Monday, 16 November 2015

The Run Up to Christmas and Looking to the Future

Druzy bangle

Good morning on this cold November morning!
I have just realised that I haven't blogged since July...July??!!! What have I been doing?

We recently took a short break to Cornwall to have a bit of fresh air and time to think about our little business. We hired a gorgeous little cottage in Porthallow (which we have totally fallen in love with) and they even let us take our cats! Here is the view we woke up to every day :

We have been very busy this year working on new ranges and learning new skills. Craft fairs took a bit of a back burner as we decided to expand our ranges and improve our jewellery making skills and been really honest with ourselves about what was and was not working in our business. I'm pleased to say that we have had our best year ever over in our Etsy shop and it has been keeping us very busy indeed. Unfortunately I, (Poppy) had 4 months off work earlier this year due to a particularly nasty flare of lupus. What energy I had went into improving our online presence and working on our Etsy shop. I spent hours and hours researching SEO for Etsy and taking and re taking photos until I was happy with them, improving tags and titles and it really seems to have paid off.  I returned to my day job part time back in August (James also works full time) but I am still struggling with energy levels, frequent flares and the dreaded brain fog that comes with auto immune disease. The plan for now is that James stays working full time and me (Poppy) works part time until the end of May when my current contract ends, then have a go at doing Poppy Designs full time (with locum work to support me).  Whilst we were away (I do all my best thinking and creating by the sea) we did a lot of thinking about where to go next and what to do and that's the plan! Cannot wait. Ultimately we would both love to do the business full time an be able to afford a lovely house by the sea and maybe a little shop......

 Our tortoiseshell tabby cat Maisie certainly took to the seaside view. I think she approves of the idea of living by the sea!

We hate losing momentum in the Etsy shop, so we took a lot of our stock with us so we could still complete orders. I felt very inspired with this view and ended up making lots of new pieces which I am really pleased with.  Here are a few of our new pieces and ranges we have added since I last blogged : 
Real dried, pressed pansy set in resin
I have been playing with resin and pressed flowers. My own dried and pressed flowers didn't quite turn out as I had hoped, so I bought some dried and pressed by a fellow crafter and here is one of them set in resin. I was really pleased with how this one turned out and think the pearlised background gives a really vintage feel to the piece. 
 James, on the other hand, is totally addicted to metal stamping at the moment. He has been very busy practising his skills and creating these fabulous pieces below.  I think my favourite hand stamped pieces are our personalised rings. I have my own 'Poppy' ring which I wear on my wedding finger. We can stamp names, words, paw prints (lol!) on them and I think they look really good. They are made from stainless steel and we are currently selling them for £10 each and have a range of sizes to choose from. Rings handstamped with childrens names and little hearts seem to be very popular at the moment. 

My 'Poppy' handstamped ring. 

hand stamped, personalised rings
He has also done some wonderful bracelets and bangles with inspirational quotes like these below. My favourite one is one that says 'Cats leave paw prints on our hearts' with paw prints on too.  It looks amazing.

Hand stamped bracelets

Anyway, it seems that I haven't blogged for months and have then rambled on for what seems months worth of posts in one! I think I best sign off and get myself a coffee and then pop over to Lucy Blossom Crafts to catch up with Handmade Monday.