New Ventures

As you may have seen if you’ve been following our blog or social media, recently we have been a little more inactive recently. Other than our activity in the Cherished Moments Market Night (happening all weekend for this weekend only! ) and our own Market Nights that have just been launched ( Keep It Personal Market Night and An Animal Affair Market Night ) our activity has been lower than usual.

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There’s good reason, and exciting news-to-come, for this miniature break from our usual activity. It has recently been a year since we started (Yay!!), so as we’ve been trading for a whole year we wanted to take some time to reflect and review. Having completed a review of our business, our aims and our successes so far we have found our focus and took some time to work out a better and stronger plan both for our business, our products and our marketing plan. Not only are we going to be focusing on even better products and projects, but we are also coming back with a better, more exciting and more interesting marketing plan. You’ll now see who we are, how we work while we’re sharing introductions and details about those behind the face of the business, as well as videos, blogs, tips and tricks behind our work and other gorgeous handmade and designer work.

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So keep an eye out for some great new things from us over the next few months…and don’t forget to join the fun- attend our events, get involved and share your thoughts and ideas, say hello and introduce yourself too!

 

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4 Reasons Why Nature Inspires Us

Nature is a huge part of us. Many of us prefer natural products, and designs incorporating aspects of nature are always desired. For example, naturally sourced cosmetic products and plant-inspired tattoos, to name a couple. Plant-based diets are on the rise, aiding the preservation of our environment and protection of animals. Evidently, nature is a great influence on humanity, and what better way to celebrate this by incorporating it sustainably into our everyday lives? This poses the question of why, therefore, is nature so influential?

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  1. It’s beautiful!

So, it goes without saying that nature is good-looking. If nature was a person, it’d be up there with the great beauties of the world (Beyoncé comes to mind). Be it the sun setting over the horizon, The Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or even a budding tulip, nature is undoubtedly beautiful. How can we help but admire it with awe and wonder? In replicating and producing our own interpretations of nature, we’re spreading the unmistakable beauty it holds.

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  1. It provides an escape from our urban reality

Many of us, especially those of us in cities, experience long periods of seclusion from the natural world in our day-to-day lives. We can be surrounded my man-made buildings, be it in our workplace, home or university whilst being constantly tied to our electronic devices, which, as connected as we feel socially, can exclude us from the natural world. Personally, I find that simply taking a stroll in my nearest park, or even round the surrounding countryside can greatly help produce a clear mind. Distancing yourself from the noise, chaos and bustle the urban space imposes upon us by basking in the serenity of nature really does some good. It nurtures the mind – we sometimes really need a breather.

 

 

 

  1. Our natural habitat!

As we all know, it wasn’t always houses, shops, and public transport. Our ancestors used to be dependent on our natural world for basic survival. They were completely in sync with the surrounding environment, relying on it as a necessity. As much as we have developed from this primal state, natural resources still need nurturing, and we are still embedded within them – and will continue to live on to be so.

And on to the final point, which gently reminds us how we’re still just as reliant on nature today.

 

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  1. What would we be without it?

Finally, in the words of the Pope himself: “We must never forget that the natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone” (https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/871690564483375104). We need to commemorate and care for the environment as it does for us. Without it, we wouldn’t exist! Nature is what is needed to keep us functioning, therefore why not reap the benefits of it?

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So, nature is obviously a pretty big deal! What better way to surround ourselves with all its advantages? We are compelled to express our admiration for nature through art and design and will continue to do so!

 

Written by Alice Stringer

 

 

You’re gonna be okay

I love running my own business, being a designer, a creator, a maker and entrepreneur. Having days when i’m a social media manager, an event organiser or promoter. Days when i’m an illustrator, a letterer or a pattern designer.

But not every day are tasks I love or a fun new challenge. Some days are just down right difficult.

Today for example has been one of those days. It’s just been one of those days full stop. One where nothing seems to go quite right, and when you finally achieve something great it still doesn’t seem like enough or something else sends you into panic and doubt.

