Interview with the Creator – Shannon Murphy

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Shannon Murphy was holidaying in Cornwall in the summer of 2016, and she happened to be in Redruth perusing the shops when she saw a sign in the window of what was to become The Craft Collective. Shannon is based in Huddersfield and having studied Fashion and textiles, she started up Made by Shannon in her spare bedroom and brought her witty and brilliant sense of humour to cards, coasters, zip bags, make up bags, notebooks and much more.

Describe your typical working day

I work mainly from home. I will start the morning answering any emails and writing my list of jobs to do and then spend the day cutting fabric, sewing or painting.
Some evenings are spent watching my favourite programs on the sofa, while packaging greetings cards.

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What inspires you?

Everything!

How did you get started with art/craft

I have always been a creative person. When I was young my mum would buy me mounds of art and craft supplies and I would spend hours at the table sticking and gluing.
I studied fashion and textiles at collage and then did one and a half years at Manchester Metropolitan University studying fashion design. I left because it wasn’t for me, however taking this route has taught me my sewing skills and how to work out patterns.

What made you start your own business

After leaving university I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, I left without a plan.
In my student house we had a tiny room, not even big enough for a bed. So I claimed it and set up my sewing machine.
After 6 months of working in retail, I began to start sewing again and looking through all my sewing books for inspiration. After making a wide selection of products I realised I could start selling what I made and my business started.

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What is the biggest lesson you have learnt

To seek help wherever you can find it. Other people have been there and done it and the information and help can be invaluable.

when did you get started?

July 2015. My business is still a baby and I have a long way to go but I feel I have achieved some great things in that time.

What three things would you go back and tell yourself?

•Your work will constantly change, but thats ok.
•Ask people any questions, they can only say no.
•Be patient, starting a business takes time and you will never know everything.

What has been your biggest achievement in your business

I share a studio in Manchester Craft and Design Centre – Manchester, with a lovely lady called Jessica, she owns her own textile business, Fibre. She approached me after seeing my work online and asked if I would work from the shop 2 days a week and sell my products in there. Little did she know it had been a dream of mine for some time and I jumped at the chance.

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What is your favourite thing to create?

I love making cat brooches. I love to sit and create their fur colour, their faces and give them each a personality.

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Where do you see the future of your business going?

Long term I would love to have my own little gift shop and sell my products and a small selection from other small businesses.
For now, I am sure my business will change and grow in whatever direction it takes me. Hopefully some wonderful doors will open!

Find out more about Shannon

Facebook : Made By Shannon
Etsy: Made by Shannon
Instagram: Made by Shannon
Made By Shannon website

Interview with the Creator – Stephanie Croydon

Stephanie Croydon describes herself as an Interdisciplinary artist, her work combines natural textures with art and inspired designs. Based in Cornwall and having graduated from Plymouth University with a BA(hows) in Contemporary Creative Practice in 2015 Stephanie has developed her artwork and is now a thriving member of The Craft Collective in Redruth, Cornwall.
Here we meet Stephanie as she chats to us about her journey and inspirations.
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Describe your typical working day.

I’m working from home at the moment having recently left a studio space and I never start anything without a big coffee and my Spotify playlist. Depending on the day, I might listen to something fairly mellow; a bit of background music and other days I will listen to heavy metal! I’m always surrounded by paint, fabric, sketchbooks, art books, stuff I’ve collected and sometimes I’ll have my Pinterest page open where I have a few secret inspiration boards. I often sit down just to write down some ideas but I relish the time to get cracking with on with them before school run time!

What inspires you?

Working part time in St Ives for the past 3 years has given me inspiration, even though I don’t specialise in coastal paintings. I have found myself more drawn to painting abstract and looking at the work of artists, past and present. My work is mostly landscape with the quote in mind ‘to make visual how the world touches us’ (Merleau-Ponty, 1993). However I am interested in doing something different to the work I have been producing; something bright, funky, a bit tongue in cheek, a fun little side project to get my teeth into.
I enjoy having the time to visit galleries and museums; I love cabinets of curiosity which I would like to explore within my work one day.

How did you get started with art/craft?

I have childhood memories of making in primary school with cardboard boxes and plastic lids then painting the outside with powder paint, I loved the smell of it. I always painted and sketched at home which evolved in to card making for a while.

What made you start your own business?

