Saturday, 28 June 2014

Out and about meeting crafty folk....

Last week I left my craft den to meet up with some fellow bloggers and crafters.  It's easy to feel isolated when you are self-employed and working from home so it's great to meet and be inspired by like-minded people and chat about my favourite topic, craft!

First off, I went for a Crafty Cuppa with Laura from Bugs and Fishes. I follow Laura's blog and was excited when I saw she was organising these meet ups in museums, which is a great opportunity to visit some amazing buildings and see inspiring exhibits.  I also met Julie and Carina, it was a pleasure to meet such a talented bunch!

We met at the Natural History Museum.  It is a beautiful building with so much to see. However, we spent most of our time in the café, chatting about all things craft, blogging and general chit chat over tea and cake.

Julie and Carina told me about a blog they run with Nicole - &Stitches. Their blog is all about stitching and focusses on embroidery.  I'm in awe of the talents showcased on the blog! The &Stitches team have organised picnics in Hyde Park, I am gutted I can't make the dates but I hope they are successful so they do more.  If you want to stitch in the park with a picnic and meet other crafters visit here for more details.

A statue that caught my eye whilst walking through Hyde Park

Laura has organised more meet ups in some of London's fabulous museums over the next few weeks.  To find out what she has planned visit her blog here.

Also this week I met these lovely ladies ~ The #CraftBlogClub crew (I'm on the left squinting at the sun, Emma is in the Middle and Katie is on the Right)
I was very excited to finally meet my fellow #CraftBlogClub peeps, the founder Emma and co-host Katie. It was so lovely to meet the people behind the emails and tweets.  We met in Nottingham and spent most of the day at the Nottingham Contemporary which is a gallery with a fab café bar serving freshly prepared food in a relaxed environment, if you are in the area I recommend it.  We chatted about craft, business and I also found out that Emma shares the same love for the Tudors, (I love that show I might have to watch the box set again).  We also discussed all the exciting plans we have for #CraftBlogClub, so watch this space....

I hope to meet you lovely ladies again soon!
There were floral displays like this all over Nottingham, I particularly liked this tea

I plan to go to more of the Crafty Cuppas and I hope it's not too long before the #CraftBlogClub crew meet up again.  I am also going to the Crafty Catch Up Club arranged by Zoe from Ladybird Likes, this is happening in London on July 10th, interested??  Find out more here.  Hopefully I'll see you there.

fizzi~jayne x
Pssst....  #CraftBlogClub is every Tuesday from 7pm over on Twitter, come and join us for a chat.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Crafty Technique ~ The Gelli Plate....

I love creating my own backgrounds using paints, inks and stamps.  So when I heard about the Gelli plate I couldn't wait to get my mitts on it and o boy have I had fun!!....

The Gelli Plate is a way to monoprint without a press. The first time I took it out of the packet I just played and experimented and had fun with it!

It feels like jelly! but it doesn't contain any gelatine, as veggie I had to check!

I used stencils, a brayer and acrylic paints with my Gelli plate, all of which I had in my crafty stash (I'm still trying to be savvy!)

The acrylic paint is applied with a brayer to give a smooth, even coverage....

I applied paint over a spotty stencil, card is then placed over the top and using your hand you smooth across the back of the card applying a small amount of pressure to transfer the print to the card

I used Buff Titanium as the base colour and applied then applied Coeruleum Blue and white

White Swirl and Blue spotty stencil
After you take the print off there is still some paint left on the plate, don't waste it! With another piece of card go through the same process and you get a second print and it cleans your Gelli plate!
By this point I was mixing all sorts of paint colours and the 1st print off the plate looks dirty but the second print looks cleaner yet patchy but you can still be used for a background.

My first finished product using this technique, can you see where I've used it?
It seems a shame to cover most of it up but it suited the design of this card perfectly don't you think?
You can also get some cool effects with bubble wrap

I started playing with other colours and a butterfly stencil....

I've highlighted some of the butterflies by drawing around them with a silver glittery pen. I've die cut a matching butterfly and I have an MDF frame which I want to use with this, but it is still work in progress. To be continued....

