{Video Blog} Two Days in Paris

Eiffel Tower - Paris - Beak Up Crafts

Wayne and I spent two-and-a-bit lovely days in Paris recently and I thought it would be nice to share what we got up to in case anyone is planning a trip to the City of Lights. Paris was the first place we visited as a couple and now that we are married we decided to go back and spend some time meandering through the pretty streets in the run up to Christmas.

I thought it would be nice to make a short film of our break as while pictures can speak a thousand words, video can speak about a million.

Two days in Paris

Video by me, music So Good to Me (Radio Edit) by Chris Malinchak

Where We Stayed: Hotel Bellevue in Montmartre. Clean, cosy and while it’s pretty basic it’s in a great location and a double room costs less than £40 a night.

Where We Went: Everywhere! But the Christmas markets on the Champs Elysees and the tour of Roland Garros (where the French Open is held) were highlights, as was Place du Trocadero for great views of the Eiffel Tower (main picture).

What We Ate: Smoked sausages and creamy mushrooms at the Christmas market; a three course meal for less than 15 euros a head at Chez Marie (including the best onion soup ever!)

Have you been to Paris? Do you have any top tips of places to visit? We’re going back again in March as Wayne is running the Paris half marathon so any info will be gratefully received!

Lots of Parisian love,

signature

{DIY} Christmas Holly Leaf Place Names

Silver Holly place setting - Beak Up Crafts

I love seeing photos of beautiful tablescapes filled with foliage, candles, sequin table runners and sparkling cut glass. I think my swooning over pretty decor and styling took hold when Wayne and I were planning our wedding and it’s one of the things I still regularly enjoy looking at on Pinterest and other blogs.

But let’s be realistic. In a busy run up to Christmas not everyone can pull together a seamless and fully-styled look for their table which oozes elegance and sophistication. I take my hat off to you if you can but it’s something I’ve never been able to do.

Silver Holly place setting - Beak Up Crafts

Silver Holly place setting - Beak Up Crafts

However, this year I thought it would be nice to dress the table a bit, and while there’s not a personalised menu or full silver service, these pretty silver holly leaf place names are a nice place to start.

The festive season is definitely the time to get your sparkle on and these metallic leaves are understated and won’t clash with your existing decor. If you prefer gold, copper or bronze then just switch the colour of spray paint to match your theme.

What You Need:

Holly Place Name - What you Need - Beak Up Crafts

  • Air dry clay
  • A rolling pin
  • A craft knife
  • Alphabet stamps
  • Silver spray paint
  • Sandpaper/nail file
  • Optional: A tray (to work on as clay gets very messy!)

How to Make it:

  1. Roll out your air dry clay so it’s about half a centimetre to a centimetre thick.
  2. Cut out a holly shape using a craft knife.
    Holly Place Name - Beak Up Crafts
  3. Gently slide a knife under the leaf shape to ease the clay away from your work surface
    Holly Place Name - Beak Up Crafts Holly Place Name - Beak Up Crafts
  4. Using the stamps, add the name for the place setting. Make sure you press each stamp in firmly to make a good impression.
    Holly Place Name - Beak Up Crafts
  5. Set aside to dry for 24 hours.
    Holly Place Name - Beak Up Crafts
  6. Once dry, smooth the edges using sandpaper or a nail file.
  7. Spray with the metallic paint on both sides in a well-ventilated area, allowing to dry in between sides. You may need to do a couple of coats to get full coverage.
    Silver Holly place setting - Beak Up Crafts Silver Holly place setting - Beak Up Crafts Silver Holly place setting - Beak Up Crafts
  8. Allow to dry then decorate your table!
    Silver Holly place setting - Beak Up Crafts

And that’s it! I hope you like these pretty silver leaves. They make a lovely keepsake from Christmas and you could always cut a small hole at one end before they dry so you can string them up with twine as decorations.

How are you planning on decorating your Christmas table?

