Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Fairs and new to the website...

Hello again,

The Christmas Fairs are over and were a success - phew! I did well at the school fairs, having booked double tables and spread my wares out. As usual I brought so much stock "just in case", but it means a wider variety to choose from!
I also had a table at the Christmas Concrete Market in Croydon. This was held at the Green Dragon pub on the High Street, though maybe a little far south of the main shopping area. It was a nice atmosphere with a lovely selection of sellers, but unfortunately not that many buyers came in. We still made a profit and enjoyed a huge sharing plate of nachos! You can read more about the Concrete Market here.

You can see my stall style has evolved into a more "vintage" style look with cake stands - very handy for a small table - and my new shelf unit my husband made for me, which has slotted in shelves and packs flat. I'm not sure I could manage it if I didn't travel by car though, as we had three large very heavy bags even with just this small amount!  

It's been really busy on my website over the last month too. I have managed to make and add some new Steampunk jewellery, including cufflinks, necklaces and rings, some pretty vintage style lockets which I decoupaged floral pictures onto, some collaged/decoupaged pendants and the glasses chains have been selling as fast as I can make them!


Next on my list is to make and restock any repeatable designs which are running low in stock, then relax over Christmas! Hmm, maybe an oxymoron there, as there's lots to do and "relax" and "Christmas" don't always go together!! Still, I've made my Christmas pudding and bought Tesco's Finest Bailey's substitute drink so that's something crossed off the gigantic list!
Talking of which, I'd better get the Amazon order finished...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Christmas Showcase!

Good afternoon,

Well it appears to be November already, I hope you're more prepared for Christmas than me! I can't believe how quickly this year has gone, I'm sure some months were missed out!

Anyway, to get us in the Christmas mood, why not take a look at this brilliant Christmas Showcase from the wonderwoman who brought us Support Handmade, However it's Made.
I'm sure you'll agree it's a great selection of British designer-makers (did I mention Pirate Treasures is included?!), the design of the showcase is pretty awesome - you can click on the gift tag photos to be taken straight to the seller's shop, or browse by category or view the designer's own page. You'd better get a mug of tea and some biscuits as there's so much to see!

I've made the decision to stop selling on Folksy once the last of my items delists at the end of the month. If you've read the previous posts or the Folksy forums over the last couple of months you'll know why. I'm going to try something new, but need to wait for a sunnier day than we've had recently to take some new photos! I'll blog about that when it actually happens...
So I've spent a few days moving the things from my Folksy shop over to my website http://www.pirate-treasures.com/ - there's some new jewellery in most departments plus the Emporium of Curiosities section where you can find cards, gift tags and ACEO art cards. To read more about the Emporium, have a quick look at my other blog here.

Well, I'm off to do a bit of stocktaking - not long until my first Christmas Fair of the year!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

What's new?

Hmm, well I haven't appeared to have done a showing-off of the other SHHIM shops yet, but the official Supporting Handmade - However it's Made Christmas showcase will be online soon, so I'll remember to link to that if I don't do anything myself first. Anyway, int he meantime you can click the link above to go to the page and see the increasing amount of crafters/artisans involved!

I've still been hard at work on the website SEO,  gosh it's driving me round the bend, but interesting to see how it changes the search results on Google.

So what's new for Pirate Treasures? I have three events booked - 26th November at Oasis Academy Coulsdon's Christmas Fair, 3rd December at Keston Primary School (Old Coulsdon) for their Christmas fair and Sunday 4th December at the Christmas Concrete Market at the Green Dragon pub on Croydon High Street - more about that here

On the Pirate Treasures website this month I have added several new designs to the vintage inspired range - a cool new octopus charm bracelet and matching necklace. A sweet little birdcage charm necklace, vintage style chrysanthemum necklace and brass owl earrings.

The pirate jewellery range also has some new designs including a cameo charm braceletplectrum and charms bracelet and a matching ivory pearl bracelet, necklace and earrings.


Phew, well that's kept me busy! Next I'm going to be making Christmas cards and gift tags, so hope to show some of them next time.
Bye for now,

Thursday, 29 September 2011

I'm back!!

Oh dear, where did the summer go?
Well it's actually amazingly warm and sunny today, so feeling very summery although it's almost October - how strange!
During the actual summer, we spent a week in Italy staying in Lido di Jesolo and one day visiting Venice and the islands Murano and Burano, and another day at Verona and Sirmione on Lake Garda. Then a weekend at home followed by three nights in Paris - fabulous!

