Thursday, 22 November 2012

A Year Old!


It's been so manic I haven't had time to blog lately.  I have still been driving everyone mad with posts and pics via my Facebook Page but I have missed blogging and I do have plans to post more regularly once I get my current orders finished and I can put a better routine in place.

I thought I would do a quick catch up though because I am celebrating my first year in business this weekend.  I cannot believe how quick this first year has gone and how well it has picked up.  I never dreamed that anyone would want to buy the things that I had made but I have a full order book (which is now closed) and already orders starting to filter in for 2013 up as far as Mother's Day!!

I am strangely already thinking about next Christmas and have started sketching ideas out!  Mad I know!

My first year really has been amazing.  My craft fair table has gone from this...

To this...

Which I think is a big improvement and hopefully will be improved upon again next year.

I have stocked a few gorgeous shops including this fab shop called Flax and Finch in Norwich.

I have some big ideas for 2013.  I am hoping most of them will materialise and won't stay lurking in the back of my mind!  Watch this space!!

I have a ton of things to get done before Christmas including 24 cushions - this style but all different patterns/wording...

 And 8 Christmas stockings

I have made LOTS of decorations

And completed my first ever wedding favour order of 100 gorgeous Scottie Dog keyrings / Bag charms.  They looked amazing when they were finished and well worth the late nights.

Lots of fat free cake has been made.

But this weekend I intend on eating the full sugar heavily laden calorie kind whilst I celebrate at my house party.  I have ordered a cake which will have a sewing theme which I am MEGA excited about.  There will be lots of festive treats, wine, and hot chocolate and marshmallows.  I can't wait.

Hubby is also very excited about this little get together because it means I will tidy up and won't have buttons, fabric, sparkly glittery things all over the house!

It is hard to think that little over a year ago I had never used a sewing machine and I have turned a little hobby into a real business.  If any of you have a little idea in the back of your head that makes you think you could start a business, try it.  You just never know what will happen.

I will catch up with you all again soon xxx

Sunday, 2 September 2012



Hope you are all doing well.

Just wanted to let you know that this weekend I am holding a little stock sale over on Facebook.  Lots of handmade goodies with NO waiting list (rare).  Pop over and take a look by clicking this link: -

Also, I am running a little competition to win all these lovely buttons.

All you have to do is visit my website and use the entry form to tell me how many buttons you think there are.  The closest answer gets to win all these buttons.


You have until 4pm this afternoon to enter x

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Secret Projects!!!

Ok, so I have been driving lots of people bonkers this past week hiding lots of secret planning.

The GOOD NEWS is that I can share Secret Project Number 1 with you tonight.

The BAD NEWS is that you will have to wait much much longer to find out what the other two things are that I have up my sleeve and which are WAY more exciting that this little bit of info tonight.


This is what you will get

Your chance to host a Sweet Williams house party / small gathering with friends, family and/or colleagues free of charge.  

You will have the opportunity to sample existing and new products, which you can purchase on the day/evening.  Orders will also be taken for personalised / bespoke items.

The host will be provided with a choice of the following: - 

A small hamper to include a bottle of wine, crisps, biscuits and other nibbles for sharing with their guests on the night.


A small chocolate fountain (similar to the pic below) for the duration that I am in attendance and will include some marshmallows and fresh fruit for dipping and sharing.

There will also be a raffle where tickets can be purchased (£1 a strip) on the night to win a gorgeous handmade prize.

There is NO charge for hosting one of these events and guests are not obliged to purchase. I simply want to share the unique items that Sweet Williams has to offer and to give you the opportunity of finding a special gift for someone or a treat for yourself.

Any of this sound good?

Want to book a party?

I am taking bookings now for OCTOBER ONWARDS (days and times to be arranged around existing commitments) and will be available to travel to the following areas: -

The whole of Neath Port Talbot

Other areas will happily be considered.


Please initially email me on to discuss your requirements.

Emma xxx

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

How Much???

This blog post is mainly aimed at those who make and sell their work.  Juggling jobs, money, children.  Bit of an overall rant really which has been brewing in my mind for a while now which I feel I need to extract before my brain explodes!!!

