Friday, 20 March 2015

STACIE SWIFT - Clearance Sale

Fancy a bargain? I've got a lot of lovely clearance items that need new homes! They're all slight seconds or end of line items and all of them will be reduced by 50% or more :)

The Clearance Sale will be over on the STACIE SWIFT facebook page from 7pm tonight and will last all weekend, don't miss out!


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Renegade Craft Fair London: Creative Inspiration

If you've not been to the Renegade Craft Fair in London then it's definitely something you should add to your to-do list.

Whilst my blossoming bump stopped me from applying for a stall this Spring I am definitely going to pop along for a spot of shopping. The good news is that the Fair takes place on 11th + 12th April in Brick Lane - the same weekend as mine and Emma Block's new talks and just around the corner too (so if you fancy a super inspirational creative weekend you could totally do both!)

I thought I would share some of the sellers who will be having stalls at Renegade to tempt you along...

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You can see a full listing of all the sellers taking part on the Renegade website. And if you are free on the Sunday 12th April and want to join me and Emma for our Illustration Insights or Creative Business Boost talks there are discounted early bird tickets still available!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

28 Weeks / Six More Things + A Big Bump!

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was writing about being 21 weeks pregnant - where has the time gone?!

Baby Cherry has been growing and kicking a lot in the last seven weeks (and making sure I've had plenty of backache and trips to the loo!). My body is now at least 70% bump and a good 20% boob ;)

Months six and seven have been a lot more relaxed than the ones before, here are six more things Baby has taught me lately...

1. There are a lot of important decisions to make - vaccination options, parenting style, where to have the baby, what pain relief to choose... Luckily Jon and I agree on most things but it's a bit crazy that we are at the point where we really have to start making these choices.

2. After the big gap between scans there are loads of midwife appointments to look forward to all of a sudden. Every few weeks it's nice to go back to hear baby's heartbeat and know that she is growing ok. These appointments are a big relief when you're a bit of a nervous wreck like I am!

3. I believed I would spend at least a few months eating cake and stuffing my face every five minutes. Turns out it's not actually possible to fit that much food in when your insides are already full of baby. This could be a blessing in disguise though...

4. Leaky boobs, sore ribs, lots of backache and super tight stomach are all part of the fun of these few weeks. But feeling lots of kicks and wiggles definitely makes up for all of those things!! It's great now Jon has been able to feel - and see! - some of her somersaults too.

5. Turns out it is just not possible to work all the hours I used to! I'm learning the hard way that growing a human is a job in itself and is a teeny bit exhausting... I'm considering scheduling a few naps into my working days ;)

6. As she gets bigger and closer to being born it just gets more and more exciting. I overheard someone the other day saying how they didn't feel a proper bond with their baby until the birth but I think I've felt that attachment from day one - and even more so when we found out the sex of our baby and we could name her. I already feel like she's the most amazing little mini person in the world.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Studio Sessions: NEW Business Talks

In between growing a huge bump and herding cats I have been working hard with Emma Block to organise some new creative talks.

Our first Creative Business talk at The Shop At Forty was a huge success at the weekend (here's a fab review by Butterfly Crafts) so we're really excited to announce that our seminars now have their own home on the internet, and a new name too!

Through Studio Sessions we will offer creative talks - including our popular Illustration seminars - and we hope to add more events and topics later in the year.

You can have a look at the Studio Sessions website for a proper nose at what we are up to. And if you fancy joining us for a talk we have two events lined up for Sunday 12th April at The Rag Factory in Brick Lane.

Both the Illustrator Insights talk and the Creative Business Boost talk have a limited number of early bird tickets available - so if you want to join us, book quickly for a discount!

Hope to see you there!


Saturday, 28 February 2015

Act of Kindness 2/12

This month I decided to leave a gift for a stranger as my second act of kindness. This was a pretty easy one to do so if you're looking for ways to be kind this is a simple one to replicate!

I made up a little gift bag containing a Costa gift card, some M&S biscuits, a heart shaped lollipop and a STACIE SWIFT greeting card. I left a little note so whoever finds these goodies knows they can keep them and tied the bag to a post in our village. Hopefully one of the farmers or local dog walkers will come across it this afternoon!

