Category Archives: Guest Blog Post

Shirley Woosey from Whimsey Woo Designs

I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Shirley Woosey from Whimsey Woo Designs on Etsy and Folksy. She is today’s guest blogger and makes the prettiest book covers and miniatures for dolls’ houses that can be found her 2 etsy shops.

I’ll let her tell you a little about herself and her shops:

Shirley Woosey
Shirley Woosey

Tell us a bit about you
I am in my early sixties now, the Mother of two grown up children and I have one 3 year old grandson.

How did you decide on the name for your shop?
My surname is Woosey and I wanted to use the “Woo” part in my shop name. I tried various combinations of words but decided on Whimsy because I though it suited the fabrics I use and went well with Woo. So Whimsy Woo Designs was born.

How long has your shop been open and why did you start?

My Etsy shop has been open since May 2011 but my Folksy shop opened a few months earlier in January 2011. I needed a creative outlet for my sewing and the amount of fabrics I had stashed.

What is your favourite item in your shop at the moment?
Currently this is my favourite item: It’s a large
Bible or Book Cover made from a gorgeous piece of green and gold vintage kimono silk from Japan.

Silk Kimono Book Cover
Silk Kimono Book Cover

What made you start?
I have always loved fabrics and find I can’t resist beautiful and unusual ones. When I was quite young, under 10 years old, my Granny taught me to sew book covers for my school books. These used to have carry handles. I always loved making them but over the years I have evolved them. They are more popular now without the handles and have an elastic loop and button fastening.

About 5 years ago I thought I would make some as Christmas presents for friends and family. They were a great hit and I needed something to do which was creative. My job in accountancy was becoming more and more frustrating and I needed to do something else to relax. My daughter suggested selling on Folksy and I soon discovered Etsy as well and after 2 years I was able to give up my accountancy job and concentrate on Whimsy Woo Designs.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My original inspiration for sewing and crafts definitely comes from my Granny who was a trained milliner in her youth. Now my inspiration comes from beautiful fabrics which are created in the United Kingdom if possible, especially Harris Tweed. The tweed comes in all sorts of bright colours and is very contemporary. One I especially like is this Pink Harris Tweed.

Pink Harris Tweed
Pink Harris Tweed

I also love Art Nouveau and vintage designs. I have managed to find several vintage fabrics from around the world over the last few years. I especially love vintage kimono fabrics from Japan. The warehouses in Tokyo and Kyoto have many bolts of silk and yukata cotton fabrics which have been stored for 40 to 50 years. These are unused and have the most beautiful patterns and pictures on them. I tend to buy fabrics which I like myself because I know I will enjoy sewing them.

Silk Kimono Book Cover
Silk Kimono Book Cover
Vintage Art Nouveau Butterfly Maiden
Vintage Art Nouveau Butterfly Maiden

What do you love the most about running your own business?
The best thing is being my own boss. If I want to spend all day in my pyjamas, just pottering around my craft room, then I can do. It gives you an enormous amount of freedom.

What do you love the least?
My least favourite thing is editing my photos and putting listings on my websites. I would far rather be sewing or choosing fabrics.

What other things do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I love to read. I can always find a little time to read, even if it is only a few pages a day.

I also love dolls’ house miniatures and hand stitch miniature rugs and carpets. Some of these are for sale in my other Etsy shop, Whimsey Woo Miniatures along with other miniature textiles I have made. I have my own 4 storey dolls’ house which I am slowly decorating and filling with furniture and rugs.

As my husband is now retired and my Etsy shops are not as busy in summer time we take the opportunity to get away as often as possible in our motorhome. We love to go to Scotland and across to Europe. My favourite places to stay are in the mountains and I also find time when travelling to look out for more fabrics for my book covers.

What would be the one piece of advice would you give to a person setting up their own shop?
The best advice I can think of is to take the best photographs you can of your craftwork. Remember if you are selling on the internet then the customer can only judge by the pictures. They can’t pick the items up to look and feel them. And do make something you enjoy doing.

Thank you, Shirley!

You can find Shirley and Whimsey Woo Designs here:

http://www.WhimsyWooDesigns.etsy.com

http://www.WhimsyWooMiniatures.etsy.com

https://folksy.com/shops/WhimsyWooDesigns

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Guest Blog Post – Cord Necklace Tutorial by Heather Barber

This is a guest blog post from Heather Barber from Moosethemint on Etsy. She offers quirky eco-friendly gifts she makes from upcycled materials. Her guest blog post today is a Cord Necklace Tutorial. She recently made one for me for my ill-fated attempts at buying a blue agate pendant….

