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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

New products - mini handprinted notepads


If you find you have too many ideas, plans, messages or doodles to remember then write them down and declutter your mind with these screen printed mini notepads. Let them do the hard work for you!
Now in the shop - click the photos to be taken through.

 ideas notepad

 notepads


 notepad cotton reel

 messages notepad


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New things for Christmas 2014


Ooops it's been a while hasn't it? Well maybe I have been having a posting break but I'm still very much here- make sure you follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook if you want a bit more live action!

Anyway, recently I've completed my Christmas catalogue which has lots of new products as well as some favourites from last year.

Here's a link below to the catalogue on issue:






 gingerbread decoration

 merry and bright card






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Friday, 7 February 2014

DIY chocolate truffle box



Over the Christmas season my friend celebrated her 50th birthday and I decided I would make her some chocolate truffles and package them up in their own special gift box. I've taken some photos and described the process below so if you looking for birthday, mother's day or valentine gift inspiration  it may help (plus you get to sample the leftovers)!



Chocolate truffles are surprisingly simple to make with their 2 main ingredients being chocolate and cream. Some recipes add butter but I decided to keep it light and added some orange zest at the mixing part. That's the beauty of chocolate truffles you can add all sorts of flavours to create your very own selection box.

THE RECIPE

For 12-16 truffles you'll need:
150 ml double cream
100 grams dark chocolate broken into pieces
100 grams milk chocolate broken into pieces
Grated orange zest or other favourite flavouring

For coating/dusting/decoration
75ml dark chocolate/milk chocolate
Cocoa powder
Icing sugar
White chocolate curls
Baking paper

You'll also need:
Mini paper cases
An empty clear box - I used a Ferraro Rocher box

Some washi tape
Manilla paper
Printer



THE METHOD: 

Gently heat the dark and milk chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Ensure that the chocolate doesn't have contact with the water otherwise it seizes up. This should take around 10 minutes on a gentle heat and you can tell when the chocolate is ready as it takes on a glossy sheen.

Take the bowl off the heat and slowly mix the cream in with the chocolate, you can whisk it by hand or machine until it becomes like a soft buttery consistency. 

Add to the mixture the grated orange zest or other flavouring and then leave to set in the fridge for 30 minutes or preferably over night so it's nicely chilled to work with.

Gather together the cocoa powder and icing sugar so that you're ready to roll the truffles once scooped.

Now for the messy bit! 
Once the chocolate mix is firm use 2 teaspoons to scoop out 12-16 walnut-sized balls and place on the baking paper. Roll a third of them in cocoa powder and a third of them in icing sugar. With the remainder truffles set aside, melt the dark chocolate following previous instructions. Use a fork to drop the truffles in, roll around and then place onto baking paper. Before the chocolate sets hard place a few white chocolate curls on each one.

Put all the chocolates in the fridge whilst you work on preparing the box.



DESIGN TIME

Prepare your design for the box. I used the Ferraro Rocher wrap as a guide for my template which I adapted and you can download here. Once you've personalised it and added your own message, print it out onto some nice paper. I used hairy manilla Kraft paper which has a lovely handmade feel to it.



Take your truffles from the fridge and carefully place each one in a mini paper case. Line the bottom of the box with one of the messages and place your truffles in. Once filled pop the lid on and seal with washi tape (find a huge selection here)!


Finally cut and wrap the design belly-band around the box and seal with more washi tape. Et Voila! Store in the fridge until time to present to your loved one/friend/mum. P.S. the chocolate should last up to 3 days if stored in the fridge.










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Friday, 31 January 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!



Thankfully the chinese celebrate the new year a little later than us brits which is ideal for those of us who have been a little behind in the old blog writing (that'll be me) and can actually have a post that wishes everyone a Happy New Year or more accurately a Kung Hei Fat Choy! When we lived in Hong Kong 2006-08 this time of year was just as exciting as the build up to christmas and shops would shut for at least a few days.



This year my resolution or aim has been to do one thing at a time and so far I would say it is helping me complete projects rather than start a new thing half way through. My office space has benefited with new storage for paper and desks for drawing- I spent around a week just concentrating on getting rid of old stuff, re-filing and building flatpack furniture. Even my computer desktop got a spring clean freeing up a few Gigabytes! It always surprises me how quickly things mount up if you don't clear them out regularly.

Another area I've organised and cleared up is my finances. Every year at the beginning of January I do my tax return and it always fills me with impending dread but actually when I get down to it it really isn't as scary my fears made out. It's more having to tackle the bulging drawer of paper where all my sales and receipts have been thrown throughout the year that is the biggest hurdle. So with staple, poly pocket and lever-arch in hand I've now organised everything into files as well as entered every last digit into excel spreadsheets...and for the time being I'm feeling pretty buoyant leaving me some headspace to think on new things!

