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Happy Kitschmas - My Etsy Shop is Open! | Handmade Kitsch Christmas Card Designs

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I'm so excited to share that my Etsy Shop is now open for Christmas!

If you blink you will miss December, it flys by so quickly! One thing I promised myself this year, is that my Etsy shop would be live once again, I'm so pleased to say it is now open and ready for Christmas-yey!

I really loved painting and designing my card collection, I've always been a lover of all things kitsch and for me, it's the best way to decorate at Christmas! The crazier the decorations, the better! It's hard to say which is my favourite design of the five but I do have a soft spot for the Christmas kitty-cats and Christmas are the perfect combination!

My cards are all A5 and printed on a high quality, watercolour style paper to compliment the watercolour paintings. They can be bought individually or in a set of 5 and all come with brown kraft paper envelopes.


It's been a pretty crazy year, sometimes life just gets in the way of my Etsy shop but it was one of my personal goals to see it open again for Christmas time. Although I wasn't in a position to take part in Christmas markets and fairs this year, I do feel like I've worked on some fab bespoke orders and projects, so I'm still pushing forward with my creative business, (even if it has been a little slower during 2018!).

I'm super passionate about supporting small businesses, I'm trying my best to buy from artists and small businesses as much as possible this year. You can always show your support for crafters and artists in many other ways if it's not possible to purchase from their stores. Share/like their pictures on Instagram and follow their Etsy shops- you'd be surprised how much of a difference it makes to someone, even if it just gives them the motivation to keep pursuing their passion!

If you have an Etsy shop or online store, be sure to send me the link so I can check it out! 

Much love, Katie x








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Relaunching My Etsy Shop | Tips for Selling Your Handmade Crafts Online & Lil Packaging Review

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Now we're officially in November, it's time to get prepped for Christmas! Ekkk, that word makes me stressed just saying it! It may seem a bit early for some but if you're a small business owner, artist or crafter, you've probably been thinking about the looming festive season for months now! Personally, I've been busy planning away for my Christmas Etsy shop relaunch for a little while (although I still have lots to do!). This year, I haven't had my shop open consistently due to focusing on more bespoke orders and side projects, so I'm pretty excited to get my shop stocked again!

So, with this prep in mind, I thought I'd pull together my tips and plans for an online shop relaunch. I'm sure each creator has a different way of getting organised but I wanted to share a little behind the scenes of my process for this month and lend any advice I have if you're in the same boat!

Lists
Okay, so this is a little obvious but when planning how to sell your crafts online, list making is essential. I honestly can't stop making lists- my bullet journal is worn out already! In my humble opinion, the best way to get on top of your work load is to get all of your thoughts on paper.

I started by jotting down all of the products I'd like to create (if I had endless amounts of time!) and then streamlined this into what is actually realistic in the time frame I've got. I think this just helps build an overview of how you want your shop to fill out eventually but also ensures you focus your efforts in the right areas for now. If your also working full time like me, using your spare time efficiently is key.



Of course, your bullet journal is essential for planning the following too...

Stock
So, once I've got my achievable product list prepped, I can start thinking about what is going to make the most time to create and therefore, what I should focus on first. For me, this would be Christmas cards because I know I would have to not only factor in time for painting the designs but also scanning, editing and printing. Phew- that will be a big one to tick off!

Although smaller items (such as handmade Christmas decorations) will still take time to make, initially you only need one or two to photograph for your shop, so you can always build on your numbers once the listing is prepped. If your clever about it, getting your stock together doesn't have to be as overwhelming as you initially thought.

Business Cards
Once you've sorted your products, that's the main hurdle out of the way. Next, you just need to think about how you will send your products out in the post. I've always thought it's a nice touch to include a little personal thank you in the order, especially if you are one person hand making each piece. It's a unique and personal experience buying from a small Etsy shop after all.

Other than that, the only thing you need is a simple business card to encourage your customers to follow your social pages and to hopefully pass on your details to their friends, if they are so kind to recommend your shop/services!

There are loads of websites that can help you put together a business card and get it printed if photoshop isn't your strength. Once you've got a bunch printed, you won't have to worry about it again until you want to update the design!

Packaging
Bad shop owner confession time - finding the right packaging has always been a nightmare for me. Whenever I send out my work, I want to know it's not only well protected but also looks quite special - when I've spent hours making something, I want the whole experience of buying from my shop have that aspect of care too. So it's no surprise this was something I had been fretting about recently.

I was so chuffed when an email landed in my inbox from Lil Packaging, to see if I'd be interested in  trying some of their products. Horah- nightmare over!

From my first glance on their website, I saw the exact postal box I had been looking for to send my handmade garlands to their new homes, honestly I'd been searching for this exact thing for ages! Within a few clicks on their website, I'd manage to find the perfect postal products for everything I am planning to list in my shop, include an A5 sturdy envelope, perfect for sending Christmas cards- winning!

