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Sunday, 19 August 2012


So in last week's handmade harbour blog I alluded to my weird and wonderful shopping list which intrigured a few people:

  • Cath kidston napkins
  • Empty stella cidre bottles
  • Fabric samples

So this week's handmade harbour blog is dedicated to what I've been making with them!

First up - Glass bottle vases
After being soaked overnight in hot water and wahsing up liquid to get the labels off and make sure there's no cidre smell, bottle is then tightly wrapped with twine to make this very cute vase.
I could have bought the bottles in but thought I'd keep costs down by recycling them instead. They do use a lot of twine though so have ordered 500m!
My other half isn't a crafty person at all and very often doesn't like / understand my stuff but even he came home and said how nice these were. So nice he's letting me put two up either side of the fireplace!
Here's one of the places the napkins also come in too...
If you strip away the thicker layer of a napkin you can use decopatch glue to glue it to the twine!
So here's the bird / flower Cath Kidston design napkin also glued on in two bands.
These are £6 each without the design and £7 each with them but are limited due to the number of bottles we can drink at a time!

Second up - Storage boxes
These cute papier mache storage boxes are 10.5cm x 10.5cm and are so much fun to make. Using the napkins again to rip bits of the design and glue them down. I prefer ripping to cutting as it gives it more of a natural look.
Think these have got quite a vintage feel to them. I only posted photos of this on my page on Friday and yesterday I had an order for 2! Off to get more of these boxes tomorrow as they come in hearts, rounds and stars!

Morer! - That dreaded C word

I finally caved in and started thinking about Christmas. So on my facebook page I've added to the Christmas is coming album and also created an album for Christmas gift ideas that don't have a christmas theme. 
So I've used some of the fabric samples I bought and make some Christmas looking bunting. Got a matching felt backing and letter with a nice red polka dot ribbon to hang it up by. This is £1.50 per letter but this fabric is limited!

There's more - Smelly heart hangers

Like moths, I'm not a big fan of lavender but stick these hanging hearts in your wardrobe and your clothes will be moth and Tasha free!
The top heart is 8cm and the bottom one is 4cm so not very big but they are lovely to make.
Selling a string of 2 hearts for £2 or a set of set |(as pictured) for £3.50.
Again, posted this up on Friday and already had an order for some green ones.
However, seems that people are after different scents so I've also ordered lots of dried rosemary and mint so people have the option.

Last but not least - Prototype air freshener

Nobody's seen this yet!
A fellow crafter emailed me and asked me yesterday about taking the hanging heart idea and turning into it an air freshener for their car.
So, after an hour here's what I came up with.
Just waiting for the rosemary and muslin to arrive as these will be refillable (there's a button on the back to pop a new one in). I've also bought some elastic to try that out too!

On top of my super crafty week, I also went out for a meal with some of my girly friends last night. Didn't end up eating until 10pm so we were all a bit too full to party. But here's me before I went out. I'm only sharing this as it's not a bad photo of me for a change and I think it's great for people to see the face behind the business every now and again!

It's been great to try out some new things and really got me biten by the crafty bug again, here's to another fab week before the bank holiday weekend yey!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The castle is back!

After a bit of an absence all round (facebook, blog, networking etc), THE CASTLE IS BACK!

I decided to close the business for a few weeks to get my head together and have a bit of time to myself before I went on my holidays.

But pleased to say, I'm back as normal so here's my handmade monday blog!

So where to start...

It'd been a long time coming but me and King Neil finally went on a proper holiday abroad and with our best friends and godchildren too. We went to a lovely place called Sisi in Crete where it was 33 - 39 degrees every day.

When we got to our hotel, they'd put the 6 of us into a family suite on 2 floors. The terrace was beautiful and had this gorgeous view from one side and a view of the sea from the other. This is me and Neil on our second night before we went for our evening meal. When we got back to the room and the girls were asleep, we'd spent many a night lying back looking at all the stars in the sky. It's amazing how much more you can see without all of the street lights!

The sun beach in Malia. We had a day trip here and it was just beautiful. The sea was wonderfully refreshing after an hour or so sunbathing. And there were lots of little fishes in the shallow rock pools.

Spinalonga from the boat. If you haven't heard of Spinalonga it's a tiny island that was used as a leper colony from 1903 - 1957. Very humbling place and worth reading up on.

