Hello and welcome to All things card and paper at Evelyn Mae. A place where I get to wax lyrical about all things to do with card making. From stitching to glitter, to history to whims of fashion ...

Thank you for visiting

Shelly X

Monday, 28 May 2012

holiday time :)

Hi all,

I'm just stopping in for a short post today ... I am on my holidays (or staycation as its been coined)  and thought I'd share some snaps ...

These are from my Sister in Laws wedding this Saturday just gone ....

They were married by my husband at his Church, and their reception was held at our local .... which happily is by the beach- and with the lovely weather we had too, it made for some nice pictures!

The fayreness Hotel, Broadstairs

Overlooking Botany Bay

Overlooking Botany Bay

Wedding cake

Bridesmaid posy

The toast

Strawberries and cream for dessert

Nothing like a  little Instagram to play with!!

Hope you are all enjoying the weather, and i'll be back sometime soon with some interesting posts, including a few more holiday snaps, origami,  crochet, and paper pop ups!

See ya soon X

Thursday, 17 May 2012

social networking?...

[picture taken from John Haydon]

It is 8.28am, and I am sat in my local cafe; the manager is setting up the till and display area around me, and the church and  community centre is coming to life.  The notice boards are being written by staff, there are good 'mornings' and 'hellos' from the children coming through the centre to nursery, and there is a general buzz created from the people who use the centre.  It is a special place to work; it is a church and a community centre, using the same space.  There is one entrance, and everyone is in together.  There are events that happen like zumba classes and elderly lunches, and it definitely feels very much like a community. 

But what if, like me, you are self-employed?  You spend you days crafting in your own home, and really only ever get to meet other people when you do a craft fayre? And even then, you are sat behind your table most of the time!!

For me, recently,  looking at interacting with others in the same boat has become a focus- and not in a craft fayre setting, and so how I use facebook is fast changing.   I first set up my business page to promote my cards to sell directly to those who 'like' the page.  A way to let friends and family see what I have been making, and for me to get potential sales.  This was successful to a degree; I had a few sales, however the downside is you cannot see who blocks your news feed, and whether people take any notice of your photos and posts.  I am bombarded with haircare products on tv. ... but I don't actually go out and buy them. Why should my cards be any different?

Last month I had a really good think about what I was going to do with my business; mostly which direction to take it in.  I decided that I needed to do more for myself and my personal enjoyment, and stop making everything about my work.  So I booked on a coach trip to go to the cake show at the Excel in London (which I wrote about in this blog post).  It was me and a coach load of people I didn't know.  I was scared!! I'm not good at meeting new people and get quite shy!  Happily, on the trip was a lady who runs a fantastic local cupcake company called Ems Cupcakes, who I spent the day with, and had lunch and coffee with, as well as meeting some other lovely people.

A week or so later she sent me a message via facebook making me aware of a job opportunity for me she had seen.  I was exceedingly happy!!!!  After than I began to reflect on the the fact that this opportunity had come out of a chance meeting on a day trip I had gone on just for fun!!  And it certainly got me thinking!

Because of this, I became an online member of a facebook group called Women in business! which is part of the wider networking group of women 4 business network, which I am finding helpful.  I am using it not to promote work to sell, but as a genuine networking tool that I can use to connect with others in the same position as me.

I have had online discussions with other members about how to present my work to prospective clients, and given my thoughts on various points to others thinking about their own work and business model.  I am sharing my blog with the ladies who may find my ramblings either or use, or interesting, and I am getting to know others in a professional capacity, which builds up my network of contacts.  

So my first plan of action is finding more groups like this to build connections- and not necessarily just for women, or just for crafters ... Just a way of getting to meet all sorts of people.  Whether they are online groups on facebook, websites, or meetings that take place in my locality.  

I think when we focus a little less on promoting sales online, and focus on connecting with people, more seems to happen!  Sister Diane over at the Crafty Pod has discussed this idea more than once.  She shares her thoughts about telling our story rather than plugging for sales all the time, and that connecting with people will in turn make people want to invest in what you create- rather than just picking through your work like they would at a shop.

Its certainly an approach that I will be using more often, and I hope that socialising with people rather than selling to people may be of more use to them too - sharing my opinions and my knowledge base with others.

Having worked as a lecturer, and professional actress before, maybe I will do some public lectures about the subject, maybe I will organise coffee mornings for crafters to just chat and network, or maybe I will get my cards into a store .... Or maybe, all of the above will be possible because I take the time to meet people and just connect.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, I would love to hear what you think about it.

Have a nice day

Shelly X

Sunday, 13 May 2012

recycling ...

Any of you who are card makers will know the copious amounts of recycling that gets done .... whether it is re using old scraps of paper, ribbon ends from new clothing, or old boxes to make templates, us crafters do seem to hang onto a lot of things 'just in case' !!!

The Colossal blog has brought a really interesting post that I wanted to share with your today .......  you can check out the post here ...

It is all about how Garth Britzman has used plastic bottles ... 

[Photos taken from the Colossal blog, May 2012]

and I love it! I am not sure whether its water proof, but it certainly looks amazing, and reminds me of the ceiling in the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas ....  I can't find my Las Vegas photos, but if you check out this link you will see what I mean!

Happy Sunday all! X

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Saturdays gift and craft fayre

As you know, last Saturday I did a local craft fayre organised by Estrella Events.  The room was full of lovely stalls, with some beautiful work, and filled with some friendly like minded people.

