Local craft fair in York

https://www.facebook.com/events/126737184579944/?ti=as

Please come to the etsy made local craft fair in December in York. Lots of very talented crafters so you can stock up on goodies for chrimbo and support local businesses at the same time. Over two days 2-3rd of December !!!!

Church St
YO1 8BE York

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GIVEAWAY

I am doing a giveaway on my Instagram for a gorgeous cat cushion

All you have to do is follow my Instagram and tag three friends:)

Please enter!!!

 

https://www.instagram.com/gembobs_crafts/

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Books that I found helpful with my online business

I thought I’d do I post about the books I’ve used throughout my etsy journey. I find information online as well but I love books. I am abit obsessed and I love nothing more then visiting the library, especially now I love in York and there is a lovely library.

I have just recently spotted this book – from passion to profit.

I found this extremely helpful. Obviously I already have my business up and running but it still helped with figuring out other things like the worksheets. I got this from the library so I cannot write in it but I will probably buy it tbh. I liked the fact it’s pink, bright, chatty and friendly. Not too many difficult words and not long sentences so I get bored. It helps you figure out your dream customer, what you target market is, resources for selling on the best sites and marketplaces, advertising etc. It also has a few story’s of crafters who are already established and what advice they have. I really recommend this. You can get the book on Amazon here-From Passion to Profit – Start Your Business in 6 Weeks or Less!: A step-by-step guide to making money from your hobby by selling online

 

Craft Show & Sell

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I really liked this book, very helpful but didn’t really offer me any new information because i have already read quite a bit on selling already. If you are just starting out i would suggest you get this though 🙂

“Through highly visual, step-by-step tutorials and inspiring profiles on some of the world’s most successful crafters, Craft Show & Sell delivers all the advice and vision that today’s crafters need to take their brand or business forward into a new realm. Step into the workspaces, shops and online personalities of those global designers and expert makers who have turned the art of craft – be it knitting, crochet, sewing, jewellery-making, paper engineering or printing – into a successful business model. Be inspired by through-the-keyhole ventures into their atmospheric and often ingenious craft spaces, with a range of insider projects to help organise and energise your craft room. Get top tips on how to merchandise and sell items online, at craft fairs, at markets, in shops or at pop-up events or exhibitions. Plus, learn how to build a personality-driven brand, create and write a better blog or website, document your work through better photography and analyse your results to help take your business into the future.”

Get it here – craft show and sell

How To Sell Your Crafts Online

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These are step by step actions which i find really helpful tbh, and how to use social media which is something i used to struggle with!

“Getting noticed on Etsy amongst 400,000 competitors is tough, but with this accessible guide, it can be done. You will learn how to boost your Etsy shop sales, attract more potential customers, and stand out in your field. Author Derrick Sutton lays out his secrets to success with simple, yet effective step-by-step actions that are accompanied by easy-to-follow screenshots. Even crafters who aren’t internet savvy will have no trouble completing the easy lessons and tasks to ensure that your shop is fully optimized. Derrick shares his priceless advice on a variety of topics including: how to design a catchy Etsy banner; a crash course on photographing your goods; how to use Google Analytics to track your progress; tips on how to use Facebook and Twitter effectively; fail-safe copywriting secrets. Where to gain inspiration for blog posts; and, how to take advantage of Etsy’s Forums, Treasuries, Alchemy, and much more!”

Get it here – How to sell your crafts

 

Online Marketing for Your Craft Business: How to get your handmade products discovered, shared and sold on the internet

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One of my faves as i like the layout and i think the explanations are simple and easy to understand.

If you are a creative or craft business owner selling crafts online through your blog, website or on handmade marketplaces, the desire to grow your online following can become addictive. Many people find they spend all day aimlessly clicking and tinkering with their craft blog, Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts with no real strategy in place. They are inconsistent, they don’t plan their content and they don’t measure their results, they just feel drained and demotivated, unsure whether they are seeing a return on their investment of time. Many people end up resenting blogging and social media networking due to lacklustre sales results. Don’t let this happen to your craft business!

Get it Here – Online marketing

 

Will be adding lots more as i read them!

Five simple tips to get your etsy shop started.

I know alot of people who struggle to get sales on Etsy. I have built mine up over the years, it does better each year and this last year it has really grown, and I can only put this down to advertising and social media

I started using Instagram (gembobs_crafts) seriously a few months ago and I think now I am a tad addicted! I love the way you can search for anything, the gorgeous images of endless inspiration, how you can gain an insight into other crafters lives and interact with them. You can even interact partly with celebrities if you like that kind of thing! I now follow some really creative and talented makers who I love to see on a daily basis and watch how there products grow. Anyway… I’m going to list five ways in which you can hopefully grow and spread awareness to your etsy shop which have worked for me so far. You cannot just sit back and wonder why sales are not happening, you actually have to work hard at this.

