I like to be known as a transparent business which means letting people know what materials I use in my business and how I or my suppliers contribute to the environment.
I love wearing beautiful things but I realized that in order to do this I have to have a planet not only to live on but one that sustains me too. I also have a conscious and want to know that my suppliers do too. Hence why I only use materials to make my jewellery with that shares my ethics and pays their workers a fair income with great working condition’s for their employees. It is these ethics that has been the driving force behind my business practices and the products that I make.
In today’s blog I am going to be looking at one of the materials that I use in my designs – Swarovski crystals and Swarovski Pearls. You will learn who Swarovski is, what a Swarovski crystal is made of, how it differs from other crystals and how to care for it plus much more.
I was introduced to these wonderful orbs several years ago when a family member gave me a bracelet that had been made out of Swarovski. I was mesmerized by its brilliant shine and how it looked very much like a diamond and I was hooked!
A couple of years later when the Earth Faeries was born I decided to use it in my collections.
Firstly I was looking for vegan materials and was delighted that they passed the cruelty free test. Secondly they are environmentally friendly business and the company is an ethical one too so I more than happy to use their products in my creations. Here is a report detailing their good ethics and how they are protecting the environment. Click here for the report. Thirdly I love their cut, clarity, amazing vibrant colours (my favorite is blush pink) and their contour. Contour means perfectly shaped crystals. How could I resist?
I often get asked by my customers and friends about what Swarovski crystal is made of etc of so I thought I would write an article on it.
Who is Swarovski you may be wondering? Daniel Swarovski was the son of a glass cutter and following in the footsteps of his father he became skilled in glass cutting. Danial had a dream of creating a diamond that everyone could afford to have. He invented and patented an electric cutting machine in 1892 that was revolutionary. This allowed the crystal to be cut with more precision than by hand and create a wonderful piece of fine man made gem that had the brilliance of a diamond.
These beautiful crystals are used by well known designers and brands such as Chanel in their fashion collections. Famous models have adorned them on the catwalks all around the world. They have been featured in Victoria secrets collections – a famous lingerie brand. The Austrian brand has dated back to 1897 – spanning five generations of the Swarovski Family. You may be surprised to discover that the brand has dressed big names back in history such as Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe in Gentleman prefer blonds and Audrey Hepburn in breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Swarovski crystals where used in her tiara. Seasonal collections are added every year and the crystals are used in combination with precious and semi precious stones too.
What exactly is a Swarovski crystal? Unlike quartz crystals that are made by mother nature and found in the earth – Swarovskis are man made by using natural resources such as sand, quartz and minerals.
Why are they more expensive than glass? They use only the finest natural materials, the crystal is cut with precision using a special patented machine and are polished to a brilliant shine. The entire process is very complex as the crystal is created to have hundreds of identical facets in several directions. Each direction of the reflected light must be calculated on a computer then has to be simulated in 3D, optimized and converted into programs for the machinery to make them.
How do you know if they are the genuine article?
there should be no bubbles inside of the crystal
each one is identical size to the other. There should be no variations
the same colour family are identical shades
If there is scratches on the crystal or an oily sheen then this means its not an authentic one.
apart from the Swarvoski pearls the crystals come loose and are not stringed together
All facets of the crystal meet and point upwards.
How do you care for Swarovski crystals? They should be treated the same way as fine jewellery.
remove your crystals before swimming or any form of exercise and before applying any lotions or make up. If getting ready put make on and put lotion on and wait a couple of minute for lotion to penetrate into skin before put them on. If going to bed take Swarovski crystals off first and then do your nightly routine.
Mild soap and water and a cloth should be used to clean and polish them. Swarovski recommend drying with a soft lint free towel and finish with a cotton Swarovski cloth. When handling your crystals it is a good idea to wear cotton gloves to prevent getting finger prints on them. Swarovski do sell cleaning packs to keep your crystals in pristine condition.
Do not use any cleaners containing alcohol, sonic cleaners, commercial jewellery cleaners or boiling water as this will have a damaging effect on the crystal.
Store them in the original packaging or place tissue paper over them after use to prevent them scratching metal or loosening the crystal.
Do not store in excessive heat or sun exposure. Make sure you never wear them for bed time, bath time or when exercising.
Chains and necklace will retain their shine better when they are hung when not worn.
Adhering to these guidelines will keep your Swarovski crystals beautiful and lustrous for years to come.
In today’s blog I am going to look at the history of wire wrapping. You may be wondering how this technique came about so I am going to look at why our ancestors chose to use this technique and why I use it to decorate my bridal hair combs.
For those of you who don’t know what wire wrapping jewellery is it is the art of bending, twisting, cutting and wrapping wire around hair combs and gems. It is also used to hold beads and gems on the wire without soldering, electricity, machinery or the use of modern technologies.
Here is one of the hair combs I wire wrapped
Wire wrapping dates back 1446 BC but there is evidence that it was used much earlier than that. Researchers have found wire jewellery in pyramids and in pharaohs tombs. Ancient ancestors used it because there was no electricity, machinery fire or modern day technologies then.
Early wire used for wire work was pounded flat into sheets and then rolled into thin tubes. It was thought that gold sheet were used as this could be hammered into thin sheets in which the wire would then be made of.
I started to learn this craft last year so I could wrap my hair combs. It looked great fun to learn and had me up many nights practicing. I am also using wire work to make tree of life table decorations which I will reveal to you soon. I like to use this art as I feel it is more Eco friendly as it requires no soldering, electricity, glues or any other modern technologies. I like the idea that I am leaving less of a carbon foot print. Just like our ancient civilizations knew, it lasts the test of time and is a beautiful skill and has fascinating history to pass onto future generations.
In this blog I am going to talk about what The Earth Faeries have been up too – my high lights and the challenges too and how I have overcome them. I am also going to show you some of the places that have inspired me and also any new skills that I have learned on the way.
I have been going through a re-brand over the past couple of months and have made all of my products vegan. I thought I’d share with you some of the new materials I have sourced out so you can see what my products are made of and tell you about a new product I am working on that I am excited to finish so I can reveal it to you.