Me in my big floppy hat, which proved very useful for reading in the sunshine!

So back from my holibobs and I'd like to say I'm feeling all refreshed but after nearly a week of being back at home, Crete feels like a life time away! Roll on November when we have our long weekend in Snowdonia!

New stuff

I think one of the reasons I got a bit disheartened with the business was because I wasn't doing anything new and exciting, I didn't feel I had anything to network about.
So I've had a nosey online for some inspiration and have a few new things in the pipeline which I'll hopefully be able to show you in the coming weeks.
Here's a sneak peak of my shopping list:
  • Cath kidston napkins
  • Empty stella cidre bottles
  • Fabric samples
  • Ric rac


This is another thing I just lost all motivation for. I'm not into these liking ladders and tagging sessions as I don't think people end up looking at your page they just like it for likings sake. However, I know I need to get back on top of it, so first thing I'm going to be doing is sharing a link to this blog!

And that's it really. I'm always open to suggestions on what you want to see on the blog, 
on my facebook page 
and on the website (which I will be updating over the next couple of weeks).

Hope you all have a good week, happy crafting


Monday, 28 May 2012


It's been a mental few weeks which is why the blog has suffered of late, but I'm back with something for Handmade Monday

Where to begin...

Well, I was made a godmother at the weekend. My beautiful god daughter Elodie was an angel throughout the service except when she tried do a runner towards the end and her dad stopped her and she cried.
Talking of crying...I burst into tears after saying "Afternoon everyone" when Elodie looked at me and smiled. Had to be cuddled with the parents before I could restart but other than that speech went well :S
The weather was perfect, I had my hair and make up done for me and everyone said how nice I looked which was fab.
So here's a picture of me and the little lady.

And here's a photo of me and King Neil which I'm having blown up and framed as I love it!

So what else..what else!
Had a few orders for Jubilee themed hair accessories, the felt flower clips have gone down very well at fairs and in the hairdressers.

Talking of the hairdressers, to entice children in to have their hair cut Karen is now offering one of my cute bobble / clip bags as a freebie with every children's cut and finish. It covers her costs, I still receive the normal price of the bags and it encourages mums to bring their kids so good news all round hopefully!

I made a beautiful elasticated cream headband for a little girls christening and she looked fab in it on the day.

My veg patch is growing great guns now I'm really impressed with it and all of the flower seeds I planted a few weeks ago.
Radishes have grown loads since this photo but coming along nicely with the runner beans, peas and lambs lettuce.

My mind's gone a bit blank and I need to scoot off for my Coap mentor training.
For anyone who hasn't heard of it, COAP is to support Children Of Addicted Parents and People via an online forum, free counselling and awareness.
After being affected by this as a child, teenager and adult it's something very close to my heart.
If you want to take a look at the website it's

After a crazy few weeks, I shall be getting back to making this week so keep your eyes peeled for more goodies coming soon :)


Monday, 7 May 2012

Short and sweet

Well, it's a short and sweet blog this week because in between dieting, exercising, job hunting and gardening there hasn't been much time for anything else!

I missed my Handmade Monday blog last week and haven't managed to sort out the cream felt dinosaur yet as I was waiting for sizing but hopefully should be able to show that to you soon.

So here's a pictorial blog for you so you can see what I've been up to recently, enjoy!

After my local hairdressers offered to display some of my hair accessories (for free too!), here's one of the stylists with one that she bought before it even went on display. Lisa, the nail lady, has also ordered one for herself as I only made one to try it out. Sold x4 headbands in a week and x2 bobble set bags in 4 hours so doing rather well me thinkies!

Have found a bit of time to experiment with my ribbons, so here's a circular bow. Photo doesn't really show it off but it's very full and looks fab on a headband or big clip.

And had a go at a jubilee themed pin wheel too, be a lovely colourful brooch.

Waiting on a plain black fascinator to put these little (and big) beauties on! We're having our housewarming party over the jubilee weekend so thought this would go nicely and also gauge people's interest in fascinators at the same time!

This dinky felt flower is on a 30mm crocodile clip and I gave it to my 18 month old goddaughter to see if it'd be suitable on her fine hair. Not only is it adorable, it stays in and she doesn't even notice it!

