My First Craft Show

Table at the Manea Gift Fair

Table at the Manea Gift Fair

On November 15th, I did my first craft show!  Something I have wanted to do for ages, and my dream finally came true!

The venue was the Church Rooms in Manea village, and the weather was cold and foggy.  However, nothing could dampen my excitement, short of the building burning down.

I set up my table ready for customers, and sat waiting for them to come flooding through the door.  Unfortunately, foot traffic was very slow, and sales even more so, and I only sold one card.

 

However, I had decided before I even arrived there that day that the event was going to be a positive one for me no matter what happened.  I got to set up and dismantle my table display, just as I had planned, and I talked to potential customers, and even sold something, so there was no way this was a failure. My table set up worked exactly as it was supposed to, and even setting up and packing away was quicker than I thought it would be.

I am already signed up to do the Block Fen RSPCA Christmas event on November 30th in Wimblington, and a Christmas Fayre at the Cross Keys Hotel in Chatteris on December 6th, so it’s all looking good from here!  Obviously, I will expect a better turn out at the other events so hopefully there will be good news to report in the upcoming weeks!

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New Cards for Christmas!

1st set of Printed cards

1st set of Printed cards

Here we go with a BRAND NEW product!  These cards have been created by photographing my original cards and having those images turned into printed cards! Each one comes with a plain white envelope.

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Set Of Printed Cards

I can’t tell you how excited I am to see these!  This is a product that allows me to offer a handmade card at a lower price, AND one that will not increase your postage costs!

I am selling these for £2.50 each, with discounts for quantities of five or more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goals for March!

Setting Goals

Setting Goals

Now that I am almost fully settled back in the UK, it’s time to set some crafting goals to get things moving forward.  Here’s what I planned for this month:

1.  Re-photograph  my Etsy items.  After receiving some important feedback from some of my Etsy team members, I decided to go through each of my Etsy listings and improve the photographs.  With a new hand-me-down camera, I have managed to get some much better pictures!  This will be an ongoing task over the next 2-3 months as listing expire and get renewed.

2.  List 50 new items in my Etsy Destash store.  At the start of the year I decided to open a new Etsy store to shift some of my stitching stash that I no longer have room for.  Patterns, fabric, books and other crafting materials are taking up space that I can’t afford to lose now that we are in a much smaller house.

3.  Release one new Cross Stitch Pattern.  When I started designing my own patterns, my goal was to release one new one every month, but I kind of fell behind with that.  Time to get back on the horse.  I have loads of new ideas and can’t wait to get them out there in the public space.

4.  Continue making more Lavender and Chamomile hanging ornaments/sachets.  My new product for 2014, and one I need to make a big impact with.  Lots more stock needs to be completed.

5.  Make some new designs for a set of Christmas Ornaments using my Fabric Swatch designs.  This idea is still in its infancy, and is low priority compared with the other goals.

As of today, I have made some new Lavender and Chamomile Ornaments, taken lots of new pictures, and am well on the way to having a new pattern completed.  I have not started the listings for my Etsy Destash Store yet.  That will be a priority over the next two weeks, as I have had some sales from that store and need to get my stock level back up again.

Let’s see what the next couple of weeks bring, shall we?

 

Stitchy Hugs,

 

Gail

 

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New Chart for Christmas!

Christmas Candles

Christmas Candles

 

HERE IT IS!

Christmas Candles is here in time for Christmas.  This is my first new chart in a while, as I have been a little of the grid lately!

This is a chart that is suitable for all stitchers, as it uses whole stitches only, no fractionals, and only a little bit of backstitch. Two shades of red, two shades of green, yellow and black make up the colors needed for this seasonal design.

Stitch count is 67 x 67, finished size approximately 5″ x 5″ when stitched on 14 count aida.

 

 

 

 

Believe it or not, this chart, of the concept of it has been in my inventory for a while, I just needed to tweak it, and make some small revisions to get it ready for sale.  I love this one because it is so simple!  You could even use elements of the design to make ornaments for your tree – how’s that for a multi-use design!

 

Available in my Etsy store here for £5.50.  I can even put this together into a kit for you, so please ask!

 

Hope you like the new addition to my chart collection – there’s more to come!

 

Stitchy Hugs to you all,

 

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shutting Up Shop on Artfire

 

I had a tough decision to make.  Should I keep going with multiple online stores (Artfire, Etsy, and Zibbet), or should I scale it down a little and push all my efforts towards one shopfront?  I decided to use only one site, but which one?  My decision was made after adding up sales figures vs fees for 2013.