My highlights have been that my venture has started to become more visible and has attracted more new customers that I am very grateful for. There is something wonderful about seeing your products traveling around the world and putting smiles on peoples faces. My groups is growing organically and I am making some very helpful connections.
I am still learning about the changes to face book and Instagram algorithms as it affects all online businesses. If you are a business owner I know that this will resonate with you. It is also important to keep abreast of the field to ensure our businesses continue to get seen and grow. Otherwise we are offering a great disservice to our customers as they are never going to get to experience our lovely creations.
I have also finally learned how to take a picture that you can see now and no more glare from my blue tinge backgrounds. However it is all still a work in progress but each day I am learning more.
I am looking forward to using my new camera as at the moment I have been using my camera on my phone and pictures can become blurred if taking the pictures too close up to my products. Plus pictures on mobile phones can look beautiful whilst on there but once made bigger they become very pix-elated. I want them to look as beautiful for you all as possible so I am going to keep on practicing and will be able to get better results with my new camera.
I got rid of the white backgrounds and replaced them with a wooden one as firstly it fitted in more with my brand and secondly no matter what I tried I couldn’t get rid of that blue tinge. I have used my wooden window ledges in my new photographs and the light in the bedrooms at a certain time is perfect for doing photo shoots so no hanging out of my windows anymore.
This year I wanted to learn how to style my products. I think not only does it make them look more appealing but it adds interest to the pictures. Plus it’s where my passion lies and I am always on the hunt in my garden, house and shops for props that I can use. Here are some of my new product pictures of my hand made personalized roses that I styled. I made these two for my dinner table and I wanted it to look like a wood land theme. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself sat in a woodland with a long wooden table full of beautiful wooden cutlery, twigs and flowers for decorations. Faeries joining you for dinner and squirrels watching with interest from the nearby branches. This vision is what helped me to style my products.
Lavender pink personalized rose
Neon purple rose table decoration
I am always in awe when I look at other makers websites or shops as they have perfected the art of styling. I was always taught if you want to learn something then learn from the people who have already done it. And so I am on a mission! Several online courses later and after studying others who had perfected it I finally did my first product shots that have been styled with props. The wooden cup and cutlery is courtesy of my friend and a family member. The last picture is out of focus slightly so I will be retaking these with my new camera very soon and look forward to seeing the results.
I am also having to learn how to style my dolls heads hair so I can show case my hair slides so people can see how they look when they are worn. A friend of mine is a hair dresser and she has showed me some lovely but basic styles so now I have to put it into practice. It is all fun and creative in the Earth Faeries house hold.
I came up against some challenges in 2017. A super glue that I was using wasn’t lasting for long which meant that a couple of months down the line my flowers that I was wearing in my hair were coming off the hair slides.
I want to make strong products that last and that are the best on the planet so I knew I had to resolve this straight away. I contacted all of the people who I had sold my hair slides too and only one said it has happened to her too. I thanked her for her honesty and have since made her a replacement and thankfully I still have her as my client.
However challenges are there to make us grow and as long as we learn from our feedback and strive for better so we can resolve it then it is always a win win. After lots of trial and error I finally found another vegan glue called gorilla glue that I am now using and seems strong enough to glue a house together. Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea.
I have also taken photography up as my new hobby. I have been photographing landscapes and buildings in the countryside. I was also put in for a black and white 7 day photography challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed and learned lots from it.
Making my hair accessories used to be a hobby but once I turned it into a business it became something quite different. Being up to early hours to ensure products are dispatched on time can take its toll so it’s important to get the balance. I counteracted this through taking up my new hobby and I am out in the countryside practicing my photography skills most days. There are so many beautiful places to visit where I live and getting out in nature is a sure way to replenish and change ones mood. Here is some pictures of my travels and some of the places that have inspired me.
This was taken near Ceiriog forest – a beautiful wilderness of different green hues.
Castell Dinas Bran in Llangollen – the ruins of a castle on top of hill with the most beautiful views of the countryside, cliffs and bigger hills.
The new products I am working on.
I am currently working on some new table decorations that can be used as home ornament too. My new project is a tree of life made out of wire work and beads.
I am making it for my daughter and her partner but there are plans to make them available to buy on my online shop and website in the near future. I planning on putting the Tree of Life on a pebble or rock because I want to add some of nature to the design. I have just received some of the Swarvoski crystals today that will be using in my new project. They are a lovely emerald colour and I thought that they would look lovely as leaves.
Here are some of the things that I have learned last year and this year too that I thought would help you in your business.
6 tips to go forward in your business in 2018
One of the biggest things I learned last year is either to make things that people want and to make them in the colours that are trending. Rather than what I like. Yes, it was a big learning curve. I have been researching the colour trends for spring and I must admit I do love all of the pretty colours that are going to be in for the Spring. Lavender pinks, navy’s, naturals, yellows, mint to name but a few are all going to be working our way into our wardrobes. However I have found that there are customers who don’t buy because of the trends and they wear the colours that they love and reflect their individual personalities. One of the things I love about the clays that I use I can create most colours with them. I mix them so if someone can’t find a colour they like in my shop or on my website I can mix them to get their preferred shade or colour. So you still get to be uniquely you and I get to have even more fun as it is one of my most favorite parts of making my products. You can see some of the spring collection on my online shop. Please click here.
I also learned that if something isn’t working to do something different. That way you get different results. But no matter what the outcome there is always something to learn from it and as long we learn from it, and strive for better then its always a win win!
Keep up to-date with changes in your industry. The internet is constantly changing all of the time and marketing strategies have to change to keep abreast of the field. Marketing that worked six months ago may not work now since the algorithms have changed so keeping update in this area is crucial if small and big businesses are to go forward.
Once your hobby becomes a business it is time to get a new hobby to keep the balance.
Get the best pictures of your products that you can. I am still learning and have a long way to go. That’s the beauty of life though. There is no such thing as perfection but we can strive to be best that we can be. And most importantly as one very successful online shop owner told me don’t get so caught up with trying to reach perfection with your pictures. This can prevent you from getting your products out there. Or you may be waiting for ever. Just do the best that you can and keep practicing. We all have to start some where and as your business grows you can always outsource.
