Tired but plodding on…and more MOO

I am soooo tired.  M is away with work so I am home alone with the boys, which is fine except they refuse to sleep after 5.30am (and that’s the latest- we had 4.30 this morning!!).  It means that evenings are out for doing anything except staring at the TV with a glazed look on my face or maybe an extra early night and a read (I am reading The Suspicions of Mr Whicher  which I am really enjoying, I love the period details). Daytimes are about survival, I get little bursts of energy but the house is a tip so I feel guilty if I sew instead of clean.  I am also behind in blog reading, I use google reader for this, which I love (except you can’t leave comments without going to the actual blog so I am really bad at saying ‘hello’ to people I read – sorry!).  I loved this blog post on MOO after Denise left a comment on Pretty Packaging.  What a great post, if you have been thinking about how to package your products definitely go and have a look.  

 

New MOO business cards, with corners rounded by my new 5mm gadget.

New MOO business cards, with corners rounded by my new 5mm gadget

It got me in the mood for some nice small projects to squeeze into the day.  Inspired by above, I ordered some lovely new business cards from MOO (I usually only buy MiniCards, I chose their eco friendly matt cards made from recycled board) and then searched the internet for a simple, cheap corner cutting tool as I really fancied round corners…this was harder than I had anticipated, I think I didn’t get the search words right because it took ages.  I bought two Mini Corner Rounders (both 5mm and 10mm) from Joyce Online, if I really like the effect I can upgrade to a more sturdy option, there were no postage costs – we like that!  

 

I love being able to add an image to the back as well.

I love being able to add an image to the back as well.

After ordering new cards I had a think about my own packaging.  In the early days I started adding a free mini butterfly lavender bag to larger orders (please excuse the photo quality, this was a large order from last Christmas and I had to photo them it in a hurry before posting).

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I used to place a few MiniCards in the box but realised they may well get lost in the tissue and just get thrown in the bin so I started to attach them to the lavender bag with extra ribbon (not shown above, these were the early model).  I also started to attach the cards to the front of smaller orders with a round sticker  and ribbon (I pack single lavender bags and egg cosies in apple green Kraft bags) and I always add a hand written card, even if it only says ‘thanks for your order’.

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I am happy with all of this but may have a little re-design of the mini butterfly lavender bags.  I think they are a nice touch, everyone loves a freebie!

I could spend a lot on packaging, both in time and money, I have to remind myself that I need to deliver something attractive without spending a fortune, hopefully I have got the balance right.

OK, so it has taken me a while to actually post this blog entry, during which time I had an enquiry from the US about postage costs for a linen cat/bunny.  I rarely post to the US although I do post to Europe quite a bit.  I gave pricing for regular Airmail and Airsure and finally International Signed for but all are quite expensive.  This is one of the main reasons I don’t sell on Etsy, Airmail is the only reasonable price but I am unsure how reliable it is?  I know that with a certificate of posting packages are insured up to £39 but getting money back from RM is a nightmare.  If anyone has any good/bad experience of US posting (and reliability) do let me know.

Pretty Packaging…

As I am always chattering about detail, I thought I would do a packaging blog.  One of the nice things about ordering from individuals as opposed to big companies is the detail in the packaging.  I love receiving nice parcels wrapped in tissue and ribbon.  The boys get very excited if free sweets are involved (we have had a few mini packets of Haribo in our time amongst others), I have had some lovely bookmark cards and I love a pretty business card….I am thinking of getting a spot in my studio, just for displaying business cards.  Some of the big companies also do it well, ISAK are sending out their new trays etc in a bag (the below was a recent Wedding present I bought for a friend, it’s one of those great repeat gifts, I also bought it for my husband on our 5yr Wedding Anniversary as 5yrs is wood and the tray is made from birch).

 

Blossom and Bill tray by Isak with it's delivery bag.

Blossom and Bill tray by ISAK with it's delivery bag.

I notice that MOO MiniCards pop up a lot.  I am also a big fan of these, they cost £10 for 100 and you can have up to 100 digital images.  I have used these as party invites in the past, I am a fan of their NoteCards and stickers as well.

 

MOO print MiniCards for The Linen Cat

MOO print MiniCards for The Linen Cat

With The Linen Cat I like to keep a colour theme going, green features a lot, both on my text and wrapping.  Bigger items are packed with a mini butterfly lavender bag attached to my business card.  I would love to be more eco-friendly but I also feel I have to be sure items arrive in a good condition, and certainly for the larger, pricier things (especially linen cats/bunnies) that generally means plastic features somewhere.  Sadly the bio-degradable plastic and ‘paper’ jiffys are very expensive, I hope eventually to be able to upgrade to these but at the moment I need to keep my costs down.  I do post in cardboard where possible. 

