Monday, 3 September 2012

and the winner is...

So I got my list of entrants...
and I went to to pick a winner...

If you've not worked it out yet...

Congratulations Chris Boss!

I found your comment particularly amusing - I can just imagine video calling a dog and its confusion causing hilarity :D
You have a whole week to contact me via my Facebook page or email in order to claim your prize :)

Thank you to everyone who viewed and entered the blog - I know a few people had trouble entering this time, so I will look into other competition hosting avenues for next time :)
If anyone would like to purchase one of these fabby phone/gadget cases I will be making them to order for a special introductory price of £10 :)

Monday, 27 August 2012

giveaway time!

We did it! (again!)

My third target of 500 fans on the Facebook page has been SMASHED!!! Next stop - word domination! ...Or I would settle for some more fans...  Either way we are past the 600 mark already, which is fantastic! I would like to say thank you to everyone who supports my little venture, but as I can't give each of you a prize for being the best fans ever, I would like to give each of you a chance to win in my latest giveaway :D

Now, here's the important bit - the prize!   
You could win this smartphone case!

It is made from lovely soft navy and pink felt, with fabric detail, and is (as I am still petrified of any other function than straight stitch on my sewing machine!) entirely hand sewn.  There is a button fastening to keep your phone in place, and it is nice and thick to prevent pesky scratches and hopefully absorb a lot of shock if you were to drop your device :)

The next bit of important information is how you can be a winner!
All you need to do is comment below telling me who you'd most like to have a natter with - it could be anyone!  You might also like to share this competition with your friends, tell the world!

I think if I could call anyone, it would be the bakers at a certain biscuit company - I would have to yell at them to tell them to make their products much less tasty as I have consumed *at least* my own weight in HobNobs and Gingernuts this week! 

The giveaway will close on the evening of Monday 3rd September, the winner will be announced here on the blog, and they will have a week to get in touch to claim their prize before I will redraw :)

Good Luck!

Monday, 13 August 2012

it's been a while...

It's felt like an age since my last blog post, or even my last Facebook post!   I have not quite dropped off the face of the planet, rather I have been taking some time out - the last few months have been rather hectic with a zillion craft fairs, and due to the nature of my craft - it does take rather a long time to restock, meaning I have had a grand total of maybe 2 days off in months!  Not that I'm complaining - I love what I do! 

So in my 'holiday' there was my birthday - where I was treated to a myriad of handmade goodies... here are just a few:

 We went crabbing on the Barbican and caught a very angry one armed crab who attacked my boots!

And best of all, I had a lovely visit from a good friend who lives too far away :)

We also took a short trip to Weston Super Mere where it rained an awful lot and I had NO internet?! Can you imagine?! We took walks on the beach with some family, spent way too much time on the 2p machines in the arcades, and watched a lot of the Olympics when it was too wet to do anything.

All in all, a very relaxing time! Which means I am now back to the grindstone, and after old Mr. Elna breaking on me, I now have a shiny new sewing machine to enjoy working with (once I get over how terrifyingly hi-tech it is!) - meet Fritz!

I have LOTS to catch up with, so I shall put the kettle on and get to it!

Friday, 1 June 2012

my first tutorial

I absolutely ADORE seeing all the creativity on other peoples blogs, and every now and again, they treat us with a tasty tutorial - an insight into how they work to create wonderful things... so here is my humble offering into the world of tutorials :)

I wanted it to be something useful, that I know all artsy/crafty types who sell their work (and non-artsy/crafty types too!) would need, while at the same time being an easy make so as not to daunt any people new to sewing...

When I opened up my box of MOO mini business cards (most awesomest of business card creators - check out their website) and realised that as my cards depleted, it was hard to keep them as neatly as I like (I think I have mentioned before how the other half and my mother tease me mercilessly about my 'OCD' - I still call it 'particularness!')... So I figured that this was no good, and if I was to be travelling to craft fairs and handing out my cards in a professional, not digging around frantically in a bag/box manner, I was going to need a business card holder.  You can buy them online, but since my student days and the recession, as well as a more recent transformation into my grandmother, I have caught the thrifty 'make do and mend' bug - if its on its last legs I'm still going to try to fix it before someone makes me throw it out! It seemed second nature just to make my own.  I don't have to spend hours finding the prettiest one online, I don't have to wait for it to be shipped, and I don't have to pay extortionate amounts of money.  An all round win.  I got my thinking hat on, and I ended up with this:

I do love a bit of purple!

So if you want to make your own... here it is... *drumroll*... my very first:

You will need:
your favourite colour felt.
a needle.
embroidery floss in a matching/contrasting colour - decisions, decisions!
a tape measure and/or ruler.
some pins.
a popper (I'm afraid I have no idea what the technical term is!)
a trio of buttons/a large button/a something to embellish the front.
some paper.
a business card (preferably your own!)

