Gifts for Him with Uncommon Goods

Morning! I hope you’re all keeping well and that your week is going oh-so nicely for you. Mine on the other hand, is a tad bit haphazard, mostly playing catch up after being away for a lovely long weekend in the green isle. We were away for a family wedding and to celebrate my Father-in-Law’s 60th birthday, which was all very delightful – pretty chuffed at how much he enjoyed himself.

And speaking of Fathers….we have Father’s Day coming up this weekend! Have y’all thought of anything nice to do or get? Well,  inspired by the occasion, I’ve teamed up Uncommon Goods, to review and feature some of their products that cater to the fellas, especially as I know how hard it can be to buy for men, let alone fathers! Uncommon Goods are an online marketplace who have sourced and curated their collection of handmade, organic products from designers around the globe; be it emerging artists, artisans from low-income countries or the experienced designer-maker…to bring together a community of creatives for you to engage with, each with a story to tell. If you fancy reading up more about the company and their overall ethos, hop on over here.

As for the products – I’ve categorised some of my favourites under the different type of ‘Dads’ in the hope that it will be of some use to you if you’re struggling to find something unique for that special man/men in you life! (or if you just want to treat yourselves, fellas!). Just click on the links at the end of each category to take you to the details of each product. There’s plenty more online so do have a good nosey on there!!

 

FOR THE HIPSTER DAD
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Beard Pack // Reclaimed Whiskey Barrel Bow Tie // Coffee Press

 

FOR THE URBAN JUNGLE DAD
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Fire Escape Shelf // Boxcar Planter Set

 

FOR THE CHILD-AT-HEART DAD
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Personalized Mixtape Doormat  // Baseball Game // Beeropoly Wood

 

FOR THE MINIMAL-DESIGN OBSESSED DAD
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Minimalist Teak Wall Shelf // Bedside Essentials Pocket // Wood and Ceramic Tumblers – Set of 2

 

FOR THE ART-LOVING DAD
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City Prints // Evolution of Bicycles Pop Chart // Hemingway Literary Poster // “Hi” Five Print 

 

FOR THE DIY DAD

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Succulent Living Wall Planter Kit Square // Home Microbrewing Kit with Rye IPA Recipe Pack

 

So there you have it; ‘Gifts for Him‘ curated by moi that would be perfect for the fellas whatever the occasion. You can check out the full Father’s Day gifts range here, along with other featured collections for groomsmen and baby showers here and here.

Happy Browsing folks! I’ll be back with more this week! xx

**This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods, however all words and opinions are my own, dictated completely by my love for all things handmade**

Thornback & Peel Summer Sale

MbM_T&P-Summer-Sale-1501Hey folks! I hope you’re all keeping fine and dandy. I’ve been pretty busy recently, as you probably already guessed from the lack of blog posts, so boy am I glad it’s Friday – I’m already looking forward to the weekend!

Well, yesterday afternoon I popped along to Thornback & Peel’s gorgeous store in Bloomsbury yesterday, to celebrate the launch of their GREAT SUMMER SALE which, by the way, will be running until August! If you get the chance to drop by or simply in the area, do go take a look at all their beautiful screen printed homeware. There’s up to 50% off on all their end of line, samples and slight seconds…

Soooooo, if you like all things British (everything down to their designs!) then this is definitely something you won’t want to miss! :) Plus I do have a little treat for you readers too if you keep reading on…

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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

You’ll also be pleased to know that the SALE does continue on their online store too although this only includes end of line products and not the seconds or sample items which you will only be able to get your hands on in store while stocks last.

What I do have for you guys is a promotional code exclusively for all my lovely readers, where you will be entitled to an EXTRA 10% off on all the sale items, with lots of single print products which will no longer be available again (I’ve added some images of those below)….so once they’re gone, THEY’RE GONE!

To get your 10% percent discount, simply enter the code TPMBMB at check out! This extra discount is only valid till the 9th of July guys so, go make the most of it!! :)

Have fun on your shopping spree….just don’t go blaming me for any buyer’s remorse :P Although, trust me, you won’t regret it!! Have a fabulous weekend xxx

 

[Image credit: ©Thornback&Peel]

 

[Behind the Scenes] Louise Wright Illustrations

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‘Afternoon folks! I hope you’re having a lovely start to the week.

Well, I’m delighted to start my comeback series of posts for this month with my ‘Behind the Scenes‘ interviews and this month we have the lovely illustrator Louise Wright; the amazing talent behind all the super cute animal-inspired illustrations you will find on anything from tea towels to mugs. I first stumbled across Louise’s work (as well as meet the lovely lady herself who I chatted to for a while intrigued about the story behind that print!) at the Crafty Fox Autumn markets last year in Brixton….as you can see from that link, I did also fall in love with her ‘Elephant and Penguin’ print which now takes pride on my little gallery wall in our bedroom. There’s a sense of warmth and innocence in her work that almost makes you go back to those nostalgic happy childhood days…..I’m not exactly sure how best to describe it but all I know is it puts a huge smile on my face every time I look at her print hanging on my wall. It makes me feel warm, fuzzy and happy! :)

Anyway, without further adieu, let me introduce you to this delightful Derbyshire-based illustrator who has been such a pleasure to interview! Here’s what she has to say….

