Friday, 31 October 2008

Gift Ideas – Bath and Beauty

I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite things is choosing a new soap... the colours and the scents and the texture of the bar. Handmade soap for me is a relatively recent discovery – the sheer number of different scents available is wonderful, and that they seem less drying than most shop bought ones has made for several positive experiences.

The PureSoaps Blue Marmalade Soap Company, makes soaps that look good enough to eat as well as a whole range of hard shampoos and other skin products. All are vegetarian, with many being vegan. This Heather and Honey soap sounds divine.

PurpleSparkle makes soap amongst other things, including candles (some shaped as cupcakes!), bath melts, bath bombes and body treats. This ‘Always and Forever’ bath bombe looks amazing with the dried roses attached.

One of these already taken your fancy? Why not display it on one of HandmadeHeavens stunning square dishes... just at home in the bathroom holding soap as on the coffee table containing nuts!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Meet the Makers - Kate of Paperleaf

The latest in our series of 'Meet the Makers' features brings you Kate of Paperleaf - an amazing online store selling some of the most beautiful printed stationary I've seen!

I'm Kate, originally from Staffordshire but now living in Oxford where I'm studying for my PhD in medical engineering. I have always loved crafts since I was young, when I used to make barbie doll outfits on my mum's old sewing machine. Fast forward 20 years and I made my wedding dress this summer on that same old machine, perhaps my most ambitious (or insane, depending on how you look at it) crafty endeavour to date!

I started PaperLeaf, my fledgling stationery business, around 6 months ago after I became seriously addicted to Gocco, a crazy screenprinting technique from Japan. The only possible justification for making hundreds of cards was to start selling them, so here I am! All of my cards are made from post-consumer waste recycled material and packaged in clear bags made from corn starch which is biodegradable and compostable. I also take custom orders for wedding invitations which I adore!

I love the global indie craft scene that has emerged over the past few years. The handmade movement fits in perfectly with the increase in social conscience and environmental awareness at the start of the 21st century, and events such as Handm@de Oxford just go to show that we can make a difference! This year I've signed up to the handmade pledge and hope to buy most, if not all of my Christmas presents from online craft communities and events such as Handm@de Oxford.

You can find my stationery at Folksy (£), Etsy ($) and DaWanda (EUR). Visit my blog for more information about me.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Gift Ideas - Jewelled Delights

I love jewellery – I covet it and then hoard it once its mine! It can transform a plain simple (and oftentimes cheap) outfit, making it look a million dollars. It can change your look from workwear to glitzy glam in the flick of an eye... and we have some real stunners coming to handm@de. I can’t wait.

Quercus Silver uses resin and silver to create some truly beautiful pieces. The smooth curve of these silver cufflinks is wonderful.

Lush Lampwork makes her own beads, selling them individually and as already formed pieces of wearable art. I love the colours in this pendant.

Moments By Martha makes chunky jewellery using semi-precious stones. These ‘Strawberry Milk’ earrings are one of her favourite items.

Myaphrodites silverwork is stunning. The undulations of this bracelet are set off by the hues of blues and greens contained within the labradorite stones.

PennyDog’s resin jewellery is gorgeous. I love the simplicity of this fabric flower forever suspended here.

Silverqueens pieces are amazing. These Gold and Silver earrings have an ethnic, almost tribal feel to them.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Gift Ideas - from wool they're made

Our exhibitors will be bringing with them a whole range of items that started their lives as wool. With the cold weather drawing in scarves and gloves are a must – but there are so many other things that humble wool can be used for...crochet and knitting create some gorgeous items... unspun wool can be felted for decorations or clothing... and felt can be made into jewellery and toys.

Here are just a few of my favourites...

1. Earrings - SnappySausage 2. Felted Bear - Jezzabell 3. Cuff - Cloudhopping 4. Necklet - GreenWeeds 5. Felt Plush - Monda 6. Pincushions - Raspberry 7. Teapot Cosy - ChiChiMoi 8. Knitting Kits - Cafe Knits 9. Scarf - Made For You, by Shamu 10. Knitted Figures - Cakeyvoice

Monday, 27 October 2008

Raffle Prize Donation!

Hey, everyone. Katie (twinklyspangle) here. hope you are all getting excited about the fair! Now, I have been beavering away trying to get some fabulous raffle prizes, and the company I work for, Siblu Holidays has agreed to donate a holiday!

The prize is a 7 night stay between 4th of April & the 30th of June, in our Esprit+ accommodation, at any of our Siblu owned parcs across France. We have parcs in Brittany, Normandy, all along the west coast of France and in the south too. All our parcs make excellent family holiday destinations, and the prize includes a Dover- Calais ferry crossing aswell.

So, if you fancy winning yourself and up to 6 people a great break in France, you can have a lot at the company website here, start planning where you'd like to go, and enter the Helen And Douglas House raffle on the day!

Gift Ideas – art to adorn your home

We’ve got some amazing artists coming to handm@de this year – from the more traditional acrylic on canvas, to glass art as well as textile and printed artworks.

Here is a selection of my favourites...

