Sunday, 21 September 2008

Frantic Stressing!

I've had a bit of a crazy crazy week. The company that I work for got taken over on Wednesday, which I thought would mean all doom and gloom. However, on Thursday I got a call from my boss asking me to go to New York for 2 weeks next Wednesday. Or rather, this Wednesday, which gave me less than a week to get everything I needed to get sorted right. So I've been freaking just a little. I'm naturally crazy excited, and it's going to be amazing and really hard work, but in between I wanted to get lots of Moose and Bear things finished off. And also planning what I'm going to do whilst I'm away. When I used to travel all the time for work, making stuff in hotel rooms was a real time for getting heaps of things made. But this time, I'm in New York - hello!!! But then again, I also want to see if I can pick up some cool crafty stuff, alongside the heaps of clothes, shoes, books, and other things that have crept onto my shopping list - I will be a veritable "two bag Brit"!!

Also, I was planning on taking some embroidery and crochet on the plane, but I don't know if a needle and a crochet hook will make it through security. Anyone any experience of Heathrow Terminal 5 on this?

In the meantime, I listed little Nico and this cute teacup online, and have taken pictures of the cross stitch ACEO that I made a couple of weeks ago. I haven't listed it yet though. Cross stitch was the very first thing I learnt to do, from my grandmother, and I to this day find it incredibly rewarding to do. I am naturally a big fan of the subversive stitching genre, but apart from that, can't find much use for it in my life. Having said that, I do think that this ACEO is pretty cool, so I'm really hoping that someone snaps it up!

I also found out today that my amigurumi pills have been featured on the sweetfigments blog - yeh!! I love that place, so that made me really happy!

Friday, 12 September 2008

WIPs no more!

Sorry for the lack of posting this week. I have to admit that the main reason is that for the first half of the week I was doing very little in the way of making stuff. Shame on me!

However, that all changed as on Thursday night my boyfriend was out the whole night, which left me free to do whatever I wanted, which in my mind is "make a mess whilst making stuff for Moose and Bear". And that's what I did. I started up making a new turquoise and sky blue striped elephant, which should be finished soon. I also finished up the little dude in the picture - he is so adorable. I actually started him last Friday, but then put him in my WIP bag. I haven't got a name for him yet, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments. He didn't sit in my WIP bag as long as a cute little blue tea cup which I also just got finished up, and a cake as well. The cake, embarrassingly enough, I started way back in June. I like the cake, but don't love it - I think if I really want to get into make fabulous amigurumi cakes (and I'm tempted, because I do think that they can look amazing), I'll need to invest in some cotton yarn, and maybe a smaller hook as well. These ones are made with acrylic, as all my amis are, and it just doesn't have that lux shiny, slightly stiff factor that I'd like. Plus, it needs to be stiffer to hold its shape. I've been thinking about playing around with crocheting using a tiny hook and some embroidery floss to make some cell phone charms, but that would be a pretty expensive way to go, and no one wants to pay a lot for their cell phone charm! I could use some fine cotton yarn, technically, I'm not allowed any more yarn buying for quite some time, as my yarn stash is well and truly out of hand. Well, I don't think it's too bad, but my lovely boyfriend has put his foot down. No more felt, no more yarn, until I've busted down at least half of my stash.

Talking of felt, I hadn't really played around with my felt for quite some time, but I got a request to do some consignment with my felt cupcake keyrings, so I made up a bunch of six last night, which was very pleasant. I also made a few badges last week, including the "I heart geeks" one which is below. It has really made me want to get back into making things with felt. Right now, it's felt and button badges that I love the look of. I have a smallish jar of buttons to work with, but I'd love to find a really good button supplier. Right now, I buy most of my buttons from Ribbon Moon, who provide really great service, and are fairly cheap. The only problem is that buying buttons online isn't perfect - sometimes it's hard to imagine the difference between 6mm and 8mm, and the colours don't get a fair representation. The only button places that I have been to so far in Edinburgh are John Lewis and Jenners, both of which are pricey, to say the least. Maybe I'll tootle over to Glasgow someday and do some investigating. Glasgow usually has everything that Edinburgh does not!
I also finished off another toadstool - they are so Nintendo-esque! I have started doing all my amigurumis with yarn eyes, to make them safe for all ages. It can take a while to get right though. I have just finished a tea-cup where the eyes aren't quite perfect, but after my tenth attempt, I decided to settle for "good enough!". What a productive few days then! I reckon I have about six things to list, which means is good for the next week then. I am however, running out of WIPs to cheat on, so need to start making some new new stuff.

Friday, 5 September 2008

A whole day at home

I was feeling pretty horrible last night, so decided to call in sick to work. I still feel rough (snuffly, sniffly, grumpy, and cold), but better than yesterday. And I don't feel too guilty since it was going to be a slow day at work anyway - honestly, who does anything on a Friday anyways?

Well, you can get a lot done when you are at home wrapped in blankets though. I finished off a new amigurumi design. This guy has got to be one of my all time favourites. Firstly, I love cream - it's so much more luxurious than straight white. So, the colours are great. I have a real soft spot for the simplicity of him as well, like the simple circles for nose and ears. But the best part is that I tried something new for eyes. Normally I use safety eyes, and I hate them. I'm just not that happy about how safe they actually are, they are a pain to get in, and quite often mine don't lie flush enough with my amis (this isn't a problem with the 4mm ones, but the 7mm ones are a nightmare!!). So, this time, instead of using any plastic at all, I did some french knots for the eyes - I think it worked amazingly well!!! I had to go look up a tutorial for french knots online (god bless internet video) because it had been years since I had done one, but I feel happy that I have a cute little amigurumi with sweet eyes that are safe for all ages. The only problem I have with him (he's called Jaime by the way) is that he isn't really any particular animal or monster or anything - he's just cute. And that makes him quite difficult to tag!!

