Friday, 21 December 2012

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

My letter to you this year is not about what I want for Christmas day.

I want to thank you for what turned out to be a quite successful 2012. If you could kindly give my fans, followers and readers something they want from their Christmas lists that will make me very happy. I have increased my sales base, worked out my plan and am starting to get my blog back on track. For this I am grateful.

I've been so good Santa that I've already drafted 5 posts ready to go for the New Year. I have no excuses now!

If you could make 2013 just as or more successful than this year I will be forever in you debt.

Love always,


P.S. Thank you one and all for your continued support. This is not my last post of the year but it seemed like the right time to share my thanks. In case you aren't around for Christmas day - MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours. May you all be blessed with good health and better fortune ;)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The madness settles - time for networking.

I woke up this morning feeling a little under the weather and then realised it is more than likely because I haven't stopped for weeks on end. My day job has required my full attention when there thanks to one of our staff leaving. I hate doing interviews at the best of times however at this time of year I hate it even more. Though I had my last fair the other week I have still been churning out orders. Which is great in all honesty.

However at the end of it I have had very little me time. So I promised myself a lie which I have had! The past few weeks have seen me falling asleep over my work. Something like this but not so cute.

I don't know about any of you but I have now started to look to the New Year. What I want to achieve and why I want to be there.

I have been trying to get my likes counter up to 1000 for a while now (on Facebook that is). I know it's fickle, but for some reason I will feel like 'Yay, may not mean a straight sale but it does mean my name is out there'. There has been such a lot of talk recently on whether likes mean anything on your Facebook page. The way I look at it, for every one like you may get maybe, just maybe, a sale may come from an unexpected corner. And if not, it's been fun getting there. In my travels across the Facebook networking sites I have come across the good the bad and the down right ugly. However, by a twist of fate I met up with a page who have since taken me on as part of their Admin team. A little touch and go for a while as the page and the admins tried to work out how best to proceed - however I now work next to 5 very lovely ladies helping to promote the works of others (which I really enjoy) and I have also made some amazing friendships. If you are new to networking, or are an old hat looking for a lovely environment I point you over to The Crafters Society and Directory. Such a great group and no one goes ignored. Every post is answered one way or another. 

It has made me realise that this year has been a hard one, but hopefully, over the months to come I will get to see the blossoming of my own handy work as well as that of others deserving of praise. I will continue to network and see where it takes me. After all I have had some sales this year from the most unexpected of places. As the madness settles and we have time to look back I hope you all remember the good with the bad. I think this year has been hard on us all - thanks economy, we owe you one (not). I have high hope for next year, so join me in a little pre-christmas networking and lets see if we can't rock the joint next year. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Another period of absence

I apologise for not being around much. It's all been in the spirit of Christmas however!

This year has seen With U in Mind take off with regards to the seasonal orders. So much so that I haven't had time to do anything other than make make make. Not that I am complaining. I couldn't be happier in all fairness.

I had my last fair of the year this last weekend and it wasn't the best which was a bit of a blow out, but never to give up I have plans for next year to hit larger scale markets and fairs to see if we can't get up yet another milestone.

The past few weeks have made me realise a few things however. Firstly - unless asked, or unless the flight of fancy takes me I won't be doing much in the way of Jewellery any more. It sells ok, but I just can't bare to see the stands of hand crafted markets saturated with the stuff (no offence to any of my readers who are themselves jewellery makers). My talent is middle of the road and I just can't compete. However my home decor stuff nearly sold out and all my 'novelty' items are pretty much gone too! So, as of the New Year - bye bye jewellery, hello my lovely sewing machine/fimo/alternative crafts.

If any of you are interested I have a 'Sale' album up on my Facebook. Pop by and have a mooch.

I've been working on a whole range of designs based around retro gaming. I started this at the back end of last year and never did anything with it, however with my move away from beads and wire I thought it was about time to resurrect the ideas.

These will be developed into clothing iron on patches, phone and kindle cases, console cases and a number of other things.

I also want to look at doing so large project bags but we will see...

Monday, 12 November 2012

Handmade Monday 92

Wow, it's been so long since I have had time to partake in the event of Handmade Monday. I've forced myself to sit down at the computer for a little while so I can take a trip around some of the blogs of other talented people. I have that slightly guilty feeling as I am behind in more of less every project I've got going. Amazing how having a family member come to stay can mess things up so royally.

But I digress.

It's been an interesting few weeks. Hit and Miss may be the best way to put it. On the one hand I have been busy creating items for orders that came through on the back of the Craft Party I recently had the pleasure of joining in. My online sales took a dive as I was without internet for 4 weeks and couldn't update anything and it's been a struggle to get things going again. Then we have the rush to get more stock ready for the Craft Fair that's coming up on the 2nd of December. As usual, thanks to life, I am running a little behind on that too.

