again was a good experience with lots of tips & ideas for the next one.  Realised that the organiser and myself had worked together at the NCT Nearly New sale (small world), and also recognised a few people on stalls as well.

I was pleased with my displays, although I do think maybe next time I'd not put so many things out.  Although I put price tags on items, there are a few (like earrings) which are harder unless you put them on earring holders. This time I put earrings on display stands in price rows, but think I'd put stickers on the displays so people wouldn't have to ask (and I wouldn't have to remember which was what price!).  Oh, and note to self, put up my banner!  Durr

I was quite surprised at what sold - I was expecting to sell similar items to those I'd sold at a school fete in the summer (afternoon event, in aid of local school/pre-school) ie earrings, memory wire bracelets etc, but no earrings went at all.  Yes, it was bracelets again that were more popular (relatively so, as didn't sell very much - thankfully stall was 10% of takings for fees, so I still made a profit after all the expenses/cost of items sold (quite a few other stall holders said they'd not done as well as most of their other fairs so I didn't feel quite so bad).  I had decided after the summer event that as it was kids there who liked the sparkly jewellery, but couldn't find items in their price bracket, that for anything where there'd be children, I would make some more child friendly items.  So my miracle bead elasticated bracelets at 2 were great.  They looked really amazing with their shine & 3D-ness against the black holder they were in, and people were definitely interested and drawn to them.  Obviously when they sell, as they're cheap I need to sell a lot compared to gemstone necklaces or the charm bracelets, but it does get people looking.

I'm relieved I made a profit, and I did enjoy it (although it was only 2 hours), but I do think there were a couple of things that went against it...too many jewellery sellers (although most were different, at a small event having 3 jewellery stalls plus another mixed stall which also sold jewellery was a bit too much for people to spread their money around).  The layout had stalls round the outside and then on the inside old style fayre games like tombola - people were going straight for the tombola opposite me to speak to the stall person they knew and spend 25p.  Maybe having more of a zig zag layout with fun game stalls at the end so people need to talk past the 'shop' stalls to get to them?

Oh, and the hardest one to change...people attending need to take cash with them and have a facility to get rid of their children!  So many people said they didn't have enough cash (although one lady made me laugh as she scrounged money off her husband to buy a bracelet off me, and then more money off her stepdad to pay for something on the next door stall!), but they advertised the bazaar as having Christmas gift buying opportunities; the sort of stalls going to a local pre-school bazaar I would alway presume would only take cash.  And children do inconvenience selling opportunities.

Note to self if I do any more local christmassy fayres next year - only do them in November, as they seem to go better than December ones according to several people I spoke to at on Sunday.  Makes sense as that's when people are planning more for Christmas, by December they're all spent out.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bazaar preparation

I've managed today to fit in some time to get really prepared for my stall on Sunday.  My display stands are ready to go, I've done a mock table set up, and have reordered all my jewellery.

I tend to use the takeaway type clear boxes & lids purchased from pound shops to split my jewellery into sections.  So, earrings dependent on price, my good for you bracelet range, gemstone necklaces, long necklaces, lariats, chain necklaces, memory wire bracelets, charm bracelets etc.  When I arrive, I can clearly see which jewellery type goes where and it's easy & quick to get everything set up and grouped together.

I've now just got to put price tags on my new pieces and get the earrings in order.  At the last fete I did, I made earring holders using business cards on make shift photo frames/ribbon stands, but this time I've got some proper display units, so I may actually put them on the stands and pack them up like that to take so it's quicker than doing it when I get there.  By having proper stands as well, it means I can price by display rather than having to write on each of the cards.  It should be clearer for customers to see what the prices are...I know I hate it when items aren't priced at fairs, so I want it to be clear for people rather than them being embarrassed to ask.

My stock list's been updated so I need to print that off ready to take - I remove the price tags as items sell, then I can mark off what's sold on my stock list.  Although this time I do have some cheaper items like my angel earrings and miracle bead bracelets aiming for teens who don't want to spend too much money; these are all priced the same so will need to find a way to note how many of those are sold so I make sure my admin's up to date afterwards.

Hopefully by tomorrow it'll all be ready and packed up, so there's not a last minute panic on Sunday morning.  The last thing will be to iron my tablecloths - they're a lovely pale blue colour, but annoyingly are cotton so crease really badly.  Hopefully if I iron them at the last minute and store on or near the aga, they won't get creased too quickly again until they're used.

Oh, and of course to sort out a float...mmm, that's always the thing I forget and I know I've got no change in my wallet.  That'll be a trip to town to sort that out.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Handmade Monday 45: Christmas gifts - personalised magnets

I've not really been up to many different crafts recently (just making lots of jewellery for next week), but when browsing on ebay for other craft supplies, I found packs of magnet cases at a bargain price.  I decided that I'd get some and use them to create some fridge magnets which I could then give to family for Christmas (and of course keep some for myself).

