Saturday, March 19, 2011

First Impressions ... Packaging

You don't need me to tell you that first impressions count ... and that they count a lot. Especially when you are selling handmade things and you want to appeal to a wide audience. There are many elements where a little goes a long way.

With the jewellery that I made, I scrutinise every piece whilst it's in WIP and re-analyse it just before it's destined for it's new home. Once something is sold, then it gets another thorough inspection again.
I have been known to remake pieces at this point, because if i think that it's not good enough - then I am not scared of pulling it apart and dedicating time to remaking it before it's posted.

One thing though i need to give better time to is packaging.
It really hits home when i buy/receive other things that are handmade. The love and adoration that comes with the little packages really makes me go wow! Sometimes I get sweets, chocolate, and have been known also to get a shower of glitter. (yes thanks Tan!) and each of these little touches really make me smile, it makes me want to go back for more, and I always, always, always enjoy that little pack of gummy-bears that I get sent from a certain lampworker... thanks!

I believe that I am still lacking those finishing touches. I had contemplated gummy-bears and chocolate but they're guaranteed not to last ... I WILL eat them all, and my customers will not get any ... *I have such a sweet tooth!* So until I get more self control, this will have to wait!

So - keeping to basics, I need to improve the presentation of the packaging I use for my jewellery
I want my customers to open the package and go "Ooooh pretty!"

So, over the next few months, there's going to be an array of packaging bags and boxes and tissue paper, ribbons and god only knows what else ... and I will play with lots ... I imagine with practice, that each package will become more pleasant to the eye. (well, that's what i am hoping anyway!)

First little packaging project was for a friend off of a craft forum (check out her blog BIG BLUE BED) who like me is getting married this year. On the forum there has been talking about dresses, flowers, jewellery and of course budgeting and I wanted to make her something for her wedding day. Once I showed her a sweet, sparkly and simple swarovski crystal bracelet ... she loved it, so I made one especially for her.

Next, came the packaging... Knowing the backstory of who it's going to and what it's going to be for of course makes it a million times easier. Wedding ... there I had a colour theme! WHITE of course ...

So, i found some white crepe paper, white ribbons and a white oragnze bag - which luckily was all in my stash

and with double sidey sticky tape ... I packaged up the bracelet like so ... (I like the fact that you can't see the tape :) )
Then came paying with the ribbon ... ummm, well here for sure i need to improve, i need to find some nice/very elegant ways to make bows and swirls and stuff ... I have seen some tutorials for chinese knots, so i think that I might teach myself one or two of those - as they will be a lot better than this spaghetti mess.

I wish i had taken some beads with me to work that day - as i also think some white/pearly beads from my beadsoup collection would have also given it a cute touch.

So - finally into the organza bag, with a little "thankyou" note and a smitten kitten contact card.

So - what do you think?
Pointers anyone?

I am wanting to improve on the ribbons, with either chinese knots and/or paper roses, or even master a nice but simple and fail safe ribbon bow (easier said than done) Would love to know what you think. Constructive critism very welcome!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Angels & Blue Skies

You may remember my mumblings about my next cluster pendant, well finally without any further delay - here it comes :)

I had a very specific design in my imagineation before I started this. The first one came out so well, i had high expectations of myself and was adamant that this needed to hit the mark as well. So much so, it's taken me ages to complete. I have tons of blue beads, but they are such a variaiton of blues, and I had initially started matching aqua colours, and even though it was a gorgeous combo with the pearls, it reminded me of tropical seas rather than the "blue skies" that i was aiming for. But, i got there in the end ... :)

Not much else to report this end, don't want to bog you down with all the work stuff ... wanna keep this log as pretty as possible!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

More Sterling Silver Necklaces ...

Hey Everyone,

Well, firstly I need to say a big THANKYOU for all your wonderful comments on my recent blog posts, I appreciate them I really do - It's nice to know that I am not wittering away to myself because if I was, then I am sure the men in white coats would be along soon ...

