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Take amazing photographs of your craft! - Introducing "The Lightcase"

This could be one of the best kickstarter projects I have seen in a long time! I get quite a few emails asking me to share products, this one I had to share with you - it could revolutionise your craft photography!  Better product photography = more chance of sales - so this is perfect if you are selling your crafts online! (and great for people just blogging about their crafts too!)

The Lightcase by Dominic Crinson and Brenna Jensen!

Lightcase is a pop up photo studio that allows you to photograph small objects quickly & professionally using a smartphone - that's it, a simple concept but look at the results...

This simple creation could revolutionise your craft photography! (If it's successful Dominic and Brenna will also be introducing a larger version)

Lightcase is basically a mini photographic studio that gives you a quick, affordable and low-tech way to get clear, sharp and well lit photos. Dominic and Brenna have designed it especially for creatives selling in the various online marketplaces such as Etsy, Folksy, Made it, Zibbet, Ebay... but it's also a great tool for bloggers and for social marketing on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and just about anywhere you need great photos of what you do.

If you would like a Lightcase for your own product photography get over to Dominic and Brenna's Lightcase kickstarter page to see exactly how it works and all the features - lets collectively support him in bringing the lightcase to market! I will definitely be buying one!

It just pops up - no clunky storage requirements or Heath Robinson style solutions for getting an even natural looking lighting to your products with a clean white background.  It costs £22 - the early bird price (RRP is £35)

I think it's well worth it and I am backing this kickstarter project, just because I want to see people taking better photographs of their work! (not being paid to say that either - it's a subject I'm passionate about as good clear photography is one of the vital elements of marketing your crafts online!)

Is Your Facebook Page Safe from Hackers?

Facebook Page Hacked

Facebook Page Hacking

I was on the U Create site looking at this post - it's quite shocking. She explains how her Facebook page was hacked and she lost 140K fans - just like that, 5 years of work. Could this happen to you - yes it could, it can happen to anyone!

Luckily she has managed to get the page back but it took hard work to get through to anyone at Facebook.  If your Facebook page has been hacked fill in this form to submit to Facebook.

The big take away message is Keep your passwords regularly updated and don't use one password for all your accounts - they could access every one of your social media accounts!

How to Future Proof your Social Media Accounts

Social media is great for traffic and engagement with your blog or brand.  However,  if your account is compromised or you are banned or blocked for whatever reason, mistaken identity, being hacked or the network goes belly up then you have lost all of the connections and there's no guarantee you'll get them back. 

I advise building up your own database by regularly inviting fans on Facebook and Twitter and any other social media accounts to sign up for your newsletter.  That way you are future proofing your brand - no one can take away your email list, you just need to back it up!  

Use a programme like mailchimp to send newsletters and build sign up forms - it's as easy as writing a blog post.  Sending a round up of links to your recent blog posts or some pics of what you're working on - keep it light and friendly and track who's opening your posts using the useful reports. You want people to enjoy your newsletter and not leave it unopened in a spam folder - sharing competitions or special offers every now and again will keep their interest!

How often do you update your passwords?
What kind of newsletters do you like to receive?

I'd love to hear your comments :)

Also spotted this from  U Create - had to share it with you all!  What a great pun :)

When and what made you take up your craft? Answer and you could win a £50 gift voucher from Etsy!

Linen fabric by Knock Knock Linen on Etsy

When did you take up sewing or crafts and what was the trigger? I'd love to read how you fell in love (or back in love) with crafts. Has it changed your life? It did mine...

Ten years ago today I was given a sewing machine for my birthday from my mum! With mother's day not far off it struck me that I was very lucky to have a mother that made sewing and mending a very normal part of life for me.

To celebrate both my birthday, my sewing mahine's birthday today AND mother's in general and all the wonderful things they do I wanted to give you the chance to win a £50 Etsy gift voucher, kindly given to me by the lovely team at Etsy as part of their mother's day promotions - a treat for yourself and perhaps you could buy a treat for your Mum too! Entry details at the end of the post! You can find lots of lovely gift ideas here too - Mother's day Gifts.

Borrowed Feathers on Etsy - Two Sisters who spend their days sourcing vintage fabrics

There's an infographic at the end of this post on the Resurgence of Sewing, It tells us Sewing is big...   It's old news to me and probably you too if you are an avid craft blogger, but it is great to see facts like sewing machine sales soaring by 500% during our recent credit crunch and economic instability.

So whilst I kind of feel I don't have to tell you sewing is back, this infographic made me start thinking about my own achievements over the last 10 years and how sewing and crafts have played a really important part in them.

My family have always upholstered their own furniture and I have strong childhood memories of my mother stitching us little toy mice and embellishing and adjusting her clothes (a hippy ribboned edge on a full length denim skirt that we teased her about really stands out!)

We're a pretty short family so hems were stitched up on almost every pair of trousers my mother owned (before petite ranges were available!) I also remember very clearly the amazing feeling of pride when I sewed some simple table napkins with my Aunt who lived with us, using their mothers old singer (both the singer and napkins are still in use today - although the napkins are a little thread bare - I may make some more for them both for mothers day!)