After dealing with undercutting companies with £5 logos and battling the quicksand that is Instagram, which does a good old job of knocking confidence to begin with….I then moved on to new stock planning. When you’ve had a bad day, with a few confidence knocks it is not the day to be critical and deeply considerate of your stock ideas and design work. I really should have known better.

But after a great planning session for upcoming events, giveaways and other exciting updates I felt inspired to get some special summer stock ordered. This seemed like a great idea and it started that way.

Item one selected, design chosen…feeling great!

Item two, debated a few times, decided it’s a great summer addition…feel even more excited!

Item three (should have stopped while I was ahead)…happened across this item, it could be amazing, could be a hit! I have a great idea, I open the design in mind…now i’m not sure. I go back and forth (what feels like 100 times) and end on yes, they’d be a good idea. But they’re quite an investment, but an investment that will pay off? Yes, I think so…as long as they’re marketed right.

And we’ve gone full circle. Market it right is the key. But today Instagram was such a hit to my confidence, it was a bad interaction day. These days always lead me to debate what i’m doing, what I want it to be, what I want to be sharing and creating. Such a simple confidence knock can have such an influence, it’s like a ripple effect. Suddenly it’s in the back of your mind at every step, influence every decisions.

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It’s moments like this that I realise just how vitally important a support system is. It’s my friends giving me design advice who respond to my messages of doubt with such support, uplifting comments and belief that I begin to come back around. Who support my decisions and provide advice and insight from another point of view helping me bring back my confidence and motivation. Without a series of support networks I know personally I would find it so difficult to keep going day in day out, and i’m sure this is the same for many small business owners. While we may keep powering through the hard times if we were alone, it’s so much easier to find the motivation, determination and confidence to keep going when you have such incredible support.

So to each of my friends helping advise, support and motivate me during the hard times; To my family and boyfriend who deal with the stressed out moments and the long hours and busy schedules; To my fellow creators who unlike many industries do not compete and bring each other down but help raise each other, share kindness, love and support: Thank you. On days like today it truly makes the difference, it’s what keeps me going, what keeps me motivated.

 

Feature: A Pinch of Fairy Dust with Emma Nightingale

Emma from Fairy Dust is all about all things glittery. While some may not agree, I do believe there can never be too much sparkle, and clearly Emma follows this motto. In business, especially a handmade or craft business, there has to be at least a little bit of ‘sparkle’. Fairy dust seems to have a never ending supply of sparkle, and that’s not just the glitter.

 

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In 2015 Emma went on maternity leave from her sales assistant job at co-op. With free time while on leave, Emma put her creative personality to use. Stuck with the common conundrum of what to buy for someone who already has everything, Emma turned to creating to solve her problem. As she started researching the crafting world for handmade gift ideas, Emma realised the scale of the crafting world and crafting options that she had previously been unaware of.

First creating a football frame for her dad, a frame for her new born daughter shortly followed. Having loved the process, initially Emma was happy creating these products as a hobby despite her family’s words of encouragement that she could go into business. At the end of her maternity leave Emma decided to give it a shot. Owning a business would mean being able to stay at home with her daughter, and so fairy dust began.

 

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Fairy dust started with personalised gifts and grew through a lot of hard work and networking in the beginning. Now fairy dust have over 1500 likes on Facebook and a staggering 31 reviews, all 5* which I am sure will continue to flourish.

Back in December 2016 I first came across Fairy Dust when searching for a bespoke 21st gift. At my request, Emma created a gorgeously glittery mug personalised with a message for my friend. I could not have asked for a better company to buy from. Emma was flexible with colours and designs while being friendly and incredibly quick throughout the process, and the best bit about it…it didn’t break the bank! It’s not always easy to find a company these days that cares about customer service, creates something beautiful and of high quality while being affordable.

 

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Now with 2 years of personalised gift creation behind them, Fairy dust have started offering a new bespoke service…

This new option offered through Fairy Dust came to light through their own necessity. Undertaking a rebrand, Emma invested in a new logo but as it came to finding business stationery she found herself at a loss. Unable to find what was needed, Emma decided to create her own- custom cut and hot foiled. This led to Emma supplying other small businesses with stationery. Now 4 weeks into offering this new service, the interest is flourishing with the option becoming especially popular. Jumping straight in, investing in machinery and materials needed for this new task, Emma is learning new tricks as she goes even now- not that you’d ever know from her work.

