Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Home sweet home......

We recently celebrated our first full year in our home. 


Why is that such a big thing you may wonder?... We have moved 5 times in 5 years!! Yep it's been exhausting, especially as the moves have occurred during poorly pregnancies or with small babies. 

They have all been necessary work moves & unavoidable, but as a consequence each home has felt like a stepping stone, a temporary home so to speak. This is the first home that we have truly made our mark on!

We do not own this house, it is a long term let which explains why we are showering all of our attention on it, it is as much of a benefit to us as it is to the owner to improve it! 
There is an unfair stigma attached to renting which I don't always understand. For us it was the only option at the time, we didn't know the area we were moving to, it's a huge leap with children! But we have luckily loved it here - this is the happiest I've seen my little family & so while owning has never been the be all and end all to us, I know that given the chance we would love to make this house ours!!

The consequence of those years imagining what I would do to a home we could decorate from top to bottom has been beautiful Pinterest boards worthy of Home Living pages!! Seriously what did we ever do before Pinterest?! I love it! It's always my first go to now for inspiration 

We have so far worked on 5 rooms in the house & also on the garden. It certainly isn't magazine worthy yet, in all honesty it's not going to be - (especially with 3 children & pets) but I have loved what we have achieved so far. The changes have been carried out by my husband & I only! I am so proud of his developing skills & I love that we are doing this together!! He takes the lead with any woodwork projects, electrics, the general heavy work; leaving me to do the painting & wallpapering - so far it's a system working perfectly!

Followers on Instagram will know that this decorative journey is better known as #moorecottageproject - here are my decoration highlights from our first year....








One of the major success is undoubtedly our Wendy House! An abandoned old shed that has been given a new lease of life!


We began this almost as soon as we moved in! The Hubby took off the roof, jet washed the inside ridding it of years of dirt & spiders/spider webs etc, it was horrid!! The roof was re felted and reattached & I got to work painting it. 

What seemed like a simple notion took far longer than I imagined! It had obviously never had any treatment of any kind on it & absorbed the paint at a ridiculous rate. This meant that four or five layers of paint went on, not just the outside walls but also on the inside! To save time I decided to wallpaper some of the inside walls too. Being realistic I expected these sections to not last forever but even if they were something to update every year or so, the further layers would do the Wendy house good anyway! Plus it means my littles are unlikely to outgrow it!



After dressing the inside I can honestly say my littles adore this space!! They genuinely use it everyday & even when it's a bit miserable outside they can still enjoy being outdoors while staying warm & dry! We keep plastic toys in there too, which means not only do they stay clean & safe & undamaged, but I have also gained another room of toy storage which means this little cottage isn't bursting at the seams with the expected clutter that accompanies three children!

Now I have a confession to make - this post has sat forgotten in my draft folder & since we have had another winter! The poor little Wendy house wallpaper & windows could definitely do with some TLC this Spring, but it sounds like an exciting new project doesn't it.......yay!!

Much more than a stockist!!

ABOEdesigns baby vests are currently only available through our stockist Taylor'd Bundles!


Founded by Caz Taylor - Taylor'd Bundles is a collective of UK designers & makers; producing beautiful bespoke gift 'bundles' for the lovely events in life. 

I love to 'shop small' - supporting small businesses, mumpreneurs & other unique creatives. To be part of a business that promotes & encourages this is fantastic! I really do feel lucky that my products are handled with such care & represented in such a thoughtful way!

The vests produced for Taylor'd Bundles are unique - the particular fabric combinations are only available through the website www.taylordbundles.co.uk  
Designs include the classic teddy bear in neutral pale tones, & a fun red, beautiful pink shoes for the girls & for the boys the vintage inspired blue car.



Each piece is hand sewn & they sit beautifully along side the other available products such as paper cut artwork, patchwork baby blankets, bunting & even personalised vintage plates featuring baby's birth details! Unique gifts to truly treasure!!






From the very beginning Taylor'd Bundles has been so supportive. My images & various social media pages are quite often shared; sometimes of work that is very different from the pieces I produce for them. It just shows the unselfish encouragement which means the world to small start up creatives! Not only has Caz shown that she believes in my making skills, but I was recently asked to work on some photography for the website, due to go live this Autumn. A huge compliment, & an experience which has definitely given me the confidence to now continue with product photography!
(More on that I think in a blog post all of its own)

really do love making these vests! Each one really is sewn by hand & is a labour of love. Financially it is not the best move & the baby clothing market seems very heavily saturated with appliquéd products (although not done by hand) so unfortunately I can't see me making my millions from them ;) But until the design & photograph side take up every waking hour you can guarantee that I will continue these little beauties for these gorgeous bundles! So please go have a look at all of the stunning hand made pieces - I guarantee you won't be disappointed!!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Collaborations

When I began plans for ABOE designs my first product was my "Baby Box". A DIY decorate a baby vest babyshower kit. 

