Sunday, 30 September 2012

Handmade Monday No. 86

The weather has been appalling dog would not go out and appeared to be super glued to the floor, finally DH and I hauled him out, all the way round the village he looked so sorry for himself, never mind that we were getting equally wet and the more he dragged his paws the longer the walk took and the wetter we all became.

Never mind onto the crafting front, won some fantastic Charlie Chaplin fabric on ebay, supposedly for the school bags but as paid more than I normally do it may get used for other things and the first is a trio of wristlets with a vintage camera embroidered on one side.

Charlie Chaplin Wristlets

Mad Hatter Tea Cosy

I love Alice in Wonderland and had the idea of a linen tea cosy with the Mad Hatter and a 'Drink Me; label. As I tend to make in 3's (think this is something to do with gardening I blame Mr Titchmarsh, lol) 2 more to go but hopefully these would have been done and dusted by the time this post appears.

Have also bought a pretty 'Tea for One' set to use as props and my single cup of afternoon tea but what am I going to make for it? next week all may be revealed.

A local networking group open their online shop doors this week and what better way to network than to join in. Although in it's infancy feel that being local this is a good move, I attend my first meeting in Farnham of a new group on the 25th October, will let you know how I get on. Networking is a brilliant way to reach potential customers plus enjoy a business chat with in this case other women in business. 

We can all learn from each other and also help each other out, business is not about me, me, me but sharing what you know and learn with others. Groups are always stronger than an individual but sadly some business people never realise this,  some forget those that have helped them to greatness along the way. Remember those that have helped you and lend a helping hand to someone who is struggling.

Check out the other blogs at Handmade Harbour

 First prize for sulking!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

UK Handmade Week 4

An odd week as have not really done that much, a lot of prep work but no actual creativity. You know the thing planning then having to order and wait for things to arrive, did manage to list all my 'Glitter Girl' boards last weekend on ebay. Will be so good to start to see some space, this is all part of my decluttering programme, do I use it? will I ever use it? if the answer is no then on ebay it goes. Sad as some of my crafting items have been bought, put away and still in the original packaging. So new regime buy and make do not put away..... think we have all been there and got the t-shirt.

Did cut out and make a fabric flower, quite easy and attached a brooch bar to the back, can imagine a cluster of these all displayed in one of my cream wire vintage trays and in a funny way hoping will attract customers to the stall, buy a flower and maybe, just maybe a bit more. 

Think we all need bread and butter pieces another one of mine is handbag tissue holders, trying to match the tissues with the fabric from my stash, so Safari printed tissues in Safari print etc.

Don't forget the rules and regs of UK handmade Thursday boring I know but if we do this as a community benefits everyone:

1. Add your blog to the linky tool at the bottom of this post.
2. Make sure you link back to this blog in your blog and mention UK Handmade Thursday.
3. Visit the other bloggers, read and comment on their posts.
4. Posts should be craft related
5. Follow the blogs within the link party.

Not much more from me this week as said been a week of dreaming.

 Chief of operations

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Handmade Monday No. 85

Another week ever closer to Christmas and oh boy has it got cold. Now I am normally very, very hot as my thermostat does not work properly but been freezing this week and I know the dreaded heating had to come on, refused to put higher than 15 though tight wad that I am would rather have waited until October but when you end up wrapped in quilts to watch tv not a good look.

Makes for this week well sort of, some where made a while ago and had to wait until the gift had been opened:

A gift for a relative who is a Leicester fan, thought the stacked foxes were appropriate

Card for the same relative

plus another card for a second cousin on DH's side

Business Tote for myself

A project that I have been meaning to do for some time but never got around to. However I have joined a women's networking group called 'Fabulous Women' and my first meeting is on October 9th, so thought better get stitching. Has an internal pocket to hold my business postcards and mobile phone with a large lobster clasp to keep my keys handy, saves scrabbling for them at the bottom of the bag.

