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Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for The Guys…

Ho, ho, ho! Christmas is coming, wish lists are getting longer and sometimes you just need a little bit of inspiration… well look no further, we have lots of ideas for you!

We have quirky gifts, sentimental gifts, funny gifts, cute gifts, thoughtful gifts, stocking fillers and everything else in between – and we’ll show you just a few of our favourite gift ideas from our 70 local designer makers.

Hopefully this series of blog posts will help cross a few items off your shopping lists!

First up is our Gift Guide for the Guys…

They’re often difficult to buy for as they never seem to ‘want’ or ‘need’ anything, but have no fear, we’ve got some great ideas for the men on your list!

1. Is he a foodie?

We’ve got handmade wooden chopping and food boards by Wild Wood Gifts, delicious preserves by The Hedgerow Preserving Company and tasty chocolates by Guppy’s – and why not a stamped spoon to accompany by Dollop&Stir (personalised messages can be ordered)

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2. Is he a Star Wars fan?

We’ve got t shirts, baseball shirts, tote bags, Lego frames, coasters and Christmas decorations from a Galaxy far, far away (or across Yorkshire to be more precise!) courtesy of Old Glow, I Heart Henry, Wulli Bulli and Framedup to name a few…

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3. Are they gadget fans?

Maybe a phone or tablet stand by Humblewood or a bottle opener or key fob by Touchy Feely Textiles

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4. Is your guy a Yorkshire Man through and through?

Then the little button co. or All Mapped Out might be able to help…

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5. If you have a music man on your list then we have great offerings by Guitar Geekery and Melodies….

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6.  If you have men on your list who enjoy a good pun or two then we have some very fabulous goodies by Katie Abey and Little Shop of Lathers which may appeal – who can resist a ‘Cactie’ or a ‘Stocking Fella’?

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This is just a few of our favourite ideas for Gifts for the Guys – we have lots more in store too :)

Happy Shopping!

Claire & Natalie x

Meet the Makers of OHC: Bottoms Up! Nappy Cakes & Gifts

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We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to one of the makers who has been with us right from the very beginning, Sue of Bottoms Up! Nappy Cakes & Gifts….

 

How did you become a designer/maker?

I was shopping for a new baby gift for the daughter of a friend of mine, when I saw a really badly-made nappy cake for sale, at a car boot sale of all places ! It was really tacky and thrown together. I thought the idea of a nappy cake was a good one – a useful gift for a new Mum – but I knew I could make a better job of it ! I went on a course at the Nappy Cake Training Academy (yes, there was such a thing!) to learn how to design and create a high quality nappy cake and run it as a business, and Bottoms Up! was born.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

Well, the ‘Bottoms’ bit obviously ties in with the nappies ! ‘Bottoms Up!’ is a popular drinking toast at a celebration and as babies are a cause for a celebration I thought Bottoms Up! Nappy Cakes & Gifts was very fitting!

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I run my business alongside my part-time job as a Junior School Library Assistant. In fact, I often use children’s book characters as inspiration for some of my designs.

How do you make time for it all?

As I only work part-time, my business fits in around my working hours.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

My favourite thing is seeing customers’ delighted reactions to their completed orders and receiving lovely feedback from customers and Mums-to-Be. It makes it all worthwhile.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

I love every nappy cake I make but I think my favourite has to be this animal inspired one which I made recently as a bespoke order for an OHC customer who is a veterinary nurse.

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Describe your business in three words

Babies, Bottoms and Births!

We do love to see the creative Nappy Cakes that you ‘bake up’ for us Sue! Thanks so much for popping by and telling us your story. You can find the Bottoms Up! Nappy Cakes & Gifts collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

Meet the Makers of OHC: Chic-yCow Designs

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We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to Jo of Chic-yCow Designs….

How did you become a designer/maker?

I’ve always had a passion for all things crafty and over a number of years I’ve learnt how to sew, knit, crochet, paint and make costume jewellery, all self-taught.

In 2011, after a couple of years running a costume jewellery business with friends, I decided to go it alone and diversify, so began to incorporate my love of painting and textiles, finally settling on the medium of leather as it’s very tactile and a great surface to print, paint and embroider onto but also combines well with my jewellery making techniques.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

I have to credit my dear old Dad for helping me to come up with my Business name.

He had recently passed away and as I was sat, struggling to come up with a name that was both catchy and memorable, moaning and complaining at him for not being around to help me, his voice popped into my head saying ‘You cheeky Mare’  which was a phrase he sometimes used – That was my ‘light bulb’ moment so ‘Cheeky Mare’ became Chic-yCow!

It’s a name that makes people laugh, sums up me and my business and sticks in people’s minds. I now answer to Chic-yCow more than I do my own name!

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I have been self-employed for over 25 years now as I run a Landscaping Company with my husband, in conjunction with running Chic-yCow.