"Oooh that's lovely" says a potential customer at a recent event.
"Thank you" I reply.
"I really do like it, because it is so different to the usual gift, how much is it" says potential customer.
"It is £10" I tell her.

"HOW MUCH" she glares at me!!

Have you ever been in this situation?

I have many times.  It has occasionally been the other way around too when they say "oh, that's not what I expected, in that case I'll take two".

I have been trading for 8 months (today to be exact) and I am beginning to realise that for the most part those who do not do a craft of any sort do not always realise the amount of time, love, effort and skill that has gone into making something.

I am always faced with the challenge of how much to charge.  It is really difficult with handmade unique items.  Surely we should be charging even more than we do for their "one off" status?

The conversation above with potential customer was at a craft fair about two months ago where I had a sample of one of my Star Teacher gifts on display where orders could be taken for them.  This one here...

I explained to the lady that I charge £10 for these because they are fiddly to sew being a star shape, there is a lot of hand embroidery which takes a long time to sew and it is something that is completely unique as it is personalised to say whatever the customer wants it to say.  It can be in any colour, as many or as little buttons required etc.  You won't get that on the high street.

I feel like ranting to some people at times, if you don't want to give a gift that no-one else has, is a one off and is unique then go to a retail park and pick up some tat that will no doubt end up in a cupboard!!

SO, the big question, how do you price your items?

I start off by totting up how much it has cost me to make.  Include EVERYTHING, down to the last button, scrap of ribbon, even if it is pence.  THEN you need to factor in how much time it took you to make.  I jot my times down in segments every time I make something for the first time.  So, for example you would write down how long it takes to draw and cut the template on the fabric, how long it took to choose and sew buttons on, how long the embroidery bit took etc etc, you get the idea.  THEN I tally it all up.  I just find it easier to do it this way.  Mainly because I am so busy, easily and often distracted and ever forgetful!  I currently work my wages around the national minimum wage which if you think about it may sound a lot for making small items but actually it really isn't much.  So if the item has cost you £3.50 to make in supplies and it took you an hour to make at national minimum wage of £6.08 then the item should be sold at a minimum of £9.58.  Does that make sense???

Don't even get me started on postage.  I'll keep that for another post because I am constantly angry at Royal Mail!!!

You must remember that people are not only paying you for the fact you have nice things, it is your SKILL and TIME that they need to pay for too.  Surely if they could sew, paint, draw, design etc themselves they wouldn't need to pay out for someone else to do it???

Heart Decoration covered in beautiful new and vintage buttons

What does frustrate me also is people don't appreciate that I (amongst thousands of others) are actually doing this for a living.  I have bills to pay and mouths to feed too.  I am a great believer in if you want something then you work hard for your money to buy it yourself.  I am a business, ok, a small, new, going to make lots of mistakes along the way kind of business but still, I am independent, I work for myself and I make all the decisions myself.  

Does anyone juggle jobs?  As well as my business I also have a day job at a law firm part time to make ends meet and simply because I like the people I work with.  It is a complete contrast of work.  

I do wonder what people think when they see stalls at a craft fair.  Are they thinking, oh dear another room full of hobbyists or do they know we are all actually small businesses hoping to do well that weekend so we can go home and pay the gas bill?

My 4 year old (soon to be 5) often asks me - "are you sewing things again tonight mammy?"  When I reply "Yes" he says "that's good, because it means we can perhaps have nice things with the money you get for them and one day maybe I can have my playroom".  It's heartbreaking not being able to give your children everything they want but in another way I really do think its a good thing because they can see as they grow up that you have to work for your money and the more money you make the more things you can pay for.  I do personally love the comment about the playroom which he makes quite often because it is always in the back of my mind to spur me on and makes me think yes, I can do another late night, long day, all weekend on the sewing machine etc because it's one step closer to giving my children what they want and deserve.  I don't want to spoil them which is why I think it is important that they see me work to get the money and that if I don't work then we simply go without.

Do your children inspire you to do more?