 

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Receiving samples this morning, I was taken aback at the quality and prettiness of the work. From stickers to notecards and save the date cards, each one was of high quality both in the product itself and the added hot-foiled sparkle. Not only was Emma kind enough to share samples with me so I could see the quality before writing about her work, but the package arrived covered in beautiful sparkly stickers and notes.

While almost all of Fairy Dust’s products and packaging come in glittery designs, it’s Emma’s attitude, attention to detail and caring approach that gives fairy dust a true sparkle. Customer service is so often lacking nowadays in large corporations, and surprisingly even in small businesses. The key to success is having happy customers, which is best achieved with great customer service. So why not follow suite add a pinch of fairy dust (actual glitter optional) to your business.

 

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To check out Fairy Dust and see their amazing products or have a chat with Emma you can find them here:

 

Feature: Seriously Social Crafts with Laura Bailey

Laura Bailey of ‘Serious About Social’ is an incredibly supportive and kind woman who prides herself on providing advice and support to small business owners. The website focuses on opening up opportunities, sharing advice, content ideas and on business topics and business growth.

Serious About Social ‘ for ladies who love arts and crafts’ is focused on sharing “crafty biz tips”. Running a craft based business has become very popular in the past few years. More people are now able to turn their crafting hobbies into profitable businesses. With such a saturated market, and so many options finding your voice in the mass can be a difficult task. Most small craft businesses begin through social media, most commonly Facebook. They join groups, start networking and growing their business.

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Social media is a great tool for any business and is the reason so many people are now able to start. This route is low start up cost with large audience access, but the training behind business start-up and social media management is not such easy access. Many people are now starting their businesses without prior knowledge, advice and support systems. While this approach can and does work, it’s a much harder venture than those with full support and background knowledge. The problem with business start-up is no matter the venture; there will be a range of skills required. No one individual can be good at everything, although will training and support it is possible to become sufficient in all aspects required for most small businesses.

When starting or growing a business it can be difficult to find the support and advice that’s needed. Laura’s mission is to help more craft business start-ups reach their goals and succeed by bringing this support and advice to all.

While the website is currently a small venture, Laura has great plans, hoping for Serious About Social to eventually become the one stop spot for ‘ladies looking for craft advice, ideas on craft techniques and details about craft shows etc.’ Aiming to grow a community of women to support each other; Laura plans to always be in the background, able to offer advice and support where needed. Serious about Social has recently begun taking off and is undergoing changes such as a new website to bring even more support to small businesses. With so many great resources for small craft businesses, it will be fantastic to see the growth of Serious About Social.

Laura’s dedication to small crafting business success is an inspiration. Providing opportunities as well as support to all small business owners she meets, Laura takes great care and dedication with every task. I have never met a friendlier, more supportive individual and I know that anything I need, Laura is always happy to chat, advise and support where possible- as I’m sure she is and would be for any small business owner.

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Image curtsey of Laura Bailey-Serious About Social

Continue reading as Laura shares her story of how she came to run Serious about Social:

 

The idea of being self-employed wasn’t one that had crossed my mind. I had worked quite happily in the corporate sector for 16 years but following a bout of illness and eventually being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis, the stress of the job began to take its toll on my health and I realised the sensible option was to opt for voluntary redundancy.

Over coffee one day a close friend of mine (who also owned her own marketing business) told me that a course was starting in my home town which was aimed at helping people to start a business. She suggested I go along and give it a try.

From day 2 of the course there was no turning back, I had no idea what I wanted to do but I was hooked on the thought of being my own boss. For the first time in years, I finally felt like me again and I had passion and drive.

I began to manage social media pages on behalf of clients (from small businesses to corporate); I loved the flexibility of being my own boss. I was able to work around my small children and earn money for the family. Probably, most importantly for me, I was able to get my strength back, adopt a positive attitude and fight the Fibromyalgia head on which I continue to successfully manage.