It's nice for me to be in Stuttgart (at home) this week - after 2 weeks of travel, it's nice to see and socialise with the cat, it's nice to wake up in my own bed, to shower in my own shower ... and get out my beads to play with.

I was actually hoping to be at home again this coming week, to work in quiet in the Stuttgart office on the project that was related to my trip to America... but... *sigh* ... the boss has put another big project on my desk and now I am off to Szolnok (Hungary) on Monday morning ... and i've got the really early flight *boo!* 5.50am, which means that i need to be at the airport for 5am ... outta the door by 4.30am ... alarm clock at 4am ... seriously that is just not funny but ... it's necessary because I need to be there!

Anyhoo ... This morning, I finished these two necklaces. Again in the same style as you have seen recently, and now you will see where i used those American beads! Wow, the colours are really lovely - when faced with naming the piece, it took me a while to think of it ...

"Wildflower Butterfly"
Because the colours are so subtle, vintage and cute - that when pondering on different thoughts that came across my mind when i was daydreaming about it, then "Wildflower" struck the right chord. I hope that you agree :)

and I made another one with a sterling silver dragonfly pendant as well ...
The cluster of beads in this one really is such a varied selection - completely mixed beads - tried to get all in one cluster to give it an element of intrigue and something to explore. We have, swarovskis, lampwork, wooden, ceramic, czech pressed, shell, semi precious gemstones and freshwater pearls ... maybe more as well ...
The colours are golden, warm, and honey-like ... Mmmh!

Both necklaces are for sale, so I hope they'll sell quickly as I have lots of ideas for the next in the collection ... including seahorses! x

So, thanks for taking the time to read, i hope that if you have the time and something to say, that you will leave a comment!

Lots of love

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chicago, the windy city - and beads ... hehe!

So, I went to America as well last week. of course for work so spent most of my time near Detroit, working hard, playing hard and eating far too much!

I am scared to get back on the scales, as I am sure I would have put on at least 1 or 2 kilos. *ouch!*

This was now my 4th time to America, each time I have visited just for work - I am now familiar enough with the area, I hire a car, and I am confident and most of the time I don't need a Sat-Nav (GPS). I don't really explore too much into Detroit itself, as there it is very easy to find yourself in the wrong area. So, I normally stick to somewhere North of Detroit near work, and go shopping... naturally!

Last time I was there, I was introduced to a craft shop - oooh yeah BEADS! ... and the selection is good, but not too specialist. You won't find anything Sterling Silver and/or Delica seed beads - but you'll always find something that appeals. Since I have so many beads (yeah OK, you said it ... I have too many beads) I usually look for something that is hard to find back home... and what really attracts me to beads, is if I have never seen that style before. Once upon a time I used to buy buy buy anything and everything - but now, I am more fussy - and will only spend cash on plastic/glass beads if they are crucial to a project or if they are unusual and rare. The exception to this rule is, sterling silver, semi precious gemstones, handmade lampwork, freshwater pearls and Swarovski's ... as I can never have too many of those as they seem to be the foundation of my bead collection and the things that I make nowadays.

So - here is what I bought - just 3 strands of beads ...
The first strand being Mother of Pearl, they are all randomly sized - and for $4 ... not a bad buy ...

The second strand are the "rare" ones, but I have seen this style before, and knowing my luck they are probably really common in all other countries excluding Germany, because i believe them to be Czech made, and Czech beads are very popular ... and I actually remember getting some blue and red ones for a present when I was about 16, but since then I haven't really seen them at all - and the colours of this strand also really appealed, so once I picked them up to inspect the lovely soft colours, I couldn't bring myself to put them back down again.

And the last ... probably a bit boring really, and I picked them up because they were complimenting the ones that I really wanted. They will probably be used in the same project and they will help vary the texture and optic if I cluster them all together.

Right - OK, enough about beads...

I was lucky enough to have my fiancé also arranging for himself to visit his companies American office on the same week as I.

