Flowers for Friday!

Emily+Quinton+Botanicals+|+Makelight

Image: Emily Quinton

I love flowers and thought it would be a nice thing just to share some super pretty images from a photographer I really admire, Emily Quinton! Emily is fantastic at capturing perfect photos of flowers either in full bloom or taking them apart for a more detailed photo such as the buds on the spoon shown here.

Every Friday Emily runs #FloralFriday on her Instagram where you share your flower photos and tag her and use the #FloralFriday hashtag.

What I love about seeing Emily’s photos is the beautiful sunny and colourful flowers but also more dark and moody shots which she captures so well too. Maybe I need to have flowers in my house every week to practice my photography skills with!

If you like these pictures, why not take a look at my Flowers Flowers Flowers board over on Pinterest

Emily+Quinton+Botanicals+|+Makelight

Image: Emily Quinton

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Creative Business Seminar – A Review

creative business seminar Review by Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium

Image courtesy of Stacie Swift

On Sunday I had the pleasure of joining a group of other women for a Creative Business Seminar run by the lovely Stacie Swift and Emma Block and I thought it would be nice to share my review of the afternoon.

Both Stacie and Emma are illustrators running well established businesses and so they know a thing or two about setting up a creative business and how much information there is out there to wade through. Its a very savvy idea of theirs to run seminars such as these to share their knowledge and allow people chance to ask questions in a non threatening environment which some seminars can be, especially for those of us like me who get rather intimidated.

So at for just over two hours on Sunday we were gathered in the Shop at Forty in St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, listening to very informative information covering topics such as social media, branding, pricing, selling online, selling in person, wholesaling, finances and funding and other snippets of information thrown in for good measure. After over two hours and time for questions we stopped for drinks and cake and then were sent on our merry way.

I was quite nervous attending the seminar because I am still making the mental adjustment that Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium is a business now, but I left the seminar with my head brimming with information and buzzing with ideas and one key point sticking in the front of my mind that Stacie said – to make your business a success you have to treat it like a business.

I checked with Stacie after the seminar and she kindly agreed that I could share with you my top pieces of information that I picked up. So here are my top 5:

  1. Show your personality when you write your About Page, it doesn’t need to be long but let customers see the person behind the screen and the business.
  2. Be cohesive and consistent in your branding including packaging, product photos and paperwork.
  3. It’s far better to have fewer products at a high quality than a huge quantity of products at poor quality.
  4. Customer service is key – respond to emails promptly and don’t shy away from problems if they crop up.
  5. Value your work when it comes to pricing your products, don’t under charge just to try and get a quick sale as your customers will come to expect your products at a cheaper price – you are running a business after all.

If you are either in the early stages of a creative business or are thinking of setting one up, I would highly recommend attending one of Stacie and Emma’s seminars. They were both extremely friendly, genuine and approachable and no question was too silly. With out sounding too gushy, for me it was actually inspiring to see two “normal” people running businesses doing what they love to do and making it a success, there’s hope for me yet!

Kikki K Stationery Haul

On our recent honeymoon in Australia I discovered Kikki Kkikki k stationery haul by Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporiumstationery shop heaven. Its a bit like Paperchase in the UK but much nicer in my opinion, more coherent in organisation and incredibly desirable with products.

According to their website, Kikki K “embrace the Swedish design principles of form and function to bring you seasonal collections of delicious stationery, gorgeous gifts and organisation solutions”. Kikki K not only sell amazing stationery and gift ideas but they also run in store events and workshops on topics such as organisation, mindfulness, goals and planning. Whilst we were in Brisbane I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop on planning and organisation for Christmas which was a great session helping to brain storm gift ideas for those awkward family members and also great tips and tricks for beautiful gift wrap.

Whilst at the workshop I had to indulge and treat myself to some stationery – well it would be wrong not to! I also joined the Kikki K members club which then gave me a voucher to spend even more, result!

Here is my amazing Kikki K haul.

kikki k stationery haul review by Butterfly Crafts Handmade EmporiumAlphabet Stamps / Inspirational Quotes and stand
A selection of pens, To Do List and Sticky Notes

The wooden stamps are great for making personalised gift tags and for packaging orders. The quote cards are in my craft room and are rotated each week. I love the selection of pens and I keep the sticky notes in my Filofax to make my list of top three things to do each week.

Kikki K Sentence a Day Book and Stickers, Butterfly Crafts Handmade EmporiumSentence a Day Diary / Inspirational Quote Sticker Book

I bought my husband and I the Sentence a Day diary and its not like a usual diary, you are asked a question – some quite random – each day and the diary is for three years so you can see if you answer would change year on year. Questions so far have included “Who was the last person to pay you a compliment?”, “Who would you like to thank?” – its just a fun book to make you think a little.

