Saturday, 16 November 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

New Products at Pocket Wren!

I haven't posted in a while as I've been so busy recently. So I thought I'd take a little break and share some new products that I've been working on with you. 

Above is just a small selection of the new additions to my Pocket Wren range. I have created some bird themed pocket mirrors and badges, to see the full range visit my online shop

For anyone thinking about getting organised for Christmas they would make the perfect small gift or stocking filler!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Owl you need is love papercut.

I've not had time to post anything for a while so I thought I'd rectify that by sharing one of my new papercuts.

The design, which is hand cut by me, features the quote 'Owl you need is love'. Perfect for the romantics among us!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Craft Fair Preparations.

As you know I have another Pocket Wren craft fair coming up at the weekend, so I am busy getting things organised for it. I'm trying to work on improving the overall look of my stall. So this weekend I decided I was going to try and create a bit more height on my stall by building some shelving.

I had some old scraps of wood left over from bits of old furniture and garden stuff in collecting dust in the garage which is what I used (with the aid of my ever helpful husband!) to create the shelving unit below.

I then white washed the whole thing to give it a more rustic look to compliment my work. I had a spare plank left over so I used two wicker storage baskets as supports to make an extra moveable shelf so I can make my stall layout more flexible. Hopefully my new shelves will help me make more of my product display.

I just need to have a trial run now (on my dining room table) at setting up my stall to see where everything is going to go as I have a lot more stock I'd like to include this time. Hmm...I think that this could be a long job, lots of rearranging and head scratching!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Life is better with friends.

Life is better with friends bag design

I've been doing a lot of paper cutting recently in preparation for my next craft fair. It's a new technique to me but I am really enjoying getting to grips with it! This is my friendship themed design containing the phrase 'life is better with friends'. I have also created a reusable canvas shopping bag inspired by the hand cut papercut which is now on sale at Pocket Wren. You can even choose what colour you would like!

I've definitely been bitten by the paper cutting bug so keep your eyes peeled for more designs arriving at Pocket Wren soon!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Pocket Wren Feature on Pink Flamingo Handcrafting.

This week I was very flattered to be approached by Laura Barker who asked if she could feature my work on her blog Pink Flamingo Handcrafting. I of course jumped at the chance and here is the link to the lovely feature she wrote about me... 

Laura writes a weekly blog post entitled 'My Favourite UK Crafter of the Week' and this week she chose my work. Although a relatively new feature she has already unearthed some very talented people so I feel privileged to be among such company. Nikki McWilliams who produces biscuit inspired lovelies is one of the previous featured artists/creators whose work I find particularly appealing.

Custard Cream Printed Cushion Image of Biscuits Sticky Tape - Yellow Tunnock's Teacake Screen-Printed Cushion

 This is just a small selection of her charming pieces.

I look forward to seeing what treasures Laura discovers next week!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Next craft fair.

I'm now all booked in for my next craft fair. It will be at The Last Drop Village in Bolton on 25th August. 

I'm pleased to say I will be introducing some new and exciting pieces to my stall, so come on down to find out more!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Retirement papercut project.

Retirement papercut.

A friend of mine retired the other day. She's a primary school teacher and has worked at the school she went to as a child for 39 years! So she has basically spent most of her life there in one way or another. I wanted to make her something personal and unique as a gift to mark the occasion and to remind her of her time at the school. 

The skill of paper cutting is something that I have been wanting to have a go at for a while now, so I thought this would be the perfect project to start with. After finding the perfect quote I created my design around it including some personal details such as names and dates etc. I then worked for many an hour in reverse on the wrong side of the A4 sheet of paper to cut out my design. The images above show the results of my efforts. 

Finally I framed it in a transparent floating frame and I'm pleased to say my friend loved it! I can't wait to start the next one now!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

New owl bag design.

Owl you need is love bag

Another new addition to my range of bags at Pocket Wren.

This is my second design to feature the phrase 'owl you need is love'. I must be an old romantic at heart, or is it just that I have a love for all things birdy? 