<3 MOO

Start with your business card.  Here's mine!
Now, measure it with whatever measuring instrument comes to hand.
Mini MOO cards measure 28 by 70mm, but yours may be different.

measuring your pattern pieces

Add on a little to the measurements of your card to get your first pattern piece.  
I added a centimetre, but it's a little snug so you may like to add on 15mm.

For the next piece, take your first piece and work out how far down you'd like the flap to come, and add this to the length, et voilà! You have your second piece.  You can see how I calculated mine in the picture.

drawing on to the felt

cut out :)

Next, draw around your pattern pieces onto the felt, you will need two of the longer piece, and one of the regular size.  Cut them out.

sewing on the popper

Pin together the longer pieces, this will keep them together while you sew on the popper.  Make sure you sew it on one side only - we don't want any naughty thread showing on the outside!

sewing on the buttons

Then you can sew on your embellishment.  I've used a trio of buttons, but you could use just one, or perhaps a bow or you could even glue on a cabochon (bear in mind that unless you use superglue or something similar, this could come off with use).  
Make sure you sew it on just the one piece of felt (behind the popper) to stop the thread from showing.


Put the smaller piece of felt on top of the larger, and fold the larger over (to create the flap) and see where you need to sew on the other part of the popper.  
Sew it on.  This is also a really good time to do a blanket stitch along the top edge of the smaller piece!  Then you can pin the lot together as in the photo.

Other sweet treats are available ;) 

Phew! What a lot of hard work! Take a break and have a little treat - you've earned it!

blanket stitch

Mmm... I do love a tea and treat break :)  Now you can begin sewing around the edges of your business card holder.  Blanket stitch is best.  If you're a sewing novice - here is a short and sweet blanket stitch tutorial on YouTube :)

You should end up with something a little like this.

 This is the point where I blanket stitched along the inside edge.  This is very much optional as it is a little tricky at this stage.  If you are a clever sausage, you would have done this much earlier!

Stick your cards inside and pop the popper and... TADAH! You *should* end up with something a little like this! 

Now, while I have been kind enough to share this with you - If you do decide to make these to sell on I would be most happy if you would link this post to your listing.  
Or, if you do not have the time/energy to make your own, I will be selling these as custom orders only at £3.50 for Mini MOO holders, and £4.50 for regular business card size (Vistaprint etc) holders.  Please message me on Facebook or email to place your order :) 

I hope my little tutorial was easy for you to follow - feel free to leave any questions below if I have confused you!  Do you have any favourite online tutorials? Have you been good enough to do one of your own? I'd love to hear about it!  Who knows, if you enjoy this one I may do another in the future :)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

jubilee joy!

So I thought it was about time I showed you my Jubilee themed makes using the super rad package of goodies from The Sewing Boutique.  You may remember that I started with this:

  • 3 Squares of 9x9 inch felt in red, white and blue.  I need to tell you again just how fab the quality of this felt is - its good and thick, and unlike thinner felts, it doesn't stretch so easily and the colours are so bright!
  • A pack of red white and blue buttons in different sizes.
  • One Union Jack button.
  • Some blue gingham bows. Available in these packs, or as a thicker ribbon.

You can use the links above to buy!

So as I said before, while I was so very incredibly excited about the task, I found that the Facebook crafts community was full to bursting with Jubilee related items so the idea of creating something while trying to be unique was rather daunting. With this in mind I dragged myself away from the PC and got my sketchbook out.  I got my thinking cap on and tried to think about all things British and Queen related.  Crowns and corgis, obsession with the weather and extreme eccentricity all weren't for me.  Then it hit me - something I love, I have it almost every day in vast quantities, something quintessentially English (though probably technically Chinese)...  TEA! So with this in mind, I created my very first bit of embroidery hoop appliqué art:

Here I have used a small embroidery hoop (4 1/4 inches) to act as a frame for this felt appliqué Union Jack teapot.  It was a little like putting together a jigsaw - a very very fiddly jigsaw where I had to trim the pieces to fit!  It is entirely hand stitched, and a ribbon can be added to the top in order to hang it.  The hoop is definitely a one of a kind item - it was far too fiddly for me to want to make another! This darling teapot will preview at the Jubilee Yard Exchange at The Royal William Yard, and unless it sells, will be available online on my Facebook Page on the 5th June for £12.

I was so pleased with this design I made some cards too!

My second make is a variation on one of my keyrings:
Again, I have used the felt (I do adore felt!) to create an appliqué bird, and have used the ribbons and buttons as a little extra detail.  I do like how the bow looks on the front - I may have to use them on all of these style keyrings in future! I have layered the buttons on the reverse to keep up the Jubilee colours, and also to add interest to the back.  This will, like the hoop, be available at the Yard Exchange, and will be sold as a limited edition custom order on my Facebook Page for £4.75. 