An opportunity presented itself for me to travel around the country and co-run courses to help people from all backgrounds become self-employed. I absolutely LOVED this “job” and am so proud to have been able to support others in the same way that I was supported.

It was a mixture of managing social media accounts and coaching others which led me to create Serious about Social. I was having a coffee with my friend Paula (The same friend as mentioned above) and I was pouring my heart out to her that I was struggling to find my “niche” because I loved coaching but I love social media management too. She said “Why don’t you work with ladies who love to craft and need help running their businesses?” She had struck gold with this comment! Both Paula and I had previously managed a large client who organised craft exhibitions and we loved it.

I have huge aspirations for my business, but I have to remind myself Rome wasn’t built in a day! It is better to take my time and do things step by step that rush into things and crash and burn (something I’ve been guilty of in the past!).

So if you need support creating or building your business then just pop onto my social media pages and ping me. I love meeting new people and nothing makes me happier than seeing ladies reach their goals.

I’m always on the lookout for lovely ladies to blog for me. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but my goal is to create a community where craft ladies can support each other with anything. Whether that is craft related or business related. Your blog can be about your business or simply the trials and tribulations of running a business whilst at the same time living your life and having to manage other things such as raising children or holding down another job etc or caring for someone etc. If you would like to have a go, contact me and let me know!

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Image curtsey of Laura Bailey-Serious About Social

 

If you own a small business or think you may like to try a venture like this I would highly recommend having a chat with Laura and checking out Laura Bailey- Serious about Social or find them on Facebook.

Kids Easter Activities

Are you looking for ways to keep the kids busy this Easter break? It’s lovely to have the kids around during the holidays but keeping them busy during the long spring days and excitement can be challenging.

 

Here’s a few ideas that could keep the little ones creative and occupied this half term…

 

Create finger print animals

Whether Easter inspired or their favourite animals, with some basic paints, plain paper biro and fingers there’s bound to be some masterpieces! Just be sure to cover surfaces for this messy fun!

 

Marbled eggs

With hard boiled eggs or card egg cut outs this simple project will be a hit with the kids and parents! Using everyday household items of cooking oil, water and food colouring or shaving foam and food colouring it’s a quick and easy solution. For super easy cleaning why not make the most of the sun and set the kids up outside? For more ideas and instructions on household item marbling check out this link:  https://www.surfexcel.in/dirt-is-good/arts-crafts/art-ideas-for-kids-how-to-make-marbled-paper.html

 

Easter Olympics

With this springtime weather you want the kids to be making the most of the sun and getting outdoors, so this half term why not run your own easter olympics? With your basic easter egg hunts, egg and spoon races and sack races you’ll be sure to fill some time. Make things more interesting with egg and chopstick races, puzzles to complete such as matching card eggs, before returning to your start position. For more ideas check out this link http://www.beau-coup.com/party-planning/8-fun-creative-easter-games.htm

 

We are currently running an offer to receive a free kids easter activity pack. Each pack is a random goody bag of a range of products from magnets, stickers, colouring cards, colouring postcards, bookmarks, badges and more! All you have to do to receive your free pack is join our mailing list!

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If you would like to join our mailing list and receive a free kids activity gift pack just sign up to our mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/cKvZkT

By signing up for your free pack you are agreeing to join our mailing list (don’t worry we only send a monthly update with news and offers, and we do not share our list with any third parties!)  The offer runs until Sunday 23rd April so to receive yours make sure to join soon!

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It begins with a name

Choosing a name for your business can be one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make. For some people it comes naturally but for many of us it isn’t that simple.

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I have always been awful at these sorts of task. Fake business activities in school would have me stuck at task 1- Name the business. I was the last person you’d want on your pub quiz team (and not only because I suck at general knowledge quizzes); I’m just not witty or funny enough (it’s ok…don’t feel bad for me, I have my…um, I’ll get back to you on that). The thought of someday having to name a child terrifies me, not the having a child part but the giving them a name they are stuck with forever. At least with my business I could rebrand.

Now there are lots of terrific ways you can come up with ideas for business names that should help you work out that name in no time. It still took me a year…but I’m pretty sure that for most it really isn’t so much of a challenging task, I’m just a little special that way (and a lot fussy!).

So how did I come up with my name? Well after a year of having the idea, discussing it and ending any conversation with ‘but what would I call it?’ I’d tried word games and market research but my mind was still blank. No matter how many ideas I had or how many ideas other people suggested nothing felt quite right. When it’s your business, starting up from the ground, it has to feel right to you. I took this very seriously though and once I found something I liked became very attached. It was the only thing that felt right so nothing else would do. Does that mean it was the best name for my business? Who knows. All I know is that finally I found something I was happy with and I wasn’t going to waste another year of “hmm, I’m not sure. It just doesn’t feel quite right”

A Thousand Yellow Daisies is actually a reference to a pretty big US TV Series. Got any guesses? I’ve only ever had one person make the reference when they first heard my business name, some of my best friends who were also fans of the show didn’t even make the connection!

 

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When trying to come up with business names and nothing felt right, I realised that a name that meant something to me could be the solution. While the reference to the program is not a specific scene or moment that I personally related to, the program itself has significant meaning to me. Having been part of my life at a time that was needed, while I was at the right age to be connecting with the show, it has had a significant role in my teen development and will always be a fond favourite. My business is a small, personal brand. It all comes from me, is all directly influenced by myself. So for the business name to reflect something so personal and directly mean something to me, it feels right.

Even once I decided I wanted something personal that didn’t make the process instant or easy as you may presume. It’s always difficult even if you know what you want. I sat listing and talking about all the things that I liked, all the things that meant something to me or that people would relate to me when asked. My housemate and I would sit for hours talking it through and making lists while our favourite TV shows played in the background hoping to spark some inspiration. Thankfully after a few (ok, quite a few!) episodes I heard it. “Wait, rewind that. Right there. That’s it”. In the end that’s all it took…an overheard sentence in the background. A Thousand Yellow Daisies. It’s not the shortest name in the world, and trust me, that’s had its issues. But we always figured if I made it big enough to get a store, everyone would just call it Daisies. It turns out the Internet is a much more difficult place and finding a name that is allowed (which is different on every platform…super helpful!) means that I had to be creative, but that wasn’t going to stop me.

There’s always ways around it. Once you find the name you want and it suits your brand then you can make it work. Of course you do need to be sensible and check the legalities, such as does the name exist? Check on Google and social media to check, you don’t want to be competing with another company with the same name! Not only would that be frustrating and make your business and audience growth un-necessarily difficult, it could also cause you costly legal issues down the road. You can check for existing companies at https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/ but bear in mind that only Limited companies have to register their name, not sole traders so it is always worth doing a Google check as well as checking the government register. You will also need to check for trademarks, as you will not be able to trade under or use a name that is trademarked. It is best never to use a name that exists as a name is intellectual property and will have a common law trademark automatically, however using a registered trademark is a sever and costly mistake so do your homework and check out the trademark register here: https://www.tmdn.org/tmview/welcome

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If you’re looking for a business name and don’t know where to start try these simple activities to see if they spark an idea for you…

 

The Word Association Game-

 

Write a list of all of the words that you want to be associated with your brand, the words that describe your business and/or industry. Now take one of those words and start a column, underneath think of the first word that comes to mind when saying the first word on your list. Now do the same underneath looking at the 2nd word and on and on.

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Design

Drawing

Pencil

Lead

Metal

 

The word only needs to directly relate to the one above, not all of the words above. Metal is related to Lead, but is not directly related to Design. You can do this game for as many of the descriptive brand words as you like. Now look over your lists, does anything stand out? Does anything sound good as a business name or spark another idea?

 

The Word Map Game-

 

This game is similar to the previous word game but will give words only directly related to your brand and industry. Fill a page with words related to your brand, industry and company only. There are far more words than you think. Once you have run out of words that may relate to your brand open a thesaurus and start looking for synonyms of these words. You may find that you’d like the idea of ‘Confidence’ to be part of your ethos and brand identity but find the word ‘Sanguine’ to be a much more interesting and suitable word for a business name.

 

Personality Game-

 

List all of your strong traits that you associate with yourself, list your favourite things, people, places and moments. Now ask others, what do they associate with you? Once you have a comprehensive list of what matters the most to you, who you and who others view you to be, you can filter through to see what’s relevant. Is there a personality trait that could be a business name, or a synonym of that trait that would work? Is there a thing that everyone relates to you? Is there a book, a program, film or place that means a lot to you? Break it down; if it’s a place is there a street or a beach etc. that stands out in your mind? Is that a good business name? If it’s a book, film or TV show is there a line or a word used that gives the feel of your brand while only you know the true meaning and relevance?

 

Naming a business can be a long and sometimes frustrating process, but it’s worth it in the end. Having a name that you are truly proud of will only help your business succeed and make you feel more connected to your company. Try to have fun with the process and good luck! If you’re naming a business now or have a story behind how you got your business name why not share it with us? We’d love to hear more naming stories!

If it’s difficult it’s worthwhile…

I was recently asked to write a feature about A Thousand Yellow Daisies for an up and coming new site (Serious About Social) dedicated to being the one stop for crafters looking for advice, ideas and opportunities.

I was asked to write about the business, my journey, what i’ve learnt so far and where I aim to be. This seemed like such a normal task, it should be easy and straight forward and full of positivity right? Wrong…in reality being asked to talk openly and honestly about my journey was far more complicated. I would love to be able to say I’m one of those budding entrepreneurs who merrily jumped into business and made my first million age 21 (are any of those actually genuine? If so what am I missing!?). Or that I was one of those creatives who started a business out of nothing and 6 months in is making an amazing turn over, has quit their day job and continuing to rapidly expand, but i’m not. Not yet at least.

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It’s not been an easy journey, but having started to talk to other creatives for my new feature pieces (coming every Friday) and I’ve realised it’s not just me! My whole process of figuring out what I wanted to do, then starting this business has been problem solving and overcoming obstacles. At times it even had me wondering whether this was the universe’s way of telling me it wasn’t to be. What I eventually realised was it was telling me that something wasn’t right. Not that I should give up, but that I should keep trying and keep changing to find what does work. Having spoken to so many other creatives and hearing their stories and challenges, it’s reassuring to know this is how most new creative business owners feel in the initial stages.

I’m still working it out, trialling different shops and galleries around the UK to work out which ones and which areas are right for my products but I have now worked out what I want from this venture. I now have a clearer picture of what I want and where I want to be than ever. While it’s a slow process and there were times I wondered what I’d ever been thinking taking this on, I’m so glad I have and that i’m still giving it a shot. Every day gets better and gets more fun, eventually I know I’ll get it right and be so glad I never gave in.

 

Now we have a brand new range of products launched on Etsy and being sold in 3 stores as of this coming month, we’re offering personalisation and even more freelance graphic design services… We’re blogging more, offering freelance creative blog writing, and offering social media management services!..

…With even more exciting updates coming soon! We’re finally on our way, and soon I’m sure I’ll be able to look back and need to remind myself why it was once so difficult!

To enquire about a service (Guest blog for your site, Graphic design project, Personalised Design Commission or Social Media Management services ) please get in touch via our Facebook  or via email at Hello@athousandyellowdaisies.co.uk

 

 

DIY- Space themed kids costume

A friend of mine has a daughter at school where they are celebrating space day next week with fancy dress. Fancy dress days for kids are always a difficult decision, do you buy in, which is usually an expensive solution and one that only gets used once (or a couple times if you’re lucky!), or create a DIY option is time consuming and involves skill and materials (often working out not much cheaper than a bought solution!).

For space day there were two options, buy an astronaut costume online or after having researched ideas create a 3D planet top. While the 3D option looked amazing and so much fun, my friend is not the creative sort. So I thought I’d give it a go knowing that I had all the materials I’d need at home and a (fairly) free weekend.

So so here it is, how to make a DIY planet sash to be used with a plain black outfit or to complement any space themed costume!

