Wednesday 24 December 2008

thrifty handmade gift tags

handmade gift tags

The airwaves have been full of economic doom and gloom recently. This has given rise to more and more people talking about thrift and making your own Christmas gifts and wrapping.
So I decided this year to save a bit of money and make my own gift tags.
I used an ink stamp I bought from a 'sale bin' in a craft shop for £1
The gold ink was free as I got in from the Etsy UK swap group. The ink was kindly donated by Sally of tinkering textiles
I cut the bright red card using my vintage pinking shears (they don't work very well on fabric, so I save them for using on paper and card)
I then punched a hole in them and threaded some white sating ribbon through
Perfect, they look Christmassy and are very thrifty!

handmade gift tags

Friday 19 December 2008

recycled paper gift bows

gift bows

I found this simple tutorial for gift bows on Craftster

It's a great way to make some pretty additions to your presents this Christmas and because they use recycled paper, they are ecofriendly and thrifty too!

gift bows

These are my first attempt, I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. I think they differ from the ones on the tutorial as I used thinner strips and made the loops looser.

gift bows

All you need is some scissors, paper of your choice and shiny brads to hold them together. I used some sheets of music from a vintage book and the coloured ones are made from the glossy outer pages of magazines. I looked for adverts that had lots of color, but virtually no text.

gift bows, what you need to make them

I'm going to have another attempt and try and make some exactly like the tutorial ones, I think I need to cut the strips thicker!

gift bows

These are simple to make and a good relaxing-in-front-of-the-television activity, but be warned, they are very addictive once you start making them!

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I also sell a range of handmade goodies, including vintage fabric cushion covers, lavender filled rabbits and owls and a gorgeous range of vintage trims see my work here

Tuesday 16 December 2008

new listing: two tone blue denim reversible purse

two tone blue denim reversible purse

This is a robust, eco-friendly mini-purse
Made with 2 types of recycled blue denim fabric and fully lined with vintage cotton fabric in shades of golden yellow, mustard yellow and burnt orange

two tone blue denim reversible purse

This mini messenger bag has no visible seams, so it is reversible – making this two bags in one!
The top fastens with a vintage duck egg blue button on the outside and a vintage pearl-effect button on the inside

two tone blue denim reversible purse

two tone blue denim reversible purse

Monday 15 December 2008

vintage find: craft book

vintage finds: St Michael craft book

I picked up this vintage craft book from a charity shop in Clifton, Bristol. It's packed with ideas to create colourful crafty items ranging from customised clothes to lino print cards.

vintage finds: St Michael craft book

The book is published by St Michael, a UK based high street store. This book was published in 1977, but it's obvious that Marks & Spencers have always been ahead of the game with eco-friendly ideas, check out the fruit print reusable tote featured in this book!

vintage finds: St Michael craft book

Although it's aimed at children, but I still found it a good read! I am always trying to think of new ways to brighten up the recycled envelopes I use to post sold items in. There's plenty of colourful printing ideas to try out in this book.

My creation

Saturday 13 December 2008

new listing: vintage fabric belts

Vintage tropical fabric repurposed belt

These are two of Pouch's latest listings, a pair of vintage fabric belts.
I love to use vintage fabric which look as vibrant as the day they were first made. Considering these fabrics are over 30 years old, they still pack a visual punch.

One belt is made from vintage bark cloth featuring tropical flowers in shades of bright orange and yellow.
The other is made from vintage crepe fabric, it features a gorgeous oriental pattern of flowers, trees and blossom on an orange background.

Vintage tropical fabric repurposed belt

These belts are made from repurposed vintage fabric and recycled belts and would make a great eco-friendly gift, a perfect stocking filler!

