Sunday 24 November 2013

Crafting without Compromise


Do you craft without compromising what you do?  Do you work on projects that you feel you need to make, rather than want to make?  Do you make short cuts in your crafting?  These are some of the questions that I have been thinking about recently.  The reason is because I am not sure that I craft without compromise.

Before I go any further I would like to say that today I am showcasing a selection of beautiful blue items from the daily listing thread on folksy.  This month they have named themselves “November Nutters”.  I often think the title is so apt.  We must be nuts to list daily!  We must be nuts to try and sell in a tough handmade market!  We must be nuts to keep promoting in the hope for sales!  I do hope you enjoy looking at these lovely items.  Please click on the photos and have a browse in the seller’s shop. You may get inspired with gift idea for your Christmas shopping!

Right, back to crafting without compromise and the reason I came to the conclusion that I am making compromises in my crafting.  I love to work on a variety of things at the same time.  I have a low boredom threshold!  So one minute I might be machine stitching a zip in a purse or pencil case.  The next minute I might be adding buttons and lace to a project.  Or I might be hand stitching the pages of a notebook or journal.  Or I might be threading beads and making a bag charm.  So, I do lots of different tasks requiring a variety of skills.  I can’t help it – it’s just the way I am!

Hopping from one project to another might not be the best way to work.  But I am trying not to be a conveyor belt and to get the maximum enjoyment with what I do.  However, I am also aware that I am putting huge pressure on myself to complete items, motivated purely by the need to stock my folksy shop.  If I did not have a shop, would I work differently?

Also, one of the pitfalls of working in this erratic way is that some projects fall by the wayside and never get finished at all!  A handmade card maker I met at a craft fair once told me she placed her unfinished cards in a box marked UFOs!  I suspect that all crafters have unfinished projects and they are unfinished for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes I look at an unfinished project and asked myself “Why did I never finish that?”  Sometimes the reason is no more than a loss of interest or lack of enthusiasm – whilst it was there at the start of the project, it has now vanished completely!

What I want to do is start working in a different way.  Not be dominated by the fact that I have a shop that needs stocking – this is where I am crafting with compromise.  I make smaller items because they are quick to make.  I take short cuts in the way I make things to make it a quicker process.  Now, I don’t want to do this!

I want to take time, be more creative, to spend time on a project, designing more, and spending less time using a pretty fabric because it is quick and easy to make, and you know people will like it and therefore buy it!  To really be uncompromising you have to be dedicated to your craft and not worry about how long it takes.

This is where I envy artists.  Painting a picture takes a lot of time, skill and concentration.  It can’t be hurried.  When I used to create huge collages using a variety of materials, and also create huge charcoal and white pastel drawings they took a huge amount of time.  I would spend hours and hours working on the detail, refining and reworking and sometimes you need to stand back before you finish it, so you are sure you have reached that stage where you can say – it is finished!

I want to spend more time working on projects that may not sell.  Recently, I sold my Wedding Journal to a lovely young woman on Facebook who is getting married next year.  That particular journal is one of the most beautiful things I have made and I derived a lot of pleasure from creating it.  It was a one off, unique piece of work made with white silk dupion, creams beads and a most lovely piece of vintage embroidery.  But, it sat in my folksy shop for months and months, in fact so long, I have no idea when I made it.  I despaired of ever selling it.  It took a very long time, but it SOLD!  I just had to wait for the right person!

I hope you have enjoyed reading today’s post and looking at the beautiful handmade items from the folksy daily listing thread.  Do leave a comment if you would like to.  I love reading them.



Shops with featured items include:
Leanne Woods Designs
The Card Jeanie
Uniquely Your Designs
Clare Sherwan
World of Cards
Midnight Star Designs
Wisteria Cottage Crafts
Juniper Spools
I Love Sparkly Stuff
daisycrazy creations
Paper Chain and Beads

Sunday 10 November 2013

Will you buy my wares?

Wares noun [plural] 
small products for selling, in a market or on the street but not usually in a shop: Some displayed their wares on stalls, while others had just spread them out on the pavement.” Source

You won’t find my wares currently in shops, galleries, in the high street, in markets or craft fairs.  My wares, however, have been displayed in the past in these aforementioned outlets.  They are available to purchase on-line only.

Why should you buy?
You should buy because my wares are made with passion.  You should buy because they are unique and quality made to a high standard.  They are not massed produced, but individually created with love and attention to detail.

What are my wares?
They are hand crafted notebooks, journals, all kinds of purses, diary covers, sketchbooks & pencil cases, bag/purse charms and various other small items.  They all make beautiful gifts for giving.

