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Friday, 13 December 2013

Last order dates for Christmas

It's pretty manic here at the moment with orders flying in. I've just reached 200 sales on Folksy and have had my busiest month ever since starting my business, smashing my targets for the year. And to celebrate I shall be having some proper time off over Christmas - I think I've earned it!

If you'd like to buy something from the say it shop, please get your orders in by this Sunday, 15th December. I'm going to close shop Monday morning to give me chance to make up all the orders and get them in the post so they arrive in time for Christmas. All my shops will be closed until Saturday 4th January, so make sure you get your orders in this weekend.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

St Andrew's Church Fair

I don't do very many craft fairs because they tend to be a bit hit and miss. It's a big time commitment to make up enough stock and spend the hours stood behind the stall selling it. It's great when they go well, but a bit of a risk if you've not done that fair before and don't know how much you'll sell. Also, now a lot of my new products are personalised it's pretty hard to sell these at a craft fair.

So this Christmas I have done just one craft fair, at my local church. Out of all the ones I've done before it is by far the best. There was a great atmosphere and it was very busy. They combined it with the village Christmas light switch on, and the brownies sang Christmas carols round the newly lit tree.

So here are a couple of photos of my stall. As I don't do many fairs I haven't invested in many props or stands. The lady next to me had a fab card rack that looked really professional, so I was a little jealous! But I think my stall looked ok. And customers seemed to think so as they were happy to spend - it was the best fair I've ever done. It's satisfying at the end of the day to feel like you've actually been paid a decent wage for once!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Music inspired gifts

I can't believe how close we're getting to Christmas! Last order dates are fast approaching so this will be the final gift guide for this year.

This week I've been browsing my favourite handmade shops searching for Christmas gifts that anyone musical would like. From guitar patterns to upcycled records, these are my favourite music inspired gifts.

Guitar pendant necklace by Baronyka on Misi
Treble Clef clock by Neltempo on Etsy
Cassette notepad by Fresh Creative Designs on Folksy
Musical notes iphone case by Cambridge Craft Studio on Etsy
Black and white keyboard cufflinks by Urbaneye Cufflinks on Folksy
Vintage sheet music heart brooch by House of Ismay on What I Always Wanted
Guitar noticeboard by Chandler's Country Gifts on Wow Thank You
Record bookends by When the Music's Over on Etsy

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Blog and Buy Sale Christmas Wish List

Have you seen the Blog and Buy Sale Christmas Wish List? It's a collection of over 250 products showcasing the very best creative gifts from artists and designers. There are some fantastic present ideas included this year, and I'm delighted that two of my products are among them.

I thought I might share with you some of my other favourites too. But it really is worth checking out the whole Wish List because there are far too many amazing products to share here.

Hand thrown ceramic mug
by Helen Faulkner Ceramics

Flying owl illustrated lamp
by A Northern Light

Food guide tea towel
by Food Guide UK

Autumn oak table lamp
by Hunkydory Home

Perpetual calendar
by Block Design

Christmas bingo game
by This Is Knockout

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Gifts for tidying and organising

Sometimes a practical gift is the best type of gift (especially if it looks nice too!). Some people love anything that will help them keep things tidy and organised; other people just need a bit of a hint and a helping hand! I've searched the internet for my favourite handmade Christmas gifts that make it super easy to get organised.

Key hook and mail organiser by Factory Twenty One on Etsy
Wall mounted magazine rack by The Metal House on Etsy
Flower power memo board by Thimble and Bobbin on Wow Thank You
2014 diary by Sketch and Note on Etsy
Jewellery display by Witchcorner on Folksy
Sycamore and rosewood jewellery box by Norfolk Woodcrafts on Folksy
Rustic farmhouse chalkboard by Marc Wood Joinery on Etsy
Hand painted toy box by Vintage Pixie on Giggling Hedgehogs
Rustic pine coat rack with shelf by Captains Craftworks on Etsy

Monday, 25 November 2013

Where to buy handmade Christmas gifts

There are lots of good reasons to buy handmade gifts this Christmas, and I could go on about supporting independent artists etc., but the main reason I like to buy handmade gifts is that you can buy something really unusual and often personalised to the recipient. You've probably heard of Etsy and Folksy and possibly Not on the High Street, but where else can you look to find top quality handcrafted presents this Christmas?

