Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

to all my friends and followers.

Thank you for the support in 2010 and wish you all a very successful 2011.

Have a wonderful night


Friday, 24 December 2010

Season Greetings

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas
and a
very happy and successful New Year

Thank you for the support and kind words over the past few months.  I will be back in 2011 with lots more 'Fabric Fridays' and much, much more.

Enjoy your holidays and stay safe if you are travelling in the snow.

Take care & lots of love


Thursday, 23 December 2010

Planning for 2011

The festive holidays are almost upon us and in between unwrapping presents and eating lots of yummy food I will be thinking about 2011.  Taking time out to take stock and plan ahead is important however big or small your business is.  Perhaps 2011 will be the year you embark on using social media to promote your business or maybe you will finally start a blog.  These things are all important and big businesses are even recognising the importance of blogging and being mentioned in blogs.  More and more of us are writing and reading blogs every day and they really can be fantastic business tools to share ideas, promote giveaways or new products, share tutorials and gain business knowledge. 

2011 may be the year you decide to increase your web presence and might be considering a website of your own.  Yet you could use your blog as a website.  It is easy to add static pages and even a blog shop, as I shared with you here earlier this year. Then with the power of Twitter and Facebook you can promote your new blogshop or website, but I know how daunting these two can seem if you haven't used them before.  Back in July I shared some tips for using Twitter for business and in August Victoria of Little Wren Pottery wrote a guest post to help us all understand using Facebook for business.

My head is full of ideas for 2011 and I need to spend a morning writing them down and working out what is possible and which ideas I want or need to follow through.  I know for sure that I want to understand Linked In and Stumble Upon better, I also want to create a better income, develop both of my blogs and continue supporting small creative businesses.  On a more personal note I need to be more organised, decorate our house and make new cushions and curtains, sort out the garden.  I will also have to prepare for my youngest child to start full time school in September but in the meantime I plan to enjoy many wonderful afternoons with her, as this time with our children is so precious before the demands of school take over.

So what are your goals for next year? Do you plan on taking over the world or perhaps just want to have your work stocked in some shops or even open your own bricks and mortar shop?  A great piece of advice I was given last week by Fiona from Flourish was to think of where I want to be this time next year and for what I want my business to be remembered for.  I will leave you with that thought as you think of your next steps and remember sometimes those baby steps can be as important as giant leaps.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Do Manners Matter?

How many people do you speak to everyday? And how many of those are actually physically there when you chat? Somedays I speak to over fifty people, but only a few are actually there when we speak.  As we all use social media more and more do we take things for granted, do we forget basic manners? 

As a child I was always taught that manners were really important and I now instill this ethic into my own children.  Thankfully this seems to be paying dividends and people comment on how polite my children are, which fills me with pride and glad that the nagging paid off!  But how often do you thank somebody online?

I love the power of Twitter and have made friends with people I would never have met in normal life.  Social media is proving to be a fantistic tool in promoting business, whatever their size but I worry that sometimes because we can't see people we forget those ethics that we value in real life.  A simple thank you when somebody retweets your message, thanking somebody for a #ff or a #ww, helping somebody by retweeting a message when they ask for help.  All of these simple things go a long way and I promise they will be remembered.  I always try to remember when somebody has helped me and repay the favour when I can, I always thank people for rt's, #ff and #ww and I always remember if people have thanked me for a retweet.  Well manners maketh man and a simple thank you will help build a reputable brand business.

Also I want to thank you all for continuing to support this blog, even over the past few weeks when posts have been scant.   So a huge THANK YOU to all my wonderful follwers.

Monday, 6 December 2010

UK Handmade Winter Issue

December is upon us and there is a sense of excitment in the air here as my children open the doors on the advent calendar they made.  The Christmas cake is made and I am feeding it a little tipple of brandy each week, the letters to Santa have been sent, the house will be decorated this coming weekend.  I love Christmas, the sense of occassion and celebration, the chance to relax, spending time with family and friends, watching old movies and eating lots of delicious food.  Everybody has their own little traditions and that is all part of what makes Christmas.  I am sure lots of you are busy making things to decorate your homes and planning recipes ready for your own celebrations.

