Merry Christmas to all crafters, creatives and handmakers from the Vintage Celebrations angels!

It's the most magical night of the year and all of us here at Vintage Celebrations would like to wish our readers past, present and future a very Merry crafting Christmas and healthy, happy handmade 2015. 

Let the fun & festivities commence!








In case you're wondering our darling angel is made from muslin bags, vellum card, lashes of glitter, leaf punches, bakers twine, tea doilies and some glitter feathers from my stash. 

I'll be back in the New Year with more interior decoration & styling ideas!


Lisa

Handmade Christmas burlap & rolled ribbon flower evergreen bird napkin rings craft tutorial

Dress your table in a handmade style this Christmas with these gorgeous burlap & rolled ribbon napkin rings!




In just a few days time we will be tucking into Christmas lunch, all the preparations, planning & panicking well and truly behind us for another year ;) 

My Christmas table this year will be predominately white with mercury glass pots, plain glass accessories, candles, silverware & dominated by our mini Christmas tree in a gorgeous pained french style white urn I picked up from West Barn Country interiors a few weeks ago.


These napkin rings were really easy to make (everything I make is!!) - I simply took a piece of florists wire and covered it with frayed burlap trim for a rustic look then fashioned into a circle.



The rolled ribbon flowers were made from neutral and dark red seam binding - see my tutorial how to make them here and then I added evergreen leaves & ickle dove birds were punched using a bird punch.


The tags were cut from natural card papers, tied with festive bakers twine and the the table guests initials were die cut using with alphabet dies which I rarely ever put away as they are so vital for most personalised projects!

Have a look at my other handmade Christmas table decoration ideas by clicking the links below!
Happy decorating!

Lisa

Mini handmade Christmas treat gift baskets craft tutorial

These little Christmas Treat Baskets are just perfect for holding a handful of yummy sweets for a little gift for friends, family, neighbours, teachers, employees, postman, hairdresser etc etc - most people I know would be happy to receive one! Good job they are quick & simple to make!



I found the tutorial on Vicky Hayes blog  - her baskets were made for Easter so I've given thema  seasonal twist!


In real life the baskets measure around 3" x 2" so only little presents need apply to be wrapped in them - although some of my most coveted and treasured presents have been the ones in the smallest packages (pale blue boxes with white satin ribbons are always the best boxes!



Our tree and decorations will be going up this weekend and I will spend hours lovingly and carefully unwrapping my collection of vintage glass ornaments - my tree is my pride and joy each year and at 7.5ft tall commands a lot of attention! Have you done yours yet?

Lisa

Handmade paper pine cone ornament Christmas decoration tutorial


Aren't these paper pinecone ornaments just darling? Want to make one of your own? I used some left over Christmas themed paper which is full of great patterns in my favourite winter pale blue, silver & white colours and I followed this fabulous paper pine cone ornament tutorial found here.



The pine cones are super easy to make, just a little repetitive with the folding but I did mine watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey - can't wait for the Christmas episode! The leaves were cut usinga leaf punch and then slavered in silver glass glitter for extra sparkle.


You can just see the little pins holding the layers in place - at least they're silver and coordinate too!

If you're looking for more handmade Christmas craft decoration ideas then take a look at ...

Lisa

Handmade silver stars Christmas garland decoration

A simple star handmade sparkly Christmas garland .... super quick, super shiny & super inexpensive!


 I used star stamps of varying sizes and patterns stamped in silver metallic ink, some silver glitter which could be sprinkled on or embossed with a heat tool and then strung with linen thread to hang it from. 



Happy stamping!



Lisa

December Daily art journalling 2014 days 1-5

Here are the first few pages of my December Daily art journalling project for 2014. I've used a wide variety of materials from Studio Calico, Pretty Little Studio, Pink Paislee, Teresa Collins and a huge bundle of Christmas emphemera from Julie Kirk at Notes on Paper, one of my favourite journalling artists.

This years December journalling prompts that I created to were:

1. The meaning of Christmas for me



2. Plans for December


3. Best gift memories


4. All about Christmas Cards


I'll be sharing more next week (yes I have created more than 4 pages seen as it is the 10th December!)

How's your December Daily coming together?
Lisa

Pretty packaging and gift wrap ideas for home made jams, preserves, canned & chutneys mason jars

Something pretty for you if you're canning, jamming, preserving or baking this week - preserve gift wrap & packaging ideas! 



You can't beat home grown and home made gift giving and as usual I felt the  urge to pretty up the jar beforehand ;)

Using some old fabric I cut scallop edge circles and then tied these onto the jars with twine. Using a flower shape punch I made a layered flower out of scraps of paper which matched the colour scheme on the fabrics - can't beat a bit of colour coordinatio! 