All that said I have not been too idle. If you saw some of last weeks posts you will have seen my decorative hearts and stars. Well the crafting continued with another Owl being added to the family:

This is Mr Mottles - actively seeking a new home if your interested ;)

I continued on with some more hearts. These are much smaller than their predecessors' and much more 'Tree' friendly.

Then we have the slightly larger than the originals. Yet more hearts and much more stand alone decoration types.

I was happy to see the Patchwork heart left my store the moment I listed it. Always good when you know you've created a hit.

So that has been my week. Full of thread and stitches. I will take the time out to have a mooch around some of the lovely blogs that will have enlisted in Handmade Monday. If I don't get round to your right away I will be doing visits through out the week so I will be round!

Friday, 9 November 2012

My most favoured 30th Birthday present

This last Monday I turned the dreaded 3 0. I did not celebrate and I did not want to. My mother bought me a fridge freezer. My Hubby got me loads of fun stuff from Forbidden Planet (also known as The Mother Ship), however my most favoured prezzie came from my sister. Now, my sister, who is 11 years my senior, has only just discovered the likes of Ebay so I was delighted, shocked and surprised to find out that this item had been purchased from with Etsy or Facebook. I couldn't believe she would know how. In learning the likes of other selling platforms though my sister was one of only two people to buy me something handmade. Thumbs up sis!

Now the seller of this item I have total respect for. She can crochet so that puts her UP there! Not only that though, this lady knows how to make her critters stand out. I've wanted one of her creations for ages but my biggest issue - which one? I would be the kid in the candy store - "I'll have that one and that one and that one and that one and that one..." No that isn't flattery, that's a testament to this persons amazing talent.

So what did I get I hear you ask. Where did the wonderful mystery item originate from?


The lovely Liz Ward over at Amigurumi Barmy makes some of the most thought out plushies I've ever seen and I own one! Think my mother thought I had lost the plot when I opened that package and went "Oh My God! I've always wanted one of these. I know who makes these. How did Clare (my sister) know I wanted one? Oh wow..." The reply to the question was - Facebook. So here's a lesson for all you budding business people. If you haven't got a Facebook page - get one. I can assure you some big kid like me will see something they like and whilst they sit wondering which item they want a relative could pop along and make the choice for you.

Here's my lovely little fella. Or fella-ess I suppose :D The detailing is amazing and I adore the little slippers. The little heart buttons on the side of the face - shhhhhh don't tell anyone but there a few on her bum too *tee-hee*.

So here's thanks to Liz and her wonderful creations. You made my Birthday and you didn't know it until now :D

You can visit Liz and keep up with creations via her Facebook Page, via her Etsy Store or via her Blog.

With U in Mind goes State Side

Okay, so the title makes this post sound really exciting... and perhaps for most of you, not so much! However for me? I was doing major dance routines this morning just because I could.

I decided back in August to open an Etsy store. Didn't do much with it in all fairness. Listed a handful of items and that was that. I made a single sale going back a few months ago and again I just kind of let it hang. Not having the internet made me rethink my plans. With most of my sales coming from word of mouth, fairs or parties I figured that even though the old Facebook page was doing it's job in raising awareness, it wasn't raising my sales levels. Folksy has served me reasonably well but sales are sporadic and I certainly couldn't plan anything by them. So time to revisit Etsy and get my store loaded up with goodies. So yesterday after posting on my blog I sat down and listed a bunch of Christmas Decorations. The plan for today was to do the same (and still is after my marathon mission of post office, Hobby Craft, friends house, Morrisons - all on public transport). When I woke up this morning 3 of my decorations had sold so I was very impressed. I then checked where I was sending the items to. First thing in the morning I was sitting there thinking "Weymouth" or "Dundee". Nope - West Virginia. Oh yeah, With U in Mind has just made it's first State side sale! WOO-HOO go me.

Now watch the curse as Etsy makes me no more sales until the New Year :/ I LOVE YOU ETSY, DON'T LET ME DOWN! :D

Moving on...

As promised here are a couple of other items I have been working on. Little hanging star decorations. Well actually they aren't they small. At 10cm that makes them kinda large I guess, but just as lovely and Christmassy. I won't have time this year, but next year I think I may add fragrance. Maybe something orangey as Cinnamon tends to give me a headache. We shall see.

Sold Yesterday - Yes!!! Love you Etsy.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Okay so I can see that the title of this post didn't really have the pop factor I would have liked, however the little asterix will have to do for the star part.

So what has been going on in the world of With U in Mind? Well of course by now you will have all seen the lovely entries of the craft swappers in their Halloween themed success. Was a little miffed that I couldn't join in the fun, however what with the house move if wouldn't have been fair. I know I would have been late. Nothing worse that being the person organising something then being the only one late in sending out your goodies. However, the more I think about it, I think the next one with be an Easter with a twist swap. Watch this space if your interested. Well not this exact space since once this post is posted... it's ain't changing.