Luckily I managed to get some brilliant promotional offers from Snapfish at just the right time, so ordered a few wallet size prints, did some trimming once they arrived, and here are the magnets I made.  Perfect for grannies and one for us to keep.
Now, I just need to decide what I'm going to make with the other 7 that were in the pack.  I have some ideas, they just need a bit of sorting out on the sizing front (and getting my printer to work again).

Check out who's doing what on Handmade Monday this week over here.

Crimp Covers

Grrr, I hate them.

I want to make my jewellery look finished (although let's face it, crimp beads crimped properly look neat anyway), and so try and get on with crimp covers, but blimey they're a pain in the backside.

I'm almost finished a gorgeous pearl &blue lace agate chip necklace, finished it off with sterling silver findings, completed one end with a neat crimp cover, and then....failure on the other end!  5 times failure.  And then to top it off, I've chopped off the clasp by accident.  So I'm going to have to start again.  Waste of several sterling silver crimp covers and 2 crimp beads.  Expensive mistakes.

Think I may have to go up a crimp cover size - won't fit in the design as well, but if they're easier to keep hold of, then it's worth it.

Anyone else got any hints & tips, or alternative neat finishing?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Ooh gemstone beads

I love beads.  Just the thought of the colours and textures, different sizes and glittery nature of them just makes me smile.  Going into a bead shop, I'm like a child in a sweet shop which isn't great for the budget.  Just buying a few can really add up, especially if you don't buy to order and just like to browse and buy what you fancy (the latter being me!).

Near me there's very few, if any beadshops (my nearest one's over an hour round trip), so I have to make do with the internet.  That's fine, although it's always a shame when you get mixed up with the size of beads even though you think you've double checked what size you want to order.

The last couple of days I've ordered quite a few new gemstone beads as I wanted to try some other beads.  Here are most of the gorgeous strands...yummy
I've already got quite a few ideas of necklaces I want to make, I just don't really have the time to do it all.  Hopefully I'll get a couple made at least in the next week and then uploaded to the website if they don't sell at the bazaar.

I've also finished my raffle prize.  I was planning on putting in my Christmas wine charms, but have given them to a friend for Christmas, so decided that as it was a daytime bazaar and there may be children buying raffle tickets it might be more appropriate to have some jewellery.  So have done a sweetie style charm bracelet with a gorgeous Swarovski star on it.  Really simple, and not a bracelet base I'd usually use, but thought it should work for children, teens & adults alike.

Monday, 28 November 2011


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Trying to get ready for the removal of Google Friend Connect.  I think, blogger should be safe from it's removal, however my baby blog is on Wordpress, and therefore I need to find another method of keeping up with my non-blogger blogs I follow.

So I've decided to try Bloglovin'.  Hopefully it'll work, especially as I really hate Google Reader to read blogs in.  We'll see - I've got until March to get something else sorted out.

Handmade Monday 44: Squash cake & earrings

I've had some butternut squash left in the potato box for a while, so decided I needed to use it rather than feeding it to the pigs when it got a bit too late.  I saw a recipe for Orange Squash cake so decided to try that.

I love loaf cakes as they always turn out better than my round ones, and this was a no hassle cake.  No need to soft butter (always a pain for me), just vegetable oil, lots of grating.  Even the icing worked for once.
It was a bit of a bizarre taste (not as strong as carrot or courgette cake), but was obviously sweetened by the icing.  Worth doing to use up leftover veg, plus both baby and OH liked it so it wasn't going to go to waste.

I've also been making earrings - some to go with necklaces and bracelets, but also just some using findings rather than making a show of the beads only.  I love this swirly ones, but they're a nightmare to get the curls the same size and direction.
That's all for me this week.  Do go and check out who's been making what in handmade monday this week.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Gone sparkly

Not sure this year how many Christmassy do's I have compared to normal (where pre-baby I'd have had lots of dance events to wear lots of sparkly clothes to), but I want to have some sparkle especially considering I still can't get into my pre-pregnancy party clothes.

So I've made some crystal rondelle bracelets.  I love rondelles, and on a couple have added some stardust beads.  Hopefully will also have time to make some spares to put for sale in my Christmas section at the christmas bazaar I'm at.
I've also tried using more chain in my jewellery.  I like the look when I see it elsewhere, but when I then use it, I'm not often that convinced.  I made the below which reminds me of bunches of berries with the red's not a piece I'd wear but it gives me chance to practise my wire work.
Have also been trying to make (where I've got beads left over), earrings which match or complement any necklaces or bracelets I make.  I do get asked if I've got earrings to go with something, so by doing this more regularly, it means I can show them immediately when I'm asked, but then I've also got a nice big stash of earrings for other people to buy if they want.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Handmade Monday 43: angels and christmas

Have been getting back into my jewellery making (about time given I've only got 2 weeks until the Christmas bazaar I've got a stall at!).  Lots of pearly makes in various colours, getting the chain out for some slightly different necklaces rather than just beaded, and some wire earrings.

