Lazy week

Well, I say lazy. I’ve actually got a fair bit done, but it feels like I’ve done nothing. I’ve been very active in the mornings and then going floomph in the evenings. Perhaps it’s the lack of sunlight lately. I run out of energy by the time I get to around 2pm.

However. I’ve been playing with my new lightbox. Oh yeah, I got my lightbox. Yay!

A photography lightbox with red and blue backdrops.

Shiny! Well, I suppose the point is that it's not shiny...

The results have been hit and miss and I have settled on the conclusion that I get the best results in sunlight still. So I’m still dependent on that for good pictures.

I’ve started replacing the photos on my Etsy listings. After I’ve done all of those, I will tackle the gallery on my website. I foresee great things. Hopefully.

I have just finished a custom order, for a friend. He requested a variant of a bracelet I make but as a necklace instead and I was happy to oblige.

Necklace with two male symbols and a "love" charm.

He didn't like the "love" part though.

I’ll have to remove one of the charms (having a “love” charm is too corny, he informs me), but that’s basically what it looks like. I’ll add a proper, lightbox photo to the gallery once I’ve got some sunlight.

Oh, and I’ve decided I have a deep, unyielding need to learn to crochet. I don’t exactly know where this came from, but it’s been growing inside me for some weeks and months now.

Packs of yarn.

So I got some yarn.

I went to Aldi on a quest for yarn, and what do you know. They had yarn. I’ve ordered some cheap crochet hooks off Amazon so I’ll be in business soon! Well, not in business, I don’t plan on selling it before I have a proper handle on it, but that’s how the saying goes.

I shall of course keep you updated on how my crocheting goes.

There are no cat pictures this week, I’m afraid. There’s a great one on Instagram of my cat drinking tea, though, so if you’re having withdrawals you can go there. In fact, go there anyway and follow my updates. They’re a lot more frequent than my blog posts, and although not as elaborate it’s still fun.

Now I shall drink some nice Coffee and ponder my next project.

Etsy School

For the last couple of weeks I have taken part in something called the Etsy School. This is an initiative by Etsy to help shop keepers improve their shops in various ways. We work in pairs to help one another, and are encouraged to make use of each other’s strengths and support our weaknesses.

Etsy School logo

Exciting!

It started with a shop critique. I was paired with the lovely Jessie G, who sells a variety of items with her illustrations. It was great to get a fresh pair of eyes to look at my shop, and mostly confirm things I knew weren’t good enough already. We got a worksheet to fill out and, yeah, the “school” part really started to resonate.

Etsy worksheet for the School

Worksheet of DOOM!

It’s all good, though. We were told to, after receiving our critique, set some goals for how to improve our shop. They were meant to be SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, something and something. (I hate those things.)

Text box with SMART goals

More DOOM!

Note how they can’t even keep their letters’ meanings straight.

So my goals are:

1. Retake all photos
2. Rewrite listing descriptions

Don’t worry, I’ll save you the SMART version.

The second week of this School was all about photography. Which suited me well, since it fit in nicely with my first goal. I have seen so much learning material that I’ve gone cross-eyed, brain-foggy and unable to take it all in. I have, however, made the decision that I need a lightbox. So off to buy a lightbox I went.

I don’t have a picture. It hasn’t arrived yet. I am going crazy with anticipation because I just want to take pictures NOW I don’t like to WAIT give it to me NOW. (Imagine me stamping my feet like a toddler.)

Now, a lightbox isn’t that complicated of a concept. You can build one yourself if you feel so inclined. A professionally made one is a box made of white fabric with a backdrop of whichever colour (usually you get a choice of white, black and some others). If you want to make your own, you can clad a cardboard box in white paper. The idea is that you shine at least two light sources into it, the white fabric or paper scatters the light and you get crisp photos without shadows. Simples.

I have such high expectations for my lightbox. Once I get it, my photos will be instantly professional, everyone will love them and I’ll start selling loads. I realise that this is completely unrealistic, but I can’t help it.

Either way. I will certainly blog about my progress with the lightbox when I get the damn thing.

My second goal is a little bit more long term. We’ll be learning about SEO (search engine optimisation – how to get found in search) next week, which plays into how to write the descriptions. I have already started amending some of them, but I may end up going back and changing more once I’ve learnt more about it. I shall keep you updated!

Coffee Day

Today is a Coffee day.

I didn’t sleep much last night due to my boyfriend being ill and my worrying about him. It’s just the flu, but it’s still not great listening to his troubles breathing. So today I intend to drink lots of Coffee to get me going. I need at least three cups, then a shower. So that’s half my day planned already.

For the rest of the day we’ll be visiting my boyfriend’s parents. It’s his father’s birthday celebrations (yay, happy birthday, Michael!) so I’m really looking forward to it.

In other news, I’ve been playing with beads. I got some lovely teal Malaysian Jade that I made a bracelet, necklace and earrings set out of.

Bracelet, necklace and earrings jade set

Is so pretty!

And spurred on by the lovely comments, “likes” and “favourites” I got, I decided to make a bracelet and necklace set out of Opalite as well.

Bracelet and necklace opalite set

The picture doesn't do it justice.

I’ve been thinking about opening a shop on a second site, to try to gain more exposure. I’m still debating it, but leaning towards an affirmative. If I do, this opalite set will likely be the first thing I list there. But I’d need more stuff as well. Can’t have a shop with only one item after all. I’ve been busy making stuff that I figured would be for craft fairs (which I haven’t yet booked), but perhaps I’ll use some of them to get a second shop off the ground as well. Can’t hurt, right?

Some of you may have seen this on Instagram (victoriaxsol) already, but I caught the cat having buried herself under our duvet this week. It was so cute, I can’t help but post the picture again.

Cat hiding under duvet

You can't see me!

She likes “caves” and cave-like enclosures. We got her a scratching post that sits on top of a cave and in the beginning she loved it. She seemed to go off it after a while though. Perhaps I should rub some catnip on the walls and see if she starts using it again.

Now, back to my Coffee. I’m still only on my first cup!

My Workspace

(It’s still Sunday somewhere in the world!)

First things first – Happy February! And Happy Year of the Horse! I’ve always liked horses.

Now, readers of this blog and fans of my work in general may, possibly, fleetingly, have wondered where and how I work. The answer is: on my two desks, and very messily. As my mum will be the first to tell you (hi mum!), I’m not the tidiest of people. I grew out of the worst, but my craft supplies would probably have you believe otherwise.

Messy craft supplies.

See?

Messy craft supplies.

See???

As you can see, I have drawers. The problem is that my supplies have expanded out of the space I have for them. The drawer in the foreground, the one that’s not in its place, is my beads drawer. Stuffed full and still doesn’t contain them all.

My “everything else” drawer, which is the one for findings, wire, everything that’s not cord, thread, beads or finished products, is getting too heavy to carry due to all the iron jump rings I keep in there. So I keep the rings I use frequently out on the desk.

Messy craft supplies.

Easy access.

Now, my actual¬†workspace is on the other desk. A tiny space next to the laptop, where I have a cardboard receptacle for rings so they don’t get brushed onto the floor and just enough of an area to make bracelets. If I want to make anything bigger, like necklaces, I need to clear space.

My main workspace.

Where the magic happens!

My mum must be so proud!

And those unfinished bracelets you see in that last picture? Finally turned into these:

Charm bracelets.

Ta-da!

See? Look at the pretty stuff I can make when I don’t waste time on tidying!…