Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere to share the ups and downs of starting a craft business, with plenty of tips, mishaps and the odd glass of wine!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

To Publish a Book of Penny Rug Patterns... Or Not?

First up let me say 'Sorry' for not being around much.

I can't even blame it on being too busy for a lot of this year as my business has been really slow to pick up this year. Last month (April) was much better, but Jan - Mar - GAH! Hopeless was not the word.

I've learnt by now that there isn't necessarily much rhyme or reason as to why some months are quieter than others in retail trade. I know January is always going to be quiet as people are spent out over Christmas. But previous years for me, Feb and March have been booming year, whereas this year, just not so much at all.

Anyway. That has given me some time to think. And while it would have been a great time to get blogging, I rather lost my blogging mo-jo for a while there.

But I think I'm back now! I've got a head brimming with ideas and as soon as my current commission is out of the way (2 quiet books that a lovely customer has ordered and I thought I'd make the patterns up too as I go) I'm going to be hot on the blogging trail again.

As I was saying... the space has given me some time to think and I've been wondering about a book.

Probably a self published book, of penny rug patterns.

I quite like the idea of a penny rug for each month and then at the end of the year, if you wanted to, they could be sewn together to make a quilt or a wall hanging or a table runner.

As you can see I've not quite ironed out all the details yet. But one of the patterns that was an idea for the book, was this Stars and Stripes Eagle Penny Rug:

Because Penny Rugs are so popular in the States, I thought this would be a perfect pattern for the book, but then I realised I wanted the book to have a theme (more of that later) and this wouldn't fit in, so I decided to release it on it's own.

It's now available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops.

Now, the reason for the post title? Well. Writing a book is a lot of work. That's ok, I can cope with that. But the amount that you'd sell it for? Well that's a lot less than the individual patterns would make. I'm kinda ok with that, after all, you are committing money up front for a bunch of patterns. But the cut in potential profits is so much that I wonder if, from a purely profit point of view, it wouldn't be better to sell them all separately and with a discount if a certain number were purchased together. But then that doesn't tie in so well with the idea that at the end of the book they could all be combined to make one item.

I'm still torn.

For now I'm going to keep on sleeping on it and I'll let you know when I make a decision... but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Pretty Pretty Unicorns

An idea has been floating around my head for a while now and today I finally put aside some time to get working on it... amid the chaos of the kids being on their Easter hols no less!

So the first version looked like this:

Which is pretty cute right?

But it didn't look quite perfect so I had another play... this time in blue:

What changed?

Erm... not a lot, the mane is longer and much more luxurious... and the face is a bit fuller. But I think it makes all the difference.

Yes, I might be a bit of a perfectionist!

These guys will be making their way into the Etsy Shop over the next day or two, so keep your eyes peeled.

Friday, 18 March 2016

How To - Felt Easter Peeps Bunnies Tutorial

Being from the UK peeps aren't something I'd ever come across before, but I've seen loads of crafty peeps tutorials this year so I ordered some of the little marshmallow bunnies for my little bunnies for their Easter Egg Hunt and I thought I'd make some felt peeps too.

These are dead easy to make and would make a lovely alternative to chocolate. Or to have with chocolate!

You will need:

Felt in your chosen peep colour
Matching embroidery thread
Scrap of black felt & black thread
Small amount of stuffing
Templates at the end of this tutorial


1. Cut out 2 peep bodies and 1 length of felt 1/2 inch (0.75cm) wide and 16 inches (40cm) long (and two small black eyes, one small black nose - not shown as there's always something I forget to photograph at the beginning!)

2. Using 1 strand of corresponding embroidery thread, starting on the body of the peep, whip stitch the long strip to the body.

3. Once you've gone all the way round, cut off any excess from the length of felt and stitch the ends together.

4. Next take your 3 small circles of black felt and stitch them onto the peep body in the same positions as in the picture.

5. Whip stitch the other body piece onto the long length of felt. Stop before you get to the end so there's a space for adding the stuffing.

6. Stuff the peep firmly but not so he's bulging! Whip stitch closed the hole and sit back and admire your work!

You can make these little fellas in any colours you like and they will be loved for many Easters to come I'm sure of it!


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

I'm Struggling.

I am very aware that I've not posted much in the last couple of months.

I find it really hard in winter to motivate myself to do things like researching topics for blog posts, or creating tutorials, or being interesting.

I feel rather like I'm here talking to myself anyway and so no-one will notice if I just sneak off quietly and don't post. I get into the mindset where I just want to snuggle down on my sofa, with endless tea, Chocolate, biccies and cake. It doesn't help that I desperately want to lose some weight but guess what? I can't motivate myself to leave the Damn biscuit tin alone! I am my own worst enemy. And so I've gone fron week to week thinking I'll blog this week and never quite getting round to it.

