Friday, 24 May 2013

May Blossoms

Don’t you just love the blossom trees in May?  I think they are my most favourite thing about the month of May.  It is such a shame we have had so few sunny days to really enjoy them this year.  Today it is very windy too, so I wonder how much longer they will last – the wind blowing the beautiful blossoms to the ground.

May Blossoms is the name of the Folksy Daily Listing Club that I have joined this month.  It has been great being back with my fellow crafters, sellers and supportive folk after my three month break.  I felt at home straight away.  Natalie Ofkants does a brilliant job of keeping a tally of everyone sales.  It is great fun too, having a chat and supporting folk whatever they are experiencing. Most of all we get to see the beautiful items everyone has been making.  I just love it.

Today I am devoting my blog post to a small number of the daily listers – too many of us to include everyone!  I hope you will enjoy their crafts and a little about them too.  Please click on the photos and it will take you directly to their shop – stop and have a browse – you never know what you might discover!?

Meet Wendy, From Joan Cards
“The flowers I use are all hand picked and pressed ,mainly by myself ,in small quantities and as each flower is different no two cards are the same - the 'Cards are unique by nature'.”

Meet Armine, picocrafts
“My style is cute,shabby chic and vintage and I also love collecting fabrics and using them in my designs. I always try to make one of a kind items but if you like an item in my shop I will try to make a similar one for you.”

Meet Jacqueline, JAustenJewelleryDesign
“I get my inspriation from the beauty of nature and the stones themselves and have often designed a piece mentally, just on the first inspection of a focal pendant stone or faceted gem.

Meet Stephanie, Stephanie Short Stationery
“Ever since I can remember, I've always loved anything creative and crafty.  My first love was drawing and colouring in. All those lovely pens and pencils! Most of my designs are embellished with genuine swarovski crystals and gorgeous organza & satin ribbon, along with paints and a little bit of sparkle!

Meet Nora, Leah Rose Designs
 “I live in Camden, London the perfect place to get inspiration from all the vintage and unusual clothing and homeware for sale in the market. I sew, knit and crochet my own designs and my aim is to produce items that combine more than one technique. For example a fabric hat with knitted or crocheted trims.”

Meet Linda, Uniquely Your Designs. Accessories & Gifts for Adults, Children and Home.
“I love to crochet and knit, it`s a real passion. I also paint watercolours and love needle felting.  I don`t make anything to a pattern, so everything is unique for each unique person.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting some of the Folksy May Blossoms and  will visit their shops – they will certainly welcome your visit!  Next time I have a very special blog post about supporting charities with your craft work.  I hope you will come back for a read.



Saturday, 18 May 2013

Hooray for card makers!

I am devoting my blog post today to card makers.  I just love what they do – their creativeness, inventiveness, individuality, craftsmanship, perseverance and uniqueness.  Yes, I am a great fan!

I have dabbled in card making myself, but mainly I only create them for friends and family.  I have made a few textile based cards to sell at Craft Fairs, but these tend to be very simple and plain.  What I love about the card makers on Folksy is the endless variety that you can find – cards for every occasion imaginable and such beautiful designs and techniques.


There is nothing quite like looking at a specially handcrafted card – it can lift your spirits.  I know how long it takes me to create a card for friends or family members and I do not use any fancy techniques!  I am in such great admiration for the amazing array of techniques that are evident in the cards from our card makers on Folksy.  I have selected a few favourites with samples of their cards.  (Please click on the photos and it will take you directly to their shop where you will find a whole gallery of delights to tempt you.)

I imagine that card making is a tough business.  Sellers are competing not only with other sellers, but there is such a huge community of folk who are making cards as a hobby – much like myself.  I never buy a shop bought card nowadays, but I have purchased a few handcrafted cards from Folksy.  I was so busy prior to Christmas last year that I just did not have time to create any Christmas cards for friends and the family, which was a little disappointing for me because I enjoy it so much, and for them who also enjoy receiving my handcrafted efforts.  Problem solved, I just purchased more than enough handcrafted cards from Folksy sellers – there was so much choice – and sent these out as my Christmas cards.

