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 Рfor 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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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, vintage, yarn

Selling Vintage and Craft Goods

I like to joke that I have enough patterns and ideas (not to mention stash) to retire now and be able to do at least 5 years worth of full-time crafting!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working out¬†how best to¬†tinker with¬†all of the crafts that I enjoy, sort out my stash¬†and have come up with a few options…

I’m going to streamline my Etsy shop and focus on accessories – bags, scarves, wraps, gloves and maybe the occasional hat.

Surprisingly, I have missed doing¬†Craft Fairs, I enjoy talking to people, once I get over my initial shyness! ¬†However, I find that the number of people attending, and¬†the current financial situation, for most of us, can mean that there isn’t¬†much profit in it.

I have¬†been looking into some local fairs, where you can sell your goods and clear your stash by selling trimmings, notions, wool and fabric. ¬†Sounds like the perfect fit for me…

This morning I was at my beloved Car Boot Sale (surprise…) and found another stash of vintage magazines. ¬†My friend Anna and I had great fun making up names and stories for each of the slightly cheesy models. ¬†My particular favourite is the ‘hello sailor’ one!

The interesting thing about the 1960s patterns in the below are that the majority of the women’s designs are still very wearable – there are some gorgeous knitted dresses and coats. ¬†Most of the male patterns are not quite so classic and wearable though…

I also found a few 1970s/1980s Vogue and Good Housekeeping materials and a great book on knitting design, which I may have to keep to refer to…

There is also a Vintage Market where I may sell some of my vintage finds and I will just have to shut my eyes and avoid looking at the other stalls (like that is going to happen!)

 

 

 

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craft, crochet, knitting, spring, yarn

Spring Plans

Happy (belated!) New Year

Christmas passed me by in a flash this year..

One minute I was desperately making presents for my friends and family, work was completely manic, and then it was all over and the New Year arrived!

I still have two presents to complete – I had a last minute idea for presents for my brother and my little friend Mikey, but they are not quite finished yet, more details and photos to follow…

So now I’ve finally got the time to turn my attention back to home and to my plans for 2016.

I’ve amassed a large amount of craft trimmings, notions and yarn over the last year or two – most of which I have had plans for, but like all good crafters, sometimes I got a bit carried away!

A lot of my collection is made up of the vintage goodies I collected at the car boot sale and at vintage fairs.

 

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Although some are well worth keeping, I would have to be retired for at least 30 years before I could use them all up!

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So along with my spring clean at home, I’m going to pack some up and sell them either online on at a Craft Fair in Frome which also allows the sale of craft items. ¬†This means that I clear some space, for some more crafty bits¬†of course…

Most of my crafting takes place either at the dining room table or on the sofa – I don’t have a permanent crafty space, so I’m going to rejig my dining room so that I can make a proper crafting space. ¬†I am planning to get rid of the computer cabinet and create some shelving space in the alcove to tidy up all of my crafty bits.

I just need to look for a nice small unit / desk to fit in this space and then I will paint and perhaps decoupage my dining room chairs and make some nice seat cushions.

 

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I bought this¬†antique sewing machine (sadly not in working order) at the car boot sale which I would love to have on show. ¬†Due to the wooden base it is incredibly heavy but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!

 

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I have some nice plans for the weekend, to finish my presents for Mikey and my brother, and to finally get around to doing some of the fun stuff I have had to put off for a while.

Oh, how I love weekends!

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cats, craft, crochet, knitting, music, Uncategorized, yarn

Top Ten Review of the Year

Well, another prolonged absence due to work – I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but next year I will make more time to post on my blog as I have missed not being able to post so regularly.¬† Getting organised is half the battle I think…

This year has been an interesting one (in all senses of the word!) – a new addition to my family (OK, so he’s a kitten) and a rebranding of my blog and business as well as opening my Etsy Shop.

Add to that the most manic year of my (full-time) working life and major changes within my working structure – which are all still in a state of flux!

But in many ways a fantastic year, much love and laughter with friends and family, and finding a kindred spirit in crafting in my friend Anna (and her five-year-old Mikey who’s favourite phrase is now “let’s get crafting!”)

So here is my Top Ten Review of the Year on looking back through my blog, I do hope you enjoy it!