My boyfriend also left me with the task of making a "sexy geek" keyring. Well, I somehow didn't. But I did manage to embroider a couple of badges. I didn't get a chance to take pictures of them, because the light is now fading (September, and it's freezing. Ori told me he wasn't sure if he could survive another Scottish winter - I feel the same sometimes). But you can see pictures of them in this picture of my stuff everywhere this afternoon. The light isn't wonderful, so it's not a great picture, but I think that the moral of the story is that I am not a tidy worker. Oh dear.

Something that I mentioned back in June, but hasn't really come up again since I restarted blogging is that I have a second shop on Etsy, PinkiePixie, where I sell scrabble tile pendants. There's an EtsyMini of it on the sidebar. I set it up in June whilst I was stranded in Belfast craftless, and it seemed like a good idea. I do absolutely no promotion on it, aside from trying to remember to renew items every so often. I know that there are scrabble tile pendant makes who sell 30 or more pendants a day, and of course I'm nowhere near that. But it does tick over nicely, and this week I've had to send out 3 packets of six tiles each, so that feels pretty good. Right now I'm all out of supplies though (well, bails) so I've decided that I can't buy anymore bails until I have reduced the number of items in my store to below 50 (right now it's at 55). I haven't factored Pinkie Pixie into my Christmas planning at all yet. Maybe I should, given it's doing actually okay.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

New supplies, new embroidery, and a bit of a surprise

I don't normally get sick, but today I've sneezed ten times, and am feeling grumpy and snuffly, so I think I might be. It must be karma for the email rant I sent to my American friend about the fact that the NHS is amazing and universal health is a human right - now I'm being sent to test it! Anyway, that wasn't what this blog post was supposed to be about!

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I had had a consignment deal go bad. I didn't mention who the consignment is with (although if you go back to February 08 in this blog you could find out...), because I couldn't decide on the karma on it. I also randomly decided to deposit their returned cheque in the bank again, figuring it couldn't hurt. It had last bounced on 31st July. Well, this is a bit odd, because it appears that this time around, the cheque has cleared. So, now I am in a quandry. I'm definitely not going to do any more business with them, as it's a bit of a farce, but do I name and shame or not? Hmmm.

Anyways, onto much more exciting things. I finished this pretty little girl up last Friday, but it has taken until today until there was good enough light to take pictures of her. I really love th colour of her coat, and how the raindrops ended up quite randomly. I'm not a hundred percent sure about the flowers though. I wish I was this cute as a little girl, but I have to admit to never having quite got the hang of using an umbrella, and even to this day, I rarely use one. Some basic skills seem to have passed me by!

Look at this lovely ribbon! I received it today from Sarah at Paper and String. Sarah keeps the most fabulous stuff, and is also really talented at making loveliness from felt too. I haven't ordered anything from her in ages, but now that I've received this litle bounty pack, I have a feeling I'll be back. I am supposed to be cutting back on supplies, but sometimes you just can't help yourself!!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

August Round Up

I was over at Tizzalicious's blog, and came across a great post on how her August was, so I thought I would blatantly borrow the idea. Don't worry, I asked her first!

Books I finished:

1. The Looming Tower - Lawrence Wright

Yes that's right. I finished just one book this month. But it was a big, important book. Pulitzer Prize winning, difficult, and well worth putting the effort in. I did get a big box from Amazon last Friday with heaps of books for me to get into.

Movies I watched:

Man, I never kept track of this, so not a hope of writing a comprehensive list. Right now, I'm obsessing on Season 3 of the West Wing - does that count? The movie that had most impact on me was the Lives of Others - amazing, beautiful, tragic, and wonderful.

Annoyance of the month: Can't decide between the constant rain, or the craziness of the tourist season during Edinburgh Festival.
TV Show of the month: Duh. Old West Wing, as previously mentioned. I'm not very good at real tv, I have to admit.
Highlight of the month: So many, most of them alcohol fuelled, to be honest, thanks to the festival, the amazing comedy, La Clique, and my birthday.
Drink of the month: PIMMS!!!! So much Pimms, so little August.
Nice surprise of the month: My boyfriend getting me a random dress from French Connection just because. What a sweetie.
Accomplishment of the month: Blogging again. And also selling again on Etsy.

Items sold on Etsy: 9 (that's a whole 8 more than July!)

I've also had a couple of sales and custom orders in the last few days, so hopefully September will be even better.

Goals for September:

Items sold on Etsy:
Items sold on DaWanda: 2
Blogs posts: at least 3 a week.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Wouldn't you want to find this in your garden?

My sister works as a junior doctor in Edinburgh, and this week she had to call Kew Gardens to ask them to id some mushrooms as they were treating a woman who had eaten some whilst out for a walk and was now violently ill. It all turned out okay, but I had no idea that Kew offered such a good service. I have to admit that I think that mushrooms and toadstools are just about the cutest things in the world ever, and have been meaning to crochet up some for ages. The key for me was making one that would stand up with no problems, no leaning to one side etc. So I made up a separate base rather than going for the usual decreasing at the bottom. I also couldn't decide about whether to put the white felt dots on, but I'm glad I did, because I do think that it ups the kawaii factor. I'd really like to make a whole army of these in zillions of different colours and sizes, and then they could be found all over the house - wouldn't that be so cute!

Although I've been really enthusiastic about making stuff and crochet and embroidery at the moment, this weekend has not been craft-tastic at all. I was actually celebrating my birthday, and that involved cake and champagne and dancing until 3am on Saturday, so Sunday was spent in my pyjamas on the sofa watching old-skool West Wing. I did very briefly pick up my crochet hook (I'm making an ice cream cone at the moment), but it involved counting and paying attention, and that just wasn't happening. We did make it out of the house to watch the Edinburgh Festival Fireworks which were pretty good, but not as good as previous years. So this week I'm back to focusing on working through my 70+ item Holiday Season crafting to do list. I hope to maybe get down to 65 items....