The Winter issue of UK Handmade is now available and is full of festive inspiration, tutorials and recipes and as always has some excellent articles for small creative businesses and you can read about fellow designers.  So go make a nice cup of tea, grab a mince pie and have a read!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Erin Bradley Design

I wanted to thank you all for your good luck wishes and words of encouragement via Twitter and Facebook for my new shop.   Lots of people have commented on my new logo for the shop but I cannot take the credit for such a fab design.  Erin of Erin Bradley Designs offers many designs in her Etsy shop giving you the graphics to launch your shop with style.  I discovered Erin via blogworld and knew when I decided to launch a new shop that her designs would be perfect.

So if you are thinking of opening a new shop or fancy a revamp then I am sure Erin Bradley Designs has a design just for you.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

My New Etsy Shop

I opened my new Etsy shop yesterday. I have only listed a couple of things so far but will be adding to it everyday. I am really excited about this and am thrilled to be designing and making again. The only problem now is I wake up in the night thinking of new ideas, I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this!

I will be opening a Folksy shop aswell this week and am hoping to revamp this blog later this week too. Busy busy, but to be honest I wouldn't have it any other way! Then as a reward I am off to the Country Living Christmas Fair on Saturday. I have wanted to go to this for the past 3 or 4 years but never manage to get there, so I am very excited to be heading down to London for the day. The only problem is I know I will come back with a whole heap of new ideas.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Time for a Change

After a chaotic few months and some difficult times personally I have had to make some decisions that haven't always been easy.  Whilst being poorly last week I realised it was possibly due to my workload and my insistence of trying to do everything.  Anyway I have spent some time soul searching and working out which of the projects I wanted to do. I have also started designing and making things again, something that has not been happening enough in recent months.

So here are my decisions -

I will be selling all the ribbon stock from the Buttons & Bows business, apart from a few yards for me of course!  All the ribbons in my Blogshop and Folksy shop will be available at very reduced prices -

9mm swiss dot satin £2 for 10 yards
9mm swiss dot grosgrain £2 for 10 yards
9mm hearts grosgrain £2.50 for 10 yards
15mm swiss dot satin £2 for 10 yards
15mm hearts or flower grosgrain £3 for 10 yards

I will be adjusting prices in the next 48 hours but please email me if you want to order now.

If you are interested in starting your own ribbon business and would like to purchase all ribbon stock from me, please get in touch and I can send you full details of stock.
email - buttonsandbows130{at}btinternet{dot}com

What about this blog I hear you cry! Don't panic I am giving this blog a new name and a revamp to tie in with a new venture.  I am launching a new Etsy and Folksy shop called 'Zoe & Drew' in the next few days, selling stylish accessories (gorgeous clutch bags, cocktail rings and of course some fabulous christmas stockings).  This blog will also be called Zoe & Drew but whilst the name is changing the content won't really change. I will still write Fabric Friday and share business tips and links but I will also share with you designs I am working on and products in my shops. I will also continue with the advertising giveaway each month and for December and after the makeover I will giveaway five advertising spots ready for the busy festive season.

I have also reduced the amount of guest writing and 'free' writing I am doing to relinquish some much needed time.  I love to write but found I was taking on more and more unpaid writing work when I need to be increasing my income.

I will also be continuing with Inspired Celebration and have an exciting giveaway planned with a group of Folksy people coming up very soon.

So there you go, it's time for a change. I hope you will join me on the journey!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Fabric Friday - Warbeck & Cox

I have not been well this week but still had to carry on regardless, the joys of being a work from home mum! However it is Friday and that means it's time to share another Fabric Friday with you all.  Today I am going to feature a fabric designer from the UK, Warbeck and Cox.

Caroline Cox is the designer behind Warbeck and Cox, creating fun and stylish designs to be used for a variety of homewares and soft furnishings.  From her barn cum studio in the English countryside Caroline creates interesting textile designs from her sketches.