A tea doily, a decorative label using sweetly framed and some hand cut banners and stamping and the jar was ready to gift!



Happy gifting!




7 ways to build customer sales in your craft, creative or handmade business

If you publish a blog, manage a facebook page, tweet, share on Google+, receive emails or participate in forums & meetings, one of the easiest and nicest ways to build a relationship with potential and actual customers is through simply talking & making a connection with them through leaving comments, profferring advice, asking questions, showing genuine interest and sharing your knowledge.


Whether you operate online or in person ....
  • listening to others
  • answering questions
  • sharing highs and the lows
  • encouraging & motivating
  • providing expertise when appropriate
  • sharing information and knowledge
  • showing up where the action is 
will ensure you are well on the way to becoming memorable, valued and sought out by customers who will genuinely appreciate the value and wholeheartedness you bring to the table.

Make it your goal to engage daily even if just for 10 minutes and see how rewarding it can be in building a relationship with others. 


Vintage theme Christmas Vignette inspiration

Here's a sneak peek at this year's vintage theme Christmas vignette that graces the Vintage Celebrations fireplace, resplendant in shades of cream, natural, gold and silver sparkles. 

The decorations have been built up over the years - there are so many now I may have to buy a bigger fireplace ;) 


The wooden tree and mini wreath are from Hunt Bespoke Kitchens in Bloxham whilst the Believe angel, the glittered stags are from Wyevale Garden Nurseries in Bicester, the patinated glass is from Next & Dunelm Mill and the gorgeously fragranced candles are from White Mgick Alchemy in the USA and are magically named Yule Faerie Silver Forest & North Woods Winter White (I always have a totally spot on Old English Egg Nog with cream, rum, spiced sugar, bourbon & vanillascented candle which smells good enough to eat from them!). The large wall mirror is from Next, the tall pillar candles either side of the fireplace are from Next and the fire itself is from Dimplex - the Alameda Opti Mist

Happy December Decorating!


Lisa

December Daily craft project 2014

Are you up for the December Daily creativity challenge? 

December Daily is a month long art, journalling, scrapbooking and paper crafting project showcasing the daily highlights of the Yule season. 

There are no rules, you don't have to consider yourself artistic or creative and you can use whichever medium you are most comfortable with - fabric, paper, paint, clay, yarn, metal or a mixture of all - the choices are endless!

This year, I'm using scrapbooking materials, magazine cutouts, project life paraphenalia and scraps of inspiration & creativity found from everyday life.

Follow my daily journey and prompts and join in the festive fun by sharing your December daily pages here too!





Join in the Christmas cheer and chat with me on Facebook on my Vintage Celebrations page! 
Lisa

How & where to find new craft & creative business customers online

Hitting online Social Media big time and plunging straight into joining forums & groups, liking pages, commenting, sharing and engaging are all great marketing activities that we're all encouraged to do by the pros. 



However we also may be making a huge marketing (and time and effort) mistake when we only hang out in the same places online as fellow creatives & crafters, complimenting each other on our creations, creativity & creativeness. Whilst mutual support is vital to our industry, it's not the best way to gain custom.

Remember, other creatives are not the most likely audience to funnel into being your customers - hey they have their own products to sell! Think of it like if you've ever been at an exhibition and spent your takings on everyone else's products & services ;) Not the best strategy to make money.



Instead, spend your time, energy, money & focus on getting yourself & your business being seen online where your potential customers are also most likely to be. 

So where's that you may be asking? 



Click here to claim your free '50 free marketing tips' e-book to 
save you time & money whilst increasing your business growth, success & visibility!

Scentsy candle wax fragrances for clean, cosy, comforting & fresh smelling homes, offices, cars & personal accessories


For all my lovely discerning & luxury loving aroma-holic friends who like your homes, cars, handbags, desks, offices, pet corners, gym kit bags/lockers, shoe cupboards, wardrobes & drawers, cloakrooms, hallways, spare bedrooms, bins, laundry baskets (even kids & other halves lol) to smell fresh, comforting, cosy, clean, fragrant, delicious, sweet, delightful, aromatic, delectable, homely & warm (or to make your home smell as though you've been baking all day a la Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood - you choose!) you're welcome to nab some freebie samples for your own private sniff-a-thon of my new range of 80+ scented candle fragrances.
Lasting longer than ordinary scented candles at 75-100 hours of fragrance, no soot/lead/smoke or naked flame required (the heated wax only reaches body temperature so perfect if you have children or pets around, at work or anywhere a flame can't be used) & packed full of more fragrance oil than other leading jar candle brands- Scentsy makes economical & safety sense too!