Whilst I was studying I had some success with exhibitions and straight from graduating I won a yearlong residency at krowji Studios, Redruth. With the opportunity to take part in Open Studio events I registered self-employed and started selling from there and from Etsy.

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What is the biggest lesson you have learnt?

It’s not just making pretty pictures all day; in fact the working day can seem to have no end it! There is accounting to do (which I am really rubbish at doing and prioritising), tweaking the website and making sure the information matches with all my social media accounts, responding to emails or flagging ones to read later (which turns into a long list), looking for and responding to opportunities, visiting galleries and private views/networking which also doubles as research; keeping up to date with what’s going on in the creative industry and what people are buying, it can leave little time to actually create!

What three things would you go back and tell yourself?

Persevere, enjoy it and make the most of your time.

What has been your biggest achievement in your business?

It’s hard to pick just one but selling a piece of art through my Etsy shop to a customer in Australia and having customers coming back to purchase again are both up there. Compliments on my work always make feel I have achieved something and I will never take that for granted.

What is your favourite thing to create?

I’ve never been able to stick to just one thing; I paint small cotton reels, large canvas, stitch fabric, surface pattern design, sketch in the woods; everything is my favourite! At the moment I am enjoying painting with oils and challenging myself to go bigger.

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Where do you see the future of your business going?

It’s really hard to say as I have reached a point of change in my life and depending on what happens next will determine how much time I will have to keep being creative. Ideally I will have more exhibitions and would love to collaborate with others, I know I will always want and need a small creative space of my own and hopefully that will be a proper studio space again.

Website: http://stephaniecroydon.weebly.com/
Instagram: steph_art
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/stephcroydon/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephaniecroydon.art/
 

Interview with The Craft Collective owner Annelie Wood

In April 2015 Annelie Wood was living in Nottingham, working for the University and she had an inspirational idea to open a shop where you could have a cuppa tea and purchase beautifully handmade products. In June 2016 she opened that shop in Redruth, Cornwall.
The Craft Collective is an Arts and Crafts shop in the centre of Redruth, Cornwall with a difference. This collective of artists pay rent to the shop and get 100% of their sales back to them to help them grow and develop. They have access to networking and to a great workshop space above the shop!
Here is owner and curator Annie kicking off our Interview with the Creator project talking about what made her open The Craft Collective.
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How did you get started with art/craft?

One of my biggest childhood memories is making things from cardboard boxes, I would get beyond excited when Blue Peter were having a make session and the theme was dolls houses and I think my early inspiration really came from them. I would get wall paper samples and stick them to the walls, take images from the Argos Catalogue and use them as photos on the walls. I stuck and glued and stapled and coloured in and made the best barbie cardboard house. It didn’t stop there, my big sister was away learning to be a Nursery Nurse and would often use me as a guinea pig on her makes, she taught me how to make paper houses!! (I think our dad taught her) Which turned very quickly into paper villages. Creating has always been a big part of me and my life.
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What made you start your own business?

In September 2015 I left my job at the University of Nottingham to move to Cornwall with my partner. He had been offered an amazing job opportunity and we took the plunge and moved. This left me out of work and I struggled to find a new job. I created the business Make with Annie, making craft kits to sell so other people could have a go at crafting themselves and I started working craft markets around Cornwall. Here I met the best group of people I could imagine, they became my friends and have come with me onto the new venture!
About a year earlier I had been getting more and more into crafty things and I talked to my sister in law about how great it would be to open a small shop selling fantastic hand crafted products. My first thought was that it would be a tea room and people would be able to knit while drinking their tea and chat, and look at the products around them! But if I’m honest I never really thought any more about it until January 2016.
After a long visit home to our families I was feeling sad and disheartened about my career future. I had worked hard to establish my career and I didn’t know what to do without it. Selling at Craft markets was fun, but I didn’t see it as a lifetime job.
That was when my wonderful other half said open your shop! So I wrote a business plan, I looked at some shops, I found the shop, I borrowed money from my partner and I signed the lease.
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Describe your typical working day

No two days in The Craft Collective are the same. There are daily tasks to complete, like dusting and the accounts  and responding to emails. But you never know who will walk through the door of the shop or what they might need.
I love meeting our customers, chatting to them about their lives, telling them stories about the products. I drink a lot of tea and I can often be found knitting when I need a break from the computer!
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What inspires you?