Like so many of us Carolines interest in textiles was sparked by playing with her grandmothers button tin. I am lucky enough to now have my grandmothers button tin and my daughters love just playing with the buttons. Over the years Caroline learnt to knit, stitch and sew which all led to the ideas for Warbeck and Cox

Drawing inspiration from her idylic surroundings Caroline is keen for Warbeck & Cox to support local businesses, hence trying to keep production within the locality of her studio.  She also insists that every effort is made to ensure that Warbeck & Cox products are created using eco-friendly and sustainable supplies.

I love the simplicity of Carolines designs yet the details are in the drawings of the individual items, especially visable on the moths in the tea towel above. I also love the hint towards times gone by with vintage keys and moments in the past when people would stop and sketch beetles and moths, or even collect them and display them in fabulous glass cabinets.

 Warbeck and Cox quote William Morris on their website -“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or beautiful” and this is exactly what they want their products to acheive and they do. 

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Advertiser Spotlight - Spotty n Stripy

Today I would like to introduce you to the second winner of my advertising giveaway, Spotty n Stripy.

Spotty n Stripy design gorgeous contemporary greetings cards, in Lincolnshire.  Graphic designer Zoe explains that her love of all things spotty and stripy and of course greetings card was the inspiration behind her sucessful business.

Like so many women Zoe designs and creates her cards from home in those free hours in between being a mummy.  Her vibrant designs are selling well on Folksy and Not On The High Street.

So if you need a birthday car, wedding stationery or invitations for Christmas drinks be sure to visit Zoe at Spotty n Stripy.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

How to create a Blog Shop

I promised a while ago to share with you how I created my blog shop.  It took alot of trial and error but i got there in the end!  So here we go I will try & explain how to do it.

  • Firstly create a static page. To do this you go to where you write a new post and click on Edit Pages. Here you can create a static page that can appear in a menu bar at the top of your blog, under your banner.
  • Once you have created you page make sure you have images of the items you want to list in your new shop.
  • Now you will need to create a Paypal account, if you don't already have one! If you do have a paypal account you will need to upgrade to a  business account if you only have a personal account.
  • I suggest putting the first photo and item description onto your blog page next.
  • Now go back to Paypal and log in to your account then click on Merchant Services.
  • Scroll down and click on Sell single items, to create a button.
  • You will want a 'Buy It Now' button.
  • Create your button with the requested info and then click 'Create Button' . This will take you to a new page with the HTML code for your button. Copy this code then return to your blog page.
  • Click on Edit HTML tab at top of box where you write a post. Now scroll down to the end of the HTML for your photo & item description and paste your code from Paypal.
  • Now click on 'Compose' tab (next to 'Edit HTML' tab) and scroll down to add your next photo & description.  Don't panic as it will seem the paypal button has put a table onto your page, but this will not be visable when you publish you page.
  • Continue to create buttons for all the items you want in your shop.
  • Once you have finished adding your items publish your post(page)
  • Now try clicking on one of the 'Buy It Now' buttons to check they work!!
Good luck and feel free to ask if you want some more help, just leave a comment or email me.

Oh and don't forget to stock up on ribbons for Christmas crafting in my SHOP!!!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Fabric Friday - Elanbach

It has been a chaotic week and I have been very disorganised which hasn't helped at all. Thank goodness it's half term next week and we can all recharge our batteries.  As promised I have managed Fabric Friday and I'm sure you'll love this company.  Today I will feature Elanbach.

Elanbach is based in Wales at Llangoed Hall with their offices and production based in this fabulous country house hotel.  The hotel itself is a great showcase for Elanbach fabrics in each room.  Set on the banks of the River Wye in Mid Wales with views of the Black Mountains must prove a wonderfully inspiring backdrop.

Elanbach is the creative vision of Sir Bernard Ashley and with his team of designers they have created many fabulous collections. The designers ensure that Elanbach appeals to many style ideas by not sticking to one signature look.  New collections are launched every season but differing from other fabric companies they never discontinue any lines.

Elanbach digitally print their fabric which means they can print in Wales.  Sir Bernard Ashley loves the variable colour palette that digital printing offers, allowing the designers access to a colour palette of over 16 million colours.  Digital printing also means that only the exact amount of ink is used so there is no waste.  Their printing press also minimises waste as it prints instantly unlike the traditional printing process, ensuring no fabric waste aswell.

