Friday, 29 March 2013

Mosaic Earrings!

It's quite exciting over here in Trouble HQ because I've got a new line of mosaic jewellery now available - mosaic earrings! These are still in the very new stages - I've only made 5 pairs so far and I'm now waiting on more backings to arrive before I can make some more. But thought I should share them with you.

None of them are yet in my Etsy shop but feel free to drop me a line here if you are interested in any of them. They will be £22 + postage.

Pendant and Earring set - £42 + postage

What do you think? I'm excited - almost excited enough to re-pierce my ears so that I can make myself a pair!!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Reading a Little...March 2013

I haven't done a book review for months, possibly even a year! It's definitely time I found my reading mojo again. I think I say this every time I remember to do a book review post, don't I? Hmmm... 

Anyway, here are some of my recent reads that I thought I'd share with you.

Before I Go To Sleep - S. J. Watson

 This was a fabulous book that I really enjoyed. It really got me thinking about memory, things that we hold dear and how terrifying it would be waking up every morning, not knowing who or where you were, who that person next to you is or any of the details of your life.

Christine is an amnesiac. Every day she wakes up and has to be told who she is and details of her life. Slowly she starts to piece things together but there are flashes of memory that don't make sense to her. You start feeling immense sympathy for a character who repeats herself regularly and spends most of her time wracked with emotions she isn't sure belong to her memories. Can she trust herself or what those around her are telling her? 

I thought this was a brilliant book - very well written and it absolutely sucked me in from the first few pages. It isn't massively long and is a fairly quick read, but it is intense reading. You have a sense of foreboding in places, followed by relief when things you feared are proven not to be true by other characters. In a way you start to live the roller-coaster turmoil of emotions that Christine goes through every day. It may not have been quite as punchy as it could have been, but I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars. Definitely recommended. 

The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey
I've been recommending this book left, right and centre since I read it a few weeks ago. It's loosely reminiscent of the tales of Snegurochka, a figure of Russian fairytales. Sneg is snow in Russian, and Snegurochka is the daughter of the snow. In the fairytales she invariably ends up melting so with that in mind I read this with a sense of foreboding from the beginning. This isn't a re-working of the same old story though and while I wasn't that impressed to start with, I became more and more involved with the characters and the story.

In the early twentieth century Jack and Mabel move out to the Alaskan wilderness. Partly to prove something, partly because they are both wracked with unspoken emotion about the loss of their stillborn child. Now beyond the years of childbearing, they try to build a new life for themselves. But Alaska in 1918 is not an easy place to live and they find it hard trying to keep going. Until they start to see Faina, a young girl who seems to truly be a little snow child. She can't sit too close to the fire and disappears back into the woods every evening. Both Jack and Mabel have different ideas about Faina, but her sudden appearance helps the couple greatly and gives them a purpose. 

This beautiful story is written against a harsh, but vivid, landscape, with some beautiful description and a gentle plot line that allows you to really get to know the characters and come to feel strongly for each of them. A lovely read that I really enjoyed. 

The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
I really enjoyed this - the story goes back and forth between different times and different generations but essentially it is an unravelling of a mystery to do with an abandoned child. While I wasn't surprised by any of the events in the book, I did enjoy the style with which is was written, the pace and the language. I can't really write much without spoilers so I'll keep this one short and sweet. I liked it and would be interested in other works by Kate Morton.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


IT'S MARCH 2013! And because spring is in the air, and I wouldn't want anyone to feel I had forgotten them, I am doing a promotion over in my Etsy store. On any order over £15 you can receive free UK shipping for the whole of the month of March.

What's more, I'm not the only one offering this! There are a lot of UK based sellers who are also offering free UK shipping for March. All you need to do is type in code FREEMARCH13 when you get to the checkout page and the free shipping will be added to your order. That is pretty great if you are looking for a Mother's Day gift, a St Patrick's day something, a birthday present or a lovely treat for yourself. Why not head over to Etsy and see what there is to see?

I'm offering Free UK shipping on orders over £15

Here are some other lovely things that I have seen on Etsy from people who are also offering free UK shipping for March. Click on any of the names below the photos to be sent to the shop.

I love LizzesBeautifulArt's cats! 

DamsonTreePottery makes such gorgeous designs! 

Who wouldn't be in love with a VW campervan or indeed any of Graces Favours designs? 