How do you make time for it all?

Running both businesses involves a lot of ‘juggling’ and long hours, especially when I have a deadline for an event or need stock making, or orders to fulfil. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to fit work and family life into.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

The favourite thing about running Chic-yCow ,apart from being my own boss, is seeing a design that pops into my head at some ungodly hour of the morning emerge from brain to paper to reality. It always gives me a sense of pride to think that I’ve created something that someone wants to wear!

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

I think that over the past five years, my most favourite designs are my ‘Autumn Leaves’ range of jewellery and clutch bags. The choker, in particular, is my favourite piece as it incorporates all the most enjoyable parts of my job, the tactile leaf shapes, the painting , the embroidery and beading all combined together to make a statement piece.

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Describe your business in three words

Artistic, Unique, Tactile

We adore the intricacy and style of your work Chic-yCow – oops, Jo! Thanks so much for popping by and telling us your story. You can find the Chic-yCow Designs collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

We’re the Best Place to Treat Yourself in Leeds – it’s official!

Hello there!

We can’t believe it’s been a week since we were lucky enough to win our shiny new Leeds Love Affair award for The Best Place to Treat Yourself :) We’re still getting over the fact, it’s such a big deal for us to win and it means such a lot to us to know that people appreciate what we do enough to take the time to vote for us!

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Just over 12,000 votes were cast over the 8 award categories for the 80 shortlisted businesses, and we achieved the top three in ALL of our three nominations, so we were already winners in our eyes! And even though we missed out on Best Place to Shop (which we won last time), we missed out to a whole collection of shops in The Corn Exchange (the winner) and Leeds Market – so to be in the top three as one single shop was a big deal… (we’re claiming a moral victory!)

The lovely Urban Magpie attended the awards ceremony with us and she has written a few words – so over to you Zoe!

On a chilly Friday night I headed off to the Adelphi pub in Leeds city centre, to show my support for my stockist Our Handmade Collective at the Leeds Love Affair awards ceremony.  I joined OHC founders, Nat and Claire, as they sat nervously at a big table with the team from Just Grand! Vintage Tearooms. The table also supported a fair few bottles of Prosecco….

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Organised by online magazine Leeds Love Affair, the ceremony was the grand finale of the Leeds Independent Awards 2016.  The voting had been going on for months and the competition was fierce but friendly, so there was plenty of banter and light-hearted heckling by the lively crowd that evening!

The public had made over 1800 nominations for their favourite local indie businesses, across eight award categories. Each category was then narrowed down to 10 finalists who faced the public vote.  My stockist Our Handmade Collective were finalists in three categories, and made the top three in all their categories.

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Nail biting tension turned to noisy cheering as OHC won the title of Best Place to Treat Yourself. In my view, they won the coolest category of the lot. At a time when people’s budgets are tight and disposable income is scarce, to be the place where folks go to treat themselves is a real honour. Without wishing to gush, I think this award really proves that there’s something rather special about Our Handmade Collective, and isn’t just a place to shop.

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It was lovely to be there on the night, and join in with the nervousness and celebrations…. and of course to raise a few glasses to the continued success of OHC.

Bravo Claire and Nat. Well deserved! 

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And here’s our author, the lovely Zoe Mitchell of Urban Magpie – thank you Zoe!

Another great thing about the awards ceremony was that we got the chance to dress up and adorn ourselves with lots of our lovely makers’ work – and here’s Claire wearing OHC accessories from head to toe! The most fabulous tiny teaset fascinator by Urban Magpie, a terrific tassel necklace by Zetaemme, her everyday favourite guitar string ring and bracelet by Melodies and finished with a gorgeous clutch bag by ELMRocks – and sparkly nails by Handstanned (our Grand Arcade neighbours) to match her hair! We’re very lucky that we have a talented bunch of makers who bring us perfect things to treat ourselves with!

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See you at the shop (if we haven’t bought everything already that is…)

Claire & Nat x

Meet the Makers of OHC: RAD

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We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to Rachel of Rachel Anne Designs….

How did you become a designer/maker?

I have always enjoyed being creative and ever since I was a child I’ve loved to make things. I have always liked finding ways to customise my things and as a result, I own far too many things that probably don’t need to be covered in glitter, but have ended up that way (I even put leopard print tape and glitter spray on my suitcase when I went on holiday last year. I mean, really haha) I love learning new things and I attended a number of craft classes at OHC. I was really inspired by all the wonderful people I had met through these classes and after being asked so many times where I got my necklaces from when I was out shopping, I took the leap of faith into selling some of the things I had been making.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

I would love to say that my business name is something completely inspired and original with loads of meaning behind it, but actually it’s really just my name and what I do! Quite handily though, it does spell out RAD and I think this suits my style quite well.