Cord Necklace Tutorial

1. Gather your tools – 2 set of pliers, scissors, ruler.

Tools
Tools

2. And your equipment – wax coated cotton cord, 2 jump rings, 2 cord ends, 1 lobster
clasp and whatever you are going to put on the cord – I’m using a music pendant.

Cord and findings
Cord and findings

3. There are a variety of different kinds of cord ends, often called bead caps, and
these ones have 2 fold over ends like a tri-fold wallet.

Crimpers
Crimpers

4. Cut the cord to a suitable length, I normally go for 18 inches. The cord is easy
to cut with scissors.

Measuring
Measuring

5. Line the cord up with the edge of the end cap, and then using the pliers, fold
over one side and then the other, clamping the cord in place, and give it one
final squeeze.
Necklace end
Necklace end

6. Repeat on the other end.

Both Ends
Both Ends

7. You need to check what you are going to hang from the pendant will fit over the
lobster clasp – if not, add it to the cord now before adding the jump rings.
8. Open the jump rings – these should always be opened with the ‘open gate’ movement,
don’t try and pull the ends apart as they will not reform afterwards. You will
need 2 sets of pliers to do this.

Jump Rings
Jump Rings

9. Feed one end of one jump ring through the lobster clasp (make sure that it fits,
as jump rings can come in different thicknesses) and then through the
cord end.
Clasp
Clasp

10. Feed the other jump ring through the other cord end.

Added Jump Ring
Added Jump Ring

11. Using two sets of pliers close the jump ring, again using the ‘open gate’
movement.

Close jump ring
Close jump ring

12. You should have a closed ring on one end of your cord.

Finished End
Finished End

13. And you should have a lobster clasp on the other end joined by a closed ring.

Clasp
Clasp

14. The lobster clasp can now be fastened to the loop so you can wear it.

Closed Lobster Clasp
Closed Lobster Clasp

15.I have added a music pendant to the cord.

Finished Pendant and cord
Finished Pendant and cord

I’ll have to give this a go, I have a great bead shop not far from me…

You can find Heather here –

Etsy: MooseintheMint
Facebook: Minty Moose
Instagram: Moose in the Mint
Twitter: MintyMoose

Guest Blog Post – Becci Gott’s Decoupage Head Tutorial

Here is another Guest Blog Post, this time from Becci Gott from Bumblebee Lane Crafts on Etsy. She’s written a great post on how to decoupage a mannequin head – I think this would be a great craft to do with old books or vintage comics!

Decoupaged Head Tutorial
Decoupaged Head Tutorial

This tutorial has been a long time in the planning – I took the photos over a year ago with every intention of writing this up over the following weeks. Life always takes over though and it wasn’t until Denise asked about guest bloggers that it gave me a proper kick up the bum to get it all written.

Becci Gott
Becci Gott

First, I feel like I should introduce myself. I am Becci from Bumblebee Lane bumblebeelanecrafts.etsy.com) and I often feel like crafting is in my blood. In my first memory of my best friend, we were about 3 years old and sitting underneath a table together at a craft show that my Mum was hosting in our family home.

From that day forward, a lot of my childhood memories revolve around hanging out at craft shows, meeting my Mum at her craft shop, digging through her buttons and from a very young age, developing my own vocabulary about how certain fabrics feel. I learnt almost everything that I know through watching my Mum, despite not really sitting down with her and learning in any formal way.

I am, however, an anomaly. I am also a massive geek. For 14 years, I worked on a career in data analysis – writing code every day and presenting data in a way that made it easy to understand. In 2014, I made the decision to step away from the 9-5 in order to focus on my creativity and my family.

When I walked away from the structure of the 9-5, I knew that my business would be textile based. I love exploring other crafts but my love of fabric runs deep – at least I now have a great excuse for the fabric stash that I have accumulated over the years.

Craft Show
Craft Show

Although I have now moved to selling entirely through the internet, to start with I was exhibiting at any craft fair that I could fit into my schedule. The thing that you don’t think about when you first start at craft fairs though is that you can’t just lie everything on the table and hope for the best. Your stall needs height and different elements to show you wares off to their best.

