Thursday, 27 November 2014

Book Review ~ The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapman....

I was given Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin as a gift when I left my 9-5. Yes, it has taken me over a year to read it and tell you about it! In my defence I was given a few craft/business books when I became fizzi~jayne full time so it took me a while to get to this in my reading pile. Here is what I thought....

This book is aimed at the USA market so for technical information on areas like tax, it isn't relevant if you are based in the UK like me, you don't want to pay your taxes to the IRS if you don't live in America! The rest of the book is an informative, well written book and relevant regardless of where you sell your crafts.

The book is broken down into easy to read sections with no business jargon. Within each section, each topic has their own chapter giving you lots of information to think about, make sure you have sticky notes and a pencil to hand!

Part 1 starts with setting goals, branding, pricing and basic business practices.  The latter section covers some areas which you can relate to any business in the world not just the USA, for example it offers advice on things like having a separate bank account for your business. The areas such as record keeping will still highlight the information you need to find out for your country.  

If you have already started your business you should still find it interesting. I found it useful to read, it made me think and re-evaluate my goals. There is even a section on finding inspiration, so if you ever have a creative block this may help.

Part 2 is all about spreading the word and covers marketing basics, blogging, advertising, attracting media attention and tips on social media. There are also helpful tips on photography which is important to make your products look beautiful if you sell online, but it is equally important for marketing materials and your blog. If you haven't got a blog and are interested in starting one as part of your business, it has a good introduction to blogging and newsletters too.

Want to know about podcasts? this book covers the basics

Part 3 is all about selling, not just online but at craft fairs, in shops and other creative selling opportunities.  Kari even offers advice if you want to start your own craft fair, perfect if there isn't one in your area. If this isn't for you she'll take you step by step through finding the right craft fair, the best way to apply (if required) and be prepared. 

Photography is touched on again within online selling, including useful tips on effective product descriptions and tagging your products which is common on sites such as Etsy. Kari also gives guidelines on shop policies and customer service.

It's full of information for a creative business!

I really enjoyed reading this book, I think because it is aimed at creative folk and not a business text book. It has case studies from what Kari describes as her "Creative Collective" throughout the book who share their experiences and advice. 

Overall it was inspiring and thought provoking.  It's a book I will definitely refer to again, I have lots of notes throughout.  I recommend this if you are already selling your crafts or if you are just thinking about starting or developing a creative business. However, if you are about to start the exciting journey of being an entrepreneur and based in the UK, then I would advise getting information on tax and registering with the HRMC etc. The HRMC website is a good place to start.

Since I started reading a Second Edition of Handmade Marketplace has been released. With the ever changing world of the online markeplace and social media, I would recommend reading this version.  If you do, let me know what you think.

Next on the reading list is Craft a Creative Business: Making & Marketing a Successful Creative Businessby Fiona Pullen.  I have read lots of good things about this book.  I hope to have lots of reading time over Christmas and report back on my thoughts as soon as possible!

fizzi~jayne x

Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. By clicking on the image you go to the first edition of the Handmade Marketplace, for the Second Edition click on the text link.

You may also be interested in these book reviews....
Book Review ~
Turn you Talent into a Business

Book Review ~
The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos
Book Review ~
Blogging for creatives

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Bugs and fishes Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link-Up....

Last week, Laura from Bugs and fishes organised a Christmas Crafty Tutorial Link-Up. There are 24 Christmas projects and craft blogs to check out. If you missed my tutorial on how to make a festive Christmas card string with pegs, you can check it out here.

There are so many fabulous projects including, crochet, paper crafting and baking. There are tutorials for making ornaments, stockings, some bunting, an advent calendar, a Christmas wreath, a pendant.... *deep inhale of breath*.... and some gift tags. 

Take a look at these festive tutorials....

Mini Teddy Bed - Grace's Favours

Shiny Reindeer Embroidered Hoop Art - Candyfloss Ramparts

Teeny Tiny Snowman Pendant - i ManuFatti

Nativity Bunting Tutorial - Hoogally

Floating Pompom Garland - RetroDelicious

Printable Colouring-In Snowflake Labels - It's Organised

Patchwork Christmas Bauble - Made by Mrs M

Upcycled Jumper Christmas Stocking with Robin Appliqué - Halcyon Threads

Felt Christmas Mouse Ornament - Molly & Mama

First Flake, Snowflake Ornament - Betz White

Gingerbread House Ornament - Shiny Happy World

Mod Winter Table Runner - Tumus / Little Red Thread

Shabby Christmas Denim Heart - Cocojude
Fairy Lights Christmas Cake - Cupcakery

Washi Tape & Button Christmas Card - The Lilac Linnet

Christmas Card String & Pegs - fizzi~jayne makes....

