Shop Handmade for Christmas

  1. This post is sponsored by Amazon Handmade

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of Christmas markets, getting online orders out and attempting to do some Christmas gift shopping. This year I have been shopping handmade as much as possible and supporting campaigns such as Just A Card which champions designer makers and small businesses.

I love encouraging you guys to support handmade, so here are some of the ways I’m approaching my Christmas gift shopping!

 

Visit your local craft market

I live in Cambridge which has a great weekly market in the city centre. As well as grabbing fruit and veg, I like to visit on Sundays to see local makers and we even have an additional arts and crafts market which is a treasure trove of goods! If you’re looking for something near you, a great way to search is by using the local events pages on Facebook. I usually click via an event I’ve been to and then it cleverly finds similar markets for me to visit.

Bicycle Christmas Decorations

`

Online market places

Market places such as Amazon Handmade are usually on my list for finding unique gifts. If I’m looking for personalised items or something like our table favour bags for Christmas dinner, this is the kind of place I’ll visit.

What is great about the market place sites is that they allow makers to grow their businesses in an affordable way – we usually pay a small fee to host and sell our creations and it gives us a whole audience of shoppers to reach!

Many creatives will be using their takings from the festive season to keep going during the quieter months in businesses. All those Christmas sales will probably be helping them pay their mortgages in January and will give them funds to work on more product development.

Try making your own gifts

This one doesn’t always turn out well for me – hence why I shop online for handmade gifts instead! I went to a gathering with some girl friends this week and we made gifts for each other. Let’s just say my edible gifts weren’t that presentable! We all laughed about it in the end though and was delighted to receive some blackberry gin, cupcakes, a Christmas pudding and a self care kit.

My tips for making your own gifts would be to start early (I may have been rush finishing gifts on Christmas eve in the past) and to be realistic with what you think you can complete. Work out a timescale!

One year I received a handmade goody bag of Christmas treats from a family member and it was so thoughtful. I enjoyed jam, Christmas cake and chutney which was a real treat. They don’t always have to be edible though, a knitted scarf or scrapbook of favourite photos have been on my to make list in the past too.
So there you have it, a few ways I support handmade over the Christmas season! I’m not making many gifts this year, but I have found some fantastic makers to buy from and I’m lucky enough to have customers shopping my makes for their loved ones too. I’m off to work on my new festive cross stitch kit and visit the Lincoln Christmas markets this weekend. I’m definitely in the mood now! How are you getting on with your Christmas shopping? I’d love to hear any tips you have!

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature

*Some items shown on this page were gifted from Amazon Handmade in addition to sponsorship.

Claireabellemakes Christmas Markets 2018

It’s that time of year when I am running about like a headless chicken preparing for Christmas markets! We’ve all seen the Coca Cola TV advert by now and the high street is Christmas crazy – so I figured it was about time I updated you on my markets for this season.

I decided to only take part in Etsy Made Local markets this year as they are so well organised and they are happening all over the UK so there’s a great buzz! I’ll be selling in Cambridge on Thursday 29 November and Brighton on Saturday 1 December.

All the details can be found below – hope to see some of you there. Give me a shout if you are planning to stop by!

Cambridge-Made-Christmas-Fair-2018Facebook EventEML 2018 INSTAGRAMFacebook Event

If you’re not able to make it to any markets this year, I’ll be having a little sale over my Birthday weekend (which also happens to be Black Friday weekend) with everything on Etsy 10% off. Keep an eye on the shop here – no coupon code needed. Sale starts 23/11 and ends 25/11.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature

House Plants For Black Thumbed Gardeners

When I moved back in July, one of the first things I put in my room was my house plant collection. It instantly made it feel more homely and I am pleased to say that each plant has been thriving since then! Having had a bad run with plants, I definitely have more confidence now, so have decided to share my house plant recommendations for black thumbed gardeners.

