Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Find me at Callendar House

This is where I'll be on Saturday - it is going to be fantastic!  If you are nearby, and have never visited Callendar House, try and make it along, it is a fantastic place.  There are lots and lots of gardens and lawns and interesting outdoorsy things to look at, they have Scotland's longest slide (wheeee!), a very nice tea room and best of all, an exhibition of roller-skating dogs!  The artist behind the doggy roller rink will be coming along to talk about her work on Saturday, making it an extra special day out.  I'll be bringing a select range of GirlIndustries goodies and I'm really looking forward to it.

Although it was freezing last weekend when we visited, there was still plenty indoors to do, and the Caramac cupcakes inside were worth the short dash from the car park!  Fans of living history won't be disappointed with the fully functioning and traditionally-staffed Victorian kitchen.  I am sure there'll be lots more for me to discover on my next visit, it's fast becoming a new local favourite day out.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Thank you

I made it to 300 sales on Etsy. This afternoon I'm catching up with making thank you notes that I send out to customers - here's a shot of the work in progress.

Pop into my shop on Etsy and just under my shop banner, you can click to like me on Facebook for access to an exclusive discount code running this week only. And of course, lots more frequent banter and shop updates as I post my news on the move.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Pom Poms for Post Boxes

Okay, so we're all fed up about the changes to the prices and structure for sending UK parcels which are coming into being on 2 April.  And amongst the main concerns are:

  • It's damaging to internet-based UK businesses because it will cost customers more to receive their items and maker/sellers more to obtain their goods if they shop in the UK for their supplies
  • Multi-tiered rates are confusing and difficult to gauge
  • Most people aren't aware of the price changes, especially if they don't use the Post Office or its website frequently
  • The service we receive for our money is not getting better, in fact, for me, in 2013 it has been significantly worse than I've ever known it to be

I've been wanting to do a bit of craftivism for ages, and I'm particularly enthused by the success of the #imapiece campaign, and I have a whole bookcase full of oddments of wool which have been waiting for a project just like this.  I love the iconic post boxes that we're so lucky to have in the UK and have secretly wanted to dress them up for quite a while, although a full suit of body armour is a little more than I have time for right now, and I really really really can't stress enough about how I don't want to impede Royal Mail staff in doing their everyday job and collecting the mail.  So I thought that a good way to show our appreciation of the service, would be to dress up post boxes with garlands (strictly around the top of the post box, not blocking the slot and certainly not over and around the little door that our postie friends open to get out the mail) - made of pom poms or fabric oddments - and attach a little tag with a brief note about why we're doing it.  All on the 2nd of April, the day the price changes are due to come in. 

I've set up a facebook page where you can pledge to get involved, post photos of your creations and join in the chat about how best to deal with the forthcoming changes.  I'd love to see you over there,and please share the link with your friends:

Feel free to grab and share my photos, or make some better ones of your own!  Oh, and the excellent blogpost by vividplease can show you how to make pom poms soooo quickly, without a single fiddly cardboard circle in sight - I made all the pom poms in that picture in 30 minutes.  I decided to string my pom poms on a length of french knitting but a single or plaited strand of thick wool or string would do just as well.  Come on, get involved!

Price rises at the Post Office... thanks, Royal Mail!

Postage stamp notecard from Girlindustries
I'm emerging from my sick bed (seems like everyone's been ill in the last couple of weeks) because I've been thinking about the announced price increases for sending post since I first heard about them at the end of February.  I'll warn you now, this is going to be a very link-heavy post because I'm still not sure I understand all the changes, so I'm just going to do a bit of an information dump here and let you find out more about how it will affect you as a customer and for my crafty colleagues, as a user of their services.

Two things are changing on 2 April - pricing cost, and pricing structure.  And when I say that pricing cost is changing, it is not going down, that's for certain.  And when I say that pricing structure is changing, it does not mean that it's getting simpler.  So I should say that posting a parcel, aka 'small packet', in the UK is getting more complicated and more expensive. 

On the whole, shopping in will be unaffected.  My items are small and generally go by large letter rate within the UK.  Most of my customers are overseas, and at this time, prices for air mail are not going up.  However, one thing that is changing for domestic and international mail is that the level of compensation for lost, damaged and delayed packages is going to be cut by more than 50% - so where you are currently covered for loss/damage up to £41, or $60, this is cut by just over half. 

Prices for Air Mail are going up later in the year, this information came from an assistant at our large, or Crown, Post Office in Glasgow - across the road from where I work at my day job.  This information came hot on the heels of finding out on Saturday that my local Crown Post Office in Alloa is to close shortly.  You can see why I am starting to get a bit fed up.

Add to this 4 lost parcels and 2 significant delays since December and I am very brassed off with the current level of service provision from both Royal Mail and the Post Office. Two of these parcels would not be eligible for compensation under the new rules.

Here are some things you can do.  The official info from Royal Mail is here:
People with a UK address can sign the petition against the price increases here:
You can register to have a new size guide for parcels sent to you from here:
What I'll be doing is thoroughly researching the new processes and details and adding a listing to my shop for upgraded shipping insurance for larger orders.  I receive a lot of orders for wedding stationery and would not want to risk sending these uninsured.  In the past, I have split orders down into smaller bundles before sending so that they are still covered should one go missing.  However, this isn't practical for a limit of $30, so I'll look at what I need to do to ensure all my customers are protected. 

Before I became ill (I have chronic sinusitis and it's flared up badly again), I started a campaign on facebook called PomPoms for Post Boxes, which proposes a day of action on 2 April to raise awareness of the price changes.  I want to make sure that when customers inevitably see a rise in cost of delivery, particularly of handmade goods, they understand that it is driven by Royal Mail and not individual seller-makers.  I'm going to try to get that up and running again over the next couple of days and see if we can get more people thinking and talking about the changes.  I'll post the link here as soon as I can!

Edited for clarity around use of Royal Mail and the Post Office - thanks to @millyandpip on Twitter for the heads up!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Because I'm going to the Post Office anyway...

More info at
Before you send, check the guidance for what's accepted - used or opened products with wand applicators are not suitable, and don't give anything of a quality that you'd be uncomfortable to share with a friend. Otherwise it's a great way to clear the decks of all those travel sized products, gifts with purchase that you'll never use, magazine samples, or testers and potions you've tried once and can't get on with.  There are a number of organisations local to you carrying out similar drives, I just picked this one because it was easy, all the info was online, a friend shared it on facebook and I don't plan to go anywhere other than the post office between now and Sunday, so it works for me.

Women's Aid and associated organisations do fantastic work to support women and children starting new lives.  I'm enjoying all the International Women's Day and Girls' Day celebrations this month and wanted to give something back.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Free UK shipping throughout March

I'm taking part in promotion run by UK Etsy to offer free shipping to customers in March 2013.  You simply use the code FREEMARCH13 when you check out of my shop on Etsy.  There are lots of shops taking part, and I've made a few treasuries this evening to showcase their work.  You can also search on Etsy to find all the shops taking part.  And of course, many Etsy shops in the UK already offer free UK shipping to their customers, too. 


Colour of 2013!
Lovely presenty things I'd love to give

Still my favourite colour!

I'm guessing four treasuries a day throughout March is not sustainable but I'll try and pop in a few more later in the month.