Felt Christmas Stocking - Vicky Myers Creations
Felt Holiday Wreath - The Felt Store

Penguin Pocket Friend or Ornament - Lulu & Celeste

Saint Nick Ornaments - Homemade at My Place

Modern Felt Advent Calendar - Hugs are Fun

Felt Christmas Ornaments - Marc's Treasure Basket

The difficult decision is which one shall I make first!  Have you any Christmas crafty plans? If want even more ideas also check out last year's Crafty Christmas Tutorials.

fizzi~jayne x

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Christmas Card String and Peg Tutorial....

I'm so excited to be taking part in Laura's Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link Up today! If you haven't checked out Bugs and Fishes definitely pop by where you'll also find the links for lots more Christmas crafty tutorials.

But first, today I am sharing a free tutorial for a way to show off your Christmas cards in your home.

What I used:

  • The templates provided below
  • Felt, in Christmassy colours
  • Spray starch
  • Wooden pegs
  • Baker's twine / Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Chalk / pencil
  • Glue - You can use fabric glue but I used Silicone glue - Pinflair Glue Gel.  It bonds anything to anything (in my opinion, I'm yet to find something it can't stick together!). Whatever glue you choose to use, you need something strong enough to bond the felt to the pegs and embellishments.
  • Embellishments of your choice - I used gems, bows and ribbons from my crafty stash

How to make your Christmas Card String with Pegs....

1. First off prepare the felt. In order for them to be more stiff, spray starch liberally on both sides and leave them to dry flat overnight, ideally on a radiator. 

2. Print off and cut out these templates I have drawn for you.
To print templates click on image or click here
3. Draw around the templates on the felt using chalk or a pencil. I prefer chalk as any marks can be brushed off but it's difficult to see on white felt.

4. Cut out the shapes

There isn't a right or wrong side to the template so if you can see pencil marks just flip the felt shape over.

5. Embellishing the felt pieces

For the Stockings

Using cream or white felt you can add a trim.  The guidelines are on the template.

Use glue to bond the trim to the stocking. Hold in place for a few seconds to make sure the glue grabs.

You can decorate your stocking with anything you find in your crafty supplies or craft store.

When using ribbon, glue the ends at the back and wrap around, like so...

I also decorated my stockings with bows and gems found in my crafty stash

I also found this Pom Pom ribbon, perfect!

Candy Canes

To make the candy canes, you will need ribbon.  I cut the canes out of cream felt and used red satin ribbon.

Glue at one end, wrap around the cane and glue the other end.

Top tip 1 - I use a cocktail stick to add glue so not to add too much
Top tip 2 -Use the peg to keep the one end in place


For the holly I simply cut out green felt with the template and added a button for a berry. You could add red gems or small pom poms or use embroidery thread to create French knots.

6. Now, attach your felt pieces to the pegs by adding glue to the top half of the peg.

7. You can now hang your baker's twine or ribbon on to the wall.  If you don't want to leave permanent marks on your wall I recommend Command Decorating Clips with Clear Strips. I use them for my fairy lights on my mantle piece, they hold really well and come off your wall easily without leaving marks.

Glittery Pegs

For added glitz, why not add glitter?....

As well as Glitter you will need a good PVA, I use Cosmic Shimmer Specialist Acrylic Glue for so many of my crafty projects.  It dries clear and holds brilliantly which will prevent shedding of the glitter. Although I can't guarantee there won't be any glitter shedding, using a good glue along with the following steps will help keep most of it on your peg.

Place the peg on copier paper and cover the peg with the PVA glue

Liberally pour glitter over the peg

Tap off the excess and leave to dry, ideally overnight.  Once dry lightly dust with a soft brush to remove any more excess.

The glitter left on the copier paper can be poured back in the pot.

You can leave them like this or add felt decorations, or have a mix of the two on the string/ribbon.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.  If you make yourself a Christmas card string with pegs I would love to see the photos!  

This tutorial is for non-commercial use only. You can use it to make as many card strings for yourself, gifts or to raise funds for a charity but please don't make any to sell for profit.

If you want to blog about this project, remember to credit me and link back to this page on my blog. Please ask permission before using my photography and please do not reproduce my entire tutorial or share my templates on your site.  Thank you

Please note, the Amazon links are affiliate links which means if you purchase anything I earn a few pennies (and I mean pennies!) to support my work on this blog. I only recommend products I use myself.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

#CraftBlogClub Secret Santa.....

craftblogclub badge

Tonight's #CraftBlogClub chat saw the launch of the latest challenge ~ Secret Santa! 

My co -host, Katie is taking the reigns on this one, so if you want to take part please go to her blog here. You need to let Katie know you are taking part by 8pm on 11th November 2014.  She will give you the details of the person you need to make a gift for and you need to post it to them by 20th December. 

Last years Secret Santa was the first #CraftBlogClub challenge I took part in and it was so lovely to receive happy post in the mail, especially when the enclosed has been handmade.

Last year my Secret Santa sent me this....
You can read more about my gift here. The reindeer will feature on my tree again this year.
 and I made this....
You can read more about the gift I sent here

 Don't forget to check out Katie's blog....

 fizzi~jayne x

Psst.... Want to know more about #CraftBlogClub? Find out here.