Tuesday, 31 December 2013


My dad likes his rugby. I've been to a couple of matches as well. For his birthday, I decided to make him a card in the theme of his team: Sale Sharks. 
It's one of my more simple cards, using a stepper base, I paper cut the Sharks logo from some white card to put on the front. I like the dimension that the stepper card creates, I used this to my advantage with a set of posts and a rugby ball, giving the impression that the ball is about to be kicked half way down the pitch.
I finished is simply with a peel off sentiment.

Monday, 30 December 2013

A Card for a Potterhead

Having just blogged about my hiking birthday card, and my Wicked birthday card for that matter, I realised that I completely forgot to write about my sister's birthday card back in October. To call her a bit of a Potterhead would be the understatement of 2013.

Some of the inspiration for this card came from a small business called Paper Panda who makes the most intricate paper cuttings and I thought I'd give it a go. 
I used a zig-zag card again, with the back of the card a silhouette of Hogwarts. I used my sneaky powers of detection to find out which house she was in and made this the colour scheme of the card, as well as providing the design for the central fold. 
Like with my Wicked card, I was running short of ideas so for the front, along with the sorting hat and a birthday sentiment, I went crazy with a few stars.

My favourite bit is definitely the silhouette. I'm really pleased with it but it was hard going although I can now say that I've done it and I really do know how much work goes into what Paper Panda produces - and mine isn't even anywhere near the scale her work is on! I may do more paper cutting in the future but I definitely think that paper piecing is my thing.

Hiking + Card making = Very Happy Emma

I'm really falling behind with these cards! This one dates back to the beginning of November. One of my best friends is really into hiking. I'm also really into hiking but he's REALLY into hiking. So a hiking themed card had to be done. The zig-zag card was perfect for this because is meant that I could create different levels of the card, in the same way that the land changes when you're climbing a mountain.

We had climbed Helvellyn (for me, it was the first time) a couple of weeks prior to his birthday so Swirral Edge was still fresh in my mind and this is what I based it on, complete with trig point. Impressively (or obsessively) on his part or mine, he guessed that it was Helvellyn. I added a paper person scrambling along the edge and as he loves his German Shepherd, she had to go in somewhere as well.
The compass was an afterthought. I wasn't sure whether it would be too much but I think it works well and helps to get rid of some of the grey. This was simply drawn on with pen and finished with a paper needle. To complete the card, I just added a birthday sentiment.

I loved making this card although I did get a little bit obsessive about it and spent most of an evening making it but I had never combined my two hobbies before (I don't think card making on top of a mountain is ever going to happen!) so I think I'm allowed to. 

He loved the card (although I think a lot of it was due to it having his dog on the front!) and a few weeks back, he commissioned me a couple of other cards, one of which based on this one, but those will have to wait a little while longer . . . 

Friday, 29 November 2013

A Wicked 21st

This year saw me and one of my closest friends turn 21 in the space of 2 days. In order to celebrate properly, we bought tickets to see Wicked as it was in Manchester at the time. Obviously, I had to make her a Wicked themed card.
I had never seen the musical before or read the book so all I had to go on was the poster and the limited knowledge I had of the story - it is essentially the prequel to the Wizard of Oz. It didn't give me much to go on.

I ended up using the poster for inspiration. I used black card stock to make a stepper blank but used green card to create the background and Elphaba's face. I didn't want to just re create the poster so I added a couple of my own touches such as glittery lips and using foam pads to make her had stand out from the card as well as over the edges.
I still needed to finish it off and my solution to problems like that is now to just add stars and glitter. Works everytime - this time in particular! The 21 was simply cut out from white card and I tried to use the same font that the poster uses. I finished it off with a peel-off sentiment.

She loved the card. And we both absolutely loved Wicked. Cannot wait to see it again!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

My Christmas Challenge

So if you follow my blog (and I thank you for doing so!) or if you've found me on facebook, you may have realised that I'm not exactly being productive on the card front at the moment. Third year architecture is definitely taking its toll and I am only finding time to write at the moment because I'm waiting for printing to happen (grrrr). But enough about architecture! 

With horror, the other day I realised that I have around 20 days until university finishes for Christmas. And I had barely started my Christmas cards. And I have a lot to do this year due to the cohort of hikers that I have recently acquired!

I then decided that no matter what happens, I am going to make one Christmas card a day until the end of term which should give me enough cards to send to people. I started this on Sunday and am actually ahead of schedule despite not making any last night or the night before due to making more than one in an evening. The other benefit of this is making sure I get a break from stressing about architecture.

Speaking of stressing, I had a care package from home on Friday. I wasn't expecting it at all but when I opened it, my friends definitely gave me some funny looks. Glittery Christmas foam stickers have the same effect (if not a greater one) as chocolate! 

Tonight however, with final crits out of the way, I am having a craft-fest. I am breaking out the chocolate and the Christmas paper and even the Christmas music! 7 hours and counting . . . . 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

3D Cards: The Cascade

With it being a big birthday for my mum back in September, I of course had to do a special card and while looking for inspiration, I found a really unusual design that I just had to try.