 

Owl Lavender Bags being packed for posting.

Owl Lavender Bags being packed for posting.

I can’t finish this post without a mention of some lovely recent deliveries.  I ordered the British Biscuit Box from Treaclezoo for my son’s Birthday (he is very into play food at the moment and it makes a change from plastic Gormiti or Ben 10) and it came beautifully packaged….notice the lovely stickers from MOO print, how cute are they?

 

British Biscuit Selection from Treaclezoo

British Biscuit Selection from Treaclezoo

And finally, purely for myself I had to order some postcards from HidenSeek as I am just a little bit in love with them.  This was the most delightful package to get, the envelope and hand written letter give a really personal touch and the business card is a beautiful object in it’s own right.

 

Postcards from HidenSeek/Hidden Eloise

Postcards from HidenSeek/Hidden Eloise

I am all for supporting small business and individuals and love that extra care and personal touch that you get.

‘Wet Yorkshire’ mode…

 

Half finished jobs finally finished...

Half finished jobs finally finished...

I have been in ‘wet Yorkshire’ mode.  Not sure why, we did have a lot of wind and wet weather here (blooming lovely over the past week though, got the old paddeling pool out for the kids etc) but it’s odder than that, I have a specific memory in mind of walking in Strid Wood after a heavy shower, in summer and that warm wet smell you get…huge amounts of green everywhere…dry stone walls, wild flowers…can’t stop thinking about it…I may be loosing my mind!  

It makes me think of heather purples and tweed which is kind of throwing my sewing out of line as I am not much in the mood for spring and summer products and colours.   Also, I haven’t been doing a lot of sewing recently I just kind of took a little break, it wasn’t so much as being uninspired as just stopped and got busy with other things (including half term so Felix is at home as well as Charlie).  It’s also the busiest time in the garden which is an added distraction, but I finally got going again last week by forcing myself to finish all those pesky half done jobs that sit around making a mess.  I had a number of linen cat/bunny dresses cut out but not sewn and some mouse egg cosies that had never been lined, along with other bits and bobs.  It was quite good, a sort of a sewing spring clean.   I have also decided to add a SALE section to my online shop (wont go ‘live’ until next week) to clear out some stock, mainly bits and pieces that I think I will no longer make, or that were made using sample fabric, there is nothing wrong with them and they are made to my usual standard but they don’t fit into my normal collection.  And finally, whilst my head is in ‘wet Yorkshire’ mode of thinking I have started to work on Christmas products….yes, you read that right, I know it’s June but I have a few things I know I want to make and need to work through the designs plus it was a great excuse to buy fancy silk fabric which I am loving.

The flower photo (peonies) is just because I fell in love with the fantastic bright pink with yellow and had to record it somewhere.

OK, off to dream of tweedy walks on heather moors…

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Folksy Featured Sellers for June…

After the pleasure of being a Folksy Featured Seller for May, I have had my name picked out of a hat to choose the Sellers for June.  It wasn’t as easy as I had initially thought, there are so many talented people selling on Folksy, the more I looked, the harder the choice.  Also quite a few people don’t meet the criteria (for instance having a minimum of five items for sale), but after neglecting my boys (not really!) in favour of my laptop for a few days here is my list:

 

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Hide n Seek – I became a bit obsessed whilst viewing this shop, needing to look at every beautiful illustration in detail.  I was instantly taken back to my childhood with memories of old story books full of fairytales that I used to read, worlds I wanted to live in.  I especially love the postcards, great to collect.

 

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Jemima Lumley Jewellery – Jemima makes stunning jewellery with bird, butterfly and flower details.  I am fascinated by her idea of rolling sheets of silver with vintage lace and have already added a number of her pieces to my ‘Favourites’ list.

 

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Plain Jane Textiles – I love Sarah’s range of quirky and environmentally friendly hand-printed textiles.  I like the bright, retro style and the simple designs.  The new hand printed notebooks are a must as is this cute mirror.

 

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Treaclezoo – Don’t these look good enough to eat? Along with crochet jammy dodgers, party rings and many more, it practically makes my mouth water.  There are also plenty of cute amigurumi animals and dinky strawberry charms to choose from.  Loads of fun!

I really enjoyed being one of the May Sellers, so thanks Folksy and good luck to everyone in June.