Saturday, 11 November 2017

Featured Shop - One of a Kind Gifts

Our Featured Shop For the Seasonal end to 2017 is One of A Kind Gifts

I asked Sue to tell us a bit about her background and where the inspiration for this fabulous website came from.

I love having this website.
For several years I have run a website (Anxaid) based on my professional knowledge as a psychologist. All the time I have longed to be able to write about  pretty craft items and, moreover, to be able to spend my days making them.
Finally those days are here!

Your shop name is very clever and we loved your website - especially the Christmas Shop! 
Can you tell us a little about how your creativity evolved?

My earliest sewing memory is when I was four years old. The elderly lady who lived next door gave my mother two small pale blue blankets in a sort of wool fleece fabric.
I announced that I wanted to make a dressing gown for my little sister from them. 
My grandmother laid the two little blankets, one on top of the other, on the carpet and threaded a needle for me with double thread and a knot. She (very wisely) said I must sew the sides together first and that any cutting would happen at the end.
I remember taking the first stitch at one end. Then I looked at how far I had to sew and could see no point at all in doing lots of small stitches when I could get all the way to the other end with one big stitch. 
I took one big stitch. My grandmother pointed out the error of my ways.
It was then that I decided my sister didn’t need a dressing gown after all. The two little blankets survived.

That's a great story!  So you had the bug and kept on creating?

At school we were taught sewing by a spinster teacher who had lived through two World Wars. She wasted nothing. We even had to remove tacking stitches keeping the thread in one piece so that we might re-use it.
When I was nine we made stuffed animals. I recall making a giraffe in a cotton fabric in shades of orange. Its legs were very thin and they were given strength by a length of wire embedded inside the stuffing.
When I was ten we each made a pair of knickers in cream winceyette using French seams and shell hemming - all done by hand. 
Needless to say, none of us ever actually wore what we’d made that year as bloomers were long out of fashion.
At eleven I made my first dress. Mine was in a check fabric in shades of green and brown. All the sewing was done by hand - there were no sewing machines at school. In contrast to the knickers of the previous year, I loved that dress and wore it all through that summer. 

In my teens I made myself the latest fashions by buying clothes at the village jumble sale and cutting them up to make something else. Fortunately I grew up in a place where the landed gentry donated their unwanted clothes to the jumble sales so pickings were good.
To begin with I used my grandmother’s Singer sewing machine with the handle that was turned by hand. Then one day when I was about fourteen years old my parents visited the Ideal Home Exhibition and brought home an electric machine that did a zigzag stitch. I was in heaven.
I made my own wedding dress, my sister’s and numerous bridesmaid dresses for various family members over the years. More recently I made my daughter’s.

So do you mainly sew?

No, I do knitting as well as sewing and one Christmas made an entire set of Raggy Dolls for a granddaughter.
By the time the children had all grown up I was back at work. Although I still made things now and then, I started to look forward to retirement when I might devote my days to creating…

The appliqued advent calendar I made for my own children and, again more recently, for grandchildren.

The feel of your website is that it could be "the" place to go for special gifts!  We loved this quote that you included on your site in your Gift Advice  section.

So you are not planning on putting up your feet now you are retired? 

I can now spend my days making whatever I want. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I sew. In between times I make necklaces and decorate boxes. I can’t just do one thing as there are so many possibilities, so many ideas that beg to be followed through.
I created this website to allow me to sell what I make in order to buy materials to make more. 

Thank you for spending the time with us to find out about you and your website.

You can find Sue on her website
and  also on Facebook

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Featured Shop October 2017 - Empathy Holistics

Our Featured Shop for October is Empathy Holistics I invited Emma to tell us a little more about the ideas behind her fabulous shop.

Tell us a bit about you!

I am Emma and would like to introduce Empathy Holistics to the wider world! I enjoy all things aromatherapy and holistic therapies.

What brought you to aromatherapy and holistic therapies? 

I have always been interested in concocting my own lotions and potions from a young age.  I fell in love with essential oils as a way of making people feel better, or to reduce the symptoms of illnesses/ medical conditions.

Why do you like using essential oils in your products?

I love the different powers and aromas of essential oils how they help people feel good, remind them of past memories and uplift their soul, body’s and thoughts.

Do you have a favourite product that you have created?

I have created a variety of products for the general public; I specialise in gift kits for pregnancy and labour.  Another favourite is my itch relief blend, which a number of parents have bought for their children and seems to alleviate the terrible ‘itch’. 

Best selling Yummy Mummy to be Kit

Are you able to make a remedy for somebody as a special order?

I am happy to tailor make a blend, cream or kit to suit a customers needs!  

Do you have a shop or you primarily online?

