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30 January 2013

'Get your craft on' club!



Yay! I've been wanting to do this for ages...start a craft club with friends and it's finally happening! This Saturday me and my girlies are going to get together to learn, teach and share crafts with each other. There will be plenty of tea, cake, nattering and good ol' crafty time. We're hoping to make it a regular event, which I'll take pics of to share here and of course, let you know what craft we turn our hands to each time.

This Saturday, I think knitting and crochet will be on the cards as I teach a friend (who apparently has a "crafty person desperate to get out" of her!) how to knit and practice my new 2013 craft - crochet. I'm really looking forward to it! 

Are you part of a craft club or indeed, thinking of starting one? I'd love to hear all about it!

Ta ra for now!
Jo :-) x


28 January 2013

First new craft of 2013

It's on my 2013 list of things to do...learn how to crochet and last Sunday my friend and I headed over to Knit One in Leicester for a whole day of beginner's crochet. 


With our crochet hooks and choice of delicious cotton yarn at the ready, we learnt how to make a slip knot, chain stitch, double/half treble/treble stitch, slip stitch, crocheting into a foundation chain and work rows before having a lovely lunch and plenty of much needed tea!


With our bellies full and the crochet addiction already setting in, we got going on Granny squares before finishing off with some lovely little flowers. 


It was so much fun and since then I've starting creating more Granny squares with the the gorgeous cotton yarn I just had to purchase before heading off in the snow for home. The cotton yarn is super lovely, easy to work with and comes in a whole range of scrumptious colours! I don't think any of us left without buying some! Well, you've got to practice with something, right?! ;-) 



Have you tried a new craft for the new year or have you got something planned in the pipeline? I'd love to know what everyone's up to!



Ta ra for now,
Jo :-) x


27 January 2013

My latest purchase....

When I saw a particularly gorgeous ring from the wonderful Claireabellemakes, I just couldn't resist! In to the basket it went and on Friday a lovely little parcel arrived through the letter box...


Can you believe I only opened the parcel today?! Yup, crazy hey. This little parcel has been eyeing me up ever since but I wanted to do it justice and take a photo of the gorgeous packaging before diving in.


Isn't the packaging so cute!



Oh and what's that Jo? There are TWO rings. I ordered the bobbin ring and the wonderful Claire put an extra one in as a surprise. How super lovely is that!!



She's got me down to a T...turquoise is one of my favourite colours!



Thank you sooooooooooo much Claire!! 

If, like me, you can't resist Claire's gorgeous designs, you can get all tempted in her lovely Etsy shop.

Ta ra for now!
Jo :-) x


24 January 2013

Packaging

Since 2013 kicked off, I've been adding new designs to my shop, improving my product photos and ordering LOTS of stuff! And by stuff I mean packaging, packaging, packaging!

One of my aims for this year is to improve how I present my shop items. In other words, it's all about the gift wrapping baby!

The shopping list has so far consisted of...

New jewellery boxes...


New gift boxes for my hankies, hoop art and travel card holders...


Bio-degradable shredded paper to give those designs a comfy ride!


Oh and not forgetting every type of jiffy bag possible.....there's no need to show you a picture of that! ;-)

Have you been focusing on improving certain areas of your business? Would love to know what folks are up to!

Ta ra for now,
Jo :-) x

23 January 2013

New valentine designs

I've just added these valentine ladies to my shop. What do you think? 







Both are hand embroidered on to cream calico and framed by the cutest 3 inch wooden embroidery hoop. I've used toy stuffing in the back to give them a gorgeous curve. I think this curve makes the hearts warmer, as opposed to a flat front. 


I've added my cotton 'Adventures & Tea Parties!' label to the back and luscious pink ribbons to hang them up with.


Ta ra for now!
Jo :-) x

21 January 2013

Some new brooch designs...

As promised, here are some snaps of my new brooch designs...well, I say new, it's the mini typewriter and sewing machine I blogged about recently...only in brooch format! 


Here's my typewriter design, in red...


...and blue...



...and here's Mrs Sewing Machine brooch...



Not forgetting, a big welcome back to some shop favourites...Mr Bumblebee



...and Mrs Teapot....


These are all available in my shop now, with more colours coming soon! Are there any colours you would like to see?

Ta ra for now,
Jo :-) x

Look what just arrived!

I couldn't resist it when I saw Miss Beatrix's new button designs last week, so before you could say BUTTONS I'd popped them in my basket! :-) And eeeeek, eek, eek, they arrived today in the cutest parcel EVER!


I ordered three of Miss Beatrix's gorgeous button designs and get this, they're painted by hand!! The attention to detail is incredible and the images utterly beautiful. She sure is one talented lady!!


I simply cannot decide if I have a favourite or not because these are three things I love - birds, tea and knitting.

I've put them straight up on my fabric covered pin board to admire whilst I'm embroidering. I may sew them on to some clothing but then I'm a huge fan of pinning buttons up on my pin board to admire...like little pieces of art.

I urge you to go check out Miss Beatrix's Etsy shop! :-)

Right, I'm off to swoon over my buttons! 

Ta ta for now!
Jo :-) x

p.s. want to know more about Miss Beatrix? Come check out this interview I did with the lovely lady over here.

20 January 2013

Product photography

I've found myself spending literally hours and hours with Mrs Camera recently, chasing what little light is available and testing out new props for my product snaps this week. 

