Craft a Creative Business by Fiona Pullen – New Book Coming Soon…

I’m so pleased to bring some news about a new craft business book which is due to hit the shops at the end of September 2014. This eagerly anticipated book is called Craft a Creative Business – Making & Marketing a Successful Creative Business, written by Fiona Pullen of The Sewing Directory website. It’s available to pre-order now from Search Press.

Craft a Creative Business by Fiona Pullen

Craft a Creative Business is intended to be a one stop book, that covers all you need to know about getting your business up and running. Even if you’ve already started your business, I think this book will still prove to be a valuable asset. Fiona is a minefield of information when it comes to everything crafts, business, legal matters, marketing and social media. I know I’ll be first in line for a copy and I’m confident that I’ll learn a lot from this book, even though I’ve been in business for a few years now. ‘Never stop learning’, is a favourite motto of mine.

Fiona PullenFiona Pullen is the successful craft business owner of The Sewing Directory, the popular and successful site for finding local and online sewing suppliers, sewing courses and sewing groups. This site includes projects, interviews, how to guides, reviews and fortnightly competitions, aiming to offer something for everyone. Fiona also writes articles for numerous craft and sewing magazines and has a passionate interest in social media, helping others achieve their aims and goals

Fiona’s new book explains how to turn a pastime, skill and talent into a fulfilling and rewarding commercial success. This book is billed to be a complete must-read guide for anyone wanting to turn their hobby, craft or art skills into a successful business.

Fiona gives simple advice on the importance of identifying markets, focusing on a USP, assessing the competition, making sure the price is right and setting goals. The book includes sections on product photography, branding and legal matters. There is a particular emphasis on online selling, with detailed information on markets, blogging, using social media and the importance of analytics and SEO (search engine optimisation). Information on offline selling is included too, with notes on selling at craft fairs, trade fairs and markets, selling through retail outlets, running courses and workshops, and featuring work in the media.

There are expert tips from well known people within the industry, as well as activities to get you applying what you learn to your business – making it relevant to you. By working your way through the book, by the time you reach the end, you’ll have done all your market research and have a detailed business plan to get you going, plus active social media accounts to help you promote your business.

Craft a Creative Business covers:

– Planning and market research
– Legislation and accounts
– Branding and photography
– Social media and blogging
– Selling online (including SEO)
– Selling offline (at craft fairs, through shops and offline promotion such as in magazines)

Craft a Creative Business by Fiona PullenPre-order your copy of Craft a Creative Business from Search Press

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New Year’s Day Craft Blogs Roundup

Happy New Year! I hope 2013 has been a good year for everyone. I’d like to mark the beginning of 2014 with my new monthly roundup of some of my favourite craft blogs and shops. If you missed the first crafty roundup, back in November, please see my previous post.

First up is Isabel’s Needleworks. Isabel is a fabric artist indulging in her hobbies of knitting, sewing and embellishing her handy work with machine embroidery. She shares all her lovely makes on her blog and also includes some really interesting craft related articles with some background history. I particularly enjoyed reading Isabel’s recent post on Penny Rugs. Included in the post are some of the handcrafted items which Isabel has made, having been inspired by the Penny Rug techniques. Gorgeous work!

Isabels Needleworks

Another favourite blogger of mind is Michelle of SewnHenge. I really enjoyed reading Michelle’s blog when I came across it some time ago and I love all the sewing and quilting projects that she shares with us, including a fab collection of sewing tutorials. One of my favourite tutorials has to be The Stargazer Dress, it’s so pretty!

Sewnhenge

Yet another inspiring craft blogger, Esther of Make My Day Creative. Esther’s blog is full of tutorials, including crochet patterns and cooking recipes. She shares what she’s been making and tells us how to make it too! A very generous blogger, who makes gorgeous accessories. I love the crocheted Textured Cowl with matching Fingerless Gloves (see image below) which Esther shares the patterns for. Aren’t they lovely?

Make My Day Creative

A Daisy Garden is another inspirational craft blog to say the least and is full of sewing and quilting delights. A recent post of Daisy’s about a shoebox exchange really caught my attention. The participating crafters and quilters spend all year collecting fat quarters in the colors which their “secret quilter” has requested; two each month. They also add fun little items such as a pin cushion, ornament, sewing needles, and …chocolate! Such a wonderful idea and what a box of treats Daisy received!

A Daisy Garden

Well, I’ve only just touched the tip of the iceberg so far with all the wonderful craft bloggers I have the privilege to follow but I will be rounding up more in about a month’s time. If you already follow the ones above, you’ll know how lovely they are but, if you don’t, I urge you to pay them a visit.

Happy New Year to all!

Susie 🙂

Look What Mum’s been up to at Quilting Class!

My mum recently began attending a quilting workshop and I was so impress with the blocks she’s been working on that I just had to share some pics with you. They are still work in progress but already looking so fab, I’m looking forward to seeing the finished results.

