Saturday 29 September 2018

Ladies Who Latte

Hello dear readers and friends!
How are we all doing this week ? I've had a super busy week, both with home stuff and craft stuff. I dug my watercolours out last night and did this little autumnal painting. Its pleasing me greatly as I haven't done much water-colouring for a very long time. I've been watching some youtube videos on arty pursuits in general this week, and its really inspired me. I followed this tutorial to paint this picture.


Water colouring suits me well as you can cover up mistakes very easily by blobbing on some more paint! I also did the simple blend below, I want to start bullet-journalling (well, journalling of some sort anyway) and thought a quotation on this would look lovely in the start of my notebook.

Its fair to say that autumn is well under way, the weather is so changeable - last weekend was torrential rain -which is perfect conditions for staying in an organising your yarn stash ....

I must not buy any more. Really, I musn't. This isn't even half of it.

... and then this weekend the sun is out, the sky is blue, and its beautiful outside. There's a freshness in the air, but its still lovely and sunny. Which makes Little Tomboy's Saturday morning football match so much more enjoyable. Here she is sloping off the pitch at the end of the math, in a sulk because they didn't win. They didn't lose either, but they should've won. Oh well, there's always next week.

Last week I went to a small business networking event called "Ladies Who Latte". There were about 15 of us there, and the idea is we all sit round the table - just a coffee table, it's very relaxed - and you each have a minute to talk about yourself and your business. Then after everyone has done their bit you can mingle around and talk to the other business owners. The variety of businesses represented was amazing - there was a hypnotherapist, a couple of life-coaches, a massage-therapist, a lawyer, a jewellery rep, a yoga teacher and a feng-shui specialist, to name but a few. I took along a basket of my goodies to show, and this got passed around while I was doing my little spiel. My expectations were just to maybe hand out a couple of business cards, I really didn't think I would get much out of it, however I was blown away by the sales and orders that were initiated just from that one meeting. So the feng-shui lady asked me if I could crochet a cactus for her to give her daughter who can't keep plants. Can't as in she always kills them, so |I was told. Funnily enough I had dug out a cactus pattern a couple of weeks ago while thinking of ideas for things to sell in my Etsy shop. Of course I said yes, no problem - more on that later in this post! A lady who is a "Forever Living" (aloe products) rep asked me to make a dozen cards for her team, and she bought a card there and then too.

.... and the lawyer lady bought a coin purse and a card. All I invested really was my time - there is a £2.50 charge for the coffee and my friend who I drove there paid for mine. So I think I got a pretty good return on my investment, and it was definitely worth going. And really worth taking some of my products along - I wasn't expecting to actually sell anything there, so that was awesome. Its a once a month meeting, and I will definitely be going to the next one.

To get back to the cactus though. So I picked out the cactus pattern that I'd found and made a couple to show Mrs Feng-Shui.

Aren't they cute! Mr and Mrs Cactus! I must admit I a totally in love with these 💚

I posted some pictures on my instagram and my facebook, and the response was amazing! Soooo many more requests for crochet cacti, its been a bit bonkers. I had made the ones above out of random bits of stash wool and of course didn't have any more left, so the next lot were made up in a different colour.

The lady that wanted them asked for yellow flowers, and she was happy with the darker green, as they are still just so cute.

However, I prefer the lighter colour so I had to go and buy more green yarn. Yes, you heard that right. Despite the ridiculous amount of yarn in my stash, I still didn't have the right green. The new one I had to buy in is Stylecraft Special DK in Grass Green. Its very similar to the lighter ones above, I have no photos as yet but suffice it to say its been like a cactus factory in my craft room this week - I'll have more pics next week.

And that, people, has been my week. Oh, one more thing is that I have uploaded a new vlog to Youtube, you can find it here.

Right, I need to go and finish some more cacti now - I'll be posting more pictures on my instagram I'm sure, so watch out for those.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend,

Saturday 22 September 2018

Wednesday Words

Hello dear friends and readers!

I have just read this post on Christina's blog. I love reading her wordy day posts and have, several times, written such a post of my own, but I've always given up as it doesn't seem to read very well - I always think who would be interested in my waffle anyway ? But I'm feeling inspired today to give it a go so here goes ...