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Oh how I have missed this

I really, really have missed having my blog in my life, particularly the lovely comments that people leave. The general consensus on the consignment incident is that I should name and shame, and I think that I will, but that's another post later in the week. In the meantime, I have to admit that I am absolutely loving the fact that I can really see the direct link between my blog and my sales. Almost within an hour of posting my last post, I had a sale. Someone had spotted my blog post on twitter, clicked through, and made a purchase. I also had a ton more hearts in the store. All completely reinforcing the view that an online business requires a multi-faceted marketing approach. But we all knew that, didn't we? I do love my twitter though, and whilst I wasn't blogging this summer, I was regularly using twitter to keep up to speed with what others were doing, and posting about generally not doing very much. One major purchase I made this summer was an iPhone, and I do truly heart it. It saves me a lot of time - and I can do things like twitter, and keep up with everyone else's tweets, whilst on the move. Things have just become a bit simpler there.

It's a bit of a grey day here in Scotland. I'll be spending the afternoon making myself a birthday cake, or rather a Boston Creme Pie, for a party tonight. Hopefully I'll get some good pictures of that. I've not had a chance to take any pictures today, but yesterday I did list this cute pink whale that I've had for a while now. I think she's adorable, and perfect for kids of all ages. Secretly, I don't want to give her up! I am excited at the moment about having so many cute things to list in the shop that it's taking all my willpower not to just put them all up at once. This week is going to be a busy one for that.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

And I'm Back!

This is my first blog post after an extremely long hiatus. I've taken the last two months off from working on Moose & Bear for a couple of reasons. The main one is that it's summer - the sun is shining, I'm spending more and more time outside with friends, and less time inside with wool and the internet. That has naturally led to a down-turn in productivity. I've also noticed that sales seem to go down in the summer (maybe just mine!) so that contributed to a sense of, well, not quite enniu, but certainly a feeling that there could be more fun things to do rather than promoting my shop and making cute stuff.
Summer is still going, but, like many crafty peeps, I'm already starting to get excited about Christmas. This will be my first real Christmas on Etsy (and also Dawanda - woo hoo for my new Euro site!), and I'm looking forward to it. I'm already planning lists of things I want to make, and even starting to make them. I am really going to be focused on amigurumis this year, because they are so cute and fuzzy. The only problem is that they take a while to make, hence the early preparation. My to-make list is 70 items long, and growing all the time - eeek! I also think that my felt badge with embroidered words will do well. I've also started to develop a line of embroidered scenes to hang in kids rooms - I really want them to do well, as I adore making them. However, I haven't noticed a huge number of them selling on Etsy, so it might be a bit hit or miss. I've posted a picture of my first one below. The last time I was posting, I was writing a lot about play food - well, I'm still pleasantly obssessed with that, so expect to see plenty of cakes and donuts in the store looking cute and edible.

I have had one major disappointment. Way back in February I was asked by a gallery to do some consignment work for them. They sent me some paperwork and I agreed. I finally received what was supposed to be my first payment in July, after chasing them for a couple of months. However, the cheque bounced. I complained, they sent me another cheque, but it has bounced again, and they are not responding to emails. Whenever I call, they tell me the manager will call me back. A sad story, and one that has put me off consignment forever. I just feel thoroughly ripped off. They contact a lot of British artists through Etsy, so I can't decide whether to name and shame so as to warn other people off....
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, 14 June 2008


I use Majaba a lot to track my views and hearts. It's a really nifty tool. But, really, the reason why I am loving Majaba a lot right now is because it has introduced me to Swoon - I heart swoon for lots of reasons - the gorgeous retro pants and camisoles, the fact that she is based in Inverness, the sheer deliciousness of their prints and designs. I just heart it all. I have never bought any clothes from Etsy before, but swoon has got me all tempted....
Check out my favourites below:

Friday, 6 June 2008

I'm so excited!!

Just a teeny post to celebrate my first sale on Pinkie Pixie!! Some lovely nice person bought 8, count 'em, 8 pendants!! All of my monster pendants are now gone, so I'll have to make some more. I'm sooooo pleased it's not true - first sale in my new store, and hopefully a sign of successes ahead!!

I'm not neglecting Moose and Bear though - new products being listed this weekend as soon as I get home. Work work work!!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Technology Free Zone!

I'm a bit of a technology-free zone at the moment. The reason is that I'm currently back at my family home in Belfast, looking after my mum who's having some back problems. She's getting much better, but just the way things are, I don't have half the amount of time to spend playing around online. That means, far less twitter, far less etsy-playing, far less internet in general. Instead, I've been working on my new scrabble tile pendants, and experimenting with what works well with them, and making up some crochet cakes for listing over the weekend. Do I miss the internet? Well, of course. It's a pretty much vital part of my little crafty business. Pls, right now, business hasn't been one hundred per cent booming, probably due to my lack of onlininess. However, productivity is up up up!!!

Sooo, these are my new scrabble tiles. I've made some of them using Japanese paper, but most are from old postcards from my rather embarassingly giant collection. I'm pretty glad that I've found a use for them. They've been sitting in a box in my flat for about 6 years waiting for me to say "yes! let's cut them up and stick them on stuff!". And now I have. Fabulous. They are available at my new store - Pinkie Pixie.

I'm a little conflicted about the tiles. On one hand, I think that they are totally goregous, and can definitely see them selling in local craft fairs as well as online. On the other hand, the Etsy community seems to have a weird relationship with them. They sell reasonably well, but they are a big trend there, and maybe I've lept on the bandwagon? But what is wrong with making what you like?

Thursday, 29 May 2008

anxious to get back to cutting, sewing, stitching...

Real life has taken over. No seriously. I haven't had a chance to sit and make anything all because my in-laws are in town. They are staying in our super-tiny (one bedroom, one living room, one tiny kitchen and a bathroom) flat, and as you can imagine, things are a little tight. My flat was really made for about 1.5 people - even Ori and I don't fit in there sometimes! So I have been completely unable to get our my crochet and get hooking. I'm a bit upset about this, and I'm getting fidgety. I really want to go splurge on lots of supplies so that as soon as I get to crank open my bag, I will be armed and prepared with heaps of wool. Yes, I think will be caving on the supplies limits that I have imposed for the last couple of months. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I'm totally obsessed with making sweets and cakes right now, so hopefully I'll have a chance to finish off and photograph a couple to post this weekend.
On another note, I'm also really wanting to get on the scrabble tile pendant trend. I know that there are a lot of sellers in this boat already, but they look so amazingly cute to make, so I want to give it a try. I'm currently sourcing supplies as we speak. One of the really frustrating things to discover is that supplies in the US are sooo much easier to come buy, and much much cheaper. So I doubt I'll be able to compete on cost. It will have to be down to originality then. I have heaps and heaps of postcards that I have been collecting over the years and this is the perfect project to use them on. Unfortunately, this has resulted in me becoming totally addicted to ebay looking for tiles, vintage ephemera, and other bits and bobs. Wow! I can see how people get totally addicted. I may have accidentally bought around 600 scrabble tiles just through the sheer excitement of winning auctions. Yes, that is rather sad, isn't it? Particularly since I have no real idea if this will take off. I guess I can always sell them as destash on etsy at some point if I don't manage to get rid of them though.
I can't wait for the weekend to actually get back into making stuff!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

crochet, summer days, and an amazing new find

Whilst I haven't been posting as much recently, I haven't been sitting around doing nothing. Truth be told, all the lovely sunny weather has kept me away from the computer a bit, and I've been satisfying my blogging through extensive twitter usage. I have also been enjoying making my latest critter - aren't these guys awesome? The middle chap is already for sale here. The other two are going on sale later this week. I have had a bit of a hard time thinking of what to call them. Paintgranny and AntiqueBasket think they are stumpies, which I'm happy with, but if anyone has any other suggestions, I'd be pleased to hear them. My boyfriend thinks they look like little pills - I guess they do a bit! Amigurumi happy pills!

Right now I'm really obsessed with making play food - I spent far too much time on flickr last night looking at some amazing stuff, so tonight I'm going to be experimenting with making a cake. I used to make crochet cupcakes, but I found that lots of people made them, so I couldn't really differentiate myself, but maybe I'll go back to them soon enough.

I was also reading the embroidery blog feeling stitchy where I came across the ohmigod amazing hensteeth. I absolutely adore ephemera, but I am completely hopeless at actually capturing the whimsical beauty that I want, and that hensteeth has managed to do so well here. This is embroidered on a vintage envelope, and it just takes my breath away it is so wonderful. She has a blog here, and an etsy store here as well. Go check it all out.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

a rest is as good as a change...

It is no secret that I have been taking a break from crafting. I had been planning to take a week off; in fact, I ended up taking two. I find that a break here and there is great for the soul, and good for understanding why it is we do what it is we do. (I'm sure that's a song lyric that I have stolen from somewhere). I had a good time - reading books, running in the late evening sun, playing tennis, but I also caught myself being mildly bored by the internet (there is only so much jezebel, whowhatweardaily, and fashionista that a girl can read!), whilst watching tv (oh, who does any single thing at a time these days?!) but not doing anything about it. I've now realised that that extra time that I was being bored with - that's my craft time! So last night whilst watching brothers and sisters I started my new crochet monster, and I'm so happy! I was also enjoying crafting under my own steam. For the last two months or so, I have been crafting to deadline, as there were fairs I had to get ready for. Now, no longer! Just what I want to make, when I want to make it. No doubt I'll still make my super long lists of things I want to make, but this time I can actually experiment and get back to being chilled about it. I'm very excited and pleased about this. I'll be doing a good lot of crocheting I think over the next few weeks, before getting back to felt monsters and that sort of thing. I admit that I haven't been doing as much online promotion as I ought to have, but that's okay for the moment as well. I'll catch up with some myspacin' this week, and post a little on the forums and flickr, but taking a natural from everything one in a while is great for the soul.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Philosophy of Failure

Not hitting your targets is hard. Especially when you have been having a successful run at things. I haven't hit my April sales target, and in fact have missed it by a significant stretch. This might be my second-best month on Etsy, but it has been my most disappointing in terms of expectations.
Missing your goals is tough. It doesn't matter where you miss them, be it a fitness goal, a sales goal, a maths score, it is always disappointing. And of course, it is inevitable as well. At some point, we all fail. And if we don't fail, we don't really get tested as a person - we don't really understand the joys of our success if we haven't tasted defeat. And yet. And yet missing your goals also draws in self-doubt, the whispers of failure, the nagging thoughts of just jacking it all in. So, how can we turn missing our goals into something positive?
Well, it gives us a chance to reassess ourselves. This is a crucial part of any learning exercise. Let's go through my thoughts on my failure this month, and see what sort of action list I draw up for May.
  • Are my products right? Well, I've been shifting my products slightly, and maybe I have gone too far away from the crochet products in preference of the easier to make felt badges. My word badges usually sell pretty quickly, quicker than the pretty embroidered badges. ACTION: work on creating at least four crochet pieces this month to list. List more word badges.
  • Have I promoted as much? I haven't been posting as much in the forums, since I was worried that I was going to lose my job from my far too frequent etsy surfing. I'm not going to go back to that though! I did spend some time in chat rooms, and that vastly increased my hearts and views, but did nothing for my sales (short term). I also haven't been posting as much to flickr. My blog posts have been fairly consistent. ACTION: spend at least two hours a week posting photos to flickr, taking part in groups, commenting etc. Try to upload at least 2 new photos twice a week. Also, do at least one myspace promotion this month.
  • Have I been listing/relisting as often? Yes. I've been listing/relisting almost every day. I am loathe to get into things more than that, as my products are not such high cost that it is worth spending a large amount of relisting fees. I have a reasonable number of new products to list that I can continue to list something new every day for the next couple of weeks. ACTION: continue with listing trends.
  • Have I been advertising enough? I've had one round of project wonderful advertising. That is probably not enough, to be honest. ACTION: undertake at least 2 campaigns of PW advertising through May.
There's also the question of outside factors, and whether I set myself realistic targets in the first place.
I believe, that whether you are doing well or not, that it is important every so often to stop and reassess - what am I doing, how am I doing it, and is it working?
Let's see if my proposed actions have a positive impact on Moose and Bear over the next month.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Back to Reality