It is so much fun and no matter how hard you try you will never have the same image twice, so every design is unique.

I have so many ideas, what would happen if I used leaves or lace or what else can I use as a stencil??  I have so much experimenting and playing to do, watch this space....

fizzi~jayne x

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

People Make Etsy....

Last week Etsy premiered their first TV advert! Have you seen it?  It features real Etsy store owners and their products.
If you missed the advert click on the image below. The lovely people at Etsy have also given shop owners the chance to customise the end of the ad to help promote their shop and this is my version....

fizzi~jayne x

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Enterprise Nation ~ Go and Grow Online....

I went to a free event hosted by Enterprise Nation at the end of May. If you don't know anything about them they are a business that "help people turn their passion into great businesses".  I reviewed a book by the owner last week you can check it out here.

The event was one in a series about growing a business online.  The talk I attended was about Social Media which is a huge topic to squeeze into an hour, but they managed to cover the key points and I got some helpful hints.

They had Communications and Social Media experts from Microsoft (where the event was held), UPS as well as freelance consultants.

Here are some of the top tips from the experts:
  • Don't post the same thing, at the same time across all platforms.  Be more targeted on each platform.
  • Use a consistent tone of voice across all platforms.  Not sure what that is? Ask yourself this question, if your brand was a person how would you describe it?
  • Consider what you want to be known for.
  • Most people follow or like a page because of an incentive or a promotion.
  • Which platform and at what time to post depends on your customers and their lifestyle.  If you are not sure ask your customers what they use and try posting at various times to see what gets the most comments/ retweets/ Likes etc.

I found the Twitter tips from @AlisonBattisby (Social Media Consultant) most useful. Her top 3 tips plus a bonus one are:

#1 Be interesting
  • There are three types of posts ~ fun, informative and helpful.  Use a mix of all three.
  • Generally people are looking for entertainment on social media.
  • Make your audience feel special by posting news about offers, new products/services.
  • Use images at least once a week.  This will also make your post stand out on your followers timeline.

#2 Speak to influential people
  • Use #journorequest to see the stories and features that journalists are looking for.
  • Twitter advance search ~ this is great for finding specific tweets. For example if you are a social media consultant you may want to search for people asking for help with social media and using this tool may help you find your next project.

#3 Use Twitter advertising
  • Be targeted, specific and always add a link to your website.
  • You can pay for different types of advertising but the recommended one by Alison is a promoted tweet. Always include an image and your web link.
  • Use advertising for key events such as launching a website, hosting an event or launching new products, to get the most return on your spend. 
The Bonus : Make sure your twitter account looks professional.

Quote of the evening was by @StevenWoodgate #JFDI & be awesome, I think this will be my daily mantra!

There was also an opportunity to network.  It was a pleasure to meet others who own a small business and are at various stages in their journey.  You get to meet people who have gone through the process of starting a business or who are at the early stages and it's a great opportunity to share experiences and get support. You can guarantee whatever you are struggling with someone else will have gone through exactly the same at some point.

I am going to another event about Going Global. I had my first order from the USA last week so this may be quite apt!

If you are interested in these events there are two left in the Go and Grow Online series and you can get more info here (one of them is tomorrow night so be quick!). They are being held at Microsoft's offices in London, near Victoria Station (not as easy to find as you would expect!).

I don't have any pictures of the event as I didn't pick the best seat in the house, I had a pillar blocking some of my view! So I thought I would end with this....

fizzi~jayne x

Monday, 9 June 2014

Little Fox Market, Rickmansworth....

At the weekend I had a stall at the Little Fox Market in Rickmansworth.  It is a fabulous market!  It has a relaxed and friendly feel about it.  There is a good variety of stalls, no stall was selling the same type of product which is great for visitors and there is less competition for us stall holders!

My Stall

My helpful assistant, sorry Hubby, particularly enjoyed this one as there were a variety of food stalls. He did his bit supporting local businesses by spending lots of money on chutney, jam, and bought a savoury muffin for his breakfast and a burger for his lunch!

