2012 A Review of My Crafting Year

Well 2012 was a big year for Great Britain and for me and HandmadebyKatherine. With 6 months of being live on the web, I thought a review of the last year would be interesting.
Me modelling my fluffy black scarf
The year started with a New Year’s Resolution to do more crafting and try to promote myself further than family and friends. And so was born HandmadebyKatherine. My husband spent a lot of time and effort putting the website together. It took several months of photography and designing to get the site up and running, but finally in June we were ready to launch and show the site to the world. There has been a steady flow of traffic to my blog and I have enjoyed my time talking to the virtual crafting world. It’s fun putting down thoughts, ideas and makes and seeing what the wider world thinks.
Small Knitted DucklingHandmade by KatherineHappy Birthday
Following the web launch, came the delight of my first craft stall. Unfortunately, this also brought my first lowlight with the fun day at Margaret Haes riding school being cancelled due to the torrential rain causing the access road to the stables to collapse. But there’s always next year!
The summer was filled with baking for the Diamond Jubilee and various community fairs, and knitting for craft stalls and Christmas whilst cheering on Team GB at the best Olympics I’ve ever seen. What a great time to be British.
Christmas StockingsHats for Innocent Big KnitKnitted Cat Display
Autumn brought more knitting for the Innocent Big Knit and a start on personalised Christmas cards, which continued right up to the middle of December. In between I finally had my first craft stall at the Summerseat Christmas Fair. A very nerve-wracking experience, but great fun and something I aim to repeat in the near future. Planning my stall and putting together stock was a busy time but very enjoyable. It was lovely to meet up with some old friends, make new ones and interesting to gauge what sells.
Summerseat Craft Fair Stall
I’ve met some lovely new crafting people this year – Nathalie from The U in Cute, Bello Bimbo, Little Me Designs and Judith at Painted Canvas.
Bunting for a Baby GirlUnion Jack Bunting for a SoldierBirthday Bunting
This year my crafting has seen me rediscovering my love of knitting as well as continuing with cardmaking. I have been particularly taken with bunting. It works so well on all sorts of card projects and linked beautifully with the trend for all things British.
Personalised Christmas Bow cardPersonalised Christmas StockingsPatriotic Team GB handbag card
My most popular cards have been the personalised Christmas Bows, wreaths, handbags and the bunting. In terms of knitting, my cats and Christmas stocking tree decorations have proved popular and I have plans to use them differently next year. I’ve also been re-inspired to pick up the paintbrushes again having used one of my watercolours to make prints for the family Christmas cards. I shall see where this leads….
Winter Berried Christmas Card
I have ended the year on a real high with some lovely feedback from customers, and the wonderful feature in Craftseller Magazine.
Thanks for reading and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas

With 2012 almost at a close, I’d like to wish all my readers and customers a very Merry Christmas.

It’s been a busy and exciting first 6 months for me and HandmadebyKatherine. There have been highs and lows and now is a great time to take stock. I have plenty of ideas for new ranges for the Spring, so watch this space to see what I’m working on.

I shall be having a review of the year in the next week and making plans for 2013.


In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Craftseller – Issue 19

Today I rushed to buy the latest issue of Craftseller Magazine, one of my key sources of inspiration and confidence to start this website and blog.  I had a quick flick through over dinner, as I do, before settling down for a thorough read, and what do I see on page 14/15?


” I would like to share with you some of my makes.  I love the magazine and after reading some recent issues, I’ve taken the plunge and launched a website.  In addition I have my first craft fair soon, in a local church hall.  I’m pretty nervous as most of my sales so far have been to friends, family and work colleagues.  Have you got any advice about what insurance I need?

Katherine Brooks


EDITOR Congratulations on taking a big step! We love your website.”

I sent the question in on their facebook page a couple of months ago and had forgotten all about it, other than I knew that they were running an article about insurance in this issue.  I was so surprised and thrilled to see the number of cards they had picked from the site to put into the page. 

They’ve made some lovely comments about the site and my cards, and picked a selection of different styles.  It’s quite a large section of the letters page and this level of exposure in a national magazine is a real boost.

