Friday, 7 March 2014
Monday, 3 March 2014
last week I shared a post about how I stay organised, and on that theme of keeping organised, I wanted to share with you this awesome free 'things to do' printable created by A Pair of Pears. it's perfect for writing your to do list for the week ahead, and I made a DIY version so I can hang it up where it's easy to see! it was really quick and easy, and I had all the supplies on hand. I simply punched two holes in the top of each page, and threaded a piece of ribbon through each hole, tying in a knot. then I inserted a length of wood doweling through the two ribbon loops, and tied the two ends of a length of string to the wood doweling, one at each end. VOILA!
Sunday, 2 March 2014
I've been building up a collection of cacti and succulents ever since last summer, when I posted about making some DIY planters for cacti. I realised the other day I hadn't shared any photos of my little plant family since it's grown. obviously that needed rectifying immediately, especially as I picked up some AMAZING planters over the Christmas period. the dolls head planter was a Christmas gift from my sister - she got it from Bella Does Brighton at the Renengade Craft Fair. the ceramic eye planter, and the two ceramic face planters, were both from an artist at the Southbank Festival Market, but I can't for the life of me find her online :(
I know you're not supposed to plant cacti or succulents in pots without drainage holes - well, actually I didn't know that, but soon realised after two of my cacti died (not just because of the lack of drainage holes, it was also partly to do with my boyfriend getting a bit over-zealous with watering them!) however what I do to get around it is I either plant the cacti in a small plastic pot with holes in first, and then plant it in the ceramic planter. alternatively, I put LOTS of gravel at the bottom of the pot first, which means the plant and soil isn't sitting in water constantly.
I'm no plant expert by any stretch of the imagination (my mum had to help me replanting these as I was clueless!) but basically my top tips for looking after cacti are;
- plant them in cacti soil, not in ordinary soil. you can buy cacti soils from the garden centre, but I made up my own using a mix of coarse sand and compost. make sure you use garden grade sand, not building sand, as building sand has a lot of salt in it usually, which will leach into the soil.
- don't overwater your cacti. if the soil is dry, that does not mean they need watering. I water my cacti about once a month in winter, and about once every 10-14 days in hot weather. and when I water them I only give them a small amount at a time.
- keep them somewhere really sunny. even somewhere that's a little bit shady can have an adverse effect on them. they like as much sun as possible, which is why I keep mine on my windowsill and on a shelf directly next to the window.
does anyone else have a collection of plants going on? what do you plant yours in? do you find them easy to look after? looking at my little plant family here makes me feel very proud - I've never been good at keeping plants alive, but I think I may have finally got the hang of it, and I can't wait to get even more in the future!
Posted by Zoe Jade Bateman at 10:43
Friday, 28 February 2014
one of the hardest parts of being self-employed, and running a small business all on your own, is definitely staying organised. I'm a pretty anal person at the best of times - I make lists for absolutely everything, I love colour coding, I have an unhealthy collection of stationery. so it seems natural that these traits would get incorporated into my business, and I thought I'd share how I keep on top of things and keep myself organised.
I actually have three diaries altogether! I don't carry them all with me all the time - in fact I normally only ever take one out of the house. but I found that I couldn't keep track of all the different things in just one diary. I have;
- an A4 sized week on two pages diary with vertical columns (mine is a black hardcover one from WHSmith)
- an A5 sized day per page diary (mine is a metallic silver leather soft cover one from Paperchase)
- an A5 sized week on two pages diary (mine is a spiral bound hardcover one with a triangle pattern on from Calendar Club)
first up, the A5 sized week on two pages diary. in this I keep general events - I don't write too much detail in here, usually just events, appointments, meetings, that sort of thing, along with any important deadlines. this is the diary I carry round with me most of the time as it's the smallest and lightest, and it has all the important dates and such in it so I can check it on the go!
next up, the A5 sized day per page diary. I write all the important info, such as birthdays, events, markets, and the sort, at the top next to the date, so I can spot it easily. the rest of the page I use to write my to do lists - I write a full to do list for each day either first thing in the morning, or the evening before, but I will also write things in as and when they come up. so if I am doing a market on a Sunday, I will make sure to write in on the Friday before that I need to pack and organise my bags ready for the market. I always write in pencil in here, so if I don't complete a job on the day it was originally written on, I can rub it out and pencil it in on another day.
I've found having a diary like this means I get less stressed - if I have a really busy week with lots to do, I will sit down and write all the things I need to do on a scrap piece of paper, and then transfer this list into my diary, so I can see which jobs need doing more urgently, or need doing on a certain day.
finally, I use the A4 week on two page diary, which has super handy vertical columns for each day, to keep track of blog posts (what I'm blogging and when), social networking posts, events, deadlines, collection launches, that sort of thing. I write individual things on little pieces of paper, and colour code them using patterned washi tape. this means I can move things around easily as the washi tape unsticks easily, which is particularly handy for blog posts - sometimes I need to move blog posts to a different date for whatever reason, so this means I don't end up with lots of scribbled out bits on every day! it's also handy for planning my year ahead - I can provisionally put in launch dates for new ranges throughout the year, and then easily move them nearer the time if needs be.
I do a rough plan for the month ahead at the start of each new month, and then each Monday morning I take an hour or so to plan my week ahead, dividing up jobs according to how urgent they are, as well as working out any things that need doing for any events coming up (so if I'm launching a new collection I know I need to make an email newsletter, take product photos, work out a promotional offer etc.) it probably sounds like a lot of fuss having three diaries, and writing things down three times, but I have been doing it this way for two years and actually find it easier! it's automatic for me now to write things in all three diaries.
how do you guys stay organised? do you have any top tips for being organised and staying on top of things? obviously my way won't work for everyone as everyone is different and works in different ways, but I hope that it maybe helps some people! I also have a second post coming about how I keep track of ideas, what I want to do and when, keeping on top of social networking, so look out for that!
Posted by Zoe Jade Bateman at 16:35
Thursday, 27 February 2014
I bought my first Fujifilm instax mini camera about six years ago, and at the start of this year it sadly died. it was an instax mini 7s, and I loved it very much. so I decided to take the plunge and buy a new one - this time I got the next version up, the instax mini 8. I bought it on eBay with 5 packs of film (50 photos worth) and a close up lens, and was actually really surprised by how reasonable it was! I've not taken very many photos with it yet, but I've had a bit of an experiment, and it's safe to say that it's even better than my old one! there is an even newer one, the istax mini 25, which has a built in close up lens, but it was about £30 more, and I didn't think it was worth that extra money (because I'm a tightwad like that!) I was slightly tempted by it, but only because they do a limited edition Hello Kitty version....
the picture quality is the most noticeable difference - images are sharper and crisper, and as it has more settings for how bright the flash is, you don't end up with lots of really dark, underexposed photos, like I did with the instax mini 7. also, if you're thinking of buying the instax mini 8, make sure you get a close up lens! they are really cheap (about £5) and it means you can take self portraits (it clips on the lens at the front and has a little mirror so you can make sure you're in shot) and you can also take pictures closer than without as it has a bit of a macro effect to it. it uses the same Fujifilm instax mini film as all the other instax mini cameras, which is really good as I had a stash left over from my last camera, which are credit card sized, with a white border and space to write a note on (kind of like polaroids, but rectangular and smaller!)
so happy I bought this - I was in two minds about it for about a month, as I hate replacing things that break (I sort of hope if I wait long enough it will just magically come back to life or something!) but the new instax mini has definitely been worth the money! do any of you guys have an instax? what do you think of it?
Posted by Zoe Jade Bateman at 18:34
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
1. The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business by Kari Chapin. Although these two books aren't directly tied together as a two part series, they follow logically on from one another. Handmade Marketplace covers the basics for starting selling your handmade items online and in shops, with some really interesting Q and A type sessions with people from within an appropriate area of the industry (so when talking about applying for and selling at craft fairs, they interview Alison Gordon who runs Boston Bazaar Bizarre.) This means you get a real insight into what goes on behind the scenes, and get tips and tricks specific to the industry. Grow Your Handmade Business goes on to discuss 'how to envision, develop, and sustain a successful creative business.' So this book is for when you have your business set up, and you're ready to take it further. It's set up in the same way as the first book, but it goes more in depth in areas that only really crop up when your business is more established, such as budgeting, licensing, loans etc. It helps you to start evaluating what aspects of your business need work, what's good and what's bad.
2. Craft Inc. By Mateo Ilasco. This was the first creative business guide I ever bought, and it's still one of my favourites. It helped me so much when I was just starting out, and working out things like wholesale and consignment, and pricing. I'm not sure why this has only got one review on Amazon, and that's a one star review. It's true that it does contain some information that is specific only to America, such as taxes and copyright laws, but the majority of it is general information that would be applicable in any country. I really love this book, as it's broken down into really logical sections - from creating a business plan, to branding, to marketing and publicity strategies. Each chapter contains handy bullet points and often little checklists so you can tick off when you've done something, which I find extremely fulfilling! There is also a real life casestudy for each section, featuring lots of big names such as Lotta Jansdotter, Renegade Craft Fair, and Design Sponge.
3. Handmade to Sell by Kelly Rand. Written by the directors of Hello Craft, a nonprofit association for crafty entrepreneurs, it's clear these guys know what they're talking about, after years of working with small business owners. Set out in much the same way as the other books, with different chapters covering different topics, this book is packed full of some really useful tips on a huge range of areas. Great for anyone just starting a crafty business.
4. The Craft Business Handbook by Alison McNicol. This is probably the most 'basic' of the five books - a lot of the areas seem dumbed down quite a bit, but not necessarily in a bad way, just in a way that's obviously meant to make them easier to understand. It does have some useful checklists at the end of chapters, with a mini sort of 'to do list' to cover before moving on to the next chapter. Alison has also authored a book called Craft Business Heroes which is pretty much just 30 awesome creative business owners sharing the stories and tips and what they've learnt. It's not so much a handbook type book, but it's so interesting to read, and I actually found it more inspiring than a lot of these 'how to' type books - after all, what better way to learn something than from those who've tried before you and succeeded?
