Showcase Pages

Monday, 15 October 2012

Public Domain & Vintage

Just recently I have been looking a lot at vintage images and have come across public domain images. These are images that are no longer copyrighted and as such, are free to use.  There are also lots and lots of sites that you can pay 'credits' in order to download images, usually they are images not easily available on the internet.  As part of my vintage obsession I developed the following to add to the Crofts range.

I saw an image almost identical to these pillows, however I also noticed that another shop was already selling it so decided to design my very own! Everything about these pillows are totally original to The Croft and the flowers are vintage.

Items over dictionary pages seem very popular, I found an image of the Poppy and then decided to make up my own design, luckily I have a trusty old dictionary that I could scan pages from!

Nautical! I could not resist these images. I love them! The ship is English. Again, these are images found and tidied up before printing.

 I thought it would be nice for the Men to have something. Cushions/Pillows not exactly something you would think of for a man. When I saw these images I just new that they would look fabulous in a study, billiard room or even just a fav chair.  Both are public domain and genuine vintage.

Then there is the French Shabby Chic range. These images, again are genuine vintage and I managed to research each item and my listing on Etsy has their full stories. For instance the dancing lady was originally from the USA and ended up dancing at the Folies Bergere, which was a very famous music hall. The Eiffel Tower image was originally a souvenir from the Paris Expo of 1889. As I said full stories on the listings. I am being rather lazy to retype.  I really enjoyed the research into these.

Last but by no means least, is Marilyn -

I have quite a vintage image collection  so over the coming days and weeks I am going to list them all on my blog so that if you wish, you can download and reuse for your own projects.

Must go, have homework with the children now.  Thanks for reading!


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Catch up!

So much has been happening with The Croft recently that I have just had no time to pay attention to this blog, for this, I do apologise.

We have been featured in a nice glossy magazine Wiltshire Society, this front cover pic was taken in my studio, the very first items I ever made and my gardening hat!

The feature was so well written, to read more please see my website

We have also been working on lots of new designs.

 One of my most recent items. We have good friends whose husband is in the Army, their children miss him so much they sleep with a photo under their pillow when he is deployed, so I was asked to make a pillow for their children. I made 2 with this in mind, one for Military children and one for the Mothers.

Army Moms. This one is for those based in the US, we do however have UK/Australian flags. The poem says' My Son is a Soldier, He is often gone away, To some far off country where he has to stay, I have this little pillow to place where I sleep, I know he is always with me, his heart is ours to keep.

This is the Childrens pillow. So sweet! I am hoping to upload a pic very soon of the reverse side which shows my friends son and Dad.
 Christmas!! Of course, it wouldn't be me if I didnt make a Christmas postcard. So I have come up with a range designed for children, adults and babies alike.

Please visit the Etsy shop for full details of these items

Short and sweet, but am hoping to update more soon!

Thanks for looking.

All the very best to you.


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Toooo Long!

Its been way to long since I last blogged. I have been painting up my studio and getting it ready for 'work'. My youngest will be starting school this year and I wanted the studio to be completely different from the rest of the house.

At one time the studio was the kitchen to the cottage, 10 years ago we extended and had a new kitchen so the old room became redundant, its been an office and a snug, now its my studio/office.

As the old kitchen it also has its own little external door which is wonderful on sunny days and when local customers come to visit.

As room that has been rarely used, I really do feel like I am out of the house, I'm thinking perhaps a kettle will be rather useful too.

Yesterday, I had a photographer come for a mini photoshoot, as part of a feature in Wiltshire Society Magazine (part of the Salisbury Journal). The journalist was here last week, did my usual, talking non stop, I was actually rather nervous!  The circulation of the magazine is fab, so here's hoping.

The postcards are still proving very popular which is wonderful.  I am so fortunate to get to know my customers, there is a story behind everyone that I do.  I recently undertook a commission for a photo transfer cushion with embroidered message (in Portugese) on reverse side.

I have also opened an Ebay shop.  Its a little more expensive than I would like, but I'm going to give it a couple of months and see how we go -

Look what I found at a carboot sale - aren't the just lovely! 

Still no further forward with #SBS, I will not give up! One day, Mr Paphitis will RT me!

I'm going to sign off for now. Thanks for reading


Sunday, 17 June 2012

#SBS and Theo Paphitis

Today, in the world of Twitter is #SBS. Theo Paphitis, an extremely successful business man retweets 6 business' who have tweeted him about their business. Its called Small Business Sunday. So, for a few weeks I have been trying to get the mans attention. As I am rapidly turning into The Postcard Lady I tweeted this to him....