The design was created by me digitally and heat transferred onto the tote. It is available in three soft and subtle colour options, grey (as shown above), green and pink.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

New 'Take a Hike' Bag Designs.

Cotton bags containing the slogan 'take a hike'

I thought I would share my newest bag design. It's an illustration I've been working on for a while inspired by my love of hiking and the great outdoors. 

The bags are now on sale at Pocket Wren and are available in four different colour options. Why not stop by and have a look!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Garden bird bags order.

4 garden bird cotton bags.

Here's the latest order, I've been working on this afternoon for Pocket Wren.

Four of my garden bird series of bags, a Great Tit, a Robin, a Blue Tit and a Bullfinch one. They are all packaged up and ready to go all the way to Japan via the USA first. 

It is so exciting knowing that my little creations are heading out there all over the world! I can't wait to see where I'll be sending packages to next!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Illustration Friday 'Children'

My entry for this week's Illustration Friday topic 'Children'. Two mischievous little guys doing what kids do best, causing trouble and making a mess!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Personalised wedding order.

5 Personalised owls bags.

Five lovely personalised 'Owl you need is love' bags I made last night for a customer in Canada. She wants them to give as gifts to her bridesmaids, which I think is a really nice idea. Each one has been personalised with each of the bridesmaids names. 

I packaged them up and posted them this morning I just hope they make it all the way there in time for the rapidly approaching big day!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Illustration Friday 'Sweet'

I've not had time to post an entry to Illustration Friday for a while. So I thought I'd cheat a little this week and enter an image I created a while ago for a party themed children's book.

It is an image from the end of the book where all the characters at Tiger's birthday party gather round the table to enjoy all the 'sweet' birthday treats. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Hand painted mugs.

Hand painted mugs by Helen Naylor

I don't seem to have much time for posting at the moment so I thought I'd share some of the newer products that I have created recently for Pocket Wren.

These hand illustrated mugs were a new project for me and were created using porcelain pens (my first time using them). I think they have come out quite well and I enjoyed making them so there will definitely be more to follow. They are even dishwasher safe, I've tested them in my own dishwasher just to be sure and they passed with flying colours!

They will be taking pride of place on my stall at my next craft fair.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

My next craft fair.

I am now all signed up for my next craft fair. It is at the Last Drop Village in Bolton on Sunday 26th May.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Home sweet home decorative stone.

Decorated stone featuring the phrase 'Home sweet home'

I thought that I would share with you my second decorated 'Home sweet home' stone. I created it with the intention of selling it on my Pocket Wren stall at a craft fair. 

If it didn't sell I was planning on giving it to my sister. Unfortunately for her though it is now sitting in a country cottage somewhere, as it was my first sale of the day at my very first craft fair! 

She'll have to wait a little longer for hers now, I need a trip out to the beach to collect some more stones. Seems like a good excuse for a day trip to me!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Illustration Friday 'Train'

Train Illustration

Here's my entry for this week's Illustration Friday topic which is 'Train'. 

I used the opportunity this week to have a play with some new techniques in Illustrator that I've not tried before. I was going for an aged/printed sort of feel to the image. I'm not sure how successful it is though, what do you think? I did try lots of different colour combinations but this is the one I've gone with for now. I think it still needs work but for now I'm calling it done. I get the feeling I may revisit this at some point!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Second craft fair.

I've just completed my second Pocket Wren craft fair. Sales were up on the last one but I won't be ready to retire just yet! 

I feel like I'm currently on quite a steep learning curve and I'm picking up tips and skills and changing/adapting my approach all the time. I've also been trying out a few new products such as hand painted mugs and coasters to see how things go.

My goal for my next fair is to try and overcome my shyness a bit and get out there and talk to more of the other stall holders. The advice I have had from the few stall holders/crafters I've actually managed to talk to has been very helpful, they are a friendly bunch.

Here's a photo of my stall from this weekend's fair at the Last Drop Village, Bolton.

Pocket Wren stall at Last Drop Village Craft Fair, Bolton.

