31 Aug 2010

Album Release for The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra

At last The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra album was released nationwide this weekend just gone. It was so exciting to eventually see the work all properly printed out, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The feedback has been excellent so far both for the design and the album itself. The guys got a 4/5 star rating from Hotpress Magazine, and in my own personal opinion it sounds fantastic, I'm really proud to have my name attached to something that sounds great.
The merchansing machine has been working full throttle as I was making badges, magnets, and bottle openers for them, and we also ordered some lovely postcards from Moo. Also my friend Vinnie is currently making some super snazzy t-shirts with my designs on them, can't wait to see how they turn out. Their newly redesigned website went live the other day, Mark Wrafter did a fantastic job transforming my images into a website format.
The BPLO will be playing Electric Picnic this week in the spoken word stage (not sure what day) do keep an eye out if you are lucky enough to be heading to the festival. Personally I'm really looking forward to their Limerick album launch gig, the whispers I'm hearing is that there is lots of extra effort being put into this gig with top secret set embellishments! That will be on in Dolans on Sept 10th.
Here's the best bit, I'm having a giveaway to one lucky reader! I will be giving away an album, badges, bottle opener, and a set of postcards, and all you have to do is leave a comment here! I'll be running this competition between by blog and my facebook page. Closing date is the 7th of Sept!

30 Aug 2010

Shrinky Dinks...how have I lived without them before??

It was about 2 months ago that I first spotted 'Shrinky Dinks' in some craft tutorial online. I was totally fascinated by them, and the more research I did they seemed too good to be true. Basically they are a plastic that you draw on, stick them in the oven for a couple of minutes and they get 7 times smaller and 7 times thicker!! They go from a thickness like ascetate to a sturdy clear plastic. There are endless possibilities, from earrings, card embellishments, ornaments etc etc. Apparently they are huge in the US and all American kids play with them, but I had never heard of them before or seen them in any craft shop here.
I tried to order some directly from the website but they were going to charge me $40 shipping on a really small item. Instead I had a look on ebay and found 'Shrinkles', a 'shrinky dink' substitute, the same product but with far more affordable shipping.
I got the transparent and opaque versions, both in packs of 50 for a total of about 20 euro. To get a decent sized image I used an entire sheet per piece. For the transparent shrinkles I had to use 'Sharpie' markets, I was able to get a set of these in my local craft shop Silkes for 10 euro. But for the opaque ones regular colouring pencils are fine.
I was delighted with how they turned out, shrinking an image always makes it look way better as the detail is condensed. I included a euro coin in the photos so you can get an idea of the change in scale. I'll be using these for making greetings cards, but I think I'll be making myself some new earrings too! Also since they are transparent they would be very easy to trace images if you are not that confident at drawing. I felt like a little kid when I was making them, I brought all my pencils and markers down to the market, it certainly kept me happy and occupied for the day.

25 Aug 2010

Monthly Artisan Craft Fair: August

Tomorrow I'll be selling at the monthly Artisan Crafts Fair being held 11-7pm at the Milk Market in Limerick city. I did the first one last month and had an amazing time selling there, as there was a fantastic atmosphere with oodles of beautiful crafts to see. The venue will be be totally full which is fantastic, and there will be live music, face painting , and live salsa dancing. There is a huge selection of traders to choose from like knitwear, felting, patchwork, glass work, ceramics, painting, illustration, photography, silver smith, wood work, and lots more.
Last month I took some photos that I totally forgot to post of some of the traders there.