When sorting through my craft stuff before I came back to uni, I found my oriental papers that I had completely forgotten about. This teamed with black card (because my stash of card stock is shocking), meant that I could create a really bold design. The red has got a bit of a pink tinge to it but I think it works really well. I accidentally cut both black pieces of card the same way even though they mirror each other. This meant that one side is white instead of black but I think it brightens the card up a bit rather than just having it completely black (well, you know what I mean!). I had some oriental peel-offs so I got to stick these to the paper and cut around them - a technique I really enjoy.

The message goes on a little piece of card that slots in the middle of the card. For this I just cut a rectangle of black card, decorated it with some patterned paper and finished it with a couple of peel-offs. Then, when it was time to write the message, I just used a white gel pen although I expect gold would also look really good.

I think I mixed my orientals with this card (tut tut) but apart from this, I would definitely say it's one of my favourite makes to date.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Victoria Baths 3

Sunday saw me at the third bi-annual Victoria Baths Art and Craft Fair. I can't believe it's been a whole year since my first fair!

Unfortunately, I can't say that it was as successful as the first one - it wasn't through lack of people, just lack of buyers. (Although I would be tempted to see if the correlation is related to my brother manning my stall with me the first time, as none of them have been as successful . . .)

Despite the cold, I still had a good day, albeit long and tiring (although that was mainly due to still recovering from my Newcastle trip in the week).

One thing that I did begin to think about was when I was on my Hiking Club's table at the Freshers' Fair back in September (so long ago . . . .). As I had experience running a stall, I was more than happy to lead and I loved every second of it. I had lost my voice by the end of the first day and then again by the end of the second from shouting over the crowds and talking practically none stop for the two days. 

But how is it that I was able to talk for Britain and get people to come over to our table and essentially 'sell' the club to them but I can barely say hello to people when I'm behind my table at a fair?

Surely it should be the same? I mean, hiking and card making are both things that I am passionate about, running a table is about engaging with the people browsing and at the end of the day I am trying to sell them something. I guess this is something that I need to work on . . . .

I've also been scolded by my friends for selling my cards too cheap. But that's for another time . . . 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Very Whovian Birthday

I can't believe how long it's been since I last blogged. I feel like I'm neglecting my card but I guess that's what happens in third year! I promise to get my balance right soon. In the meantime however, I have another 3D card to share.

After the diamond card I made for my brother (See here), I was commissioned one for a family friend. In the theme of Doctor Who. Now, being a Whovian myself, I couldn't wait to get started on this and it ended up being a very well thought out card (even if I say so myself).

First thing's first, I had to dig though all my stash to find some TARDIS blue paper. Not only did I nail it but as you can see from the photo, it was also glittery. I printed out the police box notice in order to make the 18 for the front. This was outlined in silver and the front was decorated with stars (of course).
For the base, I'll admit, I had some help. My brother has been working on his Circular Gallifreyan so I asked if he would write out 'Happy Birthday' for me. Again, the stars came out.
The springy bits was where it got a bit fiddly. I used black card to make some tiny TARDIS's and Daleks, which I then, like my previous card, attached to wire. I added some detail with silver pen. The difference this time however, was that instead of sticking the wire to the back of the card, I stuck it between the card and the paper, which made it neater and left the back completely free for a message.

Any true Whovian (actually, that's a bit unfair because I know I wouldn't be able to spot it), may be able to spot a mistake in the card. There may also be a prize in it if you can tell me what it is. Just for giggles.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

3D Cards: The Zig-Zag

My second 3D card was also a well done card but this time it was for my sister on receiving her GSCE results.

I used the same blog as last time for my inspiration although this time I opted for a zig zag card. I started with a sheet of pink cardstock which, after scoring and cutting in the appropriate places, I decorated with paper from the Retro Rose range by Llewelyn Bowen (ones I have used before and plan on using again and again.)

I also decorated the card with acetate butterflies and flowers, keeping with the colour scheme of pink, green and yellow. I added a bit of sparkle in the way of peel off flowers before handwriting the sentiment in a retro font.

I really liked the way the paper was already shaped at the edges; it made for an interesting border to the card. 

The written message for the card, you can probably just about make it out in the photo, went on the back panel of the card so that when it was closed, it was hidden behind the sentiment. Making 3D cards, I've realised, gives more scope for design by allowing you to create a new level. I not only have to think about what the card looks like on the front but also when it is closed - just out of the envelope - and when it is open - stood up on display. I wanted the butterflies to stand out a bit and in order to do that, I had to make sure that while they weren't sticking out too much that the card didn't fit in the envelope, they weren't hidden by the panel in front when the card was closed. It was a similar situation with the peel offs in that I didn't want to see them when the card was closed (this meant I had to do a bit of re shuffling)

Overall, I think this one was simpler than my previous one but that doesn't mean that it didn't have it's own design challenges!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

3D Cards: The Next Dimension

Those of you who read my last post (yes it was a month ago - sorry), you would have seen I had started dabbling in 3D cards, beginning with my easel card. Since then, I have made four more cards, using different techniques and over the next few posts, I'm going to be writing about them.