Made these wire spirals a while back from leftover wire and never got round to using them, but decide to put them on earring hooks for some really simple earrings
No idea why these have uploaded sideways when the original isn't!
I've also made some lovely christmas angels - for earrings and some larger ones for pendants or bag charms.  They're so cute, I'll definitely be wearing a pair for Christmas myself.  Hopefully they'll bring people in to the stall at the bazaar as they'll be a fairly cheap entry point compared to the bracelets & necklaces.  Have got them in aqua and lilac too - wonder if I could get larger wings and make them as tree decorations too.
Anyway, check out Handmade Monday for some other fabulous makes and updates.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Handmade Monday 41: purples & teals

I love the colours purple & teal.  I had a lovely necklace that someone bought for me that always got tangled up when I wore it, so decided I was going to take the beads and upcycle them combining them with other beads in my collection.  Here's the output.
I added potato pearls, a couple of teal & purple purples, the silver flower, coin and bead cages.  I made it so it's overhead and is in three sections of beads, which means it can be worn with each section at the bottom (or side) meaning it's like a three-way necklace.  Not sure I want to sell this one on so may keep it myself.

Have been quite productive over the last few days as well just building up some stock to replace sold items, so I'll have plenty available to sell at the Christmas bazaar in December.

That's it for me for Handmade Monday.  You can check out what everyone else has made here.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Checking out craft fairs

I never realised there were so many craft fairs and Christmas bazaars in and around my local area before I started selling my jewellery.  I'm astounded.  Two today, one in a week in my next village, one that I've been asked to do at a school in December, one in a couple of weeks in the town hall.  Wow, wish I'd realised before I went on maternity leave that there were all these opportunities and got organised earlier, because once I'm back at work next year, it'll just be so hard to leave my son with someone when he's been looked after by someone else all week.  Weekends will be the one time I'll be able to spend time with him.

Maybe I'll look out any evening ones as they'll be more practical if less frequent and probably less available.  It would also potentially be harder to get sorted practically post work and doing bath/bedtime for Nathaniel, but I would have to try and work something out.

Anyway, I went to one of the fairs today.  It was in a local village church and is a fairly established one.  There was a great atmosphere, although I didn't see anything that fitted for anyone I needed to buy for.  Plus, as you do more crafts it almost makes you think as you see some stalls...well, I could try that!

There were 2 jewellery stalls similar to my type of thing.  I was reassured to see that my prices are pretty much in line with the one who was selling for herself, whereas the other seller I though was selling a little cheap, although it was for local schools.   Even so, I hope she was given all the materials (or was very philanthropic) as the cost of materials wouldn't have been covered with the prices she was offering.

I think I'm on the right track with my displays as well.  Trying to make things vertical is hard - I'm wondering whether a metal tiered pan stand would work for earrings and may trawl the charity shops for some glass cake stands.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Decorations galore: Handmade Monday 40

I've finally got a bit excited and inspired to make some other types of Christmas decorations.  I've made them initially for our tree (hence the purple & silver theme), but am planning to upload them to my facebook page to make them available to order according to colour theme.

Firstly I made the icicle one - love this one as it's so simple but effective.  I've got some similar decorations already, so like the idea of this one fitting right in.  I may even make quite a few and hang them off a garland hanging above the fire place.
I've also made a 'wreath'.  I should have added a bow at the top, and the ribbon doesn't quite match, but this is really cute.  It's quite heavy, so I hope my tree branch won't wilt with it hanging off.
My third Christmassy sample were some wine charms.  I've wanted to make some of these for a while (planning on doing a couple of sets for gifts for friends) but have only just tracked down my charms and found some time to get a tray of supplies set out for easy and quick access & use.  I think I may use these as a raffle prize at a Christmas bazaar I have a table at...that's if I don't decide to keep them myself.
That's it from me today, although I am in the process of adding more new items to my website.  Do go and check out what everyone else has been up to in Handmade Monday.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Decoration inspiration

Was channel hopping (really should be crafting when my little one's napping) and came across yet more jewellery channels.  Got really excited about Christmas decorations, so now have got my supplies ready to go, coloured beads and crystals out, wire just need a couple of hours spare to make some exciting decorations.

I'll probably find I don't want to put them up for sale, but it's always good to have lots of Christmas decorations for my own tree.  Although it does get quite full, so maybe if I do other colour schemes, there'll be no excuse for keeping them for myself.

Hopefully this evening or tomorrow I'll find some time to make some, and take photos in time for handmade monday.

While I remember, I'm not sure if anyone's on the Supermum's Craft Fair page on Facebook.  There's a virtual craft fair happening on 2nd November, and I've got a few items up on there.  Hopefully it'll encourage people to look at my website as well as buying off facebook.  I missed the 'chaos' of the last one, so it'll be interesting to see what happening on this one.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


Well, I've finally made the leap to twitter.  Mmm, not so sure how I'll get on with it, especially as I've got one going on for Yarn Hill Crafts and then another for me & my baby blog, so hopefully I'll have no problems keeping the two separate.  Just need to get my phone sorted out so I can tweet on the go which will make life easier.

