Sunday, May 31

Craft 365: Week 6

Crafting 365: Week 6

Day 36 ~ Day 37 ~ Day 38 ~ Day 39 ~ Day 40 ~ Day 41 ~ Day 42

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

A week of spinning, pretty much! There is one thing that troubles me and thats how much to charge. I've been "umming" and "ahhhing" between 10 pence, 12 pence and 15 pence a meter, which in fairness seems to be the going rate. But for the longer skeins it seems perhaps a bit high? But after all the work that has gone into them it seems right, these do take a good day to spin up! However, is there anyone willing to pay £20 for 168 meters of 3 ply, hand dyed yarn, especially in these times where people are being so careful with their money?
Saturday, May 30

Coriandr Express: Kitty Ballistic

The Coriandr Express has arrived again and today i'd like to tell you a little bit about our VIP.

Helen of Kitty Ballistic is a Brit who now lives and works in the beautiful country of Holland. She is a fantastic artisan who loves to create jewellery from beads she finds that either remind her of flowers or sweets! She only uses beads that are fun and bright to look at and this is so clear in her Coriandr Shop.

These earrings are just one of my favourite items in Helen's shop. I think one of the reasons i love them so much the the brilliant macro photo of them. You can clearly see the beautiful green swirls on them and the lovely silver heishi beads that have been used to complete them!

Jewellery is not the only passion Helen has. Meet Christine, the sweet felt aubergine - I wonder if Helen intended for the name to rhyme? Its just so fitting! Once you read the absolutely wonderful description for Christine, you can't help but fall in love with her. It seems odd to say this, but I felt completely drawn in by Christines gaze, even though she is an inanimate object! Thats great photography for you. I'm sure someone will snap up Christine in no time and she'll be whisked away to look lovingly at her new owner!

These felt fortune cookies would make lovely party favours! Helen can even personalise the fortune for you if you'd like them specific to your guests! The would also, as Helen suggests in the description, make a lovely Valentines gift - great for leaving on your Valentines desk or to send in the post to them!

Helen is a wonderful person, very friendly and lots of fun! If you're on Twitter, I would really recommend following her tweets! She shares some really wonderful links. Also, be sure to visit her blog. And if you like her work, why not become a fan on Facebook!
Thursday, May 28

Crafty Twitter Tips

Twitter is one of the fastest growing and probably one of the most used social networking sites out there today. Although more of a micro blogging tool, it is quite possibly the fastest way to get your message out there to your followers.

For people who make and sell their items online, it is a great tool to let your fans and followers know what is going on for your business. Its a quick and easy way to let them know about promotions, new lines of stock and promoting others users too!

I use twitter whenever i am online and i find it is an extremely useful tool for my small craft business. I just wanted to share with you what I believe works and what doesn't in the world of Tweeting for crafters. There are no hard and fast rules, these are simply guidelines to help you get started!

1) Register a Twitter username that connects to your business. Use it only for your business, try to refrain from Tweeting anything personal. Your family and friends might be interested in what you had for dinner or what music you're listening to, but your customers won't! Setup a seperate personal account for things like that if you wish!

2) Do not Tweet the hard sell. Nobody likes this, unless of course you can make it sound exciting or make it relevant to whats happening today. For example, perhaps it is raining all over the country and you sell handmade umbrellas. Tweeting something light-hearted like:
Ugh, look at this weather! Don't leave home without a brolly! [link]
will more likely get someone to click on your link rather than just Tweeting a link on its own. Do not trick people into clicking on links which are nothing to do with what you Tweeted about either - they will stop following you and possibly even block you.

3) Remember, you only have 140 characters for a Tweet! Use URL shortening sites for links so you can get a nice Tweet in with your link. I personally like because not only is it one shortest URL 'shortening' sites, it lets you know how many people have clicked that particular link. If other users have also shortened the same link, you'll get the same short URL, which is nice as you can see the total number of clicks of everyone who has used the URL!

4) When replying to Tweets, remember that anyone who follows the both of you will be able to read it too. So if you want a more private conversation use something more suitable like an Instant Messenger or email. If its just a quick private message use 'd' in front of their user name eg:
d TomatoTea [private-message-here]
will send me a private Tweet that no one else can see.

5) Where possible, Tweet about others. If you love someones work, let your followers know about it. They will be grateful that you aren't always Tweeting about yourself and that you are sharing cool and relevant links.

6) Retweeting is your friend. If someone you follow has Tweeted something interesting that you think your followers would like, Retweet it. The Retweet etiquette goes something along the lines of:
RT @username-who-tweeted-something-interesting [their-tweet]
However, don't over do it. if you are constantly Retweeting and not coming up with your own Tweets, people may think you are either a spam bot or that you're on commission! Retweet your own Tweets if you feel it is appropriate to - no one likes to read the same thing over and over!

7) There is no rule in the world of Twitter that says if someone follows you, you have to follow them back. This goes both ways, so don't follow a bus load of people in the hopes that they'll follow you back - most of the time they won't, and even if they do, they will probably ignore your tweets if they don't like the same things as you. If someone follows you and you see that they have interesting Tweets or have similar interests, then by all means reciprocate. You will find that there are Twitter users out there who will follow you just to get you to follow them back, and if you do they usually then stop following you. Twitter is not a popularity contest - you want your followers to be interested in what you are Tweeting, because they will most likely help you spread the word, more so if you help them. It's a two way street.

8) Expanding on the above, try not to follow too many people. Any more than 100 perhaps 200 and the important Tweets you are interested in will get buried. It might be worth setting up another account for following celebrities or anything not related to your business that you are interested in.

9) Fill out your profile and upload a picture. You only have 160 characters, so it doesn't need to be anything major. Something along the lines of:
I make fimo buttons!
is enough for people to be intrigued. If you have a website, blog, shop any URL that links to more information about you, then stick that in the relevant box too. And the picture doesn't need to be anything fancy, it can be of you or your logo - something relevant! Doing these things is more likely to get you followers than leaving it blank.

10) Finally, use Twitter tools such as TwitterFox or TweetDeck to enhance your Twitter experience! These keep you up to date with Tweets while you're online (and logged into them). They make it easy for you to Tweet, reply, Reweet, and Direct Message your followers/followees! There are plenty of other Twitter tools out there, so find one that suits you.

Well, I do hope this helps you with your crafty Twittering! Remember, this is simply a guide of what i have found works for me on Twitter. Find what works for you and you could be the next big thing!
Wednesday, May 27

Coriandr Express: Handmaid

Our latest stop on the Coriandr Express is that of Julie Mills.

Julie has a huge passion for textiles and studied Fashion Design at Northumbria University. She specialises in print and embroidery and this is clear in her products.

There are a lot of fans of these super cute Bird Scarves, available in Pink and Blue. I really love this print as the birds look like they are kissing! The colours are bright and cheery and the best part about them if they are perfect to wear all year round. Because they are made from silk satin they are light enough to wear on the cooler, windier days of summer but warm enough for those colder months too!

If you like the bird print, which i should add is designed by Julie herself, but want to spend a little less then I would recommend the delicious dinky clasp purses!

Any girl would be very happy to receive one of these as a gift! Fully lined with hand dyed silk satin this would make a wonderful present.

Not only does Julie design and print her own designs of fabrics, she machine and hand knits too!

There is a wonderful selection of purses and scarves over in Julies' Coriandr Shop. Be sure to have a peep and if you like them, be sure to let your friends know about it - this is one designer not to be missed.
Sunday, May 24

Craft 365: Week 5

Crafting 365: Week 5
Day 29 ~ Day 30 ~ Day 31 ~ Day 32 ~ Day 33 ~ Day 34 ~ Day 35
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Not sure what to make of this week. I guess the highlight was the neck warmer and crochet birdie order I got from Etsy - that really took me by surprise! The purple knit purse needs finishing and I think I'll knit up some other colours and see how their fair :)

Listed a few more things on Coriandr and bought some things too! Not just Dig The Earth's cards but some other goodies! Can't wait to show you, I think they are great but for now, I will keep it under wraps :D

The first week of the Coriandr Express seemed like a great success, with Dig The Earth and Bluefish Handmade. Doing this is really opening my eyes to the handmade community out there, it really is fantastic. I'm looking forward to promoting each of the sellers on the train and hoping to make some new friends along the way :D
Saturday, May 23

Coriandr Express: Bluefish Handmade

Our next VIP on the train is the very talented crocheter, Izabela of Bluefish handmade!

When people think of crochet, it usually conjures up images of loud, bright acrylic granny square blankets thrown over a couch or in a pets bed. However, you will never look at crochet the same again when you see Izabelas work. You can see there is a lot of love going into her work as it is very delicate and intricate. Pastel colours are very prominent in her items and this works so well for what she creates. This is very true of the Flower Corsages she makes, so beautiful and elegant.

On of my favourite items in her shop are these wonderful, lacy gloves:

These would look wondeful, as Izabela suggests, with a wedding outfit or to dress up an evening outfit. Theres something about lace that really makes a girl feel special and graceful.

If you love Bluefish Handmade, become a fan on Facebook :)

Izabela has a special offer on until the 13th of June, exclusive for her Coriandr shop. Check out the Coriandr Express blog to find out more - you won't want to miss out!
Wednesday, May 20

Coriandr Express: DigTheEarth Day 3

Today, i wanted to show you how brilliant Dig The Earth's customer service is.

For a start, i ordered a custom POP! birthday card on Monday morning. I received an email from Kev thanking me for my order and that he would make and send it asap :)

Well, for a custom card to come within a couple of days, i think thats amazing. The packaging is very professional too! All printed nicely with one of his designs on the side :) There was a piece of cardboard in there to make sure the card did not get bent either!

And the card, well see for yourself:

And theres even a thank you note.

Hows that for customer service?
Remember, Kevin's cards are HALF PRICE in his Coriandr shop until the end of May. Do not miss out on this wonderful seller!
Tuesday, May 19

Coriandr Express: DigTheEarth Day 2

In todays post, i want to tell you a little bit more about Dig The Earth.

The great thing about his cards are that there are printed on 100% recycled card. He gets his cards printed locally, thus cutting the carbon miles down, as well as helping his local businesses. The packaging is made from corn starch which is biodegradable, breaking down into just water and Carbon Dioxide.
These cards are very green and at these great prices there really is no reason to buy, especially with his cards being half price in his Coriandr Shop until the end of May! Don't miss out on this offer!

Not only does Kevin sell bright and funky cards, he hand decorates mirrors.

I particularly like this one. Now please note, all these circles have been drawn BY HAND. I have no idea how long this would have taken him - but it is a work of art. I think it would make a fantastic gift coupled with this card:

Tomorrow is the last day VIP day for Dig The Earth, so we want to make it go out with a bang :D Stay tuned for the last installment!
Monday, May 18

Coriandr Express: DigTheEarth Day 1

Today is the big day! The train has left and the first VIP is DigTheEarth.

If you need a unique and jazzy card for a Birthday, Anniversary or just something to say "Hi", this is the place to find it!

I personally have my eye on the POP! Birthday card. My Dads 60th is coming up and as a family, its something we want to shout about :D

These cards are really good value too. £2 for a card? You'd pay more than that in normal card shop, especially for lovely cards like his. And only an extra 75p to have a customised one, like the POP! Birthday card! Not only that, but if you buy 3 or 5 cards, he gives a pretty nice discount! There really is no excuse!
AND to really put the icing on the cake, he is offering his cards for HALF PRICE during May in his Coriandr Shop. You really shouldn't pass up this offer :D

Want to find out more about this fantastic seller? Head on over to the Coriandr Express Blog and see what the other train riders are saying! I'll be posting more tomorrow and Wednesday! So stay tuned here as well! :)
Saturday, May 16

Craft 365: Week 4 / Coriandr Express

Crafting 365: Week 4
Day 22 ~ Day 23 ~ Day 24 ~ Day 25 ~ Day 26 ~ Day 27 ~ Day 28

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Another week which started so well and ended badly. Its my own fault for loosing my footing on some stairs at work though :/ I have never felt physically sick due to pain before. Yet this morning i feel fine.


I'm getting closer to dedicating myself to Coriandr. I'm slowing moving items from Artfire at the moment, my subscription ends June 6th so that'll be the first to go. The bits n bobs at Etsy and Folksy will take longer to transport - i want to get my listings worth out of them!!

I've joined in with a fantastic idea on Coriandr to help promote sellers (including me :o ) and Coridanr itself. Its called the 'Coriandr Express' and involves about 20 coriandr sellers. Every 3 days (we rest on a Sunday :)) a VIP from the train is picked and the other sellers promote the socks off of them by blogging, tweeting etc about them and what they do. Its such a fantastic idea and is being organised and run by Lynne of the PixiePirateCrew, who also writes for and organises Autonomous Artisans! She already has a blog up and running for the Coriandr Express which will also be used for promoting the VIP as well as Coriandr and with over 20 people promoting it, news, in theory, should travel fast :o. I volunteered to set up a Twitter account to help plug this even more with some micro Blogging!
If all goes well and more people wish to be a part of this, more trains may be set up to accomidate everyone!

So all aboard this Monday as thats when the train leaves and the very first VIP gets some kick ass promotion :D
Thursday, May 14

A really big decision about selling online...

I have a feeling this may burn a few bridges but all in all I think it will work, because I want it to.

Selling online is tough, you have to promote yourself continuously in order to get your work even seen. There's nothing wrong with that, thats how the handmade world works. However if you have more than one shop to promote, you're not making it easy for yourself.

Currently, I sell on Etsy, Folksy and Artfire.

True, i haven't been promoting much. But i'm really not one to blow my own horn, especially if it means doing it 3 times as much! There are pros and cons to each of these online market places, be it too many products and sellers to really get noticed, a not so modern interface or a new-ish market place. Selling in different currencies seems like a good idea, but im thinking now that its not. I'm sure now that i only want to sell in good ol' £GBP because then there's absolutely no confusion in having to juggle exchange rates. I want to primarily reach fellow Britons, with a clean, smart looking interface. I want to promote UK sellers and i want to promote a UK market place.

One shop. One currency. One lot of promotions.


I haven't been there that long, and i haven't really explored its potential fully so why would I jump off the deep end head first into the unknown? Because so many sellers love it there. Its creator, Mathew really listens to what the sellers want. The interface is clean, as are the menus and catagories. I've signed up to be apart of the 'Coriandr Express' which is a member run promotional 'tool' which i think is fantastic, not only for the members of Coriandr but Coriandr its self! It is these things that have made me come to this decision. That and a EUROPE shipping option. The ONLY place i know of that has done this.

I don't have time to look after three shops. I don't want myself spread so thin over the internet. I want my items in one awesome place.

So in the coming weeks, expect a complete re-haul of TomatoTea - because i am totally dedicated to Coriandr.
Saturday, May 9

Craft 365: Week 3 / PIF

Crafting 365: Week 3

Day 15 ~ Day 16 ~ Day 17 ~ Day 18 ~ Day 19 ~ Day 20 ~ Day 21
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Its been a slow week craft wise. It started off well with the dyeing but due to my own impatience, it sagged. However, on Friday you can see that something did arrive! I spent the afternoon building it and have had a play on it and I LOVE it. So watch this space for fiber related goodies.

Pay It Forward

The PIF folks have been chosen!! I'll be contacting the following people for their addresses so I can send them their goodies :)
Blackberry Crafts

Thanks to the people who took part!

I'm thinking of doing more giveaways, perhaps once a month at the beginning of each month, so watch out when June comes along :)
Saturday, May 2

Craft 365: Week 2

Crafting 365: Week 2

Day 8 ~ Day 9 ~ Day 10 ~ Day 11 ~ Day 12 ~ Day 13 ~ Day 14

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Loads of scarfettes (i want to call them "scafLettes" for some reason. Perhaps i'll stick with "neck warmers" in future!) made this week, photographed and ready for listing. Even though its the complete wrong time of the year. Ah well.

The Pay It Forward 'event' is still open for participants til May 7th! Be sure to comment to be included.

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