Tag Archives: handmade

Beautiful handmade Bangles by a creative genius.


Wearable art is the future of fashion

Today I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with my dear friend Scorpio. He is a tall, striking man , stylish and gregarious, who is so talented, it is slightly intimidating. He’s also very humble , which is a very endearing quality.

Scorpio makes textile based artwork, sewing , appliqueing  and embroidering his pieces. He’s very inspired by the punk aesthetic , having worked alongside Vivianne Westwood for a period of time, but he also has a strong tribal and folk art streak. He makes gorgeous one off pieces of wearable art , be they clothing or accessories that are fastidiously and beautifully hand crafted. Scorpio and Hannah                  Here is Scorpio with the lovely Hana, Sue Kreitzman’s PA.

Today I bought this scrumptious piece of jewelry, a one off piece that is absolutely stunning. IMAG1348 IMAG1349_1 IMAG1351_1More of a cuff than a bangle, this is a large statement piece of jewelry, hand embroidered , hand beaded and mirrored and lined with rich blue velvet, it not only looks beautiful on my wrist but feels really cosy. This piece is mine. You can’t have it. But here are some other pieces he has made:

IMAG1337 IMAG1339 IMAG1341 IMAG1343 IMAG1345Each bangle is meticulously hand made with patchwork and beading, lined with velvet and edged with beads or cord for a beautiful finish. Each of these delightful pieces of wearable art are totally unique. If you’d like to purchase your own piece of wearable art, the larger bangles are £60 and the smaller, £40.

If you are interested, please email Scorpio directly at scorpiotheartist@gmail.com to arrange purchase.

The Fish are Angry


We can’t fail to notice that the weather has gone a little crazy, just lately. Worldwide we are being subject to severe weather, from heatwaves, floods and freezes, gale force winds and earthquakes and tidal waves.

Global warming cannot be ignored. It is here.

Some might say that the fish are angry. I have a really good friend called Mervyn Syna who is a very wonderful talented artist and poet, part of a wonderful East London Poetry and Spoken Word Group, Red Army Fiction. He has been telling everyone for some time now that the fish are angry. I think we are starting to understand what he means.

We have disturbed the equilibrium of  our planet and now we are feeling the consequences.

I had these thoughts in the front of my head when I received the next lot of images from  Fabulous Fashionista and outsider artist Sue KreitzmanSue for her next customised garment: a kimono. One of them resonated deeply with the fish theme: here was a wonderful image of a mermaid with a happy fish on her head , with the words ‘Return the fish to the sea’ written around the image. kimono2 kimono3 kimono4It was as if the fish had come to me personally to deliver another message.

The other paintings were of a woman holding on to a heart with the legend ” Choose Love” .kimono1 kimono6 kimono7 Most fitting that the garment was finished on the most romantic day of the year, Valentines Day.

The last painting was of a woman with two clocks, one on her head with the legend ” Time quickly passes” around the clock face, and another clock on her abdomen. Could this be a reference to a woman’s biological clock? kimono5

Putting all these paintings into one garment had the effect of creating a very strong message. Choose love ( for the planet) Return the fish to the sea ( stop polluting their home!) and do it now, we’re running out of time ( time quickly passes) . kimono7

The images were painted on to the kimono and the black fabric was embellished with subtle but sparkly black glitter to create a stunning statement piece. kimono4

I can’t wait to see Sue wearing it .

I’m sure the fish will be very satisfied their message is getting through. They chose artists to be their messengers. Clever fish.

If you are interested in commissioning your own piece of wearable art, drop me a line on thebabyfairyfifi@hotmail.com and we shall chat.

Extra special Baby Headbands for Extra Special Baby Girls


 

I like to make individual pieces, I’ve realised. I’m not good at replicating. Some people enjoy the repetition thing but I find that the joy for me is in the creative process. The moment when something comes together that has never existed before is  a truly special moment and that is where my satisfaction lies.
So… that means that everything that I make will be unique.
Here are the latest bunch of little bits of uniqueness.

I’ve been making baby headbands since I came across some really special velvet trimmed soft elastic , it just had to be adorned with something pretty and made into headbands. So I did.

Here’s what I’ve made thus far:

pretty baby girl headbands

Here is the full collection of baby headbands. All different and all special. Just like baby girls.

Red Diva sparkly bow

The velvet ladybird one

 

Daisy chain baby headband

The daisy chain one

My personal favourite: the Blue hydrangea one

Baby headband butterfly pink

The pink and sparkly butterfly one

The double daisy one

Cotton pink rose baby headband

The English Rose one

Sparkly pink baby headband bow

The Pink Sugar Bow one

 

All these headbands are completely hand made and hand finished. Every detail is hand sewn on securely and they are all backed in felt.

