Love Your Blog: Gratitude

 

I have been meaning to post this blog for some but health, basketball and life got in the way.

The Love Your Blog Challenge has helped me get my blogging mojo back.  I have been getting more organised and now plan my blog entries.  This helps when I don’t have the chance straight away to write my blog entries.

It also gave me the opportunity to buy more stationery, I do love washi tape, sharpies and filofaxes.
Thanks Kate from A Playful Day blog & podcast for helping me get back on track.
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A week of sewing

After sewing another summer dress last week, I got the sewing bug.  I had bought a Sewaholic pattern called Belcarra from Guthrie and Ghani my local independent haberdashery over a year ago.  It was about time I used the pattern.
I looked through my fabric stash and found that I still had some of the lovely fabric from my original summer dress.  So off I went.
Here is the finished top and I loved making it.
Poppybead blog - Belcarra Blouse in Amy Butler fabric
Amy Butler fabric from House of Fraser
I loved it so much that I made another one.  The pattern didn’t have many parts to it and the instructions were relatively easy to follow.   I did struggle with the cuffs but found a great page on a Sewaholic sew-along page.
Sewing this week hasn’t aggravated my primary raynauds.  I have cut out a third top and hope to finish it soon.
The pattern can be purchased at many places in the UK and online

 

Review of 2013

With regards to Poppybead it has been a quiet year.  Mainly down to health reasons and not being able to stand up or walk for too long.  I injured my medial collateral ligament in my knee and this has caused some tissue called the plica to flare and cause pain.

I have been doing other things that don’t require my legs as much.  Firstly my website is live again and I am hosting it on a site that is easier to use, manage and adapt.  I am happy with the look of the website items can be bought through my Etsy shop.

98% of the photography is my own and I am learning all the time.  With that in mind I got involved with a photography project called Lost Stories which is part of a larger project called INSIDE OUT. Being involved with this project has been a steep learning curve when it comes to taking photos.  However I am very proud of my photos and hope my photography will lead to other things.  In the meantime you can see some of my shots on Flickr and Instagram.

I have been sewing a fair bit and this has given me a chance to create for myself and frequent a lovely new haberdashery in Birmingham.  Guthrie and Ghani is a family run business which brings something new to crafting in the West Midlands.  I have also found a wonderful yarn shop in North Birmingham called Sitting Knitting.  SK is a friendly environment for yarn lovers and they also have some great workshops lined up for 2014.  There are some other small businesses Stitch Solihull like I hope to visit in 2014.

I have also got presence on Pinterest and Tumblr, these have more personal aspects but Poppybead is part of me so I hope the creativity shine through.

May bank holiday 1

I thought would take a break from my knitting to blog over this bank holiday weekend.  I am still contemplating what to do regarding a website and am not much further forward.  I have however been working with different photographers to get a different look to the pieces I make.

I am not always good at asking for help but when this friend offered to take pictures I snapped his hand off.  Just like when another photographer friend from the the day job took amazing shots of my pieces.

 

 

 
These are two of my favourites shots from Saol Photography.  My other friend has put a different slant on my pieces.
 

 

 
I feel really blessed to know such talented and creative people who have the ability to my pieces look amazing.
 
I also have some things in the pipeline with these cufflinks which are made to order from my Etsy shop.
 

 
 
 

 

Taking photos

When an email went round at my day job saying there was going to be a photography club I got really quite excited as I thought I would be able to learn more about taking better pictures of my jewellery.  Nearly a year on I can honestly say I have learned loads about taking photos and how important a good photo helps sell a product.  Here are a series of photos I have taken of a pair of earrings that I have made.

This picture has been filtered with Instagram
Before I go through my earring photos this picture was was the original photo I took with a Canon Powershot A400 (3.2MP, 5.9-13.2mm 1:3.8).  This was given to me by a dear friend and I will always appreciate this.
 

 I was then given another point and shoot by a family member, this was a Nikon Coolpix S210 (8MP, 6.3-18.9mm 1:3.1-5.9).  The following photos were taken with my Nikon.

 

 

 

 

 

This was taken outside.

 


I am not entirely happy with these photos, but they are not the worst one I took.

 

 Then just before the Olympics I made the decision to buy a more powerful camera.  I had the chance to hold and use a DSLR from Saol Photography and know I wasn’t ready for a DSLR and settled for a bridge camera.  I am now owner of a Fuji Finepix S4400 (14mp
f=4.3-120.4 1:3.1-5.9)  What sold this to me was the macro settings of 2cm and the 28x zoom.  The next set of photos were taken with my Fuji.


 

 

 



I am happier with these photos as I think they are clearer, the detail is more prominent & they look more professional.  The best piece of advice I have been given is to use as much natural light as you can, along with a tripod.
There is still a lot of learning to be done but I am really enjoying my photography journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decisions

Hello there.

I have been deciding what to do with a number of things.  The first decision I made was to get an accountant to do my self assessment.  Some crafters probably think the money could be spent elsewhere but as a dyslexic it’s was one less thing to think about.

