Crafty Alchemy Shop

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Small Business Shout Out Sunday



As a small business owner I'm a big fan of supporting other small businesses and, where ever I can I do buy "small" rather than from a large corporation. I love the story behind products and their makers, so I'm going to do a twice monthly post shouting out about some of my favourite small businesses.


First up this week is Harvey-Smith Leather, they have the most beautiful hand painted and hand made leather items such as clutch bags, iPhone cases and my personal favourite journals & notebooks, I was lucky enough to win this beauty of a journal from Harvey-Smith Leather earlier this year.

I want to treat myself to one of the clutch bags but every time I look I see another one that I want, some decisions are so hard to make!

You can find their online shop here - Harvey-Smith Leather
And you can follow them on Facebook here - Harvey-Smith Leather Facebook Page
You can also follow them on Instagram at @harveysmithleather


This next shop is one I've visited both in person and online. Agnes & Cat are based in Windermere in the Lake District and the delicious smells that waft out of the door as you walk past are enough to make you, well, not walk past but, instead, go in and have a good look around. Their Cloud Nine Candle is my absolute favourite ( I have a thing for candles) but they don't just make beautifully fragranced soy candles, they also do soaps and bath salts & lots of other deliciously scented things - Their Manuka Honey Lip Balm is another of my favourites.
Seriously worth a visit if your passing anywhere near or through Windermere, however if you can't get there in person you can order online too.


You can find Agnes & Cat at 39 Crescent Road, Windermere, LA23 1BL.
Or on their website here - Agnes & Cat 
Their Facebook page is here - Agnes & Cat Facebook page
And follow them on Instagram @agnesandcatshop

My final Small Business Shout Out this week is to the Pink Amethyst Co on Etsy, Rebecca paints the most beautiful, sparkly canvases in various sizes, this little 10cm x10cm Good Vibes sits in my studio keeping all bad vibes at bay. As it was aqua & turquoise colour I had to buy it as soon as I saw it as aqua is Crafty Alchemy's main brand colour as well as my personal favourite, so it was kinda fate, and I do love a bit of universal synchronisity.



You can check out Rebecca's Etsy Shop here - Pink Amethyst Co
You can find her on Facebook here - Pink Amethyst Co Facebook page
And follow Pink Amethyst Co on Instagram @pinkamethyststudio

*Important note 
I have no official affiliation with these businesses, and I have not received any payment or compensation for this blog post. I am giving these businesses a shout out as I genuinely love them and their products.





Friday, 15 September 2017

Book Review - Style Your Brand - Fiona Humberstone


Branding for your small business, I don't know about you, but I feel that brilliant branding is sometimes a bit like the Holy Grail of small businesses, a little bit difficult to find or achieve, more so maybe if it's just you doing the work and, like me, you're certainly no expert. If you can afford to hire someone to create the perfect brand for your business, that's great, even better, if you've trained, studied or worked in marketing, branding or design and you can create exactly what you would like yourself.

After nearly 5 years of tweaking and changing, growing and changing again, another couple of tweaks here and there of the Crafty Alchemy brand I'm pretty happy with my branding, but I know it could be better so now that my small business is growing and changing a little bit again I want to step it up a bit, polish it up and refine my brand image and message.

After looking through reviews of books on branding I ordered Fiona Humberstone's How to Style Your Brand. As soon as the book arrived I fell in love with the beautiful imagery inside, gorgeous photography which inspired a lot of brand envy - but in a good way, more of a 'Wow! I'd love my branding to look that good' sort of way.


From the outset Fiona explains that your branding is so much more than a pretty logo and a snappy, clever and memorable tagline, it's the whole package, from your photography to the way you write every blog post or how you package your products to your latest Twitter update, it's every single element of your business. It sounds a little overwhelming but I promise you it isn't. 

After reading through, answering all the questions and doing all of the tasks, I was really very pleased to discover exactly how much I'd learned, not only about how Crafty Alchemy should look and sound, but what Crafty Alchemy actually is and does. I also learned where the holes are and so many other things that could and should be done, including ideas for new products that I hadn't thought of. Sometimes I found myself thinking that this lady understood my business better than I did.

All of the information and exercises in the book are really thorough yet not at all complicated and found that I became completely inspired by what else Crafty Alchemy could do, I had some serious light bulb moments whilst working on this. At no point did I feel that it was beyond my skill set or that it was too difficult for me to make the changes to get the ideas out of my head and into the real world.

The Colour Psychology section was a revelation! Explaining all about colour psychology and seasonal personalities, again in a very uncomplicated, easy to understand manner. This part of the book also gave me a confidence boost, because as I was reading through I realised that I had actually totally nailed my colour choices all by myself two years ago when I last altered my branding. 

I'm now refreshing my branding and brand message with everything I've learned over the last couple of weeks and feel confident enough to adjust my branding package again as needed in the future. This is definitely one of those books that you can go back to again and again whenever you need to give yourself a quick refresher.

There is also a new book by Fiona Humberstone, Brand Brilliance, which I'm currently reading and working my way through, I'll let you know how I got on once I've finished it.

