If like me you love stationery and using a planner then you have probably heard of Erin Condren, I wrote my first blog on discovering the brand back in February (Discovering Erin Condren). I was really impressed with the quality of the stationery products and so was easily tempted to make a further purchase this month.
Erin Condren recently had a “For Crafters” bundle and it included a fab bunch of products, this bundle is no longer available but individual products are. The bundle arrived all contained within the designer vinyl clutch which is made of sturdy clear vinyl, I plan on using the clutch to store all of my planning stickers in for my Sunday evening planning sessions.
I love stickers and was excited to see that the bundle included two separate packs of the designer sticker sheets booklets. The booklets included were Gemstone (above) and Nature. The sticker sheets can be used in so many ways, they are 6.35″ x 5.25″ in size and full sheets than can be cut or punched out however you like. I think they would be great cut in strips and used as borders or dividers on planner pages. There are two sheets of each design so plenty to use. How beautiful are the succulent pages from the nature book?
Alongside some sticky dots the craft bundle included two gorgeous rolls of washi tape. The designs are the classic Erin Condren design of braided hues along with metallic asterisks. I can’t wait to use them in my planner.
As well as treating myself to the bundle, I also picked out a dashboard to use in my notebook I previously bought. The dashboard is clip in which is great so I can move it as needed, I picked the productivity dashboard to use for a to do list. I just need to pick up a fine dry wipe pen to use with it.
Finally I added the chalkboard compliment cards to my basket which I thought would be great to pin on my pin board in the craft room or by my desk space but also to pop in envelopes with my happymail and Postcircle.
I’ve been really impressed by the quality of the products I’ve purchased from Erin Condren, postage from the USA is pretty quick and everything is packaged really well. I am already making a mental wishlist for my next purchase. If you would like to try Erin Condren for yourself this link will take $10 off of your first order – discount code is emailed to you.
$10 off your first order with Erin Condren
*I purchased all products reviewed in this blog post, none were given as gifts. Link to $10 off Erin Condren is an affiliate link*
I love Instagram. Fact. I can easily get lost in the sea of beautiful visuals of crafts, flowers, interiors, holidays and koalas – yes, there are koalas. But my goodness it can be like a rabbit warren to get lost in and suddenly lose track of an hour before you know it. Whilst that might be great to break up the monotony of the commute to work, waiting to pick your children up from after school club, or lazing in bed on a weekend morning, it’s not great to waste time if you are using Instagram for your creative small business.
Instagram is the fastest growing social platform with over 300 million brands and consumers in its user base. For us small business owners and bloggers, Instagram is the perfect way to share your story and interact with your audience but, it is good to learn some tips on how to use it in a better way. I love using Instagram for Butterfly Crafts and here are my top tips for using Instagram as a small business:
- Post Regularly – With feeds changing very quickly, especially if you follow lots of people, it is important to post regularly, at least once a day ideally, so that your audience know to expect photos from you. It can be useful to keep a consistency in the time of your posts if you do only post once a day, for example you might make a post in the morning to catch your ‘morning’ audience, or at lunch time to capture lunch time browsers. Worried that you don’t always have something to post on your Instagram feed? It’s great to try and keep a back up of photos ready to share for days like this. I have a folder on my phone for just this, it contains some close ups of craft materials or snippets from blog posts so I can promote them, behind the scenes photos are great to keep as back up.
- Post Great Photos – Please don’t get all anxious and worry if your photos are good enough. I’ve been there and done that and worn out the t-shirt. But, Instagram is such a visual tool you need to have the best photos possible to share with your audience. In the first instance don’t post photos that are blurred or out of focus. Sometimes a small detail of something is better than the whole, crop images and edit them, a simple app I use on my iphone is PicTapGo but there are loads of apps out there for editing. Along with posting great photos, think about what you are actually posting in the first place. If your Instagram feed is a reflection on your business, does your audience really need to see what you made for dinner last night? I was guilty of this in the early days of me using Instagram for Butterfly Crafts but I now have a personal account where I can share my baking and holidays and mess of a garden as much as I like.
- Post a Consistent Style – Yes it’s important to use great photos but its also important to post with a consistent style. If you think of Instagram as your business portfolio, what words would you use to describe your brand? Quirky? Fun? Colourful? Minimalist? Does the picture you are about to post reflect your brand, does it help to tell your story? What’s even better is if you can post pictures using your brand colours. The best person I know at this is photographer and Queen of Makelight Emily Quinton.