 

[1] Hi Louise, tell us a little about yourself. Have you always wanted to be an illustrator/designer? Hello, I’m a freelance illustrator based in Derby. I didn’t always want to be an illustrator, when I was younger I wanted to be a writer, but as time went on I became less and less academic and much more drawn to the art side of learning. I still very much would love to write for children but something in my brain has switched onto drawing only at the moment and the stories don’t flow as easily, so I’m not forcing it, it’ll come back on its own :)

[2] How did you come about setting up Louise Wright Design? What is the story behind your business? Well, after graduating university with a first class honors in illustration I came out into the world full of hope, which was quickly crushed. After lots of rejections I found myself in an office job crying at lunchtime because I was so unhappy and I pretty much stopped drawing altogether…I gave myself a bit of a kick up the bum eventually and joined a local studio to do some screen printing; no pressure, just a little bit of fun, and a way to get messy and interact with other arty folks again. This turned out to be a step in the right direction and I began to enjoy my artwork again and got excited about printing onto various surfaces – tea towels and tote bags. People at the studio began to take an interest and started asking if they could buy them from me! From there I’ve spent a lot of time building my business and my brand, I started out selling at small craft fairs, and supplying shops on a Sale or Return basis after getting a grant from Prince’s Trust.  It hasn’t been easy but it’s been an incredible journey so far.

MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_1 [Image credit: ©Holly Booth Photography]

[3] What five words best describe you and your style of work? Quirky, fun, busy, cute, foxy!

[4] The ‘elephant and penguin’ print I bought off you at the Crafty Fox autumn markets last year is still one of my favourites. What’s the main source of inspiration behind your work?  Ah I’m so glad to hear!! :) When I’m working on pieces like that I like to create a narrative in my head, and often I don’t share this with customers because everyone interprets them in different ways and I think it’s so beautiful that something I created can bring so much imagination and joy to people. I love animals and being outdoors, and I find that heavily comes through into my work. I basically draw things that make me happy and hope they make other people happy to :)

MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_quote_[5] How would you describe your design process and/or technique used, and what part of it do you like the most? My process has changed SO MUCH over just the last year, I now work much more digitally and although I create the sketches by hand I do lots of the work from there in Photoshop, there is nothing more pleasing then getting my paints out and making a mess though!!!

[6] How long would it normally take to create your final product; from inception to completion? It varies, sometimes it can take me days to get an idea to surface and then I’ll faff around with it and we might not see a product for months. That being said, for the spring fair,  I designed 5 mugs and got them printed up super quick…..I think we had about a week and a half from start to finish on those!

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 [Image credit: ©Holly Booth Photography]

[7] Is there any craft/art medium that you haven’t tried but want to? If so, do tell us why?There are loads! I would love to be better at sewing and try to sew some of my own clothes! I could then just pick out amazing fabrics and it would be so much fun stitching it all up into all kinds of clothes. And  I’d look amazing all the time….right? ;)

[8] As a designer-maker, would you say it’s been difficult breaking through into what is a booming and competitive creative industry? If so, what are the kind of challenges you face/d?This is a tough one, I think what I’ve found harder and much more prominent was starting my business in the recession. People haven’t had the money to splurge on treats so I figure if I can do okay through that what harm is a little healthy competition?

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[9] What would be your ‘top three tips’ for like-minded individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this creative field or want to switch career paths but afraid to do so? hmm, I guess first of all….

  • totally check and see if you can get any help from the Prince’s Trust, they are absolutely fab and can help you hit the ground running with your business.
  • Don’t listen to that little voice in your head screaming ‘ butttt it’s not ready yet!!’ and miss out on opportunities, bite the bullet and just go with what you have, because you can work on something forever and still feel like it’s not ready yet!
  • Start small and grow naturally. Only do what you are comfortable with – you are in charge now, and if you don’t feel happy about something you don’t have to do it :)

[10] What would you say is the best part of your business? And is this a full-time 9-5 business or something you run on the side? The best part of my business is the fact that I get to work on things that I want to work on; if I want to draw a fox, then gosh darn it, I’ll draw a fox! I can take lunch whenever I want, and I can plan things the way that I want too, which is really amazing! My business is full-time now. I wish I could say it were 9-5 but really it’s much more like 24/7 as there are things I don’t do out of office hours but I really do work my bum off for my business. Part of my new years resolutions this year was to take more short breaks during the year so I don’t burn out – which I’m pleased to say I am doing.

MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_5MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_10  [Image credit: ©Holly Booth Photography]

[11] Of your current range of work, what ‘piece’ or ‘collection’ would you pick out as your favourite? Ohh, this is hard!! I REALLY like my octopus mug, he makes me so happy, I’ve been doodling this octopus for years so it’s nice to finally have him alive and on a product!

[12] When you’re not in a design mode, what else do you enjoy doing – any other hobbies or past time favourites? Hehe, well I love playing video games, reading and getting myself outside into the countryside somewhere where there are no other people around for miles! And nothing gets better than meeting friends for a good natter over some cake (and wine!)

[13] What are your favorite bedside book/s or blog/s at the moment? I’m loving reading Moyo Magazine on my tablet while I’m in bed, but that doesn’t replace a real book! II thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ by John Green recently, so much so that I’m working my way through his other books now….so yea, I’m currently reading the fabulous ‘Paper Towns’.

[14] Name three things you just could not live without? Tea, music, cake!

MbM_LOUISE-WRIGHT_4 [Image credit: ©Holly Booth Photography]

[15] Are there any illustrators, artists, designer-makers out there that you find inspirational or you think are ones to keep an eye out for – if so, who? Oh so many! I love the work of Holly Betton who runs ‘Death By Tea‘ – I have quite a few of her mugs already and they are my favorites….. plus she is lovely too! I’ve also been having an attack from the brilliance of Emma Yarlett’s illustrations for picture books, I had to buy all the ones she had done…obviously.