It's hard doing everything and many people have often said to me "oh, you work for yourself, that's an easy life you have then being able to work from home".  Whilst it is a nice thought to be able to say you don't have a boss to answer to, in reality it is harder I think working for yourself.  You are the one responsible for all the mistakes.  Behind the scenes you have to do the accounting, tax returns, keep a filing system, network, get yourself heard, go and look for sales, talk to people, constant emails, phone calls, insurances to sort and much much more which doesn't even include making anything all around a busy family, a house to run and also in my case a mad cat!  All of these things I think are much easier to do as an employee when they have been dictated by a boss where you don't necessarily have to think what must be done yourself.  I know as I also have a boss at the day job! 

I'd love your thoughts on how you perceive small businesses, self employment - do you juggle many jobs and family life?  Are you a non-crafter but can appreciate what crafters and artists do to make a living?  I am just intrigued by the whole thing.  

Apologies for the mega rant and if you have read this through to the end then you deserve a glass of wine and a bar of chocolate!

I'm off to light the BBQ...

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Well Overdue Catch Up!!

Did you all have a good Jubilee weekend last week?  

You may remember from my last post that I have been chosen to be on the Design Team over at The Sewing Boutique.  I was so excited when I received my first parcel of goodies that I couldn't wait to get started.  This is what I made...

It is a brooch which I proudly wore all weekend.

Hubby is currently listening to the cricket and I have bribed the children with rich tea biscuits so I can have 5 minutes to write this long overdue blog!!!!

Isn't it amazing how time passes so quickly.  I have given up writing to do lists lately as I have been finding that I spend far too much time writing lists then not actually ticking anything off them but now I feel like I am being pulled from all sides trying to remember all I have to do!!!!

Anyway, firstly we have been away for a weeks holiday to Lancashire.  6 hour drive for us which meant James my eldest (4) asked about 5 million times "are we there yet"!!!  The above pic of me wearing the brooch is at Blackpool Zoo.  It was a boiling hot day and had a lot of sunburn by the evening!! 

We stayed here...

It is Ribby Hall Village.  Really gorgeous and we will definitely look to go back again.  So much to do with the kids.

On site there is a very lovely tea room and farm shop.  I got so excited when we sat down to find that our dinner was being served on Emma Bridgewater crockery and LOOK what was in the middle of the table...


And this is my youngest, William (1), (also behind the name of my business)!!

I got hubby on the case who has taken some lovely pictures of these flowers in case I need them!!!

I had a wonderful delivery of buttons when we came home.  Aren't they pretty...

I still have lots of the polka dot ones still in stock but these super cute teeny tiny ones all sold out within a few hours so I have more on order.

I haven't had chance to add them to the website yet but they can be purchased via Facebook.

I have some exciting news also in that I have been asked to supply a further shop with some of my goodies.  I am thrilled.  I will keep you updated with what I make :-)

But for now its back to sewing some more of these...

Enjoy what is left of the weekend xxx

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Design Team

I am absolutely thrilled to have been chosen to be on the Design Team over at The Sewing Boutique.

I have received my welcome pack with lots of goodies with a brief of "create a unique and different product to help celebrate the Jubilee weekend".

Naturally I was so mega excited to find this parcel on my mat I tore it open and made something straight away! Of course I can't show you what it is just yet though so keep your eyes peeled.

Talking of the Jubilee, do any of you have any plans?  We will be in Lancashire that week (can't wait) and the place where we are staying Ribby Hall is holding lots of Jubilee themed events which I am sure we will take advantage of.

I have made some of these to take to my next craft event.  What do you think?  They are key rings / bag charms.

I then got so taken with the red, white and blue theme that I just had to make this...

It has been so manically busy round here lately that I haven't had much time to blog.  Also, the sun has been shining so brightly the last few days (rare) that I have been making the most of it.

I still haven't forgotten about the blog post I really want to write about making, pricing, time spent etc in the craft world.  I will get round to it I promise...

The next craft event I mentioned above will be this forthcoming weekend, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May at the Welsh Miners Museum (Afan Argoed, Port Talbot).  It runs from 10.00am until 4.00pm on both days so come and take a look if you are local.  There are some gorgeous walks around there and there will also be a model railway.  The Olympic flame will also be making its way through Port Talbot on Saturday so I am hoping it will be another sunny day.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Button Auction

Have you ever paid a visit to my Facebook Page?