I've kept this post to a green theme because spring is in the air (I actually sat outside in the garden today!) but there are of course plenty of other goodies available. Here's a link to find some more lovely pieces on Etsy that are offering free UK shipping throughout March:

I hope you all have a lovely time browsing and ... happy shopping!

Mosaic Mania!

Despite the ankle surgery and spending most of my time presently lying on my bed I have managed to get up for a few things...

I've had a few custom orders in the past few days - one from a lady who ordered a pendant from me and as soon as it arrived ordered another one! That's got to be a compliment and a half, right? I can't show a picture of it yet as she ordered it as a present but her feedback was lovely:

"I am thrilled to bits with the necklace, it is simply beautful. Could you possibly make another one as quickly?"

So I've spent a fair amount of time in the garage over the past week making some mosaics pendants. What do you think of my new designs?

Of course I haven't just restricted myself to pendants... I've made a few new rings and a pair of cufflinks as well:

And the good news is that the physical bricks and mortar shop up in Highgate has sold a few of my pendants too so I'm going to have to restock there as well! Here are two of the pendants I'll be sending up to them later on this week (the others aren't quite finished yet...)

I've also been having requests from all sorts of people in the past few weeks about making mosaic earrings. I have to say I've been a bit dubious about them as part of me thinks they'd just be too heavy. But I've been convinced to give them a go. I haven't actually made them up into earrings as yet (I'm going to need to go into a craft shop to buy the fittings in order to do that first) but there are designs for 2 pairs ready to put together properly and see what they're like...

So it's all go on the mosaic front! So much so in fact that I need to put in some orders for new stock! Hmm... best get on with that. I have ambitions of moving onto bigger and better places this year and I'm going to need a fair amount of stock ready by August at this rate. Off I go to check out my suppliers...!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

How To... Curate an Etsy BNR

This weekend I will be spending a fair amount of time on Etsy... who am I kidding? I'll be spending the entire weekend on Etsy! I'm going to be helping to curate on the British Emporia team weekend BNR. A BNR basically means Buy And Replace - you browse in all the shops featured and, if you like something from a particular shop, call out to buy it. If the curator gives you the go ahead, you buy, post the transaction link and your shop replaces the shop you bought from. It's a great way of getting views on Etsy and also for finding presents for people, getting to know other Etsians through the chatting ... and I'm slightly addicted to them!
Anyway, this weekend British Emporia are holding their first BNR as a new team and a number of team members have asked about how to curate. So I thought that a useful tutorial this month would be a HOW TO CURATE blog post. So here goes...

1) If you are a curator the main thing you need to do is keep refreshing the page that the treasury is on - some browsers automatically update but I know that my Google Chrome requires me to do so myself. So every few seconds or so you need to refresh the page so that you can keep up with chatting and check if anyone has called for a shop. People call out for a shop by saying the name of the shop in capital letters.

2) If no one else has already called for the shop, you can then give the go-ahead. You post in the thread the name of the shop calling and the name of the shop called, e.g:


It's a good idea to write down who is going to replace who at this point as if it gets busy with 2 or 3 sales going through, it's sometimes hard to remember who is replacing who.

3) What I always make sure I do is have 2 tabs open - one with the published treasury on it which I keep refreshing every few seconds to look out for new call-outs and one with the treasury but available in edit mode. (I've used an old BNR tab which is why it says CLOSED at the moment)

4) While the person who is buying is going through their transaction process, I usually open a third tab with the buyer's shop in it so that I can browse through their items and find something to replace the present slot (the shop that is being bought from) Look for the listing number and copy it:

5) When the person who is buying from a current shop in the treasury posts their transaction link, you need to check the link to make sure it is over the minimum spend - it won't actually say the cost of the item there but it will give you some similar items to look at with similar pricing and you can judge from there. Most people write the cost of the item before shipping as well so that makes it easier, but it's still a good idea to get in the habit of checking.

6) If the transaction meets the minimum requirements, you can switch the buyer's shop in by removing the shop bought from.
 In your editing tab click on 'edit

6) Now if you hover over one of the items you can see an edit or remove tab. Click edit on the shop that is being bought out and replace the current listing number with the listing number of the shop to be bought in.

7) Now go up to the top of your editing screen where the title and tags are and amend the number of sales in the title (to 1 more!) 

8) Now all you have to do is press SAVE at the bottom of the treasury and... voila! You have successfully done a shop switch!