Do come and follow me (although it may take some time for me to get regular on there).

Monday, 17 October 2011

Handmade Monday 38: decopatch

I have been meaning for ages to try some decopatch, but haven't got round to it.  However, I had a secret santa gift to put together, saw a bangle idea in a magazine and decided that it would be a great gift to try and make.

I had some bangles that I never got round to wearing so sanded the surface slightly, added the glue and then the paper, a bit of varnish over the top and there we have it.  Tried a few different size bangles and 2 different japanese papers.  It's surprising how simple it is to do and how effective.
I'm definitely going to get some more papers and make some more of these.  I think they may do quite well as entry price gifts at fetes, especially school ones where often the children/teens don't want to pay lots of money for beaded jewellery.  I can do these in different sizes as well.

This is my handmade monday post for this week, so do go and check out the other blogs on here.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Listography - Top 5 key word searches on your blog

My first shot at the listography on Kate's blog is the top 5 key word searches on my blog.  Interesting, as my blog's only got a few followers and most come via facebook or from other blog hops.  So here are my all time top 5 key words:

1. earrings made from memory wire.  Mmm, well I've never made earrings from memory wire, so guess that it was rings that helped produce my blog.

2. Memory wire ring.  Yep, I've blogged once about a ring I made at a hen do workshop, so that'd make sense although it's not something that crops up regularly as I'll probably not bother with making another.

3. 6 loving charm.  Errr, no idea what this one could be, let alone why that would be typed into a search engine.  Maybe it was a typo?

4. and making some.  Again, hardly a key word to be typing in (would love to know what the rest of the sentence was...cake, jam, friends?)

5. black crimpable chain.  This one makes a bit more sense as crimpable chain's quite unusual and hard to come by.  I found mine at a bead fair, but I've found it hard to get hold of online, and as for black?  Never seen it.

So all in all, a bit random.  I think I'll check more frequently and try to tag or label more of my posts properly (I'm quite bad at doing it at all).  That way, maybe the search engines will make more sense in future when people search and hopefully my site will come up more frequently.

Try yours by going to: Stats - All time - Traffic Sources - and then scroll down (in blogger)

Discovering old jewellery pieces

Had a bit of a clear out recently of some boxes under the bed, and what did I find but some of the early pieces of jewellery I made.  Some of them were quite hopeless and not what I'd be willing to sell on to other people, but some of them were lovely and have inspired me to make some similar pieces in different colourways to add to my page.

So far I've not managed to make any more, but I've got some ideas and will be adding them once made to my website.

I love the cluster pendants like this one on the chain and on the choker.  They're so simple to wear and can dress up or down an outfit.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Handmade Monday 37: foodie and jewellery makes

It was my birthday last weekend, so lots of baking and cooking went on for a Jamie at Home party I hosted.  I found a mint choc chip cake recipe on Raspberri cupcake's blog, and as that's my second favourite ice cream flavour, decided to try it.  Always scary when you've got someone coming to the party who makes cakes for a business.  Was pretty pleased with it, but it was meant to be mint green and after the choc bits were added, the icing went a bit beigey!  It still tasted fabulous though.

I did nachos, home made sausage rolls, iced gingerbread 'cupcakes' and Nigella's trashy lime cheesecake which is my signature dessert that I know never fails.  The party was great fun, I bought lots of Jamie stuff (and got some great freebies), everyone loved the food and it was great to get my friends together.

I also managed to get some crafting in this week.  I saw circular rosettes in a magazine to add to vest/t-shirts customisation, but decided to add buttons to mine and a brooch back.  Not bad for a first attempt.  Am planning on making some simpler button & felt brooches to sell as cheaper options on my pamper evening stall in January and potentially on my facebook page too.
Anyway, that's enough from me today.  Check out handmade monday to see what everyone else has been up to.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Handmade Monday 36: Christmas decoration number 1

Missed handmade monday last week as I'd spent a lot of time sorting out my new website, so no time for any new craftings.  However, I'm back on the crafting again now.

This week, I've completed one of my day zero project tasks: make a Christmas decoration every year.  2011 is now complete, although I'm not sure whether it needs a drop/charm in the centre.

This reminds me of a gyroscope (?sp?).  Large beaded circle, with another smaller one inside which can move around.  My tree is themed purple & silver, so I've used gorgeous purple miracle beads and silver stardust beads.  It's got a coil loop at the top so will hang it off some organza ribbon I think.  Am pretty pleased with my first decoration, although have got a few more ideas for different craft techniques for my next ones to make.

Have also started on some makes for secret santas, and other ideas I've thought about, but need to get them finished before I upload them, so maybe next week.

Do check out the other crafters taking part in Handmade Monday here.

