Monday 28 June 2010


Let me introduce you to my new rosette, this one has a French theme and says a rather cheeky 'ooh la la' (it's in italics, so you know it's saying it with a wink;-). You can find it in my Etsy shop, it'll be uploaded to Felt shortly and in Swonderful by the weekend.

While, this is my second post today so I'm going to keep it short and sweet. I'm planning to relaunch my shop, stock and brand within a month or so and have been working on a lot of new designs. The image below is a little snap shot of what's to come. A few of these items are exclusive to Foxes, which opens on 25 July (the count down begins). The rest, while you'll just have to wait and see...

best of british

At the moment I am thinking more and more about my return back to Briton. It turns out I have lots to think about. Like where I’m going to live. My family are from Bristol in the southwest home of Banksy, Cary Grant and trip hop all of which us Bristolians are very proud of. Bristol will always be a home to me but I never feel like I fit in.

I spent most of my adult life in the beautiful Edinburgh and love this city but it’s just so far away from my family and most of the good friends I made there have long since left. I do however have great contacts, which would make this the best choice in terms of my career. The frontrunners at the moment are both places I have never lived. London, because I love it and it would just be so exciting and Bath half way(ish) between London and Bristol and lots more affordable. It’s sometimes hard having choices lucky I still have time to work out what’s best for my business and me.

All this thinking about Briton got me thinking about all the great talent back home and I wanted to share a handful of my favored UK Etsy artists.

1. 1 1 Lila Freedom by Belle and Boo. I had to show this illustration by the amazing Belle and Boo. I bought this print in the Red Door Gallery Edinburgh and was so smitten that I looked them up online. Belle and Boo lead me to Etsy and started my dream of having my own shop. 2 Pray the Anchor Stays Heavy by Hide n’ Seek. I first bought from this shop when it was just starting out, since then she’s been on a big journey and is now one of Etsy’s top sellers. It's great to see her doing so well. 3 Birthday Girl card by Storey Shop. maker of hand cut out greeting cards of the highest quality. The work is well showcased, affordable and fun. 4 Moka Express tea towel by Mengsel. Mengsel is an even newer shop than mine. I just love how clean and graphical their work is and I’m pretty sure they will do really well. 5 Hello necklace by Joanna Rutter. I want this necklace, I have wanted it for about 2 years now I just love this girl’s work and already own about half the items in her shop. 6 Best Brew mugs by MrPS. Quite a new find for me, but this shop is full of things I would love to own. Not a million miles away from my own work, so I guess it’s no surprise how much I like her stuff.

Saturday 26 June 2010

numbers game...

At the start of last week my Etsy shop hit 400 sales, my first 300 just happen so fast that I didn't really think about the number, well not that much anyway. I'm very happy to have made it to 400 because 500 is now feeling very much in sight - when I hit 500 I'm going to make some homemade pizza buy in some cheep wine and throw a little party. 500 feels like a big number to me and somehow makes hitting a 1,000 much more possible.

The other number I should mention is lucky number 11 who won my online competition. This time I took a screen shot, as my last competition was won by two people I talk to online quite a lot, in fact once I realized who had won I nearly picked the numbers again... but that wouldn't have been right either.

Monday 21 June 2010

a very sly post...

I have been meaning to get a post up about this for a month or so now. I'm very pleased to say that I will soon be selling on Foxes an all-new boutique online shop (I hope that's the best way of putting it). I'll be featured along side some truly gob smackingly good maker/designers from around New Zealand and am very proud to be included in the line up… just check out their blog to see everyone who’s on board.

I’m currently working on a bespoke line of items, which will be sold exclusively on the site. The images above are a bit of a teaser of what’s to come. Just about managing to squeeze in some creative work between coming up with copy for soccer adds.

the plan

At last I’ve taken the time to write down 'the plan' I have been thinking about for sometime now. It’s still a baby and I’m not sure on what scale it’s going to be yet. I really need other crafts help to make it happen so if you can recommend any good craft fairs/markets at any locations around the world please post a comment below.

THE PLAN: Last year I quit my job and life in England and moved to the other side of the world. In four months my travel visa runs out and I’m starting to think about my trip from New Zealand back to my home in England. I want my journey to be an adventure so I have decided to take my time and travel via interesting craft fairs/markets on route, in fact the route will be determined in part by the markets I can find along the way. I will make my living from Etsy, Felt, wholesale and from selling at these events, which is scary and inspiring in equal measures. I’m going to start in Australia and end in London but everything in between is still up for grabs.

As I travel I will keep this blog as a record of the locations, markets and other sellers and of course take lots of photos to share. You could call it a kind of ‘around the world in 80 craft fairs’. I really do need your help so if you know useful links or contacts then please post or pass this link on.

*As a side note Dear Colleen will soon have a staff member, who will be taking very good care of business on this side of the world.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

competition and new products launched...

and there's a bit of a nautical theme going on. Well last week I finally finished off a couple of projects, some old school posters, a HELLO SAILOR rosette (which I love) and a super cute GOOD JOB rosette. The light today was really bad so I managed to sweet talk the lovely Helene who I share office space with into letting me use her photo studio. Even with the aid of studio lighting the rosettes don't look great - in the flesh they sell like hot cakes, I can't keep up with how quickly Swonderful shirt them. I really need to take some model shots. Lucky I finally spoke to the pretty as a picture Sophie, niece of my friend Gilly and have signed her up as the face of Dear Colleen. Just need to sort a photographer now and find some cash, I think it's going to take more than raiding the sofa.

