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Seven Things

Another Seven Things post for you.  Like I have mentioned these are all images I have captured using Instagram (cupcakecouture_).  Some of you might have seen them, but I like to share them with blog readers too as it is great to add a little info about what I am doing, seeing, eating and enjoying!



1 >  Grazia:  I was soooo happy to be featured in the launch issue of Grazia (South Africa) magazine.  Mr Price asked me to style and wear some of their pieces.  The shoot with the Grazia team was so cool!  I will share the full piece when I get a chance to scan it.

2 >  Babette:  On Saturday I went to the Babette pop up shop and saw some pretty dresses.  Anna who runs I heart Market hosted it paired with cake and tea in the most beautiful, pastel cups and saucers.

3 >  Fat Tuesday:  A favourite shop of mine!  I always try and resist shopping, but some unique little item always makes it way home with me!  

4 >  Call Me:  Fine Furn is a sweet little second hand shop in Pinetown (Windsor Rd) and run by a granny and grandpa.  They are going to retire so the items in the shop are on sale for less and they are taking offers on all furniture pieces. 

5 >  Love Coffee:  I don't drink coffee - yip you heard right!  I do, however looove the new coffee shop opened by the Corner Cafe team.  Find it at 464 Windermere Road - and btw their hot chocolate is amazing!

6 >  Vanilla House:  I saw this white ampersand there last week and I think I might need to go and get it!

7 >  I heart Market:  This Saturday is market day so I am in prep mode.  I will have the frame brooches for sale.  Remember there are two markets this month.

You can read some more Seven Things posts here and here. 

Favourite 'Pinners'

The weekend is here!  What wonderful news!  Thank you for your blog comments this week (and always) they have really added to making me happy!

Today I am sharing some of my favourite 'pinners' or people I follow on Pinterest.  You can follow me on Pinterest too.



Jenny B:  Pin from Torie Jayne



Enjoy these inspiring pins and enjoy the weekend!

Keepsakes


If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram - you would have seen some quick snaps of my Keepsakes Range. Each piece is created from old, antique or vintage found or random objects into a type of a wearable collage and of course each one is unique.  Keys, vintage embroidery, tiny frames, old watch faces and lockets are a few of the items that have made their way into the range.  These necklaces are a few examples.  It is such a labour of love creating these small works.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to capture all of the pieces I have created as they went straight my I heart Market table and sold on their first day out.  I have been so blessed to have a lovely response!  I better get started on the next batch.

I am also offering a Keepsake service.  So many of us have random bits and pieces like a broken brooch from your grandmother, buttons, a locket or charm, small items that often collect in a small bowl or in our jewellery collection.  If you have special items like this, that you would like me to custom create into a wearable keepsake full of your memories then please get in touch.  Keep them close to your heart or even have them created into a brooch or small framed collage.

Creative Business & Blogging Resources

I haven't done a resources post in ages and I thought what could be better than starting off your week with some inspiration, tips and tools for a creative week and a better business.

I often get asked about the following:
> What is better Wordpress or Blogger?
> How to plan posts and how often to blog?
> Creative business tips
> Fun / pretty resources like free graphics or fonts

So...here are a few resources and answers to help...

Wordpress or Blogger?
This is a difficult one as it all depends on the needs of the user.  There is no right or wrong answer - use what works for you.  I find value in both services, but I do currently work in Blogger more.

For more - read this great post by Katrina from Pugly Pixel.

Posting:  When and What?
There is no set amount of posts that you have to have per week, but I would say between three and five is a good number.  If you won't get around to posting during the week then perhaps take some time over the weekend to schedule posts.  Find a rhythm that is comfortable for you - that is key!  

Content can be difficult to generate especially unique content based on your business or lifestyle.  I suggest to once again find a balance between reblogging and posting original content.  At Alt. Summit earlier this year it was discussed that trend wise blogging was heading more towards original content.  I suggest if you run your blog as part of your creative business - try and write more about your products, services, business and what you are up to as it serves as an additional marketing tool to inform readers and customers.