Friday, 30 September 2011

First marketing flyer = first pamper evening booked

Last weekend I helped out with our local NCT (National Childbirth Trust) nearly new sale.  It was great fun but exhausting (read more about it at my baby blog here).  As people leave the sale, they get given a goody bag full of leaflets on local services & products, as well as a couple of product samples.  This time I managed to get my flyers put in the bags.

It was a rush to get them done (and my website), but was really pleased with them in the end.  I used Vistaprint so they looked more professional, and they were gorgeous shiny postcards.  Not sure how many got handed out (there were 250 bags), but I've had one immediate response from someone asking me to do a stall at a pamper evening in January at a local school.

So hopefully people won't be feeling too poor straight after Christmas, but at least it'll give people opportunity to see my stuff and then remind them to visit my website.  Time to do a bit of research around some of my mum friends about what sort of items they'd wear & like to buy if they were at one.  For those of you who're jewellery makers, what do you find sells well at school fetes/dos?

Hopefully people will have kept hold of the flyer and not just thrown it in the bin...we'll see if there's any more feedback and from the stats on my website whether it was worth doing.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Website's now live

Yay, finally I've managed to get my website sorted and it's now live....scary, but exciting too.  Now I've just got to make a couple of tweaks I've realised that might be there and start marketing it a bit.

I'm also thinking that as it's so busy, once I've got a better idea of what people like/order, then I may provide more similar pieces just with different colour options then it may help streamline the website better.  I do wish i'd had more time to do it and test it all, but my deadline was tomorrow as I've got flyers going into goody bags at an NCT nearly new sale.  Hopefully I'll get some interest and maybe some jewellery parties booked.

The only thing is then I've got to find time to make more jewellery.

Anyway, do go and check out

Thursday, 22 September 2011

New website coming soon

So exciting...have finally got my website pretty much there.  Just a few more pictures to upload as had to redo all the pay buttons through paypal to be able to do one off designs.  Crikey it does take a lot of time.

In an ideal world I'd have had more time to spend researching web builders with more templates or places I could play around with, but as I wanted a free site and an easy one to set up, went with Weebly.   But I had a short deadline as flyers for my business are going in our local NCT nearly new sale goody bags on Saturday, which means the website needs to be up and running before tomorrow so I can get someone to test it out before putting it live.

Because of this work, it means non-existent crafting.  Lots of ideas, but no actual making...pretty poor considering I'm going to have to send my best friend a bought birthday card (well, unless I can quickly whip one up tomorrow or track down a homemade one that she's not already seen when she's been browsing through my cards stocks!).

Hopefully once the website goes live I'll have more time to actually make some new jewellery.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Last minute wedding necklace

We went to a wedding yesterday, and needless to say at the last minute we were running around sorting things out.  Of course, the OH hadn't unpacked his new tie, suit or made sure his shirt was ironed so I was trying to get that sorted out, plus getting our baby over to his babysitter with plenty of time left to get make up on and get dressed up myself.

Having said that, first thing that morning I remembered I needed to finish off my wedding outfit with a necklace, so was rooting through my supplies for some suitable beads.  I found some lovely peachy coloured potato pearls and had just enough to make a drop necklace.  Didn't quite have enough for some earrings unfortunately, but in the end it was all too much of a rush to get out of the house and I ended up going out in my boring gold studs I wear day to day.

Here's the necklace I made.  Really simple, but I'm a bit of a pearl fan at the moment as I just love the metallicy colours.

Anyway, it's Handmade Monday 33 today, so please also check out the other blogs taking part.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Day Zero Project

In my blog reading I've come across the Ground Zero Project on a couple of them (Love in the Nest being one). Basically, it's a list of 101 things you want to achieve over the next 1001 days.  It doesn't necessarily fit into my craft blog here (or my baby blog), but given several items are relevant I want to share here that I'm undertaking it, and will update on the most suitable blog my progress (or just update anyway!).

So, the list's now complete.  It took a lot longer than I thought it would - and I was reassured to find that I've actually done a lot of things that other people have on their lists.  Find it on my Day Zero project page.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Handmade Monday 32...where's the time gone for crafting

This week I was really struggling what to talk about for Handmade Monday.  I started my hardcore diet last week as need to lose my baby & post-baby weight before I go back to work in January.  This means I have to exercise first thing in the morning which is when I would usually have done my jewellery making before Nathaniel wakes up.  I've also have to remove the current jewellery projects from the floor in the living room where they're easy to just pick up as he's now rolling all over the place...too dangerous to keep within his reach.

So, not quite sure when I'm going to get organised enough to make some more jewellery.  This was my last make - I had these gorgeous semi-precious large beads, as well as the smaller cream ones and gold heijis.  They're some of my favourite colours to work with as they're just really earthy and natural, although they're not really a colour I would usually wear.  Still the necklace turned out well and I had enough left over to make the bracelet as well.
I definitely need to plan better my crafting time and make my supplies easier to access, especially as I have lots of things I want to make for Christmas.

