Sunday, May 31, 2009


reading lesson

Grizzy studies her reading homework

It's a beautiful sunny day outside ...... and I've got a newsletter to write! All my files, scanner, etc. are on the desktop so no goofing off in the sun for me until I get it all done.

The newsletter is for a non-profit I volunteer with. It's a great way of getting writing, editing, and web experience. I'll be putting my recent SFU continuing studies courses into practice. Yesterday was my last copyediting class - I'll miss my Saturday morning escapes into the real world (both courses were excellent BTW, I can highly recommend Barbara Tomlin's courses). It has been a stimulating experience going back into the classroom. Hopefully I'll be able to build on what I've learned and continue working from home.

This stay-at-home parenting thing is a huge dilemma for me. While I don't want the Wee Guy to become a latch key kid I'm also feeling the inner turmoil over not contributing to the family budget. I realise that by staying at home I am saving by not having fulltime childcare and we can eat more cheaply as there is time to prepare meals from scratch. I aso don't have commuter expenses, my wardrobe needs are very simple and I do all the housework. By my conservative estimates, I'm 'earning' approximately $1300 CAD per month at the least but that's way off the mark according to a recent survey. I haven't even begun to estimate what my hunting around for bargains, cost savers and best deals nets.

But I'm still feeling the pull toward doing something more than just kitchen and kid. My former fully employed outside the home life is calling. I volunteer a lot, I run my jewelry design business, I'm at home before and after school ...... I'd just like more please.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

inspiration in unlikely places

late night sess

chaotic nighttime crafting desk

this week's inspirations;

  1. collecting my unsolds from Steph at Devil May Wear and chatting about the dismal world of retail but leaving with some great thoughts on giving my wholesale efforts some more oomph

  2. being invited to display my work at the local city hall with another jeweler in the artist's cooperative

  3. learning I have seven students signed up for the wire crochet summer class I will be teaching

  4. sunshine

  5. getting an email from a chap I sold some wire to, saying it had arrived and that he was now able to mend his clock

  6. the Wearable Art exhibition at Port Moody Art Gallery

So I started making some more art clay silver pieces for the exhibit, and I wired up some more cufflinks. It's nice to be making something again after spending a lot of time just mucking about on the computer or dealing with household admin.


Thursday, May 21, 2009


... and let me be the first to admit that my marketing is non-existent and would be marked 'could do better'.

I still haven't gotten a real handle on what I can do effectively with my time and efforts in this manner. I've tried Project Wonderful in a dibs and dabs manner and not really noticed that many hits coming from it (note to self: target ad placement better). I blog and twitter and notice incomings from my stat counters. I add items to GoogleBase using ecrater and artfire's auto function.

What's my next step?

Locally I've found that just being around, chatting, taking classes and wearing my designs out and about has worked well. This afternoon the collection above is taking up residence in its new home, the craft boutique at the Port Moody Art Centre, where the pieces will be on sale thru the summer. In addition to this venue there are two other local bricks and mortar retailers carrying my work and I'm hoping for a few more craft fairs this summer.

Then after Christmas maybe I'll set up a marketing plan ..... who knows?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


flotsam brooch - dill pickle wannabe in profile
There aren't many wire crochet artists in my neighbourhood, and thos that I have seen all tend to be different ..... which impresses me. I teach wire crochet classes at my local bead shop, Beadworks in Newport Village, and none of the students have produced identical pieces. Everyone has their own style for mixing colours, stones, and glass together.
It's all so unusual that taking part in craft fairs is very interesting since my work doesn't compete with many of the other jewelers. It also means that most of the buyers attending may not be interested in a new form of adornment!
But it's my niche! and my work has been accepted for inclusion in the craft boutique at my local art centre. So this week I have to sort through my inventory to select items for the shop. Very exciting!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

source it handmade

OK - it came as a bit of a surprise, and I had noticed the 'pending' text when I logged into flickr .... but I'm a moderator for the Etsy handmade supplies group! Doozy me hadn't noticed!

Anyway, in celebration of my 'new job' (and apologies to the other moderators who must have been wondering why I wasn't doing anything) I've compiled a spotlight of some wonderful handmade supplies to be found on Etsy.

... now go buy some!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

my heart belongs to daddy .....

Well, no - not all of it cos a certain Wee Guy has a sizeable chunk of it in his grasp. But in June my father (or Pa as I address mail to him these days) will be numero uno in my gift giving.

... and hopefully so will yours too (in your gift giving, not mine although you wouldn't go far wrong in snapping up something from the little ahem, promotion up above!).

I've also got a few more cufflinks available in my ecrater shop (don't forget to check the sales section too) and on BigCartel (hint: it's worth shopping around cos some of these sites let me list in CAD so you can take advantage of the exchange rates!)

Father's Day - coming to a household near you soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

morning all!

in-studio entertainment system
in-studio entertainment system with live podcast

It's wordless Wednesday to a lot of blogdom, and also for me at home since Wednesday is also childcare day! For a whole 8 hours I have the freedom to get on with projects uninterrupted and possess the mystical ability to leave the house silently and without nagging in a mere 30 seconds!
So, without more ado, I'll leave you to enjoy The Archers podcast from the BBC ......

