Happy new year! And what a strange one it is. However rather than dwell on the global situation I thought I’d share a bit more about the process of making my lavender bags. They have quickly become my most popular product, which is great, as I love making them!
Each one starts off as a digital sketch, which I turn into a template for cutting out felt. I use 100% merino wool felt which is delightful to use. It doesn’t fray or pill, is smooth to touch and comes in a gorgeous variety of colours. If you’d like to read more about the felt I use, click here. I cut all the lavender bags out by hand. This means I can get the most out of every piece of felt, so there is little waste. I keep all the scraps, using smaller pieces for the appliqué areas, and making badges, and the tinier scraps are all gathered together and used as stuffing in the lavender bags and for my christmas decorations. So in fact, there is no waste from the felt!
I use off-cuts of faux leather and vinyl for some of the appliqué, which is great for adding a touch of metallics and glitter. I use DMC threads, some vintage threads I have been given, and also some fine crochet cotton to add all the embroidered details. This is one of my favourite parts, adding character, details and texture to each lavender bag. Because all the embroidery is done by hand each lavender bag is unique.
Once stitched the lavender bags are filled with organically grown lavender, from my parents garden. This part of the process smells wonderful!
Each lavender bag hangs from a ribbon or cord which is carefully stitched into place. These are often recycled ribbons, I collect bits of ribbon every where I go now!
I am constantly adding new characters and designs to the collection of lavender bags, if you have a suggestion, please let me know! You can find my lavender bags for sale in my Folksy shop here.
My online shop is now closed, I’ve been amazed by all the support I’ve had for it in 2020! I’m looking forward to a rest now, and some new projects starting in 2021! Thank you everyone for following my blog this year, I hope you have a restful Christmas and I wish you all the best for 2021.
A few weeks ago I scrambled into the loft to get out some Christmas decorations to create a table setting for Christmas. I had lots of fun creating a ‘tablescape’ that would set off some new christmas decorations I had created a tutorial for, for Love Crafts, and the tutorial is now available, for FREE, at Love Crafts!
Love Crafts have created a free downloadable e-book featuring some beautiful projects to make your Christmas table special. My embroidery hoops are used as napkin ties, and then your guests can take them away to hang on the Christmas tree! Other projects are place settings, a quilted table runner, paper trees and some delicious looking cookies.
My other news this week is that this weekend is my final big market of 2020. It’s in association with Pedddle and is featuring the work of Folksy sellers from across the country.
You can find my ‘stall’ in the east market, and I will be running a discount of 10% off with code FolksyXmas. This will be my last discount code for quite a while, so if there’s something you’ve had your eye now is the time!!
I will be running a small competition to win a Jingle Christmas Tree decoration, there are 5 available, all you have to do is place an order with me over the weekend to be in with a chance of winning!
You will also be able to see me talk to Camilla from Folksy on Saturday morning from 10am as part of a live shopping event, where I will have a few exclusive offers available. This is the first time I’ve ever done something like this, it might be chaos!! I’d love it if you can come to watch at 10am on Strykin,
Thank you for reading, I hope you have a great weekend.
This weekend I’m taking part in the Sherwood Makers Online Market. Sherwood is an area of Nottingham close to where I live, it has a bustling high street chock full of independent shops and cafes, a fair few charity shops and more creative people than you would imagine! I know a few of them and have met many more at craft fairs in and around Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. This year, three Sherwood based makers have grouped together to form Sherwood Makers, to showcase the talent in Nottingham and promote the small businesses that are looking for lovely customers! Anna (Anna Treliving Design), Helen (Helen Lamont Design) and Laura (Little Egg) have done a fantastic job and I’m really looking forward to the weekend they have put together.
You can shop with each business taking part from their own online shops, and the directory of shops taking part can be found Here, on Facebook, and Here, on Instagram.
I wanted to showcase some of the businesses I’ve discovered through the Sherwood Makers, some of whom I’ve bought from before, and some I will be buying from very soon! (It’s very tricky sometimes, all I want to do is buy the things I like for myself!!)
So much lovely stuff!
As ever, I will be sharing more over on my Instagram account, over the weekend, and all my customers this weekend will get a free crocheted star popped into their order! The link to my shop is here.
The Indie Roller Shopping Extravaganza is open! From 8am on the 22nd November you can pop over to Instagram to find over 600 makers taking part! If you search #IndieRollerExtravaganza you will be able to find all the virtual stall holders, who will have all kinds of exciting offers available from gift sets, bundle deals, discounts, free gift wrap, surprises and product launches… all displayed for you to browse through from the comfort of your cosy couch.
I will be offering 10% off all my non-Christmassy embroidery hoops, the prices are discounted already so no code needed! Find them here. I will also be having a sale on my embroidered badges at 10 am.