September has been a bit of a strange month.
 It started out in confusion as Folksy announced their new "clarification" to what is in fact "handmade". Unfortunately they didn't make it at all clear and caused great upset and sadly a bit of nastiness on the Folksy Forums. I've been trying to stay out of it as I haven't decided whether to continue there or not. Basically Folksy want to become a little more upmarket and concentrate on their definition of handmade. However, they have handled it quite badly and many sellers are left very confused, as some of the rules are a bit ambiguous or contradictory advice has been given to different people. I understand Folksy's wish to move away from the hundreds of "bung it on a chain" charm necklaces on sale, but what constitutes "original design" has been interpreted differently and inconsistently. Unfortunately my best sellers were what is now classed as "unacceptable" to Folksy - I sold six pairs of owl charm earrings in the run up to last Christmas, but won't be able to do that this year as they use mass-produced charms.

However, the super-cool Shirley-Ann from http://www.diddybears.com/ has cheered us up by devoting some of her webspace and a huge amount of time and effort to put together a page  Supporting Handmade However it's Made - click the link or the badge on the right to take you there, where you can see all the lovely shops selling jewellery, crochet, teacup candles, cards etc. You can also keep up to date with these designers on Twitter with the hashtag #shhim. I'm intending to do a Folksy Friday style treasury of SHHIM, but you know I'm a bit rubbish at blogging!

I've been busy doing lots of boring SEO work on my Pirate Treasures Jewellery website, tweaking meta tags, keywords and descriptions etc. It's ongoing, so I'll be doing that for the forseeable future!
Though I've also added another category to the site, the Emporium of Curiosities, which will stock cards, gift tags, art and textiles from my Folksy shop, which may be closing due to the aforementioned hoohah!
I've been adding new jewellery, a whole load of flower earrings, which I have previously had in my Pirate Treasures Folksy shop, on my old Facebook shop and at local events. There are a couple of glasses chains, in bronze and silver with glass pearl beads.

So, until next time, keep Supporting Handmade - However it's Made! Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter here, where I have tweeted more often in the last month than in the entire time I've been on Twitter! 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

What I've been up to...Challenge 52 weeks 14-15

Good Afternoon!

So, the fetes & fairs are over for the Summer (yippee!) and now I need to work on the website and a jewellery party I have booked for next weekend.

I got some lovely flower cabochons and ring bases through the post last week, so have been making some new accessories, as modelled by my Glamourous Assistant who has actually nabbed a couple of these for herself, so we need to make some more ASAP!

I decided to make a couple of really over-the-top pirate theme necklaces for the website http://www.pirate-treasures.com/, they took ages to make but I think they look pretty cool!

I also made another new pirate necklace, which has been featured on the Secret Carousel blog today. Secret Carousel is a great new website, which is a showcase and directory of the UK's alternative clothing & accessories online stores.

June was my best ever month for website sales and July has been pretty busy so far, so while it's a bit quieter in August I'll be closing the shop for a couple of weeks. I've been meaning to get a gallery of sold designs done and delete them from the main shop pages as it's getting a bit clogged up with 'out of stock' things. I also want to get a completely new category up and running - details of that nearer the time.
I'd probably get on with it so I can start September with new collections and exciting stuff...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Summer Fair season - Challenge 52 weeks 11-13

Phew! I've just done the last of my three Summer fetes. It was a mixed season...

The first fete I do is at my local Primary School where I also work at lunchtimes. I think this helps as the children know me and as I've been doing the Summer fete and the Christmas Fair too they know I'll be there! As mentioned in my previous post, I always have plenty of children's jewellery and reasonably priced items. We sold a staggering 140+ of the little seed bead bracelets and 5 of those hair clip bead strands - Rebecca was a bit disappinted we didn't sell more of them as she thought they'd be snapped up. Over all, we did really well here and also got a booking for a 'girls night in' jewellery shop at home party.

The next day we were at the Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital fete, which is only a couple of miles away. There were quite a lot of stalls there this year, mostly charity ones as that's the kind of fete it is. Unfortunately the four jewellery sellers were placed in very close proximity to each other! Mind you, I don't think it made much difference as no one seemed to be buying - or even looking - we watched so many people walk down the aisle of stalls without even glancing either way. I know we're in a recession, but to not even look at what stalls there were seemed a bit strange to me. With people like that it wasn't surprising we only sold 5 things the whole time we were there and made a loss as the stall was pretty expensive - ah well, at least it was for charity and we know now to visit it as customers next year! Look at our happy smiling faces - this was before the fete started!

Yesterday we were at a Girls' secondary school nearby. By Friday I had almost decided not to go as the rain had been so torrential all week and the fair was on the school field. However, the weather forecast looked pretty good so I thought we might as well give it a go as girls=jewellery! Or so I thought...
Again, it wasn't great. The pupils of the school were all there, but seemed to be working on their own class stalls so there weren't that many of them wandering around. Our stall was on the far side of the field in the corner, so we got the most of the wind, which resulted in some of the displays falling over on a regular basis! We put the side up of the gazebo which helped a bit. In the end we made a very small profit, but if you factor in the time we spent there and the time it takes to make the jewellery, plus the £10 I gave to my glamourous assistant then it was actually a loss! 