Another month, another craft fair. This time it was organised by Edinburgh Craft Fairs, who had done a large amount of promotion and had signs plastered all over Morningside. It was quite cool seeing pictures of my wee beasties blown up to being a foot tall! The craft fair itself was fun enough - I got talking to some really lovely people and sold the odd thing here and there (octopuses continue to be my most popular item), but not enough to dine out on my takings (we dined out anyway at the lovely iglu anyway!). For most people there, craft fairs were their main source of selling their business, and they approached it as an average basis - some are good, some are bad, and it's hard to tell which it's going to be from the start, since there are so many factors to consider - the venue, the weather, the time of year, credit crunches, etc. Christmas is always good, though. But whilst I was there, I realised that I just don't really love doing them - I hate the sitting around, the constant waiting and hoping that someone's going to buy, the fretting about whether my stall is good enough, looks attractive, is set up in a good place, whether other people round me are selling more and all that. That is all a part of retail which I just don't relate to enough. So I've decided that I'm not signing up for anymore fairs at all, apart from the Christmas one. I've tried something, and I didn't enjoy it. I think that that is okay.

Craft fairs do kick my productivity up a notch or five, and so I now have heaps to list on etsy (and a few things have also been deleted thanks to a couple of sales). I'm taking a break from the sewing and the hooking for a few days to let myself get back into it and get excited, but I've got a good amount of stuff to tide me over listing-wise in the meantime.

It's nearly the end of April, and unfortunately, I didn't hit my sales targets which were either hitting the big 5-0 on my store, or selling 15 items this month, if I hit the first one. Well, I didn't. I have sold nine so far, and am stuck on 46 sales. I'm really willing people to click on the buy button on etsy, but it just doesn't seem to be working! I'm sure I can tempt some people in with these new listings, fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Update on the To Do List

Firstly, check out this amazing banner that was put together for me by cultivatedmindart. How fantastic is it?! I adore the lo-fi, diy, doodle approach she's taken. It's just perfect for moose and bear. I gave her such a random brief, and I'm so impressed with what she did with my really rubbish directions! I was actually a little bit nervous when she asked what I wanted - I didn't want to be too directional or prescriptive, because I'm pretty open-minded and trust graphic arts people to be able to produce something fantastic that I didn't even know I wanted. I did say I didn't like orange or purple, so she has nicely avoided those! If anyone else is looking for a banner, I would definitely recommend her.
Soooooo, my crafting to-do list. It now looks like this:
  • make legs and finish a blue octopus - the legs are done, the octo is not finished!
  • make six more sugar cookies - I've done a tiny bit of three
  • make six matryoska dolls - I've not even started
  • make 4 felt ninjas - not started
  • make 3 crochet ninjas - not started
  • make 3 keyrings - not started
Should I be freaking out? Well, yes, probably. But I have been really rubbish at focusing my efforts this week, instead getting addicted to Rookie mistake. Tonight my boyfriend is out for the entire evening at basketball, so that will give me a huge amount of time to just sit down and focus my sewing efforts. I am determined to get the cookies done and at least 3 more matryoska dolls. I know I can do it, I really do! I just gotta have faith! (and large quantities of diet coke! and my favourite sewing soundtrack).

Monday, 21 April 2008

to do to do!

My moleskine is no closer to turning up, so I'm going to have to struggle on without it. I'm really gutted, as it was only about a quarter on the way through, and I had so many fantabulous ideas in it. Grrr.
It had my this week crafting to do list for a start. I have been just about the least productive laydee ever this weekend, and really have to knuckle down this week and do some serious work. So, what does my to-do list look like?
I have to:
  • make legs and finish a blue octopus
  • make six more sugar cookies
  • make six matryoska dolls
  • make 4 felt ninjas
  • make 3 crochet ninjas
  • make 3 keyrings
ha ha - not much then!!! I can finish the octopus tonight, and the cookies tomorrow night. The matryoska dolls will take wednesday, and the crochet ninjas thursday. I'll outsouce most of the felt ninjas to my boyfriend (does that still count as me?). The keyrings I can do Friday night. See, I reckon that list is totally do-able.
Or maybe I just am a complete optimist!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Last Full Day of Crafting Before Fair

Today is my last full day of crafting before next Saturday's craft fair in Morningside. Given that the last one I attended, I didn't sell heaps, I am not as stressed this time about having heaps and heaps of product (although it is a completely different market, so maybe I should be! Still, that doesn't mean that I'm outside enjoying the crisp (okay, chilly!) April sun. Instead, I'm inside finishing up a whole load of octopi (I love making bodies, hate making legs!), and then making a heap of crochet and felt ninjas. I've also been experimenting with play food - I really wish I had had time to make more of it. Play food is soo cool, and I really think that the Morningside yummy mummies would have got quite into it. Shame. What is more of shame is that I seem to have lost my fantasticly useful and important moleskine which basically kept track of everything that I had done and needed to do. Without it, I am lost. I am loathe to start a new one in case it turns up. It basically was where I put every idea about monsters, ninjas, blog posts, badges to make, and marketing plans. See, totally totally lost without it!

After last month's fantastic success on Etsy, this month has actually been really quiet. No sales in over a week! Still, that just gives me a chance to experiment with some different stuff, relax a little from the manic making, and focus on next week. I won't be listing anything this week (maybe a bunch of renewing to make sure I'm still showing up in s
earch results), and next week I'm sure I'll be back with renewed vigour. These two badges are my latest listings. This is the last fair I have in my calendar for the moment, and I'm not sure how I'll progress with them at the moment. Instead, I might start looking more at consignment opportunities at local places.