Fingers crossed! I will let you all know.


Saturday, 16 June 2012

A Business, Customers and a Studio.

Traditionally us Brits call the month of June 'Flaming June' I assume this is because of the glorious weather. This June is basically NAFF! Not only is it raining and cold, their is nothing but football on the TV.  Im not much of a TV person but im finding the football very very annoying now. 

Anyway, onwards! This week ive been featured in 2 local publications, one is a shiny glossy magazine called Wiltshire Magazine  I was so pleased to see it.  I stood in Tesco's with my 4 yr old and was literally thrusting the magazine at anyone who so much as looked at me! I often have a slight problem in that I call everything I make 'my stuff'. So I was saying very loudly My Stuffs in Wiltshire Magazine. Talk about a selling point! The website has certainly had a fair bit of traffic.  Then I was contacted because I had been seen in a small local publication called Valley News, sounds Welsh dosent it? But we are Wiltshire.  They did a write up based on my first press release a couple of months ago. 
So, for me, all this has been very exciting and positive. 

My postcards have been ever so well received and I am so so so proud to have them being sent all over the USA.  As part of the 'service' I email a copy of computer proof to the customers, it has been such a pleasure working with my customers.  The pillows have only taken 9 days to get to their destination which I think is extremely good.  Ive also just finished doing one in Welsh. Customer sent me the wording. Easy. So the postcards can be in any language at all! Yet another selling point.

Oh and the other great excitement? I have a studio!!! Our house is very old, it has 2 extensions 50 years apart and is rather all over the place.  The old cottage had a very small kitchen which is now my studio. Whats exciting is I have my own external entrance.  I made some new little curtains yesterday, from just 2 mtrs of fabric I made the curtains and a new seat pad for my office chair and 2 small little drawstring bags. Needless to say there really isnt much of it left! The window that has a single curtain is my little door! Sweet!

This is the curtain fabric. I love it! Very retro 50's but as the studio is very plain and bright these give it a much needed touch of colour and most of all fun! Wasn't very cheap I must admit (£12.50 pm), but its gorgeous! 

 So wonderful to be able to shut the door and know that it will stay exactly as ive left it! At the moment im constantly keeping it tidy but that wont last. My husband did a wonderful job of moving it all, altho I have to admit I found it extremely stressful. Tears and tantrums.

So, The Sewing Croft has been on the go for 6 months. Actually, I learnt to sew 6 months ago and now, I have a business, a product, customers from far off places and my own studio.  Its amazing. Perhaps the 60 hour weeks ive been working are paying off after all.  Lets hope so!


Friday, 8 June 2012

Just a quickie ;-)

Hey everyone.

Am dying to do a proper blog post, so much is happening at the moment.  So for now, I just wanted to show you my latest 'product' line.  Im really pleased with it and its taken hours to put it together.

Western Union Telegram Personal Message Pillow Graduation, Birthday, Birth, CelebrationIts in my Etsy shop

I am taking lots of orders from America for my vintage postcards, such a pleasure to do and loving sending them to the US.  One of the reasons I decided to do the telegram, was becasue I am so pleased and delighted to be sending the pillows to the US.

I shall update about the jubilee later, dying to tell you about my Vicar of Dibley village...the old well to do lady on her quad bike, tweed skirt, alsation dog tied to her hand, barking NON stop.  Was a very hilarious scene, how many quads do you see doing 0 mile an hour? 

One last thing, this is a FAB treasury........

Im afraid I havent managed to figure out how people take a screen shot and put it onto a blog, if anyone reading this knows please leave a comment!

For now, thats me done


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Strategic Promotion for Success: New Finds from the SPS Team - 6/2/12

Strategic Promotion for Success: New Finds from the SPS Team - 6/2/12: Check out these amazing new finds from the past week from various shops on the SPS Team!!! Be sure to stop by each of the shops featured h...

Printing, Pints and Promotions

I have been having such a busy couple of weeks.  Its so hard to find time to do everything isnt it? My husband came home one evening last week to mashed potatoes and gravy for his supper, in my defence there were sausages and vegetables too, but the children had been helping themselves everytime they passed his plate.  Bless him tho, he took one look and said 'Oh well, at least its not pasta and pesto'.  The other quick and very regular meal in our house.  This weekend is the Jubilee in England, its to celebrate the Queen being on the throne for 60 years. The Country has been leading up to this weekend for weeks and weeks and its all very infectious. I remember the Jubilee in 1977, I was VERY (very very very) young at the time and it is one of my first memories, such fun!

