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Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas at The Castle

Afternoon all.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas Day, here's my low down!

We got up late (oops) so very quickly opened our presents to each other, very quickly got ready then very quickly went to pick up King Neil's mum before we all settled down at King Neil's Aunty's for the afternoon.

Christmas dinner was yummy, been for the last 4 Christmases and we can't put our finger on it but Christmas dinner was just amazing! Not that the years before weren't, but this year seemed extra awesome!

I had my lovely new watch from King Neil but I totally forget to put it on in the morning rush! I had some lovely other stuffs too. A gorgeous black beret, black gloves with white stitched bows on, a massive black scarf with sequins running through it, copious amounts of chocolate and some lovely new pyjamas.

We got back home at about 5pm, watched Monster vs Aliens which we'd recorded. King Neil has a soft spot for insectosaurus! That finished just in time for Doctor Who which I thought was brilliant as always! By 8pm we were still stuffed from lunch time whereas quite a few of our friends had already demolished buffets by this point! By 9pm we decided we should probably eat something so we had turkey, gravy and stuffing baguettes.

King Neil played on his F1 2011 I'd bought him and I sat down and made a purple finger puppet for my aunty! This is Fabia, Fabrizio's sister :)

And by 11pm I was shattered as I hadn't had my obligatory Christmas Day nap so conked out in bed!

Boxing Day consisted of a whopping lie in, pate and toast for lunch, lots of frantic tidying and cleaning up, taught myself how to do blanket stitches and here I am now writing my blog!

King Neil's mum is coming round later for Boxing Day buffet which I must say, I'm really looking forward to. Once it's all laid out I'll take a pic and add it on later as despite it only being for 3 people, I go overboard and could feed the 5,000!

I'm not a religious person at all, so Christmas for me is all about spending time with the people you love the most. And must say, I had a lovely day and do love my King Neil rather a lot.

Here's to 2012...

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

1,000 facebook likers giveaway

Evening all

Just want to point out from the very start, this isn't a plea for more likers. I love all my likers especially the ones who interact with me on a regular basis. I've never asked for more likers and never will!


With Jeeberella's Craft Castle edging closer and closer to have a whopping 1,000 likers I thought it was about time I did a giveaway.

I started the castle on Valentine's Day this year and could never have imagined having so many likers and so many products on offer already!

So, whenever I do reach that 1k milestone here's what I'm planning to do.

I'll upload a photo entitled something like "Castle 1,000 giveaway"

Everyone that wants to take part chooses a number at random, it has to be a unique number that no-one has already chosen and comments on the photo with that number.

All numbers will then go into a hat (or envelope is more likely teehee) and 3 lucky winners will receive a product of their choice. All I ask is that those winners contribute towards the postage.

Hope that sounds OK for everyone, will probably be in the New Year now but as soon as the giveaway is ready, I'll let you know :)


Monday, 19 December 2011

Handmade Monday

In the spirit of Handmade Monday over at 1st unique gifts blog here are some of my favourite castle products and why!


Berty the brooch is just £4 and his brothers and sisters come in a range of colour combinations. Key rings are on order as well so Berty the Brooch can be also be Berty the keyring! I only made Berty this week but am really chuffed with him :)

£2.50 each for personalised bookmarks. I had an order for 6 of these as christmas presents for a book club and think they look fab at little gifts for anyone any time of year!

£5 each for lovely collages. The one photographed was one of two for a customer whose eldest girl carried it round on her arm like a handbag bless her!

£11 for wedding bunting with photos of the happy couple. I initially made this after being inspired by discussing my friends wedding with her. Thought it could go on the cake table, over the entrance to the reception or on the top table. I hung it up in our hall to photograph and left it there for a few days. After which my other half begged me to talk it down as it was creeping him out every time he went to the loo - we're not engaged never mind married!

I did two of these giant gift tags for Tracey at WowThankYou after she asked me as a custom request. But think they're a brill idea for larger purchases. These went on bikes but could also go on cars and all sorts of bigger presents! £4 each :)

Wine bottle labels £2 each. Brilliant for any occasion, sold quite a few for Christmas presents including one secret santa. I like these are they can be used for anything, including wedding table numbers. The effect of these is lovely, although t'other half makes me spray them in the spare room with all the windows open as it's rather whiffy!

Originally made as presents for friends and then these I made for us, really looking forward to offering these decopatched candle holders in 2012. Not only are they fab to make but they'll be totally unique really :)
£10 for the 4.