 

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Etsy – Opened in August 2009, and used on and off ever since.  Listing fees $0.20 per item.   For 2013, 21% of my sales income went back to them in fees.

 

Artfire LogoArtfire – Opened in February 2011, used continuously and was my main store with the most stock, most variation and where I put most of my marketing efforts. Monthly fee $9.95 per month.  For 2013, 56% of my sales income went back to them on the monthly fee.

 

Unknown-1Zibbet – Opened sometime in 2011, used my 50 free listings, but never made one sale.  It was just another shopfront to have to maintain.

 

 

Granted, 2013 was not my best year for sales, and my stores were offline for a period earlier in the year while I raised a puppy, and again for a few months while I relocated to the UK, but I did not expect that result from my Artfire Studio.  I was totally shocked.  The static monthly fee was a big selling point for the site, as I could list as much as I wanted for one fixed fee.  However, the views and the sales were just not there.  I think I gave them a fair chance.

My decision was to drop Artfire and Zibbet, and just continue with Etsy.  I had probably spread myself a little bit too thin.  After all, maintaining one online store is a lot of work, three was ambitious.  With only one store, I have been able to focus all my efforts/marketing/promotions within one place and not have to decide which items I would list on each site.  Admittedly, it has been a lot of work having to move all my listings over to another site, a task I am still in the middle of, but once done, it will be a weight off my shoulders., and I can relax and concentrate on other things.

So, after handing over ownership of my Artfire Guild to a new leader,  I have downgraded my Artfire Account to Patron and my shop will disappear on December 9th.

You can now find all my listings here on Etsy!  I would love to have you come over and visit!

 

Stitchy hugs to all!

Gail

 

 

 

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Blogging once again!

Hey everyone!  I have FINALLY had time to update my website following my International Relocation.  Yes, that’s right – I am now in the UK!  All the information on my site is now current and I will be getting my blogging hat on again to write some fun pieces.

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I will be writing several blogs about our relocation, detailing various sections of it, and how we dealt with the stresses.  More importantly, how the dog coped with a new country.  All fun and games.

 

So, I look forward to sharing some of this with you over the coming weeks!

 

Stitchy Hugs to you all!

 

Gail

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A Serious Issue

As a cross stitcher, I am a fan of several designers, and enjoy collecting their patterns.  I have quite a large number of patterns to work from these days, as I offer stitched to order pieces from the Kats By Kelly range by Calico Crossroads, and the Amish Quilt series by Cross My Heart.

I was troubled by an email I received this morning from a lady asking me for copies of some of my patterns.  This person is also a fan of the same designs, and wanted to stitch them too.  The patterns in question are now out of print and hard to find, and she only wanted the pleasure of stitching the pieces herself which I can appreciate.

However, I had to refuse to send her copies as this would breach the copyright of the original designer.  This, in turn damages the whole industry that we are trying to support.  I explained my reasons for refusing to help, and asked her to respect the original designers of all patterns by not getting involved in sending or receiving illegal copies of such charts.

I will confess, there has been an occasion when I sent a copy of a chart to a stitching friend, in appreciation of one that she sent me.  To be honest, I never really felt right about doing it.  Now that I am a designer myself and have produced my own patterns, I know that I was wrong to pass on that pattern to my friend.  After all, how would I feel if people were copying MY designs and simply passing them on their friends without paying me for the work I did?  Sometimes you can’t stop people from doing it, and it is a difficult thing to regulate.  After all, who would know?

I’ll tell you who:  YOU would know.

The whole issue of design copyright is a complicated one and I do not profess to be an expert on the subject at all.  There are, however, some rules that we must all follow:

Always credit the designer.  When I sell my work online, and I have used someone else’s pattern, I will always mention that in the listing.  “The item I am selling has been created by my own hands, but the design/pattern is not mine”.

If you happen to make/sell the same item as someone else, use your own photos and write your own description.    Your customers want to see the actual item listed for sale, and hear about how YOU created it in YOUR words.  They don’t want to see someone else’s words and pictures.  You may be misrepresenting the item being sold by copying.

Use original patterns, and don’t get involved in sharing copies with your friends.  This does irreparable damage to the crafting industry, not to mention the designer’s reputation.    You can make a working copy of a design, so that you don’t damage the original by marking it, but please destroy that copy when you are done.

I hope that you all respect other’s work, and understand why I wrote about this today.

In closing, please do not ask me for copies of patterns, I will say no!

