Thursday, 26 July 2012

Special Feature: Handmade in Keswick

When Lu from Handmade in Keswick kindly agreed to do a feature about me on her blog a short while ago, I asked her if she would reciprocate, so that I could do a feature about her on my blog and here it is! 

Lu in her own words:
“My name is Lu Smith and I am designer, maker and chief bottle washer at Handmade in Keswick.”

“I think I was a creative child. I had a little Hornby train and a bit of track, and made trees out of bits of sponge and green food colouring, and I was recently reminded that I made resin jewellery (I’ve been playing with resin again in the past few weeks).”

“As I got a little older, I started making my own clothes out of jumble sale finds (who remembers that we had jumble sales before they became car boot sales and Ebay?). I was self taught with absolutely nil technical knowledge – I’m not sure that I would’ve managed the sleek glamorous look that teenagers seem to achieve so naturally these days.”

“I went to Norwich School of Art and Epsom School of Art and Design and continued along the lines of finding the most difficult way of achieving what I wanted. I was always trying to reinvent the wheel whilst everyone else had already pedalled round the world once, and I wasn’t the most gifted/talented student. I think the biggest thing I took from my training was to ‘just play with stuff’.”

“I trained as a jeweller, but I think the nearest pigeon hole, if I can fit into it, is mixed media artist. I make pictures, sew stuff, make jewellery, and anything else that takes my fancy. I’ve always reused junk and a few years ago, I came out of a creative drought (we all have them don’t we?) to find that I’m finally part of a trend.”
Example of Lu's face drawings
“Inspiration hits me right left and centre (and I wish I had three times the energy to keep up). I was obsessed with faces for a while, but now I’m taken with a bit of architecture, and of course the area where I live is so rich in colour (especially if you like your colour green) and texture, and line, and smell and sound and…well you get the idea. I walk my dog early in the mornings, and I’m always seeing something new.”
Lu's dog

“When I think about it, I think I look on my whole life as a bit of an experiment. My latest thing includes jumping in with social media and using it to promote my work in ways that I hadn’t even heard until recently (I was bit of late starter), and I’m still reinventing that wheel.”
"I currently sell on Folksy and Etsy and also use Creative Connections and their promotional CRAFTfest to drive business towards my shops"
"You can follow me on:"
I hope you have enjoyed reading about Lu Smith from Handmade in Keswick and her creativity.  I certainly have! We do have some things in common – I make notebooks and jounals too and I also have a history of drawing the human figure including faces!  Do take the opportunity to visit Lu's shop.

If you are interested in being featured on my blog please contact me via folksy messages or leave a note on my facebook page.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Birthday Blog Giveaway

Here is a very special treat for all you peeps!  I have a birthday this month and I have decided to have a blog giveaway to celebrate it!

I hope lots of you will enter.

The Winner will receive this very nice, but unloved bag which has been in my shop for some time priced at £32.00.  I decided that I was sure someone would like to give it a home especially, if they received it free of charge lol!  If it is not to your taste you could always give to someone as a gift.

The winner will also receive a pack of four patchwork fabric notelets and this beautiful Address book which has also been in my shop for a period of time.

Now I am also looking for a Runner Up to the winner, and the runner up will receive the following:
·        Musical notes purse
·        Square upcycled fabric notebook
·        2 packs of patchwork fabric notelets

What do you have to do?
It is very simple, I would like you to:
Visit my Folksy shop and then leave a comment to say which is your most favourite item.  (If you are familiar with my shop you may already have a favourite, so that will be easy!)
Also, just for the duration of this giveaway I am offering a 25% discount on ANY ITEM in my shop, refunded via PayPal, BUT you must use the code "BIRTHDAY BLOG” at the checkout, otherwise you might miss out on the discount. 

The giveaway closes at 9pm Tuesday 24th July and I will announce the winner soon after!


And  the winners are....
First of all, I want to say that the draw was done extremely fairly.  I wrote all the names of those who had entered on to a large piece of paper, cut it up so each name could then be folded twice and placed into a tall recepticle which was then shaken with great force!  My friend, with closed eyes, then pulled out one paper - the winner and then another paper - the runner up!

Congratulations go to Linda of Uniquely Yours who was the WINNER and Susan of Hearts and Cupcakes who was the RUNNER UP!

Many, many thanks to all of you who entered my giveway - I'm looking forward to the next one already!