[16] And finally, what do you have in store for Louise Wright Design this year? Are there any events we should take note of too? Well I’ve done my first two trade fairs early on the year (Spring Fair & BCTF) so they were my biggies really. From here on in I’ll be at local events around the Derbyshire area which you can keep up with via my Events page on my website :) I do have loads of other things I want to achieve this year; new products up my sleeve and developing my illustration work further being the big two. This year is just going by so fast!! So, the best thing is to stay tuned via my Facebook page or Twitter for all the latest news and gossip!

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Got to love that last quote!

Okay, so now do you feel that warm, fuzzy and happy feeling I’m talking about?? I mean, aren’t they simply the cutest little drawings? :)

Well, if you like her work just as much as I do……then here’s a treat I have in store for you! I’m sooooooooooooooo excited to tell you that Louise and I have decided to offer, exclusively to all you lovely readers/followers, 20% off ANY of her work that you find on her Etsy store.To redeem your discount, simple enter MADEBYMOLU at checkout where it says ‘Apply shop coupon code‘ and then proceed with the next stage.

This special offer is only valid for the month (ends 30th of June) so if you’d like to treat yourself then now is your chance to get your paws on any of her goodies!!

Thank you, once again, Louise for giving me a huge chunk out of your busy time to share with us your story and for the amazing offer to all my readers. There’s been some really inspiring and insightful things for us all to take note of and I know we’ll all be looking forward to seeing all the wonderful new creations you have coming up! Good luck and all the very best, lovely!

Have a wonderful and fun month of June, folks!! xxx

[For the Home] Donna Wilson and then some

MbM_ForTheHome_DW_10-WEBSo springtime is finally descending on us and after a month or so of horrible cold and wet weather I’m delighted to see rays of sunshine across the country over the last few weeks even with the occasional downpours! Not to mention the lighter evenings! I must admit however, that I’ve also been making a conscious effort in trying to bring more elements to our home that brought in a little springtime cheer. We’ve done quite a bit of home improvements and massive clear outs since the new year so I used those as an opportunity to brighten up the place either by redecorating or adding pops of colours or fresh flowers.

Well, you wouldn’t believe my joy when I heard about the Donna Wilson ‘sample sale’ that was held two weeks back. I’ve always been a big fan of her work but like many pretty things out there, most of them remained on my wish list. So although I wasn’t in any position to be splashing out on ‘luxuries’ (we’re saving up for our Big American Roadtrip this summer) I really couldn’t quite shake of the temptation of going especially knowing that you’d get at least 50-70% RRP. So I went with Viktorija and Sabine to make an evening out of it – and boy, did we do that! ;) I was so good on the Friday night (the first night of the sale) only spending £30 on bits and bobs like her plates, tea towels, make up pouch bag, plus some other little things by other artists…but it was later that night, especially when I got home, that I was starting to really regret not purchasing her lovely cushions! They were always my favourites aside from her crockery range…and it was her knitted cushions that got me all stewing at night! Well, you can guess what I did then, right? I actually got up the next morning and made my way for when they opened at 11am to pick up the knitted cushion I had my eye on…..uh-huh, that’s exactly what I did! Oh and as I was going over to the till, I then looked at the bright summer cotton cushions and thought….heck i’ll pick one of those up too. Compulsive I know but my gawd this was the ONE time I walked away without any buyer’s remorse! :D I was soooooo glad I went back as I know for a fact that I probably would not have bought them in a long while. And to top it all off, I actually got to meet her in person on the second day, and I told her how I couldn’t sleep knowing I never got the cushions which she thought was hilarious (or bonkers, who knows!) ;)  MbM_ForTheHome_DW_WEB

Anyway, here’s a few shots of my purchases taking pride of place in our home. I’ve been adding a lot of yellows, pinks and greens to the flat so the colours from the cushions and the other pieces all lend beautifully to the springtime colour palette. What do you think? Do you think I did well with these buys for the home? ;) xx

MbM_ForTheHome_DW_4-WEB MbM_ForTheHome_DW_11-WEBMbM_ForTheHome_DW_5-WEB MbM_ForTheHome_DW_9-WEBMbM_ForTheHome_DW_6-WEBThe clock, butter dish and the miniature white ceramic houses were also purchased from the sample sale although by different designers. Again, I felt these totally summed us design junkies so simply had to pick them up too while I was there! And at £10, £5 and £1 – they were a bargain!

MbM_ForTheHome_DW_8-WEBAnd don’t you just LOOOOOVE tulips? On its own it’s enough to brighten up any day or room! And as you can see below, I’ve been playing around with the placement of each piece both in the lounge and the bedroom. The bedroom, including my little workspace corner, gets decluttered every 3 months just so that it remains visually pleasing to the eye, especially when I have to work here most of the time. I revamped my pin board by painting it all white and having less stuff on there which makes it much cleaner looking. Anyway, there’s a lot more to share with you on our home improvements series so do keep an eye out for them! :)
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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[Behind the Scenes]: Meet Pauline of BENU Jewellery

