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!

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!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Felt Star Garland Giveaway

Two posts in one day... how does she manage it? I hear you ask... well the answer is... it's just as well you can't see the mess around the house, the amount of time the kids have spent on their tablets today, the amount of work I have piled up and the state of my hair!!

But anyway, I'm back with a little starry giveaway!

There will be 2 winners, picked at random at midday on Monday 2nd November (GMT) and to be in with a chance to win a garland, all you need to do is leave me a comment saying which you'd like to win - the Rainbow Garland or the Glittery Garland.

I'm happy to post internationally... so GO, GO, GO!

How Celebrity Endorsements Can Boost Your Sales

Now we all know that one of the best things that can happen to a small business is a celebrity endorsement... but how do you get that wonderful magical thing to happen.

Well it can be hard work. Here are 5 things that will help:

1. Work out who you want to connect with. I have chosen a number of famous (and infamous!) because they are interested in crafting or are part of my target customer demographic (i.e. they fit into the group that I am aiming my products at) it's no good following George Clooney if you are trying to get your products to new Mum's who need breast feeding cover ups!

2. Follow (stalk!) your chosen celebs. I follow a number of people on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram... including Kirstie Allsop, George Clarke, Jan Constantine, Benedict Cumberbatch (sadly not really him as he doesn't do social media, but a page run by his people!), Rosie O'Donnell, Taylor Swift, Marie Osmond, Martha Stewart.... I could go on!

3. If they tweet/post something that is relevant to you, comment on it. I.e. Get them to notice you. Interact with them.

4. If you have something you think would be up their street.... tag them or message them about it. Don't spam them with loads of links, but just if something really fits, let them know.

5. Persevere! It's not going to happen over night, but hopefully, with a bit of luck, your work will pay off.

And here's my celebrity endorsement story...

It's quite a small, insignificant thing, but it has already shown results.

I was mooching through my Twitter feed this morning, sitting in bed with a cup of tea, whilst the kids played and my husband complained about having to go to work (so in other words.... I had zoned them all out!) and up popped this tweet from George Clarke:

I read it and checked out the Instagram pic, which was this:

 So I thought I'd take a chance and reply with a cheeky request for a re-tweet. This way my tweet:

Notice how I put the key points in to catch his attention and save the need for any questions - yes, I'm donating profits to the Royal British Legion charity, the prices are included in the picture and there is a link to the poppies in my Etsy Shop

SO then I just carried on with what I was doing... hassling the kids to get dressed, shoving the dog off the clothes pile, soothing the husband about having to work, umpiring World War III as it broke out over which socks belonged to who and who had got dressed 'first'!!

Then... PING.... I checked my phone and saw that Gorgeous Gorge had re tweeted my tweet!!!


When I checked 2.5 hours later, 4,500 people had seen my tweet! And my phone has been 'Kerchiiiiiing-ing' merrily all morning as orders are being placed!

So while, Gorge himself hasn't bought one (yet!) just by retweeting my tweet to his 93,000 followers has done my little business a HUGE amount of good and it's also helping the Royal British Legion, which is fantastic!

So, what have you got to lose?

Monday, 12 October 2015

How To: Halloween Spooky Spider Tutorial

In my previous post I shared some of the details of the Halloween crafts we got up to at Seren's 7th Birthday Party.

The Spooky Spiders, which were really straightforward to make, so I've done a mini-tutorial for them:

You Will Need:

Yarn (any colour)
4 Pipe Cleaners (any colours)
2 Googly Eyes
1 Large Needle
Pair of Scissors
PVA Glue (or similar)


1. Gather your materials.

2. Cut your pipe cleaners in half and wrap one around the middle of the other three. This will leave two legs shorter than the others, they'll be your front legs.

3. Add a blob (technical term) of glue to the centre of the pipe cleaners and stick on the end of your yarn.

4. Wrap, wrap and wrap some more! When you are happy with the plumpness of your spider, glue the end of the yarn to the bottom of your spider (Note: At this point you can chose which is the top & bottom of your spider - once you've chosen, bend the legs accordingly)

5. Add the googly eyes. If they are self adhesive, great.... if not, just add a blob (still a technical term!) to the back of each eyeball.

Your spider is finished!

If you would like to hang him up, cut off another length of yarn, thread the large needle and push the needle through one of the strands of yarn at the top of your spider. Tie off the yarn at the top and hang:

Enjoy your spider making!

We also made Felt Eyeball Coasters:

Which I've not done a full tutorial for, but have explained what we did here

Halloween Crafts

Seren, my almost 7 year old decided that as her birthday is near to Halloween, that this year she would like a Halloween themed craft party.

Ok. We can do that I thought and got Googling!!

The crafty items I came up with were Felt Eyeball Coasters* (using this great tutorial at Patchwork Posse)

And a Spooky Spider:

As I came up with this one all on my very own (as Seren used to say when she was little!) I've done a tutorial to go with this post - it's really easy and the two 5 year olds managed it perfectly as well as all the 7 year olds.

The kids also decorated ghoulish cupcakes and made rolo pastry eyes.

They had a great time and as far as kids parties go, it was far less stressful than 25 kids in a hall with a bouncy castle!!

*The Felt Eyeball Coasters are really really easy peasy! You just need 4 circle templates, each one a bit smaller than the last. For the largest, I drew around the largest mug we have and then made the template a bit larger again. The smallest circle (for the white of the eye) needs to be a good bit smaller than the black bit. Once you have cut them all out, glue the coloured felt onto the largest white circle, then glue to black circle to the middle of the coloured piece and the small white circle, glue to one side of the black circle. Make sure you cover each felt circle with glue right up to the edge. We used a normal PVA glue in cleaned out yoghurt pots and plastic spatulas - 1 for each child so there was no arguing!!

Here are some pics of the room, decorated in our Halloween goodies!

Birthday Girl and ghoulish cupcake decorating

Felt Eyeball Coasters

More Felt Eyeball Coasters

Halloween Candle hiding in a stone nook

Ghostie Fairy Lights

Eyeball Fairy Lights and my Halloween Wall Hanging

Collection of Spooky Spiders - particularly love the one eyed and no eyed ones!

Happy Birthday Seren!

Rolo Pastry Eyeball Making
The kids all had such a good time as you can see!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Handmade At Amazon is Live!

Well, we got there!! I had a few teething problems but I worked it out eventually and.....

Handmade At Amazon is now live! Phew!

Here's my Artisan Profile:

And here are the first products I've got listed:

Not sure why the 3rd listing isn't showing (a few kinks in the system perhaps?!)

So far Handmade @ Amazon is only available to US buyers, but they assured me it will be rolled out to the rest of the world, probably sometime next year.

So now, I'm just going to try and work out how to change the shipping prices to reflect the actual postage costs and list some more goodies!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Handmade @ Amazon

A couple of weeks ago I applied to Handmade @ Amazon - it's a little like Etsy, in that it's a market place for handmade products, but it ties into the main Amazon site, which opens up markets to a huge range of potential customers.

It's a little bit daunting applying to a huge giant like Amazon, but, amazingly, on Monday morning this week I got an email saying they had approved my application - yay!

So, now I have the next scary task... trying to navigate their system to get my products loaded... a very slow, somewhat bewildering task. that is currently being accompanied by vast amounts of tea & chocolate!

So I'm pretty sure that the 2 hours worth of work I just put into creating my storefront and first product, shoud have yielded more than this!!


Might have to resort to more chocolate and then tackle the user manual again to see if I can work out where I've gone wrong!

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