Scrapbooking My Postcard Collection


I’m a big fan of all kinds of stationery but I’ve got a special love for pretty postcards. They’re the kind of thing I get then never send as I think they’re just too lovely. But I don’t do anything special with them as usually I just stick them in a drawer.

That’s why when I was asked if I would like to review a scrapbook by The Works I realised this could be the solution I’ve been looking for to house my postcard collection.


I’ve never done real scrapbooking before as I’ve never quite known *how* to do it. In fact the only time I’ve ever done it was when I cut out loads of pictures of England’s cricket team during the 1993 Ashes and stuck them in a massive A3 scrapbook full of brightly coloured sugar paper (I was a bit sad and obsessed).

The Craft Deco Kit I was sent to try out has a brown kraft scrapbook which fastens with a ribbon, an array of patterned papers, borders, glue and embellishments. There’s also some mini pre-cut plaques which are pretty cool (and I also think these would look good framed).


I suppose the beauty of scrapbooking is that you cane just add bits and pieces as you find them, like buttons, ribbons and sparkle. I kept it simple by slotting in one postcard per page. The ones here are by Hello Harriet and Ladybird Likes (aren’t they fab?!)

Scrapbook-hello-harriet-postcard---Beak-Up-Crafts Scrapbook-Ladybird-Likes-postcard---Beak-Up-Crafts

This kit is a good (and really cheap) way to start scrapbooking, although if you’re not a fan of pink you’ll be struggling. The quality of the paper is good although the glue isn’t the best – a bit runny for my liking (I much prefer a Pritt Stick).

Front-cover-of-the-scrapbook---Beak-Up-Crafts Scrapbook-papers---Beak-Up-Crafts

Do you scrapbook? If so I would love to hear what you put in yours and any top tips to make your book stand out.

Lots of scrapbooking love,


{Free Wallpaper} March ~ Springtime Flowers

March flower wallpaper - Beak Up Crafts

For me, March is all about spring flowers and bright pops of colour, so for this month’s free phone wallpaper I’ve gone flower crazy. I hope you like it!

While these flowers might not be officially ones you see in spring, I think it’s nice to think of warmer times so I hope you will give me a bit of artistic licence!

Spring flowers wallpaper - Beak Up Crafts

To download a free wallpaper for your phone please click here.

What does March mean to you?

Lots of springtime love,


Our Romantic Trip to Rudding Park Hotel


I’m excited to share that today I’ve had a post featured on one of my favourite travel blogs, From the Poolside, which is run by the lovely Stephanie.

Her gorgeous blog is packed with travel inspiration and ideas, specialising in the luxury end of the market, for both couples and families.

Stephanie wrote this lovely guest post for me sharing how she made her wedding favours, and when I told her Wayne and I were going back to Rudding Park Hotel to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, she asked if I would like to write a guest post for her.


I love Rudding Park in Harrogate as it’s where we got married so I jumped at the chance to share how brilliant it is with her readers.

Bed---Rudding-Park-Hotel---Beak-Up-Crafts Colourful-sofa---The-Library---Rudding-Park-Hotel---Beak-Up-Crafts

If you would like to check it out then please head here.

Lots of hotel love,


{Five Minutes With} Emma Pearson ~ Linen and Fred

Linen and Fred floral embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

I’ve got another lovely interview today with designer-maker and textile artist Emma Pearson who owns and runs Linen and Fred.

Emma lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and four-year-old-daughter and creates beautiful embroidered textile art using ribbon embroidery and stumpwork techniques. She also creates custom embroidery on request and has a service called ‘My Beautiful Bouquet’ which recreates your wedding bouquet using silk ribbon embroidery and handmade fabric flowers.

I’m sure you’ll agree that Emma’s work is absolutely gorgeous and as soon as I saw it I wanted to find out more!

Emma Pearson - Linen and Fred  - Beak Up Crafts

Here’s Emma to tell you more about her processes and how she launched her lovely creative business (oh and if you read to the end there’s even an exclusive discount!)

Hi Emma, thanks for talking to me today! First things first, how did you come up with the idea for Linen and Fred and what steps did you take from the ideas stage to launching your business? Also if you could please tell me how you came up with the name for the business that would be great!

Hi Kate! Thanks for featuring me! Linen and Fred has been around for a few years in different forms (and names). Before officially launching it last January, I dabbled in doll making, but no matter what I made, I had the urge to decorate, embroider and embellish it. So I decided that embroidery in its simplest form was the best thing place to start. I am much more at home slow-stitching than using a sewing machine.