PS: there are a few more podcast links on this morning's Portable Crafting blog post here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


a patriotic theme running thru my shops!

A quick blog post "all about me" this morning (yawn! what's new). I was playing around with the spotlight feature (again) by those clever folks on ByHand and rattled some of my work into a theme.
I never knew I was so patriotic (but for which country? I'll leave you guessing!)
Now, back to work on some Father's Day stuff - cufflinks returning soon (and thanks to Brandi from the Canadian Artisan Blog for featuring my Carnelian cufflinks in a lovely blog post and getting me back on track!)

PS: Brandi aka Enthral also makes beautiful cufflinks too - check out this selection here

Sunday, May 10, 2009

mother's day

Happy Mother's Day and well done for all those who managed to get through it without major tears (theirs or a child's), guilt (mainly theirs) or an insane urge to just run screaming out of the door.
I solo-parented thru this mother's day. It was hard work not to expect some kind of celebration (I got the best ever Mother's Day gift back on my first one anyway - my son finally came home for the first time from the hospital, nothing beats that!) or easy ride but the Wee Guy and I made it through the daylight hours without falling out in a major way. We even managed a civilised early dinner out together which didn't end with me telling him that in no way would I ever consider taking him out for a meal again. Progress!
... and I managed to pack in some gardening too so it can't have been all bad.
I also checked in on PostSecret for their mother's day cards. This was the one that stopped me in my tracks. My heart goes out to the mother who wrote the card. I have no idea what you are going through but I do have some understanding of it.
Earlier this year my genetic testing results came back - I found out that I did not carry a particularly nasty gene deletion. Although admittedly relieved at not having to face the certainty of unpleasant medical screening for the rest of my inevitably shortened life, most of my joy was at knowing that there is no way I can have passed it on to my son.
Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

May - possibly flowers later

This is the garden I grew up in. It's in central Scotland so the seasons are a little later and May flowers are quite often postponed until June. At first the garden was a wilderness then my parents had their house built and tamed the jungle. Where willow herb ran rampant they established lush lawns and exotic herbaceous island beds. Annoyingly, a semi-decent sled run down the garden was 'ruined' by installing a pond and ornamental trees as they pursued their vision. In my teen years I don't think I gave the garden much thought (although the wooden shed did come in for a bit of a hammering late one night .....).
I have long since forgiven them and now appreciate a gentle potter around the leafy pathways when I manage a trip back home. It is now a hidden tangle of pathways, abundant flowers and leafy nooks. What was once a large open space is now a collection of outdoor rooms and vistas. Each season, not just May, brings changes in flowers and foliage, surprising the visitor with sudden unexpected glimpses. Returning from weekend trips home from university my arms would be laden with wrapped bunches of flowers for my room. Since then I've always appreciated bunches of flowers around the home, replacing the garden which is no longer just outside the door. It's also a small haven for my Wee Guy to run around in (as long as he misses the pond). It's become more meaningful for me the further away I travel.
The garden influences a lot of my work. Flower designs figure prominently in a variety of mediums, ranging from metal to stone carving to polymer clay. If I'm doodling a flower will appear on paper nine times out of ten.
... you can't get the garden out of the girl!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

product testing



It's always worthwhile to thoroughly test your products before launching them on the general public. Luckily, the cat and my wee guy trashed my curtain rod in the privacy of my own house but on the other hand, I'm not about to go into the curtain rod installation business!

My next product test, which I mentioned in another blog post yesterday, "Buttonless Knickers" is for some wire buttons I've been playing with for a few weeks. They need to be sturdy enough to be functional (though decorative is good too) and also pass the laundry test. Since some of the buttons are flotsam ie. felted fibre in wire, they also have to pass some compatibility tests so I can determine which fabrics they are suitable for.

But that will all have to wait cos I'm wrestling with a migraine this morning. Later!

Monday, May 04, 2009

downtime - the day after the day before

little batch of buds

collection of buds in copper, brass and sterling silver

It was a good day yesterday for handmade in Vancouver BC. The spring season well and truly kicked off in style with the Got Craft fair on Commercial Drive. It was a great day for selling wire crochet - I met lots of people and made some new friends in addition to putting faces to names in the Vancouver BC Etsy team who I moderate a forum for. In the interest of full disclosure though I should admit that my memory for faces and names is hazy at best so please do not be surprised if I stare in blank recognition or a while next time we meet!

So now that my first craft show of the season is over I can relax. The first is always a nightmare of preparation as so much of my 'kit' migrates around my studio in the off season. Relaxation for me includes the inevitable spring clean but also a chance to focus on some new work. For example I want to make more in the bud range shown above. I've made rings, earrings and pendants in brass, sterling and copper. I'd like to try making some more delicate pendants for the summer, maybe with different wire patterns. I'm also itching to try making some more fidget rings (so name cos they're great to play with while wearing them!)

new ring design

I've also juried and been accepted for one more local B&M, my local art centre no less, which brings my total number of retail venues to three - I need to nurture these and establish a range of items for each. I also have to think about craft fairs later on in the season too.

Relaxation will be busy :)


fidget ring in brass with furnace glass, size 7.5US

ebb and flo by pomo mama design click to shop pomo mama design online!