I had my stall all set up, with a range of cards and small gifts, displayed in easy to reach boxes .....

I think next time I could have gone for a bigger stall, I was pretty cramped behind there!!

So with over 150 people through the doors, I couldn't understand why I didn't make more sales.  Unfortunately I didn't make enough to cover the cost of my table.  Equally, I don't think I was alone in this; from conversations I had, other people struggled too.

I left in the pouring rain feeling pretty low about it, and spent the evening  eating crispy chicken, chocolate, and thinking through what I could have done to make my stock more attractive.  Was it what I was sell? is my work good enough? the usual crisis of confidence when you don't do as well as you would have liked!!!

However, after a good nights sleep, and one massive lie in, I decided that I was happy with the stall, presentation, the stock, and the pricing.  

I came to the conclusion that I one thing I could do is to be more proactive in supporting handmade items by others.  I thought back to Christmas, when I tried to use Folksy to buy gifts, and wondered why I had only bought handmade once since then.  How can I expect anybody to buy my work when I don't support others regularly in what they do?  As far as I am aware, not one craft stall holder bought from me, and all I bought from someone else's stall was a slice of banana bread!!!  Why had I not used this opportunity to do some shopping myself?  Yes I do not have a great deal of spare money, but I would find it to buy pressies from a large store if I needed something, so why not spend there instead?

So my mission is to buy handmade, via stalls and online shops, and to share the items with you when I do.  For those of you who sell handmade, feel free to join the mission, try to buy handmade too .....  we can support our own industry and take responsibility for its growth.  Sister Diane over at Crafty Pod has touched on this a number of times, and actively promotes supporting handmade, and free online services.

There are some beautiful, fairly priced handmade items all over the net, I am making it my task to find them!!

I'll let you know how I get on!!!!!!!!

Bye for now X

Friday, 4 May 2012

post card writing....

I just wanted to share a little video that I came across via The colossal blog:

Made byhey hey hey- its a machine to write a postcard on ... 

With the advent of e-mail, twitter and facebook, there is something about this that just really strikes a chord with me.

Enjoy! X

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

cakes... or are they?!

On Sunday I took a day trip. .... I did a day out just for me, that included a lot of looking at cakes and items to decorate said cakes!  Now I do bake a little for my job, but it certainly isn't going to be a big part of Evelyn Mae, and I wanted to get baking back to being an enjoyable hobby.  So off I went on a coachful of other like minded people, to the Excel in London for the Cake decorating and baking show.

I met some wonderful and talented people on the day, not least a lady called Emma on the coach, who runs Ems cupcakes, and who makes the best red velvet cake I have ever tasted!!   And believe me when I say I have tried a lot! I first saw her stand 18 months ago at the Kent food festival, and have been hooked on her baking ever since!!!

In the show I had a chat with Ruth Clemens of The pink whisk, and runner up of The great British bake off.  She was lovely, and was more than happy to have a chat with me, and I got to tell her how wonderful her chocolate and orange cake was.  It is now a firm favourite of me and my husband!  To those of you who don't follow baking blogs, this is one that I would highly recommend.  Not only do you get to hear about some lovely recipes, with step by step photos, you get to hear about the family behind the recipes, and for me, that is what baking should be about.  Sharing baking with the family.  For me it was baking doughnuts and Easter biscuits with my Nan, and learning how to make stew and fairy cakes with my Mum.  For Ruth, its sharing her passion for baking with her boys.  This is how it should be.

I spent a few hours looking around, but what I enjoyed the most was the display of cakes for competition.  I thought I would share some with you....

Does it get any better than these two little beauties??  I love the detail on them, and I also love that they are not too girlie ... As with a lot of cake decoration, and card making, its all too easy to make a pretty item for girls, but not so for gents.

Another cracking cake that was more masculine, was the following wedding cake..... How many wedding cakes suit the blokes too??

Which part do you eat first??!! ................

One good thing that came from the show was trend spotting ... There really is a huge cross over between baking and paper crafts, and the show was no exception .... Everyone seems to have gone jubilee and tea party crazy!!

Hmmmmm, battenberg .......... one of my all time favourite cakes .... Mary Berry did a coffee and walnut battenberg on the bake off this season... I might just have to try it sometime soon.

There were also cupcakes .... 

All sorts of decorations were used, some were so delicate, and some looked more robust, but it was inspiring to see such a varied assortment. 

I especially liked how the wine glasses were used to make the stand, that was really clever, and I think I may be able to borrow this idea in the future when displaying cards.

Some of the decorations there were stunning, and this really caught my eye. .....

They were handmade by an Italian company, and they were just beautiful.. You would never know they were made out of sugar.  Just amazing.

Much to my happiness, butterflies seemed to still be in fashion !!!!  There were a few cakes that had some beautiful butterfly work on them, but none more lovely than this little cake, by Kelvin Chua.  The level of detail in it must have taken forever.

I had a lovely day, and although was a walking zombie by the time I got home, I did enjoy it!  

My apologies for not  getting the names of the artists who produced these beautiful cakes, I got snap happy before thinking about blogging about the day, and I don't have names for you.  I am sure though if you got in touch with the organisers here, they may be able to help you further.

Thanks for stopping by today, back tomorrow with a post all about my Saturday exploits!!

Take care all 

Shelly X