Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Just Keep Swimming

Yesterday marked my first blog post in two months. I have generally been very absent from social media, and I know a few people have commented on this. Most of you will already know that my year did not start off well - if you're not sure what I'm talking about then you can read my blog post about it right here. Although time has helped improve things, my confidence and my work have taken huge blows as a result. Each day has been a new struggle, to find motivation to perform even the most basic of tasks. Since starting Ladybird Likes three years ago I've always found it easy to push myself and motivate myself - I love coming up with new ideas and working on growing my business, but the last seven months have been really tough. I have battled with depression and anxiety for many years, but had been coping with it much better in recent years, however I feel as though I have slipped backwards lately. My business has suffered massively as a result. I feel under constant pressure to create a business and products and lifestyle that fits a certain aesthetic, and that will ultimately make me money, and lately the pressure has stopped motivating me and driving me to work harder, and has instead started to make me feel as though I can't cope.

There were several points where I felt that perhaps I should close Ladybird Likes and look for other employment. While I don't want to bore you with the details, trying to find somewhere to rent in London on my own, with space to work, is proving to be almost impossible. Most landlords want me to be earning an insane amount of money to rent a one bedroom flat (£42k salary to rent a £1200 a month flat!) And the fact that I lost close to £3500 in my studio ordeal at the end of last year, none of which I have been able to reclaim so far, has meant that I've been very cautious with spending money on the business this year.

I know what I want to be doing, I feel as though I can make it happen, but I'm just not sure how to get there right now. This post is in no way a 'hey I'm all better now, everything is fixed' kind of statement. I do finally feel as though I've finally got a few bits of my life back under control - I'm really excited to be blogging again, and creating content specifically for my blog, including lots of DIY and craft projects. But I've had to look really hard at my business and my life in general, and work out what I need to be doing. I have made the very tough decision to not launch any new product ranges this year - it is something I absolutely LOVE doing, but right now I know the pressure will overwhelm me. Instead I will be working away behind the scenes experimenting with new techniques and materials, designing new products, and planning lots of awesome things ready for 2016.

That's not to say that I will be disappearing completely this year. Not at all! I will be really busy on my social media accounts, and am hoping to also have a few sales of some very limited runs of handmade items. I've also been toying with the idea of doing some sort of fundraising to try and recoup some of the money I lost during my studio ordeal. Maybe a kickstarter campaign, or something similar. But I will post more information about that as and when I figure out the details.

Thank you to everyone that has stuck by me and my business during this tough time. All your comments and messages and purchases make me smile and keep me going.

Monday, 3 August 2015

car boot sale finds

Although it's been two months since I last blogged, I won't talk about that right now. There is a blog post coming tomorrow explaining a bit more about what I've been doing and what my plans are moving forward. But for now I want to show you guys some of the awesome things I picked up at my local car boot yesterday! There are several car boot sales near me which I can get to by bus (important as I don't drive) and none of them are that big, but they always seem to have pretty good things so that doesn't bother me.

 Look at that lovely lot of loot! The big straw basket style bag at the back was only £1 and my plan is to make some raffia flowers on my flower loom and sew them all over it. Add that to the 'things I want to make' list!

The flower edged plate was just 50p - it was the only one they had, but I like mismatched plates so that works just fine for me. I think I will turn the purple floral fabric into a pillow or two to practice my sewing skills, and the mini crochet blanket next to it (which I think was a baby blanket or dolls blanket) is also going to be turned into a cushion. You can never have too many questions, right? The train planter was £1 and brings my (very small) collection of kitsch pastel planters up to three. Oh and that teeny 'Little Boy Blue' cup - seriously, how could I leave it behind?!

 The set of two small and one large glass pineapple dishes cost me £3 for the lot and I love them so much. Is it weird to love glassware? Plus two more mismatched plates (check out those Autumnal hues) and a carved wooden gazelle figurine because he looks so regal.

 More creepy cats for the collection - a tall lustre finished cat ornament, and a dinky cat jug - look at his face with his crazy looking wide mouth. They were £3 for the two.

 I also hit the motherload of vintage buttons - the lady had a huge box of little packs of buttons, and the packs were all 5 for £1 so I basically got as many as I could stuff in my bag! And it just so happened that the colours matched my new plate and blanket perfectly....

And finally a vintage 'Old Maid' card game because I collect old playing cards and card games (there's not much I don't collect really!), the dinkiest bird salt and pepper shakers, and a couple of the sewing patterns that were in a huge lot of knitting and sewing patterns I scored for £2. I also picked up a few items not shown - an awesome cherry print vintage blouse, a Mickey Mouse clock, and a cat jigsaw puzzle.