- Engage with your audience – Don’t just post and run and hide under a rock until the next time you want to share a photo. Instagram is a social network after all and its great for engaging and building up a relationship with your audience. At the very least respond to comments you receive on your posts, but, also like and comment on photos of people you follow and grow the number of people you follow each week by searching out new Instagrammers. Look for people who share your style or your interests and also those who might be your ideal customer. You can search using the search tool but also click through to people who comment on photos you like. Spend five or ten minutes a day engaging as best as you can and you will see it pay off.
- Hashtags! – The use of hashtags can divide people in opinions but basically if you want to use Instagram for business you need to get comfortable with that little # symbol. When you post a photo and add a # it will post your photo into the grid of images under that particular tag, you need to post the tags fairly quickly as those first few seconds after posting a photo with a hashtag are the most important at bringing in potential new followers or audience, after that, your photo is lost in the sea of images under a certain hashtag. One top tip is to keep a note in your photo with a block of the hashtags you use so you can copy and post as soon as possible – I have separate blocks based on subject area eg planners and stationery, crafts, small business etc.
- Use the clickable link – Any links you post in your photo posts are not clickable so its really important to make use of that one clickable link in your profile. At least have it clickable to your blog or website, but the great thing about that link is its easy to edit to something new. Written a blog post and sharing images from it? Change the link to the post post url, either post it directly or create a bit.ly link to track clicks, or if you are promoting a product change it to that. Help direct your audience to exactly where you want them!
If you use Instagram and have more tips to share I’d love you to leave a comment below, but also come and say hello over on my Butterfly Crafts Instagram feed – there is much paper crafting, crafts, haberdashery and stationery with a few other bits thrown in for good measure. You can fine me on Instagram under @butterflycrafts_uk or just click through here
Today marks 18 months since I married Paul, I can’t believe how time has flown by! For our first wedding anniversary back in October I knew I wanted to make something, especially as a first wedding anniversary gift is traditionally paper and well, I’m a paper crafter! I came up with the idea for an anniversary gift that would last all year – a paper envelope each month with a little gift inside that Paul would open on the 18th of each month taking us to our second anniversary. I put all the envelopes in a box tied with twine and when Paul opened it, he loved the idea and always remembers each month that he has a new envelope to open.
I think it’s a great idea for a first wedding anniversary gift as it doesn’t need to cost you a fortune and you can get really creative with the ‘gift’ ideas – ours will be listed at the bottom of the blog and I’ll update each month as a new envelope is opened. Some months haven’t cost anything monetarily, others have but were not too expensive, Groupon has been my friend.
Want to have a go at making your own paper envelopes? Simply gather some scrapbooking paper as this is thicker than printer paper, an envelope the size you want to make, a ruler, double sided tape, a pencil and some scissors.
Firstly, carefully unstick the envelope you want to replicate and use this as your template. Draw around it on the scrapbooking paper and carefully cut out. I stuck mine down with a little washi tape.
Using the ruler as a guide, fold the side flaps in of the envelope and then the bottom. Fix the bottom piece to the sides with some double sided tape, or any glue.
Carefully fold the opening flap of the envelope ready for sealing when you are ready.
For our anniversary gift I used my Cuttlebug and a frame die from Crafters Companion to cut out twelve decorative cards and I used a nice pen to write out what each gift is. One month needed additional information so I popped that in its own envelope. I also needed to label each envelope and used a label die for that.
The great thing about this idea is it doesn’t just have to be for a wedding anniversary, how about writing your child a note to open if they have moved to college – one for a day they’re sad, another for a day they need motivation etc. Or why not simply make some super pretty envelopes for sending your happy mail because let’s face it, it’s far more exciting to receive a pretty envelope through the letter box than a plain white one.
So the gifts I have included are:
October – Cambridge Ghost Tour
November – Movie Night at Home with homemade icecream (I had to watch the first Star Wars film!)
December – Kindle Voucher
January – Voucher for local independent cake Shop, Tom’s Cakes
February – Wii Night
March – West Wing Marathon
You’ll have to check back to see what else gets added. I wonder what to do for our second wedding anniversary of cotton…..?
*This post includes an affiliate link, you can read more on my disclosure here*
If you’re new to the craft world, or have been hiding out on a desert island you many not know what washi tape is or what to do with it.
Originating in Japan, washi tape is a type of removable adhesive paper on a roll, a little like pretty masking tape, that sticks and unsticks very easily and can be repositioned. Washi tape comes in a variety of patterns and colours and you can get different width rolls from 5mm narrow rolls up to 10cm wide mega rolls! If like me you use a planner, washi tape may become your new friend!