MBM_PAULINE-BENU_MainHey hey hey! How’s it going folks? I’m sorry I’ve been quiet all week last week but I’m back with a bang with this month’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ Interview. I’m really REALLY pleased to introduce to you this talented lady and her awesome work. Pauline Hagan, a London-based designer, is the face behind BENU who creates these funky, electric and colourful leather jewellery. I first came across her geometric necklaces at the We Make London pop-up shop last summer and it was only later that year was I finally able to put a face to these amazing designs when I was introduced to Pauline by both Viktorija and Sabine at one of our rendezvous over sushi, bento boxes and plum wine! ;) It’s comes as no surprise to you all at how much I LOVE my statement necklaces particularly with a soft spot for leather and geometry, so her jewellery are right up my street……and her strikingly beautiful pieces are all designed, hand cut and put together by Pauline herself! Anyway, I shall quit rambling and let you in on the interview I had with Pauline so that you get to see how fabulous she is yourself!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself, and what made you decide into wanting to become a designer? I’m Pauline, I’m half French, half British and currently living in London. I started designing leather jewellery about two years ago, when I realised that my day job wasn’t exciting or creative enough. I knew I wanted to start a project of my own – so began experimenting with different crafts, materials and techniques
  2. How did you come about setting up? What made you take up jewellery making, specialising in leather jewellery and accessories? And is there a story behind the name? I happened to spot a few leather jewellery tutorials online and came across a market trader selling beautiful, thick leather offcuts in all possible colours (including a lovely gold with a perfect shine). I brought a bag full of offcuts home and it all stems from there. Leather is very easy to manipulate and perfect for those who are particularly impatient – a little idea can go a long way and is easy and quick to materialise.The name BENU is a product of my other half’s imagination. He’s from Prague, and Czechs are renowned for coming up with diminutives and little nicknames for their family and friends. It won’t mean much to the outside world, but it’s short, simple and, hopefully, memorable!MBM_PAULINE-BENU_11
  3. What five words best describe you and your style of work? Eye-catching, fun, bright, creative, colourful.
  4. It was your geometric bib necklace in blue and gold that first caught my eye at the We Make London Pop Up Boutique. In fact, I absolutely love your geometric range (I cannot wait to purchase!) What’s the main source of inspiration behind your work? Thanks for your kind words! I find my inspiration all over the place – the colour of a flower or the shape of a building might spark an idea. I try to observe and inspect what surrounds me and think about what I can repurpose, how I can recycle an idea – could I use the way bricks slot together as a pattern? Could I cut petals out of leather? The ideas come to me when I’m walking around, just about to go to sleep, when I’m at work or whilst I’m in the midst of creating another piece of jewellery. 885699_476343669081930_1517067540_o
  5. How would you describe your design process and what part of it do you like the most? It’s difficult for me to imagine a finished necklace or pair of earrings, so I’ll start with a focus, something that’s inspired me and will then take it from there. It could be a particular shape (triangles for example), two colours that marry well (gold & electric blue) or a particular material or shape (yarn or embroidery thread). I do a lot of experimenting and embark on a mini creative journey – the results of which usually pleasantly surprise me! The part I enjoy the most is the satisfaction, once I’ve finished the journey, of having a finished piece – and seeing how I can develop it further. For example this multicoloured petals necklace lead me to create this tiny pink petals necklace and this colourful drops necklace. One little idea can go a long way!
  6. How long would it normally take to create your final product; from inception to completion? It would really depend on the piece. At times the process can be very fast, if I’m particularly excited about an idea of have something quite specific in mind – a couple of hours perhaps. Sometimes ideas take a lot longer to evolve and I’ll work on them for hours or days. Although I have noticed that the longer I spend on a piece, the less likely I am to be happy with it. In terms of actually making a necklace or pair of earrings once they’ve already been designed, it’ll usually take me 1-2 hours. MBM_PAULINE-BENU_4 MBM_PAULINE-BENU_3 MBM_PAULINE-BENU_2
  7. Is there any craft/art medium that you haven’t tried but want to? And why? One of my resolutions this year is to try out new crafts, techniques and mediums – you never really know what you’re capable of so I think it’s always important to continue digging and exploring. If there’s a craft out that’s going to make me happy (and they usually do!), I want to discover it! I’ve started calligraphy and have been experimenting with watercolours – which has been very exciting and has pushed me to think out of the box. Next on the list are testing watery silk paints, painting on glass, screen-printing and linocut.
