Topper - Teapot

Friday, 19 December 2014

What's on the dukebox, Jo?

The dukebox has just been cranked back up after last week when it was devoid of tunes. This week it's a total mish mash of tunes to reflect my feelings!

Now that my shop is closed, I can see the light at the end of what has been one busy tunnel! This 60s tune by the Five Americans is perfect for that! With the imminent prospect of a week of some much needed r&r and SLEEP, this old fav by The Shins is ideal! And well, despite looking forward to a rest, I'm also looking forward to the whole festive, party spirit and my dancing shoes are warming up to this awesome Daft Punk tune

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Blog Gem Catch Up - Claireabellemakes

Hey folks! Soooo, I've kind of been a bit quiet round here recently and totally failed on my blogging schedule as things have been CRAZY with: one house move, record number of shop orders, ridiculous amount of admin and one bout of tonsillitis, followed by a horrid cold and major exhaustion, bleurgh!

Anyway, to cheer things up and get back on track, here's a little catch up interview I did with one seriously talented lady, who always puts a smile on face...

....I last interviewed Claire as part of my Blog Gem series back in February 2013, so was eager to find out what has changed since then!

Hi there, Claire! Have there been any changes in your blog and business since last we chatted?

Actually quite a lot has changed! My blog/business has had a rebrand and I now have a made over website and home studio space. I've also developed and released new products for my store and have expanded my business to include Cambridge Craft Parties where I host craft events in my city. To add to that I have now written for 3 craft books, which was something I never expected to happen! It has been busy and wonderful and I've learnt so much. I feel like I am in the swing of things now!!

What are you working on at the moment? 

My latest range in the store has just released - Scrabble Christmas Cards. I am so proud of them as it challenged my photography skills to design them and I have such a passion for stationery. I have a few established blog series' running at the moment including a monthly favourites post, a Filofax inspiration series and a Tourist in Cambridge series. The latter is such fun as it gets me out exploring my home city and allows me to appreciate where I live. 

I have a long list of things to learn for future projects too. Top of the list is video editing and writing book proposals.

What are your thoughts about blogging and running your own business? Have your thoughts changed since we last talked shop?

I guess now I feel more established and I think of my blog as part of my business. When we last spoke I thought of it as a hobby that could be a potential income stream in the future. Now I am happy to be making money from blogging and this is almost equal to what I make from my store and writing for publications. My blog allows me to connect directly with my customers and to share more of the values behind my business. I love blogging so much and can't imagine life without it now.

If you could invite 3 people (dead or alive, real or fictional) to Christmas dinner, who would you invite?

Santa because it would be great to know how he managed to get so much done in so little time (and maybe borrow some magic powers), Zoey Deschanel so I could borrow a party dress and act like a silly girl with her and Mark Montano who is a DIY You Tuber. He looks really fun and we could chat crafts.

Wowza, you sure have been one busy lady progressing your blog and business to those levels people only ever dream of! Congrats! And thanks so much for stopping by, it's been fab catching up! Good luck with those Christmas orders, Claire!

I hope you've all enjoyed this week's Blog Gem Catch Up interview and don't forget to check out Claire's DIY Felt Succulent Wreath (as pictured above). Love it!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Blog Gem Catch Up - Tea With Miss Beatrix

Hola folks! Instead of my regular Blog Gem interview, for this month only I'm changing the series up a bit. Each week throughout December I'm going to be catching up with some of my previous Blog Gem interviewees to find out how life has changed since their first Blog Gem interview.

To kick start proceedings is the fabulous, talented Anna of Tea With Miss Beatrix. I interviewed Anna back in November 2012, so over 2 years ago! Neither of us could believe it had been that long!! So, you can imagine I was eager to have a proper good catch up! On that note, lets find out what Anna's up to these days.

Hi there, Anna! So, we last chatted about blogging back in November 2012. Have there been any changes in your blog and business since then? 

    Now I think about it, things have changed quite a lot! The main development has been moving to a self-hosted blog. I decided to develop it myself, so that meant a fair few days swotting up and tweaking this and that, but in June this year it went live and I feel it's a little more grown up, and reflects my broader interests as a creative lifestyle blog. My handmade button business, #PostCircle and Creatives Unite now takes more central roles, too.

 Business-wise, I've had stalls at several craft fairs, churned out a fair few new designs... and yes, dipped my paintbrush in my cup of tea more times than I can remember!

What are you working on at the moment? 

  As usual I have more ideas than I have time to implement them, but I'm going full steam ahead on new buttons designs for Christmas, and new products such as button brooches, lanyards and some collaborative pieces with a talented crochet designer maker, which we will be debuting at a craft fair next month. My blog has had to take a slight back seat while all this is happening, but I can't wait to document it all on there. 

What are your thoughts about blogging and running your own business? Have your thoughts changed since we last talked shop?

    I'm more in love with blogging than ever, partly because since we last chatted I have become the Chief Writer at Craft Candy, so I get to see a very different side of creative blogging, but I think it's also down to having a fresh new look for my blog, and the fact that I never stop being excited about creating and learning new crafty skills. At the moment, it's crochet - I've gone crochet mad and am loving teaming the craft with my buttons.

For me the challenge of running my own business is doing it well while working full time and having a second part time job. Luckily I really enjoy reading about time management, writing lists and finding new ways to stay organised, so I do see it as just that - part of a personal challenge. That feeling of ticking tasks off my to-do list is so satisfying!

If you could invite 3 people (dead or alive, real or fictional) to Christmas dinner, who would you invite?

    One of my answers to this question is always Beatrix Potter! I think she must have loved Christmas, judging by some of her stories and paintings being based around this time of year. Charles Dickens might be fun - he tells a great Christmas ghost story, and to stop things getting too Victorian, perhaps someone from the creative business world, like Jo Malone or Emma Bridgewater, though would I be in trouble for talking shop on Christmas Day? Potter and Dickens were both astute business people, so I think their minds would be blown by our talk of modern day commerce! I have a feeling Dickens would have enjoyed serialising his novels via Twitter. 

Wow, that's fantastic you're now chief writer at Craft Candy and your new blog looks incredible! It's been lovely catching up with you, Anna! Lets hope the next two years bring more exciting adventures for you!

I hope you enjoyed the first in this Blog Gem Catch Up series! Don't forget to check out Anna's gorgeous Etsy shop! It's full to the brim of handmade goodies, which make wonderful Christmas presents!

Stay tuned for next week's Blog Gem Catch Up!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Handmade gift sets

Today I'm sharing my handmade gift sets. I currently offer three different gift sets: the Autumnal Accessory Gift Set; the Gentleman's Gift Set and the Lady's Gift Set. They're entirely made by my own fair hand and come in a range of colours and patterns. All three are available in my Etsy and NOTHS shops. Included are a mixture of accessories in matching patterns. They make the perfect Christmas gift as all the hard work of gift wrapping is done for you...all you have to do is choose!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Black Sale Friday!

Today is Black Sale Friday!!!
That means a tonne of discounts EVERYWHERE! Loads of places are taking part, including Not On The High Street. And I've got a load of my handmade products up for grabs in my Not On The High Street shop, with a whopping 30% off! It lasts for 24 hours only, so get in there quick folks!
Happy shopping!

See You Soon