Category Archives: Business tips

statue of liberty embroidered lampshade

The Autumn Decorative Living Fair

statue of liberty embroidered lampshade marna lunt

(fist published Oct 4, 2014)

On wednesday last week me and Mr Marna packed up his little electric car and pootled on down to that big busy place down south called London. We were getting ready to wiggle our stuff at the Autumn Decorative Living Fair in Chelsea Old Town Hall organised by the rather fabulous Caroline Zoob.

Photo credit: Alice Robertson Homes & Antiques Magazine
Photo credit: Alice from Homes & Antiques Magazine

It’s been a serious honour to go to London to do this fair, Caroline rang me in the summer to have a chat about it and I was massively excited and touched that such an accomplished and talented embroideress would ask me to attend her fair. She knows what she’s taking about I can’t hide any mistakes from her. Anyway enough of the gushing, although I may start again later.

I have always been a bit scared of exhibiting in London, mainly because I know I would have to drive down, I couldn’t, no matter how much I have tried, get everything in a bag on the train. Such a big and busy place that you don’t now well is always going to be a bit daunting travelling to for the first time, so my clever hubby came with me to keep me from being on my own and freaking out about logistics.

I’m so glad I stopped being a scared wuss pants and went for it because it was grand. Stunning location, fantastic very high quality fellow exhibiters, wonderful organisation, incredibly helpful staff, set up was easy as was breaking down and  to be honest I loved every second. A long day but just the right amount of time for me know I hobble around with a walking stick a lot of the time.

simon driving in london
Simon driving through central london

marna lunt chelsea old town hall stand

portrait of olive by marna lunt with hoops

Part of the reason that I loved it so is of course because I got to be with Simon which is rare on these occasions, he got to meet my friends and put names with faces and he got to see why I love doing fairs and meeting so many of the people that follow me. He got recognised by people for his blog posts which was really wonderful to see. There’s nothing more joyful than see someone you love be recognised in his own right and be seen as I see him instead of how he sees himself. He was quite shocked that I had people wanting to take my photo (as was I actually, I don’t take a great photo, my eyes vanish) and some had come especially to see the Liberty shade. It was nice for him to see me in artist mode not just mum and wife mode, food shopping and the like.

I have to thank my gorgeous neighbour Lois who was so lovely and I could have easily bought everything she had, a lady of huge taste and kindness, for making the day a very happy one. I also spent a lot of time eyeing up the stunning flower painting that Lisa had on the other side of me. And I hugely enjoyed seeing some of my favourite creative ladies Viv from Hens Teeth, Alice from Homes and Antiques magazine and Gil Fox. Lots of their goodies  are photographed below.

Ooooo and I have found a new favourite place to buy all my favourite sewing goodies. Sonia from The Old Haberdashery, I did a bit of damage to my credit card with that one. Highly recommend.

And now for the photos, I could have taken 50 more but I thought this would suffice. Enjoy dear readers.

hand stitched liberty shade by marna lunt

venue ceiling
The Chelsea Old Town Hall ceiling
The Old Habadashery
The Old Haberdashery 
stand and ceiling by marna lunt
These shades are in my madebyhandonline.com shop
new york shade by marna lunt
New York lampshade from all angles
new york shade by marna lunt
Prints of this New York shade are available on my website for preorder
my ever faithful mr wonderful
My wonderful Mr Marna

new york shade by marna lunt

New hand drawn and hand stitched portraits launched at the show and now available on my website
New hand drawn and hand stitched portraits launched at the show and now available on my website

portrait of olive by marna lunt

So as an exhibitor I recommend it, if you get the opportunity to have a stand go for it and if you can visit and like vintage brocante chic, french linens and textiles, and handmade and vintage haberdashery and gifts then you must go. I’m not quite sure where I fit in on that list but my style somehow worked beautifully with what surrounded me.

SONY DSC
Lois Pinnock
SONY DSC
Lois Pinnock
Lois
Lois Pinnock
SONY DSC
Hens Teeth
SONY DSC
Hens Teeth
SONY DSC
Hens Teeth
Hens Teeth
Hens Teeth
Hens Teeth
Hens Teeth

Hopefully I will have the chance to do it again, and thanks to Caroline and the fabulous people I met both buyers and sellers who made it such a marvellous trip for me.

Homes and antiques Magazine stand
Homes and Antiques Magazine stand
SONY DSC
Halinka’s Fairies
SONY DSC
Halinka’s Fairies
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
hand stitched new york shade by marna lunt
Inside liberty fabric lining lit up
Lit by lamp light
Lit by lamp light

 

the art of making

The Art of Making

First published May 20, 2016 

This year has been quite a corker, it’s my 40th birthday in August and it has spurred me on to really take stock and enjoy life more so you will have seen I’m a little quieter on the old posting thing. I’ve been branching out on a few new projects (one of which you will see on the tellybox in the coming months) mainly around teaching and inspiring people to get involved with using their hands to make things to bring wellbeing and calm into their lives, I’m very passionate about this subject, and you’ll know why from my last post.

