Pretty girl in a pretty craft room! I feel inspired to paint my pegboard blue now too 🙂
Claire of Claireabellemakes is a real busy bee 🙂 She has a full time job, an Etsy shop, runs Cambridge Craft Parties + blogs at Claireabellemakes, about her DIY projects, life in Cambridge (envious!) and shares what goes on behind the scenes of her business!! AND her work has even appeared on national TV, on The Great British Sewing Bee! Isn’t that amazing? I, on the other hand, have issues just maintaining this blog, as can be seen by the dearth of blog posts lately 🙂 I was so impressed by all she’s doing that I just had to get in touch to learn more 🙂
So, Claire, how did this all start?!!
Claireabellemakes started back in 2012, after I had finished my Masters in Arts Management. I learnt a lot about UK policy for the arts and working for organisations, but there wasn’t much to guide us into self employment. So, I started with a blog as I’ve always enjoyed writing. From this, the Etsy store began and then later came Cambridge Craft Parties which delivers workshops for adults to learn new craft skills. The blog has been evolving ever since and has now become an income stream for the business. It has also led to relationships with brands and freelance writing work which is the bulk of my income and is something I really enjoy. It is a long stretch from my childhood dream of being a ballerina!! I did study Dance at university and worked as a dancer for a while, but crafts pulled me in another direction and I’m happy about that!
If you’re a stationery fan, you definitely want to check out Claireabellemakes! Claire is always posting about beautiful little planners on it 🙂
It has evolved a lot since the early days and I am constantly learning. Most of my inspiration comes from a particular craft material. I brainstorm different ideas for bringing the materials to life in a DIY project. My lifestyle posts are mostly inspired by my home city of Cambridge. It’s a beautiful place to live, filled with bicycles and pretty scenery and I want to share that with my readers.
What’s a normal day in your life? Do you blog everyday/ have a blogging schedule/ revisit old posts?
Despite working the equivalent of full-time hours for Claireabellemakes, I also hold down a full-time day job in an office. So it’s pretty tough to live a social life too. I work approximately 80 hours every week!! I wrote a day in the life post here, but even since then, life is busier and I’m often at events at the weekends. I definitely have to have a blogging schedule as I plan so far ahead. My planner keeps me on track. At the moment I’m writing 4-5 blog posts a week and 2 more for Sizzix and Simple Stylish Makes, so writing is the main bulk of my work. I tend to work in batches for my posts as I have to write and create when inspiration strikes!
Having recently moved into a new build, I am totally suffering from white block woes and trawling the Net for DIY art to alleviate the symptoms 🙂 This project by Claire is one of my faves 🙂
Best and worse thing that has come out of blogging…?
The community is by far the best thing! I love how many people I have been able to connect with online and in person. There is such great support out there in the crafts community! The worst thing is the exhaustion! I’m constantly tired and overworked so it’s a 2016 goal for me to work on a more balanced life.
Most and least enjoyable thing about being a blogger? One full-time blogger said everyone wants to go full-time but the problem is when they do, they run out of things to write about and become boring- do you agree with that?
The most enjoyable thing for me is to have a platform to share my creativity. I can make the blog whatever I want it to be, it’s my space. I don’t necessarily agree that every blogger wants to go full-time. Being a hobby blogger is just as good if it gives you what you are looking for. Personally, I never set out to be a full-time/professional blogger – it just made sense to go that way as Claireabellemakes evolved into a business. I don’t believe you run out of things to write about or that you will become boring, IF you stay creative with it. Working with brands is useful and interesting, but your voice and creativity has to shine through in each sponsored post you write. Otherwise your site becomes one big advertisement and people will loose faith in your voice. Keep authentic and full-time blogging can be just as fun and interesting!
What other blogs do you visit/ read? Do you have a BBF (blogging best friend)?
My favourite reads are Fall For DIY, A Beautiful Mess, Slugs on the Refrigerator and Studio DIY. I’m lucky enough to have met some great friends through blogging and try to meet with them regularly to share life updates and have fun!
Tell us more about this coffee for Johnny Depp!! 🙂
About 12 years ago as a student, I worked in Starbucks in Leicester Square where all the movie premieres take place. Johnny Depp’s assistant came in for his order 🙂 I can’t remember what he ordered, but I can remember there was much excitement from all the girls working in the store! It was a really fun job and I still keep in touch with some of my coworkers.
Advice for other creatives that want to go full-time?
Work hard, be generous and stay authentic.
My fave of Claire’s DIYs? Definitely this pet bed. Especially if it comes with the little cutie, Tammy!