Did anyone else hit up the car boot sales at the weekend? It's one of my favourite things about the Spring/Summer - I do love a good rummage and the thrill of the hunt!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Little Birdy Ceramic Creatures

So many of you will have seen me mention Little Birdy over on Instagram in the past - run by the incredible Liz who hand sculpts the most adorable creatures and objects from clay before decorating them and prettifying them in her own magical way. Well, at the Bristol Outlaw fair a month or so back (wow, time sure does fly!) I finally had the opportunity to meet the lady behind Little Birdy in person and it was basically the best weekend because of that! Even more so because I now, after probably a year of lusting after them, have two Little Birdy pieces all of my own! It was almost impossible to pick which ones to go for, but I settled on a push me pull you, and a hanging sloth, both decorated in the most gorgeous candy colours.

 I actually spotted the hanging sloth on Liz's Instagram feed the day before the fair, and basically ran to her stall as soon as we were done setting up to make sure no-one else got their hands on him. Also when I realised the colours Liz used on the creatures matched my new crocheted wall hangings I couldn't resist snapping a few photos of them together in all their pastely goodness!

 If you don't already follow Little Birdy then GO DO IT RIGHT NOW! (just a heads up their Instagram handle is @littl_birdy) 7Seriously, how could you not love those little creatures?!

Crochet Pineapple Garland

Everyone goes through phases of being obsessed with a particular thing, right? A certain colour, fabric, pattern, whatever. For me right now it's pineapples. Cannot get enough of those bad boys! Eating them, wearing them, crafting them, all of it. And I think what started it all was pinning this awesome free pattern for a crochet pineapple garland from By Hand London. Literally the same day I pinned it I started crocheting pineapples galore to make my own garland! And here are the results....

It's a super simple make once you get the hang of shaping the pineapple, and each one took me maybe ten minutes, so pretty quick too! And portable, which is very important to me when looking at crochet projects. No-one wants to be carrying a ton of stuff around on the tube. I'm hoping to try and make some crochet pineapples to turn into appliques or pins - might try backing them with felt for a bit more stability. I'll let you know how I get on!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Folksy Meet the Maker

So I'm super excited to announce that I was Folksy's Featured Seller last week wooooo! I totally didn't get round to blogging about it last week, but I was so honoured to be chosen as there are so many amazing shops over on Folksy.... And to celebrate you can get 20% off in my Folksy shop till the end of the week with the code HELLOTHERE.

They also featured me in their Meet the Maker spotlight over on the Folksy blog - you can read the interview with me right here. I'm chatting about things that inspire me, how I started Ladybird Likes, and a few tips and tricks for running your own business! Below are a few screenshots from the feature....

Hope you enjoy having a good old read - and thanks to the lovely team at Folksy (particularly Camilla!) for such an awesome feature.

Crochet Wall Hangings

I found a pattern/tutorial for an amazing Carnivale Cushion Cover from My Poppet Makes over on Pinterest. I loved all the different stitches and colours, but really didn't need another cushion to find a home for! So I decided to use part of the tutorial (I only did up to round 8) and create these crochet wall decorations. Well, that's what I'm using them as, but I think they would make awesome doilies or something.

 I'm pretty much a novice at crochet, and I managed to work these up pretty quickly as they only use simple stitches. They do use a couple of stitches which I'd not used before (invisible join and standing stitches) but they provide you with a tutorial for these and they're pretty easy to get the hang of once you've done them a few times!


Although I do love these pastel colours, I'm excited to try making them in some other colourways too. I also really want to experiment with ways to show them off - I'm thinking maybe sewing them on to some fabric and framing in an embroidery hoop? After making these ones I've found some other patterns for similar ones (usually called crochet mandalas) so am excited to try those out and see how they compare to these! Anyone else crocheting up anything fun? I finished my first crochet lap blanket yesterday so will be sharing that one here very soon!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Vivienne Westwood x Alice in Wonderland

On Thursday the lovely Ella from Ella Masters Illustration invited me to be her plus one at a Vivienne Westwood event, inspired by the Mad Hatter's tea party! The whole shop was decorated like something straight out of Wonderland, and they were serving up the most amazing teeny cakes and biscuits, plus cocktails in jars and teacups. So much eye candy! The event was being held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland, and as part of the celebrations Vivienne Westwood had created a new cover for the Penguin edition of the book.

 Hands down the best part of the event was Vivienne herself making an appearance to talk about and read an extract from the book! Since I was about 13 I have been such a huge fan of hers, not just of her fashion work (which is obviously incredible and groundbreaking) but also of her whole attitude, and the work she does for numerous charities. It was amazing hearing her speak - she is every bit as eccentric and outspoken as I imagined she would be!

It feels amazing to be able to tick off meeting one of my heroes from my bucket list - now I just need to accost David Attenborough and I will be one happy lady!