He works for a completely different company - and his American offices are a mere 300 miles away from where mine are. Very close in the grand scheme of the whole of America. So, with him also organising a meeting the same week as my already planned trip - we got a weekend in Chicago together. Very very very lucky, and will more than likely never happen again!

Other than doing my fiancés head in singing a song about Chicago all weekend ... (If you have seen Doris Day in "Calamity Jane" - then you may know the song too) we did a lot of walking, exploring and EATING ... We have eaten so much. We did a bit of shopping, but we did not find anything that we wanted to buy, and we even went to the Cinema.

I did have to do one main tourist-y thing and go up the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower). It is the 3rd Highest building in the world, was the highest up until 2004. Here is the view from the top of the tower looking over Lake Michigan

They have these glass boxes right at the top of the building also known as the skydeck - where they protrude out of the building so you stand on the glass and then ... look down ... if you dare ... 412 metres high! Yeah!

Here's the view "Up" hopefully you can see the boxes ... this picture is zoomed in

Here's the view "down" from the boxes ... if you look carefully you can see the cars ...

And here's proof that I went in!

It made my stomach go all wobbly! I am still so chuffed that we went there and did that. I would do it again in a flash! If you ever go to Chicago ... then you have no reason not to go to Willis Tower!

Hope you enjoyed the read ...
take care

Smitten Kitten goes KITTY BALLISTIC! Handmade Heartswap Goodies!

Right, well then - you are probably wondering what the fudge means "Smitten Kitten goes Kitty Ballistic" ...
Well, I should explain, as you may know from earlier blog posts, I had participated in "Noodle Bubbles Handmade Heart Swap" and sent off a bunch of handmade heart themed thingies ... well, I received my swap package too! from Helen at KITTY BALLISTIC CREATIONS because of the travelling schedule I have not managed to take pictures of the goodies and blog about it until now! *tsk tsk!* terrible I know, and sorry to Helen who got worried that it had not arrived because of my tardiness!

So, better late than never ... here is the super cute package ...
full of hearts! I feel like the queen of hearts!
So ... here's a clsoe up of the handmade card ... i wish i had thought to do a handmade card in my package, as it was really such a cute touch, and i lurrrve that pink paper!

Some heart pins, for my sewing work - and I think that they'll get some use, as i am sewing more and more these days

a heart plushie decoration (with the cutest little heart buttons) But i have no clue where to hang it yet. Let me know if you have any ideas.

and finally - my most favourite of all - these little cute heart earrings, origami puffed hearts ... OMLG ... I wanna know how to do those as they are fabulous! Look ... LOOK how cute!!!

so, i feel very lucky to have a wonderful swap partner, who i also know from The crafter ... oo! Craft Forum and of course ... here is her blog again ... KITTY BALLISTIC CREATIONS ... be smart, become a follower as she makes great things and has a blog that is a pleasure to read.

oooh, and again, another thanks to ... Noodle Bubble Blog for organising a fabulous and successful swap.
I hope that my partner has received hers, as I am yet to hear back form her and it is now March! *fingers crossed* otherwise i'll be making another package for her!

Thanks for reading!
Lots of love

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oooh! Look what I got!

OMLG (Oh My Lady Gaga)… I have soOoOoOo much to catch up on.

As mentioned in my last blog post, I have been travelling with work and have been very very busy. I spent one week in Hungary, and on that week we also had some work colleagues travel there from America for a big project. Then the day after I got home to Germany I flew to America to work near Detroit for the week, then lucky me on the way home I flew via Chicago (the windy city) and spent the weekend there.

Finally Got home yesterday – my mind is still buzzing with jetlag, but I am coping quite well, and am aching to get back into my comfortable “creature of habit” routine… I have 2 weeks’ worth of blogs to read and catch up on! That’s gonna keep me entertained for days!
I think it’s best that I break up my post into two or three, as there is just far too much to cram into one!