Following on from my last post about once you get in one treasury, you start to get in more? Well, here is my little yellow ninja in yet another treasury (it has been in at least two so far). Thanks to kankalinhats for that.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

sucess begets sucess

success as we all know, breeds success. I happen to think that this is particularly true when it comes to being featured in a treasury. Recently, I've noticed that the lovely lupin's work has been on a front page a number of times recently. Abi has also been featured twice recently as well. And I notice that I've gone from being in the odd treasury, to being in a few more again, like this lovely pink one curated by boffin. And from this I've come to the conclusion that once you have gained some exposure for your work, like promoting your little bum off and eventually being featured in a treasury, people notice you a bit more, add you a few more times to their favourites, and then, when they come to make a treasury, come back to you. And so the circle continues, and is heightened even more by hitting the front page. I would like to say at this point that there is no way you are going to get a front page if you don't have amazing amazing work. I am certainly not saying that people who are on the front page do not deserve to be there. But I have a gut feeling that once you get there, the heightened level of exposure that it brings increases your chances of ending up there again.
What do you think? Do you think that hitting the front page is more likely to happen once you've done it once, or do you think that it all is down to the fabulousness of your stuff, the long slog of promoting your stuff, and a teensy bit of luck

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

a game of tag!

I've been tagged!!! Leah at Moxie Photo and Design has tagged me. Unless I follow the rules, she's threatening to put her finger in the peanut butter jar. To be honest, that's not much of a threat to me, since my boyfriend shoves his finger in there all the time, but I'll still behave myself and play by the rules!

They are:

1. link to the person that tagged you.

2. post the {very important} rules on your blog.
3. list 6 very unimportant, random nothings about yourself {should be an easy one}

So, 6 random nothings about me then....

1. I love lighthouses
2. Despite working in IT and having an online shop, I have watched about 3 youtube videos in my life.
3. I have an extremely broad back - my dad refers to it as my builders back.
4. Rice is my least favourite form of carbohydrate. Noodles or potatoes are my favourite.
5. My favourite show ever is the west wing. My second favourite is the OC.
6. I keep buying high heels that I don't wear.

okay, so now that I've done my part, I've got to tag some other people. So I'm going to tag Abi and NikonGirlsPhotoshop.

Oh, and that cute little badge up at the top is my latest badge that I just listed.

Ooooh Paris!

I have absolutely nothing crafty to blog about whatsoever. I deliberately didn't even take any of my crafty stuff to Paris, so have made absolutely nothing in the last few days. Nothing!
But aren't those macaroons just about the most gorgeous thing you ever saw? And they taste even better than they look! I got them from the ancient tea house, Laduree, which has branches all over Paris. I went on Saturday afternoon, and the tiny tearoom shop was crammed with Parisians who were buying them to serve as after dinner treats. The lemon one was most memorable to me - it resembled a lemon sorbet, without being cold, the way it sort of disappeared in your mouth - incredible and fabulous. I have a box of them sitting at home waiting for me, and I'm actually drooling thinking about them! I think that the pictures are so beautiful as well that I want to do something with them, but I'm not sure what that is yet...
Paris was absolutely wonderful, although the Euro exchange rate was rather painful. My legs ache from walking miles all over the city, which was fantastic. There are two things that I love when I'm in a city - walking everywhere, and sitting having coffee (preferably after walking everywhere!). My favourite place to spend some time is the Jardins du Luxembourg, which are the most gorgeous city park. A highlight of the trip was having 16 very french waiters sing happy birthday to my dad at La Coupole - I think it certainly took him by surprise! For once, I didn't do much shopping (pesky Euros!) although I did get a heap of notebooks (the new moleskines). There is nothing like a French papeterie to make me open my wallet! I'm actually back on the Euros tonight as I'm off to Dublin for work tomorrow, and back late tomorrow evening. So I'll have gone an entire week of no crafting - shock horror!!! Thinking about it now has started giving me the heebie jeebies! Actually, I'm supposed to go to dinner on Thursday night, but I think I'll have to give it a miss.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Milestones, Holidays, and Asking for Trouble

I'm super excited because this time tomorrow I'll be in Paris! Yeh!!!

Okay, Parisian celebrations over. I'm also getting pretty excited about my shop because yesterday I hit a small milestone - 300 hearts. However, I'm coming up to a bigger one - 50 sales!!! Whoever buys my 50th product will get a nice little surprise in with their purchase as well. That would just be the best surprise ever, to come back from my long weekend to see that, but I think it's more likely to be in the next couple of weeks.

I've been meaning to blog about another Etsy seller for a while. asking for trouble is based in Glasgow, and I first saw her stuff at the Glasgow Craft Mafia market about a month ago. Her inspiration comes from Japan, and her stuff is made so beautifully that I totally fell in love with it when I saw it. I particularly love this pink brooch - isn't is so classy? This notebook is also gorgeous.

Asking for Trouble can also be found at

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

moving along in no particular direction

Things have been very busy around here, and I've hardly had a chance to sew anything, never mind write about sewing things! Real life, such as work and family has been getting in the way of Moose and Bear, but that's fine with me - much fun as it would be to have my life dictated by the corner of the room where all my felt gets heaped, I think that eventually I would become a social recluse who would be incapable of having sensible conversations and might forget to eat. Well, being reasonable, forgetting to eat is not likely to be a problem. So letting friends, family, food, a bit too much alcohol take over from sewing isn't such a bad thing, and I'm not going to let myself get worked up by it.

That doesn't mean I've been doing nothing. I've been making heaps of embroidered felt badges, like this one I've featured here. They go really well until I try and sew the badge on the back, and then no matter what, it seems to end up cock-eyed. I've had to unpick about five to get them to a stage that I'm happy about! I've got lots more designs for these rather pretty badges to work on, and I think I'll also make some magnets and keyrings for them as well over the next few weeks.

I've also just shipped off a batch of bunnies down to the art gallery in Newcastle where my bunnies are sold. This is my only bricks and mortar place, and it seems to be working well, although I've not yet received any cash!! I'll give that one a chase in a few weeks. Actually, I also really want to put together a brochure and spend a day going around some likely Edinburgh B&Ms to see if there is any chance of having my work there. I spend lots of time reminding myself that Etsy is not a business plan, and that I should expand my horizons, but then don't do anything about it - I can be such a hypocrite!

I also keep getting invites to craft fairs that I can't go to, which is really annoying. I'm doing one in a few weeks in Morningside (part of Edinburgh), but the Glasgow Craft Mafia have invited me to two I can't make, and another one from someone in another part of Edinburgh. Having only done one, I really want to do a couple more and get to that point where I can make an informed decision as to whether they work for me. Right now, I'm not there yet, and dates and going against me.