You can purchase Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone here on Amazon
Fiona's website -  The Brand Stylist
The Brand Stylist's gorgeous Instagram feed: @thebrand_stylist


*Please note - I received no payment or compensation for reviewing this book and I am not affiliated in any way with Fiona Humberstone or The Brand Stylist, I bought it because it looked like what I was looking for and I'm sharing it because I  think it's really very good indeed. Thank you.


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

New Christmas Kits Are Here!



It's that time of year again when we launch our new, eagerly awaited, DIY Christmas  Decoration felt sewing kits, we've got 3 lovely new kits this year which will be released over the next few weeks.

I've added a Christmas Kit section to the website so you can find all of our Christmas Decoration Kits in one place - You can find it here - Christmas Kits

This first "make your own" , kit is these lovely soft Snow Reindeer, the cousins of our most popular kit, the Traditional Reindeer Decorations sewing kit.



Each sewing kit has everything you need to make these 3 little, cute reindeer decorations and contains very easy to follow step by step instructions, designed with all levels of ability in mind, so whether you've never picked up a needle and thread and want to learn to hand sew or you're a very experienced sewist, our kits are for you (or they make a great gift for someone you know)


We also only use lovely soft 30% wool blend felt in all our of kits,  so it's not stiff & crackly like some craft felts that are available.


These adorable little Snow Reindeer are available now on the Crafty Alchemy website and we have 2 more new kits coming very soon, be sure to keep an eye on our social media channels so that you can be the firsts to know when they are released.



Friday, 4 August 2017

List Love - 5 Things About Me


My name is Claire and I'm a list-a-holic. I have lists for everything, there's the food shopping list on the fridge that we add to all week ready for the weekend shop, there's my book wishlist on Amazon, a list of school holidays in my diary, my daily to do list for Crafty Alchemy, the list of lists goes on and on (If at this point you start to think I may need therapy, don't worry, I agree with you completely).

Seeing as I've just launched this blog after 2 years away from the Blog-o-sphere I thought a bit of a "get to know me" post may be a good idea, so here are 5 things about me:

1. I love to drink tea, can't get enough of the stuff, as soon as one mug is finished, the kettle goes straight back on again for a refill. Yorkshire Tea is my absolute favourite, in case you were wondering. (Note: All tea always tastes better with cake!)

2. I run Crafty Alchemy from my home studio (formerly known as the Front Room) 



Don't be fooled by the tidiness, these were taken as I was moving everything in.

3. I love to crochet blankets, I find it sooo relaxing just counting to 3 & 4 over and over again, minimal brain power required so I can switch off a bit. I always make really huge blankets too, everyone in my family has at least 2 blankets, except my dad, I'm making him one for Christmas (sshhh! don't tell him!)

4. I'd really like to write a book someday, I have a few vague ideas of what I want to write a book about, so lots more planning, research and, probably, lists are required.

5. I love a good box set binge, at the moment I'm watching Sleepy Hollow. My all time favourites include Supernatural (#TeamSam) and Criminal Minds.

So there you have it, 5 things about me. I'd love to hear about you too, what are you watching or reading? what TV shows do you recommend? what's your favourite biscuit? or your favourite colour?




Tuesday, 1 August 2017

To Blog or Not To Blog?



I've been meaning to start blogging again for ages. It's been just over 2 years since I last put together a blog post and I've missed connecting with readers and other bloggers, so here I am, back in the Land of Blog as it were.

But what to write about? I lost interest in my old blog because it had become stale, it had turned into "Today I made this.... (insert photos of created item here)" and I just lost the will, inclination and  inspiration to blog and it was totally my fault. A lot has changed in the last 2 years, I've changed in the last 2 years, I've learned and discovered new things, I have new passions and so many new goals to achieve.


So I made a list of all the things I enjoy doing and wanted to write about (it will soon become apparent that I have a thing for lists). I wrote a rough schedule of when I'd like to post about certain subjects so I could plan my content perfectly and then I started to write, or, more accurately,  I didn't start to write. I had lots of titles for posts, and rough basic ideas & notes written down, but could I turn it into an interesting coherent post? No. I was completely blank, staring at the screen.


Whilst I was staring blankly at my laptop waiting for lightening to strike and fire off some sort of inspirational spark to an idea lodged somewhere in the slightly chaotic filing system of my mind, two realisations occurred in very quick succession



  • Once I start doing something and focusing on one specific task it all seems to start to flow easily and then other little wheels start turning which leads to more ideas and scribbled notes on post-it notes all around my studio, which, later, become fully fledged plans.
  • Secondly is a piece of advice I received from the lovely Julia Bickerstaff of the Business Bakery which is "Don't wait for perfection, do it now and tweak it as you go" whether it's launching new products, building your website, writing a newsletter or even launching a blog.


So here I am, totally winging it writing this post, I have a sort of plan, but it's not set in stone, I can "tweak" as I go, and as I'm sat here trying to work out how to end this post another realisation has just occurred, I'm really excited about re-starting my blogging journey. I'm also really looking forward to getting back into the habit of writing regularly and taking more photos - something I should have been doing all along.

Thank you for stopping by




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