Lots of sparkly love,

signature

{Free Phone Wallpaper} Let It Snow

let it snow - hi res - Beak Up Crafts

It’s really not long until Christmas and I’ve got to say I’m feeling all festive. To end the week I have created a free downloadable wallpaper for your phone.

It’s a pretty snowstorm and I hope it brings a bit of seasonal cheer!

To download the iPhone version (which will fit most phone screens) please click here.

Lots of snowy love,

signature

Photocraft Winter Scholarship ~ I Need Your Vote!

Winter Scholarship Photocraft

Hello everyone! So I got a piece of really exciting news today as I found out that I had been shortlisted for Photocraft’s Winter Scholarship!

If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a five-week online photography and styling course for designers, makers, bloggers and bakers run by the lovely Lyndsey James.

There are six people on the shortlist (including me) and voting is taking place NOW! I really need your votes in order to win this amazing prize please! It really will help to take my blog to the next level and help to further promote lots of lovely small and independent creative businesses. I’ve got so many plans and ideas for next year and this would really give them a huge boost!

To vote please head here: www.photocraft.org/vote/

Thanks so much!

Lots of snap happy love (with fingers crossed, which could be quite difficult when you think about it, probably)

signature

{Crafty Advice} 12 Things I Learned from my First Ever Craft Fair

Craft-stall---crochet-phone-cases---Beak-Up-Crafts

Last Saturday I headed to Leeds with bags of crochet hats and Christmas decorations to take part in my first ever craft fair. I was pretty nervous to be honest with you as I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I had a lovely day and met some brilliant people.

Sadly the fair at Chapel Allerton Methodist Hall was pretty slow going as the footfall wasn’t great and every stall holder struggled to make a good number of sales. I made enough to cover the cost of my stall plus a bit extra so it was still worth it and I really enjoyed the experience.

However, if you see anything in these pictures that you would like to buy please let me know as I have lots of things that are still available! You can email me at kate@beakupcrafts.co.uk!

Craft-stall---hats---Beak-Up-Crafts Craft-stall---crochet-santa-hats---Beak-Up-Crafts Craft-stall---Crochet-critters---Beak-Up-Crafts

Here’s a picture of my stall before the doors opened. Making enough stock (or making too much!) was a big headache I had before the day but I think it looked OK, and I had enough hidden away to restock when I sold things (yay!)

Craft-stall---entire-stall---Beak-Up-Crafts

It was a hectic and tiring day and I took so much away from it so that the next time I hold a stall I will be a bit more organised.

I’ve put together a list of 12 things I learned from the experience in case you’re thinking of holding a stall which I hope you will find helpful!

  • PRACTICE SETTING UP YOUR STALL: You don’t get much time on the day so it’s good to work out how you are going to display everything and what you are going to use to give your stall a bit of height (which makes it much more appealing to look at). I did this at home on our dining room table!
  • TAKE A CASH FLOAT: Don’t be caught short with a lack of change! I took £40 in a range of coins just to be safe.
  • TAKE A DRINK AND A SNACK: You don’t know if there’s going to be any food or drink there (or how often you can leave your stall) so make sure you don’t get hungry or thirsty! I kind of forgot this (apart from a bottle of water and some oat cakes) so I was really grateful to the lovely smallholder next to me who gave me some mini hot cross buns.
  • GIVE BUSINESS CARDS OUT: If anyone shows an interest, give them a business card! They might not buy from you there and then but could come back to you after a bit of thought.
  • TAKE A NOTE BOOK: Just in case someone wants to place an order or one-off commission from you. You never know. I also wrote down what I sold and how much for so I could see afterwards the things that sold well.
  • HAVE PRODUCTS FOR ALL PRICE RANGES: I found that people seemed to love the things I was selling for under £2. Sometimes I think if people are just browsing they’re less likely to buy anything for more than £5 so have some cheaper products too.
  • WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES: While it might be tempting to sit by your stall and just smile at people, I think it worked better for me when I stood up, smiled and chatted to people. Standing makes you seem more interested and approachable, or at least that’s how I felt.
  • SMILE! A happy face is an approachable face. Apparently I sometimes suffer from ‘resting bitch face’ – i.e. I look really pissed off when I’m not – so if in doubt, smile!
  • WEAR YOUR PRODUCTS: If you make something that can be worn it’s a great idea to wear it yourself. It’s free advertising and will help people to visualise themselves in the item. I wore one of my Christmas brooches and it might have been a coincidence but these sold really well.
  • KEEP IT SIMPLE: Don’t go overboard on your stall. I was worried about not having enough stock but sometimes a clear display (instead of having everything piled on the table) makes things much easier for people who are browsing. Which brings me on to…
  • PUT PRICE TAGS ON EVERYTHING: I found that not everyone will ask for the price of something so to keep it simple put a price tag/sign on everything. No one wants to be embarrassed or made to feel awkward about how much something costs, so avoid all of this by making your pricing clear.
  • SPEAK TO EVERYONE: And enjoy it! You never know who you might meet – a new friend, a new business partner or someone who might not want to buy something now but will order from you in the future. I met lots of lovely stallholders and customers at the craft fair I did and that was all part of the fun!

