Saturday, 18 July 2015

Did I mention I'm opening a shop???

Is it really a year since I blogged? Tut tut Beverley...

2014 was such a busy year, getting made redundant, launching new businesses, starting a new job and lots of holidays in between. We finally sold our house in France with much regret (and a great deal of relief as well) and bought a second hand caravan with the leftover money. We're looking forward to lots of holidays in the UK over the next few years - we really are so lucky to live in such a nice corner of the world; Northumberland itself is stunningly beautiful and a couple of hours drive north, west or south brings you to Scotland, the Lake District and Yorkshire respectively. Why go anywhere else?

Earlier on this year, a little shop in the village where we live came up for rent. It's always been my dream to open a craft shop so I took the plunge and made some enquiries. Fast forward a couple of months and I'm the proud owner (well, tenant) of MY VERY OWN SHOP!!!!

Wanna see some pics????


As you can, it's not the biggest shop in the world but I rather like how cosy it is. First job, painting the concrete floor. The shop was a sun bed salon in a previous life, you can see where the partition walls used to be. Thankfully, the previous tenant ripped the walls down and removed the nasty carpet tiles.



 


Once I was happy with the floor, we could start moving furniture in. Thank heavens for Gumtree and eBay! Also, thanks to my wonderful hubby for driving around the North East of England in his van to collect all my bargain finds.





Once the furniture was moved into place, I could finally start to see it as a shop and not just a room full of random furniture! The big table is going to be perfect for sewing classes plus it's ideal for cutting fabric on - certainly beats the bed/ living room floor which is what I currently use!


The white dresser is probably my favourite piece of furniture in the shop - it's so pretty!


Next job was to start ordering lovely fabric and haberdashery to sell. I'd already been in touch with several suppliers and had decided that I wanted to stick to British designers and manufacturers wherever possible.

To begin with, I'm only stocking fabric from two suppliers; Dashwood Studio and Lewis & Irene. I love their quirky prints and the quality is perfect for dressmaking, crafts and quilting so sewists from all backgrounds can make something with it.

When I looked into the designers of some of the Dashwood Studio designers, I was delighted to find that, not only were two of them based in the North of England (Jessica Hogarth from Whitby and Rebecca Stoner from York), but they also design and produce beautiful cards and gifts. I got in touch and ordered some designs - they're going to look amazing alongside the fabric designs.

Having decided that cards and gifts were a good idea, I got in touch with Wotmalike who design cards, gifts and homeware with a North East theme. One of my annual annoyances is not being able to buy a birthday card for my "mam" - we don't say "mum" so much up here. I love the Northumbrian (and Geordie) dialect and Jo's designs are spot on. I couldn't resist their Pan Haggerty tea towels and their Shy Bairns Get Nowt Geordie Mugs :-)

For the haberdashery side of things, I'll be stocking mainly Korbond Creations as they're affordable and well made plus a selection of other hand picked ribbons, trims and craft supplies.

Once the parcels started arriving, I couldn't wait to start unpacking everything and putting it in its place. Doesn't it look pretty?



There's still so much to do but I'm hoping to open mid August with a Grand Opening Party on Saturday 22nd August. Hopefully by then I'll have a phone line and broadband installed (free WiFi anyone?) plus a shop sign (kind of essential) and a credit card machine so people can actually buy stuff!

If you want to come and join in the fun, please pop along on the day - there's be drinks (mainly gin-based) and cakes. It's going to so much fun, I can hardly wait!

Bev :-)






Sunday, 8 June 2014

Channelling my inner stationery geek

I am a stationery geek. There, I said it.

Yesterday, I caught the train up to Glasgow for a Philofaxy Meetup. I got the train at Morpeth at 06:44 (far too early) and arrived at Glasgow Queen Street at just after twenty past nine. I immediately headed for the subway and loaded the smart card I'd ordered online a few weeks back with a fiver and caught the next train to Hillhead in the heart of Glasgow's west end. I had over two hours to kill before meeting my fellow geeks so I'd chosen to spend it browsing the charity shops, vintage shops and antiques on offer around Byres Road. I found it to be a charming area of Glasgow, I'd love to spend the evening there sometime as the cluster of pubs and restaurants on Ashton Lane looked like they would be buzzing at night time.



In one of the charity shops (there were so many!), I found a pair of M&S trousers for ONE POUND! I love the fabric, it's like a brown herringbone tweed, I'm going to cut them up and use the fabric for something, not sure what yet. I stumbled across a few arcades full of antiques and bric a brac on Ruthven Mews and found a basket full of old doilies. I picked these two beauties up for £2 each. They're going to look amazing stitched onto a burlap cushion or two.


After I'd exhausted all the shops, I popped back on the subway back to Buchanan Street and headed round the corner to Horton's where we were meeting for lunch. I was early for a change but I wasn't the first one there. I met Margaret and her huge collection of different planners. Shortly afterwards Steve and Laurie arrived followed by Mhari and finally Danni and her sister Chantelle. We chatted about Filofaxes and other planners (Van der Spek, Gillio, Franklin Covey and Midori Traveler's Notebooks) and there was much "Ooh"ing and "Aah"ing and "Smell the Leather"ing over all the different planners we had all brought long. Steve is a major contributor to the Philofaxy website and blog and is lucky enough to have things sent to him to review for them. He brought a few along and told us to help ourselves. I quickly nabbed a Miracle Bind notebook and a set of A5 Life is Crafted inserts for my Filofax which I'd been coveting since I saw his review of them a few weeks back on Philofaxy.