I think you'll agree Elanbach designs are fabulous and their ethics are in keeping with the trend to be less wasteful and buy British.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Tag, You're It!

When I started using Twitter back in April I never thought that I would make great friends, but the interaction has been fantastic and I have made some wonderful new friends.  One of those friends is Julia over at Catch a Dragonfly and yesterday she passed on a little game of tag to me and five other bloggers.  Julia is a great twitter friend of mine, sending me messages when I was moving to check I was ok and reguarly sends a virtual cuppa. So here goes -

What is your favourite book?

I love reading and have so many books for pleasure and for my studies but an all time favourite is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I read this for the first time when I was 15 and have read it many times since. This book is like a dear old friend everytime I read it and I never tire of it.  I also love reading Cecelia Ahern and Maeve Binchey, they too are my comfort reading picks for cold winter nights.

What is your most treasured childhood memory?

As a child I saw my grandparents about three times a year and my grandmother wore several beautiful rings. Everytime we stayed with them in Dorset or when they came to visit us she would help by doing the washing up and I was allowed to wear her rings.  My grandmother was a wonderful lady, stylishly elegant and always had time to read me a story or teach me to sew and had a great colection of buttons in a tin that I would play with for hours.

Who is your favourite designer/artist/illustrator?

As a child I would be found reading Roald Dahl books over and over and my love for illustration began then and I still adore Quentin Blake. I also am a huge fan of Lauren Child, her illustrations are incredibly creative.  Having studied art I have many favourites but Picasso is a big fave  of mine, I also love the sculptor Giocometti and I have a strange appreciation of Degas bronze sculptures of ballet dancers, I think it's the purity and beauty of the pieces.  As for designers I love Betty Jackson and Amanda Wakely but also have a soft spot for Boden coats! Oh and if I was to renew my vows I would ask Kate Halfpenny to design my dress.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

France. I dream of living there but am not quite ready to take the leap! Our favourite region is the Loire Valley but am hoping to  head to the Dordogne next year.  Also Paris is my favourite city, especially as I am a big fan of art deco design so those Metro signs are simply wonderful.  and of course a trip to Disneyland is necessary every 3-4 years, I am a big kid at heart and it is such a magical place.

What is your favourite pastime?

Singing! Yes I love to sing but sadly don't get much time to do it now, apart from singing along to the stereo and I think I am getting too old to hit top C!

What is your favourite colour?


Do you have any pet hates?

Bad manners. I abhor bad manners, it only takes a second to say please and thank you. I also cannot stand people who talk with their mouths full, I drive my childen mad at the dinner table as I don't want to discourage everyone catching up on each others day but will not allow speaking with full mouths!

What is your favourite saying?

No worries is one I use alot and I know I say fab far too much! Oh and I am known to reguarly say 'it will all come out in the wash' !

Do you watch the X Factor? If so why?

No. I am a Strictly Come Dancing fan, sorry.

So there you go, great questions Julia, thank you for passing these on. Now who shall I tag?


Dottie Designs

Faye Goodwin

What Katie Did Next

Tigerlily Makes

So lovely ladies, tag, you're it!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Advertiser Spotlight - NOfkants Curios

Well I almost did it, three posts last week! I promise to write a Fabric Friday this week, already got somebody in mind.  Today I would like to introduce you to one of the winners of my monthly advertising giveaway. Drum roll please for NOfkants Curios.

As a child Natalie loved to collect fossils and still enjoys going fossil hunting with her own children. Many of her creations in her Folksy shop are designed using fossils, which makes each piece unique due to the different patterns every fossil provides.

Natalie  also loves knitting and crocheting and has a fantastic selection of hats, scarves, blankets and bags in her Folksy shop.

Like many Folksy sellers Natalie crafts as a hobby and her Folksy shop is an outlet for her numerous creations. Well we all know we can't keep everything, we need to make space for more materials!

Natalie also writes a great blog, that I read reguarly but am sorry Natalie that I am hopeless at leaving comments. 

So now the weather has turned decidedly chilly head on over to NOfkants Curios to treat yourself to a fabulous hand knitted hat or scarf and while you're there why not pick up a couple of Christmas presents too, I know my boys would love those fossil keyrings.

