Thursday, 24 May 2012

Short and Sweet

I noticed that my blog posts seem to be quite long. So I thought I would set myself the challenge of writing a short post.  However, I have read short posts from other people’s blogs and often come away feeling unsatisfied.  It’s like eating a meal and still feeling hungry afterwards!  So being aware of this, part of the challenge was to try and keep it short, but also satisfying!  Keeping it short is difficult, because I am quite verbose – but how to satisfy readers, how feed them and make them feel full!?  Now that is something else.

I started this blog to talk about my craft and to support my shop on Folksy.  I think I have lost my way numerous times because I don’t want to keep writing about the same products or the same stuff (although I am sure that I do!)  I want to challenge myself and be challenged.  Don't you?

However, I always come back to same idea: crafting is beautiful.  We make beautiful items in the hope that someone will buy them.  Creating beauty is awesome and a challenge in itself.  Don't you think so too?

I hope I can satisfy you by feeding you some beautiful photographs and some delicious items from Folksy sellers for you to drool over

Top to Bottom: Handmade by Edwina, Bits N Bobs, Woolly Duck, The Handmade Home, Badge the Badger

I hope you have enjoyed my short and sweet blog post!



Thursday, 17 May 2012

Turkish Delights

The word turquoise, which dates to the 16th century, is derived from an Old French word for "Turkish", because the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey.  This is why I have called my blog post Turkish Delights because it celebrates turquoise the gem stone and the colour.

This pencil case was the inspiration.  When I went to the NEC in March for the three exhibitions, Sewing for Pleasure, Hobby Crafts and Embroidery, Fashion and Stitch I noticed that the colour turquoise was very popular on the Cat Walk!  My sister and I always enjoy watching the Fashion Show.  So off I went to find a fabric stall and promptly purchased some turquoise fabric! This pencil case was made from the two fabrics that I purchased.

Turquoise is not a colour that I have used very often, but even if I say so myself the resulting pencil case did seem quite a beautiful object.  This started me thinking about writing my blog.  When I did the search on Folksy I was enamoured at how often our wonderful jewellery designers/makers use turquoise to create the most beautiful jewellery. I could have used lots of photos of jewellery just to illustrate my blog, but I didn’t want my pencil case to seem out of place!

Of course, I had to search harder and deeper in order to find other items that had been made using the colour turquoise!  I do hope you like my final selection.  Apologies to all the jewellery designers/makers, but I did not want to leave you out completely.  I did have a HUGE choice and it was quite difficult!

Of course, it is not surprising that jewellery designers/makers use the gem stone turquoise.  The finer quality grade of turquoise is quite rare and valuable, but like with most opaque gem stones it has been devalued by the introduction of synthetics onto the market.  But whether real or synthetic turquoise is still very beautiful!
Some interesting facts about turquoise:
·        The first recorded use of the colour turquoise in England was in 1573.
·        The gem stone turquoise had been esteemed for thousands of years as a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune or a talisman.
·        The gem stone turquoise represents the sign Sagittarius.
·        It has been reported that the colour turquoise has a calming effect on patients.
·        Some mainstream psychiatric hospitals have used turquoise and other light tones of blue and green to calm patients by painting the walls in these colours.
·        Nurses often wear turquoise or aquamarine coloured clothing because of the calming nature of these colours.
Well, you learn something new every day!  I have enjoyed exploring the world of turquoise and looking at all the beautiful items available on Folksy.  I hope you enjoy the small selection I have chosen.  Don’t forget to click on the image to view it in the seller’s shop. You never know you might be tempted!  Especially now you know that turquoise might help you to keep calm!

Top to bottom: JellyGiraffe Handmade Jewellery, Creative Treasures, Imogen's Imagination, Ritzy Swish, Shoogly Beads, Marthamoo Krafts, Dottie Designs, Lynwoodcrafts, Ello Design, NOfkantsCurios.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Brooch the Subject #Folksy Friday#

Welcome to my Folksy Friday blog post!  This rather neglected and unloved bag in my Folksy shop is made from wool tweed and it has a butterfly brooch hand stitched to the centre of the bow.  The brooch belonged to my Mum.  Sadly, my Mum died 18 months ago and I inherited some bits of her jewellery. As I don't tend to wear brooches, rather than let this beautiful brooch stay stored away, I decided to give the brooch a new lease of life on this bag, because I felt the bag needed a lift. I think the brooch does the job!

I decided to devote this blog post to that unsung hero the humble brooch.  I have been fascinated by the huge variety of brooches that are available on Folksy.  Before I opened my shop on Folksy, my idea of a brooch was a piece of jewellery just like my Mum’s brooch on the bag.

WOW!  Did I have my eyes opened when I came to Folksy!  There are such amazing brooches on offer, with an immense array of colour, fabulous materials, stunning subjects and awe inspiring techniques.  When I did the search it was overwhelming to see so many! Of course, it was very difficult to choose a few for my blog!  But I persevered and certain ones did start to jump out at me!

I love colour, texture, embroidery, buttons, fabric etc. so you will have to forgive my bias towards this in my selection!  I hope more women will start wearing brooches – it would be nice if it became THE latest trend or essential fashion accessory!  And of course, this would help with the sales for the makers of these gorgeous items.

I had a great time looking at all the beautiful brooches available, so I hope you will enjoy perusing this small selection of lovely brooches. Don’t forget to click on the photo to view the item in the shop!

From top to bottom:  Pantsandpaper,  Dottery Pottery,  Leanne Woods Designs,  Oakapple & Rose,  NOfkantsCurios,  Ellie's Treasures,  Buttercup Boutique,  Lynwoodcrafts,


Monday, 7 May 2012

The Agony and Ecstasy

I receive a huge amount of pleasure from making my journals and notebooks, so I thought I would display some of them on my blog.  When I am working on them, I am in my element, totally absorbed and feeling very creative and happy.  I love choosing all the fabrics and lace and stitching all the elements together.  When I am handstitching on the buttons, there is a slight tinge of sadness because I know I am approaching the end of my pleasure (buttons are usually the last thing I stitch before binding the cover to the hard back book.)

One of the sad things about my journals and notebooks is that they don’t sell as well as I would like, and I am not sure why because they get lots of positive feedback!  I have been wondering, and considering, making just removable covers instead; perhaps these will be more popular!

The gaps between my sales on Folksy can sometimes seem extraordinarily long – ten days to two weeks often seems like an eternity!  All the old doubts creep in – will I sell again?  Why aren’t I selling?  What’s wrong with my stuff? Where are the customers?  Are my prices too high/low?  Do other sellers sell the same items cheaper?  What am I doing wrong? And so forth... and so on.  sometimes I feel like I have dropped through a black hole totally confused and perplexed!

This is the agony of selling on Folksy.  Unlike some sellers I don’t have sales every week or every day!!!  They are few and far between!  True, I did celebrate six months of selling on Folksy recently and I had achieved sixty sales, but that works out to an average of ten sales per month.  I suppose it is not a bad average compared to some sellers, but I it is not a great average compared to other successful sellers either!

I try and sell my items because of the compulsion I have to make them!  Creativity is what I live and breathe every day.  Even when I am not physically working on a project, I am often thinking about current ones, future ones, and new ideas for projects!  I am constantly inspired to make something beautiful, something eye-catching, with texture and yet also something that will have a practical purpose.

I don’t have a huge amount of storage space available, and I am at my limit really, so I have to sell to create more space for new items! 

Sometimes, just when I am at my lowest ebb I have a sale or two and suddenly the sun is shining and I feel loads better!

I love seeking out the purchased item from its storage box and lovingly wrapping it up in pretty tissue paper. I get a kick out of winding the lovely satin ribbon around it. Then I pull out a grey postal bag and cellotape a large typed label that I have printed off from the computer on it.  Then, off it goes to the Post Office! It gives me a huge amount of pleasure to send the item to someone who has paid money for it.  But the pleasure doesn’t always end there, because after a day or so, I sometimes receive some lovely feedback that cheers me no end!

This is real feedback that I have received from my customers!

“Beautifully packaged, arrived quickly. Love both purses. Many thanks.”

“Beautiful Bag from lovely seller/maker Highly Recommended to all, Such lovely work. Thank You.”

“Lovely bags very well made, pleased with my purchases and the prompt delivery. Thank you.”

So this sums up the Agony and the Ecstasy of selling on Folksy – there is lots and lots of pleasure, but also for me, lots of pain too!

To finish here are a few of my favourite things from Folksy sellers:  NOfkantsCurios, UniquelyYours Accessories and Gifts, Whimsy Woo Designs, and PollyKrafts.


Thursday, 3 May 2012

All Buttoned Up! (Part 2)

This is part 2 of my blog post on buttons.  I have photographed some more buttons from my stash to show you and I hope you enjoy looking at them.  But first of all, I thought I would show you one of my bags where I have used NINE different vintage buttons to embellish the front of the bag.  I guess I really have a passion for buttons!
These red flower buttons are so cute! and they have no holes or a shank but a small plastic loop for attaching to fabric.  I was very pleased when I discovered these!  The wooden shank buttons with the dog on just blew me away when I discovered them in the tin.  How unique!  There are a couple of very colourful bead shaped buttons and a few odd ones in the photo which I like.
Did you know that the humble button “was originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening?”  Seem strange to you?  It certainly doesn’t to me!  I only very occasionally use them as a fastening now!
 What I love most about buttons is the fact they come in all kinds of colours, shapes and sizes, and not only that, they are made from all kinds of material too!  If I were to list just the materials that my modest collection is made from, it makes for a surprising read.  How about this?
ü Plastic
ü Wood
ü Ceramic
ü Slate (yes, really!)
ü Mother of pearl
ü Gold plated
ü Silver plated
ü Brass
ü Glass
ü Polymer clay
ü Fabric
ü Acrylic
ü Coconut
ü Leather
I am sure I have probably missed a few too!
Did you know that the most famous button artist is known as Renarldo Galvies?  He was born in 1958 in France and he is known for crafting some of the world’s finest buttons.  Button collections can be found in museums and galleries e.g. The Victoria Albert museum has many buttons.  In the USA, large button collections are on public display at The Waterbury Button Museum, Connecticut.  Buttons are popular for all kinds of reasons.

In our celebration of the humble button let’s look at some more beautiful creations from Folksy sellers.  The myriad ways that buttons are used now is fascinating!  Don’t forget to click on the image and view it in the sellers shop!  Enjoy!

From top to bottom: 1. Shoogly Beads, 2. Pin up Gifts - designs by Jo, 3. The Crafty Goose, 4. Helle Belles Cards, 5. Say it, 6. Handmade By Vanda, 7. Maxine Veronica hand made one of a kind Jewellery.
I hope you have enjoyed my two blog posts on buttons.  I have really enjoyed showing you my buttons and also the beautiful items from Folksy.  Thanks too, for the lovely and interesting comments!