Announcement … now Live on Etsy!

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I love my Folksy store, but there just isn’t the same amount of footfall or public awareness of Folksy compared to Etsy, so I am running a little experiment. I am trying out both stores to see which one works best for me and more importantly which one raises the most awareness.

In the interest of fairness, any changes I make to one store, such as search engine optimisation key words etc, I will apply to both stores. I will also be applying a price review to both stores and have already applied a postage review – I know it’s crap, but if I expect to stay around I need to make my prices sustainable for me and fair for you as a customer.

I will post a review on my findings once a sufficient amount of time has passed and I have decided on which way forward best suits my business.

If you would like to have a look here is the Etsy store!

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Fashion Trend 2015: Nautical

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Lost at Sea Collection by sljdesigns

Lost at Sea Collection available at https://folksy.com/shops/sljdesigns

One of my most recent and favourite collections is Lost at Sea. It is a mixed media collection, with the feature piece being a resin block that is set with silver. The block is totally one of a kind and quite frankly and accidental make. I was surprised when the block was released from the mold to see a seascape facing me. This was the inspiration for the entire collection.

Although the collection is mainly silver, there are also elements of copper and a necklace that is set with a beautiful Lapis Lazuli stone.

Apparently my inspiration was hit by good timing as according to Vogue Magazine, one of the key fashion trends for 2015 is going to Nautical. Oversized coats and outfits that give a subtle nod to sailor uniforms are going to be key. Glowing, barely there makeup is also on the up and up and plaits are here to stay for another season.

Harpers Bazaar is going one step further and suggests that colour blocking as used in yachting flags is going to be big this year, using colour combinations that  are striking.

Fashionista are recommending rope detailing and fisherman sweaters (img from article)

M.Patmos, Tibi, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Tadashi Shoji

How do you think the trend wil be worn this season? Will you be taking part or do you favour one of the other key trends of the season?

Working on ….

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I am working on so many things at the moment I do not know where to start! After January has been such a quiet month it’s been a bit of a shock to the system to be honest, but a welcome one. Nobody likes an artist that has nothing to do lol.

I decided a long while ago to use my normally quiet time of the year to plan my collections for the rest of the year. This in the most part has been going well. There are some new designs that I have been finalised, some that are still in the workings stages and some that are no more than some brainstorming on a sheet.

I’m also taking part in an artist in residence in the local University, which is super exciting but I’m guaranteed to be out of my work space for at least one day a week, but it also brings opportunities, such as exhibitions and being able to bounce ideas off others and sometimes just feel inspired. Sometimes you just loose the mojo when you are working on your own all the time.

So what have I done? Well, I’ve started test pieces for an Edwardian Fashion based collection. These will be exhibited in my local national trust property. The theme of the exhibition is to be Memories. I’m really loving how this collection is turning out. It’s given me a chance to try out some new techniques and experiment a little bit from what I would say is my normal style.

I’ve also started research/sketches and some actual work on a collection that is called Tokens. These are not jewellery but objects that are tokens of feeling, whether that be affection, love, remembrance or please come back soon.   This is the start of the making process, can you guess what I am doing?

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I’ve also taught myself a new technique. As part of my Hunny’s valentines gift I made him a spinner ring. This is a totally new venture for me. Although I love kinetic jewellery I’ve only really touched on it in the past. This is my first real piece. You will have to excuse the picture. It was taken on my window sill on a dark morning just after I had given to them took it off my husband lol.

Waves spinner ring, silver & copper

My first spinner ring, copper waves flowing around a silver ring.

I’ve also been doing a lot of work on background stuff. Tweaking the website, changing little things here and there, getting ready for the new chapter that has begun this year.

So that’s me for this week! I’m going to carry on with some stuff and let you know as more get’s finished! What are you working on this week?

Review – Heartfelt Arts & Crafts Market

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I thought I would post a series of reviews of the markets that I attend regularly. The first one I have decided to look at is the Heartfelt Arts & Craft Market in Halkyn, Flintshire, CH8 8BU.

The market is held in the Village Hall which also doubles as the Library. Its a reasonable sized room that normally fits about 20 artisans in as well as a tea & cake stall.  The tea & cake stall is normally sponsored by a different charity every month. The charity provide the refreshments but then any takings from the day are donated to the charity. I think it’s a really nice idea. It supports the local community and gives much needed donations to worthwhile causes. Some of the charities that were supported last year are BIRD, Ty Gobaith, Womens Aid and Age Cymru.

When you arrive at the hall, Sue the organiser is very welcoming. She and her family spend a lot of time setting the hall up so that it is user friendly and welcoming to both artisans and visitors. She always allocates the tables, and there is normally a noticeboard as you enter to show you where you will be spending the day.

The fair opens at 10am. The fair has a good footfall, normally with new visitors and regulars. I had one customer who was visiting family. She had come all the way from Australia! Sue and her family are around during the day to make sure everything is ok and that there are no problems.