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ARTISTS
The way I see it is that you (and me) buy professional beautiful works of art from us makers/crafters/artists whatever you want to call us. It not only helps small businesses and the economy but it keeps true traditional artistry alive when done at its best. It creates jobs, keeps individuality and personality and independence on the high street alive so we’re not taken over by discount stores and the mass produced often unethically sourced crap.

I want to spread my love of making to everyone, that doesn’t mean copying others, by the way, undercutting them and then just selling stuff themselves. That’s not really what this whole craft revolution should be about.

Artists aren’t doing it to make a quick buck, they very rarely live in big houses and go on fancy holidays and shop at Harvey Nicks, they get by usually on a lower than minimum wage and work all hours because they LOVE with a deep passion what they do. They train for years, they learn business skills, legal skills, marketing strategies on top of the artistic skills, techniques and raw talent they have. We need to create and we’re more than happy to do that and suffer the consequences of riches and fancy cars. We make it look easy because we’re THAT good because we are trained professionals. Our soul, personality, and essence is contained in each little piece of joy that we produce.  The creative process is about making something truly yours, (not a copy or an imitation) that’s the whole point, making something that shows the world who YOU are, not showing together yet another knock-off, we have enough cheap imported tat to do that, we don’t need more devaluing our skills and expertise.

Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-189

COPYING?

I’m often asked ‘Aren’t you worried doing workshops that you’ll just be showing everyone how to steal your work?’
Well you know what, there will always be people in this world that are selfish and after an easy buck I can’t stop that, I can’t change their inner thinking as nice as it would be. What I teach in my workshops and retreats is the skill to make something that brings you joy. I have a definite style, it comes from deep within me, I can’t teach that. I can tell you how I see things, the colours, textures, and processes I use to achieve my work but I don’t know what I’m going to produce from one moment to the next so I can’t see someone else doing that, being able to preempt my next move or read my mind. I will always move forward and have new ideas because I am a creative and an artist and me, just me. I teach you how amazing it is to make something that came out of your very own brain and out through your hands and into something that is ALL YOURS.


So create for yourself? yes yes yes. Create as a business? yes yes yes but do your research first.
Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-207

MAKING A BUSINESS WORK

I am saddened when I see people try to obviously emulate my style especially when they under charge and make me look like I’m ripping people off, which by the way I would never do!! But I do value my experience, my talent and my time. I charge based on costs and time and experience, I am happy to be transparent about my costs if anyone has a problem with it. People rarely have a problem with it though because they do value creativity and the importance of it.
I have tailored my business to work in this new way because when I started out as Little A Designs (now trading under my own name) I was copied to such a huge extent I was personally and creatively broken. My logo was taken, imitated and my brand devalued, my website design was stolen, even the words I’d written from the heart were copied and pasted into other peoples websites, my designs were ripped off and undercut, everything I cared about and showed the world was taken. So I had to rethink. I had to make something even more me. To separate myself in some way from what others could emulate.
I guess in hindsight this was the best thing for me because I am now in a very happy, a lot prouder and calm work wise. I know what works for me and my family life, what I can give to people mentally and still have the energy to live and have fun. My style has evolved and now is a better representation of me than it ever has been.
Lucky me for learning all this so soon into my career. But sadly it’s not the case for everyone.
drawing the details

A NEW OUTLOOK

Two dear friends have been copied extensively in recently months and I’ll tell you what it feels like, firstly, pretty shitty.  You feel isolated, you feel violated and sick and frightened that people will not realise how hard you have worked and how precious those original ideas you created are to you. You can feel paranoid and angry but more than anything you feel really hurt. I felt personally invaded. And I wanted to give up. But then I reminded myself why I was doing this whole thing in the first place. I picked myself up after a little cry and got busy being better.
Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-50

INSPIRATION

All ideas are inspired from somewhere, there is always a source for all our ideas whether it be a past master artist, the landscape, a sculpture or everyday object but what makes artists really great is the way in which their own mind interprets that inspiration and makes these evolved ideas solidly their own. I don’t just mean altering it a little, I mean finding a new take on it, problem solving, experimentation and enjoying the simple art of making something new. If you want to set up a business to sell your art it’s not just the piece of work you need to be able to make,  you need a business plan, you need to know how to cost your work competitively but realistically, you need to know the legalities of copyright infringement, tax, accounting, this makes you a business and a valid artist and not a just a hobbyist.

