What Am I Up To? August & September

Lots of fun and exciting things are happening in the world of Claireabellemakes over the next two months, so I thought I’d share a quick post with some dates and info – in case you are interested in what I am up to!

This Saturday 12 August, you can find me and the Cambridge Made Etsy Team selling our wares at the summer fair! All the information is in the flyer below and you can find a Facebook event here.
Cambridge Made Summer FairMy next piece of news is that I have been nominated for an Amara Interior Blog Award for the 3rd year running! So chuffed to be in the Best Craft Blog category again and would be so grateful for your votes here.

If you like the content I share – please do share my blog. I’ve often been quite close to the shortlist, so it would be fantastic to make it a little further this year and to welcome some new followers to the blog!Nominated-bloggerSome of you may have seen my previous post about The Handmade Fair. This year, I’ll be representing Pinterest and appearing on stage in the Super Theatre with Kirstie Allsopp. I will also be visiting my creative friends who take part in the fair each year and doing a bit of shopping and eating too!10746_HANDMADE_FAIR_2017_LOGO

There is a ticket offer for my followers if you fancy coming along! Simply quote CLAIRE when booking via the website for 15%  off either Full Experience or Entry + Super Theatre tickets.

Ts and Cs: Booking fees apply. Offer applies to adult Full Experience tickets, Full Experience tickets cost £27 + BF (usually £32 + BF) and Entry + Super Theatre tickets cost £17 (usually £20 +BF). Offer closes 14.09.2017 or when sold out.

CLAIRE offerAnd finally, Jo and I are super excited to be planning the next Cambridge Creatives Photowalk for 30 September! The first walk in September 2016 had around 16 people and the April walk (pictured below) was enjoyed by around 80 people!  Everyone is welcome to the next walk and we will be ending with a Food Park Night Market for those interested in some treats!

You can find out more on the Facebook event here.
Cambridge Creatives Spring Photowalk The BacksWhat a lot of things to tell you about! Give me a shout if you are planning to come along to any of these events – it always makes me happy to meet you guys in person.

What are you up to this summer?

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The Handmade Fair With Pinterest (And a Ticket Offer)

This week I had the pleasure of visiting Pinterest HQ in London to prep for an event I’m going to be part of.

Claireabellemakes-at-Pinterest-HQ

I’m thrilled to be joining Kirstie Allsopp’s line up of experts at The Handmade Fair from 15th – 17th September and would love to see you all there! Come along for a weekend of hands-on workshops, live demos and Q&As, unique handmade items and delicious food and drink.

My session about how to use Pinterest as a crafter is on Sunday 17th in the Super Theatre. Kirstie will be asking me for my tips and tricks and how I use the platform to inspire my projects. 

 You can see the full timetable for the Sunday here.10746_HANDMADE_FAIR_2017_LOGOThe Handmade Fair is such a great day out – I’ve been every year since it started and always love the shopping village, workshops and food vans. You can see my vlogs on YouTube from 2016 and 2015 and some more images below!
Handmade Fair1 Handmade Fair4 Handmade Fair3 Handmade Fair7 Handmade Fair6

Plus, I’ve got an exclusive offer for you – simply quote CLAIRE when booking via the website for 15%  off either Full Experience or Entry + Super Theatre tickets.

Ts and Cs: Booking fees apply. Offer applies to adult Full Experience tickets, Full Experience tickets cost £27 + BF (usually £32 + BF) and Entry + Super Theatre tickets cost £17 (usually £20 +BF). Offer closes 14.09.2017 or when sold out.

CLAIRE offerCan’t wait to see you all there! Wish me luck…..

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*Photos provided by The Handmade Fair.

DIY Candles With Evermore London

Lately, I have been doing the odd craft project just for fun. When you run a creative business, it can often be hard to find time to make just for you. So when Evermore London got in touch with me about their candle making kits, I knew they would be a great rainy day craft to try out.