Music really inspires me. I haven’t a musical bone in my body, but my other half does and I find that it just helps me work, it makes me smile and it really helps me to concentrate on a task. I love singing, I have to try very hard not to sing in front of customers!!!
I’m also massively inspired by those around me, the people I have met who are battling much tougher things that I am, they inspire me daily.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt?

Oh goodness!
I think that I am still learning constantly, but one of the things I have learnt since starting The Craft Collective is to be open to all opportunities, don’t let being scared or nervous hold you back. Take a deep breath and head right in!

What three things would you go back and tell yourself?

Keep calm. You are more capable than you think you are. Bulk buy tea!!!!
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What has been your biggest achievement in your business?

The community that we have created already, in such a short time. The friendships that have been made through what we are doing with this business.
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What is your favourite thing to create?

Right now it’s Lino Printing everything in sight. I am too impatient though and need to think more about my designs before I commit them to ink! I also really love pottery and am still enjoying discovering my style. Apart from that I love to Crochet!

Where do you see the future of your business going?

I have hopes that the Redruth shop will continue to thrive and enable us to open a second shop in St Ives. But this is a way off in the future yet!
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The Handmade Fair

The Handmade Fair is brought to you by Kirstie Allsopp and is all about appreciating the beauty of handmade, and learning the skills to become a maker yourself. Whether your day at the Fair teaches you how to make something yourself, upcycle a piece you already own, or if you buy it from an expert, it’s here to help everyone to make their life a little more beautiful. The Shopping Villages are full to the brim with handmade products of the highest quality, brought to you by our hand-picked and incredibly talented makers, along with an enviable range of tools and materials.
The Super Theatre, Skills Workshops and Grand Makes are hosted by the UK’s most renowned experts, so you can be sure you’re learning from the best in the business.
It’s not only a fun day out, but you’ll also be able to take away a bundle of skills and knowledge that you can use to improve your own life and home.
The Handmaid Fair

2016 was my second year attending The Handmade Fair. Only this year my knowledge and insight into the craft world is certainly a lot deeper since the launch of my own business The Craft Collective.

Hosted by Kirstie Allsopp (of Channel 4’s Location Location Location fame) The Handmade Fair is a crafters dream day out. Each year my big sister buys me a ticket for my birthday! Its possibly the best present I get (don’t tell the rest of my family I said that) and together we spend the day learning new crafts and exploring the wonderful products that are for sale.
Despite the fact that we got caught in torrential rain driving down from Lincoln we still arrived on time and we wrapped ourselves up and prepared for the fun and frivolity regardless of what mother nature was going to throw at us. Fortunately all the workshops and shopping are under large marquees so despite The Handmade Fair being an outdoor event your never far from shelter.

IT’S JUST WATER, AND IT’S JUST WET!

The Handmade Fair Manager, Freya

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Workshops and Events

There are tons of workshops and talks and master classes going on at The Handmade Fair each day. Some you can just rock up to and book yourself on for free, others are prebookable as part of your Full Experience ticket or just can buy the entry only ticket and try and get onto some classes on the day from the workshops tent!

TIP: Book a full experience ticket if you even think that you might want to do workshops, the sessions get full really quickly!

From the extensive list of sessions to choose from I picked to start with Lino Printing with a wonderful lady called Zeena Shah!

Lino Printing

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Take a piece of lino, ink and an interesting looking tool, and stamp it onto anything and I am a happy little bunny.

Before this session I had never tried lino printing, which was the main reason for booking onto the workshop. Zeena showed us some basic techniques for making up our design and cutting it from the lino, she got us to think about the negative and positives of our design. I chose to cut out a little sailing boat as I live in Cornwall it felt really appropriate.

The act of slicing away at the lino to create your design is amazingly therapeutic and soon you have a piece of lino ready to be stamped onto something.

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We used ink pads to dab over the top of our lino stamps and then we placed the lino onto our tote bags and used a tiny roller to push the print down into the fabric.

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To ensure that your printing is waterproof Zeena’s tip was to iron on the reverse of the printing and that is it.

I am now a Lino Printing convert and have bought my own little stamping set to have a play at home!!!!

Christmas is going to be filled with handmade wrappings.

Artcut Butterfly Brooch

Our second workshop of the day was to create a butterfly brooch from precut wooden shapes from Artcuts.

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We used ink pads to paint around the edges of the butterfly and to stamp tiny dots all over the front using a cotton bud.

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We then sanded magical japanese paper from a tiny butterfly and stuck it on the top of the larger butterfly and decorated them with golden hearts and pearl beads before securing the brooch back!