Starting out with polystyrene balls of varying sizes and ink, each ball was rolled in and sponge painted with black ink. The one major issue with trying to ink polystyrene is it tried to absorb the ink, but sponging the ink on works pretty well and pretty easily!

 

Once they were entirely black it’s a matter of a waiting game until this layer has dried. You can move on to the next step before its dry but remember the more you touch it the more the ink ends up on you and not the project! If you can be patient its much better to let this layer dry at least partially.

Now comes the fun part! Using a sponge again (and this time it definitely needs to be a sponge!) you’re going to add the colours. I used acrylic ink here as it dries fast and is pretty amenable. Starting with white paint, sponge on areas of speckled paint. This looks the most convincing when creating a strong patch of white using thick paint and slowly becoming lighter and more speckled as it disperses.

Once they had all been given speckled areas of white and had a few minutes to dry, I started playing with colour. You can’t really go too wrong with the choice of colours at this point. Colours like dark blues and purples are great as they give more depth to the darkness and a bit of a shimmer while being subtle. Then the light bright colours give a wonderful sparkle to your project, from lime greens to florescent pinks there really is no bad option.

The colours were added much more gently than the white, giving small hints of colour and more speckled looks than the white.

The great thing about this project is you really can’t go wrong. Add too much white? No problem just sponge over some more black and you’ve toned it back down. Add too much colour? No problem, just add a light layer of white and you’re in the clear! Whether you need to tone down what you’ve done or re-do an area you can slowly just add layers until you have the final look you want.

Once these had dried, I added a little bit of sparkle to make them just a little more special! With the right speckling you don’t need any glitz for these to look magical and sparkly but a bit of added glitz never did anyone any harm! So using a silver glitter spray, I carefully spritzed a few sprays to each planet.

A few minutes for the glitter to dry and it was time to turn these planets into a sash.

Taking plain string, I poured a little black ink into a shallow pot, bunched up the string, dunked it in and ran it through the ink. Making sure it was fully covered in ink I left the string to dry while I started on the holes.

I used a basic wooden skewer like you can find in most discount shops and supermarkets to pierce the holes. As I used quite large polystyrene balls so a long skewer was the best option here. For smaller polystyrene balls any thin but sharp tool will do the trick.

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Pierce the ball straight through from one side to the other. Use a large needle and tie the string through the needle. Place the needle in the hole and using the skewer, push the needle straight through and out the other side. Once you have done this to every planet you can move them around on the string to be spread out as you want.

To finish off, tie the string at the right place to suit the length needed and voila! You have a planet sash perfect for any space themed fancy dress!

 

Creative Space

I’ve been asked a few times now about my creative space and been asked for photos of where I work. I have a studio (currently a prepped desk and a room full of unpacked boxes in our new apartment) but I do not solely work in this studio. I have always found working at a white desk in a university studio, a computer desk in the library or a desk in my studio to only release a certain amount of creativity. While there are great benefits to having a specified work area, a set up desk and work room, there are also some great benefits to flexible working.

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This is one of the biggest benefits of working for yourself. In a work environment you are expected to work in their office or studio, the most flexibility often being potentially hot-desking. By working for yourself, it gives so much more flexibility. Depending on your work, your equipment needs and your work style, the options are expansive. From hiring desks, renting studios or working with someone else, working at home or local cafe the options just keep coming. By having a set work space you will always have somewhere ready to work where you know you have all your equipment ready and can be productive and creative. But the option of flexi-working ensures you stay inspired and creative rather than finding you get stale working within the same 4 walls day in day out.

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I work where I can, where I feel inspired and creative. Using a home studio as my consistent and permanent base, I then adapt based on my work. This article for instance is being written on a commute, while my thank you notes, postcards and marketing are written in a cafe. During the summer months you’ll find me sat in local parks and arboretums under a tree with my sketchbook, and the winter months cosy in a local cafe or my living room with a hot chocolate and drawing implements. So when asked where I work, what do I say? My studio? Well that is true but for someone who works most hours you won’t find me in my studio as often as you would expect. But as a creative there really is no better way to work, stay inspired and creative. You need to see the world, experience new things and new environments for the creativity to keep flowing.

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