I started making brooches from home-dyed fabrics and used vintage fabrics in my work, but as I progressed I just want to move it from two dimentional to 3D embroidery. I have a real desire to create life-like textile art.  I made the move over to silk ribbon embroidery with some stump work which is much more suited to raised and three dimensional embroidery and started working on bigger designs in the wreath style which runs through most of my work now.

Linen and Fred floral embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

The name Linen and Fred was really just a play on the word ‘thread’ and something that popped into my head. It is simply the only two things I need to create and if I have these two things then I am happy!

Do you do the business full or part-time? If you work on it part-time, how do you balance it with your other responsibilities and keep organised? If full-time, how did you get to the point where it became your full-time job?

I currently work on my embroidery and design seven days a week, but it is not yet a ‘full-time’ job, despite thinking about it 24/7. After my daughter was born in 2010 I went back to work for three years but I am now in the fortunate position to be able to juggle childcare and homemaking with running my small business from home and working part time for my husband’s design company. I organize my day so that I can fit it all in, and so that I still have time to work on orders and create and develop new ideas.

Linen and Fred parrots embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

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

The progression from where I was, to where I am now creatively. I started with the intention of making some money to support my family and I now have a real appetite and desire to be the best that I can be within the embroidery field. I feel that over the last year I have learnt a lot about pricing and supply and demand, what will and won’t sell. I regularly use the internet to research other makers, using their art, pricing, techniques and marketing to somewhat inspire my work and business ethics. I always want to learn more and improve my skills.

What are the favourite products that you make and where do you find your inspiration?

My favourite ones would be any that include berries. I make mine from scratch using black and red seed beads, which are individually sewn onto a felt ball to create a 3D effect. I hope to use these as a running theme throughout my future designs.

Linen and Fred floral embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

My inspiration comes from a lot of places, but mainly from my favourite embroidery textile and embroidery artists. Di Van Niekerk’s beautiful ribbon embroidery, Monika Kinner-Whalen for her beautiful Canadian landscapes and Sally Mavor for her simply stunning 3D stumpwork. I have also recently discovered the mixed media work of Natalia Margulis.

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?

Last year was so important to me creatively as I worked through different mediums to get to where I am now. If I could launch my business again tomorrow I would simply start again with more self-confidence and self-belief. It is very easy to measure yourself up against other people and value your work less because they simply charge more than you or appear to be more busy or more in demand. Chances are you simply haven’t worked at it for long enough yet. I believe that if you work hard, hone your skills and produce the VERY best you can, people will believe in you!

Use others as inspiration but BE DIFFERENT.

Linen and Fred floral embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

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

My plans are to continue experimenting with wet felting and needle felting in the following months to create background layers. It’s a really great technique for creating realistic colours and textures. I plan to gradually more over from crafting to art and produce more framed artwork. I will be taking part in online markets this year on Facebook organised by ‘HANDMADE: AN ARTISANS COLLECTIVE’ which will hopefully allow my work to be seen by more people.

I have also launched the ‘My Beautiful Bouquet’ range which allows you to have a handmade replica of your wedding bouquet, created using silk ribbon embroidery and handmade fabric flowers.  I am in the process of designing Gift Voucher to allow them to be gifted as wedding gifts redeemable post-wedding. I am currently recreating a bouquet from 1981 which is rather special!

Linen and Fred floral and bird embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

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

Of course. I can offer 10% off ‘My Beautiful Bouquet’ orders placed throughout 2015 (Gift vouchers and personal orders).

Emma’s Quick fire questions

Sun or Moon – Sun
High fashion or High street – High street
Pastel or Neon – Pastel (especially in silk ribbons)
Steak or Chips – Steak (medium-rare!)
Glitter or Sequins – Sequins – that’s easy as I use them a lot in my embroidery
Friday night or Sunday morning – Friday night with TV and a takeaway!
Tea or Coffee – Coffee (Guilty of being a coffee snob!)
Spring or Summer – Spring as I can get out and photograph the new flowers!
Cheap or Chic – Chic!
Wool or Wood – As a crafter definitely wool!

What a great interview. I’m sure you’ll agree that Emma’s delicate floral embroidery is absolutely gorgeous. I’m just trying to work out which piece to get for my craft room!

