Sunday, 25 August 2013

UK Crafter of the Week #2 - LuniqueUK

You might see some similarities between this week’s featured crafter and last week’s, despite the massive difference in what they actually make. Mel Smith Designs of last week, is a designer of bright, often floral inspired stationery, phone cases and homewares, and this week’s crafter, Lucy of LuniqueUK, makes jewellery, cushion covers, and decoupaged jewellery boxes, but both of their creations are bright and uplifting. All of the crafters showcased in this feature are people whose items make me happy to browse through. I don’t think a week goes by without me finding something of theirs I would love to own, and I’m a big fan of the colourful. We live in a flat with white walls at the moment and aren't allowed to paint and I have to keep putting up pictures and decorating with pretty, bright things, or I’d go mad.

Anyway, so Lucy runs LuniqueUK on Etsy, and she is passionate about conservation.  10% of her profits are donated to Born Free, a charity which aims to keep wildlife in the wild while protecting endangered species and preventing animal suffering, and which you can find out more about here, and I really admire that she’s done this. I’ve been thinking about donating a percentage of profits from my new line to CLIC Sargent, and reading stories from other crafters who do this makes me think it would be a great idea.

Swarovski crystals cluster earrings Sterling silver - Mini Sea Shower MADE TO ORDER

Lucy has been crafting since she was little, and has always been interested in paper crafts, model making, and sewing, and has recently got into jewellery making. Like me, she’s the kind of person who can’t just sit and watch TV without having something to do with her hands! She created her own unique product; stamp lamps, glass jars covered with stamps which hold a tealight and which are bet are absolutely beautiful when the light shines through the various coloured stamps. 

Stamp Lamp - upcycled glass jar tealight candle holder OOAK - large green

One of my favourite things about browsing Lucy's shop is that her range of products is so eclectic. As well as jewellery and stamp lamps, she also has a wide range of one-off cushion covers, and various decoupaged jewellery boxes, all of which are beautifully bright and cheerful and reflect her inspirations of nature and the elements. 

Isn't this beautiful? You can find Lucy on Etsy and Facebook, and visit the Born Free website here. All images are courtesy of her Etsy shop. 

Monday, 19 August 2013

UK Crafter of the Week #1 - Mel Smith Designs

Laura at Pink Flamingo Handcrafting started this feature a few weeks ago and I saw it and decided to jump on the bandwagon! I’m always finding fellow UK crafters on Etsy and Facebook (I haven’t even started on the realm of Folksy and Twitter really yet!) that I love and getting annoyed that I currently have no money to support them while filling my house with original, beautiful items. Hopefully that will change a little in the coming months as I return to work part time and may have a teeny tiny bit of pocket money to spare on the odd occasion. I say this with baited breath and fingers crossed, but who knows, maybe my own crafting will even make me the occasional few pennies to spend on other crafters’ goods?

Anyway, in the meantime I thought it would be great to help to promote their beautiful wares by sharing a bit more about them with you lovely lot. So here goes.

My first featured business is Mel Smith Designs. Mel’s things first caught my eye on her Facebook page (I forget how I found it, but I suspect Etsy is probably the culprit), and her designs are beautiful; really colourful and cheerful and they’re definitely on my wishlist! I’ve discovered in writing this post that another added bonus of doing the feature is getting to browse around blogs, websites, and various marketplaces reading about crafts and looking at beautiful things (some of which always end up on my favourites list for future reference!) all in the name of research! I found this about book blogging and am fast realising with craft blogging, but there is so much I love about it!!

Anyway, back to Mel! She is a designer whose work heavily emphasizes florals and bright colours, and as a result her brand is very distinctive.

BOLD & BEAUTIFUL large gift set - notebook - art print - magnets - ring - bookmarks -
Picture Credit here - Set £20
After graduating with a degree in Design for Interior Textiles in 2006, Mel worked freelance and had a temporary contract in a small studio. After that contract ended, she decided to go separate ways from her agent and set up Mel Smith Designs and her Etsy shop, selling cards, magnets, buttons and paper goods, such as the bookmarks above!
Last year she completed the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design e-course and has been working on larger scale products such as cushions, lampshades and kitchen products. 

