There’s no end of reading material out there for crafters.  I’ve always got something on the go, but I also like to balance my craft reading with something escapist. 

Currently I have John Taylor’s autobiography “In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran” on the go.  (This says a lot about my youth – I’m an 80’s girl still and loved Duran Duran).  This is a great change from my other reading material of the moment “How to grow your handmade business” by Kari Chapin.  I’m finding this one quite hard going and it’s not helped for me as it’s American, but the principles are the same wherever you are.

I’ve read quite a few of the books, magazines and booklets available and find they all have plenty of advice and examples to help with ideas and problems,  They are great reading for the daily work commute (when you remember to put them in your bag!)

My favourite reading of the moment has to be Craftseller magazine.  It’s a great mix of advice on how to sell your work, inspirational pieces by other sellers and there are some fabulous crafting ideas to make and sell.  It covers all sorts of handmade crafts from knitting and sewing to soap making and screen printing.  And they have some great gifts every month too.  I didn’t get my much wanted subscription for Christmas, so I’ve just treated myself instead!  I can’t wait for my first subscribed issue to arrive in a couple of weeks time.

If you have a free moment, check out some of the crafting titles out there, you never know what inspiration you may find!

Happy reading

Essential Maintenance

I’m currently working on updating my website.  You may have noticed there are several ‘under construction’ comments on pages at the moment.  It’s come as a result of my 6 month review over Christmas and New Year. 

I sent all of my customers a short questionnaire about their purchase looking at quality, value for money and customer service, and then asked for views of the website (whether or not they had used it to make their purchase).

It was a very positive experience reading through all of the responses, several of which you can see on the testimonials page.  Getting different perspectives on the site is vital if this venture is to be successful. It’s also fun and interesting to see what people find important and what I can do to improve the site features and their experiences when using the site.

I’ve already made a few minor changes – moving the ‘for sale’ gallery to the top of this gallery list and making it a more obvious link.  I’m also adding some captions to card pictures where I can.  I’ve updated my links page too.  The major change is to the ‘for sale’ gallery layout, so keep watching and let me know what you think of the new format.

Thanks go to everyone that responded to my feedback request.  If you have any other comments, please feel free to let me know.

Happy crafting

Competition Time

I thought I’d run a little competition for my new followers.

The prize – a card of your choice from my sale gallery. Valentine / Birthday, whatever you would like. Take a look at my for sale gallery (regularly updated).

All you need to do is like and share the handmadebykatherine facebook page or handmadebykatherine website. If you’ve already liked both my website and facebook page, leave a comment on any of my blog entries and share this post.

I will draw a name at random from all entries on Feb 1st 2013.

Good luck


Crafty Commuting

Whilst sitting on the bus, stuck in snow on the way to work yesterday, I started thinking about how much time I was wasting. Just sat. Doing nothing (except thinking of course). Not having invested in a smart phone or tablet, I was unable to fully explore my crafty thoughts. So I set to work (mentally) blogging and making a ‘to do list’.

Predictably, by the time I’d arrived at work, I’d forgotten everything! However, I resolved to have a pad and pen in my handbag at all times! Just in case I have a brainwave or I get stuck in the snow on the bus again!


Now the tram is different, I don’t feel I waste my commuting time there. Once on the tram I have 45 minutes to blissfully update myself with whatever reading material I have available. This week it’s been the latest issue of Craftseller magazine and its’ freebie ‘Start up Guide’. I have found inspiration and advice which is helping me pursue setting up in business, as well as great ideas of products to make. My only problem now is finding the time to do all the necessary research and to learn and make all the projects!!

I think my main learning from my reading this week is to focus my products and try not to have too many ideas running through my head, not getting anywhere. So I shall take that pen and paper and write down all my ideas. If I don’t get round to them for a while, then at least I’ve got them stored for the future!

Commuting doesn’t have to be wasted time. I just need to find crafty ways to fill the time!

Typically I had to stand up all the way home today so I was unable to do any reading let alone writing of ideas!