So guess what fete we'll be doing again next year and which ones we won't! I don't think I'll bother trying to find any alternatives to do, I'll just use that time to make more website stock. In the warm and dry and non-windy house!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Challenge 52 - week 10 - fete preparation (part two)

I'm getting there!
I've made four new flowery bracelets, which are always popular.
Over the last few days I've been making lots of strands of hair beads. I was given a bag of (unworn) glittery hair clips by a friend and had wondered what to do with them, whether to just sell them individually as a 'cheaper option' for the usual children with 20p in pennies clutched in their hand...but then had the idea of hair braid style strands.
A few years ago at the local school fete a hairdresser mum used to do coloured hair strands which she melted onto your hair with her straighteners (I used to go for blue or purple!) - this was really popular and she used to have a queue for most of the afternoon.
So I thought I would attach a strand of beads to the clips with a charm at the end to finish it off. I've made 15 so far and have more clips to use, so guess what I'll be doing in a minute?!

I've no idea how I'm going to display them, maybe just lay them out on the table. Unfortunately I don't have a TARDIS for a stall, I've got far too much stock for one table! Hopefully if the weather is dry and we don't have to put the sides on the gazebo, I'll bring the old pasting table with me too and put it on one side of our space at right-angles to the main table. My daughter Rebecca helps me on my stall and usually does the children's end, so she could have a table to herself. Hmm, better get some more cloth then - another thing to add to the "to do" list!

If you're in the area and fancy coming along, my fetes are
25th June - Keston Primary School, Keston Avenue, Old Coulsdon, Surrey
26th June - Caterham Dene Hospital, Caterham Hill (opposite Queen's Park)
9th July - Wallington High School for Girls, Wallington, Surrey

Right, I'm off to vaccuum the floor and make some more of those bead strands....

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Challenge 52 - week 9 - Fete preparation (part one)

Over the last week I have started preparing for the three Summer fetes I have coming up. I have my boxes of stock for stalls and jewellery parties separate from online stock, so got them all out to do a stocktake. I should probably make tidy lists in Word and keep them on the computer so I can delete things as they sell, but I haven't got round to this so far and every year do a big long list on lined A4 paper. I do have a huge amount of things to sell!

I want to cater for all tastes and all ages, so make a lot of childrens' jewellery at as low a price as I can, as there are always little girls coming up to my stall looking longingly at the pretty vast array and then saying "what can I get for 50p?"...well I'm afraid I don't really have anything that cheap, but I've made a bunch of necklaces I sell for £1.00, which are a silver acrylic heart charm on a length of ribbon which is tied to just slip over their heads. I still get some children who try to haggle with me over prices, but I just smile back and say "no, the price on the label is the price I'm selling it for" and point them in the direction of the cheaper items!

I have so far listed all the necklaces I'm taking (though I'll be making a few more, better to have too many than too few!). I even have a bag of "spares" to replenish my revolving stand of childrens/teens type necklaces - plenty of skull & crossbones, Hello Kitty, plastic stars, silver hearts etc. Last night made 16 pairs of clip on earrings as I realised I only had a couple of pairs left and neither were very 'little girly'. I wonder how they'll do this year, there were quite a few girls without pierced ears who bought them last Summer.
It's funny, each year there's something different which is the 'best seller'. A couple of years ago I sold loads of little seed bead bracelets...oh I forgot I do have something for under 50p, I bought these in (I gave up making them as the knotting drives me mad!) and sell them for 20p each...so bought in another lot and last year hardly sold any, hmm, I must remember to get them out of the loft and see how it goes this year!

Next job is to stock take the bracelets....

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Challenge 52 - Week 8 - Twitter & Favicon added

Hello again!
We had another internet-free couple of days as there was either a fault on the BT line, or more likely the copper cables were stolen again. Apparently there were several cases in the South East of this over the weekend, we've had it twice this year! Luckily, BT were very quick to sort it out this time, so as you can see I'm back online.

I've done a couple of Challenge 52 type things today (making up for lost time!) - I put a 'Follow me on Twitter' badge on my website http://www.pirate-treasures.com/ and made a Favicon. If you don't know, a favicon is the little icon next to the URL of the website in the top bar - look at the little orange B of Blogger! I used http://www.favicon.co.uk/ to make mine; all you have to do is use a picture, photo or logo (made mine in GIMP) and upload it to the website where it will be transformed into a .ico file and resized. As it's soooo tiny I found it a bit difficult to make a decent one which still reflects my website, so just put a P and T in Vivaldi font on a cream background. It's a bit small to actually read, but it's the same style as my banner so will do! My website hosts http://www.create.net/ just add it as a widget and it appears like magic, so I'm afraid I can't offer any advice on how to add yours if you don't have a Create site - other than to get one!!
The Twitter follow badge is a bit of html from Twitter's official ones, just a simple one so as not to clutter up my homepage.