I imagine that when sales are slow, card makers must feel very disheartened.  Perhaps some start to wonder what is wrong with what they are making, why are they not selling? Perhaps self doubt creeps in, and I am guessing it must feel really difficult.  But I think that often the problem is only that buyers on Folksy have so much CHOICE.  They can pick and choose their cards from a vast array of makers on Folksy.  My advice during these times is: If you love what you do – just keep making.  This is what I do when I feel discouraged – just keep on making! Enjoy, enjoy!  OK so maybe no one is buying your cards at the moment, but maybe one day ... soon... you just never know!

I love looking at the wonderful cards that I see on Folksy and would feel bereft if they all suddenly disappeared.  Sometimes I look at cards and think “how did they do that?”  Sometimes I look at cards and think “that’s a good idea – perhaps I will try that next time I make a card!”  Mostly though, I look at cards and just enjoy their creativeness and beauty.  So join with me to shout three cheers for card makers! Hip Hip Hooray!

I have been busy restocking my Folksy shop and have lots of new notebooks and journals. Here are a few new items that I have listed during this past week.  Enjoy!



FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Dees Designs, Box of Delights, From Joan Cards, picocrafts, Paper Chains & Beads and Helle Belles Cards

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Special Feature: Jacqueline from J Austen Jewellery Design

What a treat is in store for you today!  This is my special feature on a Folksy seller Jacqueline of J Austen Jewellery Design.  She has kindly agreed to share her work and background and what inspires her creations.  Over to Jacqueline:

"I have been selling on Folksy since 2010 and have enjoyed my time here. Everyone is so friendly and supportive."

"I am a mum of three boys (so far) with my next baby due in August. My love affair with jewellery making began as a child where I made and designed pieces in copper and enamel to give as gifts. I studied Geology and my love for stones grew. A typical girlie, I love things that sparkle! My husband is very generous with his support, although in the beginning, when I first started out trying to sell my work, he wasn't too sure if I would make enough income from my jewellery. At the time I was working full time. I have had several government jobs before I gave up full time employment to have a family."

"I left school and began medical research into BSE (showing my age here!) then moved on to cancer research for many years. I used to run a lab at Manchester University, back in the dark ages! After further posts in the same role, I changed tack and started to work for Customs and Excise, as it was then, before leaving to have a family and working part time at our local butchers before having baby number three. I now fit my jewellery making in round the boys, so unsociable hours in the main!"

I asked Jacqueline: "What is the inspiration/motivation behind your designs?"

"I am very often inspired by the stones themselves. I can get quite animated about a really good specimen - I tend to see them as geological delights more than just pretty gems and I love the whole process of how they are formed and their chemical make up etc. I am very keen on archaeology and some of my designs are inspired by museum pieces. The world around me and my interpretation of it is the most common source of my inspiration, oh and most importantly, my imagination and what I think would just look 'pretty'. I am not a follower of trends - I make pieces that I hope are timeless and above all that I would like to wear myself."

"Making decisions about what to make next is quite hard at times. I have a very large collection of stones in stock and I often just get the boxes out and look at the beautiful contents. I am inspired from there, sometimes with more success than others really!"

"I do have other creative interests. For many years I used to press flowers and compose and create greetings cards with them, often teamed with water colours for a little creative twist. I like to paint, though I can not remember the last time I did! I used to sew and have made my own clothes - all from patterns mind you - I am not cleaver enough to do it any other way. I like to knit and crochet, but I am not particularly fast at it, so haven't made anything too ambitious. I used to make and design all my dolls clothes from off cuts of my mums fabrics when she was sewing. Also knitting jumpers from sewing thread for them, using sewing needles. Even then, the scale of the stitches had to be right! Details matter to me I suppose. At present, I bake for local events, such as markets etc. (I am registered with the local council) so try to make a few pennies from this as well."

I asked Jacqueline:  "What are your three favourite items from my Folksy shop?"

"It is very hard to choose as everything is so lovely, but here are three I think are super..."

"I don't have a Facebook page at the moment - it is on my to-do list, but I still haven't plucked up the courage to take the plunge!"

"I have a blog page - I am trying to write a blog a day at the moment - a sort of personal challenge to promote my fellow Folksy daily listers, other Folksy artisans and a some of my designs.  Here is the link:
I don't have a twitter account or my own website as yet, but like with Facebook, I am working on it!"

Huge thanks to Jacqueline for sharing this.  I think her jewellery is stunning - don't you?  Do click on the photos and they will take you directly to Jacqueline's Folksy shop.  Have a browse.  Here we only have a taster of Jacqueline's designs - in her Folksy shop there are lots more beautiful jewellery to drool over!



