Saturday, 24 February 2007

Lovely Things About Etsy

Etsy is awesome for many reasons, not least of which is how enjoyable and delightful the browsing experience can be. I am gradually racking up quite a lot of favourites and working out what I might be able to afford to buy myself for my Etsy birthday, and my goodness there are so many nice things. I am going to have to be very disciplined and try to resist spending the children's shoe money on sparkly things.

The items themselves are great, but best of all is the sense of the personal touching everything - the differences between the individual shops and listings themselves show how even on the interweb commerce can be something with a friendly, personal feel to it. For example, Cheeky Jewelry Designs - to stand out from the jam-packed melee that is the jewellery category, she has made her product names charming, with pieces called "mama says om", "the conversation", "man in the moon" and "spring wish". I don't know how successful a selling technique this is, but the extra thoughtful quirkiness is very appealling. Another seller whose personal touch caught my eye this week is Chunky and Funky whose listings for pocket mirrors read things like "Quite handy for picking spinach out of your teeth on the bus!" and "Your purchase will get me to work and back home for one day! Think of me on the subway whenever you look at yourself!" Great stuff.

UK Etsy-ers Business Card swap...

Photographic evidence of the giant bundle of cards that arrived in the post for me this week:


So much fun looking through everyone's cards (and I am spending all my tea-breaks checking out everyone's shops in more detail now, too). I am now up to 16 items sold on the old Etsy, so had a chance this week to send out some cards with my packages. It's nice to be spreading the Etsy love... Here are a few of the cards that really caught my eye with their loveliness (although all of them had something quite charming and different about them, which I really was not expecting):

I especially like the cool rounded corners of Nonsuch's card (all of her things are so charming) and the presence of the oh-so-British postbox in the photo on the DitzDesigns card. Other cards pictured: cool felt work from Jenny Pepper , a very stylish jewellery photo from Kezzaroo (who also now makes the most mental little felt people), gorgeous textile artwork from Rachel's Melted Fabrics , crazy knitted birdies by Kool Kooky Kreatures, and the loveliest textured card from Tiny Island ... I may have to do features on most of these sellers in future as I am in love with the UK Etsy crowd's work!

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Featured Etsy Seller: Numpty

Numpty, aka Jen, is very very nice. She took it upon herself to organise our UK Etsy sellers' business card swap, collecting everyone's cards and sending them back out again. She was also my secret santa in our swap, sending me just the most gorgeous pairs of earrings. I've posted the pic before but I will do again, the green ones are stunningly beautiful and the little gingerbread men are just damn cool.I was so pleased with the latter, in fact, that I could not resist asking if she could make me another pair to send to a baking-obsessed friend (this girl is even madder about baking than I am, and I started a whole baking club for crying out loud!). Jen immediately ordered all the parts for me, made the earrings super-quick, kept me completely in the loop letting me know when they were finished, due to be listed, had been posted, etc. They arrived in double-quick time, beautifully wrapped (as were the swap earrings) and with these cute little freebies included in the parcel - Lego brick magnets!

Not only were there free magnets, but the magnets were packed in a bag that had little kisses on it. Oh, and all Jen's parcels seem to come sealed up with pretty patterned tape. These are the sort of little touches which make this girl a star and will no doubt win her many a loyal repeat customer.

First-time customers are bound to be charmed by her products themselves. The Lego magnets are fairly typical of her Etsy-hosted items - she also sells domino earrings, Monopoly hotel cufflinks and a range of Scrabble tile accessories that are so quirky and joyful they must surely make all hearts sing:

Jen has a blog full of Numptiness, too...

PS

Can't believe I forgot this one: I got hold of my sewing machine! It is sitting in a corner in the spare room at the moment, but I actually have posession of it for the first time since my sister & I "jointly" bought it a couple of years ago. All my Christmases have come at once, I am giddy with thoughts of all the things I've not been able to sew, all the projects that were just ridiculous by hand, that I can launch myself into...

A brief pictureless update...

Lots of things I need to blog about properly, haven't been organised enough to take the pics to match yet so I will hopefully post them later (& maybe some more interesting details, etc).

Etsy update: I now have a deliciously unlucky 13 sales to my name and 58 hearts (although hearting is basically bollocks, certainly if you go by some of the complete randoms I had in my favourites before a cull this week - who are these people? why did I heart them? was I drunk? etc etc).