If you missed my last post here's what I did for January's act of kindness. It's nice to be nice!!


Thursday, 26 February 2015

6 Top Tips: Applying To Craft Fairs

You might have seen from my posts that I have been organising a Craft Fair as part of a local fundraising event at our local Rugby Club. I've also attended quite a few fairs over the years and organised my first fair for other sellers in 2014. Along the way I've learnt a few things about applications, which fairs to apply to and what makes an applicant stand out...

Not all fairs are made equal. Some events (such as my favourite, Crafty Fox Market) hand pick an array of design-led, modern handmade sellers for their bustling creative events. This market is going to be completely different to one organised by your local Church. A bit of research will help you find out which ones will best suit your products and give you a better chance of securing a stall - plus you will know where you will be most likely to find your target customer, ensuring more sales!

A well-established fair in a busy city can command high table fees as the footfall is almost guaranteed to be worth the costs. A smaller, less well advertised fair at the same price is not going to give you the same return on your investment. Factor this in along with any travel costs, additional display outlay etc before you commit to an event. High cost fairs tend to attract sellers with more established businesses and elaborate displays so think this through before you get your application form.

When you are filling out an application form be sure to include all the information the organisers ask for. The number of applications I received with no website details, product photographs or full product descriptions was crazy! Most fair organisers won't have time to chase you up on these things, or to seek your business out online without your web info, so if you want to avoid a rejection email make sure you've covered all the basic requirements!

When you've filled in the obvious points then is the time to make sure your products stand out. Tailor your application to suit the fair you are applying for, highlighting your most relevant products for each fair. And definitely make sure your website or internet page is up to date and your product photography is looking good, these first impressions could make or break your stallholder success.

Once the application deadline has passed even the best applicants can be turned away. It's a lot of work organising a fair so late applications or delayed payments can mean that you miss out on what would have been a fabulous opportunity!

You can be instrumental to your own success at these events with a little bit of good PR.
If two people have very similar products but only one has a well presented web presence, regularly updates their customers on events they attend, and has shown a willingness to promote and share Craft Fair info, they are going to edge ahead of their competitor every time. Plus it's just good business to do these things anyway so everyone's a winner!!

Hope these help! If you want to come along to the event I am organising you can find out more details here, it's happening on Sunday 26th April in St Neots and has lots of great stalls.

I've also written some handy reviews of Craft Fairs as well as some other tips and tricks, you can see those posts here.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Recipe: Nutella Cupcakes

This Sunday my littlest nephew Bertie turned one (I'm not entirely sure where the time went as it seems like only a few weeks ago I was watching him be born). His big brother Teddy also turns three on Thursday and Mummy Swift had her birthday on Valentine's Day - February is a very busy time for birthdays in my family!!

All these celebrations called for a bit of baking... so I did what any good Auntie would do - baked three different birthday cakes and threw my nephews a tea party with enough cake, crisps and sweets to fill them up until this time next year :)

One of the recipes I tried for the first time was these Nutella Cupcakes... they're fab. Chocolate spread is a million times easier to decorate with than icing, plus the cakes all rose neatly and evenly which is something I usually struggle with!

Here's what you will need:
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g sugar (I used caster sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g butter
  • 100ml milk
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • grated peel + juice of one lemon
  • Nutella
  • sugar sprinkles

This will make about 12 cupcakes:

  1. Pop your oven on to 175C. While it's warming up put your eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until they are pale and fluffy
  2. Melt the butter and combine with the milk then add this into your egg mixture and combine
  3. Mix your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) and fold these carefully into the other ingredients
  4. Finally add in the lemon juice and peel and then spoon your cake mix into cases and put in the oven
  5. Bake for around 15 minutes and then leave to cool
  6. Spread lots of Nutella on top and decorate with sprinkles

Delicious! These (and the other two cakes) definitely got the seal of approval from the birthday boy too!


Recipe from 'Hello Cupcake!' book by Leila Lindholm