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

When I’m not knee deep in glitter (actually this is a bad example as I always aspire to be knee deep in glitter), I work full time as a learning disability nurse.

How do you make time for it all?

Being creative has always been really therapeutic for me and so when I come home from work in the evening, I do quite enjoy doing a bit of designing and making therefore having RAD alongside my nursing role is quite a good combination for me. It can get busy at times when there is a lot to do but I mean that’s what cups of tea and chocolate are for, right?

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

I love having the freedom to be able to have an idea, develop it, see it become a reality and then share it with others. It’s always lovely and really rewarding when someone gets happiness out of something you have made.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

I think my favourite thing has to be my chameleon necklace. I made this before RAD came about and it was actually one of the main things that inspired me to create the business. So many people used to complement me on it and asked where I got it from and so this really made me want to share my work with others.

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Describe your business in three words

Sparkly, sparkly, sparkly! … oh wait, it says the business; not me.

Interesting, unique and fun.

We definitely agree that everyone should aspire to be knee deep in glitter Rachel! Thanks so much for spreading the sparkle and telling us your story. You can find the RAD collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

Meet The Makers of OHC: Humblewood

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We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to Bob of Humblewood….

How did you become a designer/maker?

By accident really. I’ve always enjoyed making things, especially from wood. I love it as a material as it’s so tactile and no two pieces are the same. Like most ‘hobbyists’, I guess, family and friends were always saying “That’s good – you should sell it”. So in 2015 I decided to give it a go, starting with a few small local events.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

Originally, I started as ‘Crafties’, which was a name I’d had in mind for a while. But as the business developed I felt the name wasn’t quite right.  Although I think the wood I use is a fantastic material, it strikes me that it’s also a pretty humble substance – so Humblewood seemed appropriate and I think it has a nice ring to it.

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

My ‘day job’ is as a freelance graphic designer which I’ve been doing for nearly 40 years (and I still look so young!).  I also run an online printing business (HumblePrint) and am trying to establish a publishing business (HumblePublishing), producing greetings cards at the moment, but I’m hoping to add other items soon.

How do you make time for it all?

I don’t! Time management is a huge challenge. I try and set certain times aside for each, but the design work often comes in at short notice, with an even shorter deadline, which tends to wreck my best laid plans.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

The freedom to develop my own ideas and do things ‘my way’ – for better or worse!

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

I think my Wonky Clock, which I originally designed quite a few years ago, is my favourite. Although I love the reaction my work in general gets – seeing a smile creep across someone’s face when they first see my items gives me a real buzz.

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Describe your business in three words…

Fun. Busy. Chaotic!

We just love your humble little creations Bob – and they certainly make us smile! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the Humblewood collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

Meet the Makers of OHC: Paint My Dreams

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We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to Laura of Made by Lolly….

How did you become a designer/maker?

I have always had a love of art yet after a career in the fashion industry (which didn’t call for much painting) it was falling pregnant with my firstborn, Henry which awakened my creative side. I decided on a Beatrix Potter themed nursery but could not find wallpaper anywhere, that’s when I decided to pick up my paintbrush again and paint a mural. The Mural was really well received by friends and family and after deciding to leave my career in fashion for bottles and nappies I began to receive mural commissions. Although I love to paint murals, the fact that market for this is very limited lead me to combine the business knowledge I’d acquired in my previous career with my creative side and Paint My Dreams was born.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

The business name Paint My Dreams is taken from a quote of one of my favourite artists; Vincent Van Gogh,” I dream my paintings, then I paint my dreams.”

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I run Paint My Dreams as well as caring for Henry, 5 and Esme, 3. I also paint mural commissions where possible, do the social media management for a fashion brand and give guest lectures on marketing and communications at MMU…I’m pretty busy!

How do you make time for it all?

I guess that being a night owl has its advantages!

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

I have many “favourite” things about running my business; it gives me an outlet for my creative side, it allows me to balance work and family so much better than any 9 to 5 would and I have met so many wonderful people along the way, suppliers, buyers and customers alike.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

After spending months lovingly painting every letter of the Alphabet, the Alphabet in Acrylic range will always hold a special place in my heart. When I first saw my artwork transformed into beautiful embroidery I fell in love! The Alphabet in Acrylic cushion has to be my favourite.

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Describe your business in three words

Timeless. Personalised. Keepsakes

We certainly agree that your creations are timeless Kate – and we adore them! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the Paint My Dreams collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

Meet the Makers: Bags by Butterfly Tree

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We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to Claire of Bags by Butterfly Tree….

How did you become a designer/maker?

I made a bag for my mother in law and she suggested I should sell them as she loved it so much. I took some samples to a shop in Chapel Allerton and they ordered 9!

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

I wanted something unusual with a memorable logo. My husband came up with it, so I can’t take any credit!

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I am also a part time classical ballet teacher and have been for 21 years.

How do you make time for it all?

