Sunday, 30 June 2013

Pinterest and Folksy

Over the last couple of months I have been creating Pinterest boards for consideration for the folksy front page.  I have really enjoyed making the boards which is just as well, because every board I have made and put forward has been ignored, rejected, overlooked and met with folksy’s disapproval.  I have no idea why, or what I am doing wrong and I am sure I am not alone in this feeling.  One thing I have noticed, and although I know folksy will adamantly deny this, there is a bit of favouritism that goes on.  Certain sellers who create a board always have them chosen for the front page, but I am not going to name names!

For this blog post I thought I would talk about my boards and what has inspired me to create them. To illustrate my blog post I have chosen some of the items from the Pinterest boards I have created.

One of the first boards I created in May was called: "The Guitar Player".  This was directly inspired by watching a DVD of Eric Clapton in action.  Even if you don’t like his music you just have to appreciate his skill and awesome ability with playing the guitar.  Perhaps it was an age thing.  Is it possible the folksy team have never heard of Eric Clapton?  I love browsing folksy and seeing what handmade items are available and sometimes I am always surprised.  When I am creating a board I have four things in mind:

Does the item fit the theme?
Is it a good product?
Is the photograph good enough and does it show the item to its best advantage?
Have I selected items that have a variety of different medium and prices?

Sometimes there are lots of items that meet the above criteria, but when you are working towards creating a board with only 18 items, unfortunately a lot of items need to be rejected.  I have often rejected numerous of my own items too!  One item I was intrigued about was the number of handmade plectrums that were available.  When there are lots of the same item, choosing just the right one can be quite difficult!  In this instance I am afraid I broke my own rules and chose two plectrums!

Moving on, another of the boards I created was called: “A Fine Romance”.  Being a romantic through and through, I associated summer with romance and selected items that went with this theme.  My friend was on holiday in Vietnam in January and she met a lovely man and whilst initially it might have started as a holiday romance, six months later it is still going strong despite the fact he lives in Guernsey!  They commute back and forth to spend time together so this is what inspired this board.

“Beautiful birds” was inspired by fabric that I have come across with birds on.  This type of fabric is very popular and there are so many to choose from.  So whilst I was inspired by fabric, I tried to look and include non fabric items for my board.

Another gripe I have about the folksy selection process is the way most boards that get selected have just one day and night on the front page, but on Friday the board that gets chosen for that day ends up with three days (Saturday and Sunday).  I don’t like this.  What’s the point of changing the board every day during the week but then having the same board on the front page for three days?  It’s just plain daft.  They should choose a board for Friday and then choose another for Saturday and Sunday – surely it is possible to programme the change? Or have boards on the front page for two days each or whatever.  But I get bored with the same board come Sunday and wish they would change it.  Strangely enough they do change it on a three day weekend i.e. a bank holiday!

I am sorry if this blog post has been very critical of folksy, but when you have an itch it is very hard not to scratch it!  I try not to be negative but sometimes you just can't help yourself!

“Colour and Texture” was inspired by the project I was working on at the time.  I had started to make vintage lavender hearts.  I was struck by how textural they were because I was using vintage lace, vintage embroidery and buttons makes these make an interesting texture. There was colour from the embroidery and I thought about how important these two elements are in creating something unique.  “Colour and Texture” is one of my favourite boards and I tried not to include too many textile items, but I think I failed because there are quite a few, but then I am very drawn to these obviously!

Finally, my best boards or my very favourite boards are “Candy Floss” and “Guacamole”.  I felt sure folksy would choose one of these. I was wrong!  Another problem is that they have so many boards to choose from and they don’t appear to choose them in any particularly order or to any particular kind of criteria, but I may be wrong.  I know they like to have boards that take into account special days and events.  So at the beginning of Wimbledon there were a whole range of boards with connecting themes.

I love “Candy Floss”.  I was thinking about holidays again and remembered seeing a board that celebrated ice cream, so I thought why not?  I am not really a “pink” person, but I was delighted to find so many items that had a similar shade of pink or made a good contrast. This is what I wanted rather lots of images of candy floss!