1. Sign up to lots of social media platforms. I have Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest. The more you are active on, the more exposure you will get and therefore advertising yourself.

2. Use good photography. I have just started using my Samsung S7 to take all my photos, i used to have a DLSR but i just found it too cumbersome and it was a hassle to get it set up etc so i found myself not taking too many photographs. i always have my phone with me so i now take so many photos that i can use on my Etsy and Instagram. I try to use a white background(i have white walls in my house) and adjust the brightness and contrast on them to make them stand out. I follow some amazing people on Instagram who are very talented at creating gorgeous photos using props. You should really check them out and see if they will inspire you to create something like this as its a great way to get your products looking fab. One of my favourite Instagrams is – https://www.instagram.com/emilyquinton/ founder of Makelight.

3. Right, it’s time to talk about SEO which I know a lot of people get scared of and try to avoid. I have read up about it quite alot but I still don’t understand it massively tbh. In my shop all I have done is – updated the title to create as many ‘search terms’ in as possible. Try to imagine you are the buyer, and you are searching for your own products. What would you type in? Maybe ask your friends to say what they would type in aswell. Put these in your title. It doesn’t matter if you title looks wierd or really long,people don’t care.

Next, go to your description and in the first few lines copy and paste your title at the top.

Next, go to your tags and type in your search terms IN ORDER in to the tags. This is really important. Use all 13 tags as well.

Use as many photos as you can. The more photos of your product the better and the better chance of getting a sale.

Have more then 50 listings in your shop, you have more chance getting seen in searches.

I know it sounds like a lot of faff and your doing everything just to get seen, but this is how etsy is. The market now is so full that SEO is very important.

4. One thing that I have started doing recently is emailing my customer when they have received my toy. I received a 5 star review and a lovely comment on my snake(the first one i had sold) and I was really happy, so I emailed her and said thank you. I got an email back saying she was very happy and could she possibly buy another for her other son? Now I know for a fact she wouldn’t have bought one if I hadn’t emailed her. Connection helps, so connect with your customers and really make them feel special. They like that 😉

5. I ALWAYS make sure my packaging is lovely, and I add in a handwritten (I think this is important) note saying thank you and could they please leave a review. Reviews help your shop. I know this might be cheating but maybe at the start, offer your friends and family a massive discount on your items so they buy them on etsy and get them to leave a review. It will build your shop up. People like to look at reviews, I sure Do!!!!

So…. They are my basic steps to making sure your etsy shop is running ok and hopefully it will help a tad. Obviously there is loads more ways and a simple search in Google and YouTube will lead to masses of info which can sometimes get a bit overwhelming.

If you need any help just email me or comment here. I will always help you. I love shopping small and I think independent business are Brill, so the more I can help the better.

Back from Paris!

Well I’m back in the lovely York now, it’s been an amazing two weeks I have enjoyed it so much and havnt stopped! My favourite things that I did in Paris were:

  • National History Museum, just beautiful grounds and the zoo is fab
  • Centre of Pompidou, saw amazing works by Kandinsky and Klee!!
  • The Louvre, obviously amazing but the outside grounds and the funky pyramid glass statues are gorgeous
  • Wondering around all the pretty streets, walking along the river and seeing the Notre dame and other pretty buildings.

So that’s my favourite things that I did but obviously everyone is different and likes different things etc.

I’m quite glad I’m going back because I havnt been able to do anything crafty in TWO WEEKS. I am actually getting withdrawals now because I normally sew everyday. I don’t know what other people do? On the evening like what do you do when you havnt got any crafts to do???

I’ve got five orders from etsy to make, a bag to send, and two people have requested some handmade curtains for me to make so I’m gonna get straight into the orders. I’ve been updating my SEO on my etsy site so hopefully that will help as well.

Kind of want to make other animals but not sure which ones? What are you favourite cushions in my shop and what would you like to see more of?

Bye bye bloggers!!

Planning a Woodland Animals Theme Party!

