Tuesday, 24 March 2015

"Craft a Creative Business" Book Giveaway....

Did you catch the #CraftBlogClub chat tonight? It was awesome, we had Fiona Pullen, author of Craft a Creative Business guest hosting.  She was answering our questions on starting or growing a creative business and inspired all of us with her great advice. You can catch up on the chat by searching the hashtag  #CraftBlogClub on Twitter.

Fiona and her publishers have kindly given us a copy of her book to give away!  It is a book I highly recommend and you can read my review here.

There are a number of ways you can enter this Craft a Creative Business giveaway and the best part is each one will  be counted as 1 entry, so do all three and you will be entered three times!

1. Please leave a comment below about why you would love to win this book or if you enjoyed the chat then which tip was your favourite
2. Share this post on Twitter, tagging @craftblogclub and using the hashtag #CBCgiveaway
3. Give the #CraftBlogClub page a like, and leave a comment on why you'd love to win, or like one of the other comments.

Deadline for entries is 31st March at 5:30pm (GMT)

The winner will be picked at random using random.org and will be announced during the Twitter chat on 31st March at 7pm (GMT) as well as on this blog and on Facebook.

Good Luck!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Back at The Little Fox Market....

On Saturday I kicked off the craft fair season of 2015! I went back to The Little Fox Market in Rickmansworth.

We have a new organiser who has taken on the reigns, Katherine from Glowbeads. She did an amazing job for her first fair and as well as Rickmansworth she is organising another location for Little Fox in Bovingdon in Hertfordshire, how exciting!

It was nice to catch up with some of the regular stall holders and see some new ones.  The Little Fox always has a good mix of craft, vintage and food stalls. 

I added a new feature to my display for my wall hangings....

I bought a garden trellis that I painted with Annie Sloane chalk paint, et voilà!

I use 'S' hooks to hang my products from the trellis which gives me flexibility with my display. 

I was opposite The Maverick Kitchen again, look at these beautiful cupcakes....

After a days work I couldn't leave without treating myself to one of their cupcakes that have been looking at me all day!

This was sooooo yummy! 

You can see all the craft fairs I have booked for this year, including the Little Fox at Rickmansworth and Bovingdon in my Craft Fairs tab.  I've booked dates right through to Christmas! How organised am I?!

fizzi~jayne x

Friday, 20 March 2015

Guest Post ~ What is Blocking? by Sally Strawberry....

I have another guest for you to celebrate National Craft Month and this time it is Sally Strawberry! (Strawberry is her blog surname but it would be really cool if it was her real one!).

I follow Sally's blog which is full of crochet scrumptiousness (is that a real word? If not it should be) and has given me helpful tips whilst I learnt to crochet.  Sally's patterns have also been included in "Inside Crochet" magazine which is pretty cool! 

So I am really pleased that she is sharing her expertise on my blog, over to Sally....

Hi, I'm Sally and I have just a little obsession with crochet. I love the flexibility of crochet, the way that with just a few stitches you can create something beautiful.

I began with knitting but my real passion is crochet. I believe that crochet should no longer be seen as an activity purely for the older generations but should be used as an expression of creativity and to show off the multitude of fabulous yarns we are privileged to have available to us (the brighter the colours the better!). 

I'm a scientist by trade and work full-time but snatch as much time as possible to crochet, blog and immerse myself in the fabulous world of craft. 

What is blocking? 

Blocking is one of the most important steps in any knitting or crochet project to take your work to the next level, to make them look as brilliant as they do in the magazines.
Blocking comes in many guises, but essentially has the same effect. 

Joanne of Not So Granny writes about wet blocking by giving your item a good soaking. This is the most suitable method for those beautiful garments you have lovingly crocheted in sumptuous wool yarns.  

Lucy of Attic 24 has posted about 'steam blocking' whereby small items, such as bunting, are blocked by hovering a steam iron over your work which is firstly pinned into position. My method is a mix of the two, and I will go through it now.....

In this tutorial I will only be talking about blocking small items such as bunting, as although I do now blog about my larger crochet and knitted pieces, I'm by no means an expert (I’ll leave that to Joanne).  

Now although I’d never claim to be an expert in anything, I have made a lot of bunting over the years. A lot! Bunting really benefits from blocking, as it looks miles better hanging and is less likely to curl up at the corners. Bunting also benefits from being a bit sturdy, so hereby I introduce the secret ingredient- spray starch!

Right, here goes…..

See these triangles of crochet fabulousness here.....sorry....I mean strange shapes all curled up at the corners.....these are my bunting triangle pre-blocking....

The kit....

  • Damp tea towel (I put it under the tap and wring it out well)
  • An iron (any old iron- mine doesn't even steam anymore)
  • Pins
  • and the magic ingredient- SPRAY STARCH (only a quid in the laundry aisle of any supermarket)
The process....

1. Place item front side down onto ironing board
2. Spray liberally with spray starch
3. Make sure it is flat and cover with damp tea towel
4. With iron on a LOW SETTING (very important!) press firmly onto work through the tea towel

It is very important that you don't hold the iron down very long, 5 seconds at a time max, otherwise you risk squashing/melting your work, especially if you are using acrylic. 

Keep on pressing until your work stays flat when you remove the tea towel, but please please please not long enough to burn it.

5. Turn work over so that the right side is facing up
6. Spray the front liberally with starch
7. Pin into place stretching out the corners. I just do this straight into the ironing board foam.