Craft-Stall---cards-and-badges---Beak-Up-Crafts

I hope you found this post helpful if you’re thinking of holding your own stall at a craft fair, or any type of fair for that matter. I will definitely do another one next year and I will start to make things all year around so I’m not left with a mad rush at the end to make enough stock!

Have you ever had a stall at a craft fair? If so I would love to hear about your experiences and your top tips!

Lots of crafty love,

signature

{Five Minutes With} Rachel Basinger ~ OH NO Rachio!

oh no rachio santa plate

In today’s instalment of my {Five Minutes With} series I’m talking to the lovely designer-maker Rachel Basinger who runs OH NO Rachio! to find out how she started her business and what her plans are for the future.

Rachel hand-illustrates a range of ceramics, stationary, cards and more with a focus on simplicity and geometric shapes. She is influenced by typography and nature, especially leafy motifs, is mum to Luna the cat and owns some of the prettiest succulents I have seen. (Major green thumb envy!) If you would like to find out more or visit her shop please head here or you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you run (or are hoping to set up) a creative business, I hope this series and the inspirational women I speak to will help give you an insight into how other people started out and what pitfalls to avoid.

Rachel Basinger -  OH NO Rachio!Hello Rachel, thanks for featuring in this blog series! First things first, how did you come up with the idea for OH NO Rachio! and what steps did you take from the ideas stage to launching your business?

Hi Kate, it’s nice to be here! OH NO Rachio! started from humble beginnings as a hobby really – I didn’t launch it with a business plan in mind at all. I’ve always loved art, and I loved designing and making things. During University, as a poor student I got really into making people unique birthday and Christmas presents. I soon found I had friends of friends and family members asking me to make gifts for their loved ones too and asking if I had an online store. So, in 2010 I opened an Etsy store and listed items as I made them.  I gradually started throwing more time and energy into my shop and soon it began to grow. Fast-forward to late 2013, following some great magazine features and interviews and I found myself in the position I’d always dreamed of. I was at a point where working full-time, and running a business were no longer feasible. So in February 2014 I handed in my notice, and after many tearful nights, and moments of self-doubt I took the plunge and began to run ONR full time!

How difficult was it to establish yourself as a full-time business from the ground up? What was the most important thing you did to help you with this?

Gosh that’s a difficult question – my business gradually evolved over a period ofyears, I learnt everything along the way, mainly by doing. Working full-time for three years as I grew my business was actually a real blessing. It allowed me to slowly expand my product range, develop a clear brand, grow my social media presence and learn how to run a business. As time progressed, there came a tipping point where I could no longer manage both jobs – this gave me a really nice transition into running my business full-time. It made the decision to take the plunge just that bit easier, because I was at a point where I knew my shop could support me, and I had enough knowledge to help it grow.

oh no rachio monogrammed notebook

What has surprised you the most about running your own creative business?