I hope you enjoyed this feature. If you would like showcase your creative business  then please drop me a line at

Lots of floral love,






2015 Goals ~ February Update


It’s time once again to take stock of the goals I’ve set myself for the year. Last month I cracked on with quite a few of them, including starting to weave, doing regular exercise, redecorating our smallest bedroom (with Wayne – no way I could do that on my own!) More on that to come soon. I also started the wheels in motion in setting up a crafty business.

The latter has been my absolute priority this month. Well, when it comes to craft-related things anyway! I worked hard to schedule a month’s worth of blog posts for February so when Wayne and I got back from our holiday in Tenerife I could dedicate my free time to getting everything ready to launch it properly.

This meant many hours making things for the workshops I had planned, taking and editing hundreds of photos and getting the website ready. It also meant working out how to export this blog to a new domain. I’m pretty scared by that to be honest!

Anyway, here’s how I got on this month:

  1. Learn how to weave.
    Weaving pouch - Beak Up Crafts
    I did a bit more weaving and shared a tutorial to make this woven colourblock pouch. Other than that it was quiet on this front.
  2. Make something mega using Hoooked Zpagetti super chunky T-Shirt yarn.
    Nope, not done this yet. But I’ve had a great idea and plan to share this in a post soon!
  3. Learn calligraphy.
    Not a sausage. I’ve been researching some amazing courses though and really fancy doing this one by Lamplighter London. Just need to try and find some further north though really.
  4. Teach myself/learn how to use my camera in manual mode.
    My friend Natalie is a keen photographer and uses Canon cameras and kindly helped me to take my first steps in taking mine off auto. I’ve got a long way to go but am pleased to have got somewhere with this!
  5. Get one of my crochet patterns featured in a magazine.

    I didn’t get one into a magazine but my faux taxidermy crochet fox head tutorial featured on the lovely Claireabellemakes blog in a guest post which I was really happy about!
  6. Attend a big blogging event.
    Not yet!
  7. Do regular exercise (as in more than once a week as opposed to none at all!).
    Couch to 5k - do it - Beak Up Crafts
    This is still the one that has surprised me (and then disappointed me) the most. I did the first month of the Couch to 5k and really enjoyed it (you can read all about it here) but then I got told to stop running on doctor’s orders. It’s a long story and I’m pretty frustrated that I can’t carry on after making good progress. Maybe I will be able to try again in a few months – fingers crossed.
  8. Completely redecorate/chuck all of the rubbish out of our smallest bedroom (this is basically a junk room which could be so much more).
    We pretty much finished painting the room in January after having a major clear out and getting it plastered earlier in the month. This month we finished off the painting and moved the furniture in. I’m still getting the bits and pieces sorted but it’s nearly there – oh and did I say it’s my NEW CRAFT ROOM! I’m going to be doing a tour next month so keep your eyes peeled!
  9. Conquer my fear of the sewing machine.
    Yep, I still have the fear. I’ve not had time to work on this yet due to getting things ready for my new craft business BUT there’s a new shop opened in my town where they do sewing machine classes. I’m definitely going to check it out next month.
  10. Organise regular crafternoons in Yorkshire with the lovely group of ladies I met at the Yorkshire Crafty Meetup.
    I met up with the lovely ladies again and we did a crochet workshop which was awesome! Check out my Instagram for more details!
  11. Formulate a plan to turn my hobbies into a business
    Craftea Workshops - Beak Up Crafts
    As mentioned at the top of this post, this goal has been my major priority this month. I set up Craftea Workshops – where I will host crafty workshops with a twist – and announced it last month. I had a coming soon page on the website while I worked behind the scenes to write copy, make things and take photos. I’m nearly there but in the meantime if you would like to sign up for updates (and get a totally free Crochet for Beginners e-course!) then please head here. I’m so excited and can’t wait to share it all with you!
  12. Cover the Rugby World Cup (this has been an ambition of mine for years, and I’m a bit cheeky adding it to this list as I know already that I’m going to be covering some games through work!).
    This is way off, in September and October, so I’m putting a pause on it until then!

So there you go, that’s how I got on this month! How are your goals going for the year? Did you tick off anything in February or did you add more things to your list? I would love to hear how you’re getting on!

Lots of goal-achieving love,


#makeitmarch ~ A Daily Instagram Challenge

#makeitmarch - Beak Up Crafts

Hello everyone! Who’s up for a bit of fun on Instagram?