If you’ve never tried candle making, just know that it’s super easy to do! The kits from Evermore make it so simple to learn how to make beautiful candles in no time at all. Each kit is packaged in a gorgeous white box, with all the items you need.
Evermore-Candle-KitsEach candle making kit contains enough to make two soy wax candles. You can pick two fragrances from the following list to make them scented:

  • Sandalwood
  • Lavender
  • Gardenia
  • Coconut
  • Lemongrass

I found the fragrance to be quite subtle. My favourite was definitely the coconut, but the lavender was perfect to burn in the evenings before bed time.
Fragrance-Oils-Candle-Making

The kit has a little booklet to show you how to make the candles – it’s as easy as melting the soy wax and testing the temperature before adding the fragrance oil. I bought a pyrex jug which I use specifically for making candles and it gets used loads!  Evermore recommend an aluminium jug – but I reckon both work well!Candle-Making-KitThere were two decent sized tins to make the candles in and even labels to customise your tin with. DIY-Soy-Wax-Candles Making-soy-candles-with-EvermoreGlue dots are the best thing for keeping your candle wicks in place, as well as some skewers and strings for when your wax is setting. In-progress-Evermore-Candle-MakingI love how quick candle making is. It’s especially nice to make them alongside other long term projects that I’m working on (first quilt coming soon!). The burn time on these candles was really lengthy and I will definitely use the tins again.
DIY-Soy-Candles-EvermoreThe kits make a really great gift for someone wanting to learn how to make soy candles or I reckon they are a great treat if you want an easy make for a Sunday afternoon craft session. Evermore also sell ready made candles with some amazing scents and even have a wedding collection for favours. Evermore-London-Candle-Workshop

A big thanks to Sarah at Evermore who sent the kit to me for review purposes. I was so pleased to have a chance to work with them after discovering their candles at Renegade a couple of years ago.

Have you found any great craft kits lately? I’d love to hear!

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

April Favourites 2017

Wow April was full of colour! I usually start my monthly favourites post by sharing the best experience of the month. April was filled with some craft parties (possibly the final ones!) and the Cambridge Creatives Photowalk. Both amazing opportunities to connect with creative people!

The photo walk was overwhelming in an amazing way. I felt on a high for a week after and so so grateful that people believed in our event again. I’ll write a separate post soon, in the meantime, enjoy this wisteria shot as a taster….

Wisteria-Photowalk

I decided to wear pink for the photowalk (we all dressed colourfully) and purchased a new phone case just for the occasion. Just a bit of fun!

Strawberry-Phone-CasePlanning the walk with Jo was just brilliant. A couple of weeks ago she gifted me this adorable illustration which I need to frame. I love it.  You can order your own custom ‘sunshine’ on Jo’s website.

Sunshine-Jo-PortraitThis month I was thrilled to be included in Caboodle magazine again for their Spring/Summer edition. Caboodle Magazine Cover I had some fun with a Christmas present this month – Scrabble cookie cutters! What shall I spell out next?Scrabble-Cookie-Cutters

I chatted to Imogen Owen on the photo walk who has just released her Modern Calligraphy Workshop book. It’s BEAUTIFUL with practical tips for lettering with a nib, as well as brush and chalk lettering skills. I took one of Immie’s classes last year and loved it.Modern-Calligraphy-Book-Imogen-Owen As most of you know by now, this year I’m enjoying bullet journalling and have been testing out some different pens for doodling and note taking. Uniball contacted me to share their new sparkling gel ink rollerball pens with you. I was not disappointed – they are the sparkliest gel pens I’ve come across yet!

I have also discovered some awesome new pen storage, but I’m planning on making a separate video for my You Tube channel about it, so stay tuned.Uniball-Signo-Glitter-Gel-Pens Since I quit my full-time job last year, I’ve been trying to spend less money. It was pretty tricky at a car boot this weekend when I saw a mint green typewriter for £15 let me tell you! However, I managed to resist and have been enjoying swaps with fellow creatives as a way to mix up my pin and patch collections without spending money.

This little haul is from a Lucky Dip Club swap event I participated in on Facebook. It was so much fun. Keep an eye on their website for a relaunch of the Lucky Dip Club boxes soon!