Although straight away I thought their products looked fab, another thing that really stood out to me about Lil Packaging, is their focus on moving towards more sustainable products. They are currently converting all of their products to plastic free, recyclable packaging, how good is that?! Everything I ordered was FSC/PEFC certified as 100% bio-degradable, which feels only right to be using as a indie business. Part of the appeal of shopping small is to not only support growing artists but also to move away from mass produced, unethical products, making more conscious choices with when and how you spend your money.

Lil packaging have pledged to make all of their packaging plastic-free by the beginning of next year, which I'm honestly so impressed by. This factor alone makes me feel confident that I would repurchased from them time again.

It's also worth mentioning, they have just dramatically cut their prices by 46% for lower volume orders, which is obviously such a bonus for a small business owner. I know it can be stressful worrying about spending out on huge initial costs for your Etsy shop before you even know you will make any money back, so being able to get good quality packaging at affordable prices is so reassuring.

I've honestly been so impressed by their range so would whole heartedly recommend. You can even design the packaging to include your shop logo, making your order completely bespoke. I love this idea for making your Etsy orders feel really personal, right from the moment the package arrives on your customer's doorstep. I will definitely be checking this out in the future!

For more info on the Lil Packaging range, you can check out their website here: https://www.lilpackaging.com/


So, there are my tips for getting your Etsy shop prepped for launch this Christmas, I hope it has been useful! Ultimately, running an online shop to sell your handmade goodies should be fun; an ongoing process and always be something you're super proud of. I think the main thing is to take it one step at a time and enjoy it! ... (I'm sure in a couple of weeks - mid festive-stress, I will have to remind myself of my own advice!) Organisation may be super important, but it's your creativity and ideas which make your shop completely unique! Awhhh...

Much love,

Katie x

*This post was created in collaboration with Lil' Packaging, however, all views and opinions are my own




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Halloween DIYs | Video Craft Tutorials

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Is it just me or has Halloween come around so quickly this year? The seasons may be flying past but there is still time to make the most of the chilly atmosphere and decorate accordingly! 

I've pulled together a few of my favourite Halloween DIYs I've created to give you some ideas for last minute crafternoons this autumn. Let's be honest, pumpkins and autumnal decorations don't just have to be around for one day - let's get spooky! 


The Felt Poison Apple

This still is one of my favourite tutorials to date, I really loved making this one! The poison apple is such an iconic, creepy item, it seems only right to have one hanging on your door this Halloween!


DIY Bat Ears

If you are looking for a last minute costume idea and have some scraps of netting or Halloween fabric in your craft box somewhere, making your own bat ears is the answer! Pair with a black outfit and a lot of eyeliner, you can create a super cheap but super cute outfit in no time at all!


Easy No-Carve Pumpkins

Without getting too messy, you can create some easy pumpkin designs, perfect if you're crafting with little ones. All you need is some paint, a glue gun and most definitely some glitter to transform your pumpkins in a multitude of ways!


DIY Polymer Clay Eyeball Necklace

For those of you who would happily accessorise Halloween-style all year round, here's a fun tutorial to learn the basics in polymer clay whilst also creating a spooky new accessory!


Autumn Leaves Bunting/Garland

Finally, if you're looking to decorate your home with something inspired by the seasons, an autumn leaves garland might be a cute way to do so. This one is super easy so is perfect to create with kids-  definitely one to try on a cosy Sunday afternoon!


So, that's my last minute Halloween craft round-up. I hope it gives you a little bit of inspiration to make something for Halloween this year, whether it's decorative or it's part of your costume. 

Make sure you're following me on Instagram, where I'm sharing my latest autumn/Halloween crafts and scribbles!

Katie x

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Labradoodle Inspired Baby Mobile | Handmade Baby Mobile

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I recently was commissioned to design and make a handmade baby mobile, which included a beloved family pet, Ted the labradoodle! I was told the nursery decor was inspired by neutral tones so my initial thoughts were to work with a grey and white colour palette. Stars and clouds are great to include in any unisex nursery, so I worked to incorporate the little Ted amongst this.





This was such a fun project, it was an interesting challenge to work out how to include a Labradoodle in the mobile and to try and make it resemble Ted, but I'm really pleased with the results! The most important thing is knowing that it was the right fit for its new home and thankfully, they absolutely loved it!

I've made quite a few bespoke baby mobile designs now and it's so lovely to think something I've made is going into such an important space, a new little bubba's nursery!

If you are interested in a bespoke baby mobile design, please email me for more information.

