Monday, 29 April 2013

Today's blog is just a reminder about our show over the Bank Holiday weekend at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire.  It's open from 10am til 5pm all three days, and is well worth a visit.  The house and gardens alone are stunning, so add in the craft show, and you'll have a lovely day out.  If anyone is interested, give me a shout and I have a £1.50 discount voucher that I can email over to you for money off your entrance tickets.

It was my birthday on Friday, but it was also Chris' mom's on Wednesday.  Shelagh collects ducks...wooden and ceramic ones at the moment, although I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple swimming about on their pond at some point in the future! we made her a wooden duck with a cute fabric wing.  It worked out pretty well, so we've decided to make them to sell as well.  Like an idiot, I forgot to take a photo of Mrs Duck before wrapping it up, but once we've made more, I'll put some pictures on here and then get them on the website.

My birthday present from Chris was this gorgeous toadstool house that he's been secretly making in the workshop for the last couple of weeks.  I especially love the two little cats that he added, our BumBum and Tillybum.  We're thinking about making similar versions to sell online and at the shows.  What do you think?

We have loads of shows coming up this month, so I'm off for a manic sewing day...beach huts, lighthouses, birdies, ducks, apples, hearts, boats.....and so the list goes on.  Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to write the list, it's a bit scary seeing in written down like that!!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Is that Sunshine!?!?

I know the weather forecast had said that today was going to be nice, but that doesn't always mean much.  So, I was very pleasantly surprised to see the lovely sunshine this morning, and felt the need to get some fresh air and a bit of warm sun.  Sunbathing was out of the question (not quite warm enough for that yet!), so taking some more stock photos seemed to be the best compromise, and stops the guilty feelings of not working.

I had a trusty photographic assistant today...yes Andy, that's you!!! after a sneaky pub lunch for my birthday, we turned the patio into our studio, and got to work.

I don't know how many hours it took us to get the three main photos that we needed, but we got there in the end.  I think it must have been all the reminiscing of our school and college days that put us off, remembering the holidays, the songs and everything else that went along with them.  It all seems so long ago now!!  Anyway, the other photos that were scheduled in for today will just have too be done next time the elusive sun decides to grace us with it's presence, and of course when Andy is around to help out!

It was our Wooden Houses that were on the menu for today, and they are uploaded and available to buy right now :)  We make them in lots of other colours too, but rather than drowning the website in them, we just added the three most popular choices.  If anyone does want one in anything different though, all you have to do is email us with your required colours, and we'll take it from there.

Red Wooden House
Cream & Green Wooden House
Cream & Red Wooden House
Double and triple beach huts are on my making list for this week, but my birthday is at the end of the week, so I can't promise to get everything done!  I'll get some pictures on here as soon as they are ready, and at least the sun is shining and helping me with the beachy/summery feeling that definitely helps when making that kind of thing.  Snow just doesn't have the same effect!

I'll write again soon, maybe with the extra wisdom of one who is a whole year older...well you never know ;)

Linz xxx

Thursday, 11 April 2013

New products

The recent good weather has given me burst of energy, and things that have been in the pipeline for a while now have finally started to come together! 

Firstly, the website's new fresh and more contemporary look went live earlier in the week...really exciting!!...and we finally had the weather to get outside and take photographs of the new Beachside & Coastal range. 

After trialling the boats, beach huts and lighthouses at the craft shows, we were ready to get them online.  Yesterday's sunshine facilitated an enjoyable afternoon playing around with a pile of wooden crates and seashells, and now they are uploaded and available to buy online.  I still have a few more beach huts to make to complete the sets, but we really are making some progress at long last.

Neutral Wooden Boat - £13.95
Faded Blue Lighthouse - £11.95

The cute Little Wooden Birdies are also online, and are just waiting for their opportunity to fly off to their new homes.  With their funky, distressed colours, they will be a bright and fun little touch to any room in your home.

Coral Wooden Birdie - £6.50
Our Facebook page is coming together nicely, and our number of 'likers' has been increasing steadily all week...thank you :)  We would love it if you would follow us so that you can see what we're up to, new products, and of course a few special offers that are only going to be available through Facebook ;) 

We're now starting to work towards our next show at Calke Abbey at the beginning of May.  Lots to do, but it's a great show, and always enjoyable.  Hope to see you there :)

Take care
Linz xxx

Monday, 8 April 2013

Our Facebook Page

How did I forget to mention this?!?!?!?

We decided it was time to create a facebook page for Pretty Beautiful.  Here's the link, and we would love it if you would come along and follow us on there :)

See you there :)

Easter Adventures!

Easter didn't turn out all that well for us here at Pretty Beautiful.  We drove down to Buckingham for a craft show at Hyde End, to find a complete mudbath.  The organisers had done an amazing job to even get the show open, but it wasn't the easiest of set-ups, and we had to be towed out just to add to the misery. 

The stand was looking good though, so off we went to our hotel to hide from the -7 temperatures outside.  The following morning (Good Friday) we left the hotel to go to the first day of the show.  That's when things really started to go wrong!  Our van broke down in a bad place.  The bottom of a hill on a main road in the middle of nowhere.  Lorries were thundering down the hill towards us, and how we didn't get hit, I will never know.  After a quick call to the RAC, and another to a friend at the show to come and rescue me, the van got towed away, and I opened the stand.

A Bank Holiday weekend is never going to be the best time to breakdown, especially when it turns out that the van needs some major repairs!  The long and the short of it was that we had a stressful few days and an extra night in Buckinghamshire.  The van was recovered and taken to my Dad's dealership in Birmingham, and we were recovered by Chris' mom.

