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Bunyip Craft, an update: week 1

It’s been a week since I sat down to share the news that Bunyip Craft was on the move. It’s been an incredible rollercoaster of a week, with tears and smiles, cake and support from all over the world and lovely, lovely comments and suggestions. I’ve had a piece on Devon Live and been on Radio Exe. I feel held together by the care, compassion and belief of so many people; friends, customers, family and people I’ve never met. Sometimes all your hard work is repaid in kindness.

The strong possibility that we’re not going to find a retail space to move into is slowly dawning, I was hoping something would instantly jump out of the bag, but it hasn’t happened so far. Please keep spreading the word for us.

Really genuinely lovely people have offered to share space with us, with so many different concepts that my business brain has been spinning. I’ve been offered workshop space, party space, a couple of bespoke jewellery range possibilities, those DIY craft pub nights are most definitely going to happen, I’m not the first person to think of the shared makers space and have some of the bigger influences of the arts community on my side.

I’ve been out and about: looking at trading estate office spaces, community spaces, searching about in Topsham, out of the way city shops, city centre offices and more. I have a list of the possible spaces, with pros and cons on each, none are exactly right, though some are very close. I’ve come to a few more realisations; I need to be in cycling distance of my kids school, the main change for us as a family, is that my husband is going to be working full time, so I need to be able to do school pick up and don’t want to get in the car everyday. If we do take on office space, while we wait for a retail opportunity to come our way, then it’s going to be much easier if it’s on the University side of town. I need to be able to store all my stock, paperwork and shopfit, so the office space can’t be tiny. I want to carry on doing parties and workshops, whether out of the office space or from some of the other spaces I’ve been offered, I’d like to be able to do ‘open days’ from any space we take so that customers can still come and see us and the stock before they buy.

I’m petrified of not having the day to day footfall and spend of customers. I really want to hold on to my wonderful staff, and will need to pay for any space we take on, so will need to carry on taking a decent sum each week. Can I do that from only my online sales?, will anyone want to take my crafty kits and jewellery wholesale? Can I have some time off before I start the next adventure, to get my head together and allow some creative freedom? It’s beginning to look like I need the cheapest yet biggest office space I can afford, which isn’t much to ask…

Meanwhile, Bunyip is still running as brilliantly as ever, the Sale has started on lots of end of lines so come in and grab them while stocks last, I will keep on adding more as time goes on. I’ll keep you updated on any further developments in the land of Bunyip Craft.

Enjoy the sunshine, we are!

 

 

 

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What happens next?

I like to think I am an endlessly positive person, especially where Bunyip is concerned, but this is a tough one to write and has been a tough decision. I’ve come out of the other side of the shame and failure, and am trying really hard to see change as good.

Bunyip Craft is on the move once again. The costs in our big, beautiful shop have become too onerous, despite cutting every cost to the bone, lowering staffing hours and working in the shop as much as I can. Business Rates have gone up twice since I’ve been here, and in the last re-evaluation the percentage discount the shop used to get for being landscape shaped rather than portrait shaped was taken away too, so my rates are almost entirely made up of retail zone A, ouch! Being over the VAT threshold doesn’t help either, with VAT at 20% many businesses struggle at this point of their growth.

My lease is up on 1st October and I just couldn’t afford to re-sign it. This is not because we’re not a successful business, we have a good take through the till, and online, but the costs are too high to be able to make the maths work and customer spend is going down. Our footfall is steady, as is our number of sales, but sales are getting smaller as customers feel the pinch and worry about their own incomes, Brexit and the world economy.

So, the upshot is, we are looking for a new premises, something more affordable, smaller certainly, but nothing right has presented itself yet. We would love to have a place with an office and workshop space, so that we can carry on with our parties and teaching, as well as the shop. We don’t mind where it is really, we hope we have the customer loyalty and brand recognition to take being off the main drag. If you know of anywhere, please get in touch, all offers considered!

This might be a chance to change the way I run the business, I’ve been running Bunyip for over 15 years now, and with 2 kids and a husband who can work more hours if I give him the time, life has changed a lot in that time.  I have loads of ideas I’d like to work on, I’d like to wholesale my jewellery making and sewing kits, along with making jewellery for other shops, I’d like to do more shows and craft fairs, I’d like to have time to spend on my website, Etsy shop and blog, I want to run DIY craft pub nights, I want to host Pop ups all over the place, I want to teach more, I want to have the flexibility to be able to run with an idea or offer that comes my way. I can’t do any of this at the moment because I have to be on the shop floor to sell a 40p metre of elastic or 6 buttons. I’m grateful for every person who’s bought that 40p metre, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have survived without you, but this might be time that I get to put my entrepreneurial and creative hats back on.

