Saturday, 31 July 2010

Advertising Winners

I have tapped the numbers into the random number generator and here are this months advrtising giveaway winners -
                                     #18  Wellydog Designs

                                     #113 Booties by Dannie

                                     #146 SP Jewellery


Friday, 30 July 2010

Fabric Friday - Windbreaks & Play Tents

First week of the school summer holidays and chaos ensued, certainly in my house anyway! Suddenly in between of everything else all my children were home and wanting to go the beach, the forest, the park, whether it was raining or not.  I love the school holidays, just a chance to wake a little later, not rush out of the door by 8.30 and spend some time with my wonderful children, who make me smile everyday and laugh until it hurts!

For todays Fabric Friday I have chosen to find some fab windbreaks and play tents, as our days will be filled with trips to the beach or playing in the garden. As long as the British weather plays nicely! 

There are some wonderful playtents and teepees on Etsy but I have only found one windbreak on NOTHS, a gap in the market for you fabric loving seamstresses?!

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer holiday and enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Twitter for Business

I have to admit I was wary about using Twitter, being a little unsure of the whole social network world.  Yet I realised that if I was going to create a business I would have to take the plunge.  So in April this year I signed up for a Twitter account, having read different forum posts on Folksy and stepped into the 21st century!!

Since those first tweets I have created lists, use Tweetdeck and now have over 700 followers! I no longer feel apprehensive about using Twitter and have made some lovely friends along the way.

I thought I would use todays post to share a few hints and tips that I use when tweeting, incase any of you are uncertain like I was.

  • The # key is used like a tag in a blog post.
  • RT is ReTweet - somebody can RT your tweet to share it with their followers or if you have asked for some information or help people may RT to try & help.
  • I always thank people who RT any of my tweets.
  • By using Tweetdeck I can see when somebody has mentioned me, so I know if anybody has RT'd!
  • Using Tweetdeck I can have seperate columns for different lists of people I follow.
  • Lists are great for organising who you follow, especially if you follow friends and also follow people for business.
  • #FF is Follow Friday. This is like a big shout out of people to follow or a way to say thanks if somebody has been particularly helpful that week.
  • Again I always thank people for #FF's.
  • #WW is Wedding Wednesday, similar to #FF
My goals now with Twitter are using it via my phone and learning about Twitpic, so I can upload photos to my tweets.

I found this great tips list a couple of days ago and have already changed my avatar upon reading it, so you can now see me not just a logo!  This '50 Ideas for Using Twitter for Business' is also worth reading!

Join me on Twitter, I do love to chat!  Oh one last tip, set a time limit for being on Twitter everytime, it is addictive, before long you have lost an hour!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Soap - Good enough to eat!

There's something about handmade soap that makes me want to eat it! Don't worry I never have, it just looks so asthetically pleasing that it looks edible. I have to admit that I know nothing about soap making
but love to buy it for our home or for gifts.

See what I mean, Oreo cookies & milk, or is it?

Now it seems that aswell as many fragrance combinations there are different processes involved in soap making, including traditional cold and hot process soaps, glycerin or natural liquid soaps.

I have discovered today that soap makers have their own guild, The Guild of Craft Soap and Toiletry Manufacturers.  The Guild was formed in September 2007 and has two main aims -

(1) To raise awareness of the legislative standards that are in place that apply to craft soap and toiletry makers
(2) To register as members of the Guild crafters who work in compliance with this legislation and who hold relevant public liability insurance

Information taken from GCSTM website.

So whether you prefer the gorgeous slices from soap bars or novelty shapes there is plenty of choice, just on Folksy, with a selection of over 400 soaps.

All soaps featured from {Folksy}

For more information about Guild of Craft Soap & Toiletry Manufacturers visit their {website}

Monday, 26 July 2010

Advertising Giveaway

I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of July already but this also means we are almost at the first Monday of August, so time for a giveaway!  As promised I will be offering 3 advertising spots for my followers, for one month starting from the first Monday in August.  Included in this giveaway is an editorial, which are published on a Monday, with links to your shops, website and blog. 

So good luck everyone and fingers crossed! The winners will be announced on Saturday.

This months winners editorials -

Friday, 23 July 2010

Fabric Friday - Valori Wells

Wow what a week, where did it go?  Friday is upon us and it is time for Fabric Friday!  Today I am going to feature another Freespirit Fabric designer, Valori Wells

Valori was introduced to fabric from an early age, as her mother, a quilting fan, opened The Stitchin' Post in Sisters, Oregon, which Valori now co-owns.  However Valori grew to also love photography and led her to study a B.A. (Hons.) in Fine Arts, focussing on black and white photography, at Pacific Northwest College of Art.  Graduating in 1997 Valori received the school's 'Outstanding Photographer of the Year' award.