My little postcard pillows have been well received and I have been promoting like mad.  I spend more time in front of a computer than I do a sewing machine.  I have had two orders to America (in the last 24 hours) which I am delighted about, the thought of my little pillows going all that way to be treasured is lovely.  The USA is also one of my most fav places in the world, and I have travelled a bit.  The Grand Canyon, in my humble opinion, is the most spectacular wonder I have ever seen, more so than the Pyramids and Niagra Falls.  Its a memory I will hold dear forever.  Oh and then there was San Fransisco - I loved this city.  The houses were gorgeous, the bridge, the seals and of course Alcatraz.  I could go on and on and on but I wont bore you!  In fact the tshirt I were to bed I brought on Alcatraz.

I made this as well, unfortunately had to completely change the one I did for myself as it was rather a lot of information about myself and my family to splat all over the internet.  Ive also redone the website (yes again) im hoping the quality of the photographs is much much better now.

As the weather has been so wonderful I have had 3 trips to the pub in a very short space of time, I took son walking in the woods with a friends boy and we ended up coming out right were the pub was ;-)  Last friday we met some friends and their 3 children for a drink.  We seemed to clear a circular perimeter fairly quickly, think it may have been the random children crying, baby crying, arguing or stropping, adults bickering,  adults telling children off, oh and all hell breaking loose when one child fell into stinging nettles, and another decided to try and get on someones dog as a horse, I decided there was no other option but to just laugh and laugh, not at the poor child in the nettles of course! more at other patrons faces as they watched us most disapprovingly.

A couple of days ago son was very naughty so on the way home in the car I was telling him how cross I was and that he wasnt having his big green apple (he is addicted to apples). He then crossed his arms and said 'I know what your going to say next' so I asked him what 'your going to tell me I have to go to my bedroom', yes I was! When we got home I sent him upstairs and after about 10 mins I went to check on him, he had gone to bed!! Woke up at 12.15pm shouted 'can I come down now' and then asked if it was lunchtime. So much for a punishment! 

Just one last make to show you for the 4th July celebrations in America...
Love Zoe

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sneek Peak of Postcard Pillows

I am sooooo very pleased with my new range of postcard pillows.  They look stunning. I am going to list one each day for the next few days on both Etsy and Folksy, both of these shops will hold the range.  I have decided not to sell via my website, purely because its the same price anyway and it is one less place to have to update with prices.  I also find it very confusing getting sales from Etsy, Folksy, and facebook!  My brain has never recovered from 'nappy brain' syndrome and as I am rapidly approaching 'middle age' I dont see it getting any better.  I listed this today in both my shops, the stamp photograph is my own Grandad some 70 years ago.
I seem to get a lot of reader hits to this page, especially recently so I thought I would use it to showcase the entire range BEFORE it hits the shops.

Please do visit the shops as the range is listed.  They measure 10 x 8" come fully stuffed as closed cushions, decorative non washable. If you do order you MUST read my terms and conditions in shops or facebook page or website

Orders are expected to be high for these so make sure you get in whilst the time frames are low.

Hope you like, would love to hear comments.


Friday, 25 May 2012

Wild flowers, Jubilee Fever and Business Cards

Well, at long last, the British weather has sorted itself out, stopped trying to drown us and is now currently baking us :-)   Son and I went for a lovely walk along the lanes and we picked these gorgeous wild flowers

A couple of weeks ago I was asked for my business card, WOW I thought, im on my way, rushed home and got some ordered from, they were doing a special deal for Folksy sellers. I could choose up to 50 photographs for the front and any text plus logo for the back.  They are really very lovely, brilliant quality, lovely thick card. Sooo pleased.  Now, to figure out what on earth to do with them now?  If you reading this, do you have business cards? when do you distribute them? ect Leave a comment!                                