I hope your 2014 is shaping up... I'll be back next week with news of projects going on-till then have a lovely week. x




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Friday, 6 December 2013

Support small business saturday!



 support small businesses

I thought I'd just mention briefly about the Small Business Saturday campaign which is held on one of the busiest shopping days of year- the first Saturday in December-and this happens to be tomorrow. It's all about encouraging everyone in the UK to support small businesses up and down the country on that day and beyond.

As a small business owner I really do appreciate any custom I get, especially during the time of year when I know people are looking to spend some money on special gifts for friends and family. I also know that my business can only run because of other small businesses stocking my work, and in turn they can only run if customers are willing to buy the products they hold. So an event like this that draws attention to small businesses is a really great initiative that I hope you too can get excited about promoting!

Do your bit by sharing the campaign with others, buying your gifts from small businesses- whether that's through a local shop, an small online retailer or an online marketplace like  folksy or two red trees or even better get yourself to a local craft fair and buy in person and of course you could even write a blog post! 

Here is my list of stockists who support me so why not visit them if they're close to you and buy a super gift for someone special this Christmas. 

Follow and read more about the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, or the SBS website.


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Monday, 28 October 2013

Outlaw Craft Fair review




Craft Fair: Outlaw Craft Fair
Dates: Saturday 14th September  2013 10-5pm
Venue: St. John's Hall, Penzance
What was the venue like? Spacious and well used- one large hall with stage and one room just off the hall with pop-up supply shop, workshop space and cafe
Cost of stand: £30 
Entrance: £1.50 with £5 for specific workshops that ran during the day
Crowd:
 Women of all ages and families with a spattering of gentlemen
Footfall: Busy from the onset with slight drop off after lunch
Organisation: Incredible amount of organisation went into the entire event and it showed on the day. Organised by Judi Wildeman, Josh Wildeman and a fantastic team of helpful folk on the day.
Sales: Really good -  unexpected for the time of year and area.
Would you do it again? Yes definitely!




'If craft fairs could be entered for Britain's got Talent this one would steal the show...'

I was contacted by the Outlaw team back in May to see if I would be interested in applying for a stall and from there you could tell this wasn't going to be your average craft fair experience- a funky logo, an appealing website, an online presence via Facebook and twitter- yep they were planning something big!

Here's a list of what was on offer for the day:
  • 40 designer-maker stalls (chosen through an application process- meaning the organisers could curate and promote confidently what and who would be turning up) 
  • live demos on the demo table that rotated during the day run by designer-makers 
  • demos that happened on the stalls as designer-makers sold their work
  • over 5 pre-bookable workshops for £5 covering a range of crafty projects
  • a dedicated kids craft area - the Crafty Kids Treehouse - where they could make 5 different outlaw kits
  • a pop-up deli with amazing cakes, drinks and a wide selection of savoury goods
  • a pop-up supply shop so folk could buy useful bits and bobs to create their own projects
  • live music from local acoustic guitar player and singer Nick Mears
  • warm, inviting, open, learning atmosphere
So basically you could turn up in the morning and not need to leave the place till close- in fact that's what I heard a couple of ladies did!

   



Plus here were the perks for having a stall:
  • Free tea/coffee - all day! (just had to bring your own mug)
  • easy access to unload and pack up
  • very close parking and only £1.90 for the whole day
  • opportunity to demo your makes and offer workshops if you wanted
  • online inclusion and linkage on the Outlaw craft fair website
  • being promoted through the Outlaw craft fair facebook pages
  • two free tickets for the fair
  • opportunity to talk and meet with other talented designer-makers
  • opportunity to feedback to the organisers at the end of the event



In the lead up to the fair the organisers were certainly active in marketing the fair with frequent Facebook posts of makers work, behind the scene images of Outlaw HQ, a competition to win a VIP goody bag, as well as traditional advertising in local papers, sending out postcard packs to all involved  and clear signage on the day. A good incentive was offering the first 20 customers through the doors an Outlaw Craft Fair gift bag filled with all sorts of crafty goodies. 





Having been to Renegade fair in London which funnily enough ran a year ago to the day of Outlaw Craft Fair I'd have to say it compared favourably perhaps even pipping it with the convenience of the pop up cafe and great array of workshops and demos. The atmosphere was certainly one of relaxed learning and excitement to discover new craft and design with the knock on effect of interest and direct sales for stall-holders. Since the fair I've also had a number of wholesale enquiries from stockists who came to the fair seeking new products.  


The Outlaw team's attention to detail and professionalism really showed on the day and for a first time event they pulled it out of the bag! The brand have established themselves as a trusted provider of a well run craft fair and I'm hoping they continue- they've got the makings of a great business supporting and bringing Cornwall designer-makers to the wider craft scene and general public, as well as encouraging and inspiring more folk to get crafty. So for now watch this space






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