This is what kept me entertained for most of Sunday. The castle's own little veggie patch! Runner beans planted around a wooden cane structure to encourage them to grow up nicely. And wigwam to do the same for the sweet peas. Planted peas, radishes and lambs lettuce seeds too The crazy twine and the tin foil are (I'm assured) going to stop cats and birds attacking everything. To be honest it just looks a bit mental, but if it works I'm not bothered. I've also got 3 varieties of tomatoes in a grow bag and some beetroot seeds growing in 2 big pots!

And finally, here's a photo I took in our garden on Saturday morning while I was watering everything, snazzed up a bit with Instagram. Seems we have a bit of a ladybird haven as we spotted 12 in the space of 5 mins in the small front garden on Sunday as well.

Hope everyone's had a lovely bank holiday


Sunday, 22 April 2012


Another Handmade Monday blog and what an amazing week it's been

First and foremost...Greenways Cententary Craft Fair

Despite a few showers it was well attended, some of the organisers and volunteers were directing families with little girls to my stall, the headbands went down a storm and I made more than all of my previous craft fairs put together in 5 hours!

This was me all raring to go in the morning showing off the lovely plain white headband with white felt flower and pink button middle

And here's my stall

Which was lovely and bright so all the little girls came over to it.

Just thought I'd share some of the comments from the day:

1. Mum to child "do you want a headband?" Child "No not really I've got loads" Mum"But these are lovely have some bobbles then instead" Child "Ok then"

2. Girl about 12 to her friend "I'll buy these cute bobbles for my sister because they look like minnie mouse ones and I'll buy this heart fridge magnet for my nan because it looks handmade but not rubbish"

3. Mum looking at felt flowers with blue buttons on the middle "Just not sure about the buttons in case she can pull it off" Me: "Have a go at pulling it off yourself" Which the woman did and couldn't do "Oh well that settles it, you've welded that on"

Hairdressers display

If you read my blog last week you'll have seen that I was really excited that my local hairdressers asked me if I wanted to display some of my headbands in the salon.
She contacted me on Tuesday to say she'd already had interest from some of her clients and as she was having a 20 year anniversary event at the salon could I take some round this Saturday.
I was a panicked at first as my original plan was to take all the headbands I had to the fair with me, so had to split them out.
Karen the salon owner loved them when I dropped them off on Saturday morning and when I asked about sales and things she said she'd just put the money in a little tin for me. She isn't charging me anything to display the headbands there at all! But will be offering her some of the money I make as a thankyou as without her generosity  I wouldn't have the extra sales.
This is one of the display stands that went to the hairdressers and totally forgot to photograph the other one oops! Think in total nearly 20 headbands went over so fingers crossed!

And finally...the Craft Room!

Four weeks after moving in I've finally been able to sort my craft room. Had a nosey on pre-loved on Friday and saw this table for sale for £15 and it's perfect for what I needed. So picked it up tonight and quickly put everything nicely in it!

Using the slide out surface for my glue gun to live.

Still a bit of work to do but at least it's functional!

Got more ribbon on order so shall be spending many an hour in there with my iphone's radio on me thinks!

That's it for this week folks as it's been mental, it's 10pm and I need to iron King Neil's uniform for work tomorrow and up early in the morning on my day off. Asda delivery slot 10 - 12 and got a friend and her daughter over for lunch and then up into the craft room to finish off the headbands I made at the craft fair and make a start on a felt wedding dinosaur...


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Exciting times!

Well, what a week it's been. Time for Handmade Monday already and I've got lots to tell you!

1. Facebook wonderment!

The power of facebook never ceases to amaze me! Had the most exciting invitation this week but let's give you the background first.

I often post on local facebook advertising groups to advertise my business but also look at other people's adverts to. With moving recently I'd already thought about where I was going to get my hair cut. Happened to see an advert from a hair and nail salon and as I knew where it was and they had an offer on I thought I'd give them a go. So glad I did as the salon itself is beautiful and the people who work there are fab. They really do make you feel comfortable and for the first time in a long time, actually listened to what I wanted and gave good suggestions on what to do with my hair!

I happened to mention to the owner Karen that I make headbands and thought nothing more of it. I've decided that after biting my nails for well...ever I'm going to grow them so I enquired yesterday on the salon's facebook page about a manicure. Karen responded almost instantly and then...

