Handmade Monday 60

Welcome to another Handmade Monday!


hand-stitched heart and button

What a week it’s been!  The highlight for me, which you’ll know about if you’ve been following this blog, was of course meeting Theo Paphitis of Dragons’ Den fame.  I won’t bore you yet again (if you’ve not read it yet and want to see what all the fuss is about I talked about it here and here – there’s lots of photos on the second link).  I’m still buzzing though!

I’ve been asked for shots of the dress I wore as I ended up covering it up with a cardi on the day when the weather turned a bit cooler.  Here it is – and it really did only just fit!  I’m still losing weight and it is a very slow process!

back home and down to earth

back home and down to earth with the chickens!

The dress was an ankle-length one belonging to my mum way back in the 1960′s and I chopped it down.  I used some of the offcuts to line a handbag, which I made in true scavenger style from an old skirt of my sister’s.  Are you getting the impression my family offloads all their old stuff onto me?  You could be right ;-)

handbag lining

inside of the bag matched my dress

The lining incorporates a few pockets too for business cards and phone, with room for a coin purse and my camera.

my handmade handbag

my handmade handbag

I’m going to get the pattern for the bag together as a downloadable file – do you think other people might be interested in making one?

Meanwhile, leave your craft blog link and we can all do some well-earned blog-hopping with a cup of tea (or maybe something stronger!)


Handmade Monday 57

Welcome to another Handmade Monday.

What’s Your Tipple?

I seem to be becoming known for my alcohol-themed clocks – this vodka clock was a special request!  There’s already wine, gin, beer and my list of jobs often looks like a round at the bar (two large gins, a small beer and three large wines – the clocks come in two sizes!).

it's vodka o' clock

it's vodka o' clock

I meant to have tea time clocks made in time for Mother’s Day, too, but there’s just not been time :roll:

Handmade Harbour

I think a lot of you have by now discovered my new baby – Handmade Harbour.  If you haven’t seen it yet, please do have a look.  It’s all about supporting the handmade community and I’ve started by blogging helpful tips that you might be able to use.  I’m hoping to add downloadable designs and even ebooks at some point in the (probably very distant) future.

Would You Like to be Featured?

My next stage for Handmade Harbour is looking for people to feature.  I’m going to be doing a regular feature in the form of an interview with designers and shops (you could potentially be featured in both because the questions for each will focus on different things).  I didn’t want to do this until I’d drummed up a bit of interest, but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the number of readers I’ve had up to now (which could just be down to the fact it’s new of course).

So – with luck – the interviews may begin sometime very soon! :-)

If you’d like to be featured, please email wendy@1stuniquegifts.co.uk with Handmade Harbour as the subject line.  Once I’ve finalised the questions, I’ll send them out to you.  It’s another way of promoting yourself -  and you’ll get links back to your shop/blog of course.

The interviews aren’t just a standard set of questions – I want them to be something where we can all learn from each other.

put your feet up

put your feet up

In the meantime, I’m going to put my feet up for a little well-earned blog browsing (join me by clicking on the links below) – it’s been a busy week and looks set to be another because Mother’s Day orders have been coming in thick and fast this weekend.


Handmade Monday 56

Hello and welcome to Handmade Monday – click the link for more info and how to join in.

Phew! It’s been a week of short notice orders and urgent deadlines.  It’s all well and good prioritising orders when they’re needed urgently for Christenings, weddings and birthdays but it’s difficult when they all come at once!  It’s been a good mix of canvases, clocks, plaques and photo frames (a good mix makes life more interesting but slows down the making process!).  Oh, and a couple of chalkboards thrown in for good measure!

personalised christening frame for twins

personalised christening frame for twins

In other news, I was shocked to see Culcheth village on the national news today – the car park where the man was shot dead by police last night is the one I use every day when I do the post office run.  There’s a lot of online speculation, but it seems the victim may have been involved in a number of armed robberies (there was one in the village a couple of weeks ago).  Culcheth is usually such a quiet place, which makes it all the more shocking.

I’ll be using a different post office for a couple of weeks – not because of this incident but because the post office was taken over by new management this week and the emphasis has very definitely been on staff training rather than customer service.  The queue has been out of the door and it’s been moving rather slowly, to say the least!   How is it that a slow queue rather than a shooting sways a decision?

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s been going on in your world.  Please leave your craft blog link and I’ll pay you a visit!

Handmade Monday 55

Welcome to Handmade Monday – we’d love to have you join the party – click here for more info!

clock with female singer closeup

clock closeup

First of all, I want to apologise to Hannah – I had offered to share her link on a Handmade Monday post because it might interest quite a few of you – and then I promptly forgot :oops:    Hannah is offering you the opportunity to share your story on her blog -  head over to Span’s Studio for all the details!  I think it’s a great idea (mine is here) and it’d be really good to see you get involved.  It’s always fascinating to read how other people started running their small craft business – everyone has a story to tell.

