Friday, July 30, 2010

Forest Flower is growing...

Been having a bit of a play with the Folksy shop this week. In the light of a couple of recent trade enquiries I realised I needed to adjust my prices a bit to take their necessary discount into account and not loose money on my makes. 

Putting a price on your handcrafted items is always a difficult one - you need to take into account the cost of your materials, your time taken to make the item and lets not forget the fact that generally it is something unique and special and unlike anything you'd find on the high street. Sadly a lot of people (usually non-crafters) are so used to paying peanuts for imported, mass-produced items they lose sight of the fact that each of your handcrafted goods were designed and made with love, care and attention and that this means time and time equals money - as much as I love making my stuff and love seeing people walk away with a bag of goodies and a smile on their faces, I have to put food on the table just like the next person...

A case in point... last weekend we had a little stall at a local free music festival - a family event that combined music, dance, workshops and street entertainment. I was up till 1am the night before making sure all my goods were properly labelled and ready to go. We spent a good hour setting up our stall making the most of our small space, trying to make it look as eye catching as possible...

Unfortunately for us the stall next door was being run by a (lovely) local business woman who was selling very cheap, pretty costume jewellery, imported from China. There was just no way we could compete with her on pricing and as punters were generally working their way down the line from her stall to ours inevitably the mutterings of - 'it's a bit expensive isn't it' were heard. As anyone who crafts to sell will tell you, it hurts that people show so little consideration for your time and effort...
 Now to be fair the whole event was advertised as a 'free' music festival and many visitors weren't there to spend money (although I suspect the pubs did a roaring trade that day...) but despite the beautiful weather and the good turn out we didn't even manage to cover the cost of our stall. Definitely a lesson to choose our events more carefully in future...

But back to my Folksy shop... I have updated the banner with my new flower logo and I think it looks much better - it's bright, fresh and simple. I have also updated my profile with a little help from a great Folksy Blog post that includes tips on what to include and some basic HTML tags.  I have adjusted my postage and packing charges (they are lower!) and also my prices (I hope the small increases don't put anyone off...)

Please take a look here and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sunshine Days Out :)

One of the best things about the summer months are the many wonderful organised outdoor events that offer great opportunities for fab family days out. Running your own business is not like having a 9-5 job and time off is very precious so we have to be quite picky about our family days out!

One event we never miss is the Tewkesbury Medieval Fayre and Battle Re-enactment, a winning combination of fantastic food, an amazing 'medieval' market selling everything from herbs to haberdashery and hippy dresses to full body armour. Plenty of craftsmen are there displaying their skills and most are more than happy to chat with you and answer questions.
The re-enactors take their 'hobby' very seriously and there is a wealth of stalls selling all they require for an authentic medieval experience. It makes for a fascinating insight to medieval way of life, not to mention a unique shopping experience.

A taste of the fayre...

Ye Olde Medieval Paparazzi
Preparing for battle
Lots of great stuff for the kiddies to do.
Not sure how medieval the trampolines are though...
...or the ice cream!

The Tewkesbury Medieval Fayre is just a fabulous family day out and if you live anywhere nearby and haven't been yet I would highly recommend that you make the effort to go along next year. You won't regret it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dilemma sorted...with a little help from my friends.

Thank you to everyone who helped me decide which way to go with the new 'Forest Flower' logo I came up with yesterday. Taking everyones comments into account I tweeked the colour one slightly, just muting it a bit and changed the text to a dark grey and this is what I ended up with...

I hope you all like it at as you helped to create it :)

I will also use the black and white one for packaging etc. I am really pleased with the result but, as one of my friends who deals with logos as part of her job pointed out 'it's a bit spikey' so maybe I will redo it again at a later date and take a bit more care over the 'stitching' (when I have some time :) )

Thanks again for all your helpful comments everyone.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Forest Flower Logo Dilemma...

It's hard work trying to run a home, work for my partners business, set up my own business and design and make all the stock and keep a lively, inquisitive toddler amused so I am constantly trying to find ways of entertaining the little man whilst being productive. Today I introduced him to coloured pencils, having been successfully scribbling with crayons for some time now, and whilst he had a great time taking them out and putting them back in the tin and experimenting with colours, I did this...

Which, thanks to the digital wizardry of scanners and the Picasa photo editing program became this...

and this....

and...urm...this as well....

I love them all - the colours look great on the top one, the simplicity of the black and white version is gorgeous and I love the vintage feel of the sepia coloured one....
So now I have a dilemma - which one should I use as my new logo?

I would very much appreciate some help with this decision so please, lovely people, don't be afraid to leave a comment and let me know what you think...

Friday, July 09, 2010

Folksy Friday - To the Beach!

In honour of our Family Day Out to the seaside I have decided that my very first Folksy Friday should have a seaside theme. A request on Folksy forums flooded me with beautiful seaside and beach themed pretties so I was hard pressed to pick my favourites but here they are. 

First up - I absolutely adore Ocean Ripple Sea Glass Ring by Chicita at Gimme That Thing. I love the idea of salvaging 'sea glass' that has been washed smooth by the sea and sand and made beautiful... on the same theme is the stunning Wire wrapped sea glass necklace from the Beach Shack Project

This cute little Beach Hut Keyring from Buttercup Boutique would make a great decoration for your beach bag and AmyOrangeJuice's cute Stained Glass and Driftwood boat mobile will look gorgeous in a sunny window and remind you of the coast all year round.

I love all the beautiful, hand dyed yarns available at Wharfedale Woolworks. This is a lovely summery cotton DK yarn called On The Beach . I also love this black and white print from The Stone House entitled Boardwalk - it is so evocative and takes me back to family holidays spent building sandcastles and fishing in rock pools...

Talking of rock pools I think the bubble effect on this glass sushi dish called 'Ocean Floor' is very unusual and very pretty. And finally this great 'To the Beach' card  from Original Art by Clare says it all.

Happy Folksy Friday everyone - have fun at the beach :)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Easy Peasy Gourmet Rice!

Don't let anyone tell you they can't cook good, nutritious food for all the family quickly and on a budget!

Here is a recipe that I came across in its original form in Rachel Allen's book 'Bake' and is so simple to prepare and cook there really are no excuses!

You'll need a lidded casserole that you can use on the stove as well as in the oven.

To feed four (or possibly more depending on what you accompany it with) chop one medium onion and fry it in a knob of butter for a couple of minutes. You can add other veg here too - today we had red pepper and a handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn. Add a tsp of dried herbs too and cook for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally. Now add 200grams of basmati rice and give it a good stir - the grains of rice will start to look clear. Pour over 500ml of veg stock ( I use Marigold Vegetable Bouillon) stir it again - you don't want the rice sticking to the bottom! -
bring it up to the boil then pop the lid on and put it in the oven (mine is usually at about 180) for 10 mins. Take it out of the oven, fluff it up with a fork and serve.

That's it. Simples.

The best thing about it is that it is so easy to adapt - add some pilau spices for instead of dried herbs or a couple of chopped spring onions, some baby corn and Chinese 5 spice seasoning for an oriental flavour. One of my favourite combos is onions and peas, a touch of curry seasoning and some cooked, smoked haddock, served with hard boiled eggs for a kedgeree type dish. You can add small pieces of cooked chicken, tuna or some cooked chick peas or kidney beans to make a complete meal in one pot so you save on washing up too!

To make it in larger (or smaller) quantities just remember the ratio of 100g of rice to 250ml of stock.

I would love to hear if any of you try this one and especially if you add your own twist!

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