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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National Scrabble Day – Trivia And Treats

It’s no secret I love Scrabble – but did you know my favourite word game is actually Boggle?! But, I still own 3 Scrabble sets – The Super edition, this travel version and the special edition Pink Scrabble for Breast Cancer. I love playing it so much.

Claireabellemakes-Pink-Scrabble

Anywho, as 13 April is National Scrabble Day in the USA, I thought I’d share some fun things I have discovered about Scrabble since I started playing years ago and some moments that stick in my mind from creating with word tiles!

#ScrabbleFacts

  • Scrabble was originally named Lexiko and then Criss-Cross Words! The inventor Alfred Mosher Butts eventually settled on the name Scrabble in 1948.
  • 53% of all homes in Great Britain have a Scrabble set. Or maybe 3 like me….
  • The highest known score for a game is 1049 by Philip Appleby from Lymington in 1989
  • Over 150 million games have been sold in 121 countries around the world and it is produced in 29 different languages. Welsh was only added in 2006.
  • If all the Scrabble tiles ever produced were placed end to end they would reach the equivalent of eight times around the earth.
  • There are over a million missing Scrabble tiles across the world
  • Each hour, at least 30,000 Scrabble games are started
  • You can get the highest score of 1778 points for the word “oxyphenbutazone” which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

Travel-ScrabbleUpon seeing my designs, people often ask me if I just keep buying Scrabble sets, but that would be pretty expensive and you only get one K in each set! That means a lot of sets for the popular KNIT necklaces 😉

Super-Scrabble-Board-Game

Here are some more things I have discovered since playing and creating with Scrabble:

  • The supplier of my tiles has spent 25 years working on board games with Spear’s, Mattel and Bucher and Harrison and now manufactures and distributes a range of speciality games and puzzles across the world
  • I once sent a handmade Scrabble Inspired brooch pin to someone at Hasbro games in America (the brand that publishes Scrabble there)
  • In June last year before the UK voted, I played a game in which my tiles spelled out BREXIT as I took them out of the bag. Two weeks later the result was announced. I voted to remain.
  • I love it when a pub has board games. Especially Scrabble! On the flip side, I don’t like puzzles.
  • I really want to make a range of swear word Scrabble inspired designs, but I’ve never had the guts!
  • I still love it when customers tag me in their purchases and I know it will never get old. I especially loved this blog from Sam who shared her WTF necklace!
  • I own the following Scrabble themed items; tea towels, fabric, rubber stamps, stickers, notebooks, lunch bags, cookie cutters, magnets and pencils. Most of which were gifts!

Super-Scrabble-GameI mentioned treats didn’t I? I’m having a little sale in my Etsy shop at the moment and there are a handful of Scrabble inspired goodies included such as necklaces with minor imperfections, seconds if you will. There are only a limited amount available so be quick if you’ve had your eye on one of my designs!

Now I’m off to make some treats of my own, I was gifted these Scrabble cookie cutters for Christmas and I think we need some sugar over the Easter weekend. Obviously with a cup of tea and a game of Scrabble!

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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.

Instalife March 2017

HOW THE FLIP IS IT APRIL ALREADY?! March was a fun but transitional month for me, as some projects came to an end and I started working on new things. One thing I loved participating in throughout the month was the March Meet The Maker challenge on Instagram. We posted one photo a day based on the prompts set by Joanne Hawker.

You can see all the original posts in my Instagram here or in this Facebook album where I have collated my 2016 and 2017 Meet The Maker posts!

It was a great challenge to share more of my story for Claireabellemakes and some of the posts were personal as well as a bit of fun. Looking at all the posts on the tag was really fun too – the creative community on Instagram is brilliant.

March-Meet-The-Maker-2017 Meet-The-Maker-2017

Towards the end of the month I realised that this blog passed 1 MILLION VIEWS. Kind of blown away by that and still thinking how to say thank you to you all! I’m thinking of doing a giveaway so stay tuned and give me a shout if you have any ideas.

Thanks to all of you for following along with my Instagram posts, it’s still my favourite platform to get creative with 🙂

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New In Store: Even More Glitter Heart Pins

Over the last week I’ve been working hard on expanding my collection for the Glitter Heart Pins. They are now available in 14 colours in both my Etsy and Look Lane shops! I’m currently wearing the silver one, but I still can’t decide on my favourite.

New-Glitter-Heart-Pin-ColoursThe pins are just £7 each with free postage in the UK. I honestly feel cheerier when I wear mine!

Glitter-Heart-Pin-Colour-Selection

 

I also made a fun little video to show off the new colours a little more. I’m thinking about doing this for each new collection. What do you think?

Oh and don’t forget the bicycle pin giveaway on my previous post! I am loving all the comments about what you guys used to collect.

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