Last summer I challenged crafters and makers to share the things that inspired them on Instagram using the hashtag #craftyaugust. Hundreds of people took part and it was so good to see so much creativity and inspiration, both with things people were making and what their plans were for the future.

I was blown away by the number of people who got involved and after so much positive feedback I thought it was about time for another challenge!

Starting on March 1st, I’m going to be using Instagram to document the crafty goings on in my life again and I’d LOVE you to join me! All you need to do is follow the daily prompts and put the hashtag #makeitmarch on your pictures!

It’s a good way to give you a daily idea of what to post (if you get stuck for ideas) and if you make lovely products, art and crafts it’s great to show off your wares, share what inspires you and give everyone a sneaky peak into your creative process.

All you need to do is take a look at the picture below, post a photo on Instagram relating to the listed topic on that day and use the hashtag #makeitmarch!

I’m hoping this challenge will help connect people who love craft and add to the already amazing crafting community on social media. I found so many brilliant designer-makers thanks to #craftyaugust and I can’t wait to do the same this time. So who’s with me?!

#makeitmarch - Beak Up Crafts


March 1 ~ Hello

Share a bit about yourself, the things you like and don’t like and say hello to everyone else who is taking part!

2 ~ Favourite colour combo

What colours are rocking your world at the moment? Do you keep going back to the same colours in your projects or has your head been turned by some new hues?

3 ~ Pattern

This could be a pattern you’re designing, your favourite pattern or piece of material or something found in nature.

4 ~ Stripes

I’m a huge fan of stripes (they always make me think of the seaside and nautical adventures) and today I want to see yours!

5 ~ Something blue

Spring is coming and skies are getting bluer and brighter. Are you working on something blue, have some blue flowers growing in your garden or some blue decor? It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s blue!

6 ~ What makes you feel positive

This could be anything, from a new notepad, sunshine, a new order on Etsy or finishing the crochet blanket you’ve been working on for months. What is making you feel positive at the moment?

7 ~ Most relaxing place to make

Where do you feel most at home when you’re making things or getting crafty?

8 ~ Positive brights

Get bright and beautiful today and share a photo of something bold and colourful.

9 ~ Odds and ends

Do you struggle to throw away your cut-off bits of wool or cloth? How do you tidy away your odds and ends? Or do you have a collection of random bits and pieces in a jar or drawer? I would love to see them!

10 ~ Gathered together

This could be flowers pulled together in a loose posy, a bunch of leaves and twigs or scraps of fabric or wool for a project. Have you gathered anything together for a project?

11 ~ Spring inspiration

Use the new season to inspire your photo today, with pictures of flowers, lambs or Easter eggs just a few ideas!

12 ~ Fresh air

Getting outside can be so inspiring. Today is all about sharing what inspires you outside your home, office or studio.

13 ~ Decluttered

The dreaded or eagerly anticipated spring clean is upon us. How do you keep things tidy and make your workspace simple and decluttered? Or do you thrive on having everything everywhere? Time to share!

14 ~ On my desk

What is currently on your desk?

15 ~ I would like to learn how to…

Share the one thing you would love to learn more than anything else right now. It can be a new craft, a new language or how to cook a certain dish. Whatever it is, I would love to see!

16 ~ Calm

What makes you feel calm and relaxed? It could be your relaxing bedroom, a hot bath, a holiday somewhere tropical, a certain piece of music or picking up a crochet hook. Today is the day to bask in the calm.

17 ~ New

Have you got something new that you love and want to share or sing the praises of? Or what is on your wish list? Time to share the newness in your life.

18 ~ Organisation

How do you stay organised? I would love to see how you do this, especially if it includes any pretty stationery!

19 ~ Sunshine yellow

You can post a picture of anything you like today, as long as it’s sunshine yellow!

20 ~ Nature

I love getting outside and I find it helps me think of lots of ideas for new projects. What do you love about nature?

21 ~ Unplugged

What do you love doing to unwind away from your TV, computer, laptop or phone? Do you read, craft or do something totally off the wall?

22 ~ Black and White

Post a picture of anything you like today as long as it’s black and white. This could be a portrait or your current work in progress for example.

23 ~ Love

Time to feel the love! Who, what or where do you love? Share the love today!

24 ~ Favourite quote

This could be a quote that inspires you, something motivational or a favourite lyric or from a poem.

25 ~ Music

What’s your favourite song at the moment or what kind of music makes you happy or gets you moving?