These are important facts that many don’t consider when they see something on Facebook, Etsy, Instagram or at a craft fair when they see some work and think ‘well I can do that’. But if you have already thought of all those considerations then FANTASTIC! Research that someones not already doing it (because even if you haven’t copied them, there may be someone out there doing the same thing as you, in which case if they got there first it’s their Intellectual Property and as much as you may not like it you’re just going to have to come up with a way of doing it differently).

Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-217

THE JOY OF MAKING

All that being said ( I got a bit carried away there, it’s not quite what I intended to go on about but it’s out there now, haha) making things with your hands is the best feeling in the world and anyone can do it. And I want everyone to do it!! Go to workshops, learn from true artisans, have a go, let go of your insecurities and experience a new skill.

In todays society we are always on the go. I know I am rarely without my precious phone in my hand. We never stop working, we never stop comparing, we just never stop and we become exhausted and lost in the cyber world. So now, more than ever, is the time we are all looking for something else to do with our hands, something constructive, a new skill that takes us back to a quieter time where we can relax with simple repetitive movements. There has been a resurgence in the creative arts recently and it is now a scientific fact that sewing, knitting, crochet are great stress relievers and act as a form of therapy.

Embroidery was used to help treat shell shock in soldiers that fought in the Great War. This is exactly one of the reasons I transferred my skills from painting to embroidery. To provide myself with an outlet that would sooth my heart. I had only ever tried the odd piece of cross stitch as a child and so have completely retrained my self and learnt embroidery from nothing. Yes I have a basic knowledge of  perspective, proportion etc but these are not things I concentrate on or impact my stitched work at all. So what I’m saying is that you can do it too! Regardless of any previous artistic capabilities.

Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-309

THERAPY

The reason I feel so passionately about this is that, art and embroidery saved me from severe mental health issues, it continues to save me as I go through issues with chronic pain, it has given me a sense of self, independence and belief as a mother and carer of a child with complex needs, I don’t want to be defined by my disabilities. Being creative is an essential therapy for me every single day. It is quite often not important what the finished piece looks like, it is the journey it takes me on that is rewarding. But obviously if it happens to look great then thats even better. My creativity and personality is what defines me.

I believe that embroidery can be as all consuming as you want, you can use a pattern you’ve bought in a book or magazine, and turn off your mind from the business of the outside world or you can immerse yourself in a complex design that makes you problem solve and challenge yourself.

Its so easy to get started now too, you’ve got nothing to lose, creativity can be shown in so many ways, through music, writing, embroidery, paper cutting, card making, the list is endless. There are no rules to follow. You can make it up as you go along. Don’t expect immediate perfection, an artist trains every day, like an athlete. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training, so be kind to  yourself & celebrate each step. The secret is never compare yourself to others, make what makes you feel good.

‘To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it’

Kurt Vonnegut

Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-484

 

Photo credit: Eve Photography
Venue: Hope & Elvis
Flowers: Kirsty from Darling & Green
Tutor: Marna Lunt “Spring florals in stitch’ one day workshop

To book onto one of my courses if this has got your creative juices bubbling pop over to my website and have a look whats on offer.

 

new year, new me?

New year new me Marna Lunt blog

Do I really need to make a better version of myself because it’s January? Well I think in an ideal world we could all be better people in some way or other, couldn’t we?  

Let’s just take it as a given that we are all the kindest and most respectful people we can be, because we try to be that all year, every year, hopefully. In the last year the world has gone through a large change, one of uncertainty, of fear, of lose. I think we’re all feeling that a bit. In the face of that I am going to continue being kind, honest, tolerant, patient, open minded, thoughtful. That’s how I can affect others on a day to day basis and that’s not going to change.

New years resolutions

Every year I find myself thinking the new year must bring a fresh start for me, a new beginning with the longest list possible of things I MUST do or I’ve failed. Not this year. This year I’m just going to be a bit kinder to myself, stop setting unrealistic goals for myself. I spend most of my time winging it. I have absolutely no idea how I’ve accomplished as much as I have so far in business, pure luck mainly and a lot of pain and stress that really wasn’t clever or necessary. I never plan anything, I’m very spur of the moment, I hate planning, I just want to make stuff and as lovely as that seems it really does have a big knock on effect. Especially to my health, and after pretty much completely breaking myself last year that all seems a bit silly now.

So is this year going to be a fresh start? No. I can’t completely change myself and my nature just because it’s January. A complete change would need to be made slowly, over time, and surely you essentially are what you are? Thats the point of individuality and personality. I’m never going to suddenly start going to the gym every day, to have more confidence, to behave in a way I have never done before. To decide to do that because of a date is the most rubbish reason of all to me. I know I wouldn’t see it through and then fail and then feel crap. So lets be realistic. What can I actually do, in my work, to make myself happier? Not changes exactly but maybe add a few processes.

