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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Crafty New Year!

It’s been a while since my last post, I’ve been swimming through a quagmire of work, preparing for craft fairs and shopping for Christmas presents…

Now the dust has settled, I have a bit more time to relax and enjoy myself.

Initially I made this ripple scarf for myself but as I loved the pattern and the result so much, I’ve decided to sell this one on my Etsy shop and make myself another!  The yarn is Rico Design Creative Melange and I adore the colour scheme.

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I have been very busy on my Instagram page – with its usual mix of art, crafts and animals…

Like this needle-felted badger which my friend Anna designed, he’s got a bit worn with time but I think he’s truly gorgeous.  She has no confidence in her own talents so I thought I would share it and get some feedback.  I’d love to see her make a range of these!

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And finally I have to share this with you, as it’s so rare that a child gets to really embarrass their parents as much as they do to us…  Thankfully Mum is a good sport and agreed to pose with the Michael Jackson poster.  She may not be so happy that I’ve shared it on social media, oops!

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30 Day Knitting Challenge – Days 29-30

 

So a little late, but here are my last two days on the knitting challenge, I have really enjoyed making myself write more often, and will try to keep up with at least one or two a week…

Day 29: Do you have any tips, or things that you’ve learned from knitting?

Definitely get some lessons…  If not from a family member then a local haberdashery – I did get some, but could do with more!

Also start with Acrylic yarn, as it’s cheap and reasonably easy to knit with- but move on and sample different types of yarn.  I think it’s such a shame to see something so beautiful and that has taken you a lot of time (i.e a blanket or fine scarf) that is 100% acrylic…

It’s never as nice to wear, and natural fibres have such wonderful warming or cooling qualities.  If you’re worried about shrinkage, many can be washed, especially if mixed with a bit of acrylic.

Lastly, which links in well with the final question – seek out inspiration using Pinterest, Instagram and Ravelry – don’t bother paying for patterns unless you find something you really love, as many of them are free…

Day 30: What’s your name on Ravelry? If you don’t have a Ravelry account, why?

I’m on Ravelry as ChesterBunnynuts – come and seek me out!

I love Ravelry, I keep a track of my stash (which frightens me when I work out how many skeins I have in hand!)   I keep a track of the cost of yarns, to help me work out prices when I am making something for my Etsy shop, and put pictures on to remind me of yarns I liked, struggled with or would use again if I had a chance.

As mentioned above, the patterns are great for inspiration and you can even find fellow yarnistas to set up a group with similar likes.

All in all I think Ravelry is amazing!

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art, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized, yarn

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 28

Nearly there!

Day 28: Do you do any other crafts besides knitting? What are they, and did learning to knit come before or after learning these other crafts?

I have always been a crafter, it’s in my blood!  My Mum is very inspirational and we have always made things together.  Here she is with some of her hand stitched and pieced quilts for Project Linus, made for children and teenagers who are sick or traumatised.

Mum and I have done craft activities together for many years, from simple childhood crafts, to things that we have created together and sold at craft fairs.

We started off with dried flowers (this was the 1980s!) and I also at the same time learnt cross stitch – I had many commissions and made some lovely pieces for Mum and Dad, but never made anything for myself…

We moved on to decoupage (what is now known as Victorian Decoupage) and my very talented elderly uncle made some wonderful wooden objects which we painted, covered with paper and varnished, often cracking them and rubbing in raw umber or occasionally using gold or silver leaf.

Unfortunately, no photographic evidence of this exists, but we enjoyed making things together and it was only my moving to London that stopped us doing so much crafting together.

I then had a quiet few years (well, not in my social life!) where I did little crafting.  When I moved down to Wiltshire I took up firstly knitting and then crochet, and I haven’t looked back since…

I would like to feel a bit more confident with my knitting and would like more experience in using a sewing machine, but Mum always says that my hand stitching is probably the neatest she has ever seen.

If I had the time (and resources!) I would love to devote more time to craft as it gives a sense of wellbeing and mindfulness that I rarely get elsewhere in life…

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