A little crafty update

Ok so once again it has been a while since my last blog post but I’m determined to not give up on my little corner of the internet and keep showing you the bits and pieces i’ve been making and doing, if you don’t mind?

Recently most of my spare time has been spent on making things for our Etsy shop, we have had our shop for just over a year now and sales have definitely picked up, particularly over Christmas. We have also created a Facebook page as I have been told that lots of people get many more sales through Facebook than they do Etsy, our page is only a couple of months old so I am yet to see any sales. It is fun to keep friends and family updated with what we’ve been making via our page though!

We also did our first craft fairs in November and December which were brilliant, we made money each time – I was very relieved as I’ve heard so many horror stories about poor crafters sat at fairs all day not making a penny. I really loved the crafting community aspect of the fairs, I met some really lovely people. One lady even liked our items enough to offer us some space in her beautiful shop, since then we have had a few pieces for sale there too. It really is all about making connections!

So that’s what has been happening with our little business but what have I been making?

One of our most popular items at fairs and on Etsy are these faux taxidermy needle felted animal heads. I started with making deer heads and have since branched out and have tried hares, giraffes, bears, badgers and foxes. I am super excited to continue the range and am thinking of doing a zebra next! Let me know if you can think of any other animals I should try!

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Making these needle felt animal heads is so rewarding as they don’t take as long as a whole animal but they still make quite an impact, I think people like that they can be hung on the wall too.

This week I am working on one of these needle felted woodland animal nursery garlands. They are popular on Etsy so we have decided to give a safari animal themed one a go too.

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The other thing I’ve been making a lot of is needle felted mushrooms, I love the way these look  and they are pretty fun to make too. As you can see most of what I have been doing lately is needle felting as it seems to sell quite well, I am also seeing a lot of improvement in my work as I keep practising which is really nice and very motivational.

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In amongst the needle felting I have been doing other crafts of course, at Christmas I found myself making loads of crochet hats and gingerbread men, and lots of Christmas ornaments and bunting. I was also given the supplies needed to try two new crafts for Christmas, dressmaking and traditional teddy bear making. I know I really don’t need to add any more crafts to my frankly ridiculously long list of hobbies but I just can’t help myself, I want to try it all!

I’d love to know what crafts you’ve been doing lately?

And what would you like to see more of on this blog, needle felting? tutorials? sewing? small craft business related stuff? Let me know!

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Handmade gifts all round!

May is a crazy busy month for me every year. My job at the college becomes full of helping stressed out students prepare for deadlines and exhibitions, the warmer weather means weekends are booked up with BBQs and camping trips and we have recently started a tradition of travelling to Barcelona for Primavera Sound festival at the end of May. Not only is it my birthday in May, it is also the birthdays of lots and lots of my friends and family.

Usually I like to make my loved ones gifts as much as possible, but for the people with birthdays in May I just don’t often have the time. This year I decided that as an avid crafter and occasional Etsy seller I should be buying my friends and family handmade gifts from Etsy or craft fairs if I cannot find the time to make them myself.

I thought it might be nice to share a few of the lovely gifts I have bought on Etsy with you here. Maybe it will spark some ideas for gifts for your loved ones, but most of all I think it’s important to share the love of all things handmade with others and support other crafters!

DIY needle felting toadstool kit

I bought this kit for a friend who has never tried needle felting but loves lots of other crafts. I can’t wait to see how she gets on with it. I came across this kit when reading Leonor’s blog Felt Buddies and Co and decided to purchase her kit in order to support another UK crafter and blogger 🙂

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Black and white crystal pendant

I ordered one of these black and white crystal necklaces and it arrived a couple of days ago, it’s beautiful and I’m sure my friend will love it.

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Another crystal necklace

Two of my closest female friends have birthdays in the same week (the same week as mine too!) so I often end up buying them similar gifts, I bought one of them the black and white necklace above and the other one this purple triangle necklace. You just can’t go wrong with handmade jewellery.

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Owl watercolour print

I actually bought this print a year ago for an owl loving friend of mine, it’s a beautiful watercolour design and it arrived pretty quickly despite coming all the way from America.

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Watercolour cherry blossom prints

Another Etsy purchase from last year, this time for my mum who is a big fan of cherry blossom. She loves these prints so much! Her birthday is coming up again soon, hopefully I can find her another gift she likes just as much on Etsy.

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And now I can’t resist sharing some items that I haven’t purchased yet but would like to one day, either for myself or as a gift.

The Fox In The Attic

I just stumbled upon this Etsy shop today, their stuff is so cute. I hope a friend/family member has a baby soon so I can buy it one of these rattles.

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Papio Press

I came across Papio Press at the Bristol Etsy fair at Christmas time, I fell in love with their illustration style so much that my friend went back afterwards and bought me one of their prints.

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Last but not least is Click Picks

Click Picks is my friend Zoe’s shop, she’s a really talented photographer and sells her prints on Etsy as well as handmade notebooks, book covers and other crafty bits and bobs. She gave me one of her handmade notebooks once and it is absolutely beautiful.

