Autumn, branding, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, Winter, yarn

Crafty Plans revisited!

Well, that’s a bit of a longer break than I had expected…  Four months since my last post.  And lots has changed since then, for the better!

I’ve started a new job which is going really well, but it has slowed up my ability to work on my rebranding, so I have put that back to next year.

In the meantime I’ve been working on some new products and also have booked a couple of craft fairs for the Autumn / Winter, so I’ve been busy making some Christmassy pieces as well.

I’ve been collecting some lovely bits and bobs for my new business, at the Vintage Bazaar at the Cheese and Grain and am looking forward to the next one in October!

My new business is having a new name and new focus – which is going to be on affordable luxury accessories.  Can’t wait to get going on it…  But first of all I have to get everything ready for the craft fairs in October and November.  These are some of the pieces that I will be taking with me…

And here are some of the handbags that I have been making for my new business – I have lots of ideas on the designs and just have to focus myself!

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Happy crafting!

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branding, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, summer, Uncategorized, Winter, yarn

Forging Ahead

Since my last post, I’ve been a very busy person!

I’ve spent lots of time going through the branding process for my revamped business (see the last post for the fantastic book that I have used to do this)…

The process is more complex than you would imagine, but the more time spent on research and design details will hopefully pay off later on.  I have worked through all the hard sections and am now on the more fun areas.

Colour psychology is fascinating – colours have a wonderfully evocative influence on our moods and, even if we don’t realise it, on our purchasing choices.  Think how often gold is used for luxury and red for passion / fire.

If I was designing this business to appeal to myself, I would likely take these vibrant, jewel colours as my preference, but this does not fit with the values and market which I am looking to appeal to.  This was from the Bath Festival last week (unfortunately The Doctor was not there to whisk me away in the Tardis!)

Colours can be grouped by season and can resonate with certain values, your personality and that which you hold as being most important to represent your brand.  One season should be dominant, but you can integrate a small influence from another season.

On going through this part I found that I was predominantly summer (which fits with my target market) and with winter as my second choice (again which covers some of the areas that are important, but that Summer does not encompass.

Summer shades are generally cool, elegant, traditional, soft and muted.  Winter, on the other hand, is opulent, intense, clear and grounded.

Shapes are also encompassed in these seasonal trends – for summer, faded florals, romantic serif fonts, vintage styling and soft textures.  For winter, geometrics, strong and clean images whether opulent or simple.

Interestingly, all of these parts were all that I had previously envisaged, and am thrilled that this fits in with my original thoughts.

The most difficult task I felt was to sum up my business in three words, from the range of descriptive terms that had been established through all of my research.  So here it is…

Aspirational, bespoke, luxe.

I want to be making beautiful, affordable, personalised creations, with a touch of opulence, for those of us who would love a bit more luxury in our lives.  I have added to my lovely collection of pearls, crystals and gems with these pearl pins, for a new idea for a product, which has arisen from all of my research.

More on that later!

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branding, craft, crochet, knitting, marketing, photography, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, work

Further New Beginnings!

Wow – so much has changed since my last blog…

Not only am I refocusing and rebranding my brand, but I also now have a new job, which I am starting in July, I am going back to working in the NHS after 5 years in the private sector.  So much positive change ahead!

I therefore haven’t had as much time as expected to plan out my new brand.  So today is my first day back on my schedule for planning ahead.

One or two things I have, however, managed to organise will make a big difference.  In the mean time, here are a few bits and pieces which I couldn’t resist…

Last month I went to the Craft 4 Crafters Show at the Bath and West Showground in Shepton Mallet.  These ribbons were just so cute that I had to get them!  I love the buttons ribbon – I could just see this as an edging on a bag.  The leaf ribbons are so unusual, and the heart ribbons are so dainty and cute.

