Sealife Cushions

I thought I’d upload some images of some gorgeous cushions I made last year for a high end customer. It was a bit of a manic order, with little direction from the customer but they wanted the cushions to be used in an advert, for a large paint manufacturer.

Handmade Sea Life Cushions

Handmade Sea Life Cushions

The main problem was getting the right fabric, time was short so I had to do a bit of a mad dash on a 60 mile round trip.

It was great fun as the project was testing my abilities to work under pressure as well as working with unfamiliar fabrics and design processes. The end result was fantastic if I don’t say so myself.

Seahorse

Seahorse

Sea Urchin

Sea Urchin

Shell

Shell

Starfish

Starfish

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Latest Product Showcase

Hi all,

Thought I’d switch things around. I’m a quiet girl, shy and timid at times and definitely not one for talking up my business. I like to let my high quality workmanship do the talking. So it will be a lot easier if there’s less focus on the writing and more on the making.

This month I have been working on my Christmas range and have now added these gorgeous Mr and Mrs Gingerbread christmas tree decorations to my website. Completely handstitched which was a nice change as I was able to do them whilst catching up with a months worth of Coronation St and Eastenders.

Christmas Tree Perfection

Christmas Tree Perfection

Handstitching is great as you get fantastic results but it doesn’t half hurt your fingers. I also made some felt hearts too.

Handstiched Quality

Handstiched Quality

Be sure to pop over to my website and give it a bit of love. I have recently updated the design and made some changes so hopefully it creates a greater shopping experience.

Lastly, if you have purchased from me in the past, thanks, but it would be Amazing! if you could leave a review on my website, etsy, folksy, facebook or google as these reviews can work wonders for small businesses like myself.

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Cadbury Gifts Direct: Father’s Day art contest winner

After a few weeks of great entries, I’ve chosen a winner for Cadbury Gift Direct’s Father’s Day art contest for kids.

The task was simple and fun: to encourage parents to get their kids creative by drawing or painting a picture of their dad as a superhero. In the end we received a lot of great entries which you can see on the Cadbury Father’s Day page, but there could only be one winner.

It was a tough decision but I have chosen ‘Super Ed by Milo – aged 6′ to be the winner. Here’s Milo’s picture:

Super Ed - by Milo

Super Ed – by Milo

We all love a superhero, and Super Ed would be sure to see off all the villains with his bright and colourful cape. I’m a huge fan of vibrant colours and Milo has used them with great effect to create this fantastic piece of art. I love the attention to detail with the neatly coloured in lines and great big smile.

Thanks to all parents and their children for submitting such wonderful entries to the contest, and we hope you all have a great time this Father’s Day.

Congratulations Milo!
 

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Cadbury Gifts Direct: I’m judging a kid’s art contest!

Over Easter I entered a craft competition run by Cadbury Gifts Direct called the Eggs Factor, and they liked my entry so much I’ve been asked to judge their Father’s Day art contest for kids.

There are a lot of blogs and articles out there dedicated to being a mother, so it’s often easy to overlook the hard work that dads also put in to help out when raising their little ones.

With that in mind, Cadbury Gifts Direct is inviting kids to submit a drawing, painting or craft project of their dad as a superhero for a chance to win a huge Cadbury chocolate hamper worth £50. It’s filled with a serious amount of chocolate bars, selection boxes and other sweet treats.

Comics are all the rage just now, so the timing couldn’t be better. I’ll be judging the images after the closing date on Tuesday, June 9th, and announcing a winner here on my blog.

Terms and conditions are below, but in short, all you have to do to enter is email your child’s image of their dad as a superhero to the team running the contest at david.cook@digitaslbi.com for a chance to win.

Best of luck, let’s see the imagination of your little ones shine, and check back here for the winner announcement next week.

Terms and Conditions

  • This competition is open to UK entrants only
  • The prize is one Father’s Day Gift Hamper from Cadbury Gifts Direct, up to the value of £50
  • To enter, your child must create a drawing, painting or craft image of their dad as a superhero, and email it to david.cook@digitaslbi.com
  • Only one entry per child will be accepted
  • The closing date is Tuesday, June 9th 12pm. No entries will be accepted after this date
  • The contest will be judged by Vicki Evans after the closing date
  • The judge’s decision is final. The prize will be mailed out after the winner has been notified
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Have I got the ‘Eggs Factor’?

I was recently contacted by Cadbury Gifts Direct asking whether I would be interested in some free creme eggs. Bit of a silly question really, who’s going to turn down free creme eggs?

They wanted me to take part in a competition they’re running called the Eggs Factor using the free eggs to create a fitting tribute to the gorgeously gooey treat.

My little boy Noah now aged 2 and a half is well into the terrible two’s. Although he is a little cutie, most of the time he is also a little monkey, so my business time is being eaten up. I’m continually brushing up loose Thomas the tank engine trains and pieces of track whilst he runs around the house with my phone on the Talking Tom App.

