Friday, January 31, 2014

Crawling to the weekend with Caterpillars!

Hello Hello!

It's friday again and they keep coming so fast, there's nothing quite like a regular blog post to track time with and for noticing how quickly those hours run out. Too scary. So on that note I am going to be super speedy today.

The new product this week is a Valentine spesh, A Love Bug Ladybird Cushions which are available right now on facebook by PM and soon in the Not On The High Street Shop and Etsy shop.

And the new fabric pattern of the week is Crawling Caterpillar which I have taken from the children's birthday age cards that were freshly designed this week. I really like this one as it's perfect for any little person's room!

Hope you all have a cosy weekends which seem to stretch.......

Friday, January 24, 2014

My studio, my week, my new friday fabric, print and cards!

Clearing out the desk towards the weekend is always a good feeling but this week I have cleared out my studio as well, re-arranged the furniture and made it much more functional with the help of some very low tech cereal boxes cut in half, you maybe laughing but I've never found a better system to house so many card designs in such a little space with extra love for it being free!

This weeks new Friday fabric is a called 'Mushroom Forest' which is available to view & buy here ! I totally love toadstools and mushrooms and will be adding a more 'grown up' toadstool design to the range at some point this year too.

This weeks new products are an A3 Alphabet Ladybird Print for the littlies learning their ABC's and Valentine's Day cards for anyone. I think I am going to send a whole load this year, I feel like spreading the love! You can buy them here if you are still looking for yours :-)

I hope you've had a splendid week and will shortly be doing a hop, skip and jump into the weekend. See you next time, Fran x

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fabric Friday!

Some of you will have seen this fabric design before and a few of you will have purchased it and made these cute little critters for your half pints to play with already. Either way it's a great one for me to make available on Spoonflower as I've never released any of my DIY FQ makes before on their site and it's always good to try new things. It's a simple sewing project where you can see quick results and bound to come in useful at home whilst hopefully still looking cute when they are left lying around!

If you purchase this fabric from spoonflower one FQ design will cost around £7 ish (depending on the exact exchange rate) and it makes all 6 bugs. You will need backing fabric etc to complete the project and if that's all you buy you will escape customs fees, which is a bit of a hop, skip and a jump itself.

 Happy Making and HAPPY WEEKEND! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How rude of me not to blog since August! 
I think my New Years Resolution should be to blog more....

A little reflecting and remembering
of what halfpinthome got up to in 2013.

In January when I was planning the projects I wanted to do last year I really wasn't sure where it was going to take me. I could never have imagined a year could make such a difference. It's true I've worked hard but I am sure some where along the way I've had a magical hand or two to help me....

Picture of personalised cushions by halfpinthome!

In February I got my brave on and approached Emily, a publisher I met at Bar Lane studios about a little idea I had and work began on the first Mini Make book. So very exciting indeed but as with everything new there is a steep learning curve that just can't be avoided! In between creating and designing the spreads with Emily halfpinthome commissions and pattern designs continued and another brave decision to apply for Not On The High Street was made!

March marched onwards and work on the first Mini Make book continued. I set up the halfpinthome esty shop properly and sent that all important e-mail to Not On The high street. 

Pictures above and below are  of 'makes' designed
for the first Mini Make Book

April came and went in a blur of happy but busy, being accepted to Not On The High Street and somehow feeling overwhelmed with tasks and lists of things to do! It was halfpinthome's 1st facebook birthday and work on the first Mini Makes book still continued....

 May was fun (lots of doodling, sketching and designing) preparing new cushion designs, notebooks, and cards plus taking some design work for other people. (Which is something I have actually enjoyed so much this year!)

June was an intense breath of fresh air, the closer you get to crunch time the less those silly things get in the way, speed decision making was key and it was all about focus. (Insert many a pun about focusing my camera lens here - and me wondering why I find it so hard to take good photos!) The halfpinthome Noths shop was finally ready to go live (double whoop)and the first Mini Makes book was finally published too. Not to mention the Made in York craft fair. It was all such a huge relief to have these things achieved by now!