  8. As a designer-maker, would you say it’s been difficult breaking through into what is a booming and competitive creative industry? If so, what are the kind of challenges you face/d? It can’t say I found it difficult to break into the creative industry, but I think the toughest part was the build up to the launch of BENU (Etsy shop and social media) – and not knowing what the response might be. When you’ve been preparing something for so long and have no clue how it’s likely to be received, it can be worrying. However it was all a lot easier than I’d anticipated. Hard work really pays off and shines through – and I got so much support at the beginning from family and friends, which gave me a wonderful boost. The craft community is also extremely friendly and supportive and it really helps to bump into people who are going through similar experiences and challenges.
  9. What would be your ‘top three tips‘ for like-minded individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this creative field or want to switch career paths but afraid to do so? Firstly, if you haven’t yet found your ‘niche’, experiment. Get inspiration via Pinterest, craft blogs and tutorials, and give it a shot. In my case, I very rarely get a light bulb moment, it’s always a process I go through, starting with just one focus point (technique, material, colour, shape). The best bit is that it can go so many ways – you never know where your creativity will take you. Secondly, just go for it. It’s all tremendously daunting but try to bounce your ideas off friends/ family, build up your confidence and determination and get it out there.You won’t regret it! Lastly, do a lot of research and always keep an eye on other successful creatives and designers: how they’re making their products, how they’re photographing them, expanding their range of products, through what mediums or channels they’re selling them, how they’re doing their own marketing, etc.
  10. MBM_PAULINE-BENU_6MBM_PAULINE-BENU_5MBM_PAULINE-BENU_8MBM_PAULINE-BENU_9What would you say is the best part of your business? And is this a full-time 9-5 business or something you run on the side?I work full-time in a design agency as a project manager and run BENU on the side, in my spare time. The very best bit of it is the sheer personal satisfaction you get out of it – it’s my own little project, I make all the decisions, I can take it wherever I want to take it, and it makes me very excited about the future. The other side of it is the lovely feedback I get from my customers. 
  11. Of your current range of work, what ‘piece’ or ‘collection’ would you pick out as your favourite? I think that my favourite pieces will always be the first set I designed, with the very first gold & electric blue leather offcuts I bought – this necklace, this other necklace and these earrings. These designs are what triggered everything else.
  12. When you’re not in a design mode, what else do you enjoy doing – any other hobbies or past time favourites? When I’m not designing jewellery I love experimenting with other crafts and techniques. Other than that, I love the theatre and music, and am planning to get back to my guitar & singing (which I left to one side to get all dusty & rusty whilst I concentrated on my jewellery!). MBM_PAULINE-BENU_cover
  13. What are your favourite bedside book/s or blog/s at the moment? I always have a few books on the go at the one time, which is frustrating but I can’t seem to discipline myself – Catch 22 (Joseph Heller) and If nobody speaks of remarkable things (Jon McGregor) at the moment. My favourite blogs are designlovefest and A Pair and a Spare, both run by incredibly creative, crafty and business-minded women. I get a lot of inspiration from both.
  14. Name three things you just could not live without? Definitely the people in my life, the place(s) I call home & all of my craft supplies and materials.  MBM_PAULINE-BENU_quote_2WEB
  15. Are there any illustrators, artists, designer-makers out there that you find inspirational or you think are ones to keep an eye out for – if so, who? As always – the lovely Viktorija from And Smile and Sabine from S-Gerth Design – who are both so creative, determined and brilliant at what they do. A few other creatives I admire: Jonna Saarinen, Floti, DDSLL, SketchInc, leahgoren, Butterscotch Beesting, An Astrid Endeavor, amongst many others!
  16. And finally, what do you have in store for BENU this year? Are there any events we should take note of too? Last year was very intense as I’d decided to try out as many things as possible – online selling, markets, new stockists, cooperating with bloggers, etc. As fun as it was, it was a little too stressful with a busy full-time job to go to as well. I’ve decided this year that I’ll focus on the made to order side of things (online selling) as well as exploring and designing new pieces (hopefully in a more organised and collection-based way than previously). That means no events or markets this year (yet!) but stay tuned for some exciting new designs! MBM_PAULINE-BENU_13MBM_PAULINE-BENU_packaging