The Jeanne d'Arc Living Magazine

Saw this publication on a US site, as you do then found a supplier in the UK, Betty and Violets in Newbury not far from me a town I had to frequent when working in a corporate company years ago. My finger itched to add to the shopping cart, should I, shouldn't I and I did!!! Arrived Saturday and was very good did not peek until I could sit with a cup of tea in the garden room with peace and quite and indulge.

This is a fantastic, well written and above all inspirational magazine from Denmark in the Nordic-French styling. What could be more perfect satisfying my 2 style loves of Scandinavia and Paris. This is issue 8 where have I been to have missed the first 7 issues?

Check out the Jeanne'd'Arc and Betty and Violet websites for more information the latter being a website after my own heart, well done Ali.

Don't forget to visit the other blogs joining in Handmade Monday and try to comment on each blog as we all love to read your comments and always appreciated.

Why don't the butterflies on Mum and Dad's quilt fly?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

UK Handmade Week 3

It is that time again to link up our blogs, visit read and comment on those taking part. Hate to say this but notice a few who took part last week did not comment on blogs. This is a friendly jog that to visit and comment is the whole point of a link party. I value every comment made and am sure others do as well, missed some of you from the first week and would love to see your comments again but a big thank you for those that did leave me some lovely words.

1. Add your blog to the linky tool at the bottom of this post.
2. Make sure you link back to this blog in your blog and mention UK Handmade Thursday.
3. Visit the other bloggers, read and comment on their posts.
4. Posts should be craft related
5. Follow the blogs within the link party.

Last week was oober busy for me as my Monday blog can testify, then it went downhill and not as much done as would have liked but I did finish a kaftan for myself

plus the mitten and stocking decorations that had been hanging about

They did originally have picture charms on but found that the glaze I was using made the ink run, so ended up with a fuzzy blur not a good look. Quite happy minus the pic's. My Christmas decorations and stockings are going to be just white and cream this year with a hint of glitter, elegant and timeless.

Still not done anymore on my 'Decluttering' list started off well and that got a bit boring as would rather be creating, however, on the plus side all my projects are up to date, no backlog and can now start with the new regime of design, order and make. Do you believe me? lol.

Please visit and the other blogs in the linky shown below, some wonderful creations and tales each week.

Causing trouble....

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Handmade Monday No. 84

Another week has gone in a puff of smoke and ever nearer Christmas and my first show of the year 4th November. Got into a panic as realised under 2 months away now and still need to do the dressing for my stall with the company name embroidered across the front, set up a trial run and photograph so I know where I am putting everything. Anyone would think this is my first fair but no this is the first of my new/old display. New because new drapes, old because this was how I used to dress the stall when I had the business originally in the 80's/90's until life, ie read work got in the way.

Back to this week, have spent this week clearing up and finishing projects part completed, the excuse had to order and wait for bit s and bobs, well that was my excuse the truth? got the accessories then proceeded to procrastinate and do new things instead of concentrating on what I should have been doing. So completed tasks:

Stars and Stripes

Five school bags

Two wash bags with Hollywood design and a gold star

Two tote bags with ditto of design as above

Another pink dreams bottle

Ten lavender bags for an old school friends Dad who grows and dries his own lavender, bought from the pannier market before but thought I would like the order:

Exhausted now so off for a lie down and to check out the other blogs at Handmade Harbour

If a member of UK Handmade the Thursday blogging day is hosted on this blog why not join in


Chief of Biccie treats

Friday, 14 September 2012

National Women's Friendship Day 15th September

Today is National Women's Friendship Day a day to pay tribute to those women that inspire you or go that extra mile. They can be well known or not so much, friends or a family member, women from history.