Luckily, I have always been a bit of a hoarder, so I was able to add shelving, crates and boxes to give my stall a nice eclectic feel.
Over the various shows, I have also added more and more items, but one of my favourites is my mannequin head. I use it to display eye masks, but it could just as easily be used for displaying hats and hairbands – or even just as a feature in a bedroom. So, without further ado.. here is the tutorial for sprucing up your own polystyrene head!

Materials
Materials

DECOUPAGE HEAD TUTORIAL

Materials
Polystyrene head (I bought mine from eBay for around the £6 mark)
2 x Patterned napkins (again, I bought mine from eBay)
PVA glue
Glue Brush
Old pot / jar

1) Cut your napkins into 1 inch squares (approximate is absolutely fine). I used 2 different designs on the napkins that I used, but made sure that they were similar styles. Using 1 design would also work absolutely fine. You can also buy decoupage paper in craft shops, but I personally like the way that the napkins are pliable around a curved shape.

1: Cut Squares
1: Cut Squares

2) Add some glue to the bottom of your old pot/jar – as I said, I am a hoarder, so have always got jars lying around for this sort of project. Add some water to the glue (about a 1:1 ratio) to thin it up a little and mix. I like to use a foam glue brush for this sort of project, but any soft brush would work just as well.

3) Working with a small area at a time, spread some of the glue mixture over the polystyrene. Start adding your squares of tissue, making sure that the edges overlap.

3: Start
3: Start

4) The messy bit is when you get to the details like the eyes, nose and mouth. You’ll find that you need to get some of the glue mixer onto your fingers to encourage the tissue into the hollows. It is worth taking your time over these bits to make sure that they are perfect!

4: Details
4: Details

5) When you get near to the bottom of the neck, leave to dry for 30 mins – 1 hour.

6) Once dry, add an extra layer of tissue to overlap the bottom. You can completely cover the bottom if you like, but I opted for just the one layer so that it looked great when stood up.

6: Base
6: Base

7) Allow to completely dry, then apply a coat of PVA glue over the whole head to seal the tissue paper and give it a more hard wearing finish. If you prefer a more matte finish, you could apply a matte varnish at this stage instead of the PVA.

7: Sealing Coat
7: Sealing Coat

8) Enjoy your pretty mannequin head!

Enjoy!
Enjoy!

You can find Becci’s products here:

Website: bumblebeelanecrafts.etsy.com
Wordpress: bumblebeelanecrafts.wordpress.com
Facebook: bumblebeelanecrafts
Twitter: twitter.com/bumblebeelanecr
Instagram: instagram.com/becci_gott
Pinterest:pinterest.com/becci_gott

Guest Blog Post – Emma from StanleysMummysmakes

Another guest blog post, this time from Etsy Shop StanleysMummyMakes and Emma Hutchinson. I’ll let her tell you her story….

Emma & Stanley
Emma & Stanley

So here I am, about to turn 36 at the end of the month and writing my first ever blog…scary huh? Firstly let me express my thanks for being given the opportunity to do this and explain that what you are about to read is my internal monologue written down, I have a child under two years old, I spend 90% of my time with him… you could be in for a rocky ride.

The item that started it all... Decoupaged Spoons
The item that started it all… Decoupaged Spoons

This last year has been pretty momentous but in a completely subtle way. No fanfares, party’s or the like but small risks and changes that have turned our family life around.

Decoupaged Cupboard Knobs
Decoupaged Cupboard Knobs

Rewind to Feb 2015 and I was returning to work after my maternity leave…I was both excited, I had loved my job for the last 18 years and secretly I was looking forward to conversations that didn’t revolve around gripe water, nappies and the breastfeeding debate if I’m honest…and sad to be leaving my baby boy at 8 months old but I’d found a fabulous childminder, so far so good!! A few months in though and I was really struggling to keep all the plates spinning, keep a clean tidy home, be a good mum, and give 100% at work…I was often up and out early, and home late. I fell out of love with my job. Then a serious health problem raised its ugly head within my family, and I began thinking that life is too short and that family is THE most important thing. Things changed, slowly at first, I went back to my art and design roots (I studied Art and Design to A Level then Graphic Design and Illustration to degree level)…doodling and crafting became therapeutic but also got me thinking!!