I finally have internet connection. Now to give it it's due if anyone out there is a virtual addict like I, get yourself a Samsung Galaxy Note. I would have been lost without it. Managed to do most things during my 4 week drought. It wasn't easy, however, I am proud to sit here and say Samsung rule!

But this is a blog about crafting and fun things, not random electrical items than help addicts get their internet fix ;)

I have been beavering away on decorations and other goodies ready for the end of month craft fair. This will be the first Christmas craft fair I have ever had the pleasure of taking part in. Mainly because when you work in retail the rota is written out by Mr Humbug and his evil minions. This year I managed to book a date so I'm pretty excited. I know I will spend more than I make - which for those of you who are looking to start your own business is a no no. My excuse is that I will be spending my pocket money :D

Want to see some of the goodies I've been creating?

This isn't it by the way. This is just a taster. Funny image of me turning up with 4 stuffed hearts and nothing else. Would be a short and embarrassing fair me thinks. No I will post some other goodies shortly. However I am a woman with a mission. I have until Monday when I am off until to complete the following list:

1. Completed a blog post on my most AWESOME birthday present!
2. Completed a selection of other blog posts.
3. Updated by Folksy/Etsy/Facebook pages.
4. Spent birthday monies in Hobby Craft
5. Started the long and tiring, yet totally fun job of turning home to Santas Grotto.
6. Bulk cooked food for the freezer - I hate cooking when I get home from work.
7. Completed a quick but necessary run to a major supermarket (I really f***in' hate food shopping)
8. Cataloged my fair creations with price tags and noted down profit margins into good ole Excel
9. Watch a number of funky film... because I can.
10. Eat junk food... because I can but I know I shouldn't.
11. Visit friend to pay for shed and discuss craft fair... she's got a stall there too.

So excuse me lovely peoples but I need coffee, cake and more organisation.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Craft Swap - what did you get?

A little while ago I decided that a Halloween Craft swap was in order. For no other reason than why not. A bit of a bumpy start due to a number of people dropping out due to other commitments however we held in to the end.

My little gang of swappers were given the challenge to create a fun or useful gift for the swap partner. The budget was £5 and the theme - pretty obvious if you read the post title ;)

Due to moving house I myself did not create as it would not have been fair. No way would I have had time to craft and move. So I brutally twisted the arm of my good friend Helen who stepped into my shoes to craft on my behalf.

That aside I just want to see what you all crafted and created! More importantly did you have fun and would you join me for another swap? I'll be able to join in on that one lol. I'm thinking easter with a twist.

I have linked your pages below. Take the time to look around these fantastic pages and sites and if your not already I recommend you like or follow these talented peeps! I know some peeps are running late posting their photos so please be patient. My door bell was ringing off the wall at one point. blog of Penny Hautler blog of Liz Ward facebook page of Melvina Blackmore blog of Julie Wells facebook page of Diane Harrod blog of Jan Ryan facebook page of Helen Campbell

I would like to thank you all personally for taking part. Just hosting it I got all excited. Next year it is on :D


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I apologise for the typos but my phone just don't love me

Okay, so I haven't written a post in an age. The reason for this is threefold. First there was the house move. Second there was the rush to get things sorted for the craft party I attended this weekend. Finally and most importantly there is still no internet connection until the 7th of November. Whilst I love my phone there is that moment of dread when trying to type an email on a touch screen phone with no spell check let alone a blog post. However  I have withdrawal symptoms plus I will be linking up with the lovely peeps who have taken part in my Halloween Craft Swap so I couldn't hide any longer.

So on the back of all this I have decided though I rent, I will never move house ever again. I will become a squatter if I have to. Our old landlord said he was selling up so trying to find a new house was a nightmare. Eventually found somewhere that looked reasonable. On the day of the move I hired the Chuckle Brothers to move me. Now I work for a self storage company and he was one of our recommended removalists. Note the word 'was'. I only realised they had over charged me by £40 after they left. Interesting that they have not been back to the store I work in since. Then once we're in I go to set up my new tv unit only to find 3 missing parts. They won't refund me but will send out the missing part... to the old a3ddress then expect me to pick them up from that address. I think not. The old landlord then wants to hold back half of my deposit. £500 to repair a carpet, go to the tip and 'redecorate'. We were in the house for 4 and a half years. Not only that but we were meant to move out on the 16th... we were forced to complete the move on the 13th. The amount of stuff we had to leave behind was unreal. You can imagine the flavour of the emails that have been going backwards and forwards.

But let us move on...

I attended my very first craft party this last weekend. In all fairness the turn out wasn't good. On a positive note I did make a few sales and get a couple of orders so I'm quite happy. Has anyone ever held their own party? How did it go and what advice would
you give? I am wondering if it would be worth holding my own.