With limited time I decided to utilise some of my existing designs to create my masterpiece. I took one of my Easter baskets and gave it a splash of spring, adding some colourful felt flowers and a cute felt chicken. I then covered some sticks with Green ribbon and added some felt flowers, before then topping it with the Creme Egg.

Easter Basket

Growing Creme Eggs

I was hoping to set the scene, creating a beautiful backdrop for my design but time was running out, so instead I took the opportunity to test out my very own green screen, allowing me to add any backdrop onto the final image.

Cadbury Gifts Direct loved it so much that I’m now one of the finalists.

Crafter Vicki has put together a wonderful Easter basket topped with flowers that have sprouted Creme Eggs. The chick on the front is a great touch, while the floral decorations really capture the beginning of spring. Now, can you imagine a world where all flowers sprout Creme Eggs? For some chocolate lovers, this is surely heaven.

I must admit there’s some stiff competition from a wide range of people. Check it out The Eggs Factor here

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Merry Christmas

It’s been a busy run up to Christmas, I’ve been flat out working on orders until the small hours and with the days ticking until Father Christmas pays us all a visit I’m ready for a nice day or two off.

I’d just like to thank all of my customers for all their orders in 2014 whether you ordered on my website or on Etsy or Folksy. It’s been my busiest year so far and I hope to continue this trend in 2015.

Back in September I started another small business selling all the items I can’t make by hand. It’s a Fashion Accessories shop selling a range of Bags, Purses, Scarves and accessories at prices you can not afford to miss. Pop over to www.accessome.uk and let me know what you think of the products and pricing, your input is important to me. Why not host your own Accessome/Vicki Evans party, It’s a great way to get all your friends around and have a good laugh whilst earning 15% commission.

Merry Christmas everybody.

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Hello Summer

Hello everyone, How are we all?

Finally this week my blog has reached a milestone, 1000 page views. Its taken some time getting there and to be honest it’s a fair amount as I always forget to keep it up to date. It looks like my last post about loom bands has really generated some interest. Did anyone try the tutorials I linked to?

Well Summertime is officially upon us and I’ve been taking things a little easier. I haven’t had too many orders recently, so I have been enjoying some time off with my little boy. Noah is now 22 months old and a complete monkey who keep’s me on my toe’s all day. This week he has found my crayon rolls and helping himself to the crayons, posting them through the cat flap, pushing them into the fire surround and running round with them in his ears!

The latest additions to my website are these gathered tote bags. They are nice, lightweight bags that are perfect for those late summer evenings and weekends away. Here is a link to the bags on my website.

Silver Swirls Gathered Tote Bag

Silver Swirls Gathered Tote Bag

Currently only available in these 2 fabrics, but like all my products they can be made in a fabric of your choice. These gathered tote bags are lined on the inside and have a magnetic clasp for easy opening/closing.

Floral Gathered Tote Bag

Floral Gathered Tote Bag

The shop I was renting a shelf, in my home town Accrington has closed this week and I am really sad about it as it was a lovely shop, so I am now on the look out for another shop locally to display in. After a short break I am now renting a stall again on the Supermums craft fair website and following my recent successes on Folksy, I have set up a stall on Etsy too. Why not take a look, simply click on the underlined links. All of these websites are full of brilliant and creative crafts people that would really appreciate your support. Don’t forget to take a look through my website too.

Thanks for reading :)

#LoveHandmade

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Loom Band Loopy

I often go loopy, don’t worry I’m not snooker loopy this time, this time I’m Loom Band Loopy.

I don’t think I really need to explain loom bands to anyone as their everywhere at the moment. Children of all ages are getting crafty making varying designs of bracelets for friends. With celebrities getting on board too, I have been informed by a big One Direction fan that even Harry Styles wears one.

It’s amazing what can be made with loom bands, and this week I have been playing about with my loom creating some cute animals.

First off I made these flat design animal charms. There was a Panda one and I adore Panda’s so I had no hesitation in making one.

If you want to make your own you can see the owl tutorial here

I followed this by making some bigger 3D animals that would make great keyrings or simply as little animals to sit on your table.

You can watch the pig charm tutorial here. My sister’s a big pig fan so I think this will look fantastic in her collection.

I also made a blue monkey loom band charm. This was a pretty tricky design but once you have made one of the animals the technique is pretty similar for the other animals.

If you want to follow the Monkey loom band tutorial click here

There are millions of tutorials out there and unlimited possibilities of items that can be made with loom bands. It’s great fun but is also pretty addictive. So why not get crafty and get loom band loopy with me. You can buy loom band kits for a few pounds in most shops, you can also get them on the market cheaper, a great way to keep the children entertained in the car or over the summer holidays.

Special thanks to all the tutorial designers I have linked too for creating some great fun tutorials.

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Nearly 3 years for my small business

Hello all, long time no speak. Well my attempt at keeping the blog up to date has failed miserably. To be fair I have wanted to write a blog but I have not really had anything to blog about.

