Sunday 30 January 2011

Colour Palette - Bright and Shiny Earrings

I've just found a fab colour palette template from the brandi girl blog.

It's in Photoshop Elements, so I've downloaded the trial and am having a play around with it, to see if it will do better for my pictures than Picassa (which is free and nice and easy).

But whether it can or not, the fact that I can easily (with the help of the template!) make these cool little colour palettes is a definite plus.

Do you use photoshop? Does it get any easier??

Saturday 22 January 2011

Featured crafter - Zoe from Scented Sweetpeas

Have you seen the Scented Sweetpeas blog? If you haven't you should - it's fab. It's a great mix of crafty exploits and tutorials, eco goodness and family life. Zoe from Scented Sweetpeas has very kindly agreed to be my featured crafter this week, and here she is...

(click on the pictures below to get more info on the items!!)
Tell us a bit about yourself
Well I am Zoe and I live in a friendly fenland village in Cambridgeshire.

What do you make?
Mainly felted things but anything I can give a go really. I find craft very relaxing and feel tense if I don't make something during the week.

Why do you use that medium?
Felt is such fun to work with, it is easy to cut, you can add anything to it and it is lovely and soft, what's not to like :-)

When/ how did you start crafting?
I started when I was a child and was always doing something arty, even at college I managed to get art and photography into my timetable. I stopped when the children were young (apart from kiddies crafts) but then made a new years resolution in 2009 to do more creative things for me and haven't stopped since.

When did you start selling your stuff - where do you sell?
That started late 2010 when I popped a photo of my little girl wearing some of my hairclips and got asked if I sold them. I sell items locally and via my blog and blogshop now.

Do you also have a day job, or is this your main job?
I work weekends at a hospital and stay at home in the week with my three children, I also run a couple of websites so I fit in creative stuff whenever I can.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere really, magazines, nature, flikr and blogs. Sometimes I get too much inspiration - there aren't enough hours in the day :-)

What is your favourite music to craft to?
I usually listen to the radio or have cbeebies on in the background due to looking after little sweetpea (I often chuckle along to Peppa Pig :-)). If I do managed to get an album on I have quite an eclectic taste in music from Oribital to David Bowie. However chill out music is the best really to craft to I find.

What is your favourite piece of your own?
hhmmm I like the little Swift hairclip I made sweetpea. Little sweetpea loves them all , she is my main fan :-)

Where do you do your crafting (specially built studio - sofa??)
oohh I dream of a day when I can have one of those gorgeous garden studios but unfortunately the chickens live in our shed at the moment :-) I usually work at the dining table or on the sofa.

Lol  - that looks a bit like my desk!!
Thanks so much Zoe, for letting me feature you on the blog... I LOVE your stuff!!

Friday 21 January 2011

Run ragged

Crikey. I've only gone and been talked into running a half marathon. EEEEEeeeeeek!!
It's not until September, but I am a little concerned to say the least. My running partner talked me into it in the pub - seemed like a really good idea at the time. I've got a 10k in April, which should be ok, a 10 mile in June, which I'm slightly more concerned about and then the big one.... (and that seriously is the most I could ever do - hats off to those who can run a full marathon - like my friend Liz!)

Anyway, I typed in "Running" on Folksy, and look at the lovely stuff that popped up! Click on the pic to go through to the shop.


Am loving that I'm calling it running - as oppposed to the very slow jog truly is.

Do you run?

Wednesday 19 January 2011


Christmas was a busy time in the Red Bird shops, and I sometimes felt like I spent most of my time in the HUGE post office queue - which made it all the more gutting when I found out that at least 3 of my lovingly handmade jewellery packages had gone AWOL. I felt terrible - especially knowing that they were gifts and I was disappointing not only my customer, but the intended recipient too.

Grrrr it's just so frustrating! I wish I could hand deliver everything.

One of the parcels was off to the US - where the increased security measures are adding WEEKS onto the delivery times.

But even within the UK there were problems. Luckily the items that went astray were things I could re-make, and I had the supplies available. So when it was clear after a few weeks that they really weren't going to turn up I re-made them, re-packaged them and re-sent them! Not ideal given the cost of silver at the moment.