Steph from HandmadeHeaven produces some stunning Fused Glass Art. These panels are beautiful.

These ‘Milly Molly’ Dollys by Sally of StitchyWooWoo aren’t for playing with – made from rich silks they’ll last for years.

Gorgeous paintings of the English Coast are amongst the repertoire of Tina, aka the Cycling Artist.

Mark Langfords Stained Glass is beautiful and so vivid.

Paul of BarkArt creates amazing images from natural resources. This is one of my many favourites!

Ginette produces screenprints that evoke a sense of times gone by.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Bag Packing - Take 2

On Thursday a couple of us got together and had a go at sorting out the promo items that have arrived since the last time!

They look amazing... and we now have 250 bags ready to give out to our visitors. Thanks to all who have sent in their freebies.

Becci and Katie packing the AMAZING bags!

And a selection of the items in them...

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Gift Ideas - Stocking Stuffers, £5 and under

If you’re anything like me then this is about the time of year that you start to look for those small things that will nestle in amongst satsumas, nuts and sugar mice.

I’ve had a quick rummage through the websites of some of our sellers, and found a few items that might be suitable for under £5...

These hairclips by PoorRobin would be stunning on big or little girls!

These “bling” hair bands by SnapDragonBeads are fabulous!

How about a pencil case from YuniSacs – only a little over £5

This gorgeous red brooch by PollysDolly would be an amazing stocking stuffer for my Mum...

...and this ‘outdoors’ soap from PureSoaps would be great for Dad

For little ones, maybe this finger puppet by LoveaLittle would do the job

...or maybe this stuffed toy by Monda - or why not both?

For teenage girls there are always these gorgeous shrink plastic studs by TwinklySpangle (also known as KeepsakeKatie)

If you treat your canine companions to a stocking then why not include one of StitchyWooWoos doggy toys?

Friday, 24 October 2008

Gift Ideas - Grub

As we all know, Christmas isn’t complete without a whole range of food... from the traditional turkey or goose, to Christmas cake & Christmas pudding – all the way to that mahoosive box of chocolates that will be picked through until just the manky ones remain.

Although their food might have to be eaten a little while before Christmas (through necessity or temptation) it will be worth noting that we have 3 sellers of edible delights coming along to Handm@de.

Bunny and the Baker
Makes some gorgeous looking cookies as well as beautifully decorated cupcakes – not to mention brownies. Based in Cheltenham they will also take commissions for wedding cakes etc.

I can vouch for the deliciousness of these handmade chocolates. Chocolate heaven. Seriously.

Caroline Tilling
Makes and sells rather unique ‘Sand Art’cookie jars in which the ingredients for cookies and other delectable edibles are layered – just like those sand art jars you get in tourist hotspots the world over!

And then you could display your cupcakes, cookies or chocolate on one of these fabulous vintage plate Cake Stands from Let Them Eat Cake.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Gift Ideas – the extras!

As the first in the series of Gift Ideas I thought I’d start at the end... with the wrapping, the cards, the tags... all those little bits that go to making the gift look amazing in the days leading up to the unwrapping!

This is my favourite part of Christmas. I really enjoy wrapping presents and the beautification process, getting them to look as good as I can – my family have gotten so used to the ‘faffy’ bits that they’d moan like billy-o if I stopped. But I shan’t. Because I love it.

Having had a look around the shops of our stationers I’ve found some stunning cards, and really can’t wait to see what Christmas offerings they have on November 9th. Bluecricket, CaraJane, JenniferAnn and Paperleaf all sell on etsy (the online marketplace for all things handmade), and make some of the loveliest creations I’ve seen in some time.

White Tree by BlueCricket - $5 each

Happy Birthday Stitched Card with Cupcake Dress by Jennifer Ann Designs - $3.75 each

Watering the Flowers Card by CaraJane - $3 each

Screenprinted Christmas Cards by PaperLeaf - $8 for 5

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Goodie Bags!

Hi everyone, the fair is approaching, and I, for one, STILL need to get my banner sorted and make some more stock and ARRG! So much left to do. I thought some of my like to see some more of the gorgeousness I have received in the last few weeks for the promotional bags. They really are going to be swell, and each has so much stuff in, they'll be a real treat for the lucky first 200 in the door :)
1. In magic alice's giftbags, 2., 3., 4., 5., 6. Close up of kittyanydots print, 7. Littleshopofsparkles, 8., 9., 10., 11., 12., 13., 14. Pinkflapjacks, 15. clairepayne, 16.

I still have four or five more packages to photograph. If you don't see yourself here, it doesn't mean I haven't received your bits! Don't forget as well, a lot of the earlier stuff we received is already in the huge box of bags currently in residence in my hallway. I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has contributed. The bags are going to be a great talking point. I've been looking at all this stuff for weeks and I still want to snaffle one. I really hope they do the job and bring lots more people through Etsy and Folksy, to our shops! We have received over 3,000 individual items, cards, flyers and various bits and bobs.
Just a couple of notes, the layout has now been fully confirmed with the venue, hop on over to the Flickr Group and check out who you'll be next to, or if you are coming to shop, plan who you can't wait to see!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A few things from our sellers!