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Thursday, 29 December 2011

New Year = Fresh Start

I am extremely excited to see the back of 2011-my year has been a positive but stressful one, full of highs and lows, more lows if I am completely honest. I had to put my career plans on hold and take care of myself, which was a difficult decision to make. The last 3 months have been extremely positive, I have picked up where I have left off and I am really pushing for Doll Doll Dolly! The new year is an opportunity to concentrate on planning a business and actually set the ball rolling- hallelujah!

I have a visions of what my business will be as a finished product, but the challenge is getting started. Planning a business is an extremely stressful, tiring experience and I am not sure how my health is going to cope. I will have to take things nice and slow, plan and manage myself carefully, so I can achieve my goals. I really don't have a clue where to start. I have downloaded some craft business books for some guidance, however they don't tell you where to start. The start is your idea, a detailed brainstorm of what you want to achieve. My next move is to do my market research, who is my competition? Will my idea have a chance of succeeding in the current market? Do I need to adjust my ideas to have more chance of success? So many questions need answering before my next move- finance!

I am moving to a new town in the new year, with my boyfriend Dan. I am thinking about moving my business with me, which means I will need to adjust my plans even more! I was thinking of basing my business in Brighton, but this will pose a problem with travelling and other conflicting businesses. This move is pretty unexpected and exciting, it's a fresh start in a new place and fingers crossed a career. My health is a major factor in all my plans. I can't jeopardise all the work I have done to get to this point, it's scary because I have know idea how next year will pan out. I know I have great people behind me, my boyfriend and my family. I know whatever happens I will have support from them and my Doll Doll Dolly motivation behind me.

Goodbye 2011! I hope 2012 will be a good year for you all! Happy crafting! 

Monday, 19 December 2011

Ohw I wish it could be Craftmas everyday!

What a busy few weeks, like everyone else I have been driving myself crazy with Christmas shopping. The Christmas period has become a stressful and annoying part of our lives, town is busy, people become crazy demon shoppers and the Internet sends you damaged goods. I have had to deal with all three of those and I am  glad  I have finished my shopping. I am looking forward to sitting on my bum for two weeks and having a nice stress free holiday with my boyfriend. I have been preparing for the next few weeks by visiting my favourite craft shop to stock up on materials to see me through to New Year. If I was stuck without a needle and thread I would be lost! On the edge! Help! Luckily, I don't need saving this year because I am prepared for all my crafting needs over the Christmas holidays.

The new love in my life is cross stitch- I am addicted! I sit in front of films, eat steak and do cross cross stitch in the corner of the sofa. I love it! I don't have to sit at my desk to craft which is a real bonus and it has really become a huge help relaxing. I find it hard to sit down and not do anything, I always like to have something to do. I was working on tense projects when I should have been relaxing and winding down. Cross stitch is perfect because it doesn't take much concentration if you're doing a simple pattern. I am working on a horror inspired project, ' Beware Of Zombies', it has a Gothic frame surrounding it and its going to go on the wall in my new home in February. I am lucky that I had a couple of friends to help me along, I thought it was going to be complicated with all these crazy symbols and threads, but it is really very simple and most importantly it's fun!

This week I am finishing off a few projects before Christmas begins. Today I made a fake leather studded bag to replace my old tatty one. I love studs and leather, most of my accessories are covered in studs. I like the metal/biker look and I wanted to make something that reflected my personality. I am so pleased with how it turned out because I didn't use a pattern to guide me. I had a rough idea from something I saw in a quilting book, however the bag is nothing like it and I was a little lost. I decided I wanted to line the bag and attached snap fasteners, which I had not done in a really long time. I didn't want to give up, I made up a pattern and I was off on a bag making adventure!  I think I will sketch out the pattern and upload it as a tutorial- it's so simple!