It's like a love/hate relationship doing product photography. Hate = hours of work for a handful of photos. Love = getting those snaps that go ta dah!



I don't profess to be a professional photographer, far from it. What little I've learnt, I've learnt through much trial and error....and I'm still very much learning. 

However, I thought it was about time I did a post to share what I've learnt to date and also (hopefully!) find out more top tips from you guys, so here goes:


1. You don't need a fancy camera, a digital camera will do just fine but I would still like a fancy camera! ;-)

2. Light, light, light! When that sunny day arrives, get snapping! If the grey clouds continue to loom, look at making your own DIY Light Box. There are plenty of tutorials out there but this one's pretty good as it shows the DIY process from start to finish (I'm very much a visual learner!).

3. Get some props that nicely compliment...you may need to try a few out before you get the one that works...


4. Think about your background. Are you going for the light box option or are you wanting more colour in the shot? Perhaps a shabby chic look? 

5. If you're intending on selling, show how the item can be used...customers love seeing the product in context.


6. Your product description is great but not everyone reads it or only casts half an eye, so make sure you capture everything the customer needs to know in your photos, as well as your description. For example, what's the back of the necklace like? Do you offer a personalised addition to your product? 



7. Do you offer gift wrapping? Well you should! The joy of receiving a handmade gift in beautiful packaging is half the fun isn't it? It doesn't have to be expensive. Remember to work your gift packaging into your overall cost. You've got to cover your costs! And of course, snap that beautiful gift wrapping up. Your customers want to see how pretty it is, right?


8. Spend time editing before publishing your images. It's really worth it. There is of course photoshop but there are also plenty of free photo editing tools out there, or you can crop and lighten images simply by right clicking on your picture (after uploading to your PC) and selecting edit. Voila!

9. And finally...ask for feedback. I know it's hard sometimes but constructive criticism can often save you time in the long run.


I may well add to this post over time as I travel along the learning curve but for now, if you have any top tips, I'd love to hear them, so please do share below.

I hope this is a little helpful! I'll be posting more business tips soon...the next one, pricing your products!

Ta da for now!
Jo :-) x

19 January 2013

Vintage style valentine handkerchiefs

I've been really busy beavering away with new designs and product photography over the last week. My necklace designs hit the shelves on Thursday and Friday and today I can unveil my latest creations....my new vintage style valentine handkerchiefs....


 

All of my handkerchiefs are made from 100% cotton, picked especially to be super kind on your skin and, of course, pretty to look at!


After pre-washing the fabric, drying and ironing, I cut out the handkerchief using my template (so that they're all the same size!) and very carefully create a double hem all the way around by folding, ironing, folding and ironing some more!


Next I select a complimentary cotton to machine sew the hem in place with. Then it's back to the ironing board to get the fabric ship shape before the embroidering begins.


After much sketching and re-sketching, I decide on an embroidery design and very carefully transfer the image to the corner. 


The next stage I love - choosing which colour embroidery thread to use! On goes the embroidery hoop, the needle is thread and the careful embroidering begins...when I'm happy, it's back to the ironing board to remove any transfer lines before hand sewing my 'Adventures and Tea Parties' label to the reverse side.


Finished? Umm, no, it's back to the ironing board for more pressing before hours of product photography, uploading, editing and reviewing before these little beauties well and truly have the spot light on them in my shop.

If one of these ladies is lucky enough to be picked, I sometimes find myself heading back to the needle and thread for that personalised touch...


...and yep, you've guessed it, back to the ironing board (these hankies certainly have me slaving over the iron but it's worth it!) for yet more pressing before preparing the free gift wrapping packaging...


And that's pretty much the journey of my vintage style handkerchiefs! I'd love to know what you think!

Cheers,
Jo :-) x

18 January 2013

Sewing machine gets shrunk in the wash!

Yesterday, I posted up my new necklace design and today it's the turn of the sewing machine!

Remember, this little number?


After a slight simplification (no she didn't get shrunk in the wash really, ha ha!), I've captured my sewing machine image into my silver tone pendants using the same process...in blue...


...and pink...


More colours will be available soon, as will more pendant and brooch designs, so watch this space!

If you're interested in these little numbers, you can get tempted in my little shop over here!

Jo :-) x

17 January 2013

Typewriter goes mini...

Yay! I'm so excited to be sharing some of my new designs, most of which will be up in my shop soon!

Remember my vintage typewriter embroidery hoop art?


Well, you can now get a mini version...in blue...


...and pink...


I've slightly simplified the typewriter design and kept the embroidery on cream calico. I find the calico gives more warmth to the design, instead of a stark white cotton.

For the embroidery, I have carefully transferred the design using transfer paper and embroidered the transferred image by hand using 100% cotton embroidery thread. I love this part, seeing my design come to life millimeter by millimeter.

The next part I love even more, carefully encasing my design into a silver tone pendant, attaching the silver plated chain and voila!

Oh but hang on einen moment! Those little darlings didn't just jump on this here page! This is where even more hours and hours of work take place...the photoshoot!!

As I don't have a light box, I patiently wait for a bright sunny day and when that sun pops up, you won't see me for dusk. I'm up in my studio working with my assistant (my not answering back assistant - Mrs Camera! ;-) ) snapping away from every angle until I've got at least five decent photos. I take literally hundreds until I've got several angles and props that work for all my designs, so that there's some consistency.

Here are some other photos that I took. I would love to know your thoughts!










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