Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show Ticket Giveaway....

#CraftBlogClub have a special ticket giveaway! We are SUPER excited to be able to offer 3 pairs of tickets for the Knitting and Stitching Spring Show at Olympia London. The tickets are valid to the show on Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th or Sunday 6th March 2016. This years show is described as ‘The definitive event for anyone with a love of stitch and crafts’.

There are two ways you can enter the Knitting & Stitching Spring Show ticket giveaway. Each of the below will be counted as one entry so do both and you will be entered twice!

The deadline for entries is 8pm on 2nd February 2016.

​Terms and Conditions The giveaway is open to UK entrants only. The tickets are NOT valid for entry to the show on Saturday 5th March, but are valid for Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th and Sunday 5th March.  Deadline for entries is 2nd February at 8pm. The 3 lucky winners will be picked at random using random.org and announced at 9pm on 2nd February 2016. We will make contact with the lucky winners via Twitter and Facebook. This competition is for a pair of tickets ONLY.

Good Luck!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Lumière London 2016 Light Festival....

Last weekend I went to see the Lumiere London Light Festival.  It was the first time London has done anything like this and it was amazing! The event has been held in Durham every other year by the same organisers since 2009.

I went with the hubby on the Saturday night which was the busiest night of the four, as you can imagine, so we couldn't see the installations that were at a low level because of the crowds.  However, it was good to see so many people of all ages enjoying the art and the city. 

Unfortunately we didn't see all of the installations because there were so many spread out across London, but we saw most of them around Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly, Leicester Square, St.James, Regent Street and Oxford Circus. It was a bit like a treasure hunt which brought out the kid in me and I walked a lot, my pedometer tracked 22,897 steps!

The Light of the Spirit by Patrice Warrener

Garden of Light by TILT

195 Piccadilly by Novak

I Haven't Changed My Mind in a Thousand Years by Beth J Ross

Les Voyagers (The Travellers) by Cédric Le Borgne

Luminéoles by Porté par le vent

1.8 London by Janet Echelman / Studio Echelman

I do hope they do this again in London, I loved it. I would have to plan my trip over two nights instead of trying to do it all in one night.

fizzi~jayne x

Friday, 22 January 2016

Book Review ~ 2016, Your Best Year by Lisa Jacobs....

We're only a few weeks into January and if you're one of the 1 in 3 who have ditched their New Year resolutions, its not too late to plan and make 2016 your best year.

I've recently read Lisa Jacob's book. Well, it is more of a workbook and really gets you thinking about your business as well as yourself, taking a holistic approach to setting and achieving your goals. I've had some a-ha moments that have made me think about my approach to not just my business but all areas of my life.

I like how the book is laid out and Lisa is practical and comes across as being very enthusiastic. She runs a successful jewellery business alongside her consultancy for marketing entrepreneurs and she practices what she preaches.

It is a book that should be used throughout the year as it encourages regular appraisals. I like the 3 month and mid year review and the looking forward and back each month as it keeps you focussed on your goals throughout the year.  I will have to ensure I do this and not put the book back on the shelf to be forgotten about until I plan 2017!  

The only disappointment is the lack of explanation for using some of the worksheets in the "Do" section,  I referred to her blog as a reference for some of it but I would have found it useful to have some guidance to help me complete it.

Lisa's blog is worth checking out, at the end of last year she went through some of the exercises which helped me and there are a lot of helpful marketing tips for a creative business.

It is a useful approach and a template I shall use again in 2017. Overall it is a valuable resource and if you run a creative business I would recommend it.

Have you used this or another resource to plan your goals in 2016? I'd love to hear about your plans and how you are making them happen.

fizzi~jayne x

Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this post are affiliated.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A #CraftBlogClub challenge launch....

It's time for our first #CraftBlogClub challenge of 2016!

The challenge is.... "Crafty Resolutions".

Following our chat last week about our New Year's resolutions, and the popularity of last year's challenge, we thought it would be perfect to start 2016 challenging you to learn a new craft or technique. 

Whatever craft you want to learn this challenge is hopefully the motivation to get you started.  Alternatively, you may have received a new craft tool/machine for Christmas that you still need to take out the box, it's time to get it out and give it a go!

