Vote for me!

I’m really pleased and honoured to have been nominated for the dotcomgiftshop Blog Awards 2017.

Dot com gift shop awards nomination

I would be absolutely delighted if you would like to vote for me – and the happy news for you is that all voters enter a prize draw to win £100 worth of their chosen dotcomgiftshop gifts, so please spread the word and get your friends, family and followers voting!

Thanks as ever to all my lovely readers for their support and friendship – I always hope, when I get nominated for something like this, that one of you out there gets their name drawn out of the hat for the prize!


Artist Trading Card Swap 11: Sign up time

I have been struggling to squeeze organizing swaps into my schedule this year, but I am missing them so much and regular ATC swappers have been asking, so we are DOING THIS!

ATC swift
My latest ATC – It’s called ‘We’re all leaving’ and is inspired by migrating birds

What’s an Artist Trading Card?

If you are new to ATCs, here’s what you need to know:

ATC guide

Making an ATC is a way to be creative on a small scale, try out new techniques and skills in a non-threatening way.  All you need to remember for this particular ATC swap is that it is a TEXTILE ATC swap:

  • the card needs to be mostly fabric
  • there must be a little bit of stitching involved. 
  • the card must not be too thick – no more than 1/8″ (3-4mm) please
  • you must put your name and date on the back of the card (plus title and email address if you like)

If you’re still a bit unsure of what all that means – why not check out the the Very Berry ATC swap group on Flickr, where you can see photos of cards made for previous swaps?

The Theme

The theme this time round is ‘Small Things’. You can interpret this however you like. It’s fine to be literal or you can just dwell on what the words conjure up for you and go all metaphorical. It’s all fine with an ATC.

Serious bit: Before signing up, please think for a minute whether you can put aside enough time to make something lovely and thoughtful for your swap partner, and whether you will be able to meet the deadlines. People who drop out of contact with me and don’t make deadlines without a good reason will be blacklisted from future swaps – I’m really sorry to have to do that, but I have to spend a lot of time chasing people up, and it’s not fair on other swappers.

The Dates, Rules and Other Info

  • You will make 1 ATC and receive 1 ATC in return.
  • It will be a secret swap (you will not be sending to the person you receive your card from) so please don’t let your partner know who you are!
  • Your card must be the right size and fit the theme, be named and dated on the reverse of the card.
  • You can sign up for the swap by completing this Google form by midnight on Sunday 8th October. Partners will be assigned by the end of Monday 9th October.
  • Participation is open to anyone anywhere in the world (the ATCs won’t be too pricey to send), so please be prepared to send overseas if you join in (but I will *try* to make exceptions… just let me know on the form).
  • Cards must be posted during the week 4-8 December 2017 (or a little earlier if you are posting overseas and you can manage it).
  • Please do not include anything else in your parcel, except a friendly note or card.
  • Once you have received your ATC, you must get in touch with your partner to say thanks.
  • Please keep in touch with me by email and let me know when you have posted and received your ATC.
  • Although Flickr doesn’t seem the image sharing platform of choice any more, please think about loading photos of ATC to the Flickr group, I’d love to keep that going.
  • If you blog, use FB, Twitter or Instagram, please feel free to share your ATC swap progress, and definitely share pictures of the ATC you receive from your swap partner, if you can. Please use #veryberryatcswap to tag your posts.

Looking forward to seeing all your lovely creativity!

Supporting Very Berry Handmade

Now for the serious bit… I have decided to stop taking sponsorship on my blog so that I have more freedom to write what and when and how often I like. I pay a fee to keep the blog advert free. I also spend a lot of time managing the swap, assigning partners and making sure everyone gets an ATC (I estimate at least 12 hours per swap). If you would like to make a small donation to help support my blogging and swap administration, I’d be very grateful. It would also mean I could run more ATC swaps and mini-hoop swaps too. Thanks – and thanks to the generous people who have already donated, can’t tell you how much it means to me.

Make a donation

If you’d like to support me and my work providing free tutorials here at Very Berry – please do feel free to make a donation! It's set for £1, but you can increase the numbers of ££ in the little box, if you are feeling generous. I really appreciate all your support - thank you!


Very Berry Patterns on Etsy

So, one of the reasons why I have been so very quiet on here lately is that I have been focusing my mind very hard on writing patterns for the workshops I am teaching at Hollies Haberdashery and at my Studio. What has been brilliant, and a bit unexpected, is that I have had such lovely feedback from students about how easy to follow the patterns are, and how much they appreciate the level of detail that I include. So, I have decided to take the plunge and am starting to sell them in my Etsy shop. It’s a slow process because I am getting volunteers to test them thoroughly before I put them up for sale – but my first pattern is now available!

As you can see, it is a nice big roomy tote bag. It is a pattern that would suit confident beginners – it includes a internal zipped pocket and has a flat base – great first bag techniques to learn. There are loads of photos and as much information as I can think of about all the steps involved. The pattern runs to a little over 16 pages, so you can tell it has a LOT of detail, and my aim is to guide you through the process as smoothly as I can.

I’ve used the pattern several times myself – this one was the original class sample:

Here’s how the internal zip looks:

It’s a great zipped pocket for a beginner to tackle because you don’t need to fiddle around with a zipper foot, and it’s fairly straightforward to get a lovely neat finish. My pattern tester was a bit worried about this bit, but very pleased with the results.

Here’s the early prototype version that I got to keep for myself – I am using it as my everyday work/shopping bag. I really love mix and matching the fabrics, and I added a bit of appliqué on this one:

All the trimmings tote

And a version made for a friend, with more appliqué:

Tote bag for Lisa

And here’s the lovely version that my pattern tester Gwawr made – isn’t it gorgeous!


Hope it takes your fancy! And if it does and you decide to buy, I’m really happy to help with questions and see and share pictures of your finishes.

And there’ll be more Very Berry patterns to come… 🙂  And, oh yeah, if you fancy being one of my pattern testers, and getting hold of a pattern for free, do follow me on Instagram.