Please pop by tomorrow evening where my Halloweeners shall be sharing their swaps.
Since I write this whilst waiting for a train home I will leave you with some photos and will be checking around what I've missed over the past few weeks.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Tired of boxes so I sat down to read...

Sorry for the absence my lovely reader people. I have had to make myself scarce in order to view new properties and the joys that are work.

With the Landlord giving us the boot we have had to look around for something affordable and pleasant. No easy task in this area of London. Strange how everyone just baulks when you go - oh and I have two cats too. Stupid Landlord types. You make enough money as it is - no need to panic over pets.

However, good news. We have a new house *cheers*. Better still it's a two bed house *cheers louder*. Nice place with a garden. I'm happy. The down side is between now and the move I have 3 days off. Today not included I spent cleaning and touching up paint work as the estate agent is round to 'value' the property (I carefully made sure I didn't clean the black mould off the living room wall, the bedroom wall, most of the bathroom walls and the hallway). Once she leaves tomorrow I need to get some crafting done though. That leaves me two days to pack, get my Sky sorted, order and have a fridge freezer delivered and generally organise chaos. Fun times ahead :/

On the up note - have you read you issue of Craftseller this month? I have and look who I found on the 'Your Letters' page:

A not so good photo of the magazine

The original

I just sent the photo in as a laugh via email thinking it looked kinda cute. Everyone loves cute so I figured it would make someone go 'Awwwww'. Must have really made someone go awww if it appeared in the mag. Either that or there weren't that many reader letters that month...

So tomorrow I will be posting the next part of the Plan. This time I will be talking about managing your time. If you are interested please pop by. I have some makes that I will post up for you soon too. Over all I am one busy bunny.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Halloween Craft Swappers Needed!!

Right guys, as some of you know I have been organising a Halloween Themed Craft Swap. It was all going so well... until some of you naughty people then told me you had other commitments to attend (tut tut you naughty craft people ;) kidding). So I am keeping my dates open for another week.


Here's what I need from you:

1. You must be over 16
2. You must have a Blog/Website/Facebook page to display your swapped wares
3. You entry MUST be handmade by you!
4. You need to stick to a budget of £5.00
5. ANY craft can enter - paper crafts, knitters, sewing fanatics - any craft at all!
6. Your deadline for posting the item will be 17.10.12 - that's two weeks before Halloween. Plenty of time for you swap buddy to get their hands on your hand crafted goodies :)

Still want to have a go?


You now need to email the following details:

Your postal address
5 crafty likes (and the reason why)
5 random dislikes (and the reason why)
Main profession
Blog/website/Facebook url where you will most likely upload the photos from your crafty swapper. (You can offer more than one url/site)

You can send these details to me here:

On your marks, get set, GO!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bottle bags, hearts and something in pink

First of all, as I will be linking in with the Handmade Monday crowd, I need to apologise to those of you I didn't get round to visiting or writing a comment on your blogs last week. A weird week as things go (I won't bore you all with the details) but it hindered by bloggy time. So once again, sorry!

That to one side, and last weeks weirdness carefully place in an empty box, it was in fairness a productive one. I have been busy getting together the old Christmas stock. Not as much as I would have hoped, but as with everything, I should be grateful I got a handful of things done right?

There are 3 lovely looking bottle bags sitting very close to me right now... the down side? The photos I took on my phone this morning before leaving Derby are fuzzy, out of focus and just generally bad quality. So rather than put my name to shame, as I am off on Wednesday I will make sure to take to snaps to show you all. Even after spending some time with our friend, PicMonkey... nope. Really not doing those bags any justice!

So then there was project number two. Some little heart decorations just for a tree. No buttons, no beads, no sequins, just lovely materials. Plain and simple. As I do a lot of work with felt these are a little different for me. They aren't prefect, but I am quite impressed! Just need to trim the cord on the gingham guys.

Then there was a chainmaille marathon. My sisters birthday was on Friday so it was a quick couple of nights away from London up to Derby to see the family. So I thought I would make her a lovely champagne and pink chainmaille bracelet (which I stupidly forgot to snap). I then got a little carried away as I then made a white and blue necklace in the same style. I have yet to get pics of that as I could do with clearing the work surfaces to get a good shot. Another later in the week job. But then to top it off I had some pink rubber O rings which were just crying out to be used... so here is a pic of that :)

Rubber O ring Chainmaille available here
So over all a weird and busy week... with a severe lack of cameras and no photo taking. If that is the least of my worries I would be one happy Kat.

Enough of the woes though. Today sees us into another Handmade Monday. You know the rules. If you haven't checked it out, you need to check it out. If you don't? There may be some virtual stick poking ;)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Let's start with the basics... The Why.