Thank you ever so much Pauline for taking the time out to be interviewed and for the amazing photos you provided too! I’m sure all my readers will now see what all the rage is about and agree with me when I say that I can’t wait to see what else is in store for BENU. But firstly, I must get round to treating myself to one of your necklaces soon! :D All the best and I look forward to catching up real soon…..hopefully sushi and plum wine again! ;)

So there you have it folks……if you’d like to follow all of Pauline’s beautiful creations, you can find her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram….and of course, if you’re looking to purchase any of her pieces you can find them on her Etsy store. Happy window shopping!!! :D xx

 

[Image credit: ©Benu Jewellery]

[Behind the Scenes]: Meet Charlotte Bezzant

Charlotte-Bezzant_01-WebWell folks, this is the first of my ‘Behind the Scenes’ series of interviews for 2014 and I’m delighted to be kicking it off with London-based jewellery designer, Charlotte Bezzant. I honestly can’t recall how and when exactly I stumbled upon Charlotte’s work but I do know it was her Polar bear collar clip/brooch that I spotted early last year that got me following her on twitter and swooning over her stunning pieces of jeweller (those rings are to die for!). After graduating in fashion, Charlotte moved on to work with silver and semi-precious stones – first as a hobby, before taking it on as a full-time profession. There’s real honesty in her work and the attention to detail in her design process only further highlights the beauty in her craftsmanship. She often seeks inspiration from nature, her everyday surroundings and her travels; the most popular of them being her ‘Artic’ collection after her trip out there! What I admire most about Charlotte (and like many of the designers I’ve featured on MbM) is the ability to turn her passion into a viable business especially after a long stint in a non-creative and stifling industry….which only goes to show that if you believe in yourself and have courage, you can make anything work. It’s not an easy thing to do so which is why I find people like Charlotte, truly inspiring. So it’s been a pleasure interviewing her and here’s what she had to say!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and what made you decide into wanting to become a designer? My name is Charlotte, and I am the designer and maker for my own little jewellery business Charlotte Bezzant Jewellery. My dad is an architect and my mum studied three-dimensional design, so creativity is in my blood and I always knew I would follow a creative path. When I left school, I studied for a degree in Fashion. I had no plans to be a jewellery designer.
  2. How did you come about setting up Charlotte Bezzant Jewellery? What made you decide on taking up jewellery making, specialising in silver jewellery?  When I graduated, I was offered a non creative job in the fashion industry, so I started going to an evening class in jewellery making, just for fun. I did courses on and off for years. When I had my second child, I started going one morning a week, and had a very talented silversmith as my tutor. It was her encouragement that started me selling my work.
  3. What five words best describe you and your style of work? That’s tricky. I think… Simple, pretty and occasionally covetable? Does that count as five – lol.
  4. I think it was your polar bear collar clip from the ‘Arctic animals’ collection that first caught my eye. What’s the main source of inspiration behind your work? I was really lucky to go on an amazing trip to the Arctic to see the Northern lights. The scenery, the whiteness, the sparking snow and ice, had a deep impact on me. (Although I didn’t see any polar bears!)  Other than that I get inspired by all sorts of things. I sometimes worry that I have varying sources of inspiration, and my work might not look cohesive, but I only design things which I love, and it all seems to hang together somehow.
  5. Charlotte-Bezzant_04-WebCharlotte-Bezzant_05-WebCharlotte-Bezzant_07-WebHow would you describe your design process and what part of it do you like the most? I have a sketchbook, that I draw and write in. I might stick in pictures that inspire me. Sometimes I might not come back to an idea for months, but if it’s made it into the book, it will more often than not end up as a piece of jewellery one day. I also like to cast found items in solid silver. I have been an avid collector of all sorts of tiny things for years, so I think it’s an extension of that. I love the idea of immortalising something like a little shell or button in silver, so it becomes so precious.
  6. How long would it normally take to create your final product; from inception to completion? Sometimes months(!) but the process could be very quick. It just depends how inspired I am. I find it tricky when I am commissioned to make something that is not quite me, and can get a bit of artistic block. I plan to solve that one going forward, by only taking on things that feel just right.
  7. Is there any craft/art medium that you haven’t tried but want to? And why? I think like most makers, I love to try all different mediums, so there is not much that I haven’t had a play with, from crocheting to stone carving. One thing I haven’t tried is blacksmithing, but I have been seriously tempted to take a course. 
  8. As a designer-maker, would you say it’s been difficult breaking through into what is a booming and competitive creative industry? If so, what are the kind of challenges you face/d? I think I have been immensely lucky, as I don’t feel it has been hard, but I feel I am only on the bottom rung of the ladder and there is a long way up left to go.
  9. What would be your ‘top three tips’ for like-minded individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this creative field or want to switch career paths but afraid to do so? 1) If you wait until you’re ready, you could be waiting the rest of your life. 2) Nothing ventured nothing gained. 3) What’s the worst that can happen? Charlotte-Bezzant_14-Web
  10. What would you say is the best part part of your business? And is this a full-time 9-5 business or something you run on the side? Apart from bringing up two boys, it is my only job. It is full-time, but I fit it around school hours and school holidays. I love designing and making, so it makes me very happy. I’m often answering queries, or writing my blog into the small hours, but because I love it, it does not feel like work.
  11. Of your current range of work, what ‘piece’ or ‘collection’ would you pick out as your favourite? I think it would probably be my Arctic Twig bangle, as it takes me right back to picking the twig in the Arctic Circle at minus 28 degrees. Brrrrrr.Charlotte-Bezzant_06-WebCharlotte-Bezzant_03-WebCharlotte-Bezzant_02-Web
  12. When you’re not in a design mode, what else do you enjoy doing – any other hobbies or past time favourites? I love the great outdoors in any form, I have a veg plot and chickens that keep me busy in the garden, and boys that keep me busy the rest of the time. I run and have a few marathons under my belt. Oh, and I love a good rummage at a car boot sale!
  13. What are your favourite bedside book/s or blog/s at the moment? I love checking in to blog Attic24. It is the absolute opposite of my working day. It’s full of colour and green hills, plus intermittent cakes. Lucy’s style is relaxed and laid back, and I find it a very easy read with lots of lovely pictures.
  14. Name three things you just could not live without? My boys, my parents, food. Charlotte-Bezzant_Quote-Web
  15. Are there any illustrators, artists, designer-makers out there that you find inspirational or you think are ones to keep an eye out for – if so, who? I’m in love with Ruth Tomlinson’s jewellery, and if you asked me to swap my business with anyone else’s that would be the one. Her rings are utterly gorgeous. When I saw them in the flesh they were smaller and more delicate than I had imagined from the photos. Perhaps I better start saving up?
  16. And finally, what do you have in store for Charlotte Bezzant Jewellery this year? Are there any events we should take note of too? I haven’t made too many plans for the year ahead, applications for shows later in the year are only just going in, but I have been thinking of enlisting a graphic designer to help me with my branding. I also built my website myself, and I keep thinking it could do with looking a tad more professional. One step I have taken is to enrol on a course to improve my photography, and i would love to learn some new specialist stone setting skills this year. There’s always something to do. I’m looking forward to some new designs emerging, and generally I’m hoping for more steady growth this year. There is only one of me, and I don’t want to find that I am compromising on quality and personal service by expanding too fast, those last two things are very, very important to me.