Stop writing bloody daft lists!!

Like I’m going to stop writing lists?! NO!!  I LOVE lists, but I need to write the right sort of lists. Lets not write a list of what I feel I ought to be doing whilst comparing myself to others on the internet. Realistic lists that I can actually affect and that are in my control.

Stop trying to do too much!

It’s highly unlikely I’m going to stop doing too much, that’s too big a step to do instantly. That’s quite a lifestyle choice.  My general outlook each month is to let my brain try and do a million things at once, never finishing anything quite how I want to before starting on the next project, so loads of projects end up whirling around my head all at once and I freak out. Feels a bit pants being like that. I’d like not to do that quite as much. Stick to the blooming realistic list Lunt!! Stop going off on one you numpty! I’m going to do all the stuff I need to (the clue is in the word NEED to) but I will use a process that makes things more manageable instead of terrifyingly chaotic.

Keep in mind who I am and accept it instead of fighting it.

I have discovered over this last year of therapy that I am an introvert. Yes, to those that know me and have met me that probably seems mad. But I am. I find social situations really really hard. Exhausting actually. I simply can’t change this, no matter how much I want to be the life and soul of a party, the most fun person in the room, the popular one in the cool gang. I need a huge amount of solitary time. I need quiet. I need space. If I don’t have those things I quite literally lose my mind. I MUST make sure I make time for head space. I’ve accepted that and embrace it. I used to think of it as selfish, but no it’s not, it’s sensible self preservation. The people that need me can’t access me unless I do this, that’s not selfish.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like the company of others. For instant I love teaching. That means travelling a lot and meeting new people and giving everything I have to those people, at that time. Not a normal habitat for an introvert BUT one which in small doses I LOVE LOVE LOVE. And you know why? Because I actually really like attention. I am most definitely an attention seeker. And I can be really good fun, honest. Love and attention from others gives me life affirmation. It makes me feel I have a purpose, and who doesn’t want that! I always saw that as a negative too, something that should be hidden. But admitting that feels rather nice.

Still finding my place in the world.

Last year I turned 40 and you would think that at this stage in my life I’d have pretty much figured out what I’m doing…..

Oh no no no.

Couldn’t be further away from the truth. I am a muddle, I’m still very childlike and insecure. I lock away my feelings and rarely deal with emotions. I just ‘get on with things’. “Must remain positive under all circumstances.” Thats got me pretty far in life but there comes a time when your bucket just gets too full and overflows. The only way to resolve this is to actually feel those emotions that have been hidden for all those 40 years and go through the pain barrier. Thats what I’m doing now.

I am raw, I am experiencing things mentally and emotionally that I really don’t want to but in order to move on I have taken the decision to be better at my life. To explore and feel life in a healthier way and that takes more time than I thought, years in fact. I am beginning to figure out my worth and my place in this world and it’s quite confusing. But that’s okay, because that is normal.

I have lived in the spotlight of social media for a good few years now and so everyone has seen my creative journey, how I have experimented with my own style and found what I liked, what works and doesn’t work for me. Some will like it, some will be disappointed, I would have preferred to have figured all this sort of stuff out before I launched a business but it didn’t work out that way and thus the constant changes. Experience has taught me a lot, I know loads of stuff now, technically, but still am unsure whether I have found my ‘thing’. I am open to change, not too much, but a little, one step at a time. I’m pretty much sure I have my own style artistically, but accepting that has been harder than I thought. Being good enough, for me, is a challenge. Because of my lack of confidence and lack of a sense of self, I am easily distracted and this is where I try far too many things. Accepting I am good enough will always be a struggle but at least I am now aware of this.

And back to the planning thing. A lack of planning and time spent considering myself and my work ends in a mush of I wanna do everything. Lesson learnt. Take a breath, step back, take some time and think. Put the processes in first, write them down instead of keep them in my head.

So new me? No.

Enhance what I have already accomplished in a clearer, healthier way.

Embrace the me that I already am instead of trying to change me? Yes.

Blimey that was deep. I’m off for a lie down.

illuminating embroidery 2016

banner_workshop

The New Year is upon us, and I’m not sure about you but I have eaten far too much chocolate…. more than I care to mention. This is the time for us to reflect on the past year and look forward to bringing in the New Year, but instead of setting unrealistic resolutions, which are quite simply going to give us all the post-Christmas blues, why not start on exciting new adventure? Don’t ban the chocolate, take up a new challenge and discover a hobby you knew you had!