You can also find out more about Indie Roller here.
You can find me on Instagram with my user name @shirleyrainbow_tb.
This week Folksy shared a beautiful video on their blog called Making Christmas. It features a wide variety of craftspeople making and wrapping their products for customers, and I think it is really beautiful! You can view it here on the Folksy blog, and read all about who is involved, and… spoiler! You’ll be able to spot one of my Gingerbread Tree Decorations being made.
Normally at this time of the year I’d be sharing a list of craft markets you would be able to come and shop at in the East Midlands, however this year is a bit different! I’m taking part in plenty of markets, all of them online. The main advantage to this is that you can shop with me (and many other stall holders!) from the comfort of your own home, complete with a cup of tea and a biscuit…
So, here’s where I’ll be, kind of, over the next two months
This week is the Indie Roller Christmas Essentials Mini Market, where there’s around 500 stall holders taking part across the country. You can see all the stall holders here. Try our the surprise me button on the market page!
Then on Saturday I’m taking part in another market hosted by the fantastic team at Pedddle. It’s the Festive Bazaar, and you will be able to find my stall in the East Market. I’m looking forward to starting my Christmas shopping and supporting small businesses.
I will have some new Christmas decorations available at each market, here’s a taster!
As we are all going to be spending quite a bit of time indoors over the next month or so I thought I’d reshare my FREE Crocheted Bauble Pattern that I published on this blog a few years ago, please share a photo with me if you give them a go! Just click on the link below the photo for the pattern.
I think I might have to make a few more for myself too!
A recent blog post was a re introduction of myself, this post is a re-introduction to the materials I use for my embroidery. In my product descriptions I do try to describe what I have used, but its always useful to have some more detail! I’m planning to share more about the materials used for other products over the next few weeks.
In my embroidered wall decorations and hoop art I mostly use linen to sew on. Linen is a lovely fabric to embroider on as it has a natural elasticity, and it’s more environmentally friendly than cotton! Robert Kaufman Essex linen is my favourite for quality and bright colours.
I use both embroidery thread and Appleton Crewel wool to do my embroidery work. My cotton embroidery threads are from DMC, which is my favourite brand of embroidery thread- they are smooth and shiny and easy to work with! Crewel wool is a completely different texture, it has a soft fuzzy halo, which creates a fabulous texture when it is embroidered with.
Colour is one of the reasons I choose these materials, there is a huge variety of colours which makes my job of selecting the right shade for a project pretty difficult sometimes… I just want to use all the colour! Quality is obviously very important too, and the three brands I use are well known for the quality of their products.
I also have a hand beaded piece, featuring a cactus in a pink pot, which is created from beads stashed away in my hoard of craft materials. I probably bought them whilst at university! Hand beading is time consuming but not as difficult as the finished result would have you think. I really like the effect it gives.
Framing the embroidery is an important part of the finishing process, and I use wooden circular embroidery hoops for most pieces. I prefer the wooden ones to the bamboo frames available if I can get them in the right size. Occasionally I use a plastic frame, with wood grain effect, which are rather nice. I completed a piece of embroidery earlier this year and framed it over a square frame which (I think!) has turned out quite well! I was planning to make another piece like this but 2020 has had other plans for me! Some of my embroidery pieces are framed in a crocheted frame, which I make by crocheting round a metal ring, and stitching the embroidery to the crochet.
So I hope that gives you a bit more information into what actually makes up the embroidery pieces I make to sell, next time I’ll share a bit more about the lavender bags I make!
Since the start of lockdown there has been an amazing shift in the creative community, which already has a strong and supportive online presence, to selling products at online craft fairs. In person fairs have been for the most part cancelled and postponed, and so makers and designers have turned to online events, that have a lively and supportive feel to them, as so many in person markets do.
I joined an online support network in April called Pedddle which showcases stall holders and markets alike. Since April Pedddle have created their own online markets, which i have taken part in, and they have been a real success. It’s certainly been a steep learning curve getting to grips with an online market but Pedddle have been there every step of the way to support the makers and small businesses taking part.
This Saturday sees their latest market taking place, the Creative Collaboration Market. Pedddle have teemed up with a selection of market organisers to host a huge online event- over 500 stall holders! And, I am one of them. I’ll be setting up a small stall at home and will be running a discount of 10% off with code SHOPLOCAL, through my Folksy shop. I also wanted to share some other stall orders who will be taking part from 10am on Saturday morning.
Beautiful prints, notecards and artwork available from Ruth Thorp Studio, I’ve bought cards from Ruth a couple of times before and they are gorgeous, and very high quality.
I love all the work from Etchable Laser Design. I really can’t choose a favourite! This duck is very cool.
It’s been such a long time since I introduced myself and talked about the background of Shirley Rainbow, I seem to do it regularly on other social media, but for some reason not here on my my blog!
