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Monday, 31 January 2011

Confessions of a fabric-oholic

My name's Sarah and I'm a fabric-oholic.I really began my love affair with fabric about four years ago, and it's getting out of hand. While my friends hanker after shoes and bags, I always have my eye on a new set of desirable fat quarters, some gorgeous Liberty prints, or a jelly roll.
The problem is, although I sew all the time, I covert my fabric, and find it hard to decide which piece of my stash to break into.
Liberty of London tana lawn (as pictured above in pansy print) is beautifully soft cotton fabric, a joy to sew with, many of the prints are reproductions of Liberty prints dating back as far as the mid 1870's

Another of my favourites is Cath Kidston, (as pictured in the pin cushion above) I love her cheerful breezy prints and the clean crisp feel of the cotton.
But my obsession doesn't stop there, the temptations are endless, I make patchwork bags from jelly rolls, long strips of fabric in toning colours, Moda have a wonderful range. I also love repro feedsack patterns from 1930's US, and other American designs such as Sturbridge Village Civil War reproductions. Then there is the wealth of vintage fabric available at car boot sales and Jumble sales. Fabric is everywhere I look! So much fabric, so little time, I think to myself as I trawl through my treasure chest.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

From Negative To Positive

Shortly it will be 25 years since that devastating day, 28 January 1986 when the NASA Challenger space shuttle broke into pieces over the Atlantic Ocean. I can still remember today the horrifying event shown on television and not believing it to be true. Could it be possible that just over a minute into the flight, the shuttle disintegrated with its seven crew members aboard. Can anything in our lives be as devastating, but there is an important lesson to learn from the incident - how to turn a negative into a positive.

When a bad thing happens, it is so easy to feel defeated, depressed, hopeless, and wonder why does it always happen to me. But we can also use it as a learning experience, to grow, redefine, and improve. NASA may have been beaten down by their failures that day in 1986 and again during the pursuing years, but when you are dreaming big and tackling what seems the impossible, you are bound to have some setbacks along the way. The same is true when you are dealing with antiques and conservation products, not every day is going to be a good one. Not every experience is going to be positive, but with every negative experience or display of bad behaviour from a difficult customer, an opportunity presents its self to correct it and turn it around into a learning experience.
Negative experiences serve as a reminder to ways in which we can improve, because without weakness you do not know strength. 

Several years ago I had an old lady visit my stand and I tried to convince her of the benefits of using my eco friendly metal polish. After demonstrating the product she still remained unconvinced, but reluctantly bought a bottle on the basis that she would go home and try it and if it did not work she would come back the next day and get her money back. The next day there were a number of people watching me demonstrate the product, and low and behold the old lady arrived, joined the crowd but never said a thing. At this point I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, because my efforts to sell the product were just about to evaporate before my very eyes. None of the people were convinced and were beginning to move away when the old lady spoke. She told her story and the money back guarantee and said she had returned again not to get her money back but to buy another bottle because it was the best she had ever used and she was afraid she would use it all up before she saw me again. I have told this story many times at shows, because older people are usually more difficult to convince because they are set in their ways and change is difficult for them to accept. 

As you consider the problem behaviour of your customers, do not get frustrated or down if you have some setbacks along the way. If customers never exhibited bad behaviour, how would it be possible for you to improve your customer handling techniques? Take every negative experience and look at it as an opportunity to correct and grow – turn it into a positive! 

I cannot tell you how many times I thought it would be better to sell non eco-friendly products and make more money, but if I do not help planet earth – who will !!!

For more information about eco-friendly metal polish visit Rarity4u

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Striped Delights

Definitely a touch of the 'modern' this week, with these cheerful, fun striped buttons from Love Buttons HQ.

Brighten up all sorts of items from children's knitwear to colourful handmade bags with these turquoise and multi-striped buttons. They are priced at 50p each. Other colours are coming very soon...

These pretty pink and multi-stripe buttons are also 50p each. More colour options available shortly.

Look out for the turquoise colourway of this triangle button in a forthcoming edition of Let's Knit magazine!
These buttons are 50p each. Also available in teal and pink colour options.