Happy crafty commuting

Snowy Days

Well winter has well and truly arrived here. There is plenty of snow on the ground and more forecast, which is the ideal weather for crafting. Grabbing a cuppa and a biscuit (low fat of course) and reading through crafting magazines for inspiration. What could possibly be a better way of spending a cold snowy day?

Flower shaped card

I made the most of the weekend and have been putting together some cards for my hearts and flowers collection. I hibernated in the spare room for a few hours yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed myself picking out papers, ribbon and buttons. Such fun! I have been using all the hearts and flowers toppers I made a couple of weeks ago and have made several cards for a variety of occasions. The hearts are an obvious choice for Valentine cards, but also work well for anniversaries and engagements. My flowers are being used for Mother’s Day and birthday cards. I’ve made greetings with co-ordinating papers and will offer a personalisation service for anyone, as I have left a number of cards blank for special greetings or names, whatever is required.

P1180843 P1180853Black and white flower card

My favourite past-time at the moment is doodling around the edges of my cards. I love it so much that I’ve doodled on inserts and envelopes to give a matching look. I’ve invested in a set of staedler fineliners and I love them. The design of the pen is very comfortable and they produce a lovely line.

P1180871P1180870 P1180884

To add to my hearts and flowers collection, I have made some one-off designs using some Hunkydory products, a couple of lacy designs with buttons using Papermania papers and a handmade balloon bouquet.

Valentine balloon bouquet
I hope you like them.

Happy crafting

Hearts and Flowers

Happy New Year.

Well a week into the new year and I’ve made a start on my resolutions. I’ve launched my facebook page and would encourage you to have a look as I will be putting some samples on there for my new card designs in the coming weeks. Setting up the page was surprisingly simple to do and I now have an easily accessible place to add sneak previews and ideas, as well as giving people the chance to make quick comments. So please ‘like’ my page if you’re on facebook and keep up to date.

Handmadebykatherine on facebook

I’ve also been working on some new toppers – hearts and flowers are featuring quite a lot! I’ve purchased some lovely fabric offcuts to make some flowers and have also been collaging hearts again for a collection of valentine, anniversary and engagement cards. The house is covered in tiny bits of paper, fabric and glue at the moment! I’m loving raiding all the papers I have and putting patterns and colours together.

Collage HeartsPaper FlowersPaper Hearts

I’ve started with the paper card toppers, building up the flowers by cutting differing sized flower shapes and circles from co-ordinating papers and adding flocked brads for the centres. I’ve used several of the Papermania capsule collections for these, which are great for putting together patterns that go together perfectly. I’ve also made some of my own papers using different fonts and colours, and I’ve cut hearts out from them. The collage hearts are made from all the offcuts of papers I have collected this year! I shall post my first cards soon, so watch this space!

Then I shall start on the fabric hearts and flowers, and I’m also thinking about knitting some flowers too. They may become brooches attached to the cards. So these would be cards and gifts!!

I shall post my first cards soon, so watch this space! And don’t forget to visit my facebook page for sneak previews.

Happy crafting

Happy Birthday

It was my daughter’s 4th birthday earlier this week and I made the card to send out to CBeebies with some of her favourite characters – Octonauts!

4th Birthday Card

I’ve done this in the past without success, but this year we were featured! CBeebies Birthdays (about 10:27 in to the show).

It made Alice’s day! (and mine)

Happy Crafting

2013 New Year’s Crafting Resolutions

Like most people I thought I’d set myself some resolutions for the forthcoming year. I’ve set a few personal ones and some aims and objectives for HandmadebyKatherine.

1. Set up a Facebook PagePink Bunting
2. Set up an Etsy shop
3. Blog at least once a week
4. Do at least 4 craft fairs
5. Learn to crochet

My ideas for the year are to concentrate on hearts and flowers, both paper and fabric I think. I’m also going to jump onto the bandwagon and make some owl inspired cards. And if I do manage to learn to crochet, there’s a lovely owl doorstop in the latest Craftseller magazine that I’d like to have a go at.

I’m going to try to expand my use of materials, by adding more textures and fabrics into my crafts. Any suggestions? Watch this space.

Have a Happy Crafting New Year