Summer Round Up

My children are back at school and it feels like the summer is over with this grey damp weather we are having here in the UK. Apparently there’s a heatwave around the corner, but I’m not so sure! I’ve had quite a long break from work related things, so it’s nice to be back at my desk and getting stuck in again.

I’ve updated my news and events blog page with new craft fairs I’m attending or taking part in. You can find all the details here and I’m hoping to add a few more events to this list soon!

Felt santa christmas tree decoration

My full Christmas collection will be launching at the end of September- I’ve got a couple more designs I’m working on and then I will be ready to reveal all.

Teresa, a white woman, holding up a large yellow felt jellyfish with long ribbon and ric rac tentacles

Just before I closed for my summer holidays I had a very fun commission: a large Jellyfish lavender bag! One of my lovely repeat customers ordered it from me to hang on her bathroom door. It was a lot of fun to make, and has inspired me to revisit the idea of larger lavender bags.

As you may know my online shop is through Folksy, (and I love selling there!) and recently Folksy have set up a new initiative: Folksy Local. This will be run by small teams of sellers from different areas of the country, and I have been asked to help make up the team for the East Midlands! You can read more about it here on the Folksy Blog. We have set up an Instagram account here for you to follow, and also a Facebook page too, we would love you to follow us and see the amazingly talented craftspeople based in the East Midlands. We will also be running an online craft fair in November which looks like its going to be an amazing event.

That’s it for this post, thank you for reading!

Teresa x

Christmas In July Gift Guide

I realise that it is very hard to think about Christmas on the hottest week of the year here in the UK, but the Christmas In July Market is in full swing on Tresstle and I’d like to share some of the gorgeous products available for pre order.

Four images: a crocheted wire star sculpture, wooden tree decorations, a ceramic snowman with twiggy arms and knitted wreaths with wooden details.

These Christmas decorations are all gorgeous and completely handmade: Star Letterbox Decoration from Sakarma Handmade, hand turned wooden trees from Treow, snowman decoration by Laurel Tree Pottery, and hand knitted, super cosy decorations from Clair T Designs.

Hand sewn felt Santa Decoration, Santa holds a gold glittery parcel.
I couldn’t resist adding my own Heirloom Santa Christmas Tree Decoration to this gift guide!
Snowflake decorations made from porcelain and gold lustre
Beautiful porcelain ceramic decorations from Clara Castner
Hand embroidered trees in wooden thread bobbins and embroidered clocks
These embroidered tree decorations from Smallbeans Stitching are delightful. The clocks are hand stitched too!
4 images: silver jewellery with collared enamel, a sterling silver hare brooch, polymer clay earrings with green leaf pattern and a snow globe made from fabric and sparkles.

Viksilver creates stunning silver jewellery, as does Jewellery by Silvana whose work is made with sterling silver, Delicious Bits Jewellery is made from very pretty screen printed polymer clay and Sparkle Yonder’s machine embroidered decorations are marvellous.

4 images: Tonal blue handwoven cushion, zipped purse with floral design, red handmade quilt, house illustration in watercolour

All of these would make gorgeous gifts!

Up North Textile Design produces beautiful hand woven cushions, She Could Sew She Did makes gorgeous hand sewn gifts, Flower Child makes natural fibre patchwork quilts, clothing and accessories from beautiful fabrics that will be treasured for years to come, and Sophia’s Illustration creates illustrated bespoke house portraits.

There’s so many beautiful products here, I hope you see something you like!

Teresa x

Christmas in July

No…. I haven’t gone crazy! Its a month long online market I’m taking part in, where customers can order products made to order and makers can avoid the manic rush later in the year!

The online market is being hosted by Flower Child Heirloom Clothes and Accessories on the Tresstle event platform. There are some gorgeous products available, and makers will be adding more throughout the month. I’ll be publishing a gift guide later in the month and I will be featuring some of my favourites.

Already available are my Christmas Twinkle Teddy Tree Decorations, which can be personalised with an embroidered initial, and I’ve added options where you can choose the colour of the bear and their scarf. These teddies are one of my favourite products to make, and I really like the option of adding an initial. You can find them in my Folksy shop here.

