Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Want it Wednesday: Thank you Ma'am (Jubilee Spirit)

Its a somewhat belated Want it Wednesday, I didn't get the chance to sort a post out last week for one reason or another, things have been catching up with me, basically a lack of energy. But thanks to her Majesty the Queen, I have a wee break coming up.

So I would like to dedicate this post to the Queen!

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Mugs Limited Edition 2012

Queen's Jubilee Screen print

3 Pack Greeting Cards for Diamond Jubilee Featuring Corgi Dog

Diamond Jubilee Celebration Biscuits - Dollhouse Miniature Food Handmade

Diamond Jubilee print, Union Jack crown, 11 x 17in (A3) commemorative poster

Digital Printable Vintage Royal Jubilee Olympics British union jack BUNTING Flags party

Diamond Jubilee Alternative Commemorative Plate - Oh the Jubilee Flotilla Plate

Diamond Jubilee Royal Corgi Cup and Saucer

I know a friend at work will covert the Corgi pictures! I hope you get the chance to get into the spirit of it all. Whilst I won't be going into London to see any of the pagentry, I am certainly loving my little flags in the window. Sadly bunting is down owing to having the windows done, and until I get the curtain poles back up I can't get the bunting up...well perhaps I'll figure something out at the weekend.

Why not show me your favourite Jubilee items, or pictures of your own bunting!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jubilee Spirit

Yesterday I shouted out on Facebook that I really wanted bunting, and I wanted it then. So, I got myself sorted and went out into the beautiful sunshine on a mission to get bunting, flags and napkins. The latter might seem odd but I am planning a bit of a tea party/jubilee picnic next Sunday with a few lovely friends. Fingers crossed the weather is good. Or have I tempted fate?

Anyway, as you can see it was a success, bunting was found as was flags and yes I got jubilee inspired napkins.  It didn't take long for everything to go up, bar the napkins and now I am feeling suitably in the spirit of the Jubilee. Yes I am a bit of  Royalist, not a fair weather sort but more that I think the Queen is the best female role model out there. And well she reminds me of my nan who passed away when I was a little girl. And Prince Philip just makes me roar with laughter, he's awesome.

Need to find calico some British inspired ribbon, anyone got a slither?

My little travel shelf, New York, Washington, Venice and London.

Is anyone else getting into the spirit of things? 

If you are then you might like my latest free pattern:

Available to download, for personal use only, from my website. Click here.

Don't forget to show it off! Either link me to your version in a comment or upload it to the Flickr group and participate in my latest competition!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Back to Stitching

Byjove its good to be back stitching, and working on a project with some teeth. I've had a design in mind for sometime, its been sitting in my sketchbook just waiting for me to work out how to turn into a workable piece and that's what I've done, and have officially started stitching it today. And, unlike some of my previous pieces I am actually going to be translating the design into various different types of items. This is good use of the design and already have in my mind what I'll be doing.

But enough of that, I am sure you want to see what it is I am actually working on:

Translating the design in my sketchbook into something a little bit more workable

My favourite way of transferring the design, took me just under 30 minutes to do this bit.

I applied several layers of felt for padding the main part of the body, and a sliver of purple silk for the back wing.

And this is where I finished this evening, all felt layers are on, the back wing stitched down and half of it covered by the top layer of felt, the section of fabric at the bottom is the fabric I am considering for the body, though I keep changing my mind, it could be this, silver coloured silk or even some sort of stitching. Can't decide.

More playing to be done.

What are you working on?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hello Sun and Old School

Cor blimey this weather has sure come out of no where, not that I am complaining (except when travelling to work, which involves trains with no air-con and the tube full of sticky people). Sun as ever always plays a wonder to inspiration, creativity and mood. And whilst I am somewhat shattered, getting over a long week at work, I can't help but think of things I can do, things to tweek...well right up until the point I slump over the keyboard.

I learnt this week, if your hamster starts yawning its time for bed.

One of the things I have been playing with this week is DeviantArt, some of you might have seen my page over there. I've had it for donkey's of years, well 8 years. Is that enough donkey's? Anyway, I suddenly felt the urge to go on there, on my search of all my accounts, to change the name. Well its a bit of a pain that you have to have a premium account to have the ability to change account name, but well it sort of reminded me I loved being on there, so I purchased an upgrade and have been slowly returning to it.