I am still working on my business ideas. I spoke to a few friends at the weekend who gave me some great advice and sparked a few ideas. I will be writing a serious business plan in the New Year. I have given myself until April to come up with a final copy to take to the Prince's Trust. I hope to finish it before, but you need to be realistic about getting things done. I can't rush something so important. I have a clearer idea of what I want to achieve now, I just hope everyone else will get behind my vision and support my ideas. This year has been a real struggle to keep going however, the New Year is a chance at a fresh start for all of us, to change what we hate and get on a better path for the future. I don't believe in 'New Year Resolutions'. It's a fact that people don't stick with it and give up by February. If you want to make a change then do it now! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and positive New Year.

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

My Etsy Shop!

I have finally found the time to upload new items to my Etsy shop just in time for Christmas! If you would like something in time for Christmas, please be aware that the Christmas post deadlines are looming. I have picked four items to show you, but please take a look at my shop for lots of new exciting items! 

This handmade Nautical style fascinator is bang on trend! Nautical style fashion has really become popular in the last few years, but remains individual and stylish. The corsage is made from red and black satin and netting. The Corsage is adorned with a cute anchor button which is attached to a larger black button. This Chic fascinator would look great in any colour hair to add a touch of fun to any outfit. The corsage measures around 5 inches including the netting. The corsage fixes to the hair with a barrette clip, which is sewn to the corsage, felt is fixed to the back for extra security and comfort. 

Handmade Scream! Don't open the door! Scream horror mask cushion! The cushion is handmade from pleather (fake leather) and is stuffed with soft stuffing. The cushion is an interpretation of the mask in the film.The cushion measures around 0.50 x 0.25 mLove horror? Then check out my other horror inspired goodies... Remember the rules!

Two handmade mini corsage hair slides. The corsage is made up from cream, blue and red satin with a sugar skull button and pearl eyes. These cute hair slides would look great in any hair style and would add a little individuality.The mini corsage measures around 1 inch and the hair slide itself measures 2 inches.

Love horror? Are you a Jason fan? Scare your friends and family with the Jason mask Cushion! The cushion is made from pleather (fake leather) and is stuffed with soft stuffing. The cushion is an interpretation of the mask in the film. This item can be made to order with or without studs (please see other mask in the DDD shop). This item is made to order and will take a day or so to make. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

I Heart Etsy

My favourite things on Etsy this week

"Brighton Crock is a collection of hand drawn illustrations on plates and other crockery. Each item is unique. The illustrations are inspired by living in Brighton and my love of all things odd and pretty; horror films and home furnishings are my passions! Making something plain and simply functional, like a plate or cup, in to something nice to look at is what BrightonCrock is all about." 

I absolutely love Brighton Crock! I am moving in February and I have already mentioned that I would love a 'Night of the Living Dead' Teapot! 

 I love this Birch screen printed wool  log cushions by MyImaginaryBoyfriend. Each log is screen printed and hand sewn to make these unique felt log cushions. 

"My imaginary boyfriend is the brain child of Erika Kern who got tired of waiting around for a boy to buy her the gifts she really wanted, so she started making them for herself. In 2005 she started selling her wares at various craft fairs. Her site myimaginaryboyfriend.com launched in 2006."

I love this shop! It is full of gorgeous screen prints which are developed using the sun! Browse the shop and be blown away by Kathryn DiLego.

"I make loosey-goosey, lanky-clanky, limber-limbed lovely line drawings... and sometimes turn them into bold, confident, cartoon-colored, off-kilter, handpulled screen prints in my belovedly loopy city of Los Angeles. Like a form of productive dreaming, my obsessive yet relaxed drawings are both exploration and relief - how I deconstruct and reconstruct the constant visual input of waking life. My brain gets de-fragged, and makes art in the process!"

These beautiful vintage inspired lace coasters come in a set of two. 