As it is a new craft/technique and the thought of having to complete a project may be terrifying. Don't worry, the whole point of the challenge is to have fun learning a new skill and if you don't have a completed project we still want to see your work in progress.

Anyone can join in the challenge, don't worry If you've never joined a #CraftBlogClub chat before, anyone who wants to try a new craft are welcome!

The Rules....
  • We will be revealing our makes in our Twitter chat on 15th March 2016 and If you have a blog also present your lovely project in a blog post by this date.
  • Please mention #CraftBlogClub in your blog post and link back to this page.
  • There will be a linky set up on THIS BLOG to showcase your blog posts and please take some time to have a look at the other posts, it’s lovely to see some of the amazing creativity we have in our #CraftBlogClub!
  • Let us know how you’re doing throughout the challenge on Twitter and Facebook. Don't forget to use our #CraftBlogClub hashtag to keep up to date on Twitter.
I hope you will join in and I can't wait to see what everyone makes!!...

fizzi~jayne x

Psst.... If you don't know what #CraftBlogClub is and you like the sound of this challenge, we'd love you to join in and you can find out more here.

Monday, 11 January 2016

More 2016 planning and looking back at 2015....

I have been so busy planning 2016 that I hadn't looked back on 2015 until I started to read Your Best Year 2016: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Plannerby Lisa Jacobs.

It's so important to look back and review what has worked and areas for improvement.  My 2016 plans haven't changed since doing this exercise but the book has helped me plan the tactics and behaviours that I need to change in order to succeed.

I'll review this book properly next week, but in summary it's a must read for any creative business, it has made me take a step back and look at what my successes, challenges and happy memories were. I thought I would share some of these with you.....

My accomplishments of 2015....

  • One of my biggest achievement has been the success of my range in my first stockist, No3 Royston. The local support has been phenomenal and I have been pleasantly surprised by the response to my products, especially my coasters.
  • I designed and launched my own website and for someone like me who isn't a natural with technology this is a big deal! Especially as it had been on my to do list for about 2 years.
  • I was excited when this tutorial was featured on Wayfair.co.uk.
  • I ran 10km and raised £315 for the Stroke Association.

Happy memories....

  • I had a couple of holidays with my hubby in 2015. First up was a driving tour around France and we were lucky enough to be in Carcasonne on Bastille Day, by pure fluke! Little did we know that people travel from all over the world to see their firework display and we now understand why, it was awesome! The firework display is around the walls of the old town. We watched them from the other side of town but it was a view point that a lot of the locals used and the views were amazing. 
    Photos are of the old town by day, the fireworks were taken on my iPhone so they are not great and an old sewing machine on display in our hotel which I fell in love with.
  • We also spent a few days in Skye with friends.  It is such a beautiful place and we were very lucky with the weather so we got to do a lot of walking and exploring.
    An amazing day was spent exploring the Fairy Pools and a trip to Skye would not be complete without visiting the Talisker Distillery!

    We drove up to the Isle of Skye and to break up the journey stayed at Gretna Green, it worked out to be exactly half way and as it was our wedding anniversary we thought it was a fun place to stop over.  On the way home we stopped off at my University city of Newcastle.

  • One of my happy memories from last year is seeing one of my favourite bands, Garbage, play live on my birthday.

  • Any time I spent with family and friends has been time well spent.

What 2015 has taught me....

That I can't do everything! I spread myself too thinly and put too much pressure on myself when I don't manage to do everything I set out to do.  Last year I booked more craft fairs than the previous year, had a range in No3 Royston and took on lots of custom orders! This year I will be doing fewer craft fairs and limiting the number of custom orders I take on, I am not good at saying "no" so this may be a challenge.  I am taking these steps so I can grow my business as well as look after myself.  I don't want to be working through the night and work every weekend because I've taken on too much, it's not good for my well being.  As I write this on a Sunday afternoon after a work free weekend, I feel recharged and ready to take on the week, which will hopefully mean a more productive week!

I have also learnt it is important to celebrate successes, no matter how small and learn from your mistakes but without beating yourself up!

You can read all my 2016 plans here.

fizzi~jayne x

Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this post are affiliated.

Monday, 4 January 2016

well hello 2016, have I got plans for you!....

2015 was a great year that flew by! Last year was another busy learning curve and I feel really positive about the goals I have for this year. I plan to take steps for it to be a great year for my business as well as myself....

