Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

The girls and Santa wish you a very Merry Christmas :)

See you in January :)

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Chocolates through the post!

Two posts in one day but hey - it's worth it. Look what just came through the post!

Yummy chocolates :) And they came free* from First Direct! I guess for being a nice customer :) They sent us a letter a few days ago to explain something and in it was a note saying to expect something through the post from them. Well this is it! How nice :) Thanks First Direct! As a business owner myself (nowhere near the same scale at all!) I know how nice it is to send customers things when they are not expecting it and now I have had that feeling myself!

Just had a thought - my MIL and SIL also bank with First Direct but they are diabetic so I really should rescue their chocolates from them too shouldn't I? P and N, I'm just thinking of your health :)

*Matt thinks that we were sent them as we have a fixed mortgage rate and fixed it a good few years ago so are paying more. I choose to believe that they are nice!

Disclaimer - I don't work for First Direct but am a happy customer - and who wouldn't be when they send you nice chocolates through the post!

Pinterest love

I avoided Pinterest for ages because I knew I would be sucked in and it would be a big time waster. Well it is and it isn't but I'm trying to class it as work so I don't feel quite so guilty when I do go on there! When I started out I made some very general boards and just pinned to them. One tip is to make your boards as specific as possible from the start because you don't want to spend an evening going through all your pins and making much more specific boards like I did last night! Ahem!

For example I had a board called 'dream homes and interiors' for all housey type things. It got full up pretty quickly! So last night I went through it all and separated it into 'furniture', 'cushions, carpets, curtains and floors' (which can be separated again if I need to!) and 'laundry/utility room'.  I have scope to go through again and add more categories like living space, bedrooms etc as I need to! So start with very specific boards!

I have eclectic tastes so it's great to have a central place to gather images together that inspire me so I can see if there are common themes. Bright colours and the slightly odd feature heavily!

Also recycled/upcycled items feature heavily, as well as vintage!

Sometimes I feel a bit like a stalker though as I find an item I like and then go to that persons board and pin like mad from the same person as they have similar tastes to me! People do it to me though too so I don't feel quite as strange.

All of the pictures above have been taken from my furniture board.

Do you like Pinterest? Do you class it as research and therefore work? Do share your Pinterest boards as I'm always looking for new inspiration!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


But prettifying at the same time so it's not all bad :)

I don't know about other bloggers/readers with school aged children but at this time of year we get inundated with Christmas cards and those Christmas cards tend to be tiny (what is it with children wanting to give out tiny cards?) So much so that they tend to get lost! Not this year though :)

Ta da! Who says a bit of garden string and some wooden pegs can't be fabulous? :D

Bad picture but you get the idea and yes, my hall is that dark even with the lights on!

Is that a Dot Cotton Christmas card you spy? Why yes it is! A lovely lady called Laura makes them and you really should pop over to her shop and buy some. She has a Pat card, a Frank card and an Ethel card too :)

Next year I'm planning on making a proper garland (possibly one with pom poms on) instead of the garden string and prettifying some wooden pegs with a Christmas theme but, as you know me well, you will probably see the garden string and bare pegs for a good few years yet!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Kitschmas!

I love a bit of kitsch/grannified/unusual/stuff no one else wants! I'm often found exclaiming over something fabulous while the girls offer encouragement and Matt stands shaking his head :) He does like a bit of kitsch at Christmas though although the deer below may be a step too far.

We do have some fabulous decorations for the tree too and our newest one is ace :)

What says Christmas more than a bucket full of clams? A bucket full of clams with Santa hats, gloves and a tree! We found this in a Christmas decoration shop in Mystic, Connecticut when we were driving round New England over the summer. The shop was huge and had nearly every Christmas decoration you could think of. I was sorely tempted by a glittery flamingo one but it was $20 so I said no. We will just have to go back!

Santa was found cuddling his friend Beefeater (photo was appalling!) in a basket in a charity shop and they had to come home with me. I think Matt was shaking his head at this point too!

Our pink glittery Elvis shirt was bought in Hawaii  You might guess you can get some Elvis kitsch (or tat - depending on your viewpoint!) in Honolulu.