I had the great pleasure of sending some of my animal pins to the lovely Stephanie who was planning a woodland animals theme party for her Son. Here is the process she went through to make the day truly brilliant!! 🙂

I love planning parties, and I knew early on that I wanted to go all-out for our son’s first birthday celebration. An outdoor party is one of the perks to being born in the summer months where we live. It was difficult to settle on a theme for Theo’s first birthday bash, but once a friend of mine helped to lead me to the Woodland Animals idea (an expansion on the ever so popular theme “Owls”), the planning really started to begin. My son’s birthday was going to fall on a Saturday this year, and we decided that we would host the party at our house. We also had received an offer on our house a few weeks prior, so this very well could have been our last big event with family and friends at our home before moving. We had a lot to celebrate!

When planning a first birthday party, (or any party!) you need to think about the food that you will serve, party decor, dessert, beverages, and of course – birthday outfits! Usually, when we have guests over, my husband will grill. Those of you who have cooked for a party know how much work that is for that person. After talking with some of my friends who have hosted birthday parties at their homes, I was told about these hot dog carts. I received a couple of recommendations, and I am almost certain we hired the best possible hot dog guy out there. Meet Hot Dog Joe:

Joe was awesome for a few reasons: 1) He is a Cubs fan, 2) He brought everything needed to serve up delicious Vienna Beef hotdogs, and 3) He was the nicest guy ever – a delight to have at our party! My sisters and I prepared five other sides for the guests to go along with the dogs. We served baked beans, bow tie pesto pasta salad with mozzarella and tomatoes, roasted corn salad with lime avocado cilantro dressing, fruit salad, and loaded baked potato salad. All of the sides were prepared in advance and were brought out as soon as the hot dogs were ready to go, which was soon after the start of the party. Hiring Joe to do the main course allowed for us to not have to worry at all about food. No mess, no clean-up – it simplified the whole food organization process!

Once I had the food planning finished, I moved on to working on the dessert and the dessert table. After poking around on Pinterest for a couple of days, I decided I wanted a fabulous cake, cupcakes, and a s’mores type dessert. I talked to my sisters about the s’mores, and they decided to take on the task of creating the chocolate dipped mallows. My mother was on board with creating the vibrant red mushroom cupcakes.

In order to make the s’mores, you take a pretzel stick and push it into the top of a marshmallow. You then dip the mallow in chocolate and then roll it into graham cracker crumbs. From what I was told – they were very easy to make. For the cupcakes, there are a few important things to know. First of all, you will need brown cupcake holders. Go with the paper variety and not the foil type. Also, in order to get a deep red color, you will need some Wilton no-taste red coloring. If you do not have this, the cupcake icing will be more pinkish in color. The white dots are upside down white chocolate chips, which made the cupcakes taste even better than they already were!

For the tree slice cupcake stand, I looked at several options available on online. They were all pricey! I told my husband I was going to purchase one, and within minutes, he was out back chopping wood. I added the moss and voila! A cupcake stand that cost $0 dollars! He also sliced several more wooden rounds for table centerpieces, which I will get to in a bit.

Next up for dessert was The Cake. I needed to call in a professional for the job. I knew of this adorable bakery in downtown Oak Park called Sugar Fixe, which I have been to several times before. How cute is their store front?! And those macarons! This is exactly the type of place that I wish I lived across the street from so that I could stop in for a daily espresso and croissant.

After discussing my vision with Bria, one of the Pastry Chefs who is also the Wedding Director, I knew that she was going to create something amazing for my son. I was BLOWN AWAY when I saw her final cake design. Sugar Fixe is my new go-to special occasion cake designer. I don’t even know how she did it, but she carved a tree bark configuration into the butter cream icing and then hand-crafted 2-D gum paste woodland animals. The cake also had an acorn bunting topper – it was officially the most adorable cake I have ever seen.

And then there was the smash cake. Technically, this cake is TCTS (too cute to smash), but we had to do it! The smash cake complimented the big cake perfectly in every single way. This cake was 100% as delicious as it was cute. The inside was my favorite – carrot cake!

Look at this little boy loving his cake! He was cautious at first, but later was going face-first into it. It was very fun to watch. Sugar Fixe specializes in customer cake designs, dessert tables (with options such as tartlets, brownies, lemon bars, mini cupcakes, meringues, dipped marshmallows, and cake pops), and all sorts of dessert favors. Theirmenu and style of work is truly amazing! Each time I’ve been into their shop (I’ve only been in their Oak Park location, but they also have a shop in Lincoln Park) it is packed. The employees are gracious and have excellent rapport with their customers. I also love that they actively participate in giving back to the community by supporting several organizations, such as Pillar’s Community Services. Sugar Fixe is a model locale business!

