Sunday, 28 March 2010

Spring and messing with time

Last night the clocks went forward.  I hate when the clocks go back or forward.  It upsets my body.  I particularly hate when the clocks go forward as I lose an hour, sometimes it's an hour's sleep, sometimes it's an hour of doing something I enjoy.  Either way, it's an hour out of my day and I get no choice about it.

On the plus side, putting the clocks forward means that spring is here.  The weather is still undecided how to behave but at least the sun is showing face in between the wind and the rain.  We've been threatened with snow this week as well.  Yesterday I decided to get into the spring swing of things and wore a strappy white cotton summer dress with sandals and a short sleeved cardigan.  It seemed like a reasonable option to me - the sun was out. You should have seen the odd looks I got from people when I walked down to the shops to buy something for lunch.  Just because none of them had chosen to embrace spring they looked at me like a mad person!  Even The Boy commented on how good I looked but then he's used to seeing me in jeans or combats and a t-shirt.

The Boy and I went to do our weekly 'perishables' shop at the supermarket and we bumped into someone I used to go to school with.  She asked  if we'd just been on holiday. I told her that we had just booked a holiday and I was trying to condition my skin in preparation by making the occasional trip to a sun bed so that I don't fry when I get there.  Her eyes lit up as realisation dawned and she said I looked so healthy that she assumed we were just back from a holiday but it was probably because my skin is usually so white and I currently have some unaccustomed colour.  I hadn't realised I was normally quite so noticeably WHITE but then I don't normally see myself unless I look in the mirror.  :o)

I'm quite proud of my white skin usually but it's a curse when the sun is out, or even when its not.  The slightest hint of sunshine turns my skin scarlet and painful with a guarantee of peeling later.   I have spent a fortune over the years buying the highest factor of sun cream available and still burning.  Holidays usually left me feeling like an oil slick on legs.  The higher factor sun creams are always thick and greasy and after washing it off in the evening the after sun creams don't feel much better.  Thankfully a few years ago The Boy and I were in a shop in Lanzarote when I spotted Riemanns P20 sun screen. I was very cautious about trying it because if you get it wrong, sun burn hurts like mad.  What a pleassant surprise.  It did what it said on the tin!  It dries in to my skin so I don't feel like a mobile oil slick. YAY!  I can swim and it stays on.  It lasts all day.  Perfect.  The only downside is that I have to get up an hour before The Boy so that I can shower, put the Riemanns on and wander about naked until it dries.  So for all you delicate blossoms out there who have fair skin, like me, if you haven't discovered it yet, Reimanns P20 may be your saviour.  Give it a try. (and no they're not paying me to say that.)

Right - as the sun is out I'm taking full advantage and will be going out cycling.  I'm off to get ready.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Creativity part 3

So, on mother's day my older daughter and I went to Perth for the Scottish Bead Fair.  I had started making a necklace the day before using some lovely dagger beads I bought from Etsy seller BejeweledArts , some Tazanite Swarovski crystals and some silver twisted connectors and I was hoping to find something I could use to finish it off.  It needed a little something but I had no idea what.  I thought about some more Swarovski crystals but I was running out and didn't have enough big ones to finish it.

We went round all the stalls looking for 8mm tanzanite Swarovski crystals but no-one had them.  So we went round them all again so that I could take out my half finished necklace and compare it against any beads that looked likely matches.  The prices of some of the semi-precious beads were downright scary but we kept going.  Eventually I found a stall that had some strings of semi-precious chips at prices less inclined to induce heart failure and, at last, I found just the thing to finish off the necklace.

It's taken me until today to actually find the time to sit down and do it.  I've been sifting through the chips since Sunday trying to find the ones with the best shape, size and colour but also with the hole punched at the best angle to string them.  I modelled it for my husband before taking photos to list it on Etsy and he thinks I should keep it for myself.  We'll see. For now it's listed but I may change my mind.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Alice, Johnny and a tussle with elastic

Johnny Depp is my hero so I tend to watch most of his films. I also like Tim Burton films so Alice in Wonderland caught my attention.  The Boy booked us premier seats at The Vue a couple of nights ago so we went to see it.  The jury's still out.  I liked bits and am still wondering about other bits.  I couldn't even drool over Johnny as he looked decidedly weird.  Unusually for me I can't even comment on how close it stuck to the books.  I had a big, old fashioned copy of Alice in Wonderland when I was a child.  You know the type, it had fabric covered bindings and the pages were made from good quality, glossy, china clay paper.  I opened it often but the pictures in it scared me so I never got round to reading it.  I guess the film had a bit of the scary aspect in it but it was a bit less dark and frightening than I was expecting.  I suppose I'm an adult now and don't scare so easily :o)  Mind you, The Boy nearly scared me witless this morning when he burst into the bedroom to get ready for work as I was still in bed dozing.

