Project: Mass Production

3 Jun

Where I live, our local village holds a May Fayre and a Frost Fayre every May and December respectively. While the May Fayre seems to be getting more and more quiet every year, the Frost Fayre always seems to be heaving, and the stalls are full of people selling expensive products as Christmas gifts.

As my friend and I are both into the crafty side of things, reguarly cardmaking and cross stitching together, we’ve decided to spend the month of June seeing just how much “stock” we can generate in a month. We thought that if we can make enough, we’re going to enquire about signing up to have our own stall at this year’s Frost Fayre, selling smaller things such as cards, tree decorations, then we can go crazy making things to sell on our stall. If we can’t make enough for the Frost Fayre, we’ll have a think about starting now and signing up for next year instead 🙂

So far, I have spent just one evening with a bit of papercraft, and managed to put 5 cards together in two hours (which isn’t a bad rate of production if you ask me). I have plans for some little heart sachet tree decorations I want to make, and I know my friend has bought some cheap fabris and she’s going to attempt to make a few small handbags to sell as gift ideas. I also want to buy the ingredients I need to make some bath bombs (instructions for which I’ve found in Kirstie Alsopp’s book “Craft” which was a birthday present off my friend this year).

I’ll update my blog with the progress we’re making on our production line: this could be the start of an annual venture if all goes to plan, so expect a few upcoming posts about things I’ve made to sell.

I am rather excited about the prospect of selling our own handmade items on – essentially – a market stall. Gifts and cards for Christmas: handmade and homemade inspired items are everywhere at the moment, so we’re taking the advantage and seeing what we can do.

Fingers crossed, and wish us luck 🙂

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Butterflies

30 May

Butterflies seem to be around a lot at the moment, embellishing everything from cards to handbags. When I saw this card idea I just had to have a go at making them myself.

This card uses another idea from Papercraft Inspirations using a large butterfly punch and a small butterfly punch. A section was removed from the front of the card, then the butterflies attached across the gap using a small amount of glue. The smaller butterflies were then mounted on the card by the bodies only, so that once the glue was dried the wings could be lifted up.

I’ve made this card so many times over the last few weeks, using different colour combinations each time, and each end result is slightly different. I particuarly like the effect of the colour scheme on the second card displayed on this page, and I love how for the sake of an hour or two, I can create a fair few of these.

Keep crafting 🙂

Happy Birthday – Self Designing Patterns

12 May

A lot of the cross stitch patterns I use are from magazines, books and kits. I do, however, want to start designing my own patterns to sew which does prove to be very difficult for someone like me with very little artistic talent. I have had a go at it though, and this was the pattern I came up with for a birthday card (admittedly using one or two alphabet designs dotted about in my stash to help):

I used the internet to find all the different translations for “Happy Birthday” – on a side note it did amaze me how long the phrase “Happy Birthday” is in pretty much every language. Particularly German for some reason hence why I opted not to use that language in the design. It did take a while for me to squeeze several phrases onto my page of squared paper, but I am happy with the outcome.

The languages I’ve used are:

Happy Birthday – English

Penblywydd Hapus – Welsh

Bon Anniversaire – French

Iyi Ki Dogdun – Turkish

Buon Compleanno – Italian

Parabens – Portugese

If for any reason my translations are incorrect I do apologise; the only language I am fluent in is English. If they are wrong please blame Google search, not me o:-)

I have also designed a “Thankyou” card in the same theme as this pattern, but I have yet to get that one stitched for a tester.

I’m also planning on designing a “Merry Christmas” one.

Keep crafting 😉

Silver Wedding Invites

2 May

It’s my parents 25th Wedding Anniversary this December, and my mother has decided that she wants to throw a garden party (early, in the summer as opposed to winter) as a celebration. If you know my parents you know this is cause to get excited, as their garden parties are pretty epic 🙂

My mother was talking about buying some invites to send out to everyone invited, and I had to point out that she could save a fortune by making them herself (she wanted some 50 invited and the ones she liked in the shop were £2.99 for 6). As my mum suffers with MS, she asked me to help her do this (my mum ended up refusing to do anything except measure and cut things I needed), and this was the result of a whole afternoons work:

We went for a silver and white theme, as it is for a silver wedding party, and my mother is very into simple yet stylish, and I think these cards sum her personality up perfectly.

The word ‘invitation’ was added using a stamp with silver ink, and I don’t know how it ended up straight all 58 times I stamped it, but it did. The ribbon was attached using double sided sticky tape, and does a complete loop around the inside and outside of the card, and the two little hearts are simple adhesive gems to save us fiddling around with glue and getting ourselves all sticky.