Where can you buy them?
You can only on-line at my folksy shop, but I am happy to take orders on Facebook too.

What have customers have said about my wares?
“Your items are fab!! And I will definitely be returning to you for future orders.”
 “I would highly recommend this lovely lady as a seller. Her stuff is amazing and from one sewer to another the quality is first class.”
“Fantastic products, really happy with them - I will revisit your shop.”
“Arrived this morning, beautifully packaged and beautifully made."

Will you buy my wares?

Sunday 3 November 2013

SPECIAL FEATURE: Louise from Loutul

Welcome to my blog.  Today I have another special feature.  Louise from Loutul makes the most exquisite handmade items.  Please visit her folksy shop.  You won't be disappointed. I asked Louise tell us about herself and her work. 

"I first opened my folksy shop in February 2012 but stopped trading in October 2012 and I have only just started listing again."

"I am an avid crafter who loves embroidery and pewter embossing. I am also a keen scrapbooker and spend most of my free time doing one of the three. I do work a 5 day week as a business analyst so I don't have as much time for my crafts as I would like.

I am a South African by birth and relocated to the UK in 2011 with my husband and 2 dogs."

"Pewter repousse has become my favourite pastime these days. It isn’t very well known in the UK but is very popular in South Africa and in the States. I only became involved with this wonderful craft about 5 years ago."

"I have to blame my cousin for my obsession. I saw a set of pewter sculptures she has in her bathroom and I fell in love. She gave me my first lesson. After that I joined a pewter school close to where I lived and attended classes twice a week for about 2 years. In fact I only stopped going when we moved here to the UK."

I asked Louise about her inspiration and motivation behind her designs: 

"Just about anything and everything motivates me. If I see a drawing or picture that I think would look good in 3D either in pewter or as an embroidery I’m hooked."

"I rarely plan on what I’m going to do next – it purely depends on what design I see. Most times I only decide what its going to end up as is when its finished. I’ve a number of sculptures that haven’t become something yet because I haven’t been able to decide whether I should frame it, make a box and embed it in the lid, put it on a leather case of some kind. I’ll have to wait for the inspiration!"

"I quite often use the same design for both pewter and embroidery. Like my Art Deco Ladies, I have embroidered them and “pewtered” them. You can see them here in both forms if you’re interested: "My two favourite pastimes"

I asked Louise if she had any favourite items in my folksy shop.  This is what she chose: 

For more information about Louise and her work become a follower on Facebook, Twitter, her blog and Pinterest.

I would like to thank Louise for sharing her work and telling us a little about herself.  Personally, I had never seen Pewter repousse before and when I did, it blew me away.  I am happy to say that I have a lovely framed piece of Louise's work and it is a much loved treasure.  It was supposed to be a gift, but I couldn't part with it! 

Thank you for reading my blog.  Please come back again soon.



Saturday 26 October 2013

Shopping for Craft Supplies

Now come on who does not like shopping?  OK, I know a few men who don’t, but us women love it!  I wonder why that is?  Shopping for craft supplies is one of my most favourite things, even when I don’t have any funds! Oops!  Still, I do keep a very keen eye on the overdraft then and try hard to resist any impulse buys, if I can!   Now are you an impulsive shopper, or an “only buy what’s necessary” shopper?  I wish I could say I was the latter, but impulsive buys are much more fun!

Before I get too carried away telling you about my shopping experiences and recommendations please have a look at the beautiful handmade items decorating this blog post today.  It was Breast Cancer Awareness Day yesterday (25.10.2013) and many folk on the folksy daily listing club shared pink items from their shops, so I thought I would share with you a few of those pink items!  I hope you like them.  Please click on the photos and take a peek inside these wonderful seller’s shops!  You won’t be disappointed!

Now back to shopping.  I keep a list by the computer of supplies that I need and add and delete as needed.  But, I am always open to buying impulsive supplies if I see something I have just got to have.  This week I visited a wonderful page on Facebook called UpcycleRecycleMakeDoMendI purchased some beautiful beads and elephant charms to use in my bag/purse charms.  This is a destash album so the prices are amazing! If you are looking for a bargain – this is the place to go! I now have a huge stash of beads and charms which is growing all the time!  I didn’t think it was possible to be a fabricholic, laceholic AND a beadholic!  (Not sure they are words but you get my meaning – I’m obsessed!)