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Paper Crafts with Cricuts

We booked onto this workshop once we arrived at The Handmade Fair as a bit of a last minute decision.

Using the Circuits machine the host had already cut out the paper templates for us (time efficiency!) and this allowed us to create a tiny organiser using stamping and sticking techniques.

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The end result was a tiny clipboard with a piece of vinyl chalk paper inside it.

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I thought that paper crafts were note really my cup of tea but I really enjoyed this workshop!

I also won their daily competition and am now the owner of a brilliant Cricut machine! This is really exciting and I am really looking forward to spending sometime learning how to use the machine.

Patrick Grant – The Great British Sewing Bee

My final exciting event of the day was the Super Theatre where Kirstie Allsopp met Patrick Grant from The Great British Sewing Bee.

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We all listened as he talked about his life and what led him to appear on The Great British Sewing Bee. 

Then we dragged our exhausted, crafted out covered in ink selves back to the car and headed home after another brilliant day at The Handmade Fair.

We have already made our plans to return next year, where we hope to be celebrating my sisters 50th Birthday!! So a quick thank you to my wonderful sister for buying the tickets, getting up at 5am, driving to London and back in a day, and in the rain! Your the best!

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The House at the Edge of the World By Julia Rochester

As far as stories about dysfunctional families go, this debut novel from Julia Rochester hits the nail on the head. But that’s not all this novel is about, themes of isolation, loss, death, the devil, mythology and incest all make an appearance, if somewhat brief.

John Venton’s drunken fall from a Devon cliff leaves his family with an embarrassing ghost. His twin children, Morwenna and Corwin, flee in separate directions to take up their adult lives. Their mother, enraged by years of unhappy marriage, embraces merry widowhood. Only their grandfather finds solace in the crumbling family house, endlessly painting their story onto a large canvas map.
His brightly coloured map, with its tiny pictures of shipwrecks, forgotten houses, saints and devils, is a work of his imagination, a collection of local myths and histo­ries. But it holds a secret. As the twins are drawn grudgingly back to the house, they discover that their father’s absence is part of the map’s mysterious pull.
The House at the Edge of the World is the compellingly told story of how family and home can be both a source of comfort and a wholly destructive force. Cutting to the undignified half-truths every family conceals, it asks the questions we all must confront: who are we responsible for and, ultimately, who do we belong to?
‘Wonderfully crisp and funny, and so full of vivid, surprising images that the reader almost doesn’t notice the moment that deep secrets begin to be revealed. I enjoyed this book so much’ Emma Healey, bestselling author of Elizabeth is Missing
Amazon review

The overall view of the novel from the group was that it was a complex yet interesting read delving deep into the dynamics of living in an isolated environment and in a small family unit. Descriptive with her prose on rural west country life Julia helps to transport you to an seemingly idyllic house in a beautiful part of the world.
Did we like all the characters? Perhaps not, but because of this they became more real, more believable in their behaviours.
Take from it what you wish, as there is much to take!

What did our readers think?

“It was a well written book with a bit of an unsatisfactory ending – they should have been more angry!”
3-stars 3/5 stars
 
“Promising as a first novel, well constructed and complex with a shifting plot. Certainly some intriguing issues covered”
3-and-half-stars 3 and a half/5 stars
 
“Really enjoyed this book. It was my recommendation for the group to read this. I would recommend a second read to fully grasp it”
4-stars 4/5 stars

The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht

There were mixed reviews of The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht in this months The Craft Collective Book Group. While we all admitted that there were qualities that we liked, little stories within the larger story that were magical, most agreed that this book was a difficult read.
The narration in the book comes from a granddaughter who is telling the tales of her dearly loved grandfather who passes away at the start of the novel. This narration gives us layers, where we can flit between a 90’s war torn Yugoslavia and the life and childhood of an old man.
The tales encompass folklore of the times, a Tiger who comes to town, The Deathless man who no matter what is done to him cannot die and starts his story by proving this.
It’s certainly easy to see why the book has won so much accolade as it stands out from other’s and its narrative clings to folklore and mythology.

What did our readers think?

