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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tutorial: How to create yourself a brand

There was a discussion on the Folksy forums recently about the importance of a brand. If you think about it, all well known shops have a particular logo or way of writing their shop name that is instantly recognisable. The shape and colours combined remind you of that shop or of a particular product. You don't need to see the full name to know who is behind the brand. And in the same way, even if you're selling things on a very small scale, it's good to create a brand so that people can recognise you. When they see one of your products, visit your website or see a facebook post by you, they know that it's you because of the consistent brand.

You can of course pay a designer to create a brand for you. But you can also have a go yourself. It's not too difficult to create your own unique brand that people will associate with you. All you need is a computer and a little bit of imagination.

1. Choose a font.
Or maybe two. If the one you pick for your logo/shop name is quite fancy and not so readable, you could also pick a clearer font for text that you write, e.g. on your packaging - you want to make sure that people can read your website address clearly so that they can find you online.

I use freestyle script whenever I write my shop name. But it's not the most readable font, so I knew I needed something clearer for my other text. I've used a variety of fonts, but realise now that it would help my brand if everything was in the same font - so I'm now working towards using 'chewy' everywhere (that's the font that this is written in). Here are the two fonts together on some of my packaging:

Laura at Ginger Beer Designs has used a great font to create her brand:

And she uses this font not only when writing her shop name, but also on her website for buttons and headings:

Laura uses a distinctive font - you probably don't want to choose something too everyday like Arial, you want something a bit different that people will see and think of you.

2. Choose a logo.
Pick a shape or image that people will associate with you. It could be associated with your shop name (e.g. a star shape for 'Star Creations') or just random. Make it clear and unique. You could draw it by hand and scan it into your computer, use a photo, or draw an image on the computer. You might want to include part/all of your shop name, but not necessarily.

Mary from Quite Contrary Crafts uses a little butterfly in her logo, and combines it with the Q in her shop name:

Little Black Heart uses a hand drawn heart shape:

Lynsey at Swirly Arts uses a photo of her well known cheeky chickens (either fabric or drawn):

3. Choose some colours.
You'll need at least two colours, one for the background and one for your text. You might want to add a third, but make sure they all co-ordinate. Make sure that the colours you choose suit your shop - e.g. if all the things you make are in bold bright colours with lots of sparkle, you probably don't want to choose brown and grey for your brand.

Victoria Brewer - Pure Designs uses white with a vivid green colour for an attention grabbing brand:

4. Combine all the above.
Write your shop name in your chosen font and put it in your chosen colour. Fill in the background colour and add your logo. What do you think? People will see this and think of you, so a) you must like it, and b) it shouldn't remind you of anyone else's brand.

5. Use your brand on EVERYTHING.
Put it in your folksy shop banner. Use the logo for your folksy shop avatar. Upload the logo to your facebook page and stick it on any other profiles you have. Use it on any printed documents, e.g. receipts or compliments slips, and make it into stickers for use on your packaging. If you have a website or blog, make sure it is all in your chosen colours and fonts. And put it somewhere on every item you sell - maybe a sticker on the back of the packet, or a piece of card stapled over the top of the packet, or a card band wrapped around the item, or a tag attached to the item with string. Put your font, your colours, your logo on EVERYTHING that is yours.

Leanne at Ello Design uses her simple Ello logo and light blue colour everywhere so you always know it's her:

Folksy shop

Facebook page



See how they're all the same - you wouldn't have a problem knowing that it was Leanne if you saw this branding.

Another great example is Clarkie Designs. Emma from Clarkie Designs always uses the same font and colours, whether it's on Folksy, Facebook, or her own website:

Folksy shop

Facebook page


So your branding doesn't have to be really complicated. Just choosing yourself a font and some colours, and perhaps a little image, will be plenty to make sure you get recognised wherever you are. Of course, there is a lot more to design than this, and if you were trying to become a high street shop you might need some help to create a suitable brand - but for your folksy shop there's no reason you can't have a go yourself. Something is better than nothing, as long as you use it consistently.

Monday, 27 February 2012


Recently I've been getting into making packs of notecards. I like the way they can be a bit simpler than the individual cards for special occasions. I'm doing a craft fair soon, so I'm trying to get a few more designs ready, so that there is a good selection of notecards. Just thought I'd show you what I've got so far.

Pack of 2 (same design)
Mini cards pack of 4

Pack of 2 (two designs)
Pack of 2 (same design)

Praia (design one)
Pack of two different designs
Praia (design two)
Pack of two different designs

A quick question - would you prefer to buy notecards as packs of 2 or packs of 4? At the moment I sell them in packs of 2 (apart from the mini ones) - but would packs of 4 be better? Thanks!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Folksy Friday: All things sweet and yummy

Continuing with folksy friday themes of things I like, this week I bring you all things sweet and yummy. From cakes to chocolate, here are my favourite finds on folksy this week.

'Cake O'Clock' print
Nikki McWilliams
'Eat desert first' print
Artwork by Angie

Slice of cake magnets
The Mosaic Gargen
Slice of cake candle
The Emporium

Chocolate soap bar
Bits N Bobs
Chocolate bar earings
Sulwen Arts

Hot chocolate orange cushion
Door 77
Felt chocolate chip cookies
Woolly Duck

Happy birthday cake card
Ghost Goose
Cupcake magnet
Jenny Arnott

Lindor chocolate wrapper badges
Not Edible
Cupcake badges
Aleximo Croissant

Cupcake cushion
Heart and Sew Gifts
Felt cupcake
Ena Green

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wednesday One Day Sales

* New New New *

Starting TODAY and running until Easter, each Wednesday I will be offering a One Day Sale. For 24 hours, starting on the Wednesday morning, one item from the say it shop will be available at a substantially reduced price. There may be a limited number available, so you had better be quick if you don't want to miss out.