 “Guacamole” is my very favourite board.  This is the last one I created and probably will remain my favourite until I make the next one!  I was inspired by a specific colour of green – apple green.  Not sure exactly why.  When I started creating the board I had not chosen the title.  I was thinking green as in fresh, new, virginal, but once I had finished the board and I looked at it as a whole I saw something different  - guacamole.  Again texture and colour!  The main fault with this board is that it has too many textile items (I can’t help it!)  I have also noted that many of the items have sold that I included on this board.  

I love jewellery and ceramics and always I want to include these items – there are always lots to choose from.  I also love art and art prints, photographs, paintings etc. but these are not things you can hold in your hands and fondle and touch and smell!  And so my leaning is always towards something tactile.

Hope you have enjoyed looking and reading my rant.  Please click on the photographs and have a browse in these shops.  You never know what you might discover.



Friday, 21 June 2013

Special feature – Linda from Wild Rose Designs

As regular readers of my blog will know I used to make bags and many of them have been featured on my blog.  I still love bags and I constantly have to resist the temptation to buy them!  Some while ago I purchased from Linda at Wild Rose Designs the most fabulous bag that I love to bits and use all the time!  I invited Linda to be featured on my blog because obviously I am a great fan of her work.  Over to Linda:

“I've been selling on Folksy since February 2011, so just over two years. It was a while before I joined in on the forums, but I'm glad I did as everyone has been so helpful and supportive.”

“I am a Mum to two children and a Grandma to four lovely children aged 14, 8, 6 and 2. I've been sewing since I was a child even making one of my school dresses. I continued to sew and I've since made everything from clothes to curtains and soft furnishings. In fact, I did have my own curtain making business for a few years, but gave up when my daughter returned home from university and reclaimed her room which was also my workroom. I've worked in various offices, and was a greetings card merchandiser before I started Wild Rose Designs.”

“I had wanted to work for myself again for some time and became interested in bag making particularly evening bags. I'm not sure where the idea came from but it stayed with me until I decided it was now or never.”

“I think it's the fabrics themselves that inspire me. I'm not really a frilly and fluffy girl but I do love pretty things, and if it glitters or sparkles, so much the better. My evening bags are all vintage inspired and so are many of my day bags. I can waste hours trying to decide what to make next! I sometimes have so many things that I want to make but I can't decide which one to do first. I usually sort through my fabric stash until I'm drawn to one (or more) fabrics and go from there.”

“Craft wise I can knit and crochet and I've dabbled in card making. I made the invitations, place cards etc. for my son's wedding. But my newest interest is Jewellery making. I find it relaxing and therapeutic especially if I've had a bad sewing day! I've started adding some of my makes to my shops and I've even sold a few pieces!”

I invited Linda to choose three items from my folksy shop that she liked.  Linda said:

“It's difficult to choose just three items from your shop as there are so many lovely things, but I've chosen these.”

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Linda and her passion for what she does. I think you will agree with me when I say her work is stunning. Please do visit Linda’s folksy shop and also her website to have a look at her gorgeous items.



If any folksy sellers would like to be featured on my blog please message me on folksy.  I am always looking for the opportunity to share other people’s beautiful work.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Phoebe’s World

Today, I am illustrating my post with more preview photos of some lovely items.  These I will be available in my Folksy shop in the coming days and weeks.  I do hope you will visit it soon, and perhaps make a purchase or two!

In three weeks time, if she is born on her due date a baby girl will enter this world.  (And I am not referring to Kate and Will’s baby either.  It is purely coincidental.)  I am sure there will be hundreds and maybe thousands of babies born around this time who will have their birth date as July 2013.  But I was referring to one child, who whilst I am still alive, I will see grow up and develop as a person.

I don’t know what kind of world she is being born into.  I know her family, and she will have the most loving and caring parents anyone could want, but it does not stop there.  She will have loving grandparents who will dote on her, a brother (who is so excited at the prospect of having a little sister!) She will have cousins, great cousins, Aunts and Uncles, Great-Aunts and Great-Uncles.  And not least, a great-grandfather, who sadly is not well, so he may not see his beloved great grandchild grow up into a beautiful young woman, just like her Mum.  All of this extended family will be delighted to meet her and see her, buy gifts for her and generally welcome her into her family.