“I really liked it, there was one big story and then within that lots of little stories. I liked the fact that a lot of the characters are nameless and I liked all the folklore and myths. It was magical!”
4 review stars 4/5 stars
 
“I liked the relationship between the grandfather and granddaughter. The smaller story of the Tiger’s wife was really interesting but I lost track of the plot a little bit. The Deathless man was interesting too and I found the 40 day death ritual gave me a lot to think about!
2 and half review stars 2.5/5 stars
 
“It was not my style of book, and I felt a little bored”
1 and half review stars 1.5/5 stars
 
Suggested further reading by one member of the book group is;
100 years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 

 
 

March Craft Along – Easter Cross Stitch Cards

Welcome to the March Craft Along where this month we are going to look at cross stitch and I will be showing you how to create some lovely easter cards.
I never really got cross stitch, my Aunt and my older sister both used to love doing these large old fashioned designs that once completed they framed and hung in their houses.
Then one day I bought some tiny cross stitch kits from Hobbycraft. They were christmas themed ones and I was hooked.
Cross stitch has come a long way since the old victorian dolls houses or christmas scenes, and modern cross stitch is easy to get your hands on. It even looks brilliant as art work in your home.
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Easter is just around the corner and I have a couple of family members who send easter cards so this year I am sending them a handmade one back.
I picked up these patterns from Hobbycraft last year but they are good sellers and can still be found online and in store if you want to buy the kit.
Bunny PatternChick PatternDaffofil Pattern
 
Once you have picked your design we can get started.

What you will need;

Cross stitch fabric
Cross stitch needle
Hoop (you can do these small designs without one but if you do something bigger then a hoop is advisable)
Embroidery threads (you can buy a reem for around 90p from shops or markets)
Pieces of card or ready made cross stitch cards

Always start in the middle

It doesn’t matter which cross stitch pattern you buy or download they will always tell you to start in the middle and work from their. So take you piece of cross stitch fabric and fold it in four to create a centre.


The centre of your pattern will be marked, usually with a large cross in a circle.
Closeup Chick Pattern
This is the colour you will start with.

A Colour at a time

I know that each person needs to find their own way of working. But on a small piece of work like these I like to complete a colour in one go. It can mean a lot of counting squares and making sure things are in the right place, but it feels like the work is easier and more fluid this way.

Cross left or Right

When you begin you will create all the first line of your crosses in one direction before going back on yourself to complete the cross stitch. Or in Hobbycrafts words;

“Make sure you always sew the cross stitches so that the top stitch always slopes the same way…”

Closep of instructions

Attaching to your card

If you have bought some of the ready made cards to insert your cross stitch then all you need to do is secure your work in place with glue or tape.
In a card
Alternatively you could buy some A4 or A5 card and pretty scrap book paper and follow the easy steps below;

  1. Fold your card in half
  2. Cut around the cross stitch work removing any access fabric
  3. Glue the cross stitch to the front of the card
  4. Using pretty paper create a boarder for the work and glue it over the top of the cross stitch leaving a window to see the work.
  5. Allow to dry

 
Finshed products

Using Pinterest to help your creative business

Most people have Facebook in todays technological world, and when it comes to social media most people think of Facebook and perhaps twitter before any other platforms, especially when they are thinking of social media in terms of their creative businesses.
Facebook is great for sharing with an audience you have already built up, sharing photos and events and other little peeks into your creative life. It isn’t always good at gaining you new followers, making you seen and making you sales.
Pinterest is the top rated social media for feeding traffic to your shop and turning that traffic into sales, and is one of the biggest online referral platforms after Google and Facebook. In fact according to Melanie Duncan from the Power of Pinning Pinterest can generate twice as much revenue as twitter and Facebook.
On top of that amazing and rather enlightening piece of information Pinterest’s demographic user is women with cash! Which is most crafters dream client.
So why aren’t we using it for ur business? Because we don’t really know how? At least that was how I felt. But now I have done a little experimentation and playing with my own Pinterest account and think that I have some tips and hints that will help you to use Pinterest for your business.

Step 1 : Create or convert your Pinterest account into a Business account

If you don’t already have a Pinterest account then thats easy you can just create one for business. Just head to Pinterests register/log in page and here you can see that it gives you a couple of options.

Sign in with Facebook or create a user!