But before I go any further, credit where credit is due, I came across a great blog with tutorials for all sorts of 3D cards so if anyone is looking for some ideas, I recommend that you take a look over at Beccy's Place.

My first card was briefly mentioned in my previous post but I couldn't say any more at the time as it was going to be for my brother on receiving his A level results and getting into university, which he hadn't at the time and I didn't want to jinx it (he did really really well and is moving into his halls at Birmingham University next weekend).

I should probably explain that he is off to study music and mathematics, which explains the music notes and the numbers. This card needed tutorials from Youtube but it is very similar to the Diamond Fold Card on the aforementioned blog. 
The colours are the colours of the university and I used music patterned vellum to decorate the base. The dog stamp was from my magazine (where the original inspiration came from) and I used gold and blue stars to finish it off. I decided to go really over the top and I used wire to have springy notes, stars and numbers at the top of the card. The stamped sentiment needed my sister's opinion but felt it was appropriate for someone who is about to take their step out into the (semi-)real world. The idea was that as well as being a 'well done in your exams' card, it would also be a 'good luck at uni' card and would be something that he could take with him to put on his book shelf or desk.
You may be wondering where the message goes on a card like this? Well, it's not shown in these pictures but it is on the back of the card. The whole thing folds flat, allowing it to go into a normal envelope. A couple of things I would say, and I think I pushed this one to the limit, is make sure the folds are crisp in order for it to stand up and to make sure not to overload the diamond, again, for it to stand up. Too much weight, or not distributed enough, will stop it from standing up straight but this is something that is better shown than explained - a bit of experimentation is needed.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Easel Cards

Good Morning!

Recently I was inspired to make some Easel Cards. I had seen them before and don't get me wrong, the ones I saw looked amazing, but I felt that they weren't really my style and far to elaborate. 

However, one of the projects in the latest issue of my magazine really inspired me to have a go. I even came up with a design then and there (but that's for another time, shhh). So, Sunday afternoon saw me scouring the internet searching for how to actually make these 3D cards and after sitting through a couple of YouTube videos and finding a couple of sites, I managed to make my first ever Easel Card.

It was so simple to make and would allow me to start working my way through my massive pile of paper/card and the envelopes that are given back to me (nothing wrong with a bit of recycling here and there!). This card, as you can probably guess, is a triple easel card. I had some tall envelopes spare so I made it to fit one of those.
I cut some cardstock in half lengthways, meaning I can make two cards from one sheet of A4. Folded it in half lengthways and when I opened it up, folded on side lengthways again, so that the edge came to the middle. As this is a triple easel card, I cut to folded side into three up to the centre fold. And then all I had to do was decorate.

The only other bit you have to remember is a stopper on the base of the card which will hold the easels in place. I chose to stamp a floral image and used sticky pads to raise it up enough to hold the easels up. I've seen some where the sentiment is used as well.

I did struggle to decorate the card but that was mainly due to finding papers and embellishments that matched the cardstock I started with. In the end, I opted for some felt and paper flowers and a stamped faerie image, coloured in with pen. I'll admit I was lazy when adding the sentiment and decided to use a peel off rather than stamp on but I think the silver, along with the glitter on the flower and the tiny butterflies just finishes it off.

I also love the way that these cards just fold flat, ready to go in the envelope.

I might make a tutorial for these when I make my next Easel Card (which will be very soon).

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

CAS-ual Fridays

Now, lets see if I can remember how to do this. After starting these challenges last summer, as soon as I got back to university I didn't have time and eventually completely forgot about them. So it's high time that I got back to doing them!


This week's challenge was to create a card which featured a number. Funnily enough, I had only this morning found out it was one of my friend's birthday today and not only that but his 21st. I always like to highlight important birthdays - making sure that an 18 or 21 etc features on the card somewhere. Therefore, I decided to make a 21st Birthday card although I have no idea when we're going to meet up next and I have no idea how to get it to him - in this case it's the thought that counts!
I am also at that age of 21st birthdays - with my own coming up in October (scary scary!) so it's probably about time that I started to get some ideas together for special cards.

With my aim to make a male card, I used my 'Masculine' papers from Dovecraft.

My first card was a bit of an accident. I cut numbers out of patterned paper to use on my 21st card but I saw how I could also use the inverse for another card. Unfortunately(?) I had the numbers the other way around so instead of 21, it's a 12 but I think it still makes for an effective birthday card. I then finished it off with some chipboard shapes (from the same range) and a stamped sentiment. 

My second card (the one I actually planned to make) used the cut out numbers from the spotty paper. I then finished it off with patterned paper strips, another chipboard circle and a stamped sentiment.

I really like how I could very easily re make this card for a different age and use different paper to make a completely different card - using floral paper and and flower instead of the circle for a girlie card.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think I've just created my first layout! 

On a slightly different note, following on from my last post, my new craft box (still needing a name by the way!) was put through it's paces. Well, it hasn't fallen apart yet although I've decided that it needs wheels or a lazy Susan (or even both!) underneath just to finish it off. Not only was I able to reach everything easily, it also makes tidying up easy as I can just close the drawers or put the stamp back in it's box and slot it into space as soon as I am done with it which therefore means, despite just making a couple of cards, my desk is as clear (if not clearer) as it was before I started. *insert victory dance here* 

We'll see how long it takes for the novelty to wear off!