Do you have any tips for quick & easy time saving tips to help shorten the time it takes to get the craft stuff set up?  Or how to baby proof an 'on the go' set up?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Handmade Monday 31: Getting prepared for Christmas

Ok, so it's early (and in fact, a lot earlier than I'd usually plan), but I want to do as handmade as possible this Christmas.  So that means starting now.

Have made a couple of lovely pretty beaded bookmarks for gifts (hopefully the recipients won't see this blog entry!).  These are the first ones I've tried but I'm really happy with them, and so am planning a couple of others for people I know who are partial to good books.

This week I've also been sorting out the photos of my baby that I had printed out.  They're all in an album...I was intending to scrapbook them, but there's so many and it would take too long to do one page let alone 60, that I've just put the photos in the album and have journalled, doodled and decorated around them.  It's not something I've really done before, but I'm enjoying it, and I can keep things quite simple.  I may add some different papers in, as well as some bits of stamping and embellishments, just do it post sticking in the photos. They're all photo cornered, so it's quite easy to scrapbook each once I've a bit more time.

Anyway, feel free to look back to Handmade Monday and see what everyone else has been up to.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Christening frame present

I think I referred to this crafty make a couple of posts ago, but the christening was today, so hopefully the presents have been opened by now and I can share my make.  It also fits in perfectly with Handmade Monday 30 timings.
I had the frame and decided to use her middle name Rose as a theme with the backing paper and name die cuts.  The fairy was perfect with the flower, and the buttons just finished it off after I'd coloured it in using my favourite promarkers (I just love the effect you can get on wings with the white through to blue tint using the blender - I'm rubbish at colouring in usually, but with promarkers they're failsafe).  A pretty border and the date of her christening around the scalloped circle, and it was finished.  I hope Peggy and her parents like it, and that she'll be able to put it in a keepsake box in years to come.

I'm having a bit of a handmade year really, and hoping that for Christmas I'll be making lots of people's presents rather than buying them...will help towards saving some money once my maternity pay finishes before going back to work, as well as being nice personalised gifts.

Anyway, that's me for handmade Monday, go and check out the link above to find more great blogs and crafters.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Exciting - new logo time

Finally, I've got round to creating my new logo.  I did a few trials on various 'free' logo creator websites, but then although they claim to be free, you end up unable to download your beautiful logo once it's been designed without paying.  So I resorted to powerpoint and Picnik.

I love Picnik.  It's a new discovery that I found on this blog and is a means of making your photos look flash without lots of photo editing software (which I always seem to locate on my laptop but then am either unable to use or it's only a trial/demo sample).  Well, it is photo editing made easy with lots of effects you can use.

So change a photo that I love (thankfully found one which showed beads rather than a whole piece which meant I didn't have to go and take lots of creative bead photos), add some text and 15 minutes later, I have a new logo that I'm pretty pleased with.  I now just need to make it fit lots of different size banners & shapes and it should work for lots of things on both the internet and flyers/business cards.

Unfortunately I should have done this prior to ordering lots of flyers and business cards, but at least I can use this in the future.
How did you design your logo?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Handmade Monday 29: hen party jewellery workshop

Bizarrely, the hen do I was on this Sunday morning (I couldn't make the rest of the weekend's events) was a crafty jewellery at Amy Surman's shop, which is where my jewellery making started (the hen & I did one of Amy's adult education classes together years ago).  I haven't been back there since their recent refit and it looks lovely.  Plus there were lots of gorgeous new beads.  Unfortunately (or thankfully due to my bank balance) I didn't really have time to have a proper look and buy.

The workshop was beads & wire...I was late due to a mix up on times, so I chose to make a memory wire bracelet as I knew I was running low on these in my stash.  I found a gorgeous midnight bead mix to use, and the below is the result.
I also made a memory wire ring as that's not something I've made worked out quite well, but I won't be making more as they're just too large for most people's fingers.
Anyway, please go and check out Handmade Monday and some of the other blogs on there.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Button project

I love buttons and came across Kitties Closet on Facebook which has a miriad of divine buttons (nothing like my boring button jar - all those boring black & white ones from clothing!).  Couldn't resist, so now have a gorgeous button stash to make some jewellery.

This was my first attempt.  I'm pretty pleased (and it got lots of complements from my friends I went to lunch with when wearing it) with it, although it's too attractive to my baby boy who kept grabbing it.  One to wear when I'm not with him I think.

Also, did some restringing for a friend - a couple of lovely costume jewellery necklaces, the one below I love the beads.  Really autumn-y.
May have a couple more friends needing items restringing, so that could be keeping me busy.