Vintage orange crepe fabric repurposed belt

Vintage orange crepe fabric repurposed belt

Friday 12 December 2008

Homegrown craft & design feature: Kirsty New

I have started a new series of interviews with eco crafters from across the globe. I decided that I also wanted to feature homegrown talent from the UK. There are so many talented people on the UK craft scene that I could feature a different person everyday!
First up is Kirsty New. She runs 3 shops on etsy, including a fabulous, colourful Christmas shop which I love! Kirsty's enthusiasm for what she does and crafting in general shines through in all her work and her blog always makes me smile :)

kirsty baubles

Kirsty J New

Shop Name(s)
PaperFish (my crafty inspirations, badges, bunting, brooches)
SnowFish (Christmas Handmade)
BigFish (colourful supplies)

Shop Link(s)

Rural England on the Northants / Oxfordshire border

Ships To
The entire planet

What do you create?
Anything that pops into my head but i am inspired mainly by my local customers and the lovely brooches / accessories they suggest and comission.

How did you get into your craft?
I was never allowed to take an art or craft class at school because i showed "such little promise"... thank goodnes for my lovely mum who always kept a 'junk box' and paints in the kitchen cupboard and never minded a mess x

kirsty ginger

Which piece in your shop is your current favourite?
SnowFish - definitely my Christmas Mini-bunting 'Made by Elves' - with spotty fabric and bells

What is the most time consuming part of your craft?
packing parcels, adding customs labels, travelling to the Post Office... but you will never hear me complain about it.

What inspires you?
Colourful and exciting supplies. I love to see what happens when i start to play with colours and fabrics and buttons. I rarely begin with an idea, i usually just sit and play in my art room and wait to see what gets made.

Is this a job for you or a hobby?
A full-time job with a part-time wage! I am a mummy too so that takes up alot of my day. I am lucky that i can fit my love of crafting into earning money and being an 'at home mummy'.

trees kirsty

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Very little else! Business has boomed for me in 2008 and my poor dog has suffered the most with fewer walks and less playtime. 2009, i plan to fit in more walks and some yoga.

Do you have any advice to share on how you have made your business grow?
Work hard at it! It is that simple. I push my days and evenings into the night and i use every spare minute i have to improve my shop or get more sewing completed. You have to make it happen for yourself.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
It is exciting times for KirstyFish enterprises... 2009 sees another new etsy shop. Potentially an independant supplies store from etsy and also the introduction of one or two 'staff'. Get me! who would have thought it when i started to sell a few handmade accessories at my local craft fair?

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Create Festive Fayre 2008

Create Festive Fayre 2008

Pouch had a stand at the ever-popular Create Festive Fayre in Bristol this year.
It is always a great event, well organised, busy and people are keen to buy eco-friendly presents.

Create Festive Fayre 2008

We met some lovely people and had lots of positive feedback from customers about the bags, owls, belts and Christmas stockings. In fact, we sold out of Christmas stockings. The fact the stockings were scented with cinnamon, cloves and star anise drew people over. The scent is so Christmassy that people couldn't resist buying one or two!

Create Festive Fayre 2008

Luckily, the sun shone down on the red brick of the bonded warehouse in which the Create centre is located. Last year, it rained all day on both days, but the weather was fantastic this year, which was a huge relief and I'm sure it helped with visitor numbers. Considering the current economic climate it was heartening to see so many people still keen to support local businesses.

Create Festive Fayre 2008

If you missed us at the fair, there's still time to grab an ecofriendly gift from our online store

Monday 8 December 2008

new listing: cobalt blue and pure white vintage fabric belt

cobalt blue and pure white vintage fabric belt

Todays new listing is a cute, eco-friendly, belt made from recycled vintage fabric in shades of cobalt blue and pure white
Perfect for creating a cinch waist look over a dress or tunic or for threading through belt loops
I just love this fabric!
The colour combination is so fresh, even though it is vintage, it is still very vibrant
Plus it is kind to the planet, what's not to like?!

cobalt blue and pure white vintage fabric belt

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Folksy Angels Competition

Pouch has entered the Folksy Angels Competition!
Folksy came up with a competition to get people making Christmas decorations using recycled materials.
The brief was:
To enter Folksy Angels, you must not buy anything new to make your decoration and the bulk of the materials used must be recycled / upcycled from things that you would usually have thrown away.

Pouch entered these maroon recycled velvet stockings
maroon velvet Christmas stocking

and a recycled corduroy Christmas stocking
recycled corduroy Christmas stocking

If you feel like voting, pop over to the Folksy blog
Voting ends midnight on 3rd Decemeber 2008, so be quick!!

