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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Made by Alison's hands

It's been a while since I started my new 'made by' series back in the Autumn. Christmas was pretty busy and neither myself nor the designer-makers I wanted to feature had the time to do the interviews. But we're back on track now and and I'm very excited about the handmade shops I've got to show you over the next few months.

Meet Alison Deegan

Alison is the artist behind the wonderful shop Handprinted by A. Deegan. She sells her great lino prints through Folksy and Etsy. Do pop over and take a look at her stunning designs.

Thank you Alison for taking the time to be interviewed for my blog. I'll have another of my favourite shops to show you next month.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Personalised travel journal

My handmade personalised travel journal is my best selling item by quite a long way. It has been so popular this year and I have really enjoyed making them up for customers with the countries they are visiting on the front, and adding a personalised stamp. So I thought it was about time that I offered a choice of travel journal in my shop.

This is the new personalised travel journal for 2014. It's very different in style to the vintage look map of the first journal. The maps are artistically drawn and coloured using photoshop and you can choose from: Europe, USA, South America, Africa, Australia or Asia. I can also draw up maps of other areas if you'd like something different so please get in touch and I'll let you know what is possible. 

You can add a personalised message of your choice including locations, names, dates, occasion or anything else you would like. This makes the journal absolutely unique and totally personal to the recipient. They would make a fantastic gift if you know anyone heading off on a gap year, honeymoon, special holiday, studying abroad or moving to a new country.

And it's not just a new design on the cover. Some of my feedback from customers has suggested that they'd like something a little more robust. Paper is all very good, but it doesn't really like getting damp or splashed and isn't best suited to being repeatedly shoved in a backpack. So this new travel journal is made with laminated plastic covers that are hopefully robust enough to keep your journal safe throughout your travels. And you can even use them as a whiteboard if you take along a dry-wipe pen! 

Several customers have also asked for pockets and as these seem popular I've added two small pockets to the inside covers, perfect for tucking in leaflets, tickets and receipts you want to keep. 

The pages inside are still made from the fantastic 100% recycled plain paper used in my other notebooks and journals. It's nice and thick so even if you use an ink pen it doesn't bleed through the paper. 

Want your own personalised travel journal? They're available now from all my online shops for £13 plus P+P.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Coming up on the blog

I'm trying to be good this year and have a calendar of blog posts that I map out at least a few weeks in advance. I got into the habit of looking at my to-do list and seeing 'put something on blog today' without having really given it any thought. You just don't come up with good content when you only have 30 minutes and you have to get something written and published!

So one of my goals for this year is to be a bit more organised with my blogging schedule. I've printed out this lovely calendar from and am starting to fill it up with things I want to blog about. There are a few things I know I want to include - like showing you new products, keeping you up to date with what I've been up to, and featuring lovely handmade items from some of my favourite shops. But what else would you like to see?

I've done various series of blog posts in the past, and I think it's good every now and again to introduce something new. But I'm struggling to decide what it should be! If you've got any ideas for what you'd like me to blog about please leave a comment below. Otherwise, I warn you that you may just have to listen to me waffling on...!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Handmade valentine's cards

I know it feels like we've only just got past Christmas, but there really is less than a month to go until valentine's day. So, I thought I'd do a search for my favourite handmade valentine's cards. There are lots to choose from on Folksy and Etsy, but these ones caught my eye (plus one of my own of course!). They're all handmade in the UK - links for where to purchase these cards are below the image.

7. Say it

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A slow but good start to the year

I had high hopes for the start of 2014 and came at it full of energy after a refreshing Christmas break. But why does everything take 10 times longer than you think it will?! My goals for January are progressing slowly though.

Since January is a quieter month for sales it's a great time to concentrate on the other things that need to get done but always get put off as they aren't quite as important as making up orders for customers. I'm pleased to say that I have completed my tax return (two whole weeks before the deadline - feeling smug!) and got up to date with my admin. So I now have a stock spreadsheet that actually reflects what I have in stock.

The main task for January and February is to design some new products for my shop. It looks a little dull after I take out all the Christmas products and I feel the new year needs some new designs. Birthday cards sell very well so they are top of my list for cards, followed by some new wedding cards for the spring. And I'll be making sure there are some personalised options as it makes the cards extra special. I was hoping to have a few made by now but it's still on my to-do list... I have managed one new product though. My best seller by far is my personalised travel journal, so I thought it would be good to offer another one in a different style. Here's a sneak peek of what it's going to look like:

I've also spent some time freshening up my monthly email newsletter. It's looking pretty smart now and the January email should be hitting inboxes by the end of the week. Are you on my mailing list? No? Sign up below to be the first to hear about new products and get an exclusive special offer each month. And you'll have chance to pre-order the new travel journal at a special price before it's added to the shop.

Pop in your name and email and I'll add you to my mailing list

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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Craftseller magazine feature

If any of you read Craftseller magazine you may have spotted me in the January edition. This time, rather than just contributing a little bit to a bigger article there's a whole section about me and my shop!

I was very excited to flick through and see myself in print. I love Craftseller magazine and I feel honoured to sit alongside all the wonderful creative peeps they feature. If it's not a magazine you've tried yet it's definitely worth having a read. It's full of great advice for anyone wanting to sell their makes, as well as inspiring stories from people who have successful shops and lots of great tutorials with something for every type of crafter.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year

Just a quick post today to let you know that I'm back at work and my shop is open again. I have had such a lovely Christmas break and I'm full of plans and ideas for 2014! Look out for new products coming soon (as soon as I've tidied up my craft room which looks like a bomb has gone off in it after the Christmas rush!).

Last year was just fantastic for my little business: I relaunched with my new branding, set up my very own website, and sales really started taking off. So I'm hoping 2014 will be as much fun again.

I thought I'd leave you with a recap of some of my favourite and most viewed blog posts from the last year:

I've been featured...

Photographing your handmade items

A great gap year gift

Room for Improvement challenge

Folksy Five - featuring fabulous folksy shops

Personalised wedding gifts

Top tips for selling on Folksy

Best birthday cards for men

10 ways to jazz up a boring notebook

Happy 2nd birthday say it

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