Makers Monday, featuring RubyRedcrafts

The first instalment of Makers Monday was a real success and I’m bursting with excitement to share the second one with you! This week, I’ve decided to introduce you to RubyRedcrafts who has the most adorable Etsy shop. Rachel Whitworth is the creative genius behind Rubyredcrafts and hand makes pretty decorative homewares, party decor and gifts, all made with plenty of love and TLC in the Oxfordshire countryside.

I first discovered Rachel through Instagram and it’s been lovely to see the ‘behind the scenes’ photographs and general snippets of her day-to-day life.

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rainbow coloured fabric heart garland

One of the things I love the most about Rachel’s work are the vibrant colours she uses. They all work so well together and have such a happy feel about them. The photography used is perfect, as the neutral background really allows the garlands to shine. If I had any one of these garlands hanging on my wall, they would certainly put a smile on my face every time I caught sight of them.

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Red Polkadot and Floral Fabric Heart Garland

I can imagine these garlands making anywhere look special really, but especially for a party. These garlands would make any dessert table come to life, or would even look perfect hanging from multiple places in a wedding venue. I’ve noticed a long standing wedding trend for vintage suitcases and crates being used as wedding card holders. Any of these garlands would work incredibly well for that and would add a very special touch to your wedding day.

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If you’re a dog lover like me, you’re bound to love this scottie dog garland. Again, the colours used are just lovely and the fabric choices are stunning. Just please don’t tell my miniature poodles, Felix and Mabel that I have been looking at scottie dogs, as they will not be best pleased, ssssh!

I’m not sure what the weather is like in your part of the world today, but it’s rather dismal in Somerset, so these gorgeous creations have done a pretty good job in cheering me up. I hope they have made you happy too! I look forward to sharing the next Makers Monday post with you and hope you’re feeling super inspired!

 

 

Makers Monday, featuring Shopwillynilly

I’m not really one for setting new years resolutions, I usually just set myself a series of goals relating to my personal/work life. One of my many work goals was to start a regular feature on my blog which others will hopefully love to read and will find lots of inspiration from. Some of you may already know how much I LOVE Instagram. I dedicate a lot of time to it and as a result, have been introduced to some absolutely wonderful makers. My idea for ‘Makers Monday’ revolves around me dedicating an entire blog post to an inspirational maker each week, meaning my blog will be full of not only craft tutorials (and general ramblings) but will also be a wonderful resource for staying inspired and up-to-date with current makers.

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Let me introduce to you to Shopwillynilly set up by Chelsey, who is based in Truro, England. I’ve been admiring Chelsey’s work for some time, mostly through her Instagram account. Her photographs are just wonderful and capture her products beautifully. You can clearly see her excellent attention to detail, wonderful eye for colour, pattern and texture and most importantly, her strong sense of originality.

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Chelsey’s shop is the perfect place for any bride-to-be’s, looking for stylish, shabby chic wedding decor, made with lots of love and TLC. Chelsey’s shop is perfect for special gifts and wedding favours too.

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I bought lots of these adorable jars for my own wedding, as you may have seen on an older post here and wish I had of seen these personalised hearts back then. Homemade jam and chutney have been popular wedding favour ideas for a while now and I can definitely imagine these hearts looking fabulous if used to adorn culinary delights of that sort.

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I would be overjoyed to receive a beautiful keyring such as this one at a loved ones wedding. It’s such a special thought that your guests will be holding on to something forever from your big day. This seems so much more thoughtful (and useful) than the standard place card. The same thought which comes into my head again and again, of ‘why didn’t I see/think of this for my own wedding?’ makes me giggle! There is just far too much inspiration out there.

There is much more to see and swoon over in this beautiful shop. If you do go and take a peek, be warned that you are likely to want to buy everything in sight and may need to exercise some sort of self control!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my first ‘Makers Monday’ post, I really can’t wait to share the next one with you. If you’re planning your wedding at the moment, feel free to pin away! (Gosh, the hours I spent on Pinterest whilst planning my own wedding…)

If you’re reading this and would really like to be featured on one of my other instalments, please comment below and I’ll be in touch. I’d love to hear from you and support fellow makers!

Homemaker Magazine features Paper Doily

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Today is a very special day, as I’ve been featured in the current issue of Homemaker Magazine as their Reader Maker. Issue 40 is out for sale today and is absolutely wonderful. Friday has surely got to be the most perfect day for any magazine of this kind to come out, right? An entire weekend ahead dedicated to stitching, knitting, crochet and patchwork? Yes please!