Retail is an ever fluid market, and the times, they are a changing. I think the future of retail may be in shared spaces, people working together to have the presence and knowledge each business needs to survive. I would love to be part of something like that in Exeter, and be as present in the fight for supporting Independent business in Exeter as I’ve ever been.

Please get in touch if you have any ideas, spaces for rent, wholesale opportunities or just want a chat, I’d love to hear from you on mattie@bunyipcraft.com or in the shop… for a while longer!

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New Party Project: Decorate a Tote Bag!

Hello again!

We’re on a Bunyip mission at the moment to bring you some inspiring new workshop options – we loved hosting the Paper Piecing Patchwork sessions run by Teresa, and we’re brewing some really exciting embroidery ideas up for the next season.

But for now, we’re really pleased to confirm our newest party idea – decorate a tote bag! This was our April Creative Kid’s project last weekend and it was so much fun that we couldn’t resist encouraging more sessions! All of the children who attended went away with awesome bags that they embellished using loads of fabric, felt, pom poms, buttons, ribbons and sequins.

This class would be loads of fun for adults too – we worked on mini tote bags for this session but could easily offer a more standard size tote for a hen do, birthday party or any celebration!

The price for one of these sessions is our normal £10 per person which includes the bag, all of your materials for decorating and refreshments. You can always bring along fizz too if you’re celebrating!

To book a party you can pop into the shop, give us a ring on 01392 437377 or send us an email to info@bunyipbeads.com

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Piping Cord: A Journey

We’ve only recently started stocking piping cord in the shop, essentially because no one had asked for it until about a month ago. (Top tip: if you want us to stock something, just ask! We like knowing what we’re missing).

I’ve fancied having a play with it ever since, and have been noticing more and more people making piped cushion covers lately. Having just moved house, my current pillows are looking really sad in my new room so I thought this was a perf opportunity to try it out – which is why this is a much bigger pillow size than I normally would make!

Note: I don’t think I’ve ever actually used piping before, though I do remember doing homework about it in GCSE textiles amazingly. This was vaguely tricky, (probably on the same level of pom pom cushions, which we all know are life) but if you’re willing to give it a go and it not be 100% perfect then go for it! I basically mashed mine though the sewing machine and it came out pretty good, if I say so myself. (I’ve written this before I’ve actually taken it home and seen if it fits the cushion, so might not be so pleased with myself later.)

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Before I started I read through this tutorial, and used it to work out my measurements etc.

You will need:

Front fabric (equals the size of your cushion, plus 1.25cm on the height & width)

Back fabric (the length of your cushion, plus 18cm on the width, cut in half to make two rectangles)

Piping Cord (I used size 4, and you need enough to go around the entire edge of your cushion, plus a touch extra for safety)

Bias Binding (you can make this yourself, if you’re a better person than I am. You need the same amount as the piping cord….)

Sewing Machine, unless you really really love to hand sew

Scissors, Pins, Iron

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First things first, fold down one of the long edges on your back fabric 1cm, then 1cm again, hiding the raw edge. Press into place with an iron, and pin into place if you need to. (Reasons you might need to: you didn’t actually iron it, like me).

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Stitch down with your sewing machine, and repeat on the other piece of back fabric.

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Now the piping fun begins.

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Starting about 5cm from the top of the binding, lay your piping along the middle of your bias, wrap the binding around it and pin together. I started doing this, decided it was too thin and went back and opened the binding out before pinning it. I have no idea if that was the right thing to do or not, but it seemed to work out ok.

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You binding should have wrong sides touching

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This is a representation of how my brain felt during this

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Now, sew this together, but don’t sew the 5cm you left at one end.

This was where I started to get in a faff, because I realised that the foot on the machine would stop me getting that close to the piping. So I stitched it down, but quite near the edge.

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 Now, what the other tutorial I read said to do next was to pin this around the edges of your front piece (piping facing inwards) and stitch it into place, clipping your corners as you go to get it to sit better.

I obviously ignored this, and decided that I knew better and that I should just skip right to the end. THIS WAS AN ERROR. Do not do this. It was really difficult  and the piping kept moving around all the time and the corners were super hard.