Pale brown hand made donkey tree decoration with green blanket next to embroidery threads

Today is the launch day for my Donkey tree decorations. These little donkeys are completely hand stitched, and are made using wool felt and vintage threads. This year you can choose your own blanket design from a selection of 3, and your donkey will be made to order. Please visit my Folksy shop page to find out how to order your own donkey.

Grey marl Donkey with a white blanket and hand embroidered flower held on Teresa’s hand.
Brown marl donkey with red hand embroidered blanket hanging in a plastic Christmas tree.

And last but not least, here’s a little look at the other Christmas decorations I will be launching in July! Follow me on Facebook or Instagram to find out when they are available.

Four christmas decorations, including teddy bears, a Santa and a dinosaur all hand stitched from wool felt held in an outstretched hand

Teresa x

Free Patterns! Love Crafts Creator Tutorials

Late last year I was asked to become a Love Crafts Creator, and create some tutorials and blog posts for them. You can see all of them here. Today I have two new tutorials to share with you!

Two fabric bookmarks rest on an open book. One is embroidered with Do Not Disturb, I’m Reading, and the other Just One More Page

My first new tutorial is a step by step guide to making a hand embroidered fabric bookmark. Its a really quick project and can be made with left over pieces of fabric from other projects! I think it would make a lovely addition when giving a new book as a gift.

Two fabric bookmarks rest on a closed book. One is embroidered with Do Not Disturb, I’m Reading, and the other Just One More Page

The next new pattern for the Love Crafts blog is a drawstring bag tutorial, with no tricky eyelets or fastenings! The step by step guide takes you through all the stages of finishing the seams and adding the cord.

Blue Drawstring bag with floral pattern on a wicker chair

Its another great project for beginners, and is a handy size for taking out on a day trip.

White woman standing next to a bike wearing the drawstring bag. She is gazing into the trees.

If you make any of the projects from my tutorials I’d love to see it! Tag me @shirleyrainbow_tb and Love Crafts @lovecrafts on Instagram!

Teresa x

Trying my hand at ceramics with Hands On Pottery

I’m really pleased to share a project with you today that has been rather a long time in the making! Last year a friend and I signed up to do a hand throwing pottery course at a local ceramics studio, Hands On Pottery. Having avidly watched the Great British Pottery Throwdown for the last few years I was really intrigued as to whether my A’level Ceramics skills would re-emerge on entering a ceramics class!

A pottery studio with wheels ready to use, and shelves of pots made by more experienced potters!
The pottery studio awaits!
(Hands On Pottery have now moved to a different studio, this is the old room)

Well, hand throwing is quite a lot harder than I remembered it being! My ambitions of making a large fruit bowl were quickly dismissed, as I discovered my wonky fingers were not helping me make a straight pot, or in fact anything at all. Our teacher Elaine was fantastic and managed to get me to make three small wonky pots, of which I’m very proud.

Two hand thrown pots just made, wet and resting on a plank over the pottery wheel. The rest of the room shows more pottery wheels.
Fresh off the wheel before tidying them up
6 ‘leather hard’ pots ready to be finished and fired
Leather hard pots, mine are the wider ones, my friend Clare made the taller slimmer pots.

Then the November lockdown started, followed by a very busy December for me, and then the January lockdown, so it meant that it was only in April of this year we managed to get back into the studio to add glazes to our fired pots. I had spent quite a bit of time looking at ideas on Pinterest of how I might be able to glaze them…and finally this week I went to collect our pots… and here are mine, in all their wonky glory. I’m so pleased!

White pot with glazed yellow, orange and green shapes, with a spiky green plant inside
Possibly my favourite…
Three pots decorated with orange, yellow and green stacked together with similar coloured embroidery in the background
Hand holding a pot decorated inside with orange and green glaze
Also possible my favourite

I have taken a ridiculous amount of photos of them already, and you can probably expect them to pop up in my product photos quite often now!

Three ceramic pots in shades of white yellow and green, against a yellow green wall with plants in two pots.
Matching with my embroidery work!
Birds eye view showing the inside of the pots on a white background
View from above: I continued some of the decoration inside the pots.

Making the pots wasn’t quite as relaxing as I thought it would be, although by the final class I felt much more confident, and my hands were starting to remember what to do. I thoroughly enjoyed it all though, and there is a great sense of achievement in holding a pot you have made from a lump of clay!

