Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Featured Seller

Todays featured seller is Nicola from Nicknots

What is your name/business name?

What is your craft?
Sewing, I mainly make project bags, which also make great make-up bags and knitting needle rolls but I also make bags for little people, tote bags and PE bags.

How long have you been crafting for?
I remember using my Grandmas knitting machine when I was 6, she taught me how to make bobbin lace when I was 7 and have been sewing for years. I used to annoy my sewing teachers no end when I was doing my GCSEs because I was incapable of sticking to a pattern and because I used to help (or rather make for them!) the boys patchwork cushions or whatever we were making at the time because I had finished mine. I started sewing properly for Nicsknots just over a year ago.

What is your most favourite thing about crafting?
Being able to work around my family and when they are finished, taking a step back and enjoying the finished item. I love all of the lovely people I have met, both customers and other crafters and the variety. Every day is different.

What is your least favourite thing?
Not being able to switch off. When I am trying to work out a new design, I can't sleep, I have to keep faffing around until I am happy with it.

Where do you get your inspiration?
It depends on what I am making. With my 'Lucy' bags, my inspiration was my little girl, Lucy, who loved bags and wanted one like Mummys so I scaled my totes down and made it work for little people too.

Where do you sell your work?
I'm a bit of a shop tart..I started off with a shop on Etsy then Folksy because I wanted a UK selling platform then MISI and Coriandr. I also sell some of my knitting related things to shops such as Fyberspates, Brownberry yarns and KraftyKoala.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about your business?
This last year has been a very steep learning curve. I am really enjoying myself and have met some lovely people but it has also been really hard work, I never seem to get enough done every day and hate having people wait for things they have bought, I aim to have things in the post, the same day that it has been bought.
My website: http://www.nicsknots.co.uk
Folksy: http://www.folksy.com/shops/Nicsknots
MISI: http://nicsknots.misi.co.uk
Coriandr: http://nicsknots.coriandr.com
Fyberspates http://www.fyberspates.com
Brownberry yarns : http://www.brownberryyarns.co.uk
KraftyKoala : http://www.kraftykoala.co.uk

Thanks to Nic for answering my questions! Now go check out her gorgeous shop

Friday, 26 June 2009

Friday Roundup

I'm afraid I've been pretty poor on the blogging front this week. I've been finishing 2 orders for Bubbles bracelets and my day job has been getting in the way as well!

The great news is that our camera has arrived, the bad news being I can't actually use it yet as hubbie is having to rebuild the laptop and it will be out of action for at least 5 days. Thankfully I have this work laptop but I'm not able to download pics etc.

I found some gorgeous pomegranate coloured glass beads this week and made a new Bubble Bracelet

I've actually made a pair of earrings to match, but with our computer problems have been unable to list them.

I also made a pair of earrings to match the Silver Bubbles Bracelet in my Etsy shop. These are really cute although the pic leaves a lot to be desired!

And finally, I've decided to have a section in my shop offering free worldwide shipping I'll be rotating items weekly, including my best sellers, so it's worth keeping an eye on this section!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Featured Seller

Todays featured seller is Folksy seller Emma from Ji Ji Kiki

- What is your name/business name?
My name is Emma Coles and my business is called Ji Ji Kiki. It's named after two characters in a Studio Ghibli film.

- What do you make?
I make vintage and kitsch jewellery.I have just launched a new jewellery range called 'Reconstructed,' which is one-off pieces made using broken and vintage items. I like the idea of taking something old with some history and story behind it and using it to create a completely new piece. I also sell bags, bath and beauty products, homewares, gifts, handmade fascinators and retro and vintage jewellery, bags and homewares that I have collected on my travels.

- How long have you been crafting for?
I've only been making things to sell since last year, but I have always been creating things. I used to write a lot of stories when I was younger and I love to draw and paint.

- What is your favourite thing about your craft?
I love creating new pieces. I get really excited when I think of ideas for pieces and can't wait to try it out. It's such an amazing feel when a customer emails saying how much they like my work or that people have complemented them on one of my pieces they have been wearing. I am really lucky in that this is my full time job so I get to do what I love everyday.