I currently have a button auction going on until Wednesday afternoon to UK residents.  If you are interested in taking a look, pop over and say hello, would love to see you over there :-)

Here are some of the lots :-)

Tomorrow is hubby's birthday so I have just finished wrapping his gifts.  He's been a bit spoilt this year with lots of goodies from Fortnum and Mason.  Have you ever been there or shopped at their online store?  It's gorgeous.

Off to do some sewing now (even though its late) but I have orders and other bits and pieces to get done which is fab.

Catch up with you soon xx

Ps.  I am currently planning a long post on payments, postage, how much to charge for products etc xx

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Catch Up and Button Swap!


As ever, busy.  Hope you are all good.

I have had the most fabulous weekend.  I have done quite a few craft fairs in the last couple of weeks and Friday and yesterday I was at the newly refurbished Gwyn Hall in Neath.  The first day was rather quiet but I still sold a number of items and made a decent profit so I came away happy.  Yesterday, turned up expecting much the same but it was much busier, my takings were fantastic and met some wonderful people.  A couple of others had a similar day so to celebrate we piled into the pub afterwards.  It was really refreshing to make some new friends and am now planning things for the future which I will have to keep up my sleeve for now...

Photos from the weekend...

I have been meaning to blog about my button swap for some time.  I was paired up with Rachael from Sew Ray Me.  It was really simple, you select 50 buttons to send to your swap partner and in return they send you 50.  I couldn't wait for mine to arrive.  When it did it looked like this...

Yummy chocolate :-) and a lovely pink gingham fabric parcel.

And inside...

A selection of gorgeous buttons.  Thank you so much Rachael.

NOW, I would love to show you what I sent but I am still unsure if my parcel has arrived.  A week after I sent it, it still hadn't turned up which I am very sad about and am hoping that the Easter holidays has held it up.  Rachael, if you are reading this and your parcel still hasn't arrived I'll check it out with the Post Office and then arrange to send you something else xx

Today I have worked so hard on the website to get it a bit more up to date.  Here is the link...

Go check it out and let me know what you think.

I am planning an interesting blog post on pricing and the current market with regard to handmade items so keep your eyes peeled.  

Don't forget you can keep up with my daily ramblings on Facebook -

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Fat Free Easter Eggs TUTORIAL

Well hello!

It's rather busy here as always and we have RAIN!!!  How gutting is that after all this fabulous weather we were having.

I was recently asked if I would like to write a tutorial for My Fabric House.  I was thrilled and put together a tutorial for my Fat Free Easter Eggs!  If you haven't paid a visit to My Fabric House, go and have a look.  Some gorgeous fabrics and bit and bobs on there.  They also have a Facebook page.

But, here is the tutorial I provided which can also be found on their website HERE (seen bigger on the website) along with some other fab tutorials.  Please use the tutorial for personal use only or I won't be a happy bunny this Easter :-)

I have had a lot of orders to get through the last couple of days and am currently working on 15 metres of bunting.  That's a lot of bunting!!  I will make sure I take pics to show you.

I have also made some garden theme cushions which have been proving popular.

I will be closing the website down for a few days shortly to give it a bit of an update.  Lots of new things to be added and other things moved around so watch this space...

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Curious Incident of the Clown at Lunch Time!!!

Wow!  What a busy time it is here.
I've been meaning to write this blog post for ages.  I have finally managed to escape for a few minutes to catch up with you all.

There have been lots of orders (fabulous - thank you), things to make for occasions for friends and family - I am so proud of myself that it is almost April and I have managed to stick to my New Years Resolution so far by making all my gifts.  There have been a few events, have met some fantastic people and have also met some unique, strange, odd, angry ones too!!!

I was at the Aberafan Shopping Centre last Tuesday for the day.  What a fantastic day it turned out to be in the end.  The morning started very slow, sold hardly anything and came across one of the most curious people I have ever met!!

This is how the story goes...  The Curious Incident of the Clown at Lunch Time...

Amongst lots of other things I had a couple of heart shaped decorations placed in a bowl which I had made from Cath Kidston fabric.

This lady came across to have a look at my things and pointed to the hearts and said "are these real Cath Kidston?"  I stated that it was genuine Cath Kidston fabric which I had purchased from the retail store in Cardiff and I had made my own thing out of it.
"They must be fake" she replied.
"oh dear, why do you think they are fake" I asked.
"Because they don't have a Cath Kidston label" she tells me.

