24 February 2014

How I package my crafts...

I recently sold my very first crafty makes to real life customers for real life money! Was so exciting! And one of the most fun parts of the process was coming up with some packaging ideas.

I wanted my packaging to have a handmade feel and to look really pretty but be in expensive and easy to put together.  I wanted some sort of label so I could include my shop name and some contact details.  I chose a brown luggage label and simply sewed on some buttons and stuck on some washi tape.

For the reverse of my tags I made a sticker, this was really simple and just used a normal office envelope label and created a template on Word.  I cut and pasted my blog header image in and included some contact details.  The sticker also hides the ends of my thread from the buttons.  This is a really in-expensive way to include branded stickers.  In the future I would love to get some proper stickers made but for my first few sales this is not a priority!

 Any excuse to purchase super pretty washi tapes.  These lovelies are from Paperchase.

 I already have loads of super cute buttons in my button stash so these were 'free'!

 I was packaging baby boy and baby girl presents here so went with appropriate colour schemes.

For my products themselves I use tissue paper, which is super cheap and can be found in loads of places. I found this great value pack of pretty colours in Wilko (can I just say how much I LOVE that shop! sells everything!) then I repeated the washi tape from the tag to secure the parcel.

These parcels were being collected, to post them I would wrap my product in bubble wrap before the tissue paper then put brown paper and strong parcel tape over the tissue paper, so it is functional for posting but still looks pretty inside.
I love attention to detail and I think it is really worth it to make extra efforts with packaging. 

20 February 2014

Cutest Turtle Ever!

I have a new favourite, sorry Monkey but I think this little Turtle guy might just be the cutest amigurumi I have made yet, look at those little rosy cheeks! The pattern can be found here.

This is the first time I have painted little cheeks onto my toys, when you look at lots of pics of little amigurumi they have these painted cheeks and I think it really finishes off the face well, adds that little bit of extra cuteness.  The cheeks are simply painted on with acrylic paint.  You use the teeniest tiniest bit and a really dry brush just to get it really subtle, then leave to dry for a while.

The best thing about this pattern has to be the fact the turtle comes out of his shell! NO WAY! he comes out of his shell, how adorable is that???

 Teeny naked turtle baby! hehe!

This is what his shell looks like from the side. You make up two pieces and join together with little holes for his legs.

Well I don't think I will find a pattern to top this one in cuteness, but if you do please let me know.  This little guy is meant for my Nephew Corey but I just don't know if I can bear to part with him?

17 February 2014

Introducing... Babygro Bear

I would like you to meet someone special... meet Babygro Bear! I have been busy designing, testing his pattern and sewing him for the past few weeks and finally he is ready to be shared on my blog.

You may remember last year I made this Babygro Monkey for my Nephew.  I thought he was just going to be a one off. My brother had initially found out about the idea of making little keepsakes from the clothes your baby had grown out of.  Well some of my Brother and Sister in Law's friends spied Babygro Monkey and asked if I would make one for them, well why not I thought...

So I set about designing a template outline that could be used for a few different Babygro animals, all that would need to change are ears and faces. I really enjoyed making this little guy that I decided it might be a nice thing to advertise to other friends and family that I can make.

My Sister in Law's friend was super keen that I used a particular white babygro that both her children had worn to come home in hospital in, this is the one you can see above, it has nice little details.  I wanted the front to have a bit more colour so also attached a different sleep suit for his head.

One of the gros I was given had cute little embroidered details so I cut these out and used them on the bear. The larger star and the little phrase I put on the bear's bottom. 

I am really pleased with the finished bear, he feels so soft from the well worn babygros and he is a bit raggy doll looking from the different materials he is made from.  I really hope that my first ever Babygro Bear customer is happy with him.

If you would like to commission a Babygro Bear, please see my SHOP page for more info and email perfecthidingplace@live.com 

5 February 2014

The Safety Eye Debate...

As I have started to create a few more little crafty presents for friends something has been concerning me.  The items I have been making recently have been toys for children, or more specifically young babies and of course careful consideration must go into the materials you are using.  Toys bought from shops go through rigorous safety checks so really any crafted toys should too, especially if you are thinking of selling these items.

For my crochet pals I always use baby wool, usually Lullaby by Stylecraft which clearly states its suitability for babies.  I use toy stuffing and ensure that the package clearly states the CE and is non allergenic and fire retardant etc.  But for a few little toys I have used safety eyes.. that's them in the pic above.

Here you can see a little Itty Bitty Bunny I made for baby Madeline, he has safety eyes and an embroidered nose, I used tapestry wool for this.  I chose to use safety eyes at first as I am un confident in my embroidering ability and the face is so important, it gives the toy its personality and 'cuteness'.