These Dame Edna style glasses came from Paperchase and I think they are fab. We also got a pink glittery Jesus statue and a turquoise Mary but alas they went to the in-laws :) I'm hoping they will make their way back to us as one of those daft presents that makes the family rounds - I will keep them though!

Matt thinks Santa looks a bit scary - I don't but it could be the blurry soft focus photo :)

Do you embrace kitsch? Hate it? Like stuff no one else gets?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Make your own button wreath

Now this isn't a tutorial as it's fairly simple to do but I will give you the benefit of what I have learnt making one!

This is what we are making - a button wreath. It's basically a Styrofoam ring and I covered mine in some grey velvet ribbon to hide the whiteness. I used simple flat pins to pin the ribbon to the styrofoam so if I get bored of my button wreath, I can undo the ribbon and use it for something else!

This is it halfway through - you can see why I needed the grey ribbon as the buttons (try as you might!) don't fit together easily and there will be small gaps. I wanted something that would blend in to the background but of course you could exploit the background and allow more to show through.

You will of course need buttons and because I have so, so many, I wanted to place them closely together but if you have less buttons then spaced out would be fab too* I used pins with balls on the end to add the buttons to the wreath. You can glue gun the buttons on but I wanted the option of being able to reuse them if I ever got bored with the wreath. I used one pin per button apart from on a couple of antique buttons where I used two - better safe than sorry! One thing I will point out is that you will need a lot of pins :) I bought 160 cream ended pins and used them all up with about 2 inches of wreath still to cover! Luckily I had some spare coloured ones that worked well too.

*oooooh - spaced out buttons with mini pom poms in the middle :) *runs off to buy another wreath shape*

I don't like traditional Christmas greenery wreaths as they remind me of cemeteries (my mum always puts them on family graves at Christmas) so they are out but hit me with any good alternative wreaths you have seen. Or if you have made one of your own then let me see it!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

That's my girl :)

Anya is a girl after my own heart - we went to the toy fair this evening after school and she found these three 'Fur Real' pets for 10p each. She was very pleased when she found out that they should be £9.99 each in the shops. I'm training her well in bargain ways :)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Gift certificates

Whooot! I finally got my act together and did something within 24 hours of announcing that I was going to do it. That never happens! Ever!

You can now buy gift certificates in my Etsy shop :) They are available in denominations of £5, £10, £15, £20, £25, £30 and £40. Perfect if you suddenly realise you have forgotten to buy a gift for Aunt Marge who is visiting tomorrow. Or as it is the last day tomorrow to get things posted to America from the UK (Australia and Asia have already passed!) then you can order one and print it at home safe in the knowledge that you will have something to give from far overseas!

If you are thinking of adding some to your own Etsy stores then there is a great blog post here that explains in great detail how to do it.

Folksy gift certificates will be in my shops tomorrow (we will see if I can do this promising thing again!)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Mad parent vs Good parent

You decide!

Anya has a much loved bear called Bozo who has been so well loved he needs repairing on a regular basis. One of his front panels was getting very threadbare and he needed patching before it got lots of holes and was unrepairable.

On the right you can see his pocket (the brown bit) showing through his 'skin'. Anya wasn't keen on a patch as she was worried he wouldn't look like Bozo any more. I persuaded her though and this is what he looks like!

I also added a pink heart as I thought she might like it :) Now for the mad parent bit! I wanted to make sure that she liked it (as I say he is a much loved bear) so I made a video of him saying thanks and that he loved his patch! I've tried to do an approximation of his 'voice' :)

Needless to say she loved the video :) So mad parent or good parent?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Thrifty finds

Yesterday I had to pop to Lidl and did you know that right next to the Lidl in Burnley is the fabulous Emmaus charity shop? Well it would have been rude not to pop in wouldn't it? :)

All of this was mine for a bargainous £2 :) The picture has been framed badly and the needlework has been backed onto something really heavy meaning that it is falling out of it's frame due to the weight. I'm sure I can fix it though.

See pretty :) I may just turn it into a cushion though - we'll see how long it sits in the hallway waiting to go up!