I make my bags during the week and teach at the weekends.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

I love the end product and seeing how much everyone loves to own a Butterfly Tree bag. I love that the company has grown so quickly in such a short space of time. My bags will be stocked by John Lewis, Victoria Gate, Leeds from October 2016 and I am delighted that Butterfly Tree has been recognised by the best department store in the world.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

I have just finished a project basing a collection of 4 bags around the history and cultural influences of Hebden Bridge and I love the messenger in that collection. I also love the goofy Scoopie bag in spot fabric.

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Describe your business in three words

Quality. British. Handmade.

We love the quality and design of your bags Claire – we all want all of them! John Lewis are lucky to have you as part of their Locally Made Collection. Thanks so much for pirouetting by and telling us your story. You can find the Bags by Butterfly Tree collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

Meet The Makers of OHC: Urban Magpie

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We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to Zoe of Urban Magpie….

How did you become a designer/maker?

The first pieces of jewellery I made were Christmas presents for family. The Urban Magpie brand came about by accident, as people started asking me to make pieces for them. I got the bug and carried on making pieces of jewellery for fun. Eventually I’d made so many that I realised I should start selling them.

I studied Fine Art at De Montfort University in Leicester, where I focussed on mixed media art & assemblage collage. Years later, and my jewellery making has at its root the idea of jewellery as tiny, wearable mixed-media artworks. I’m interested in recycling and upcycling objects which have a patina of age and use, a back-story, or a historical resonance.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

I wanted a business name which would serve as an alter-ego as well as a brand. The name Urban Magpie comes from my habit of collecting shiny found objects wherever I go, and my love for recycling the flotsam and jetsam of the city. I think it describes me rather well.

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I have a part-time day job, as a retail layout designer for a large supermarket. Most of the rest of my time is taken up by Tiny Magpie, who is nearly six, and Micro Magpie who is nearly 10 months old. I squeeze jewellery making into what’s left of my spare time, as it gives me a creative release from the computer-based design work of my day job.

How do you make time for it all?

I’m an obsessive list maker, and I grab tiny pockets of time throughout the week to get through all my tasks! Most of my making is done in the evening once the little Magpies are tucked up in bed. The bigger Magpie likes to ‘help’ me with my product photography.

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

I love having the chance to be creative and experiment with materials which aren’t usually associated with jewellery (for example brass architectural antiques.) I also really enjoy the idea that I’m rescuing long-lost treasures and giving them a new life. For example with the vintage bone china flower brooches which I painstakingly restore and convert into necklaces, rings & hair accessories. What’s even more exciting is knowing that people enjoy wearing them, and sometimes even become avid Urban Magpie collectors.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

I recently had the privilege of designing a bespoke collection of jewellery for a mini series being filmed in Yorkshire. Unconstrained by considerations such as scale, practicality, or the need to produce multiples, I could dig into my box of trinkets with gusto and do some really fun recycling. I created a collection of mixed media jewellery for the show, which included recycled Victorian brass drawer handles, antique metal belt buckles and copious vintage pearls. My favourite was the complex shoulder-piece worn by the main character.

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Describe your business in three words

Jewellery from Junk!

We just love your whimsical and fabulous creations Zoe – and we adore your Recycled Jewellery Creative Craft Classes too! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the Urban Magpie collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

Meet the Makers of OHC: Lisa’s Little Fairy Doors

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We thought it was about time to introduce you to the makers behind our fabulous handmade goodies in-store…so, in the next of our Meet the Makers of OHC specials, please say hello to Lisa of Lisa’s Little Fairy Doors….

How did you become a designer/maker?

I became a designer when my parents (who make fairy doors in Canada) convinced me that I could do it. I was a stay at home Mum to 3 boys and thought that some extra money couldn’t hurt, so I decided to give it a try.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

I wanted my business name to say exactly what was in the tin….Little Fairy Doors made by Lisa. It’s easy to remember and my customers automatically know my name, so it feels friendly.

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I run my business part time as my husband and I also run a beef farm. I also work part time at my local sports centre. I fit in my making whenever I can.

How do you make time for it all?

Luckily, I can do all of my painting in the evening when my kids have gone to bed, while I watch TV. Actually, I never “watch” TV, I listen as my head is always down painting!

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

My favourite thing about running my business is how happy my fairy doors make my customers. It’s such a wonderful feeling when I see how excited grown ups get when they buy one of my doors. They usually come back for more!

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

My favourite fairy door is the beach hut door that I made for a holiday cottage in Scarborough. I will definitely be making more! Although…each and ever one of my doors is unique and I love putting the finishing touches on them all.

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Describe your business in three words

Cute, busy, fulfilling.

Your whimsical little doors always make us smile Lisa! Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your story. You can find the Lisa’s Little Fairy Doors collection in store now.

See you at the shop x

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