So, I am completely aware that centerpieces are not necessary for a backyard party. However, my mom stepped up and offered to “throw something together”. She had a basket of acorns that she thought she could build upon. My mother in law also had wild flowers in her backyard. Together, they came up with these. I was shocked at how creative they were able to be with 100% of the raw materials coming from past craft projects and things from the outdoors.

Another thing that our party needed was a wide-eye beautiful brown grizzly bear. Every woodland forest has a bear, right?! For my baby shower last June, my aunt re-purposed an old polar bear Christmas decoration and turned him into a baby blue bear. Well, I kept that bear, and I thought that he would look amazing in a brown color as well. My other aunt gave him a FULL makeover. Meet Fiona. After three cans of spray paint and some felt, what a transformation!

I planned to make some of the decor myself, including this mossy THEO sign.  I picked up wooden letters from Target, and then spray glue and moss from the craft store. I was ready to craft!

This sign was very simple to make. Once you have the moss strategically placed after you apply spray glue, it dries fairly quickly. I loved the way it turned out! The E was my favorite.

In order to prevent the letters from falling over (this was going to be used on the dessert table), my husband nailed them into a strip of wood scrap. Look at this WILD ONE ready for his party!

For the rest of the party decor, I turned to the best – Etsy! In today’s day, if you can think of it, most likely, someone else has too. And with one click, you can have decor en route to your house as quickly as the shop can make that item. I am astonished by the creativity of others!

The Wooden Word designs custom handmade wooden signs for any occasion. They have several pre-made signs available for purchase, but this sign was custom made for Theo’s woodland adventure party. Never Stop Exploring – truer words have never been said. We used this sign for his party and it is now hanging in his nursery. These signs make the perfect shower or birthday gift – request your custom order here!

Banners banners banners! I melted when I saw this burlap fabric high chair banner from PhotograMomProps and this woodland animal banner from SmithStudios2129. The high chair banner is made with owl fabric, which fit our theme perfectly! PhotograMomProps makes banners in many different colors and themes. She has over 150 products on her Etsy page and also does custom orders. SmithStudios2129 creates unique paper party decor and decorations for any special event. She has many different designs available and does custom paper decor work. Both of these ladies were so easy to work with and created products that made our party extra special. I could not handle the cuteness of each of these banners!

My mother in law printed us several of my favorite photos from when our son was 0-3 months old. I intend to frame these pictures one day, but for the party, I hung them from a banner. I used these cute fox badges from Gem Bobs Crafts. I attached the above wooden badges to cloths pins for extra banner flair.

I also had the idea to have a photo backdrop at the party. I was looking around on Pinterest for DIY backdrops, but then I came across Drops And Props. This company is AWESOME! They have hundreds of different patterns, designs, and sceneries to choose from and you can also request a custom design. I loved this Woodland Creatures backdrop, and our guests had so much fun taking pictures in front of it at the party! The backdrop that we had is a 5×7 vertical print on wrinkle-free material. You can choose from three different materials (wrinkle-free fabric, poly paper, and matte vinyl) and you can choose from many sizes ranging from 2×3 up to 10×20 (different sizes offered for different back drop materials). The print was high quality and the heavy-duty material was perfect for our outdoor event. Join their mailing list to receive 10% your first order! I can’t wait to see how I can use their backdrops in the future. DropsProps all the way!

Since we were having a backdrop, we also needed props! PartyEars has the CUTEST animal ear headbands. I opted for the woodland animal headbands, which included a felt owl, deer, raccoon, squirrel, wolf, fox, rabbit, and bear. The headbands were comfortable for all-day wear. PartyEars makes a variety of different animal headbands along with custom orders. You can even send in a photo of your pet and she will replicate their ears! Too cute!

I was able to find printable woodland animal masks on Etsy as well. GoodBadgerPrints offers downloadable PDFs for a variety of mask types. It was so easy to print them off onto thick paper and then cut them out and attach them to a stick.

I searched high and low for the perfect party outfit for Theo. He had two outfits because I knew the smash cake sesh was going to be messy! Eleven 29 Designs makes personalized onesies in a variety of sizes. I was drawn to her shop initially because of a little onesie that had with a fox, raccoon, and squirrel on it. She created the custom printing on the front, which held up fantastically in the wash. This outfit was very fitting for our little boy! The shop owner was a delight to work with for our custom order – very communicative and so easy to work with!