We wound up spending around £25 on supplies to make these invites, and we still have stuff left over in case my mum wants any more conjured up. If she’d gone ahead and bought the ones she liked in the shop (which she admitted to me later she didn’t like as much as the ones we made) we’d have spent around £30, and there would have been no guarantee she’d have been able to get more of the same if she needed more. They didn’t have enough in the shop for the numbers she wanted them in anyway.

I guess the moral of this story is handmade over shop bought any day. It was my first attempt at mass producing any kind of creative work. I tend to make things once then not make them again for a while, if ever again, but I did enjoy doing this. Once I got into the rhythm of putting these cards together I got faster and faster; it only took us around two and a half hours of actual crafting to put them together. It did take my mother about an hour to decide what she actually wanted though.

Make it yourself, don’t go and buy it just because it’s easier. You might surprise yourself 🙂

Penblwydd Hapus

12 Apr

My other half’s brother is very passionate about his Welsh heritage, and so for his birthday I decided to use a pattern I have in my stash for a Welsh dragon to make a card fitting for someone so proud.

Cross Stitch

The cross stitch itself is a very simple one, from a kit to make a key ring. The dragon is stitched mainly in red, with a little bit of white backstitch. This was the same dragon pattern I used to change the flag on the Wedding Sampler I stitched last year.

Card Layout

Of course the card is styled so that it looks like the Welsh flag, with a dragon on the green grass. This was achieved by inserting the stitch into an aperture of a white card, then cutting a strip of green card out and removing the half-aperture from it. Welsh stickers translating to read “Happy Birthday” were then added to fill the blank space on the card.

The uniqueness of the Welsh flag does mean that it makes a very effective card, especially when the dragon is cross stitched. It was so easy to come up with the idea for this card, and it’s a shame not all flags would work as well in cross stitch cards, otherwise I could create a selection of Nationality themed cards.

Keep crafting 🙂

Happy 17th Birthday Card

7 Apr

Let’s be honest, most of us in the UK start learning to drive once we turn 17. My little sister (who’s now 20) was no different, and for her birthday my parent’s had bought her a little blue Clio to learn to drive in.

I decided it would be appropriate to make her a car-themed birthday card for her 17th birthday, with a personalised numberplate, and this was the product of much planning and crafting:

I love this card. I cannot remember the thought process that went into it, but I do love it. Of course that is my sister sat behind the wheel of the blue car; the wipers, wheel and tyres were cut from black card and the windshield and headlights from white card.

The only cross stitch on the card is the numberplate, which was copied from a simple alphabet pattern I found in a book I was using at the time.

I remember spending a lot of time drawing out templates for this card, and getting very stressed that the shape of the car wasn’t what I wanted etc etc, but I am proud of the final product. It’s a shame I didn’t keep the template really,in case I ever feel the need to create this card again. If I decide to do it, I imagine my living room will suddenly became a stressful zone again hehe.

I’ll give you a warning if it’s set to happen 😉

Octopus – Self Designing Patterns

3 Apr

A while back for a friend’s birthday I decided (as she’s a keen marine biologist and was doiing her dissertation on cuttlefish) that for her 21st birthday I’d stitch her a card with an octopus on it; an octupus being the closest thing to a cuttlefish I could think of.


Cross Stitch

At the time, I couldn’t find any octopus patterns I liked, so the cross stitch pattern I used I ended up designing myself. Graph paper is simply fabulous for copying and designing patterns on.

For this one, I used the basic shape of a balloon pattern I had or the octopus head, and added eyes and a backstitched mouth, then the legs drawn randomly extending from the base of the balloon. It took a while for me to get an octopus I was happy with, but I’m very happy with the final result.

Card Layout

I opted to embellish the card simply (I seem to do that a lot don’t I?) by layering the stitch onto a square of patterned paper which was patterned to look like the ocean, then layered again onto a blue card. The two foam fish stickers (from a pack from Accessorize) add to the underwater theme of the card.

I haven’t actually used this pattern again since I stitched it the first time, and I honestly have no reasons as to why not. I’m not very confident at designing my own cross stitch designs; I tend to use a lot from magazines and books. I am quite happy adapting them to suit my own personal needs, but I don’t really have any artistic talent whatsoever, and this does put me off designing patterns.

This is probably the only cross stitch I have ever done using an original design, and I would like to make a lot more cards this way, rather than borrowing other peoples’ ideas.

I just don’t think I’m creative enough to be able to do it 😦