Riley Blake Fabric from Prints to Polka Dots

I rediscovered my love of sewing after the birth of my daughter. Being a new mother meant I had more time at home and my evenings were not spent out socialising but staying in - a very typical story I'm sure!

Sewing became a hobby, at first I was hand-sewing up little bags, many of the first little purses I made were from my daughters old dresses that she rapidly grew out of. I was lucky enough to receive a new machine for my 26th birthday - it is ten years old TODAY!  eek, I'm not far off 40 now!

I soon found myself immersed in the blogosphere, looking for patterns to try out, then taking up knitting and eventually realising after selling my purses on Etsy that I could use my advertising and marketing background to work from home, specialising in the craft market - it's easy to write about what you love.

Me on the right with my friends from the Craftivist Collective, with the 1000's of jigsaws you all stitched in the Race Against Hunger Campaign we worked on with Save the Children.

Ten years on, whilst I'm not sewing for a living, I have a thriving little digital marketing company and I get to drop my kids off and pick them up from school every day. I've also been on a once in a lifetime trip to Sumatra with the Craftivist Collective and countless lovely free lunches, craft books and products from my work on this blog where I offer free advice for craft sellers - any new tricks and strategies I discover through my work get shared here along with lots of gorgeous crafts I spot.

Screenprinted Fabric Scrap Pack - Blueberry Park

Craft Blog UK is my way of supporting independent craft sellers and the craft industry, not just taking from it - so hooray for the booming Craft Industry!

Talking of my day job, I'm really excited to be working with practical publishing on their online activity for their new sewing magazine - "Love Sewing" which will be hitting the shelves at the end of April - worth a look as they have a really bargainous offer on the first 3 issues (and you don't have to commit to a whole year either! - Sorry for the obvious plug, I'm just excited about it and of course I want it to be a big success)

I hope that now the recession is officially over the Craft community continues to see sustained growth - creativity makes the world go round as far as I'm concerned!

So for your chance to win a £50 Etsy voucher just leave a message in the comments below telling me how you got started in Craft - whether that's sewing or any other craft - and don't forget to name check any fab people that helped - especially the mums!

For another chance to win comment on this Facebook post
and/or Retweet this Tweet Below!

I will pick a winner from all the entries on Friday 21st March! Keep your eyes peeled 
The voucher can be used in any UK or European Etsy shop that accepts Etsy Vouchers

embroidery 9

embroidery 9 by ShapeMoth
embroidery 9, a photo by ShapeMoth on Flickr.

so pretty!

Via Flickr:

Ceramic Face Planters - Jo Lucksted

Just spotted these ceramic face planters on etsy - they're by an artist called Jo Lucksted, I think they're great.

There's also lots more to see in the shop - well worth a look! - Jo Lucksted Ceramics

The prettiest little spoon

A winged Fox!

Crochet Key Covers

Crochet Key Covers

These are fabulous! Little crochet key covers or key cozys, they are by Italian blogger Airali Handmade, she says they are made for a magazine - I'm hoping she has the pattern available in her shop soon too as they are absolutely brilliant and would make amazing gifts or little crafts to sell at a fair.

I had a google to see if I could find any more key cozies - 
knitted key cozy jumper
Key covers - "Cozy Keys" little knitted jumpers for your keys!

This bobble stitch knitted key cover protects your coat pocket linings and handbag lining (I lost £50 out of my pocket once - no lie, because of a hole caused by my keys!)

Koala Key Cozy - cute little koala bear and other little animals available with this pattern

Craft Bloggers! - Free Fabric sample and the chance to win £1000

Hello Craft Bloggers!

I have a fantastic competition to share. Seriously it's amazing!

I'm judging a new competition for Hillarys Blinds where you will receive a free sample of their lovely fabric and have the chance to win £1000 if you make something fab with it.  I made this shoulder bag yesterday with my free sample and I have lots left over to make more - so you'll have plenty of fabric to work with on your design.


Choose one of these fantastic fabrics below (it will be sent to you free of charge), make something lovely with it and then blog about it.

As I said, I'm on the judging panel and we'll be choosing one lucky winner of the £1000 so make something really interesting and take some good photos!

PLEASE mention you found the comp on Craft Blog UK where asked in the entry form!
CLICK HERE TO ENTER and for t&c's

The competition will open on Monday 17th February 2014 and requests for fabric will close on Monday 17th March 2014 - you then need to create your blog post by March 31st and email it to Hillarys - all details on the link above.

Also judging will be Rosie & Hannah from The New Craft Society, Caroline from Burkatron and H and Sammy from live it love it make it - some fabulous blogs you should definitely take a look at :)

I particularly liked the peacock fabric and made this shoulder bag.  It's just missing a big button on the front - an excuse for a trip to my local craft shop me thinks!

Sorry the photos are a little dark - had to take them amidst a very messy house late in the evening! Hopefully though you can see the fabric is lovely :)  Go get a free sample now!

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