Here's my guide to the top online shops selling handmade Christmas gifts from a range of designers. Know of any others? Please pop a link in the comments so we can all take a look. Discover the perfect handmade Christmas gift.

I'm also linking this post up with Handmade Monday, who are a lovely bunch of very talented designer-makers. So why not pop over to Handmade Monday as well and browse their lovely blogs and shops in search of the perfect Christmas presents.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Georgiana May personalised Christmas gift guide

I hardly ever blog at the weekend, but I just had to pop in and let you know that I've done my first ever guest blog post! Pop over to the Georgiana May blog to see my favourite personalised Christmas gifts, all handmade by the wonderfully talented designer-makers selling their work through the Georgiana May shop. Thank you very much Fiona for letting me guest post :-)

Read the full post here...

Friday, 22 November 2013

Gifts for geographers and travelers

This week's gift guide features my favourite handmade gifts for those who love geography, maps or travelling. From recycled vintage maps to country shaped jewellery, anyone who likes learning about or travelling to different parts of the world will love these presents.

Europe calendar by Cecily Vessey on Folksy
Sterling silver country necklace by Jasmine and Coco on Wow Thank You
Vintage world map ring by Beneath Glass on Etsy
Handcrafted personalised scrapbook album by The Scrapbooker on Wow Thank You
Personalised world wall map by Something New Stationery on Etsy
Map notebook by say it on Folksy
Engraved wood phone stand by Not a Scratch on Etsy
Patterned African keyring by Treasure Me So on Etsy
World map cherry wood cufflinks by Silk Street Studios on Etsy

You might also want to take a look at my handmade gift guides for cat lovers and cyclists.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

On my desk... week 6

Predictably this week is all about making up orders and trips to the post office. I like it when it gets busy with orders and I can concentrate on making (my favourite bit of the job!). Thank you so much to my lovely customers this week, your parcels are on their way to you.

This is the last of these 'on my desk' blog posts I'll do for this year, as I think it will get rather boring if I just showed you a pile of orders each week. You can just assume I will be slowly more weighed down by parcels on each trip to the post office.

And if you'd like to add another parcel to my pile (I really don't mind!) you can get 25% off Christmas cards if you sign up to my newsletter this month -

Friday, 15 November 2013

Gifts for cyclists

Have you got a friend who cycles to work every day? Or a family member who is bike mad? Here are some ideas for gifts that cyclists might like, featuring bicycle designs and products made from old bicycles. Everything is handmade here in the UK.

Bicycle print tea towel by Lulu and Luca on Etsy
Bicycle notebook by Kate Broughton on Folksy
Bicycle chain trivet by Created Gifts on Not on the High Street
Wooden bicycle brooch by Rockcakes on Etsy
Macrame bicycle bracelet by Claireabelle Makes on Etsy
His and hers bicycle pencil cases by Modern and Vintage on Folksy
Bicycle wheel clock by Vyconic on Misi
Spring cycle tea cosy by Spring Lark on Folky

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

On my desk... week 5

Well, Christmas has definitely arrived here at say it! The main aim of this week has been to make up as much stock as possible of my Christmas card designs.

Making up retro pattern Christmas cards

When I create a new design to list in my shops I usually just make up one card. I normally don't hold much stock and simply just make up the cards to order as they are needed. But as it gets busier leading up to Christmas it's helpful to have more stock ready made. And I'm also doing a Christmas fair at our local church which was very well attended last year so I'm hoping for good sales.

Completed Christmas stock so far - I need to keep making!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Gifts for cat lovers

Whether we like it or not, Christmas is fast approaching. And this year I want to encourage you to buy handmade. Don't get a present that's mass produced in China and the same as 100,000 other people will open with rapidly fading excitement on Christmas morning. Buy something really special. Like these gifts for cat lovers. Every single one of these is handmade in the UK. And they make purrfect (sorry!) presents for anyone who loves cats.