- What is your least favourite thing?
Not enough hours in the day to get things done! I also find it very frustrating when I have an idea for something I'd like to make and then can't get hold of the pieces I need.

- Where do you sell your work?
I have my own website, www.jijikiki.co.uk
and I also sell on Folksy. I am also stocked by two shops; Iksentrik in Frome, Somerset and Birdy'sBoutique in Lincoln.

- Where do you get your inspiration?
All over the place-films, books, nature, dreams. I studied history at university and really love the Victorian, Art Deco and Art Nouveau periodsas the jewellery is just gorgeous so I guess that plays a part as well.

- Anything else you'd like to tell us?
As if I don't have enough to do already, I am also in the process ofsetting up a new website to sell other designer's work.My boyfriend's mum is a beaded jewellery maker who also teaches and a lotof her beaders would like to sell their work but, like a lot of crafters, want to make things to sell but don't want the hassle of having to buy the photography equipment, set up a shop/website and deal with the business side of it all.My new website will be an emporium to sell pieces made by people who just like to create! It's called the Oriental Magpie, as magpies obviously like shiny and pretty things-which is what will be available through thesite :)
I also have a blog called Scavenger Bird where I feature independant shops and handmade items - I also run competitions to win pieces kindly donated byfeatured artists.

Many thanks to Emma for answering my questions and I hope you'll check out her shop

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Irish Dancing and The Priests

Yesterday was a full on Irish day for me!

In the afternoon I took my 10 year old daughter Alex to an Irish Dancing festival. She's laidback (some would say lazy)in the extreme and if I hadn't told her to go and practice her dance in the morning I would never have found out the elastic had snapped on her dance pump and needed sewn back on. 10 minutes before we left the house, she went to get changed and informed me she needed black tights to go with her dance dress. Now this was the first I'd heard of needing black tights and of course, as any mother will know, we have the supernatural powers to magic up anything at 5 minutes notice. Thankfully the tiny Co-op in the village had one pair of extrememly dusty black tights they found in a back storeroom!
She did pretty well, winning a 3rd and a Highly Commended. When she commented that she never won a trophy and I replied that she would need to go on a Wednesday and a Saturday, she just said she didn't want to win that much! What can I say?!

Yesterday evening I went with my Mum, MIL and a friend Martina to see The Priests in concert at the Odessey Arena in Belfast.

The Priests really are Catholic priests who have become a bit of a phenomenom in the Ireland and the UK over the past year and appeared on The Jonathon Ross show a couple of weeks ago. They have been signed up with Sony for an incredible $1.4 million. In December 2008 they scooped the Guinness World Record for 'Fastest-selling UK debut for a classical act'. The album has turned Platinum in Ireland, UK, Sweden, Norway as well as going Gold in New Zealand, Canada and Spain.

I kind of went because my Mum and MIL were keen to go and I decided to accompany them. Martina attends the chapel where Father Eugene is priest,so she was keen to see what they were like in concert.

What can I say? 3 Priests and 5,600 congregation - I mean audience - and I swear Martina and I brought the average age down by about 25 years. But they were totally amazing. Their voices were as good as any I've heard live before and they were such a good laugh. They sang everything from Ave Maria to Danny Boy, Abide with Me to Pie Jesu.

Got to say, looking at my concert going this year - Il Divo, The Priests and er, Miley Cyrus - makes me out to be a strange one, but really they are well worth listening too

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Front Page!

I'm delighted that my treasury made it to the FP last night! Of course I missed it but many thanks to TheChownJewels for convoing me and letting me know! It was called 'Champagne' and nearly all the sellers were from the UK. A few got sales from it too, which is brilliant :D

Friday, 19 June 2009

Friday Roundup

I spent most of the week finishing off my custom order. I made 5 Ivory Bubbles necklaces, 7 bracelets and 7 pairs of matching earrings. I got them posted today, hopefully in plenty of time for the wedding!