Three pots with plants in on a black mantelpiece against a yellow green wall
I think they will be happy living in my living room.

Teresa x

Shop Small this weekend with Indie Roller Bundles

Hello!

This weekend I’m taking part in a new online market, its hosted by Indie Roller and has a theme: Bundle!

All the small businesses taking part have created collections of products that you can buy as one off special offers on Saturday 17th April. I’d like to share some of the bundle offers available on Saturday that have caught my eye.

Resin and recycled plastic earrings  held on a  hand
Resin Be Thankful Keyrings created with waste plastic
Rainbow coaster, hanging decorations and a brooch on brightly coloured tissue
Utterly Pottery Rainbow coaster bundle with two hanging decorations and a brooch
Brightly coloured hand made leather earrings
Tula and the Whale Recycled Leather Earrings
selection of rainbow themed products
Brian the Rainbow Keyring and purse bundle from Jennie Sergeant Designs
Polymer clay necklace and earrings  in bright colours
Polymer Clay Earrings from Hello Terry

And I’m sure you would like to see the bundle I have put together…

Hand made felt flowers with smiling faces on  a green background
Happy Flower Bundle

My offer is for Saturday only, and is a Felt Happy Flower Decoration with a matching Felt Flower Lavender Bag. Each one is hand stitched, made of beautiful 100% wool felt, and has happiness stitched right in!

Here’s all the colour ways I will have available:

Blue, purple, peach and pink!

The Happy Flower bundle will be £25, with free postage, which is a saving of over £6.

There will also be an update of Jellyfish and Yarn Ball Lavender Bags on Saturday too.

Row of hand made felt jellyfish with ribbon tentacles
So many tentacles!

If you click on the photos it will take you directly to the products available, thanks so much for reading and happy shopping!

Rainbow Needlefelting

Have you seen the latest Makes magazine by Take a Break? It’s another packed issue full of craft projects and ideas, one of which is a Rainbow Needle Felted Mobile by yours truly!

Needle Felted Mobile in Rainbow colours

This was a really fun project to make, and is a great beginner needle felted project. If you want to get hold of a magazine, you can find them here.

Needle felted hearts arranged in a rainbow array

I had a lot of fun playing around with the hearts before making the mobile. Needle felting is therapeutic in so many ways!

Shop Small Love Indie Insert for market 26-27 March 2021

I’m taking part in this online craft fair, starting tomorrow! I have an exclusive discount available for the market, head to Shop Small, Love Indie to find out more at 10am, see all the small businesses taking part and find out what my discount is! I’m planning on a small shop update of lavender bags too, which are selling out fast!

Hand holding 3 felt lavender bags shaped like  plants

Over on Instagram I’ve been taking part in March Meet the Maker, hosted by Joanne Hawker and Tresstle. It’s really fun every year to share aspects of your business that people are interested in and that you don’t normally share! If you’d like to find out more, click here.

Purple felt house shaped lavender bag with embroidered badge in background.

In shop news, there are a couple of new products in my Folksy shop, with an option to add an embroidered badge to your purchase, creating a lovely gift to send to a friend. I’ve enjoyed selecting badges that complement the product, either a lavender bag or purse.

And that’s it for this blog post, I hop you are okay,

Teresa x

Folksy Friday: Craft Kits

Its been an age since I last wrote a Folksy Friday blog post, and as I was feeling a bit glum this week, and at rather a loss with what to do with myself, I thought it would be a nice thing to do. I

When I’m feeling a bit lost creatively I usually turn to a craft kit, either one from a magazine or one I’ve bought, to inspire me again. So today I thought I’d share some of the gorgeous craft kits available on Folksy, mostly textile inspired ones, but there are plenty of others available, click here to see the full range available.

I’ve included two embroidery projects, one available as a kit and one that is a PDF which is sent via email. The Blue Tit Cross Stitch is from Alex Agg. The Star Embroidery is available from Flynn & Mabel and looks like a really fun way to learn lots of new embroidery stitches.

Needle felting is a very therapeutic craft, the beautiful kit from Frankie and Sydney has everything you need to create a lovely piece of textile art.