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Craft Cube 5000

I am one of those people that can spend hours (and probably a lot of money) in shops that sell stationary and storage items. So, me making a Pinterest account last week was absolute heaven. 

As a student crafter, I have lots of stash and very little space, when I am at uni, and not much more when I am back at home (mainly due to the clutter in my room). So what I really need is a portable, small-ish storage unit that allows me to put as much of my stash as physically possible. Oh, and being a student and having little to no money, ridiculously cheap. Hmm. 

The model in it's former glory (I won't go
into details as to what it is)
So last week, as I was lying in bed about to go to sleep, I decided that I was going to actually sort out my room and organise my stash, with Pinterest being my source of inspiration. I had an old model from my first year of architecture that had no purpose but to sit on my shelf, gather dust and take up space so I resolved to use this somehow.

The following morning, several Pinterest pages at the ready (storage, craft storage, DIY storage, DIY craft storage, . . . ) I began sorting and making.

The first image of genius I found was a way of storing clear stamps . . . .using CD boxes! All you have to do it take out the interior (the actual CD part of the box) and put the stamps in. I was definitely having that idea - my stamp collection just kept building up and because all the sheets were different sizes, I had no real place to store them so they always took up lots of space. But now that I got hold of some CD cases, they are organised, compact and easy to get to.

As for my big storage project though, the first thing to do was actually get rid of the little model as I only wanted the wooden frame in order to make my box. I thought through several ideas, including just making some trays for everything to sit in. I wanted to make sure that as much of the space available was used and each section was designed to hold something specific. That way, it would be easy to find everything when I needed it as well as making the most of what was available. Already, I knew some of the things that were going to go into my box: my stamps in their new boxes, my ink pads and all my chipboard pieces.
Previously, all my chipboard shapes were in one box (the boxes used, gradually growing in size as my collection grew quicker than it shrunk!) which made for a right pain when I was either looking for something in particular or looking for inspiration. So I decided I was going to separate them and store them separately. In order to do this, I had to make some little drawers for them to sit in my frame.

I'll admit it was a little bit trick to get them to fit - with the frame being handmade as well (and being made by me, not exactly square). However, after a bit of trimming and a bit of force, I got the two draws to fit.

I went on to make a third drawer, this time to store paper and the peel off sheets that were living in my craft tote/caddy.

As for my stamps and the ink pads, the pads themselves fitted beautifully within the top of the frame and also allowed the perfect amount of space for the CD boxes to be stored next to them. I didn't have enough CD's to warrant using the whole side of the box for them so the space that was left was just right for my pens - both my Sharpies and my ProMarkers (more architecture than card making) as well as the odd gel pen and coloured pencils. The teeny tiny gap between my pens and inks allowed me to slot my stamping block in.

I had used card to turn the frame into a box but didn't want to waste the inch of space created by the frame. During my clear out, I came across several pairs of jeans that had worn away in awkward places and therefore couldn't be worn again so I cut these up and (kind of) neatening them up by hemming them, I creating pockets around the other three sides so that I could store card blanks and other bits and pieces.

The very last bit of my box was going to be a fourth drawer but was impatient to get it finished and didn't know what to actually put in it so I just left it as a shelf big enough to store some of my business-y bits - my order book, sketch book etc - although maybe in the future, I will do something with it. Who knows?

While it definitely is nowhere near shop quality - lack of wrapping paper (I ran out, ok!), my lack of ability to hem in a straight line and the tight fit of the drawers meaning I will be forever gingerly opening them so as not to break them - it is custom made for me and my craft stash. It's something that I would never be able to find in the shops and except the cost of the CD boxes and a tube of UHU, it was completely free. Not bad really then!

The finished box

Pockets made from old jeans create pockets for my card
blanks and papers as well as protect the sides

Stamp storage - my perfectly organised stamps in their
new home

From the top - ink pads, stamping block, pens and
pencils, stamps, business cards

The bottom two drawers organise my chipboard pieces,
top draw has paper and peel offs and the shelf has my
business bits

Monday, 22 July 2013

Little Crafter, Big Field

Well, I don't know about you but the weather up in North Wales has been glorious - save for this morning when it clouded over but I blame dad getting the cover off the BBQ for that one. I've just spent the whole week hiking in the Lake District but before I went off on my hols, I (finally) got myself a stall at a local event.

Now I'm not saying I've reached that point where I was a big fish in a little pond (because I know for a fact that I have most definitely not) but I was certainly well out of my depth as I soon realised.

The event in question was the Abergele Carnival and because I worked in a cafe in the town before heading off to university, I knew about it and on more than one occasion had been down to the park to wander around and grab an ice cream after work. So I thought it would be a great chance to sell my cards: a local event, the possibility of bumping into people I knew, the weather promised to be good, I had my newly found confidence from New Directions with regards to networking and talking to people. I thought it was going to be a good day.

Oh how wrong was I.