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I also decided that I would try making some purses in the near future, so bought a small sew-in purse frame to test it out.  I have been given some advice on how to make them from my favourite haberdashery, Millie Moon in Frome.  I also bought a glue-in purse frame from them to see which I prefer!

The beads were also from the Craft 4 Crafters show, from a wonderful bead shop in Southampton.  They are inset with rhinestones and so gorgeous – the picture doesn’t do them justice.  I decided on the silver and rose gold varieties and can imagine these decorating a beautiful handbag.

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At the fantastic Vintage Bazaar, at the Cheese and Grain in Frome, I found a stall selling vintage pearls and pearl/mother-of-pearl buttons, these are so stunning, I could just spend hours looking at them.  But they fit in beautifully with my branding plans, so at some point I am going to have to use them!

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One thing I have managed to organise is finding a photographer that I like.  Holly Booth creates the style and image that I am looking for, I would love to work with her.  As she is based in Derby and I am in Wiltshire I thought that may be an issue, but thankfully she does a postal service, so I can send some of my creations and she can work her wonders without me needing to be there…

I have also found a graphic designer that I want to work with – this was a bit of a no-brainer.  Ryan used to work with me at Cats Protection (back in my pre-nursing days) and has a successful business now – RhinoBytes – and we’ve had a quick discussion but I need to get my branding requirements to him.

So, I have plenty to be getting on with and the next stage will be to prepare my brief for Ryan and delve more deeply into what I want my brand to look like.

Here’s to exciting times!

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branding, craft, crochet, knitting, marketing, sewing, vintage, yarn

Brand New Beginning!

I have been so neglectful of my blog recently and am now going to make amends!

Over the next few weeks I’m going to chronicle the rebranding and refocusing of my brand, currently known as Chester Bunnynuts.

Chester was one of my first pets, a gorgeous rabbit, and I am very attached to the name, it is quirky, fun and memorable.  However, it doesn’t fit the new identity and shift of my business and I have spent a long time agonising over a change of name.

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This wonderful book has helped me immensely, I’ve only really managed to get through the introduction and am working on the first section, which looks into what makes a great brand and how you can draw on inspiration to gain insights into your own creative process and how you can apply this to your own business.

In doing this, rather surprisingly, there was little focus on the brand name.  My understanding of this is that, perhaps, it is assumed that most people already have a name or at least an outline of they want their brand to be called.

The name has quite a lot of importance in branding, but it is not everything…  In reading up on this, there’s a lot more to brand naming than you might think.  A useful tool is Marketing MO to help you refine the process.

You can choose a descriptive name, such as Budget Rent-a-Car, which does what it says on the tin.  Alternatively, a made up name, this worked well for Facebook and Google.  Or even the owner/inventor name, such as Dyson.  Finally you can choose something which gives a feeling or expectation of what the brand is going to deliver.

The most important thing is to define what you want your brand to represent.  In my case it is a shift away from a rather random brand where I just made a bit of what I liked, to something more focused.

My main concerns were to appear more professional but also embody three new key centres of attention – luxurious, elegant and romantic – which is in line with the specific market which I am going to be aligning my brand with.

So, I have decided on a brand name – although I am not going to divulge this yet – but I will do shortly…  What I will say is that I have decided on a name which both gives a feeling / expectation but also has an element of description implicit in the name.  And to top it all, it comes from a reworking of names of very dear family pets, which I feel allows it to take on the mantle of Chester Bunnynuts and allow me to spread my wings and soar!

My next task from this wonderful book is to really fix on what calls to me and what brands I admire and use this inspiration to help mould my brand.  Watch this space, I shall post another update soon…

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craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Spain, Uncategorized, vintage, yarn

Adventures in Sewing and Crochet

So this week has been a real learning curve for me, following my sewing course recently… Mum came up to visit and we finished off a crochet clutch bag which I was making with a lovely taffeta fabric lining and finished off with a vintage brooch.

So I decided to make another one in a soft rose pink and to learn from my mistakes and difficulties.  Without Mum there is was even more of a challenge, as she is very experienced at sewing.