I also have been busy this week making a gorgeous gift...can't share it yet as she's not received it yet, but as soon as they've received it I'll share it with you.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Turquoise jelly charm bracelet

Was asked on my facebook page to make a charm bracelet with blue beads.  It was an urgent request, so dug out the blue bead bag, and found some gorgeous turquoise glass 'jelly' beads.  Perfect size and really unusual, put them with some silver and other blue beads, and ended up with a scrummy, extremely summery charm bracelet.
I'm always a bit nervous about making jewellery to order - it's quite personal, and it's hard to get your design ideas over correctly to the customer.  But I'm glad the customer really liked the picture, and hopefully it'll be with her tomorrow if Royal Mail play ball!

I really love it too, and now want to get back to making lots more stock ready for some Christmas jewellery parties, as well as doing some gifts for my family & friends for Christmas - some bookmarks and wine charms I think.  Unfortunately, while more crafting is lots of fun, and makes use of all the supplies I have (as well as bringing in a little extra cash and excitement of orders), it's not really a healthy hobby...sitting down in one place all the time, heavy concentration...shame it couldn't be combined with some kind of exercise at the same time especially as my early morning crafting opportunities mean it takes up my exercise time.  Not good for the diet and getting rid of the baby weight.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Handmade Monday 28: Stocking complete and bunting achievement

So we're on Handmade Monday 28, and I'm updating you on my son's Christmas stocking...yes I'm early with it, but wanted to get it done and out of the way so I can worry about everyone else's presents (his are bought and ready - just need to decide on a 1st birthday one for January now!).  Also, starting early meant lots of spare time if something went wrong.

I started with some online instructions, but needless to say took something from each and ended up doing my own thing (meant the lining initially got sewn on the wrong way so had to unpick and redo).  My mini sewing machine broke while I was making the bunting (see below), so I had to make it by hand.  I really enjoyed making it - hopefully Nathaniel will be really pleased to have his own handmade stocking when he's older and it'll become part of the Christmas tradition.

I'm really pleased with it.  Ok, so it's not the best finishing, and I have a lot of blank spaces on one side, but for a first go it's great.  And as it's lined, hopefully it'll last forever.

This weekend also saw my handmade bunting being used at the big family party.  I wish I'd had more time to use all the fabric I'd got as we could have done with a bit more of it, but it looked very professional and lots of people commented on it.  It'll also be helpful for future parties and hopefully Nathaniel's christening later in the year.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Stocking chaos on Handmade Monday

It's a handmade monday again, and am actually managing to take part for once.  It's been such a lovely day, we've been out at our usual mums & babies Monday catch ups, but I've managed to start making Nathaniel's Christmas stocking.  Yes, it's early, but I've got lots of other things to catch up on, plus if it goes wrong, there's plenty of time to redo it.

Mind you, it took a while to get organised and find the felt colour I wanted.  The plan is to do the burgundy red felt with some lining,  Then applique on some Christmas trees with some embroidery's been a long time since school when I did some embroidery, so I may be looking up some online support groups to give me some ideas & tips.  I'd also like to stitch on Nathaniel's name, but we'll see how much space I've got.

I do need to get hold of some Christmassy fabric (ideally with some trees or stockings on) to make a top cuff for it.  Our 2 local fabric stores are slightly lacking in funky fabric, so I've found some brilliant bundles on Emma's Fabric Studio, so may have to invest in a couple of fabrics.  I can always make some tree decorations if I have leftovers.

I'm hoping tomorrow to get making some jewellery as have sold 5 bracelets from my good for you range, so need to make some more stock ready in advance of my flyers potentially going into our local NCT nearly new sale goody much to do before then, but really hope I get some jewellery parties out of it.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

3D miracle beads

I've discovered miracle beads.  I can't even remember how I came by them, but in all the years I've been making jewellery, I've never come across them before.  Anyway, they're beautiful, and great for making simple bracelets with great shine & dimension.
I've used them for elasticated bracelets, and they're great for layering up or wearing singly.  Plus they're great for both adults and children.  I can't wait to make lots in different colours and wear them myself...the light purple-y silver colour is my favourite, but I love the mix of all the colours as well (let's face it, that bracelet will go with everything in a girls wardrobe!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

First Fete experience

Had my first fete on Saturday.  Luckily the weather held - warm & dry, but I think the showers forecast & the fact that this was the final fundraiser in the school calendar, meant that numbers were lower than expected...oh, and that it wasn't in the local paper 2 days before (they made a mistake and it went in a week early!).

There were 5 stalls (one didn't turn up), and they'd put us inside due to the forecast rain and grey clouds.  The tea & cake stall was in with us too, but even they were struggling to get rid of all the cakes an hour before the end.  There was another jewellery stall too - unexpected, but at least our jewellery was very different (although her displays put me to shame; she was obviously a professional stall holder).

I had a lot of interest, and people saying they'd come back, but I heard a lot of women saying to other people how their kids had spent all their money.  However I did manage to chat to lots and handed out my card, so hopefully they'll remember me and maybe pass on the card to friends as well.  I only made 13 sales, but actually compared to the others that wasn't bad (one stall didn't sell anything!), but did still make a profit after petrol and fees (which were 10% of sales to allow for the everyone doing well/badly together).