Another on-line shop that I have been a customer of for some time now is Rag RescueThere are pros and cons about buying from this one.  I’m not sure the postage costs are very reasonable e.g. my order was the cost of a large stamp (90p) but I was charge £3.50 for postage.  Can’t get my head around that one, but I do have a bee in my bonnet about postage charges and do resent paying over the odds!  However, this shop is a treasure trove of vintage fabric, lace, trimmings and lots of different things, so if you are not bothered by the postal charge, then it is somewhere you definitely want to visit.  I purchased some fabulous vintage fabric and some fabulous antique/vintage lace!

Now you can stop reading at any moment you get bored!  Which might be about to happen!  Recently I restocked my supply of board, good quality recycled paper and glue sticks.  This is needed for my notebooks and journals.  I plan to make some new notebooks and journals over the coming weeks (lots of ideas and fabric I am dying to use!) as I haven’t made any recently because my shop has been fully stocked, but fingers crossed I am hoping this will change!  You would be surprised how difficult it is to buy good quality recycled paper.  I am a bit of a fuss pot where paper is concerned.  I prefer a certain weight because hope it won’t tear when I am stitching it together, but it is also important that it is recycled paper.

Are you still with me or have you fallen asleep!?   I could give you a huge long list of fabric suppliers (I like to shop around!) but you’d be off in a nanosecond, especially if fabric is not your thing!  But, I do want to recommend one place you may not have thought about.  It is the Victoria and Albert Museum shopThere is a 20% discount offer on at the moment (limited period) on all fabrics.  Their fabrics may not be “popular” but I love them! Their shop collection of beautiful printed cotton fabric is inspired by the V&A's collections, created by Westminster Fibers.   If you love fabric you definitely must pay them a visit.

Another on-line shop that I must recommend to you is an organic textile companyI have made several purchases and sometimes I feel a bit reticent about recommending them – not because there is anything wrong – far from it, but I want to keep them as a secret for my own private use.  How daft is that?  Well, now the cat’s out of the bag!

I hope you have enjoyed shopping with me and find some of the links helpful/useful.  Now, I need some wide grosgrain ribbon, so I’m off to Ebay to see what they have......



FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Handmade by Edwina, Sewflair, Bojanglies, Oakapple & Rose, I Love Sparkly Stuff, Loutul, Whimsy Woo Designs and Knittingtopia

Sunday 13 October 2013

The Road Not Taken

Totally Conkers!  Yes, that is the name for the daily listing club on folksy for the month of October.  Fabulous name, don’t you think?  Well, today I shall be illustrating my blog post with some beautiful blue items from the listing club.  Blue is my favourite colour, so it was a natural choice, but what fabulous items!  Please click on the photos and explore the shops – I am sure you find something you would like to purchase!

Now, what has this to do with “The Road Not Taken”?  Absolutely nothing!  I just decided it was time for some poetry and I am sure this poem by Robert Frost is a favourite for many people.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one for as long as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads onto to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I hope you have enjoyed re-reading the poem, or perhaps reading it for the first time.  I think Robert Frost gives us a lot to think about.  I hope you have enjoyed looking at the beautiful items for sale from folksy sellers.  Here is one from me:

What road have you taken?



FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: JAusten Jewellery Designs, Whimsy Woo Designs, Paper Chains & Beads, World of Cards, NOfkants Curios, Clare Sherwen and Handmade by Edwina.

Saturday 5 October 2013

SPECIAL FEATURE: Natalie from N Ofkants Curios

Have you experienced the excitement and anticipation when you are about to browse a Curio shop? You never know what treasures will be waiting for you or what gems you will find.  Well today I have a special feature with Natalie whose shop on folksy is called N Ofkants Curios.  And yes, it is full of hand crafted treasures.  I asked Natalie how long she has been selling on folksy: “Approx 5 years now I think, it's difficult remember with my advancing old age!”  I also asked her to share five of her favourite items from her folksy shop.

Natalie said: “this handbag made from a single long length of cotton rope, hand sewn together, it was a challenge to make, but I love working with unusual materials!

I asked Natalie to tell me a little about herself:

“I'm a working Mum, with lovely children and fabulous Hubby. I have had a passion since childhood for fossils and gemstones and have been collecting for many years. As a family we go on fossil hunting expeditions, but there is only so much you can keep for yourself, so crafting with fossil is a real treat!  Nature itself is the inspiration!

 Natalie said: “for a similar reason to the above, I had fun creating a handbag out of gent's neck ties, something unique but usable too!

“I enjoy knitting and working with yarn and wool, making items from simple scarves through to handmade handbags. Inspiration is often taken from nature, or by the look of how differing yarns, wool and other products work together. Each of these items will be unique and guaranteed handmade.

“I am unable to stick to one craft, hence why my shop is a curios shop, a little bit of everything that I've tried my hand at.”