With the Jubilee coming on really soon now and the gorgeous weather it feels like the whole country is gearing up for the massive celebrations.  Its all very exicting!  This has really inspired me to make these two cushions.  Really enjoyed making them as well. Can be purchased from my Etsy or Folksy shops.
VW Campervan Union Jack British Sketch Applique pillow cushionBritish Red Telephone Box London Jubilee Bunting UK phone box

Both of these items were featured on which is a really lovely site and my goodness it has helped with internet traffic for the much needed sales! 
Just recently son has been a little curious about size, specifically, adults.  Yesterday, whilst in the barbers shop getting his haircut, he pointed directly at another mum, looked her straight in the eye, and said 'She is very big isnt she Mummy'?  Now, I thought this was bad enough, told him that was rude ect.  A little later, we went into a little toy shop, son picked up a rhino, said he wanted to buy it, took it to the counter, looked at the shop assistant and said 'your not as big as a rhino yet are you'?

On that note I shall blog off. 

p.s take a look at the poll im doing on craft magazines, be interested in your views.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Which would you choose???????

Is it May? are your sure? feels like March or April. I really DO NOT want it to be May because next month I am no longer a 'thirty something'.  Thats about all I have to say on the subject and I shall never return to it, End of!

However, next month is also when the June copy of Wiltshire Magazine and they are featuring (hopefully) 2 of my Best of British items.  So I thought it would be rather fun to see what you would choose, as a little competition, there will be a prize - ooooooh!!!   be interesting to compare.  So what do you think was chosen for the Magazine?
Slouch cushion
Ipad Case
Applique Framed
I cant wait to see what you think was chosen, when the Magazine comes out Ill post a link or picture and then choose one of you at random, if your a winner, Ill send you a Union Jack Keyring. For my lovely American cousins, I have an alternative keyring.


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Dirty children are happy children

Dirty children are happy children.  Thats what my mother always says. Funny, very funny! Wasnt often dirty as a child, and my children are often so mud spattered that she comments on a regular basis.  My son seems to think that pjs and wellies are his day clothes these days and my 7 yr old daughter has taken to doing her own hair - oops!

Both my children attend a gym club, its very popular where I live, and very expensive.  This week, I totally lost my son there, looked up stairs and down, grabbed children to check the bathrooms, not anywhere.  Finally found him, outside, he was caked in muddy splatters from bare feet to knees.  'What on earth are you doing?' I demanded 'splashing mummy, its much more fun without my wellies'.  Not much could be said about that.  The look on the yummy mummys faces when I brought him back inside, and the look of yearning from their children = very very funny.

I also uploaded a photograph of my kitchen to Pinterest the other day, if your not sure what Pinterest is, its FAB. Like a massive mood board for all the stuff you love or want, to buy, to make, to look at - from all over the internet.

Rather vain of me really, but I do so love my kitchen, I sew for hours in that chair.

Then I noticed a mistake, can you spot it....

Clue: new (self build) extension above, lots of banging going on....

I sent off the commissioned cushions this week too, the customer was so delighted and left me the most amazing feedback! Ive put it on my website -,.  Im now working on another two commissions.  Also decided to list this in my Etsy shop, which I have yet to get my first sale from, very frustrating.

Have you heard of Mollie Makes? Absolutely brilliant craft magazine - if you love craft, unique items and general home chit chat then take a look, im addicted.  Have somehow managed to challenge a fellow twitter user to make the Mollie doll that has been featured, (full instructions too!) desperate to get started!

Ive got a new idea too for the embroidered message/photo transfer but hush hush, all will be revealed.


Monday, 7 May 2012

Faires, commissions and Magazines


Its been sooooo long since I last blogged. So much has happened too! 

As you may know or not, I have been on a rather major pr campaign.  Seems to be working, slowly! Altho im still not able to get that #SBS from Theo Phapitis on Twitter.  Anyway, I had contact from Wiltshire Magazine, which is a County magazine, they are going to hopefully show 2 of my 'Best of British' items, which you can find here Can you guess which 2????

At the same time, the online shopping site for homemade items featured my union jack keyring in their front page showcase.   So, its been really positive for The Sewing Croft. Ive also been learning all about google and place listings, adwords, the list is loooong. I cant for the life of me get my webpage to come up on search results, frustrating!!!!   

The lovely English weather has been very - English! Nothing but rain and more rain.  Actually it is unusual for the time of year here in the South of England.  Wellies and mud have become an all too regular feature in my house. 