I’ve been most surprised by all of the wonderful people that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and connecting with throughout my journey. Twitter has been a fantastic platform to both grow friendships with other creatives, and seek advice from people who have been in a similar boat. Many of the lovely creatives I originally met on Twitter I have met and formed really great friendships with. I don’t think I expected that form of deep connection when I started on my little journey. The online creative community is an incredibly tight knit, encouraging, knowledgeagble and supportive group that I feel lucky to be a part of!

What does an average day look like for you or is every day different?

Every day is a little different – but they generally look a little something like this; I start with a big bowl of porridge and a cup of tea at my desk as I catch up on emails and order enquiries. I then focus on illustrating and packing orders that need sending that day; then I have a spot of lunch; feed little Luna and head off to the gym. I really enjoy the gym, and find that the regular classes I attend help to give structure to my working week, and give me a little break, and the opportunity to clear my head. After the gym I post all of the orders I need to, then head back to the studio to get on with any blog posts, or extras that need doing.

OH NO Rachio! Studio

If you were to launch your business again tomorrow, what (if anything) would you do differently? Is there one piece of advice you would give to yourself back then that you wish you had known?

I would take the time to get myself great product photography and make sure I had a clear brand image sorted. Those are two things I’d recommend people do from the get go. A strong brand is everything, you want it to be clear, represent you and your business and totally consistent. Similarly if you’re intending to sell physical products – great photography is key. Clear, well lit, nicely styled images that showcase your products and paint a picture of how they’ll look in someone’s home is really key!

What are your plans for the future and do you set yourself any targets?

I’d eventually like to work towards having my own bricks and mortar shop – where I can sell my work, and that of other independent British designers – as well as host regular workshops to share my skills with others!  That’s the dream… I will get there, one step at a time!

A good friend of mine gave me a fantastic piece of advice recently, she said ‘as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other… you will get there!’ – and that’s what I intend to do!

Do you have any offers or discount codes that you would like to share with my readers please?

If your lovely readers fancy signing up to our newsletter they can bag themselves an exclusive members only lifetime discount! HOORAH!

oh no rachio moon and back


Rachel’s Quickfire Questions

Sun or Moon - MOON
High fashion or High street - HIGH FASHION
Pastel or Neon - PASTEL
Steak or Chips - STEAK!!
Matte or High Shine - MATTE
Friday night or Sunday morning - SUNDAY MORNING
Tea or Coffee - TEA
Christmas or New Year's Eve - CHRISTMAS!
Cheap or Chic - CHEAP
Cats or Dogs - DOGS! {sorry Luna!}

I hope you enjoyed this feature about how Rachel launched her business. I think her advice about branding and great photography is spot on too. One thing I always love about Rachel’s product shots and blog posts is her photography and how she styles her pictures. Oh and the succulents – how I would love to have so many beautiful plants like that!

This feature is going to take a short break over Christmas to make way for some festive DIYs but it will be back in the New Year to showcase some more fabulous creative businesses and their owners and share some top tips and inspiration. If you would like to feature then please drop me a line at kate@beakupcrafts.co.uk

Lots of business savvy love.

signature

 

 

 

All photos copyright of Rachel Basinger

 

{DIY} How to Make a Christmas Wreath

Christmas wreath - Beak Up Crafts

Last weekend was such a crafty one, as after Saturday’s trip to Derby where I learned how print with Abigail Warner, on Sunday my friend Kirstie and I went to a Christmas wreath making class.

I love it when nature is used in crafts, especially seasonal ones, and I’ve never made a wreath before so I was keen to learn how.

The class was held at the Jug and Bottle near to Selby by the lovely Gill from Oak Tree Nursery and we learned how to straw up a ring, add foliage and then attach decorations such as cinnamon bundles, bows and pine cones. If you live in Yorkshire and are interested in learning the art of wreath making I would definitely recommend you head along for a class as it was great!

I thought it would be nice to share a quick how to guide if you would like to make your own festive wreath.