If you are regular reader you will know that I have recently decided to go from part time craft hobbyist to full time craft seller. If you aren't a regular read, I poke you with my virtual stick. No not really :) However welcome to my blog!

A couple of lovely people have asked me to share my experiences and learning curves as I go through the process of what I have decided to call, quite simply, 'The Plan'. You see I can't afford to just drop my full time job from hell and follow my dream. Finances simply won't allow it (however I do I have lottery ticket in my purse so next week I may be writing a whole different post).  I have had to lay down a plan to be able to achieve everything I want and need to be able to wave 'ta-rah love' to the rat race.

I'm going to break up 'The Plan' and walk you through it, post by post, week by week. With a little luck if you are thinking of leaving the rough world of pain and no gain, I may help you out with something you hadn't thought of. Otherwise I at least hope to vaguely entertain the masses with my lacking comedic value ;)

So what's the first thing you are going to do?

Work out why you want to become a full time crafter.

The second thing?

How are you going to get there.

Now the why should be the easy part, the how may take sometime to understand (hence the posts that shall eventually follow).

So, you work in an office where Tracy had been giving you the evil eye for the past 6 months. She reckons you're having it away with the boss man and she has spread evil nasty rumours. You feel down, depressed and most of all you wouldn't touch the boss man with a barge poll. Anyone that wears that amount of aftershave has something to hide. Or you work with James, Pam and Eve - the check out chicks with attitude. Oh they invite you to their house parties and they let you sit with them at lunch, but you know they have spread a nasty little lie. Tut tut you getting all drunk at the Christmas party and coming out of the toilets with 'white' power round your nose. Your compact broke, they don't believe you, but they won't say it to your face. Or maybe you just work alone, all hours god sends, no time to be with the kids. Up in the dark, home in the dark, living off takeaways and coffee just to keep going.

Whatever your reason, you are reading this because you have a gift or talent for the old crafts! You might be a papercrafter, a knitter, and painter, a jewellery maker - it doesn't matter. You love what your hobby is. You've sold a few items to friends and family. You recently jumped onto the Etsy band wagon. You sold a few more items. You have a little extra cash flow.

Halt right there.

Hate to break this bad boy to you - but just because you sold a few bits doesn't mean you can go and tell James, Pam and Eve where to carefully insert it. Nope. You need a plan.

You know why you want to leave. You don't want to work in a thankless environment where the only people that get the praise are the people who don't  have families, who don't go out at weekends, who generally just live at work. You want to make you own hours. You want to be able to take a day off to spend time with the family. You want to make Sunday baking day and wrap jar tops in gingham fabric.

You do have to consider one more thing.

Only a lucky 1 in 1000 of us will make it big. That one person will be able to open a store, employ others and make enough money to have two holidays a year. The other 999 of us? We will make money but our hours will be long, probably longer than what you work now. The pay will be less. Sorry, but at the very least you £22k a year salary is a goner (unless you're that one don't forget). You will need to budget for every last thing. From where you will buy the new school uniform, where you will do your food shopping, how much you will spend on materials, bills....the list is endless. Due to cut backs you are going to have to work out if you can leave your job, and most importantly when. I will go into more detail on that at a later date.

Here's the crunch point. You want to leave your job. You want to sell what YOU make full time. Will your family and friends support you? Most of the time this is a yes. However every cut back you make, every day you spend working away until midnight, every time you get stressed out because you are scared you can't get the order out on time - these things effect your nearest and dearest. You might have the why, but make sure you have their support before you go any further!

I would advise you now to consider your whys. I would advise you to speak to the significant other. Once you have done that if you are still in the same place - the 'If I don't do something now I never will' place - pop back later.

Budgets are important - however next time - it's all about time. Time is your friend and your enemy! If there is one thing I have learnt when working in sales and retail for the past 12 odd years it's how to manage your time. Even if you already own your own craft business I may be able to pass on a gem or two to you ;)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

A little rumble before the Christmas storm?

So the last week has been an interesting week.

After trying a couple of different networking techniques, my Facebook page has seen a surge of interest and I've had a surge of orders. From custom pieces, to items I've made for friends but never for the general public to just general sales and interest. I know much of this is to do with the big 'C' being just over the horizon, however, I can't believe it. Part one of the plan seems to be falling into place. Such a happy little bunny.

So if you have purchased something from me in the past couple of weeks (or at all for that matter) a huge thank you. Without your support I wouldn't be able to start turning a hobby into the dream job.

You are all...


(do you like the 's at the end there)

In fairness I don't have many photos to show you as I have been busy making and packing out just to ensure I keep up on orders. However I would like to share this with you. I've never tried making Chainmaille like this. I need to revisit a couple of the links to just smarten them up, however very autumnal don't you think? A lovely little seasonal bracelet. 

Available in my Folksy store - Autumnal Flower

Someone also asked me for some Stitch Markers too. Nothing fancy just something simple. The photo doesn't do much justice however they are quite cute I can assure you.