My next main plan of action for the website is to make a gallery (I've probably said this before) but that will take a while as there's loads of photos to add and I'm not sure how much webspace it will take.

The other thing I'm doing at the moment is stocktaking for the summer fetes I have booked, but more of that another time...


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Challenge 52 - Week 7 - more Pirates!

Yes I know I haven't done a post called 'Week 6', but that was the Folksy Friday I did last week, my Challenge to myself was to try and do one Folksy Friday a month...let's see how far I get with that!

The last week or so has been really busy...
My brother and his family moved into a house 10 minutes walk from mine - he had been working abroad for 9 years, met his wife there and they have two small children. So that was a major event! I, Mr Treasures and my parents spent a lot of time going backwards & forwards to the house (which they had been renting out since buying it a couple of years ago) getting it as ready as possible for their return. Then we had to be there when they arrived from Heathrow Airport as they didn't have any keys themselves! Luckily it's been sunny up until today, so they have had a nice welcome and a chance to walk around and get to know the area. 
This week it was my birthday, which has meant cake and Chinese food in between a trip to the gym - yes even on my birthday, have to keep up the twice a week as much as possible!
Then we went to see my daughter's AS Level play for Theatre Studies - Berkoff's interpretation of Kafka's The Trial, so confusing but well done!
Thursday we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides. Well obviously it was really good, though I'm not sure I enjoyed it as much as the previous films, but Captain Jack Sparrow was his usual character!
So guess what? I've been making more pirate jewellery for the website! I have also been making a few different styles of designs for my Folksy shop, but finding the time has been a Challenge!

Well that's enough from me for now, I had better dash round with a duster as my parents are coming for a cup of tea after the Grand Prix which is just finishing!
Bye for now,

Friday, 13 May 2011

Folksy Friday - Pirates!

This Folksy Friday is a little late due to Blogger being offline all day and deleting my draft!
So this week I decided to do a Folksy Friday selection based on pirates because I'm a little excited about "Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides" coming out next week! As the first Pirates film was my inspiration to make jewellery in the first place I felt I ought to do something to mark the occasion.
The first four are from my own Folksy shop Pirate Treasures Jewellery and the rest of the lovely goodies should be clickable photos to take you to their creators' shops. It was very difficult to narrow down the selection of piratical awesomeness, but I hope you like these ones...

Pirate Treasures Jewellery Pirate Treasures Jewellery
Pirate Treasures JewelleryPirate Treasures Jewellery

Gaia Noir Sparrow Primitives
Dab and a dash Socklings
Aunty Joan Crafts Hop To It Craft ShopHoneysuckle Rose Crafts MagpieAccessories

Here's where they came from: 1) Gaia Noir 2) Sparrow Primitives 3) Dab and a dash 4) Socklings 5) Aunty Joan 6) Hop To It Craft Shop 7) Honeysuckle Rose Crafts 8) Magpie Accessories ...please go and take a look in their shops to see what else is on offer!


Monday, 9 May 2011

Challenge 52 - week 5 - catching up (part 1)

Only a day late! This week has been mostly about catching up and probably Week 6 will be too. I caught up with my 'ideas' list of making, but there haven't been quite enough hours in the day to get everything added to the website!

These are a few of the new designs on the website Pirate Treasures over the last week...

I've also been keeping up with the Mayhems on Folksy. Here's a couple of my listings from the week...

I'm planning on doing a Folksy Friday for my next blog post, I've got the subject sorted, just need the time to find all the lovely goodies to show!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Challenge 52 - week 4 - Pirates!

I did indeed manage to catch up with my blogging and am now up to date, well done me!!
This week, as you may have guessed by the title, I have been making pirate style jewellery. I'm a little excited by the fact that Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides is released in three weeks' time! So I have been making pirate charm bracelets in a variety of colours...I have put them on my website Pirate Treasures Jewellery and one in my Folksy shop, where I added a matching necklace.

The Steampunk jewellery I made the other day is now dry, but I haven't
added it to the website yet. I should get round to that tomorrow morning, hopefully.

I hadn't realised that you only get 200 photos with the free version of Flickr, so I'll have to rethink my plans there - I've already added 193 and haven't finished! I might just put a selection, or only things made in the last year - if anyone reading this can suggest what they do please add a comment! I may also make a Gallery on my website. I had planned on using Flickr instead, but I haven't used up too much of my website space, so might be able to do something on the site to show Sold stock in case anyone wants to commission something based on a previous design, I used to have a slideshow of sold jewellery on my previous website and had a couple of custom orders that way. Something to work on when I have enough time!

Plans for this week are: make more pirate jewellery and add the steampunk things to the website. Shouldn't be too difficult!