If you use DA, look around it then do swing by -

If your on there, drop me a comment, and I'll go and look at your account.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Switch

So I've been a little bit busy today, making the most of my Sunday to start switching things over to 'Mason Bee'. Some of you may already be aware of the changes, as I mentioned on Facebook that it was part of my list of things to do today.

It’s surprising, but not at the same time, just how many things I have to change:
  • -       Blog
  • -       Etsy
  • -       Flickr
  • -       Tumblr
  • -       Facebook
  • -       Twitter

To name but a few, and I swear I will probably have forgotten something.

The biggest change I’ve done is the new website, the old domain is still active but now redirects to the new site I hope you take a moment to look at it, and if you’re one of the lovely people that have me listed on your site, can kindly change it to the new domain I would be eternally grateful.

The other changes, so far, are as follows:

Twitter: @themasonbee

Flickr: At the moment stays as lamdesigns, as I am unable to change it, in time I will consider creating a new account, but as I need to transfer photographs I probably won’t at this point in time. My subscription for the current account ends in July.

I have a list of other bits to work through, DeviantArt, tumblr and so forth. You will note where I cannot obtain the exact name I have simply added ‘the’ at the beginning. Simple but does the job nicely.  

Going back to the website you will find that this is where you will find my free patterns, and rather excitingly I have a new pattern on there for you to download too. And perhaps now is a good reminder about the competition, I hope you’re going to enter!

What else to do, well aside from the above bits and pieces?

Branding – is in hand, searching around getting quotes from people to do it for me.

Patterns – I need to change the name on the pdf’s, annoyingly can’t do that on my computer at present, so I will sort that out during the week.

So many other bits to do that I need to spend some time sitting down and checking, once all those bits are sorted then I can look to getting on with the bigger picture stuff, I have a book to read and chapters to work through.

But I knew it wasn’t going to be quick or easy, moving things over to a completely new name/brand. I always did love a challenge.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Want it Wednesday: Buzzy Times

Following on from my announcement on Sunday, exciting times are ahead, I feel the need to share a lot of very lovely bee related products. I love and adore bees, and where possible I like to support them (I have even been known to do International Bee Rescue, style missions). Wasps on the other hand, I run a mile.

Update: Funny thing happened on the way home from work I ended up rescuing a rather large bumble bee from the path, can't stand to see it squished. So scooped it up on my credit card (weirdly seemed happy to be saved) and popped it on a nearby bush. I hope it's okay.

Bee Bookplates - Printable PDF - AliceCantrell

Bee Rubber Stamp - norajane

Embroidered Bee Hive on Linen Brooch - mariadownunder

Hive Honey Set - biodidactic

Lavender Dryer Sachets - gardenmis

Mason Bee House - beeandbees

Bee's World Crewel Embroidery Kit - Theflossbox

That's it for this buzzing round of Want it Wednesday, don't forget I have a competition running so take a look and take part Competition Time.

Sunday I will be blogging about my adventures in the next chapter, and of the slow steady change to Mason Bee.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Next Chapter

Little over six years ago I embarked on a start of an interesting journey; designing and making embroidered wares to sale. It happened slightly on a bit of a whim and also a pray that it could work and I am pleased to say it did. It was never expected to be an overnight success but slowly over the years I've moulded it to what it is today.

But I am ready for the next chapter, and sometimes you have to end your association with something in order to look at things with a clear perspective and in my case, the focus needed to actually push the business onto the next level.

Yesterday, I undertook that first step towards it. I am being mentored by a very good friend of mine, and very successful self-employed business owner, in order to do the same but in my field. My friend, whilst she is only now starting to shout about it is at the top of her game, one of only twenty at her level in the UK and to break that down even further one of only four in the South of England, she offers advanced clinical massage (you can view her blog here - I am going to plug her because frankly she has been the biggest support, aside from my family and her mum, in my creative endeavours, and to boot she is a great inspiration. I'll forever be thankful for the chance meeting in a previous life (working in retail). In fact when I think about it, she was there at the start, even if she wasn't aware of it.

So over the coming years, she is going guide, and no doubt prod me, along my path towards being self-employed, well actually my goal is to be 50:50 and I think for me personally its not only achievable but for me its ideal and its flexible. Nothing is ever clear and least of all when you look to the future, you have to expect a fork in the road or the odd fallen treet.