£6 each for your own business advertising window sign on the go.
It's funny as when I've dropped things off to people locally they recognise my car now by the sign in the window! Brilliant way to advertise on the go and I'm really impressed with my two mini suction cups as it's not fallen down once!

That's just a few of my favourite products anyway :)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The year that was 2011...

Still can't quite believe that 2011 is oh so very nearly over! With only 7 days to Christmas I'm wondering where it's gone!

It's only the last 2 years where I've sat there and wondered where the previous 12 months had gone, feels a bit like time's running away with me!

First for the personal stuff...

My god-daughter was 1 last weekend which scared me silly. I can still remember getting the phone call that she'd made her grand entrance like it was yesterday. Likewise, I still vividly remember getting the same phone call for her big sister's arrival and that was nearly 3 years ago! I love those little girls so much and really do appreciate being allowed to be a part of their lives.

My long suffering other half has seen me at my best and my worst since starting the business in February. He's put up with the constant mess, the tantrums when things wouldn't go right, the tears when I'd had rubbish craft fairs and was doubting myself, and of course not forgetting all the "so what do you think of this?". It'll be our 4 year anniversary next February and that's flown as well!

I've had some ups and downs in my 9-5 job but 2012 is definitely looking up on that front!

Now for the business review!

Having started in February making just cards, I've impressed myself with how much more stuff I've designed since then and how creative I can be when I put my mind to it. Although a lot of my inspiration comes at very weird times; I've had lots of light bulb moments whilst on the loo and in the shower!

It's been a journey which hasn't always run smoothly but I've learnt so much, met so many wonderful people and had my eyes truly opened to handmade items that it's all been totally worth it. I discovered that my items are really suitable for craft fairs as people want to take them away with them there and then which I just can't product with all my items being personalised. But the flip side is that I met some fab people including Ceri of Fruitbat Fudge.

So where to begin with the online stuff!

My facebook page has been the best online sales tool to date! It's so easy to share ideas, designs, items, offers, get feedback and can't believe I'm nearly up to 1,000 likers already. The trivia / riddles seem to have gone down really well so will be back with a vengeance in the new year.

I'm really grateful to Sarah for making me an admin on the Crafty-Bitz website and facebook page. She needed some help as she has the passion to promote other businesses but not always the time. Due to some networking we have some fab collaborations for 2012 and looking forward to promoting other businesses to see what other fab stuff is out there!

The lovely Anna at Creative Connections gave me the opportunity of supporting her with CRAFTfest which was a mammoth task from her point of view. It was a privilege to be asked to support her and I've got to know so many fab crafters who have been a god send over the last few months. Not to mention the massive spread in December's Creative Crafting magazine

I was so pleased when Tracey at WowThankYou accepted this castle on to the website as you have to be approved to sell there which I think is fab. I've spoken to Tracey on a number of occasions and she really does have such passion for the website and all the sellers using it.

I know the lovely ladies over at The Craft Network and both of their online craft fairs have resulted in sales which has been great. Collaborating with them next year with Crafty-Bitz which I'm really looking forward to as well.

It's hard to think back over the last 10 months as it all seems such a long time ago but I'm really pleased with the progress I've made and am looking forward to getting going with my sewing machine. Got lots of lovely ideas swirling round my noggin!

So just a big thank you to all my facebook fan, twitter followers, everyone who has visited my website and blog, thanks again for all your support a very Merry Christmas and hope your support continues into 2012!

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Felt Family is just beginning

Not long to go until Christmas now...but I'm already thinking about 2012!

I've been wondering about what I could move into next for a bit now, so when I acquired my nan's sewing machine my mind started going wild!

Before getting my sewing machine, I've been busy starting my little felt family who will be new additions for 2012.

Currently the family only consists of Berty Brooch

and Ceri Circle

But I will be adding to the family as I go, but Lucy and Florence will soon be on their way and possibly Olive joining us too!

Do keep an eye out for them as they'd all love new homes and come in a wide variety of colours!

And if you'd like to see any additions to the Castle Felt Family please do let me know :)

Talking of my sewing machine, here is my little beauty

It was originally nana's who gave it to my aunty who has then passed it on to me! So proper family heirloom. My other half's mum has oiled it for me and polished it up all lovely for me and we start lessons next week on how to use it.

Once I've got my head round the basics and sewing round corners I'm going to introduce giant initial door / wall hangings which will come in a range of different fabrics and will be padded to make them all nice and squishy. They'll make perfect presents for everyone but especially new born babies!