Noreen Foley from HanoraK Designs makes beautiful knitwear scarves hats and cardigans. I own a few of her pieces and I always get compliments when I wear them. Noreen is a good friend of mine as we sell beside eat other at the market every week. You can also see Brandon here on the left, he makes beautiful copper and silver jewellery made from old Irish coins.
Bonzie and Ger from the amazing etsy shop Bonzie, and fellow Etsy Ireland Team members. They make amazing steampunk accessories and beautiful baleros perfect for wearing to a wedding.
This is the lovely Kate Ramsey from Feltfieltrofilc, fellow Etsy Ireland Team member, she makes beautiful felted scarves, cardigans and brooches. On the day she was doing felting demonstrations too.
Fergus Grant makes stunning silver jewellery, and on the day he even brought his very impressive work bench and was making pieces during the show.
Just a small selection of lots of the lovely pieces that were on show from Limerick Ceramics
Local photographer Neville Gawley was selling his stunning framed prints of Limerick scenes and eye catching landscapes.
Sadie Cramer from Smartstudios has some really endearing illustrations, they were so lovely. I already have my eye on a couple of them as Christmas presents.
This is Mary O Dea who makes great screen printed t-shirts, local limerick scenes abstracted into trendy designs. She also offers a great service that she will print t-shirts of your kids drawings, which would be really fun for parties and functions.

Zombies, Vampires and Witches, Oh My!

I got my Halloween badges made and I totally love them, it's made me really excited about Halloween like a little kid. I listed the party pack of 20 in my shop for $30, and I'll be listing them individually later in the week when I get a chance to take more photos. When the courier arrives on Thursday with more badge parts I'll make up some beer bottle opener versions...I think the Zombie secretary would be fun for that one!

22 Aug 2010

Getting Ready For Halloween

I've been working on some Halloween designs for badges/magnets/bottle openers. I figure I'll make the badges into party packs so people can give them out as treats at their door instead of sweets. Also if you were having an adults Halloween party a pack of the beer bottle openers would be fun things to give out to your guests. I simply did some pencil sketches, scanned them in, cleaned them up a bit and coloured them on photoshop. I find it much easier to work from a pencil drawing, as starting a piece on the graphic pad never has the same sense of strenght in the drawing.
I'm a huge fan of Halloween and I love making my costume every year, it's not such a big thing here in Ireland but it's massive in the US so hopefully these pack do well online. Here is a sneaky peek at my designs so far...I'm open to suggestions for more ghoulish images...

21 Aug 2010

Get Well Soon, I Hope

I'm missing the market this week as I am sick, again I know!! So in honour of my current enfeebled disposition I'm putting together some Etsy picks to do with sickness to distract me.

20 Aug 2010

Handmade Cards

Lately my cards have been selling well at the milk market which is great as I love making them. They can be quite time consuming but I love coming up with new combination with lovely paper. If you are a regular reader you'll know that I've picked up some great paper in cork and and the art and hobby shop recently. Even though I've a list as long as my arm of things I should be making I took a bit of time out to make some new cards. I'm really liking these antique looking papers I got recently, and I had lots of fun matching them with some vintage buttons. I also tried out a few mens cards which are notoriously difficult to make, but I'm happy with my results.

I've decided not to list cards in my etsy shop anymore as it's too time consuming and I never sell them online. What mostly happens is that they sell much quicker down at the market, so it's not worth all the extra work listing them. I sell them at 4 euro each or 3 for 10 euro, if you are in the area pop down to see the new collection.

Ps: sorry for the poor photography my kitchen table is a disaster at the moment, it was a case of quick click and post today.

19 Aug 2010

A New Addition to the Family

There is a new addition to the family, my sister had a beautiful baby boy just a few weeks ago and called him Luke. Through the wonders of schedualled posting on blogger I'm actually in my sisters at the moment that you are reading this.

18 Aug 2010

The Great Pitt Unveiling

At long last I can reveal the artwork that I did for the album cover of The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, as it's being released this month. It feels like it's been ages since I was actually working on these images, and it's so exciting to know that the finished item is coming out really soon. I haven't actually held the cd in my hands yet but I've been told it looks super snazzy.It's a 12 page fully illustrated booklet ( don't think I can reveal those pieces until it's in the shops) based around the black white and red monochrome I've been using for their artwork for the past few years.
They are an 8 piece band that sound like a mix between Belle and Sebastian, Phantom of the Opera and a bit on Tom Waits. So I wanted to play on these theatrical and whimsical attributes in the design, while also keeping with their classy image (all the band members wear 3 piece suits on stage, accented by a flapper style leading lady).I've also been involved with all the merchandise aswell, I've made up custom made badges, bottle openers, and magnets, along with their posters and t-shirt design. They also decided to showcase the artwork by getting some moo postcard printed of the images from the album. All of these lovely bits and bobs will be available through their website and at their nationwide tour of gigs. I will also be having a giveaway of their album on this blog very shortly, so stay tuned for details.

17 Aug 2010

Great News for Nice day Designs

I got some amazing news on Friday, it was confirmed that I have a permanent spot at the Saturday Milk Market! This is really amazing as it's almost impossible to get a stall on this day, as the waiting list is years long and nobody ever leaves once they get in. There was a brief time earlier this year when I thought I had it already but that was due to a miscommunication, and I was gutted to find out that I didn't have it. But this news comes from the top man at the market, I'm definitely in, under the condition that I continue to trade on the Friday and Sunday every week. I can totally understand this stipulation as they are trying to get more traders on these quieter days, and they don't want me jumping ship before things have really gotten started yet.
So far I've done 3 Saturdays and they've been really excellent, there is an amazing amount of people passing through on Saturday morning, with some dedicated shoppers even arriving at 7am to get their veg and fresh fish before the mad crowds. At the moment I'm in a corner out of the way(if you click the link I'm slot 55), but beggars can't be choosers and I'm just glad to be in there. It will take a while for people to realise I'm there and to build up a regular customer base. I'm going to have to start making my Christmas stock very soon or I will never be able to keep up.
Three days a week, and a fourth day on the last Thursday of every month for the craft fair is a lot to commit to. Especially since I'm making all the pieces I'm selling, at the moment it's a very difficult balance that I haven't quite figured out yet. Hence the fact that my supplies shop is still on vacation, something had to give and sadly I had to decide to just take a couple of weeks off from Etsy so I can get my timetable properly sorted.

16 Aug 2010

Printed Bags

Our house has turned into a print sweat shop this week as we were printing up paper bags for Roisins Boutique in Inistioge. I got the custom made stamp from jlmould on Etsy for only $40, which is a total bargain considering how much money it has saved for making bags. I had initially researched getting bags printed and the cost was astronomical, so this seemed like a really good alternative. But be warned it's pretty labour intensive if you decide to do it yourself. On Friday night when I was printing them by myself it took about an hour and a half to do 50. I then remembered what we used to do it college, to get a second person to remove the printed bag, place it somewhere safe to dry and replace with a fresh bag. This meant I was free to re-ink the roller and stamp. John thought this was a stupid idea when we started but it really saved time as we got 150 in just over an hour.Go Team!
We have another 200 left to do but we'll get it done in no time if we do it together. I'll also be printing my own bags later in the week, I think they'll look really cute at the market.

Ps: as you can see my computer is fixed, but UPC is still acting up so I may be sporadic in my post for the next while.

10 Aug 2010

Sick Computer

Just in case you all thought that nasty flu had actually killed me I thought I would pop into my blog and fill you all in. Yes I did feel like I was dying, but I'm mostly over it now, just lots of coughing and sniffles, but at least no achy pains anymore.

But sadly my computer is dead at the moment, while being bold and downloading some illegal software I got a really nasty malware virus, which has spent a couple of weeks nibbling away at my lovely pc. At the moment it chugging and spluttering so it needs to take a visit to the doctor, that means no internet for me for a few days. I'll be closing both of my Etsy shops, and leaving my blog to gather a light covering of dust. It's strange how quickly I've gotten used to having really fast internet at home, maybe the break away from it will do me good. It will give me more time to catch up on my attempts at cleaning the studio. I also need to get some new stock made as these 3 days a week at the market are really eating away at my stockpile of goodies for the stall.

6 Aug 2010

New Fabric to Brighten my Gloomy Day

I woke up this morning feeling really rotten, my mini cold had transformed into an energy sapping beast. But sometimes you have to just suck it up and keep working, that's the joy of being self employed nobody is going to pay me sick pay. So I shuffled down to the market looking like a member on the undead.
Something that did brighten up my morning was this delivery from Seam Star, I got this beautiful fabric and lots of lovely polka dot ribbon. I stumbled upon them the other day through a facebook link. I totally fell in love with their fabrics and I couldn't leave the site without buying something.
I'm going to retire now to the sofa and nurse my aching bones and sporadic sniffles.

5 Aug 2010

Button Press Machine Has Arrived

At long last my fantastic button press machine has arrived! I'm so excited I've been saving for this for months at arrived yesterday morning. This now means I can produce my own large badges, pocket mirrors, magnets and beer bottle openers instead of ordering them from the US as I've been doing for the past 2 years.
It was funny timing for the arrival of the machine, the courier landed on my door just before my Dad, sister and her 2 daughters. I was torn between ripping it open, and doing some last minute house sprucing/cleaning. It turns out my nieces were delighted with the contraption and were fascinated by the idea that we could make a badge together. My father was even more intrigued, and I think he was rather sad when we had to leave and he couldn't play with it anymore!!
I already have my first order to do this weekend for The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, as they have ordered badges to sell during their upcoming nationwide tour. This evening I listed in my etsy shop listings for 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 custom made badges. Fingers crossed the orders start rolling in soon!!

3 Aug 2010

Best 50 Quid I've Spent in Ages

There are always a million things to remember to bring when I'm doing markets but one of the most important is business cards. It's a a way of opening a dialogue with people and it's a window to future business with browsers. Lots of people come to markets with just a few quid in their pocket to buys some cake and nice cheese. These days people are taking a longer time to think about making a larger purchase, and at the moment that's anything over a tenner.
I recently switched from business cards to flyers as they can hold much more information. I can also fit on images of my work, the range of items that I sell, and all of my website addresses. One might be tempted to think that they are much more expensive than cards but I got an amazing deal last week. I got 500 flyers for only 50 euro, which is fantastic value. I got them locally in Limerick at Justin Herberts. They have a really friendly service and they are quick and helpful. I usually email on my digital file and collect my flyers a couple of hours later. I changed my design after getting them reprinted for this weeks markets and I also included the times of the market, which is an invaluable detail considering it's new opening times.
I got 500 printed thinking it would last me a month or so, but it was so busy over the weekend I'd say I've given out 250 of them already!! I include them in the bag with each of my sales, and I also hand them to interested browsers. It's such a simple and easy marketing tool, and I'm so glad I went to the extra effort.

2 Aug 2010

Milk Market Round Up

I have returned after my four days running at the Milk Market. I have lots of pictures to show you of the Thursday Artisan Fair, but I haven't had a chance to edit them yet, I'll have more on that later in the week. I was trading on Friday, which to be honest was a very quiet long day with lots of traders packing up early due to their being no customers whatsoever. I think this was mostly due to the it being the August bank holiday weekend,the most popular day of the year when people take off on a Friday and head towards the coast for sunshine and ice-cream. But even though it was an entirely uneventful day I got some amazing news, the asked me to fill in a vacant space at the Saturday Milk Market.
To those of you who have never been at the Saturday Market let me tell you it's a whole different beast. It is packed full with traders selling the best fresh produce in the country, and they have a religious following as every week the footfall is in the thousands. You can buy fresh fish, organic meat, olives, locally made cheese, organic veg, homemade jams and cakes, and delicious ready to eat food. There is a small amount of craft to, and luckily I was one of those stall this week. It was such a treat to trade there, and I could barely sleep the night before with the excitement, I very uncharacteristically bounded out of the bed at six in the morning. It was wonderful to have a stream of people browsing and chatting,and also lots of customers. Days like that fly by, so when 3pm rolled around I was tired but really happy with how the day had gone. The space will be vacant again next week so I've been asked to fill in again, so if you are about the city do pop down. I'll enjoy it while it lasts and try to make the most of it to promote that I'm there on Friday and Sunday. It's incredibly difficult to get a spot at this market, so I'm thrilled to be given the opportunity to sell there even for a couple of days.
My week was rounded off on Sunday, with a quieter day, but lovely nonetheless. As the weeks go by I'm starting to feel like the Milk Market is a home away from home, but how bad is that when there is such yummy food to be had, and great people to chat to all day.
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