Top of my favourites Scentsy candle smells list so far are the Christmas & Autumn scents with names that recreate the smells & memories of childhood festivities like sugar cookie, sticky cinnamon bun, winter pine, christmas cottage, frosted ginger cookie, honey pear cider, iced pine, autumn blaze maple, snoberry & cozy fireside - is it ever too early for the house to smell Christmassy? 
If you can't make it, don't have time, live too far away or couldn't bear to be in my company for that amount of time (no questions asked)  then never fear - I can simply send the sniffs to you!

How to identify your ideal creative business customer & why success is elusive without it

Nobody can sell to everybody. It's just not possible. People are different. How could they all possibly like the same thing?



Do you know who your potential customers really are? 

The trick is to find those who love what you do. And you can only love someone if you try to understand them. Find out what's important to them. What do they desire? How do they want to feel? What do they feel they're lacking? What do they do, think, dream about? How do they behave, live, buy, play? Where do they go, what do they see, where do they connect? What worries them? What keeps them awake at night? What fears aren't they facing? What purposes aren't they fulfiling? What do they want out of life?

Then talk to them in a meaningful way. Find out what interests them, what lights up their lives. Tell them how you fill their gaps. Tell them how you understand. Talk to them about what's important to them. Show them how you add value to their lives. 

Why bother? If it seems like a lot of effort to go to, then maybe you're not disposed to be persuing a professional and serious craft, creative or handmade business as this is the essence of future success. 

Without that clarity with your potential customers, you're marketing to nobody. 

Is that what you want?

16 mistakes your creative website, blog or Facebook page could be making to turn customers away

You only have one chance to make a first impression. 

Make that one chance count. 

It takes just seconds for a potential customer to look at your website, blog, Facebook page or other social media platform and make their mind up whether they wish to do business with you. 

So what could be turning them away?



1. Lack of clarity - is it obvious at first glance what you actually offer?

2. No consistency - mixed messages, sporadic posting, jumble of unrelated posts

3. No interaction - people take time to comment but there's no evidence of acknowledgement or engagement

4. Cluttered looking - too many different icons, graphics, messages confusing readers where to look first

5. Unprofessional looking design - enhance your capability image & reputation by presenting yourself in a polished and professional manner

6. Difficult to read - too small or too many fonts & lack of content natural looking flow

7. Takes too long to load pages 

8. No call to action - readers are left unsure of what to do next

9. No capacity to signup for newsletters, more information, updates (see here why this is crucial!)

10. Lack of fresh, regularly updated content

11. No testimonials or case studies from previous customers

12. Sloppy attention to spelling, grammar & punctuation 

13. No about page - people do business with people & they want to know all about you!

14. No social network connectivity

15. Difficult to find information - see how using a search bar helps!

16. No valuable, interesting, engaging, useful, informative or entertaining content to inspire return visit

Reviewing the above, how well does your site inspire custom? 






A beginners guide to getting started with Google+ to promote your creativity

According to Wikipedia Google+ 'is a social networking and identity service that is owned and operated by Google Inc. Google has described Google+ as a "social layer" that enhances many of its online properties, and that it is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author. 

It is the second-largest social networking site in the world after Facebook. 540 million monthly active users are part of the Identity service site, by interacting socially with Google+'s enhanced properties, like Gmail, +1 button, and YouTube comments. In October 2013, Google counted 540 million active users who used at least one Google+ service, of which 300 million users are active in "the stream".'



So in short, yes it's worth your craft, creative & handmade business being on Google +. 

Here's a brief guide to getting started ...

HOW TO SET-UP YOUR GOOGLE+ PAGE 

1. Go to Google Plus at http://plus.google.com and login or create an account if you don’t 
have one already (if not, why not!!)
2. If you’re new to Google you’ll need to select a profile photo to use – TIP: try and be 
consistent with other social media photos you may already have
 

3. You’ll get a welcome to Google notification and then click to proceed to Google+
4. Next, search for people you know on Google through the search bar or via submitting your 
email contacts. This will start to build your ‘circle’ of who you are ‘following’ on G+. You can 
have lots of different circles – those you are just following, friends, acquaintances, family 
etc to keep your contacts separate depending on how well you know them and the level you 
wish to connect with them at. Once you’ve searched for your contacts and identified those 
you’d like to follow (ie receive their updates in your newsfeed) simply click continue. 