 Decoupaged Trinket Box
Decoupaged Trinket Box

I knew I wanted to finish work and stay at home with Stanley but couldn’t make the figures add up…while I was maternity leave I had made a few items, Christmas wreaths and countdown plaques to sell to family, friends and also to other mums at playgroup etc. I had overheard one of the other mums say ‘Stanley’s mummy makes these’ and for some reason that stuck in my head (mainly because I remember thinking, why do we lose our names when we have children??). Could I make enough by crafting items to supplement me being a stay at home mum?

 Chicken Bunting
Chicken Bunting

I googled like I’d never googled before and decided that Etsy was the platform I wanted to set a store up on. So I did (on Aug 10th ‘15 to be precise) However, I had nothing to put in it an I started to look around for inspiration. Now this is where it gets a bit strange (especially if you are male…my husband STILL doesn’t get it!!) I am a collector of Emma Bridgewater pottery, now there are worse things in life but the way my hubby goes on you wouldn’t think it…so I often found solace in groups of like minded mostly female individuals on Facebook. I like to refer to us as ‘potty people’.

I was flicking through the new Emma Bridgewater catalogue one day and wondered how many other potty people were in my position I.e. lusting after adding to our collections but not having the bank balance to do so? I started experimenting with decoupage using Emma Bridgewater napkins and made myself a set of wooden spoons to display in my kitchen that matched my pots perfectly. One upload of the photos onto Facebook later and I had order requests. A quick email to Emma Bridgewater HQ to make sure I’m not breaking any laws and StanleysMummyMakes was born.

 More spoons...
More spoons…

From then on in things went faster than I’d ever imagined. I suddenly found myself HMRC registered self employed and my notice was handed it. By Oct 12th I was officially running my own business and working from home. BUT, the most important thing is that I get to spend time raising Stanley!!
Let’s be clear, I make nowhere near what I was bringing he from my old job but I can work around Stanley, we are saving on childcare, our quality of life is better due to a work/life balance and I’m able to contribute towards household bills and family expenses.

I love what I make, I would only sell items that I am willing to have in my own home. I have had return customers and some fabulous feedback and I’m pleased as punch with how things are going.

Bunting
Bunting

Now, if you are reading this and wondering whether to set up on Etsy or not, I would say to you do it… you might just surprise yourself!! However, a word of caution… don’t just expect to sit back and watch the sales come rolling in. It’s hard work, and I mean bloody hard work!! Right at the beginning I mentioned a birthday looming, well at the ripe old age of 35 (what’s that, but you look so young in your photo?;-)) I’ve had to educate myself in all things social media…not an easy task. Google has become my best friend…WIDN, SEO’s, pins, tweets, likes and followers. Networking is my middle name. My phone has become my bank, diary, business planner, and social life. If you are willing to put in the hours and workload you will see results. I have had just over 250 sales through Etsy and my products are now stocked in a local Tearooms – the Yard Tearooms (Instagram.com/theyardtearooms). I am running my own business, I now watch sales figures and margin more than I ever did when I was working in retail. I am the boss (and I’ve got an Emma Bridgewater cup to prove it!!)

How did that happen?
Thanks for reading!!

Emma

Find me at:
Etsy Shop: StanleysMummyMakes
Instagram: stanleysmummymakes
Facebook: StanleysMummymakes
Pinterest Pinterest

Stockist:
The Yard Tearooms, 16-18 Getliffes Yard, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 6HU

Guest Blog Post – Etsy Shop Hopetheblackdog

Another guest blog post – the first in a short series featuring UK Etsy Shops.

This first shop is Hopetheblackdog and is owned by (or is it the shop that owns the person?) Amy Alice Donoghue from Nottingham. She’s opted to answer a few questions about her and her etsy shop. (Click on the captions to see the item’s listing).

Amy
Amy

Hi! I’m Amy, 26, from hope the black dog, and I live in Nottingham with my fiancé and two pet rats called Marie and Rosa. I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder and I love teaching myself new crafts. Winston Churchill used to call his mental illness “a black dog” when he was suffering with depression and bipolar disorder. I wanted to take this imagery and make it more positive, so I took that black dog and I named it hope! I find a lot of inspiration from quotes, Instagram, Pinterest, The Mighty website and personal stories for my crafting.