I hope you have enjoyed my Jubilee makes - It's definitely been a challenge for me - I do like to push myself when I've been in my comfort zone for a while - so this monthly challenge is great for me!  There may well be more red white and blue coming, but not just at the moment :)

Don't forget our next craft fair at the green at The Royal William Yard, Plymouth.  I've just heard there will also be live music as well as crafts, arts, food, furniture and all sorts of other goodies :)

Don't miss my next blog as I'll be doing my very first tutorial! 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

busy busy!

Well it's been a busy couple of weeks at heartstitch hq! I've been working my booty off for craft fairs - lots of new bits to show everyone, and new colour combinations of some old favourites too.

Firstly, I'd better plug the next craft fair! It will be in Plymouth, at the Royal William Yard on the 4th of June. This is going to be MASSIVE! I'm so looking forward to it, and I hope to meet lots of local makers and new customers alike.  We will have all our new items for sale there, and we do hope you like them!

If you missed out on the barrage of posts on the Facebook page - here are the new things I have been making:

Firstly, I have started making purses/pouches (do what you want with them!) I am currently making small, medium and large ones, and may do an extra large at a later date.  The small one is perfect for a regular money purse - it's big enough to hold bank/credit cards and the like, with room still for change and other small bits.  The medium will also hold a mobile phone, and the large would be great as a pencil case or make-up bag.  All bags are lined, and have a little heart zip pull attached :)

Large pouch - 8 by 4 inches - £7.50
Small purse - 4.5 by 3 inches - £4.50

Medium pouch - 5.75 by 4 inches - £6

I have also branched into earrings - I'm not going for the whole jewellery bag, but I have some gorgeous buttons and they needed showcasing! Studs seemed perfect to show them off -they've been rather popular so far.  They are, of course, silver plated and nickel free to conform with standards. Here is a small selection:

Button earrings starting from £2

I've also enlisted my dear mother to make more crochet items (she kindly makes my knitted flower brooches), and she's made these fab coasters in pretty pastels and brights.
Pretty crochet coasters £2.50 each
or 4 for £9! Bargainous!

Also new but also not so new, I have restocked my owl and foxy keyrings as they had completely sold out!  Completely hand-stitched as normal, but with new colour combinations, and a couple of my favourites have made it back in stock, as well as some new bookmarks and greetings cards:

Bookmarks £3.75
New foxy keyring £4.60

Owl keyring £4.50

In other news (rather large super exciting news!), I have been chosen by The Sewing Boutique - an online haberdashery and fabric store as part of their 4 man design team! There's even a blog post all about ME!  They will send me out a package of goodies monthly, and my task is to create something/s fabulous with whatever I receive! Mr. Postie brought me my first package on Monday and here it is:

It is rather fitting for the time of year - Jubilee themed! I have to be honest, I have avoided Jubilee themed items (apart from one red white and blue pair of button earrings) as the Facebook crafty market has been FILLED with all things British, and I wasn't sure how much it required my contribution, and with SO much out there, I wasn't sure I could create something different, but I have given it my best shot! I am by no means finished with the challenge, but the one thing I have made so far has spurred me on, I have a lot of felt (and this is really good quality felt by the way, it's delightfully thick and the colours really are as bright as in the picture) and all the buttons and ribbons left - so I think I can get a bit more creative and try to incorporate them into the next make.  If you want to purchase any of their items (I will be back for more felt!), or just have a browse (they have some beautiful Riley Blake fabric I have my beady eyes on) you can find their online store *here*.  Don't be fretting - I know I've not shown you what I've made with this bundle of goodness - I will be dedicating a whole entire blog post to it once I've created some more things with it :D

I think that's enough news for now, stay posted for details of more craft fairs/fetes etc, and to see what on earth I've made with my Jubilee package! 

Friday, 11 May 2012

and the winner is...

So the winner of the 50% off competition is...

Martyn Clark!

Congratulations! I asked the other half to pick a number between 1 to 4 and 4 was the number, which was you!
As with all competitions if you could get in touch so that I know you wish to claim your prize (you have 7 days before I will redraw) then you have 3 months in which to use it :)

Next competition will be another *GIVEAWAY* and will be hosted here when I reach 500 fans on the Facebook page!

Monday, 7 May 2012

competition time!

We did it!

We smashed the target of 250 likes, and now, as promised, is the competition!
It's come at a pretty busy time for me, I have a few craft fairs coming up and today I am working on a donation of kitty toys for Plymouth Cats Protection today.  I have made a prototype toy to try out on my two furry friends.  Pepper was not interested - she wanted to go outside in the rain to play with her boyfriend who lives upstairs.  But here is Bracken...