5. TIP: Once you ‘follow’ someone, you will receive their status update/posts in your G+ news 
feed. You can then decide to share their posts with your followers by clicking the +1 button 
at the bottom of their post. You can comment as well. Ideally, anyone you follow will, in 
time, follow you back and then they will receive/see the posts you’ve make in their news 
feed too. They can then choose to share or comment on your posts. Sharing is the key. 
The more shares +1, the more widespread the content goes. This is the secret sauce of G+. Tip: It’s tempting to follow as many people as you can in the beginning. However, 
bear in mind that all their status updates/news will be in your newsfeed to filter. TIP: I only 
follow those who I believe will have highly relevant content for me. As I know what makes 
my followers tick I am highly selective about what I share with them so as not to overwhelm 
them, disinterest them or dilute the focus of my own brand.
6. Select your interests so Google can also share (ie fill your newsfeed) with what it deems to 
be relevant content to you then continue. Your interests can be fine-tuned at a later date if 
you become overwhelmed.
7. Enter your work information, schooling & location then click finish
8. You’ll then see your Google+ profile page. 

HOW TO USE YOUR GOOGLE + PAGE
9. To share your news with those you selected in #4 above, simply type your content into the 
‘Share what’s new’ box. You can add video, photos, URL links etc to your post for more 
exposure & connectivity – certainly advised! TIP: I always use an image to attract attention, 
video works even better! I also always set my content posts to ‘public’ visibility but you have 
the capability to select posts to just be seen by your circles or just named contacts.
10. Google will kindly interpret your interests entered in #6 above and show ‘What’s hot and 
recommended’ topics you can choose to follow if you wish to receive postings – What’s hot 
& recommened is on the bottom left hand side. You will also see contact suggestions in 
‘who else you may know’ to the right hand side. You can also join Google+ communities 
you could join based upon your interests – or even set one of your own up! TIP: My 
suggestion is not to overwhelm yourself to begin with by joining/following anyone and 
everyone as you will be having an awful lot of news to sift through in your feeds each day! 
Build your circles over time.
11. You’ll also see ‘what’s trending on google at present’ which can be a great source of hot 
topics to blog/tweet/pin/post about on other social media platforms to gain visibility.
12. On the left hand side is a sidebar of other options available to you – Home, profile, people, 
communities, settings etc. Simply click on each one and enter your information as required 
to maximise the potential reach of your G+ account. 

13. You’ll see Google Hangouts to the right hand side – that’s another guidance topic but 
basically Google Hangouts are a great way to connect and chat in real time or via videocam 
to those you are connected to. TIP: Try it with a few friends first! 

14. Google also has it’s own user visibility metrics installed – Google Ripples. More on how to use Google Ripples to come!

15 E-ideas for creating exciting blog content your creative business customers will love to read

Ok so you've decided you want to start a blog and chosen your blogging platform. 

So what do you blog about?

Remember these 15 content creating rules and you will hit the jackpot every time ... 





Educate * Empower & enlighten * Entertain * Engage * Envelop * Emulate * 
Enchant * Expectation * Ebooks & emails * Effort * Ease * Eye pleasing * 
Enthusiasm & Energy * Empathise * Experts

1. Educate ... with such little time available to readers they'll need to have a reason to keep visiting your blog. It's not enough to post your creations and expect them to buy. You need to educate them, teach them, enable them to learn from you. Short on educational ideas?  Think tips, tutorials, techniques, tactics, teaching. If you know your audience like you should you'll find inspiration everywhere to deliver to them. 

2. Empower & enlighten ... give them their feel good fix. Think inspiration, motivation, self esteem, encouragement, cheerleading, support, confidence boosting. Show you understand, care, empathise and are on their side

3. Entertain ... cute cats, funny feel goods, sassy sayings, questions & quotes, happy humour anything that will bring a little lightheartedness to their day. Consider tours, reviews, recipes, interviews, inspiration. Laughter & humour is contagious and bonding 

4. Engage ....  comments, questions, take an interest, get to know them, find things for them, think about them

5. Envelop ..... let them into your world, peeks behind the scenes, open up & be vulnerable, speak from the heart. Share your passion for your subject. 

6. Emulate .... look at the online sites, blogs or resources you follow, read, devour. How do they keep hoking you back in? What are they doing to keep you coming back for more? Learn from the masters that capture your attention

7. Enchant ... use images & photos to evoke senses and speak to your readers, overlay your messages, allow pictures to speak for you - remember 'a picture paints a thousand words'.