 Floral Pendant
Floral Pendant

I started making items for the shop in December 2015, and finally worked up the courage to list anything in January 2016. I was signed off from work for a long time, initially because of my anxiety, but it transpired that it was more than that and I’ve been undergoing extensive testing ever since (not great for my needle phobia!). Since I was off for such a long time, I wanted to make it meaningful and contribute some good in some way. I decided to make items that promoted positive mental health, and donate £1 from any sales to Mind Charity.

 Floral Embroidery Kit
Floral Semicolon Embroidery Kit

My favourite item in my shop is my “Anxiety is My Super Power” cross stitch kit because even though it has been difficult, exhausting and life-changing to live with Anxiety it has also been the driving force in a lot of my greatest achievements. It’s a mixed bag and I think a lot of people with mental health problems can see the duality.

Anxiety is my Superpower Embroidery Kit
Anxiety is my Superpower Embroidery Kit

The best thing has been meeting so many people who have been touched by the work I am doing. I have met so many wonderful people who felt comfortable enough to open up about their mental health, and so many wonderful people who want to support me to do more. It’s been such a whirlwind of emotion!

 Floral Semi colon Pendant
Floral Semi colon Pendant

I do find it frustrating waiting for funds. I am trying to run this business from the half pay that I am currently on, and so when I have great ideas, or run out of stock, it means I have to wait for a sale or another pay day. It’s frustrating! I have to make a lot of lists. When I’m not working on Hopetheblackdog, I love to knit and crochet, read and eat.

 This too shall pass
This too shall pass

The best piece of advice I can give if you’re like me and want to start your own etsy shop: START would be the main piece of advice. Don’t wait for divine intervention, just begin. Good things take time and the sooner you start, the sooner you can reap the benefits.

SHOP Hopetheblackdog

BLOG Hopetheblackdog

INSTAGRAM – hopetheblackdog

FACEBOOK Hopetheblackdog

TWITTER h0petheblackdog

PINTEREST hopetheblackdog

Guest Blog Post – Henry, Fred & Felicity on Etsy

Today’s blog post is from Fay Stephenson from Henry, Fred & Felicity on Etsy.

Faye Stephenson
Faye Stephenson

She creates personalised canvases for nurseries, home decor and special occasions – they are all hand-painted by Faye and I love the look of her shop, she’s created a look that makes you want to check out all her wares (beware my wallet)…

Tell us a bit about you

My name is Fay Stephenson, I am 41 years old and mother to 3 very boisterous boys aged 4, 9, & 10. I work part time for a local company, looking after their Social Media & Online Sales; but my real passion is crafting. I love to create, to sew, but most of all to paint. I hand-paint personalised and bespoke canvases for all ages (with a strong lean to kids and families), and am really looking to make this my full time job this year.

Blog

Twinkle, Twinkle Canvas
Twinkle, Twinkle Canvas

How did you decide on the name for your shop?

It came quite easily. My two eldest boys are named Henry and Frederick, and as I started my business before Samuel was even a twinkle in my eye, I immediately knew I wanted to include their names as they were my inspiration. When I was younger my mother had wanted to call my Felicity, but my father wasn’t so keen, so they agreed on Fay. However as a little nod to mum and because it sounded much better, I decided upon Henry, Fred & Felicity.

How long has your shop been open and why did you start?

My shop has been open since 1st Feb 2012, but has been very off and on and I really haven’t given it the attention it deserves. 2016 is my year to really concentrate on me, my shop and my brand. It all started when I made a canvas for Henry’s room, then Freddie’s. Friends commented how much they liked and so I began making as birthday presents for friends children and orders started from there.

What is your favourite item in your shop at the moment?

It’s hard to chose between the oversized Scrabble canvas and the Glasgow Style collection, but think i’d plump for the Scrabble canvases at the moment as loving the new colours I’ve introduced as they remind me of summer, and i think they are just so fun!

Name Canvases
Name Canvases

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get inspiration from everywhere, family, friends, books, the internet, existing themes in rooms, client’s briefs. Inspiration is definitely all around us and sometimes springs up quite unexpectedly!

What do you love the most about running your own business?

I love the freedom it gives me, I can work as much or as little as I like and I only answer to me. I find it incredibly therapeutic. I get to do something I love and give somebody something that they love, what’s not to love? #bestjobever

What do you love the least?

I’m not sure there is anything I don’t love? I even enjoy doing my books LOL, so i’d probably have to say not being able to do it full time is the only thing I love the least at the moment. But I intend to change that this year!