Well there you have it folks. Aren’t her pieces stunning? That Aquamarine ring is probably going to have to go on my wish list too! Anyway, I just want to thank Charlotte for taking the time out to share her story with us on here, which I’m sure you’ll agree is truly inspirational, especially juggling work and family life. If you’d like to follow more of her work, you can find Charlotte on Facebook, Twitter, Etsy and on her blog. And she’s available for private commissions so drop her a line if you’re looking for something truly unique and special!! Perhaps, a ‘something blue’ for a wedding? Or a gift for a special milestone? ;)

Thanks again and remember to stay inspired! xx

[Image Credit: ©Charlotte Bezzant]

A few recent purchases this Autumn…

The Autumn/Winter season brings with it many craft fairs, markets and events but I must admit the Crafty Fox Markets in Brixton and the most recent Renegade Craft Fair in Bricklane, have both exceeded my expectations. Every time I go to such events, I’m left hugely impressed (and overwhelmed, in a good way!) by the level of talent and craftsmanship out there. The hard graft, the perseverance, the determination and the creativity of all the designer-makers (many of whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet and get acquainted with) is both admirable and inspiring! Anyway, while I wish I was able to splash out on plenty more handmade goodies and bespoke pieces, here are a few of the recent purchases I’d like to share with you…… It’s good for the soul, I say! ;)

First up, is this adorable print from the lovely Louise of Louise Wright Illustrations that I bought from the Autumn Markets, hosted by Crafty Fox Markets at Dogstar, Brixton back in October.
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Secondly, we got this beautiful vintage map; J Bartholomewo’s Map of Ireland circa 1872 from Paul Vening at Spitalfields Markets, while galavanting around in Shoreditch for the Photo Hunt event we signed up to last month. Paul has a fantastic collection of authentic vintage maps and Fashion prints so his stall is definitely worth a visit if you’re there! Nothing like a owning a piece of history! :) MbM_BLOG_Spitalfields_Irish-Map-1 MbM_BLOG_Spitalfields_Irish-Map-2

And finally, from the Renegade Craft Fair held at the Old Truman Brewery in Bricklane last weekend, we bought a few pieces ranging from accessories to prints for the wall. Let me know what you think.

[1] The ‘Architect’s Watch‘ by designers and watch-makers May28th. Okay, I know it’s very clichéd but what the heck – it had my name all over it and as soon as I spotted it, I knew I had to have it! Worked out well considering I had been looking to replace my ‘everyday’ watch that was starting to look rather worn out. Meant to be really! ;) Oh and FYI – why May 28th? Well, it based on the date that designer Agni Tilla, got engaged on….cute huh? :)

[2] This stunning bookmark or ‘Mark for Books‘ as it’s called, by Pink Tank Ltd, depicting the NYC street map, was a must-have. Whether it was the architects in us or just being design geeks in general, we were both immediately drawn to the fabulous collection of bookmarks, not to mention the geometrical-patterned pendents. All the products are etched out of thin sheets of stainless steel; it’s intricate, beautiful, industrial and architectural in many ways that we were glad we stopped by (like three times!). Totally impressed with the style of work, design ethos and little stories that go behind it, I’m happy to tell you that I’ll be featuring Chelsea in the New Year…..and I cannot wait!! :)

MbM_BLOG_Renegade-London_14MbM_BLOG_Renegade-London_15 MbM_BLOG_Renegade-London_13[3] Hand-pulled screen prints by James Brown Prints and Telegramme. We’re both very much into all forms of art, graphics and typography especially vintage/vintage-inspired ones so we are delighted to add these awesome prints to our growing collection! Really chuffed with them actually. Just need to get them framed (along with a couple of other prints we bought in the year i.e. our wedding anniversary presents!) and get them up on the wall soon! Next DIY HOME project coming right up! :)

So that’s it folks. I do hope you like the little bits and bobs we picked up this autumn. There’s soooooo much out there its hard not to come back without a little something! And if you know exactly what I mean, and have bought a few things yourself, then please do share! Always great to come across more talented artists and designers!! ;)

Oh and if you’d like to nosey through more photos from these events go over to my Facebook Page!

Bye for now! xx

[Image Credit: ©Made by Molu, all photos taken using my DSLR and iPhone 4s]

[What’s On]: Crafty Fox Market’s Cut & Paste Camden Pop Up

If you haven’t already been then please do stop by at Crafty Fox and Brixi’s Cut & Paste Pop Up shop held in Camden Collective‘s new space on Camden High Street which has been open all week – and today’s the last day!!! If’ you’re looking for that something ‘unique’ then there’s plenty of lovely handmade and bespoke goodies to choose from; ranging from jewellery to cushions to wall prints to crockery and many many more! You’ll find the works of artists and designer-makers such as Hope and Eden, Mr Peebles, By Emily, Lucy Loves This, Oh My Clumsy Heart, Jimbobart and lots more. I managed to pop along yesterday morning, before my manic day of errands and work began, and I can tell you it looks pretty amazing including the way the shop is set up inside! I even got  the pleasure of chatting to Sinead of Crafty Fox for ages seeing as I had missed the opportunity at the Blognic last month. I did actually come back home with lots of photos from yesterday to share on here but thanks to my new iPhone, which did a random sync, it somehow erased all the photos I had taken since the day I got it last week.  It wasn’t my day with technology yesterday! Anyway, Sinead’s been kind enough to let me use a few of Yeshen‘s photos to give you a little glimpse of what you’ll expect to see (thank you!!)

Anyway, do pop along as it’s only open till the end of today! For more up to date info – follow Crafty Fox on Twitter or Facebook. You can also find more information on the designers here.

When: Tues 16th – Sun 21st July
Where: 69 Camden High Street, NW1 7JL YESHEN_2_WEB YESHEN_6_WEB YESHEN_7_WEB YESHEN_5_WEB YESHEN_3_WEB YESHEN_1_WEB

(image credit: Yeshen Venema)

[What’s On]: We Make London turns 5!!