First thing is first, (I'll try to keep things in time-order) whilst I was in Hungary – I got a very very big compliment from Anna at Silver Paw jewellery:

She awarded me a stylish blog award. *woop!* Ooooh get me! I am extremely flattered, thank you very much! Not only did I win the award, but she listed 14 other fabulous blogs which I am now following. I personally love blogs, and love people recommending good ones – so when I am also on that list and being recommended to other people – it has made me blush!

I now also have the honour of awarding 15 of my favourite blogs with this award, so if you are here because I have chosen you … here is what happens next
Step 1 - Make a post linking back to the person who gave you the award!
Step 2 - Share 7 random things about yourself
Step 3 – Award 15 recently discovered bloggers with this award
Step 4 – Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won the award

So, to my word here are 7 Random things about me … Hope you don’t fall asleep!

1. I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test this morning, and I am waiting for the results…. I am hoping that it won’t discover that I am a bit of a weirdo – but they say that it’s not designed to do that, it’ll probably just discover that I am a bit ditzy *ahem!* I mean, creative … or that I have feelings and/or I think too much … or it’ll find some other flaw in my personality … will keep you posted on that.

2. I used to smoke 10-15 cigarettes a day and I used to enjoy smoking each and every one of them. I quit because I wanted to prove to my boyfriend (now fiancé) that I could quit. It also freaked me out that I had smoked for 10 years at that point. It was a bad 3 weeks … but looking back, that was all it was … 3 WEEKS … from 15 a day, to none and without nicorette gum … 3 WEEKS … and even though it was a nightmare, it was such a short period of time in the scheme of things. I never had imagined that it was going to be that easy. I also discovered that the key to quitting smoking, is being scared of failing to quit.
3. I went on 62 planes in 2009, 48 planes in 2010 – and my current total for 2011 to date is 14. Because of this I am a Gold member of OneWorld Frequent Flyer Club.
4. All cars that I have owned, have had a name and a personality to match. I ♥ Cars. My current car (Stevie the Fiesta ST) is extra special because he has leather seats – and that leather was made by the company I work for, and I was part of the development team who developed that leather.
5. I had a dream last night that I got fired from my job, I am hoping that it is not a premonition. I don’t think it is as I also dreamt last night that aliens were planning to attack (but attack nominated postcodes only… )
6. I had a lifesaving operation at the age of 5 weeks, and I have the huge scar to prove it.

7. I wish I took more care of my appearance, and I plan to do something about that

And here is my list … the list of blogs, that give me insight, inspiration, muse, laughter and joy … It was hard to choose, as there are more than 15 blogs that I really enjoy reading In no particular order …

1. – jewellery, inspiration, pottery and facedown Tuesdays ☺
2. – sead beads, projects, inspiration and fun
3. - jewellery, sparkles, inspiration and laughter
4. – resin, jewellery, tutorials, and smiles!
5. – recycle it baby, laughter, fun and a creative soul who’ll upcycle, recycle anything!
6. – oooh wonderful inspirational colour challenges for jewellery – a fun group interactive blog
7. - a creative journey of one very creative and patient lady. Great WIP stories and pictures
8. – challenges, crafts, open swaps, inspiration and muse
9. – a very creative gal called Claire, who will dazzle you with beautiful creations!
10. - what a read, fun life and laughter, creations reaching from plushies to upcycling to beady adventures
11. – Laura, another master of the seed beads – a very creative insight to creations, a perfect muse
12. – oooh more sparkles and beaded jewellery creations! Inspirational and full of joy
13. - beautiful buttons, crafts and the good life. Highly recommended if you are a crafter and love buttons!
14. – lampwork beads, jewellery components, jewellery inspiration, fun and life all in one place
15. – beady goodness … all in one place ☺ Mmmmh!

If you love reading blogs, then I recommend the above to you if they sound like your thing.
So,there's still more for me to say, but i'll have to get you up to date another day. I don't want to bombard you with too much info all in one shot!

Take care!