But that's not really fair on those of you crazy lovelies who do read my blog and actually want to listen to me rambling on!

So just for you few, I will try and be a bit more consistent.

We've just had the Feb half term here in the UK and whilst in a way I was hoping for snow (yeah, some hope!) We actually had beautiful weather and were able to spend quite a bit of time outside. For once I didn't spent half the week wishing they were back at school already and we had a really nice time. One thing the kids did which they LOVED was Go Ape. Have you heard of it? It's a tree top adventure. Originally just built for adults they've recently opened a kids one near us.

I wasn't brave enough to go up with them (and frankly I felt far too fat to be trussed up in a harness!) So I let the other adults in the group go up and I took photos! Great 😀

One thing I did manage to get done this week was creating these cute little Easter Pocket Pals

They're available in my Etsy shop and also my Folksy shop

And here's a behind the scenes shot of their official photoshoot!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Handmade Dog Hat

Happy 1st Birthday!!!

It's our not-so-little Pup's birthday today... she's totally unimpressed by turning 1 as you can see:

Her Birthday Hat was made up yesterday and has a felty number 1, two bones and a paw print on it!

Bless her little furry feet... she's now fast asleep under my desk (on my feet!) after a lovely morning romping through the forest with her doggy friends.

It's a dog's life, eh?

Monday, 11 January 2016

New Patterns

I have been rather remiss with my blog recently - in trying to do what all the books *and well known blogs* tell you and 'write great content' or 'write about topics your readers really want to read about' I've ummmmed and ahhhhed about what on earth to write about and consequently written nothing at all!

But. While the content might not be what's considered 'great'... I do have some lovely piccies to show you!

These first 4 are all PDF Patterns and can be found in my Etsy and Craftsy Shops

Mandala Penny Rug Pattern

Spooky Haunted House Wall Hanging

Rainbows & Wellies Penny Rug Pattern

Christmas Tree Gift Box & Ornament Pattern
Then there is also the first of my Sew Your Own Kits, which I have also released as a PDF Pattern:

Sew Your Own VW Campervan Kit

VW Campervan Ornament PDF Pattern

If you'd like to find any of these in the shop, click on the caption under the relevant photo and it'll take you straight to that listing.

I will hopefully be back with some more wordage next time!!

PS. Do you remember that post I wrote about Penny Rugs a while back? No? And you have no idea what a Penny Rug is? Then have a read HERE xx

Sunday, 20 December 2015

A little bit of Christmas crafting

I've been very quiet on all fronts recently.  I think I might have had flu. You know the proper, can't get out of bed, feel like utter crap, but still have to get the kids to school and walk the dog?

Anyway, it has FINALLY lifted after about 3 weeks and I'm ready to get back to some craftiness... just in time for not having any time to do anything much as the kids have broken up for Christmas and there's loads going on!

But I have managed to sneak out of the village kids' Christmas party with Seren as she's knackered, so we're scootched up on the sofa watching the Fantastic Mr Fox and I'm making up a name banner.

I've also just tried to take a pic of the cool bauble display my gorgeous husband put up this morning, but as I can't get up off the sofa (one Seren laying across me!) I'm sure I could take it from a better angle later.

I will try and get back before Christmas as I am making something very special and new to me, a mantle scarf for my Mum!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

How To Make an Easy Felt Christmas Ornament - Sew Your Own Tutorial

Hello lovelies!

Hope you're all feeling nice and Christmassy? In my last post I recounted our Christmas Crafternoon and I've got Carols playing on the radio so I'm feeling really festive!

I've got a Christmas Ornament tutorial for you today:

You Will Need:

A scrap of felt 2" x 2" for the smaller circle
2 pieces of felt 3" x 3" for the larger circle and the backing circle
Embroidery thread in a range of colours
A sequin and bead per ornament
Small length of ribbon
Scissors, needle, pins
Circle templates - you can either use the ones at the end of the tutorial or draw around whatever comes to hand. Mine are 2" for the smaller circle and 2.5" for the larger circle.


1. Cut out 1 small circle & 2 larger circles. On the smaller circle lightly mark out a circle about 1" in diameter with a pencil (you won't see this once you are finished) and using the template, the points where the white embroidery thread comes together.

2. Stitch on the white pattern, using 2 strands of embroidery thread.

3. Draw another slightly smaller circle with your pencil and then add the grey stitches, in between the white pattern.

4. Using 2 strands of maroon embroidery thread add a french knot between each grey stitch.

5. Add your sequin and bead. To hide the thread, bring your needle up through the centre of the sequin and then thread on the bead, then take the needle back down through the hole in the sequin.

6. Add a circle of running stitch, going in and out of the white pattern with 2 strands of bright red embroidery thread. Then sandwich your ribbon between the two red felt circles and using 4 strands of pale green embroidery thread, blanket stitch around the outside of the ornament.

