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, 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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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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Autumn, charity, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing

Seasonal Plans

We are now coming into my favourite time of year – Autumn.

I love Autumnal colours, smells and the darker evenings where you feel happy snuggled up with a project or a book and some music on the stereo.  I would say also the lovely crisp sunny mornings but, well, the UK is going through a bit of an Indian Summer and the heat is rising rather than abating, even Patrick can’t take it…

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It’s a hard life, isn’t it!

Last year I didn’t do many Craft Fairs and I really missed it.  I’ve been thinking about some ideas and have a few days off now to take them forward (as well as relax…)

Firstly some Wreaths – firstly I was just thinking about Christmas, but once I got started I couldn’t stop!  I’m trying to decide the decoration for these (apart from ribbon to hang them with) – I’m thinking something simple and not too fussy.

Over the last few years I have made some Halloween baskets, and even shared a pattern here last year.  This year I decided to focus on four of the designs and have been asking for votes on which people like the most… Comment below by 5pm Sunday (GMT – UK time) with your four faves and I will enter you in the draw to win a set of four!

Finally, I am still struggling on with my brother’s scarf – reversible half-moon stitch in this gorgeous wool – Katia Basic Merino Flash – going from bright crimson to a dark rich red.  Hopefully it’ll be finished soon-ish…

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With more to do I’ve started looking at a couple of local Christmas Craft Fairs so I will soon have to start making my very popular Christmas Puds and stockings, and maybe a few more ideas to come.

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charity, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized

Project Linus, Proud Daughter

My crafting inspiration has always been my Mum.  She is able to do pretty much everything with apparent ease…

She has consummate skills as a quilter – all hand pieced and quilted, although she’s also a dab hand at sewing anything.  She can also knit and turn her hand to pretty much anything (except crochet, don’t ask her about crochet!)

She has made some really cute and kooky things, which appeals to my random sense of humour, such as my kitty knitting/crochet project bag and the bunny bags with added felted carrot!  But she can also do pretty things like these hearts with lovely batiks, cottons with beautiful ribbons and trimmings.

Mum often makes things for my craft fairs and for my Etsy shop such as these lovely Japanese-style Origami Bags.

But what I really want to draw attention to in this post are the amazing quilts made by Mum and her ‘Sew and Sew’ group for Project Linus – this is a wonderful charity which provides quilts and blankets for sick and disabled children at Hospitals, Hospices and at home.  They distribute around 2,000 quilts a month in the UK alone.

Here’s Mum with two of her amazing creations.  The work that has gone into these is phenomenal.

And here are some of the ‘Sew and Sew’ ladies with their gorgeous offerings.  All in all the small group of ladies made 14 quilts in 5 months.  I am so proud of my Mum and her friends in doing something so selfless and kind and have such an appreciation of the time and love put into each one of these quilts.

The look on the Project Linus lady’s face says it all – she was amazed at how much they had produced in such a short time frame!  I hope the joy and love put into these creations will give the children who receive them a boost in their time of need.

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