An Inspiring Woman

I have an online friend Kim,  who I email back and forwards and phone chats. I want to use this day as a special tribute to her. She is going through a tough time as her Mum & Dad are very poorly but she is always at the end of the phone or email with words of encouragement for me when I falter. She listens to my woes and helps with words of wisdom. A true friend and one to hold onto. She runs her own business and is currently looking for premises with workshop facilities. Her work is second to none and I know she will be a success, I hope this goes some way to let her know she is loved and thought of every day and on this special day thank you for being a special friend. Check out Kim's work at: Apple Crafts

My Mum

I lost my Mum in July 2006 at age 90 (I was a late baby) she had Alzhemiers which as everyone who has been through this knows it is not called 'The Long Goodbye' for nothing. A cruel disease with as yet no known cure. My Mum was a very independent and capable woman, a teacher, book keeper for my Dad's building firm, ensuring his workforce were paid correctly and on time. Mum inspired me throughout my life with her to reach for my dreams. Picking up the pieces when I failed or things went bad, unpicking items I had attempted to make which went wrong, coming to craft fairs with me and sitting for hours on a good sales day and bad. I know I never told her enough what she meant to me as often or as well as I should of and hope that she knew I loved her.
A picture before the troubles doing what she loved on the yacht at Chichester Harbour.

We where all young once and had dreams and aspirations, found an old black and white photo, a bit dog eared, my Mum with her Brother my Uncle about to go to the tennis club, this dates from about 1934 -6. Hard when I look at this to believe my Mum has gone and I miss her every day.

RIP Mum with the Angels and we will meet again.

Other women who inspire me Mayo Angelou & Cheryl Richardson

Inspirational women can be found all around us, do not have to be famous can be the neighbour next door. All women have dreams and hopes for their lives, some never succeed but that drive and passion never goes away how ever old we get, please join me and raise a toast to women and acknowledge how wonderful we all are.

I do hope you join in with this tribute to special women in your lives

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

UK Handmade Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of the UK Handmade blog hop, rules and regs below:

1. Add your blog to the linky tool at the bottom of this post.
2. Make sure you link back to this blog in your blog and mention UK Handmade Thursday.
3. Visit the other bloggers, read and comment on their posts.
4. Posts should be craft related
5. Follow the blogs within the link party.

Blogging is invaluable for any business, whether you visit and comment on blogs, join linky parties or just blog on a regular basis.  As posting for UK Handmade is new I thought it would be good if we got to know each other better so the first guest is Allison Hazel. Thank you for being our 1st guest blogger Allison now let's settle down with a cup of coffee, a biscuit or 2 and enjoy reading all about you:

My name is Allison, I'm 43 and I live in Harlow, Essex with my partner Simon and my gorgeous labradoodle called Henry. I'm a primary teacher and in my spare time I love making cards but I also enjoy making bookmarks and tags. Sometimes I just like to chill in front of the telly doing cross stitch.

I've been making cards for a number of years and initially made them for family members, friends and colleagues. About a year ago I decided to try and sell to a wider market so I had a stall at a local Christmas bazaar and then another at a big arts and crafts Christmas fayre. I really enjoyed both and had some lovely feedback which in turn, spurred me on to open a Folksy shop (

When I was growing up, I used to sit and watch my mum knit and crochet. She also used to make all of me and my sisters clothes (we were often dressed identically!) and I vividly remember her laying out material on the living room floor, attaching paper patterns, cutting them out and assembling them on the sewing machine. She was never idle and I guess she was my main inspiration for crafting in general. I can't knit or crochet (much to my mums despair) but I do follow her in always having something to do.

We are very lucky in that we had an extension added to the back of our house. This is our office. Desks run all along the back wall and along part of each side wall (imagine a u  shape). My partner and I are able to sit side by side working at our computers. I then have space along the side where I do my crafting and have lots of cupboards for storing my crafty stash. Mind you, if I don't stop soon, we will need another extension to fit it all in! When I'm making my cards, I often look on the internet for inspiration and may see card layouts that I like. I particularly like Splitcoast Stampers for that. I also enter a lot of card challenges. This keeps the ideas flowing and card sketch challenges particularly help with card designs. 

I promote my business through a few different mediums. As mentioned before, I have a Folksy shop. I also have a facebook page ( and you can find me on twitter ( I also have a blog ( Although I've been doing this about a year, I still consider myself a new business and am constantly looking for ways to promote my cards. 