My alarm goes off at 6.45am and I VERY begrudgingly get up, I am a night owl, definitely not a morning person, and every morning is a struggle. Having said that, all I do is waken the teenagers, make sure they actually get up, and then I go back to bed and just rest or sometimes doze. I find that just staying out of everybody's way works best for us, they just get on and get themselves breakfast and get ready, then head off to school.

Hubby drives Mr Teenager to school, Little Miss walks. They all leave about 7.45. Usually at 7.30 I get up again (as it were) and get Little Tomboy out of bed and getting ready. She leaves a bit later and has started walking on her own, she feels very grown up. Its an easy walk with one road to cross at a pedestrian crossing, and of course there are hundreds of other kids and parents all walking the same way. This week however she is away on a school residential for the week so I don't have that deadline to get her out of bed, and I lie on a little longer - how decadent!

I finally get up properly at about 8.30am and take the dog for a walk. Its a beautiful fresh morning, the afternoons have been pretty warm this week but the morning has that lovely fresh early morning feel that comes with the onset of autumn. I try to take some photos of Pixie but she is determined to not look at the camera.

Once we get back, and I'm showered and have had a coffee, I get the first wash of the day on. Why is the laundry basket always full and beyond overflowing ??? Are there secret extra people living in my house ? I sit down to do a bit of work on my website. I'm doing a mini revamp, I want to have a front page with a banner that matches my Etsy shop banner, and links to my blog and my shop. I struggle, argue and fight with various website builders for about 2 hours. Why is this so difficult ? I worked in IT for about 16 years for heaven's sake. I give up and decide to tackle my other job of the day which is to work out how I can ship a couple of my shop's items without charging the shipping fee, as they are being purchased by people collecting locally. This time I argue with Etsy and google for another hour. Every google search points me to the Etsy Sell app, which I install on my phone, and try to follow the instructions google gives me. I just can't see how to do it. I'm getting so frustrated and my brain hurts.

Hubby phones and rescues me by taking me to lunch. We go to our local Costa, which is in the cinema but is actually more popular than the cinema itself. In fact its so popular that its undergoing the second expansion in the two or so years since it opened.  I have a nicoise salad which is yummy, but am very disappointed to see there is no carrot cake. I'm quite addicted to Costa carrot cake, it is AMAZING. I assume they are baked en masse so I'm always impressed by how delicious it is. However the fact that they have none its probably a good thing for my waistline (not that I have one, hmph).

I return to my desk and resume the no-shipping search. Finally I learn that the instructions I kept seeing on every google search result, was for functionality that was removed last March. Marvellous. And then the penny drops that all I have to do is amend the listing to have shipping set to zero. I'm so annoyed at wasting so much time on something that turned out to be so easy. I get my orders packaged ready for collection, and then I finish up a unicorn that I'm making for a customer. It's looking very cute and I'm feeling really pleased to get it done, as you all know I am a serial non-finisher so actually completing anything is a Big Thing.

As usual my afternoon, which is very short, is over all too soon. I have to leave at 2.30pm to pick up Mr Teenager at 3pm. He's been complaining that we don't have enough fruit for days now. We had some strawberries that were fine but past their date, and he refuses to eat them. Similarly for oranges and apples. So, rather huffily, I resign myself to a trip to Sainsbury's on the way home. The traffic is horrendous due to perpetual roadworks, and by the time we get near to Sainsbury's I am very grumpy indeed.  I hate food shopping. Even little food shops. Just so tedious. However, the chemist we use is next to Sainsbury's so I pop in to get some medication that they owe us. Mr Teenager is on two lots of medication. One is a bit unusual, and noone else in the area seems to use it, so every time we need it the chemist has to order it in. They order it in packs of 30 tablets but the prescription is only for 28, so there are always a few leftover at the chemist. They usually give us what they have in, and then owe us the rest. Its been so long though since I was supposed to collect them, (we had got double at some point that we've managed to eke them out), that now it is time to request the new repeat prescription for the next lot. This job in particular makes me realise how quickly time passes, I seem to be doing this job every week, or at least that's how it feels. The chemist is fab though, and will text me when the meds are in.
In Sainsbury's we stock up on the fruit and veg, and, as we have a school meeting to attend tonight, and time is limited, I decide to be lazy and buy ready-meals for tea.

