31 January 2012

Business Goals for 2012

If you are like me you are just starting to get ready for the new year and what it holds. You may have done a lot of thinking about your business and where to this year – and now you're motivated, and ready to make it happen!

The 2 key ingredients – you have to be honest with yourself and you need to be realistic.

It is great to have the dreams but goal setting is about how to achieve the dreams and it doesn't happen over night!

One of the most common goals of the new year is to GET ORGANISED! How much time do you spend on the computer when you want to be making? Or working around family demands / small children / day jobs? There are hundreds of websites out there that will guide you but here is one I like. Time Management Success - http://www.time-management-success.com/how-to-get-organized.html

I have used this type of template for a while now and it helps me sort my thinking and time. I can list my weekly jobs and be more specific about when they will be done.

Setting SMART goals is a proven approach to achieving success more quickly. Apply the SMART rules to your goals and see how they stand up

Is your goal …... ? How?

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

We'd love to hear about your goals for 2012. Write back and share.

Joy @ Kazzalblue Baby & Childrens Boutique

29 January 2012

Facebook E-commerce Solutions (Shops) for your Page

In June last year I shared my thoughts on a  Facebook E-Commerce solution for your Facebook Page.  A nifty little application called Shop Now by Payvment, which enables even the smallest business to add an application to their Facebook page which is basically an on-line shop (a way of direct selling on Facebook).  The basics of it - and I think all most would need - are free but there are extra features you can add at a cost if you want.

Things have changed quite a bit to the 'dashboard' area of Payvment since then so I would recommend going to their site and having a look, but it's essence and features remain largely the same - it's user friendly, simple and pretty darn good.

Today, I wanted to share with you another Facebook E-Commerce solution which features in the top 5 recommended e-commerce apps of most articles you can Google along with Payvment.... VendorShop Social.  

The main difference between VendorShop Social and Payvment, aside from looks, is the ability to reward your fans with a discount for liking your page or 'sharing' your products, depending on your preference it also looks 'prettier' with the shop banner and description features.  Again, the free plan seems perfectly adequate, but you can purchase other plans which add options such as coupons.    

In the interests of having some experience of what I'm talking about(!), I did a quick shop setup for my FB page and it really was easy peasy ...the only thing I did struggle with was the currency feature - although I selected New Zealand $, it's showing USD... I'm sure the fix is easy I just haven't looked for the solution yet!

It should also be said that both the Payvment and VendorShop applications allow you to turn on/off your shop so that they can be used all the time or just for sales every now and then.

Here are a few screen shots of VendorShop ...

the basics to setting up your shop

you can upload products in bulk via a csv file or individually

Nifty to have a shop banner :).  And note the Verisign and McAfee Security

Category Setup is flexible

You can price for regular, 'likers', and sale options

Product view

My Payvment Shopfront
My VendorShop Shopfront

So if you're looking for an alternative and more polished/professional option to the sale photo album style of selling often seen on FB pages (which according to those in the 'social media' know, can give your page and business a 'garage or yard sale' vibe if done regularly), then Payvment or VendorShop could very well be for you :).

Want to see a working example of a Facebook e-commerce shop?  Here's a great example of a Payvment shop run by New Zealand Handmade member - Leanne, of Feel At Home.  Leanne's shop is open right now and she also runs specific promotions really making the application work for her!

26 January 2012

A Conversation with Lizzie/Ella of ellaQuaint

Who is ellaQuaint?

Lizzie / Ella Thomas

What’s your “handmade groove ?”

Paintings, Illustrations, Collages, Papery-things

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

Alarm clock (:P), coffee cup rings, filigree lamp, a Michael Harrison print, a pile of books I have started (but not finished) an embroidered vintage handbag ( my Grannie's), a little kete made by a friend, a bowed clutch purse I got in Vietnam

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?

I love looking through contemporary art and illustration books and magazines, craft magazines and blogs. Nature and animal based articles, etc; Pictures, pictures and pictures! I would list favourite artists and designers but I have far too many.

Music is such a biggie when it comes to getting into the old creative zone;lately I have been thrashing Feist, Florence and Lykkie Li. There seems to be a pattern there, girlie music you can howl along to.

Getting out amongst nature is also a goodie for getting inspired, even when the weather is feral it is such a great way to blast the cobwebs out of the old grey matter. I am lucky to live in Mt Eden so that is always a convenient urban nature fix.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

Art, design, nature,the state of the world, travel, activism, swapping embarrassing stories or just talking utter rubbish as you do after a glass of wine or so.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?

Semi permanent; it's an interesting design symposium/workshop that I have yet to attend.