I'll cut a long story short but basically she could not understand that you could purchase fabric from a Cath Kidston store and make something out of it yourself.

She proceeded to tell me that every item on my table was S**T and that I didn't deserve to be selling my items there!!!

Can you spot the little hearts in the bowl - the Cath Kidston ones...


She shows me her tote bag - which was a very pretty Cath Kidston one (with a label on!!)  And tells me that her bag was real because it was made by Cath Kidston herself.  I was amazed initially and asked her if she had been on one of Kidston's workshops etc to which she replied "no, I also bought this from the shop in Cardiff".

As you can imagine I was a little confused at this point and said to her that whilst I didn't want to enter into a debate as it wasn't very professional of me I had to point out that as beautiful as Cath Kidston products are (and I own a LOT of her stuff as I love it), it is factory made, not locally made and not by Cath herself.  She designs everything and may well do a few prototypes but the things in her stores are mass produced.  She argued me black and blue that each and every Cath Kidston product is made by Cath herself.  Can you imagine if they were?  The poor woman would have no sleep and must have cloned herself 5 million times!!!

She made me so angry in the end (I didn't show this of course, on the outside I remained cool, calm and collected but on the inside I was screaming "you mad woman")!!!!  I asked her to look at the label that would be sewn to the inside of her bag to which she read "made in china".  She turned bright red and walked away.

I felt embarrassed with myself for embarrassing someone else but this woman  was completely mad and made me so upset the fact that she made derogatory comments about my work.

The afternoon really picked up though and I sold a lot of items and came away with a wonderful profit.  The pics are of some events this week.  I've been a busy little bee.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are mum's.
This is what I made my mum...

It's also my cat Oscar's 3rd birthday today and we have actually celebrated it with chocolate cake!!  We are most certainly mad in this house but I hope I am not as mad as the Curious Clown at Lunch Time!!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Stuck in a Lift...And a Button Swap...

Yes, stuck in a lift - that was me yesterday!!

Popped over to Hobbycraft to stock up on a few last minute bits.  When I got there the lift was out of order and all the sewing supplies are upstairs.  I had William with me in the pram so didn't fancy tackling the stairs with him and a basket.  Went to the till to see if I could leave the pram behind the counter with the intention of carrying William.  "Oh, the lift should be fine" I was told, "we've been using it for deliveries / stock all morning and it's been working great so hop on in".  The lift moves up only about 2 feet and stops!!  Arrrgh!!  It was actually quite funny and wasn't stuck for too long.  If it's gonna happen, its gonna happen to me!!

They managed to reset the lift and I swiftly reverted to Plan A, carrying the baby.  Much safer.  HOWEVER, for my inconvenience they gave me lots more ribbons than I wanted at no extra charge.  I now hope to get stuck again!!!!

I also picked up a copy of Mollie Makes.  I have never bought an issue before.  It really is inspirational.  Looking forward to sitting down later with this, a hot cuppa and a bar of chocolate :-)

It's been so busy lately so I'm sorry I have not been around on here that much.  I also need to catch up on reading a lot of my fave blogs.

Last week was my first event of the year.  I was supposed to attend an earlier one but had to cancel as we all had flu.  Last week's went really well though and I met some truly wonderful people.

Sorry the pic is REALLY naff but I took it last minute - I almost forgot altogether.

I am in bit of a mad panic this week getting orders out and I have another event tomorrow.  Tomorrow it is St. David's Day here in Wales.  I shall be wearing one of my handmade daffodils with pride.

Tomorrow evening there is a St. David's Day concert at the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot with lots of schools coming together to perform.  There will also be two special guests, Stephanie Hughes and Richard Lee Thomas who recently played lead roles in The Beauty and The Beast with the Neath Amateur Operatic Society.  Come along if you are local.  Tickets are just £2.00 each.  It should be a good event.

I have finally got round to updating the "Events" page on my website.  Take a look
If you are local to any of them come and pay a visit, I would love to see you.

Emma xxx

PS.  I have signed up to my first ever swap!  I am so excited.

You need to post 50 buttons off to your allocated partner and in return you receive 50 buttons.  I already can't wait to receive mine :-)

Visit NoodleBubble to find out more.