Katie x




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June Update - Moving House | Putting Etsy on Hold | Personal Projects

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It's been such a busy few months, I can't believe we are already half way through June! All creativity has been put on hold in my life recently, after a slow start to the year, all of a sudden there were so many other things to worry about instead of painting and making.

One thing that really took over recently was moving house. Jason and I made the decision to move back to my parents for the summer (and let's be real- potentially beyond that too!) to mega save for a deposit for our first home together.

We have lived together for nearly 6 years in privately rented accommodation and although we loved the location of our home (the flexibly and ease of living in the middle of town was a dream), we knew that to move forward with our saving goals, it would be so much easier to be out of the renting system. We have already been saving away for the past few years so just a few months at home could change our situation so quickly. Ultimately, we know we are very lucky to have the option of moving back to my parents whilst we save. Jason had said to me multiple times this year would be about sacrifice but of course, all of our hard work will pay off eventually. So it is all positive change!

My goals to relaunch my Etsy shop for summer have been pushed back somewhat due to everything that has been going on so far this year, which I actually feel okay about. I knew my new working schedule and having less time for my art would knock me back a bit, but it's all about readjusting and renegotiating my time. I haven't given up on any of my personal projects at all, I'm just giving myself some time to figure it all out at the moment.

I'm just about to start painting another welcome board for my friend's wedding, which will great to push me back into painting- I feel like I haven't done any in so long! Amongst smaller commissions, baby mobiles and the odd creative project here and there, I'm plodding along just fine!

Now that I'm settled, I'm really looking forward to long summer evenings, painting away in bright rooms with countryside views. Our last house was always so dark, it got pretty depressing! It will be great to know I can get in from work and get a good few hours of painting done each evening if I choose to.

So here are a few mini goals I'm setting for the next few months:

  • Regularly update my blog and Instagram with projects I'm working on, the re-launch of my Etsy shop and any new DIY projects!
  • Upload some new DIY tutorials, bullet journal and painting videos to my Youtube channel
  • Re-launch my Etsy shop, with paintings, prints and cards
  • Stay inspired and make time for the things I'm passionate about! 
Are you setting any goals for the warmer months? Let me know!

Katie x
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Winter in Budapest | A Photo Diary

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budapest-in-winter-mini-break

This January, I took Jason away for his 30th birthday to Budapest. It was our first time visiting the city and I'm so pleased we got the chance to experience Budapest in winter. It was absolutely freezing but that just added to the wintery mini-break vibes. When we were at the top of Budapest castle over looking the city, it was so picturesque covered in snow, it really was the prettiest of places! We were even treated to some winter sun on our final day, it was the absolute dream of a mini break!

From the offset, we piled on the layers, drank lots of mulled wine and explored the city. There was so much we wanted to see and do and we did manage to fit a lot in over the 4 days. In general, Budapest is small enough to walk around and find everything you're looking for but not so big that you have to really pre-plan your journeys. We only used public transport once or twice and that was to get to specific areas and when we did, it was super cheap and easy to navigate. It was honestly one of my favourite places I've visited, it was perfect for the chilled out but fun long weekend away we were looking for.

budapest-river-views


The Highlights

One of my favourite moments was visiting the Szechenyi Thermal Baths. It was so bazaar running across snowy pavements to plunge into the steamy outside baths! The steam coming off the water was so thick we could barely see each other! It was the perfect way to spend a long morning, we actually went here on Jason's 30th birthday and it was such a lovely way to start the day.

Szechenyi-Thermal-baths-winter

I absolutely loved just being able to walk around the city in general, I was so surprised that everything was walking distance and we barely had to use public transport at all. It was pretty awesome crossing the chain bridge over to Buda and hoping on a tourist bus to visit the castle. The views from the top were pretty spectacular. Definitely worth a visit if you are checking out the city.

budapest-tram

budapest-chain-bridge

budapest-castle-view-snow

budapest-castle-snow




We had a few recommendations to check out the Pinball Museum. This was a little further out, but it was easy enough to grab a bus that took us pretty much to the front door. It was a really fun way to spend the evening, playing on vintage pinball machines and other retro arcade games. Time went so quickly when we were there, it felt like 5 minutes but was actually 3 hours! They have a pretty cool selection of merch there too, we each bought a pinball museum t-shirt as a nice memento.  

budapest-pinball-museum

pineball-musuem-budapest

You can't go to Budapest without visiting the ruin bars! We had such a fun night getting merry at Szimpla Kert, the original ruin pub. It is filled with eccentric decor, cool light features and hidden areas. Our favourite room was covered in old television sets, wires and fairy lights but there were so many different areas to explore, it was hard to choose! 