I made a couple of memory wire bracelets this week too. This one is Red and Silver and is made from red glass beads and silver stardust beads.

The other one, the Glitter Memory Wire Bracelet is made from silver, crystal and black faceted glass beads with silver bugle and seed beads.

The good news from the week is that we have finally ordered a new camera, so I hope the quality of my pics will improve soon. The not so good news is that I didn't get the job I was interviewed for last week. Oh well, it gives me more time to make more jewellery :)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wednesdays Giveaways

It's Wednesday so it's time for a round up of some blog giveaways.

The first one up is to be found on indiestyleblog. They have a beautiful pair of Exotic Blue Asian Inspired Earrings from MaruMaru. You have until Wednesday 24th June to enter.

The next giveaway is to be found on cabinandcub.blogspot.com You could win a cute set of gocco printed blank notebooks and entries must be in by Monday 22nd June.

And the final giveaway is to be found on the feltmeupdesigns.blogspot.com. You have the chance to win one of 3 cute tweets.

Good luck!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


I'd seen a lot of talk in the forums about Flickr and how it can be used as a promotional tool, so I've decided to do a short post on it today.

Flickr is a photosharing website. Once you register with it, you have what's known as a photostream, where all of your photos are displayed. You can then join different groups and add your photos to these groups.

To start your account click on "Create Your Account" at the top right hand side of the screen. Flickr is connected with yahoo, so if you have a yahoo account you can just use that, otherwise you will have to create one.

Once your account is created, you can upload photos of your products by clicking "You" then "Upload Photos and Video". You can add up to 6 photos at a time and add tags, to help them be found by others searching for particular types of photos eg handmade, jewellery, jewelry, bracelet, blue etc

Important - You must not post links to your shop or items in the descriptions but you can post a link to your shop in your profile. If people like your items then they can go to your profile to find your shop.

So how can flickr be used as a promotional tool?
To use flickr to get more exposure for your work, you need to join groups. You can add new pictures of your products to groups on a daily basis. To join a new group click "Groups" at the top of the page. Then enter in a search term and click "Find a group". You want to find groups that relate to your products, a good start would be searching for some of the tags you use when listing your items. Once you join a group you can start adding your photos right away. If the group is large enough this will help you get lots of exposure.

Also if you want to make others on flickr a contact, simply hold the cursor over the persons avatar. An arrow will appear. When you click on it, it will ask if you want to make someone a contact.

Remember that you want to use your best pics on Flickr in exactly the same way you do in your shops as people looking at these pics may want to check out your work further.

Here's my Flickr link if you want to take a look -

Monday, 15 June 2009

Monday's Featured Seller

Todays featured seller is Folksy seller Fiona from Christals Creations.

What is your name/business name?
My name is Fiona, my 'business' name is Christals Creations.

What do you make?
I make a mix of jewellery for all ages and have recently started making tiaras, mostly with gem chips but also with crystals and glass pearls.

How long have you been crafting for?
I have been crafting one way and another since I was a child, patchwork, knitting, cross stitch, cards and jewellery.

What is your favourite thing about your craft?
My favourite thing about making jewellery is seeing an idea progress into the finished item, though sometimes I do just like to look at all the beads and findings. I also love to see my hallmark across an item I have made.

What is your least favourite thing?
My least favourite is all the wonderful beads and findings out there which I just can't afford to buy as there are far too many of them. That and when you can picture an item but it just wont quite work out.

Where do you sell your work?
I started selling jewellery at school fetes and in the staff room at work, progressed on to Folksy this year and have a few craft fairs lined up for the summer.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from the beads and findings, from browsing the internet and from books and magazines. Anything that catches my eye and I think I could do something like that with. . . or sometimes people come to me with an idea of what they would like and we work something out together.

Anything else you'd like to tell us?
I throughly enjoy beading and jewellery making. It creates a welcome break from being a mum every now and then.