Because the film finished quite early there was still time to play with my beads and be creative before bed time.  I had some new Elastoma beading thread and just enough white Indian glass beads to make a bracelet with.  So I set to it.  The trouble with making things without a pattern is that you have to make a best guess at how much wire or thread to cut and I'm not the best at guessing.  Note to self: 2 inches of extra elastic is not enough to comfortably tie off the ends.  Much to The Boy's amusement I lost count of the number of times I had to restring the beads because the elastic pinged and sent the beads flying.  I got there in the end, thankfully and this is the result.  It's a lovely, comfortable fit on my wrist, which isn't too fat but isn't exactly skinny either.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Time. Why is it never on my side?

OK, so I had a bad day yesterday.  It should have been a good day as it was a holiday from my real job (the one that pays the mortgage) and I had all sorts of plans for being productive in a Scottish Princess, jewellery making kind of way.  So where did it all go wrong?

I got up at the roughly the same time as I do on a normal work day and did the usual start of day things - I sat at my PC and caught up with Etsy and CraftCult and Craftopolis and my lastest BnR treasury while I had a coffee, had breakfast, had another coffee (the day doesn't get off to a good start with fewer than 2 cups).  So far so good.

Next I ran my bath.  I didn't do anything time consuming in there, like wash my hair or defuzz or anything so no delays there.  Then I went to the kitchen and started tidying up after cooking the previous night's meal, emptying, filling the dishwasher & washing machine and the clothes airer.  Admittedly that probably took up way too much of my time on a day off but I couldn't stand the mess.

Next I thought I'd tidy up a loose end, ie, finish sorting out cousin G's laptop.  Bless her little heart, she's not technical and her laptop was being very naughty, telling her she had a virus and just refusing to let her do anything at all.  So I switched it on, saw the symptoms, Googled them and set about curing them.  I used to be technical but I'm a tad out of date with these new fangled versions of Windows (yes, XP is new fangled to me from a technical perspective). To save forking out for software to remove the nasty things that were on her laptop I set about deleting them all manually.  Fortunately for me, The Boy (my darling husband, who is technical) popped in to pick something up just as I got to the bit where I'd to edit the registry.  I've never edited a registry before and had no idea where to even find it, but he pointed me in the right direction.

Then he reminded me that one of my top priorities for the day was to find us a holiday that we could book.  He set that priority, not me!  So I continued to sort out cousin G's laptop in between going back and forth to my own computer to search for holidays. Probably not the best idea.  Anyway, in the end, I managed to restore the laptop to something close to it's previous, healthy, functioning state and called G.  She came round to pick it up, bearing gifts of wine and we sat and had a good old chin wag for a couple of hours.  That part of the day was enjoyable.  It's not often we get to catch up.

When cousin G left I then set about researching holidays again and got more and more stressed as the afternoon went by.  The next thing I knew, The Boy was home from work and my day off was officially over.  This led to me feeling irrationally emotional over having had a wasted day off (with a couple of exceptions).  He disappeared off to the gym while I started cooking dinner.  Before I knew it, it was bed time and I hadn't even looked at my jewellery, never mind made anything new.  Fortunately I still have one day's holiday to take but I have a whole week to wait for it.  Will I be unreasonable if I end up being as unproductive as this week and I get upset about it?

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Pakaging and the brand image

It's one thing being able to make things.  It's another thing making things that other people want to buy.  And it's a totally different ball game creating a brand image for your products and being able to package it in an attractive and professional looking way.

So I spent today re-branding.  Sorry - that suggests I had a brand image in the first place.  I quite clearly didn't.  All I had was a vague notion.  The three things I've sold already have gone out in pretty organza bags but that's about it.  On the other hand, the things I've bought have come with a variety of neat little touches that make them seem that little bit more special.

I looked at customised sticky "thank you" labels  that you can use to seal your creations before you package them for posting but none looked like what I wanted.  And they were a bit expensive, especially as I haven't had enough sales yet to cover the costs.  So I went to WH Smith and browsed their stock of labels.   It was a pitiful selection.  I really wanted round ones (which would no doubt have taxed my computer skills to the limit) but they weren't to be had.  So I ended up with little retangular ones.  What do you think?  They're tiny:


I also didn't feel happy that the earrings I've shipped already were only wrapped in tissue paper inside an organza bag.  I haven't been able to find earring pads/cards that I liked so, once again I thought I'd have a go at making my own.  Now my earrings will go out looking like the photo below.  I think it's pretty cool.  And I can punch the cards different ways for earrings and phone charms like this:

I can hardly wait for a sale so that I can use my new bits and pieces.  Sad, I know.  I may also have a problem if someone buys one of the larger items in my shop but I'm sure I can some up with something if that happens.  

OK, it's not perfect but suggestions for improvements and/or additions will be gratefully accepted.  What do you think?