If your phone camera pictures look pixelated once the pictures are made larger (like mine) then it is time to invest in more up to date model or buy a camera. There are some very good quality cameras out there that don’t run into hundreds or thousands which is great news if you are on a small budget.
What two most important things in regards to business did you learn last year?
In today’s blog I am going to look at some of the interesting places that I have been to this year that has inspired me. I am also going look at some of the challenges in my business & life I have had and how I have counteracted them this year. I have also been using some great mantras and other techniques that have been working for me so I thought that I would share them with you.
One of the biggest challenges I had last year was taking good photographs of my products. I am a designer and maker and my forte is not photography. However I soon learned that to run a successful business meant I had to get good at everything or if not hire someone else to do it. I am one of those people that will give it my all before considering the latter.
After sending off for a photography light box that didn’t work I became well known in my house hold for either running outside to capture products in ideal lighting or hanging out of my windows. I have been reading that there is a lot of crafting businesses that have been doing the same so if you are a small business this may resonate with you. I have tried all different kinds of back grounds and was partial towards the white ones but I could never get rid of that blue tinge even after adjusting my white balance.
And after many online photography courses and lots of help off a fb friend I was just about to hand it over to a professional when I had a dream. They say our dreams often have messages for us and I think this gave me much insight. I can’t remember much about that dream apart from the message that was given to me by a person in it that is unknown to me. He said “your photographs with the white background are awful and you should use a wooden one as it fits in with your branding.”
Deep down I knew that this was true so today I took his advice and took some more pictures using my wooden window sill. I have had fantastic feedback so far and I must admit I am very happy with them too. Challenges always make us grow stronger and it is our passion we always find a way. One of my new challenges this year is to learn how to style my products so I can make them look more interesting to look at it. I will keep you posted on how this goes.
One of the other challenges I had last year was that I was so busy working that I hardly got chance to do more of the other stuff that I love. So my new years intention was to make more time to enjoy the outdoors. So on New years Eve I wrote a big long to do list – one of them was to meditate more. This practice quietens the mind, replenishes the body, mind and soul. I have been practicing it every day this year with noticeable results two of them being more energy and more clarity of thought.
As we moved into another year I am proud to say my to do list has worked. It motivated me and I have five tasks already ticked off. I find that to do lists gives me direction and I get things done. No to-do lists and I have a habit of meandering through life. That is okay if I want to be spontaneous and have some outdoor adventures as its sometimes-fun not knowing where your going to end up. However it’s not ideal I have discovered when running a business, organizing an event or some other big goal.
Language has a big part to play in creating our life. Words have so much power to create a life that is either aligned with our goals or off track. Mine was the latter. I would catch myself saying all I do is seem to work and have hardly any time off. I feel so tired. This kind of thinking is not pulling in same direction of what I wanted to achieve so I started saying
‘I always have time times for things and people that are important to me.’
‘All I do is have fun and have outdoor adventures’.
‘All I do is socialize an meet new people!’
‘All I do is manage my day effectively and have time to relax and have fun too. All I do is feel energized.’
It is almost as if times responds to what we are saying as this year these mantra has worked and I got to start the year off with more time to relax, socialize, get creative and have some outdoor adventures.
To combat the tiredness I also started using some aromatherapy oils. I found a wonderful small business who customized an aromatherapy roll on for me that I could roll onto my pulse points. I chose grapefruit as it is stimulating and argon oil which is moisturizing. I loved the fact that it was all customized for me and the service was marvelous. You can find her range of products here.
To also combat the tiredness I decided to get out into the fresh air more and leave work behind me. And that meant not carrying it with me. This weekend I went hiking on the moorlands. I happen to live in an area that has a very diverse terrain from woods to forest hills to mountains and moorlands. it is a place that i am eternally grateful to live in. So when my daughter said do you fancy a walk today she didn’t need to ask twice. I was determined to make time for myself this year so we set off and after a twenty minute walk past lush countryside and forests we arrived on the moors.
In the summer months there are thousands of miles of heather all in full bloom with lilac and pink flowers on. But at this time of year the plants are more of a copper hue and stretch for miles There is an old watch tower on there that every time we go there we never seem to reach it through one reason or another. Word of caution when walking on moorlands or mountains the weather can change very quickly so one has to keep a look out on the sky.
We left the main path and took a different route that my daughter had plotted out on her map before we left. Our dog bounded through the heather looking more like Bambi than a Labrador and we jumped over numerous bogs. And as we reached the top of the path I noticed the mist had started to creep in and I decided that it was a good time to go back. We quickly walked along the moors so we could gain access onto the main natural path that would lead us off it. We could see the mist starting to circles us and it was one of those adrenaline moments. With no time to spare we picked up our pace.
We had phones with us but there was no signal up there and the moorlands are not a place you want to be in once the mist descends. Reluctantly we got off there in time. As we looked back over what was once a moorland of orange hue was just a blanket of dense mist with no visibility. We arrived back at our house to find a package that our friend had left us on the doorstep – about three dozen home cooked Oaties. She knows I am vegan so had kindly made them with no dairy products in. We sat munching them over a cup of tea reminiscing about our adventures. It was nice way to end the day.
The following day we decided to go to Llangollen and do some hill walking. I live up in the hills and the nearest village is 3 miles a way. Normally we have a car to get out and about but this day we didn’t so it was 40 minute trek down steep country lanes to catch the bus from the village bus stop. It made a nice change and the route was scenic – past hills, rivers and farm lands and was all part of the adventure. Some times it is nice to push yourself out of your comfort zone and do something different.
The hill we visited is called Castell Dinas Bran meaning fortress of crows. Yes it lives up to its name as there was lots of beautiful crows there and that made it quite mystical and magical. The hill was situated just slightly outside of Llangollen town. It’s not as rural or wild as I am used too and is more of a tourist attraction than a path through the wilderness. However it was fun to do something different and there were views of mountains in the wilderness that we could see from the top of the hill which we are planning on exploring soon.
As we walked up the path lots of the crows flew over our heads and you could see them circling the ruins of the castle. My imagination started to run away with me and I had some great ideas for my faerie stories that I write on here. I could imagine my faerie characters riding on the backs of these beautiful mystical creatures.