My business
  • I am taking part in The 100 Day Goal by the Business Bakery to grow my business online. Last year I started work to grow my business online, which saw the launch of my website. Towards the end of the year other areas of my business went crazy, I was busy with craft fairs and the success of my first stockist took me by surprise.  So I am using the 100 Day Goal to get back on track.  It's not too late if you want to join in, all the details are here.
  • I plan to develop new products.
  • I want to start teaching workshops later this year (this will be my second 100 day goal of the year).
  • I want to improve my product photography. I got a new lens for Christmas which I'm excited about experimenting with.  I want to understand and learn more about the technical side of photography to be able to take beautiful photos of my products.
This blog
  • I made a start on fizzi~fun friday.... last year but I want to reinstate it to grow my creativity so I don't get stuck in a rut. So the plan is every other week on a Friday, I will take the day to experiment with new techniques and crafts, as well as revisiting old favourites that I always complain I never have the time to do.
  • I want to share more craft tutorials but I will also continue to share book reviews, my business top tips as well as any behind the scenes and fun days out you might enjoy.
  • I need to save money and when I do spend money I want to spend it on fun days out rather than buying stuff I don't need. I believe experiences make you happier than things and also make you an interesting person with stories to tell. Getting out and about will also fuel my creativity.
  • I want to learn the art of calligraphy.  I have dabbled with it before but as it has become more popular recently, I've seen the beautiful pieces of art created from it and I want to be able to do it too, hopefully! My lovely friend Sarah bought me a starter kit for my birthday so I have the gear and a book to get me started.
  • I still need to lose weight but I'm not going to stress about what I haven't lost and instead focus on my running and eating healthier.  I'll be running another 10km later this month and I plan to apply for the Great North Run when the ballot opens although with a lot of trepidation!
  • I want to achieve a better work life balance. It's not easy to achieve this when your hobby becomes your business and you work from home. I never switch off which isn't necessarily a problem as I love what I do.  I am grateful that I get to do what I love everyday but I need to make sure I don't burn out and I get to spend some quality time with friends and family. So I'll make sure I have one day off at the weekend as a complete work free zone (ideally two days, work load permitting) and make sure I have 21 days off a year (which is the minimum legal holiday entitlement in the UK when you work full time).
So they are my plans for a creative, healthy and happy 2016!
Have you any new year goals? I'd love to hear about them and we can encourage each another. If you have blogged about them leave me a link in the comments, I'd love to read them.

fizzi~jayne x

Saturday, 2 January 2016

#CraftBlogClub Secret Santa reveal....

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great festive break and 2016 has started well for you.

My first post of 2016 is another #CraftBlogClub challenge reveal....

#CraftBlogClub organised a Secret Santa, it's the third one I've taken part in and it's my favourite challenge of the year. Each year names are picked at random for us to make a gift for another participant.

As soon as I received my parcel I had to open it, I couldn't wait until Christmas day!  Gill from The Little Soap Kitchen sent me gorgeous smelling handmade soaps. The box smelled amazing even before I unwrapped the beautiful box the soaps were wrapped in....

Gill sent me a selection of her handmade soaps

I've started using them and they are gorgeous! You can tell they are made with love and they aren't harsh on my hands that tend to get dry easily, I'm impressed with how soft and smooth my hands are, thank you Gill!

My Secret Santa was for Sue from The World of Suzy Homemaker. When I did my research, I found she was a fellow Bon Jovi fan! I was very excited by this so I made her a coaster with this in mind....

I painted MDF and stamped the phrase with black ink before varnishing.

I've been making and selling a lot of my beaded snowflakes which are fun to make so I also sent Sue one of these....

I also made this card which you might recognise from this tutorial....

I made a box in Kraft card using my Silhouette Cameo to fit Sue's gifts and added a pom-pom. I made pom-poms for all my gifts this year using sparkly red yarn, they are fun to make and I think they look fab on a gift.  I've also added pom-poms to my tree this year as well. There has been a lot of pom-pom love this festive season!

Have you joined in with the #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa? I can't wait to see what everyone has made during our first chat of 2016! 

fizzi~jayne x

Pssst.... Our first #CraftBlogClub chat of 2016 will be on Tuesday 5th January at 7:30pm (GMT).