It turns out that I still have a heck of a lot to learn about fairs and especially outdoor ones. I was just too small. I blended into the background and no one really looked twice. My location was slightly unfortunate although I though being placed next to the pageant "arena" (or whatever you want to call it), lots of people would be coming past later in the afternoon, including the carnival queens themselves. However, theatre group to the left of me, children's charity to the right (as the song goes sort of goes), I was nearly invisible - especially next to the big Spongebob Square Pants and Piglet cuddly toys.

My biggest problem in terms of presence was that while my table and display was practically the same as Victoria Baths II, a field is much bigger than a swimming baths or a village hall. I am literally too small to be outdoors for now at least. I have a long way to go before I attempt an event of that size again. Next year? We'll see. I'm definitely not ruling it out just yet.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

New Directions: Day 2

It's probably about time I got on with this entry!

The first activity of day two was right up my street. The challenge was to build a tower using only paper. The fewer sheets we used, the more profit, the quicker we built it, the more profit and the higher we built it, the more profit. We had some time to prototype our tower and then we had to build it. I was part of the design/building team while some of the other team members calculated how much profit we were going to make. Our tower, although only reaching 2 ft (ish), contained very few sheets and was fast to build. Consequently, we came third. I think the main lesson learn here was that you don't always have to come up with the biggest idea, just a good one. Great things come in small packages and all that!

The main part of the day followed from Monday's brainstorming session. We had to come up with a product that would help people reduce the amount of energy they use. At the end of the day, we would then be pitching our ideas to a panel of judges made up of entrepreneurs. 
It felt a little bit like The Apprentice again, but this time I was determined not to be competitive and we came up with a great idea and we worked really well as a team.

When it was time to pitch, we ended up going last but this did however mean that we could look at other people's pitches and see what we were up against. One thing that I did realise was how much my public speaking had developed since coming to university. We have to present our work on a regular basis so talking to large groups of people no longer fazes me in the way it used to. As well as not being nervous, I know how to make a presentation. This was something I took for granted but I saw that there were some groups that didn't present as well as the other. It was really interesting to see and a bit of a motivator.
Our turn soon came along and although we didn't win, I felt that we performed really well as a group and we did a good presentation. Everyone got involved with speaking and making sure that we told the panel all the information about our product which left time for some more in depth questions which we also managed to answer really well to back up our idea. 

Overall, it was a really good couple of days and as well as giving me the chance to network and chat to other people like me, I think it's also given me the confidence to go ahead and take the next step as a small business: registering. This is something that I will be doing when I get back to Manchester, where I can get support and advice from Innospace and the Business School. It may not be a new direction but this workshop definitely gave me a push in the right one.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different . . . .

Ok, so I don't normally do this but please bear with me here.

As you all know, I am at Manchester School of Architecture. I am also part of the architecture society and hold a position on the committee blah blah blah . . . . .

Anyway, the MSSA (Manchester Student Society of Architecture) has entered a video competition to win funding from RBS for the society so that we can actually get out of the studio and have some fun every now and then! And this is where you guys come in. We are through to the second round but in order to go even further, our video needs to get as many views as physically possible. So, if you have a spare minute (well, 1:34 to be precise), I would really appreciate it if you could watch the video below and if you are feeling super generous, to share it and make it viral!

Thank you in advance and I hope you enjoy it!!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

New Directions: Day 1

Earlier this week, I took part in an enterprise development program organised by Manchester Metropolitan University. The event lasted two days and give me skills to help me set up and run a business.

9am Monday morning:
The day, naturally, started with registration and coffee. I was given various forms to fill in and sign and a name tag with an image of the Monopoly top hat counter. Having being told to sit at the 'Top Hat' table, I proceeded over there and sat down with those who would be my team mates for the duration of the program. There was a Monopoly theme for the entire event and each table was named after a different playing piece (although I don't remember there being a cat or robot in the game!) 45 minutes of introductions and small talk later and we were raring to go and start the first task.

Task 1:
After a summary of the day and introductions from important people from the university, the first task began. We had been given scrapbooks in which we had to record the day. We were also given an envelope that contained questions that each person had to answer and then these would be written in our books. The questions were just to get to know our team and get talking.

After an inspiring talk about social enterprise from Melanie Bryan OBE, we got stuck into the first real group activity of the day. The brief was to create an event to be held at Heaton Park, just north of Manchester city centre. We had  an item that we could use: ours was donated clothing.

If anything, this task taught me that I should really cut down on the amount of The Apprentice I watch. For a small task like this, I feel I got extremely competitive and was definitely one of the more vocal members of the team (which for me really is something!). I was trying to think (possibly a bit too hard) of all the options and the outcome of what we were planning, which I guess can't be a bad thing. We eventually opted for a craft/vintage fair and a community sports day event and encourage fashion and other students to take part in the event. Part of my input was my knowledge of craft fairs and how they can work to make money - although it felt really bizarre trying to explain the concept to other team members. As one of the creative students on the team, I also got the task of designing the poster to sell our proposal. I only wish that we had more time in order to finish it - it looked very empty when on the wall next to all the other posters.