“I really enjoyed creating something structural from simple crochet and these trilby style hats are such fun!  This one in particular with its feather trim makes me think of autumn, which is a season I love!

“My motivation is that crafting is often a little life line for me, keeping me active, sane and giving me a purpose when I felt times were hard, or giving me relaxation at times of stress!

“I just adore fossils and fossil hunting, the hours of time searching through silt, rock and shale to locate the fossils, then the time spent working them to clean and prepare them for use as something decorative and functional is a joy!

“I adore gemstones, tiger’s eye is one of my favourites, it has such life, and tumbling and polishing stones in our garage is wonderful when you see the finished outcome.

“I love to just throw myself into something, although custom orders and commissions are lovely and always welcome, I much prefer to start experimenting and see what I come up with!

I so enjoy being on Folksy, the community is wonderful, the sellers, crafter and artisans have become friends, even if we may never physically meet, folksters have become very important to me!

I asked Natalie to share three of her favourite items from my folksy shop.

“I adore this notebook in your folksy shop, the fabric you have chosen to use is stunning!

“Not only is this a beautiful piece, the sheer level or work and hours you must have put in is equally impressive!

“Your Christmas bunting is so jolly and different from the normal style of bunting you see around, almost heritage in style!  I love it!

If you would like to read more about Natalie on her blog or Facebook page here are the links.

Don’t forget to visit Natalie’s shop on folksy which you can do by clicking on the link above or any of the first five photos.  Remember it is a Curios shop, so you never know what you are going to discover!  Exciting!

Thank you for reading my feature and many thanks to Natalie for sharing with us.



Sunday 22 September 2013

The Waiting Place

This week a friend gave me a copy of “Oh, the places you’ll go!” by Dr Seuss.  Have you read it?  It’s the kind of book that both children and adults can enjoy alike.  The book was particularly apt because of a personal situation that I find myself experiencing.

Today, I have chosen a selection of beautiful jewellery from folksy sellers to illustrate my blog post.  Please click on the photos and they will take you directly to the seller’s shop where I hope you will stop and have a browse.  I know I enjoyed searching in the various shops to find the pieces that I particularly liked and wanted to share with you.

So, the book by Dr Seuss is great fun and it takes you on a journey.  When I first saw the title of it, I was inspired to create a Pinterest board for the folksy front page.  I doubt it will be chosen though, I have made better ones, but it was great fun searching out the different places that had inspired the various handmade creations.  The Pinterest board takes you on a journey to New York, London, Rome, Scotland, New Zealand and many other places!

In the book Dr Seuss writes about “Great Places” and all the opportunities and possibilities that exist to take advantage of during your journey through life.  And Dr Seuss makes it sound so exciting! “Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.”  Then the momentum falters and stops and you find yourself “in a Slump”.  I am sure we have all experienced this at times in our lives!  But for me the best bit is next when you arrive at “The Waiting Place...”

It was this part of the book that my friend thought was most apt for my situation.  We have all been in the waiting place – why you could be there right now!

Waiting for your next sale!
Waiting for a phone call.
Waiting for the birth of a baby.
Waiting for a letter to arrive.
Waiting for the results of a test you had recently.
Waiting for exam results.
Waiting for a critical decision to be made.
Waiting for the result of a job interview.
Waiting for the Post person.
Waiting for the plumber, electrician or washing machine repair man!
Waiting for a new delivery.
Waiting to see the GP, dentist, Optician.
Waiting for a bus, train or plane.

Sorry if I missed any, but we have all been there, may even still be there waiting, waiting... “Everyone is just waiting.”  writes Dr Seuss.

But, it doesn’t last forever, thankfully and we move on. Hurrah.

“But on you will go
Though the weather be foul.
On you will go
Though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
A frightening creek,
Though your arms may get sore
And your sneakers may leak.”

I love happy endings!  Not all things in life have happy endings, but I think that’s why I like them, in books, films, and TV series.  It seems such a wise book.  And I have enjoyed reading it over again all week!

“Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life’s
A Great Balancing Act.”


“And will you succeed?
Yes, you will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ per cent guaranteed.)”

I hope you have enjoyed reading my meanderings on this fabulous little book.  I hope too, that you have enjoyed looking at the wonderful selection of handmade jewellery available now on folksy.  Hope you will come back next time!



“Oh, the places you will go!” by Dr Seuss (copyright 1990 by Theodor S Geisel & Audrey S Geisel)

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: The Beaded Garden, NOfkants Curios, JAustenJewelleryDesign, Bojanglies, Lizzyanthus, I Love Sparkly Stuff and Adien Crafts.