Now this isn’t a blog filled with a hard sell, quite frankly Marna’s gorgeous work speaks for itself – her passion and contagious creativity is enough to make anyone want to get stitching, but before Marna’s head gets too big, why not set yourself task for 2016 learn something new, meet new people and get creative! SO LET’S GET STITCHING!

 

Sewing for some screams back memories of strict embroidery lessons, perhaps sewing means stitching endless name tags into school uniforms or maybe you have no idea where to even start! But never fear Marna is here to give you tip top advice and give you a wonderful head start so you can release your inner artist.

Illumintaing Embroidery consists of four fabulous online embroidery workshops, each consisting of easy to follow videos hosted by the one and only Marna Lunt (because everyone should have a little bit of Marna to brighten their day!)

Marna works hard to bring you fun and informative video tutorials, where you can learn from the master, discover the tricks of the trade and grow to be an expert embroiderer. The Gentle Art of Slow Stitch 1, 2 & 3 are designed to be watched around your spare moments, you’ll also receive course PDF’s with all the important bits on which are yours to keep forever!

What’s more there’s a fantastic community on the Illuminating Embroidery Facebook group, where you can meet your fellow course mates and showcase your work! They really are a friendly, accommodating bunch that are every welcoming and always supportive!

Whether you’ve been stuck at home all day with the kids, or you’ve had the day from hell in the office, sewing is absolute escapism where you can indulge in gentle and rewarding stitching. Take your embroidery with you on the bus, sit and relax in your lunch hour or get serious in your studio Marna will be your friendly mentor and helpful guide, so you can unleash your creativity for 2016.

Speaking as your average Joe Blogs (no pun intended honest!) I work your boring 9-5 job and stitching (and blogging of course!) is my happy place, a wonderful way to unwind after a stressful day and escape from life! Whether you fancy turning your hand to lampshade making or embroidering your very own wall hanging, there’s no better feeling than sitting back and admiring your hard work where you can think to yourself …. ‘I made that!’

Take a look at embroiderycourses.co.uk and explore the world of Illuminating Embroidery Workshops, set yourself a wonderful resolution for 2016!

NEW COURSES HAVE BEEN ADDED AND THERE IS EVEN A FREE COURSE FOR SUBSCRIBERS.

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The Autumn Decorative Living Fair 2014

new york shade and my stand at chelsea by marna lunt

On wednesday last week me and Mr Marna packed up his little electric car and pootled on down to that big busy place down south called London. We were getting ready to wiggle our stuff at the Autumn Decorative Living Fair in Chelsea Old Town Hall organised by the rather fabulous Caroline Zoob.

Photo credit: Alice Robertson Homes & Antiques Magazine
Photo credit: Alice from Homes & Antiques Magazine

It’s been a serious honour to go to London to do this fair, Caroline rang me in the summer to have a chat about it and I was massively excited and touched that such an accomplished and talented embroideress would ask me to attend her fair. She knows what she’s taking about I can’t hide any mistakes from her. Anyway enough of the gushing, although I may start again later.

I have always been a bit scared of exhibiting in London, mainly because I know I would have to drive down, I couldn’t, no matter how much I have tried, get everything in a bag on the train. Such a big and busy place that you don’t now well is always going to be a bit daunting travelling to for the first time, so my clever hubby came with me to keep me from being on my own and freaking out about logistics.

I’m so glad I stopped being a scared wuss pants and went for it because it was grand. Stunning location, fantastic very high quality fellow exhibiters, wonderful organisation, incredibly helpful staff, set up was easy as was breaking down and  to be honest I loved every second. A long day but just the right amount of time for me know I hobble around with a walking stick a lot of the time.

simon driving in london
Simon driving through central london

marna lunt chelsea old town hall stand

portrait of olive by marna lunt with hoops

Part of the reason that I loved it so is of course because I got to be with Simon which is rare on these occasions, he got to meet my friends and put names with faces and he got to see why I love doing fairs and meeting so many of the people that follow me. He got recognised by people for his blog posts which was really wonderful to see. There’s nothing more joyful than see someone you love be recognised in his own right and be seen as I see him instead of how he sees himself. He was quite shocked that I had people wanting to take my photo (as was I actually, I don’t take a great photo, my eyes vanish) and some had come especially to see the Liberty shade. It was nice for him to see me in artist mode not just mum and wife mode, food shopping and the like.

I have to thank my gorgeous neighbour Lois who was so lovely and I could have easily bought everything she had, a lady of huge taste and kindness, for making the day a very happy one. I also spent a lot of time eyeing up the stunning flower painting that Lisa had on the other side of me. And I hugely enjoyed seeing some of my favourite creative ladies Viv from Hens Teeth, Alice from Homes and Antiques magazine and Gil Fox. Lots of their goodies  are photographed below.

