Thursday, 13 March 2014


Last time I wrote we (being me & Dom) were about to head off towards Bude for the weekend. A bit of a pick & mix weekend of businessy bits, family visits, mini holiday and celebrations with friends. Today I'd like to just talk about that trip - quite off topic, but hey, maybe you'd really like to know about Bude?

On the business side of things, I had a brief meeting with a potential retailer, and then went on to restock my selection of gloveweight leathers. There are now some lovely blues and blue-greens, and several reds waiting to be turned into pouches or notebooks or who knows what.

The mini holiday bit was quite delightful. We'd gone to Bude to celebrate a birthday and a wedding, but were there for a little while to either side of the party so had a chance to walk around in the sunshine and just... relax. Admittedly, there doesn't seem to be much to do in Bude other than just relax, so it wasn't too difficult to do.

We watched a flock (or possibly a raft) of new surfers splashing about just off the beach, as well as some of their more experienced counterparts a little further out.

I found it interesting to see that a lot of the people in what appeared to be the beginner group had quite bright colours on their suits, whereas the ones further out generally seemed to be wearing just black. Not sure if this is just down to newbie enthusiasm, or if beginners get given bright colours to make them easier to find if they get washed out to sea...

We'd found a relatively sheltered picnic bench halfway up a hill from which to watch, and I had fun just being a happy snapper with the camera for a while. Managed to catch a couple of people who actually made it upright, although looking through all the pictures once I got home it also seems I gradually accumulated fluff on the camera lens! I have a series of shots with increasing numbers of fuzzy grey smudges all over the place, but never mind.

Finding dinner was interesting when we arrived on Friday night - it seems Bude does not have much of a restaurant selection, which was unfortunate since we were in the mood for restaurant food as opposed to pub grub. We found one Indian restaurant (fancy a curry? No, not really...), one chinese restaurant (hmm, maybe... ), and then eventually ran across Olive Tree (not to be confused with The Olive Tree, which is apparently completely different).

We went in, sat down, umm-ed and ahh-ed over the menu for a bit, and then upon being told the daily special was a seafood risotto with pan fried pollock both promptly ordered that (Hurrah - we wanted fish!). The starters were lovely - I had wild mushrooms on toast, with a poached egg, and it was a proper runny-in-the-middle poached egg too - and the risotto was delicious. My only possible complaint was that I almost couldn't finish it, because the portion size was quite generous! Not that I would ever claim to be a reliable food critic or anything. I liked it, Dom liked his, we'd definitely eat there again.

Ok, so that's probably enough about Bude. What about the rest of this week? Well, I got back feeling very much refreshed and ready to get going on a bunch of new ideas. So far I've written a lot of things down, started on a felt project, continued the scroll prototype, been sidetracked by some long-ignored tidying, and then been wiped out for an entire day by a headache that felt like someone had inserted a bar of hot lead behind both eyeballs. It was the kind of headache that goes BOOM every time you move, and leaves you feeling kind of sick as well. Not a happy Wednesday for me. There's a bit of it still lurking, but I do seem to be over the utterly horrible part and hopefully this last lingering ache will be gone tomorrow.

So! I have vague plans for the next week, which involve updating the gallery with some more things, and probably also adding another listing or two to the shop. I'm still keeping my plans vague though, as I seem to get much more done that way than if I tell myself I absolutely have to do things in a particular order.

Tara for now, and may the sunshine we're currently experiencing not go away too soon!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Etsy School Summary

It's Thursday! Which now appears to be Blog Day in my internal calendar, something I shall try to stick to from now on.

Last time I said I would write up a summary of my February Etsy School experiences once I'd worked out what to write. I'm still not entirely sure what I want to write, but since the final week has been about marketing - and one element of that is making sure to blog regularly - it would be remiss of me not to give this a go.

So. As I said before, I kind of fell off the Etsy School wagon (or should that be the school bus?) somewhere between weeks 2 & 3 due to various reasons. In line with that, I have to admit I don't think I've managed more than running along behind said wagon (...bus) vaguely trying to pay attention for the last week. Mind you, the last week has been about marketing, and from reading through the guide I feel like the school project was aimed further down the Twisty Turny Path of Mystery that is marketing than I currently feel comfortable going. Some might well argue that I should plunge forward regardless - but I've never been very good at that, so I shall keep going at my own pace for now!

One thing I do appear to have achieved, despite not initially thinking of it as part of the marketing week's work, is to keep this blog updated once a week through the month. I still don't know if I'm writing well, or if anyone ever reads more than the first paragraph for that matter, but I have at least kept writing. I was worried I wouldn't be able to think of enough to write (believe it or not) however if anything I've actually caught myself wondering about doing an extra post once or twice. I'm going to take this as a good sign, and try to keep posting at least once a week for now - probably on Thursdays!

I'd really like to put a picture here, because I worry that my blogs are very heavy on text. Except I don't really have any relevant pictures for what I'm talking about, and saying 'here's a picture of a random thing!' feels a bit...artificial? Oh! I know, here's something I started on this week, a leather scroll case prototype:

Complete with assorted stamping tools, a piece that will cover the seam down the length of the case, two possible end pieces, and my trusty rolling pin covered in cling film which is doing duty as a mould.

This project is coming along, albeit somewhat slowly. I decided to experiment with the dyeing stage, which has led to me repeatedly adding dye and then leaving it to dry. I think I've reached a finish I'm happy with now though, so I'll move on to assembling bits soon.

Right, slightly random interval tangent dealt with, now for an overall summary of my Etsy School experience!

Despite not really managing to keep up with the weekly projects I'm actually fairly happy with how the last month has gone. Yes, I would have liked to stay on top of absolutely everything, but given the somewhat fragile state I was in at the start of the year I'm not really surprised that I didn't. Juggling communication with various people, the need to blog, update the Etsy store, photograph stock despite the British Weather's best efforts, make more stock for what was my first fair whilst also trying to design some new leather work things for both fairs and future Larp events... well that does still feel like a lot to me.

I'm hoping that this time next year I shall be looking back and wondering how I filled the days, because I'll have gotten that much stronger in my own mind and thus be getting soooo much more done. For now though, I'm pretty pleased to have gone through the critiquing stage, come up with a new photography layout (and photos are gradually being taken), edited the titles, tags and descriptions for most of the items currently in the store, and kept up the blog throughout.

Also, I'm still feeling pretty calm, in control and reasonably positive. I'm calling that progress, and shall end on that note I believe!