Look back … look forward.

Happy new year to all my readers, I hope you’ve all had a good festive season with time to recharge and look ahead to 2019.  

Christmas themed bag charms.
Christmas themed bag charms – the little black cat with a Santa hat was a personal favourite!

The lead up to Christmas is often a busy one for small businesses, especially those that involve selling, and it is quite a relief to have a little downtime to collect thoughts, look back on the past year and then look forward to the new one with new ideas and optimism.  For me the beginning of the year is often quiet on the selling front and I should by now be used to this and try not to get a too twitchy!  There are so many things involved in running an indie business that a space of quiet like this should really be a blessing to catch up on non-sewing work, but naturally you can’t help hearing those inner voices casting small nuggets of doubt about your craft and where your path is leading.

As these thoughts can pop up at any time, I keep a month by month journal listing anything positive that happens with regard to Ellie’s Treasures. When the doubt sets in, I find it a help to look back and see that business is not stagnant, there is always something in the pipeline, always something to work on and improve and, hopefully, a lovely customer or two that comes along at the right moment with a compliment that makes you start to believe in yourself again.

A monthly list of positive steps that have been taken in your business.

The last few months have been a whirlwind of sewing, listing, restocking and selling so I thought I’d share with you a couple of lovely things that have happened since the Autumn and a few plans for the coming year.

I can now show you photos of an artwork commission I received back in September and completed in October.  It was a privilege to work alongside my client and be trusted with such a personal birthday present and seeing it come together, piece by piece, was really fulfilling.  

Mixed media hand sewn artwork commission.
Close up detail of mixed media hand sewn artwork.

The end of November and beginning of December were busy craft market times for Ellie’s Treasures with Pensthorpe Craft Fair and Deepdale Christmas Market over two consecutive weekends.  Both were extremely busy and great fun. It was a pleasure to meet so many supportive sellers, customers and visitors, it really does make the early mornings and late evenings worthwhile.  I’d like to thank Lottie of Lottie’s Little Treasures (who was also selling at Deepdale with her beautifully gorgeous goodies) for taking the time out of her busy days to track me down so we could meet in person – it was a lovely surprise, thank you so much.

Plans for 2019?  Well I have a few new ideas up my sleeve! I’ve just started to introduce planner charms to my range, two are now listed, one is waiting to be photographed and several are ready for sewing. The clip charms are cute and original little accessories that will brighten up any thin ring bound notebook, diary or journal – perfect for the stationery lover.

Hand sewn unicorn planner journal charm in pink.
cute unicorn planner charm in pink – a new line for Ellie’s Treasures

I’ve been hearing on the grapevine that nature will be featuring big this year, so I’m in the process of developing a range to include more tactile embellishments along these lines.  Also, getting Ellie’s Treasures out on the road is something I’d like to do more of as I really enjoy meeting folk face to face. This does mean I need to be sewing a lot more than I already am so a big challenge there for me as time always seems to be against me.  Finally, perhaps this year will be the year I start my own shop website – we’ll see … one step at a time!

Do you have exciting plans for 2019?  Drop me a comment, I’d love to hear how you see the year progressing for you.

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Commissions, local shopping and cream teas!

Commissions are always a joy to complete and this month has seen quite a few coming my way (thank you all so much).  One in particular put a big smile on my face, a bi-fold fabric wallet – an item I haven’t sewn for quite a long time.  It was good to get the batiks out of the fabric drawer and start the long hours of cutting, pressing and hand sewing.  There’s a tiny chance I may start making these again for the shop as they have always been popular due to the striking colour schemes and handy size – we’ll see 😉

hand sewn batik and upcycled fabric wallet purse

I can’t believe our luck with this long run of glorious warm weather (I’ve done it now, it’ll probably rain tomorrow).  The garden is coping well and the vast majority are sturdy enough to not need a good dosing of water, just those that are potted need a little help every other day.  I think it’s the first time in the 11 years we’ve been here that the water butt has been drained dry so I’m trying to be as economical as possible with water from the tap.  Flowers are so beautiful to have around the house too so I pick a little posy each week to display near my desk.  The small glass jar is one of a pair we found buried in the garden when we first  moved in … I do love hidden treasures of history.