NOkants Curios

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Save The Arts

As the new government tries to claw the UK out of recession, we all expected cuts to various departments but the proposed cuts of 25-30% to the arts funding has understandably caused an outcry. Over the past twenty years, the UK has built a strong reputation in the arts world putting it clearly on the cultural map, reigning supreme in a global market. What these proposed cuts to funding will mean is that not only will we probably lose the top spot but many small arts organisations will disappear altogether and major galleries and museums will see their collections diminished.

However this will not pass through parliment quietly as a petition has been started and is well on it's way to gaining the 100,000 signatures required. When I wrote a post last week for UK Handmade about the Save the Arts campaign and petition the number of signatures had reached 45, 984, I have just checked now and thankfully it has risen to 54,224. The Save the Arts campaign is gathering momentum and you can keep up to date on their blog.

You can read my full post here

And don't forget to add your name to the petition.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A Day in the Life

I love to read about other peoples days creating and how we all manage to fit everything in. Often in between designing and creating we are juggling marketing, pr and admin never mind looking after our families and keeping house. I wonder how many of us are reading emails or tweeting whilst trying to  load the washing machine!!

Unfortunately I don't have a day in the life to share with you today, but I am in the process of contacting some fabric designers I have featured in Fabric Fridays to see if they would be kind enough to share a day in their busy lives.  But I would also love to read about your days, whether you craft for a living or for fun and would love a sneak peak at your workspace.  So please email me if you are interested in being featured in a day in the life.

In the meantime you may like to pop over to UK Handmade blog where they have a regular 'meet' section, with artists, designers and creative types sharing their workspace and creative lives with the readers.  Also the Folksy Blog have regular posts meeting different Folksy sellers.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Advertising Giveaway Winners!

I am thrilled to announce the giveaway winners for this months advertising spots.

#40  Birgitta Designs

#64 NOfkants Curios

#179 Spotty n Stripy

All three have Folksy shops and have all been contacted, so hopefully I will be adding their advertising badges to the sidebar very soon.

I also want to appologise to all my lovely readers as I know I have neglected my blog due to my house move.  I had hoped to be posting five times a week again by now but I have moved into a house that is going to need  lots of tlc over the coming months, but I am going to try really hard this week to post every day.  Thank you for bearing with me and I would love you all to be involved in Buttons and Bows, so if you would like to be part of 'A Day in the Life' please email me.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Folksy Blog

I know many of you are sellers on Folksy and get involved with the forum but have you discovered the blog? There are regular features with today being the day you get to meet and learn more about other sellers.  There are also articles helping you to create shop banners and get the most out of selling on Folksy. There are also opportunities to contribute, which I have done by writing a monthly post about fabric and sewing, well we all know how much I love fabric!!  And of course there is always a Folksy Friday. 

So grab a cup of tea and pop along for a read, here's my latest post

Monday, 4 October 2010

Advertiser Spotlight - Tigerlily Makes

Todays advertiser spotlight will thrill felt lovers and to be honest I'm sure there are plenty of us. Felt is such a versatile material and the thing I love most about it is that it doesn't need hemming! Now the spotlight turns to Tigerlily Makes.

From her Tigerlily Makes Boutique Lisa Olson runs various felt making courses, sharing with her students her love of this ancient craft and helping them create gorgeous bags, hats and jewellery and much more besides.

Tigerlily Makes also offers felt making supplies and you can purchase vouchers to use in the boutique towards any of the great courses. 

Tigerlily Makes is also the perfect venue for a childrens workshop or a hen party, sharing the fun in creating something unique and fabulous all under the watchful eye of your tutor, Lisa.

So why not add a feltmaking course at Tigerlily Makes to your Christmas List, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Tigerlily Makes

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Advertiser Spotlight - dinky daisy

Today I am going to introduce you to another of last months advertising giveaway winners, dinky daisy.

dinky daisy creates gorgeous accessories and soft furnishings from her home in the New Forest where nature offers plenty of inspiration.  The designs start as little doodles that are then embroidered onto purses and other fabulous gifts and accessories.