Asked if I wanted to display some of my headbands in the salon!

How amazing is that? So I've sent her a link to the accessories album and said if there's anything she thinks will worth well / things that won't to let me know and when I pop in for my manicure in a few weeks I'll take a selection with me!

2. Headbands, headbands everywhere

With my biggest fair of the year now fast approaching I may have gone a bit mad on the headband front. My logic was that if it goes really well then I've got plenty of stock and if it doesn't go so well I have lots of stock ready for other fairs. As the school colours are green, I decided to make these lovely headbands. Handwrapped green ribbon headbands with checked bows and interchangeable felt flowers. I know green isn't everyone's cup of tea but I love the vibrancy of the green ribbon!

I also forgot that I'd bought these 5 colourful elastic headbands before we moved so decorated those nicely too.

Going to be making another one of my display stands for the headbands using a kitchen roll and some fabric but also ordered this fab velvet display stand from The Crafty Box who I've also bought lots of lovely ribbon and buttons from over the last few weeks. Thought it'd be something different and would be a brilliant way of showing that the different headbands have different prices :)

3. Terms of service

The lovely Sarah at Dragonfly Jersey very kindly helped me out with my new terms of service by letting me use hers as a guide.
If you want to take a look at them they're on my website here
Talking of Dragonfly Jersey, unfortunately Sarah has to change her business name so you'll see me promoting her new business once it gets the seal of approval in the next few weeks hopefully!

4. Website

I haven't got much further with my website this week because it's been a bit manic. But if you want to have a nosey you can here

5. Exercise

In 2010 I was at my heaviest and through slimming world I lost 2 stone in 6 months...but felt miserable. Yes I'd lost weight but I was constantly feeling guilty about going a syn or two over my allowance and as I'm a social creature it was so difficult to stay on plan when you're out with friends having a good time. My crunch point came when I just fancied a bourbon biscuit and found myself frantically trying to work out how many syns it was. I decided I couldn't cope with living like that and gave it up. 
Fast forward to 2012 and I'm back where I was at the beginning of 2010 and then some. We're going on our first proper holiday at the end of July and I don't want to look like a humpback whale so both me and King Neil have decided to make an effort to lose weight. I'll admit I've been rubbish this week but through sheer determination King Neil's lost half a stone in 2 weeks!
So on Saturday I did 45 minutes in the morning on Zumba Rush which I love and made me feel great for the rest of the day. I bought King Neil Star Wars for the Kinect as a bit of a treat and he finally got round to playing it on Saturday night. Turns out they have a dance off section. So at 11pm there I was dancing along to their version of Britney Spear's Stronger and loved it!
Hoping if I can cut back on the snacks and naughty stuffs and start exercising then by the end of July I'll look more like a dolphin!

6. Gardening

As you might know already, the new castle has a fabulous garden but it quickly became apparent that it needed some work. We planned to go to the new "The Range" but there was a massive queue just to get on the car park so we went to a local garden centre instead. I'll admit I didn't do most of the hard labour but had a lovely afternoon with King Neil's mum telling me all about the kinds of things we need. So here's a photo of the sweet peas and 3 kinds of tomatoes that we shall be planting in the next few weeks along with some runner beans, peas, radishes and nasturtiums :)

7. Finally...babysitting!

As you may already know, I love my godchildren to pieces so when they needed a babysitter on Thursday I jumped at the chance and took a holiday from the day job.
Arriving at 7:15am I found the girls both still in bed, so waved off parents and settled down with a cup of tea and the news. Wasn't until 8:15am when I heard movement upstairs and was lovely that the girls were both pleased to see me.
With the weather changing every 20 minutes I decided we'd stay in but took some card, finger paints,  to keep them entertained. 
As you can see, the finger painting went down very well even if it did turn into hand painting!

We had cuddles, dancing and even indoor catch. Had a lovely day but was rather tired and slept like a baby on Thursday night!

Feels like I've blabbed on for a bit now so on that note I shall bid you farewell and hope you all have a brilliant week :)


Monday, 9 April 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! Only seems like 5 minutes since I was last writing a blog for Handmade Monday, comes around so quickly and it's April already!

If like me, you got a four day weekend I hope you are enjoying it!