If you can think of anything else rather simple you'd like me to look into, again let me know.

You can contact me in the normal ways:

Hope you're all ready for Christmas xxx

Sunday, 11 December 2011

How to...make tic tac decopatched maracas

In preparation for handmade monday

My god-daughter loves anything that makes noise. When we were at the pub a few months ago she was getting a bit restless and all I could find was a giant pack of tic tacs which kept her entertained all afternoon! With her birthday coming up in a few months I decided to make an extra special present and here's how I did it!

What do you need:

  • x2 small boxes of tic tacs or one big tic tac box per maraca
  • tape
  • white sticky labels
  • decopatch paper / scraps 
  • decopatch glue
  • decopatch brush
How you make them:
  • Tape two small boxes of tic tacs together, if using the smaller ones. (I also emptied one a bit more than the other so sound was slightly different)
  • Cover box / boxes in white sticky labels so that you can easily glue the paper on the surface and you the tic tac box cover doesn't show through the lighter papers
  • I ripped up scraps of decopatch paper that was very kindly donated to me for this project. But you could use just one kind of decopatch paper or cut it up so it's a bit neater
  • Apply the decopatch paper by putting a thin layer of glue on to the surface and picking up a peice of paper with the brush and a bit of glue. Smooth the piece over with the glue and repeat
  • You'll find you can only do so many sides before you run out of places to put your fingers. I did mine in 3 goes leaving each bit to dry overnight.
  • Once all sides are covered and dried...hey presto!

I bought my decopatch glue and brush from but you can find them both on ebay although don't pay anymore than £5-6 for the glue. You do get a big pot and it will last you a while depending on your project.

I've seen pictures of whole chairs being decopatched and all kinds of surfaces can be decopatched, I recently made these lovely glass votive holders for myself using the same method as above

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Christmas Countdown

Morning All

Apologies if I've been a bit quiet of late, there's a few reasons for that.

Firstly, I took the decision to close down Christmas orders last weekend as I didn't want to be processing orders up to the last minute. Didn't want to be running around like a headless chicken in the run up to Christmas. And it's been great, had time off and just been chilling out it's been fab!

Secondly, I've been a bit pre-occupied with Crafty-Bitz as we're working really hard to get it back off the ground. We're also working through how we work with The Craft Network and Handmade For You UK. As you can imagine that takes up a bit of time so using my time off to work through that. We've got member of the day, meet our members facebook album, feature member blog and a showcase to organise in the new year.

Thirdly, you may have seen I've been quite excited over my new sewing machine. It's currently with Neil's mum while the oil soaks in. But we did a test run on Friday and it works perfectly. Just waiting for her to finish for Christmas then I'm having lessons on how to use the thing! Bought myself a good book to have a nosey at in the mean time!

And before I scoot off here's just a quick reminder that to celebrate a good end to 2011 anything ordered between now and 31st received 10% discount!

I'm now off to make some christmas cards as we're off to celebrate my goddaughter's first birthday this evening and tomorrow. Have a fab weekend peeps :)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Brrrrr it's cold

Can't believe that just a few weeks ago it was so much warmer and now it feels like we're in Siberia!

Sat here in my dressing gown waiting for the heating to warm the flat the point where it's too hot and I have to strip off again!

So anyways, just a quick blog today as I'm off work now until Tuesday. Bought a giant donut mould tonight so going to make one of those in the morning before picking my sewing machine from my aunty in the afternoon. Think I'm going to head over to Dunelm Mill to buy either some scraps of fabric or just some cheap stuff to practice on as I'm so nervous it's untrue. Got so many plans but worried that if I can't perfect them I won't be able to make them for you.

I made this little hand puppet design last night, so once I can sew the two sides together, I can start selling these. What do you think?

I also made these cute little brooches. Got some other felt colours on order as well as some very cute heart shaped wooden buttons.

Am now off to sort out some yummy winter food - meatballs, pasta and garlic bread!


Monday, 5 December 2011

Blogs like buses...

My blogs are like buses, you wait ages for one then two come along at once.

I've been quite excited over the last few days, as I've closed my Christmas order book I've focussed my attention on 2012 and what I can introduce next year. And at just the right time, my other half Neil said he'd prefer to get me a big present for Christmas instead of lots of little ones. So when I've sat down and thought about it I think the best thing that he could buy would be a sewing machine.