CR0 238, Chatsworth Rd, Croydon

The worst thing is relying on a service, and not being able to do anything about it. Selling online means I have to post items - a courier service just isn't cost effective. And I know that customers need to know their purchase is going to get there. The Royal Mail themselves sent me a document showing research that demonstrated that -
  • Successful delivery of goods is a key driver to repeat purchase.
  • A poor delivery experience can be a barrier to using a retailer in the future and can generate negative word-of-mouth feedback.
Great - thanks for that Royal Mail - you're the one who is letting me down!!

After doing a fair bit of thinking, and researching, I have come to the conclusion that the only thing I can do is to send all of my items by registered post. Whilst this doesn't make them get to my customers any sooner, it does mean that they are slightly more trackable, and hopefully if they go astray they can possibly (but not always) be located.

This is now my default postal option in the shops, although I haven't increased the postal prices on existing listings in the shop. I think it will be an extra cost I have to accept, and will add these costs in as new items are listed. However, I know that for some people recorded delivery is really inconvenient - for example if you are out all day - in these cases do email me, and we can sort something else out.

I am also offering Special Delivery for those extra special parcels, which should enable next day delivery (where the item is not made to order!). Fingers crossed the post seems to be back to normal now, and is delivering on time - but I'm not taking any chances!

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Tuesday Tune

One of my all time favourite songs. It came out when I was in Uni, and always reminds me of those days *sigh*. Cheesy i know, but these are lyrics to live by - you don't have to have the solution, you've got to understand the problem,and don't go hoping for a miracle.

Oh Mark Morriss how right you are.

Monday 17 January 2011

Copper treats

Thanks to the HUGE price rise in silver recently, I'm slowly but surely increasing the amount of copper I have in the shop. I love copper. I wonder if it's because I'm a red head?

Some of the recent listings include:

Little dome studs, I kept the first pair I made just for me because I love these!

and this hammered copper bangle - which shimmers with different colours.

And this geometric necklace in hammered copper.

I've also got a pair of leaf stud earrings, with a rich patina to be uploaded soon!

Saturday 15 January 2011

Friday 14 January 2011

January Birthdays!

I always feel a little bit sorry for people with January birthdays, they often get forgotten after the fuss of Christmas has passed. The birthstone for January is the gorgeous garnet.....

My favourite colour, and a lovely lovely stone. It's just perfect to brighten up the grey days at this time of year.
These are my little garnetty offerings, but I decided to do a little Folksy Friday on perfect January birthday goodies.... hope you like them! As usual just click on the pics to go through to the shop.


Thursday 6 January 2011

Bye bye 2010, hello 2011

What a great year 2010 turned out to be. At the end of December 2009 I stopped working as a research manager for a publishing company, and decided to step of the merry-go-round for a few years.

The kids are still little, and even working 3 days was getting a bit much. So 2010 was my first year off, and looking back now, can I honestly say I did the right thing - giving up the grown up world of work?

Oooooh yes! It's been lovely, not all of it has been living the dream, but hey life's like that. And those school runs in the rain, with moaning kids is not remotely fun, but overall I definitely, completely and utterly made the right choice. And the kids are happier too.

My jewellery designs and photography has come on in leaps and bounds, and I've done so much that I'm proud of.

So what next? Well 2011 will be interesting as I get more into smithing, but using copper and brass mostly - did you know that silver has gone up by about 60%! Really!! And 160% in the last 2 years -  just ridiculous.

I'm also busily working on a new wedding range, and I will be setting up a destash shop which will also have some tutorials in it.

After doing my accounts for 2010, ahem, I'm going to keep outlay to a minimum for a while, so my plans for my own online shop will wait a wee while, but who knows maybe later in the year. To be honest, I think things will be busy enough. We'll be moving house (again!) in the next month or two - luckily to our final destination this time, and that will need some pretty extensive work. Eve will be starting school this September, and Chloe will be in her last year of infants come September. Busy, busy, busy, I can't wait!!

What are your plans for the New Year?
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