Some links on content:
See how Kaylah from The Dainty Squid does her planning - pictured above.

Creative Business Tips:
56 Ways to Market your Business using Pinterest:  Tips that you can start using today - some are obvious, others are useful and some might not be necessary right now.

PapernStitch:  Business tips galore via this interesting blog!  I especially like the post on Photography Tips and another on Creating a Social Media Strategy.

A Beautiful Mess:  A lovely owner of a vintage shop with a love for all things beautiful - read creative business tips from Elsie and her team.

Women in Business:  A blog which is full of info to help you feel inspired in business.  *Check out their manifesto - shown below.

Mimi+Meg:  A post about Alt. Summit and some tips on growing readership amongst other things.  TinEye is also mentioned which can help you find the source of an image.

Creature Comforts:  Ez did these posts awhile ago, but they are still exceptionally relevant - she chats about better blogging.  I also found this photography post on her blog useful.

Jamtin:  Features tips on running a good business by Michelle Ainslie.

Blog Milk:  I am affiliated to Ana and work with her templates.  Her Conversation with regards to blogging about personal things is great as well as her Blog Talk posts.

Free Resources:
Friendly Scrap:  This blog hasn't been updated in a while, but there are still some great freebies available.

Pugly Pixel:  I have mentioned Katrina before, but her blog is worth another mention as it is full of handy tips!

Fuzzimo:  Fonts, textures and a host of cool and useful things.

Font Squirrel:  Get creative with a range of awesome fonts!

Besotted Brand Blog:  A few lovely freebies.

Design House Digital:  I love using the paper backgrounds for posts or banners.

Tack-O-Rama:  Retro inspired resources

Printables:  Always fun for getting even more creative
The Tomkat Studio:  A huge array of very nice printable files.

Just Something I Made:  Once again I have mentioned this blog before, but it is a great resource with printable as well as digital items.

The Eternal Favourite:
For tips, lessons and invaluable advice don't forget Design Sponge's Biz Ladies Series.

On my Reading List:
Conversations with Creative Women:  Can't wait to get my hands on this book.  In the meantime - check out their site for more tips!  I love the post on A beginner's guide to Twitter as well as Marketing basics.
*See more books like this here.




My Inspiration:
Rena Tom:  I love reading her updates and advice on running a creative business.  Her blog offers details and tips on a multitude of topics and she has some free resources available too.

I hope you found these useful!  If you have some resources to share or if you have a question - feel free to leave a comment as I would love to hear from you or help if I can.

A Durban Day

I loved contributing to the June Elle in the form of a day spent in Durban on a R500 budget...more than enough if you ask me (and I even had some change to spare)!  The best part was certainly taking a bus ride and sharing it with a very good friend who showed me what is on offer in the heart of our city!  Live and experience the place that you call home - you might just find some real treasure!

Popping

I just couldn't resist blogging this poster or mentioning the good news!  Babette is visiting us in Durban!  See more details on the Facebook Event!


7 Things:






















Seven things that I have done, seen, found or tasted lately via Instagram (cupcakecouture_)

1 >  DIY:  I loved prepping this DIY last week.  I hope you enjoyed it too - I would love to know if you gave it a try.

2 > Stop Watch:  I found this golden oldie at the SPCA...it will look great on a long chain.

3 > Guess Charms on Bag:  I went to a breakfast at the Guess store in Gateway last week and I was really impressed to see the direction they have taken.  Less bling - more style.

4 > Collars:  Yes...I keep mentioning these!  I have these in stock at the moment available on my I heart Market table in June or you can order one for R70 - just email me.

5 > Gifts:  Giving makes me very happy.  Wrapping gifts makes it even more fun! 

6 > Cake:  A slice a day keeps the doctor away...mmm I am sure I could make that work!

7 > Macaroons:  Daniela's delicious treats are the best I have tasted!