Also: I am planning to have an Etsy birthday this year. I had already decided to do so, but my weakness this week in making two whole Etsy purchases has cemented it firm in my mind. Then I expect an Etsy Christmas will follow after that, and on and on ever after!

I have been doing lots of tidying up and organising after a week of crafting left just the biggest mess in our living room (I have no space dedicated to my crafting so my work just spreads itself amongst our posessions and muddles up with the filing pile and so forth). I now have a whole tin of birds (must post a pic of this because it is awesome, or terrifying, depending on your opinion re the birds themselves) and an album with showcase cards and a box of wrapped cards and a box of random bits and pieces and a tin with recycled envelopes and tags AND a box with in-progress stationery bits (ie lots and lots of envelopes I have cut out from old maps but not yet actually turned into, you know, actual envelopes). Organisation is good. I have even started keeping accounts*

My mother-in-law (a genuine, trained fine artist) and I are thinking about having a stall of goodies to sell at a local music festival in August.

The UK Etsiers are not only planning a sale in April (1st-8th April 2007) but we have also been swapping business cards and all my cards arrived in the post this week, hurrah, so exciting looking through everyone's cards (and hoping they liked mine...). Such a great idea, to send out each other's cards with our orders, cross promotion rules ok. I really must post a pic soon but until then there are pics up on alicub's blog
It was very exciting getting the others' cards, some of them are really very awesome indeed, felt almost like Christmas or something, lots of lovely little surprises. They will be a delight to send to people.

I have joined the women's institute! Woohoo! The W.I. is awesome and mostly sell the kind of amazing preserves and baked goods that make the mouth water just to look at them whilst also somehow embodying englishness in all its most village-ish forms (think: cakes baked by white haired old ladies for the vicarage tea party :) ). They changed their trading name from "Women's Institute Country Markets" to just plain "Country Markets" a few years ago, and operate as a co-operative for sellers (5p to join and you're in). So: Thursday mornings, local church hall, me and a couple of dozen grey haired lovelies, selling my cards etc in amongst all the jams and cakes and plants and duck eggs and knitted goodies. Have been for just one morning so far, definitely deserves a post all to itself at a later date, really interesting stuff.

There are probably lots more things but I will try to actually just post about them, with details and links and pictures and things like that instead of just gabbling on like this in a big list some more. Enough now.

*I secretly really like keeping accounts, doing all those sums is fun and writing things down meticulously appeals to my most nerdy tendencies. Shh though, don't tell anyone...

Monday, 19 February 2007

Featured Etsy Seller: jessprkle

Etsy is awesome, and there are so many fab shops on there... so I thought I would start a sporadic series featuring sellers whose items catch my eye. First up: jessprkle

"Unique Expressions" is Jessica Mattingly's shop, crammed full of just the nicest jewellery and other assorted pretty things. In particular, I adore her yarn-wrapped beads. She sells a whole selection of them and, as she is having an until-the-end-of-Feb 15%-off sale for new customers, I have just this very afternoon been tempted into purchasing a lush pair of earrings made with two yarn-wrapped beads: I hope I haven't given my blog address to my sister, as they're meant to be a surprise for her... I have been completely obsessed with these earrings since I first saw them on Etsy and have even had a genuine dream about them. Tragic, I know, but they are just so wonderful-looking.

Check out Jessica's shop, and her blog, too: jessprkle.blogspot.com

Felt Brooches Again



I have been taking some more pictures... The blurry one I took with my father's camera in a bit of a hurry, it's a brooch I made for my sister while I was staying with them. I shall have to steal it back another time to get a better snap of it, but for now it will have to do...

My Photo Lab


Not very high-tech, is it? When the light is right though you get really great photos :)

Some Photos of My Stash...




I am a terrible hoader, but when it comes to crafting this can be very handy as I am forever suddenly finding a perfect use for that thing I kept many years ago... I am trying to limit myself to one box of oddments (ribbon, trimmings, felt, buttons, beads, thread, fixings, all sorts of junk) and then there's my knitting bag and my two boxes of fabric and don't even get me started on the paper front! The pics show my box of oddments (visibly overflowing!) and some of my recent fabric finds. I am entirely in love with the floral fabrics, and the tea cups are a great tea towel that I cannot wait to turn into lots of pretty tea-themed items.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Leaf Cards: the finished product






As promised, the full set of 10 autumn leaves notecards - all wrapped up and ready to go. I am listing a few of my recycled items up on Etsy at the moment, these will probably be next... I hope people like them, I am not the best artist in the world but I am so proud of these little pictures! All this has of course set me off on a huge leaf obsession again (I was printing these up when I made all those leafy felt brooches). Oh well.

Tags!


My whole flat is full of little pieces of maps, all cut into 2 x 2 inch squares waiting to be turned into tags like this one... It is fun seeing how each one turns out, seeing what kind of places each mini tag universe contains.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Leaves!



These are some old pictures I drew with felt tip pens over a couple of afternoons at Uni when I was a) obsessed with all the autumnal fallen leaves around the place and b) avoiding doing an essay I really couldn't be bothered to write. They are on their way to becoming a set of notecards... Will post pics of the full (10 item) set when I get them finished. Leaves are awesome.

I have been making lots of recycled envelopes...



After finding some great maps in a local charity shop and then a huge old edition of some Beethoven sonatas in another charity shop, I have been going on an envelope-making binge! I have also been making notecards to match the envelopes, and am dividing them all up into individual cards, notecard sets and bundles of envelopes... So far I have made a big pile of sheet music stuff, and 4 different types of mapelopes. I am using the offcuts to make map tags, they look so cool & will sell as small bundles or be great for sending with purchases as a little gift. I will post more pictures when things are finished, and probably some of my hoard of maps. For now though these will have to do :)

Exciting Cellophane Bags

It is perhaps more thrilling than is healthy putting your handmade cards into proper cellophane bags, with proper smart envelopes, and seeing them look all professional and snazzy.

Stuck away from my supplies thanks to the snow...


I went to visit my parents, took a small pile of supplies with me so I could work on my swap item (see previous posts) and also a camouflage-wearing teddy bear I've been asked to make ... and then it snowed and it wasn't safe to drive, and so I sat down with my pink leftovers and my pile of green & brown felt (for the camo bear) and made lots of things while I enjoyed the pleasures of digital telly (Rockford Files rules ok).
As you can probably tell, I like leaves. If other people like leaves too, that would be good. If not, I will have leaves everywhere! I am esp pleased with the flower brooch. I made another (even nicer) one for my sister but don't have any pictures of it yet. Will try to remember to post a pic of it when I get a chance. I am hoping to make lots more flower brooches, and maybe some pincushions and needlebooks - I have almost finished a leafy green needlebook, just need to add some ribbon and we'll be good to go.

The Item I got sent in the Uk Etsy Swap


Lovely earrings from Numpty over at Etsy.com

The Item I made for the UK Etsy swap


Apologies if these pics show up twice, they seemed to not want to load last time I tried it.
This is the flower brooch I made for onefourzero

UK Etsy Swap...

Over on Etsy, the UK sellers have been getting very organised and have updated the UK sellers list in the forums (under Street Team) and are planning a UK Sale (1st - 8th April 07) and are in the middle of a business card swap AND a secret-santa-style item swap. For the latter, I had to make something for onefourzero - she had some floral stuff in her favourites and said she liked jewellery, so I made her a pink flower brooch (rubbish blurry picture taken in a hurry with my dad's camera before posting) . Then a few days later, in the post came my swap item - 2 pairs of gorgeous earrings from Numpty (inspired by my loves of baking and trees & leaves). I am already ordering another pair of the baking ones for a friend (won't say who though, shhh).

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Purses!



With the WI market in mind, I have started making lots of pretty little purses decorated with embroidered ribbons and fabric & felt scraps leftover from other projects. I am getting hold of my sewing machine later in the week, but for now: all handstitched. I am also planning needlebooks, pincushions, glasses cases (maybe hot water bottle covers also?), patchwork and striped cushion covers, coasters, bookmarks, lavender drawer scenters, ... all sorts of things! Lots of pretty florals and nice patterns, and also hopefully some things themed to cats, gardening and tea parties (decorated with teacups, teapots and cake... but I might also make some teacosies). I cannot wait for the sewing machine...

Yet More Birds...




The bird production continues apace. I've sold another one now and have some reserved for when a friend's payday rolls round... I am making a mobile for a friend (he is thinking about what he wants on it...) and am making an army bear for someone's boyfriend (will post a pic when this is finished, my first proper commission!) and am working on an item to send as part of the UK Etsier's first swap. Oh, and I am joining the WI and shall hopefully start selling at their market in a fortnight. Also: I got a big pile of cello envelopes through the post the other day, have put all my cards in them and they look so much better than loose: so professional looking & of course they will help keep the cards looking smart and neat. Need to order more envelopes already though as I had more cards lurking about that I'd thought!

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