Kikki K Stationery review by Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium

Other items in my haul shown here include three travel bags for shoes and underwear, a pencil case or make up bag, a notebook and pen elastic, paperclips and little bull dog clips. A lot of these items I purchased as a Christmas gift set so I also have the box they came in which I have started to use to keep the family birthday cards organised in for the year.

I certainly did enjoy shopping at Kikki K, they mail order to the UK but I would be apprehensive due to customs charges but if ever I was in Australia again I would be shopping, but for now I just have to wait for a branch to open in the UK!

Have you discovered Kikki K yet? What other stationery shops do you enjoy? Do keep an eye out on my blog in a few weeks as I also purchased some Kikki K items to be included in a stationery giveaway!

Just to state the opinions here are all mine, Kikki K have not endorsed me to write this blog!

Instalife – February

March already! The year seems to be flying past already and February is the shortest month but it has been a busy one and Spring is definitely showing signs of being on the way in our garden.

Flowers in the garden

Instagram is a great place to share snippets of life at BCHQ – here is a round up of February – a month that saw snow and sunshine, new products being created for stock and our kitchen ALMOST finished!

Butterfly Crafts February Garden

 Snow in the garden / Bird Feeders in the Apple Tree / Snow covered Car

Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium New Products

Creating new soap bars / Making new birthday cards
Playing with Card Candi / Creating a new product prototype

Kitchen Organisation

Painting the wine rack / Emptying all the things for organising / Sunshine on the new crockery

#PostCircle

I love stationery, there I said it! I always have, from collecting animal shaped rubbers as a child, always #Postcircleneeding a new pencil case for school and loving writing paper. A big part of Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium is all about sending cards and notes to people and I just love it.

So back in late 2013 when I read about #PostCircle over on Miss Beatrix’s blog I knew I wanted to join in – what a great excuse for buying or making lovely notecards and writing paper. I also wanted to join as a way to bring me out of my shell a little as I find it really hard to meet new people and make new friends and so what a great way to ‘meet’ people from different places.

#Postcircle in a nutshell is like a Penpal group where you are assigned a group with another five people and you all write to each other. Simple. There is a waiting list to join groups but as new people sign up groups can be assigned, you can find out more about #Postcircle and the snail mail revolution here.

Lovely #Postcircle letters

Lovely #Postcircle letters

This year I left my original #Postcircle group as people just didn’t seem to write anymore but I requested to join another group and so far I am really liking getting to know my fellow Sanderlings – each group is given the name of an animal.

There is something very nice about finding a pretty envelope amongst the usual post of bills, white envelopes or sales leaflets, and its great to sit down quietly and read about what your new friends are getting up to around the country, and the world, one member of our group is from Poland.

#Postcircle turned two this week and it has certainly gained momentum on both Twitter and Instagram with people using the #Postcircle hashtag.  You can search and see great photos of pretty stationery and everyone getting so excited about letter writing again – something many people stop doing nowadays.

If you like stationery as much as I do, keep an eye out on the blog in the March as there will be a fun stationery giveaway!

 

2014 – A Busy Year!

Do you ever feel like you need to take a step away from life and reality? Well thats how I feel about 2014 really, it was a crazy and extremely surreal year, one my husband and I sometimes wondered if we would ever get through and one where on December 31st we were sad it came to an end but also said “so that was a bit mad”. So, this is the story all about how our life got twist turned upside down and I’d like you to take a minute and just sit right there and let me tell you how I became – no – wrong song. Let me tell you about the year.

People say it isn’t a good idea to combine major life events in too short a space of time well I think we managed four in one year and have just about lived to tell the tale! Back in September 2013, Paul liked it so he put a ring on it, and we were engaged and the crazy merry-go-round of wedding planning began. Luckily my then day job consisted of a lot of events planning so I treat the wedding much like a work event for logistics and got down to business very quickly, a guest list was formed within 24 hours and within three days I had contacted nine wedding venues. My work, or rather my boss, was incredibly dictatorial about allowing me time off of work and so basically gave me two weekends from which to pick our wedding date in our chosen time of Autumn 2014. A venue was chosen and then more planning ensued as we wanted to have a handmade wedding. I wont go in to too much detail here as I have planned a blog series on having a handmade wedding but there was a LOT to do!

The kitchen before we moved in

The kitchen before we moved in

Alongside planning our wedding we were also in the process of selling our Cambridge flat and house hunting in St Ives. Looking back at it now I can honestly say the house buying/selling process was far more stressful than planning a wedding, and a bit more expensive too. After a long hunt, in January we found our house, and began the legal proceedings. But in typical “us” style we didn’t make it easy, nope, we bought a house that was built in 1959 and pretty much hasn’t been touched since, it is all orange or peach and needed a full rewire, new heating, the works, but we love it and it has a 98ft long garden. Over on Instagram I have a #orangehouserenovation tag if you wish to see what we’re up to!