I would also love to do a course on ceramics or one on how to do encaustic painting. A business management course is probably what I should look into but I doubt it would be visually interesting.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

Ummm that is a work in progress . . . I am a lot better than I used to be. This year still involved a lot of juggling; night class,relief work and part-time teaching, as well as ellaQuaintness.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?

I have a lot of favourite 'accidents'. One is a crazy eyed toutouwai painting that I started years ago and decided that I liked him so much in his under painted state that I didn't want to finish him.

Kitchen table or studio?

I resort to my table when my studio / bat cave gets too messy (I also store bikes and other toys in there). At the moment there is enough order for me to be able to work again in my creative space and I love it.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?

To have an even more productive year than this last year while maintaining that work / life balance.

To be less squirrely.


To take more creative risks.

For Denniston plateau to be left untouched and for the government to respect the fact that we don't want deep sea oil drilling in our precious waters and . . . I had best not get started.

You can find ellaQuaint products ... here and here
And follow on Facebook .. here

24 January 2012


Handwork brings Happiness 
Creative impulses that bring thoughts into form 
The Modern Movement, and its demand for functionalism
Led to the disappearance of decoration
Thank goodness for a resurgence in Handmade
This spirit of Authenticity that we all have in our Handcrafted items
Means our own homes and the people who buy our items
Feel the Happiness that we create

Cheers  Marie

22 January 2012

Creating Handmade with a Theme..

In March, Hastings will again be host to the “Horse of the Year” event,one of the largest and most prestigious annual equestrian events in the Southern Hemisphere.  Popular with the competitors on horse but also with observers watching from the grandstand and around the arenas, it will draw a large enthusiastic crowd to Hawke’s Bay.

With my jewellery I will be part of the event as trades person, sharing a stall with other jewellers who offer “horsey” pendants, rings, earrings etc.

During the last weeks I have been reading about white horses- which are rarer than other colours of horses: they have a special significance in the mythologies of cultures around the world, transcending the normal world and triumphing over negative forces.

Over time the symbolism of the white horse has varied: wisdom, fertility and spiritual energy are mentioned; riders have been messengers, saints (like St George, the patron saint of horsemen), heros.

Norse myths describe eight-legged horses, the Greek winged horse “Pegasus” is one of the best known fantastical as well as mythological creatures.

And then there are the white horses on the hills in England!

I was very impressed by my reading material, memories of the time as horsemother came up and ideas were taking shape.

My first item for March is a winged horse, Pegasus. I made it from “Art Clay Silver”, my favourite medium; again and again I am amazed how the dried silver clay can be carved and drilled and sanded. It is such a joy to work with it! The photos show the work on it in the dry stage and the finished jewellery piece.

by Ingrid of Silverworks

19 January 2012

A Conversation with Raewynn of Little Stitches

Raewynn of Little Stitches makes the sweetest felted hair accessories, dolls and faeries with beautiful colourways and attention to detail, here she shares more of her creative world....

Who is Little Stitches?

Raewynn White

What’s your “handmade groove ?”

I first fell in love with hand sewing when I joined a doll making group for my son’s school. We made dolls for their school fair and I also learnt a lot from the craft group that ran at the same time. I met some amazing and very talented women who taught me so much and of course loved the chats we used to have on all sorts of topics. I love working with felt and feel passionate about using natural materials and those that have been recycled.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

Two craft mags, a book I read recently and cannot part with called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society (highly recommend this read), a brooch and a fine collection of dust!

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?

When I started making dolls Kathe Kruse was my guru. I really like Amanda Blake Soule, her books and blog about bringing creativity and rhythm into family life. At the moment Christmas with the Brat Pack is a constant on our stereo but I love all the old and modern crooners! I love old movies with Audrey Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart etc. One of my favourite artists would be Modigliani and poetry by Kalil Gabhran always touches my heart.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

Travel adventures, lifestyle, ideas and aspirations, food, gardening, good books/mags and craft!

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?

I haven’t sourced actual workshops but this year I am interested in learning more about hand dying fabric using natural dyes, embroidery and although this is not crafty I want to learn how to make really good ciabatta and French style breads (I have been bread making for a long time but just can’t achieve that crusty exterior)!!!

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

Like a juggling act!! I always seem to have so much on the go. My children are 4 and 6 so my day is split between kindy and school. I have all my sewing projects stashed behind the couch which come out when I can but most times leading up to a market I will be found burning the midnight hours !

What is your favourite creative screw-up?

