Friday, 30 September 2011

weekend shopping

If you've no plans to go free swimming in the nearest patch of water this weekend, why not visit our sister in craft ReetSweet, down at the Corn Exchange all weekend long. I know it might seem obscene to start thinking about Christmas gifts when it's so hot out, but there are less than 3 months to go (think of it as 3 pay days and it starts to get scary!), so it might be your last chance for some guilt free gifts for yourself before Christmas season well and truely begins. So if you're in town then why not take a break from the heat, get yourself a ginger beer, and shop in the stunning surroundings of the Corn Exchange. Sold? I thought so.



Monday, 26 September 2011

etsy animals

Today's etsy treasury is devoted to items celebrating the wonderful world of animals. With muted colours and lots of hand-drawn birds, these etsy animals have real style...I hope that you like them.

'animal magic' by amypanda

natures finest.

Antelopes Print 30x40 /...

Arctic Animal Finger Pu...

Framed illustration bir...

Wolf - White Sweatshirt...

British Garden Birds pr...

Notepad- Baby Deer

Kitty City Cat Parade G...

block print deer towel

butterfly original art ...

Snowy owl / birds - Vin...

Antique Dolphins Print ...

Lloyd the BLACK BEAR wi...


bear head pendant neckl...

Vintage Puffin Cross St...

Kittens and Puppies by ...

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

introducing amypanda!

Apologies for posting the Sunday feature on a Monday, I can only blame the worst, most frustrating, internet connection in town. So today rather embarrassingly I'm introducing myself! As well as organising the handmade fairs I am myself a crafter and seller under the name amypanda. So, hello! Let me tell you little about myself...

How and why did you start making your wares?

I was always creative as a child/teen, but decidedly more bookish than arty so I continued with bookish pursuits whilst slowly but surely picking up needlecraft and knitting (surely the most bookish crafts of all!). I started making brooches for family and friends in my final few years of Uni about 4 or 5 years ago, and then after graduation picked it up more as gaps in employment left me desperate to fill my time with something other than mindlessly watching tv. I started selling at cute little craft fairs surrounded by middle class mum's selling tea cozies and candles, and at some indiepop gigs. As I've got much neater at the stitches, and better at thinking of new products to add to the collection, I suppose that I've found it more and more enjoyable and more and more worthy of my time.

Do you have any successes and failures you'd like to talk about?

In terms of selling at craft fairs my biggest flops have usually been the most expensive fairs, where not having any items over £5 becomes a big problem when my profit margins are so tiny. I did an outdoor fair at a castle which was terrible...the only people we saw all day was a coach group of tourists who pretty much ran through the stalls to get inside as it was raining. Success-wise, indietracks has been a yearly joy to sell at, and even back in early amypanda days three or four years ago I had a little patch of merch-stall and got to see all the bands walking around with my brooches on all weekend. Infinitely heart-warming. I find etsy a lovely place to be a part of, it's about as nice as a faceless online shop can be. Oh and whenever kids come along and pick up each badge naming whatever object it is, which happens suprisingly often, god that makes me so happy!

Do you craft full time? If not tell us a little about your day job and how you manage to fit your craft into your day?

Alas no, crafting remains very much a hobby at the moment, and attempts to make it into at least a part-time job haven't been very successful. I work at Waterstones as a bookseller, so craft by night and on days off. The dream job-wise would be to work in a library (I've worked as a library assistant before and it was just as lovely and twee as I'd dreamed) or as a teacher and craft part-time. I would love to craft full time though and would love to have a little shop to sell my wares alongside handmade creations by other crafters.

What're your main creative influences and interests?

Most of my influences are children's books illustrators. I find myself constantly inspired to create more items specifically aimed at children because they have such wonderful taste! My favourites are Tove Jansson, Gyo Fujikawa, Shaun Tan, Dick Bruna of Miffy Fame (his posters for a book publisher featuring a brown bear are worth a look), Bruno Munari, Eric Carle, and a whole host of Japanese and Scandinavian vintage picture books. More generally I'm influenced by vague and possibly pretentious sounding things like nature, animals, tea and cake, northern life and cute Japanese and Scandinavian design. Recently I've become concerned with the eco credentials of what I do and have started striving to use only recycled card and bags... I like that crafters promote buying local handmade high-quality goods instead of buying armfuls of disposable mass produced things made in China. I hope to fit my interests in green sustainable living in with my brooches more over time.

Do you have any favourite artists/websites/books/films you'd like to share?

I've mentioned children's books, but my main hobby is devouring novels. I remain bookish. It seems silly to list them all but some of my favourite's (which change monthly) are David Foster Wallace, B S Johnson, Magnus Mills, Raymond Carver, Albert Camus, Chekhov, Gogol, Muriel Spark (my token woman). I'm a disgusting snob and claim to think that almost all films are over-rated. Apart from trashy horror films, Studio Ghibli, and the occasional gem (Go and see "the taste of tea", it's lovely). I try not to spend much time online but there are some great websites I do check every few weeks, fine little day, lab curio(amazing resource for my children's book lust), I like the sneak peaks at people's houses on design sponge

What're your plans/dreams for the future?

More cats, lots of baking, an allotment, babies. The good life. A career in something where I feel like I'm helping people. Or touting my wares. Writing/crafting a children's book.

Where can we find your work (online or in the "real world") I blog as myself
I have work in a little shop in Ilkly called Cake Walk, I also sell at handmade craft fairs, and sometimes at ReetSweet, and other fairs around Leeds.