There are some things you need to remember though....

  • Keep one tab with the published treasury open and make sure you refresh it constantly - while you are dealing with one sale, another buyer might call for a shop and you need to spot it! 
  • If someone calls for a shop that has already been called for - or if two people call quite close to each other it is a first-come-first-served principle - give the go ahead to the person who called first and politely tell any other callers that it's already been taken. 
  • Don't switch shops until the transaction link has been posted - you need to check each shop has at least spent the minimum spend. This means AFTER discounts and BEFORE shipping.
  • Lots of shops will offer discount codes so one other thing you need to do as curator is make sure that you keep the discount code list updated. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Etsy Picks

I've realised that I can't keep up with my Friday Feeling posts... what started out as a few lovely picks from Etsy developed into themed posts with fun facts and videos at the end. And I can't keep up on a weekly basis! So for 2013 I'm going to make Friday Feeling posts a once a month thing. And I'll do more regular, but less themed, Etsy picks showing some things that I have liked this week or this fortnight. I've really let the blog slide over the past few months and, while I'd like to get it up and running properly again, I have to admit I just don't have the same amount of time as I used to. Actual making and selling has got in the way of the blog.

So welcome to the first of the Etsy Picks posts... a selection of things I've liked this week. Please go over to Etsy and show some love to the wonderful artists - designers - makers who made these. I've got to know each of them through Etsy and I've really appreciated their comments on my Etsy store as they've helped me improve the general look and feel of my shop there. If you click on the pictures you will be taken to the listings, or if you click on the links in the captions you'll go to the respective shops. Enjoy!

Beautiful necklace by TheLaughingButterfly

What a sweet little girl's top by ThisIsLullaby

Love this scarf by Madmumknits
Love this hare collograph print by PrintsByMaggieg

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A rather hectic start to a year...

Well it's all been really hectic over at Trouble HQ for the past few weeks. Craft-wise I have had a few commissions. I had a quilt order in the middle of January so the gorgeous elephant and orange quilt is now in it's new home in Australia. Apparently it arrived on Tuesday and its new owners are really happy with it. Baby hasn't quite arrived yet so it is yet to be tested out!

The Elephants and Orange Baby Cot Quilt

A few days after that was ordered I also got an order for a baby name frame - baby Emma now has an addition to her nursery. It was ordered by a lady in the US who wanted it for friends in London. Her feedback was absolutely lovely: 

Alex was wonderful to work with! Super fast with communication and shipping. My friends loved this as a baby gift!

I also got a surprise opportunity to go to a craft fair - The Balham Craft Fair which is now on every fortnight but in two different locations. I went armed with a limited stock and shared a table with the lovely organiser, Emma, who I have also been plotting workshops with. We had a lovely day, made even more so because I wasn't expecting to be there - Emma called up the evening before with a sudden space and asked if I wanted it. Yes please!

Another reason it's been so hectic around here is that I have been trying to get my Etsy shop looking a little better. My photography has always been quite poor but I have been trying to work on that (I now have a light box!) and I've also been working a little on getting an About page sorted, updating my policies, being more active in some of the teams and generally putting a bit more time into it.

But the main reason is nothing to do with crafts whatsoever. The main reason has been because of my ankle. I've been waiting for ankle surgery for a LOOOONG time now and it finally came up. Because of the flat I live in and the fact that I work as a freelance teacher and therefore don't get paid if I don't work, I have had to give up my lovely flat (waaah!) and have moved back to my parents' house (poor them) for the time that I am off work and on crutches. My surgery was meant to be in March but was rather suddenly brought forward two weeks ago and I went in for my op yesterday. I'm now safely out the other side and am doing a good job of being an invalid at my parents'. Because of the nature of my ankle issues, I'm actually going to have to go in for another op in a few weeks time and for the moment am completely non-weight bearing. So much so that they haven't even given me a cast, just some bandages.

Which is a bit of a pain as at present I can't even get myself a glass of water because of the crutches. On the plus side, my crutches are an attractive shade of aquamarine and have reflectors on the back of them so people can see me in the dark. Not that I'm planning on going anywhere in the next few weeks!

Rather typically, I got a message this morning from a lady enquiring about me making her a pendant - and of course all my mosaic making tools are back in London! However, I will have them all by tomorrow evening so I'll be back at the arts and crafts in no time at all. I will certainly have time to do some over the next few weeks!


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