 At first, she was not interested.  This was not a surprise to me, as she is an old dear at 16/17 years old and doesn't leave the sofa all day if she can help it!

But then, it was play time!

She hasn't stopped playing with it since!  It's strange how catnip affects some cats but not others.  If your kitty loves the 'nip, pop down to Exeter Axhays Shelter on May 27th for the crafty fund raiser for Cats Protection.

So... back on topic - here is the competition! 

I've decided on a 50% off voucher for the prize this time as stock is a little thin on the ground with all the craft fairs coming up.  The voucher will last 3 months, giving you plenty of time to make your decision/wait for me to upload more items after the craft fairs :)
If  you are the winner, please note that you will need to contact me via email or the message function on Facebook within a week of me announcing the winner to receive the voucher.  If it is not claimed after 7 days I will redraw.  In order for you to get updates on who wins you might like to follow my blog or 'like' the Facebook page - else you might miss out! 

So, in order to win the voucher - all you have to do is comment below, telling me what you would use the voucher on!  
Due to Facebook's silly rules, I am not allowed to ask you to do anything Facebook related, but if you were to *publicly* (the 'who can see this post' setting on Facebook- else I can't keep track of who's done it) share the post on Facebook, it may just earn you an extra entry :P  I will be drawing the winner on Friday!

Good Luck! 

Friday, 4 May 2012

our first outing

Last night I had my first EVER outing as heartstitch!  We packed our bags full of goodies, and set off on the mammoth journey (just down the hill) to Jack Chams bar for the Give Up Your Day Job DIY market.

We got there nice and early, which is unusual for me, and was rather a surprise considering I'd spent the afternoon running around like a headless chicken making sure I had everything ready and trying to make a new product for the range (more news later).  The sun was still out and I sorted my stall, while the other half had a cheeky beer, there was even time to draw up a couple more cards before people started arriving.  Please excuse awful photos - I had taken the camera, but, Sods Law, it had completely run out of battery.  So these were taken on my phone.

We were quite pleased with the set up, and we loved how well the wishing tree from Daisymoon Designs worked with the keyrings and hanging items.  Also, you can just see under the table my awesome trader pouch from Doodle Embroidery  - this was SO useful to keep all my bits and bobs in.

While it was quiet, I had a little poke around the other stalls...

Right next to us was a little table full of the cutest Vegan cupcakes made by two lovely ladies.  I'm not Vegan myself (I love steak and butter far too much!) but they were hugely popular.  There were strawberry and chocolate cakes, lemon, blueberry, but my personal favourite was the chocolate DIY or Die! 

Across the room was the fabulous No Guts No Glory who had come all the way from Exeter with their unbelievable collection of prints, cards, zines and t-shirts.  

The super friendly team here run a super cute shop in McCoys Arcade in Exeter, so if you're local I would definitely recommend popping in to their shop to have a  good nosey about!  They also run a monthly 'Handmade Arcade' indie street market on the first Saturday of every month, showcasing local talent - I'm hoping to make a trip there tomorrow, and maybe take my little stall there one month! 

I spent far too much time here, mostly ogling the beautiful prints that I immediately recognised as being the work of the too-good-at-what-she-does Sandra Dieckmann.  She is, quite frankly, my favourite illustrator at the moment, and while I was tempted to buy one of her prints, I opted for this quirky badger - a right gentleman!  Unfortunately I haven't been able to find the artist (I can't read half of the signature on the back!) but her name is Bethan something and if anyone knows where I can find more of her work I would be eternally grateful! 

Next to NGNG was Art and Soul Tattoo, selling the most gorgeous prints and tattoo related things - I don't have any myself (I can't think of anything I'd want on my body permanently!) but do love the style.  There were some beautiful Victorian-esque portraits just out of shot, and we love the display flowers.  

Down the other end of the bar was the delightful Lize Meddings - she created the poster for the event and had some super cute prints, both digital and screen printed.  She's a lovely young lady and super talented too, with a unique style that I adore!

And last but not least are Alt Street and White Elephant.   I really apologise for this awful photo - it really doesn't do them any justice! 
Alt Street produce conscience friendly organic hand printed clothing - it really is very clever and they have some rad designs - do check out their website for better pictures! 
White Elephant is run by multi-talented Steve Strong  - not only does he team up with brilliant illustrators to make these super t-shirts and hoodies, but you may have seen me link his most recent music video (featuring the mister!) -  you can find his music page here.

As the evening drew to a close, the mister found (what he thought to be) an ingenious use for my mug hugs...

All in all it was a great night, and the best news is it will be a monthly event!  I loved meeting existing customers, and was very happy to meet some new ones.  Very excited about or next craft fair which will be in Osmington, Dorset on the 19th of May.  More details to come soon!