The walk was fairly steep and you would need a moderate level of fitness to get up there. However there is benches on the way up that we did sit on to take in the breath taking views. In one direction there was rolling hills and in another quarry type cliffs. The hill we were walking up had sheep roaming freely on and as we got to the top a crowd of these woolly fellows moved quickly as they spotted our Labrador who was on a lead I may add.
The wind was strong on the top of the castle and I could understand why my daughter had told me to put my hood up. It was quite a challenge to hold my phone camera still to get some pictures but I managed to get some for you all. The energy was very different to where I live where the odd tractor goes by and the occasional hikers and mountain bikers. The path was well worn by tourists and you could catch a glimpse of the town below so although not as rural as what I am used to it does have a nice contrast of yin and yang.
We wandered past run down walls that were dotted around the top of the hill. The castle had been build in 1260 by a Welsh Prince. We walked around small paths that circled around the ruins. Stunning panoramic views of the lush hilly and cliff terrain greeted you at every turn. We had chosen this time of year when there wasn’t a lot of tourists there so was only a handful of people up there. I am not one for crowded places so was happy I almost had it all to myself.
Afterwards we chose a less steep path that led us back down and past this beautiful wood carving.
Back in the town again which was about a five minutes walk from the hill we past a canal with paddle boarders on. It brought back memories of my paddle boarding adventure two summers ago. We had paddle boarded along the Llangollen canal before popping in for lunch in this cafe in our wet suits in a small canal cafe.
The climb had given us an appetite so we headed to a pet friendly cafe popular with kayackers. My daughter kindly bought me lunch whilst our dog sat next to the cafes owners dog. A beautiful gentle Alsatian by the name of Skye that she has known since they were puppies.They bonded well as they nuzzled each other as we had our bite to eat.
After a falafel burger with hummus on and a latte with soy mill (they cater for vegans) we headed down to the river to sit and watch the kayackers tackling the river rapids. My daughters’ partner is training to be a kayacking and paddle boarding coach so we thought that it may have been him as he was there on his course that day. However it turned out it wasn’t. We sat on concrete steps watching a kayacker tackle the rapids and go side on to navigate the fast moving water. I silently cheered as he got through the rapids.
I even managed to get a picture of these three ducks whilst our dog went for a paddle in the calmer part of the water. She was definitely a swimmer in another life as give her water and all you hear is splash. She is the only dog I know that swims like a human.
Pubs are not my favorite place as I don’t drink but some times when it’s cold outside it is nice to go into somewhere warm. And the corn mill was a quaint country pub that didn’t feel like a pub at all. It is set besides the river rapids and you can eat outside and watch the steam train opposite or watch the adventurers white water rafting which is a sight to behold. It also has a huge non working water mill that is fenced off by a cage but is a spectacular sight. And we went in there for a drink of non alcoholic ginger beer which I have never tasted before until then. It was delicious and has inspired me to make my own. I also got to go out onto the balcony and take some pictures of the river.
Part of the view from the Corn Mill
More stunning views from the Corn Mill
The old water mill.
We arrived back in the village before dark but as we began to walk up the country lanes the darkness crept in. Thankfully we had brought a head torch so we had good visibility. There was no stars in the sky that evening as normally I entertain myself by spotting the constellations. The only light was from our head torch and the reflective stickers on the field posts. After a 40 minute walk in the sleet we arrived back feeling like we had had a good exercise and already planning our next adventure.
My mantras are working as I have just been for an hours walk this evening with my pet dog despite torrential down pour and hail stones. And I am feeling full of energy and I am having more time to do more of the activities I love so I will keep saying these.
Here are some tips that have worked for me to overcome challenges:
Look at all your options and take some time to explore them.
Keep open to the universe as she always sends you new options and often knows the easiest way.
Meditate each day to replenish yourself. When the mind is rested the body follows suit.
If something isn’t working then try another approach.
Practice makes perfect. It is how we all learned how walk.
Go easy on yourself when learning new habits, skills etc. Good habits can be cultivated with practice and patience.
Get your mindset on board and enlist the help of supportive mantras and people too. Make sure that your thoughts are pulling in same direction as what you want to achieve. The key is congruence here.
Put to do lists together and follow through. You can see how much progress you are making then and it is sure to motivate you.
Reach for holistic remedies as they support the immune system naturally and many have been round for thousands of years and are tried and tested.
Make time for things and people that are important to you. I remember speaking to a lovely old lady and she said ‘at the end of our days we don’t look back and say ‘wow look at all those material things I accumulated. We look back at all the adventures we have had, sharing of good times with others and the lives we have touched. Not to mention the lives who have touched our own.’
Put the fun back into what you are doing. If there is no fun there then what is the point of doing it. If there is no fun in what you are doing maybe make it more fun or use it as a sign to go along another path which will make you happier.
As my friend puts it ‘Help others to rise’ Whether that’s sharing our knowledge or skills or whatever it may be it is a fact that helping others to get what they want helps us too. As when we help others we always receive help in return and our path becomes smoother and the challenges start melting away.
Has anyone had any challenges with their business or other goals? And if so how did you counteract them so you stay on track?
Happy holidays everyone. I hope that you have all had a lovely seasonal time. In this blog I am going to tell you what I have been up to over the festive season and have a look at some of the high lights over the year. Plus I thought I’d tell you some of my new plans for next year as well as give you some tips on how to build up momentum and confidence to go forward with your goals.
The snow had come and gone by Christmas. If you have been following my blogs you will have known that I have been building snowmen, sledging in the garden and country lanes.
This was taken before Christmas.
I was hoping that it would grace us with its presence for Christmas but it didn’t. However it has started to snow again today so am wondering whether I will have a thick blanket of snow on the ground when I get up.
I had my mum, daughter and her partner here for Christmas who made it really special for me. My daughters’ partner dressed the table and the Christmas tree. On Christmas day we sat around the tree and opened our beautiful gifts. Watching faces smile in delight at the gifts they had received brought a smile to my own face. Christmas isn’t just for children. It is there to keep the inner child alive in all of us.