Ooooo and I have found a new favourite place to buy all my favourite sewing goodies. Sonia from The Old Haberdashery, I did a bit of damage to my credit card with that one. Highly recommend.

And now for the photos, I could have taken 50 more but I thought this would suffice. Enjoy dear readers.

hand stitched liberty shade by marna lunt

venue ceiling
The Chelsea Old Town Hall ceiling
The Old Habadashery
The Old Haberdashery 
stand and ceiling by marna lunt
These shades are in my madebyhandonline.com shop
new york shade by marna lunt
New York lampshade from all angles
new york shade by marna lunt
Prints of this New York shade are available on my website for preorder
my ever faithful mr wonderful
My wonderful Mr Marna

new york shade by marna lunt

New hand drawn and hand stitched portraits launched at the show and now available on my website
New hand drawn and hand stitched portraits launched at the show and now available on my website

portrait of olive by marna lunt

So as an exhibitor I recommend it, if you get the opportunity to have a stand go for it and if you can visit and like vintage brocante chic, french linens and textiles, and handmade and vintage haberdashery and gifts then you must go. I’m not quite sure where I fit in on that list but my style somehow worked beautifully with what surrounded me.

SONY DSC
Lois Pinnock
SONY DSC
Lois Pinnock
Lois
Lois Pinnock
SONY DSC
Hens Teeth
SONY DSC
Hens Teeth
SONY DSC
Hens Teeth
Hens Teeth
Hens Teeth
Hens Teeth
Hens Teeth

Hopefully I will have the chance to do it again, and thanks to Caroline and the fabulous people I met both buyers and sellers who made it such a marvellous trip for me.

Homes and antiques Magazine stand
Homes and Antiques Magazine stand
SONY DSC
Halinka’s Fairies
SONY DSC
Halinka’s Fairies
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
Gil Fox
hand stitched new york shade by marna lunt
Inside liberty fabric lining lit up
Lit by lamp light
Lit by lamp light

 

Metamorphosis Part One

I haven’t written for a while, sorry about that. This year has been a year of changes for me so far and I’m spending a lot of time thinking, learning, researching and basically hiding out in my own world trying to assess what’s going on or what I want to go on in the world of Little a and Marna Lunt. I’ve been experimenting with new styles and working on my brand and really just sorting my head and thoughts out. Asking those difficult questions, what exactly do I want to do? Do I want to mainly be a stay at home mum that sews when I can? Do I want to make this business something more than I have now, with a proper plan, working hours and a firm future? How serious am I really? And do I have the focus and support to do what I think I might be able to do? Where am I mentally, what capacity do I have left for work after my own issues and then Arthur’s considerations? These questions have been there buzzing around my brain from the start but in truth I have half heartedly answered them and been so vague, trying to fool myself I have been more savvy than I know is true. I fudge my spread sheets and answers to make myself feel better with my own personal spin and  justifications and choose to listen to what I want gaining the wrong sort of encouragement. We are all guilty of a lack of confidence and burying our heads in the sand at times and that’s really not the end of the world, as long as you know when to face reality. But I’ve really been trying this last few months to be true to what I want to do, to try and resist the things that are just easy and not gambling with taking that big step forward. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband who questions me and makes me think about my goals and my family, he does it in a loving way and an intelligent way. He lets me skip off down into Marna La La land but is quick to stop me when I’m going too far. I also have a couple of extremely good friends in business who have become a great support to me & who have taught me masses of life lessons. I have attended a few workshops and courses which have really spurred me on and have had a fabulously positive affect on me and I have met up with a few great business ladies and had meetings that have given me a solid and excited outlook.

So changes are a foot in the Lunt household and it’s an exciting time. You won’t see them immediately but they will trickle in bit by bit. Sorry about my quietness that will change in the coming months and by the middle of the year I hope to be a frequent blogger and see you more in this medium and world. I may have a new name, I may have a some new products to show you, we’ll wait and see but it will definitely be an interesting journey that I hope to share with you, showing you my new skills.

A little exercise I was set this week in one of my courses was a mood board of what I want  my blog to be. So I set myself up with a fabric backdrop and went exploring in my studio. I don’t have the tech skill to produce amazing graphics so I thought lets find some real stuff I can display. I was looking for a little bit of everything that I thought I want to show about myself. Colours I love, textures, things I own. General things I have lying around that make me smile and inspire me. This is what I can up with.

Thanks for listening and I hope you liked looking at my little experiment with table top styling. I loved doing it so much, I think there are going to be many more to follow. I’ll be back soon to show you my fab outing to London this weekend and about my amazing photography course adventure. Toodles and kisses.