We are still missing our van as it is very poorly indeed, and can't be fixed until later this week.  Much of our equipment and stock is in it, making life a little difficult, but at least we will get it back.  It was a scary and very stressful catastrophe!!

Anyway, it's the start of a new week, and we've got a lot to do!  Orders to be completed, stock to make, new designs to finish, and a whole load of photos to get on the website.  Our web designer (Meg at White Ochre Design) is working on a bit of a new look for the homepage as we speak, and that should be up and running shortly.  We need something new that reflects what we do and where the business has gone.  Our products are much more sewing, wood and fruit based nowadays, as we have slowly moved away from the cards.  We want our website to reflect this with a more soft, natural and handcrafted look.  We hope you like the outcome :)

These photos aren't going to take themselves, so I'm going to try and get some done whilst the weather is good.  I'll get some on here when I get a moment.

Speak to you all soon
Linz xxx  

Saturday, 23 February 2013

New Year, New Products

Okay, so it's been months since my last blog, but the run up to Christmas was more manic than ever.  Just as we were nearing the end, I ended up with glandular fever, and am still feeling the sleepy effects even now.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty fond of a nap, but now I can sleep for England, and wake up still tired.  This isn't very conducive to work and product development, but we are finally starting to get somewhere with our list of 'got to do's' so I thought I'd take the chance to blog about our progress.

Firstly, regular website customers will start to notice some big changes.  Even though the business originally started with our handcrafted cards, over the last two years in particular, we've moved away from those and focused instead on our handmade gifts and home accessories.  The website is now starting to reflect long last!  There are still changes to be made, and many more products to be added, but at least we have started to make progress.  The title block of the website needs to be changed next, along with the images...that's next week's job.

Our dried fruit wreaths and garlands are always a good seller, but we want to offer a wider range of products.  The candle range will be expanding later in the year (watch this space) but we wanted to really focus on the wood and fabric combination designs.  Last year the Rustic Houses and Pomegranate Hearts sold beyond our expectations, so it seemed to be the obvious choice for development.

This week we added the first of our Beach Huts in the new Beachside category.  Available as singles, pairs or trios, these add a fantastic finishing touch to any bathroom or coastal styled room.  We've made them in a variety of colours ranging from the traditional and vibrant nautical theme, all the way through to the more classic and contemporary neutrals with colourful accents.  I'm currently working on some other colour combinations, but our boiler has broken, and with no heating, the only warm room in the house is the lounge...hence a day of computer work!! 

Tomorrow we'll finish off the other items that will be available in this category, and then it's onto the next idea on the list.  Hopefully the weather will hold and we'll be able to get our photos taken with some decent light.

With Mother's Day fast approaching (10th March), you still have time to order your gift.  Our new spotty wooden hearts seem to be the flavour of the month, and if you would like it made in a different colour from what you see online, just let us know.  We are happy to make them in any colour of your choice.  A simple heart is always a good way to show your love and appreciation, and the shabby chic style of these spotty hearts brings them right up to date in a way that's fun, affordable and perfect for most homes.  Hang them on dressers, door handles, the wall, beds......the list goes on!

Time for dinner now, but I will be back to keep you all updated with the changes and new products.  Don't forget to take a look at our Upcoming Events page, we've started to list the confirmed events, but there are many more in the pipeline.  These will be listed as we get booking confirmations, so it's definitely worth checking back regularly if only to laugh at our crazy itinerary for the year!!

Bye for now :)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Back again!

I'm back here again....I did say that I would really try, and here I am and very pleased with myself too ;)

Anyway,  I've been doing a bit of work on the website in the last few days, adding in new teacup candles...we sold out.....adding the new wooden houses, more new wreaths and so on.  Regular customers will also notice that we are starting to scale down the card side of the business.  As time goes by we've found that most of our business is in the gifts and home accessories.  We sell those items at the shows, supply them to retail outlets, and online.  It seems sensible to aim the website more at that market than the smaller handmade card sector. 

After Christmas, we're hoping that the website will have a facelift, and at that point the cards will all but disappear, just leaving the bespoke option and few others.  We have a few ideas on how we want it to look, but for now it's all in the ".....get Christmas out of the way, and in the New Year" stage, just like cleaning the house, sorting the garden, finishing the bathroom...............

The teacup candles have been going really well online recently, with a lot of enquiries coming through for other designs and sets.  Most of what we sell comes from current stock photos being emailed to the customer so that they can make a choice.  Our stock changes almost daily, so we normally have something that is just right.  If you do want to have a look at others, please don't hesitate to ask, we send out photographs every day, so another request won't be a problem :)  We have a few really, really nice trio sets avaialbale online at the moment, my favourites being the ones in these pictures. 

I've managed to get a picture of our 'Wooden Houses' online, although this is only one of the colours that we offer.  The other two are a pale cream and a darker, richer caramel/cream colour.  The fabrics available for the windows and doors are endless, so all we ask is for your chosen colour scheme, and we'll do the rest.  We can send over pictures of the proposed fabric combinations so that we can get it just right for you.  They are one of my favourite items to make along with the Pomegranate Hearts, as I get to play with fabric, and the simple combination of the wood and fabric is really appealing and 'homey'.

Today I am working on the final elements of my sister's wedding stationary.  the wedding is next weekend, and I still have the table plan to make, the table numbers, and make alterations to her dress and mine, and that's not even taking into account our normal day to day work and orders......time to stop chatting away on here I think!

I'm off, and I'll try to get back after the wedding next weekend!
Lyndsay x