Today's 'Wednesday One Day Sale' item is...

Milan millefiore bead necklace
Just £6 TODAY

Click the picture to head over to the shop. There is only one in stock and I'm not making any more like this, so this is your last chance to buy this colourful necklace. 

And look out for another Wednesday One Day Sale next week. 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lining up pictures in blogger

I don't know about you, but I have awful trouble putting the pictures into blogger for the folksy friday posts. It's fine if you just want one on top of the other, but if you want 2 side by side it starts to throw a wobbly. Every week I patiently sit, tweeking things, not really sure what I'm doing, until quite by chance it happens to look ok.

Enough! I've just been putting together this friday's folksy friday post (keen I know!) and I reached the limit. Enough is enough. I gave in and ventured into the world of html, certain that there must be an easier and more reliable way.

Success! With a little bit of help from the etsy blog team (thank you thank you thank you), a large helping of patience and some serious stretching of my knowledge of html, I think I've cracked it :-) And just in case there is anyone else out there trying to do the same thing, I thought I'd share.

Here's the html code that you need to paste into your post (in the 'edit html' tab):

<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody>
<tr>     <td><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody>
<tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="LINK 1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img height="200" src="IMAGE 1" /></a></td></tr>
<tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">CAPTION 1</td></tr>
</td>     <td><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody>
<tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="LINK 2" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img height="200" src="IMAGE 2" /></a></td></tr>
<tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">CAPTION 2</td></tr>

Nice isn't it?! Now all you have to do is copy the link of your first folksy friday item, and paste it where it says LINK 1. Then you copy the image url (just like you would for posting a pic in the folksy forum) and paste it where it says IMAGE 1. And if you want a caption underneath the picture, you write this where it says CAPTION 1 (deleting 'caption 1' otherwise this will appear in your caption). Then you repeat for your second folksy friday item, pasting the relevant urls in LINK 2 and IMAGE 2, and writing a caption at CAPTION 2 if desired. And you can paste the whole code again for items 3 and 4, and so on until you have your whole post. 

Now, the only tricky bit is adjusting the images so that they fit to the width of your blog. If you find that the images are too big and they stick out over the edge of the post, you need to adjust the size. To do this, find the bit in the html above that says:

<img height="200" 

Then reduce the 200 a bit, to say 150. You will need to do this for both pictures, unless you want them to be different sizes. Then click 'preview' to see if your pictures fit. If not, try a different number, until it looks just perfect. Obviously, if your pictures are a bit too small to start with, make the number bigger than 200. 

If you try this method, I'd be interested to hear if it works for you. I really only have very limited understanding of html and never thought I'd be posting about how to write it! 

Friday, 17 February 2012

Interesting finds

I'm getting into reading blogs on a regular basis. I've started to follow a few, so that I'm alerted when there's a new post. Occasionally I read something that's really interesting, something that I want to remember or come back to. And then I thought, maybe you would like to read it too. So here you have my top picks of what I've read in the last couple of weeks.

How to make a flower brooch

Craft Juice tutorial

Thursday, 16 February 2012

How to fray a ribbon

Following on from last week's tutorial about tying ribbon around cards, I thought I'd also share with you my tips for how to fray ribbon. Sometimes a frayed end can be a bit softer and slightly more interesting than a dead straight end.

When I first tried to fray the ends of ribbon, I started off like I would if I were fraying the edges of fabric. I attempted to pull at the end threads, but although some came off more often than not it would all gather up into a tangled knot and I'd have to chop the end off and start again. The problem is that, unlike material, the edges along the length of the ribbon are designed NOT to fray. So whilst you may pull a few threads off the end, the edge stays in place.

After a bit of frustrated grumbling, I discovered a really easy way to fray the ribbon in seconds.

1. Cut the desired length of ribbon.

2. Cut a very small slit either side, where you want the fraying to end. You just need to cut through the edging of the ribbon, so it's only a millimeter or two.

3. Pull off the end of the ribbon. It should all come away as one piece. You may need to trim a thread or two, but you should otherwise have a perfect frayed end.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Folksy Friday: Games

I love playing games. Anything with a pack of cards is great. And monopoly is good. And settlers of catan is awesome. And at the moment my husband and I are hooked on boggle. In fact, we need a rematch because he won last time and I haven't had chance to redeem myself.

Anyway, I thought games would make a good theme for a folksy friday post. So here are some lovely game related handmade items available to buy on folksy. Just click the pictures to find out more.

Travel backgammon
Travelling Stitches
Minature chess - leaves

Cribbage box set
Norfolk Woodcrafts
Playing card pips
Hearts of Dough

Playing cards greetings cards
Dilys Treacle Treasures
Monopoly organiser notebook
Peony and Thistle

Monopoly hat upcycled pendant
SP Jewellery
Monopoly money coasters

Happy birthday scrabble card
Card Couture
Roll the dice black bangle
Tami Rocks
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