After a great lunch, it was back into teams for more talks about goals and motivation (with a side of interaction to wake us up after lunch!) and marketing and market research from John Keiller of Common Good. We were asked what drives us and keeps us going when the going gets tough. In all honesty, for this part of the day, I wasn't thinking about Made by Emma, I was thinking about my degree. And I've learnt that what keeps me going is to stop. It sounds counter productive but taking the day off allowed me to get stuck back in with a fresh head. We were asked to think about our 'oomph kit', something that we can turn to when everything's gone down the pan.

After the marketing talk, we were given a task to brainstorm ideas for a product that could help users reduce the amount of energy they used. This task had 'To be continued . . . . ' written all over it.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Victoria Baths II

Sunday was my second time at Victoria Baths for their craft fair. Based on last November's fair, I was hoping for a good day, although my previous fair failures made me a little nervous. Then there was also the fact that the Manchester Day Parade was happening that same day. It could have gone either way.

After having a couple of extremely late nights previous to the fair, a coffee was in order Sunday morning. The sun was shining, I guess the birds were singing but Oxford Road is a bit noisy, and I was super organised and had packed the night before to be ready for the morning. I grabbed my coffee from the Cafe Nero around the corner from me and headed off to the baths.

I was on my own at the table this time and after battling with my (freshly ironed!) table cloth, I was ready to get my cards up on display. I found some make-your-own-bunting in The Works when I was stocking up and decided to give it a go. I've always liked the look of bunting and even considered getting some made but when I found this, it seemed only right that
1) I should make it myself and
2) With me being in the paper craft industry, it should be made of paper
The difficulty was deciding what paper to use!

It amazed me that 6 months ago, I half a table to display my good and this time around, I managed to fill the entire table! I though I would have some space to spare so that I could work on some crafts but it was not to be. I remembered to bring my portfolio of cards with me as well this time and had my shiny new business cards on display (full colour ones this time!)

Mid day came and the doors opened. For a while it seemed quiet and it was quite slow and I managed to make my friend's birthday card and another paper pieced picture but things started to pick up later on in the day.

A couple of friends came to see the fair and I think I sold more to them than anyone else but a sale is a sale!

Overall, it was a really good day and although not as successful as my first fair, definitely better than the other since then. I also picked up exactly where I need to improve - each fair is a learning experience and I am looking forward to the next on to work on my social skills. Speaking of learning, it was really interesting to look back at my first fair and see how far I have come. From not having a clue and my brother doing most (all!) of the talking to standing on my own and doing it by myself (although I could really benefit from his charisma!) 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Cardmaker's Guide to the Galaxy

Happy Towel Day, you hoopy froods!

To those of you who have been following my happenings on the various forms of social media, you will know that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has provided me with much inspiration for my cards.

 My first card was inspired by those big friendly letters inscribed on the back of the guide. I think I got the idea from some original graphics but I could be totally wrong. I simply used paper to create the quote. 

My other cards came from some of the memorial quotes from the book. I created paper pieced images and used word to write the quotes by hand. While the first three follow a similar design and are self explanatory, those who aren't as familiar with the books of the radio series might not recognise the last card. It is taken from the fourth book, So Long and Thanks for all the Fish. One of my favourite scenes from the book is when Arthur and Fenchurch fly above the clouds and into the night. 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Manchester United

A couple of entries ago, I mentioned Manchester United cards. I was asked by one of the girls in my hall to make cards of more or less the whole football squad and was my biggest commission to date. She gave me a list of the players she wanted and pointed me in the direction of the Manchester United website. For those who can't guess, she is a massive United fan. 
I tried to make them as simple as possible - 25 cards was more than enough without making them extra complicated! I used red card for the shirts and added detail using my trusty white pencil and black pen. The football was an extra touch - just black pen on white card.
Things did however get complicated when I realised that there were two number 20's. I'm by no means a football expert or even a fan but even I know that there is only one of each number on a team. It turns out that Fabio doesn't play for United at the moment and was playing in his number for Queen's Park Rangers while van Persie is using his number for the reds. Who knew? This of course meant I had to make a third style of shirt to cater for that little problem. After that, it was all straight forward and just a case of getting them all stuck down, photographed and wrapped. 

* I guess at this point that I should write a disclaimer: the cards made by me do not necessarily represent my views! Don't want to be loosing potential customers because they support Man City or Liverpool!!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Back in Business!

After not crafting for what seems to be a very long time, I finally got back at my craft mat and made some cards. Now that I think about it, before this week, I hadn't made any cards since before Easter - so essentially a month! Really not good!

Anyway, as I was saying, I had some cards to make this week and I because it's been so long, I think I am a little bit excitable about them this morning*. Unfortunately, I can only share one of them at the moment as the other is a commission which hasn't been sent yet so that one is coming later!

This card was inspired by the new Iron Man film that came out earlier this week. I went to see it for a friend's birthday so it only seemed appropriate that his birthday card had the same theme to it.
I used the same kind of technique that I used for my Iron Man paper pieced picture back in November - coloured card with lots of pen detail. This time however, I got my trusty white pencil out as well to add some extra details. As it was a card and not a picture, I didn't make it as 3D as last time but it made my life a lot easier! I did however make the hand more pronounced by using foam pads (I can normally never get the foreshortening right!)

