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What would I do without you?

It’s been 2 weeks since Bunyip had its light fingered visitor, and that awful feeling that I’d really messed it up this time washed over me and I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.

So much has happened since, so many emotions, and November has run away and it’ll soon be Christmas and life isn’t going to let up so I thought it best to get something written now to catch you all up on the story.

Firstly I still feel a bit stupid about the whole thing. I know I should have been more careful but a working woman needs coffee. It feels wrong that I let my guard down for 1 minute, switched off, get distracted in the middle of a task and I’m punished for it. I still feel like having a trantrum and stamping my feet and shouting IT’S NOT FAIR at the top of my lungs. Most of you are aware of the journey Bunyip has had over the last 12 months or so. It’s not been easy, but of course you just keep your chin up, smile and keep going.

I didn’t really want to publicise what happened but I also didn’t want people to hear through the rumour mill  or wonder why I was in such a state and I think I made the right decision.

The whole social media sharing thing isn’t natural for me but I am so glad I let people know. It was a real eye-opener that people actually want to know what you’re going through, and I feel blessed by the reaction of my friends, customers, fellow traders, the City, the retail community and the wider crafting community. I’ve cried tears of frustration, joy, gratitude and relief. I’ve cried for no reason what-so-ever. I’ve been spending evenings reading through all your kind words, and incredible generosity. I’ve had cake, craft courses, earrings and vegetables thrust into my hands with such conviction I had no choice to accept – which is harder than you think! I’ve had people visiting the shop everyday and its been wonderful to see you all. I’ve had the 2 best weeks in this shop and on the website. It’s completely blown me away.

The Police have CCTV of the culprit entering and leaving the shop, but have been unable to find the cash box having followed his path after he left here, I’m waiting to hear if they have an clear shots of his face so we can try to identify him. The insurance claim is in and I’m crossing my fingers that they will accept my claim.

Your reaction has galvanised me to carry on and look forward with renewed hope for next year and the years after that. I’ve always seen Bunyip as a family business. Not just my family (although look out for Esme’s Scrunchy Business coming soon!) but the wider Exeter and Devon community of people who just love to make.

So THANK YOU, thank you thank you for your likes, your shares, your purchases, your hugs, your veg, your shoulders to cry on, your lovely comments, your wave of messages, your bags full of orders, and your love.

Mattie xx

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How to: Turquoise Wire Earrings

This week’s How-To is these ridic pretty turquoise and rose gold earrings, since a) we haven’t delved into wire wrapping yet and b) I think about rose gold all day every day. It was suggested a couple of days ago that I should take off one of my many rose gold accessories, since wearing them all while typing on my rose gold macbook (oh yeah that’s right) was potentially ‘too much.’ I laugh in the face of ‘too much.’

Anyway, these are really straightforward to make once you’ve mastered the art of wire wrapping, which can be a bit fiddly to get to grips with. Luckily we sell craft wire in big rolls so you can practice lots…

You need:

2 x turquoise chunks

2 x rose gold earring hooks

6mm rose gold craft wire

Flat nose pliers, round nose pliers & wire cutters

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My camera hates me for trying to take photos of big and small things at the same time.

First of all, pop a turquoise chunk on a 10cm piece of wire. You want it about two thirds of the way along…

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Now, take the longer end of wire and wrap it all the way around your bead, a couple of times if you can. Use your fingers to push it close to the surface on the turquoise – we don’t want any unsexy gappage here.

The aim is to meet the two bits of wire at the top, like so:

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Now, this is the bit that can take a bit of practice. What you want to do is wrap the long piece of wire really tightly in a lovely coil around the short piece of wire, at the point where it comes out of the bead. This photo will help explain this:

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I find it helps me to really pull the wire hard outwards, as I’m rotating it around the other wire, to ensure a beaut tight coil.

Once you’ve smashed that step, use your wire cutter to trim off the messy piece of long wire that’s left. You should now have what the children in my workshops call ‘a bead on a stick/a balloon/a lollipop.’

Trim the remaining straight piece of wire down to 1cm.

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Now take your round nose pliers and bend the 1cm of wire over to a nice right angle.

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Gripping the wire right at the very end, roll your pliers over to make a lovely loop. Again, this might not be perfect first time, but that doesn’t matter! The great thing about wire is you can just chop it off and start again until it’s how you want it.

And that’s it! Just use your flat nose pliers to open the loop on the bottom of your earring hook up, pop the turquoise dangle on there, and close it again.

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Isn’t the lighting in this photo nice? That’s because I went and stood in the street to take it, like a lunatic.

Is it important to mention that you have to do all the above stages twice to get two earrings? If you’re sitting with just one and you’re tired just pop it on a chain and have it as an extremely pretty pendant.

Happy Friday! 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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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!

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!

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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New Kit: Pretty Jewellery Set

Introducing our newest jewellery making kit: the Pretty Jewellery Set!

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This necklace & bracelet kit has been designed to fill the gap between our classic Kids Necklace/Bracelet Kits and our other range of making kits. For the age range who love to string beads and are capable of working with a slightly thinner thread and smaller bead size combination, Mattie had her almost 6 year old little girl in mind.

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The kit is made up from a (obviously!) pretty selection of shiny 6mm plastic beads in either clear, pink or blue, and a beautiful rainbow selection of our crystal butterflies & shapes. These have already been attached to bails so no fiddly plier work, and you’ve got a sturdy cotton thread to string these on. Finished off with a chunky screw clasp to tie on so you can make it to any length you like and enough elastic to whip up a matching bracelet – we’re so pleased with this one!

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Our kits come with full instructions to follow and so make an ideal gift for the budding jewellery making enthusiastic – no extra beads or tools are required, you get absolutely everything you need all packaged up beautifully.

You can grab one of these kits here. The difficult part is choosing which colour to start with…

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Exeter Trails

We can hardly believe Exeter Trails will be 3 years old this year! If you’re still not up to date with exactly what Exeter Trails is, here’s a brief overview.

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Exeter Trails was a project launched in July 2013, and centres around 5 maps which depict over 100 independent businesses from the local area. The project was spearheaded by Bunyip’s Mattie, alongside traders and indie shopping enthusiasts from Cafe@36, The Real Food Store, Penny’s Recipes and No Guts No Glory. The maps cover 5 categories: Creativity, Food Glorious Food, Cafe Culture, Activities & Hobbies and Bygones & Boutiques.

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The purpose of trails is obvious: getting as many people as possible to see the amazing array of shopping that Exeter has to offer if you step off the high street. Colourful cafes and beautiful boutiques are in abundance here – you just need to have the tools to find them. Walking through Exeter City Centre can sometimes feel like walking through any other town centre, but what sets us apart from everyone else are the home grown start ups, the local people selling what they love and the hidden gems down the back streets. The trails team believed (and still do!) that if only customers could find these shops, they’d love them.

The success of trails has been wonderful to see, and in the 3 years since then the maps have been updated and reprinted, and gone through an online revamp to a shiny new website. You can still grab the physical maps, with artwork designed by awesome local artist Philip Harris (check out more of his illustrations here) from all over the City – in the independent shops themselves, as well as in the Tourist Information Centre and Exeter Library.

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You can also download all 5 maps from the website, and browse through all of the independent businesses featured. If you own an indie business locally, make sure that your page is up to date! You can claim your business and in turn edit your page, make it as beautiful as possible and even upload events and news. If you’re not sure how to do this, pop an email over to helloexetertrails@gmail.com. Let’s utilise this wonderful project, and fingers crossed for even more people finding all of Exeter’s fantastic independent offerings in the future.