Log in page

If you create a user or sign in with Facebook you will be creating a personal account, which is fine. And means that you can link it to your Facebook account, but once you have created the account you need to make it a business account.
To make an account a business account; just log into your Pinterest account and then when you click on the little menu on the right of the search box you will see in tiny letters at the very bottom the word businesses. If you click on this it will take you to the business page.
Access to the Business pages
 
 
Here you can see in a big bright box you can join as a business, or just underneath it asks if you already have an account and you can Convert now.
Business Page
So this is the choice.
Create two Pinterest accounts keeping your personal and business separate (you will need a separate business email address for this), but often increasing your work load by pinning to two accounts or convert your account.
I personally created a brand new Make with Annie Pinterest account as I love my Pinterest acoount. And I think that it is ok to have two and make the distinguish between business life and personal life. But you need to make your own choice here.

Step 2: Complete all your personal details

Edit Profile
Its not a lot of information to complete but its important that its right for your business. Your Business name should match as much as you can – if your business name is taken don’t completely change it just tweet it a little to ensure that your fans and clients can still find you.
Pop a little picture in there or your logo or a product you love and make sure to add a link to your website or online shop, otherwise they will never find you!

Step 3 : Creating Boards

Weather you are already familiar with creating boards or brand new to Pinterest it is easy peasy to create them.
But before you start creating your boards have a think about what you want to say about your business.
Make with Annie is a quirky and bright and colourful craft kit business where we make craft kits for children (or adults they can make them too). So I created some fun serious boards about Make with Annie, a board about Craft Kits (which includes my own and other peoples), a Sneaky Peak Board with Pictures behind the scenes, A Craft Collective Blog page (of course) A Felt Brooches page (to share those that I love and inspire me) and a Childrens birthday Party ideas board.
Now the reasoning behind the Childrens Birthday Party board is simple.
The kits I make are great gifts for children, perhaps for a gift for the birthday girl or boy, or maybe as an activity for the party. So if someone is looking for ideas for their childs birthday party they might head to Pinterest and they might see my products and they might head to my Etsy shop and they might buy them!
So spend a little time thinking about what your clients are looking for when they find you. If you create crochet blankets, they might be looking for baby blankets or picnic blankets! Or if you create lampshades, they might be redecorating a room in their house.
Once you have some ideas go crazy and start pinning your own things and other peoples two.

Step 4 : Pinning

If your pinning your own work its a little time consuming as there is no bulk upload facility that i can find! and you are uploading a pin at a time.
Add a pin
So click on your board and within that board click Add a Pin, it then asks you where your pinning from, and you will most likely be pinning from your own device, and then it will bring up you images available to upload. Chose your image and then it will invite you to pick a board.


At this stage you will also get the option to Add a description under the Image. Its so Important that you do this as this will tell people more about the product and who you are. Its up to you how much detail you put in there but more is better.
Pick a board
Then select the board from the list on the right and this will pin the image.

Step 5: Don’t Mix Business and Pleasure

Its really important to keep your personal and business pins seperate. If you have created two different accounts then thats not too tricky but make sure that you don’t accidentally add pins for your wedding dress to your business page! Its great to show the clients who you are but they don’t need to know about your obsession with Care Bears (this may just be me!!!)
If you have converted your account do not fear for that is what a secret board is for. You can make any of your personal boards a secret but clicking on Edit within the board and selecting that as an option. Then only you can see the pictures there! Brilliant for secret presents boards.

Step 6: Add the Pin it button to your PC

The idea behind the Pin button is that once its installed onto your PC you can pin anything from the internet!
To get the button on your PC just head to the Help section on Pinterest and follow the instructing from their website.
Once it appears on your web browser your set to go.
When your browsing the internet and see something you want to Pin click on the button. This will then bring up a selection of images that are available for Pinning along with the description below it and the location URL. Click on the Image you wish to pin and another pox up box will appear asking you to select the board you want to pin it to.

Step 7 : Keep on pinning

The key to making Pinterest work is making sure that you are a regular user. Ideally you want to be looking at creating or pinning about 2 or 3 a day to get your account noticed. Create new boards depending on the seasons or cultural events and share your Pinterest account with your customers on your other social media or your website or shop. Invite your clients to follow your Pinterest account using the Find Friends element of the Settings and follow other Pinterest users that you like and admire.
Happy Pinning.

Becky Mclean – Bumblebee Home Treasures

Featured Crafter Becky Mclean is the designer and creator of Bumblebee Home Treasures, making beautifully crafted cushions and decorations for your home.
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As a child Becky was taught to sew by her mother and has always been creative since being a child. The owl was the first creation she made as an adult and it was the one that made her business soar
Becky began making soft owl decorations for her own entertainment, and when family and friends saw her creations they all began asking for one. Soon she was inundated with orders for her creations and pushed and backed by family members and friends she started her Facebook page and opened her self for business.
Almost two years later Becky has over 3000 Facebook fans and has created hundreds of orders and when you look at her products its really easy to see why.

