Making Fairy Dresses!

Making Fairy Dresses!

It’s been quite a while in the planning but I’m almost ready to open up The Patchwork Fairy Etsy shop selling the new range of patchwork fairy dresses. There’s lots of tulle, lace and ribbon and it’s all very pretty!

Pink, yellow, blue lace being sewn onto lilac gauze

Sewing some lacy trim on a fairy underskirt!


Pink lace being sewn onto lilac fairy dress

Pink lace trim


As well as the new range of dresses there will be the fairy necklaces and earrings I’ve been selling for quite a while now.

Fairy Pendant made from glass beads.

Camali Fairy Pendant


Fairy earring made from glass beads

Fairy earring with blue wings


Here’s a sneak peak at a sweet little lemon yellow dress! The bodice is crocheted in lemon cotton with little pink flowers.  Around the middle of the dress is a trim of yellow, pink and white fabric flowers.

Yellow Fairy dress

Lemon yellow cottton bodice with yellow and white tulle skirt.

So to find out when the finished items go on sale and grab an opening discount check out the Patchwork Fairy Facebook page over the next couple of days!

Abakhan Secret Sale and an E Course!

The Abakhan Secret Sale! Wow!  I am so lucky as I live in the middle of 4 Abakhans!  Chester, Mostyn, Birkenhead and Liverpool!  Yesterday was the much advertised ‘secret’ sale at the Mostyn branch.  I have been really hoping I would be able to walk enough to get round the fabric shops again and although I can’t go for long without pain I am so much better than I was two week’s ago!

Being a lucky golden ticket holder I, and a friend, were  able to access the sale at 10am (an hour early) after having a complementary bacon batch and coffee in the café.  We didn’t rush off at 10 although as other golden ticket holders were getting moving we didn’t dawdle over the coffees too long!  There’s something about a sale which makes you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t get in there quick and get rooting!

We weren’t disappointed – there was plenty of fabric and yarn and some ex-display items to purchase, like wool holders.  My favourite place was the ex-display hanging upholstery fabrics  which were £1 a hanger, and the big box of cut- offs which was ‘fill a bag for £10!

cream,red, fabric with leaves on

the red leaf upholstery fabric

red, brown and cream fabric

the red shades


purple fabric

Purple shades!

pirple fabric

the purple shades


rainbow of fabric shades

Folk Collection – love all these shades for patchwork!


small coloured pieces in varying fabrics – ‘Folk Collection’

I managed to get loads in my £10 bag and found some useful pieces like this cotton with sweetie jars on it!

fabric with pink sweetie jars on

Sweetie-jars fabric


other fabrics from the ‘fill a bag’ box

So, as you can see I have plenty of fabric to keep me busy!  It’s not like I don’t have a big enough stash already, I just couldn’t help myself when the prices were so low.  We were very lucky to be the early ones in though as when we left to go and recover in the café there was a queue right round the whole site!

It’s definitely worth keeping a look out for the next one and registering interest for a discount ticket.  We had 15% discount to spend outside of the sale as well.  Finally at around 3pm we bought some more drinks, had our complementary chocolate pudding and went home!

Fabric shopping, coffee, chocolate and a day out with a friend – what a lovely weekend!  Sorry if I’ve overdone it about going out but after months of pain and limited mobility it was wonderful and worth it even though I limped round the last bit and back to the car!

As well as going to have my days filled with lots of sewing in the near future  I’m doing the Create and thrive e-course which Vicky recommended to us a couple of week’s ago!  I Think the lack of constant pain has gone to my head and I can’t stop wanting to do stuff!  So far the course is really making me think about Patchwork Fairy and how I want things to eventually progress.  It’s a 30 day course and we’ve only had 7 days yet so I am excited to see where it takes me…

Anyhoo – time to link up with Handmade Monday again at Lucy Blossom Crafts – wonder if any of the Handmade Mondayers were at Mostyn? Do let me know if you were!