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Bag Lady ~ my crafty bag of wonder

There’s nothing more frustrating starting out on a crafting mission and not having everything you need to fulfil it’s rightful destiny. Argh! Life can be so cruel!

Well before I start any sewing and hand stitching How To’s I think I put to let you know what you’ll be needing so you have time and go about and buy some, or like me get Internet shopping. I buy nearly everything on line. It’s so much easier when you have kids and it means you can concentrate and compare prices easier.
I’m not going to recommend any particular sites because to be honest there are tonnes out there and a good google search shows you everything. You’ll have deferent things you are looking for, but if you struggle then Hobby Craft is a good source of pretty much everything, there a also loads of people on Facebook ready to wow you with their fabric goodness.

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So this is a photo of all my essentials. I need these every time I do any work at all. These things I recommend you have before starting out with hand stitching.
So what do we have…..
1/ a selection of needles, sharp embroidery ones are best
2/ scissors, small tipped for detailed work and bigger fabric ones for cutting out designs and templates
3/ a tape measure
4/ lots of cottons and threads, I mainly use vintage or waxed thread for ease of sewing
5/ silks or woollen threads, these are thicker for lots of colour work rather than use stitching fabrics together
6/ pins and a pincushion, my Emma Lamb crocheted one is my pride and joy

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7/ blue water soluble pen, this is utterly vital, I sketch all my work directly onto the fabric and with this I can create without fear of ruining the fabric underneath
8/ a spray bottle of water to get rid of the blue pen marks
9/ an iron, you must always iron you work after you’ve finished and when using bondaweb and stabilisers
10/ fabric obviously!
11/ fabric glue, I use this to add security when fixing buttons, I stitch them on too, but when doing fits for kids every extra measure to stop things coming off is needed
12/ fray stop, a fab glue type thing that stops the edges of your dip fabric fraying too much. I purposely like my rosettes to fray for the vintages look but I use this so that they don’t go too far
13/ a selection of beautiful buttons, I use vintage ones 99% of the time and like the fancy detailed ones

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14/ You may notice a little tin with beautiful illustrated women sewing on, well that it my tin of imagination! You can buy it, it’s free. It’s all about you and it’s the most important thing you can ever have. You may to think you have it but you do!
15/ bondaweb, I use this all the time for my hearts and cushions when I’m doing appliqué, it’s very very useful when doing bigger projects
16/ a sketch book and pen for jotting down all your ideas

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So this is what I think you’ll need to get started and we can add things in from there for each project. I use these things every day and can’t manage with out them, however if you’ve seen my studio you’ll see how a few core tools can get out if hand. I hope I don’t infect you will my addiction too much, I don’t want to be responsible for divorces but I warn you now, I am a very bad influence;)

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Gold Award? Yes please thank you very much.

Just a quickie post this morning to let you all know I’m the very lucky winner of mumpreneur gold award for my website.

Mumpreneur is a fab website and company that helps and gives advice to us working mums out there that are striving to carve out a sucessful business for ourselves. It’s a great place to network to get advice.

They have a huge amount of entries for their website awards and a panel of professionals look in detail at alsorts of elements that make up the content of the site. From there they decide whether they can award you anything. And I only went and got a GOLD one, the best you can get. I’m thrilled and so so proud.

I had a very solid vision of what I wanted for my showcase and I was lucky to find a lady called Tia from Who Ate My Crayons who designed it for me, she also designed this blog. You’ll find more info about her in my artists interviews. Angie from Artwork by Angie also helped hugely in the final project by designing my logo, and considerable of the artwork used thoughout the pages, she too can be found in my artist invideas section. And finally Lyndsay James who took nearly all my product photography and was my first interviewee on the Saturday morning posts.  I really rather love these girls for helping me and get this fab little addition to my pat on the back page.

My lovely gold award.

I will be posting my craft bag of delights info tomorrow so watch out for all my favourite things I need and use in my work. I will also be telling you what you need to be able to start making things with my on my How To’s which are separating next week. Also watch out for Saturdays artist interview who is Cassandra from Gracie’s Garden Bazarre.

 

An SBS start to the year.

I was lucky enough to get an iPad for Christmas this year and I have been doing a lot of playing with it. It’s another distraction from work, in one way, but I’m doing more ‘research’ than ever.

Christmas is over, the decorations are gone, but it was nice while it lasted.

I was playing with it on Sunday night and was leafing through twitter which I don’t do regularly enough and was reminded that I was in the time frame for entering the Theo Paphitis (from Dragons Den fame) SBS competition.