I have my products in a shop on Folksy where customers can also message me with their requirements.

You are obviously passionate about what you do!  Why is this?

My customers love the way that I can tailor make their products to suit their needs or situations.  I am a people person and I feel I know what people need or want from a cream or oil blend.  I can help people through enjoyable and tough times.

Do you have a personal favourite amongst your products?

My favourite oil blends are my newest empathic earth collection and bumps, babies and beyond.  I have also just started to promote my stocking filler blends and creams on Folksy

Thank you Emma!  We loved getting to know you a  bit better!

You can find Emma on Facebook and Instagram: #EmpathyHolistics
Emma King
Empathy Holistics

Friday, 8 September 2017

Featured Shop - Alessandra Handmade Creations

Our Featured Shop for September is Alessandra Handmade Creations

I asked Alessandra some questions to find out a little more about her fabulous designs and business.

How long have you been crafting for?

As a child I used to knit with my mother, aunties & grannies.  I remember sitting on my Grandmother's lap and sewing with this very machine!  Just seeing the machine brings back such wonderful memories!

You obviously like crafting with material - why do you like this?

I love the colours, textures, playability & the infinite creativity options that they offer. The sky really is the limit as to what they can be used for!

Your range is wonderfully diverse.  What are you able to create for people?

I can create so many different items! Quilts, cushions, throws, table covers & runners, place mats, bibs, T shirts, scarves etc etc!  If you have a look at my website it will show you examples of work that is available for sale and also previously sold designs.  I am always open to ideas and take commissions!

Where can your amazing work be purchased?

Available products can be found on my website and I also sell from a Showroom in Putney, West London, at Craft Markets and also at Private Sale events.

What do you think makes your products so special and you so successful?

My items are all either limited edition or truly unique.  They all have something slightly different, maybe a button or a ribbon but people appreciate this in an age of mass-produced. Most items can be personalised making this a very special gift!  People just need to contact me with their requirements.

What drives you forward?

I am passionate about what I do.  I like to make people feel pampered and special when they shop with me.  I pay great attention to detail from receiving the order to dispatching it.  All my items are wrapped beautifully, that is part of the process of making the experience special!

Is there anywhere that people can find you this year to see your amazing designs in person?

I am exhibiting this Autumn in a few different places and would be delighted if people visited me!  A full list of upcoming events can be found on my website. 

Thank you for taking the time to give us a better insight into Alessandra Handmade Creations.

Alessandra is active across all Social Media Platforms and you can find and connect with her here!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Featured Shop - Bath Art Works

Our Featured Shop for October is Bath Art Works by Sarah Drew.

I asked Sarah some questions about her amazing designs!

Have you always been artistic?

I have loved to draw, paint and make for as far back as I can remember. As I child I preferred making dolls clothes and furniture rather then playing with the dolls!

Are you professionally trained as an artist?

I studied art at Bath College and Textile Design at Weston College, before undertaking a career in the Law Sector.

So like many other people have did you come back to art after your Law career?

My love of drawing and design never disappeared.  After having a family and settling in a rural location, I was able to pick up my paint brushes again. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I am passionate about the British countryside, animals, and nature and this is where I gather much of my inspiration. I also love anything vintage and have always enjoyed browsing around vintage markets and antique fairs.   

Your products are really amazing, what else makes them special for a buyer?

All my products are made in England. In the process helping to reduce my carbon foot print. 

What is your working environment like?

I work in my studio which is in my garden. I am very fortunate to live in a rural location, so my studio is surrounded by countryside. Which is great for me, as I gather much of my inspiration from nature. 

Can you tell us a little about your design process?

I usually start with a drawing or painting, which may have been influenced by a sketch, magazine photo, computer image or fabric pattern.  I work in a range of mediums including, pen and ink, charcoal, acrylic, water colour, and lino print. I will then reproduce the image, as a print, greeting card, fabric design or piece of crockery.

We certainly think that Sarah has a wonderful range in her shop - perfect for people starting their "Seasonal" shopping!  Pop over and have a look at the full range in her wonderful shop at Bath Art Works.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Featured Shop - Karen Young Jewellery

Our next Featured Shop is by Karen Young who makes the most beautiful jewellery.
I asked Karen if she could tell us a bit about herself and how she came to be running a highly successful jewellery business.

I always had a fascination with jewellery and gemstones that started as a child.  However, my passion for making and creating  took a back seat as I built a successful career in Financial Services for 12 years in central London.

Soon after the birth of my second son, I took a step back from my corporate career to spend more time with my two beautiful boys.  I have also been able to use this opportunity to reacquaint myself with the wondrous process of designing and making beautiful pieces of jewellery and working with gemstones.