Best Seller


Owls are and Becky guess always will be her best seller, she makes them in all sorts of styles and some of her custom orders have been brilliant fun to recreate. She was once asked to make a Police Owl for a Police Officer, including full replica police uniform and police ID number.
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“This one as you can see is personalised on the back. Custom made as a super special gift.
I am really proud of this one, mostly because I know how much it means to not only the lady who ordered it but also the person who it was for loves it too!
I have been making lots of officer owls lately. Its so nice to think that all these owls are going to the actual police force! They work tirelessly for us all. The least I can do is make sure when I make these owls I get the uniforms right lol!”

Favorite Make

Becky’s favourite make was a customer order for some Gothic Foxes
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“A customer asked me to make these for her and I just really wasn’t sure I could pull it off!
I have to say I love these and I really wanted to keep them for myself, especially the girl fox!
A ton of detail in these an out of both of them the girl took me the longest with all the masses of layers in her skirt!
Lots of lace and lots of black on these two!
Oh and tons and tons of fun designing them!”

Our Favourite Make


Here at The Craft Collective we adore Becky’s Penguins; here she has made some for mothers days with a little hat and hand bag.
Becky told me that the inspiration for the Penguins came after a day out at Longleaf Safari where she had the most wonderful experience of walking with the Penguins.
We most like the Mother’s day Penguin with her little hat and handbag!

“This little lady is rather special! She’s ready for summer with her beautiful hat on with that all important flower with the pearl in the centre! What lady wouldn’t be complete without a stunning handbag?”

To find out more about Becky and her brilliant products head to her Facebook Page.

Top Ten Crafts for 2016

 
I spend a lot of time getting lost on Pinterest and Instagram looking for new crafts to learn or new techniques for current crafts and I love all the beautiful fun things there are out there. I recently taught myself (with the assistance of You Tube videos) Tunisian Crochet and loved the whole experience of learning something new.
So if your looking for a new craft then why not have a read of my top ten trending crafts for 2016.

1. Adult Colouring

The rage the seemed to massively take off in 2015 is growing, and developing. Not only can you get the standard books in all major book retailers but now you can get something a little more unique. Check out what Etsy has on offer because here you can find the recognisable titles along side the unique, Pin up girls or tattoos or perhaps something a little more risqué!
I’ve checked out whats on offer and have found three of my favourites;

Dream Cities by Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick

dream cities

Cool Cats by Elizabeth James

cool cats

Fill me in by Moose Allain

fill me in

My sister bought me a garden colouring book for my 35th Birthday, along with some really good quality pencils and I spent a lovely weekend away colouring in while we watched tv, or sat on the beach.

2. Cross Stitch

When I was a little girl I had an aunt who loved to create large cross stitches, she had a contraption that sat over her knee to assist her in the creation of her work. My older sister always loved them too and I remember when her children where young her whole staircase was filled with her completed and framed cross stitches.
Maybe as you read my little story you pictured the cross stitches that I was talking about, maybe they were dolls houses, or Country Scenes. Well they were what we might now consider as old fashioned and Cross Stitch has come a long way since women spent hours creating a horse.
Check out Mr X Stitch, – especially on Instagram. He showcases some of the best and modern cross stitch designers there are, from pop art to sexually liberating he is bringing cross stitch right up to date.
mr x stitch
And he is not the only one, there are hundreds of modern cross stitchers who are ignoring the elegant house designs for something more unique Check out GeckoRouge and Stitchrovia on Etsy.

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Stitchrovia on Etsy

3. Mixed Media Art

What is Mixed Media Art? I have spent the best part of eight months listening to the term being banded around and not really knowing what it meant. But I kind of thought that it sounded quite cool.

“Mixed media tends to refer to a work of visual art that combines various traditionally distinct visual art media. For example, a work on canvas that combines paint, ink, and collage could properly be called a “mixed media” work, but not a work of “multimedia art.” -Wikipedia

“Mixed media is a term used to describe artworks composed from a combination of different media or materials” – The Tate

Basically art can be made of anything or a combination of things!
Now that we both know what the term means we can see that there are 267,056 pieces of Mixed Media Art just on Etsy and one of my favourites is Charliemabi, who creates art work on top of the printed word, taking iconic images and turning them into something knew and something rather aesthetically pleasing.