I messed up the measurements (twice!) and had a complete mental block at one point, so had to ring Mum to ensure I had remembered it all correctly…

Once I had sorted it out I forged ahead and was thrilled with the result.  Mum provided me with the beautiful oriental-style fabric which I used for the lining.  The brooch may be a temporary option, I may look out for one which goes more towards silver.  I love scouting antique shops and car boot sales for vintage brooches.

I’ve managed to find a company who produced labels to sew / iron in at very reasonable costs – Wunderlabel – so will see how they come out and then add the clutch bags to my Etsy shop.

These have really given me the bug to start in a slightly new direction and focus more on specific ranges, more work to come on this but I feel very excited about the future of my Etsy shop.  I also have some plans to do a few craft fairs here and there.

Now I’m on to more bags with some lovely yarns… Some Drops Cotton Merino DK from Wool Warehouse in cream, silvery-grey and forest green (although this colour did not come out well in this poor light!) and also some Lanas Stop Merino DK in this amazing rust/ginger shade, which I bought in Marbella.

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craft, crochet, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, yarn

New Products, New Ideas

I’ve had a lovely few days with Mum visiting, as I’ve been unwell and she has been visiting to look after me.  But also we’ve been practising my sewing skills, expanding my repertoire after having attended a sewing class recently.

I had the idea to make a crocheted clutch bag, but wanted to know how to line it with fabric to get a professional finish.  Thankfully Mum has the skills to teach me!  This is the item in progress.  The first part after finishing the main crochet design, was to block it to size and measure up the fabric.

Finally I have managed to use my KnitPro blocking pins and mats and they were fabulous – well recommended (from Wool Warehouse with free shipping…)  The yarn I used was Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran – it holds up very well and was a joy to work with.

We quickly decided that there needed to be some interfacing to stiffen the edges, otherwise it wouldn’t hold up too well.  Eventually we settled on sew in interfacing which we measured to just under the size of the silk taffeta lining fabric.

And here is the finished article!  I’m so happy with the outcome – finished off with a magnetic bag clasp and a vintage brooch.

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In fact, I love it so much I’ve even started on the next one already!

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animals, cats, home, Uncategorized

Kitty Update

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted about my kitties…

It has been a hard year and a bit since Paddy (AKA Sir Patrick) joined us, since Ella prefers to be the only cat.  But he had to be rescued from his horrible situation, and in time, Ella has grown if not to completely accept him, then at least reconcile herself to the fact that he is staying!

They are extremely hard to photograph at this time of year, mainly as they are both out a lot, but also because, as you can see from Paddy above, he never stays still long enough!

He’s a really happy little chappie and always wants to be around me, he is such a baby, in contrast with Ella, who is very independent but loving in her own way.  We have progressed to the point where they can eat together, although Ella still grumbles away if he gets too close!

During this cold snap we’ve had this Winter, they have both wanted to be on, or near, my lap.  Paddy has never been a lap cat, but he loves it now, if I dare sit down with a blanket or throw on my lap he’s on there in no time.

I have (albeit very poor quality!) photographic evidence that they can live together in harmony.  Here they are on my lap, Ella to the left and Paddy on the right, sat on my blanket.  It was such a breakthrough for us all, I have to admit that I had a little cry!

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Paddy is so fascinated and in awe of Ella, when she rolled over, as you can see, very relaxed even though she knew he was there, he couldn’t quite believe it.  It was a lovely moment in what has been quite a difficult time in getting them both settled.

Clever old Ella has proved elusive today – she must know that I’ve got the camera out…  So I will have to go and seek her out later.

Paddy’s brother was also rescued by my friend and neighbour Anna, and he is doing so well…  Here he is in all his glory – (Professor) Brian.  I love his little nose and bow-tie combination markings and his long socks at the back and fingerless gloves at the front!

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