These delicious little morsels will make the most perfect gift and cost just £4.50 plus £1 p+p and can be purchased via my Facebook page:

Crochet Bright and Beautiful on Facebook

Just leave a comment under the relevant photo and I’ll get back to you straight away.

 

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newborn Matinee Jacket and Hat sets


I’ve been hooked back into crochet. I’ve tried distracting myself with a bit of bead work but the good old hook has got me again.

I’ve branched out a little and started making my first garment. Here is my first little matinee jacket and matching hat set for newborn baby girls.

Newborn matinee jacket and hat set pink

A precious little set for a precious little angel.

Detail of the hat decoration

Jacket detail

This little jacket and hat set would fit newborn babies and features crocheted flowers with pink pearl detailing ( crocheted in beads for extra security) and a pretty butterfly wooden button fastening. It is made in really soft raspberry ripple double knit yarn . Both hat and jacket have a frilly picot edging. The set costs just £20 plus p+p .

 

I’ve also made little boots that would match (£12 a pair)

Cute little boots for tiny little feet. ( Fit up to 3 months)

or for larger feet I’ve made these very popular t bar shoes that would fit up to 6months of age. (£8 a pair)Both boots and shoes come packaged in their own very cute dinky white box.

These and more are available to purchase on my facebook page , if you aren’t a fan of my page yet, please click the like button!

If you’re not a Facebook person, I do have a shop on Folksy:

Crochet Bright and Beautiful on Folksy

so do pop over and have a browse.

Right, I’m off. The hook is calling me again…

I know. I’ve got it bad.

Self Esteem and the Pricing Debate


As most of you lovely regular readers of my blog know, I’m fairly new to the crochet game. Despite my clear addiction to crochet which would indicate that I’ve been crocheting forever ( I have loads of stock now) I’ve only really just started on my crochet journey at CROCHET BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

I may be new to crochet , but I’m not new to business. I’ve been running my children’s entertainment service business Diane’s Puppets  now for 20 years and I’m still in business, right in the middle of a double dip recession , despite my job being a dispensable luxury service ( I’m not strictly essential really am I? ) which should indicate that I’ve got some sort of a business brain in my skull. ( As well as being rather silly, don’t ask, it’s a skill!)

So where is this all leading, you may ask?

Well…keep the business thing in your head and let me tell you a story.

I made this bag the other day:

Black and bright granny square tote bag

Large Granny square tote bag, she’s a beauty.

I think she’s a beauty. She’s made of 33 individual squares ( no two squares alike ) in very bright colours, with gold yarn detailing , fully lined in black cotton with pockets, button fastened, nice long strong matching striped shoulder strap and finished off with a pretty large red crochet rose.

This bag came about as a bit of an afterthought. She started life off as a scarf commission. ( Well I say commission, no money was ever decided on as I didn’t want to commit to such a large piece without giving the pricing structure really good thought. ) Actually, let me explain this properly.

I meet lots of wonderful people when I occasionally work my market stall.

Crochet Bright and Beautiful market stall

I get many admirers. It is certainly a massive ego boost to have strangers stop and admire your work. This one time was no exception. I had a young lady stop and ask me about my granny square cushions and she explained that the latest trend on the high fashion catwalks across the globe was bright crochet colours in crochet granny squares edged in black. She pointed out the very bright colours in my granny square cushions and asked if I could make a scarf for her in the up to the minute fashion trend of black and bright. I said that was certainly possible. She then went on to explain that she would like a scarf approximately 2 1/2 ft (70cms) wide and REALLY long as in when she wrapped it around her neck, she wanted it down to her mid calf. In my head I was thinking , my goodness, that’s not a scarf, that’s a blanket!

Now I had my cushions on sale at the time which this lady was clearly carefully checking outThis one , for instance was clearly marked at £20. It is made of 9 squares plus a large square at the back. It takes around 2 days to complete. I have a pricing structure for granny squares that goes like this: £1 per square plus 10% for joining and finishing. That would make 2×9 squares plus £2 = £20.When I compare it with similar cushions on handmakers sites like Folksy and Etsy the price compares favourably, indicating I’m doing something right.

