DIY Copper Foil Planter

Guys. I can’t believe I’m typing this but, I KEPT A PLANT ALIVE! And it’s thriving. So I decided to make this DIY Copper Foil Planter so that my one plant to survive can feel special and sparkly. And because I wanted to use copper foil in a project OK?!

A friend gave me a Pilea plant for Christmas too so I’m making this corner of my studio into a little indoor garden. It gets plenty of light but not direct sun so I hope to keep it from dying.

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You can find the full tutorial for this planter (which was once terracotta!) on the Homedit site here. They share a ton of inspiration for DIY projects and interiors.

I hope you’ve all had a good week and have some fun plans ahead for the weekend. I’m off to a water colour class!

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Which 2017 Planners Am I Using?

In 2016, I did a weekly project to share the decorated pages of my planner on Instagram. It was a fun, creative task which you can see the results of here. As much as I enjoyed it, I’ve decided to take a more pratical approach to planning this year. Today I’m sharing which 2017 planners I am using.

By now you will have probably gathered that I need to write things down if I have any chance of remembering them. Hence my obsession with planners. When I ask G to remind me about something, he often jokes “write it in your planner” and teases me for spending more time planning than actually doing. Joking aside, as a multi tasker and visual person, I find planning a useful tool to clarify my goals and stay productive. If it’s on a list – I’ll get it done.

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So this year, I’m using three different planners. The first is the Hello Day Planner for my day-to-day life. I have reviewed this planner in full on my YouTube channel and would definitely recommend it! It is quite a big planner, so it tends to stay on my desk and I open it at the beginning and end of each day. Plus it is from a UK start-up which I am so excited to support!

I really love the day per page with to do lists, water tracking, a gratitude prompt and a 10 minute task. The 10 minute accomplishment each day has been really great as we have been using this to complete small tasks around the home that we often put off.

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The next planner I am using is for strategic business planning. The Dream Plan Do Planner was a Kickstarter project from The Design Trust and I couldn’t recommend it more highly! Since I quit my PA job, I have definitely needed to think more strategically about the product side of my business because there has been a shift in motivation to make more money.

Each month has a different aspect of your business to focus on with lots of creative tasks and prompts to get you thinking and planning for the longer term. At the end of each month there are two pages to review your finances and marketing stats. I am excited to think about my business in more detail this year.

You can get 20% off any Dream Plan Do products till 31 January if you use promo code: wearefriends (not sponsored – just love this planner and wanted to share their offer!).

dream-plan-do-planner

The final planner I am using for 2017 is a notebook. I am using a gridded Leuchtturm 1917 medium notebook as a Bullet Journal for my day to day business planning. I have struggled before with multiple notebooks for my business and planners not having the right inserts for me, but now I can design each page myself and have everything in one place! This notebook contains daily to do lists, brainstorming for products, editorial calendars, wish lists, supplier info, cash flow and invoicing and lots more! Basically anything that relates to my business that isn’t a long term goal. Possible planner peace…….? I’ll keep you posted.

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So there you have it, my 2017 planners! You can also hear me chatting through these in this video if you fancy more planner content.

Are you using a planner this year?

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Claireabellemakes 2016 Review

We all know that 2016 wasn’t the best for the world. At one point I had to stop watching the news because it genuinely upset me too much. I even considered whether writing a review/celebration of achievements post was insensitive and indulgent, but it is something I feel I need to do for my business and life as a moment of reflection. I guess what I am trying to say, is I write these posts as a diary for my business, rather than to shout about what I managed to get done.

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2016 was a year where change happened. My words for the year were Learn and Grow and I felt as though I really embraced them. I made things happen, I did things that scared me and I took financial risks.

So here’s 2016 in review for Claireabellemakes. Grab a cuppa and a biscuit, lots happened!

In January I started putting my words into practice and learnt how to use a saw, hammer, router and chisel at a Mackay’s woodworking class. I built a wonky birdhouse and carved a wooden spoon.

I also took some time out with family for a short break and began to make plans for quitting the day job.

