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

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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

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

New House = Fabric Shopping

I know I haven't posted for over a week and I am very sorry to all my wonderful readers.  The reason for my abscence is that I have moved house and as if moving isn't stressful enough, it was put back a week and then BT managed to change my phone and broadband connections on the wrong day. Hence the lack of posts and me being unusually quiet on Twitter.

Anyway my new house is starting to look a little more like home and less like a cardboard box storage space, but not quite organised enough for me to work properly just yet.  So I am going to take the rest of the week but promise to be back posting properly next Monday.  In the meantime please enjoy previous posts and if you would like to be a guest writer on my weekly 'Day in the Life' feature please email me

As an appology to my sponsors for the lack of posts during my move I will give you an extra month free.  Also as an appology to my advertising winners I will extend your prize by two weeks and will start the editorials next Monday. 

For now in between unpacking I am busy planning new curtains and cushions etc for our new home, well you wouldn't expect anything less from a fabric addict would you?!

Take care and I look forward to being back with you all on Monday.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Fabric Friday - Joel Dewberry

I think Friday is the best day of the week, as you know that the weekend is beckoning and of course it's Fabric Friday here at Buttons and Bows.  Today I am going to feature Freespirit designer Joel Dewberry

Joel Dewberry was fortunate to grow up in a creative environment and was encouraged to experiment with different art mediums from an early age by his father and mother, who is a renowned artist herself. As the second eldest of seven children I am sure Joel's childhood home was very busy yet his talent in art was nurtured by his parents. 

Progressing to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Joel Dewberry graduated from Brigham Young University in 2000.   However Joel progressed in to a brillirant career in brand development and coroporate identity after his studies which gave him several years of experience in a variety of industries, including the home and textile markets.

In 2007 Joel Dewberry launched his own textile brand, Joel Dewberry Eclectic Modern.  He has designed six collections, three of which are available from Freespirit Fabrics.  His most current collection is Modern Meadow, which is available in three palettes and evokes thoughts of picking flowers in a meadow, with large funky floral prints and smaller blossoms. 

I am sure Joel's training as a graphic designer has assisted with his change in direction yet his flair for creating patterns and combining colours can only come from a very talented artist.  Joel Dewberry is definately a designer to follow as he is still a relatively new name in the textile insutry considering he did not launch his first collection until just over three years ago.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

UK Handmade & Design Sponge

Just a quick post today I'm afraid as I am busy getting ready to move but I have found some great reading for you today, so pop the kettle on and make a nice cuppa tea...

Have you read the Autumn edition of UK Handmade magazine yet?  This is always such a great read, I have had a quick look and plan to have a proper read in the next few days.

I know that the majority of my readers are women and that lots of you have your own businesses, or plan to have in the future.  Design Sponge has a regular feature to help women in business, whilst it is written in America there are lots of ideas that can be used for British business women too!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A Day In The Life - Flemyng Design Photography

Whilst my own creative space has now been packed up in preparation for moving I am sure many of you are very busy in yours, especially as the creative world starts preparing for Christmas. I am excited about this weeks A Day in the Life as I am a keen amateur photographer. This week Katie from Flemyng Design Photography is going to share a day in her life. I will now pass you over to Katie -

Flemyng Design Photography – Katie Holland

Q.How did you get started in photography?

A. My Dad has always been a photographer, so I have dabbled in it for most of my life... mostly with rubbish cameras! A couple of years ago after investing in desktop publishing software (Adobe InDesign) I decided I would produce my own Christmas cards rather than buying them... I made a template I liked and discovered I could adapt it for other subjects. Since then I haven’t bought a single greetings card, but prefer instead to tailor them to the recipient’s interests and tastes.

I managed to sell some of the cards I made at events, and set up a website. Unfortunately this was a non-starter, and I had no takers... so the cards went on the back burner. Earlier in 2010 I decided my little point and shoot digital camera wasn’t really doing what I wanted it to, so I treated myself to a ‘proper’ camera – a Panasonic Lumix G1 DSLR and some macro lenses.

Suddenly I was able to do what I had always wanted to, and never could because I could never get close enough in... photograph flowers intimately and show off their beautiful secrets. Serendipitously I had noticed a growing trend for the writers of some of the blogs I read to make their photos look vintage through the use of filters... and I decided to have a go. From this Flemyng Design photography was born. I discovered that an otherwise fairly ordinary subject (albeit properly composed and cropped) could be transformed with a ‘through the viewfinder’ (TTV) layer which changed the character giving a contemporary image that has a nostalgic twist. I started off on Folksy, but found it very hard to drive traffic there and felt the publishing of the number of sales was off-putting to potential customers as it looked like I was untested. So I decided to develop my own site, which shows the images off to their best advantage and that has been much more successful.

Q. What is a typical creative day for you?

A. As a photographer I don’t tend to have a typical day because it all depends on where I happen to be and the weather conditions. A lot of my photographs are taken locally in my home county of Nottinghamshire... and the seasons are always on the move in terms of flowers, wild or cultivated. Many are taken on trips out or holidays... such as the ‘Of Sea and Shore’ collection which was taken whilst I was down in Cornwall. I suspect I become a pain in the neck on such trips as once I get my eye in I can see potential pictures everywhere, so have to keep stopping to capture them!