We get home about 3.45pm and I realise we only have an hour until we have to go out again. Mr Teenager is hungry - what's new - and eats his meal straightaway while I put away the rest of the shopping. I feel really twitchy as I hate waiting for it to be time to go out somewhere, so I decide to just sit and mess about on my phone for a bit. Little Miss arrives home and we chat about her day for about a nanosecond before she disappears off to her room.

Despite telling Mr Teenager to be ready at 4.45pm, I am still yelling "HURRY UP" up the stairs at 5pm, when hubby arrives home, a bit late (like father, like son), to pick us up. We have to sit in the miserable traffic again on the way back to school. The meeting is with Mr Teenager's tutor to discuss moving forward to Sixth Form, and then a talk by the Head of Year about key dates, exams and so on. I spend the whole meeting in a state of befuddlement at how we have come to be at this stage of our lives. The Assistant Head put it very well: "you've strapped yourself into the roller-coaster and its only going to get worse". Yep, that's how I feel. The whole GCSE, ALevel, Uni thing seems far too grown up for me to be dealing with for my children. Is it really nearly 16 years since Mr Teenager was born ? 16 years ? Seems like the blink of an eye.

On the way home, in the car, we somehow get onto the subject of wives/partners. Mr Teenager says he wants to be absolutely sure that he only has children with the right person and he'd want to wait a long time to make sure the person is right for him. Hubby says to him " don't spend too long looking, there comes a time when you just have to settle for what you've got"!!!. Of course I splutter and laugh, and hubby digs himself further into a hole "you don't have to wait for the perfect person" etc etc. All very funny :)

We get home and I'm tired from concentrating on the laptop half the day and then trying to be a sensible, responsible parent at the school meeting. I don't really fancy my prawn linguini and decide instead to have a cinnamon and raisin bagel - mmmmmm, so yummy.

We're home at around 6.45pm and get the usual high energy from the dog - it is great to be so loved :)  I decide to have a bit of a play with my new badge making machine, making some badges with papers that I have in my stash.

By about 7.30 Hubby and I watch a bit of telly whilst homework gets done upstairs. I find these days I am really tired by about 9pm, so it's usually an episode or two of whatever we're watching (currently something called SWAT team which is a cop drama thing). Just after 9 I let the dog out and then put her to bed, and then I put myself to bed.

Monday 17 September 2018

Overdue catchup

Hello dear friends and readers!

I've missed you all! I cant believe I haven't blogged since January, I really don't know where this year has gone. I've done a few crafty bits and pieces over the year, but I thought I'd just dive straight in with where I am now.

You may have seen over on my instagram (EmeraldCottage) I've been sharing photos of some of the things I created in the last couple of weeks ......

💚 Coin purses

💚 Dreamcatcher

💚 Owl keyrings

💚 Strawberry keyring

💚 Halloween badges

The badges are a new venture, I'll do a blog post on badge making at some point for you. I'm still working out how best to get the artwork onto the paper for the badge, and experimenting with different methods. Its good fun though!

Now, I have 2 quite big pieces of news to share with you.
Firstly, I'm setting up an Etsy shop to try and sell some of my makes. I've been thinking of doing this for a while, and have sold via craft fairs and facebook in the past. Each of these has negative sides - personally I find the commitment of a craft fair really hard to manage, weekends are for family time and I don't like disappearing off for a day too often, and selling via facebook is ok but very casual, and I've wanted something a bit more structured and professional-looking. Going down the Etsy line is quite daunting, I obviously want the "shopfront" to look good, and the photos of my stock need to be good, plus I need to decide upon things like policies, shipping, returns and so on. Also, with Etsy you pay to list your items, even if they don't sell, so you do have to be quite sure that this is the way to go. I've been putting it off really, it feels a bit scary. But I've decided that this week I'm going to crack on with it, and just get it done.

My other piece of news is that I have started a You-tube channel, and am vlogging there as well as blogging here. My channel is under my own name Jill Davidson and you can find it here. I have 2 videos uploaded so far (here and here) with another to be edited and uploaded over the next couple of days, if you want to watch them and give me any feedback (hopefully positive lol), that would be really lovely.

I'll leave it here for now , I'm trying to get better and more efficient at blogging and not spending hours and hours refining a massive post - that's what I have a habit of doing and it turns every blog post into a massive deal, which of course in turn means I don't blog as often as I'd like. So hopefully this way I will be a bit more regular on here!

Hope you all have a great week,