Looking back at the first Iron Man I did, it's kind of interesting to see how it has evolved - I know that it entirely due to the images I based them on, but it's still in keeping with the films. I think the 'newer model' definitely an improvement and I think I will be looking into make the other Avengers in this style very soon.

*well, morning when I wrote it anyway. See, over excited about new things to publish! I've already spammed my Facebook page with the photos so I thought I should hold off just a little!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

I'm still here!

I promise I haven't fallen off the planet!

My university work has to take priority at the moment and I haven't had any craft fairs or birthday so I haven't got too much to talk about at the moment anyway.

However, you can look forward to reading about my (hopefully) busy summer:

  • Manchester United as cards
  • Victoria Baths II
  • Manchester Maker's Market II
  • I have a couple of birthdays coming up so look out for my new cards
  • General craftiness after I hand in my work and therefore finish for the year!
In the meantime, here's a picture of a card I did for a friend a few weeks back.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Happy Birthday to me, Happy birthday to me . . . .

Can't believe its been twelve whole months since I walked into my JCR and self consciously set up my cards at my first ever stall. I had no idea how to go about setting it all up but excitement took over and I spent the whole evening stood behind the little table getting a buzz every time someone bought a card.

I've gained so much experience over the last year though I've still got so much to learn about running a business. My first craft fair was in November at the Victoria Baths so it seems appropriate that I got an e-mail about the two fairs coming up this year! Really looking forward to them.

As what seems to be a birthday present, I have just got an extra big order from one of the girls in my halls. She is a massive Man Utd fan and has requested what seems to be nearly the whole team! Looking forward to working on this project and I will make sure to post all about it - even if it means loosing some readers. 

Also, to celebrate, head on over to my Facebook page where I'm having a give-away. All you have to do is like my page and leave a comment under the status. I will be picking a name at random at the end of the day and . . .well, I'll let you find out what you could win!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Gabs Fundraiser 2: Gaza

Well, as promised, the next instalment of this weekend's events: the St Gabriel's Hall Fundraiser. This year, the money is going to a charity that will set up water pumps in Gaza and therefore supply fresh water to school and hospitals in the area.

Last year, we raised money for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief. I offered to sell my cards at the event and the rest, as they say, is history. I got such a buzz from selling them that I had to do more so I found craft fairs and kept making cards - I was making so many that there was no way I could just send them by myself. 

Japanese Fundraiser - 2012
Gaza Fundraiser - 2013
So this year, I had to do it again. The only difference was that I had about 12 months experience this time around. It was interesting to look back and see just how much that experience had changed me and my cards. It's a bit like spot the difference looking at these two pictures!
I think the main thing that has definitely improved is my presentation - my cards now come pre packaged although, ironically, I'm taking them out of the wrapper to display them. I also have my lovely boxes to display - and store - all my cards. 

The event was - from my end of it anyway - a success, although it was quieter than last year and  I didn't sell as many this time around. I was also sharing a table with a girl that lives just down the corridor from me. I learnt today that she makes beautiful jewellery. She was explaining how she used to do it but stopped when doing her A-level and would only make pieces to give to friends for their birthdays. It sounded so familiar that I couldn't help but smiling! Between the two of us, our table raise £100. There is still the henna, food, entrance and a few other bits to be added to that tally so I can't wait to hear what the final count is - I will make sure to put it up on Facebook when I find out.

I also donated one of my paper pieced pictures - the Emma one - to the little market we also had going this evening. I noticed that it was snapped up very quickly, funnily enough, by the girl who did a lovely henna design on the back of my hand. 

Overall it was a really good evening and I even got to have a go at apple-bobbing - something I haven't done since I was in Brownies. It was just as well I wasn't wearing any make-up! I also got to try some delicious Spanish food - empanada and paella.

I should probably call it a night now, back to the day job, aka my studies, tomorrow. *Sigh. It's nice to have a break every now and then.

Back in the Game!

I was going to write about this weekend, well, once the weekend had finished but I decided that today's event needed a post all to itself. Besides, tomorrow's a pretty big day as well!

As you who are on my Facebook page will know (and those of you who aren't, why aren't you??), today was the first Manchester Maker's Market down in Fallowfield. I had high hopes for today, especially as the majority of the students at the universities live in or very near Fallowfield, hell, nearly all my friends live closer to the venue than I do! So I was looking forward to a good day.

It was a slow start. A very slow start. But being a Saturday morning/early afternoon it's not really that surprising when the average age of the local area is probably something like 25?? It soon picked up though and I even made a few sales! I think I've come the conclusion that it was probably my best fair yet (Victoria Baths was so incredible that non could compete so I've had to take it out the running!).

This is hopefully going to be a monthly or every-other-monthly event so I will definitely be signing up to the next one - it can only get better once word about it gets out!

I had a go at some different things on my stall today. The first of these was adding some height to my table. I did this by taking along boxes and with the spare fabric on my table cloth, to cover them up. It was an improvement but I really think I need a set of shelves or something similar. And bunting! Bunting looks so good around a stall . . . I might have to look into it. Where was I?
Right, different levels. Having this box on my table meant that I had a special place to put some of my products. 