P.S. I have decided to have a HALF PRICE SALE on all my notebooks and journals.  SALE starts 12 noon today (11 May) runs until 12 noon on Monday 13 May.  50% discount will be refunded via PayPal after purchase.

Lots of lovely notebooks and journals to choose from - they make lovely gifts so stock up for birthdays or Father's day.  Please visit my Folksy shop and choose your favourite.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

What shall I do next? With Giveaway!

Fabric Pile

Do you ever have this dilemma?  A million and one ideas floating round in your head and you can’t decide what your next project should be?  I love creating and I am really passionate about it.  But I am one of these people who cannot do the same thing over and over again.  Sorry, no offence, but I need variety.  I often work on several projects at the same time, and progress them to their different stages which offers me a variety of different tasks.  Of course, there are repetitive actions involved – things that need to be done, but can be quite boring when they are isolated e.g. when I am making my journals or notebooks the cutting, scoring, folding of the paper is so monotonous, but necessary!

Psychedelic fabric journal

My favourite task of course is handling and admiring the fabrics and thinking about what I am going to make with them.  Once decided they sit on a pile until it is time to start cutting. This can be quite a protracted process, because I am erratic and I might sift through the pile until I find something I feel like making!

Wide embroidered purse

I made a list of new projects (to be started) and I just could not decide what to do next!  Would you like to help me decide?  I have taken some photos of some of the wonderful fabrics I have on my pile, (see top photo) and I have already decided what I would like to make with them.  But which one should I start with?
If you would like to help me decide, then please leave a comment saying which project you feel I should start next. I will put all the names of all those who participate in a hat (metaphorical) and then randomly pick one out. The winner can choose to receive either the A6 notebook or the Harris Tweed purse as a thank you gift for being so helpful. Please state in your comment which item you would like to win either the notebook or purse. Also, share how you have promoted my Folksy shop i.e. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. as this would be most welcome and appreciated!

Harris Tweed purse

A6 Notebook with bird on front cover

Here is my list: (in no particular order)

     Two Sewing purses with the Robert Kaufman’s “Vintage Couturier” fabric.   (I had previously made sewing purses with this fabric and they have sold quite quickly).  Here’s a photo of a previous one:

Vintage style fabric sewing purse

     Large or small Cosmetic purse using a lovely floral and birds fabric which I am going to team up with some green faux suede.

          A5 Patchwork Journal.  I purchase some beautiful fat quarters from the V&A Museum shop which are based on their collection. Lovely!

     A5 Travel Journal.  I have some fabric with the World Map printed on it in another language (I don’t know what).  I thought it would be ideal for a travel journal.

Green bird fabric, V&A fabric & Map of the World fabric

Two A6 notebooks.  I am looking forward to using some gorgeous oranges and lemons fabric by Richard Kaufman – one notebook in the oranges and another in the lemons.  Fabulous!

Special Occasion Purse 1.  I want to use some more of my vintage lace to create another purse.  This time I have an idea about embellishing it with a white or cream corsage on the front.  I use white linen as the base fabric.

Special Occasion Purse 2.  This time I want to make a purse using some beautiful rainbow coloured gathered lace.  This would be very exciting as I have not done this before. (I am always up for a challenge!)  Again, I use white linen as the base fabric.

Patchwork Journal 2.  I have some gorgeous purple fat quarters that I purchased at the NEC, Birmingham Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch exhibition in March.  I feel sure they will make a stunning journal!

Don’t forget to check out my Folksy shop – lots of new items added – I am trying to restock it as quickly as I can – I hope to achieve 100 items by the end of May.  Do you think I will do it?

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment.



P.S. Please note only UK residents can enter the giveaway.


Thanks so much to the five of you who entered - opinion was divided on what I shall do next, but I think using the map fabric for a travel journal is next on the list to do - of course, I am going to make everything eventually!

I really appreciate your support.  All your names were written on paper and placed in a container and my friend popped their hand in and pulled out...

Linda, from Uniquely Yours - Well done, Linda - the notebook will be on it's way to you very soon.

Do look at my next blog - a Very Special Feature on Jacqueline from J Austen Jewellery Designs.

Thanks again.