That’s one of our dogs presents in the green stocking!
I think it’s not about the material things, although they were beautiful presents, but it was about the sharing of good times and the memories we all created together. Plus it is all the little things that everyone did like bringing the logs in and lighting a lovely fire that made it all warm and cosy. Plus dressing the table so it looked warm and welcoming for everyone. My daughter and her partner spent hours in the kitchen preparing and cooking a gorgeous feast for us all. And I had fun photographing it all. However this was the only picture that turned out!
My daughter and her partner preparing food for us all.
Our cupboards were full to the brim with food but I don’t think we ate in excess however it was nice to have such a wonderful choice of food in. We always have an abundance of food to eat but I am not used to opening my cupboards and having the food fall out.
My mum bought us a gorgeous home made yule log that was suitable for vegans. The lovely lady who made it even delivered it right to our door with a smile. Can you imagine when I opened the big box to discover this beauty. And yes it tasted as divine as it looked.
There is something wonderful about buying hand made produce. I think it tastes so much better because you can feel the love and time that has gone into such craft man-ship. Like the Japanese I am very much a believer in the energy/essence of a person that goes into our cooking or the products that we buy. This is why the Japanese say it is so important to have good thoughts and be happy when we are creating things. It is something that I adhere too when I cook and when I craft too.
After sharing lots of good times with my loved ones I spent boxing day on my own. I wanted to do some photography and it is a solitary hobby after-all. And as one person pointed out to me, you are never alone when you have the universe with you. I am a true believer that the universe not only lives inside of us all but also in the landscapes, in the elements, the animals, the trees, vegetation and in all that lives on this planet so I happen to agree with that person.
So whilst the rest of them went to another family members house for lunch on boxing day I headed out with my camera (part of a 7 day black and white challenge I am on). As I sat in the forests, splashed through the streams and finally came to stand on the moors I felt more closely connected to nature and the universe than ever before. I was grateful for it all for keeping me company.
As I surveyed the landscape before me I was in awe. There were thousands of hectares of heather all over the moorlands and dramatic hills that my lens just about captured. The blue sky had wisps of clouds and their was the odd bird that swooped down before taking flight again. Rock pools were all frozen and there was a light scattering of snow here and there that looked like icing sugar.
One can never feel lonely in such an environment of such beauty where the universe is present in all of it. And as I listened all I could hear was the sound of silence. And I thought to myself that really is the key to feeling connected to oneself and all that there is. For it is in those moments that we have our biggest insights and our higher selves can get through!
And then on my way back I sat in my favorite forest eating my pack lunch.
I saw a crow descend into the densely packed forest and maneuver around the trees. Birds really are the true pilots of our skies and it added to the beautiful experience I was having. He was too quick for me so by the time I had grabbed my camera he had gone. Oh well, maybe next time…
Watching the light in the sky begin to change I realized that it was time to head back home. I never look at my watch when I am out but have learned how to tell the time from the position of the sun and also from the light. I was back before dark, reminiscing about my adventures and already planning more of them.
Today I decided to write my blog about my experiences but also to look at some of the high lights of 2017 and my new intentions for 2018. Here they are. I think it’s so important to review the progress we have made. It really does give you momentum and the confidence to go forward in 2018.
I had two super earth faeries characters designed and made for me by a wonderful artist. These are now featured in my Earth Faeries stories on my website if you’d like to follow their adventures.
I re-branded and made my products all suitable for vegans as I became one myself this year.
I sourced out new suppliers who stock materials that our suitable for vegans. They took quite a while to find but I got there in the end.
I stopped making jewellery and decided to create hair accessories instead as I found that is where my passion lies. It is okay to modify your goals as long as you can explain to yourself why.
I learned a new jewellery making skill (wire work) and started making a new product line.
I started practicing gi gong again. It is Movement meditation that has really helped me connect and keep my inner balance. It so easy to work yourself in the ground if one doesn’t maintain the balance of work and play.
I opened two new online shops and a face book business page.
I got lots more new wonderful followers on my groups and made some lovely friends on there too.
I got lots of glowing reviews from satisfied customers and repeat orders. It is nice to know that people are liking what I am making and makes it all so worth while.
I attended two craft stalls. One of them was in a fabulous location outside of a castle. And I even had my dream come true which was to go canoeing around the moat. You can imagine my delight when I was about to set up my stall and I discovered that one of the attractions was canoeing.
With over an hour and half before the customers were due into the grounds I knew I had time to go canooing for the very first time. My friend who also had a stall came with me (she had no choice as I literally grabbed her hand and pulled her in the direction of them. We had much fun once we managed to get out of the reeds.
I did some traveling to Lincolnshire with a good friend and attended a wonderful weekend at a laughter festival. I even got to play drums in the woods, have an Akashic record reading done for me and participated in heaps of other fun activities there too.
Me at the laughter festival in June
It snowed right before Christmas and I had another dream come true. I went sledging in my garden. You could hear my screams of joy from many fields down.
I received £3,800 which enabled me to shop to my hearts delight, go for weekend away and invest some of it back into my business.
I got a camera given to me that I haven’t used yet as have to send off for a new lead. This will help me improve the quality of my product pictures and also help me with my new hobby which is photographing the landscapes and wild life.
I devoured many books on photography to improve my photography skills and realized I now have a passion for it. So I am out most days photographing the vast terrain in this stunning place I live in. I never stop being grateful for where I live.
I was nominated by a friend to do a black and white photography challenge for 7 days. And I have been out hiking in the Lovely Welsh countryside taking them and enjoying the sound of silence in the wilderness. I waited about 15 minutes for this photograph. Finally he turned his head and I was able to photograph this handsome fellow.
I discovered a great photographer who was recommended to me. I am sending my products too him in 2018 to have them all professionally photographed.
I had my new product range measured for me so I now know the exact sizes of the boxes I require. Many a night I sat there wondering what colour boxes would fit in with my theme. I had a good response from my FB group who gave me lots of ideas. I am thinking white! They are a very helpful bunch.
I made two new friends and got to go walking with them and I also got to spend a lovely weekend away with a very close friend.