There was a steady flow of customers coming through.  Although the regulars were saying it was quieter than usual, I was very happy with my sales so I have high hopes for future ones especially in the run up to Christmas!

You can enjoy a cuppa at the Foxy Café.  They do great coffee!
I loved the attention to detail by the organiser, with the bunting and the inside gazebos making it visually appealing and adding a crafty touch to the hall.  There is an outside area with undercover stalls and some benches to relax and enjoy the sunshine, which came out in the afternoon.
Loved the fabric bunting
It has been my most successful fair so far this year and I met lovely customers and stall holders so I'll be back! 

Keep an eye out on my "Events and Craft Fairs" page for future events.

fizzi~jayne x

Friday, 6 June 2014

Book Review ~ Turn Your Talent Into A Business by Emma Jones....

I was given this book -Turn Your Talent into a Business, as a gift a couple of years ago just after I decided to start fizzi~jayne makes.... and it gave me the confidence and advice I needed to go for it!  When I took on the venture full time I thought I should read it again and brush up on my knowledge.

I like this book as it covers all aspects of starting a business and takes you step by step through the process. It also takes into account that you may be starting a business whilst working in a full time job and working from home, so it is realistic.

In this book you will discover how to:
  • Make sales beyond your friends and family
  • Promote your brand
  • Register your company and manage your finances
  • Embrace technology to save you time and money
  • Create a support network and work with partners
  • Above all, it shows you how to make money from doing what you love!
It includes top tips with case studies along the way from people who have successfully made the leap. It is a good introduction to all aspects of starting a business.

It highlights the amount of resources available to small, start up businesses which you may not be aware of, I know I wasn't.  Various useful websites are cited throughout the book to check out.

I found it really useful and I am sure I will refer to it again for advice along my journey. 

This book is perfect for anyone who has a hobby, passion or skill whether it is baking, sewing, painting or a writer and wants to make money from it.  So if you are starting out or thinking about it I would recommend picking up this book.

About the author....

This is a book from a business perspective not a crafter. Emma Jones is a successful business owner, she started her first business at the age of 27 and sold it 2 years later.  She successfully runs Enterprise Nation which "help people turn their passions into great businesses".  I saw her talk at the Folksy School 2013 and I attended a free event she organised about Social Media last week (more about this in another post soon).  I admire her passion and she really knows what she is talking about.

My Inspiring book mark for my business books.  It helps me keep focused whenever I doubt myself and my ability.

I am now reading Handmade Marketplace which was one of my leaving pressies from my 9-5.  This book is by a crafter and it will be interesting to compare it to this book (there will be a book review but I'm not the fastest reader so be patient with me!).  You can see what is on my reading list on the right of my blog and any business/craft books will have its review here.
fizzi~jayne x

Disclaimer: Amazon links are affiliate links

Monday, 2 June 2014

My Month in Pictures ~ May....

Hello June!
Goodbye May thanks for a great month....
A day out in London at the 'Hello, My Name is Paul Smith' exhibition at the Design Museum, which was awesome!
Paul Smith Mini / Arty shot of my ticket / Paul Smith in cardboard form/ Wall full of buttons! / Design Museum with filters
More from London ~ Metropolitan Wharf, home of Great British Sewing Bee Season 2 / Sculpture outside of the Design Museum / Under the Millennium bridge
Custom orders ~ Two Birthday cards for surfers / Two 40th Birthday cards

More custom orders ~ Personalised Holy Communion, Christening and Confirmation cards
Father's Day Photo Shoot ~ Don't forget Father's Day is 15th June! Order your card by midday 8th June 2014 to receive your card in time.
One of my craft stalls from May / the start of a crochet scarf for my Mum's birthday / I got the new Tilly Walnes Love at First Stitch book as a pressie from Hubby / My name is in print! The latest Craftseller Mag arrived and my tweet featured which made me smile!
I designed new business cards and they arrived from the printers last week! What do you think??
fizzi~jayne  x 

Psst.... go to my Folksy or Etsy shop to get your Father's Day card