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Charliemabi mixed media artwork


Another form of Mixed Media Art is textile art. Zoe Wright creates brilliant artwork as well as covered note books or brooches from material that has been cut and stitched to create new pictures.  Zoe is based in Krowji, Redruth and is currently exhibiting her work until the 31st March.
zoe wright

Zoe Wright Textiles


If you fancy having a go I check out this tutorial where artist Christy Tomlinson shows you how to have a go yourself.

4. Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan!
Most crafters have heard this name and are fully in the know about the wonderful product that Annie has created.
Last year I attending the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace and the Annie Sloan workshop was the first to sell out and easily the busiest.
Upcycling has been in the forefront of crafts and design for a few years now. I bought a 60s side table about three years ago with the aim to epicycle it. But chalk paint is more than just upcycling.
This great You Tube video shows you all about how to use chalk paint, but if your not feeling very confident then there are a lot of up cycling workshops happening all over the country.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dca5ymyrXI4]

5. Design your own fabric

Have you ever been looking for fabric in a certain style for a particular project and just not been able to find what you are looking for? Well why don’t you try designing your own fabric?
Yes, this is probably the coolest and by far the craft trend for 2016 that I have to try out.
Websites such as Printmepretty are offering you the option to upload a jpeg of a photo of design you have created on a graphics package and then they print it on the fabric for you.
Check out Cornish Bird In the Sticks on FB, this local artist as recently made some lamp shades from material she has created.

6. Hoop Art

Although not a new craft, this seems to me to be everywhere this year. with 27,581 products currently on sale on Etsy its clearly popular. And I can see why. There are so many things that you can do with hoop art, and they all look fabulous.
Perhaps you just want to create a little piece of embroidery and leave it in the hoop, as this makes the fabric taught and the image look clear and framed.
However think outside the norm with this as hoop art has expanded to incorporate the idea of Mixed Media arts and often you can find artists have used a mix of pain and fabric and embroidery, buttons and other embellishments to create there work. It seems that anything goes, just so long as it fits nicely in the size of your hoop – or multiple hoops if your feeling really extravagant.
TipJunkie show you lots of brilliant designs and if you need some inspiration you can find brilliant tutorials here on U Create Craft.
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7. Planners

I have been following a creator, Claireabellemakes on Instagram for sometime and recently she has been adding images of the planners that she makes. And now it seems that everyone is making there own.
Take your old 1980s filofax and using a little creativity and office supplies you can soon create you own personal funky planner. And there are loads of downloadable prints on Pinterest that you can use to help create it.
Check out these brilliant designs on Pintrest.

8. Lampshades

Fabric ones, paper ones, crochet ones, there are so many different ways to create your own unique lampshade.
I found some small bedside lampshades in my local charity shop for just 50p each which is a great place to start. I plan to take the current material off the frame and use the frame to crochet my own design over it.
Check out Pinterest for ideas and inspiration and if you want to have a go yourself here is a brilliant tutorial on how to from the Design Sponge Company.

9. Origami

My six year old niece was given some origami for christmas and myself and two other fully grown adults spent a large proportion of new years eve making penguins and frogs. It was brilliantly creative, but you can make so much more than just this.
Not only are there some really great books out there to teach you but you can now get themed origami books where someone has taken the art of paper folding, the design of prints and created patterns for you to make your very own R2-D2.
For more details and downloads go to the Origami Website.


 

10. Craft Kits

According to many social media sites crafts kits are a hit for this year!
With the BBC working on Get Creative day, trying to get everyone to undertake something crafty, there is no better time than to check out some craft kits yourself.
Is there a craft your interested in but don’t want the expense of getting set up for a new hobby? Then a kit is the way forward.
Wool and the Gang have nailed the craft kit business and produce a number of different kits to make knitted products, where you can choose the colour and if you need the needles etc before you purchase.
Kirsty Allsopp, a craft queen, has her own range of kits in hobby craft, where for a really reasonable price you can learn all manner of things. Soap making, caligraphy, felting, purse making, rag dolls and so on.
Make with Annie, is my own range of craft kits, where i give you everything you would need to make a quirky and cute felt brooch!


 
Whatever your currently craft is, or if your completely lacking a craft, then maybe 2016 is the year for you to learn something knew!