And if I'd been thinking that I was busy then..... July was the calm before the storm and I spent time catching up on all the design jobs I had put to one side in preperation for the summer holidays, when work would inevitably have to slow down. It was also about fulfilling Not On the High Street orders which felt super cool (still does) and this was also the when I planned the Mini Makes Christmas Activity Advent Calendar!  

August was the most scary flying by the seat of my pants month ever, the Mini Makes Advent book had to be complete before the end of the holidays and the kids were off with me for the full six weeks, bar the odd day with the Grandma and Nana! I've never had to balance so much work and so much play before and 'challenge' is the only word to describe it! Soooo many early mornings, late nights and replying to e-mails in the middle of the night when I woke up but at this point I couldn't have felt more thankful that I had already learnt more than a few valuable lessons whilst designing the first one. It made the whole process a lot faster! 

What I took away from this was don't combine BIG work projects with childcare, they are not compatible and mummy guilt is a terrible thing! But I made it through and the first wholesale order even went out to Stockeld Park who were showcasing halfpinthome for the winter season too!

September was so very good. Routine ruled and after being so immersed in the second Mini Makes book for the last few weeks of the holidays the designs were all ready to roll out to other halfpinthome goodies and feedback for Mini Makes Advent was back from  editor Emily. So Work began on the amendments and designs continued in between on new buntings, new bug cushion, new cards There was also a day trip to the NOTHS 'Make, Do & Meet' (one of the most nerve wrecking things ever!) and there was also a rather crazy toadstool cushion giveaway!

October swept me off my feet and halfpinthome had never been so busy with sewing orders. Now the design work was all finished for this year Christmas it was lovely to stitch away and complete an enormous amount of custom makes including all the popular penguin cushions. There was also the first ever hph 'Market Night' which I can't thank you all enough for purchasing hph at it and it broke the record for the height of 'happy post' being sent in one day! Good times!


November was all about the packing pixie, getting organised in time for the rest of the Christmas sales and selling a ridiculous amount of Mini Makes Advent. I am not sure quite how it was possible for so many of you to buy it but it's been totally amazing that so many of you did! Thank you! It was also full of more wholesale orders and stockists with the the lovely Blossom Street Gallery in York and The Mostyn Gallery, Wales amongst others. There was also a rather fabulous foxy cushion collaboration with illustrator Josh Hurley! (still available if you love foxes here!)

December (really, already?) proved to me that hph is growing in so many ways. Such a different story to this time last year, when others had more faith in me than I had in myself, although I wouldn't change any part of how it's become what it is today! Just before the new year I hopped onto Spoonflowers' Hot Sellers list which was a very 'hoorah' moment AND of course the DEC charity raffle, which rised £2,538, a seriously good end to the year.... 

Besides feeling like I can really see direction for halfpinthome as most of the year is already mapped out with projects and plans and never forgetting how lucky I am to be able to do what I do I have meet some truly amazing people this year. On facebook, through NOTHS, and people who I've worked with but can now call friends. So many also on their journey's doing brilliant things and being so talented and inspirational. On a good or bad day there's nothing quite like company! 

With that in mind I will thank you all so very very much for the support and said company throughout 2013, comments and likes on facebook and twitter, at Made In York or via online sales and facebook groups. I am so excited about the year ahead and I hope I can make as many of you and your half pints as happy this coming year as I did last year. 

2014 will be all about MORE mini makes, nursery prints, personalised family prints, craft kits and cushions plus a couple of special collaborations which are top secret for now and a website, which is top of my list, after the accounts!  

I am so looking forward to all the lovely times ahead..... and I am so glad I looked back to all the lovely times I've had!

Happy 2014 You Lovely Lot x

Friday, August 16, 2013

Stockeld Park Showcase

Hello to the summer holidays! 
(and hello to the challenges of child care and work at the same time!)