Friday, 13 July 2012

50 Shades of Blue #Folksy Friday#

No apologies for stealing my title from the popular book “50 Shades of Grey” which I am currently enjoying reading.

My chosen theme for this post is blue.  I found a delightful selection of blue items on my Pinterest Board for the July Jugglers (folksy daily listing club) and thought I would share some of them with you. I also haven’t done a folksy Friday for a while so thought it was time to do one!

Blue is the colour of the clear sky and the deep sea. On the optical spectrum (rainbow) blue is located between violet and green.

Did you know that there really are over 50 Shades of Blue? (My thanks go to an informative article on Wikipedia).

Here are just a few of them, as to list them all would have been very boring, but I want to assure you there really are over 50 shades!
            • Pure blue
            • Medium blue
            • Egyptian blue
            • Ultramarine
            • Resolution blue
            • Dark blue
            • Navy blue
            • Catalina blue
            • Sky blue
            • Indigo
            • Cyan
            • Prussian blue
            • Cerulean blue

Artists among you will recognise several of them as paint colours.  I always wondered why there were so many to choose from.  But it is so important when painting to get that sky or the sea just that right shade of blue!

There are three key things that the colour blue is traditionally associated with:
-      The sea and the sky- the uniforms of sailors are usually dark blue, those of air forces lighter blue.
-      Cold - cold water taps are traditionally marked with blue.
-      Melancholy - having the "blues".
I hope you have enjoyed looking at my blue themed post and don’t forget to click on the photos and they will take you directly to the item in the folksy shop.

Do take a look in my Folksy shop.  I am listing something new every day so there will always be something you haven’t seen. Enjoy!

From top to Bottom: Ello Design, NOfkants Curios,  Whimsy Woo Designs, Sarah Joanne Jewellery, Eccentric Ella, Shelley Couture, Leanne Woods Designs, Deborah Jones Jewellery, Audrey’s Cat.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Fascinating and Inspiring – the work of Guide Dogs for the Blind

When my dearly beloved Mum was alive, in the latter years of her life she suffered with Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration. This resulted in her being registered partially sighted.  She was very stoical and never complained.  One year for her birthday I purchased a sponsorship pack for a guide dog puppy called Timber which she enjoyed – especially receiving the updates on Timber’s progress which I used to read to her.

Sometime later I got in touch with the National Breeding Centre at Leamington Spa and arranged for a visit for both my Mum and myself.  Due to Mum having previously had a stroke, Mum was in a wheelchair, so I enquired if the training centre was fully accessible, which of course it was.  So we set off for this visit – I remember Mum saying to me “I hope they don’t expect me to bring a dog home with me”.  At the time I thought this was rather sweet.  I didn’t explain to her that is definitely not how it happens!

We met lots of dogs and enjoyed our tour.  This July 2012 the Guide Dogs Breeding Centre in Leamington Spa plans to open its doors to the public in Mid July.  Visitors to the centre will learn more about the NBC’s work.  To find out more, email or phone 08453727432.

Continuing my support of this inspiring organisation I was invited to take my crafts to their Fun Day last summer at Leamington Spa.  It was a beautiful day and I don’t think I have met so many well behaved dogs together all in the same place!  Visitors also brought their dogs and it was lovely to see all the different breeds.  I set up my Craft Stall and had lots of browsers who were very complimentary about my items and I sold a few things too!
I regularly receive “Forward “ - The official Guide Dogs magazine.  There are fascinating and inspiring stories contained in the magazine of how dogs are changing people’s lives. It is so very heart warming.  I was particularly struck by one story of how dogs can be duel trained.  One guide dog is also a seizure alert dog.  This is particularly valuable to a blind person who also suffers with epilepsy.  In the article it says that it is not known exactly how the dogs detect the seizure but there are minute physiological changes in the person, invisible to the human eye.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you would like further information please visit their website:  I also hope you have enjoyed looking at the beautiful crafted items for my dog themed post which are available from the Folksy sellers – just click on the photo and it will take you directly to their shop.

One final thought: “Guide dogs has been transforming lives for more than 80 years”.  They always need help in continuing their work so why not have a think about what you can do to support them.  I know I am going too!


From Top to Bottom: PipDesigns, Of Life and Lemons, Purple Giraffe Gifts, Cute Little Keepsakes, Buttercup Boutique, Girl of the Sixties, FeltByLiza, Whimsy Woo Designs.