Monday, 26 August 2013

Fruit Cake, Files and Firsts.

Let's just imagine that I could be totally self-employed by this time next year (though not a Del-boy millionaire). It's taking a lot of hard work, long days, longer hours, but I'm beginning to see the possibilities. Something I just couldn't imagine while I was just selling jewellery to an already saturated market.

Someone once told me, and I read it somewhere else, you're unlikely to make a living making and selling jewellery, and to be honest they are right. It's taken me nearly three years just to break even. I tried diversifying, using polymer clay as well as beads, which was moderately successful, and making other items like candle holders, compact mirrors and crochet hooks. Only the crochet hooks have been really successful and I really must get some more made and listed when the weather cools down a little.

Then I viewed the whole market from a different angle. Jewellery making is a very popular hobby, so popular there are TV stations dedicated to it. No wonder sales are few and far between with so many people making their own. Hmmmm....making their own....well why don't I share some of my designs in tutorial form? I wrote a couple of tutorials, and guess what, they sold like hotcakes, over and over again. I wrote more, more sold, a couple more, and they sold. Now they threatened to take over my jewellery shop on Etsy completely. So I opened a new shop just for the tutorials in the middle of July, and have been steadily doing well ever since.

Someone said to me I should sell my doodles as well. Now this one I seriously baulked at, as I didn't believe I was good enough. I showed someone else, they said the same. Then I noticed several sellers selling colouring sheets for download and I thought...hmmmm. So I dragged out my big pile of doodles, scanned them all in, coloured them and listed them in yet another new shop...Artzentric...

I've had a lot of fun with these...first the drawing of them, which is incredibly relaxing and helps to get a busy brain to calm down, secondly colouring them in on the PC, which also helped me learn about various facilities in my programs, and thirdly enhancing them. Take this one for instance. The first is the original, then the coloured-in version, then an enhanced version.

I may get these printed up at a later date and see how they go as prints. Currently I am only listing the uncoloured version.

So, that deserves cake. My partner is diabetic, but he can eat this cake without any spikes in his levels, (except that he loves it and tends to cut himself a huge slice, so I have to watch). This is not to say I recommend it for diabetics, quite the opposite, but a treat for himself now and then when things are stable is ok for him. It's one my grandmother used to make all the time and every time I taste it, it reminds me of many happy teatimes around her table. I reduced the sugar by half, as the fruit makes it sweet enough anyway, and it works a treat. Here's the recipe. 

8oz Self Raising Flour
8oz mixed dried fruit
8oz butter or margarine (I use Vitalite as he's dairy intolerant)
1 tsp mixed spice
4 oz sugar
3 large eggs.

My method. Whack everything except the fruit and one tbsp of the flour into a mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly. Coat the fruit in the remaining flour and tip into the mixture. Stir until evenly distributed. The mixture should slowly drop off the spoon, if it's too stiff, add another egg bit by bit until it's the right consistency. Put it all into a greased and floured 8 inch deep cake tin (line it with greased greaseproof paper if you want), and bake at 180*c for 1-1 1/4 hours until a skewer or knife comes out clean.  Leave to cool and resist eating it until at least the kettle has boiled. :)

Oh and theres a new tutorial up, for my bracelet. 

So what was the first? I have my first beading class coming up in September, as a guest designer at the Elephant and Dragonfly Studio in Canvey Island, Essex. Really looking forward to that. There is still room for more, so join the page and ask about it. 

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