I love sitting at my desk making cards or playing with paper, but I hate not having enough time or energy to do it whenever I want. I guess my ideal for the future would be to give up work and craft full time, but I'm under no illusion that this is most likely a pipe dream. Unfortunately, selling cards does not bring in much money.

My advice to other card makers would be to stick at it. There is a lot of competition out there, so promote, promote, promote. Look at other card makers shops, see what is 'on trend' and use look to have a guide for pricing. You don't want to over price but you also don't want to under sell your cards either. You'll never make a profit.

So that's me, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

Thank you Allison I really enjoyed reading about you and your business.


Chief of fabric bits

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Handmade Monday No. 83

Another week and hasn't it been a good one weather wise, a bit nippy in the mornings but good walking weather. 6.30 in the morning meeting up with dawgie friends, Shiloh has had a tail of a time.

Been crafting this week but unable to show my creations as for Birthday and Christmas gifts, they will appear when we pass the giving date. Made to date:

3 Birthday Gifts
3 Birthday cards
2 Christmas Gifts

I sponsored the Summer Show on Craft Forum last month the 'Animal' section. The winner was Claire Manwani Pottery. Claire is famous for her fun puddy cat dishes:

As a prize for winning had planned to send her a iphone pouch but then  thought no change direction slightly and made her a tote bag for her business:

I know the cat is not exactly the same but hope it represents the stripey dishes.

There were some wonderful entries and such a good idea of Karen's.

Check out my blogpost here for more Stripey Cats on stripey fabric

Next Saturday is National Women's Friendship Day, I will be doing a tribute to 2 women who have been and one who is still in my life that inspire me to be who I am, if anyone would like to join in, does not affect Handmade Monday please join the link which will go live 12.01am Saturday morning and close Midnight the same day. This will not be craft related but a chance to let others know who inspires you plus to thank those that are there for you throughout the year.

Want to be a guest poster check out Jill's blog at Christmas Pie Crafts, Jill very kindly has been doing a guest post every Friday for 7 months now and well worth joining in.

A member of UK Handmade? we now have blogging Thursday linky party, only 4 of us last week but have more signed up, from little acorns etc. Details on my blog.

Check out the other blogs at Handmade Harbour

Chief of scrappy bits

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

UK Handmade Blogging Thursday Week 1

Hello and welcome to the first UK Handmade Link Party and hoping many more to come. 

The idea is to blog every Thursday making the day UK Handmade Blogging Thursday, the posts can be about anything craft related, pictures of what you have made, work in progress, pictures of events you have attended at the weekend etc. A few rules as follows:

1. Add your blog to the linky tool at the bottom of this post.
2. Make sure you link back to this blog in your blog and mention UK Handmade Thursday.
3. Visit the other bloggers, read and comment on their posts.
4. Posts should be craft related
5. Follow the blogs within the link party.

Any blogger not complying with the above will be deleted from the linky.  This may seem harsh but all too often linky parties benefit one blog and that is the host blog, I think this is unfair and should benefit everyone taking part. Joining together to form a craft co-operative.

Now onto the fun bit I make laundry bags for the boarders of a local girls school, the normally order about 60 at a time and I hate production line sewing, so the plan is to make as I source fabric to build up a stock. Does not always work out that way but I do try. Sourced some fabric off ebay last week and got 2 out of this length.

I have to cater for a wide variety of tastes and this pair may seem a bit odd colouring for girl's but you would be surprised, not all are girly girl's.

Not one to waste the offcuts, my new regime is to make up for stock to not store offcuts which end up resembling a mountain of fabric on the sewing room shelves.

Tote Bags times 2

Wash Bag

I got the design of the stripey cats from a designer in the US and thought stripes on stripes with a touch of humour. The picture of the claw marks does make me think of nails on blackboards but am trying to be grown up about this. All this fabric design used up and no waste.

Please visit the blogs in the linky below and hope this is the first Thursday blog hop of many


Chief helper of fabric bits