Which leads me onto my next change. I had a revelation. What if I displayed all my Alice in Wonderland items together! Had the cards next to the frame! Why I never thought of this sooner I don't know but it looked good and caught people's attention. Although now I'm left with four Queen of Hearts and one Dormouse card as all the others have gone. Note to self: Make more. Especially Cheshire Cats.
The other thing I tried today was having some of my cards on display. Not in their plastic wrappers. I created mini displays on my table by using gift bags I had lying around my room. Trying to get them to co-ordinate was fun though! This, like the Alice in Wonderland display, looked quite good and it didn't deter buyers so I think this is something I am going to stick with as well. 
I mentioned tomorrow at the start of this entry. Tomorrow is the St Gabriel's Hall Fundraiser which, as some of you know, is the reason I am here today. But I will save all this for tomorrow evening - yes, I am spoiling you with two posts this weekend!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Valentine's Day

My life has fallen into chaos with all the work I have to do so once again, another over due post (this one should have gone out on Thursday, if you couldn't guess).

Valentine's Day - or Single Awareness Day, depending on your relationship status - is probably one of the biggest days of the year for card shops, florists and, these days, anyone in the commercial industry. I think it's safe to say that I have now experienced Valentine's Day on three levels: single, taken and for the first time this year, on the other side of the shop counter (so to speak).
As you know from my last post, I had a craft fair a couple of weeks ago so naturally, I had to make a handful of V-Day cards for that. Word is spreading through my halls about my cards so as well as selling (very few) cards at the fair, I also sold some from the comfort of my own room. 

I'm not going to lie though, making lots of what I see as rather personal cards, was quite odd. The few times that I had sent a Valentine's card, it was more that just another card so making some that were for other people to send to their Valentines seemed quite strange. I didn't have any commissions, just the ones that I had made while watching TV in the evenings.

I guess I should probably share some now shouldn't I? Bring on the Hall of Cards . . . 

 I have now reached that point when if I am stuck for inspiration, I make an owl card to fit with that theme. I already have my design for Mother's Day!
 I really liked these two cards. I only had a couple of the heart embellishments otherwise I would have made more. I found the red, white and black colour scheme worked quite well for Valentine's cards. 
I was surprised that the calligraphy cards I made didn't sell. I only made two - the other one said Be Mine - but I thought, for something a bit different . . . ah well.
I plan on making lots more using calligraphy soon, especially for this weekend's fairs*.
Another owl one, yes, I know but I had to have two owls on a Valentine's Day card. I told a lie before; I did get a commission, from mum. She wanted an owl card but the two I had previously made had already gone so I had to make another one.

*That wasn't a typo, that 'fairs' was definitely a plural. Well when I say fairs, one of them is the new Manchester Maker's Market happening on Saturday. The event on Sunday isn't strictly a fair but is quite an important one for me: the St Gabriel's Annual Fundraiser. Those of you who have been with me from the beginning might remember that is was because of last year's fundraiser that I am where I am today, although don't go getting the birthday cards out yet though, the fundraiser is earlier this year!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Yet Another Flop

I was going to post this on Sunday but technical difficulties got in the way and I was laptop-less until yesterday. So here it is, a little late but here non the less.

Saturday's craft fair, if you hadn't guessed from the blog title, was a bit of a fail. I was there in plenty of time and I had a nice stall set up - like many of the other stalls - there was just no one about. I even bought my pretty heart shaped fairy lights because it'll be Valentine's Day soon.

The fair did give me a couple of things to think about with my stall (the learning curve is forever . . . er . . .curving?) and luckily - and as per usual - I had my trusty sketchbook on hand to make notes.

The first thing was that I should probably invest in a rack or small shelving unit to display my cards. This way, I can play around a bit more with my stall and try different layouts. 
To go along with this was the idea that I shouldn't wrap all of my cards up and leave some of them as display cards so people can see what they look like as cards - it's all very well showing them in the plastic wrapper but having them stood up on the table also gives me more options to play around with my display.
The other idea I had is a bit bitter. It came from watching the cake stall across from manage to get about 95% of the people to go over to her stall. How? She offered free samples. Rather than waiting for people to wander over and have a look, she invited them over with the promise of free samples. Yes I am slightly bitter about this but it's a technique that obviously works so I might try by putting chocolates or sweets in a dish on my stall. Even if it fails, it gives me something to munch on during the day!
I was able to keep myself occupied at the deathly quiet fair by doing a bit of crafting - treated myself to an extra magazine this month (those damn owls got the better of my once again, this time in the form of some really cute stamps) so I got to play around with the free gift. 
I was also productive in an architecture student sense by reading some Ruskin.
I was extra good and did a bit of networking as well by taking a wander and talking to the other crafters, picking up a couple of business cards while I was at it, although I still need to take a look on Facebook.

Despite the flop of last weekend, when I was able to get back on my laptop yesterday, I was greeted by a lovely e-mail about a new maker's market happening just down the road from me at the end of the month. Obviously, I replied immediately and I already have the form to book my place. One thing that this one definitely has going for it is that it is in student central so hopefully there will be plenty of people. Handmade is SO in right now!