The sun has been delicious but with hardly any rainy days there's not been many chances to set up crafts for the kids and work along side them. I have been finding that there has been a lot of 6am starts, cramming in a couple of hours while the kids sleep in and then finishing things off on Fridays when Cathy Grandma and Nana Linda whisk them off for a whole days fun. Although I have missed out on little shiny smiling faces I have been so grateful not to have to close the Etsy and NOTHS shop so far AND in the evenings (the ones where I managed to scrape myself off the floor) continue with design work ready for Christmas.

These mini make finger puppets are going to be part of the 'Christmas Countdown' Mini Make Book and I am really excited about! 

 As the book needs to be complete by the 26th August, ready for proofing and printing, it is the biggest challenge for halfpinthome! 25 pages of illustrations and makes and I have 10 days left and 3/4 of the work left to do......but us mums rock right?.....I will do it, and it will be brilliant, even if I am telling myself this in a pep talk kind of way!

So, pep talk over and onto why I am really blogging! 

A little while ago halfpinthome was approached by Stockeld Park to enter a competition that they were running to find local talent to showcase at Christmas. With a footfall of 100,000 in the lead up to Christmas this was definitely an opportunity not to be missed, so I excitedly scheduled it in. It was a submission based entry including a little bit about halfpinthome and 5 pictures of products which best showed off what halfpinthome had to offer. 

A few weeks later an e-mail came started as many do........

"Hello. Thank you for contacting Stockeld Park and taking an interest in our search for fabulous local talent that we can showcase in our Magical Gift Emporium.
We have had an overwhelming response to our competition and have struggled to choose 3 winners who will be given the chance to retail their Yorkshire made products this winter season."

*Insert a little (big) sigh (we all know what comes next) and I actually, really, nearly, did not read on.....thank goodness I did!

"I am pleased to say that you have been selected as one of our lucky winners."

I quickly gathered back up my (little-big) sigh, felt sheepish for jumping to negative conclusions and let my inners do a little dance around my happy heart. Sounds weird but it's quite hard to describe genuine happy feelings. 

So now, I am almost finished making up the order for Stockeld which includes notebook sets, ladybird cushions, ant and ladybird height charts, elephant and lion cushions and cards which are not yet designed....(something else to add to the summer holiday to do list!) ...Happy Days! So if you are popping to Stockeld Park soon and visit the shop look out for halfpinthome on the shelves! 

I am so super pleased to be a part of something so fabulous for children and totally think these kind of venues are perfect for my happy halfpinthome bugs and characters!

OH and I almost forgot, the 'lookbook' promos I was making recently are for Stockeld Park too. I thought it would be a nice way for customers who are new to find out a tiny bit more about halfpinthome and see what else is on offer! 

Hope YLL are all well and surviving being working mums too!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hello You Lovely Lot!

I have been so busy lately with Mini Make Books, design work and the shiny new halfpinthome Not On The High Street shop I've been trying to get around to doing this giveaway since 400 likers! Hopefully it will be better late than never!

This is also something I've been trying to get around to doing for ages too......shrink plastic! You all remember putting crisps packets in the oven and watching them shrivel up and then turning them into magnets or brooches right????  

YES! Well it is still THAT awesome as an adult, minus the crisp packet :)

Being me it had to be bunting to begin with! I may do magnets and brooches at a later date, but I may also not, there are some super cool ones already out there like illustrator Clare Shrouder's gorgeous ones! 

I choose to re-work my 'Up in the Clouds' pattern into blue which I thought would make a lovely, not too girly, set of bunting.

This is what they look like after they have been baked, super diddy......super cute! It's unbelievable how the detail still shows up even when it's shrunk so small as well.

 Et Voila, all ready for a new home! 
I may shrinkify everything halfpinthome now :)

If you'd like to go into the hat to win a very newly designed and money can't buy 'Up in the Clouds Mini Bunting' then all you have to do is leave a comment here OR on the facebook page on the link pinned to the top of the page. I will title it 'YOU LOVELY LOT' just so you ALL know it's for you! Thanks for sharing my adventures!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fanatical About Fabric!