At the point where your two ends of piping meet, you’ll hopefully have a little bit extra. Trim the piping so it meets perfectly, and then tuck the 5cm end of binding over the other end, meaning you’ll have two layers of bias binding over a small section of piping.

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So hopefully if you have taken my advice you now have a beautifully attached piece of piping cord to the front piece of your cushion, in which case all you need to do now is lay your 2 back pieces face down, overlapping in the middle.

I don’t, so what I’m doing here is laying the piping cord around the edge of the right side of the front piece, then laying the two back bits face down so they overlap in the middle, and the pinning this all into place. Sigh, hindsight…

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All you have to do now is sew around the outside of the cushion. I used my zipper foot instead of the standard one so that I could get a bit closer to the piping cord, because I didn’t want it to be weird and gappy.

Once you’ve done that, flip it right side round, clip the corners and give it a good press with the iron. And that’s it!

 Update: through some sewing miracle, it fit my cushion! Woop woop. Now I just have to make 2 more matching ones…IMG_0809

I’d love to hear if you’ve given this a go – let me know!

Don’t forget to befriend us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram for nice photos and shop updates…

xx

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The Importance of Sequins

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Ever since I’ve been old enough to dress myself I’ve been old enough to not just want, but need to wear sequins and at any and all given opportunities. So imagine my pure joy to read that not just sequins, but casual sequins were going to be a hot trend for Fall 2016….pass the glitter bucket, I need to submerge myself.

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The love of sequins is a straightforward one – they’re sparkly and bright and attention grabbing and make you look like a walking talking disco ball. Maybe you have to wear a boring uniform to work, or your life is difficult and tedious and you’ve not been having much fun lately? Put on a sequin dress and get ready to be cured of your day to day problems, mainly through the sheer mass of compliments you’ll get from drunk girls in toilets – generally known to be the best people in the world. And if the thought of turning all heads as you Beyonce stride your way into anywhere frightens you, remember that this is yet another joy of sequins: if people are blinded by how fabulous your outfit is, they’re pretty unlikely to notice your adult acne or wonky teeth or that one of your arms is longer than the other. Sequins just give, give, give and ask only that you hoover them up off your bedroom floor on a semi regular basis.

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Even better than this is that this emerging trend absolutely encourages the casual sequin, and presents itself in some awesome daytime staples: sequin jeans, sparkly bomber jackets, shiny silver sweatshirts? Yes please. Why should the sequin queens among us be restrained to nighttime activities only? Pop a sequin jacket on for your morning commute and tell me you don’t feel like a fabulous cross between Lady Gaga and and attendee of Gatsby’s mansion.

Mermaid Sequin Jeans – Topshop

And although writing about the important of sequins makes me feel a bit like Elle Woods writing about the ‘History of Polka Dots’ in Legally Blonde, I think there’s a lot to be said for finding happiness in the small things. Call me shallow or silly but wearing glitter shoes for the day would make me feel just that little bit better about life, and seeing someone on the bus with the confidence to rock a sequin bomber jacket would make me unquestionably joyous.

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Put perfectly for Vogue by Julia Hobbs: “My advice? It’s time to ditch the round-the-clock wardrobe staples. Fail-safe shopping is now a shopping fail; it now pays to look like you’ve had fun in making an effort to dress up. Particularly when your dress lights up the room. Like, actually.”

The timing of this fits in perfectly with the event of the summer: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. What better advocate was there ever for OTT dressing than Eddie? In her sunglasses, towering platforms and ‘Lacroix’ emblazoned tops, if we ever needed a poster girl for the fancy-dressing-at-all-times movement it has to be Jennifer Saunders in this 90’s role.

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This is the kind of trend that obviously makes us deeply happy in craft land because what it means to us is: embellishment. We sell beautiful sequins on their own and by the metre, so you can buy whichever colour you like, and spend an evening adorning all the boring old t-shirts you own. And why stop at sequins? There’s a massive selection of beads that would do just as wonderful a job – tiny glass rocailles to created intricate patterns with, to multicoloured crystal hexagons to stitch around a neckline. More is more with this trend – there’s no such thing as overdressed in this world.

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How to: Vintage Leaf Festival Hair Crown

How to: Vintage Leaf Festival Crown

Mattie came up with this design while trying to think of new and pretty ways to use our special leaf shaped beads that we obtained in a big haul of vintage stock a few years ago. As with all good ideas, this one involved a crown. Follow our instructions below to make your own beaded crown, sturdy enough to survive the entirety of festival season…


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You will need: 0.6mm wire, vintage leaf beads, vintage pearl beads, 50cm ribbon. This can be done with any beads and ribbon of your choice – as long as their not too heavy to adorn your head all day! We use 0.6mm wire here because it was the thickest we could fit through our leaf beads, but 0.8mm is also great and a bit sturdier (if you can fit it through!)