Poem Canvas
Poem Canvas

What other things do you like to do in your spare time?

My boys and my husband are all very sporty, so a lot of my spare time is spent at swimming lessons, football, tennis & squash, but when I do get a little time I enjoy movie time with my boys, cooking and also playing the piano.

twinkle twinkle personalised canvas

What would be the one piece of advice would you give to a person setting up their own shop?

My best piece of advice would be to focus and ensure you’ve done your market research beforehand. Make sure you price your products correctly, taking into account all factors (there are loads of sites to show you how to work out) otherwise there is not point doing, it is a business after all! And make sure you feel comfortable saying no! I spent far too much time in the beginning making things people asked for that were really nothing to do with my brand or product line, but I felt I couldn’t say no. I’ll still do the occasional bespoke job for friends, but tend now to steer them as much as possible towards a fellow crafter on Etsy who actually does make the item they are looking for.

You can find Fay here:

Etsy

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

DunnCrafting – A Guest Blog Post

Another Guest Blog Post from another UK Etsy Shop – DunnCrafting. It’s owned by Susan and Karen, a Mother/Daughter crafting team from Bedford (not too far from me!) and showcases their love of nature and colour in their shop with the collection of home decor and special occasion items including seashell hearts and flower bouquets and pomanders.

Susan has answered some questions about their Etsy shop and how it got started.

Karen and Susan
Karen and Susan

How did you decide on the name for your shop?

My daughter Karen and I did a bit of toying with word combinations and were trying to find a name that would reflect both of us – we hit on Craftywildes to begin with – but that made us sound a bit shifty- so we settled on DunnCrafting (Dunn is my daughter’s married name) which has a nice play on words.

How long has your shop been open and why did you start?

Playing about with fabric flowers, and quilted balls for Christmas in 2013 prompted the idea of working together to make things that others might like – and so our Etsy shop was born! Since those first tentative days, our range has developed and continues to grow as our creative imaginings become realities.

Shell Wall Plaque
Shell Wall Plaque

What is your favourite item in your shop at the moment?

I’m a bit clucky over all the things I make, so it’s difficult to choose one favourite. Near the top must be the heart wedding favours that I made recently (Love shells!).

Shell Hearts
Shell Hearts

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I was taught to knit and sew by my mother – and a seminal moment when, aged 10, I met a beachcomber during a family summer holiday; this man made exquisite dolls from shells, and showed me how. Once home I made my own from shells collected at the beach. Candles followed made from household candles and wax crayons melted together, whisked and then poured into molds – my mother’s egg whisk took some time to recover!

Button Bunny Nursery Decor
Button Bunny Nursery Decor

Karen’s love of making things started at school, culminating in Art – Ceramics A level. Her brother’s wedding was a watershed – she rushed out and bought her first sewing machine to make her own wedding outfit. Since then, she has delighted in experimenting with all sorts of projects from bean bags to a penguin outfit for her own daughter’s school dressing-up day, imagined from a Japanese onesie she saw on the internet!

We both browse through Pinterest looking for ideas – and sometimes get inspiration from displays in boutique shops that we might encounter. I visited the Ideal Homes Christmas Exhibition this year and have made a list of possibilities! Karen is a busy mum and full time teacher, so she is my ‘critical friend’ and brainstormer companion!

What do you love the most about running your own business?

Being retired, I can use my time as I wish and doing something that gives me such pleasure is a no brainer – add in giving delight to others and being paid for my efforts, and you have a perfect combination! It also gives me the perfect excuse for impulse buying!

What do you love the least?

Being interrupted by having to keep my accounts up to date!

What other things do you like to do in your spare time?

I volunteer for Tibbs Dementia Services, giving counselling support to carers of people with dementia, and I also sing in two choirs. My grandchildren are a joy!

What would be the one piece of advice would you give to a person setting up their own shop?

Learn as much as you can about SEO, and taking and editing great photos to showcase your makes; use social media; network as much as you can to make sure your shop and your makes are seen; be open to advice and constructive criticism from other sellers. Don’t give up! Etsy can be funny at times – it can feel like feast or famine – and sometimes lots of the latter! But everyone has to start somewhere – don’t feel discouraged if other sellers seem to be roaring ahead and you’re not! Good things come to those who wait (so I keep telling myself!)