 

The Living Room before we moved in

The Living Room before we moved in

Fast forward to April and after a few problems with the Land Registry we have moving day! Moving day was incredibly stressful and exciting all combined into one. We have a separate blog about our house and we made a little video of the moment we put the key in the door, it was all very exciting but the second we were over the threshold it felt like home. We had a little problem on moving day, our gas boiler got condemned, and so we were without heating or a cooker for rather a long time. During the mortgage survey we had a 45 page report all with negative comments, but we wanted to go ahead anyway. The problem with the boiler, and the rewire (and a chimney to come down, floors to be levelled, polystyrene ceiling tiles to come down, asbestos floor ties to come up…) meant that in mid June we had to move out to let the builders back in. We moved back in after two weeks and then could think a little about decorating and actually unpacking!

During this time Paul had also been made redundant and had to set up his own company (another of those big life events) and I had been under specialist care for a problem with my back  which eventually led to me leaving my job in July under mental stress and also a wedding and house to deal with!

The decision for me to leave my job didn’t come easy, but at the time it was necessary and the best thing for me to do, I had time to work on our wedding, one that was so personal to me with all of the little handmade touches I had planned and had dreamed of since I was a young whipper snapper. However the decision was also made a little easier by Paul and I planning an almost seven week honeymoon in Australia and Dubai (photo blog coming soon) and so I would have had to leave work anyway.

Fast forward to October 18th an our wedding day. The most wonderful day of our lives, not everything went to plan and I challenge any Bride to say nothing went wrong on their day, but everything I had wanted to make I did and I think everyone liked it! And a few days later we jetted off to the warm sunshine of Australia for a few weeks. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me share some photos from our journey under my #honeymooninoz tag.

Our Wedding Day

Our Wedding Day

We returned to a very cold UK a little before Christmas to a still orange house, not a complete kitchen, very cold (no roof insulation), both jobless and Christmas to prepare for. But, it was an amazing year and one we will never forget for good or for bad!

So what has this story got to do with Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium? Having an extremely stressful year, one that took its toll physically and mentally, has led me to review my employment situation and what really matters to me to be happy. I can’t be one of those people who hates their job anymore and so with the amazing husband that I have, I will be looking for part time work but my main focus is to Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium and developing my online shop, new products in the pipeline and a few other secret plans. It has started with relaunching this new blog and I welcome you to share my journey with me! The new website is due to launch in “Birthday Week” towards the end of March and I am super excited! But for now I leave you with a super cute photo…..

Super Cute Koala

Super Cute Koala

Hello, Good Evening and Welcome

Victoria Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium

Victoria, on holiday!

Hello! Welcome to the first post of the new blog for Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium! Now pour yourself a cuppa, get a cozy seat and let me tell you about this blog.

So who and what is Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium I hear you ask? Well, I’m Victoria and Im the voice behind the screen, the face you see at craft markets and the worker bee (or should that be butterfly?) who hand makes all of the lovely products that will soon be stocked in my new online shop. I absolutely love all things craft and am a big supporter of small businesses and the handmade movement.

Like many people, I started crafting when I was a child with my Nana teaching me to knit, and always watching my Mum making things be it dresses for me, crafts for school, cake decorating or home decor. I started to cross stitch when I was young and it is something that I return to time and time again, I usually have a little zipper pouch in my bag with a small stitch kit on the go. But I think papercrafting will be my main love, I love making cards and sending a smile to friends and family in an envelope! I enjoy different papercrafting techniques such as iris folding, stamping, decoupage, tea bag folding, flowersoft and die cutting – basically I just love taking a few elements and transforming them into a card, to send with a smile!

I also love to sew and have a fantastic fabric stash (but there is always room for more yes?) and really enjoy making home-wares for our new home. A few years back now I learnt about soap making and taking a few simple ingredients and turning them into a bar of soap is something I will always enjoy, just like baking a cake – I do love baking, cakes feature heavily in our house!

With my love of craft, Butterfly Crafts was originally founded w-a-y back in March 2009 with the first online shop set up on a market place that no longer exists, then I set up a shop on Artfire and slowly began to sell my handmade cards and gifts. In 2014 I also set up a shop on Etsy but now, in 2015 its time to have a new website and online shop all of my own (along with Artfire, and Etsy) so although this year technically marks six years in business, it feels like a new beginning – hence the need for a new blog!

What can you expect from this new blog? Well, I like variety so expect lots of blogs with crafty DIYS and tutorials, paper-crafting and behind the scenes peeks into my craft studio. I was married last year to my amazing husband Paul and we had a handmade wedding so I also plan to blog about what we did and to pass on tips I learnt to other brides. Finally, as I feel like I am having fresh start with Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium and learning bucket loads about how to run a small business I thought I would share and hints and tips I pick up along the way.

So there you have it really in a nut shell (or maybe a chrysalis?) I hope you will enjoy this new journey with me and enjoy my crafty and lifestyle blog, I really welcome feedback and comments and getting to know who is on the other side of the screen!

Alongside the blog you can also come and say hello over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and for inspiration check out my Pinterest boards.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin