‘A Week in the Life of…’ Charms by Joanna – Day 1

<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>Joanna first joined Ice the Cake towards the end of last year and since launching her business at the beginning of this year Joanna is going from strength to strength.  She is an absolutely lovely lady and is raising money for Cancer Research along the way.  So it is an absolute pleasure to introduce this weeks Guest Blogger… Charms by Joanna

Please tell our readers a bit about you & Charms by Joanna… 
I started making cards and also glass painting on plastic boxes many years ago. I bought every box I could find, most of them contained pony beads so I was then left with an abundance of these gathering dust. Mum then suggested I try making bag charms because she did not like the big, chunky ones available in the shops so, I bought the findings, tools, and . . you guessed it, more beads! I never even used the pony beads, I gave them away to someone making children’s jewellery to raise money for charity. The bag charms progressed to include phone charms, then about 5 years ago I started making wine glass charms for friends and decided they needed boxes to keep them safe so, then added decorating boxes back into the mix. I decided it was finally time to start selling, I was running out of space because I was making far more that I could give away and so I became a sole trader in February 2012.
How do you come up with your designs/ what influences you?
Things that sparkle, that is what influences me most, I call it “Magpie Syndrome” – shiny!. My designs just pop into my head, many times I have selected the charms to go on the bottom of a bag charm for example, I then rummage through my vast collection of beads and findings then end up putting a different charm on the bottom! The only time I make anything specific is when I am filling an order. Even then, I usually give them a choice and very rarely make 2 the same. The boxes, a little less sparkle but I can use just about anything to decorate them. I love shopping and see so many pretty things that I either think “will it go on a box?” or “can I use it to make a charm?” – I have used wooden shapes to make Christmas tree decorations, wrapping paper to make decopage pictures for cards and boxes, and even made a “Kindle” for my friend by printing a copy of the first page of her favourite book, painted a piece of MDF shaped to the same size as a real Kindle, painted it black, then painted the buttons etc and stuck the page to it so it looked like a real one too!
What would you call your ‘style’?
Dainty, unlike me . . .My bag charms tend to be more dainty than most and I find it very difficult to make the designs random, even ones that may look random to others actually have a specific pattern, many times I have made something then changed it because it looked uneven.
What is currently your favourite design?
Wedding wine glass charms, I am having loads of fun making them to match a bride’s requirements for colour and wording.
Who inspires you?
Mostly my mum, she was the one who started me off with the beads and it is her fault I now have a growing stash of fabric and ribbon, which I use to decorate the boxes – but I love her dearly, she is my best friend.
If you could design a charm for anyone in the world who would it be and what would you create?
Ooh, good question . . . He probably would not have much use for them but I would maybe make some wine glass charms for Craig Busch at Kingdom of Zion in New Zealand, they would have to have cats so I would probably do them all with the same mix of oranges, yellows and black beads then put a different cat charm on each, I think I have about 10 different ones in my stash so that could be a set of 10. I would also add a phone charm to match and maybe a keyring to go with it, and maybe something he can pin to his safari hat!
What is your greatest achievement?
I think that would have to be fulfilling the wishes of a dying woman. I met a lovely lady living in Surrey a few years ago, who was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer, they could not trace its source which meant it was less than 2mm (too small to bee picked up by any scans). She had all of the radio and chemotherapy her body could cope with but it persisted. She asked me to make boxes for all of her friends and family and I made matching cards as well. Her intention was to write letters for each of them in the cards and put little gifts in all of the boxes, she was going to wrap them all up with their names on and hide them, leaving a note for her husband to find after she had gone.
I made approximately 30 boxes with cards, and mum and I had delivered them to her, we had a cup of tea and that is when she told us what they were for.
If you weren’t doing this job what do you think you would be doing?
When I was at school I actually wanted to be a food scientist or biochemist! I failed my theory for my cookery exam by 2 points, had I managed another couple I would have had an A because they could not fault my practical. I hated the teacher who did the theory hence I did not do well, I was gutted as needed this exam to go with my Chemistry and Biology passes. Had I have redone cookery I guess I would probably be working in a lab about now but I guess the crafting bug would still have caught me somewhere along the way.
How do you spend your time when you are not working?
Difficult one to ask as I never consider this to be work, I just love it so much. Many times I have taken a box of card making things on my summer holiday and come back with the box filled with Christmas cards instead. I often take beads and things when I go to stay with my friends in Leicester.
Do you have a current special offer for Ice the Cake readers?
Any orders through Ice The Cake or anyone mentioning ITC when they place an order will get 10% discount, Charms by Joanna will absorb the discount for the Happy Bags to ensure the charity still receives their full share.
A Message from Joanna…
I love what I do and if I can put a smile on someone’s face then that makes me happy too.
Contact Charms by Joanna:
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/CharmsbyJoanna
Telephone: 07905 601549
Email: joanna@charmsbyjoanna.co.uk
Website: www.charmsbyjoanna.co.uk
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