Another decision I have made was to cancel my current Eshop website, this was for financial reasons.  I can’t believe it has been a year since I set it up.  It has been good experience to learn about html, taking good clear photos, selling online & what doesn’t work.

Before Christmas I bit the bullet and did my first craft fair.  It was good fun, successful and a learning process.  It was a big decision for me to make but I am glad I did.

 

 

 


Another thing I decided is to incorporate my love of Basketball with crafting and made some cufflinks.  I also have been experimenting with Polymer clay, so watch this space for more handmade beads.

 


http://www.poppybead.co.uk will be back as soon as I make a decision I am happy with.

 

A right royal weekend

This bank holiday was well timed for me. Some time to spend surrounded by beads, my sewing machine and yarn. I am currently working on a shawl for a wedding I’m going to. I’m also promoting my creative networking event. The main mission behind this event is to share the collaborations and support I have had in the last six months and beyond. With that in mind I offered to help my friend Paisley Immy Cakes at the Space Hopper Events Jubilee vintage and Craft Fair.



This woman makes amazing cup cakes and can turn her hand to just about any type of cake, even gluten free.  I’ve never been to a craft fair as a stall holder so I had no idea what to expect.  Sometimes when trying to helpful you can be more of a hinderance therefore I let Paisley Immy guide me through.  I ran some chores and by the time I got back this fabulous table of cakes, homemade aprons, baking accessories and jam appeared.  We went through the cup cake fillings and the new products.




Centre stage was the most beautiful Victoria sponge, it was topped with fresh fruit.  The cake was so pretty and it seems a shame to cut into the cake and many agreed.  However, once the first slice was sold it was like bees around a honey pot there was a hive of activity excuse the puns.







The cake was a large deep filled creation and ended looking like this within 15 minutes. The time flew today and so did the cakes off the stall. The rhubarb & custard flavour sold out along with chocolate & cherry.





The stall was placed between a jewellery stall and a vintage stall.  I did buy some sterling silver pearl earrings which came with a certificate of authenticity.  I did have a walk around to see what other stall holders were selling and get ideas about whether I should do a craft fair, the jury is still out in my head but never say never.



Thank you Paisley Immy Cakes for today, keep being an amazing baker and good egg.

Look within the flower

The last few weeks have been very busy with Basketball commitments but social media has helped me keep in touch with people and what is going on in the creative/craft world.


Here in the UK we have four days to celebrate the silver jubilee of our monarch.  This for me means time to rest, craft and get advertising my networking event “Look within the flower”.  I think collaborations are so important and so I want to share this through networking.  


I do feel blessed to have such opportunities in my life and with my new event I have been blessed that Rebecca from The Creative Careers Coach is going to talk about collaborations.  The blessings continue onto the venue Six Eight Kafe in Birmingham City Centre, who make amazing tea and coffee.


So if you are available on 13th June 2012 from 6pm do buy yourself a ticket and get networking, you never know who you can help and who can help you.

 
If you haven’t visited my website please do so it will give some background to how the name of the business evolved. 

 

The power of social media

Many moons ago when I was first told about Facebook I never imagined the impact social media would have on me and my crafting.


I think it has a justifiable place in society but some people share too much information on themselves.  They also hide behind social media to be horrible to others.


Over two years ago I joined Twitter and I haven’t looked back.  I have been very blessed.  I started making a sock yarn blanket and tweeted if anyone had any spare yarn to contribute to the insanity that is a sock yarn blanket. A lovely lady from the South East sent me some yarn, just because I asked.  I also met a lady based in Liverpool at a yarn show in Birmingham.


There has been lots of information I have gathered from Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook over the years and been able gain some valuable opportunities.
I wanted to learn more about starting a business and what it entails.  Also I wanted to keep up with what is going on in the world of crafting, Basketball and keep in touch with people.


I happened across @Bhamsbc on Twitter, they were advertising business development courses which were free.  So I made further enquiries and I was signed up for 6 weeks. The Birmingham Small Business Centre are a collective of small business owners who are inspirational. They have had good and bad times in business and are not afraid to share their knowledge and experiences.
Through this course I have met some lovely small business owners who I am keeping in contact with via social media.


I have also managed to reach people all over the world who, are interested in what I am making, saying and feeling. I can’t always see why people want to follow me but I think that’s due to a lack of confidence, but over 800 followers don’t see that.

 

 

A colourful year – Part 2

At the beginning of last month I wrote about a colour challenge.  Below is my April project a yellow cushion cover.  I didn’t use a pattern, just used my creativity and made it up.


 
I am really happy with the finished item and it’s really comfortable.  
 
As it’s Bank holiday Monday I have been inspired to start May’s colour challenge, which is lime green.
 
I have decided to cover some beads with fabric.  The fabric was given to me by my mum who goes to sewing classes and when I asked for scraps this was amongst them.
Then after having a Twitter conversation with a friend I found a tutorial on how to cover beads.
 
I have cut my strips and managed to cover one bead so far, only nine more to go.