Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Bags! Bags! Bags!

“Every girl needs a bag (or ten) in her wardrobe and a handmade bag is the perfect present to give at any time of the year.  You can’t beat the pleasure from owning a truly unique bag ...” (Lisa Lam, p.8 The Bag Making Bible)
I love making bags.  I’m truly addicted.  In my Folksy shop you will find all kinds of handcrafted bags:  bags with bows, flaps, or appliqué.  Bags made of silk, vintage fabric, or recycled fabric.  Bags that are made with lace or adorned with lace (there are lots of those!)  There are floral totes, patchwork bags and embroidered bags, so I am sure you will find one you like!

Here is a small selection of bags available to purchase: (Click on the photo and it is a direct link to my shop.)

Terra Handbag

Minerva Handbag
Naomi Handbag
Calypso Tote

Dulcie Handbag
Ursula Handbag

Why do I make bags?
I love fabric.  I’m truly addicted to purchasing it.  I love the feel of it in my hands, the colours, the patterns and most of all the potential.  I feel like a wizard when I can manipulate a piece of fabric and create something very beautiful from it.  I love using my sewing machine.  I get a real kick from hearing it whirring away, busily sewing fabric together, and I feel like we are an important team working on joint projects!  I also love hand stitching too.  I find it very relaxing.  I can sit back with fabric, needle and threads to hand and just enjoy the simple pleasure of stitching.
It saddens me that people aren’t buying my bags – they don’t love them as much as I do and feel that they want to own them.  So my challenge to you is with forthcoming New Year around the corner, I want you to make a New Year resolution:
“In 2012, I will buy one of Edwina’s bags!  Repeat: In 2012, I will buy one of Edwina’s bags!”
All my bags are all truly unique and handcrafted by little old me.  I feel like I put a little piece of me in each bag so do buy, do value it and don’t for get to show it off to your friends, so they will want to buy one too!
Wishing you all a stupendous and prosperous 2012!
PS.  This bag is on special offer all this month.  From 1.12.2012 it will revert back to its normal price so grab a bargain whilst you can!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

In Memoriam

Christmas means...

Presents wrapped so carefully,

Tree lights shining bright,

Excited children’s faces,

The sound of carols in the night-

It is a time for celebrating, a time for feasting, a time for laughter and a time for giving...

But Christmas can also be a sad time for those who have lost loved ones too... There is the family of the daughter, whose tragic story has featured in the news this year.  This Christmas will be very difficult for them.  It will be difficult for wives and partners who have lost husbands and lovers. It will be difficult for children who have lost fathers, mothers, brothers or sisters.  It will be difficult for husbands or partners who have lost their wives or lovers...

I lost my lovely Mum a year ago last October.  She was a courageous, stoical woman with a dry sense of humour.  I miss her loads still.  Grief is painful, but after a while the pain gets better but the reality of the loss still remains.  Memories remain of the dearly loved person.

This Christmas I was prompted to do something in memory of my Mum.  I packaged together some of my handcrafted items, a key ring, a bookmark, a silk lavender sachet, a small heart cushion and a Christmas card.  I then passed them on to my Mother’s minister, who is going to distribute them to elderly single women, perhaps those who have lost their partner, or do not have much family, or who find Christmas difficult.

It is spreading my bit of Christmas spirit...  I do hope they like the small gifts.

This last week I have had a bit of a listing frenzy, stocking up my shop on Folksy after the lovely sales that I have had.  Here are a few of the items that are now stocked in my shop...  Please click on the picture and it will take you directly to the item in the shop.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best wishes


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Craft Fairs – what I love and what I hate!

Things I hate:
  • Getting up at the crack of dawn
  • On frosty mornings having to defrost the car!
  • Driving 20 or 30 miles to the unknown venue
  • Driving on the motorway when there are road works and you are already running late!
  • Taking a wrong turning during the drive – and that’s even when I’m using my Sat Nav!
  • Remembering during the drive all the things you have forgotten to bring!
  • The performance of loading the car, unloading the car, setting up...etc.
  • Fairs that haven’t been very well advertised and the result is very few visitors!
  • Visitors who examine your stall quite closely, make rapturous comments but then walk away without purchasing a single item!
  • That feeling driving home when you feel it was a waste of time and wonder if craft fairs are worth the hassle!
A6 Covered Notebook
Bridget Handbag
Aphrodite Handbag

These are a few of the items I SOLD at a recent Craft Fair:
    A6 Covered notebook – I have another in my shop and will be listing more soon
    Two Handbags:
    Aphrodite – I have told a story about this bag in a previous post.  So nice to know it has gone to a good home!
    Bridget – this was a surprise but the person loved it!
Things I Love:
  • The feeling of anticipation whilst you are planning and making items beforehand – “this could be the one!”**
  • When you wake up on the day and the sun is shining (always a good sign – you think!)
  • Driving on the motorway when the traffic is light and you make good time!
  • Feeling smug because you have remembered to bring everything this time (including the float!)
  • Arriving at the venue and being greeted by warm and friendly fellow crafters!
  • Finishing setting up the stall well before the start time and everything looks beautiful.
  • Selling an item to a fellow stallholder BEFORE the fair starts!
  • Looking around the other stalls and seeing what amazing and gorgeous things the other crafters have made and are selling – FAB!
  • Customers who make lovely comments and purchase something!
  • Talking and chatting to fellow crafters whilst waiting for the absent customers!
  • Packing up early when you have made the table fee and a reasonable profit so you are going home happy... and
  • Whilst packing up a fellow stallholder comes up and wants to buy an item they were looking at earlier!
  • The sense of achievement.
Finally, I had the most amazing feedback from a customer to my Folksy shop this week and must share it:

Received my notebook today very quick service and it is even more gorgeous than it looked in the picture , beautifully packaged too , i just love this shop :)

Listings this week included the following:

A5 Vintage Lace Covered Journal

Phoebe handbag

Silk and Lace Purse

Enodia handbag

Silk and Lace Purse
Maia Handbag
Maia handbag
A5 vintage lace journal
Enodia handbag
Phoebe handbag
Two silk and lace purses
Please visit my Folksy shop and purchase something for yourself or for someone for Christmas!
 BFN Edwina

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Beautiful Butterflies


Red Brick Glass
I like butterflies because they are delicate, beautiful, not at all scary like some flying insects... colourful, fragile, ephemeral, but most of all they are inspiring!

Did you know that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 species of butterflies worldwide?  That seems such an incredible figure, it is hard to imagine!

Did you know that artistic depictions of butterflies have been used in many cultures including Egyptian hieroglyphs 3500 years ago?
Encaustic Art

The reason I decided to write about butterflies is because culturally, butterflies are a very popular motif in the visual and literary arts.  They inspire all of us. As you can see from the photos on this post, they continue to so so in our arts and crafts work:
Black Cats Whiskers


Sian Bostwick jewellery
Have you ever been to a Butterfly farm?  It is a lovely experience.  I visited Stratford-Upon-Avon Butterfly farm a few years ago.  It is so amazing to be surrounded by butterflies of all different sizes and colours!

I think it is great that butterflies are widely used in various objects of art and jewellery: mounted in frames, embedded in resin, displayed in bottles, laminated in paper, drawn, sewn and used in mixed media artworks and furnishings.  They seem to deserve this honour, somehow.

In Ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means "soul", "mind".
In Chinese culture two butterflies flying together are a symbol of love. And in some old cultures, butterflies also symbolize rebirth into a new life after being inside a cocoon for a period of time.
Dab and a dash
I could have included even more examples of butterflies from the lovely creative folk at Folksy, but this is a first for me and it has taken ages and ages to put this post together.  I think I was a bit ambitious to try this so early in my blogging career!!

What I would like to do now is offer you something really special.  I am giving away a free pack of four Patchwork Christmas cards.  All you have to do is join as a follower if you aren't already, and leave a comment, and the person to receive the Christmas cards will be chosen by some random method!
Patchwork Xmas Cards
Another thing you must do is checkout the butterflies in my Folksy shop.  There is one at the moment, but I will be listing another during the coming week!
Careford Creations
I am sure butterflies will continue to inspire us as they have done for thousands of years, so let's all carry on the good work!

BFN Edwina

P.S.  Don't forget to leave a comment.  You could be the winner of these lovely Christmas cards!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

What’s important to you?

Hello everyone

Whilst I was thinking about what to write, I remembered something that I had made a decision on recently.  It was a kind of “What if...?” situation.  The scenario was that I had been given a warning that the building where I was living was about to explode.  All the key people and animals in my life were safe.  I had five minutes to rescue three items from the building that were important to me.  What would they be?

After careful thought, I decided it would be the following:

1.    My box of antique lace.

2.    My laptop (not in itself valuable), but everything that is stored in it!

3.    A gold ring that belonged to my mother.

As a result of the impending explosion I would lose all my stock of beautiful handcrafted items that I have made, my huge stash of fabric, lace, buttons, ribbons, vintage braid, my sewing machine, all my essential supplies and equipment, books, artworks, canvases and art supplies etc.!!!  It would be my whole life wiped away in a few seconds! 
My only option would be, starting from scratch, I would need to rebuild everything I have lost.  However, the items I rescued, because they are irreplaceable, this is the reason why I chose them.

What three items would you rescue?

Over this past week I have listed a selection of new items in my Folksy shop:  They include this beautiful framed textile picture that I created of a Pierrot:

I have also listed some new bags:

And finally I listed this very beautiful patchwork silk purse that would make an ideal gift and will hold a selection of cosmetics as the photo shows:
I am so glad that I have not, and I hope never have to face the real-life scenario I described at the beginning of this blog.  I so enjoy my crafting and the making beautiful things, that the loss of all my stock and materials would be catastrophic.  I have been busy making some more gorgeous items this week to put in my shop and I shall be listing them over the next week, so do take time to drop in for a browse.  You never know what you might find!
BFN Edwina

Saturday, 19 November 2011

I am a maker, not a seller!