So here goes…
I’m Teresa, and I run an online shop called Shirley Rainbow. It’s mostly filled with embroidered products, but there’s a bit of crochet in there too. I set up my shop with Folksy in 2014 and I have enjoyed selling on there ever since.
I have always been interested in drawing, painting and sewing. I wrote and illustrated a series of books when I was 7 or 8 (I still have them somewhere!) and I still cherish vague ambitions to write a real book, but maybe not illustrate it myself! I was taught to sew and knit by my mother and grandmas, and I still have the first pincushion and needle case that I made from felt.
Fast forward a few years and I went to Nottingham Trent University and studied Textile Design, and specialised in embroidery. I really enjoyed learning so much more about embroidery and how to design a collection of work. Our tutors placed a large emphasis on haute couture embroidery, and we certainly worked with some sumptuous materials; my final collection was made from silk, vintage sequins and real gold thread!
After I finished university I ran a small business with a friend, selling fabric and haberdashery to university students, driving about in a blue van and sometimes singing, because we couldn’t get the radio to work. Unfortunately it wasn’t a sustainable business for both of us and we had to get other jobs to pay the bills. I did a dressmaking course in the evening which was great and boosted my machine sewing skills no end. I also made some curtains and cushions for my new house. Gradually, being creative became less and less a part of my life, until I was pregnant with my first baby and I knitted a pair of very wonky mittens for him! I also made the curtains for his room and a matching cushion. After my daughter was born two year later I was really craving something creative to do. (You know, when I had probably the least free time I’ve ever had, with two small children to look after!) I bought some felt and started doing some small embroidered hearts for Christmas decorations. I also used some of these for greetings cards, and hand printed little messages. With a bit of encouragement from my husband, family and friends I opened my online shop and tentatively listed a few items. It took a couple of months to make my first sale, it really was a very exciting moment!
I now have a proper workspace in my attic, and have gradually spent more and more time working on Shirley Rainbow. Having both of my children at school gave me 5 hours 4 days a week which felt fantastic to have so much time (the other day is spent with my husband, or doing housework!) The last few months have seen me working evenings and occasional hours here and there as I can. My children are amazingly supportive, which I really appreciate!
So if you are wondering why I’m called Teresa, and my online shop is called Shirley Rainbow I’ll try and explain. Shirley Rainbow is a name I heard years ago and loved. When I worked as part of an duty admin team for a busy Child Protection Social Care team we gave ourselves fun name to make the worst days feel a bit better, and I was Shirley Rainbow. I thought at the time that it would be great for my proper job to actually be Shirley Rainbow, she sounded like she had lots more fun than me! So when I came to set up my online shop I decided to call it Shirley Rainbow!
I have experimented with lots of different styles of products that I make, however I finally feel like I’m on a good path with my products. I love to work with bright colours, especially in felt, and use brightly coloured embroidery to embellish purses or wall decorations. I particularly enjoy making my lavender bags, and have many more little characters I’d like to make.
Thank you so much for reading this far, and I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out a bit more about me and Shirley Rainbow.
We are all okay at Shirley Rainbow, taking each day as it comes and trying not to fall out with each other. I’m very grateful that all I have been asked to do during this pandemic is to stay at home and home school my children, however it’s a lot easier than it sounds! At the beginning of the lock down I shared a few online places that you can access free colouring in, patterns and so on, I’ve included more of them today, and some creative projects I’ve done with my kids too.
First up though, I’m taking part in the Home and Family Online Market, hosted by Pedddle on Sunday 17th May, from 10am to 10pm. It’s full of lovely products for your home or to share with family. All products in my shop will be available to purchase at the market, and I’m running a 10% discount on the day of the market too, use code HOME2020 at checkout.
I’ve certainly been very grateful for all the resources the internet brings over the last few weeks, its been a great way to entertain the children with colouring sheets and school work. Through Instagram I came across Of Unusual Kind, who have some beautiful paper dolls to download for free, colour and cut out; my daughter and I have really enjoyed doing them. I also found a great website which has lots of fun colouring in pages to download (some for adults only!) called the Together Gallery. Project One features the work of loads of fab designers and illustrators sharing their work for us to colour in at home.
One quick project we have done at home was making rainbow fridge magnets, using card and magnets that originally were stuck on the back of notebooks for the fridge. They cut into smaller pieces quite easily so with a bit of glue we were pretty pleased with the new magnets and sent some in the post to friends and family. I also had a lot of fun making origami stars from this method on Pinterest and we have hung them in our living room window.
I’ve got a couple of new products heading into my shop over the next couple of days ready for Sunday’s market, here’s a preview of one of my favourites!
I also hit 101 sales in my Folksy shop this week! Feeling proud of me!! Thank you so much everyone for your support and sales!