Stitch Markers
I have a list of things to craft and create, and I am part way through writing a cool post which will be going out later this week. Need to get it submitted over tomorrow - but I can't tell you more just yet :D

Over all this week has been a fun and prosperous one. Our Landlord has decided to sell out flat however that hasn't dampened my mood much. It will mean finding somewhere with higher rent, but hopefully more space... which means more crafting. Complete excellence if I do say so myself.

I will be nipping over to the Handmade Monday weekly to join in and see what other amazing things other lovely crafty people have been up to. If you haven't already... you really need to check it out.

P.S. If anyone is interested I am looking to host a Halloween swap and would love you all to join. If you are interested read my previous post or contact me on for more information.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Halloween Themed Craft Swap! Sign up now.

I'm holding a craft swap! Why? Why not? I love to see other peoples talents and skills so I want to invite you all to take part. Below are some of the rules and reasons - just to give you an idea on what to expect. I want to invite you all - your craft does not matter. I think it is time to share the talent ;)

What is a 'Swap'?
Swaps come in all shapes and sizes and take place all over the world. Sometimes they are themed, sometimes they are just held for fun. The idea is to secretly create a handmade gift for a randomly chosen individual whilst working with the rules set out during that swap, sending the gift out to the recipient and then sharing the gift you receive in turn. Most swaps are held to make something the recipient will find useful or like. Swaps are a way of sharing your love of crafting, having the great feeling you have created a lovely one of piece that someone will own, and in return receiving a gift just as lovingly thought of.

Do I get paid?
No. You will need to budget for £5 worth of materials for your crafted item. This will not include the cost of the postage and packaging you are going to pay to send the item out.

Who can enter?
You must be over 16 to enter the swap. You must have a Facebook page, blog or website where you can post pictures of your received gift. You must be able to produce a gift that is handmade by you, the craft however is up to you. You can be a paper crafter, jewellery maker, knitter or sewer. You may be able to wood turn or create lovely candles. You must remember that the theme is Halloween, and you must be able to produce something that your recipient will like or find useful.

When will I get the details of whom I am crafting for?
Details will be sent out via email to you by Sunday 9th September at the latest (this is dependant on how many entries we receive! It may be a little earlier).

Is there a deadline?
Yes. Once you have received the details of the person you are crafting for you will need to have the item crafted and sent out no later than the 17th October 2012. You will not be encourage to open you gift until the 31st October 2012. This is a Halloween Swap after all.

Is there anything else?
Yes. You will be required to enter by email ( will then be sent out an email for confirmation in return. You will need to answer a handful of questions (fun ones!) about who you are and what you like. You will be required to give a postal address. You will also need to leave the address of your blog/Facebook page/website. This is so that on the 31st of October, when everyone has opened their parcels you can up load you pictures to show the other swappers and so I can link the pages together from one central point.

Finally, you don't need to run your own business. You just need to have a love for crafting! Hobbyist or full time seller it doesn't matter. However if you would like a little more traffic to your website or you blog it won't hurt. The added bonus is you may make a brand new friend.


P.S. Don't forget, the details are a secret. Don't go giving away the details or angled photos thinking we won't know. I'll be checking ;)

Enter by emailing me here:
Please contact me if you have any questions.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

In need of a Fairy Godmother!

Yet again the last few days have been eaten up with trying to get things done at the day job. In the past 5 days I have managed to total up a whole days worth of overtime - and that's just what I noted down... Things are getting pretty hard at the moment. Nothing seems to go smoothly, and no matter how much time and effort you put into something, it is never enough. This is making me more determined to leave behind the rat race and join the 'crafting for less money but more enjoyment and satisfaction crowd'. I know we've all been in this boat, but sometimes, listening to people put you down all the time, it makes getting out of bed real hard in the mornings. We solider on because we have to... but even so, send me my fairy godmother and allow me to make a wish or two!

Rant over I have several posts I need to get out in the next day or two but this one is just to bring you up to date on a few of my most recent and seemly popular makes. For those of you who are regular readers you will know I love keyrings. Don't ask me why, I just inadvertently started collecting them as a kid and somehow I now seem to make them. However, I added a couple of Christmas themed goodies to the collection this week, just to see how they would go down. Little stocking fillers if you will.

Shortly to be added to my Folksy Store

Shortly to be added to my Folksy Store
What do you think? Kinda cute?

I also made two variations on my best seller earrings. These however are not so themed :D

Already available here: Purple-Passion

Already available here:  Totally-Teal
Thinking I might team these up with some cluster charm bracelets. We'll see!

If you are interested in my Halloween Craft Swap please keep your eyes peeled as I will be looking to post an invite later today/first thing tomorrow. I hope you will all consider joining in. It should be fun!