Thanks so much to Fiona for answering my questions and I hope you will check out her lovely shop.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Friday Roundup

It's Friday so its time for me to fill you all in on my week. As some of you are aware, I've had a job interview today so have spent the best part of the week preparing for that. No word on that as yet, but fingers crossed I'll finally be working as a physio again soon.

I seem to have had a bit of success on Etsy at the minute after I suddenly had the brain wave of tagging my pearl bracelets as 'bridal' I've had several custom orders as a result and am currently working on a BIG order, which I'll fill you in about once it's completed.

I did manage to make one new piece this week. It's called Shades of Gold Bubbles Bracelet and it's a variation on my Bubbles theme. This time though I have used an antiqued gold chain with a mix of pale gold, ivory, bronze and browny/gold glass pearls.

So now I'm off to wire wrap loads of pearls in the hope that I get my custom order completed this weekend and I can show it off next Friday!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Blog Giveaway Winner!

At the end of last week I was delighted to find out that I was the winner of a blog giveaway! I have entered many giveaways but this is the first I've won.

I was lucky enough to win a beautiful pair of earrings from designsbyLucy

Lucy actually gave me the option of an orbit pendant, earrings or ring in several colours! As you know if you've read my blog before, I love earrings so I couldn't resist another pair.

Lucy very kindly put a wee extra in as well -

So thanks again Lucy and I hope you'll check out the link to Lucys shop

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Shop Sales

To have a sale or not have a sale - that is the question.

I've participated in sales in my online shops on several occassions, sometimes with modest success and sometimes with none. I've had One Day sales, twitter followers sales, end-of-season sales and SNS sales.

If anyone is on Etsy you've probably realized that they are promoting the 2nd Etsy Yart sale this week. What is a Yart Sale? Well, it's a Yard + Art Sale, hence the title. It has actually warrented a Storque article and I'm noticing lots of pink avatars popping up all over the forum tonight.

As I'm never able to resist a bargain myself, I've decided to have a Yart Sale myself and have spent tonight getting together a Yart Sale section in my shop and adjusting prices, tags etc.

So I'll let you know how I get on over the next few days and if it brings me any sales. Here's some of the items in my sale -

Monday, 8 June 2009

Mondays Featured Seller

Todays featured seller is Laura from JD by Laura on Folksy.

What is your name/ business name?
My name is Laura and my business is called JD By Laura.

What do you make?
Hand made jewellery, using crystals, freshwater pearls, glass foiled beads. These are some of my favorites anyway.

How long have you been crafting for?
About five years now. I'm self taught, most of what i know is from books and making mistakes.

What is your favourite thing about your craft?
Making it and wearing it, but I also find it very relaxing.

What is your least favourite thing?
Not been able to work out how to do a new stitch (pattern)

Where do you sell your work?
My Folksy shop- gladwyn and i am doing a few craft fairs this year.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere, books, nature, shops, people.

Anything else you would like to tell us?
My blog is www.jdbylaura.blogspot.com

Thanks Laura for answering my questions and please check out her shop!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

School Fair

This morning I took a table at my childrens school Summer Fair. Last year we had a scorcher of a day and loads of visitors. Unfortunately it was raining this morning so we had to set up the tables in the dining hall, corridors and class rooms.

However it was still well attended and I think I got lucky with the table right beside the tea and biscuits! I've learned over the course of many fairs to bring lots of items for children and lower priced items like simple earrings. It's surprising how many of the children were buying small gifts for their mums!

I sold several necklaces and bracelets as well as lots of the lower priced items, though there was steep competition from another seller who imports a lot of cheap items.

I also got a commission from a lady for a necklace and earrings. She'd bought a necklace from me at last years fair and came back this year hoping I'd be there!

I've no more fairs lined up but after todays success I'll definitely book some in for the autumn.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Friday Roundup

This has been a really bitty week this week. My camera is officially dead so I've been using the wee one we have, though the macro setting is pretty poor on it.