My hope is that she will discover and learn to appreciate beauty very early on in her life.  That as she learns and grows she will acknowledge beautiful things, like animals, birds, flowers, the sea, and lots of other lovely things that surround us in this world of ours today.  Phoebe is from the Greek and it means ‘the shining one’. One of the names of the Greek goddess of the moon was also known as Phoebe.  I can’t imagine a more beautiful name for a child who is going to be so greatly loved by such a huge host of people in her family.  Welcome to the world, Phoebe.

Thanks for popping by and do leave a comment.  It is always lovely to hear from folk who have taken the time to read my ramblings!



Friday, 7 June 2013

Seeing Red and Feeling Blue

Please don’t be deterred from reading this blog post because of the title.  Yes, I will be writing about being annoyed and also feeling depressed, but please read on because I think you will pleasantly surprised.  My primary aim is to showcase the beautiful red and blue items from the June Jewels daily listing club.  Every day, as I am part of this group, I have the privilege of seeing an array of gorgeous new items that are being popped into shops all over Folksy.  I thought I would share some of them today.  It is only a selection because there are too many of us to include everyone.  I hope you will click on the images, and take time to browse the shops and the stunning items they have for sale.

Seeing Red, whilst primarily associated with being annoyed or irritated, the colour red has many associations - heat, heated emotions, communism, a sign of warning (as in traffic lights), ripeness (in fruit), and blood.  It is widely thought that 'see red' derives from the sport of bull-fighting and the toreador's use of a red cape to deceive the bull.

Red is also the colour that attracts attention. Research has shown that it is the colour most frequently associated with visibility, proximity, and extroverts. It is also the colour most associated with dynamism and activity. In China and many other cultures, red is associated with happiness.  It is also associated with passion and beauty. So whilst seeing red has its negative connotations, it also has its huge positives!

Red is used in modern fashion much as it was used in a medieval painting; to attract the eyes of the viewer to the person who is supposed to be the centre of attention.  I think you will agree many of the red items on display in this selection of handmade items are very eye-catching.

Feeling Blue is associated with depression, low spirits and feeling miserable.  In Greek mythology blue was associated with rain and storms.  The god Zeus would make rain when he was sad (crying) and a storm when he was angry.  The phrase “feeling blue” is also linked with a custom among many deep water sailing ships.   If the ship lost a captain or an officer during the voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port.
Whilst traditionally to feel blue or have the blues is associated with depression, a recent article suggests that depression is good for us!  Apparently there is more benefit from having the blues.  Being sad can leave sufferers stronger, better able to cope with life's challenges, and can lead to great achievements. 

“Paul Keedwell, a psychiatrist at Cardiff University, says even full-blown depression may save us from the effects of long-term stress. Without taking time out to reflect 'you might stay in a state of chronic stress until you're exhausted or dead.'”

On a more cheerful note the colour blue is one of my favourite colours and it is often associated with clear sky and deep sea. My personal association is with peace, calm and tranquillity.  There are such gorgeous variations within the colour range including royal blue and turquoise. Who does not have a favourite blue?  Don’t you agree that the blue items on display are fabulous!  Blue in nature is a wondrous sight – don’t you stop and look at blue flowers, blue butterflies or blue birds – there is something very special about them.

I do hope you have enjoyed seeing red and feeling blue and you don’t go away feeling angry or depressed, but uplifted from the beautiful handmade items that you can buy and own. Surely this would lift your spirits everyday just looking at them? 


FROM TOP TO BOTTOM:  Handmade by Edwina, Dees Designs, JAusten Jewellery Design, Dottery Pottery, picocrafts, Dottie designs, Silver Spiral, Girl of the Sixties, Bojanglies

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Supporting charities with your crafts

When I had the idea for this blog post I wondered if and how craft makers on Folksy raised funds for charities through their crafts. I had my own ideas but I was interested in what others were doing.

Some of my ideas about how we can support charities were probably things that many of us already did in one way or another:

1.   Booking a stall at a Craft fair organised by a charity – I have supported Guide Dogs for the Blind, Save the Children, Primrose Hospice and many others in this way.
2.   Giving a percentage of your Folksy sales to a charity that has particular importance to you.  This something I have thought about and I am sure that some people already do this.
3.   Donating some of your stock to a charity so they can sell it and raise necessary funds.  I was pleased that the bags I donated will be helping to raise funds for Save the Children.
4.    Buying items from charity shops that you can recycle or upcycle with your craft work.  I always enjoy purchasing items from Charity shops.  My most recent purchase was a 100% wool sweater that I felted in the washing machine and made some purses with it.