"These coasters, are made of white clay, textured with beautiful lace vintage crochet with floral motifs. after the firing of clay to 1040 degrees, I applied the glass with a brush, in tones of dusty pink and they returned to burn at 1100 degrees. Finally I lined them behind, with a sheet of cork, in order to they become slippery and not scratching the surfaces of furniture."

Monday, 5 December 2011

Craft With Confidence

I have always had some trouble selling my bits and bobs online and on stalls because I worry that something might go wrong. I have spoken before about my lack of confidence, which can hold me back at times, but recently I have really pushed myself to tackle this problem and just go for it. I think anyone selling handmade has had these woes at some point, surely they must ask themselves, "Is it good enough?" "Will anyone want this?".

I decided a little while ago to have a list of rules, a bit like a guideline to selling my work, so that I wouldn't have the worries and concerns hanging over me. I should really give it a name like 'The Crafting Survival Guide' or 'Sew and Sell With Confidence'. To some people this might sound bonkers, but we are living in an age of low self-esteem, due to the media feeding us images of perfection and constant squashing of small businesses.

First things first, after making something that I intend to sell, I ask my self three questions. "Are you proud of it?". "Is it well made?". "Will people like it?". The first two are more important than the third, the third is really about if it will be popular. I feel if you're going to sell something it has to be well made, the people who buy something from you will expect quality and this is vital if you want to secure more sales. You should be proud of what you make! Every completed project should be an achievement and you should be proud of yourself, if you don't then ask yourself, "Why don't I like it?", "What could I do differently next time?", "Am I being silly and putting unnecessary pressure on myself?". There is nothing wrong with having high standards, in fact it pushes you, but if people around you are beaming with pride at your achievements you should listen to them!

The next thing I think about is, "Who will buy them?", "What should I call it?", "How much should I sell it for?". I always under price my work, unfortunately I was born with an over sensitive conscience and I dislike being greedy. I have always wanted to provide great crafts at affordable prices. We are in a recession! People can't afford to buy things at obscene prices! Ask yourself- "Would you buy that in a shop or a stall at that price?", "Is it worth the money?". The people browsing your shop or stall will more than likely have a tight budget, they wont buy something if it is over priced.

I recently took part in Frighten Brighton, where I had a stall, I sold the most I have ever sold at an event. I didn't really know how to react, I was happy of course, but also shocked that people really liked my work. I worked really hard making all my little treats, why shouldn't I be proud of myself, well for the first time I was and it felt great! I think having achievable standards and working hard will be the way forward for me. I think buy asking yourself fair questions and planning your work through helps enormously. Don't put pressure on yourself and look at your work and be proud of yourself because you made it!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Frighten Brighton!

Today I took part in Frighten Brighton, an event dedicated to horror and its fans. I had a stall where I sold my creepy treats and my little pretty wares. I had a lovely time talking to all the awesome people that were involved and those that came to the event. It's so nice meeting people with similar interests and tastes as you.

 I have combined two of my favourite things in my work recently, horror and craft in the form of cushions, cards and decorations, which seemed to go down pretty well. I have been reassured that I am moving in the right direction with my work, which is fantastic because I enjoy making my bits and bobs. 

If you missed it this time around don't fret, Frighten Brighton will be back in the new year bigger and better than before!


Thursday, 1 December 2011

The future's bright! The future's scary!

This week I have been stressed trying to get everything sorted, but also I have been thinking about the future and come to some tough decisions. I have printed a business pack to work through via the Princes Trust website; I have been reading through it and I feel daunted by the prospect of owning my own business in the future. The negative feelings didn't last long, I had some great news this week that will change my life for the better.

I have been working really hard this week preparing for my stall at Frighten Brighton, the horror event I have been advertising through the powers of the Internet. I have taken into consideration that it is December and I have made some spooky yet festive decorations for my stall. I don't know how a Jason mask is festive, but for me horror is part of my life all year round. I have been making hair slides and brooches which is something I make on a regular basis, but I have made cushions and prints to sell along side my crafty treats. 

My little spooky treats