Merry Christmas


Chicken Pox

3 weeks before Christmas and Chicken Pox has eneterd the house!  Typical.  Just when we’re all getting into the Christmas spirit and preparing for the first school Christmas performance.

Anyway, little one is now on the mend, and we have been doing a little bit of crafting to take her mind off all the itching!

Here’s her ‘pot goody’.  It’s a large plastic cup that had to be decorated in a winter theme, then filled with goodies!  There’s a prize for the best one in each class and they are then used as prizes at the school Christmas Fair.

I shall get back to my remaining Christmas orders this evening.

Merry Christmas crafting



Christmas Fairs

Well I had 2 Christmas Fairs last week which have worn me out completely.

The weather on Thursday for the Christmas Market at St Joseph and St Bede’s School, was just unbelieveable.  Snow, blizzard and then torrential freezing rain – not ideal for an outdoor market.  As a result it wasn’t a particularly successful afternoon.  I froze for 3 hours and sold a good number of my knitted Christmas tree decorations.  The little stockings are very popular, and look great in different yarns and with monograms added.  I might be adding them to cards for next year!

Saturday was the Friends of Walmersley Village Christmas Fair, providing Christmas cheer for the local community.  Of course no Christmas Fair would be complete without a visit from Father Christmas.  The weather was cold but dry for a couple of hours of festive frivolity, and there was plenty of merrymaking, carolling, mince pies and mulled wine. My Christmas pudding tiffins and mincemeat parcels (a low fat alternative to mince pies) went down very well, as did my small heart-shaped giftbags.

My biggest success of the Christmas Fairs was my new design Christmas tree hat!  It’s still a work in progress as I am looking for some ‘tinsel’ and I need to make a star for the top, but it has certainly produced some comments!

Happy Christmas Crafting


Busy Run-up to Christmas

It’s been a really busy week or so, preparing for my craft stall, fulfilling orders and making for some local good causes. 

My latest makes are 10 cards, the ideas for which, I’ve had in my head for a while. I’ve made some of the stocking cards before, and I loved the flocked paper I found whilst browsing in TK Maxx one day! It’s from a Laura Ashley collection. It just screamed at me to be used as stockings for some reason. So I thought I’d add a fluffy top to them. The trees were again cut from some of the Laura Ashley paper pack and I wanted to do something a bit different for me. I loved the small flowers on the paper and they give a really subtle pattern to the tree shape. I added some tiny gems in green and red to some of the flowers and greenery and used some small hand-tied bows around the stems of the trees. I then raided my craft stash for some stars and found a good selection, tiny padded ones, stickers, peel-offs and gems. I think the stars give the trees a lovely striking finish. Simple but effective. The cards are all finished with inserts.

My next project was to make a couple of personalised knitted stockings, in gold! Finding some gold yarn proved very difficult. So I decided to use some Sirdar chunky yarn that I had leftover from a jumper. It knits up beautifully and the stockings are larger due to the thicker yarn. Using a finer yarn for the initials and adding a gold ribbon bow really gives them the ‘golden’ feel. They are to be used as tree decorations hiding special little presents for two little girls. My customer is very happy with them as they fit in with the tree colour theme perfectly.





I’ve also been crafting for a couple of local events raising money for local causes. The first was for the Christmas Market at St Jospeh and St Bede’s School, where I had a stall and was providing a prize for the raffle. The second was the Christmas Fair for the Friends of Walmersley Village, where I provided some baking (Christmas pudding tiffins and mincemeat parcels) and some cards, gift-tags and tree decorations for the craft stall.

Finally I was asked by a colleague for another couple of personalised bow Christmas cards. I managed to fit these in as I had a couple already made, that just required the appropriate personalisation and inserts adding. These bow cards have proved very popular this year.

Phew, what a week. Now I’m finishing off my own cards this weekend and starting on some Christmas crafting with my daughter. We’re decorating a large plastic cup as a snowman for her Christmas Fair!

Happy Christmas crafting