Et Voila! You have an ornament all ready for your tree!

Here's the Circles template:

I have used colours in my ornaments that compliment the Christmas Trees I've just created using my new pattern (available in my Etsy Shop) which I had great fun putting together and will be used to make all the Teacher and T.A. gifts for my kids this year.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 16 November 2015

A Crafty Afternoon with JacDo

A couple of months ago I saw a tweet from Mrs Crafty B (aka Annie) looking for crafters/bloggers with children who lived near Cardiff if they'd like to attend an event held by JacDo. I'd not heard of the company before so went to have a look at their website which caught my interest immediately.

JacDo is a company which created craft kits for kids, tailored towards the children's ages, linking in with the national curriculum (in Wales, where they are based) and comes in both English and Welsh, making the bilingual... something that is promoted heavily in Wales.

So I eagerly signed up and on Saturday off we set. The event was held at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, which is worth going to for the tea and cookies alone (we weren't early enough to sample any of the meals, but they looked scrummy!)

There were 3 making stations, so of course, we had to try them all! First off, we made Sock Snowmen... these are just TOO cute!

The kids loved that they could do almost all of this by themselves and were very proud of their snowmen (Freddie and Snowy!)

Next up were paper plate wreaths - these were made by dipping a bath scrunchie into green paint and covering the plate and then using cotton wool balls, dipped into red paint for the berries:

And finally some sewing (which my two were delighted about cause it made them just like Mummy!) to make a Penguin and a Santa hand puppet:

Seren sneaking in a cake before her work was done!

Patrick sharing his cake with Santa!

Seren videoed me sewing!

I brought home two very happy children after their "crafternoon" and both are keen to get started on sewing up their treats from the goody bag they got to bring home. Although Patrick had to do some sweet talking to get persuade the ladies in charge that he should be allowed his own bag and not to have to share one with Seren (which actually I agree with - I don't think you should run an event like this, especially one for kids and not hand out a goody bag to everyone... if you are doing them, then it should be one per person)

So I guess the question now is will we subscribe to the JacDo monthly craft box?

There are 3 sizes of box - Petite, Medium and Large:

According to Bethan & Megan (the ladies who run JacDo) for two kids of a similar age, a large box would be ideal as there would be mixed activities, tailored to their ages for them to do together. While I do like the idea, £14.99 per month is quite a commitment but it's not a horrendous amount of money. I like the idea that they tie in with the national curriculum and I think for parents who aren't especially crafty themselves, its a great idea as you don't have to plan out the crafts, that's all done for you.

The answer is I don't know for definite, but I suspect we might give it a try!

One thing that has occurred to me, whilst writing this post is that it might have been more persuasive for the afternoon to be spend going through one of the boxes and doing the crafts inside the box... that way the parents would have got a better feel for exactly what they would be paying for. But of course that would only have been possible if the children attending were all the same age.

NB: This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid to promote JacDo, it is my honest opinion of the afternoon and the company.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Christmas Craft Tutorials Round Up

I'm struggling to find time for everything at the moment, like all crafters, this is a rather manic time of year!

So, I've put together a little Christmas Craft Tutorial Round Up of some of my favourites this year, while I try and get it together to make up the Christmas tutorials I've got in mind for you in the next couple of weeks!

First up is something we've got really into this year - pearler beads (or Hama beads as they're also known) and this pattern could be used as a hanging ornament, a brooch or a magnet. I love this blog as it is dedicated to all things Christmas and Crafty... Just Christmas Crafts

Next a post from a couple of years ago, but still gorgeous is this super cute Glittery Santa Ornament from Parent Pretty... I love anything glittery and cannot wait to put my tree up with some of these on.

Now the next one is perfect if you have small children or animals who are a danger with glass objects... I wish I'd thought of getting these when my son was little... he was a terrorist when it came to Christmas decorations! Crochet Christmas Lights from the late Wink of A Creative Being - Wink's story is really sad and I know a lot of crafters will have come across it before, but I wanted to share one of her projects in this round up as I hope she's up there somewhere seeing how much joy people are still getting out of her amazing mind.

This one is really pretty and looks really straight forward (which is always a bonus when you're short on time as we all are in the run up to Christmas!) Pine Cone Christmas Trees from Scissors and Spoons

My favourite Christmas tutorial from this blog is the Christmas Candle which I created and shared last year.

And finally something edible! Yummy! There are some amazingly looking cookie tutorials out there, but I chose one that doesn't look 'perfect' as I didn't want to put anyone off (including me, when I try and make them!) so I've gone for these cute Melted Snowmen from Milk Bubble Tea

I hope you enjoy trying some of these crafts and keep your eyes peeled for a new Christmas Tutorial from me very soon... I promise!

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