5. Etsypreneurship by Jason Malinak. As you can probably guess from the title, this book is aimed at people selling craft items on Etsy. It does include information that is applicable to other online marketplaces, but if you're not selling on Etsy as your primary source of revenue, I'd probably give this one a miss! That being said, if you do sell on Etsy, this book covers a lot of ground, a lot of it ground you didn't even know existed. While some of the information seems a bit out of date (my edition is from 2013 but already stuff has changed on Etsy!) most of it is still relevant. Great guide if you want to know more about selling on Etsy and growing your sales on there - or if you just want to know lots of facts about Etsy!
So there you have it folks! I hope this post has been of some use to someone out there! Also, it's worth noting, there is a TON of amazing free information and business guides out there on the internet too - you don't need to go out and buy a book to get this information, but I'm just a bit of a bookworm (and a total geek) so I like to cosy up in bed and read up about how to make my business better!
Oh, and if anyone else has any business type books to recommend then please do!
Posted by Zoe Jade Bateman at 22:34
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
one of my all time favourite magazines is NYLON mag. I've been reading it for about ten years now (god, I'm so old!) and still love it just as much as when I first started. so when a few weeks ago I received an email inviting me to sell some of my jewellery through the NYLON online shop, I pretty much did a little dance of joy around my bedroom!
yes, Ladybird Likes is super duper excited to announce that we are now one of the newest brands to join the NYLON online shop. there is only a small range of our items available currently, but we hope to add more in the near future. NYLON were also kind enough to feature some of our pieces on their Facebook page....
apologies for so many work related blog posts recently. I promise to try and post a bit more about my life in general really soon!
Posted by Zoe Jade Bateman at 11:19
Monday, 24 February 2014
I am so super excited to announce that Ladybird Likes is going to be selling our wares at the Etsy x West Elm Pop Up Shop! This is the first one of these events in the UK - but they've run several Etsy pop ups in their USA stores which look really awesome! Here is a bit of a run down of the event;
What: a one day pop up shop featuring 13 London based Etsy sellers - buy awesome design led products, selected by Arianna and Carole from Heart Home Magazine, direct from the makers
Where:West Elm Store, 200 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7PN
When: Thursday 6th March, 1pm - 8pm
RSVP: to confirm your attendance please check out the event page over on Facebook (you don't need to RSVP to attend though) https://www.facebook.com/events/646965798703356/
I really, really hope some of you lovely lot can make it - it should be really fun! I will be putting together some little goodie bag type things for my online followers, so if you do come along please introduce yourself (I'm the ginger one with enormous glasses) and I will make sure you get a little goodie bag :)
Posted by Zoe Jade Bateman at 10:44
Friday, 21 February 2014
have you always wanted to learn to make your own jewellery? do you long for a piece of jewellery that is a total one-off? Ladybird Likes has teamed up with SMUG to bring you a wooden jewellery workshop! attendees will be able to choose from our range of wooden laser cut shapes, design a necklace using those shapes, decorate the shapes however you like, and then join them to make a one of a kind piece of jewellery!
below are a few examples of the type of jewellery you can make - but of course your imagination is the only limit. paint the pieces in a block colour or a pattern, use some of our patterned paper, add glitter, embellish with extra bits of chain, join shapes, layer them - it's totally up to you!
okay so here are a few of the nitty gritty details if you'd like to join us!
When: Sunday 9th March, from 2pm - 3:30pm
Where: (upstairs) SMUG store, 13 Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1 8EA
Tickets: £15 each (plus booking fee) http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wooden-jewellery-workshop-tickets-10244348121?aff=eorg (£15 is a special introductory price as this is our first ever workshop!)
UPDATE! due to our first workshop selling out we have been invited to do a second workshop on the same day, at an earlier time. it will run from 12:15pm till 1:45pm and you can buy tickets here:
Posted by Zoe Jade Bateman at 10:00
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
one of my new year resolutions was to learn some new skills - for years now I've wanted to learn to knit, and have tried to teach myself from some You Tube videos a few times, but always felt it was far too complicated and so gave up! when I saw the amazingly talented Siobhan from Bless the Weather was holding another knitting class, I decided to sign up and finally learn!
the class was held in Siobhan's home, and she served up tea and cakes whilst we learnt - pretty much my idea of heaven. if school had had cake and tea I reckon I'd have learnt a lot more! Siobhan is also an excellent teacher - she explained everything really simply, and showed us each step as we went along. I can now say that I can knit, which is super exciting!
I haven't actually finished a piece yet, as I decided to spend a bit of time just practicsing getting my stitches as neat and even as possible. But I have some grey chunky wool which I think I need to turn into a nice long scarf.... Thank you lovely Siobhan for finally turning this cack-handed girl into a knitter!
Posted by Zoe Jade Bateman at 23:25