26 ~ I’m excited about…

What is the one thing that’s making you really excited at the moment? It could be anything, from a new dress to just booking a holiday or maybe that long-running craft project which you’ve just finished.

27 ~ Best food

Is there one type of food which makes your belly smile and make you feel energised? Share your favourite meal, snack or recipe that helps to keep your creative juices flowing today.

28 ~ Metallics

Do you use gold, silver, bronze or copper tones in your crafts or do you have hints of metallics in your home decor? Today is the day to get glitzy.

29 ~ Stationery

I’m such a stationery geek and love all things paper. What’s your favourite notebook, card, planner or calendar?

30 ~ Goals

What are your creative, business or personal goals for the rest of 2015? It would be great to share them and hopefully we can all help each other achieve them as the year goes on!

How do I get involved?
It’s really easy! You could save the image above or like it on Instagram so you’ve always got it handy. Then, use the daily prompts to share your creativity with the world! Take a photo each day, upload it to Instagram and tag it with #makeitmarch. I will do a roundup halfway through the month and one at the end to see what everyone has been up to!

What if I miss a day?
Don’t sweat it – just pop the kettle on, make a cup of tea and catch up in your own time.

Can I post the challenge photo on my Instagram?
Definitely! That way you will always have it and other people might see it and get involved too, spreading the crafty love. Just don’t forget to use the hashtag!

That’s it! I hope you like the idea and get involved!

Looking forward to sharing the crafty love again,


{DIY} How to Make a Faux Taxidermy Crochet Fox Head


Waxworks, stuffed animals and taxidermy aren’t my bag at all. In fact I hate all that kind of thing as it properly freaks me out. Plus there are so many bad examples like these – the stuff of nightmares.

However, I love crochet, making toys and cute amigurumi and figured I could use this to put my spin on the whole taxidermy trend.

This is what I came up with, a smiling fox which I called Ruel (after former Norwich and Tottenham striker Ruel Fox).

Crochet-fox-head---front-view Crochet-fox-head-left-side---Beak-Up-Crafts

Anyway, Ruel is going to take pride of place in my new craft room and if you would like to make one of your own then head on over to the lovely Claireabellemakes blog as I’ve written up the pattern as a guest post.

If you’re new to crochet and would like to have a go at making Ruel the fox but don’t know one end of a pattern from the other, then head over to my new venture, as you can get a free Crochet for Beginners e-course to get you started!

Lots of foxy love,


What the first Year of Marriage has taught me

Just married! - Beak Up Crafts

It’s not often that I write a really personal blog post as I’m not sure who will be interested and generally don’t know where to start. But here goes.

One year ago today, Wayne and I said our “I dos” and I can’t believe that it’s been a year since we got married.

Wedding-day-first-look---Kate-and-Wayne---Beak-Up-Crafts Wedding-ceremony---Rudding-Park---Beak-Up-Crafts Just-married---Beak-Up-Crafts

Our first anniversary got me thinking about what being married means to me and the things I’ve learned in my first year as a married woman.

  • The word ‘wife’ is weird and takes some getting used to. My husband Wayne hates the word but I secretly love it!
  • Calling your fella your ‘husband’ for the first time makes you feel like a bit of an imposter. I mean, how old does that sound?
  • One of the best things about being married is that you have a team mate who will stick up for you (but equally tell you when you’re in the wrong) and vice-versa. It’s nice to have someone who has got your back all of the time.
  • And on that note, things definitely feel different as a married couple. More solid and secure.
  • Saying that, mostly things are the same. Same but different.
  • You get a new name too (if you want to). I love my married surname so much and some people have even said it makes me sound posh! Not so sure about that, but it’s nice to start your own little family unit.
  • Hugs are always on tap, which is brilliant.
    Wedding-ceremony-laughs---Beak-Up-Crafts Wedding-hair---Beak-Up-Crafts Just-married-excitement---Beak-Up-Crafts
  • You can play to each other’s strengths and take the pressure off. For example, Wayne is brilliant in the kitchen while I’m better at sorting finances, so we work with that.
  • It’s not all great, though. Sometimes you’ve just got to accept that shoes need a little bit of help to find the shoe rack.
  • Things are just easy and relaxed. I guess that comes from security and getting on so well with each other.

Wedding-breakfast-kiss---Beak-Up-CraftsWe’re heading back to Rudding Park Hotel where we got married for an anniversary meal tonight and I can’t wait!