Well Hello Again!

Fanatical about could say that! 

From the youngest age, I have memories of cosy snuggles with my mum under a blanket. Rainy days are my best, I know you already know this, but perhaps so as this was the perfect time for those happy hearts to relax. I am sure my blankets and covers weren't fancy pants one like you see now everywhere, Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely or Marimekko, but whatever the pattern when I close my eyes, the all comforting cosy feeling comes back to fill me with love! In fact my best one, my baby one, which I still have now, all worn and thin, was a pale yellow floral thing, with dodgy velcro bit down one side. I think my Grandma made it from a sheet originally. After I grew out of it, it became the cats blanket...... they were the snuggliest cats you could have imagined. 

So maybe that's where it all began for me, and many others I am guessing. A love of being comforted, cosy and soft familiarity. 

And now, I love patterns and I love fabric. The thing I like most when creating a pattern is the simple repeat, so silly a simple thing, yet somehow it fulfills every bit of me, perhaps that's the conditioned consumer in me, to love multiples and choice and lots........ what ever the reason, these are some of my favourite designs for halfpinthome, and probably with no sensible reason why!

This was the first baby dolly quilt design I made, it's in lots of colours now but I really loved working towards a retro feel! Loads of people think you should never put red and pink together but I happen to think it's immense. I may be the only one!

This was the first batch of number bunting fabric I ordered. With some designs I grow out of them really quickly and move onto the next thing but I still really love this design!

When it comes to the colour combination of baby blue and red I just can't help myself......bonne nuit fabric, the clouds with stripey red nightcaps, has the same effect for me, I thought it would be a passing colour phase but it makes me smile every time!

Accidental Acorns.
I never intended to use these fellas as a pattern design but I am so glad I did. I like it equally in green, pink and blue. I have lots of future plans for these little characters!

For those of you who may not know where the fabrics are ordered from, I get them from an online digital fabric printers Spoonflower. It really is easy peasy, and anyone can have a go at creating their own design. < Such fun >

BUT with pretty much anything in life there are pros and con's......the pros being

1. It's all eco-friendly! No nasties at all, especially great for children!
2. It's easy, well we all love that!
3. And it's a super massive company so prices are more affordable than anywhere else I have seen.

The con's are that
1. Shipping from the USA has it's own issues*

 (see my rough guide to spoonflower orders below)

 2. And there are special washing instructions!

Both of which are not so bad really once you know what to do!

BTW THANKS to all of you who have already ordered fabric samples/fabric bundles/fabric M's and FQ's and wall paper samples from spoonflower, or through facebook,
it's really nice to know some of you like what I do! :-)

See you next time!

*So below is my very rough guide to spoonflower!
(please note things can change and I am not an accurate source of anything- I am covered now? lol)

1. There's a whole lot of choice so be prepared to trawl. Alternatively just search 'halfpinthome' ;-)

2. Approx 4 or less test swatches will not incur any fees.
(You'll have to check the ever changing exchanging rate)

3. A single FQ in any fabric type will not incur any fees. Handy for the new halfpinthome FQ 'MYO' designs!! (Less than £15 of ordered goods excluding postage.)

4. A single metre in Kona Cotton (the fabric type I always use) will not incur any fees.
(Less than £15 of ordered goods excluding postage.)

 5. It's eco-printed, so whilst its awesome for the environment and kids, it means for best fabric care it's hand wash with phosphate free powder. It can go in the machine on 30 degrees with phosphate free powder but colours may loose a little each time. Some people would not mind for the ecological benefit, others would. It's a personal thing!

6. Patience! You'll have to wait a few weeks for things to arrive! Unless you order express which will attract fees/tax/import duty. Small orders under £15 and huge orders 20m + (lots fees here!) come pretty quickly but those middle orders can be a drag if like me you are impatient for new fabric!