 

Stitchy Hugs to you all,

Gail

 

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A Fine Line…

Non-stitching post alert!  I have some pretty “out there” thought processes as some of you already know.  Here’s what’s been going through my mind this morning and what led to these thoughts:

I received a change of address notification from a friend yesterday, on which I also found out that they are having a baby.  Now, as I am unlikely to ever send out a baby notification (if I did, I would also be suing my surgeon), I have decided to send out a “New Car” notification the next time I buy a new set of wheels!  Cars/children – they’re the same thing right?

Registration – You have to register a baby when it is born, and my car must also be registered in the place that I drive it.

Insurance – A family has life/critical illness/accident cover, and my car must also be insured against risks.

Healthcare – Your child must be seen by a doctor on a regular basis for check ups, and other health issues.  My car must be serviced annually by a dealer, and go in for repairs when it is not well.

Keep them clean – You bathe your child to keep him/her clean, I take my car to the car wash to prevent that same build-up of grime.

Clothing – You buy new shoes for your child, I buy new tires for my car.

Education – You enroll your child in school or home school them so that they gain knowledge about the world.  I update my car’s GPS and Navigation, so that it also gains knowledge about the world.

Food and Drink – You feed your child so that it has the nutrients to burn for energy to run and play.  I put gas in my car, so that it also burns energy so that I can run and play. Under the same note, you sometimes take your child to eat out for a treat.  I sometimes fill up with premium grade gas to give my car a treat.

Outdoor Fun – Your child may like to camp in the garden overnight.  My car sometimes likes to spend the night on the driveway.

Days Out – You take your child to the amusement park for a day out.  I take my car on a road trip.

Personal Motivation – You sometimes have to push your child hard to achieve his/her goals.  I sometimes push my car quite hard.

I know that some of you may find these thoughts weird.  However, it’s not my intention to offend anyone, just my thoughts and observations on life.

Thanks for listening today!

 

Stitchy hugs to you all

Gail

 

 

 

Posted in: Cross Stitching

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Unfinished Project Week

September has arrived and with it comes the time to sort through my unfinished projects.  It’s good for a stitcher to do this once in a while, as unfinished projects, or UFOs as they’re called, can mount up.  We come across so many great projects and have so many ideas that sometimes we can’t stitch fast enough!

I have pulled out 6 things that need finishing and plan to do some of them this week.

1.  Christmas Cards – recently started, needs doing for seasonal reasons.

2.  Playing Card Coaster – started ages ago, must get this done.

3.  Cucumber Seed Packet hanging – another project that has been hanging around for ages and must be done soon.

4.  Mount the Cube Lattice Quilt on hanger – just finished the cross stitching on this a few days back, so this will be easy to get done.

5.  Black and White Hopscotch Project – started a couple of weeks ago, this has become an evening stitching project.

6.  Yellow Hopscotch Project – most recently started, and will be the final one to work on.

I will work on a different one each day, not necessarily to a finish, in no particular order.

These six projects are lined up on my desk waiting to be continued this week – let’s see how I get on.

 

Stitchy hugs to you all!

Gail

 

 

Posted in: Cross Stitching

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Sailing Away At Last

Since I started designing my own cross stitch patterns in March this year, I have developed a unique style.  Bright and colorful designs show my love of distinct and in-your-face color combinations.  My latest design is no exception.

August 2nd was the release date for another original cross stitch pattern.  My sixth design is called Sail Away, and it features four lighthouses, and six small sailing boats.   Inspired, in part, by Janlynn’s Lighthouses that I stitched earlier this year, and the fact that lighthouses have held a fascination for me for years, I wanted to provide my own interpretation of a nautical scene.

The six sailboats are gently floating on a turquoise sea among light and fluffy clouds.  They are protected by the four lighthouses, one at each corner of the design.  The lighthouses show them the way as they sail back and forth, kept safe by the bright beacons atop each lighthouse.

I chose to stitch the model for this design on light blue 14 count aida, using the blue background as the sky, saving on threads and stitching time with a lot of blue thread to create the same effect.  The colors of the lighthouses and sailboats stand out well against his color, and I have been encouraged by this result to use colored aida again in future projects.

This design is suitable for all levels of stitchers, it’s not too large (approx 8″x8″) and has whole stitches only, no fractionals, beads or french knots.  There is backstitch in two colors, which is very easy to follow on the chart.

I showed the design to cross stitch designer, Joan Elliot, who described it as “Very Sweet”.  It’s great to have this sort of feedback from such a distinguished designer.

If you wish to stitch this design, you can buy it on Artfire, Etsy, Zibbet, and EBay along with my previous designs .  Free shipping for all US customers.  Contact me for further information or if you have questions!

Posted in: Cross Stitching

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