So I had made a mental calculation that this gargantuan scarf that this lady had excitedly requested would cost a pretty penny to create. She did keep pressing me for a quote on the spot , but knowing I needed time to work this out before committing to a price I gave her my card and asked her to call me back.She kept reassuring me that ‘Don’t worry, I’ll pay” . I thought to myself, well she’s seen the price of the cushions…

Well, it worked out that the scarf would take around 85 squares to complete… and would cost around £90. Ouch!

I don’t think the lady was that excited anymore as I didn’t hear back. I was left with some gorgeous squares that I could now transform into something else.

And so my bag was born.

Using my formula, I worked out the cost to charge on the large bag. It would retail at £65 which although wasn’t cheap, I think it represents the amount of work that went into this original bag.  It took at least two weeks solid work  to make this. This was not a massed produced  item, but a handcrafted one-off; the person who likes this bag would be liking something totally unique.

I took photos and popped it onto Pinterest. How I love Pinterest! For a visual person like myself, there is nothing more contagious than collecting images and being able to organise them into ‘taste boards.’ I’ve found it indispensable as well to gauge public taste and the marketplace. If you haven’t jumped on the Pinterest train yet, hurry!

Well this bag proved to be very popular and got lots of likes and ‘repins’ ( when someone copies your pin and puts it in their own collection of desired images) in a very short space of time.  I noticed that someone had commented on the bag after liking and repinning it saying:

They’re selling these for £65!! I could make the same for under £20 and still make a profit!

That stung initially. But then I started to think, well if she liked it, if she could do  the same for less, why didn’t /hasn’t she? I replied :

Sure? Depends if you are charging for your time… This is a large tote bag .

And I got this answer:

Rough estimate of cost, without seeing the exact size. But, pretty sure. All depends on how much you consider your time is worth, I guess 😉

This made me think about the whole hand making and pricing situation and how it is inherently connected with your feelings of self worth. Maybe a decade ago when I wasn’t in a good , solid place emotionally, I may have been tempted to lower my prices in an attempt to placate the lady  but now, I wasn’t going to do any such thing. I responded:

To be fair to me, a bag this size would cost at least £20 in Primark and I’m certainly worth more than sweat shop rates…

That seemed to kill the argument/debate/ commentary stone dead.

Now this morning I received an email from two wonderful ladies who started me on my blogging journey in the first place, who run Ace Inspire , a company that encourage small business. I’m going to replicate the entire email because it is so relevant my story.

Dear Diane,

My personal theme right now is ‘honouring your time and worth’.  It’s really forced me to think about the work I do, what I charge, my own self worth and how that affects my pricing.

One of the main human fears is rejection: in fact I heard once that it was the number one fear.  Being rejected by our fellow human beings can be one of the most hurtful things that can happen.  It comes from our ancient background, our need to be an accepted part of the ‘tribe’.

To avoid rejection many people choose to go ‘under the radar’. They never step up and do the thing that they were meant to do because they’re too frightened they might be rejected.

To grow a business, even to start a business you need to face your fears around being rejected.

You see, when you’re in business, you don’t want to supply everyone, especially if you have a service business.  Your marketing and pricing is your tool box to help you encourage people to reject you!  What’s that?  We actively want people to reject us?  Well yes, we can’t possibly serve everyone, and we don’t want to have to spend every day assessing each potential client one by one to establish who is the right fit for us.  This is the purpose of marketing, and pricing is the equivalent of the hammer in your toolbox.

Negative rejection based pricing

What is it?  It’s when you price your services very low as you fear rejection.  You don’t want to hear the word ‘no’.  You’re frightened that some people can’t afford what you’re offering and that makes you feel uncomfortable.  Your own self worth might be low and you’re using your business and pricing to bolster that – you need to hear ‘yes’ to build your confidence and self-esteem.

Positive rejection based pricing

What is it?  It’s when you realise that you can’t serve everyone in the world and that there is an ideal client for you and to reach that ideal client you have to use your toolbox.  Pricing is your hammer, and you have to use it to get rid of everyone that isn’t the right fit.  You need to actively seek rejection and realise that it’s a positive thing.

The ‘right’ price is the price where YOU are fairly remunerated and where your CLIENT feels they’re getting VALUE.   Your job is twofold;

•             Work out at what price attracts those clients that find the appropriate value in what you do.

•             What do you need to offer to achieve the VALUE at the price you’re charging.

Once you’ve done this you have the perfect pricing strategy for you AND your clients.

If you enjoyed this article, it is just a taster of the sort of thing you’ll be getting in the new ACEInspire course for Summer 2012. Watch out for the email on 8th May that will tell you all about it.