Now to most people this won't seem like a big deal, but I know NOTHING about sewing or sewing machines. I've already ordered a beginners guide to sewing machines from Amazon and done some research about the kind of things I could make. Won't ruin the surprise in case it all goes horribly wrong!

So, when it's come to look at sewing machines I've asked around for some help which has ended up confusing me even more. The lesson I've learnt today is only ask one person or one group of people for advice and not two. As while it's great when both say the same thing, it's not so great when they completely disagree with each other.

I know what I want to use it for (basic stuff really) and while I don't want a £20 kiddies one I also can't justify spending over £100 on one either. So I've decided to furnish Neil with the information I have and will ask him to make a decision seeing as he'll be buying it lol

I'm actually really excited as the plans I have are for really simple items in keeping with the castle's price range.

So watch this space peeps, as some things may be coming up before I get the sewing machine!

Lots of other blogs...

Quick blog this evening peeps.

Sarah @ Dragonfly-Jersey just told me about this fab blog...of blogs

1st Unique Gifts have a handmade monday of up to 45 blogs to read. All they ask is that you link back to their blog..which is what I'm doing now.

Well worth a nosey as they all seem to have lots of lovely comments.

That's all for now, Santa letters to finish off :)

Friday, 2 December 2011

Progress update for November

Well where to start...

November was the best month for castle orders to date! Largely down to my Christmas items, but still very pleased with myself. So from 5th - 31st December I'm offering a 10% discount on all items to celebrate :)

You can still order personalised letters from santa, wine bottle labels, keyrings, santa stop here signs, gift tags and a most recent item is the giant A4 gift tags for use with bikes up to midnight this Sunday 4th December.

Most popular item has been the letters from Santa, next year I'm going to put the confetti in a small organza bag so it can be sprinkled by the front door to show Santa where he needs to visit!

It was CRAFTfest last weekend too and while I didn't sell anything this time I had great fun getting involved with all of the sellers and promoting the event. As a team leader I had a feature in the Creative Crafting Magazine which was really exciting

As well as having a 3 page article about the origins of my name

After receiving an email from Tracey at WowThankYou regarding some free advertising I made x50 mini magnets to be put into goodie bags for the baby and children's market in Essex.

I also joined The Guild of Keepsake Artists as every little helps raise the castle's profile

The Craft Networks online directory and looking forward to being included in their bargain £2 online craft fairs.

And not forgetting that I'm now an admin for Crafty-Bitz. Helping Sarah of Dragonfly-Jersey with relaunching both the website and the facebook page.

That's it from me for another month :)

Monday, 28 November 2011


Evening all,

Just thought I'd do a quick blog following the announcement that I'm now admin for the Crafty-Bitz website and facebook page :)

I'm really excited to be working with Sarah who runs Dragonfly-Jersey as it's her little baby but, like me, she works full time so needs some help to keep it on track.

For anyone who hasn't heard of Crafty-Bitz take a look at the website and facebook page

But it's free to register and you can sign in with either your facebook or an email address. You set up your profile and then off you go.

It's somewhere to showcase your crafty goodies, whether they're a work in progress or ready to purchase. All we ask is that you put contact details on all your photos so people can get in touch with you if they're interested.

At the moment there are 120 members but a lot of those still need to send in their details to go on the members directory. We'll be doing quite a bit of promoting over the next few weeks and will then ramp it up in January once the madness of Christmas has faded!

We've already discussed ways in which we can engage with members and here are some suggestions:

1. Business page of the day - Picked from the members directory at random we will advertise whatever links we have been provided with. So to be included all members will need to email:

2. Themed showcases - Not online craft fairs but themed showcases where members can share a limited number of photos with price, description, contact details and links to where item can be bought directly. Each showcase will have a theme

3. Blog - Maybe in the New Year set up a Crafty-Bitz blogger blog if there's demand for it

Well, that's all we've come up with in 24 hours but we're open to any and all suggestions, in fact we're encouraging it quite a bit. We can't guarantee we'll be able to do them all but we'll give them all some serious thought :)

I've also got my own crafty-bitz email too: so feel free to send all suggestions there too

Thanks and hope you've had a better Monday at work than I have!

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Handmade Debate

Ever since Folksy brought in their definition of handmade vs assembled I've been meaning to do a little blog about here it is!

The definition of handmade is "made my hand rather than by machine" which is why I've never claimed to be handmade. I design everything myself but I do use "machines" to make all of my items. Pretty much everything I make is designed and printed using my laptop and printer and of course I use the laminator for bookmarks and wall hangings etc.