And in 2018 I have lots more plans for the Earth Faeries and my own personal goals. Here are some of them.
I am getting my third earth faerie character drawn up for me.
I have some new craft stalls already planned.
A holiday with a friend to Norway. We have decided to go Kayaking in the Norwegian fjords and do some wild camping. Yes I will be sure to post the pictures!
Booking another laughter festival but this time it is being held closer to home in Wales.
Learn another new jewellery making skill.
Have professional pictures done of my products
Get some new business cards printed up
Order and send off for my new packaging
Have more micro and micro adventures where I live.
Advance my photography skills of landscapes so I can share them with you on my pages and blogs.
Go out for more hikes and do some wild camping.
Treat myself to a spa experience, indulge all my senses and go kayaking in the nearby lake.
Buy a new bicycle and start cycling again.
Explore other beautiful rural parts in UK.
Have my products reviewed.
Share more good times having adventures with my friends.
Top tips for achieving your goals in 2018
I find writing this has given me more direction too and it really makes me realize just how far I have actually come. I thought I’d share it with you to help you too. So before 2018 comes be sure to get your pen and note pad out, jot your progress down no matter how small or big and any new goals for 2018. It really will help you to go forward with a smile, optimism and create the right kind of internal environment to support you with all your en-devours. And most of all give yourself a big pat on the back on how much you have achieved! You as much as anyone deserve your own love!
Wishing you all a fabulous new year all year round!
In this blog I am going to show you how I have got over those winter blues so we end the year on a high note. I’d like to show you some of the fun things that I have been up too that has replaced those blues with eternal sunshine.
There is something about this time of year that brings back memories of snuggling in front of a log fire and having snowball fun with my friends as well as with my daughter. However with everyone grown up now the fun has never ended and I am still doing the same.
You can imagine my delight when I drew back the curtains several days ago to discover a thick blanket of snow had descended on the Welsh countryside. Of course it has brought draw backs as we haven’t been able to get out in the car and have been official snowed in. But one has to make the best of the situation so I have been sledging, taking pictures of the products I have made, photographing this beautiful wonderland and of course helping to build a snow man. December is not complete without a snow man.
He did have a nose and arms but unfortunately our dog a 2 year old Labrador decided to eat them .
The lighting has been fantastic to do some photography shots of my rose ornaments. You can see my full range here on my online shop. I am thinking about investing in a photography box but until then I grasp every opportunity when the lighting is right. After several attempts I took this picture in my garden and then ran in to warm my fingers on our log fire. Yep, that is how cold it is here.
I took this picture in my garden.
The roads have been very slippery up here in the Wales but that didn’t stop me from going for lovely walks along the country lanes. I normally go in the fields but with about 3 foot of snow now it is virtually impossible to walk in it. It stays extra light here up in the hills in Wales so I have been going for a walk in the midnight hour and with my torch light on my head. However with the thick snow clouds it has been more darker than normal. Normally I can look up at the sky and see all of the constellations and almost touch them. I spotted the sauce pan the other night. But since the snow fall there has been dark skies most nights so there has been no visibility.
All of my senses kick in on my late night walks. Its is so amazing to hear the hoot of the owls, feel the soft snow flakes caressing the skin and the rustle in the bushes as some form of wild life dwells there. And then I stopped and listened and the sound was like music to my ears. It was the sound of silence!
Snow is very metaphorical to me. It always signifies a clean slate and a new beginnings. A transition into an even better future. It has been beautiful watching the seasons change and although I do love the summer I think this time of year is one of my favorites.
Snuggled up in front of the fire with a hot drink, a magazine or even with my goal work book is an enjoyable experience. It is a time of year to reflect and note the progress we have made, no matter how small or big it has been. It helps me build confidence and momentum to go forward in 2018. Occasionally I will glance out of my living room window to admire our handy work (the snow man). And this brings my attention back to the beauty of the now! As now is all we have. It’s a reminder to tell myself the past is over, the future is for my making and the now is all that matters. It is how I am feeling and what I am thinking now is paving the way for my future.
One of my lovely gardens where I went sledging on with my family.
And finally after 5 days of snow fall golden sun light has crept from beneath the clouds and the snow is finally melting. I can see huge droplets falling from my roof and the trees. I ventured out in the garden today to check the birds had enough food. I would have loved to have got some pictures as there was a huge robin red breast munching on the food. However the snow is all crunchy and alerted him to my presence and he took flight. It is always a good idea at this time of year to check the birds and wild life have food. Thankfully I checked as the birds had devoured the bird seed my daughter had put out for them so I’m off to the kitchen now to fill it up.
Three tips to beat them winter blues and put the inner sunshine back in.
So if you feel like hibernating at this time of year and feeling on the blue side then go out in nature. She will heighten all of your senses and make you feel alive! Being out doors is a huge mood changer.
Take up photography. You don’t have to be great photographer to do it and if if you want to develop those skills there are plenty of free resources on the internet so you can learn. The most important thing is you are having fun. Not only are you capturing the moment in time but your also creating great memories and adventures on the way.
Count blessings. Just think that you are in your lovely warm house and others may not be so fortunate.
Look after the wild life, whether that is hedge hogs or birds etc, it is making a difference and give you a warm glow knowing that you are helping others.
I hope you are all having a lovely run up to Christmas and enjoying the snow if you have it where you are. Keep warm and I will write soon.
In this blog I am going to show you what the Earth Faeries have been up to. I am also going to introduce you to the lovely wonderland of where I live & run my home based business in the Wales UK.
Waking up to a blanket of snow filled me with delight. I have such beautiful views from my windows of dramatic hills, land and woods. It is something that I never stop counting my blessings for. I am used to the lush greenery of the landscape so to be greeted with the snow was a pleasant surprise. I have only lived here for nearly 2 years and the snow has been quite shallow compared to previous years. However this year is the deepest I have seen it. It is a foot in most places and about 3 foot in others.
I was awoken yesterday by my daughters excited voice as she bounded into my bedroom to tell me to look out of the window. Of course I shared her enthusiasm when my eyes rested on the generous helping of the snow that covered the landscape. It was a quick scramble for my hiking clothes and straight out of the door to play.
