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

Friday, 11 November 2011

To Sell or not to Sell?

That is the question!  (Apologies to W. Shakespeare!) I am going to tell you a secret.  Don’t tell anyone.  There are a few bags in my Folksy shop that I would be quite happy if they don’t sell.  The price may reflect this (oops, didn’t mean to confess that!)

The problem is that I so enjoyed making them, and they are just so beautiful that I don’t think that I could bear to part with them.  Daft?  I suppose you are wondering why not keep them?  Why try and sell them?  I guess the reason is two-fold:

1.   I doubt I would ever use them as bags, in some senses they are a piece of art to me – a creative outpouring that found a focus in making a bag.  As a self-taught sewing “nut” – and I only recently learned to use a sewing machine, I feel I have become quite confident with the stitching and making.  As other bag makers will tell you “It can be quite addictive!”

2.   I need the money!  To feed my other addiction.  (Oops a lot more secrets are coming out than I planned to tell!)  The bags give me such a huge pleasure to make and complete, that I hope that someone else will feel the same way about them and want to part with their money to have them! It would give me pleasure to know that they are giving someone else the same pleasure.  (My other addiction is to purchase even more fabric, even more lace etc. etc.)

It’s about time I showed you an example of one of the bags I am talking about!

I expect you are wondering what’s so special about this handcrafted bag?  It’s the fabric!!  Anyone who loves the Fleur de Lys motif can’t fail to love this bag.  The fabric is covered in them, which is very pleasing, but the real icing on the cake is that the large silk bow has Fleur de Lys motifs as well.

It was a lovely happy accident when I discovered the silk remnant in my stash and was able to pair it with the main fabric.  Luckily, this bag hasn’t attracted as much interest as some of my others!  So, I am fairly safe in the knowledge that I can probably keep it!

Another bag that I am fond of has already featured in my previous post:

If you read my post on “Fabric”, I tell the story of how this bag came into being, so I won’t repeat here.  Needless to say, I would be very loathe to part with this bag.  But, I am pretty sure no one is going to purchase it!!

Finally, there is another bag (I like lot of others too!) But, this bag is so special I’d be pretty happy if no one purchased it!
It is covered in vintage lace, you see.  This bag is GORGEOUS.  Sorry to shout about it, but I love it to bits!!  Now this bag I would just enjoy owning.  I doubt I would ever use it, but that’s not always the point!  (Other bag owners will tell you this!!)  Unfortunately, there has been a lot of interest in this bag, but luckily it hasn’t sold yet! 

Anyway, my secret is out. (And a few others too!)  Don’t tell anyone because they might have a look at my Folksy shop and decide they want to purchase one of these bags.  That will be a very dark day indeed.  But, to end on a more cheerful note, what my happy potential customers don’t know is that I have lots of other bags that I haven’t listed yet, so I get to keep them, unless of course, the urge to purchase more fabric or lace comes upon me then I will have to try and sell one!?

Check out my Folksy shop – it sells more than bags!  PS. Don’t forget to keep my secret!

BFN Edwina

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


“I am in fabric heaven.”  Have you ever had that feeling?  When you enter a fabric store (either virtually or in reality) and are surrounded by fabrics of all kinds – lots of patterns, texture, colour, and different types.  So much choice – how do you choose?  Of course, some people are looking for something specific, a dress fabric for a pattern you like, and want to make, or a blouse pattern you have been dying to have a go at. 

When I look at fabrics, I am tantalised by their mystery and their potential.  I just enjoy fabrics for simply what they are.  I like unusual fabrics, vintage fabrics, special fabrics, textured fabrics.  I haven’t a single idea in my head what I am going to do with the fabric, but some fabrics are just irresistible and I must have them.  I have some fabrics that I have purchased that are so special, particularly vintage ones that have bold prints, or African style fabrics that the idea of cutting into them with a pair of scissors would be like committing murder.  How weird is that?  They are just so beautiful to look at.

Sometimes I see some fabric and instantly I can see a beautiful bag, and because you don’t need a huge quantity of fabric for a bag, I am pleased with myself, because I know I can cut out the bag pattern and still have lots of fabric left, just to enjoy!

One of my instant bag “visions” was this bag that is available to purchase in my folksy shop:

This gorgeous red embroidered fabric bag is rich with style and finesse.
Sometimes fabric can arrive in unexpected ways.  One day, a friend suddenly presented me with a bundle of upholstery fabric samples.  What treasure!  They were simply gorgeous – lots of texture, colour and potential!  What they were particularly ideal for was a patchwork bag and the following picture shows the result:

I used five different sample fabrics to create the bag and I was very pleased with how it turned out!
Certain fabrics are special in their own way.  For example, cotton fabrics that are dazzling with their myriad colours and patterns make choosing which to have so difficult.  Linen is a favourite because it is so versatile and comes in so many different colours now.  Faux leather and suede are great to experiment with and they don’t fray!  Classics like denim just never go out of fashion.  But my all-time favourite fabric just has to be silk.  Wow, it is just so amazing!  Lots and lots of beautiful colours, weights, patterns and most of all, silk is the height of luxury.  Luckily a silk bag only takes a little fabric so doesn’t cost a fortune!  I made some silk patchwork purses because it gave me the opportunity to use lots of different colours, but only small pieces of silk.  There are a few silk purses available in my folksy shop.

BFN Until next time! Edwina