Blog Gem - Claireabellemakes

Yay, it's Blog Gem time! This month I'm super chuffed to be introducing the super lovely lady who runs claireabellemakes. This gorgeous blog oozes creativity, from crochet to baking to WI craftyness! So, without further ado, lets find out more! Hello there, who be the face behind the blog?

I'm Claire and I blog at about all things crafty and handmade and my home city of Cambridge. In July 2012 I launched my Etsy store to share my handmade accessories. Having people appreciate my products makes everything worth while as I can finally share my fabric and craft obsession with the world!

What's your creative space area like? 
To be honest, it's a bit of a tip. I'm a messy crafter and I wish I wasn't. I recently acquired a cabinet with zillions of drawers in an attempt to get tidy and the floor is still covered in bags of yarn, notebooks, paper and twine. A friend recently got me a sign for the room that said "A creative mess is better than idle tidiness", it just about sums me up.

I have a huge stack of craft books (it's my weakness) and I can't bear to throw craft magazines out. I also have homemade treasures in my craft room, either things I have made or that people have made me.

Claireabellemakes store

If you had to take only one of your crafts to a desert island, what would it be and why?
Crochet. It's so portable, has endless opportunities and all you need is yarn and the hook. You could experiment and I imagine it would never get boring. I discovered crochet last year after knitting for many many years and I'm hooked ('scuse the pun). Mind you, if it was a desert island, I'm not sure you would have much use for woollen items....perhaps I could yarn bomb the trees!

Chevron Pastel Friendship Bracelet DIY

How do you work and get inspired?
As you learnt earlier, I work in a mess even though I'm an organised person! I find inspiration from many places, books, fellow makers and my home city. Cambridge is one of the most creative places I've ever visited and I feel so lucky to live here. I have met so many inspiring people and learnt a huge amount. I don't feel I will ever struggle to find my creativity whilst I live here.

Washi tape DIY

What top tips would you give to any novice bloggers and those thinking of selling their designs? 
I still think of myself as a novice blogger - I haven't reached a year yet! However, from what I've learnt along the way I would say be true to yourself and realistic about your expectations and hopes for your blog. If you don't blog from the heart it will become a chore. I schedule and draft topics a month in advance so I can keep up with trends and holidays. It pays to be organised in blogging. Network with like minded bloggers as much as possible.

In terms of selling designs - RESEARCH is key. I can't stress it enough. Look at what is out there already and try to do something bigger and better. Find your niche and work to build a strong brand. I'm still working on all this of course, and am a big believer in letting designs and businesses evolve organically. However, you've got to put yourself out there and that can be scary. In a business sense, find people who have a interesting story and follow them, learn how they made it and gain inspiration from the best. Find the story behind you and your work and let that show in your designs.

Fabric Bow DIY

Is there a story behind the name 'Claireabellemakes'?
My dad called me Claireabelle as a child  and it stuck. I have always been a maker (usually of mess!) but I knitted and would make perfume, press flowers and draw cartoons as a child. I wanted something that felt nostalgic to me and gave a nod to my creativity.

Yarn bombing and Cambridge fun!

If you could go to a Creative Blog Award dinner with any 5 people/fictional characters (dead or alive), who would you choose? 
Twyla Tharp (I trained as a dancer and am currently reading her book "The Creative Habit" so I'd love to pick her brains), Harriet and Rosie; the Tatty Devine girls (great inspiration), Kaffe Fassett (such a textiles hippy) and my lovely other half G. We rarely get to sit and eat together as we both work a lot, so this would be a great opportunity!

Spiced Apple Cider recipe

And & tea or film & wine?
Book and tea for sure as I don't drink alcohol and I'm a complete tea geek. There's usually cake too ;-)

Thanks so much Claire! It's been great getting to know you and your blog! What a fab idea to invite Kaffe Fassett - he's a true inspiration! And what fab crafty DIY tutorials you have available. I can't wait to give these a go! Thanks again!

I hope you've all enjoyed this month's Blog Gem as much as I have! Stay tuned for next month's!

All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Claire at Claireabellemakes. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.