Handmade-Wooden-Birdhouse

In February I planned my dream life at a kikki.K goals workshop, started working with Jenny Hyde on her new business venture and re-launched the Glitter Heart Pins in the month of love.

Glitter-Heart-Pin-Colour-Selection

March was a month of collaboration when I was featured in Caboodle Magazine and contributed to the Lucky Dip Club box. I also started working with We Make Collective as their social media manager and worked with Rustoleum and Thornton’s for the blog. CHOCOLATE AND BLOGGING = two favourite things!

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We also took a trip to Edinburgh – our first time in Scotland. We walked a ton, ate a deep fried Mars bar and soaked up the scenery and culture.

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In April, Claireabellemakes turned 4 and the Glitter Heart Pins were featured in Mollie Makes magazine. I worked with John Lewis, Neal’s Yard and Purl Alpaca for the blog and launched the Motivational Pencils.

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May was really exciting as I appeared on TV with Crafty Beggars! It was definitely a scary moment for me, but I’m glad I said yes as it helped me grow. I was thrilled to be featured in Handmade Magazine this month and also to attend a fantastic event at local business Catesby’s.

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June was a month where I didn’t take my foot off the pedal much. I launched a collaborative print collection with Kate and a print collection for Sew Crafty. I designed prints for the Blogtacular goody bag and attended for the second year (it was a blast!). I sold at the Cambridge Made market and took 3 days off to go glamping at the beach with G.

Claireabellemakes-At-Blogtacular-2016

In July I embraced the Cambridge summer and punted the river with some of my favourite creative pals. I took a photography workshop with Me and Orla and hosted some craft parties in Cambridge.

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In August I sold at the Craftacular summer market and attended the first ever Happiness Planner Event in London. I worked with George at Asda for the blog and pushed myself to pose for an outfit post which was totally out of my comfort zone.

Asda Dress Selector Claireabellemakes 2

September was the month I quit my job as a PA! By far the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but it was so freeing and I don’t miss it at all. It was a busy month attending the Handmade Fair, taking a brush lettering class and planning the Cambridge Creatives Photowalk with Jo. A fun and exciting month indeed!

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In October, I officially started working with Copper Boom Studio as In-house Creative lead. I style photoshoots for clients like me who run their own small businesses. The team are amazing and it’s so inspiring to be part of a start-up that nurtures our industry.

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November was a month for Christmas prep for the shop. I launched the new card collections and the Wheelie Festive Bikes. I attended Renegade market and got my head down in the studio. I also celebrated my birthday with a mini break to Bristol and Bath with G. We shopped handmade markets, ate lots and enjoyed the festive spirit. Once we returned, I sold at the Christmas Craftacular market and packed tons of orders.

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December went by in a flash with the busiest month ever for the Etsy store (passing 1000 sales and making the most income)! I sold at the Cambridge Etsy Made Local market and was featured on the Just A Card blog. One of my highlights of the year, was the final event of 2016. I ran a craft workshop for Disney UK in London. It was a scary moment (I don’t usually host workshops for children!) and an exhausting day, but I loved it. I hope it is a brand I can work with again. I shared a DIY for this Christmas decoration afterwards as it was inspired by our makes.

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PHEW. Writing all that down makes me realise why I ended the year with a few too many PJ days. I knew that 2016 had to be a year of hustle to really change my business life to work solely on creative projects.

My word for 2017 is balance. I mean work-life balance. I still have a lot to learn on this subject, so perhaps I’ll take my 2016 words forward too 😉

Thanks for sticking around to the end! What was your biggest achievement of 2016? I’d love to know!

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DIY Eucalyptus Star Decoration – Inspired By Disney

Well December has flown by hasn’t it?! It has been a month filled with work and a few days of play, but I’m really pleased I have some time today to share with you a little of what I have been up to!

Before I get to the DIY Eucalyptus Star Decoration, I want to explain where the inspiration for this make came from.

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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with a dream brand to deliver some Christmas workshops. Early on Saturday morning I took the train to London to the Disney Store on Oxford Street to celebrate the launch of the Pete’s Dragon DVD.