Several shops on Folksy have specific charities that they already support and some of the items in their shop are specifically made to raise funds.

Annabel from ARP Glass designs:

“I have created a collection of key rings in aid of the RSPB, a society that helps our birds and wildlife. I chose them because not only do I have quite a few birds in my shop now, but with our long harsh winter plus the chemical spills, the bird population is dwindling. Our ecosystem is precious and reduced numbers of just one species can have detrimental effects on other animals and ultimately us."

“With the bird key ring collection I have created, 50% of the proceeds is given to the RSPB. For the key rings, I contacted the RSPB and they register what you are doing and supply a logo for use in publicity. These I have put in my Folksy shop and will have them on any craft stalls I do. I hope to raise at least £100 by selling 50+ but early days yet!”
“More information on their work can be found here: 
Lastly I’ll give a little plug for a health charity I support: The Pituitary Foundation, a small charity that raises awareness and supports pituitary patients.”

Maureen from Sew Flair:

Since having treatment at the Royal Derby Hospital for a Cancer last year I have been making Pink Ribbon items. I have one cushion and nine bookmarks left in my current stock. I have just been given a check and have been given all clear. Wonderful news for me but my sister is now having chemotherapy.”

“In 2011 I went for my normal mammogram - which I had had regularly - and was shocked to find that I had a breast cancer that until then had been undetected. I received excellent care and after two operations and 6 weeks daily radiotherapy I have been given the all clear. My sister was persuaded to get checked and was found to have a much more advanced breast cancer. She had to have a full mastectomy and is still having chemotherapy. When she has completed the chemo she still has to have the radiotherapy as well. Just like to get all ladies to get checked. The earlier it is found the easier it is to deal with and you do not always know it is there.”

Pam from Phoenix Projects :

“I wanted to create a series of paintings to raise money for Kidney Research UK, a charity which is dedicated to funding research aimed at finding better treatments, and ultimately a cure, for kidney disease. The proceeds from this painting and also another in my shop will go to them."

"I chose to support Kidney Research UK, because I know many people who have been affected by kidney disease and renal failure. Any charity which works so hard to fund research into the causes and, hopefully, find a cure for any medical problem deserves support. I hope that people like my paintings and will support such a worthy cause by buying one.”

Charlotte from Wild Silver:

Charlotte has made some beautiful silver jewellery and the proceeds will be given to Barnstable Chemotherapy appeal.  Please visit her shop and you will see a lovely selection of silver jewellery.

“I made the cancer ribbon pendants as my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago and I spent a lot of time in the Barnstaple chemotherapy ward with her, and although the service is excellent, the building and the facilities are very limited. The Barnstaple chemotherapy appeal is raising funds to build a purpose built day treatment unit that will offer many new facilities and hugely improve the service that Barnstaple is able to offer to its patients and their families.”

Eileen from Eileen’s craft studio:

“I've been raising funds regularly for the past 3 years with the Arts and Crafts Class I teach. We often have a demonstration of a craft that people may take part in.
The last one we did was with children T-shirt painting. We bought a selection of children’s white T-Shirts. Each child bought one and we supplied fabric pens and crayons for the younger children to create a design onto their T-shirt. The older children used fabric paints. I gave instructions on what to do and also supplied them with sponges, potato stamping, paint brushes, and stencils. We also helped the children to use the masking tape to hold their T-shirts in place on the tables, so they had a smooth surface to paint onto. After everyone had completed their own designs we then dried their effects with hairdryers, before I 'fixed' the fabric paints with a hot iron. The children were then able to take away their customized T-Shirts.”
 “The charity that received our cheque was 'The Smile Train', which is a charity in India of doctors who give up two months a year on a train going from town to town performing operations on people who have facial deformities and who can't afford to pay for them.”

I hope you have found this blog post of interest and will visit the shops that have been mentioned.  Click on the photos and it will take you directly to the item and the shop.

Finally, the photo above gives you a preview of some of the items I will be adding to my Folksy shop in the next week or two. I hope you will come and have a visit.