Sunday, 22 February 2009

Stanzi's Sunday!

Just wanted to post this adorable photo of our Stanzi - the way she likes to spend every Sunday, fast asleep on our bed. She's aiming for the Guinness Book of Records for sleeping, that's for sure.

A quick question for any cat lovers out there - how many names does your cat have? Stanzi (full name Constanze, we'd been watching Amadeus when we named her!) also gets called Shming Shmong, Stansist Wansist, Stansley Cat, Winzip and Zoony! Are we alone in being totally barmy or do other cat people do this, I wonder?!

I've been crafting again at last...

Well, I promised myself that I would spend all day yesterday at the craft table and I did. It felt really good to be "back at the coal face" for the first time in ages!

I've finished this pair of earrings and have nearly finished a "toning but not exactly matching" necklace. The earrings are listed on Folksy now, the necklace probably will be by Wednesday or Thursday.

I can't describe how much I love stitching these simple little zipped peyote beaded beads. They are nothing stunning by themselves but in combination with other beads made by the same method in different colours and sizes (sizes both of the component beads and the finished bead) they can amount to something really striking. And of course, as in the case of these earrings, just in combination with other beads.

I've changed my photograph strategy as well. I was browsing a beading book the other day (The Bead Jewellery Maker by Cheryl Owen) and decided that I really liked the way the pieces in it had been photographed, using textiles and papers that complemented their colours. Of course, as with any change, it means going back and re-doing most if not all of the photographs I already have on my listings. Realistically, that is going to have to be done piecemeal if I'm to get ahead with crafting.

Ah well, going to post this now and do my second Sunday post...

Friday, 20 February 2009

Success - and plans!

Well, after a lot of swearing I have finally managed to get the links to the blogs I'm following to show - oh joy and hooray!!

I managed it by deleting the Blog List widget, adding a second Link List widget and calling it Blogs I Follow. Then I went into my Profile and copied across the links to all the blogs - and there they were! Heaven knows why I couldn't do it the other way round but I just couldn't, no matter how many different things I tried.

So if anyone reading this has also read my semi-hysterical rant in the Folksy "Have you blogged today" forum thread last night please ignore it as I have now regained my rightful mind (well, as far as I ever will...)

Tomorrow, my plan is very simple - get up when I wake up and spend the entire day crafting. Something I haven't done for aeons... I've been jotting down notes on scraps of paper in my breaks at work so I don't forget all the ideas that are crowding round in my head. And if I can get just one new piece photographed and listed, so much the better.

I've decided to try different backgrounds for my photographs, pretty but not too fussy papers and interestingly textured (but again not too fussy) textiles. Loads more work but it's stuff I enjoy faffing with - a touch of the OCD here, for sure!

What, you may be asking, does the photograph at the top of this post have to do with its content? Well, it's a photograph of a place we love to visit - Wells Next The Sea in Norfolk. And I find that when I have a pretty hectic agenda it really helps me to just gaze at it; it makes me feel more grounded and peaceful. So here it is and I hope it helps you feel the same!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

I'm so excited!

Well, yesterday I listed these pretty earrings on Folksy and, as soon as I'd finished, I went and clicked on "Buy" and then on "Jewellery" and there they were, right at the beginning of the search results!!

And today they are still only on the second page of results. (Folksy has a self-jurying system, so that when you list things they only get on the front page of search results if enough people have liked your shop so much that they've added it to their favourites.)

I am just so made up that this has happened!! (Sorry, explanation possibly needed - "made up" is a Yorkshire word, I believe. Well, I'm not a native of these parts and I only started using it when I arrived here so I guess it must be...)

Very short post as I'm near to the left of total exhaustion, the day jobs being pretty hard work at the moment! I will be back at the weekend.

Thank you again, all you lovely Folksy peeps!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Building blocks!

One of the many images I have spent the last fortnight revising:

The weather and the associated hazards of necessary travel have pretty much dominated the last fortnight for both of us. Getting myself to Leeds two weeks running to attend a digital storytelling course was a major achievement. Things are pretty much back to normal now, thank goodness. There's very little snow left at our level and looking out this morning we could see green on the nearest hills. And our little patch of snowdrops has emerged unscathed from the snowdrift they were buried in - hardy souls!

It's such a lovely feeling when I leave work at well gone five o'clock and it's still light. Plus at the opposite end of the day it's getting a whole lot easier to crank myself out of bed!

We have achieved quite a bit, actually, but it's all at the "building blocks" stage. And neither of us has actually sat at the craft table in ages, it's all been about sitting at the computer - grrrr!

I've spent hours and hours and hours amending images in both my online shops, properly calculating P&P prices and amending those, re-doing my descriptions, checking and re-checking my tags...the list goes on and on and it feels like drudgery but it's hopefully getting me somewhere as views are steadily growing in both shops. I just wish I could get some sales but I'm also acutely aware that I need to fill both shops to a much greater extent before I have a prayer of that.

The other thing that's occupied our time is making a start at setting up our own websites. Today we got an "under construction" page designed for my website - just have to upload the images to the server and we can publish it. Then it's down to deciding how to split my creations between my website, Folksy and Dawanda. Plus finding some more time in the day to head is buzzing with ideas for pieces and I've started a notebook beause I'm afraid of losing them all before I get the chance to make them!!

And I had some fun putting together my first Pinboard for my Dawanda shop. I chose a springtime theme (of course!) and kept to jewellery, ensuring that every piece had at least some green in it. It felt to be a really creative thing to do and who knows, it might one day get on to the front page...well, I can dream!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Slow, slow, snow, snow, slow...

Well, I'm probably one of thousands in the UK blogging about snow today - but I'm going to do it anyway, so there!

According to our local paper, it's been the worst for 18 years. It's certainly the first really heavy snow that we have seen since we got married, nearly 10 years ago now. I do remember a Monday afternoon in January 1995 and sometime latish on in 1991 but - well, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then...

We both had a day's annual leave on Monday and spent it periodically gazing out of the window of our upstairs office/craft-room in total disbelief. "It's nearly horizontal!" was the cry in the later part of the day.

One of the things I've always loved about snow is the eerie quality of the reflected light that's cast - it's so cold, and yet somehow calming when combined with the deadening of sound.

We have two cats, one too elderly to even consider going outside except in a heatwave but one middle aged lady who certainly does still desire to go out to answer the call of nature. So husband bravely battles the icy blast to clear a path for her across the lawn - now that's true cat love. Not that I don't love her equally, of course I do, but I have a post mastectomy/full axial clearance excuse for not doing excessive digging as it makes my left arm swell. (I make up for it in other ways, though! I am an ace weeder, as well as being an avid sower and planter-out of seedlings.)

Snow can bring worries, of course, not only about the complications of travel but about family members and friends. In our case especially my Dad, who is 83, but a couple of phone calls back and forth assure us that he is fine.

The photographic opportunities afforded by excessive snow are many and I'm just off now to choose some of the best before posting.

Goodnight and keep safe in the snow!