His Wild One t-shirt was from Shop Southern Baby. This shop has so many options to choose from in many colors, designs, and sizes for both boys and girls. She also offers personalized options. Shipping was super fast and Theo’s t-shirt arrived very quickly after our order was made. I paired his tee with these adorable fern print leggingsfrom Lady And Little Bug. Lady And Little Bug specializes in organic handmade clothing and accessories and has a variety of prints to choose from. The quality of her designs is top notch!

Fetes And Fables had exactly what we needed when it came to a birthday crown. Working with Jess was a breeze. She helped to design the perfect wooden crown with a cursive felt ONE. The shop owner specializes in unique party goods such as crowns, utensils, vases, and cake toppers. Follow the Fetes And Fables on Instagram for 10% your first order! Love how she says “adds a touch of whimsy to your day” – her products sure do!

In my search for woodland clothing and décor, I came across the fabulous Mary Ink. This wild mushroom tank was just what I needed. As any parent knows, a first birthday party is not just a celebration for the baby – it is a celebration for the parents who made it through a crazy first year! My husband decided to go t-shirt neutral, but for me, the wild mushrooms were a must! Mary Ink has many designs to choose from – including llamas, tigers, andpinecones to name a few. Loved the fit of this tank top!

I saved the trail mix favor prep for last (inspiration from 100 Layer Cakelet)– this portion all came together in the 11th hour. I had to visit three stores before being able to get my hands on small paper party bags. My sister came by the day before the party to pack off bags of trail mix, which was a blend of peanut butter filled pretzels, nuts, peanut M&Ms, honey nut Cheerios, and raisins. Thank goodness there were 2 lbs of leftovers after all the bags were filled! Yum!

Did I dedicate too much time in the planning of this birthday party? Of course I did! This is my first born we are talking about here! But I had a lot of fun during the planning process. I could not have done it without all of my friends and family who helped me along the way. It was so wonderful being able to celebrate this huge milestone with friends and family.

http://firstthymemom.com/planning-a-woodland-animals-themed-party

Flow Magazine

This magazine is my favourite read ever.. Honestly its such a lovely, escaping, mindful, interesting, peaceful, inspirational magazine that fills you with hope and ideas! Please take a look at their website and trot down to WH Smiths and get one!! You will not regret it honestly!!

 

Here is a link to the websites inspiring quotes which everyone loves a bit of!

http://www.flowmagazine.com/category/quotes-that-inspire-us

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Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair

The Handmade Christmas Fair poster.

I went to a Kirstie Allsopp Fair late September in London (not the one in the photo) & it was brilliant!! If you love crafts, its like a magical place full of tutorials, things for sale, ideas, talks, shows and lots more. I got to see Kirstie Allsopp and Annie Sloan have a Q&A in the Grand Theatre which was amazing! 🙂

If you can get to go to the one in manchester i would definitely recommend going!

Here are some photos of the day.. I didn’t take many as i was too busy doing things!

tickets for the show kirstie allopp show  12047146_10153711516295802_7172142597557180221_n

OOOOhhhh and this is the lovely Liberty shop!!!!

liberty shop liberty shop

DIY Fabric Covered Plates… Dishwasher Safe!!

DIY Fabric Covered Plates… Dishwasher Safe!!

MATERIALS:

  • Various fat quarter or fabric scraps
  • Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brush or Sponge
  • Dishware

Dishwasher Safe Fabric Platter DIY


HOW TO:

Dishwasher Safe Fabric Platter DIY
Step One: Cut various sized strips of your fabric to accommodate the dish size.

Step Two: Making sure your dish is clean and dry, paint a thin layer of mod podge on it.

Step Three: Place your fabric on top of your mod podge, and gently smooth out any creases or bubbles.

Step Four: Cut off excess fabric on the sides. Repeat for all sides, or all around your dishware.

Dishwasher Safe Fabric Platter DIY

Step Five: Once your fabric is on your dishware, use a paint brush or sponge again and paint a thin layer of mod podge over your fabric. Make sure you cover the entire fabric, as well as the edges.

Step Six: If a monogram is desired, cut out your monogram letter, and apply it to your dish. Once again, paint over the monogram with the mod podge as you did in the previous step.

Step Seven: Allow mod podge to dry fully. If desired, you can add another layer of mod podge to your creation over the fabric for added security. (I did.)

Dishwasher Safe Fabric Platter DIY
And you are done!


Dishwasher Safe Fabric Platter DIY

Dishwasher Safe Fabric Platter DIY

Half the cost of custom dishware, for double the handmade present WOW factor. Imagine the possibilities.

Thanks so much http://www.mesewcrazy.com for the amazing blog post.

Happy Sewing!