Things I learnt that I can take away for next time:

  1. Make sure you get the biggest table possible to spread everything out.  I only asked for one table (not sure I'd have filled two), but everything was a bit cramped.
  2. Somehow get some shelves to get more height...also find some ways of making displays wind proof in case of being outside.  Not sure my earring displays would have coped if we'd not been inside.
  3. Take some items suitable for children.  I tend to avoid this usually what with safety guidelines and sizing quandaries.  But it was a the girls who were drawn to the stall - but a lot of items they liked were just adult sizes (memory wire bracelets - do they even do smaller sizes of wire? - etc).
  4. Do my print outs of handouts to go in bags earlier...this time the printer was playing up and making everything wonky and pink, so couldn't use them.
  5. Put up my banner even if no-one else has one.

Hopefully next year the fete will be bigger & better, and also hoping to get some jewellery parties in, and possibly get at my local fete for Christmas too.  Was pretty enjoyable, and great to see what items people liked.  It also gave me lots more new ideas for making items - means I'm going to have to spend my profit on new, new expense.  Really want to use up my existing beads and sell more items before I buy more.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Praying for sun tomorrow

Tomorrow's my first fete, so after the horrendous showers of the past couple of days, I'm praying that the weather holds and we get some sun.  I've been assured that if it's wet, the stalls will be indoors, and I hope that's the case as I haven't planned for rain.

Everything's pretty much ready...I just need to print out my samples brochure, finish off some small cards, load up the car and I'm set.  Just hope it's busy and lots of people buy.  My next post will be some pictures showing my stall, and telling you how it goes.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

New jewellery style - plaits

Had a mad thought and decided to try plaiting some multistrand seed and bugle beads to make some pretty bracelets and necklaces.  Have lots of seed beads I rarely use, so can do lots of colourways.  Just need to get hold of some more multi hole clasps so I can make lots in different colours.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Been on a blog trawl

And have found the best blog...1st Unique Gifts. It's clean, tidy, and easy to navigate, with lots of pretty pictures and interesting topics. Plus, there's lots of new blogs to discover and click through to.

Not sure I'll ever be happy with the format of my blog (probably needs some help from someone who knows how to improve it from the technical side, as I've not been able to work this out on either Blogger or Wordpress with my other blogs), but at least I'm being more regular at posting now. Long may that continue.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Crimpable chain

I was rooting around in my supplies and dug out a reel of crimpable chain that I'd bought at The Bead Show last year. Ooh, something new to use. So got out the crystals and got making...made about 10 necklaces; some over the head with drop chains and some with box ends clasps.
They're really sparkly so would be perfect in the daytime dressed down with a plain black top, otherwise great for evenings.

Now just need to get hold of some more clasp ends and will make some more. It's nice to have something different to make in style.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Logo competition

Right...have been without a logo since starting my jewellery properly as a business, and as I'm pretty useless with graphics (or just a bit lazy). So, I'm going to do a competition, asking people to send in their logo ideas.

The rules:
Yarn Hill Crafts does include cards, although I'm concentrating on jewellery, so it needs to be a generic logo.
Jpegs of logo entries should be sent to by 7th July
I will create a shortlist of my favourite logos to my blog for people to vote on for a week. Winner will be the logo with the most votes by the 14th July.
The prize will be a jewellery piece up to a value of £7 from my facebook page, chosen by the winner.

So, get your virtual pens out and thinking caps on.

Getting set for the summer party stall

Am busy sorting out my price and stock list, and making displays for my stall at the summer party/fete in July. Really looking forward to it, but a little nervous as it's my first one, and will be leaving my baby for the afternoon, and having to set up all on my own etc. Hopefully there'll be lots of people and lots of customers and the rain will hold off.

So far, everything's pretty much organised...just need to make my earring stand, get a runner for the table, finalise details with the organiser in terms of what's already available, and then I'm in the middle of making my earring cards.

I've decided to use them from some business cards: really simple just pop holes in the, and folder over so they can both stand up and hang from my 'suitcase' display I'm going to make (if it works! Then I just add the stock code and price to the back and they're done.

I've also sorted everything into 'styles' and bead type boxes so they're all in order, easy to access. Just need to fit them all into one big box for easy transport. I've got lots of things to print out (most importantly my gemstone meaning labels for the new range.

Once I've practised and set up my display, I'll take some photos. Will help me remember and be more efficient for the day.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Colour wire Wednesday

I love using coloured wires with clear crystal beads. The wire shows the colour through beautifully and then I love to set them off with really sparkly Swarovski crystals. These are crackle beads - I need to get some more decent thick wire to use with the rest of my crystal beads. Below is pink and gold based.
Also used some gorgeous tropical 'fruity' beads to make a scrummy charm bracelet plus some earrings. Here's the bracelet.