My daughter had a friend for tea last week, a little girl she has known since nursery, they played fairies non stop, made a wonderful little kingdom outside the fairy door. Running in and out picking blossom and bluebells. They made little pictures introducing themselves to the fairies. Even placing some currents for a snack. Altho im still not sure how to remove the huge red paint stain left on my carpet after daughter dropped the container full of red paint!!! I ignored it for a few days, spent yesterday trying to clean it, got very bored indeed! and have gone back to ignoring it.    That evening at 11pm im on my hands and knees, rearranging the flowers, messing up the meeting area and hiding the gorgeous little pictures.  Eve was so delighted to have her
                                                     friend here, someone she has always been so fond of, very sweet!
Im trying not to mention my darling son, I wont mention that he poo'd behind a shed at daughters school (Horrified!!!!), apparently, he was busy, the school door was locked and there were bushes! I also wont mention that he told the teachers at his nursery that Mummy always says 'SH*T' when she pricks her finger on a needle - and thats ALOT!!!

I have been very busy with work. Photo transfer, applique and embroidery!  I have been fortunate to get a commission via my facebook page  customer has kindly allowed me to use the pic on my blog.  Beautiful bespoke childrens gift, with a goodnight message, so unique and individual, a very special gift, 18 hours work in total. Am so pleased with them, and no sooner were they finished that I got an email for two more bespoke embroidered cushions, they will be different to these so im looking forward to getting stuck in!

I also made this beautiful heart.  The heart is listed on Etsy and folksy  Really pleased with the picture quality too! direct links

Anyway, its late, im so tired, but I wont leave it so long next time!  Zoe

Friday, 20 April 2012

Shoplifting, PR and Gardening(ish)

Intersting blog title ay?  Its been a very busy few weeks, as always.  Isnt family life just nuts? do you ever look back at your own mum when you were a child and think "oh I get it now", I do, then I find myself sounding exactly like her, sometimes its amusing, sometimes its rather horrifying!! Anyway, shoplifting.....trip to Tesco recently with 4 year old son, as usual he bounced around most of the store, I said his name at least 50 times, forgot lots of things but finally made it to the chekout, the only one free was right opposite a pick n mix.  Whilst destracted packing the shopping, son snuck over to the sweets and stuffed as many into his mouth as possible, I caught him on the second time around, Tesco caught him on the third....he had so many jammed into his mouth the dribble could not be contained, so as he was trying to say sorry, not only did saliva pour from his mouth like a waterfall, he managed to splutter half chewed sweets at the Tesco lady, who had, very nicely come down to his level. 

I hit apon a new idea too, photo transfer. After our little trip to Badbury Rings (see previous blog post) we took a lovely pic, my house is already full of photographs as it is, so I wanted to transfer it to a cushion.

After some failure,(NEVER use the glue stuff!) I finally managed to make myself this gorgeous cushion that now sits very happily on my kitchen barstool chair.  I love it. It was such a funny moment, setting up the auto pic on the camera and running back to squash everyone! 

Then I had another idea...Oh yes im full of 'em. I needed a present for my mums birthday, and whilst sitting on my kitchen chair and looking at the many pictures the children have drawn, I thought 'EUREKA' how about the kids draw a pic for grandma and I transfer to a cushion.  First attempt drawn with pencils was not so good, but second attempt with crayons was this rather lovely item.  My mum adores it! I adore it! Infact its now a range to the business as everyone adores the idea!  I do have a confession tho, I did direct the children in exactly what was required for such a cute pic. But looks great dosent it? £15? bargain!

Having now learnt photo and picture transfer I figured it was time to turn my hand to PR.  I dont want my business to be all about facebook, I dont think it is the direction I want to go. I genuinely feel I can offer something special to people, I WANT to do something special for people. I WANT to be different. Sooooo, PR! I totally and utterly revamped by website.  Have taken a lot of items OFF. redesigned, everything!  I certainly think it feels fresher and so much nicer   Then of course there is the blog, which I am still also working on revamping.  I have also sorted out my Folksy shop and listed lots of items on there, sorted out Etsy also.  In case you dont know, Folksy and Etsy are shopping sites for handcrafted, individual items. Stuff you wont find on the high street. Speaking of Not on the High Street.  I applied to there site, was knocked back. I am determined to make them regret that.  Next on my mission has been a press release, so I did one of those too, spent hours researching who to send it too.  I shall now wait for hoards of media moguls clambering to get the first editorial.

At long last I also have sewed all seeds in the vegetable garden - hooray! Roll on summer. Altho looking out the window at the hailstones pouring down, it seems a long way off.

Funny, with a blog, I put it off and put it off and then when I get started I cant stop! BUT I do have some work to do so I will blog off for now.