I have a huge respect for anyone who makes their livelihood “selling”.  From market stall traders, sales reps, even shop assistants, and anyone else who goes out every day of their working life and SELLS, SELLS, SELLS!

 It doesn’t come to me naturally, I am not even a chatty person, and I would go as far to say, “I hate selling!”

I am a maker.  When I started crafting, after borrowing my sister’s sewing machine (I now have one of my own!) and teaching myself how to use it, I realised that I needed something to make!  What was it going to be?  It was a bag, and then another, and very soon I became hooked!

These two early bags are so special that I have never sold them, but no one would be interested in buying them!  However, my next couple of bags did sell.

When a bag sells, I do mourn its loss for a while.  I feel that a piece of me has gone with it.  I spent time and effort and lots of creative energy in making the bags, so I guess that is reasonably normal!  It’s an uncomfortable feeling mixed with pleasure! The fact that the bag is giving someone else pleasure always gives me that buzz!

After a while, and lots of sewing and creating, I began to realise that I was accumulating quite a few bags and thus a storage problem.  I needed to sell them to recoup some of my expenditure, and also I thought it would be nice if I could find the bags a lovely home, appreciated and valued by a potential buyer. 

I tried Ebay briefly and my first bag to sell was this:

The woman who purchased the denim tote bag was very appreciative.  In fact, quite a while later she emailed me to say that she took the bag to a Women’s Institute event, and the bag was much admired and people were impressed by the sewing etc.  High praise indeed for a self-taught machinist who only learnt in recent years!  I was quite chuffed!

Being a maker of bags, (I have also branched out to other items,) is a very satisfying occupation.  I get to choose the design, the materials, when and how to do it and I simply love what I do.  In my self-made collection, my current tally of bags alone is in the region of FORTY plus without the purses and other items!  It was time to explore other avenues so that is why I joined Folksy, and opened my little shop “Handmade by Edwina”.  I opened it, little knowing that I would also be expected to promote my bags – my worst nightmare had come true “selling”!  I was expected to promote the items in my shop, to be active on the forums and to list frequently – the only way to sell.  But, as I said before I am a maker, not a seller.

I have the greatest respect for all those folksy sellers who run busy households, and/or hold down a full-time job.  How do they get time to do their creating AND promoting of their shop?  I feel my time is now compromised.  All I want to do is create, but now it is much harder to find the time, especially if I also do craft fairs, which always need a lot of preparation. RANT OVER!

This next bag was one of my earlier bags that I made.  It has always had a lot of interest shown in it but no one has dared to buy it.  Why not?  This bag is available to purchase in my folksy shop.  Would someone please tell me what is wrong with my bags that no-one wants to own them?  I DARE YOU TO BUY ONE TODAY!
You won’t be disappointed, I promise!  Please visit my shop:


BFN, Edwina

Monday, 14 November 2011

What’s in a Name?

My name is Edwina.  I am the first child of my parents, and I think they were hoping for a boy!  I was named after my father – Edwin, which was a popular name during the early part of the 20th century. (Oops, got to be careful here, otherwise I might give away my age!)  Edwin comes from the Old English, meaning ‘rich’ or ‘happy’ and wine ‘friend’.  That’s not a bad association to have in a name!  Edwina, of course is the feminine form of Edwin.  In my lifetime it has not been a common name.  I have known a few, and of course, there are a few famous ones.  (Who doesn’t remember Edwina Currie!?)

I always liked the idea of having a name that was different.  It made me feel special.  When I opened my Folksy shop and came to the point of listing my bags, I had never previous given them names, but only brief descriptions to differentiate between them.  Suddenly, I was inspired to give them all names, not just any old name, but names that were associated with beautiful, significant or powerful women.  Take Aurora for example:

In Roman mythology, Aurora is the goddess of the dawn; she renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun.  I just really liked the idea of naming my bags after Goddesses.  To me, all my bags are special and giving them special names seemed somehow fitting.  Don’t you think Aurora suits this extraordinary bag?

Fauna is a goddess in ancient Roman religion, said in differing ancient sources to be the wife, sister, or daughter of Faunus.  Fauna's name derived from faveo, favere, "to favor, nurture," "because she nurtures all that is useful to living creatures”.  A beautiful bag deserves a lovely name.
I figured that the women who bought my bags would get a kick out of owning a bag that had such a strong association with mythology, beauty and interesting women.  Perhaps it would rub off!
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Lucina was the goddess of childbirth. She safeguarded the lives of women in labour.  Lucina was chief among a number of deities who influenced or guided every aspect of birth and child development.  Wow! How cool is that?  And this is the bag I named after her:

To be fair, not all my bags are named after Roman or Greek Goddesses.  I also chose names because I liked them.  Zara, may be a name from Arabic, meaning ‘eastern splendour’, or it may simply be a variant of Sarah.  Sarah comes from the Hebrew, meaning ‘Princess’, so some lovely associations here!  It was rarely given as a first name until the 1970s and of course, the most famous bearer is Princess Anne’s daughter who was born in 1981.  This is the bag I named Zara:
A beautiful princess of a bag!  Visit my Folksy shop and see lots more special bags with beautiful names!

BFN Edwina