Photographing – Light or Dark Backgrounds?

Hello again, I’ve spent quite a lot of time week researching business advice sites and photography tips. I read a thought-provoking article about photographing jewellery and textiles which compared the effects of using light and dark backgrounds and  ‘real life’ set ups – using accessories and props to display the items.

I’d be really interested to know what any of you thought about the different backgrounds I’ve used below for the same items and which you think is best for showcasing things and which looks most like the sort of pictures we are supposed to aim for when selling.

using prop!

using prop!


light background

light background

or these-

light background

light background

dark background

dark background

earrings with props!

earrings with props!

light background

light background

dark background

dark background

so over to Handmade Monday – all comments gratefully received!!


Review of Crafty What Nots!

A couple of week’s ago I had a very exciting delivery in the post!

brown box postal delivery

Crafty What Nots Box arrives!

I love getting parcels and this one contained completely unknown items which made it all the more exciting!   It was lovely opening it up and seeing a hint of the contents through the opaque white tissue paper!

inside all wrapped up!

inside all wrapped up!

This is ‘Floral Pavillion’ sample of  a Crafty What Nots box of craft goodies from!

Here are the contents!

craft items

beautifully packaged craft items

Opened out!

craft bits and bobs - even a note book with my name on!

craft bits and bobs

There were floral cut outs, buttons, coloured twine, sticky pads, some butterfly embellishments, two little magnets, two coloured chalky ink pads, a flower stencil, not to mentions some very nice paper and card stock!!

pretty floral craft papers

floral and vintage themed papers and cardstock

The selection contained paper and card of different thicknesses and finish – I especially like the textured vintage florals!


All this had been sent to me by Jenny for me to review as part of her new business venture Crafty What Nots!

Included were some white ready folded card to make into greetings cards or anything else which you might dream up!

pristine white card stock, prettily packaged

pristine white card stock, prettily packaged

Within the box Jenny sends some detailed instructions on how to make your own sweet little cardboard handbag!

detailed instructions

detailed instructions

and also some suggestions for other projects!

project ideas using the contents from the box

project ideas using the contents from the box

I haven’t used all the craft items yet but I did try out the chalky ink pads as the Peony and Blue colours really appealed to me.  I used these and some of the floral shaped embellishments  to make two cards!  Jenny supplies little sticky foam pads so making the cards was easy!



first attempt at cards

I thought the plant card would just need a ‘happy birthday’ stamp at the side to finish it off but I haven’t got one of my own so will sort through the Craftseller free papers and I am sure I will find something!

I also made myself a little floral storage box!


I have to say I really had fun making these things and I still have a lot of the content to continue creating pretty things.  The contents inside the delivery box were presented beautifully and all of the items were useful as well as attractive.  Even the ribbons and twine used to tie the items together could be used in a project.

Jenny sends out these boxes on request and the one I received, contains around  £20 of retail price craft items but would only cost you £12.50 plus £2.50 p&p.

There are discounts available if you order more than one at a time, and each has different themes. – see Jenny’s  website for more information!

I think these boxes would make a very exciting gift to send to a crafty friend or family member.  Imagine being off sick, laid up in bed and receiving one of these instead of flowers!!   There are all sorts of occasions when these boxes would be fun to receive – including treating yourself!!

Well I hope you enjoyed the peak into the box!  I’m now going to link up with Handmade Monday and see what else is going on in the crafty world! x

Labelling Handmade Goods

Well I’m on countdown to chrimbo now!  The Handmade fair that is, not the actual feast day on the 25th!  I have table runners, lap quilts, bunting etc all over the craft room and woolly granny squares all round the living room!  I am really looking forward now to seeing what sells and what may not,  as several Handmade Monday people have said before, you can get a good idea of what people think about your stuff when you are selling in person.