1. Cut yourself a piece of wire 1 metre long.

2. Start threading your beads on – we threaded two leaves, followed by a pearl, and repeated this pattern.

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3. Once it looks like it’s getting long enough, check it around your head for length. It should sit comfortably on your head like a crown, not fall down and into your eyes.

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4. Where the two ends meet, wrap the wire around each other nice and neatly, and then trim down with a wire cutter so they’re not poking out.

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5. Tie your piece of ribbon so it covers up your wire wrap.

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6. Voila! Wear all day like a festival queen.

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If you fancy giving this a go we’ve put together everything you need in a kit – and with 3 colours to choose from! Check it out by clicking here.

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5 Reasons We Love The Contemporary Craft Festival

With the Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey having finished over a week ago, we’re only just getting ourselves settled back in to normal shop life; featuring indoor trading, ant-free lunches and a notable lack of bar. In memory of another awesome year selling at our favourite show, I thought I’d put together a list of reasons why we’re still quite so obsessed with it. Enjoy!

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1. People appreciate a good button

This is in no way to suggest that our regular shop customers don’t appreciate a good button, but if you were to take all the ones who REALLY appreciate a good button and put them all in one place, that place would be the Contemporary Craft Festival. We can take our fanciest, most beautiful, most special buttons and be safe in the knowledge that lots of punters will be excited about them as we are. I suggested this theory to one lady buying some of our enamelled shank yellow flower buttons (swoon), who replied “Yes! I absolutely appreciate a good button.” Case closed.

2. The level of craft wonderfulness

The foundation to why this show is so successful and so popular must be that the level of crafters showcasing their creations inside (and outside!) the marquees is so high. How exciting to walk around the tents, cooing and swooning over all these original handmade products and ideas and to discuss it with the maker face to face. This year both Mattie and I bought something awesome from the gentleman at Vinegar and Brown Paper, which made me proper giddy with excitement. There was also some beautiful work in the start up area, and we both fell for the geometric jewellery at Eleanor Jane Jewellery. I think even with an infinite budget, you couldn’t buy everything you wanted at this show….

3. The community spirit

Mattie thinks this is possibly the 8th/9th year trading over at Bovey, so every year it’s great to catch up with the familiar faces & friends. One of my favourite groups of people to catch up with the show are the guys from Pocketwatch Theatre company, this year dressed up as the Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts and Alice. They’re some of the friendliest people we get to hang out with every year, and I loved sitting round a toadstool table with them while they drank tea, having a chat with the Mad Hatter about his wooden-spool needs and seeing them under huge rainbow umbrellas when the rain hit. There’s also our lovely friends who run Felt Folk, who truly out glammed us at the private view event on the Thursday – we’ll remember to up our game in 2017!

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4. The Little Touches

The whole event was rebranded as a ‘Contemporary Craft Festival’ rather than a Craft Fair a couple of years ago, and when you visit it’s easy to see why. The whole atmosphere of the event makes me feel like something quite like a festival (but much less muddy) – seeing the same people every day, eating all the delicious food (waffles were the best!), seeing people asleep in deck chairs, chatting with strangers all day, and my favourite: 4pm bar run time. Working at the festival is weirdly knackering, so we always treat ourselves to a cheeky glass of wine from the lovely bar around 4pm. It’s a hard life…

5. That’s the way to do it

I’m aware this is an entirely personal one, but for me it’s always Punch and Judy –  potentially, I think, one of the most undervalued comic performances ever. We’ve been there enough years now that we recognise the puppeteer, and I feel in a major way that he is my hero. Last year my mum bought me one of his colour-in posters, which is a very cool sentence and I have no shame about this. The baby getting made into sausages, the crocodile eating people, the devil having fights with Mr Punch? It’s utter madness and I just can’t get enough of it.

This really only covers a very small selection of reasons why this event is so fabulous, and that’s before you even get to the masses of hard work that must go into it from the organisers. If you haven’t been before, we’ll be sure to remind you about it constantly in June next year. See you then!

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Easter Fun

Hi!