The way these eyes work is that you put the post through your work and secure the washer onto the back.  If you push the washer right up to the top of the pin there is no way these are coming off, they are so secure.  I guess that's why they are called safety eyes, once joined you cannot part them so in theory cannot come off!  They eyes come in many different sizes, shapes and colours.

Here you can see baby Lyra's bear has a safety nose! (I giggled a little on discovery of safety noses!) you can get basic triangular shapes like this or even little dog noses complete with nostril detail, they look so weird not attached to anything.

At first I was quite happy using these safety eyes and noses, as I could feel how secure they were, I tried my best to pull them off and failed, if I can't pull them off there is no way a newborn baby can!  Plus these safety eyes are an easier option, they are a nice shape and look really cute.  I must admit I prefer the look of safety eyes on my toys compared with an embroidered face.

However, I still couldn't get rid of the little niggly concerns that maybe they were not entirely safe!?  If my toy was responsible for chocking a little baby I would never ever forgive myself. Are 'safety' eyes as safe as they seem?  Yes they cannot come apart, but yarn is not that strong, the whole thing could potentially rip and come out, which can then be swallowed.  Aaaargh, I have started getting super paranoid about this now!

Please note, I have told each parent that has been given one of my toys what it is made of and informed them about the safety eyes and nose.  I do believe they are as safe as I could possibly make them.

Corey's little monkey has a simple embroidered face, this is one of the first toys I made and had not discovered safety eyes yet, his face is cute but I did un pick and re-sew it quite a few times until I was happy.

This little bear has button eyes! Are these any safer than safety eyes? I always ensure my buttons are super super secure.  I go up and through the holes on the button so many times you end up not being able to fit the needle through and then I ensure that I secure the ends of the thread behind the button.  I do this by pushing the needle underneath the stitches several times and in several directions so it cannot unravel.

This little bear was made from a babygro and the button eyes were the actual buttons from babygro also.  So surely if it is safe to put buttons as fasteners onto baby clothes it is ok for them to be on toys?

You really can get really bogged down with all of this!  But I am hoping to start selling some little crochet and crafty toys so I think it is super important to consider all of this. 

I have decided going forward that all my eyes and faces will be embroidered or use buttons.  I do not think there is anything wrong with safety eyes, but for me that niggly worry is too much to risk it.  I think however that safety eyes for a child 4+ or for an adult (adults like crochet toys too right?) is absolutely fine.

What are your thoughts on this debate?  I am really interested to hear other viewpoints.  What sort of eyes do you use on your little toy creations? 

3 February 2014

Month in review... January

Oopsie, think I've forgotten to do a monthly round up post past couple of months, but lets start 2014 as we mean to go on, and oooh let's mix it up a bit with some changes to these posts...
Exciting stuff...

It has happened, OMG, I'm officially famous, FAMOUS! My little loft flat was featured in this month's local Carlisle Living magazine.  Eeek, I was literally shaking when flicking through this for the first time, wee bit nervous about being photographed etc and 'promoting' myself, but I do feel terribly brave.
I have received my first crafty commissions! Scream! This is just a teeny preview, but I will be blogging much more about this soon...
Anyone else really in the mood for clearing out and moving things round in January? New year, new start etc. So during my 2 weeks off over Xmas, I painted my room from bright red to cream.  LOVE it, feels all new and light and bright, makes me so much happier.  I also treated myself to some bargaintastic Ebay drawers, £15 and already nicely shabby chic and battered, they fit right in.

Happy stuff...
« Lots of mountain biking, we been most weekends this month and I'm getting braver with the scary downhill bits, « Driving, I LOVE it, I'm excited about lessons and I crave driving through the week, whats happened to me?? Am I growing up or something? « Attempting to feed Corey actual food, mostly got it round his mouth, up his nose and down his front, but was lovely anyway. « Feeling busy and excited at work, we have fun things coming up, I'm a little more pressured than usual but it is really motivating me. « Little signs of Spring, little shoots popping up all over the place, and starting to think about Summer plans.

Link stuff...

jaymieocallaghan.blogspot.com Super talented illustrator, she turns her drawings into the cutest accessories for her online shop.
hazelscrochet.blogspot.com Hazel is a self confessed crochet addict and her creations are super pretty and really colourful, love this blog.
hearthandmadeuk.blogspot.com I could gaze at the pictures on this blog all day, beautiful. Packed full of craft ideas, this is a must read.
modeandthecity.net French girls have the best style right? Well this is certainly true of ultra cool Parisian Daphne, LOVE her style.  She writes in both French and English which is super handy for those of us who failed our French GCSE!
Well I'm kind of happy to move on from January, I try not to let myself think of it as a 'depressing' month, but it really has been a testing one... come on February, what have you got for us, I'm ready for you...