Szimpla-Kert


szimpla kert

budapest-chain-bridge

Overall, I loved the city and would jump at the opportunity to go back! Let me know if you've ever visited Budapest and what your highlights were :)

Katie x



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2018 Creative Goals | Regaining Creative Motivation

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bullet-journal-goals

When it came to 2018 resolutions, I decided this year to take the focus away from materialistic things or the usual dieting goals that leave your self-esteem in tatters, instead, I tried to think of achievable goals that I know I would be inspired to work on throughout the year. Resolutions I'm actually excited about!

So I decided to log in my bullet journal a few creative areas that I wanted to improve on or put more time into this year. I would love to look back this time next year and see actual improvement in my skills instead of focusing on the things I haven't achieved! I feel like tracking it this way will keep me motivated to be creative and will have a positive impact on my productivity. Maybe I will do a 6 month update to prompt myself and see how I'm doing!

If you feel that your creativity has lagged somewhat at the start of this year, I urge you to jot down 4 or 5 achievable creative goals you can keep working on to help you feel motivated again. Here are mine...

My 2018 Creative Goals:

1. Take Better Photographs
This year, I feel really inspired to learn more about photography. I've been watching tutorials on Youtube about DLSR photography and iPhoneography, however, I'm pretty sure the best way to work on this is just to get out and about and actually take some photos! I think I might set myself some mini projects this year and maybe even look into a short course I could do to really immerse myself in. It seems so appealing, mainly because it would just be taking up a new hobby, no pressure! Unlike with my art, which I am always working on for my Etsy shop, this will just be for fun. Fingers crossed for pretty Instagram feeds and colourful blog posts!

2. Visit More Art Galleries
Sometimes, when the only art you look at is created by your peers on Instagram, you can get in this weird headspace where you constantly compare yourself to others and inevitably, don't feel that great about your own work. Not all the time of course, it can be super inspiring and it's always great to see what everyone else is up to! However, visiting galleries has this refreshing impact where you can just walk around, look at completely diverse work and feel so inspired. Not one floral painting in sight! Even sculpture and installation can spark your imagination, which is great, if like me, you mainly work in 2D.

3. Read More
It doesn't get much better than finding a book you completely love and struggle through very tired eyes to put down, does it? I really enjoy reading but never really make time for it anymore. Well, this year, that is going to change! I don't think I'm quite ready to start a 50 book challenge, but I definitely want to work through some books that have stacked up in my bookcase, that I've wanted to read for ages. It's just finding what book to start with that will be the problem!

4. Keep Painting
Quite a straight forward goal, but I want to keep up the time and effort I put into my painting last year. I really felt like I was getting into a rhythm with it, but with the rush of Christmas and new year, that has dropped off somewhat. I'm looking forward to making new work and start some new products for my Etsy shop!

So there are my (slightly belated) 2018 goals, already I feel like these prompts have made a difference. I've been to a few galleries and I've been playing around with photography! Did you set any creative goals for 2018? It's not too late to think of some now! 

Katie x
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Starting Over | My Creative Year in Review

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What I learnt creatively from 2017

As it approaches the end of January, I've been feeling reflective about the last 12 months. 2017 was definitely a year of transitions and adjustments. In some ways, it felt like I didn't move forward enough but in others, I know a lot has changed. In the obvious sense, I got a new job which I’m so happy about, I travelled more and created life-long memories. I visited Hastings for my birthday, went to Barcelona for my friend's hen do and enjoyed a week in the sun in Menorca! These were all amazing experiences that I feel so thankful for. I’ve really tried to impose more gratitude into my life this year and focus on the positives. Overall, it had its ups and downs but a lot of good came out of 2017!

It definitely has been a year of personal development. 

2017 reignited my love of painting again. It was a funny one because putting time aside to develop my work meant that my Etsy shop and little craft business took a back seat for a while. I feel like I asked myself a lot of questions this year about where I’m at with my creativity, which has always been so influential in my life. 


Before I went to uni, painting was such a huge part of who I was. Making art was the bane of my life and also the thing that pushed me the most! Art school made me question so much, teamed with the most challenging years for my mental health, I never felt like I was achieving enough. It has only been this year, at 27 years old that I’ve really allowed myself to start painting again. I've allowed myself to make mistakes and see where this could take me. If you had told me a few years ago that I would find a passion in watercolour, I would have never believed you! Oil painter through and through me. Well, that’s why experimenting and pushing yourself is such an interesting exercise, you never really know where you're going to end up! 

I can’t wait to see where getting back into painting will lead me. I have so many ideas already for updating my Etsy shop, YouTube videos and more topics to talk about on my blog! It really is quite amazing how creativity has a grasp on your life, it can affect your mood, your personal progression and even your confidence. So bazaar. But there you go! 

Who thought anyone could get so emotional about painting, eh?! I guess you’ll either get it, or you won’t! I hope 2018 brings you the confidence to push yourself and your creative projects. Did you grow creatively last year? I’d love to hear your stories! 

Katie x


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