Here is a small sample of some of the other excellent entries

My creation

Recycled Snowflakes
Folksy Angels: recycled star by
Folksy Angel by
Decoration by

Monday 1 December 2008

Free Shipping on totes, bags and clutches

free shipping_nov_2008

We're offering free shipping on all totes, bags and clutch purses in our etsy store from the 1st December to the 5th December

At Pouch we make unique bags from quirky, vintage and recycled material
Due to the fact we use vintage material, many of our bags are one-offs and the vast majority are limited edition.
Our bags are robust, practical and very stylish!
Individually hand crafted and skilfully sewn to a high standard.
You can be assured our bags have not been mass produced

This is a great opportunity to grab yourself an eco friendly gift for Christmas!

Visit our Etsy store to see our current range

Sunday 30 November 2008

eco craft & design feature: Anna Ruby King

This is the second in a new series on interviews with eco crafters from across the globe. As part of the Eco Etsy Team, I have met many talented people dedicated to creating items which cause as little impact on the planet as possible. These interviews offer me the chance to showcase some of the fantastic talent to be found in the team.
Don't forget to search 'teamecoetsy' when looking for eco friendly products on etsy

Fabric Squares Gift Cards - Set of Two - Japanese Red and Blue

Name: Anna

Shop Name: Lila Ruby King/Anna Ruby King

Shop Link(s):

Location: Athens, Greece

Ships To: Everywhere and Anywhere!

What do you create?
I have two lines of work, hence the two shops. I have a jewellery line, and also a paper goods/art line of work. With my jewellery I create mostly with glass, sterling silver and found wooden twigs. With my paper goods (mostly gift cards) and art, you will see a lot of birds!

How did you get into your craft?
When I finished school I went into Visual Arts at university, I majored in print media and minored in painting. After I finished this degree, I really had a desire to start making functional objects, so I went on to study jewellery design and production.

The Scrub Birds Gift Cards - Set of Two - Lime and Deep Blue

What materials do you use for your eco friendly products?
My main eco friendly product is my gift cards, the card stock I use is made from recycled paper, and the envelopes are made from surplus map pages which I think is really cool! The designs on my cards are made with fabric, and as much as possible I try and use recycled fabric, offcuts, remnants, scraps, etc… I really like the idea of using the remnant fabric, not just because of environmental benefits, but because it means that I can only make so many cards out of each piece, so I am forced to keep coming up with new colour combinations and patterns.
With my jewellery, it is a bit more of a challenge to work in an eco friendly way, but I have started a collection that uses found twigs. I love how I can use an item that is overlooked and discarded and turn it into something beautiful and desirable.

White Branch Brooch - No.2

Why did you decide to make eco friendly products?
It was just something that I had to do, there was no other option for me. I am quite concerned about what is happened with the planet right now, so I think it is important for all of us to start making eco friendly choices with what we purchase. When I purchase my recycled blank cards, this supports another eco friendly business, and prevents my money from supporting a company that is not. Things like this is something all of us can do, and if enough of us start making these choices then it will make a difference.

What inspires you?
Nature, endlessly! Maybe this is another reason why I am so passionate about being eco friendly!

Is this a job for you or a hobby?
It is really more of a lifestyle- it is something I do everyday, and I would be miserable without it!

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love going for walks, reading, going to the movies and cooking sweet things!

Do you have any advice to share on how you have made your business grow?
I think it is important to have a product that is distinctly yours and to keep creating new things to keep the attention of your customers.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Hopefully I will still be creating, still happy, still healthy!

Friday 28 November 2008

new listing: Vintage burnt orange and brown dilly tote

Vintage burnt orange and brown dilly tote

This is the latest Dilly tote from Pouch
I am completely in love with this recycled fabric, it features a classic vintage orange, brown and taupe pattern
Fully lined with jet black cotton fabric

Perfect for shopping, carrying college books or you latest knitting project
Would also make a great baby-changing bag, this large tote is perfect for carrying lots of baby paraphernalia
Comfortable wide strap, it wont cut into your shoulder
Features two internal pockets
Pretty and stylish, great for year-round use

Vintage burnt orange and brown dilly tote in our etsy store

Vintage burnt orange and brown dilly tote

Monday 24 November 2008

new listing: orange zest and chocolate brown oversized tote

My creation

Here is the latest listing in Pouch's etsy shop!