I live in the hills so it’s not easy to get out in the car. And with the supplies running low and food unable to be delivered because of weather conditions there was no other option but to walk to the nearest village shop about 2 and half miles away. However all though it was a great work out for the muscles as I trudged through the snow (the gritters hadn’t been by then) it was a pleasant walk as I admired the hills that looked as if covered in icing sugar.
We slid past forests, practicing our skiing skills.
And then once we reached the village I took the favorite family photograph. It has become a tradition to take pictures of our feet.
The descent was some what easier than the ascent. We live high up the hills and although I am used to walking down it and back up most days it was quite a challenge getting back up as a blizzard had come upon us and the icy cold winds stung my face. The clap of thunder like a lion roaring startled us all. I have never heard thunder coupled with snow. However on the positive side it all added to the micro adventure.
When we got back the fun didn’t stop there as my daughters’ partner had bought a sledge. We ventured down to our garden which is on a slight hill so we got lots of momentum and sped down the hill. Each time going a little further and I was convinced I was going to end up curled around one of our trees at one point. However reluctantly I managed to navigate myself around it. My screams of delight are still ringing around the garden.
By the time we had finished the darkness had crept in and the cold; I could no longer feel my fingers so we headed to an open fire in our house and a hot drink. There’s something lovely and Christmassy about being in front of a log fire.
The following day the same thing happened my daughter told me to look out of the window. My mouth fell open as the snow which had been about only 3 inches yesterday was now over a foot in most places and in others much deeper. My cat ventured out but the snow was bigger than him so he came right back in.
Out came the sledge and we trekked up the country lane that was situated next to our property. The snow was soft and thick and it was still snowing as we made a track down the lane. No cars could come down as the snow was too thick and the gritters hadn’t been out so we could relax as we created a track down the middle of the lane. Who says adults can’t have fun as we sure did. I couldn’t get any pictures as my phone had discharged.
Have you ever noticed that children always find it easy to manifest. This is because they have great imaginations and know how to have fun. It is some thing that I feel that is important not only to manifest our desires but also to having an enjoyable well balanced life too. Having fun makes me feel more creative and productive too. I am more relaxed so ideas come to me so much more easily. I find I am in flow.
And now I am back in my house, snuggled up in front of the log fire again, hot drink in one hand as I type my blog.
In this blog I am going to talk about a faerie legend in Wales. I feel privileged to live in such a beautiful country that is steeped in rich legends and which is often the backdrop for my photographs. I am also going to look at the development of The Earth Faeries and show you some of my new products lines that I am working on as well as tell you about the stories behind them.
The door way to the other world
Lakes in Wales are seen as a port hole to another world. A world where another species live – faeries as is the case of red lake, Llyn Cwm Llwch, and Llyn Fach. According to legend it is through this port hole that fathers, brides, and their sisters from the faerie kingdom can pass through into our earthly realm. Legend has it that humans have been able to pass through this other realm each May day but the privileged was stopped as it was abused. I believe that one has to learn to look after our own world and each other before we explore others. What do you think?
The lake at Llyn Fach
Wales is spectacular and is every artists, historian and craft persons’ dream as it is steeped in rich history and legends. It is one of the reasons that I love to live and run my business here. When I look out of my windows at the dramatic landscape of the hills and hear the rapid running river I often see stories there and wish that they could talk.
I often go hiking where I live as this gorgeous vast terrain of hills, forests, mountains and rivers is all on my doorstep. Some times when I am looking for different back drops I will take my products with me to photograph. I was up in the forest yesterday. It is only a short walk; about ten minutes away from my house. I was equipped with my phone camera and a box full of my new products plus a Labrador racing in front of me to smell all the scents of the tracks that the wild life leave. The forest I visited today was the same location that I celebrated my birthday in with my family.
This was part of my picnic for my birthday in October that was held in the forest.
My birthday picnic in October with my loved ones!
As I took my socks and hiking boots off to walk barefooted on the damp moss (called earthing) I was wondering about the folk lore of where I live and particularly this forest. I haven’t found any folk lore attached to this forest yet so I have widened my search to other places in Wales and will be writing about them soon.
I was taking pictures of my products on the logs whilst our family dog was chewing sticks and rolling around on the spongy ground that was covered in moss. However the lighting wasn’t right so I didn’t get all of the pictures that I was hoping for. Although I did manage to get the right light to get this picture when I got home.
It was still an eventful day as all of the fresh air made me feel creative and I began to think up some new designs for my products. Plus I got to take my pet dog for a walk and play some frisbee with her which I thoroughly enjoyed. Having fun certainly stimulates the imagination as I was feeling super creative when I got home and began to doodle some new designs.
The challenges I have encountered
The past couple of weeks have been productive ones. I have been designing and am still designing a new product range. I have found this to be the easy part however the real task has been photographing them.
I am not a professional photographer so I have had to learn really fast and am still learning. My daughter told me me it takes her friend who is a professional photographer thousands of photographs to get the perfect handful and hours of editing. This made me feel better and got me to realize I was having way to high expectations from my handful of pictures that I had taken. After weeks of taking pictures and editing I finally managed to get some of my products up on my online Folksy shop. You can check my products out here
I have been doing some online learning about the rule of two thirds and also how to get rid of the blue tinge that my pictures so often have. And as I have said before although I am no David Bailey ( I wish I was) I feel I am making progress.
Here is one of the products that I have made
Who has influenced my designs?
I was asked by a customer where I got my inspiration from for the peach rose hair comb above. I love stories and this one was an interesting one so I was happy to share it with her. When I was 13 I was a member of a dance school and used to perform on stage doing ballet, tap, jazz and modern dancing with a group of about 25 other girls.
We performed on the theater, in clubs and even in residential homes for senior citizens. My friend had a starring role singing somewhere over the rainbow. I dreamed of the day that I too would have a staring role and perform a solo. Sure enough it happened and I was given my own slot singing Modern Milly. I remember feeling elated but slightly nervous. Maybe nervous was an understatement as my knees had started to knock together at the thought of performing in front of a crowd.