I'm also hitting some interesting targets - today I got 300 hearts, and I've also got 44 sales - so close to 50!!! (There will be a prize for my 50th sale you know!)
However, much more exciting than all that is the fact that I'm off to Paris on Thursday for a long weekend. Bring on the fine food and the good wine!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

lazy sunday day

Well, I'd love to say that I had a fantastically productive Sunday creating heaps of new products, but I didn't. I did go see the Ansel Adams exhibition, which was very beautiful and inspiring. Then, somehow I ended up shopping with Ori for trousers, instead of sewing some new badges. I've made a couple tonight - this geek one I actually did 90% of the work on last week at 3am, but found I can't cut straight at that time of night, so gave the final touches a miss until now. I just listed it a few hours ago. I also finished off my custom geek badge, and have done a whole heap of embroidery to sew up over the next few days. That's the thing - I'm fantastic at starting projects and doing the fun stuff - the designing, the making, and absolutely terrible at actually getting things finished off. It's the same no matter what I do - I have 3 whales in various shades waiting to get sewn together, as well as two octopuses, and now about seven badges. I'm just a complete procrastinator.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

How many is too many?

One of the questions that I often ask myself is
how many items should I keep in my store? Is more better, or does that look like I can't sell anything? The best sellers on Etsy often have over 100 items in their store. However, they often have sales in the hundreds as well. I have never managed to get beyond a meagre 25 items until today, when I listed another couple - this little cute elephant and a new felt badge. I think I'm going to get to 30 (I've sold 38), and then go back to relisting rather than constantly adding new things. That doesn't mean I'm not working on new designs and ideas. I've got about 5 brooches that I need to finish off. Tonight will be about eating a lovely salad, watching a proper film (The Lives of Others), and chilling out.

This little badge is a bit change from what the embroidery that I've been doing recently - it's a bit prettier, and a bit more "skilled" looking. I wanted it to look a little more professional, and I've got a few more designs like this up my sleeve. I hope that they fit in with the rest of my shop aesthetic, and don't get lost in all the cheeky nonsense!

Today I had the nice surprise of receving a convo from a past buyer who had come back to my store again and was wanting me to create a "geek" badge for her. I'm so happy! The thought of a repeat buyer is just too cool for school. So naturally I making one up for her quick smart. As I'm sure I mention on a regular basis, my biggest problem right now is getting the right light for taking photos. Every morning this week I've been keeping an eye on the light to see if I can take some cheeky photos before work, but I've really had no joy at all. I'm really hoping that this weekend will be a bit more sunshiney so I can get some photos taken; otherwise my pile of stock is just sitting there waiting to be listed!

You would think that I would have learnt from last time that leaving craft fair preparation to the last minute is a baaad idea. And the nagging voice at the back of my head really and truly does know that. However, work and family stuff has really been taking over me recently, and I've barely had time to craft at all. I've got a to-do list in my moleskine as long as my arm on things I have to make, and definitely not enough time in the world to actually get them all done. I'm starting to feel the pressure! My next craft fair is the last Saturday in April, but next weekend I'm in Paris (oh la la!), so that's completely out. And this afternoon, I'm going shopping with my lovely sister.You see where time is drifting away too.

I just had another lovely discovery - that I'm in a treasury!! Thanks to lostintheforest for putting it together!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

First Sale for April

This is a really quick post, mainly because I've been feeling a bit guilty about neglecting my blog recently. I had my quickest ever sale today - I listed this cute little nerd badge, had a shower, and when I came back, it was gone! A personal record, I have to say. I'm also currently working on a new product - some felt sugar cookies. These are mainly for a craft fair I'm working at in a few weeks. I don't think they'll make it to Etsy. I find that my more "traditional" stuff - crocheted stuffed toys and the like - do better at craft fairs than the kooky nerd badges. Right now I'm preffering the nerd stuff though!!!

Monday, 31 March 2008

March Roundup

March turned out to be my most successful month on Etsy. This came as a total shock to me, as I completely ignored Etsy for the first two weeks as I frantically crafted for my first craft fair. Here's how the monthly stats come out:
Sales: 15
New hearts: 60
Hearts:Sales ratio: 4
I think that the hearts:sales ratio is really interesing - it's actually pretty low. I used to do a lot of pimping my work in the promos forums, and whilst that got me a lot of hearts and views, it didn't actually get me sales, and so I stopped.
Given that I had such a successful month, what was I doing differently?
1. Better photos. I have gotten very picky about my photos. Even the ones I'm currently using, I'm not completely happy with them. I've started only shooting in natural light in the morning (I've been late to work a couple of times taking advantage of the rare sunny days in Edinburgh!). I take photos against either white simple white computer paper, or for my newer amigurumis, a roll of white card. I really want to invest in a light box, but not for a couple more months. I usually don't use flash, but I've been finding it useful every so often for evening out light tones during the day.
2. New products. This month I created a lot of new products. I started making a whole lot of felt badges, which I am completely addicted to making. I also made up new felt ninjas, and this week I'll add some new crochet beasties to the mix. A reasonably high proportion of my sales have been recently listed items - items that weren't even a week old in my shop. That to me is amazing! Having said that, I also sold the two oldest things in my shop, so I guess I can't make too many comparisons. But the message I'm getting is that adding new things to the mix is really great, and to keep doing it.
3. List every day. At least. Since the mad crafting rush for the craft fair, and the subsequent disappointment around sales there, I was left with a lot of stock on my hands. I spent ages taking photos of it, and have been able to list a new item every day. At the weekends, I have been listing two. And I have also been listing across categories - my felt brooches are in accessories, and my amigurumis are in toys - I'm hitting up a lot of different etsy spaces, and the results are effective. I don't know why, but listing new items seems to be more effective than relisting, but it could be that the newer stuff is simply better.
4. Focus my social networking. I didn't go near a laptop for two weeks. My views definitely suffered. The last couple of weeks of March, I started focusing my efforts on Myspace, Flickr and Twitter. I commented my etsy mini on around 100 myspace pages, and I uploaded approximately 30 photos to flickr, which I then tagged and added to the relevant group. I also commented on a couple of other people's photos. I reinvigorated my twitter account, and have about 60 people following me. I have received feedback on the Etsy forums that I "tweet" well, and have also made a sale because of twitter. And the best thing? It's really low maintenance. I'm not doing anything that I wouldn't already be doing. Myspace takes an hour every two weeks, Twitter take the time that you are waiting for pages to load anyway (I use twitterfox), and flickr only ever gets pictures that I would have to edit for listings anyway. I use the flickr organizr tool to streamline my photo management, and it probably only takes about 20 mins a day. I have to admit that I still browse the Etsy forums, but only whilst I'm at work, so I'm not losing any important "crafting time".
5. Blog better. I've been putting more focus on my blog and posted articles that are relevant, and hopefully informative. I gave my thoughts on Alchemy, how to Twitter better, and the joys of marketing here. By making my blog more useful, hopefully its readership will grow.
So that's what happened to give me a spectacular March. I only hope that my expectations have not been so high that April will only disappoint. I have set myself a number of goals for April.
12 sales
50 new hearts
consistently maintain approx 25 items in shop (and not let it drop below 20).