Antonia Chitty and Erica Douglas
www.aceinspire.com –
www.becomeamumpreneur.com

I read this and smiled. Thank you validating angels. I knew I was right but it was great to have that reassuring pat on the shoulder. After all, I do sell my work even though some people do think that it is expensive. Well, hand crafting does appear expensive when you put it next to mass produced sweat shop produced goods.

Please check out Antonia and Erica’s sites. They are  really clever ladies!

To end this rather long post, I have to leave you with this :

These monkey shoes were purchased by a very lovely fella I met at Brixton Makers market. He didn’t appear to be terribly well off, in fact at first glance he appeared to be a street drinker. ( maybe it was the can of beer in his hand). He fell in love with these shoes and asked me to put them aside for his grandson while he went to the cash point to get money. I duly did, despite thinking he may not be returning.

But he did, and he paid the full price of £9.  When I remarked that some people had said my stuff was pricey, he shook his head and said of course they aren’t. Just look at the work that went into these! What do people expect to pay?

Thank you Mr Monkey shoes angel. I hope your grandson gets many happy days of wearing the magic monkey shoes.

If you’re a facebook person, please like my page on Facebook . Ta!

UPDATE:

I’ve had such incredible response to this post,  thanks everyone! By far the most interesting response was a lovely lady below who linked me to this post, I just have to share it with you. It really does put everything I said into sharp relief.

Please PLEASE check it out. It was an OMG  moment for me.

http://www.purseblog.com/fill-in-the-blank/fill-in-the-blank-dolce-gabbanas-miss-sicily-crocheted-bag-is.html

Little Fairy Bags


Every lady no matter how small, needs her handbag.

And here’s some I made earlier:

Children's crocheted hand beaded bags

The start of a new range of pretty bags.

Little Fairy bags are a new range of children’s bags from Crochet Bright and Beautiful aka me. I take inspiration from the colour of the yarn I’m using and then hand bead and decorate them to finish. Each bag is unique, no two are ever the same , the one thing they all share is that they are all 6″(15cm) square and are fully lined with fresh, crisp cotton.

The Pink One

A symphony in pink

Kids pink bag crochet daisy

Detail of the daisy

I started with a pink bag, well, I just had to. Made in three shades of pink, from candyfloss to seriously Barbie, this bag has it all: Flowers , butterfly and ribbons and bows, sparkly sequins and pearls. Sigh. I’m overwhelmed by the pinkness…It’s seriously pretty.

The Festival One

This one is my personal favourite.

Crochet kids handbag

Jewel bright colours and daisy beads. Mmmm

I love the combination of colours and textures in this one.

Detail of the beading

I call this one the Festival one as I can imagine a little girl trailing behind her mummy at a Summer Festival with this bag  on her arm, daisy chains in her hair and barefoot. Indulge me. 🙂 I think I may just have to make a big lady version for myself. This beautiful bag  is lined in fresh lime green crisp cotton and is hand beaded with pretty daisy beads all the way around. Gorgeous, even if I do say so myself.

The Rainbow One

Rainbow bag for kids

I’m a sucker for rainbows. Yes I know how they’re made and all, but for me they will always be a little bit of real magic in an otherwise dull world. I’ll never forget the day I witnessed the end of the rainbow plunging into a Swedish lake just yards in front of my feet . I tried to see if there was a pot of gold but just couldn’t quite make it out. I think it was there, just out of sight.

Anyway, this bag features ‘rain’ beads that scatter down the rainbow  diagonally and has brilliant crystal beading ( albeit plastic – they’re really bright and sparkly though) on the edge of the bag. Again this bag is lined with brilliant green crisp cotton which offsets the purple edge beautifully.

The different layers of colour also have different textures for richness, and the yellow and blue stripe feature a bobble or two for fun.

The bags are available to purchase  on my facebook page ,  just leave a message under the relevant photo. Payment is via Paypal or I can email you an invoice  and pay by card online. I shall soon be uploading these to my folksy shop as well , along with other bags that are soon to be created.

These  unique darling little works of handbag art cost just £15 +p and p.

 

Update

Here’s another one hot off the hook;

The Blue Sky one

Cute girls handbag rainbow

Isn't she lovely?

Lovely rainbow handle

Back of the bag featuring ladybird detail

I’m totally in love with this dinky bag. She’s sparkly, fresh and flowery with rainbows , ladybirds and butterflies . Sigh…

Lined with fresh white cotton , and edged with pale blue sparkly sequins.

I may just have to make myself a big one. My inner child is starting to blub a little.