I hope you had a really wonderful weekend!

Mother's Day DIY

Today's DIY is a brooch and if you are a craft newby then this one is easy enough for you to take on.  The brooch or rosette is something you can do to add as a gift topper or even pin to the front of a handmade card for your award winning mom.  Most of the items you might already have or you can easily get them from a craft or haberdashery shop and due to the fact that it is fairly quick you still have the rest of the week to get making and creating!



What will you need >
Scissors
Fabric:  Quilting fabric works best
Ribbon to match your fabric
Felt in a shade to match your fabric / ribbon
A button or two
Brooch back
Needle and thread in a shade that matches your fabric
A tape measure

*Not pictured, but necessary:
Pins
Glue gun or craft glue - if you are using a glue gun please be careful!  DIY not ER is what we are aiming for!


Step 1 >
Measure a strip of fabric that is 36 centimetres long and about 3 centimetres wide.  Mark your measurements with a light pen or pins.

Step 2 >
Next cut a small slit at the edge of the fabric.
Step 3 >
From the small slit you cut - tear your fabric in a long slit up to the 36cm mark.  A good, strong fabric should tear in quite a straight line.  If this scares you a bit then feel free to draw a line and cut it instead.



Step 4 >
You should have a long strip of fabric as per the measurements above.  Don't worry about the stray, frayed threads too much as we will tidy them up towards the end.  

Fold the patterned sides of the fabric together...as if you are folding your strip in half with the wrong side facing outwards.  

Next take your needle and tread and sew the two ends of the strip together.  Hope this is making sense :-) Make sure to knot your thread so that it won't pull through as you sew.  Finish it off and  make sure that it is won't pull lose.


Step 5 & 6 >
Thread your needle again with quite a long piece of thread.  Make sure it double for extra strength, but do not knot the end.  Next do a running stitch along the edge of your fabric, but only going through one layer of fabric. 

If you uncertain what I mean by the stitching - basically you thread the fabric onto the needle with even gaps then pull through and repeat.  See below how I have almost bunched the fabric onto the needle.  Do this all the way around till you are back where you started.

You will need to concentrate so that your thread doesn't pull through, otherwise you will need to start all over again.  Below I am left with two little tails of thread on either side of the fabric.  To now make your circle you pull these two threads away from each other - like a drawstring.


It will only bunch together along the line you sewed it and here is what it will look like...once you flatten it and shape it a bit.

To finish it off and to make sure it doesn't pull lose - knot your thread tails together tightly a couple of times and trim shorter to neaten.  You can also tidy away any frayed threads by just cutting them off.


Step 7 & 8 > Now the fun can begin...
Glue your ribbon to the back of the fabric circle.  Make sure to line it up with the seam you sewed at the start.

Next you can cut a small circle from felt.  I traced around a button to get the shape.  You can either sew the brooch back on or glue it on.  If you are sewing it on be sure to do this before you glue the felt on.  If you are glueing the brooch back on then you can use a piece of ribbon or felt to cover the brooch and secure it further.  

Stick the felt circle onto the back of your fabric circle.


Step 9 >  My favourite part...
Pick a button for the centre and glue or it on.



 All done!  Add it to your wrapped Mother's day gift or card.
Some pretty ephemera can add to it or even your favourite photo of the two of you.


I hope that was easy enough - if anything wasn't clear then please just leave a comment and I will get back to you! Happy crafting friends!





Frame Brooches - Back in Stock

This little frame brooch was featured in Good Housekeeping earlier this year and I never mentioned it as the brooches where out of stock.  I am happy to report that they are back... in various colours with different pictures and sell for R75.  The pictures are from an old and very sweet children's book called Love is a Special Way of Feeling.  I am snapping some photos of the different options and will share them with you.

Featured: Eileen from Brightgirl Photography


And the winner is:  Catherine Jenkin!
Well done!  Thank you so much to all who entered and to Eileen for this giveaway!
*winner picked using Random.org.