Daisy Pomander
Daisy Pomander

If you would like to know more about DunnCrafting and where to find their lovely items, you can find them on:

Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/DunnCrafting
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DunnCrafting
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest/DunnCrafting
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DunnCrafting
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dunncrafting
Blog: dunncrafting.blogspot.co.uk/

How do you Best Express Yourself? – Guest Blog Post

Here’s another Guest Blog Post from Catherine Poole, a Virtual Assisant from Fife. She talks about the best way to blog – by podcast or with word? Which way do you favour?

How do you best express yourself?

Catherine
Catherine

I recently attended an event near where I live in Fife called the Content Marketing Workshop, and along with a group of other mostly local business owners, I learned a bit more about content marketing, specifically blogging and podcasting. I’ve been blogging for a wee while now, but podcasting is something I’m completely new to!

I suppose you could say that writing a blog or recording a podcast are both good ways of showing your expertise, helping your existing or potential customers and adding value to what you’re offering, but which is the best medium? Should you do both? Should you try one and not the other?

I think a lot of this will depend on how comfortable you feel expressing yourself, whether this is on paper or verbally.
Yes, of course you should try and push yourself out of your comfort zone if you’re in business, but marketing yourself effectively is difficult enough as it is, so if you’re still hovering at the starting blocks, have a think about your communication strengths before embarking on the next step.

How do you feel about articulating yourself verbally?

• Are you quite happy going to networking events and talking to new people?

• Are you good at starting up a conversation and asking questions?

• Can you draw people out of themselves and get them to articulate what THEY want to say?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then it might be worth trying out podcasting. In its simplest form, all you need is a smartphone with a voice recorder to enable you to talk about a particular subject on your own. To make it more interesting, you could invite guests along to talk about their business or promote something relevant to your own customers. I won’t pretend I know all the technical ins and outs, but it seems that if you have a headset with a mic, a Skype connection and mp3 recorder, plus software to edit your audio (Audacity is free!), you’re good to go.

If on the other hand…

• You’re not comfortable with hearing your own voice.

• You have a vivid imagination.

• You love the way words appear on the page…

…then perhaps traditional blog writing is more down your street!
Either way, did you know that recorded content can be repurposed again and again for other things like e-books, online articles or social media posts? And if you do find you’re better at articulating yourself verbally and fancy starting a blog, but podcasts seem a bit scary, it might be worth thinking about dictating your thoughts and getting somebody in the know to transcribe and edit them for you.

Catherine Poole

Catherine Poole Virtual Assistant – offering intelligent transcription, editing and proofreading services to add value to your content.

http://www.catherinepoole.co.uk

Michele Webber Art – Guest Blog Post

Michele Webber is an almost-local-to-me artist who lives and works in Sudbury, Suffolk. She creates gorgeous watercolours and other artworks and teaches others how to be creative with paints and watercolours too.

Here she gives us a little information about herself and her work.

Tell us a bit about you

Michele Webber
Michele Webber

I am a freelance visual artist, art tutor, illustrator and writer of non fiction articles, mostly about painting techniques and art business advice. I work from my garden studio in Suffolk where I live with my partner, teenage daughter (when she is not at Uni) and my cat Gimlet.

How did you decide on the name for your shop?

I made a conscious decision to promote myself as an individual artist so my shop name is simply based on my name: Michele Webber Art.

How long has your shop been open and why did you start?  

I opened my Etsy shop a couple of years ago as a convenient way to offer my art to buyers who didn’t live locally. It has been really exciting to see some of my paintings go as far as Russia and the USA!

Kew gardens Lily
Kew gardens Lily

What is your favourite item in your shop at the moment? 

It has to be my Watercolour Starter Set with unique colour mixing recipe leaflet, because it is the first art product I have designed myself and I really believe there is nothing else on the market quite like it.

Watercolour for Beginners Set
Watercolour for Beginners Set

What made you start?

I had a long gap from art after leaving school and made the mistake of listening to other people who told me I would never make it. But after my daughter was born and I had had a break from working in an office 9 to 5 I realised I could never go back to that and it was time to start making my dreams happen.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I am inspired by all sorts of things I see around me, both in nature and man-made. I am fascinated by patterns and repeating motifs, whether on a brick wall or the feathers of a bird. I work in a representational way, but it is always my own version of what I see. My artwork is usually colourful and always happy, reflecting my own optimistic personality.