After lunch we did the obligatory shot of all the planners we'd brought. Not bad considering there were only seven of us there!

We then headed out into the drizzle to look in a few shops to browse the filofaxes Glasgow had to offer. First stop was the biggest Paperchase I've ever been to. I bought one roll of washi tape and it's a miracle I didn't spend more. We then popped to John Lewis which had a rather limited selection before heading to The Pen Shop which is now my new favourite shop. They had a great selection of Filofaxes with many of them on sale plus a great range of notebooks and other gifts as well as, erm, pens. I found a lovely turquoise notebook which I plan to use as a daily journal plus a pink leather purse and a pencil with a musical note charm, all in the reduced section. Happy happy!


After The Pen Shop, we were left with just three of us, me, Steve and Laurie. We slowly headed back towards the station, stopping at M&S Food for provisions for the journey home and at Pret a Manger for a cuppa to escape the increasingly heavy rain. We finally said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways.

After a very busy train journey home, I arrived in time to put HD to bed (after many cuddles) and realised that my order from Cult Pens had arrived. I discovered Cult Pens the other night after someone posted about them on a Facebook group I'm in and I'd soon spent far too much money on new pens! It's a very dangerous site, be warned. The pictures haven't come out very well in this photo - the middle pen is a Lamy Safari Coral and it's definitely more pink and less orange than the pic shows. There were a few more items in the parcel but they're being kept a secret as they're for father's day next Sunday.


Bye for now

Bev :-)

Friday, 23 May 2014

Liberty Love

Hi

What a busy couple of weeks we've had here at Chez Canny. I've been coming up with ideas and ordering lovely new Liberty prints and more polka dots and lace for my new creations. My head is so full at the moment, I wish there were more hours in the day to sew...

After a LOT of browsing Liberty prints online (it's become my new obsession), I stumbled across a lovely website called Alice Caroline - she stocks the most beautiful prints and you can buy by the fat quarter, half metre and by the metre which is perfect if, like me, you just want lots of different patterns to play with without having to fork out for a whole metre every time; Liberty prints are gorgeous but they don't come cheap! She also sells fat quarter bundles in themed colours - I ordered the turquoise and pink bundle as well as a few extras I'd had my eye on.

When it arrived in the post a few days later, I had to stop myself from squealing with excitement. The colours and the details are amazing. I couldn't wait to get started.

Aren't they beautiful?

Betsy - my favourite :-)
I just knew it would look perfect against the rustic burlap (hessian) I was planning on using as the base for my cushions. A friend of mine asked if I'd make a set as a gift and they turned out beautifully. I can't share the full details yet (don't want to spoil the surprise) so here's a sneaky peak:
Isn't the effect just lovely?
Last Thursday was a very exciting day. Friends of ours were featured in an article in the local paper, Northumberland Gazette, talking about their new business, Crazy-Pix Ltd which hires out awesome photobooths for weddings and events. I contacted Julie to find out how she managed to get in the paper and she gave me the name of the reporter, Helen Millichamp. I contacted Helen who loved our story and sent a photographer round. The article she wrote was great and fantastic publicity for both Sew Canny and my hubby's business, Locks and Volts.
   

My first batch of business cards arrived this week too. I ordered them from Moo as I know they are always really great quality. I took advantage of a great offer they have; if you use Paypal or Etsy, you can get 50 FREE cards (postage was less than £4) which is great for anyone starting out or if you want to test your business card design, like me. I'd found a great little paper punch thingy with a lacy pattern which I thought would look fab. Here are the results:


Got another busy couple of weeks coming up - we're selling our house in France and completion day could be any day now and we still need to drive the 16 hours it takes to get there and decided what we're going to do with all the furniture and stuff. Oh how I wish someone could just do it all for me!

See you next week if we're still here...

Bev

Monday, 28 April 2014

The {re}launch of Sew Canny

Hello!

Those of you who remember me from a few years ago may recall that I used to make cushions and bunting and other lovely things under the name Sew Canny. Unfortunately, this got me into trouble where I used to work as I didn't have permission to "run a business" despite my protestations that I never did it to make money and that I only used to make for friends and family. Luckily, I've now left that job which has given me freedom in so many ways. I get to spend more time with my hubby and two year old son and it's opened up new opportunities for me work wise.

I've always liked being creative so it seemed like a natural step to start a craft-related business. At first, I planned to open a shop selling haberdashery items and handmade gifts as well as running workshops but the ridiculously high cost of rent and rates soon put me off and made me realise that I would have to literally look closer to home. After mentioning to friends that I was taking redundancy, I kept getting asked if I was going to start sewing again and even had people practically begging me to start Sew Canny up again as they loved my creations.

