Sunday, 23 September 2012

Linen Advent Calendar And Supporting Independent British Designer Makers For Handmade Monday


News flash! The Free Spirit Designs countdown to Christmas has officially started!

I have just listed this advent calendar in my website and Etsy shop :) Its the first of my Christmassy makes to be available to buy so i felt like marking the occasion..

woo hoo! :)


Re-Useable Linen Advent Calendar


I love the idea of having an advent calendar that you can re-use each year. Its always the first 'bit of Christmas' to appear and i like the idea of greeting it like an old friend in the same way that Christmas decorations are welcomed back into the heart of the home after their long absence.

I also like the idea of not wasting all that packaging every year, although i do think chocolate should be involved - as a child i always remember those little treats being a wonderfully tantalising reminder of the feasting to come.. proper 'grown up' calendars without chocolates are always a bit of a disappointment for me, despite the pretty pictures!

The calendar is not too large at 44.5 x 28.5cms and i've used a double layer of linen so it is a pleasing hanging weight.




The handle and trimming for the edges and the top of the pockets is a pretty Christmassy cotton with red, pink and green highlights. The corner protectors as well as the numbers (which i cut out by hand) are bright pink eco-friendly bamboo felt.




The pockets are 4x4.5cms and there is just room for a little chocolate in each one (the '25' pocket is 5x5cms leaving room for a slightly larger treat on the morning of the big day! :))




I used yummy 'Divine' organic chocolate hearts for the pictures - i have put them away out of site now though incase the new owner of my lovely calendar would like them as they do fit perfectly. If they are left in my field of vision they are bound to get eaten up at a weak moment! :).



I'm pretty pleased with how my calendar turned out so i hope you like it too. It is priced at £30 and is available from my website and Etsy shop.



Supporting Independent British Designer Makers





Like many crafters, although i sell from large online handmade market places like Etsy, Folksy and WTY i also have my own website. One of the tricky aspects of making the most of this selling point is getting people to find it! I am by no means an expert in SEO (search engine optimisation for the uninitiated) but i do know that when people follow external links to your site then it improves its rankings with google and other search engines (thereby increasing the chances of more visitors finding you little corner of cyberspace).

I've been thinking for a little while now that i would like to have a place on my website to put links to sites of other independent British artisans. Supporting the British Handmade industry is something i care a lot about and this seems like a nice way to do it. Also, perhaps some people will feel like popping a link to my website on their own links page, so everyone is a winner!

The thing with the big market places like Etsy is that by there very nature all individual shops are also connected to the greater network. When it comes to independent websites it easy to feel a bit out on a limb, so i like the idea of a bit more connectivity between us 'go it aloners'!

If you like this idea too and you are a British designer/maker with your own website then all you have to do is email me with a square image that represents your site and a link (free.spiritdesigns@rocketmail.com) and i will add you to my links page (there are no links yet but all that is soon to change!)

If you're not British or you don't have your own website don't worry, i would like to support you too! I am working on an idea to create a more comprehensive links list, possibly here on my blog... i will keep you updated!


Other News And Handmade Monday


Thank you everyone who left kind and generous comments about my red yarn wrapped vases and also my completed tomato soup mug in last week's HM post, your support, as always, is very much appreciated!

I have lots of ideas for other makes related to these but they will have to go on the back burner for a little while as i'm super busy coming up with some more Christmassy designs! I also have lots to do in the online world too.. i received the fantastic 'Beautiful Blogger' award from Claire of Lottie Of London (thank you Claire!) so i will be publishing my post about that soon and i've been asked by the lovely Sarah of A Cat Like Curiosity to complete an interview for a new series she is planning for her blog - all good fun!

Now though, i'm off to read about what all the other Handmade Monday bloggers have been up to over at Handmade Harbour... care to join me?!