picked from the garden summer posy

In a mission to step away from the PC and sewing basket for a short while and spend some time with friends, we recently headed out to the small market town of Long Sutton.  As it was market day we had a little mooch around the stalls and picked up a few bargain pot plants and dainty lace.  We also discovered a little haberdashery squeezed in among the other shops – so teeny tiny you could probably only fit 4 people in there at one time, but it was crammed full of colourful fabrics, felt, wool and all the embellishments you could possibly need.  I would never have know it was there, right on my doorstep, if I hadn’t ventured out to explored my local area and this started me thinking how I have slipped a little into becoming a slave to internet shopping.  Yes it has its positives, as in prices are often cheaper, but there’s also many downsides, most notably the lack of face to face contact, those friendly exchanges between customer and shop owner/assistant that can easily lead to a beneficial relationship for both of you.  Popping out to the local shops to support them and help keep them running is vitally important in this day and age where so many small businesses are struggling to make a livelihood.

shop local haberdashery

Before heading home we popped into another small business – Mal’s Vintage Tea Shop – a treasure trove of vintage and handmade items surrounded us as we sipped tea and coffee from pretty mismatched china and enjoyed the delights of perfectly baked scones, butter, cream, strawberry and blackcurrant jams. This tea shop is a real find and I’m planning on returning with hubs in tow.

Lincolnshire cream tea

Enjoy the sunshine everyone! I hope your month has been a good one – stop by and let me know what you’ve been doing.
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New product alert!

hand sewn mixed media picture

The “Up, Up and Away” online market with Facebook’s Showcasing Dreams starts this Thursday evening at 8pm and it seemed the perfect opportunity to launch my new product range – mixed media mini artworks.

Choosing felts, fabrics and embellishments is a big part of my making process (and such a fun part too), and even more so when making these little pictures.  As the market had a theme, I chose an aeroplane charm to kick start the creation, adding printed tree fabric, a snippet of ribbon showing a suitcase, pretty trims, buttons and embroidered stitching finishing with the words “explore the world”.

Ellie's Treasures

The picture took an age to sew, tweaking this, adding that, and you can see from the work in progress photo that my ideas changed from first thoughts to finished product.

At just 8cm x 6cm (1.2cm depth), the picture is mounted on a little canvas and comes complete with a natural pine easel – perfect for displaying on a shelf or desk and a super gift idea for the traveller.

Ellie's Treasures mixed media canvas

If you’re looking for original and beautiful presents or a treat for yourself you will not be disappointed by the vast range of lovely items available to purchase so do try and pop along (put your legs up with a your cuppa and piece of cake as you browse).  The market will be open from 8pm Thursday 7th June until 9pm Saturday 9th and the password needed to purchase will be supplied at the start of the event.  Hope to see you there!

mixed media hand sewn canvas picture

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The month of May

I celebrated my birthday over the first bank holiday weekend and enjoyed a family barbecue followed by a pleasant warm evening in the garden with a bottle of Dark Horse and a selection of very prettily decorated cupcakes given to me by friends.  It was all very nice indeed and lovely to have a little break from sewing.

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Hubs bought me a set of 72 watercolour pencils by Arteza which is pure joy to look at – such a rainbow of colours – and exciting to use.  I’m not a fantastic artist, but I do enjoy a little doodle and have missed having a professional set of pencils to use.  I’m drawing little ditties to add interest to my product photographs – but I’m aiming to expand my drawing skills in time.

Ellie's Treasures hand sewn butterfly keyring

On the Ellie’s Treasures front, I’m over the moon to have secured three Norfolk based craft markets for later this year, Belles at St. Nick’s, Pensthorpe Christmas Craft Market and Deepdale Christmas Market – all the details of these can be found here.

Coming up very soon is an online Facebook market being run by Showcasing Dreams that I’m taking part in.  Running from 8pm 7th June until 9pm 9th June, the theme is “Up, Up and Away” – think of hot air balloons, rainbows, wings and all thing that fly!

facebook link

The selection of pretty items that will be available to buy is amazing – with six goodies entered by myself, some which have been sewn especially for the event and one item being a totally new product line for Ellie’s Treasures that I’m so excited about (more on that in another post).  There is also a generous giveaway attached to this market with voucher prizes to spend during the event.  You can find all the giveaway details here –  clicking the “going” button on the notification page will mean you are entered – entries close 6th June – good luck!

accessories and pictures hand sewn by Ellie's Treasures