With her love for photography and printmaking Valori has designed patterns for fabric for over ten years.  Drawing on inspiration from her photographs and the landscape in Central Oregon Valori produces fantastic design, often in bold large prints. 

In 1999 Valori joined her mother at The Stitchin' Post and has established a knitting department and created an extensive website.  By being involved directly with quilters Valori can draw on their needs for projects when designing new textiles.

Aswell as designing fabric and being involved with The Stichin' Post Valori has written three books, 'Simple Start, Stunning Finish', 'Radiant New York Beauties' and 'Stitch 'n' Flip'.  She has also collaborated with her mother on three titles and the pair have just completed a series called 'Oh So Easy'  and has co-authored 'Lifestyle' with her friend, Carolyn Spencer.


I always feel inspired when I write Fabric Friday, whilst we often just think of the fabrics, the designers seem to be busy with many other projects and Valori Wells is no exception. 

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

So, You Want to Start a Blog

I often read on forums or on Twitter, should I start a blog? My answer is YES YES YES! I love blogs, reading them and I follow a fair few and writing them.  Whilst it may seem like just another thing to add to your ever increasing to-do list it is a wonderful chance to showcase your business, your talents, or just to vent frustrations when a new project goes wrong!

Starting a blog is simple and free. I use Blogger, but there are other options available, for example Wordpress or Typepad.  Initially you will need to create your blog by thinking of the blogs name, which will probably be your business name.  Unfortunately Buttons & Bows was not available hence registering the blog URL as Zoe and Drew, but I then called this blog Buttons & Bows, so don't panic if you cannot get your specific trading name, it can be rectified.

So now you have a blog, but what next?  I wrote my first post without really setting up my page, I just had a title, had added a couple of widgets for followers and my blogroll and that really was it!  I have spent many hours reading other peoples blogs and looking at their layouts to see how I can improve mine.  There are also many blogs out there to help you get to grips with using the blogger widgets and adding extra tools.  Only on Monday did I work out how to add LinkWithin, so that older posts appear at the bottom of each new post.

In just four months of blogging I have learnt so much, from a little bit of html, some I still need to apply, to my post layout, blog template and how to add sharing buttons! I have now become more focussed on my writing and now plan posts a month at a time and have decided on a more structured attitude, so that I don't panic and think 'What shall I write today?'.  Wednesdays will now become the day I look at marketing your small creative business, whether that is through social networking or blogging, I hope to share some of the knowledge I have gained in the past few months and hope you will share too! 

Now I want to improve the design of this blog and am investigating blog makeovers, which for me is exciting! 

For some great advice and tips try -

(This has been a huge help as I have progressed with my blog)

(Scroll down for 'Tips by Ability Level')

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


Ever since I sewed my first stich on a piece of binca I have loved embroidery.  At primary school we were taught sewing as a lesson, can you imagine this being taught now in primary schools? And I really am not that old!!  We were given a piece of binca and were taught different stitches and completed whole rows of these until our rectangle of binca was full of bright, varied stitches, which was then backed with gingham and became our needle roll. 

During the following years I tried a complicated cross stitch sampler but after a while bored of counting stitches and opted for my own designs. In the past year I have found a great calm in embroidery in my hectic life and love sitting and stitching small pictures or toys. 

Of course there is a current trend for freehand machine embroidery that gives fantastic results.  I have a copy of Poppy Treffrys book and hope to have some time in the future to try the projects.

But for now give me a piece of linen, a hoop and a box of floss and I am a very happy bunny!!

I can highy recommend this book, Embroidered Treasures by Claire Garland and am happily working my way through it now!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Advertising Winner Spotlight - Peculiar Forest

Today I would like to introduce you to one of my advertising giveaway winners,

Peculiar Forest designs and makes jewellery from art clay silver or PMC, from her home in France, having recently moved there from the UK. Lucky her!

Peculiar Forest started out using polymer clay about five years ago creating personalised wedding cake toppers, which she sells in her other Etsy shop, Hunter Designs.

Peculiar Forest has embraced selling on Etsy by joining Etsy Metal Clay Team and European Street Team.

I adore walking through the forest and Peculiar Forests jewellery truly reminds me of this!

Aswell as selling on Etsy, you can read more about the design inspiration on Peculiar Forests blog or find her on Folksy.

Advertising Winner : Peculiar Forest
{Etsy}  {Folksy}  {Blog}

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Home & Gift Fair

There's a buzz on Twitter and in blogland this week as small creative businesses prepare to head off for Harrogate as it plays host to the Home and Gift Fair.  Here you can take your wares directly to the buyers from major high street outlets and small independant gift and homes stores.