I've been busy busy this weekend!

This is the fruit of Good Friday and Saturday's labour.

Felt flowers on hair slides and stretchy headbands as well as some to be used as interchangeable ones on headbands and lots and lots of satin bows. I've got a big craft fair on the 21st so made these in readiness for that. Just need to get cracking with some more green felt flowers and wait for the green ribbon to arrive. The school's colours are green so thought it'd be a good idea to provide lots of things in their colours :)

As well as the lovely making on Saturday I also got round to having my hair cut (which it desperately needed). Feels all...lighter now

Yesterday we went to a local Chinese all you can eat buffet place with our best friends and godchildren which was lovely...messy but lovely. Then went to the cinema to see The Pirates which was Sophia's first ever visit to the cinema. Considering she's only 3 she did really well, apart from spilling a whole tub of ice cream down her...twice!

Today we need to go and get some food supplies and get some kinf of suitable exercising attire as I start boxercise tomorrow eeeek!

So what about the last week....

1. Website
I decided to have a go at improving my website as I felt it had gone a bit...stale.
So I've changed the design template, updated the photo banner so it's the same as my facebook page cover photo, added terms and conditions to the "about the castle page", changed all the photo links on "castle products" so they're all uniform, created a new hair accessories section for all the handwrapped headbands, felt flowers etc.
I know I need to get more uniform photos (backgrounds etc) but as you can see I have so many photos that I know it's going to be a huuuuuuge task; one which will have to wait a while.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as I'm no techno whizz!

2. Interchangeable felt flower headbands

I was really excited about these and couldn't wait to share them. Not only a new flower technique but also made the flowers so they can slide on and off the headbands. I love things that can change to tailor your mood or outfit and these are perfect. These are available for £6 for x1 headband and x3 felt flowers or £10 for x2 headbands and x3 felt flowers.

3. YouTube

After setting it up in October, I've finally got round to making a youtube video for my channel.

The first video was a bit of a test so I improved it with the second one, let me know what you think

That's all from me folks, hope you've had a lovely Easter whatever you got up to :) xxx

Monday, 2 April 2012

Social Media - Do and don't's

I posted a status on my facebook page to ask what people saw as facebook and twitter do's and don't's.

This stemmed from seeing lots of pages doing things I wouldn't dream of doing but thought I'd throw it out there to see if it was just me. Turns out it's not so here's some food for thought:

  • Swear - If you wouldn't swear to a customer face to face don't do it online either.
  • Beg for business - There is nothing worse than seeing pages beg you to buy something. Guilt tripping never works and devalues your products
  • Complain about customers - It's not professional and like me, other's have unliked pages for such behaviour. If you have problems, deal with them in private.
  • Spam people's news feeds - It serves no purpose other than to annoy people trying to keep up to date with friends and family. They will simply get annoyed and hide your posts which is counter productive. Plus, sharing an album is always better than uploading individual photos as people are more like to click through.
  • Text speak - There's a time and a place for cutting vowels out, facebook is not one of those places.  Appreciate characters are limited on twitter.
  • Spelling - I appreciate we all make mistakes but spellchecker is great and takes a few seconds to get right.
  • Manners - Manners go a very long way, sounds silly but always say please and thank you especially if someone retweets something of yours or shares a post.
  • Always ask customers what they wan't to see - They don't know what they want to see, items just catch people's eyes. It can be perceived as you having no creativity / not being in touch with your customers. 

  • Professionalism - If someone's upset / annoyed you take a deep breathe, count to 10 and remember that whatever you say reflects on your business as a whole.
  • Share albums of your work once or twice a day to catch different groups of people accessing facebook.
  • Use tools like CrowdBooster and TweetDeck to keep your social media alive when you're not around. Very useful for people like me who work full / part time.
  • Tie in all of your social media - Try and have the same logo / colour scheme etc on all of your social media so it's easily linked to you. 
  • Take the time to get to you know your likers, even just a little bit. Personality goes a long way and makes people remember you as well as your business.
  • Let people know the person behind the business. I did a blog recently where I mentioned my godchildren and the lovely weekend I'd had and got lots of lovely comments about it. 
Feel free to add any other's as comments and I'll add those on too as I think this could help some pages think about their social media and how they're portraying themselves