This week I’ve been working on several commissions – one of which was this clock.  I was asked for a line drawing of an anonymous female singer dressed like Cher – so this is what I came up with:

it's Cher o' clock

it's Cher o' clock

I had about 24 hours to get this one made and posted out – it was a quick turnaround only made possible by the fact the customer just wanted a line drawing and I already had some clocks painted in what seems to have become my signature dark cream/light beige background (I am never sure of the right descriptive term for this colour.  The paint manufacturer calls it unbleached titanium, which doesn’t help much!).

Cher's knee high boots

Cher's knee high boots

I quite like getting short notice commissions occasionally (but not too often!) as they keep you on your toes.  The customer loved it, which always makes commissions worthwhile!

I’ve also been working on some other commissions (more about those another time) and some new Mother’s Day gifts (more about that soon too!) as well as a steady flow of orders, so it’s been busy here.

I’m still struggling with organising my time more efficiently – I think perhaps I might be making progress on that score (albeit a little on the slow side!).  There’s soooo much more I want to do and where are those extra 24 hours when you need them, huh?  Who’s up for starting a petition for an extra day in the week?

Although, looking at my wall calendar (a free gift from the free magazine Gift Focus – now there’s a bargain!) it seems I may have it cracked.  Not only is there a 29th Feb this year, there was also (look closely!) a 39th January (although this appears to be a swop rather than an extra day)!

an extra day

an extra day

Handmade Monday 54

Welcome to Handmade Monday – click here to find out more (including how to join in).

rugby league clock

rugby league clock

This week the rugby clock finally went out – I’m glad to report the customer was happy with it!

I’ve not yet added it to the website, but I think I will.  I can make it with any team colours (and any wording of course) so it might make a good gift for another rugby league fan somewhere!

rugby league personalised clock

rugby clock

In other news, I managed to make time for a couple of days off this week (although I love my work, I know I spend far too many hours on it and time off is always welcome!).  There was a trip to Martin Mere to feed the ducks

feeding the ducks

feeding the ducks

and a day out in Liverpool’s Albert Dock with its interesting mix of museums, art galleries, shops, cafes, a lot of of which were new since last time I’d been.  It’s an area which has seen a lot of development recently (but the buildings in this picture are definitely old ones!):

Albert Dock

Albert Dock

Both days out were both cold, breezy, bright and a lot of fun.  Days out always refresh me and I always end up with lots of photos, sketches and ideas (see, I never stop “working” even on a day off – although I struggle to see sketching as working ;-) )

Now I’m tucked up warm again, I’m looking forward to a different kind of visiting.  If you have a spare few minutes, do join me in browsing the links below.  Craft bloggers never cease to amaze and inspire me with their makes, news and photos.

Handmade Monday 53

Hello and welcome to Handmade Monday.  If you’re new to this, please check out the Handmade Monday guidelines.

With Valentine’s Day almost upon us, there’s been a lot of red paint and hearts and love around the studio (not quite enough to warm my cockles on these cold days, though – my wood burner has been working overtime!).  I’ve been making a lot of wedding countdown chalkboards, red hearts with messages and you are my sunshine plaques like this one

you are my sunshine plaque

you are my sunshine plaque

A little bit of frantic ordering always goes on in the run-up to any event (Christmas was the same!) – emails and phone calls in the vein of “how quick can I have…?”  It’s always good when I can oblige (it’s not always possible!) – Royal Mail is going to be doing a few next day deliveries in time for Valentine’s Day! (I’m actually rather shocked at the price of a next day before 9am delivery!)

And I’m just adding the photo below as it  illustrates how lovely it is to be able to alter a design for a customer – this was for a little girl called Rae, whose Mum used to always sing this song to her when she was a baby.

my Rae of sunshine

my Rae of sunshine

What’s your week been like?  Leave your blog link and I’ll look forward to visiting you!

Handmade Monday 52

Hello and welcome to Handmade Monday (click the link for more info and how to join in).

This week, to celebrate the fact that we’ve had 52 Handmade Mondays (officially a year’s worth of them!) let’s try a little celebration/shameless self-promotion – group-style!  OK, so . . .

twitter bird sketch

twitter bird sketch

if you’re on Twitter, please tweet that you’ve blogged for #HandmadeMonday and link to your own blog (if you use the hashtag #HandmadeMondaywith no spaces – I can locate your tweets easily and retweet them).  You can see how this would work to promote all of you, right?  If you want to get in on the retweeting too, please feel free!  Try to keep your tweet short (under 120 characters) so retweeting is easier. Bit.ly is good for shortening your links, if you need it and it lets you track your clicks too.