Perfect for taking to your local market or grocery store to stock up on provisions
Also makes a great knitting bag, book bag, gym bag, diaper bag, you can carry many things in this handy tote!

Made with stunning vintage Irish linen fabric and fully lined with lime green cotton
The outside is made from floral vintage fabric in shades of tangerine orange, lemon yellow, crimson red and pure white on a rich chocolate background
It features 1 internal pocket in matching vintage linen, perfect for keeping mobile phone, keys, shopping lists etc
The handles are reinforced with jet black cotton webbing so that over time the handles will not stretch

forget plastic bags, use this stylish, eco-friendly alternative instead!

orange zest and chocolate brown oversized tote

Saturday 22 November 2008

new listing: teal and slate grey clutch purse

teal and slate grey clutch purse

This is the latest purse in a new range of Autumn/Winter clutches made by Pouch
This luxurious clutch is made from recycled corduroy fabric in a beautiful shade of teal
It features a slate grey vintage buckle with a hidden magnetic snap closure underneath
It is fully lined with recycled silky teal fabric
Interlined with padded fabric to give this clutch a great shape
In a previous life the corduroy was a vintage dress and the lining was a blouse
eco friendly and stylish, perfect for Autumn and Winter
teal and slate grey clutch purse

teal and slate grey clutch purse

Wednesday 19 November 2008

new listing: pistachio and oatmeal pure wool plaid clutch

pistachio and oatmeal pure wool plaid clutch

This winter clutch is made from recycled, vintage, pure wool fabric
It features checks in shades of pale pistachio green and oatmeal cream
It is criss-crossed with thin blue, red, pink and taupe stripes

In a previous life it was a wool blanket!

Tartan and plaid are very hot right now and featured in many 2008/2009 catwalk shows
Fun and stylish, perfect for Autumn and Winter
Treat yourself to a truly unique bag!

pistachio and oatmeal pure wool plaid clutch

pistachio and oatmeal pure wool plaid clutch

Monday 17 November 2008

vintage find: Jersey Pottery

vintage find: Jersey Pottery

I love retro ceramics, especially from the 1960s and 1970s. It ties in with my love of vintage fabric. I just love the bold patterns and colours found in vintage items.
I found this little Jersey Pottery pomander in a local charity shop and was really taken by the smooth brown and taupe loops on an off-white background.
I was even more taken by the price, £9.99 reduced to £1.99. Bargain!

vintage find: Jersey Pottery

Wednesday 12 November 2008

New colour sleepy owl: aqua green

Sleepy owl in aqua green

I've added another colour to the sleepy owl collection!
The new owls are made from recycled vintage fabric is shades of aqua green and royal blue.

Each owl is filled with chemical-free, French Lavender and non-allergenic stuffing
You can either place them on your pillow to help you float off to sleep.
Or put in your wardrobe (they don't mind the dark!) to make your clothes smell nice.

Did you know?
Lavender is a good moth repellent.
Lavender makes an eco-friendly alternative to conventional moth balls which are full of hazardous chemicals

They make a great eco-friendly stocking filler this Christmas!
Sleepy owl in aqua green
Sleepy owls in other shades here!

Monday 10 November 2008

eco craft & design feature: Chakra Pennywhistle

This is the first in a new series on interviews with eco crafters from across the globe. As part of the Eco Etsy Team, I have met many talented people dedicated to creating items which cause as little impact on the planet as possible. These interviews offer me the chance to showcase some of the fantastic talent to be found in the team.
Don't forget to search 'teamecoetsy' when looking for eco friendly products on etsy

First up is the lovely Rikkianne of Chakra Pennywhistle!


Name: Rikkianne Van Kirk

Shop Name: Chakra Pennywhistle

Shop Link(s):

Location: Tucson, AZ USA

Ships To: Everywhere

What do you create?
In my shop, you will find organic cotton pillows, organic onesies and tees, along with recycled money bag pillows and wallets.