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Well I hope that little round up of fun stuff I’ve found on Etsy was at least a little bit interesting for you! Small businesses really rely on people spreading the word about their fantastic products so it’s great to share brilliant makers and handmade items when you come across them!

Etsy is so full of amazing things it can be hard to know where to start sometimes, I’d love any recommendations any of you might have, either for your own handmade items or someone elses! Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

My first Etsy custom order…

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Sorry it’s been a little quiet around here for a week or so, I’ve been pretty busy with work, quality time with friends and family and lots of making things. I must work harder on making time for blog posts!

Something pretty exciting happened the other day, I received my first ever custom order on Etsy! A lovely lady called Pamela told me she loved the seascape design felt fronted cushion I had on my site, but wanted 2 larger versions. I was more than happy to have a go at making these for her and just this morning I got them finished! You can have a look at my original seascape felt cushion in this post.

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Making two matching pieces of felt was tricky, it meant carefully measuring out pieces of each colour used so as not to include too much of one and make them look too different from each other. I had also not worked on a sheet of felt this large before, Pamela wanted her finished cushions to be 45cm squares which meant starting the wet felting process with squares of over 60cm. If I am going to continue to create felt pieces of this size I will have to find myself a new work space as none of my surfaces were big enough to roll the large felt sheets comfortably. Attempting to work out how large to start the felt sheet to allow for shrinkage during the wet felting process was another challenge that thankfully turned out ok.

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Despite these challenges making this custom order was a brilliant experience for me and one I hope to have the chance to repeat regularly. Being paid to create has always been a dream of mine and this week I got to live that dream a little bit, it felt great!

I am still new to Etsy and the world of selling handmade items but I am really enjoying learning as I go along and this custom order has definitely boosted my confidence. If you have any advice/words of wisdom/amusing anecdotes about selling your handmade items I’d love to hear them!

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Searching For That Perfect Piece

Me and Nathan have decided to purchase some large scale art for our bedroom at some point this year. This is quite a new concept for us, being creative, visual people our home is already full of our own art as well as gifts we have been given by friends and family over the years. Being able to hang a piece of graphic design, photography or a painting you have made yourself is a great feeling, but we’d both love to start a collection of others peoples art too.

Of course art can be expensive, our tight budget will limit our options drastically but for now it’s fun to just have a look around at what’s out there. As a bit of a change from my usual posts here on Make It Paisley I thought it might also be fun to share the pieces that have caught my eye so far with you.

At this point I have only looked at Etsy as it provides such a wealth of talented artists and creatives. I love the idea that our savings could be used to purchase a beautiful piece of art, and that money would also be helping to support a fellow creative person to follow their dreams!

These abstract prints from Lola Donoghue have really caught my attention, I love how bold they are.

 

Apak Studio’s work is brilliantly whimsical and would look great in an adult or childs bedroom.

 

Wonderfully surreal and just absolutely gorgeous, I’d love some of Gabriella Barouch’s art in my home.

 

Another bold and beautiful abstract by Maria Sa on Etsy, can you tell I’m very attracted to all things turquoise?

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Psychedelic wonderfulness from Yellena

Beautiful paintings inspired by the natural world, particularly cactus and succulents from artandpeople. She had me at cactus!

Last but not least, although it is not my usual style this print has really caught my eye. You can find it on PrintsOfHeart.

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So far my selections have predominantly been paintings and illustrations but I think a photographic print could look equally great in our room. Maybe a list of my favourite photographic art will have to happen next.

We would absolutely love any suggestions you might have, either of talented artists on Etsy, or if you happen to be local to Bristol, UK then ideas for galleries or affordable art fairs we could take a look at!

I hope you enjoyed my little list of great art from Etsy, I’m certainly enjoying browsing for that perfect piece!

 

Hello again, I’ve opened an Etsy shop!

So it’s been 7 months since I last posted which is terrible but I’m back and feeling inspired again!

The last 7 months have been a whirlwind of moving house, settling in, working two jobs, panic over the future of one job, stress, festivals, summer sunshine, holidays, decisions about the future and just a bit of crafting. It has felt as though life is moving so fast there is just not time for regular blog posts so I’m afraid the blog got set aside for a while.

This last month though I have been thinking about what is really important to me and realising I need to make more time for the things which make me happy – namely craft! As we edge closer to Christmas I am getting inspired again to make bits and pieces and – exciting news – I have opened an Etsy shop too! It’s about time I stop just talking about it and actually start trying to make money from my crafty habits. My mum is joining me with the shop too, it will be great for us to have something to focus on together and the things she makes are so lovely it’s about time someone other than me gets to see them!

Here is the link to my new Etsy shop, at the moment there is only a couple of Christmassy items in there but I will add to it as time goes on http://www.etsy.com/shop/makeitpaisley

I would really love any feedback about the shop as we continue to fill it, I am new to selling on Etsy and could really use any advice on prices, listings, descriptions, tags or anything else you can think of!

As always, thanks for reading and I promise I won’t leave it 7 months until my next post again!