Feel free to spread the word beyond Twitter too.  A bit of shouting from the rooftops can’t harm any of us, surely?

This week, I’ve been working on a clock for a customer – this is it in the early stages:

rugby clock wip

rugby clock, still needing some work

It will be a gift for a rugby league fan, and I’m going to use two very specific team colours, as requested.

As you can probably see in the above image, I am working from a selection of images of rugby players.  These were direct from Google, I’m afraid – my research just doesn’t run to rugby matches in this weather (is it even rugby season?).  I must admit, I needed to add some specific terms to my searches – if you just type rugby players into Google images. . . well, let’s just say I won’t be using those kind of images for my clocks!! :lol:

Go on, admit it, you’re all on Google images right now, aren’t you? ;-)

Oh, you’re back?  OK -  it’s over to you now.  Let’s see what’s going on in your world!  And if you’re here after following a Twitter link, welcome.  Do have a browse around at least some of the fabulous blogs below.

Handmade Monday 46

Welcome to Handmade Monday.

Not much preamble from me this week – with more than 150 orders still to be completed and sent out before Christmas, I’ve not got a lot of time for much else (including blogging).  I did manage to get round everyone’s blogs last week – please don’t count on me this week, will you?

wine o clock

wine o' clock

A lot of these orders are down to the fact my wine o’ clock clock was featured in the Metro on Wednesday (no pics, sorry – I didn’t even get to see a copy myself).  A couple of customers mentioned it and the orders spoke for themselves (50+ orders in one day :shock: for 70+ items and about half as many again on each of the days that followed!  Orders for these are still pinging in…).

Orders for pre-Christmas delivery will not be taken after tonight and as I’m already working from 5 am till about 9 pm there can be no exceptions.  I always feel bad letting people down – and have already turned down a number of custom requests – but there’s only so much you can do :???:

wine and campers

wine and campervans jostling for space and attention

So, think of me this evening finishing off more glasses of wine than is good for me – painted ones, on clocks, of course ;-) while you leave your link and/or browse some of the amazing blogs.

Handmade Monday 45

Welcome to the first Handmade Monday of December.  I think maybe December has been sneaking up while my back was turned.

personalised cupcake clock

personalised cupcake clock

My images this week are just a random selection of orders which are variations on the original.  Variety is one of the things I love about my work (even though I’m still painting what seems like millions of campervan clocks!).

I'd rather be in Ibiza plaque

I'd rather be in Ibiza

The orders aren’t slowing down here at all (the campervan clock orders have slowed down quite considerably but there’s still a few a day coming in!) and very soon I think I’m going to have to take stock of just what can be completed before the last posting dates and ask people to stop ordering.  The trouble is, that didn’t work last year and people just kept ordering and hoping for the best.

live laugh love photo frame

live laugh love photo frame

Last year, I even had orders after the last posting dates – as well as orders in between Christmas and New Year (mostly men, ordering pressies for wives and girlfriends ;-) )

Being busy is definitely good – of course it is – but it brings its own problems!

Meanwhile, it’s over to you for Handmade Monday.  I will probably struggle to get round everyone’s blogs this week, but at some point I will visit them all and leave a comment on as many as I can :-)   Thank you all for taking part.

Handmade Monday 44

Welcome to another Handmade Monday.

You might remember me likening my studio to a campervan factory back in summer when I was preparing for the VW Show at Tatton Park.

Well, it seems the campervans have taken over again.

campervan clocks

campervan clocks - a bit of a production line!

If you saw my last post you’ll know the campervan clock got a mention in the Sunday Mirror, courtesy of the fabulous Swanky Maison.  It brought a whole new meaning to the word busy.  There have been so many orders it’s been a problem just finding the time just to print them off and log them, let alone actually paint them.

It’s a nice problem to have, though.  It’s always better to be too busy than not busy enough (although a few more hours in the day wouldn’t go amiss).

campervan clocks

campervan clocks

Some of the comments on this blog recently have mentioned I need elves to help me in my studio.  Well, now I have them in the form of two of my daughters.  No pics yet – we haven’t stopped to think ahead to photo opportunities!

These elves can twirl wire, tie ribbon, pack plaques, assemble clocks, stuff things in padded envelopes and boxes, do a post office run and – well, you get the picture (even without a photo!).  They are worth their weight in gold (which actually isn’t very much because they both weigh less than the average supermodel!).

What’s been going on in your workspace? Let us know . . .