Sunflowers
Sunflowers

What do you love the most about running your own business?

I love the freedom to adjust and influence my income, the surprise when a gallery cheque pops through the door, and seeing the pleasure my students get when I help them to improve their artwork.

What do you love the least?

The hours of paperwork, photo editing, admin and social media work that keeps me from doing what I like to do best – create artwork! That said I do enjoy the business side of things and it is absolutely necessary in order to succeed. Artistic talent by itself is in no way enough.

Wheat Fields Landscape
Wheat Fields Landscape

What other things do you like to do in your spare time?

 I am a bit of a fitness freak and do Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Yoga and swimming. I have always been determined to stay slim and healthy in order to have the maximum energy for my work; and you don’t burn many calories painting watercolours! So most evenings you will find me in an exercise class. My other passion is sewing and I always have a skirt or a dress on the go; I would like to find more time for this hobby.

What would be the one piece of advice would you give to a person setting up their own shop?

Add plenty of information to your listings. You may think you save time by not writing much but you will only give yourself more work later on when people contact you to ask questions because you haven’t been clear – that is if you don’t lose the sale in the first place. If I buy something online I expect clear photos, measurements, colour options, delivery times etc. Look at your shop objectively, would you buy from it yourself?

Thank you, Michele! If you’d like to take a look at her work, you can find her at:

Website: http://www.michelewebber.com
Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/michelewebber
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michelewebberartist
Twitter: @ArtistMichele
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michele-webber/75/858/525

If you would like to be featured on my blog, please get in touch!

A Mother-Daughter Collaboration – Teodora Paintings Guest Blog Post

This is another guest blog post, this time from Folksy Seller Teodora Totorean; her shop is TeodoraPaintings. She creates unique paintings using a variety of techniques and chose to talk about how she came up with a new idea – incorporating doilies into her paintings.

The Music of Summer Muzica
The Music of Summer Muzica
The Music of Summer Musica

Doily Art – A Mother and Daughter Collaboration

The words ‘nostalgia’ and ‘memorabilia’ have never been more powerful than in the recent years due to the popularity of vintage items that have dominated home décor, fashion, and the arts and crafts world. Re-cycling, re-purposing and re-vamping are in everyone’s vocabulary nowadays and we all want to do something around our homes to make it more original and unique to us. And we all want to take on a long forgotten craft and put our stamp on it to show the world our creativity.

Evening Meadow 1
Evening Meadow 1

Evening Meadow 1

This new trend couldn’t leave untouched the arts world where the rise of mixed media art means that artists now have all the freedom to create unique pieces using anything they find laying around their studio: old postcards, old pieces of lace and fabric, magazines, etc.

As my art is all about creativity and colours, I have been in tune with the mixed media trend in the arts today ever since I started to take my art to a more professional level. For four years I have been experimenting with various styles, techniques and materials, incorporating fabric, newspapers, and fibre washers into my artwork. So using my mum’s doilies was just a normal consequence to my act of creation routine.

Evening Meadow 2
Evening Meadow 2

Evening Meadow 2

I have always been fascinated by lace and macramé and I am happy that I grew up in a creative environment where my mother, apart from her teaching job, also had a hobby that continued throughout her life up until today. I loved how her doilies enhanced our home when I was little and I like them today not just under a vase with flowers but in my paintings too.

It all started last year when I ordered from my mother some small round shaped doilies to use as coasters. One day, when I was short of ideas for my paintings, I just happened to place a doily on a canvas and imagined a whole picture around it. I carried on completing the painting and next thing I knew, I created a mini series of four paintings that later have been in a spring exhibition with a gallery in Gloucestershire.

Summer Meadow in a Pot
Summer Meadow in a Pot

Summer Meadow in A Pot

I don’t use doily on a regular basis yet as I am still experimenting with other techniques, materials and styles, but every time when I complete a painting using my mum’s doilies I feel that this is my style, this is me – my childhood, my personality, my love of handmade and hand crafted items that are seating around my house – and as artists, this is what we do: we share it all with the world hoping that our art will resonate with someone.

Where you can find me:

Folksy: https://folksy.com/shops/TeodoraPaintings
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teodora.paintings
Blog: http://teodora-paintings.blogspot.co.uk/
Website: http://www.teodora-paintings.com/