Lots of first anniversary love,


Nine of the Best Marbled DIYs

Marbling has been EVERYWHERE for the past few months but for good reason – it’s easy to do and looks really effective. I’m still in love with the marbling trend and have rounded up nine of the best (and most unusual DIYs) for you to try.

1. Marbled Storage Boxes, by Homey Oh My

How-to-Cover-Boxes-in-Contact-Paper - Homey Oh My

2. Marble-dipped Vase, by The Crafted Life

marble_dipped_vase- crafted life

3. Marbled Candle Holders, by Fall For DIY

DIY-Black-Marble-Candle-Holders Fall for DIY

4. Pretty Marbled Crochet Hook, by me(!)

marbled crochet hook - Beak Up Crafts

5. Marbled Hanging Planters, by Oh Joy!

marbled hanging planter - Oh joy!

6. Gold marbled Pencil Cup, by Lovely Indeed

marbled gold pencil cup - Lovely indeed-

7. Marbled MacBook Makeover, by Fashion Lush

marbled macbook cover

8. Marble Tray, by Almost Makes Perfect


9. Marbled Ring Dish, by A Beautiful Mess

A beautiful mess marbled ring dishes

Have you made any marbled decor? Do you have any other ideas? I would love to hear your thoughts, or are you over this look already!

Lots of marbled love,


{Five Minutes With} Helen Crawford ~ CrawCrafts Beasties

Beastie Group - Beak Up Crafts

Hello and welcome to a really fun interview with designer-maker Helen Crawford, who creates these gorgeous knitted Beasties through her CrawCrafts Beasties business.

Helen is originally from Northern Ireland but has lived in Dublin for about 12 years. She makes her amazing monsters at home, fuelled by copious amounts of tea and murder mysteries.

Helen Crawford - Beak Up Crafts

I’m sure you will agree that her Beasties are amazing! Grab yourself a drink (and a biscuit) and find out more about how she set up her creative business here… and also please let me know which is your favourite Beastie in the comments! Oh and there’s a 15% off discount code if you would like to give a Beastie a new home too.

Hi Helen! Firstly, how did you come up with the idea for CrawCrafts Beasties and how long have you been in business?

Hi Kate, thanks for having me as a guest on your blog! I’ve been making Beasties for a few years now, but I’ve only started to consider what I do as a business for the last year or so. It’s really been a series of happy accidents that led me to this point!

One day I was making a pair of handwarmers and I ran out of yarn halfway through. I looked at what I had on the needles, and I figured it wouldn’t take too much tweaking to make this sad piece of knitting into a little creature. I improvised the pattern as I went along, and that’s how my first Beastie was born! After that, I made a few more, but it really took off once I started giving the Beasties their own accessories.

Rambo Beastie - Beak Up Crafts

My first accessory was a felt book, and I left this “Bookworm Beastie” in the bookshop where my boyfriend was working at the time – just as a mascot for the shop. But someone bought that one, and when I replaced it, the replacement sold too. So I kept on making them, and I started to experiment with different features and accessories.

At the time, I was living and working in Northern Ireland, but as interest in the Beasties picked up, I decided to leave my full-time job there and move back to Dublin to take advantage of the more active craft scene. I moved at the end of 2013, and launched myself into setting up an online presence, designing new Beasties and preparing for my first market, so that was when I really started thinking of it as a business.

How do you get inspiration for all of your different Beasties and how long does each one take to make?

Ideas for new Beasties come from just about everywhere! I get inspiration from the seasons, from books and films, from the music I listen to. If I see an interesting-looking person in the street, I might make a Beastie of them – like drawing a caricature! And when I tell people what I do, or show them pictures, they always say, “Oh cool! Can you do a…?” – I’ve got some good ideas that way, and many of the Beasties I make are personalised commissions which look like someone or reflect their hobbies and interests.

Punk Girl Beastie - Beak Up Crafts

I have also been known to develop a Beastie design just to make use of a particular fabric or yarn (and justify purchasing it), so materials can play a part too! In terms of time, Beasties are quite labour-intensive. A basic Beastie body takes about 4-5 hours from cast-on to completion, but making the accessories is what I find I spend most of my time on.

I’m a real perfectionist about the accessories – they have to look convincing, so I research the piece I need, then design and cut my own templates to recreate it in miniature. Working on this scale means that a sewing machine isn’t a lot of help, so everything is sewn by hand, and that does take time. But I love the challenge of working this way, and these Beasties are the ones that attract people to my market stalls or keep them reading my blog, so it’s time well spent!