I've got a school fair tomorrow so I've been making loads of girls jewellery and mobile phone charms etc at the expense of things for my shop. I did a roaring trade at the fair last year, so am hoping for a good day tomorrow.

I've only listed one new thing in my shops this week, this Silver and White Pearl Memory Wire Bracelet but I'm hoping to get more made up next week.

My Etsy shop has been a bit quiet over the past 2 weeks but I was pleased to get my first sale on Folksy in about 6 weeks.

So hopefully I'll be able to report a successful fair tomorrow - fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Wednesday Interview

Todays interview is with fellow Northern Irish crafter and Folksy seller SeetheWoods.

What is your name/business name?
My name is Leanne Woods and my business name is See the Woods Designs. The business name stems from my blog name.

What is your craft?
Good question. I love to knit and sew, but I will work with wood occasionally. Usually the one time a year when the garage is tidy and I can actually get anywhere near my tools.

How long have you been crafting for?
I was taught to knit and sew by my great aunt when I was three years old. I continued with knitting and sewing until I was around 10 or so. I didn't really get into crafting until shortly before my daughter was born. I was pregnant and really ticked off that I didn't know any knitters so she wouldn't get any little blankets and cardigans when she born, so I taught myself to knit again. Knitting was surprisingly nothing like ridiing a bike for me:)

What is your most favourite thing about crafting?
I love to create unique things, which hopefully nobody else will have. I also love creating useful things which I can use day to day.

What is your least favourite thing?
Sometimes the frustration involved. If I've started a handful of projects and then suddenly lose the inspiration to complete them. They sit there and taunt me. I try my best to only work on one thing at a time, startiing and completing one project before moving on to the next but at times even that can be difficult.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Usually very late at night, just before I fall asleep. I try to reuse salvaged materials as often as possible so more often than not I take my inspiration from the things I' able to get my hands on. I try not to have an idea and then need to buy brand new materials to create them. Sometimes it does mean making my designs fit the materials I already have on hand, but that's half the fun.

Where do you sell your work?
Currently I sell my work on Folksy and Misi.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about your business?
I included a couple of links to my favourite items in my shop at the minute


Thanks to Leanne for answering my questions and please go check out her shops!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


I've just spent the weekend with my friends Alison and Katherine in the amazing Spanish city of Barcelona. Alison and I are both 40 later this year and have talked for years about having a girls weekend away to celebrate. We opted for Barcelona in late spring, so it wouldn't be to hot for my pale skin.

I've never been to Spain but fell in love with it straight away. The blue sky, Spanish language, incredible architecture and sparkling Mediterranean Sea won me over.

Katherine and Alison had spent hours picking a hotel and eventually settled for Hotel Lleo, just a short walk from the Ramblas and Plaza de Catalunya and complete with a rooftop pool. This hotel is great value for money and I'd recommend it to anyone thinking of visiting Barcelona.

We decided the best way to see the city was to get the opentop bus tour, which you can hop on and off. We spent time drinking coffee on the sandy beach and dipped our tops in the sea, wandered through the narrow cobbled streets of the Barri Gòtic, gazed at all the incredible works of Gaudi and of course drank sangria on La Rambla while watching the street entertainers.

Alison is football mad so we paid a visit to Camp Nou but as they had just won the match against Man Utd a couple of nights before it was seriously busy and we just had a coffee and decided against the tour of the stadium. Katherine and I would have gone in - I felt it was a bit like taking me to a massive shopping centre and only allowing me to look at it from the outside otherwise :)

One thing that caught us unawares was that there are no shops (except those selling gifts) at all open on Sundays - so get your shopping done before that. We just had to have another glass of sangria on the Ramblas instead.

Just before we headed back to the hotel to get changed on Sunday afternoon we discovered a market at the very bottom of the Ramblas with lots of great jewellery etc. I treated myself to a ring which will remind me of my hols.

So I just want to say thanks girls for a great weekend and here's to next autumn when we will be having another weekend away for Katherines 40th.

Alison, me, Katherine