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Since the Easter holidays are almost upon us, we’ve rounded up a whole host of activities to keep you entertained over the next few weeks. Perfect for those tiring of buying endless amounts of chocolate, we have workshops, kits, treats and ideas for flexing those creative muscles (and keeping out of mischief!) Jewellery making and crafty kits suitable for little ones as young as 3 are available online and in the shop, and don’t forget you can book in for a private workshop at anytime over the holidays. Get in touch for availability and inspiration!

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Our classic colour mix boxes are the perfect way to keep little (and big!) hands busy, especially when the inevitable rain hits. Filled with enough beads, thread and findings to whip up a few different pieces, these are perfect for crafty types who want to start designing. All hand packed in the shop, every single box is unique – so you get a different selection of loveliness every time! Buy them here.

Egg Bunting

For a super fast bit of easter fun, we’re feeling inspired by lovely paper bunting, easily created by cutting out egg shapes from colourful papers and stringing on to a pretty thread or ribbon. Try adding letters to for your own Easter message and hang up for all to see – lovely!

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Over chocolate egg hunts? Go for something much more wonderful and hide a few of our ceramic bunnies around the place. Once found, they can be threaded onto something lovely (even just a pretty ribbon!) and will provide a much longer lasting treat.

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These are also available exclusively in store with extra special heart adornment – pretty irresistible!

Pom Pom Bunny

Pinterest is a never ending source of Easter fun, but this is one of our favourites – pom pom bunnies! Check out the tutorial here. Really straightforward to make out of a little wool, felt, nylon and beads, these could easily be whipped up in a whole host of colours. For even easier bunny creation, don’t forget we now stock the wonderful Multi Pom in store, for making lots of same size pom-poms at once! Can’t say better than that.

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We’ll be hosting our monthly Creative Kids sessions in the shop on Saturday 19th March, with Jewellery Making between 10.30am and 12pm, and Sewing between 2pm and 3.30pm. Each session is £5, and includes all materials so your little one will head home with their make. In the afternoon we’ll be practising our cross stitching skills with these awesome bunny cut outs, and decoupaging some eggs! Give us a call at the shop on 01392 437377 to book, or just drop in on the day.

 Have fun – and Happy Easter!

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Be Our Valentine

Valentine’s Day

It’s finally getting too near to deny it anymore. This Sunday. It’s happening. We’re not overly keen on the celebrations here at Bunyip, since we’re all working or away entertaining the extended family, so we’ve put together a collection of wonderful things you can make for yourself, or a loved one, or your cat. We’re not here to judge.

Wooden Heart Hanger

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For the minimal effort enthusiasts – we sell these awesome cut out wooden hearts in loads of beautiful bright colours. String one on a pretty piece of thread and hang in the window for instant prettiness.

Button Hearts

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One of our favourite things to make ever, button hearts are easily whipped up out of your button stash. You need some craft wire (we go for 0.6mm silver plated, grab some here) and lots of pretty buttons of a similar size. Lay them out first so you know what you’re doing, and then cut yourself a nice long piece of wire – exactly how long depends on the size of your heart. Start by threading on your button that’s right at the bottom of your heart onto the middle of the wire, and then thread your others on evenly to either side, shaping nicely at the top into an attractive heart shape. Once your buttons are meeting at the top, twist the two ends together, snip off any excess and tie on a nice piece of clear nylon or thin ribbon.

Felt Hearts

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What better way to fill those lonely hours than cutting out loads of felt hearts, popping them all through a sewing machine and making yourself some lush felty garlands? Pro tip: make these in black and grey to curb your romance induced nausea.

Heart Charms – Earrings

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For instant jewellery making gratification there’s always earring making too. We have lots love and heart based things you could pop straight on an earring hook – just use a flat nosed plier to open the loop at the bottom of the earring hook, pop your charm of choice on, and close it! Note: we also have charms with skulls on. Just saying.

Beaded Hearts

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Not enough heart shaped wire fun for you? These beaded hearts are so sweet – a bit more complicated to make, but luckily we’ve whipped them up in lots of lovely colours already so you can just grab them straight from us. You’re our valentine really, lucky thing!

Heart Charms

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Another fun and easy jewellery make is just to pop one of these amazing charms on to a matching chain or sturdy piece of cord – then keep it for yourself. You’re the best.

There you have it, a whole host of things you could do this Sunday that don’t involve going outside or even opening the curtains. Add a large glass of wine and you’re kind of having the best day ever – win!

(P.S – we do have some secret actual Valentine’s cards to buy in the shop too – just don’t tell anyone.)

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