The first step was to identify everything I do, connections, relationships the type of business it is and where I want to go. This is but a precis of what I, along with her and her husband talked about yesterday afternoon. I have always undervalued what it is I do, the things I have done to get it to the stage it is at the moment and well it was an eye opener. Its not going to be easy and its going require a lot of thinking, leg work and more but at the end of the day I want this to happen, and to use that well turned phase; no pain, no gain!

I have to identify things I have to do or want to achieve in the next six months, most of that will need my brain in gear, but there are some things I can do now, and they are:

- Rebrand - company name, logo design, website etc.
- Removing old stock

So I am pleased to announce, that over the course of the coming months I will be saying goodbye to LAMdesigns and saying hello to Mason Bee. You might wonder why I am choosing to change my shop name etc. Well, LAMdesigns served me well, but it was such a spare of the moment decision to use it and frankly not original, I used my initials and stuck designs on the end. I've never really being a 100% happy with it and I am ready for a change. And as I said earlier I need a new focus, and holding onto the past which was a hobby its time to let go. This is why I am giving away some of my older stock to friends and family (I can hear some happy cheers for that), I have no reason to hold onto it, I made it, it didn't sell so its time to also let go of the things I no longer make (jewellery, bags..)

The changes will be slowly happening, I am going to ease myself and everyone who follows me into this. No sudden alteration overnight. Too much to do for that to happen. So please bare with me, and I hope you enjoy the new path as much as me.

Laura x

Monday, May 07, 2012

New Products and Stuff

There are times when I have to admit the title of my blog posts are bloody stupid, or plain boring. I never know whether to be witty, or just state the obvious. I suppose with today's I am being a little flippant. Stuff covers everything and well I suppose today is a day about stuff. Anyway, aside from that little quandary I've been tinkering away with the new mini line for my shop and well that's about it if I have to be honest. Well aside from stuff.

Taking my images I got them turned into tiny little pocket mirrors and they arrived during the week. I could easily sell as is, but well that's not very me, where is the touch of the handmade where is well me in it. So I've been making tiny little pouches to go with them. The main bit of its done, I am now sewing them up into recognisable shapes and attaching press fasteners, the latter aspect is going to get old fast and has already been relegated to a job I can do on the train. Probably until I lose the first press stud in transit then it will probably be an at home only job. These are just little ways of being able to take home some of my pieces which generally speaking aren't very portable, namely the clocks. In time there will be further designs made, and some perhaps even specifically for the mirrors, but for the moment in time I had three designs printed:

Regal Clock pocket mirror and linen pouch

Flower power pocket mirror and linen pouch

Folk Art pocket mirror and linen pouch

In person, if I do say so myself they are very cute, especially with the pouches. It will be a bit of a random affair as to which pouch goes with what mirror but that suits my style fine. And each fabric is essentially left overs from previous projects. Nothing, especially not fabric, goes to waste. Part from scrappy bit of thread, knotted threads drive me potty, and life is too short to try and untangle them.

Each mirror is £5.50 each, and as I said comes with a handmade little pouch, might also notice I've had some new labels made up, partly because well it was time for a change and well they look so much nicer than the old lot.

So onto the stuff, I am musing on new pattern ideas, more intriquete ones to sell, time I also got the next free pattern example stitched up. And more interesting to you lot is that I will be doing a bit of a competition with the first pattern. This weeks Want it Wednesday will be temporarily replaced with 'You Will Want this Wednesday'. So keep eyes peeled for that folks! All I will say if you've downloaded the little planet pattern then you'll want to come back.

Anyway, time to get back to stitching pouches, drawing, and listening to TED Talks.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Want it Wednesday - Stop Collaborate and Listen...

No not going to burst out into song, though I bet you start humming. Anyway, this week post is dedicated to collaborations between artists/craftspersons. Reason for this, goes without saying really, is down to my own recent collaboration with Heidi Burton, which resulted in five rather beautiful clocks that I am so proud about that I was fit to burst yesterday listing them. I hope you have seen them but to remind you, just head over to my etsy store to have a look at them in more detail:

And this weeks selection:

Whats for Lunch - Zach Trover for Tinymeat

Framed pretty bunny brooch - Collaboration with Made By White

Mae Lee Ann Ring- in collaboration with Keiko Lynn - LiamofYork

The Sweet Life-Photo Locket Necklace Collaboration with Susannah Tucker - HeartworksByLori

See you at the weekend

p.s. have you tried my lovely free pattern yet? If you have I would love to see it, I may very well surprise someone with a little something. Just simply post a picture in the Flickr Group, and become a crafty fellow