Thursday, 27 May 2010

First attempt at something new...

I'd been thinking about buying a sewing machine for a while and had been looking into which type would be best to get when I saw one that seemed to have everything I wanted in a machine on sale. So about 6 weeks ago I became the proud owner of my very first sewing machine!

I'm pretty impatient so after having a quick play about with it to learn the basics I launched straight into trying to make a bag, I always lug about a lot of stuff in my bags so I like them to have lots of pockets and to be roomy enough for my assorted notebooks and diaries, pens and occasionally my boxing gloves for my martial arts classes! I found a pattern for a bowling style bag that I liked the look of and decided to give it a go; when I say found a pattern....I found measurements for the bag and rough instructions on how to make it and made up my own pattern (probably not the best things to do for a first attempt). I've made a few mistakes so far, one being that I meant for the side panels (beneath the start and end of the zip) to be cord like the front and back, but only realised I hadn't when I'd sewed it all together! Anyway, I'm very happy with how it's coming along so far, it's still a work in progress as I need to add the base, lining (which I'm doing in hot pink to match the humming bird) and work out how to incorporate some pockets on the inside and outside.

Since starting this I've also done some smaller items that I'm hoping to make more of in time for a fair mid June and if they go down well I might also sell through my online shops. I'm really looking forward to actually finishing my bag off first though and who knows, if I get good at these I might try selling them too!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Another custom order

I got an email the other week asking me to make a necklace similar to my greyhound one but instead using a sillhouette of India (for the customer's friend who is living out there). You can see the final necklace below. I also included a heart shaped keyring in the same design as a wee free gift.

This uses the last of my green and gold necklaces (the other is on the greyhound necklace) and I've searched high and low to source these, even getting someone to go to the shop I bought them in (in Toronto) to ask but they claimed to never having seen them! I like the colour combo in them and they're also soft compared to the usual ones you find. Hopefully I'll come across a supplier at some point again...

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Packaging experiments

Like I said in a previous post I've been playing around with various types of packaging for my items in an attempt to work out which I want to use. I've mainly been using craft card finish boxes with a small sticker in the form of the bird in my current logo, tied with either twine or ribbon. But I've also sent out a few items with little canvas bags with my logo applied to them (see the photos), in these ones the items are first wrapped in tissue paper. You can see some variations on these in the photos below:

I'm determined to make time to do a proper set of branding materials this month (in time for my first fair in June!) and included in that will be my proper logo and a final decision on what packaging to use. I think I may end up using both bags and boxes as they both have their place. I've also got plans for packaging for my t-shirts/hoodies that I'll hopefully be able to roll out soon.

Currently I'm using up my hangtags I made for my t-shirts and altering them slighty so they work as business cards (which I send out with all orders). I plan to have new hangtags and business cards once I've decided on the design so in the meantime these are the one's I'm using (along with some wee badges I had done too):

Sunday, 9 May 2010

A recent custom order

I recently got contacted by someone who wanted me to make a custom piece of jewellery as a gift for his wife for her birthday, his plan was to have a necklace that incorporated her birthstone and also birthflower (her birthday was in April so these were diamond and daisies). He'd seen my daffodil necklace and wanted the daisy included in a similar way.

In this case as it was to be a special item I made it using sterling silver chain and findings and decided the nicest way to incorporate the diamond was to use two small heart shaped swarovski crystals. To include real flowers in resin you have to ensure they're totally dehydrated as any moisture left will affect the resin and also could mean the flower can decay inside. This is usually done by burying the flowers in silica crystals abut a side effect is that the colours are also muted. So I decided instead to make the daisy, roughly full scale, out of polymer clay to keep it as realistic looking as possible.

You can see the pictures of the finished piece below, I'm happy to say the customer was really pleased with the piece and hopefully his wife was too!

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