Next week I have to attend to label making and pricing!  All the traders have recently been contacted by Trading Standards in London to alert us to what we need to have in place on our stall and on our paperwork and on our goods.  If anyone isn’t aware of what complying with Trading Standards entails in terms of labelling handmade goods and documentation needed etc I would suggest you research the TS website or contact your local branch as you may be surprised to find all you need to do!  For my  items I have to label them with the type and % used of every textile included unless it’s a decoration amounting to 7% or less of the finished item.  Any jewellery sold has to have proof that the parts you bought were sold (and had been tested) in line with nickel regulations – this means asking the supplier for a statement of compliance.  I wonder how many jewellery sellers at the forthcoming 02 fair have all the supporting evidence in place already?  I suppose all sellers  should already know these things but if you only occasionally trade at little craft fairs this is never brought up when booking a stall and I have never traded at a large event before.  Even our table cover must be made from flame retardant material, so no use getting out the big sheet I have used at smaller events!

So that’s my work next week – labelling my handmade goods and also preparing receipts in advance as these have to be issued to every customer and need my name and address printed on them. This has been a big undertaking for me  –  I wonder if I will find it all worth it?  – I will let you know in December!

Christmas Market Makes

Managed to make a few more things towards the Handmade Christmas Market at the 02 this week.  It’s getting near now and I am very excited!

Patchwork Tote in Scrappy fabrics with matching fabric handles

Patchwork Tote Bag

Christmas Table Runner using Joy and Peace fabric

Christmas Table Runner!

Christmas Countdown Calendar - the little present pockets

Alternative Advent Calendar!

This patchwork bag was based on the tutorial at Sew Mama Sew.  I used much tinier scrap pieces in mine and made the fabric handles instead of using webbing.  However I have now managed to get some and so the next ones will have cream cotton handles.










This is a Christmas table runner in lovely thick white fabric with ‘Joy’ and ‘Peace’ and ‘Love’ printed on it as well as snowflakes and reindeer!  It’s padded and backed in red but not quilted.










This is the start of an alternative type of advent calendar.  I am cutting up Christmas fabric into little squares and sewing them onto a plain cream background to make 7 little pockets which can hold 7 little presents for the 7 days leading up to Christmas.  My mum did something similar for us as children and I have continued it with my grandchildren too so I thought it might make a good sell at the Christmas market!


The next task now is pricing!  I hate this part – I have read loads of articles and books on the ‘art (science?) of pricing’ and yet the main feeling I have is – all this is no good if items don’t sell – the pricing needs to fit the situation as well.  Shop prices are somewhat higher in London than the provinces – but does this apply to handmade craft fairs or has the boom in online sales evened out the regional differences?    Another quandary is, I imagine over a 3 day event sellers are expected to hold back stock to ensure enough is for sale on the last day, but how to do this without ending up with unsold items at the end?  I would appreciate some advice on what others have done if anyone has exhibited at an event longer than one day.

Maybe the Handmade Mondayers can help?  I’m linking up at Handmade Harbour again for a lovely evening’s blog reading and maybe some helpful advice?!!


Making and Posting!

I am feeling much better this week, thank you to everyone for the get well wishes!

This week I have been making and sorting my items for a craft fair yesterday.  The fair was another dismal one with hardly any footfall. People around me sold nothing – some left early, obviously fed up.  I only  sold 3 things 🙁  but I received an email  custom request from Folksy so that cheered me up!

Something I wanted to ask all the lovely crafters at Handmade Harbour is whether or not you all know about the postal increases from Tuesday?   Not only are prices increasing – but categories have been altered – for the worst as far as posting by handmade sellers are concerned. The Post Office lady explained it to me when I went to post one of my Faery Gardens which sold on Folksy this week.

Glass jar with ivy and yellow flowers hanging down with a little dainty faery sitting on green glassbase

Faery Garden

I boxed up this bottle garden and wrote “FRAGILE”  and “KEEP THIS WAY UP” all over the box.  It cost £2.70 first class which was fine. – BUT – then the Post offfice lady explained that  ‘Fragile’  items don’t get any special treatment and will be tipped out of the sack along with everything else. (duh?)   The most you can hope for is that they won’t kick it about !!!!  I haven’t heard from my buyer yet as to whether she received it undamaged.  I have posted one before which arrived safely so I am really hoping this will too!