You can't buy my items in a shop, everything is personalised to the customers requirements so really no two items are ever the same. So my USP has always been the personalisation rather than handmade

So I wonder...does it make any difference to people / customers? Seems as long as people like your items and they're buying them they don't seem to mind whether you're just an assembler or not!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Christmas is coming...

Still can't believe that as I write this blog there are only 34 days until Christmas!!!

First things first:

The Spirit of Christmas Craft Fair closes at midnight tonight, please go and have a nosey as there's over 400 handmade goodies. Not only have I sold a few things, I've bought some things too!

Christmas Shopping

Whilst I have been mega organised and sorted majority of my Christmas shopping still seems to have crept up quite quickly.

Must say that this year Christmas shopping has been a bit of a different experience to the norm. I always get as much as possible online, I'm not one of these people who enjoys going to into town to do my shopping. There's too many people, I can never carry everything and parking costs a fortune.

However, due to the business, this year I've found myself buying handmade goodies from my fellow business pages which has been fantastic. Not only are they handmade but they're also unique.

I've ordered from Candlewick Crafts who not only has done me a standard item but is also creating me something brand new I asked for. And Angelic Folk who has created me something completely and utterly unique.

Won't say any more...just in case!

Had a bit of a traumatic day yesterday. The washing machine decided to break down with a load of washing in it! All plans went to pot, so I'm a bit behind now, got 30 lovely personalised gift tags to make today as well as getting the flat spick and span today. So just a quick update today, here's a festive photo for you all to enjoy :)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

How many days until Christmas!?!

Hi All, been a while since I last did a blog as I've been rather busy last few weeks.

Managed to sort out most of my christmas present shopping online which is a massive relief to be so organised for a change!

I've ordered lots of brown paper and some christmassy stamps to make my own wrapping paper this year.

Today as well, I've also ordered some bits and bobs after taking some inspiration from the christas crafts section on the hobbycraft website. Keep an eye out for those as I'll be sending them to my family and friends but if people like them, I may offer them from the castle too.

Talking of christmas cards, you'll notice that I haven't got any christmas card designs up yet and at present I'm not planning on doing them. The christmas card market is a huge one, whether it's in the shops, online or places like moonpig / funky pigeon so I've just made a decision not to get into it really.

I like offering things that you can't get mainstream, like the santa stop here signs and the letters from santa instead!

Anyways, I've had a brilliant weekend. Was King Neil's birthday on Friday and we went for a meal last night at this lovely local restaurant that used to be a church. Great food, great company and great cake!

Also had a quick visit from the godchildren this morning, which was fab (even if I hadn't done my hair and make up so looked a mess lol)

That's it for now...only 41 days until christmas eek

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Progress update for October

Apologies for the delay in the October progress update, been a bit mental last few days.

Currently sat at home after having a cup of tea to warm myself up before we head out to look at a potential new place to live. Rent's going up stupidly here and we need somewhere bigger so it's all excited.

Christmas is now fast approaching so been doing lots of christmas shopping online!

October in general was a quiet month so don't have a massive amount of progress to tell you about really, but here goes with some photos too:

  • Craft Fair at the Brown Jug in Newcastle didn't quite go to plan. Only thing I came away with was a bad back!

  • Prep for CRAFTfest is going well. Most of my pink team are in regular contact with me and think everyone's OK with what they need to do. Will be spending the next few weeks ensuring everyone's happy with their stalls and promoting it like mad!
  • Joined the professional crafters guild which hopefully will give my customers a bit more confidence when buying from me.

  • Set up the new website which is much better as I can control all of the content on it and update it when I need to.
  • Introduced few new products - personalised wine bottle labels (sold x6 within first few hours) and personalised gift tags (sold 30 to best friends!!!) which seem to be going down well

  • Sold some more of my santa letters, going to be making those up this week and getting them ready to post starting w/c 21st November. Not too late to order them either

  • Products of the day and riddles are back and again, going down well. 2 of the 3 products of the day so far have resulted in sales which is brill (technically November but hey ho)
  • Did some custom business bunting for local cake lady Claire

  • Made a nice card for Neil's aunty bit of a last minute thing but she liked it and it did the rounds on twitter too

And I think that's about it really. I'm off work next week so planning on getting all my santa letters made up and ready to post and will be about to answer any queries / take orders