One – The arrival of Sir Patrick of Naughtiness

As an Astronomy geek, I managed to persuade Anna and Mikey to name their rescued kitten Professor Brian (Cox) after everyone’s favourite physicist and ex-popstar.¬† I was amazed they went with it…

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I was even more amazed that I ended up rescuing his brother, whom I named Sir Patrick (Moore) after the famous and much beloved Astronomer and BBC Presenter (RIP).¬† It particularly helped that he had a squinty eye in which I could imagine the real Sir¬† Patrick’s monocle.¬† I met the real Sir Patrick¬†once, he was absolutely delightful, and was very kind to me when another celebrity was very rude to me (you know who you are, Michael Fish!).

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Two РOpening my Etsy Shop

This was a long-term aim over the year and was delayed many times due to factors outside of my control!  In the end it was opened in October and I had my first sale within 24 hours.

I haven’t quite had the time since then to promote it as much as I would like, and I have exciting plans for my Etsy shop¬†for 2016, so my upcoming week off in February will be spent at home getting things sorted…

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Three – Vintage Shopping at the Car Booty

Regular readers will know that I love a bargain.¬† Most Sundays I can be found at Frome Car Boot Sale, rummaging around in other people’s junk.¬† For several months this year I had an amazing run on vintage notions and patterns and went a bit overboard buying them.

I have now decided to offload some of them in 2016 when I take part in a Craft Fair which also lets you sell related goods.  Some, though, I cannot bear to part with!

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Four РYarn, lovely Yarn

I wrote about my yarn addiction on several occasions, it has perhaps got a little out of hand, especially after I visited the Kensington Olympia Knitting and Stitching show in March – but I did get some beautiful yarns, including the cashmere / cotton blend to make this lovely shawl on my Etsy Shop.

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Five – Devon knows how they make it so lovely

Through my lovely friend Anna, I’ve had the chance to visit Chagford, in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, twice this year for Craft Fairs.¬† Such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a real treat to visit there. ¬†Bonus treat – the tiny ponies and other cute critters at the Miniature Pony Centre nearby.

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Six – Holidays-a-go-go!

I’ve been extremely lucky this year with holidays – having a gorgeous week in Marbella in March, with Mum, and then again in Bayeux in June with Mum, Dad and my brother.¬† The first time we’d all been away together for several years.¬† Both were fabulous holidays, much needed and much enjoyed, and allowed me to expand my stash even more with some really lovely yarns and notions (as well as some cheeky¬†goats producing the softest mohair)

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Seven – My first giveaway of Crochet Patterns

In October I gave away the pattern for my first designed project, some mini Halloween Treat Baskets – to fill with yummy chocolates.¬† I had great fun designing the different faces and putting together a beginner’s project which I was happy to share for free.¬† Although a simple design, it has given me a taste for more!

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Eight – Geek Loveliness

A fabulous year of nerd-dom¬†has been bookended by Star Wars. ¬†In May I posted about my trip to Marbella and the surprise of hearing a youth orchestra starting up with the Star Wars¬†soundtrack – I have never departed¬†a cafe in such a hasty fashion¬†before… ¬†In May I also posted a cheeky geeky guide and then followed up with a visit¬†to the Doctor Who Exhibition in September with my family. ¬†There is an adventure to go through which is rather interactive – I was more scared than the kids!

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Nine – Animals A-Plenty

It never surprises me that my most popular posts tend to be around my two black cats, Ella and Sir Patrick.  After all, they are endless sources of amusement to me!

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Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves Рart and crafts.  In April I visited Standen, a home filled with delights from the Arts and Craft movement which I so admire.  Moving on to June I waxed lyrical about Salvator Rosa, one of my favourite artists, and in July I wrote about the beautiful lace that I encountered on my goaty adventures in Bayeux (and of course the famous Tapestry).

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And finally, throughout the year I have been extolling the virtues of crafting,¬†thank you for joining me on my journey this year, and here’s to 2016!

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Very exciting news…

My Etsy shop is now open for business… ¬†Visit me¬†here!

Here are a small selection of some of the items you will find on there.  I would very much welcome any feedback on Etsy from shoppers and sellers alike!

A selection of hand knitted and crocheted scarves and wraps in beautiful yarns…

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Hand quilted Japanese-style patchwork bags in gorgeous colourways…

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Scandi-style bunting in soft muted grey/blue, red and white.  Ideal for Christmas but lovely for all year round!

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I’m off for a rest now – very excited but also exhausted from the effort of uploading all of the pictures, finalising the policies and working out all of the measurements!

Happy snoozing!

 

Lou x

Uncategorized

My Etsy Shop is now open for business!

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