Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Down to Business

With 2011 just days away I'm excited by what the new year holds in store. I have been busy checking out some useful websites to help me on my way that I thought I'd share.
These are good resources for all aspects of running a small art/craft/design business, marketing ideas and success stories:
Crafting an MBA
Scoutie Girl
Etsy Community

Got a mailing list Mailchimp will help you to organise your contacts and send some lovely looking emails and best of all it's free. (not that I have, with much regularity I think I maybe sent two out, my excuse is that I already write two blogs, but that's about to change!)

Hootsuite is a social media dashboard, take the hassle out of posting updates individually. Written a blog ? Hootsuite will post a link to it on your twitter and facebook leaving you to focus on the important things in life.

So I hope that info is useful on setting you on your handmade path, and now back to some pictures.

The woolies are being professionally photographed by the ultra talented Lindsey Kliewer and here is a sneek peek of one of my favourites. It's part of the grand marketing scheme that I have cooked up for 2011 so stay tuned for more. I was also very lucky to work with professional photographer John Santoni who came to my studio to take some shots. I tidied up in anticipation of the shoot, honest ! As you can see I'm am a mere amateur compared to Sanford who weasled his way into the shoot and modelled like a pro !

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain....

With an almost three week layoff due to a persistent cold I hope you haven't been too disappointed about the gap since the last blog. Honestly I picked up a pair of scissors and started cutting and within the same breath put them down again as the effort was too much ! There was nothing for it but to succumb and watch Tivo'd programs and sleep a lot. One of my recent favourite shows is Modern Family, I kept seeing ads and thinking that looks funny, I should watch it and then never did so now I'm catching up on reruns and new stuff....Where is this post going. I was going to keep it all upbeat and now I'm rambling on about telly !
2010 has been a year of progress and positive change. I am thankful for all the talented people that I've met and the opportunities that have come my way. I'm happy to be doing something that I really enjoy and that brings a smile to people's faces. According to something I read online it takes at least 5 years to build an empire which is where I hope to be 3 years from now ! Anyway enough of the serious stuff, here's some photos I took this morning (and then accidentally deleted 20 of them !!!) fortunately there's still 100 but here are some of my faves. You may have heard about the recent rain in Southern California, well the sun wasn't out but it did stop raining today. Enjoy and Happy Christmas.
Red Squirrel finds natural Camoflage

The Red squirrel is surrounded.
Two Rare Red Squirrels

Owl up a tree

Don't mess with me !

Run Squirrel Run
Grey squirrels fear nothing not even miniature donkeys !

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Cosy Dresser

The other day I found myself taking one of those online quizzes, (so easy to get sucked in) one minute you're reading emails and the next you are finding out what kind of dresser you are. I didn't really need to take the quiz as I already knew the answer, cosy dresser. One who dresses for comfort, which is not to say that I'm all about elasticated waists I just appreciate clothes that don't restrict my movement. I recently made a U-turn on Uggs, having vowed that I'd never wear them, I have been wearing my wooly boots for two days solid ! It would probably have been longer had I not got home only to discover I had two right feet in the box, honestly it was very disappointing and I had to wait a week for the next delivery. I haven't worn them outdoors, just in the privacy of my own home but I see how it happens. It's like putting your feet in a warm duvet and then suddenly you're outside and you haven't taken the duvet off. It's been getting a bit chilly here at night nothing on the scale of England and snow but then there's no open fires and central heating (in this apartment at least) so a little chill goes a long way. There is one gas furnace type thing, it takes me back to being a student at Leeds and hovering around a most likely non-gas compliant heater in the most burgled street in Europe. Now Leeds that was COLD !
Why am I rambling on about the weather ? Well, it's making me less productive when it's warm I don't mind getting out of bed, it's easy, not so much in the Winter. Add to that as soon as the husband gets up the dogs swoop in, take his spot and proceed to nap, so now I have nap companions which makes me less guilty about getting up. However I did manage to tackle the Etsy Shop, Etsy is like that essay you got for homework and put off till the last possible moment. I spent the morning outside taking the product shots before settling down to write descriptions and particulars. It had been so long since I uploaded anything that the site's changed. It actually has a copy feature now which made the task far less arduous. I did redo the banner though. On that note, check out my new look shop (it's that store tab at the top) and let me know what you think.
In my next post I will have finished a batch of squirrels so it'll be less rambling and more pics. However I will leave you a pic of my dogs that I did in Photoshop. It started as a Xmas card idea and ended up being well not.... see so easily distracted ! I'm sure I'm not the only one so I ask you, what stories do you have of impulse online shopping or other stuff when all you were supposed to be doing was quickly checking your email ?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to... Sewing Caddy

I have strayed away from instructionals because, well I'm not very good at documenting each step by the time I think about it, it's already made. This was almost the case with Sewing Caddy, the pret-a-porter holdall for your sewing essentials. (You'll notice there's no step one!) It was also almost the death of Brother (sewing machine) it did not like sewing layers of thick fabric together. I got tired of carting my sewing smalls in a ziplock bag and then fretting that I'd forgotten something big, like scissors. Now there's no way I'll forget the important things, because there will be an empty pocket. Anyway enough blabbing here it is.

What you will need: Heavyweight fabric, elastic, thread, padding, ribbon.
Tools: Scissors, sewing machine, iron, pins,

Fabric from Ikea in case you're wondering.

After you have laid out everything that you want to carry in your sewing caddy. Cut out 2 equally sized rectangular pieces of fabric.
Next cut a piece of padding (stuff quilter's use) This will have the effect of swaddling your tools and making the caddy sturdier. Iron everything and pin hems.
Cut out additional pockets, don't be afraid to put the tools inside to gage how big the pockets need to be. Place a long piece of ribbon between your front and back layer. This will be used to tie it together.
Use elastic for some flexibility and additional storage. I used 3 rows of elastic.
Pin your pocket and use an invisible marker or chalk to mark your pockets.
Sew pocket and elastic using a straight stitch.
I added a piece of felt to attach sewing needles and pins and an extra piece of elastic so that I can still put all the miscellaneous items in a ziplock !
Here's a few of my essentials thread, glue and hem picker. ( Does anyone else lose these all the time ?)
Here it is rolled up, in my excitement I forgot to cut off that hanging thread.
All cosy and ready for a trip.