Now I've just got to decide what my next move will be...decisions, decisions!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Running my first craft stall.

So that's it my first craft fair as Pocket Wren is done! After a couple of manic weeks of preparation I think I just about pulled it off on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Bolton. 

Overall I think it went quite well for my first one. It was a relatively small fair so it felt like a good place to dip my toe in the water. It was really good to get some lovely feedback from strangers rather than the usual family and friends. I even managed to make a few sales, so that to me counts as a success!

I'm already signed up for my next one!

Last Drop Craft fair poster. Bolton 21.4.2013

So what have I learned from my first fair? I thought I'd share a couple of things with you that worked well for me in preparing for the big day. 

  • Research. I spent lots of time on the internet looking at other peoples tips and photos of stalls. There are some really helpful articles and blogs out there!
  • Practise setting up your stall. I set mine up on the dining room table the night before. It took a couple of goes to get it how I wanted it. I then took a photo for reference to use the next day. It definitely saved me a lot of time on the day, here's a picture of how it turned out.
Pocket Wren craft stall
  • Try to create different levels on your stall. I found this really helpful for propping up my art so it wasn't all displayed laid flat.
  • If you think you might need it pack it, if you think you don't need it pack it anyway! Scissors, tape, pins, pegs, bags, string...I thought I'd packed more than enough bits and bobs but there were still things I left out that I could have used on the day.
  • I saved a bit of money on fabric by using an old sheet to cover my table and I just used a scrap of material I had around the house to add a colour accent.
  • Keep your pricing simple. I kept my prices to whole pounds so I didn't have to worry about keeping too much change in my float.

These are just a few things I found helpful. I still have a lot more to learn but I feel like getting the first one under my belt is definitely a big step in the right direction. I better start preparing for the next one now! 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

My First Craft Fair!

I am currently feeling a mixture of nervousness and excitement (more nervous than excited if I'm honest) as I have just signed up to do my first ever Pocket Wren craft fair. 

It's all been pretty last minute so now I am running around trying to organise myself. So far I have got lots of very long to do lists with not much crossed off yet! I'm just hoping that I will have everything ready in time!

The details of the fair are on the poster above. It's on Saturday 6th April at The Gallery at St Georges House which is in Bolton town centre. So if you are in the area do stop by and have a look!

Wish me luck!!

Monday, 25 March 2013

New Peacock Themed Illustrations.

Framed peacock illustrationFramed Peacock Illustration

I have just added some new Peacock themed illustrations to my range at Pocket Wren.

They are both based on a hand drawn illustration I created a while ago. I have now finally had some spare time to do something with it. 

The original line drawing was created using Micron fineliner pens. I then scanned it in and used a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator to create the images you see here.

To see more of these images and others visit Pocket Wren.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

How to create a lino print.

Lino Print Tutorial.

Having just recently got into lino printing myself I thought I’d share my methods and tips with you on how I go about creating my prints.

This is how I created the print featured in my previous post Handmade Three Seagulls Lino Print.

Lino printing is a relatively cheap, simple and versatile form of printing. It requires only a few basic tools to get started. Once you have mastered the basics the only limit is your imagination!

You will need:

Paper/fabric to print on

Block printing inks (widely available, I get mine on Amazon)

Lino board (again available online or from most craft/art supply shops)

Brayer (roller) I have a couple of different sizes.

Lino blades and handle to carve the lino (I have 5 blades and handle that I bought as a basic set)

Glass sheet to roll out ink (I use an old mirror, the glass from an old picture frame is another cheap alternative)

Lino printing equipment

The first step is to decide on a design and sketch it out on paper. Keep it simple to begin with, you can add more detail as you become more practised.

Initial sketch

Next you need to transfer your image onto the lino board. I do this by tracing over my image with a heavy weight pencil and then laying the image face down on the lino. I then apply pressure with a pencil over the reverse of the sketch which transfers it onto the lino. I then finalize the image on the lino with a permanent marker.