To jump on the band wagon of crafting with washi tape, Simply Stylish magazine have bought out a new weekly Washi Tape magazine, I happened to spy it in Tesco a couple of weeks ago and thought I would pick up a copy to review – plus the free tapes were cute!
The magazine is hole punched so that it can be separated and kept in the folder which comes free with a later issue and this would be divided into sections. In tthe first edition the projects include decorating drinking glasses, making geometric jewellery, hexagonal frames, upcycling a wooden chair and creating a noticeboard.
The introductory magazine cost £1.99 and I believe future issues are £3.99 a week, each will have free gifts including rolls of washi tape and tools such as a cutting mat and set square.
As I wanted to write an honest review, I think the magazine is just jumping on the bandwagon of crafting with washi tape. At £1.99 for the first issue I thought it was ok in price for what I feel is very little content, given there were three rolls of washi tape included. But £3.99 a week? Nope, sorry, I wont be paying that! Ok washi tape may cost around £1.50-£2 per roll and so you could say it’s value for money just to build a tape collection but to me, the projects are just a bit odd.
Personally I’d much rather have a look on Pinterest for ideas on using washi tape and then source different rolls from some of the great sellers on Etsy! I’ve created a board on Pinterest for Crafting with Washi Tape if you’d like some ideas…and not buy the magazine!
**I purchased this magazine myself, I have not been asked to write this review**
If you are a user of Instagram then you may have seen various challenges that do the rounds, the idea is you have a prompt and share a photo a day for that prompt. I have seen many challenges but none have appealed to me as much as #MarchMeetTheMaker organised by Joanne Hawker.
The idea behind this challenge is to give an insight into the face behind the business, what goes on behind the scenes and to tell the story of what goes into making and running a creative business.
I’ve really enjoyed this challenge as a way to focus my thoughts on Butterfly Crafts but also a brilliant way to discover lots of new creative businesses and to hear the stories and see the faces behind them. If you’re not an Instagram user don’t worry, you can see the photos I have posted in this Facebook Album.
These are the prompts that we were given at the start of the month and if you search the #MarchMeetTheMaker hash tag over on Instagram then you will find lots of lovely creative businesses that took part.
When we went to Australia on our honeymoon back in 2014 I totally fell in love with the lifestyle and stationery brand Kikki K (I wrote about my Kikki K Australia haul in this post). You can imagine my excitement when not one, but two stores opened up in London at the end of 2015. Last week we were in London for a trip to the Ideal Home Show and I just had to make the most of the train fare (how much???) and make a visit to treat myself a little.
Im not a tea drinker but I have a thing about tea pots. When I saw the new Svenska Hem Homewares Collection released in March I totally adored the tea pot and knew it needed to be added to my collection. It’s a pot for two cups and isn’t it adorable? There are a couple of different tea cup options in the collection and I loved this one with the little saucer as it matches in with the pattern on the pot. I have to say, I’m really impressed with the quality of the homewares range and I can see me adding to my collection in the future.
A trip to Kikki K is nothing without a stationery purchase! The quality of the notebooks and journals are great and although I could always do with another in my life I managed to side step them on this trip and instead headed straight to the stickers! My eye was drawn to the Inspiration Sticker Book because look at how pretty the gold and peach cover is! In total there are 140 tags and stickers which will be great for use in my planner when I get organised, and to use the tags on gifts and presents – the gold foiling is lovely. These are just a couple of the sticker pages….
Having a good browse around the store I definitely spied a few products to add to my wishlist for the near future. I really like the look of the gratitude journal as a way to record what you are thankful for each day; the Write Your Tomorrow Quote Cards would be a great additional to my office space or a shelf in the craft room; and finally the Write Your Tomorrow Sticker Book would provide even more beautiful stickers for my planning sessions.
Have you discovered Kikki K yet, if so what have your purchased I’d love to hear about it. If you’re in London and near Covent Garden then I definitely recommend a visit to one of the stores, but you can also order online so you don’t miss out.
You may or may not have noticed that there has been a bit of a ‘blip’ in my blogging schedule – in that well, there basically haven’t been any posts in a few weeks. I have been thinking long and hard about why that is, was it because I was too busy to blog? (maybe) My computer died? (no), I didn’t know what to blog about (partly) or I just felt burnt out? (yes).
I have blogged for a long time now and I have often struggled with it, not because I didn’t know how to write or what to write about but because I felt it was something that as a small creative business, I had to do. Towards the end of last year I was starting to feel this amongst the blogging community, people were posting what they thought their readers would want to read, or what might get them a review, or a commissioned post rather than what they wanted to write themselves.