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Multi-Avenue Promotions

I have frequently extolled the absolute necessity of promoting your Etsy store outside of Etsy. The last couple of days for me have been absolute proof of that. Last weekend I made a sale that started with someone spotting something I made on the front page and blogging about it. I discovered this, and then commented on his blog, we had a nice little conversation, and a few days later, he made the purchase. I really don't think that he would have had I not commented on his blog and blogged about him. Then, a few days later, I made a sale thanks to my frequent twittering, and this morning I woke up to three more sales to someone who counts me as a flickr contact. If I'd only stuck to promoting within Etsy, these sales would never have happened. But, and this is the best bit, they really didn't take that much effort from me. I love flickr anyway, and have happily lost hours whilst looking at other photos and sorting my on. Twitter, as I've already blogged about, is such an easy way to connect with people.

So, what makes effective flickr marketing? Easy. Add your photos to groups. Add contacts. Make comments on photos. Repeat. Just beware that you don't lose three hours of your life there - so easy to do!!

And for twitter - talk about your life, talk about your products, add links to your blog and new listings. Tweet to other people, get involved.

Oh, and finally, isn't my new "I heart geeks" badge awesome!! I love it, and really wanted to keep it.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Treasury Time!

Just a quick post of Friday night to say thanks to DogmawGlass for including me in their Orange treasury - woohoo!! DogmawGlass makes gorgeous glass beads - definitely check out their store!!!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Twitter Tastic!!

I'm not posting or listing anything today - the light is horrible and I can't get a good photo of things I've made. Instead, let me talk about my latest online obsession. Over the last couple of months, I've started using Twitter. Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that I first read about it in the storque, etsy's news area, and thought, hmm, that sounds fun. Well, okay, I first really signed up to twitter about six months ago, but at that point, I couldn't really see the point. Twitter seems to be reaching a really interesting critical mass at the moment - problogger uses it to connect to his readers, and dooce just blogged about it this week as well. I'm really enjoying my little twitterfox that pops up and tells me the antics of some fairly random crafty and fashion peeps all over the world. Following a post of on the Etsy forums, people started adding each other as friends - I currently only have about 50 "followers", as opposed to my 500+ myspacers. But I wouldn't want to have 500 twitter people - then I would be deluged with "tweets". Tweets are 140 character long messages that people send via twitter to provide updates on their life. It's amazing how informative a 140 character post is. Jellypotpie provides frequent updates on her running. paintgranny tells us about her weather. Delightfully tells us about new sales and cheers everyone else on with theirs. I talk a lot about lost crochet hooks and jaffa cakes. We all provide updates on our creative processes, new listings, and new blog posts. The joy of twitter is not just the public posting, but the ability to reply straight back to people directly - conversations start, relationships build, and connections get stronger. I would like to think that this is all part of a bigger strategy to build up customers, rapport and more. But in the meantime, it's not much effort, and rather addictive.

Follow me on twitter.

Monday, 24 March 2008

50th post!!

Yes, I can't quite believe that I've made it to my fiftieth post. Not quite as exciting as my 50th sale, which will be quite some celebration. Yesterday I was lucky enough to celebrate my 30th sale, and that lucky chappie will be receiving a little extra gift in his envelope when he opens it. Actually, he was a really great customer, a couple of convos about the item in question before buying it, and I just really liked ho he took the trouble to get in touch. Big smiles.

Yesterday, I was supossed to be making more amigurumis, as they are by far the most popular thing in the shop. But I realised that what I really wanted to do as to stack my felt up and to vaguely tidy my thread box. I've included a before picture, but I forgot to take the after picture - doh! But bringing some order to my life made me a wee bit happier.

Today, I also neglected the amigurumi ducks (nearly finished, honestly) in favour of making something entirely new. Please welcome this tiny little felt car! I think it's adorable. I saw something similar in an Aranzi Aronzo book, but I wanted to go smaller and use buttons and some embroidery, so ended up with this little cutie. I really want to make a whole heap more of them now. The only shame is that his buttons don't actually turn, otherwise Ori and I could race them round the flat!

Tonight I'm having a late Easter dinner. Roast lamb, all the trimbings, and a rhubarb crumble for dessert. I've never actually made a rhubarb crumble, so I have to admit to being slightly worried about it. Mainly that I don't actually have enough for the crumble, to be honest. I wasn't really thinking when I picked up the bunch, and now this could be a disaster!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

I got blogged!!

Just a quick one as I'm tired after a hard day's shopping (what, I'm allowed, I'm pretty sure Lent's over). I got a google alert today that someone had written about my wenis badge - turns out a certain Rob Williams noticed it on the etsy site, and provided some further background on the word wenis. I always thought it was just a mix of weiner and penis - who knew? Anyway, it's pretty cool that he blogged about it, so I'm happy.