To attend a trade fair is a huge commitment, both financially and in terms of business growth, as you need to be prepared to meet major orders that could be the result of having a stand at a trade fair.  The preparations take months of planning, form filling and creating your stand to make the buyers want to stock your wares.

This week Moobaacluck wrote a great post as she prepares for the Country Living Spring Fair next year.  Here she explains some things to think about even at this early stage in planning and thankfully Penny Lindop, who has exhibited at a Country Living Fair before, is on hand to guide Moobaacluck through the process.

Maybe a trade fair is not in your future business plans or currently just a pipe dream but one thing you can count on, is that fellow designers and crafters are happy to guide you through the process and share their own experiences with you. 

I want to wish anybody heading off to Harrogate this weekend the very best of luck.

(Todays featured designers are either heading off to Harrogate Home & Gift Fair or are preparing for Country Living's Spring Fair 2011)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I have spent some time recently thinking about this blog and felt it needed some more focus and structure.  Therefore I have chosen to write about and/or feature a particular craft or art or design style or practice each week on a Tuesday.  There are so many talented creative people on Etsy, Folksy and many more sites that I am sure this will keep me writing for many weeks.....or years!!

I have decided to focus today on Ceramics.  When I was at primary school we were lucky enough to have a pottery club, thanks to a talented potter being one of the class teachers and the school had its own kiln.  I rememeber bringing home some interesting items for my mum, which have disappeared!  I tried my hand at ceramics again when I was at university, even attempting to use a potters wheel, which again provided 'interesting' results!  After this I decided to stick to Textiles and painting and hung up my potters apron.

Thankfully there are many talented ceramicists for me to showcase -

Just a tiny selection of Folksy potters and ceramicists.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Advertising Winner Spotlight - Gooseberrymoon

Today I would like to introduce you to one of the winners of my advertising giveaway,

Gooseberrymoon designs her digitally printed stationery from her home in North Wales.  With a passion
for paper, colour and design Gooseberrymoon combines these to produce a fabulous selection of stationery.

Aswell as creating beautiful notecards, Gooseberrymoon also designs wedding stationery and gift boxes that would make great favor boxes for any party or wedding. 

Gooseberrymoon is a Folksy success story with 200 sales and I can see why, the designs are fabulous and would feed any stationery fans habit!

Aswell as a Folksy shop Gooseberrymoon has a website.  You can also read about design insporations on the Gooseberrymoon blog.

Advertising Winner - Goosberrymoon

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Summer Sale

It's Summer Sales time and I thought I would join in! 


Stock up now as you prepare for yourChristmas makes....I know it's too early to mention Christmas but we're crafters and we do start thinking about it soon!

These ribbons are great for packing up your parcels too!

This special summer sale means some ribbons are now only 20p a yard!

(Price relevant for 9mm wide swiss dot satin)

N.B. Discount refunded via paypal

Friday, 9 July 2010

Fabric Friday - Designers Guild

                                                                        Ramblas Rose

Sound the horns, it's the end of the week and time for Fabric Friday! I have decided today to look at one of my favourite upholstery fabric design houses, Designers Guild.  When I worked at Ramm, Son & Crocker several years ago I longed to work for Designers Guild, sadly I never made it, but have five lovely children instead!

Designers Guild was founded in 1970 by Tricia Guild to design and wholesale upholstery fabric and wallcoverings. In 1975 the first collection, Village, was launched and many other  collections were added over the next nine years.  Tricia Guild published the first of many books, Soft Furnishings, during this time aswell.  In 1989 Designers Guild opened an office in Munich, aswell as adding another seven collections to their porfolio.  Only two years later Designers Guild received the Queens Award for Export Achievement and in 1993 the Paris office was opened.  During 1995 Designers Guild launched it's Bed & Bath division, producing bedlinen, blankets and towels and then in 1996 they opened their 66,000 sq ft Production and Distribution Centre in West London.

Over the following years many more collections were added to Designers Guild portfolio as were floor rugs, carpets and furniture.  In 2003 Jasper Conran collaborated with Designers Guild to design a range of fabric and wallpaper. Three years ago Tricia Guild was awarded the Homes & Gardens Lifetime Achievement Award.

Designers Guild currently has over 5000 fabrics and 4000 wallpapers, inclusing florals, plain, checks, damask, jacquards and childrens collections.  The company is still owned and headed by Tricia Guild, as Founder and Creative Director and her brother as Group Chief Executive.

Even after 35 years Designers Guild are still a lead design house for upholstery and wallcoverings, but also have expanded to produce many other lines.  They are still one of my favourites with vibrant prints and I have included soem of my favourites thoughout the post.

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