What You Need:

Christmas Wreath - What you need - Beak Up Crafts

  • A ready-made wreath base (wrapped with hay)
  • Pine cones, cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices, lotus heads – whatever you want to attach to your wreath
  • Leaves and greenery
  • A ribbon
  • Thin green floristry wire
  • Wire to attach pine cones to the wreath
  • Wire cutters
  • Raffia

How to Make it:

  1. Attach your thin green wire to the base. Twist the end at the back and poke it into the hay.
  2. Make a loop for hanging by twisting the wire and wrapping it around the wreath.
  3. Take a small handful of greenery and wrap the wire around the base.
    Christmas Wreath - Beak Up Crafts Christmas-wreath---greening-the-wreath---Beak-Up-Crafts
  4. Take another handful of greenery and lay it over the stalks of the previous leaves, hiding the stems and wire, then attach using the wire. Repeat all of the way around.
  5. Once finished, attach the ribbon to the top using some wire or alternatively glue it into place using a glue gun.
    Christmas-wreath---ribbon-close-up---Beak-Up-Crafts
  6. Attach wire to the pine cones by making a hook and wrapping it around close to the base. Wrap the wire all the way around the pine cone. Stretch out the wire at the back (this is the bit you will be pushing into the wreath.
    Christmas-Wreath---Pine-cone-wiring---Beak-Up-Crafts Christmas-Wreath---Pine-cone-wiring---Beak-Up-Crafts
  7. For the lotus heads, make a hook in one end of the wire then push the other end all the way through, catching the hook in the holes at the top of the flower.
    Christmas-wreath---lotus-head---Beak-Up-Crafts
  8. Push the pine cones and lotus flower heads into the wreath. Add big pine cones either side of the ribbon and smaller ones around the inside of the wreath and around the outside edge for added interest.
    Christmas-wreath-attaching-pine-cone---Beak-Up-Crafts Christmas-wreath-pine-cones-2---Beak-Up-Crafts Christmas-wreath-attaching-pine-cone---Beak-Up-Crafts Christmas-wreath-detail---Beak-Up-Crafts
  9. Take a couple of dried orange slices and a bit of wire, put them together slightly offset then push the wire into the wreath.
  10. Wrap three cinnamon sticks in raffia and tie this around the wreath, covering slightly with a leaf.
    Christmas wreath - cinnamon stick - Beak Up Crafts Christmas-wreath-with-cinnamon---Beak-Up-Crafts
  11. For a pop of colour, add some fake red berries, wrapping them around a small loop of wire which you can then push into the wreath.

That’s it! You’ve just made a lovely festive decoration which will last for weeks.

Christmas-wreath-finished---Beak-Up-Crafts

I hope you enjoyed this Christmassy DIY. Are you planning on making your own wreath this festive season?

Lots of pine cone and big bow love,

signature

{DIY – Free Printable} Glittery Christmas Garlands

Ho ho ho garland - Beak Up Crafts

Ho ho ho! It’s less than a month to go until Father Christmas squeezes down your chimney so it’s time for another decorative DIY.

I’m a big fan of glitter and the festive season is a perfect excuse to add a bit of sparkle to your décor. I wanted to make a garland which catches the light and with this in mind I’ve created these easy to make glittery letter decorations. There are two options with a downloadable template for each in case you want to deck the halls or just spread a bit of festive cheer.

Deck the Halls garland - Beak Up Crafts Deck the Halls garland - Beak Up Crafts

What You Need:

Ho Ho Ho garland - Beak Up Crafts

How to Make it:

  1. Cut out the letters from the templates and trace round them onto the back of your glitter paper.
  2. Cut out the lettering
    Deck the Halls garland - Beak Up Crafts Deck the Halls garland - Beak Up Crafts
  3. Roll out a length of twine. It’s up to you how long you want your garland to be, but I recommend you aim to space out your letters so you leave a 5cm/2inch gap in between each one.
  4. Lay the twine over each letter an using your glue gun, glue over the twine to fix the letters in place.
    Deck the Halls garland - Beak Up Crafts Deck the Halls garland - Beak Up Crafts
  5. Tie a loop in each end of your twine for hanging purposes, or alternatively you can hand it up by sticking it to your wall or mantlepiece using some washi tape.