8. Leave to dry overnight
9. Voilà! Lovely flat, slightly stiffened, triangles ready to be strung into bunting!

See the difference yes? 

The advantages of blocking are really obvious.....so no excuses eh!

P.S. When I am blocking component parts of a stuffed toy for example I just iron lightly on reverse through a damp tea towel.  Starch wouldn't be appropriate in this case. The pieces are then OK to be used straight away!

Thank you Sally for taking the time to share this tutorial with us, this is really useful. I haven't really known what I was doing with blocking so I am grateful for the tips!

Check out Sally's blog for more crochet tips, patterns and tutorials here
Sally is also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

I hope you have enjoyed my guest bloggers for National Craft Month. I don't just have guests in March, I'm always happy to work with other crafters and bloggers so if you have an idea or craft tutorial you would like to share, please get in touch.

fizzi~jayne x

Have you missed the other guest posts this month? Click on the links below....

Rachel Saka - Decoupage Techniques

Spiral Earrings Techniques

Monday, 16 March 2015

#CraftBlogClub Challenge Reveal....

It's time for another #CraftBlogClub challenge reveal! Full details of this challenge can be found here but to summarise the theme was a "New Craft for the New Year!"

There were suggestions on how this could be interpreted in the launch post and although there are a lot of new crafts I want to try as well as learn new techniques within the crafts I already enjoy, I chose to get to grips with a new craft machine I got for Christmas. Let me introduce you to Camilla.....

I am a very lucky girl to get this machine, isn't she a beauty?!

Camilla is my Silhouette Cameo.  For those who have not come across this machine before, it is a digital cutting machine which can cut a variety of materials, including, but not exclusive to, cardstock, fabric, adhesive vinyl and heat transfer material.

By using the software you can create your own designs or purchase designs from their store. I am so excited about my new toy as it will unlock so many ideas I have, I even have the potential to make my own stamps!

Cutting is not the only thing it can do, by replacing the blade with pens it can draw designs instead.

I have a lot to learn and so many ideas to try but the past few weeks have been mainly getting to know Camilla and her software, and cutting lots of random shapes in different thicknesses of card. 

I love fonts and started playing around with them and used this one for an order for a birthday card....

The MUM tag was created on the Silhouette and the "waste" from the tag was used for this Mother's Day card....

Once I started to feel more comfortable with the software I created my own design, it's a simple one using shapes to create a sun stencil.  I'm loving stencils at the moment to create backgrounds and I couldn't wait to get my hands on Silhouette's Stencil Material to make my own....

Once the stencil was cut out, I used distress inks in bright sunny colours over the stencil.

I mounted the background on to orange card

Using Camilla, I cut out the word "sunshine" in black card, which was part of a design that came free with the Silhouette.

I stamped "You Are My" in black ink and added floral buttons to embellish.

I'm obsessed with Wink of Stella pens and used the clear to add some sparkle to the letters.

So far I have only used Camilla for paper craft but I have vinyl to experiment with next and ideas for home décor, so watch this space....

Have you joined in with the challenge? What did you make?

If you have a blog post please add the link to the linky below so everyone can have a look, this is the fun bit of the challenge, seeing what you have all made.

fizzi~jayne x

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Book Review ~ Craft A Creative Business by Fiona Pullen....

I have to share with you a must read if you are thinking of starting a creative business or want to grow your business.  

The author, Fiona Pullen, is the genius behind the Sewing Directory and in the book she shares her vast experience and knowledge of running a Creative Business.

The book is split into six easy to read sections covering a wide range of aspects of a business in great depth. It is in a logical order helping you every step of the way from concept and launch, through to reviewing your progress once established.  It includes all the important subjects you expect including the legal and tax aspects of running a business as well as covering branding, photography, social media and selling. Each chapter is colour coded and it is easy to dip in and out without having to read it cover to cover, although I am sure you will want to.

Writing a business book to appeal to a creative person can't be easy, having read a few business and marketing books in my time they aren't always easy going, we'd rather be making things right?! However, Fiona has managed to present a lot of detail in a digestible manner.  It is clearly laid out in bite sized chunks so you don’t feel overwhelmed and it is jargon free!

There are a number of check lists and activities to help you apply what you have read to your business.  There are areas for making notes and each chapter includes further reading and useful websites to check out. I would also recommend having sticky notes and a notebook on hand because I am sure you will be making lots of notes like me!

It's not just for start ups, this book has helped me reassess and focus my goals for 2015 as well as help me design and build a new website for my business (fizzijaynemakes.com coming soon!).

I know I will refer to this book again and again and yes, I know I have said this before about business books but that was before I read this one and I will definitely turn to this book first. 

I rate this book so highly I have given it 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon

This is an absolute must for any creative business owner and a great book if you want to start a craft business.

Great News!....

After reading this book I asked Fiona if she would like to host our #CraftBlogClub chat and I'm very excited that she has agreed and will be our host on 24th March! 
If you have any questions about starting or growing a creative business or about her book, please join us. Fiona will be ready to answer your questions from 7pm (GMT).  

To join in with the chat please follow Fiona on Twitter @craftabiz and use the hashtag #CraftBlogClub to see the conversation. I can't wait!

Want to find out more about Fiona?...
Visit her website craftacreativebusiness.co.uk
Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest

and don't forget to join us in our Twitter chat on 24th March 2015!

fizzi~jayne x

Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this post are affiliated.