So that's me! x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

leeds retail awards

Like to shop in Leeds? Don't forget to cast your final votes in the Leeds Retail Awards. Handmade is proud to support Rowan Grant of KitschenSink who has played shop at past handmade fairs and makes fun and colourful jewellery. Check out her work here

and go vote here

While you're there why not support Birds Yard (or indeed if you've not been down then go take a look at all the vintage and handmade goodies instore!) You can get an idea of what they're about by visiting their website here. It's a great shop with such an amazing range of work, and fits handmade's "buy local, buy handmade" mentality perfectly.

Go Leeds!

x x x x x

Monday, 19 September 2011

nautical and nice

It's Monday!

Following a lovely trip to Amsterdam and cycling along the sea front to the North, past lots of wooden houses with adorable nautical interiors, I've been cooing over nautical things on etsy. If you're not familiar with etsy then now is the time to take a look! They have a great function called "treasury lists", where etsy sellers choose their favourite items, and the best treasuries go on the "front page" allowing shoppers to see some of the loveliest items easily. It means that the front page is always packed with interesting items and themes.

Here's my treasury list for nautical items...sail away

'sail away' by amypanda

nautical and nice

1970's nautical sailboat...

My Paper Boat Blank Greeting...

Dinner plates Georges Briard...

Adorable Vintage Tutu Skirt ...

Vintage Milk Glass Sailboat ...

9 block set of nautical sign...

Sailor Candy / vintage 70 ...

Let's go to the sea

TOY BOAT.. Nursery Fine Art ...

Vintage baby boy Nautical Ov...

One Pair of Cross-stitch Anc...

Ship in a Bottle screen prin...

25 pcs of Red Anchor Buttons...

round dream - Bearded Solita...

Pirate Party Complete Set De...

1970's sailorette day dr...

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Be sure to pop back every Monday as I'll be posting either an etsy seller I drool over, or a whole treasury devoted to a theme, each week.

x x x x

Sunday, 18 September 2011

introducing...wonderfully pretty

Every Sunday we'll be introducing handmade sellers so be sure to pop by again next weekend...

Although I'm proud to say that I love each and every seller at handmade fairs, I do have some favourite children and wonderfully pretty is one of them. "wonderfully pretty" is Laura Black, and she has mad skills at knitting! At early handmade fairs her stock comprised mostly of knitted animals, hearts and hairbands, but each time there are new and exciting items for me to coo over! She's recently been knitting some amazing purses which might just be my favourite items to date. Laura was kind enough to answer some questions about her work for the blog....

How and why did you start making your wares?

-i started knitting when i was at art college but only for projects and i hated art college. i started making stuff properly while i was at uni, mostly just cos if i wanted a scarf, i'd make a scarf, or wanted a hat i'd make myself a hat etc. only really started selling after i'd built up a massive pile of stuff and then set up an etsy shop and did a craft fare or two.

Do you have any successes and failures you'd like to talk about?

-i'm lucky to not have had any failures i can think of. except my first fare in Newcastle i was cutting the price tag off a hat somebody had just bought and wasn't looking so cut a hole in it. and there was a guy selling homemade slide guitars, which he played ALL DAY which made me want to kill someone.
-as corny as it sounds i would count anyone liking any of my stuff as a success. especially when kids like the toys i make.

Do you craft full time? If not tell us a little about your day job and how you manage to fit your craft into your day?

-my job is working for a charity called West Yorkshire Learning Consortium. which basically sets up training/learning opportunities for people in West Yorkshire! i tend to just craft on a night after work, but i really should use my 40 minute train journey to work to knit!

What're your main creative influences and interests?

-i guess i'm quite influenced by household/interiors kind of stuff. i like to make really colourful, fun toys that you could imagine being in a kids bedroom, or things like bunting that i could put up in my bedroom. i like looking at stuff like the selby and i'm pretty twee so just like stuff that is colourful and cute and has a sense of humour. i really like rob ryan and also purlbee.

Apart from knitting, what're your hobbies?

-i am trying to do a lot more drawing and painting. and i'm in a band. which i use to crowbar my painting into our band artwork! (i've done the cover for the single and started a project doing poster art for all of our gigs but only did 3 so far...)

What're your plans/dreams for the future?

-get another job in the third sector, carry on having the time to craft and draw, get my sewing machine out of storage so i can use it! and that our band gets nice and famous and to have babies who i can make cute clothes and toys for.

Where can we find your work (online or in the "real world")

-um i haven't had anything on my etsy for like 2 years since i set it up...i really am going to do some work on it soon.
*UPDATE* I've taken forever to actually publish this interview and Laura has listed some items on etsy since answering the questions! her etsy shop is here

Laura is in the wonderful indiepop Leeds based band This Many Boyfrieds. Could she get any more twee?!

x x x x

Friday, 16 September 2011

reetsweet and handmade!

The lovely Becki over at Reetsweet has brought me on board for a super-sized craft fair at Leeds Student Union. The target crowd is obviously students, but all are welcome to pop down and have a mooch around. I think that it'll be a swell day full of cake and handmade treats. Matt Saunders who has done flyers for past handmade events has made an amazing cute flyer complete with a cake parade!!

Lots of creative folk from regular handmade fairs will be there, alongside some new faces and some of reetsweet's finest makers. Should be a good 'un!

the facebook event page is here