Those of you who know me personally will know how quiet and laid back I can be. Being the centre of attention is really not me. I’m just trying to make a living like everybody else.

My business has been running for nearly 3 years and is now finally turning a corner, I think. I won’t be making an appearance on Dragons Den any time soon but all the hard work is beginning to show it’s worth. My website has also been online for the duration and I have spent plenty of time doing what is required to improve the website to get better rankings and more visitors. For those in a similar position you know I’m talking about, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

SEO involves placing the relevant keywords in your web pages, so that when a user searches ‘door name plaques’ on Google for example, my website would be on that first page of returned search results. SEO is much more than keywords, but one of the main focus points.

Social networking is also a factor, links back to your website and customers clicking through from these websites also help with web rankings. Back in the early days of the business this was quite easy. I only had a Facebook page so it was relatively easy to keep my customers informed of the latest happenings.

Over the last year SEO has changed quite dramatically, everything I thought I was doing correctly has now apparently been  a waste of my time. Google and other search engines are changing how they show search results and how they rank websites.

Instead of keyword stuffing (placing lots of search relevant keywords on each web page) and link building (adding links to a website on other web directories) the focus is on good quality, relevant content. Writing good content about my products is not easy. Apparently good content is around 500-1000 words of informative, readable, shareable information. You try and do this for a £1.50 children’s bracelet, without sending the reader to sleep.

One way to get this content out there is through social media. As you probably have seen on a previous blog post you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn. Even here the goalposts have changed. Facebook now limit how many people see your posts, unless your willing to pay for your liker’s to see them. If your Facebook page users don’t interact with your page within a set time, Facebook decides not to show them any more of your posts.

I used to exhibit in at lots of Craft fairs but decided a year back to do less Craft fairs and focus more on my website, as this would be more profitable for me. Maybe I wasn’t attending the right events, or selling the correct things but I did learn a lot from my experience of these events. I try and focus mainly on larger events now that I know are well attended and don’t involve me spending my weekends (precious family time) in cold village hall’s.

Promoting a website is not an easy task when your competing against 14 billion other websites. So I also use other sites to sell my wares. I’m on Folksy, The Supermums Craft Fair and StorkUp as well as having a shelf in Three Little Birds Gift Shop in Accrington, I have a friend who kindly sells some of my items on her market stall in Accrington and a display cabinet at my brothers snooker club Elite Snooker Club, Preston. Keeping all these up to date as well as keeping up with my orders, and making new stock is almost impossible. During the day I also have my 18 month old little boy to entertain, this means that most of my work is done in the evening when my husband gets home from work, which means lots of late nights!

It’s only a matter of time before the goalposts are changed again and I have to adapt my thinking. I can just be thankful there are programs out there to make social media easier.

As a small business owner and friend to other business owners we need your help. If your looking for a gift someone special or would like to treat yourself, think about the small businesses like me who make items with love and care, Gifts that are handmade and tailored to your requirements. There’s loads of small businesses out online and on the High Street that need your support. Please keep an eye out for my posts and other’s posts on social networking site’s and why not share them with your friends.

If you have bought a gift from me, then I would like to thank you so very much, in continuing to help me make my dream of my business come true. As a thank you for your support here’s a 15% discount code. Simply enter the code NEARLY3 at the checkout. Offer ends 31/5/14

 

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Snooker Loopy

Snooker has always been a big part of my life as I was brought up in a sports mad family. We always had a small snooker table in our house and we all loved playing on it. But it was my younger brother (Chris Norbury) who really took to it and had a real talent. From the age of 8 years he started to have some coaching and from then snooker really took over my families life. I spent most weekends of my teenage years travelling to different parts of the country while Chris played in a Snooker competition, I always loved going to watch him and cheering him on.

My mum and dad had to keep extending the house so that they could fit a bigger table in, until they eventually had a room big enough to fit in a Full size snooker table as Chris had already decided by this point that he wanted it to be his career. Nowadays Chris is a Professional Snooker Player and he also owns a Snooker Club. In the past I have used my crafty genius to make the badges he wears on his waistcoats and have always wanted to make some snooker related items.

Many of my recent custom orders have involved embroidery. Getting creative designing embroidery patterns, and the fact that my parents had set up a display cabinet for my products in the snooker club gave me a great opportunity to advertise.

I started embroidering snooker cue towels. Initially I made a batch with the club name on and personalised one for my brother.

Personalised Snooker Cue Towel

Personalised snooker cue towel made for my brother

With my brother’s assistance which is greatly appreciated the orders started to flood in. Which has been great for the business and opened new doors for me too, as well as maximising my usage of my Brother Innov-is 1250 sewing machine. I have been asked to embroider numerous other items including polo shirts, Referee Gloves etc.

Snooker Golf Tennis Towels

A selection of some other finished towels

You can check out my brother’s snooker club website here or if your in the Preston area of Lancashire you can pop in 7 days a week to see my items on display.

 

 

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