Quilt block 1

Quilt Block 2

Quilt Block 3

As well as sewing and quilting, my mum also loves to crochet. This is something I really must learn to do one of these days. Crochet went out of fashion for so long but I believe it’s now enjoying a massive revival. I can see why and I love all the different colours my mum has used in these blocks. I’ll update this post with the finished articles soon (no pressure mum!), so watch this space.

Crochet 1

Crochet 2

Look what Daddy made for the Kids!

Now that I’ve got a wee bit more free time (well at least for a few weeks anyway!) I’m catching up on loads of things I’ve been eager to show you. This post doesn’t involve any sewing (although I’m sure I can try sneak it in somewhere) but it is about something handmade.

Recently, hubby decided that he’d try build an old-fashioned go-kart for the kids. The onus was on the materials needed being free/recycled/reused if possible. Low and behold, he managed to get the perfect wheels from our local refuse centre! Two big ones off an old Silvercross pram and two smaller ones. He then managed to get some discarded wood from our local kitchen merchants. They had some chipboard wood from the bottom of their pallets which was just destined for the dump site. So home he came with a large sheet of that. He got to work, with the addition of some metal clamps, a sturdy nut and bolt and a piece of 2×4 wood (had to pay a few pounds for them, suppose you can’t get everything for free). My dad also helped by making a specially angled piece of wood for the seat area.

The final bit needed was some rope, for the steering and also for one of us to hold onto so they don’t go careering off down the hills as there’s no proper brake on it and we live in a very hilly town. Well this is where I came in with my sewing stash (see, I told you I’d sneak it in somewhere!) I had a bag full of colourful cords which was perfect. So, here is the finished result, what do you think? As you can imagine the kids love it! Such a clever daddy!

Homemade Go-Kart 1

Homemade Go-Kart 2

Christmas Cards for Schools

I was a proud mum when I sent out some special Christmas cards this year. My son’s school got them all to draw their very own Christmas picture, which the school then had professionally printed onto cards. They were then made available for us parents to order.

My son loved getting his picture on our cards, I’ve enjoyed sending them and getting lovely feedback to pass on to him and the school got to raise funds from all the orders. Everyone’s a winner!

Christmas Cards for Schools

Thanksgiving Weekend Roundup

I thought seeing as it’s Thanksgiving weekend , I’d feature some of my fellow craft workers’ online shops and sewing or craft blogs today. I’m always so grateful to everyone who offers me so much support, kindness and friendliness, so here’s my little roundup of some fab people that I’d like to show my appreciation of. I’ve only listed a small handful of the many people I admire, there’s just so many of you! But I’m going to try make this a regular monthly thing, so that I can slowly (but surely) share all the lovely crafting people I have the privelige to blog alongside.

First up is Lizzie Rose Jewelry, owned by Cath, who makes the most exquisite jewelery and has a lovely selection for sale in her Etsy shop. She’s also offering free worldwide shipping until Tues, 3rd Dec with the coupon code FREESHIPPING You can find Cath blogging here… lizzierosejewellery.com

Lizzie Rose Jewelry shop on Etsy

Next up is a favourite blogger of mine, Katherine from Pillows a-la-mode. Katherine is an education writer who loves to do things with her family and friends and makes pillows and other crafty items. Her blog is always full of interesting makes and all the fantastic crafting ventures she gets up to with her family. Such an inspirational person!

Pillow a-la-mode

Next on my list today is Anny, who blogs over at It’s Sew Anny where you can read all about her crafting ventures and she shares the most delicious cooking recipes, yummm! Anny also runs an Etsy shop, where you’ll find some of her gorgeous handmade bags and sewing patterns to download.

Its Sew Anny

Rachel of Is it Fitting? is another sewing blogger who I admire very much. Her blog is full of ‘Stuff Rachel’s Made’ and you can follow all the lovely sewing projects she embarks on…

sewing blog by Rachel of Is it Fitting

Lastly, for today (but by no means least) is Louise, who blogs over at Sew Sensational who shares lovely sewing projects, patterns, tutorials and recipes. I’m sure you’ll love her blog too, if you’re not already a regular!

Sew Sensational

Look out, at the end of December, for more sewing and craft blogs and shops that I love and admire. I hope you like this weekend’s little roundup. Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating.

Free ‘Handmade with Love’ Gift Tags to Download and Print

When you’ve lovingly handmade all those gifts for Christmas, wouldn’t it be great to attach a cute ‘Handmade with Love’ gift tag? Well, the good folks at Craftsy have very kindly designed a set of tags for that very purpose. They can be printed out on card stock, cut out and attached to your gifts. They can even be hole-punched and attached with some rustic twine for a really nice handmade finish. What’s more, they are totally free to download and print. Get the tags from http://www.craftsy.com/Handmade

Download and print these free 'Handmade with Love' Christmas gift tags.

Download and print these free ‘Handmade with Love’ gift tags.