I always remember how happy I felt wearing the white satin Charleston style dress and green head dress that my dance teacher had made for me. I was still nervous to perform though. However once in my new attire I took on a new persona and my confidence soured! Clad in tap dancing shoes and a long string of faux pearls around my neck I created happy memories for myself and the lovely people who were watching me. It was from then that my passion for the Charleston era began including the music, fashion and accessories. I feel this has influenced my new collection.
Who else has their own business making things? And what has influenced your designs?
In this blog I’m going to talk about why I decided to rebrand and become a cruelty free business. But also to tell you about why a rebrand can take so long and why it is not an overnight solution.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And this metaphor can be applied to everything in life. Indeed it applies to my own business. I started out making authentic pearl jewellery, and for ethical reasons decided to make my entire range cruelty free to reflect myself and my brand. That meant my brand going vegan and myself! This meant a total rebrand of my business which is still a work in progress.
It is surprising how many people I have spoken to who told me that they make sure that they source out cruelty free clothes and house hold items etc but have never considered that this applies to jewellery. And this applied to me too. My research left me stunned and I thought that I would use my blog to educate others.
It hasn’t been an easy task sourcing out cruelty free supplies as I have had to source out new manufacturers and new materials. Some of them replied promptly whilst others never replied so the search went on to find good quality materials that were ethically sourced and cruelty free.
Lots of the professional pictures I had taken when I first started out making my jewellery had the old products featured in them i.e pearls so were no longer suitable. ( I will tell you more about why later). The hardest part was taking the pictures of my jewellery off my blog and website as hours of work, creativity and love had gone into the wedding shoots that had brought together a photographer, event organizer, hair stylish, make up artist, bouquet maker, a model and obviously myself who had designed the jewellery.
I will admit I was a little disheartened at having to go back to basics, new materials, new suppliers and new photographs. It seemed such a big task but well worth it because it’s important for my business to reflect my ethics. To make the whole process easier I broke the goal down into small components and began tackling each one. I had to source out animal free glues, animal free clay’s, and faux pearls. I soon discovered and to my surprise that even faux pearls weren’t all cruelty free. All faux means is fake so beware of this when your shopping for your jewellery.
It was a costly mistake I made as after ordering some beautiful faux pearls in a vast array of colours I began to question how they had got the beautiful colours of their faux pearls. It was a good question and sent me on a quest to enlighten myself.
I soon learned some faux pearls have animal by products in. It was big learning curve! Thankfully I hadn’t sold any as I was just in the middle of making the new product line with them. I contacted the supplier and she told me that she wasn’t too sure what the colours were made of but would contact the manufactures. That supplier never replied back to me so those faux pearls ended up in my draw never to be used. However I learned a lot from this experience and it helped me improve my customer service by making sure I always kept in touch with my customers each step of the way.
Exactly the same applied to my ribbons. I had to go and find suppliers who didn’t use any animals or by products in their ribbons. I was always taught good business practice is knowing what your products are made of. It was surprising to find that so many businesses had no idea whether their products were vegan or not. And I was astounded to realize that I had been one of those people. I just presumed that Faux pearls meaning fake pearls had no animal by products in.
Some times I’d make progress and other times I was hitting brick walls. I was surrounded by so many good people who told me to keep going, it would work out for the best. And it did because I managed to find all of my new suppliers so I could begin making my hair accessories again. I eventually chose Swarovski pearl beads which the company assured me were cruelty free and sent me an information pack over of how they are made and what they are made of. It was a good start and so I started making my products again.
However with no professional pictures and no professional photographer to help me this time round to put together the photo shoot and style it etc I had to learn photography skills as soon as possible and fast. I had so many great people around me giving me tips and I enrolled on some online courses, read everything in sight and just kept practicing. It is surprising what you can do when you are passionate about something and determined to learn.
I experimented with flat lays, different backgrounds, props, and through trial and error learned what looked great and what didn’t. It is all still a work in progress and I’m no David Bailey but I finally have some pretty decent picture of my products to put onto my shop now. I used hair dressing dolls to photograph my products on and my daughter has kindly let me photograph the hair accessories in her hair. Where there is a will there is always a way I have always said.
I was asked why I had decided to make my hair accessory range vegan. Up until my re brand I was a vegetarian and had been for about 8 years. I had become vegetarian purely for ethical reasons. A friend of mine sent a video over of what they do to the mollusks in order to get the pearls. See it here. I think that was a life changing moment for me and so the re-brand of my business began.
Several weeks after watching another video of what is happening in the dairy & poultry industry I finally became a vegan. I knew that I couldn’t make jewellery and claim that I was making something magical when living creatures had suffered to make others feels beautiful. Was there anything magical about that? I couldn’t see anything magical at all.
It is surprising how we can wear things without even questioning what they are made of or what the process is to get that product. I had loved pearls for as long as I can remember, having no idea what happened to the mollusks to get them. Did you realize that they actually place irritants into the mollusks to create the pearl. This causes the mollusk great distress and the pearl is the result of the protective barrier that the mollusks makes. My love affair ended with pearls when I realized this and I could no longer glamorize or justify wearing lumps of materials that were basically a result of an irritant. And yes it is true that this does happen naturally in the sea to them when a grain of sand gets inside of their shells. But mother nature always knows best and does not mass produce. Whereas the mollusk farms do. I don’t think I’d like an irritant stuck in me on a continuous basis. Find out more here
Here are some of the new product lines that I have made. I have just had them measured so I can send away for some boxes for them. They don’t fit into standard boxes so I am having to have them made to measure. I am just in the process on deciding on the colours of the boxes so it fits in with my branding. My logo is aqua so I am thinking about going with that colour. Although I am drawn towards white too so I’m going to take time out to think on this.
These are made out of clay, the finest Swarovski crystals and Swarovski pearls which are all 100% vegan. Just got to cut the ribbon off the hair comb and then ready to go!
So what have I learned from rebranding? Be patient, trust the process of life to work for you and know why you are doing it. Plus think of all of the questions that you need to ask your prospective suppliers before hand to save making costly mistakes like I did.
Do you have any rebranding tips to share with me? Please share in the comments section below.