8. Expectation .. be consistent updating your content, craft a content calendar and plan out what you'll feature and when. Become reliable & trustworthy in turning up for your readers; being erractic and unexpected will turn people away. Keep a list of topics that your audience might be interested in as a base for inspiring your content.

9. E-books & emails ... as collecting contact information from your readers is one of the keys to success, creating a free e-book as a thank you gift for readers lending you their email address for further contact is always popular

10. Effort ... although at first you may not be blessed with multitudes of readers, be patient, take your time and lower your expectations. Slow growth is better than no growth. It can take years for your blog to be popular and well subscribed so make sure what you're blogging about is a long term passion for you. Blogging is hard work but it's still one of the most effective methods of sharing your stuff. 

11. Ease - make your content simple and easy to understand. Focus on writing for your customers and not to impress your peers. Think about what your readers want to read about and how they like to receive their information and focus on providing it to the best of your ability.

12. Eye-pleasing - colours, fonts, designs and layouts can all make or break a readers pleasurable experience of your blog. If in doubt, get some professional design help. Your blog is a representation of your image as a business & you only get one chance to make a first impression - make sure you're giving off the right vibes!

13. Enthusiasm & Energy - if you're not enthusiastic in your content, tone and ideas - how could you expect your readers to be about you?

14. Experts - follow industry experts, learn from them, quote them, reference them, link to them, share their material  - you could even ask to guest post for them. Aim to become the expert in your niche. 

15. Empathise - understand their struggles and show how you can help solve their problems

Here's a handy reminder graphic for you - feel free to share it! 





Think about your favourite sites, blogs or online resources - what keeps you going back for more? 



My top 10 recommended reads for boosting your creative success

With the summer holidays fast approaching I thought you may be interested in my top ten inspiring creative, craft & handmade business books that I've personally found to be extremely useful reading in my entrepreneurial journey.





I'm currently reading The Fortune Cookie Principle by Bernadette Jiwa - I'll let you know how I got on with it and give you a review when I've finished !

Here are my all time favourite creative entrepreneurial reads to date (I've linked them to Amazon for further information but they're also available via other bookstores) .. 
Happy holiday reading!

Do you know how colour choice psychology affects your craft, creative & handmade business success?

Colour preference is an emotive response resulting from physical & measurable body reactions when certain colours are encountered. 

As with all senses, particular colours stimulate the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary glands in different manners which then trigger thyroid glands into producing hormones which can affect our mood, emotions and behaviour. 

Consider your own purchases – how much does the colour of a product or service affect your choice as to whether to purchase or not? Is the colour (in your opinion) trustworthy, reliable or effective or does the colour convey quality, luxury, action, thought? 






With this in mind, it makes sense to use colours that are in alignment with your desired brand 
image and which will enable your products and services to be perceived in the way in which you wish them to be. 

Apparently, from initial encounter it takes just 90 seconds* to form an opinion regarding a product or service and the choice of colour forms a part of the ‘to purchase or not to purchase’ equation. 

According to this Kissmetrics report by Jeremy Smith** which has some great graphic branding examples ‘women don’t like gray, orange, and brown. They like blue, purple, and green. 

In a survey on color and gender, 35% of women said blue was their favorite color, followed by purple (23%) and green (14%). 33% of women confessed that orange was their 
least favorite color, followed by brown (33%) and gray (17%)’ 

‘Men don’t like purple, orange, and brown. Men like blue, green and black. If you’re marketing to men, these are the colors to stay away from: purple, orange, and brown. Instead, use blue, green, and black’ 

Psychological colour associations***: 

  • Blue - trustworthiness, serenity, tranquillity, calm, security, loyalty, intelligence 
  • Yellow – warning, bright, energy, creativity, happiness 
  • Green - eco-friendly, nature, environment, growth, fertility, fresh 
  • Orange – fun, impulse, courage, confidence, success 
  • Black – luxury, value, dramatic, classy, formal 
  • White - freedom, space, innocence, purity, fresh, clean 
  • Red – love, energy, power, strength, passion 
  • Brown – earthy, conservative, outdoorsy 
  • Pink – playful, happy, feminine, friendly 
  • Purple – royalty, luxury, ambition, success, spiritual 
  • Grey – security, reliability, solid 
  • Silver – glamorous, sleek, hi tech, grace 
  • Gold – wealth, prosperity, tradition, money 

What does your colour choice say about you and your business?


References 
* Satyendra Singh 
** Jeremy Smith - http://blog.kissmetrics.com/psychology-of-color-and-conversions/ 
*** One Lily creative agency/ColorMatters.com - http://gb.pinterest.com/pin/323837029428203318