Oh and the patches I got have been ironed or stitched onto something which I’m planning to share soon 🙂LDC Swap

Some new pins this month include Ip Dip Designs (got these for a few pounds in the seconds sale!), Corazon Pom Pom and Elhorno who has just released his first pin. I couldn’t resist taking a snap of the pins I wore for the photowalk too, all designed by makers in the East of England! (Hello Sunshine, Daphne Rosa, HAH).Enamel-Pins-Claireabellemakes-Collection

And the final thing I was completely blown away with this month was a kind gift from Doodle Bug and Co. Lou used to live in Cambridge and said she has enjoyed following my Instagram for a little reminder of ‘home’. I can’t believe how beautiful this embroidery of Florence is. Just finding a frame for it now, but I was so touched.

Florence-Bike-Embroidery

So lots of lovely things to appreciate this month as well as time with friends and family and some sofa/TV sessions when I’ve been poorly. As always, I have Jimmy Fallon on repeat, but I’ve also been watching Girl Boss on Netflix. What do you guys think? I’m unsure so far – her business story just seems so cut throat and not how our creative community really works, so it’s hard to relate. Maybe things were different 10 years ago and more competitive/less supportive?!

What have you been loving in April?

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

Life Lately #12: In The Studio

It’s been a while since I shared a Life Lately post and I always enjoy showing you what I have been up to behind the scenes. March and April have both been busy with events (more on this another day) and it has been a time to finish up some freelance contracts and projects. A bit of a transitional time for the business!

I worked on some fun crochet commissions for a magazine and I sold at Norwich Makers Market for the first time. On the product side of things, I’ve been working on updating my product photography (ongoing) and some new designs.

Mini-Bikes

I product tested some wooden keyrings, but I’m not 100% happy with them yet so have been working on ways to make them more robust.Keyring-Prototype

I took on a big pencil commission for Tech Ladies in NYC which is an inspiring collective of 10,000 women! Each of them receive a custom pencil set when they join the collective.Tech ladies pencilsWe worked on packaging together which is almost as fun as designing the product itself!
Tech-Ladies-Custom-Pencil-Order

I restocked some best selling cards and started to brainstorm for more card designs. Any requests?Happy-Birthday-Scrabble-Card

The second run of bike pins sold out which means over 200 of them are out there in the world now!! I sent one to Iceland recently and I love seeing people wearing them. I have restocked a whole new batch in my Etsy and Look Lane shops.

I also sent off 3 new pin designs to my manufacturer, so I hope to have these live in a few weeks. They are for the planner and stationery lovers and will be GLITTERY. I’m beyond excited about these and it’s been so fun working the designs from sketch, to digital images, to proofs. Always a bit scary to hand the final manufacturing over to someone else though!Bike Pins

And I worked on some more custom wall art frames for return customers and realised that each and every one of these has such a great story behind it.Custom Scrabble Frame

My studio plant took a turn for the worst so I found some plant people on Instagram for advice. Debee shares some brilliant videos of her succulent collections (they are AMAZING) and actually showed how to propogate a string of buttons plant just as mine needed help.String-Of-Buttons-Plant

I took some trimmings (scary moment) and hoped I would be able to save it….Succulent-Propogation

….so now I’ve repotted the cuttings with the healthy crown still attached and I hope they will re-root in the fresh soil. My Pilea (shown in the first photo above) seems to be doing OK though with new leaves appearing weekly! Maybe I can be an indoor gardener yet?!Succulent-Propogation-String-Of-Buttons

As usual, Tammy has been stealing my chair at every opportunity and jumping in all the boxes once every delivery has been unpacked.Tammy-Studio-Chair

I’m taking the next couple of months to refocus my work. Naturally, I am the kind of person who thrives on having multiple projects on the go at once. However, I have made the decision to focus my business on products and blog work as the main priority. The Cambridge Craft Parties are currently on hiatus and I am still trying to decide whether to retire them completely to really focus on my shop and working with retailers. After a couple of seasons and some private party bookings, I haven’t been able to make them as profitable as I had hoped and they take a huge amount of effort to plan, execute and promote.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that I want my business to be about quality, not quantity. My priorities are to make money to support myself and to feel 100% happy about everything I am working on. Right now, that is translating to simplifying my income streams so that I have fewer projects that I do really really well. It’s kind of scary as it has meant ending freelance work that was guaranteed monthly income, but it also means I now have time to design more products and start working with stockists.

I hope you guys enjoyed the update today! Tell me what’s new with you?

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