Pete’s Dragon is a wonderful film about a boy who lives in the forest with his dragon friend. No one in the town believes his dragon Elliot is real, but it’s a great adventure for all when they explore the forest to find out.

disney-workshop

I ran three workshops for children of all ages to make forest inspired Christmas crafts. We painted pine cones to make mini Christmas tree decorations as well as using twine to create 5 point star decorations from sticks. The children also made raw gingerbread cookies and watched the film as they created. One kid did paint his face green too which was all kinds of fun….it was a busy day so I only managed to get a few snaps above.

Today I wanted to share a tutorial for a more grown up version of the DIY Star Decoration we made.

You will need:

  • 5 branches
  • Twine/string
  • String lights on a wire
  • Eucalyptus

For our forest decoration, we created a 5 point star using sticks and twine to hold it together. Wrap around and tie twine each time a stick crosses another one.

eucalyptus-star-decoration-step-1

I added a piece of natural coloured ribbon to hang it. It can be quite useful to have another pair of hands for creating the star, so that the sticks stay in place as you tie. eucalyptus-star-decoration-step-1-stick-star

Next, take your copper wire lights and wrap around the star covering each stick. I did this with the lights switched on to make sure they were evenly spaced.
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Then, take lengths of eucalyptus (my favourite right now) and wrap around the sticks. You can secure it by tucking it into the areas where the sticks cross. eucalyptus-star-decoration-complete

If you wanted to, you could also hang lengths of eucalyptus from the bottom of the star. It’s really up to you how you add the foliage – it’s such a simple DIY there is definitely room for variations!eucalyptus-star-decoration-step-3

I love how natural the finished star decoration looks! It’s a larger more grown up version of what we made at the Disney Store and I love it.

diy-eucalyptus-star-decoration-claireabellemakesA big thanks to Disney for inviting me to run the children’s workshops – I had so much fun, especially since I am used to teaching adult crafters and this was so different.

Have you been inspired to create any DIY holiday decorations this year?

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Decorate With A Bike Ornament

The decorations are up here and we’re almost ready for hosting Christmas. Except for the oven going bang this weekend! Luckily we have an amazing landlord who has ordered us a new one, so fingers crossed it arrives in time for cooking the turkey. If it doesn’t, I’m entirely happy with cheese with a side of cheese for Christmas dinner hehe!

Anywho, after G had decorated our tree with all the red and white ornaments, we realised it didn’t even have a Wheelie Festive Bike on it! It now has a white bicycle decoration and on Christmas day I’ll add a red one.
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What has really blown me away this Christmas, is how many of you have been loving hanging your bicycle decorations. I decided to share your snaps today because it really made my heart all warm and fuzzy to see you getting wheelie festive!

Sammy has wowed me with these 4 (yes 4!) pictures she shared of her bike which was the inspiration for a tree decorated entirely with handmade decorations from UK designer makers. It’s AMAZING. You can check out the blog post all about Sammy’s Christmas tree here.samanthaclaridge_bikedecoration

Jo aka Life At Lords Cottages used her decoration as display piece in her son’s bedroom and Zabby Allen was kind enough to include my bikes in a round up of indie designed Christmas decorations on her blog here.

Sarah Hearts shared her unboxing  and Sunshine Jo shared her custom yellow one!customer-photos-wheelie-festive-bikes

Then I got SUPER excited seeing them on your trees! Cambridge customer Anna came and grabbed one in person at the Cambridge Made market as well as my stall neighbour Jules who both popped them on the tree soon after!

My Mum shared hers in the middle and Millie added hers to a beautiful blue themed tree. Finally, Helen paired hers with a Hello Sunshine decoration which I just love!customer-photos-wheelie-festive-bikes-on-trees

I hope you’re all feeling really festive and ready for the holidays! I want to share with you our favourite Christmas decoration we hang each year which Kim Haskins painted.

Hand-Painted-Cat-Christmas-Decoration

There’s still time to grab a decoration or stocking fillers in the shop here! Last orders for USA, Canada and Europe are on 15 December and UK orders on 17 December. Or just get in touch if you need express shipping!

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