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Last Friday evening I hurried along to We Make London’s 5th birthday party at the Camden Lock Place (West Yard) straight after work (and before scooting off to a dinner party!). I had been to their first markets held at Camden back in April which showcased works of some of London’s talented designer-makers I had the privilege to meet (if you remember my blogpost from back then), so I was delighted to have made it out to this special evening that commemorated their 5 successful years! The handmade market took place in the morning (they hold these twice a month) and the celebrations took place later that evening between 630pm and 830pm. They also launched their pop-up shop that ran the entire week that followed which I obviously had a good nosey through that evening before the second half of the celebrations began – and of course, taking tons of photos (no surprises there!) :P  It stocked some seriously stunning work by We Make London designers such as Kate Rowland, And Smile, Lizzes Beautiful Art, Triptych Designs, SannaPanda and many others – I have to confess that I found it rather hard to refrain myself from buying everything in there!

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BLOG_STRIP_we-make-london-5thDSC_3182-WEBAnd then come 7:30pm we had a young emerging artist called Tora Lambie (apparently only 13 years of age!!) who opened the catwalk show by Fashion Meets Music with her stunning version of Valerie. I think I can speak for everyone there that her voice totally blew us all away – definitely one to keep an eye out for!! DSC_3262-WEBBLOG_STRIP_we-make-london-5th2DSC_3549-WEBThe models soon made their appearance, bravely strutting their stuff along the cobbled runway in ridiculously high heels! My hats off to them for totally rocking the runway and giving us photographers some serious attitude at the end! They showed off fashion accessories designed by some of We Make London designers such as  Boubou Designs along with Fashion Meets Music designers such as The Far Away Tree Collection and Annaliese Dayes (who’s appeared on both Britain’s Next Top Model and America’s Next Top Model). DSC_3286-WEB(above: Hats and fascinators by Hatastic)

DSC_3376-WEB(above: Scarfs and accessories by Boobou Designs)

DSC_3432-WEB DSC_3500-WEB DSC_3507-WEB(above: awesome clutch bags by The Far Away Tree Collection)

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DSC_3567-WEB(above: Frilly socks by Annaliese Dayes Frills collection)

As you can see from my photos (which only show you a glimpse of all the fun that night), it was an awesome evening of fun and frolics – I even arrived late to my dinner party just to stay on till the end of the Catwalk! :D All credit goes to Mary of We Make London and the Camden Lock press team for a fantastic fashion soirée. And a massive thank you for the fabulous goody bag I received (see below) ….the contents of which I will disclose in my next write-up – such amazing things inside, I felt it deserved its own separate blogpost!! ;) And how awesome is the cake they had specially made for that evening?!?!!! DSC_3134-WEB DSC_3592-webAnyway, I hope you like what you see! Please do pop along to their markets which are held on the 1st and 3rd Friday’s of each month – it really is well worth the visit! Stay tuned for more on what came out of that goody bag!! xx

[What’s On] Etsy UK Wedding London Showcase

Well, I’m not sure how many of you were aware of the Etsy UK Wedding Event that took place over the weekend but I somehow managed to miss all the news about it (whoops!) so couldn’t make it to the public viewing having made other plans – FYI, this was their first UK event showcasing some of Britain’s finest and talented crafters and wedding suppliers. I did however manage to pop along the Q&A session they held on the Friday afternoon where they had a panel of well-known wedding bloggers; Annabelle of Love My Dress and Charlie of The Natural Wedding Company (so good to finally place a face to their names!)  along with the Etsy team. It was just a one-hour long session of Q&As where Etsy Sellers (or to-be-sellers like myself!) had the opportunity to ask the pros a range of questions on how to target the wedding market in the right way, tricks of the trade on marketing tactics which included key advice on how to photography your products that was suited to your business and market, how to approach blogs in the correct and “friendly” manner about potential features of your work, etc. So it really was insightful to take down all those key pointers away from that session as well as meeting other sellers out there. As many of you know I’m still dithering about selling on Etsy simply because I’m afraid the overwhelming amount of work I have to do from my day jobs will prevent me from meeting the demand for my handmade products. Anyway, after some encouragement from friends and fellow crafters /designer makers, I have actually got round to setting up a shop but yet to list stuff on it (which seems like a mahoooosive process!) But I will let you all know in due course when it’s ready for the public! :P  And maybe the next time Etsy UK hold an event, I could possibly sign up to be showcased…..now there’s a delightful thought! :P

Right, so back to the Etsy UK Wedding event. I had a nosey through the work displayed downstairs – which was SO beautifully laid out for the public event on Saturday; from personalised cake toppers and stationery to bespoke made dresses and accessories! And boy was the work displayed there to of such high standards…..I left pretty impressed and knowing what benchmark to meet! And it’s also great to know that we now have more UK sellers on Etsy without having to order from our neighbouring American sellers (like when I did last two years!) Anyway, here are a few photos I took with my iPhone (© Made by Molu) and if you want to see more from the actual event on Saturday then check out Etsy UK’s facebook photo album and for more information on the sellers and products check out Charlie’s recent blogpost or on Annabelle’s blogpost. Enjoy!! xx BLOG_STRIP_ETSY UK WEDDING EVENT WEB BLOG_STRIP_ETSY UK WEDDING EVENT2 WEB BLOG_STRIP_ETSY UK WEDDING EVENT3 WEBAnd a sneaky shot of the Q&A Panel via my Instagram:

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