The fair is very organised and runs like clockwork. I would definitely recommend this one, as an artisan or a visitor 🙂

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Wine Glass Charms …

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One of the most simplest but labour intensive items I sell are wineglass charms. I love to make them and they are quite popular, but I don’t think people realise the amount of work that goes into them. Below is a gallery showing all the stages of making.

After they are out of the tumble polisher, it’s time to add a jump ring and then thread them along with some beads onto the charm wire!

So there you go, not a simple job but effective I think 🙂

My habitat ….

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I thought I would do just a quick post to show you where I work & create all my things …

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The last photo (the one of the random table) is where I take photo’s and package up any orders 🙂

So there you have it, my little workspace. Now your turn, share yours in the comments 😀

I don’t like the quiet

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I grew up in a house with two sisters (and mum of course), four women in one house and you can guarantee it wasn’t quiet for long. Make that three teenagers and you were lucky if you heard any quiet time, apart from when we were sleeping!

I’m not used to peace and quiet. Quite frankly I don’t find it relaxing. Even when I go to sleep I have to have some kind of sound happening, even if it is the tv on super low or the radio – it drives my husband nuts!

So when I am relaxing (read making) in my workshop I have to have some noise about me. I know I have the sounds of the tools or machinery, but it’s just not the same. I have to have people talking! I just can’t concentrate the same if it’s quiet. For a long time I listened to music, but I found myself concentrating on that harder than what I was working on and it all went pear shaped pretty quickly. Then someone suggested that I try podcasts or an audiobook.

It was such a face:palm moment. Why I didn’t think about listening to them earlier I have no idea!  I started off loaning books from my local library and then converting them to fit on my ipod, then I discovered you can download books from the likes of Audible or free books from various apps. I loved it! I manage to reach a level of relaxation I don’t even get while I sleep lol. It is so peaceful!

My favourite books to listen to are the Dresden Files books, read by James Marsters (remember Spike from Buffy? Totally not a cockney, but has such a dreamy reading voice).  When I fancy a break from ‘reading’ I listen to podcasts. My favourites at the moment are Stuff you missed in History Class – I love this. I get to work, listen & learn! I also really like CraftLit – This one combines an audiobook with learning about the book and listening to what’s happening in the hosts life. Such a cool mix, plus you know those books that you read and think ‘what the hell is that supposed to mean’ well, the lovely Heather explains all those parts to you in whatever book she is reading in that episode.

One thing I have found in my search for audiobooks and podcasts is that I definitely have a preference for the voices that I listen to. It never really occurred to me before, but when you press play and the persons voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard, you just don’t want to listen for very long. I’d definitely recommend the links above though.

So now you know about where I work, what I watch and now what I listen to. What about you, what are your habits?

Give me your Review!

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As a craft seller one of the most gratifying emails you can receive is one from a customer who has good feedback for you! As a maker you often invest a lot of time into a piece. You put a certain amount of love into it, a little bit of yourself.

I am always really nervous when I’m sending something off, wondering if the customer will like it, will they buy from me again, what will they feel about the piece? A review is just like giving a little bit of love back.

Since I started selling online and in person I have had a couple of good reviews/feedbacks. I suppose in a way it is a good think because if the person was unhappy they would soon be on my heels telling me about it.I would love to get more reviews though …

Do me (and any other creatives) a favour? If you have brought off someone let them know you care, that you love your item, that you will look after the little piece of their heart that they have sold you. I can guarantee that it will put the biggest smile on their face when they receive that message, I know it does on mine 🙂

If you would like to see some of the testimonials I have received you can have a glance at the Information tab above 😉 If you would like to let me know about something you have brought from me, use the contact page and make me smile 🙂

Folksy Friday

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I know, I know, the day of the loved is just around the corner and although I am one of ‘the loved’ I’m just a little tired of seeing pink hearts, roses and cute meme’s about lurve …. So I thought I would change the pace and make this Folksy Friday about some thing else that I completely love …. animals. Big, small, cute, fuzzy, even bald and I will find a way to love them. I would live on a farm (and probably die because I am allergic to most things) and try to be surrounded by them.

Here is a list of some of the animals I would have on my farm …

A handmade Needle felted miniature sloth

A sloth, because they would be good to ‘hang out’ with .. he he he. Needle Felted Sloth £22. I would call him Neil …

Highland Cows Small Journal

A cow named Mirabelle. Highland Cows Journal £15

White Jasmine Natural Goats Milk Soap

A goat named Neville or Maureen … White Jasmine Goats Milk Soap £3.25

Flying Pig Automata

A pig named Nanette. Pig Automata £45

Grey & Red Geese Purse

Bob &  Bert, the geese. Grey & Red Geese Purse £10

Jack Russell puppy painting card

I would have to take my dog with me too, this is a surprising likeness to her. Jack Russel Puppy Painting card £2.50

So that’s my little farm! What do you think … is there anything you would add?