Q. What is your creative process?

A. Once my photographs are taken its time to download them onto the computer, scan through initially to find ones I think stand out from the rest and then settle down to cropping. The majority of my final images are square, which I think makes them a bit different from the majority of photos out there, so I need to bear this in mind when I compose the frame. I try to home in on some detail, and avoid getting the subject dead centre. I then work some magic and add my TTV layer, choosing one which complements the colours and subject of the photograph. Images are then uploaded to my various sites and sent to the printer.

Q. Do you create full time, part time or as a hobby?

A. At the moment I would have to say that this was something in between a hobby and part-time. The easy part is taking the photographs... the post production work takes time, marketing and promoting it takes even longer. What I do really enjoy is having a stack of orders which translates into a stack of neatly packed parcels waiting to wing their way out to different parts of the country. I also sew, knit and make jams and jellies, so there is always plenty to be getting on with!

Q. Where do you find inspiration for new ideas/designs?

A. Everything around me. A walk in the garden, a walk in the countryside... a trip round a museum or event like a vintage car rally all throw up endless possibilities! But I am confident that I have found my own ‘style’ now, and am comfortable within that.

Q. Where can your work be found?

A. On my main site  you can get anything as a print or as a card. I have a limited amount of images on folksy and have recently been included in From the Wilde’s exciting new online gallery. Prices start from £2 for a card and £10 for a 5x5 print (incl. p&p).

Thank you very much Katie. I agree it can take time to find your own style within your creative discipline and yours is fabulous.

Flemyng Design Photography

Monday, 6 September 2010

Advertising Giveaway Winners

All the numbers were entered into the Random Number Generator on Saturday evening
and the winners are.....

#21 Dinky Daisy

#70 Dottie Designs

#177 Tigerlily Makes

I have contacted all the winners and have added two badges to the sidebar this morning, with the third being added hopefully later today.

Congratulations to all three winners!

Don't forget this a monthly competition, so good luck for next month!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Fabric Friday - Amy Butler

It has been a short week here in the UK as we had a bank holiday on Monday and life is fairly manic as the children in most parts of England have returned to school this week. Of course it is Friday and that means it's time for some fabric eye candy for all of us fabric addicts! For todays Fabric Friday I have choosen to feature Amy Butler.  I know that I feaured her new wallpaper collection a couple of weeks ago but I realised I had not written a full profile about this fab designer for Fabric Friday.

Amy Butler has become a global household name, especially with people who desire bold patterns that don't shy away from a pale colour palette.  However this did not happen overnight and her success has taken time and alot of energy.  Amy Butler started creating small passport sized bags in the late 80's whilst living in Kansas City, which were well received by small boutiques across the country.  The boutiques were handpicked by Amy herself and her bags were only sold in boutiques that she had choosen and built up a rapport by making personal introductions to each store.

In 1992 Amy Butler returned to Ohio with her husband, David, renting a 150 year old cabin/house in 190 acres of rural farmland. From this home they started their Art of the Midwest studio with approximately $1200.  Amy created surface designs for her friend who became a design rep in New York City, often designing and creating into the night. 

After fixing up two houses and being a contributing editor for Country Living magazine, a fact I was unaware of, with thoughts of her little bags that she had made previously, Amy decided to design sewing patterns. And thank goodness she did, I have several Amy Butler patterns, incuding the Anna Tunic above and two books with plans of adding her new book, Style Stitches:12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags, to my collection very soon. I am also going to have to buy the raincoat pattern, as I love coats!

Amy Butler also designs for Rowan Fabrics, having produced several collections, the latest being Love
and a new collection, Soul Blossoms, is due for release in December, including Twilight Peony that is pictured below.

And also incudes the Passion Lily design below

It is visible in this new collection and in previous collections that Amy Butler is inspired by vintage fabrics and she happily admits that she loves flea markets and the hunt for treasure at these markets.  Amy Butler's inspiration comes from the rich texture of everyday life and avoids sticking to trends.

Yet Amy Butler does not take all the credit for making her brand so successful. Aswell as her husband she lists many people instrumental in her brands success.  And what a brand - fabric, wallpaper, sewing patterns, books, wool and knitting projects, papercraft products, towels, bedding and rugs, amongst others. There really is a bit of Amy Butler design magic for everyone, whether you are a crafter, designer or just want fabulous things for your home.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Sponsor Spotlight - Country Touches

Today I would like to introduce you to my sponsor Country Touches.

Country Touches are an independant business based in North Wales selling gorgeous homewares and soft furnishings via their website.

There is a wonderful choice of products that would look great in a country or shabby chic inspired home.
Many of the items would also make a fabulous gift, whether for a housewarming present, birthday gift or wrapped under the tree at Christmas.

The most appealing thing about Country Touches is the fact that they try and source products from designers and manufacturers in the UK.  They have a section for all the items that are handmade in the UK, including Charlotte Macey Textiles, whom I have featured before.

So why not make a cup of tea and have a browse as I promise you won't be disappointed.

Country Touches

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

My New Blog Shop

After hours of messing around with code and finally working out what I was doing wrong, I have created a Blog Shop.  I will write a full post of how to do this in the next few days!

I will be adding more stock over the coming weeks.

So please visit my new shop!

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