She has also just launched a Kickstarter project to get support for production of a collection of notebooks. For anybody who doesn’t know, Kickstarter is a website through which people can find funding for projects (which can be varying) through asking friends, colleagues and associates (and friends, colleagues and associates of their friends, colleagues and associates!) to donate small or large amounts of money to their kickstarter. They aim to raise a certain amount by a certain date, failing which the Kickstarter will not go ahead, and it was this which made me want to feature Mel as my inaugral UK crafter! If you’d like to support her gorgeous work, the link to the project is here and you still have a few days to give any amount, big or small.

Black Border Florals Throw Pillow
Picture Credit here -Cushion cover $20
Mel’s inspiration comes primarily from nature, especially flowers, which you can tell just from looking at her designs! She is also inspired by architecture, particularly of the 1920s and 1950s, and on her facebook page you can see some recent sketches based on her holiday photos – another source of inspiration.

The thing that I liked most when I started looking at Mel’s business to feature here is that she’s done what I hope to do; she’s turned her passion into a business, and she’s expanding and learning new things and seems very motivated and driven. It’s always inspiring to me to see people making the effort to make things happen for themselves, and I’m so happy to see things going so well for other crafters!

Since beginning her business, Mel has gone on to sell her products, including her beautiful Olympic designs on many websites including and society6 as well as Etsy, Folksy and Facebook.
Olympic Diving iPhone & iPod Case
Image Credit here - Phone Case $35

You can find her online in various places, including her gorgeous website, and her blog,, which gives a little more insight into the person behind the designer!
And again, the kickstarter link if you want to support her:

Thursday, 15 August 2013

I'm Back, and I Made a Shirt into a Bag!

It's been a long time since I've posted on this blog, but that is about to change, I promise. I will shortly be giving it the attention it so rightly deserves. Tuesday 20th is the day when we will finally get broadband, and I should be able to return to the world of normal sized screen internet which doesn't stop working when you accidentally hit the wrong thing on its' tiny keyboard...

Anyway! It’s not particularly a secret that I’m into the idea of self-sufficiency, sustainability and recycling. It’s also not a secret that I am crap with a sewing machine. I was asked not to take GCSE Textiles because I kept inexplicably breaking sewing machines and ended up having to sew my final project by hand, which took AGES. However, my baby son (with help from his father) got me a small sewing machine for my birthday and as currently my husband is the only one to have used it, I felt like I should give it a go.
We’ve been sorting out our wardrobes lately, as since having my son ten months ago there are a lot of things that are either too small for me or just the wrong shape, and my husband had loads of stuff which had shrunk in the wash (due to an overly haphazard phase of shoving everything in the tumble dryer, whether or not it was supposed to go in there!), so we’ve been amalgamating a rag pile, eventually destined to make a rug, which was just sort of sat in our room, getting in the way. Yesterday I decided to do something about it. I had an old shirt of mine in the pile which has been too small for donkeys but I didn’t want to get rid of it because I love the pattern, so I thought if I sewed up the sleeves and bottom, it would be a pretty good bag to put all the rest of the scrap clothing in.

I got out the sewing machine and the manual and tried to pull out the dredges of what I remember about sewing machines from school (just to clarify, I have used a sewing machine since, having made my own costume once or twice when partaking in amateur dramatics, but always heavily supervised by my mum, sister, or grandma, all of whom are better with machines than me) and eventually managed to get the thing threaded. After a few false starts – the thread kept getting stuck in something – I eventually managed to successfully sew up the bits I wanted sewn up, and this is the result.

Admittedly it still looks sort of like a shirt on a hanger, but it is full of our rag pile which is no longer annoyingly in the way, and I used a sewing machine and didn’t die! I’m incredibly proud of myself, and while I’m not sure I’ll ever be much of a sewer, there are a few projects I’ve been wanting to try, the first being a beanbag for my son’s room which I’ve had all the stuff for since before he was born and just not got the courage up to make yet. Maybe it will be my next project, after I finish taking a couple of cool motifs off of tops that are too small and sewing them onto boring T shirts... The possibilities are endless! 

Finally, I just wanted to say that on Monday I'll be starting to take part in the UK Crafter of the Week feature which is the brainchild of Laura of Pink Flamingo Handcrafting, and there will be some great crafters being featured so be sure to check it out!