SBS stands for small business Sunday. You have between 5 & 7.30pm to enter a short sentence about your business and why you want him to retweet your business to all his followers. You want to stand out for those few hours because to get a retweet to his large base of followers is not the only thing you get. You get to become a member of the SBS family, who help each other network and support each other. You get access to a website with special discounts and business advice. Your profile is also placed on this website for all to see & that you and your business stood out enough to be worthy of the great business mans attention. It’s a great marketing opportunity and that can do nothing but help a tiny business like mine. So I gave it a bash and tweeted then put it to the back of mind as I have entered two or three times in the last year and never got anywhere but was perhaps not in the right place to concentrate on it either.

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Although I know this now happened in 2012 I feel it has been the start of a new year and new way of doing business for me, a new direction and of hopefully new hope.
I have been putting lots of things in motion over the past few months and trying to keep on top of the Christmas orders. And to be honest the sparkle has certainly been taken off my work. I had began to feel dragged down the weight of it all and truly didn’t think I wanted to carry on. This would have been a disaster after the house resources I’d put into all my preparations but sometimes things become murky and you need something to awake the senses and the creative spirit.
This SBS came at just the right time for me and I’m massively thankful for it. It’s been what I needed, an ‘virtual’ kick up the bum.

Starting the New Year with fresh air in my lungs and a happy heart.

So now I can look forward to my new year, I’m excited about my new website and supplies which I’m adding to and getting photographed all the time. So much fun getting to look through beautiful catalogue and dreaming how I will use everything. I’m in the process of getting a selection of Liberty Art Fabrics together to sell. I already regularly use Liberty fabrics in all my work and have more plans to use much much more. I have a beautiful catalogue winging its was to press offices designed by the lovely girls at Sorbet Design House.

One of the pages from the up and coming brochure.

And I’ll be painting more and doing a lot more one off’s for sale through my website.

Work in process in the studio

So thank you Theo for giving me a boot up the bum and I am now ploughing on with new ideas and a new sparkle in my eye.

A few of the ribbons that appear on the website.

A spangley new website

HELLO & WELCOME *waves frantically*

The blanket draped over Phoebes little chair is my first ever crochet blanket. And takes pride of place as a frame on my home page

It’s been a long time coming but it’s great to tell you all and share with you my new sparkling website made by Tia from Who Ate My Crayons. I am so thrilled with the work Tia has done and I love my website, it is very personal to me, from the crocheted blanket on the homepage that acts as a frame around Angie’s information poster. The ribbons that are used as headers are my favourite designs and I sell them on the website and the fabrics I use in my work. Even the frames used in the gallery are my own personal photo frames that hang on my wall at home full of my children’s pictures. Tia is also the designer of this blog which will be center of my new creative world.

A new collection made especially for the new opening.

We started the process in August after numerous issues with my old website, from being heavily copied to technical faults and eventually just falling out of love with the whole thing. I found that I needed a fresh start. I wanted to do more challenging designs and get back to painting again as I just missed that side of my nature. It’s a natural progression for most artists to change with experience and new influence. I needed a bit more control of the creative process.

In the new site you’ll see new materials used, with my vintage linens and tweeds all high lighted by luscious tana lawn fabric and vintage buttons. I will be painting more and producing canvases in mixed media, with more one off pieces available to buy.

 

My card holder, Angie’s Christmas cards and Lyndsey’s photo. A group effort.

I have been lucky to meet so many wonderful women in this industry since starting in social media with Little a and they have all been an inspiration to me, not just their work but their attitudes, their personalities & their friendship. Two of these women are Angie from Artwork by Angie and Lyndsey from Lyndsey James Photography. Angie is the creator extraordinaire of my logo and illustrated graphics and Lyndsey is the talent behind the beautiful images I use of my products. Both these ladies have guided me through many hot spots. I can not recommend them highly enough as woman to work with and trust.

A new design for the website

 

 

So together they have kicked and shoved me to a place that I am happy with and I hope so much that you’ll all join me in my new journey and adventures.

This blog will now be my main form of communication with you. I’ll be posting regularly about all manner of things I plan to do, work, family, new products, inspiration, places I visit. I’ll let you know about suppliers I’ve found, shops I love and give you ideas of things to make yourself and free templates for designs. There will be tutorials and guidance. You may even be asked to contribute your self and get involved, if you fancy it pop me a line.

It’s only me, hello!!

 

 

I also plan to interview my favourite people in this industry, people I love and who are important to me and who I think you will love too. Not just for their work but there entertainment and joy of life, beauty is shown in many ways and I don’t think you can have enough of it in your life.  So I promise I’ll be updating you on activities at least once a week. Please do sign up to my newsletter or my RSS feed and tune in and join in, I want you to feel free to post comments have discussions and interact with me, I’m nice, honest.