How did you get into your craft?
Oh Goodness, that is a long story. I will try and make it short. I have always enjoyed art in all of its forms. I started out in performance art and actually went to a dramatic arts school in NYC. I guess that I got caught up in just living in the city and basically trying to pay the bills and art just became nonexistent. With acting on the back burner, I eventually found myself in need of a creative outlet. I went through countless mediums! Collage, painting, knitting, felting, and finally sewing. I received a sewing machine as a gift and never looked back. I recently took a screen printing course and think that I have finally found my true passion.

What materials do you use for your eco friendly products?
I use organic fabrics along with recycled materials.
Currently in my shop you will find organic cotton pillows that are hand printed with waterbased ink. I stuff the pillows with raw organic cotton and sew them with organic cotton thread. The thread is a joy to use. It is smooth and very sturdy.
I also make pillows out of vintage money bags. These are so much fun to transform! Each one is unique in the fact that they were once working bank bags and carry the wear and tear of their past life.
I also collect and make goods out of vintage calendar tea towels.


Why did you decide to make eco friendly products?
I have always found pleasure in making something new out of something old. I also feel the need to support forward-thinking businesses and, specifically, those that incorporate organic farming. Speaking of something old turned new, there is a quote that I love which comes from an organic farmer….
“Organic farming is rediscovering old techniques, and applying them with a new plough.” La Rhea Pepper
There is something to be said for businesses that do their part to create a sustainable future. No matter how small a part I may get to play in this future, I have the opportunity to use eco-friendly materials and choose to do so….

What inspires you?
A lot of things. My husband, daughter, and grandma are constant sources of inspiration.
I am also obsessed by both folk and outsider art. I just finished reading the book, The Folk Art Tradition, Na├»ve Painting in Europe and the United States. The author, Jane Kallir describes folk art to be a “catchall category for misfits – wallflowers at the dance of western civilization.” I swear, I have read that sentence over and over! Amazing!

Is this a job for you or a hobby?
I would say that it is both.
I stay at home with my daughter, Mia. She is 2 years old. When she was born, my husband and I decided that I would take care of her and start my business. We planned on giving it 5 years (until Mia goes to school) to see where I could take it.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I spend time with my family and friends. I go thrifting and antiquing quite often. I read mostly art and design books. I go to our local used book store every single weekend and look for issues of Selvedge Magazine for half the price :)

Do you have any advice to share on how you have made your business grow?
I am so thankful for my customers. I treat them how I would want to be treated.

I really try to have fun with it! I am addicted to making Etsy treasuries and recommend everyone to curate! The collections are so inspirational!

Join a team. I am so proud to be a member of Eco Etsy (teamecoetsy) and my local team, the Desert Indie Designers. I have learned so much from both of those groups and enjoy the people so very much.

I support handmade wholeheartedly.

I also think that it is important compliment someone else’s work. If you love another shop, convo them and let them know. We are usually one person in our workshop, sewing room, or corner of the living room. We all belong to a giant community of like-minded people. I think that we tend to forget that the person behind that amazing shop is just like us. Etsy is extremely inspirational - not only in the creations it offers, but in the community it offers as well.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Oh my…. I would love to be living out in the country supporting my family on my income, alone. It would be a complete dream to work with my husband and get to spend every waking minute with him, my daughter, and my grandmother.


Saturday 8 November 2008

Win an eco friendly tote and brooch


candy stripe tote and brooch

November prize draw!
If you sign up for our monthly newsletter in November, you will be entered into a prize draw to win a Candy Stripe tote handmade by Pouch

Also included in the prize is a detachable heart shaped pin-brooch made with recycled vintage fabric and golden yellow felt.

Perfect for taking to the shops to stock up on provisions. Also makes a fab knitting bag, book bag, gym bag, you can cram virtually anything into this handy tote

This is great opportunity to win a stylish and eco-friendly tote and brooch.

candy stripe tote

Pouch Newsletter
Sign up to keep updated on new Pouch products and to find out about the events, fairs and markets we attend. We hate spam as much as the next person, so we promise to only send you a monthly newsletter and no other email correspondence.

The winner of November's prize draw will be contacted directly at the end of the month
We will also make an announcement on our blog


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