The purpose of my craft kits & crafting activities is to make everything as easy as possible & to encourage even the most apprehensive first time crafters! The kits come with baby vests, cottons, decorative touches, and a range of fabrics; but it's the addition of templates & iron on bonding that means this baby shower craft box can produce very simple but effective results, or for those more experienced some stunning detailed pieces!

I have put together some beautiful bespoke boxes, using a range of gorgeous fabrics. Each time I initially made up a box I couldn't help but imagine a Cath Kidston version, or a version using the stunning Liberty print fabrics! My mind would wonder & I would get carried away with the various versions of the boxes I could produce & the companies I could work with. One of the companies I imagined was Belle & Boo not just because of their beautiful fabrics but in this instance also because I believed the templates suited perfectly to recreate the beloved characters of the Belle & Boo books. So imagine my surprise when I received an email to announce the launch of their "Bootique" section. A chance for designers to collaborate with Belle & Boo!!


There are some things in life that I worry about far too much, & as I had only started my little business two months previously I probably should have had more fear than excitement when approaching Belle & Boo - but truthfully I was so excited I could already see the box in my mind & I didn't allow any worrying to ruin that! The old cliché of if you don't ask you'll never know really does apply here & I would encourage anyone to just be brave!! It doesn't matter if you're thinking of starting a business, have just started, or been established for years; bravery is needed at all these points to push yourself & to push your designs & products. Working with others also allows fresh eyes & suggestions on your products which could help too, so an equal collaboration can be a fantastic thing!





Luckily Belle & Boo loved the idea & it was fantastic working with them to produce the limited edition Baby Box! I produced a number of samples (finished baby vests) using only the contents of the kit & showed that the templates could produce characters very close to those in the books. This was a project that I loved working on & I feel my first step on the true business ladder! I'm very proud of the box & the beautiful samples still hang fondly in my work room as a reminder of this achievement.





I firmly believe that this collaboration was a success as both parties were represented equally in the product & the quality look & feel sat well with the look Belle & Boo has worked so hard to achieve. I have since worked on a few collaborations which haven't been as successful. Reasons being that one party is keen to take overall ownership over the work, which isn't nice when you've worked so hard on products to barely get a mention :( & I have found that some people aren't as happy to share the results. So although I'm no expert & still all very new to this I would advise people to know 100% before anything starts what do you what to get out of this collaboration? Communicate heavily & ensure you are both happy with the cost of the product, how it will be sold, how you will be paid & how the images & description of the piece(s) are handled. I sometimes think that I haven't got the back bone for business! I treat everyone I meet like I'm meeting a new friend & therefore I have had to learn to make sure to express my concern or upset at something! I can't lie it still makes me feel very uncomfortable & puts me off of the idea of working with others for a while; but then I think back to this wonderful Belle & Boo collaboration & I know it would be wrong to turn my back on opportunities when they come along because sometimes you do get to produce some beautiful magic!!

Huge thanks again to Belle & Boo, for such a beautiful collaboration. It meant so much to work with a company we genuinely adore in this house & to be involved with designers who care about tiny details just as much as I do was an absolute dream!! XX



For further details on the ABOEdesigns & Belle&Boo "Baby Box" please visit www.belleandboo.com.

Monday, 6 April 2015

New Colour-in Products

I am such a fan of the colouring products that are available now. I think I have had more enjoyment from Johanna Basford's 'Secret Garden' than my daughter has! The thought of colour in gift wrap from makers such as Claire Close sets my imagination alight & the colour-in wallpaper is just too much, can you imagine how controlling I'd be?!! - "children it may be for your walls but this paper is for Mummy to colour only!!" 



Maybe it's with these influences around me & my very own children loving to colour too that my new range has been created.

I have had the idea for my colour-in dolls for almost a year now & it has taken this long to make them a reality & I look forward to sharing them with you very soon. However the first of the colour-in products to be launched are my colour-in necklaces & key rings.



It is very important to me to encourage crafting in littluns. Watching my own children & the sense of accomplishment they have in a finished piece is fantastic! But I also know how important it is to keep things simple & easy for them in order to achieve this!

The colour-in accessories all co-ordinate with the colour-in dolls perfectly & so as a set is great to watch the girls in particular play with, & wear pieces they have coloured.




They can be coloured in using soft coloured pencils, felt pens, gel pens, glitter pens, paints & even with various papers! It really is dependent on the crafter, their craft ability level, & more importantly their imagination! 










They are a great idea for party favours (& dare I mention at this time of year - stocking fillers?!)

To keep the pieces perfect after decoration a thin coat of varnish could be applied but dependent on use this is not a necessity.

Prices start from just £3.50 & are available from www.etsy.com/UK/shop/ABOEdesigns.