Well on to the COMPETITION... Facebook cocked up and run an ad promoting a giveaway I ran two months ago. I hadn't planned to run another giveaway until my six months anniversary but I feel obliged to honor what was advertised so for the second time you have the chance to win any item from my etsy shop. I'm running it from my blog this time because there are some legal grey areas around facebook competitions.

TO BE IN THE RUNNING just leave a comment below letting me know of any great craft markets or fairs you've been to or heard of, anywhere in the world is fine (links to the markets/fairs would also be very helpful) The reason I'm asking this will become very clear in my next few posts - it's not top secret but I haven't had time to write about it yet. If you can't think of any just leave a comment saying hi. Best of luck, Colleen ;)

*Just as a side note the competition will close next friday 25 July 4.30pm NZ time.

**THANK YOU for all the lovely comments on the post below, you're all very sweet:)

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED - the winner is lucky number 11 kiwisara

Monday 14 June 2010

fair game...

Well it was craft2.0 on Saturday, which was my first go at selling off line in person. I shouldn't moan but I didn't have the easiest run up to the show, I had a few pressing deadlines with my real work, I came down with a fever and not in a sexy jazz song way and 'Dear Colleen' seems to have a life of it's own. To be honest I'm finding it increasingly hard to keep everything ticking along.
Craft2.0 was a bit of a mixed bag for me firstly it's important that I say what an amazing job Sue and Tash the girls that run it did, no easy task putting together an event on that scale. Sadly I spent most of the day feeling like a rabbit in the headlights, I found out the hard way that not everyone has the same sense of humour as me and in fact that some people are out right offended by my work. This was a pretty shocking revelation, I've always thought of my pieces as cheeky rather than outrageous. Why is it that it's always the negative comments that stick? Looking back with a little perspective I can see that the highs far outnumbered the lows. So here are my highlights:
Meeting Shelley Gardner the New Zealand half of Sweet William. As a newbie print seller I felt a bit star struck by that one I think of Sweet William as NZs answer to Belle and Boo and that's high praise indeed (Belle and Boo is a bit of a hero shop for me). Talking, in person to Mel Blowes from Black Swan, maker of beautiful things (you may have seen her wonderful stirrer spoon in Frankie). She is just the nicest girl and I'm not just saying that because she bought up half my stand:) In fact I met so many fantactic new and online folks that this blog post will just go on forever if I don't stop there. My number one total highlights of the day were selling a bright pink 'Nice Try' rosette to the big handsome mannly man helping run the event, it made me giggle everytime he walked past with it pinned to his suit and the accountant who bought a 'more sense than money' poster for her office... an accountant with a sense of humour, who knew.

I must be a glutton for punishment because I've just signed up for A Craft Affair in Chistchurch on Sunday 11 July and my names forward for October Craft2.0. As my mind turns to plans of traveling home these craft fairs are becoming preparation
for a bigger plan but more about that in my next post.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

craft2.0 voucher

If you’re coming alone to CRAFT2.0 this Saturday (June 12, The New Dowse,10am til 3pm) please drop by my stand and say hello (I’m inside just by the doors, so you’ll have to walk past me anyway:)

I wanted to do a little deal for the peeps that drop by my blog and talk to me on facebook or twitter… so here it is, a voucher that gets you $3 off my lucky dip – just print this voucher out and bring it along on Saturday. I’m not sure if I should give you a sneak peek of what’s going in the lucky dip or if that would wreck the fun? What do you think?

Here’s a little list of some of what’s up for grabs 25 piece of laser cut wooded Jewellery, 5 rosettes, 100 fox postcard, sticker and badge sets (yes sets), 100 really cute sailor sets, 1 chance to win a custom order – where I will design a one off poster based on any quote of your choosing, Plus a whole heap more really cool items… All you have to decide is if you’re feeling lucky.

Tuesday 1 June 2010


I spend so much time these days sorting and sending post that it's just lovely to be reminded of what it's like to be on the receiving end. I got two surprises in the mail this week...

Thank you Dad for the I heart TED bag by Ted Baker. Some of you might have read that my dog back home (in the UK) is called Ted and I do heart him very much. I when with Dad to pick him up when he was a pup and Dad swears it was love at first sight- Teddy at the time looked like someone had bread a kitten, puppy, bunny hybrid then covered him in extra fluffy fluff. He was the cutest thing I have ever seen and I've watched the trailer for The Prince of Persia:)

Then I got a letter and a brooch from dear sweet Fi. The brooch is made from a old piece of childrens jigsaw and is by feelfuzzy... I have a habit of losing brooches so this ones going to stay sitting at my desk, in fact when Fi and I first became friends I lost my Blue Peter Badge on my way to meet her for coffee, a day I've never forgotten. I lost a badge but made a friend.