However,  she then dropped the bombshell that along with the increase in postal charges the categorization is changing,  so that a small box similar to mine would no longer be classsed as a packet, but would from now on be a small parcel with the associated charge of £5.30 at PRE rate changes!  Who knows what it will be from tomorrow?

So now what do I do about my Faery Gardens?  I sell them for £5 – no-one is going to pay more postage than the item costs to buy – effectively doubling the cost. Although there is no increase for ordinary first and second class post, Royal Mail are reducing the size allowed  for ‘letters’ and ‘large letters’ so that fewer items will fit into these categories.

If you want to check out what it will mean for your business will tell you!

I think these changes will have implications for sellers of handmade items which are at the lower end of the price range.  Someone buying something  as big as a Faery Bottle Garden but costing say £40 won’t be as bothered at a £5 p&p as someone buying something under £10. Has anyone any thoughts about what they will do?  Over to Handmade Monday!!

Reading Not Crafting!

Amazingly after being sick for a week I had one day of action and  then went down with a cold !  It could be because my recently returned traveller son has been ill upstairs for the last few days and guess who has been waiting on him? Hmmmm!

Anyway I haven’t been able to do any creating or making for days now but have used the time ill to read  a couple of marketing books.  First I read Commercial Creatives by Mike Carthew and  Anna Ward which I bought for my Kindle after reading about it in Wendy’s Handmade Harbour giveaway.  I enjoyed the book and it has quite a lot of good advice, some of which a lot of us already know, but it sometimes takes reading it in print to bring the points home! This book is good if you want to grow your business to be more than just a hobby and, I felt, was more targeted at people who were already having a degree of success.

I have already put into place some of the advice from the book in regards to marketing and next I will be redesigning my online shops to make things more streamlined and improving my product pictures!

Another book I would recommend if you have an Etsy shop is “How to create an income from home with a successful and profitable etsy shop’, by Rebecca Garlardo.  This is very good for new, and experienced Etsy sellers who aren’t getting enough sales. It has some valuable advice about not accepting sales commissions without doing all the maths first to see if it is a) possible in the time given, and b) profitable.

Both these books are fairly cheap on a Kindle which is a bonus but you may find that some of the text in tables, or links is very faint. I think these must be coloured text and my Kindle is only black and white.

So that was my creative week! What’s been going on everywhere else I wonder? Time to pop over to Handmade Monday and see what all the other crafty folk have been up to!

Showcasing products

This week I haven’t made much as after last week’s giveaway from Wendy at Handmade harbour I was inspired to try and look at my craft business from all angles and see how it could become more commercially viable.  I had really enjoyed reading the snippets from the ‘Commercial Creatives’ book which was one of the prizes,  and as I didn’t win,  I decided I would buy it.  I love ‘real’ books but they can  be heavy and  I have a Kindle it seemed the obvious choice to choose the e- download version.  So woohoo, within a few moments I was reading the book.!  If you missed the post last week here is a  link  to the book.   So far I am lapping up every bit of advice and information.  I haven’t read it all so will review it again when I have finished.

Looking critically round my craft room I was  thinking  that it is just too messy and haphazard to inspire my creativity.  Then under a heap of (haphazard) patchwork squares  I found the lovely little photo album my daughter bought me for christmas with idea being that I take pictures of all my work and stick them in the photo album as a showcase for all the things I make.   Then I have something to take with me to craft fairs for people to browse through and maybe ask for a custom order!  So now I am collecting all my items and printing out pictures of things I’ve already sold ready to stick in the album.

Hopefully I will have a showcase album soon which I will take a picture of for this blog!

Happy blogging and crafting everyone

Ali  xx