Friday, 24 August 2012

It's all about the Owls

This past week and a half has been unbelievably busy. Unfortunately not with crafting, but with the 'other' job. With the boss off it's left me in charge and as is usually the case we have had nothing but incident after accident after issue. Always the way when you have no one else to turn to.

However thankfully I have had a couple of days off and in respect had time to catch up with a bit of cleaning and organising. Part of my plan was to sort out the home so that the place is less cluttered and my craft supplies are neatly stock piled. It will take a lot longer than the few hours I've put into so far, but in the next couple of weeks I should have a clutter free home with plenty of space to create that next project.

Talking about the plan, as of next week I will be writing regular posts dedicated to my plan and how to start your own. I am hoping some of you will find it useful and the rest of you I hope will find it an interesting read. As always I am looking forward to reading your comments. Everyone in this community is very supportive which allows us to share our tips and tricks. Where else would you find such friendly people?

I have also been planning my Halloween Swap, which I will be launching the first week of September. I have had quite a few people show an interest. All crafts and skills will be welcome to join, so if you haven't put your hand up yet, by all means please do! I will write the sign up post in a couple of days time.

Now for some crafting...

Owls continue to shine in the crafty spot light at the moment and over the past couple of months I have sold a number of Owl based plushies, including my little avatar character! Two more joined my Folksy store this week.

Baby Blue - Click here to find me!

This is Baby Blue. The baby blue owl that takes away all those sad feelings with nothing more than a simple cuddle.

Owl of Trust - Click here to find me!

This is the Owl of Trust - the perfect low cost pet for that person with all the secrets.

I am hoping these guys will find new homes soon as they were certainly lovingly made. I am hoping to add a couple of other slightly more festively themed in the next few weeks but we shall see how time goes. 

The other cool thing that happened is I decided to get some new Business Cards printed. I used to use Vista Print but I had heard so many good things about that I just had to give them a go. I was so happy with the turn out - I ordered them on Sunday and I got the bad boys on Wednesday. Excellent! The photos are a little 'warmer' than I expected and I will need to adjust that for the next batch, but over all, I can't complain. I used the cover photo from my Facebook page on the front, and then my little owl avatar on the back. They are clean, easy to read and just have the essential contact points and pages listed. I would recommend this company a thousand times over!

However, I have projects to finish. Check back on Sunday where I will be joining the Handmade Monday crowd. 

Sunday, 12 August 2012

I've got me a plan.

Now for the execution.

I'm afraid my craft creations have taken a back seat this week. Firstly I had to head back to work. Secondly I had a decision to make.

For over two year I have kept saying 'I'm leaving my job and I'm going to set up my own craft business'. For years I've said it but never done it. I've plodded along making a little money out of my hobby.

However this week I took the plunge. No I didn't leave my job. I wish I could say I have. I have though, sat down and come up with my two year business plan. Sound like a long plan? Yes it is, and it still isn't finished.

I realised that if I am going to do this I need to do a number of things first.

1. I need a healthy pile of savings in the bank - just in case this business doesn't pay for itself right away. So sticking with the rat race for now.

2. Work out what my goal was - which is? Self employment on a smaller income but with flexibility and creativity based. A business I can run and be responsible for.

3. Finally, how the hell I'm going to get there without tearing my hair out.

It might sound simple but you should see the note book I've drafted all this up in. The poor thing has graphs, plans, brain storming spider grams.... soooooo much. All I need to do now is type it up (I like things to look official  and then to take the plunge.

I have decided that there are two things that are going to cripple me. This first is sticking with my job to get the savings in the first place. I struggle to juggle crafting and work at the best of times. The other fear is Accountancy. How scary is that? I mean I've done my tax returns before... but not for a business. SCARY!
If you have any fail safe tips let me know :D

So over the coming year you may see me typing in stress. If so, no need to call the men in white coats... unless the post reads in tongues.

So all I have had time for is cutting out felt templates...

Playing around with some kilt pin ideas...

Oh and catching up with some magazine reading. I keep all the craft mags I buy and sometimes I like to read old issues. Always good to get the mojo flowing. And here, little Hera can be seen telling the world how much she loves Craftseller!

So I'm off to Handmade Monday to check out what others have been up to this week. More than likely more crafting than I hehehehe. Please check out the link and pop along. The more the merrier. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Keyrings, bracelets, photos and one fast year

Time for another Handmade Monday... where did the week go? *checks under the bed, in the kitchen cupboards and under the stairs.* Nope it's not there. This week has been a busy week, though I don't actually have much to show for it. I simply haven't had time to take all the photos.I have spent most of the week updating photos of my Folksy items and thus I haven't had time to upload and polish the ones of the other makes from this week.  

