Friday, 29 June 2012

Some of my Favourite Handmade Shops - Part One

Well, I was going to photograph some things that I have been making, but my computer has been taken away (more like rescued from cruelty!) by the computer doctor as it choked to death on dust a few days ago. Which means that I can't upload any photos or get my shop any closer to being re-opened until it's returned. I'm itching to get my shop back open again, I miss the whole Etsy community and being a part of it, but I suppose this will teach me to dust the poor computer every now and then. So, for now, I'm going to steal an idea from Shell's blog and show you some of my favourite online shops. So, get yourself a cuppa (make me one while you're at it) and enjoy -

First up is this great shop - Handmade Haven. I have bought several lovely cards and I have a regular stash of gorgeous cold-pressed soaps from here on my dressing table. They look almost too pretty to use and make the room smell lovely and add a bit of luxury to my bathroom! They are very special because they don't make my sensitive skin flare up either. Lots of lovely hand-sewn gifts in this shop too - I use my cloth bags regularly.

Here is Under Rainbows and if you have little girls, they will just adore this shop. I have my two little girls with their noses glued to the screen when I'm browsing this shop and they've already put their orders in!! I know that I would have LOVED a doll from here when I was little.

Here is Castle On The Hill. I bought a great birthday present from this shop for a young Jane Austen fan who was happily studying 'Pride & Prejudice' for her GCSEs. The artist paints really stunning portraits of the book's key characters, but instead of using plain paper, they are painted onto the pages from the book, so it's almost like the characters have leapt up from the pages and come to life. When we eventually build a house, I have put one of the originals on my wishlist as I am a big Jane Austen fan.

There you go, I will let you go and browse these lovely shops and I will show you a few more of my favourites when I next blog. xx

Friday, 22 June 2012

Keeping Cosy!!

Well, here is what I've been up to today.  The rain was whipping round the caravan and inside my shed it was a bit dark and gloomy (not to mention cold!).  But inside the caravan it was nice and cosy and with Royal Ascot on the telly, I spent a happy afternoon finishing off the stitching in these little leather notebooks whilst keeping an eye on the Ascot fashion and listening to my other half muttering behind his racing paper.  I made these two little keyrings with some scraps of leather lacing too.  I like adding them to people's parcels as a little 'thank you' freebie and they are fun to make. Not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon at all!

I've been tweaking my Etsy shop in preparation for reopening and I want to take all my newly made stock outside and photograph it as soon as the weather allows.  I tried making a lightbox out of an old cardboard box last week and I think it will be useful, especially during the Winter when it's a struggle to find good light to photograph in.

I think it's safe to show you this.  It's a 30th birthday present for a friend who is very girly and likes pretty, feminine things (unlike her friend who is a total tomboy and likes crawling under hedges, looking for bugs and working with leather!).  She has mentioned in the past that she would love a notebook with a beautiful lady on the front, so I thought I would give it a go.

My attempts at drawing beautiful ladies was pitiful, but luckily, my eldest DD loves art and is pretty good at Manga-style drawings, so I paid her a wee sum to do the design for me.  Here was the result -
Once we'd got the sizing right, I just traced the image onto the raw leather and carved out the design with my little swivel knife.
I put an inscription inside as well because you don't turn thirty every day do you!  It was a looonngg time ago that I turned thirty, it makes me feel kind of old just thinking about it!!

Saturday, 16 June 2012


Hello and welcome to my new blog!!

This is the place where I will focus on the craft side of my life, including the leathercraft things that I make for my shop.  I may sneak in the odd bit of other creative stuff when I get the time to do it, such as bits of sewing and gardening too.  I love creative things and this will be the place for me to record them.  

I also want to celebrate the crafting of other talented folks out there.  I love browsing Etsy and have found some wonderful shops and I'd like to share them here too because in this age of mass-produced goods, we really need to support the unique, hand-crafted things that you will never find duplicated anywhere else in the world.  I have set up a list of my favourite online hand-craft shops on the side of this blog and I hope to add lots more shops to this list along the way.

As for my own Etsy shop, well the plan was to close it for a few months to give me lots of time to enjoy the Summer.  HA!!!  What Summer??  It has rained more or less constantly, so all my fancy plans of lounging around the garden, painting my shed and generally soaking up the rays have had cold water poured on them, literally!  I have been making lots of things and trying out new designs though and I am almost ready to open my shop again, a little earlier than originally planned, hopefully at the beginning of next month.  I will let you know the date and I want to launch the reopening with a little giveaway, so get ready!!

Here I am, beavering away in my beloved little shed.  I never did get round to installing electricity or lighting, but hopefully I'll have something fixed for Winter as it gets more than a little parky in here!  If I got electricity, I could have a kettle, which means I could have Pot Noodles while I work!! 

I'm looking forward to getting my shop opened again, but first I need to sit down and study the new postage rates and adjust some prices.  I don't like this bit of shopkeeping I have to say, but it's a necessary evil as I tend to forget how much the postage costs mount up, both on raw materials that I've ordered and pieces that I'm posting.  I'm looking forward to taking my shop off 'vacation mode' though and getting some feedback on the things I've been making!
So that's all for now.  I hope you like this new blog and thank you for dropping by! xx