Yes, sunshine makes a difference in so many ways, but in particular I am thinking about product photos. I have quite a few pieces to add to my Etsy shop and have been waiting for enough light to make the photos pop. Finally, the sun has shone! (these will be going in my shop very soon)
The cats have been enjoying the sunshine too…
…and so have Mark and I, with a visit to Lacock Abbey!
On the risk aversion scale I am about as risk averse as you can get, so when I started trading I knew I would have no peace of mind without insurance. When I looked in to insurance to sell worldwide I was quoted almost £1000 – utterly crippling for such a small business – so I decided to limit sales to the EU for about £60. Over the months I have had a number of requests from buyers in USA and Australia and have hated having to turn them away, so determined to track down something more affordable…now I have found it!*
I spent much time yesterday working out my ‘everywhere else’ postal charges – ridiculous timing as Royal Mail prices change on 1 April, but hey ho. So, wherever you are do have a look at my shop!
You will find a few new Easter drawstring bags. Photographing them was a bit of a challenge due to Rio the cat’s love of the camera lens…!
I do love daffodils and when I saw this pretty, simple vase at Barrington Pottery at Barrington Court on Saturday (photos in Deere Diary if you’re interested), it simply radiated daffodils. I am sure I will use it for other flowers throughout the year, but for now the daffodils look lovely in it.
n.b. the little mouse pincushion in the top photo was a free kit in Prima Makes magazine, I just swapped the wool tail for cord finished with a little metal cap, added bead eyes, rather than the embroidered eyes suggested and filled him with crushed walnut shells rather than the toy stuffing provided. I think he is rather cute, but I feel so mean sticking needles in him!!
Last night was wild – and not in a good way! The noise of the wind and the feeling that the house was shaking was somewhat unnerving and watching the updates on the Dorset coast (where we have a tiny wee holiday flat) was downright scary. We have friends who live there permanently and I hope they are ok as I see many people were evacuated and spent the night in a local pub or in a school. If the flat flooded, it’s just things, but people are far more precious. It has been one storm after enough, each stronger and more damaging than the one before. I heard on the radio this morning that 41,000 properties are without power this morning. Watching it from our safe, dry house in Bath it feels apocalyptic, so how must it feel when the waves are crashing over your home or your farm is is two or three metres under water or even in the middle of London buildings are collapsing in the path of the storm? It is still windy, but the sun is shining and the worst of the latest storm is over. It feels as though the whole country is praying for calm and sunshine and Spring.
This morning I opened the living room curtains to evidence of a stormy Valentine’s day…I wonder who attempted to charm their loved one and was beaten by the wind?
I know this post is supposed to be of mice and men and cats, but I want to reverse the order and start with the cats.
Our two cats were as freaked out by the storm last night as we were, and it is so nice to see them calm and soaking up a sunny respite in the weather…
…even if naughty Rio tries to destroy the sofa! (it’s ok, I made extra strong covers for the parts of the sofa he scratches…not a pulled thread in sight)
…and when I made him stop, he decided to read the paper, and really got in to it!
Yesterday was Valentine’s day. Mark and I don’t tend to do a lot to mark the day, but had intended to go out for lunch yesterday as Mark had the day off. The weather was so awful, we decided to stay in and had a Chinese takeaway in the evening instead. I made Mark a card…a free motion machine embroidery of Max the cat. Quite proud of it actually; didn’t draw it on the fabric first, just sketched it in stitches. It is so much fun drawing in thread!
I also made some shortbread hearts and split them between Mark and our elderly next door neighbour…sharing the love (and the calories!).
As for me, I was treated to red roses, champagne and a big ole chocolate heart! (sorry phone photo is so grainy – had just come back from doc pulling around my dodgy knees and was not getting up to fetch proper camera!)
I keep an old style Ellen Mouse in my work room/dining room (not CE markable as has bead eyes and whiskers that will pull out under 7kg of tug) and I use her as a model for when I get requests for additional clothes for a re-homed Ellen Mouse. Until this week she has had to sit on my fabric shelves in nowt but her vest and frilly pants so I pinched a tiny bit of some trim I was given to make her a dress…reminds me of a 1970s Laura Ashley maxi dress.
While in the mood for free-motion machine embroidery I made a couple more zip pouches, sketching first and then doing a bit of applique and embroidery: available in my shop.
I also made a little zip coin purse/makeup bag – the fabric is just too pretty to need any embellishment!
I am still experimenting with products to decide on my ‘niche’ and plan to make some paper sculptures in the coming week, to see how they go down with my customers. Here is one I made earlier (lots of years earlier).
Inspired by techno-angel Tamsin’s oh so professional looking emails for the Bath WI book club, I signed up to Mailchimp and put together my first Deerey Me ‘campaign’ (you can see it here if you are not signed up). I had some really useful feedback and am set to send a regular monthly newsletter. If you would like to be added to the subscriber’s list, please just leave a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am sure there is a bit of code I could add to the website, but one thing at a time, sadly I am no techno-angel!
The newsletter got me thinking about clicking links and search terms and the like. When I started selling to people I don’t know, rather than my lovely and supportive friends (who I hope really wanted what they bought and were not just making kind sympathy purchases), I was initially concerned about the way most of them had signed up to Etsy that day. I was worried that they had no buying history and could pretend something hadn’t arrived. None of them did that and it dawned on me that, far from being concerned, I should be really pleased, because if they were not already registered on Etsy, they must have found me by plugging something in to google…so my search engine optimisation can’t be too bad (more luck than judgment I confess). The thought made me really happy – google likes me and buyers must like me enough to register with Etsy! Yay! Go me!
Then I started thinking about what my favourite search terms would be… I chose three: “tea”, “emerald” and “copper”, plugged them in to Etsy and prepared to drool…
‘Tea’ is such a wonderful search term – it encompasses so many of my favourite things: teapots, teacups, tea cakes, tea dresses, tea towels, tea light holders, loose leaf tea, tea cosies, tea trays and tea trolleys. Here are just some of my favourite finds: