Wednesday, 30 May 2012

New to the shop

I'm in the process of uploading some new hairslides to the girlindustries etsy shop.  I've been selling them at craft fairs for about a year now, so I'm a bit slow off the mark with the online side of things but that's just how I roll these days...

Blue ditsy flower print £3/$4.50
Vintage button OOAK £2/$3

Red gingham pair £3/$4.50
Vintage button pair £3/$4.50

Turquoise graph paper style £3/$4.50

Made with offcuts of fabric passed on to me by my crafty pal Sarah, my favourite dress which I burst the zip on no longer wear and some quilting fabric I found in a poky little shop in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on my travels years ago, as well as some of my vintage buttons from Vancouver, there is something for everyone, in a range of colours.  I love making these because it totally fulfils my need to make the useless useful.  And what is more useful than keeping stray hair where it needs to be?  In this weather, NOTHING.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Unfinished business - the revenge!

Photo by
I found this tutorial via Craftzine today and it totally reminded me that I have literally HUNDREDS of pre-cut strips in a bag down the side of my sofa, all ready to go.  Recently, my husband was clearing out our ‘loft’* and found a tonne of vintage latch rug wool, which was in a bad way and had to be binned and a few latch hooks.  I know for a fact this house has a few rolls of masking tape kicking around, and I ordered rug backing an age ago.

If I write all this on my blog I have no excuse to put it off any longer, do I?  And my poor baby’s room still doesn’t have a rug.  So deprived.

Anyone got any unstarted unfinished projects they really need to get on with?

*I say ‘loft’ because we have a loft conversion, with Amelia’s bedroom and my craft room in the eaves.  What we do have is the most measly strip of loft space that has a tiny little hobbit-sized door to access it – now hidden behind a shelving unit so that little wanderers can’t get in. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Remembering George Wyllie

Via Gertie DU on flickr

My art classes at school were rubbish.  Really bad.  Anything other than drawing was not considered art.  We didn’t talk about artists.  We didn’t make anything.  I eventually got asked not to participate and just use the time to read quietly as ‘I couldn’t draw’.  School wasn’t the greatest experience for me, but this was a new low.  George Wyllie was one of the first artists I really ‘knew’ about – apart from LS Lowry, of course, who lived in our town.  I never really thought of Lowry as an artist either, but just put him in the category of well known people who lived in our town.  Like Danny Wilson and John Virgo and Shaun Ryder.

Back to Wyllie.  His bike sculpture on Deansgate in Manchester remains one of my favourite pieces of public art, we often drove or walked past it when I was younger.  My dad’s car parking spot of choice for a trip into town was in Quay Street near the Granada building, and before the visitor attraction opened, we would often try to catch a glimpse of the Coronation Street set or more excitingly – the actors!  It also meant that we could drive into town along the dual carriageway through Ordsall, and look out for Salford Lads Club en route.  Once out of the car, we’d walk past the museums in Castlefield and the 1980s houses with coloured panels and funny roofs.

Via Terry Whalebone on flickr

When I moved to Glasgow, I found out more about Wyllie, and of course the clock sculpture outside the bus station became a daily sight as I commuted to Edinburgh by coach.  I was delighted when I realised that this was the same guy who made the bike sculpture, a little piece of ‘home’ in my new town.  There was an excellent (BBC?) documentary about Wyllie a few years ago, hopefully it will be shown again or you can find it on YouTube I’m sure (Oh here it is, you can buy it on DVD).  I have a feeling it is in my big pile of VHS tapes that I keep meaning to burn to disc.  Maybe I’ll make a bit more effort to dig it out and watch it again.  A true inspiration.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Front page!

So today was exciting, one of my treasuries made the Europe front page.  Such a thrill to see my name underneath the banner! 

I got tons of new visitors to my shop, lots of new friends in my circle and I have it on good authority that most of the featured artists sold at least one of their featured item after it hit the front page.

If you commented, or clicked or favourited, thank you so much.  What a buzz!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Catch me at Little Birds today!

I'm at Sloans on Argyle Street (indoors!) for the Little Birds market today.  Catch me from 12 - 5 with a selection of new goodies and some old favourites.

See you there!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

scallop circle stickers

I love making these stickers, and I love packaging them and I love sending them. Who would have thought that envelope offcuts destined for the recycling could make me so happy! 

They must make a few other people smile too because I'm down to limited stock now, probably only enough paper for another 300 or so.  But don't worry, because I have them in grey, beige, charcoal, kraft brown...
new in shop, romantic pink colourwash sticker set

Monday, 7 May 2012

Postage prices FROZEN

There's no postal service in the UK today due to a national holiday, but I'm taking a little time out to talk shipping in general.  I think everyone who has a blog and a small business has done the same recently, so here I am, too.  The British system is fairly idiosyncratic but having lived in France and the US as well, I think this is a common theme with postal services.  I think they are in competition with the rail companies to have the most difficult to navigate pricing structures.

Last Monday, the Royal Mail increased its prices for postage by a signifcant amount.  Many small businesses are raising their prices to cope with this, in some cases the cost of sending a single small item has risen by as much as 200% and in this time of ongoing recession, it's a hard cost to bear.

For my readers who are outside of the UK, we have a complicated mailing system.  So complicated, in fact, that the post office no longer displays all its prices in the same place so you can have a straightforward comparison, but instead to find out an estimate for what you want to send you have to enter and re-enter the dimensions, weight and destination into a series of forms on its website.  Which is fun if you're trying to list 100 items with international postage (three zones!) on eBay in a no-fee weekend, but I digress... 

Basically, the system is broken down into three tiers - letter, large letter and small package.  You can use a number of services, first class, second class and parcel force.  Overseas, we still have surface mail in place (which takes a while) and air mail.  You can also choose a more expensive expedited air mail service but they have lost the package every time I used it and their insurance only covers materials costs and not sale value, so basically I lost goods, money and time by using it - not to mention potential repeat customers - so I'm not using that again.  Especially when the regular air mail service actually shows up with the customer and costs both of us less - no contest!

So remember, large letter, the second tier I mentioned there?  Well for UK-based customers, that is the rate I use most often.  You can buy a stamp that's marked 1st or 2nd class large letter, and it doesn't have a cost value written on it.  Then you can use it to send goods that fall into the large letter bracket inside the UK, or use it as part payment on a parcel of any size that you want to send overseas.  So a couple of weeks ago, I stocked up on these 'unmarked' stamps for use through the rest of the year.  I'm on target to reach my 250th sale on Etsy at some point later in the year (I'm at 188 right now), so I've decided to hold all my shipping prices where they are right now, until I hit sale number 250. 

To celebrate, I came up with a limited edition set of the cute mini notecards in the picture above.  I have been saving cancelled stamps since I was little (I love stamps) and decided it was time to release them into the wild!  I've been using these cards as thank yous in with girlindustries orders for a little while and thought someone else might love them as much as I do.  Each comes with a little handmade envelope upcycled from unwanted security envelopes - Marceline and I were offered a batch of envelopes from an office that was closing down or relocating in the centre of Glasgow.  One full taxi of boxes of no-longer sticky envelopes later, I learned a valuable lesson about asking how many does a batch constitute! 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Glasgow International Artists Bookfair

Or, what I did at the weekend

I stopped off at the Pushpin Zines table and treated myself to some classic zines from Marceline's collection, and a new bookmark from Pushpin's artist series.