I has also been reading lots of different tips on blogging from Pinterest, trying to gain All. The. Knowledge. and it was exhausting, some tips saying you need to blog every day (um, hello house renovation, day job, husband, living), others said you need to have the best quality photos. Some said you need to get comments on your posts and constantly check your Google analytics, whereas others said people don’t comment on blog posts anymore, the interaction is on social media. It sent my brain into a swirl.
After reading a few blog posts about blogging by A Branch of Holly, I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking about why I want to blog, what I want to get from it, what I hope you as my readers might get from it (if there are in fact readers!?!), and where I hope it will lead. The answer is simple really, I want to get back to my blogging roots and not be cornered into a niche area. I want to share with you craft tutorials, tips I pick up about running a creative business, what helps keep me organised, sharing paper-crafting ideas, and life behind the scenes at Butterfly Crafts – and yes, that includes the odd cake recipe or two. I want it to feel like we might be sitting down in a little tea shop chatting over a slice of lemon drizzle, except there is a computer screen between us.
Running a blog, and a creative small business alongside a day job is hard work. I can’t ever see me blogging every day of the week, not when I have walls to paint at home, but I would like to get back to posting what is comfortable for me – twice a week, hopefully a Monday and a Thursday with maybe the odd sprinkle of additional posts where it fits in.
To ‘celebrate’ my mini return to blogging I have made a few simple visual changes, firstly over there in that sidebar you can now see a photo of me along with a little blurb about what my blog is about, I’ve also made it so the sidebar shows on each blog post making navigation much easier and also popped in where you can come and find me on social media should you want to stop by and say hello.
My next blog post will be going live on Thursday so why not think about a slice of cake you can treat yourself to whilst you sit and have a read.
Today I wanted to share with you the planner that I am using for 2016 – a personal sized Filofax. Working a day job, having a house renovation and a life to live, along side running Butterfly Crafts as a business, I need to keep organised. I have always been a to-do list maker but this year I am really starting to use a planner as my “command centre” for want of a better expression – it’s helping me side hustle and stay organised whilst doing so.
I have a separate Erin Condren journal which I am using for my business planning, noting down goals and such like, but my day to day planner is my personal sized Filofax. I have had this Filofax for a number of years but this year I am stepping up my game in using it and making it more ‘mine’ – you can see a post I wrote about making your own dividers to personalise your planner even more.
The inside cover of the Filofax is great as it has a few pockets which I use for page markers and post it notes, my KikkiK ‘Top 3″ post its, a small stencil, and my stickers. I have created a dashboard with decorative acetate and a motivational KikkiK sticker.
I have my Filofax divided up into six sections – a diary, to do list, blogging, notes, money and addresses. The address section is fairly self explanatory and money is where I keep a track of various targets and shopping.
In previous years I have used the standard Filofax inserts but this year I opted for something far more pretty! These printed inserts are from Poetic Soup Designs on Etsy, they are a perpetual calendar in that they don’t have dates printed on, but space to write your own. Each day is in a vertical format which much smaller boxes for the weekend. I have a small stencil, it was actually a gift in a Christmas cracker, and I use this to make checkboxes as my to do list on each day. I sit down each Sunday evening and plan out my week.
At the bottom of the pages is a To Do list and I have chosen to use this as a social media to do list to check that I interact with people daily. At the bottom of the right page is a water intake tracker and a menu list, I meal plan separately so have chosen to use some narrow washi tape and instead keep a list of cleaning for that week.
Notes I use to keep track of family birthdays (along with this printable birthdays calendar) but also my cleaning system. I have started to read up on the Fly Lady system of cleaning and house management. I have the different zones written down and what is involved so that each week I can bullet point into my ‘zone’ section for the week. I love the KikkiK magnetic page markers so I can jump right to the information.
I have a separate notebook which I use for blog planning and I also use a wall planner but I have started to use a month spread in my Filofax to plan out blog posts for the month – this is really useful to have in one place so that if I am having a planning session out of home or have a little bit of time on my hands to brain storm I have information all in one place. These pages are a printable I purchased from Organise With Katie on Etsy.
I have tried to use a planner before but have never really stuck to it, maybe I didn’t have enough to plan! Something that I am finding is helping me use my Filofax in a better way in 2016 is stickers! I mean, who doesn’t need a reason to buy stickers!?!? You can search online for planner layouts and planner inspiration and you can see amazing layouts for planners which REALLY use stickers. I haven’t used stickers to that extent, mine are more functional and I love it! Any excuse to have a search on Etsy or Instagram for planner supplies! My favourite so far is definitely Stickers Washi and More on Etsy which is where I picked up these lovely stickers.