Orange cat necklace by Sour Cherry Co. on Etsy
Rose the cat by Millicent on Folksy
Cat tote bag by Charlotte Farmer on Etsy
An incomprehensible guide to cats by Doodlecats on Etsy
Cat crayons by Colour Me Fun on Folksy
Blue Oscar cat mug by Lumme on Not on The High Street
Cat brooch by Art you Wear on Folksy
Silver cat stud earrings by Dream of Silver on Georgiana May

Thursday, 7 November 2013

On my desk... week 4

It's starting to get busier here. Yesterday I made up three personalised travel journals. I thought the popularity of these might die down now the summer is over, but it seems that people are off on special Christmas adventures or buying them as Christmas presents for holidays planned for 2014.

I've added last order dates to my Folksy and Etsy shops to ensure your order arrives in time for Christmas. I'm planning to take a proper break so the shop will be closed from 16th December to give me chance to get the last few orders out before I go away. I won't reopen until January so I'm looking forward to a proper rest. It's nice to have that booked in my diary :-)

Alongside making up orders this week I have been writing my November newsletter. I use Mailchimp, which makes it nice and easy to edit the text and add pictures. I just have to decide what I'm going to talk about! It's not always easy to work out what my customers want to hear. Generally I try and feature a little piece of news about the shop, show off some new products, and give an exclusive special offer.

Adding Christmas cards to the November newsletter
Speaking of special offers - would you like to get 25% off Christmas cards? If you sign up to receive the say it newsletter I'll send you a copy so you get access to November's special offer. It's exclusive to newsletter subscribers though, so simply sign up below so that you're on the list.

Get 25% off Christmas cards when you sign up to the say it newsletter

Monday, 4 November 2013

Handmade Christmas cards now in the shop

Well, we've turned the corner into November and that can only mean one thing - Christmas is coming! So I thought I'd show you some of the new Christmas card designs added to my shop this year.

All these cards are available in my Folksy shop and are slowly being added to my Etsy shop too. You can also see the full range of Christmas cards and gift tags on my website.

Personalised cards are very popular at the moment so I've designed a couple of personalised Christmas cards, one suitable for an individual and one to send to a family.

And there are two very different Christian Christmas cards for those who like to send something a little more connected to the real meaning of Christmas.

I'm linking up with Handmade Monday again - why not pop over there and see what other crafty peeps have been making recently?

Friday, 1 November 2013

On my desk... week 3

Apologies for not doing an 'On my desk' post last week - I wasn't feeling too well and didn't do much besides the essentials.

This week I have been thinking Christmas. Whilst the shop is still reasonably quiet I'm trying to get prepared for the Christmas rush, making up stock and prepping materials for personalised items that are made to order. I've been cutting up a lot of cereal boxes ready to make notebooks and stitching the inside pages. I've also been stocking up on materials and some new packaging which will hopefully make it super quick and easy to send out orders.

I have a LOT of board backed envelopes on my desk! 

Today I am working out what Christmas advertising to apply for. So far I have decided not to do Craftfest, which is a bit of a shame because it is great fun but it is also quite a lot of work to prepare for. I am definitely going to join in with The Crafty Network Christmas album and will apply to the Blog and Buy Sale Christmas Wish List. I can submit five items to both, so just got to make the final decision on which ones to choose! It's hard to decide how much to spend on Christmas advertising. I don't normally pay for much advertising during the year, but I think it's worth putting aside a little bit of a budget for November and December. A lot of my customers find me through Folksy and Etsy search so I should hopefully be pretty busy with those orders, but it's always good to draw in new buyers who don't necessarily think to go to Folksy or Etsy for their shopping.

I'm hoping the Christmas rush doesn't start too soon though, because I still have a lot to organise!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Featured in my local magazine

I have very exciting news to share today. When I launched my new range of cards and gifts this autumn I sent out a press release celebrating two years in business and how I had successfully created my own job. I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested, until a friend text to say that they had spotted me in our local magazine!