And that’s it!

Ho Ho Ho garland - Beak Up Crafts Deck-the-Halls-garland---Beak-Up-Crafts-9

Hang your glittery garland on your mantle or wall to inject a bit of sparkle into your festive season.

I hope you enjoyed this DIY!

Lots of glittery love,

signature

Abigail Warner’s Pop-Up Print Shop

Screen-print-tea-towel---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts

Last Saturday I travelled to Derby to meet the lovely stationery designer Abigail Warner and take part in her Pop-Up Print Shop.

Held at Mad Hares in the city’s Cathedral Quarter, Abigail showed seven other attendees and I all about letterpress, lino, screen and stencil printing. What I really loved about the class was that Abigail was so hands on and we all got to have a try at each of the four different techniques.

Mad Hares - Pop Up Print Shop - Abigail Warner - Beak Up Crafts

We started off letterpressing Chrismtas cards then moved on to screen printing onto tea towels, lino cutting shapes for stamping gift tags and stencilling tote bags. As it was the end of November there was very much a Christmas theme which I loved.

Letterpress---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts Let-it-Snow-Letterpress-cards---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts

Pop Up Print Shop---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts Pencils---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts Letterpress-in-action---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts

Abigail had a wide selection of templates to pick from for the screen printing and stencil making (which we hand cut using a craft knife) or there was the option to design your own. I picked her ampersand design for my tea towel and designed my own ‘penguins in love’ design for my tote bag.

Screen-printing---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts Paints---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts Paper-Pom-Poms---Pop-Up-Print-Shop---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts tencil-printing-tote-bag---Penguins---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts

Everyone went down the festive route for the gift tags with snowflakes, Christmas trees lots of Ho ho ho. I decided to make a reindeer lino cut and I really enjoyed learning how to do this although cutting the lino was quite hard work!

Cutting-lino-stamp---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts Lino-gift-tags---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts Reindeer-Lino-print-gift-tags---Abigail-Warner---Beak-Up-Crafts

I really enjoyed the day and had lots of lovely things to take home with me. There was plenty of tea and coffee to keep us all going and I’m so pleased with the things I managed to make having never done any printing before.

If you’re keen to give these crafts a try alongside a group of lovely ladies and Abigail herself then I would definitely recommend it.

I think I will try my hand at these types of printing again at home as it really is a fun (if a bit messy!) craft to do.

Have you ever been on a printing workshop or want to learn how to hand print tote bags or teatowels? Watch this space in the New Year as I might well be trying my hand at making some designs!

Lots of inky love,

signature

Styling the Seasons ~ December

Styling the Seasons - December - Beak Up Crafts

For me, December is all about Christmas. It’s a month of eating well, celebrating with friends and family, being cosy and all things that sparkle and glitter.

This Christmas is going to be the first one for Wayne and I as a married couple so it’s going to be a bit special. We’re not going over the top in our celebrations as we are heading to Paris today instead (the excitement!) but I do love decorating our home with festive decorations.

This month I’ve decided to style our mantlepiece as the living room is a place we spend a lot of time in the cold winter months.

Styling the Seasons - December - Beak Up Crafts Styling the Seasons - December - Beak Up Crafts

The mini wooden Nativity scene is something my Grandma gave to me before she passed away and I think it is so beautiful. I’ve also included a bit of sparkle and hung up our stockings of course!

The advent calendar is one I made for last week’s guest post on Laura Ashley and is filled with chocolate coins and I picked up the cute little Christmas tree in the pot from Tesco for a bargain £3. I couldn’t resist!

Styling the Seasons - December - Beak Up Crafts Styling the Seasons - December - Beak Up Crafts

If you would like to take part in Styling the Seasons, which is a challenge created by Katy from Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte from Lotts and lots, then style a surface and upload an image on social media using the hashtag #StylingTheSeasons.

Lots of December love,

signature