Have a great week! x


40 comments:

  1. Lovely advent calendar, I agree it's great to re-use and means you usually get much better quality chocolate!

    ReplyDelete
  2. that is a very cool calendar!
    was going to post the supporting british crafters image to my FB page but wasn't sure if it was yours or a link from elsewhere to ask permission?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. its mine Helen so post away! (bare in mind that there aren't any links up on the page yet though so it might be worth waiting a bit...)

      thank you for your support! x

      Delete
  3. I do love your advent calendar and I also love the idea of a permanent reusable calendar that you just need to unpack and stock with yummy goodness! It looks like a lot of work went into it. It's hard work at first getting people to your website, but with time and perseverance you do get there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you Wendy, as ever, you are a source of helpful and hopeful guidance!

      yes, a lot of work did go in to the calendar! It was worth it though as i learnt a lot from doing it and am pleased with how it turned out :) x

      Delete
  4. That is a very lovely calendar. I'm in agreement about the chocolate- and your has the extra benefit of not getting that cardboard taste most advent calendar chocolate gets!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you!

      advent calendar chocolate really isn't the best is it :) x

      Delete
  5. Love reusable advents so much better than the car ones from the shop[s plus can get bigger choccies in the pockets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Carol! i'm glad you agree :) x

      Delete
  6. I also like the idea of re-using calendars. Saves on all that waste that goes with the production of them. CHocolate hearts, yum!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very pretty calendar but unfortunately I have to disagree with you! Despite really loving chocolate, the best things about advent calendars to me are the pictures! I always like the christmassy colours in them, it gets me in the mood! (Christmas mood!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you!

      you are very welcome to disagree, variety is the spice of life! :)

      i can see the appeal of pretty pictures, i guess i'm just too big a fan of chocolate to do without! x

      Delete
  8. I am with you with the handmade calenders. I made little stockings last year that I peg up the stairs with goodies in. Your calender is much more compact. It is Christmassy without being over the top which is perfect for the whole month. Congratulations on the award and good luck with your new ideas. I think it sounds really great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you!

      your little advent stockings sound so cute! i'd love to have that although i would be tempted by the choccies every time i went up or down the stairs! x

      Delete
  9. You are most welcome Natalie and what another great post today, I love your Xmas advent calender I haven't even dared think about Xmas yet you are good. I also like your idea for supporting British makers with a link page, as I have a new website myself I might also give this a go, its a great idea to support British handmade crafters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you very much Claire!

      i'm glad you like the link page idea :) do send me a pic if you'd like to be featured on mine! x

      Delete
  10. The advent calendar is fabulous! I have a very old fashioned one (no chocolates or gifts, just a picture) which I get out every year, and it is like greeting an old friend. I love that you are supporting British makers and once I get to grips with my website I will send you a link. Have a fab week. xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you! your calendar sounds really lovely :) (even without chocolates!)

      yay! i'd love to pop a link to your site on mine, good luck with creating it! (i really recommend weebly if you're undecided) x

      Delete
  11. Congratulations on your blog award!

    I think the advent calendar is just lovely. Much better than these commercial cardboard/plastic things in the shops. I tend to burn a candle for advent though.

    Great to hear that you are supporting British makers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you! an advent candle sounds lovely, i've never used one although i do burn candles all the time so it would be perfect for me... as long as i had a chocolate supply from another source! x

      Delete
  12. I love your calendar. It's much prettier than any I've seen before. And those chocolate hearts are very tempting. I don't think they'd last through advent. Congrats on your award. Have a lovely week.
    Ali x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you very much Ali! that is really kind of you to say :)

      the chocolates are tempting... i may have to get someone else to hide them from me! x

      Delete
  13. Lovely calendar. Very pretty indeed. I really need to start making some Christmassy things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you very much Ally!

      don't worry, i haven't made much yet either :) x

      Delete
  14. I love this calendar,it's beautiful and I love the idea of using it year after year.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This calendar is great. I've been thinking about doing one like this for my daughter this year as it's just a bit more personal that the shop bought ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you Heather :)

      yes, it is more personal, i'm sure you daughter would love it! x

      Delete
  16. Really pretty advent calendar . I love it when the calendar gets hung up, I always get a bit over excited at Christmas and that's the first sign of it. Well done on your support for British craft.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Harriet!

      yes, i get excited a Christmas too, especially all the preparations like making the cake :) x

      Delete
  17. Your calender is so pretty, I think the linen, with red and white really stands out....and as for the chocolates...
    I think it's really generous of you to support other designers/makers too.

    Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  18. fabulous calendar! love the colours, love the form and your sewing. so pretty and so neat! great talent!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you very much Martha! that is really kind of you to say :) x

      Delete
  19. Lovely advent calender, although I would be too tempted to eat the chocolates since they are not sealed inside :-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. The advent calendar is lovely and I'm sure it will be a big seller. We have a wooden one and the Biggest gets really excited when she sees it come out of it's box :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you Helen!

      Christmas is so fun for kids isn't it :) x

      Delete

Your lovely comments are much appreciated x