Monday, 19 May 2014

Edgar Allan Crow... Beating Burnout part 2

As Part of my plan to beat burn out I decided to do, make, or draw something every week which isn't related to my business, last week I was naughty and skipped class because I was just way too worn out so I decided to use sunday for my making/playing day (after I did my accounts and answered my emails and made some wedding birds)
A pal had brought this gorgeous book, The Artful Bird by Abigail Patner Glassenberg to class previously and I kind of had to buy it! I chose the crow as my first project... probably a bit ambitious really as I haven't really sewn properly for 12 years but I decided to just dive in. The first obstacle I came across was the pattern pieces, they are printed in the book without seam allowance so I struggled adding it on, especially to some of the more complex small pieces, I haven't used a pattern since GCSE so it was a struggle for me.

The next obstacle was the darts for the legs (do I just sew the darts, as indicated? what about the seam allowance) but after that it was pretty much plain sailing... altogether my crow took about 7-8 hours if you include the time to bake the beak which is made from polymer clay. I imagine a more experienced sewer would be faster... or if I made a few more I might be faster too.

All in all I enjoyed making my crow, he's a little wobbly and his beak is crooked  and there are lots of places where I have used sneaky tricks and embroidered bits to hide my mistakes and bad sewing. The instructions are concise and pretty easy to follow but you need a reasonable experience with sewing, I wouldn't recommend this book to a novice.

Edgar Allen Crow is lovely tho, I'm very fond of his crooked everything. I went with bead eyes and changed the wings as I didn't like the way they were in the book and added a little embroidery so he didn't look so very black, he's now gracing our living room, perched next to the Plague doctor's mask we have on display and looking very at home there!

I very much enjoyed losing myself in a project that didn't come entirely from my noggin and I have a feeling that artful bird making is addictive!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Minis are Coming!

 I've been getting lots of requests for mini versions of my best selling birdies recently... being an affable kind of a gal I am happy to oblige! 
 Very soon mini versions of tufted titmouse, kingfisher, magpie, great tit and blue tit will be available in my etsy, folksy and Not On The High street shops.

 My personal faves are the titmouse and the blue tit... although I am kind of loving how very annoyed the kingfisher is looking... I wouldn't mess with him!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Why You Really Need to Update Your Etsy Photos

and by you I mean me!
Over Christmas my trusty old camera decided to develop a fault and die in spectacular fashion... I didn't despair I cried YAY! It meant I could finally justify buying a shiny new camera for my business... so I did! I was a little scared of it at first... It made weird noises and had twisty bits that my old camera never had. So I bought a digital field guide and dug out my Crafter's guide to taking great photos because if there is one piece of advice I can give you after all my years selling online it's know your camera!

I then realised that all my old photos taken with my old camera were pretty shoddy in comparison to my shiny new one... I groaned as I realised that this meant I had to re take all my pictures so they matched.

But that's no bad thing!

You can see from these images how they've changed, old pics are on the left, new on the right as you look at the screen.
 We crafty types have our best sellers, those things that we've been making for years that kind of just tick over and we don't really have to do too much to promote them but if you think about it these are the things we need to make sure have the best pictures. Over time your style might change as well, you might not realise but increment by increment things end up not quite looking like the picture you originally took.
My owls were my first and best seller and the design hasn't changed much but the style has evolved a little. They're a bit fatter now, a bit cuter... and I'm better at needle felting so they are a touch more refined and solid too. The light in their eyes (the bit that makes them cute and adds life) has moved which alters their mood a bit.
And lets face it... when I first started out I had no idea what I was doing so those pictures I thought were AMAZING when I first took them are a little shabby in comparison to wonder camera's shot quality.
If you aren't sure if things have changed then go to your etsy shop and look way way back to your first sales... aren't those pictures looking a little tired now? Try putting them side by side with a recently made product. Get a pal to look at your shop and see what they think. Join an etsy team and get some opinions, check out those handy blog posts about photography on etsy, folksy and the web in general... your photos are essentially your shop window... so make the most of them!

So I have 130 feltmeupdesigns listings and 90 inkmeup things to rephotograph... it's going to be a tough job but I reckon its worth it!