There is also an element of fun in the designs, as seen above in the flying underpants design!! It's no surprise then that dinky daisy is another Folksy success story with nearly 200 sales.

dinky daisy

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Advertising Giveaway

It is almost the end of the month so time to have my advertising giveaway. Remember all you have to do is follow this blog to be in with a chance to win.

The Prize

One months free advertising in the right hand column

An editorial all about your business, including links to shops, websites, blogs and twitter & facebook too.

N.B. Just a reminder that the winners of last months giveaway will have their advert space for an extra two weeks as an appology for the two weeks I was away. Thanks.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A Day in the Life - My New Business

I thought today I would share with you a day in my life.  My life is incredibly busy with school runs, housework, endless washing and being mummy to five fabulous children, nevermind working as a freelance writer from home and having my Buttons & Bows shop on Folksy.  I also adore creating things, especially with fabric, but have not got enough time to create gorgeous things to sell.  Up until now all this has been done either at the kitchen table or in my makeshift office in the cupboard under the stairs.  Now I am very excited as my husband and I have decided to share a spare room in our new house as a studio/office/study. Whilst my husbands end of the room will be filled with History text books mine will be stacked with fabric boxes and jars full of buttons and trims, craft books and numerous magazines, paints and canvases I hope to finish and of course my sewing machines.

Finally I will have space to leave out projects, have an inspiration board and work away from the general hubbub of family life. Whilst our room is still stacked with boxes and we are yet to buy desks I feel inspired and am ready to start my new project, Inspired Celebration.  The idea first took root when I ran a week long feature about handmade weddings on this blog earlier this year.  I have since become addicted to blogs about weddings and parties, read wedding magazines even though it is several years since I got married.  I have reignited my love of stationery and intend to try out some fantastic papercraft projects very soon, especially as my youngest daughter turns four in October and is already asking to send party invites!

Inspired Celebration will be a blog offering it's readers inspiration for any number of celebrations but also continuing the ethos of this blog by supporting and promoting small creative businesses. I hope to create a directory of such businesses aswell as offering a research service, finding small creative businesses that meet the needs of my readers to create their ultimate celebration.  Whilst I will concentrate on UK based businesses I will also feature the creative talents of designers from around the world, as we all know life is not limited to the corner shop anymore.  Yet I will also research local businesses if required when people purchase my research package.

I spent alot of time looking at blog designers work to choose the right look for my new venture.  There are so many to choose from but I loved the Love Tree template by Louise at Adori Graphics and found that I kept coming back to it.  Louise is a talented designer and her customer service was impeccable, customising and uploading the template within days of my order being placed.  However she does have a longer waiting time for custom designs and she will be away on a well deserved holiday in October, but I highly recommend Adori Graphics if you looking to makeover your blog.

As if life wasn't crazy enough I am excited about this new project. But fear not I will still be writing this Buttons & Bows blog, Monday to Friday, aswell as freelancing, all whilst being mummy and of course suporting my husband as he completes the final year of his degree.  I have already started looking for a designer to makeover Buttons & Bows, so watch this space!

Inspired Celebration

{blog} {twitter} {facebook}

Please email me if you would like to be featured in A Day in the Life

Monday, 27 September 2010

Advertiser Spotlight - Dottie Designs

Welcome back everyone, I am back with you all now after my house move.  I have spent the last few days frantically trying to unpack and create some sort of order to the chaos in anticipation of starting work again today.  Anyway normal service will resume now and as it is Monday I will kick off the week with an advertiser spotlight.  Dottie Designs was one of the three lucky winners in my advertising giveaway for September.

Dottie Designs creates gorgeous bespoke keepsake boxes, guest books and photo albums from her home in the south of England in between looking after her three children whilst her husband is away at sea.

Every box, album or book can be personalised free of charge, making them even more unique and a perfect gift for those precious moments.

Dottie Designs is another Folksy success story with over 40 sales aswell as a busy Ebay shop and her own website.  She is always willing to go that extra mile to ensure your purchase is exactly how you want it, whether you require a different colour scheme or have seen something on an album and actually want it on a keepsake box Dottie will do this for you.

These guest books, photo albums and keepsake boxes really are fabulous and deserve to be kept forever filled with special memories.

Dottie Designs

Related Posts with Thumbnails