The Journal has been a magazine I've been aiming to be featured in for some time. It fits the right target market for my products - fairly affluent customers who are looking for something a little bit different from the ordinary. And I am delighted that my cards are featured on their November 'best buys' page.

I shall now be glued to google analytics to see if I can spot a rise in traffic from East Yorkshire!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Christmas present planner

Do you like to start your Christmas shopping early, then pop the presents in a draw only to forget what you’ve bought? Then you need my new Christmas present planner! Available to purchase from Folksy or Etsy.

Some people like to avoid the last minute dash round the shops on Christmas eve and prefer to get organised with their Christmas shopping. But if you're anything like me, it's pretty easy to forget what you've already bought. Or you come up with a great gift idea for your aunt, but by the time you go shopping you've completely forgotten it. This Christmas planner will help to keep your present shopping super organised. 

The new Christmas present planner is A6 size, with a red cover and cut out circle to reveal the green inside page printed with 'lists of Christmas presents'. It is hand stitched in green thread. Inside the Christmas planner there is space to write down present ideas for up to 32 people, so that should be plenty for even the busiest of Christmas shoppers! You can even tick off the presents once you have bought them. 

And you can bring the notebook out again next year to check back and see what gifts you have already given. No more buying your sister a handbag three years in a row. Unless she wants that many bags of course...

Do you like reading crafty blogs? Why not pop over to the Handmade Monday link up and find a new one to browse. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Folksy Friday - farmyard friends

I haven't done a collection of items just from Folksy for a while, so I thought it was about time I joined in with Folksy Friday again. I hope you like these farmyard friends. Links are below if you're tempted to give one a home.

Needle felted herdwick sheep by F'git me Knott Designs
Chicken soap by Scent Cosmetics
Felt cow decoration by Walnut Tree Designs
Wooden cow by Handmade from the Heart
Pig iphone 4 case by MyPipSqueak
Chicken brooch by Kayleigh O'Mara
Highland cow notebook by Aileen Clarke Crafts

Thursday, 17 October 2013

On my desk... week 2

This week I have been trying to get my Christmas cards listed in my online shops. A long overdue task that I had aimed to complete by the middle of September. Why is it when you finally have time to take photos the weather becomes so dull?! Up until yesterday I've had the lights on inside all day, so it really wasn't bright enough to take clear photos. But today I woke up to find the sun shining, so I had barely finished breakfast when I got my camera out, just in case it disappeared!

I don't have any fancy set up for taking photos. Where I take them depends on what time of day it is. In the afternoons my craft room gets the light and the windowsill in there is perfect. But since this was early, the lightest room was our bedroom. So I set up on top of our laundry basket! I just use a piece of white card for the base, to capture the shadows, and don't worry about the rest of the background as I find it's easiest to just cut that out in photoshop afterwards.

So the rest of the morning was spent photo editing. Not my favourite job! I've learnt quite a lot about taking photos though and they have improved enormously over the last 2 years (you can read more about that journey and what I learnt in my post about photographing handmade items).

The photos look so much better once they have a nice white background. I'm amazed what you can do in photoshop to turn a rather poor photo into a product image that looks ok in the shop.

I hope to have most of my Christmas cards in my folksy and etsy shops by Monday. So if you're the organised type you can get shopping!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Made by Carolyn's hands

I promised you another new blog series, and here it is! It's been quite a while since I featured an interview with another maker, after introducing you to nearly 100 Folksy sellers through my Folksy Five series. This time I'm focusing on one designer-maker at a time and letting them share with you their wonderful handmade products.

Image by Cheshire Life    

Meet Carolyn Grant

Carolyn runs CeeGee Jewellery Design, selling her handmade jewellery on Folksy, Etsy and through her own website. She describes her work as "unique glassy gems".

Thank you very much Carolyn for taking part in my new series. Don't forget to pop over to the CeeGee Jewellery shop for a browse of Carolyn's lovely work.

Friday, 11 October 2013

On my desk... week 1

Earlier in the week I mentioned that I have a couple of new blog post series for you, and I'm pleased to launch the first one today. Each week I'd like to give you a little behind the scenes look at what I've been up to. It's called 'on my desk...' and the plan is to share with you a photograph of what is on my desk at the time. Hopefully it will be something interesting!