There are two of these pretty pillowcases and they are destined for the girls beds once they have been washed. I love mismatched bedlinen :)

And I couldn't leave these glorious decorations behind! The pink one on the right has it's silver bit missing but the others are in really good condition. The original Boots sticker says that they were 33p!

Have you got any good bargains recently? Do you have a favourite charity shop?

Monday, 3 December 2012

Do you read Kat Got The Cream?

Well you should! Her blog is lovely and she is addicted to vintage finds and charity shops just like me :) Oh and I am also one of her sponsors for December and I made the advert all by myself!

See? Evidence of advert above :) It's not the worlds best advert but I made it and with no help from Matt - well maybe a bit of advice about resizing!

Kat is also hosting lots of giveaways over the next 7 days so go and enter - although not the Bettys tea one as that is for me to win :)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

New badge packaging

My old badge packaging looked like this.

They were then wrapped in plastic which protected them a bit but didn't look as good as I would like.

This is the new packaging - the cardboard is the recycled card I bought last month and the fabric is felted jumpers. I may use thicker fabric too as I think that would work. I am also planning to print the information onto the top but I can't be bothered to wrestle with the printer to figure out where I would need to place the card etc!

Do let me know what you think :)

P.S. If you are wondering what all the new products/packaging ideas are for then I am getting ready for BCTF in April - it will be my first trade fair and I am papping myself! I'm also trying to get slowly organised so that everything doesn't get on top of me in the next few months - hahahahahaha!

Friday, 30 November 2012

The upcycled, refillable notebooks are finally made!

Well I made a prototype a good few months ago and hadn't got round to making any actual ones until I got a wholesale order through that included some! I liked my old notebooks, but I wanted to be able to include more eco-friendly features so I've turned the notebooks into refillable ones and when they are up in the shop you will be able to buy refill packs too! Cool eh?? I'm really pleased with this extra eco-friendliness as it's fits what I am trying to do really well. The rings are easily opened so you can add extra pages and of course, refill paper packs!

All the papers inside are upcycled/reclaimed and I've included pages from the original books.

I've also included some extras such as an envelope (for all those bits of paper) and some tags as extra writing spaces :)

I have also included a helpful reminder of where you can get you refills from :)

The paper band is the only thing I'm not 100% happy with - I want a stamp for it but need to order one and I need to tweak the wording.

As I said earlier these are heading off with some other items to a new cafe (details soon!) as aprt of a wholesale order but if you like what you see, I can always make you one before they hit my shops!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Story Sacks

Up until now, the teachers at the girls school have had an inkling that I run my own business but hadn't really been aware of what I did. Now I've volunteered to make story sacks* for Nursery and Reception, I think they may have guessed!

Here are the first two ready to go and be inspected (for size mainly!) and then next week I can make the other 18 they need!

Joining in with My Creative Space today.

*Story sacks are a cool addition to any classroom (ex teacher voice here!) They contain a story book, lets say Goldilocks and The Three Bears, and props to help the children act out the story like three bowls and spoons, a recipe for porridge, puppets of the characters etc. I *heart* story sacks!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Another sale!

Phew! My Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale has just finished and the editing of all the shop information has ended too (long job!) I am now offering another sale but this time on (most of) my large envelopes. I haven't been happy with the style of them and have designed some new ones that are more envelope shaped and that are self sealing so no fiddling with sticky tape for you to get them closed!

The above envelopes can be found for half price (£2.50) in my Folksy shop. Along with lots of others!

And these are a couple of the sets in my Etsy shop. There are more in there too!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Come and see me!

I will be in Lancaster this weekend at the Green Christmas Fair in Friends Meeting House, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster (it's right next to the train station!) So pop by if you are in the area - Santa will be making an appearance and there will be a cafe and music too.

I will have my Swirly Specials basket for bargains and all of my large recycled envelopes will be half price (need to crack on with the new designs and I won't do that when some of the old ones are still for sale!) If you can't make the fair then don't forget there is 35% off in my Etsy shop until Monday 26th and after that the large envelopes will be put down to half price in my shops :)