Are you using a planner or a Filofax this year? I would love to hear how you use yours or if you have any recommendations for places to buy stickers!
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I wanted to share a super cute craft DIY to make a felt heart garland to decorate your home a little for Valentine’s Day. I’ve made this felt heart garland in shades of red but how cute would it be in different colours for a baby’s room or a craft room?!?
To make the heart garland you will need some felt in whatever colours you choose, a length of ribbon, needle and thread, toy stuffing, 3″ heart template, pencil and scissors. These are the heart templates I use for crafts. I opted for a variegated look with two shades of red felt from Pocket and Pin.
Garlands look better with odd numbers of hearts so have a think how many you would like to have. With the heart template, draw around the heart on the felt and cut out, you will need two hearts cut out per finished heart. To give them a fancy edge use pinking shears rather than regular scissors.
Cut the length of ribbon you would like for your garland, I used a metre length of gingham ribbon. Find the middle and then pin the first heart in the centre. One layer of the heart goes under the ribbon and the other heart lays on top. You can either pin all the hearts in one go or complete each heart in turn.
With the needle and thread (sew with double thread) sew a small running stitch close to the edge of the heart to sew up, remember to leave a hole for the stuffing!
With the stuffing, fill the heart as plump as you would like it to be and then finish sewing up the hole. If your thread is long enough when you start sewing, you can just keep the thread hanging whilst you fill the heart and then finish up sewing.
Hang up your garland and enjoy it for Valentine’s Day! If you make a garland I’d love to see it and what colours you use. I’m tempted to make one in shades of purple for my Craft Room.
Today I thought I would start a new little blog series all about Stationery Love! As part of my 2016 goals I want to strive to be more organised because balancing out a day job, a house renovation, life in general *and* running a creative business can be a tricky challenge and I hope being more organised is going to help. Plus, who doesn’t love pretty stationery right? (Keep reading for a money saving offer to buy stationery!)
You may have seen on the blog before that I use a Personal Filofax as my planner – the next Stationery Love post will show you how I have set it up – but also that I love stationery and really loved discovering KikkiK (see that haul here). I am a sucker for a notebook so when I started to hear things about American based company Erin Condren I was intrigued.
Erin Condren is rather famous for her Life Planner – basically a spiral bound diary and journal that comes in a few formats with different layouts. There is a huge community of Erin Condren fans who frequently share on Instagram their prettified planner layouts each week – the sales in Washi tape must have increased so much.
I was tempted by a new planner but my Personal Filofax works fine for me right now, but my fingers could not resist making a few purchases so I thought I would share my recent Erin Condren haul.
My first purchase was this spiral bound notebook, its just a little bigger than A5 in size and comes with a clip in ruler which acts as a page marker. There are 154 pages with most being lined but a small section towards the back is blank.
I am planning to use this notebook as my business brainstorming book as I just love the inspirational quote on the front. This notebook is from the Good to Go range, but there are lots of different ones where you can customise the cover. With a business notebook I like to divide it into sections and what I love about this notebook is that you can get clip in dividers that you can move about when you need to. I stated with the motivation theme and added this set of three to my order.
Like most people in the Planner Community I love stickers, I like how they make my Filofax look pretty but are also functional at the same time. When I saw that Erin Condren had an ‘Always a reason to celebrate the season’ sticker book I knew I had to have this too! Each page has multiple stickers so you can decorate your planner with a theme and yet be functional – basically stickers make being organised pretty!
Just like any stationery lover I do love a good pen, in particular a purple one as I find colour coordinating some notes in my Filofax or in a brainstorm helpful, this box of six funky pens was only $5!
I knew when I was shopping that I would be getting a free notebook as there was a special offer running to those who spent over a certain amount, but it was a lovely surprise to also receive a complimentary pack of decorative stickers for gift giving, and a motivational postcard which I will pop in my office space.
As a new customer I was really pleased with my Erin Condren order, postage was a little pricey from the USA but it all arrived in super fast time and in a very pretty pink box which made unpacking even more exciting! If you love stationery as much as I do and want to give Erin Condren a go then following this link you can take $10 off of your first purchase, what are you waiting for – go buy pretty stickers!!!
Take $10 Off Your First Erin Condren Purchase
Do you use a planner? I’d love to hear how you decorate it or about your favourite stationery shops, I am always to discover a new place to buy a pretty notebook.
*This post has not been sponsored by Erin Condren, I purchased all items and just wanted to share, the post does include affiliate links*