Some of the things I used to make.


After a lot of consideration, I decided to go ahead and relaunch Sew Canny. At first I thought about changing the name as I still felt hurt by what had happened at work and thought it would only remind me of that horrible, stressful place. I soon realised that I needed to do this to OVERCOME these feelings and EMPOWER myself again. And, besides, I really love the name Sew Canny - isn't it awesome?



I've spent the last few weeks redesigning logos and this blog, opening Facebook Pages and Pinterest accounts, renaming Twitter and Instagram accounts, reactivating Etsy shops and coming up with ideas which have kept me up past midnight most nights. It was starting to stress me out that I hadn't actually MADE anything yet (I need to wait for my any-day-now redundancy money to come through so I can afford to splurge on yummy new fabric) so I decided to put the launch back till July 1st which should give me plenty of time to build up some stock and have everything set up properly.

Couldn't resist a little splurge though ;-)


I can't wait to share my ideas with you, they're practically bursting out of my head. I'm so excited about it.

Bye for now

Beverley x

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Yarndale!

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Hi

Just realised I hadn't actually blogged in aaaaaaages. I promise to post the links to the last few CannyCAL patterns in another blog post. In the meantime there are far more important things to talk about:

YARNDALE!!!

I'd been looking forward to this ever since I first read about it on Lucy's Attic 24 blog back in January. I'm a massive Attic 24 fan and Lucy's blog is the only one I read regularly. 

As the date drew ever closer, a few of us on Instagram decided it might be a good idea to meet up. I've been involved in a few Meetups in the past involving people I've met through Social Network sites; I attended the first ever Glasto Tea Party in 2010 at the Glastonbury Festival with people I'd met via Twitter and I've met loads of fellow mummy friends that I met first on the BBC Messageboards and later (and still) on a Facebook group I'm a member of. I'm a big advocate of social networking; it's a great way to meet likeminded people. For the Instagram meet, we all made badges with our usernames on so we'd recognise eachother and some of us "pimped" our Yarndale bag. Here's mine:

My pimped Yarndale bag and #yarndaleIGmeetup badge
My lovely sister-in-law decided to come along at the last minute which made the 3 hour drive infinitely more bearable. We arrived at Skipton at 10.30 on the Saturday and joined the traffic queue for the car park. After getting parked, we joined the the throng of ladies (plus the odd token man!) for the downhill jaunt to the Auction Mart. A sign saying "Follow the Bunting" led the way. 

Oh, the bunting! I'd made my own little triangle but never got round to making any more or indeed sending that one in. If I had, the chances of being able to spot it would have been nigh on impossible. It was everywhere!





 



Wow!

In total there were 6212 triangles from 30 different countries...

Words can't describe how fantastic Yarndale was. It was absolutely heaving - the buzz of excitement in the air was amazing. There were stalls selling every possible thing you can think of relating to yarn - knitting, crochet, embroidery, lace making, spinning, dying, braiding, felting, you name it; it was at Yarndale. All the stallholders were so friendly and all chatted about their respective crafts with such enthusiasm it was infectious. This was my favourite thing I saw, it's wet felting with machine embroidery and must've taken days if not weeks to make:

Check out marmaladerose for more of Fi's amazing work

We did a round of the stalls before going to the Knit and Natter Lounge for lunch and to meet my "imaginary friends" (as my hubby likes to call them!).

The lovely Lucy in the Knit and Natter Lounge

My lovely Instagram friends - what fun!
We chatted excitedly about our love of Instagram and yarn and Attic 24. We pondered as to whether Lucy realises just how spectacularly famous she is within the crochet community and joked that there should be a film made about her (Said in voice of Movie Trailer bloke: She was just a housewife from Yorkshire. One day she picked up a Crochet Hook). All the ladies I met were truly lovely and even took the time to ask me how my plans to open a craft shop are going (more on that later) and how my hubby is getting along. We've already promised to meet up again next year; just wish I lived closer so I could meet them more often.

Once we were fed and watered, we ventured back out to the stalls to spend some money. I had a vague shopping list in my head and I got just about everything I wanted.

My haul!
I treated myself to some new crochet hooks plus some wooden knitting needles for when I learn to knit (again) next month (Knit-A-Long anyone?). I was very restrained and only bought 2 balls of yarn but got some little bundle bags of merino wool and some undyed angora to try my hand at needle felting. I also got some pompom makers, a Tunisian crochet hook, some stitch markers, a spool knitting dolly, a fab little VW Campervan bag, a fabric panel for my son's room and a fabby basket which was a final stall purchase from a lady selling vintage items. I just had to have it!

We left, exhausted, at 5pm. I had intended to pop into Skipton via Airedale Park to see all of the lovely yarnbombing and hopefully visit Lucy's studio but there just wasn't enough time. Next year, I'm going to try and stay in Skipton for the weekend and go both days and try and see a bit more of the town itself.

All day Sunday, I was still buzzing. I can't wait to play with all my new "toys" and I'm already planning lots of crafty projects in my head.

If you didn't got to Yarndale this year, put it at the top of your To Do list for next year; you won't regret it.

xxx