Have fun sewing and crafting in 2011!
Posted by Julia of Love Buttons HQ. Love Buttons on Etsy. Love Buttons on Folksy. Love Buttons on MISI.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

In this busy selfish world of ours, it seems that personal gain is the only thing that really matters. Until the time comes when inter-planetary travel and cosmic colonisation becomes a reality, then planet earth remains our home. It therefore makes a lot of sense to make sure that we keep our home in good order. There are many views about how to achieve this, and even some that still say it is not necessary, so what are we to believe.

We keep our houses clean and tidy, we cut the grass and weed the flower beds, we paint the house and fence surrounding our property, but still we allow planet earth to be turned into a global rubbish dump. Whilst some of the issues require governments to solve, there are many self help remedies that we the consumer can remedy now.

Recycling, going green, reducing carbon footprints are just some of the initiatives that have gained popularity. I am sure some of these things will fail and others will take their place, but that is no reason for not trying. What many people fail to see and accept is that the humble antique is the oldest green product bar none. 

By definition, an antique is an item that is 100 years or more in age, and during that time it will have been recycled several times. By conserving and re-using these items we are reducing our impact on planet earth. That alone should be sufficient, but as a bonus the antique piece has a unique provenance that future generations can look back upon with pride. 

There are many products that can be used to care for antiques, and indeed many of them are household names. Make sure the product you use is an eco-friendly pH Neutral product. They may be a little more expensive to purchase initially, but usually work out cheaper in the long run and more importantly do no harm to the environment. By using these products, not only are you giving the antique piece you are trying to conserve the best chance of survival, you are also helping planet earth and all those that rely on her the chance to survive as well.

I hope I am ready for the question my grandchildren will most likely ask "Grandpa, what did you do to save planet earth". 

For more information about eco-friendly conservation products visit Rarity4u

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Knit Your Own Mini Cupcakes Kit

I love these cute little knitted cup cakes, and now you can make your own, thanks to a fab kit from Monkey Knits!

The kit includes everything you need to make three perfect mini cupcakes including toy stuffing, buttons, beads and yarn. Perfect for display purposes or for play cookery or picnics!

Cupcake knitting recipe designed by Angela Holladay of Monkey Knits.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Latest Button Finds

Hello! Here are the latest additions to Love Buttons HQ...

I had managed to find some vintage versions of this button in the past, but now they are being made again. These repro Art Nouveau buttons are quite charming, featuring a pansy flower with a fairy or girl's face in the centre. This set of five buttons costs £5. They are also available individually in gold tone finish for £1 each, or gunmetal finish, also for £1 each. I have two sets of five in copper finish, one on Folksy for £5; and one on Etsy for $7.80.

These vintage plastic buttons have a 'faux fabric', textured centre. They are suitable for coats, jackets and chunky knits, amongst other things. This set of seven buttons costs £4.

Finally, a set of five huge and chunky toggles. They are made from plastic to imitate antler and are brown with lighter marbling. They are reused toggles, costing £4 for a set of five.

Until next week... keep warm and safe!

Posted by Julia of *Love Buttons HQ*Love Buttons On Etsy* Love Buttons On Folksy*Love Buttons On MISI*

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Buttons and Clasp For Your 2011 Projects

Happy New Year one and all! Hope you all had an enjoyable festive season and are looking forward to all that 2011 has to offer :)

Here is a taste of the latest additions to Love Buttons HQ and the other Love Buttons shops.

First up are a set of six vintage black glass buttons in the shape of little flowers. They have a silver lustre applied, to add a bit of sparkle! These are listed on Etsy. This set of six buttons costs $9.50.

Next are three handmade ceramic buttons. They are a lozenge shape and have applied glazes of blue, green, yellow and pink. This set of three buttons costs £1.50.

This charming clasp is designed by Nicky Epstein and depicts a pair of leaves in 'antique' silver tone finish with gold and black shading. The clasp would be a stunning focal point for a cape, cloak, bolero jacket, fabric belt, neck warmer; or even wearable art or jewellery. One two-piece clasp costs £7.00.

Enjoy your New Year's crafting, folks!

Posted by Julia of Love Buttons HQ. Love Buttons on Etsy. Love Buttons on Folksy. Love Buttons on MISI.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year!

I just want to take a moment to thank all of you for your support, encouragement, friendship, business and love this past year. Every one of you are truly appreciated.

I also sincerely appreciate all the new friendships.. a "customer" becoming a friend is very special to me. You guys are the BEST!

May each of you have a wonderful, Happy, healthy New Year ~ the best ever ~ filled with friends, family and love!

Thank you all!