Tuesday, 30 April 2013

New Directions

No not the band, don’t get excited, it’s only me and my ramblings again.

What a busy time! My Partner’s support group has moved into phase 2, where we now know the old group has actually been disbanded, and not just abandoned, so we know where we can go with it now. I only wish the people we need to help us would go up a gear too, it’s all a waiting game at the moment. You can find details of his group here.

I mentioned last time that I had written a couple of tutorials for my bead pendants and earrings. Well I listed them on Etsy, and I’m selling one every couple of days, which is great! I’m still waiting for feedback on them, but one lady has come back and 'favourited' it a few days after she bought it, which is positive so I’m over the moon. There will definitely be more to come in the next few weeks.

Quite a while ago I caught sight of polymer clay covered crochet hooks. At first I thought they might feel bulky or heavy, but on further research people have said that they are actually more comfortable to hold and work with, easier to grip and seem to be more balanced. So I bought a couple of sets with the intention of covering them. They have sat around for weeks doing nothing, but when a friend of mine gave me something rather expensive and didn’t want anything for it, and this friend crochets a lot, I decided to at least make up one of the sets for her.

It didn’t take too long to make up 12 hooks, I kept it simple, after all it was my first set, with a pearl white background and the pink roses shown in an earlier post on this blog. I must say I was quite pleased with them. Last week I nervously handed them over to her as a thank you, and waited for the reaction. She was thrilled with them, so much so that she got her wool out in the middle of the coffee shop and started to crochet.

Well, just as a little bit of market research, I put them on my facebook page. Right away I was asked by several people did I have any more designs, any more hooks etc. So I scrapped all my plans for that day and made single samples of six designs, and picked up three orders that night!

I’m adding those singles to my Folksy shop for May, but will be more than happy to make up sets, pairs, etc to order.


Over on Etsy, someone told me about the ‘On Fire for Hand Made’ team, so I applied to join them. I have to say it’s one of the best teams on there in my opinion. There are plenty of team challenges and activities, but not one of them is in any way pressurising you to take part (reverse psychology? I feel more willing to take part). The commitment is for one hour activity each week, that is it. But for the last week since I joined, my shop views have trebled daily, I am added to at least three treasuries a day, two sales as a direct result of those, and a possible bulk order to bricks and mortar shop in the USA for my bead pendants and earrings.

I have more exciting news for May but I’ll leave that for another day. Meanwhile, here are some of my more recent makes.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sofas, Sales and Spliced Canes

My my hasn’t time flown since I last blogged? It’s been slightly manic here to be honest, with new furniture arriving (at last, I’d nearly fallen through the bottom of my armchair), and having to move things around in our little flat to accommodate it. This has meant that my partner’s computer desk has had to go out of the living room and into the bay window in the kitchen, which is where my craft areas is…was. I am now shut away in the bedroom. Oh for a spare room but let’s not go there.

I’ve also been busy helping my partner with his amputee group. We’re slowly getting it off the ground. Our problem is, there was a similar group once upon a time, but the Chairman died, and nobody took it over. We have to find out if it is still registered, or if it was officially disbanded, and if there were any funds already in place. If it wasn’t, then we will simply take up the mantle and continue the original group, but we’re waiting on others to dig into it a bit more and find out.

There have also been lots of commission work to do. March was a good month, with Facebook sales taking the lead for once,  Etsy coming up trumps, and my first sale on WowThankYou! Folksy remains quiet again.

I found a new spliced flower cane and decided to give that a try, and I love the results. So plenty of beads, which have been made into bracelets, and a pendant which sold straight away. I did make another pendant, but I got carried away with that one and it turned out rather large. Although the colours were gorgeous, it was so big it actually looked clumsy, so I wasn't going to sell it; but I dropped it and a petal broke anyway. Some things are just not meant to be. 

Bracelet made from spliced flower cane.
Pendant with spliced flowers (sold)

Made from the rose cane made for this blog earlier
A brooch made using the spliced petal cane.

Then there has been time spent not actually making anything, but writing a tutorial for my super duo flower pendants. On a beading forum, I read that many people use the program Inkscape to form the diagrams needed for beading tutorials. What do you know? It’s completely free, so I downloaded it, searched for some tutorials on how to use it, and found a tutorial dedicated to making beading diagrams on this blog (thank you to the writer). I’d already figured out the beads in the diagram myself, but those thread arrows were something else! In that tutorial, it was so easy!

So, after much trial and error, I finally produced a draft version, which I then sent to Bonny Lass on Folksy who was featured here last year, along with the beads she would need, to test it and critique for me. Didy did a brilliant job and sent me the results with lots of notes and suggestions, all of which I followed, and have now produced my first tutorial, which you can purchase here.

There will be more tutorials coming up, the next two I think will be for earrings. I was asked to make a pair of earrings similar to the pendants, and the results were gorgeous. The recipient has told me she gets lots of compliments on them. They took quite a bit of working out to get the pattern as close as possible to the pendant, so I have notes everywhere. Then my leafy earrings will be included in another tutorial too.

Finally, I have to mention the poor long-suffering cat. You know the one, the cat who howls the place down outside as if we've refused to let him in, when in fact we've only just let him out! He was confused and upset when furniture was being moved around (I think memories of building works were still fresh in his mind), and when the sofa went out he didn't like it at all. So when the new sofas arrived, I thought he'd just go off and sulk for a while, but no! One of the sofas is in front of the window, and he found a comfy place as soon as it was in situ, where he settled down on the back and watched the world go by, and within the hour, he was curled up fast asleep on the other one. So no matter what, we have the Royal seal of approval, and all is well with the world.