Grave Find - A Skull Keyring/Bag Charm with Pumpkin, Bat and Bead extras

Tied in Knots - A leather thong Knotted bracelet

Wild Thing - Bag charm/Keyring

I have spent time working on some very simple black cushion covers to replace the rabbit chewed ones. I was going to just leave them all just plain and simple however I think I will have to stitch on a character or two just for variety. I will post pics once I have those sorted.

I have been pumping out Christmas decorations, getting ready for a fair come November. I didn't want to get caught out with one a couple of days to go and no stock to take. I always worry when I take items to fairs if I am carrying enough stock as it never looks much when I set up the table. I have been assured that less is more, however I am sure you have all viewed your displays from time to time and thought 'Hmmmmm...'

This year has gone so fast though. This time last year was a Friday and I was hours away from getting married on the Saturday morning. When I think about all the hours I stayed up cooking, cleaning and getting the decs up, then how little I remember of the actual day I wonder if it was worth all the money in the end. Not meant in a bad way of course :) I was flicking through the albums though and think maybe I should print them off and make a nice little album for them. I found an interesting looking tute on how to bind your own books so when I get 5 I think that will be project number 50,201 :D

Finally, when jumping from Christmas decs to cushion covers I kinda decided I wanted to host a Swap - A Halloween swap and was wondering who would be interested. Bloggers of the world, let me know. It should be fun :)

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The winner is and a Halloween Swap?

Well done to the lovely author of Highland Monkeys. A great blog and a fantastic follower!

You are the winner of my crafty give away! *Little Hamster dance going on here (unaware of the hamster dance  Google baby, Google!)*

If you could email me your postal address to I can get these goodies off you on Monday :)

Well done and Congrats!! Looooooots of goodies headed your way.

Thank you to everyone who entered! Keep your eyes peeled, got me an idea coming up soon ;)

No really, anyone with crafty fingers, I have got an idea for a Halloween Swap! Who's in?

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Marshmallows, Love Hearts and Dolly Mixtures

After completing the sweet keyring as featured on my last post I was asked to make one up for a friend. I completed that and got a good response. So I went away, got jiggy with the fimo (really not my favourite material to work with as I tend to burn more stuff than what I cook correctly). However I managed to come out with enough beads to make up several new designs. I then remembered that I had been sent a bag of Dolly Mixture beads which I haven't known what to do with for ages. I crafted on down, took the photos and upload them to my Folksy store yesterday morning. I was delighted to find that two sold last night. With a bit of luck I may be on to a winner.

So I thought I would share the photos with you just to see what the general consensus was :)

'Cute Kid' Key Charm

'Wild Thing' Bag Charm

Sold last night - Dolly Mixtures meet Mallows

Sold - Wild Thing Retro sweet Charms
Depending on how they go down I may make some more. Got some plans for the Christmas Candy Canes, gingerbread men and xmas puds :)

Last reminder! Don't forget to join in my crafty give away. This winner will be picked on Saturday. Just click the link (Relaunch Give Away) and leave a comment to be entered. Best of luck and thanks to everyone who has entered so far!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Time consuming and not the best day for it

Well, so far so good. Post two after a dig back into the blogging world.

Today I thought I would try and catch up with taking photos of my makes, smartening up the ones I already had as the lighting to too dark in some and finally getting everything loaded to the relevant sight. Whilst I have done some snapping the light has not been great and I couldn't be bothered with the light box today. As a result I think I have about 5 items snapped - most of which I can't really use. A shame, however tomorrow is another day.

I have been digging into my cross stitching recently and been visiting one of my favourite Etsy stores to get yet more PDF's. If you haven't already, and if you like manga style images, check out PDFcrossstitch. Love their designs and so much fun to tackle.

Can you guess what it is yet?

I've made and sold lots of jewellery over the last few weeks, again mainly to friends, family and the word of mouthers, however little by little sales on line are picking up. Hopefully things will continue to grow. 

I don't have many photos for you I am afraid however here are a couple of recent accomplishments.

And something a little less craft related...

As some of you know we lost one of our cats going back in April (part of the reason I think I lost my blogging mojo). We quickly jumped in and got another kitten. It was touch and go for a while. Our older tom, Garfield really didn't take to her and she did nothing but hiss and spit all the time. However as the weeks have gone on she has settled in well and now acts more like a dog than a cat. I have a shadow wherever I go. Cute but slightly annoying when I am trying to get jobs done. 

There is one other issue...

She LOVES to eat paper! Bills, envelopes, contracts, designs, books... House rule one: NEVER leave your paperwork unattended - because the cat might eat your homework!

Finally, in order to celebrate my mojo returning I would like to invite you all for a chance to win a ma-hoo-sive pile of crafty goodies. I am currently doing a give away and you are more than welcome to join. Just comment on the previous post (Relaunch Giveaway <----- heres the lil' link :) ) The more the merrier.

Now off to Handmade Monday

Thanks for the mooch :D