On my desk this week are...

... a lot of part-made travel journals. The summer may be over, but people still seem to be off on their travels and orders for my personalised travel journals keep coming in. This week I have made journals featuring Thailand, China and Australia. Lots of Australia - it appears to be a very popular place to visit.

I try to make up the component parts in batches, so that when an order comes in it doesn't take so long to put together the journal. I have been sewing the notebook insides whilst watching Pointless on iplayer, and cutting out lots of covers from cereal packets. I've got everyone saving cardboard for me. As it's only used to strengthen the covers and won't be seen in the final journal I like to try and be as eco-friendly as possible by reusing cardboard that would otherwise end up in the bin. It's also quite interesting to see what cereals my friends eat...!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I've been featured :-)

I'm sorry it's been a little quiet on here recently. August was so much busier than I predicted that I'm still playing catch up. I'm just about managing to keep up with orders, but other things are falling behind a little so I'm sorry. I do however have a couple of new blog post series starting in the next few weeks, so look out for those.

Today I want to share that I've been featured on the Arts of Crafts Directory website.

The Art of Crafts Directory features designer-makers, crafters and bloggers and is a great resource. It's run by Alison (who also blogs at Art of Crafts) and she has kindly featured me on the Directory blog today. So if you'd like to find out where my ideas come from or what I love most about running a handmade business, grab a cuppa and pop over for a read.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

My favourite handmade necklaces

I don't wear much jewellery, but I do love a good necklace. Something different, something striking. The right necklace can really make an outfit. So I've made a wish list of my favourite handmade necklaces - links are below if you fancy one for yourself.

Little tree necklace by Claire Gent
Lilac and amethyst pearl necklace by Anna King Jewellery
Pink scribble necklace by Lottie of London
Button necklace by Realicoul
Teal green floral necklace by Di Keeble Beads and Jewellery
Birds on a branch necklace by Sweet Bluebird Jewellery
Real rose necklace by Wishes on the Wind

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Happy 2nd birthday say it

Two years ago this week I nervously listed my first few items for sale on Folksy. I was out of work and not getting anywhere with job applications. I decided that making and selling a few cards would help keep me busy and hopefully bring in a few extra pennies that we desperately needed.

It's been an amazing two years and I must say a massive thank you to each and every one of you who has helped make say it a success. Thank you to my lovely customers, blog followers, the amazing people I've met on Twitter, everyone who has liked my Facebook page or shared a pin on Pinterest. I'm proud to say that I now have the most wonderful job in the world - and it didn't involve rewriting my CV or going for interview!

I've sold nearly 400 cards and 120 notebooks, along with plenty of other stationery items. For one girl sat in her spare room with a craft knife, steel ruler and roll of double sided tape I don't think that's bad! This August was the best month ever for sales, and I'm looking forward to the madness of Christmas as my little handmade stationery business continues to grow.

So happy birthday say it. Party hat and a piece of cake anyone?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

What do you use your notebooks for?

Love buying pretty notebooks but not sure what to do with them all? Here are some ideas for how to fill the pages inside your notebooks. In fact, there are almost certainly more ideas than you have spare notebooks, so that means you can justify buying another one, right?!

What do you use your notebooks for? I'm sure there must be more things than the 8 ideas I've come up with, so leave a comment to say what you fill your notebooks with.

Monday, 16 September 2013

New in the shop

I've been exploring bright colours and combining different textures to create cards and notebooks that you want to pick up and touch. The new range is now in the shop - check it out.

There are new personalised notebooks.

Notebooks made from a vintage dictionary - a great gift for anyone who likes words. And if you have a favourite word you'd like on the front let me know!

There are new baby cards with the cutest teddy bear buttons.

A rustic personalised wedding card.

And lots of birthday cards.

Pop over to my website to see the full range. I hope you like them :-)

And if you'd like to see what other crafty folk have been making recently then head over to Handmade Monday for a browse.

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