What does an average day look like for you? Do you do this full-time or if not, how do you fit it around your other responsibilities?

I split my time between CrawCrafts Beasties and a part-time job in retail, so I don’t really have a regular daily schedule! I prefer it that way, though… a fixed routine is great at the beginning, but after a couple of weeks I find the repetition unbearable and I have to shake things up! Also, I think that if I was to do crafting full-time, I’d become a bit of a hermit – having a job gets me out of the house, makes me take some exercise (I walk to work, it’s about a mile and a half each way) and gives me a chance to interact with people.

Explorer Beastie in Dublin - Beak Up Crafts

Generally I work 3-4 days a week, and my employers have been great about sticking to this arrangement and not pressuring me into taking on more hours. I always give my rostered shifts first priority, then figure out what needs to be done Beastie-wise each week and fit those tasks in next. I save anything that needs peace and quiet – blog posts, figuring out new accessories, catching up with accounts – for days when I’m off and have the house to myself.

I try to have at least one of these days every week, and I have to be disciplined to make sure I don’t get distracted – no meeting up with friends for coffee or taking on a couple of extra hours at work! I’ll save easier tasks like knitting, stitching simple accessories and sketching commissions for days when my boyfriend (who also works shifts) is at home, or for evenings after a day at my job. I try to check in on my emails, Facebook and the blogs I follow at least once a day as well. I don’t really take days off, but then a lot of what I do to make Beasties doesn’t feel like work!

What has surprised you the most about running your own creative business and is there anything you would do differently if you were to start again?

I was surprised by the interest people have shown in what I do! For the most part, it’s been beneficial, spurring me on to try new things and develop my crafting skills further, but there have been times where it seemed like everyone I spoke to had a suggestion for what I should do next, and they were all saying something different! I wanted to give everything a go, but of course I couldn’t, so I lurched from one half-finished project to another, which was incredibly frustrating. I felt like I was working constantly, but had nothing to show for it… and the worst part was that I never seemed to have time left over to actually make any Beasties!

So I’d be tempted to say that, if I were to start over, I would try to take a few people’s ideas and follow them through completely. But then again, my experiences over the past year have really helped me clarify what’s important to me and the way I want to run my business. If it had all been plain sailing, I wouldn’t have learned half as much!

Diver Beastie - Beak Up Crafts

What has been your proudest moment to date with your business?

Without a doubt, my first market! I had never done anything like that before, and I set out thinking that it would be great if I managed to sell a couple of Beasties and maybe meet some interesting people. I was completely unprepared for the response I got! Especially from kids – it was really rewarding to see them pick up Beasties and start walking them across the table or making them talk to each other in silly voices! By halfway through the second day of the market, all the Beasties I had made had been sent off to new homes – it was a real boost to my confidence. I’m also pretty proud of the Diver Beastie I made last year… probably the trickiest commission I’ve had so far, but I was really happy how he turned out!

Have you set yourself any targets for the future and what’s in the pipeline?

Yes! I’ve learned a lot in the past year about where my work sells best, so for starters I’ll definitely be bringing the Beasties to more markets this year. They’re a fun day out, so this is one resolution I’ll be happy to keep! I’m also going to be devoting more time and energy to my Etsy shop… it spent most of last year empty because I simply didn’t have enough Beasties to stock it, so I’m looking forward to getting it up and running again.

I’m also hoping to work with some other artists and craftspeople on new lines of Beastie-related products, just to keep things interesting!

Robert Smith Beastie - Beak Up Crafts

Finally, do you have any discounts for Beak Up Crafts readers please?

Yes! You can get 15% off in my Etsy shop for a week from today using the code BEAKUPBEASTIES15.

Helen’s Quickfire questions:

Facebook or Twitter – Facebook
Tea or Coffee – TEA!
Wool or Leather – Wool. But leather is a close second!
Countryside or Beach – Countryside
Summer or Winter – Winter
Action or Drama – Action
Friday night dinner or Saturday morning breakfast – Friday night dinner
Gold or Silver – Silver
Notebook or iPad – Notebook
Sunset or Sunrise – Sunset. I’m not a morning person at all!

How cool are Helen’s Beasties? Very! I think my favourite is Rambo Beastie, closely followed by Robert Smith Beastie. Which one’s your favourite?

Lots of Beastie love,