I couldn’t resist including the super cute Beginners Cross Stitch Bear from Sarah Watkins Design, and the delightful Elsie Mouse from Cotton Fairy. I love both of their yellow jumpers!

Jewellery making is an absorbing craft, the Bracelet Kit from The Wire Lady looks fun and the colours are lovely.

Oyster Catchers are one of my favourite birds to see when I’m out and about, (they also make a cute peep peep noise!) and this kit from Puffin Cove has all you need to make an Oyster Catcher Lavender Bag.

Finally, last but not least, I’ve included a pack of fabric, trims and embellishments from Mandy Barnes Textile Art that is certainly going to get your creative juices flowing again.

Happy creating!

Teresa x

Random Acts of Kindness Day

On Wednesday this week it’s Random Acts of Kindness day, and to celebrate Pedddle are hosting an online Market, the Random Acts of Kindness Market.

Smiling felt flowers with embroidered faces stand in a v shaped formation top with  details of the market  , reading  Random acts of kindness market 17/2/21 10am to 10pm

It’s all about buying a gift for someone else, to spread love and appreciation. I think it’s a lovely idea! Each small business taking part has created a special gift, which when purchased will be gift wrapped, and a hand written note included for the recipient. I love the idea of lots of people receiving surprise gifts through the post, that also support small businesses.

Read more about Random Acts of Kindness day on the Pedddle Blog

I have made a new collection of my Mini Happy Flowers, brightly coloured felt flowers that are hand made from wool felt, hand stitched and stand in small wooden bobbins. Each one is slightly different, with different colours and stitches. They will be available in my Folksy store from 10am on Wednesday morning. I think they make a lovely gift, or as a treat for yourself! Being kind to yourself is very important too!

Hand holding a mini happy flower at an angle so you can see the bottom of the wooded bobbin with a shiny metallic blue sticker.

There are some other fantastic makers taking part, here’s a selection of some that caught my eye on the market page…

Top Left, Wriggly Tin Soap Co Foot Spa Set; Top Right, Lilliput Wight Colourful Coiled Trinket Dish ; Bottom Left, Utterly Pottery Personalised Ceramic Coaster; Handmade by Tinni Rope Statement Necklace

The market will take place on Pedddle’s new sister site, dedicated to online markets, Tresstle. Here are all the links you need to shop:

Pedddle: link to stall holders taking part here

Tresstle: link to the online market, products and other events taking place within the market here.

Folksy: my online shop is found on the Folksy website, dedicated to hand crafted products made in the U.K. is here.

Happy shopping!

Teresa x

Behind the Scenes: Post and Packaging

Selling your work online means doing a lot of wrapping and posting of parcels. Receiving one of these parcels is the biggest part of the customer’s experience of buying from you, and you want it to be a good one. I also want my packaging to be re-usable and recyclable. As I will be increasing my postage prices on Monday (due to a price rise at Royal Mail) I wanted to share a little more detail about my packaging.

Parcel with contents wrapped in tissue

I wrap all my products in tissue paper and fasten this with a sticker or paper tape.

I add a business card and a hand written note to the customer.

Close up of business card and note

This is all popped into a letterbox friendly card envelope, and if there are any gaps where the product might slip around these are stuffed with shredded paper.

The box is sealed with paper parcel tape, and a Shirley Rainbow logo and return address sticker (both paper) are added. The customer’s address is written on the envelope and off it all goes!

It has taken me a while to get this process right, however I’m really happy with it all now, and I’d like to think customers can reuse the tissue and box for sending their own parcels, and any shredded paper can be recycled or added to a compost bin! Very occasionally I will use reused bubble wrap, although I try to stay plastic free.

All my orders are sent 1st class with Royal Mail. As I mentioned earlier my prices will be going up on Monday to £2 per parcel. At the moment I am only sending to UK addresses, however I am keeping a close eye on several small business advice groups I’m part of, to see how to proceed with the new arrangements re selling to the EU, after Brexit. Hopefully then I can resume offering postage outside of the UK!

Its really important to me that my products, which are made with so much love, care and attention are sent to my customer in a way that reflects this. I‘ve had some lovely reviews recently, in my Folksy shop regarding my packaging, which makes me think I have got it right! Hurray!

Teresa