Eileen has a wonderful gift - she is able to capture beautiful moments in the making!  What sets her skill apart is the fact that she can capture both classic weddings as well as quirky ones, while still bringing out the true personality of the couple.  Today she shares her inspiration and knowledge with us!  

See more amazing photos:
Brightgirl Website & Blog

More about Eileen in her own words:



Why photography? 

I studied Fine Art and decided to major in painting and photography, as photography was always something I enjoyed. I loved playing with my dad’s old Minolta, winding the dials and watching the blue light meter inside change due to the different F stops (I don’t think I ever actually took a photo with that camera). The idea of freezing a memory has also captivated me.

What lead you to this career and what keeps you passionate about it?

I never wanted to be a wedding photographer, as I thought I would make my money off my paintings but life has a funny way of working itself out. I found myself teaching art for a couple of years which I thoroughly enjoyed but I reached a point where I wanted to enjoy my own creativity so I resigned and bought my first digital DSLR. I started photographing families and newborns, watching new mom’s and dad’s soak up the tiny faces of their little creations. I loved it! Capturing moments and recording memories for other people. Then the wedding bug bit after I had photographed a colleague’s wedding and things just developed from there. I was addicted to the adrenaline and nerves and excitement experienced on a wedding day... and I still am. Long hours, no social life except for capturing a couple’s day and watching their interactions and acts of love on their wedding day followed by then hearing how they love their photos makes everything worth it.  

How long have you been snapping happy moments and love stories in the making?

I’ve been snapping my own happy moments for more than 17 years when I bought my first camera. I shot my first wedding 5 years ago.




What inspires you?  

When I photograph families I always think about what type of photos I would like taken of my own family - real moments, family interactions and characteristics. Photographing real emotions and honesty shared between a couple on their wedding day definitely inspires and stimulates my creativity. I also love capturing a look, or a moment shared by a couple which may not have been seen by anyone else. 

I follow a few photographers’ blogs; my favourite family photographer is Deb Schwedhelm. I love Braedon Flynn, Austin Curtis, Benj Haisch and Jen Huang.



What tips do you have for bloggers who want to improve their photography skills?  

 I learnt the most about my camera when I photographed a 365 project. I shot different objects, people & places in different lighting conditions pushing my camera to its limits and experimenting with different settings. I would also recommend attending workshops with other photographers in your field. I really learnt a lot from watching other people and seeing how they do things. There is always something new to learn.





It must be amazing experiencing and capturing weddings what advice do you have for a bride and groom on picking a wedding photographer?

My advice for choosing a wedding photographer would be to look at their whole portfolio and consider the different lighting conditions in each photo and how that photographer has successfully used the available light. I would also look at whether the couple’s character has been portrayed in the photographs and if the couple appear real and relaxed in the photographs. 

What’s in your kit?

Nikon D700
Nikon D200
Nikon 24-70mm F2.8
Nikon 85mm F1.4
Nikon 50mm F1.4
Nikon 35mm F2
Nikon SB 900
Nikon SB 800
Pocket wizards x2
Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 Transceiver
Sigma 50mm Macro
Loads of CF cards and batteries 




Giveaway:
This is a really valuable and amazing giveaway for Durban readers (Eileen is based in Durban).

A couples shoot to the value of R1200: 1 hour shoot with 30 high res images on disc.  What a prize!

How to enter:
Like the Brightgirl Facebook page and leave me a comment to tell me you have done so.
For extra entries:
Like the Cupcake Couture Facebook page.
Blog about the giveaway (please post link to post in comment).
Tweet about the giveaway.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

Closing date:  
Thursday 10th May

Wishing you all loads of luck!

P.S:  
This wedding below belongs to one of the sisters from Glee Projects!  If you are a bride to be or planning a party - then be sure to get in touch with these two for some added inspiration, invites or decor!  They come highly recommended!  Plus they friend's of Eileen and recently planned her daughter's ballerina party...so cute!


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