I recently made some owl key rings and wanted to appliqué some nice fabrics onto their bodies. I was told about this amazing stuff called vlesofix so I raced off and purchased some. The lovely lady in the shop had never used it and all the instructions were written in a foreign language so between us both we worked out how to do it and off I went. I ironed it on to the fabrics and traced my shapes and yes it was great as no more frayed edges! I then sewed the appliqué piece on and thought I was just the craft goddess of the day! But I noticed it was really crinkly and made a crunchy sound. I started to wonder whether I should not have left the paper backing on or if it broke down on washing. So my wee owl was washed very carefully not to damage my wool but no, he still crinkled and crunched. So eventually I went back to my cut outs and sure enough the backing peeled off and they sewed beautifully. My crunchy owl is now on my key ring and I actually adore him as the sound he makes always makes me laugh about this “screw-up”.

Kitchen table or studio?

Studio wins by a mile!

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?

An overlocker and a space dedicated to sewing which I don’t have to pack up.

You can find Little Stitches products ... here

15 January 2012

Making the most of Facebook and Online Sales

I am still quite new to having an online presence, but I have noticed more and more people are making the most of there Facebook pages. It seems to be a good opportunity to increase your "fans" as well as get your name and product out there.

On Friday I was excited to see that I had gained 9 new fans in a few hours so thought it was a great opportunity to do my 1st ever online sale to say thank you for the support and offer my fans at least 20% off selected items. I did a post that night letting people know that something exciting was in store, and dropped a few hints.

Saturday I started choosing things for my sale, this was probably the hardest as I wanted to offer a wide selection of things including some of my good sellers and also some end of lines. All the photos were taken with the help of hubby, all ready for Sunday morning!!!!!
After about an hour of uploading I was finally able to publish the album, I wrote a little spiel asking people to have a look thru the album and comment "SOLD" on what they wanted. I also offered free standard shipping with NZ Post or gave my customers the option of overnight courier for a small added cost. Within minutes I had already sold a couple of items, so a great start!!!!

To start with I sent people a private message asking for there postal address and also with my bank account details. I was told that you can add a "contact tab" to your page, all you need to do is search "contact tab" and follow the instructions. Very easy to do!!!

Today was a great success, I have made some good sales and also increased my fan base. Definately something I will do again, in fact I am planning something exciting for when I get to 100 fans!!!!!!!!

12 January 2012

A Conversation with Rachel of Kidlidz

You gotta love a combo of cute, quirky and functional - and Rachel of Kidlidz does all three brilliantly taking crochet and utilising cool colours and funky patterns to create owls, sharks and other fun hats and accessories for your little sweetie.  Rachel gives us a glimpse into her creative life...

Who is Rachel of Kidlidz?

Hhhmmm, I guess the most important part of me is the stay at home mum part, my life is dedicated to feeding, cleaning and loving my gorgeous 14 month old son. I am also a mad crocheter and founder of my business Kid Lidz, casual crafter, and loving wife to my hubby Ben. I'm crazy, happy and loyal in equal parts.

What’s your “handmade groove ?”

Crochet, I never get tired of it, and fit it in wherever, whenever I can (very handy that it only requires a hook and ball of yarn) Mostly crochet on the couch listening to music or watching TV.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

a lamp, cream for my poor dermatitisy hands and some tissues...usually would include the current book that I am reading, but my hubby has just cleaned up so its somewhere else (who knows where?)

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?

My Mum and Sister...they are so creative!!! I just steal my ideas off them :) Other than them I just draw from my surroundings, so at the moment mostly baby things, but also love kiwiana...and nature. And I spent an insane amount of time on pinterest.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

Don't even get me started...I could talk all night about a lot of things, I have a very inquisitve mind...but my other passion (other than crochet and babies) is health sciences - Could definitely talk all night about medical issues of anyone :)

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?

Oooh, I'd love to know a bit more about photography (I'm a point and shoot kinda girl), something about quilting (had one foray into quilting and would love to know/do more) and probably something about crochet

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

I don't...my life is unbalanced at the moment, baby and business tie for first, housework and other things are well down the list (thankgoodness for my incredibly supportive husband) but hoping that this will even out as I get the business off the ground (only very new at this stage)

What is your favourite creative screw-up?

Too many to even name...but knitting comes to mind, I can't knit, not even a little bit.

Kitchen table or studio?

Kitchen table with dreams of a custom designed studio...one day it will happen

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?

Another baby (sucker for punishment much?), that my business takes off and supports me so that I can be a stay at home mum forever, and that all my family remains in good health.

You can follow Kid Lidz on Facebook ... here

08 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope you all have had lovely, crafty holidays.

I thought I'd just quickly share my ornament swap ornaments.

This is the one I knit for Tessa.

And this is the one I received from her.

Thanks to all who participated!