Reading the article this morning really got me thinking about how much I’ve achieved with Paper Doily since setting it up in 2014. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day living without taking the time to look back and appreciate the milestones you’ve made along the way.

I’ve received a lot questions lately about what advice I have for crafters starting out on a similar business path. I feel the above article really sums a lot of these questions up, whilst hopefully inspiring others, giving them the confidence they need to get going. Having faith in yourself and your work throughout the good times and the bad times is a fundamental quality in staying on the path to success. There will be absolutely wonderful times ahead where you feel you are on top of the world, followed by the times where life/day to day tasks just get on top of you completely. Keeping your faith, continuing to put in the hard work required and staying motivated are important qualities, and ones which will see you through well!

I thought it would be very helpful to share my top 10 tips for starting your own craft business with you, derived from my experience since starting out almost two years ago.

  1. Write a business plan and ask yourself what it is about your product/s that potential customers will want. Do you feel your products will be desirable?
  2. Who are your customers and where will you find them?
  3. Establish who your competitors are and ask yourself what your business can offer differently. Originality will set you apart from the rest.
  4. Have a marketing/advertising strategy. You can offer the most amazing products but without making a name for yourself and making others aware of your products, your business just won’t be sustainable long term.
  5. Spend a reasonable amount of time on pricing your products, it should not be an after thought. Find out what your customers are willing to pay and what other business costs to factor into your pricing model. Ensure you are not operating at a loss and avoid a ‘race to the bottom’ by lowering prices if you are struggling to sell. Instead, assess whether you are reaching the right target market and make adjustments to the product if you feel it is necessary.
  6. Identify your suppliers and try to make a good/long lasting relationship with them.
  7. What is your key asset? What is it about your business that will help you win potential customers?
  8. Stay motivated. There will be times when life just gets in the way of business (as explained above). Have some coping strategies in place. I live in the countryside and tend to take myself off on a long stroll. I’m also a serial list maker, so I tend to break down difficult tasks into small pieces if the task at hand seems too much.
  9. Stay on top of your accounts. Google drive is very handy for this. It will help you to avoid long amounts of unnecessary work when you could be doing more enjoyable tasks, such as being creative (as you do best!)
  10. Have fun! Remind yourself why you started your business in the first place and constantly come back to this at moments of struggle. It will keep you motivated and will help you to stay grounded!

 

I really hope you enjoyed reading. If you have any more questions or comments then please let me know, I’d love to hear from you. Have a lovely weekend and thank you so much for visiting my blog!

 

Paper Doily Makes: Spring Wreaths

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First of all I’d like to wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year! This post comes a little later than expected as I’ve been a little busy in my workroom creating these beauties. I like to describe them as being Spring wreaths, as the pastel colours remind me immensely of my favourite season. Do you agree?

I used foam wreath bases which are readily available from most craft stores and come in many different shapes and sizes. I find Hobbycraft generally has a good selection and that is where mine came from. I had once intended to teach myself patchwork and quilting but never got around to it (it’s still on my bucket list) and at the time, I bought a lot of fat quarters. I thought it’d be the perfect time to use some of them up, seeing as though they were looking rather lonely!

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I began by cutting the fabric into long strips. I then wound each piece of fabric over the base of the wreath, using a hot glue gun to secure the fabric as I went along. A hot glue gun will definitely be your best friend for this, I promise!

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As you can see, I then made some beautiful felt flowers and I’ll be posting a felt flower tutorial very soon, as I have an idea up my sleeve which I’m pretty sure you’re going to love. For now, a simple ‘felt flower tutorial’ google search should point you in the right direction. The only materials you should need are felt, scissors (don’t use your best fabric ones, as felt causes scissors to become quite blunt over time) a hot glue gun and some pretty embellishments such as buttons or beads. Once you’re finished making the felt flowers, you can use your hot glue gun to secure them into place on the wreath.

I have lots of ribbon and twine in my workroom so fortunately for me, it wasn’t too much of a task to find some left overs for the hanging ribbon.

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Here are some close up’s of my finished wreaths to give you some inspiration.

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Voila! I hope I’ve given you the creative bug for wreath making and I promise you my felt flower tutorials will be coming soon. You can call this a little teaser. As you may know, craft tutorials are a big love of mine and I have many more here, which you may wish to check out. If you would like to see more of my finished crafts, you can find Paper Doily Party Shop on etsy.

Happy crafting!