Image transferred onto soft cut lino

Once the image has been transferred you can start to carve away parts using a large blade for bigger areas and finer blades for the more detailed work. Always work away from yourself when cutting the lino and make sure your hands are never in front of the blade to prevent injury to yourself. It is so easy to slip when cutting! 

Remember that anything that you remove with your blade will appear white (or the colour of your paper/fabric) in your finished print as it will not take the ink. 

Sometimes with more complicated designs I take a photograph of my sketch and create a negative of it using a computer just to get an idea of how my finished print may look. Some people also take quick rubbings of their lino plate as they work to see how it is progressing.

Carved lino plate

When you are happy with how your lino plate looks it is time to start creating a print.

First put a small amount of ink onto your glass plate (I use an old mirror or sometimes an old decorating tray but anything that has a smooth washable surface will do). Roll out your ink using your brayer till it is spread thin and makes a tacky sound. Ensure that your brayer is completely covered with ink then roll onto your lino cut. Make sure the plate is completely covered with a thin layer of ink.

Inked up plate

There are different ways of creating a print but the way I do it is to have a piece of paper that is the same size as the one I intend to print on laid out on newspaper, this acts as my guide/template. I then place my lino cut face up where I want it on the sheet. Then using the first sheet of paper as a guide I line up a second (same sized) sheet and place it on top of the plate creating a sandwich. I then use a combination of rolling with a clean roller and rubbing with my hand (you can also use the back of a wooden spoon) to apply pressure evenly to the paper.

Applying pressure

Finally, carefully peel back your paper and you should have your completed lino print. If you are not entirely happy you can always go back, take some more lino away and reprint.

Final print and plate

Now comes the fun part, experiment with colours, papers, fabrics, textures and create as many prints as you wish!

Why not have a go? Get in touch let me know how you get on, I’d love to see if you have links to images!

For some inspiration visit the lino print section of PocketWren.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Illustration Friday: Eye Glasses.

Children playing on a trampoline illustration.

Here's my entry for this week's Illustration Friday topic of 'Eye Glasses'. 

I wish I was having half as much fun as these guys are!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Owl you need is love illustration.

Owl pair illustration.

I've been working away on some more illustrations for Pocket Wren. This whimsical owl pair are my latest offerings. They are available in several colours have a look here. The heart at the bottom can also be personalised with the initials of your choice.

I wanted to try and create a woodblock printed feel to this illustration which I hope I have achieved, at least to some extent. 

I am now working on producing an accompanying bag using this image which will hopefully be available at Pocket Wren soon.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Spring rabbit illustration for Easter.

blue rabbit

purple rabbit

green rabbit
I am still working along an Easter/spring time theme at the moment. This jumping rabbit illustration is my latest creation and is available to purchase at Pocket Wren.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Illustration Friday: Yesterday

Illustration of Jimi Hendrix.
Here's my image for this week's Illustration Friday topic of 'Yesterday'. Thought I'd go for a bit of a retro take on it with this illustration of Jimi Hendrix.

It may be more yesteryear than yesterday but I'm hoping that's close enough!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Free download: Easter desktop wallpaper!

Easter rabbit and egg desktop wallpaper.

I know I'm a little bit early but I've started thinking Easter thoughts already. 

So with this in mind I have created this lovely Easter rabbit and egg desktop wallpaper design for you to download! Consider this my Easter gift to you! 

I have created a few different sizes. Just click on the one you want and save the background to your computer.

1024 x 768
1366 x 768
1600 x 900

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Helen Naylor feature on Bolton Business Boom.

Screen shot of Bolton Business Boom feature of Helen Naylor.

My work has just been featured on the Bolton Business Boom website! Click on the image above to read the full article.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Illustration Friday: Talent.

Circus characters on a purple background.

Here is this week's entry for Illustration Friday. This week's theme is 'Talent' so I present to you my collection of very talented circus performers doing what they do best...entertaining!

This is a new illustration but I have stolen the characters from various circus themed book commissions that I have created over the years. I've done my best to squeeze all the fun and variety of the circus into one image!