My jewellery is  fabricated from silver (Sterling, Fine and my absolute favourite Argentium Silver) with the occasional accents in 18 and 24ct gold.
  I use high-quality precious, and semi-precious gemstones and freshwater pearls, which are all hand-selected by myself, to embellish and complete my jewellery designs.

My distinctive and versatile designs are heavily inspired by intricate and unusual textures and form found in nature and each piece is simple, modern and effortless to wear. I meticulously craft each piece by hand using both traditional and modern silversmithing tools and techniques, and transform precious metals and gemstones into unique and enduring mementos to be treasured, loved and shared.

Sneak peek at Karen's fabulous new collection 

Karen lovingly designs and crafts each and every piece of her distinctive and elegant Handmade Jewellery in her London studio using traditional jewellery making techniques. I think that the care taken in the process shines through with these wonderful, original designs.

Karen is active across all the media channels and has been using Instagram to show off her new collection as it launches.  Be sure to follow her so that you get the latest information! 

The new collection will be posted on Facebook including a competition with the chance to win a piece from the collection on Tuesday, 6th November! 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Featured Shop - The Old Button

Our next Featured Shop is The Old Button - I asked Sharon to tell us all about herself and her amazing products.

I’m Sharon, also known as The Old Button – a name inspired by a box of buttons given to me by my grandmother when I showed an interest in sewing as a small child. My passion is designing and working with fabric, getting a real buzz out of coming up with a new idea and working out how I can translate it into a workable pattern. I love using interesting and quirky materials and my favourite techniques include patchwork, quilting, applique and hand embroidery – with the odd old button thrown in on occasion! 

My range of fun and functional gifts for children (and the young at heart) include reversible aprons, patchwork quilts and CE certificated toys, and as the festive season approaches, quirky Christmas stockings and decorations.

 Reversible Aprons
 I love making children's aprons with a difference. Each is reversible and offers a different theme on each side to give twice as much fun wearing them and I am always coming up with new ideas – my current favourites include these Robot and Car aprons for toddlers.
Christmas Stockings 

Santa on Holiday is part of my range of limited production stockings - I choose fun and quirky prints and only make a small number of stockings in each print each year. I also make one-off luxury padded stockings with lots of hand embroidered details and trim – such as this Festive Fairy,

Patchwork quilts 

I love designing patchwork quilts and usually have time to make two or three each season. I haven’t quite finished my Christmas themes ones yet, but here is one of my favourites from this summer – The Princess and the Pea is closely quilted in concentric circles to give it a modern, yet traditional feel.  
Play on the Go © Play Scenes  
I designed these fold up travel playmats to keep little ones amused on journeys – this Safari Zoo play scene has lots of hand embroidered felt motifs depicting different habitats and a handy pocket to store the lions and tigers and bears. 

This Christmas I’ve been invited to take part in the Etsy local event in the centre of Cardiff. I am working with a bunch of fantastic crafters and designers from Cardiff and the South Wales valleys in a pop up shop in the Capital ShoppingCentre from the 24th November until Christmas Eve.   So if you are near Cardiff in the run up to Christmas, why not pop in for a chat and maybe pick up a beautiful gift or two.  You can find more information on the Etsy website.  

Sharon can be contacted about her amazing products or found on Social Media in these locations.

We wish you well for the forthcoming Festive Season and it has been wonderful getting to know you a bit better!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Getting to Know Love, Beata

Getting to know Beata from Artbybeata

I have admired the work of Beata for many years and have watched her evolve as an artist.  I invited Beata to be our first Blog Post and to share some of her journey with us.

Hello!  Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Beata, I'm an artist and surface pattern designer.

Have you always been a designer?

Ever since I remember I loved to make art and when I was growing up I already knew I wanted to be an artist. Unfortunately I didn't get any encouragement from home so I went on an other route and got a degree in textile engineering then got a job in a bank. It was only years later when I started to paint again and opened my online store  selling my original mixed media girl paintings and their giclee prints and other related products. 

That's brilliant!  What are your aspirations?

It has been a big dream of mine to see my paintings on products so I started learning about surface pattern design, which led me to create patterns. Earlier this year while working on my portfolio, I ordered my first collection on fabric and created a very pretty product line featuring clutches, coin purses and more. The Love, Beata products are now available on my website.

What designs are you currently working on?

Currently I'm working on new pattern collections to add to my portfolio and looking for companies that would license my patterns for their products.
While most of my collections are kept private for now, here is a sneak peek of my recent collection, these products are available in my Society6 shop.

We love Beata's designs - this collection inspired by her background is so striking.

You can keep up with her plans and schemes at the following locations!

My portfolio website:

Thanks Beata - we enjoyed finding more out about you!

Dottie x