House Plants For Black Thumbed Gardeners

Polka Dot plants (Hypoestes phyllostachya) are sometimes known as Freckle Face plants. I picked up this pretty pink one from The Manor Florist at Burwash Manor in Cambridge. I have learnt that they can grow in any type of indirect light but the colour is best in lower light situations. This one needs repotting, but it’s grown pretty quickly already!Polka-dot-plant My friend Hannah gave me this Pilea a couple of years ago when it was a baby. It’s since had lots of babies too and is loving life on this corner shelf. The baby pilea underneath came from it and seems to be thriving too. Corner-Plant-Stand As well as a couple of cacti and succulents, I have been tending to this Peace Lily which I’ve had for about 6 years. I bought it from a man named Basil at the garden centre so I think that means it has good vibes!Peace-Lily-Plant This time of year I also light a lot of candles and hunt out all the autumnal scents at Homesense and TK Maxx. My favourite brand of seasonal candles is DW Home which I believe is a US brand. I’ve been burning an apple crumble one and this maple pumpkin scent. DW-Home-Maple-CandleI moved this succulent plant into the bathroom recently, so I’m hoping it does OK. The basket pot is from The Basket Room and the Pomegranate candle is another TK Maxx find.
The-Basket-Room-Plant-Pot Pomegranate-Candle

Another purchase from The Manor Florist was the String of Hearts trailing plant on my book case. It’s grown 4 times in length since I purchased it a few months back.
Plants-For-Bookshelf Trailing-Plants Also on top of the book case sits an Anthurium and some beautiful handmade leather flowers from Daphne Rosa.String-of-Hearts-Plant All these plants have taken minimal effort and I feel like I’m slowly getting more confident with keeping them alive! Pilea-PlantAre there any house plants that you would recommend?

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature

*Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates. Read more about my disclosure policy here.

New In Store: Christmas Collections

Just a quick update today to let you know the Christmas collections are now live in the shop! It may feel a little early for some, but the high street is already in Christmas mode and Claireabellemakes customers have been ordering cards since June this year!

SHOP_ Claireabellemakes Christmas Collection

I usually start my Christmas shopping in October and plan some handmade gifts too. What about you? Does the early sign of Christmas in the big retail stores annoy you? Or are you someone who starts planning in the summer?

I should also share that the Etsy shop now has free UK Shipping on everything, all the time!

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature

Life Lately #18: Autumn Days

As I write this post, the sun is shining in Cambridge and it’s currently 25 degrees – in October! To say we’ve had a good start to Autumn is an understatement. There have been beautiful long days, pink and purple sunrises and colourful leaves everywhere.

Today I thought I’d share a little of what I have been up to as the season begins. I love this time of year just before the clocks change and when the light is somehow a little magical.

River-Cam-Autumn-CambridgeSadly I was poorly for most of September with labrynthitis and a virus, so I was too dizzy to get out on my bike. Luckily it has eased these last couple of weeks so I have been cycling along the river and dodging cows.Cambridge-Cows The city has been looking as pretty as ever in the Autumn sunshine.
Cambridge-UniversityPerfect weather to take myself on a solo trip to the market for Halloumi fries!Halloumi-Fries-Cambridge-Market

I sat in a tourist hot spot at Kings College, but sometimes it’s the best place to just watch the world go by and to take a minute.
Kings-College-CambridgeI also got to spend lots of time with my pal Jo this month and meet her new camper van Buddy! He’s the perfect shade of sunshine yellow.
Hello-Sunshine-Buddy-The-CampervanWe also spent the day with Zabby when we visited the Zoology museum, ate burgers and mac n cheese, and had hot chocolates at Jack’s Gelato. Days like those are good for the soul!
Jo&Zabby-Jacks-Gelato The museum collection has really grown since I last visited. It was a super rainy day so perfect for a mooch around pointing at all the weird and wonderful creatures. Museum-of-Zoology-CambridgeI had a lovely Sunday last week exploring the village of Bourn before heading to the Afternoon Tease Brunch Club event with Jo. Just look at this amazing thatched cottage!
Thatched-Cottage-Bourn-CambridgeshireThe Brunch Club was held at Manor Farm Barns – such a dreamy venue! We ate the most wonderful 3 course brunch, drank prosecco, listened to live music and chatted to lots of familiar faces. Manor-Farm-Bourn-Brunch-ClubThere was also an Autumn Wreath making workshop which made me feel very festive and warm!Autumn-ForagingAll the items we used were foraged from around the barns – it was such a beautiful setting to create something seasonal.
Autumn-Wreath-Cambridge-SatchelThe final part of the day was filled with cake. I left feeling full, relaxed and very happy!
Afternoon-Tease-Brunch-ClubI hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my Autumn days and a little of what I’ve been up to.
Bicycles-and-Autumn-Leaves

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature