Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Etsy Shop

Ever since I became involved with sewing for Handmade With Love my daughter Ros aka Fangirl, has been suggesting that I set up an Etsy shop to sell our goodies. People have been asking if they can purchase our things online but it always seemed too hard. 

In September I ran a stall for Handmade With Love at Brisbane Comicon.

I shared the stall with Earthyyou

We did okay for first timers, but I sold almost as much online via my Facebook page, to my friends (and their friends). I also got asked numerous times if people could buy our stuff online. Directing them to the Public Album on my Facebook page was my only option and to be honest that was a bit awkward. With my friends (and their friends) I could post and then tell them what the postage was and then they paid me. I wasn't sure I wanted to do that with random strangers.

Cosplayers at Comic Con. It was an eye opener and to be honest I had to ask my younger family members who the characters were many times.

 I did recognise this guy

So I asked Fangirl if she would help me set up an Etsy shop. She sells her wonderful patterns and kits (she designs geeky cross stitch patterns - see my side bar) But to do that we needed decent photos of my stock and we didn't have time to take all the photos.... so we left it. I was sure I could do it on my own - it was supposed to be very user friendly.

Eventually we arrived home from our gadding about and after a week or so to unpack, settle in, sew the orders that I had received post Comic Con (from friends via Facebook ) I decided it was time to conquor Etsy.

First I had to take those photos and to do that I needed to make a light box. (Essential for good photos Fangirl told me). Pinterest here I come. I found a number of good tutorials, and as we DIYers and makers are wont - I ended up with a mishmash of several blogs. I was going to photograph my process and write my own tutorial - but why bother when there are a number of excellent free tutorials out there already. 

Before I photographed all my stuff I thought that I would set up the shop. I got as far as name and thought "Do I put my name or the name of the group? Should I use my email or set up a special one..." panic set in. Well not quite panic but worry so I messaged Fangirl Like the sweetheart she is she ended up ringing me back that night (I had by this time messaged her about 4 things to do with the shop). She sent me a link to set up a shop (by using it we both got some free listings so that was good) and then stayed on the phone and stepped me through the whole process. What a treasure.

Lightbox made it was time to photograph. I only have my Iphone camera these days and it did a pretty good job. I took a photo, sometimes 2 (to give the side view) of all my zipper pouches and bits and pieces. Then I edited all the ones of large zipper pouches. I was ready to start uploading them. I put them all up, struggling with the tagging, and the composing of each description (till I worked out that since they were all the same, just different fabrics I could copy and paste each one. I'm not really slow)

Before going to bed that night I posted a link to my shop on Facebook and announced the opening of the shop. Once more my friends were so supportive. (Yay friends). I had asked for feedback and they gave me lots of positive stuff and a few suggestions for improvements. I especially appreciated the feedback I got from a couple of regular Etsy users who gave me ideas for tags. One suggested that I tell people that the bags were lined and to include a photo of the lining. Great ideas... but it meant I had to photograph everything again.

When photographing the interiors I decided that including some props would also show their uses and give an idea of size. So that meant photographing everything several times... which meant lots more photos to edit and upload.

However the effort has been worth it. The shop entries are looking more professional than ever.

I got the shop up and running in time for Brisbane Supanova in November. I got more help from Earthyyu who designed a business card for Handmade With Love and all our links. 

I felt very professional handing out these spiffy little cards!

Mr Bean! I recognised him at Supanova

Had to take a photo of this cos player as they were one of the characters that my talented Earthyyu had produced a picture of. I admit to not knowing who they are. Bad stall sharer that I am

Getting things uploaded has taken a long time. Initially I only uploaded the things I had made for Handmade With Love, the things I take to Comic Con and Supanova. Now that I am now co-ordinator for Handmade With Love in its entirety I have all the stock at my place and my next project is to photograph and upload more of our stock, including some jewellery made in the village that our school is in. 

just 2 of the bangles already in our Etsy Shop

The earrings will be added shortly. The Bangles and the earrings are $8 each.

Please go on over and check out the Etsy shop for Handmade With Love. Its called Handmade With Love ORH as Handmade With Love was already taken. (ORH stands for Our  Rainbow House) All profits from the Handmade With Love go to Our Rainbow House, the school in Zambia that we support.

Now its February

Eek February. So much for my goal of getting back to blogging regularly. Life continues to be busy but once upon a time I had 4 kids at home, was working as a supply teacher regularly and my husband was working long hours so not at home to help out as much. Now we are retired empty nesters and some days I am still so busy. Well too busy to blog it seems.

I had a quick trip to Brisbane and Sydney at the end of January to see family. My sister Joy has MND (Motor Neurone Disease) and I am getting in as many visits to her as I can. My mum is also 95 so frequent visits to her are also essential. Joy has been been a patchworker longer than I. She is still sewing. She makes simple quilts that are given to refugees through Sydney's House of Welcome. Because of her detirorating health she can no longer get down on the floor to pin her quilts (and she doesn't have a table) so each time I visit her I pin the quilts that she has ready. She then quilts them and now she has friends from a quilting group who are helping her bind them. Over the visits I made in September, November and January I together with my my trusty minion (I had a different one each time) pinned a total of 22 quilts. Here's a photo of me pinning quilts with my latest minions, My definitely non crafty oldest sister Beth and Joy's daughter Jude

Joy in the background, Beth and I on the ground pinning! Notice how we were all so colour co-ordinated. The 3 sisters all in blue, pinning a blue quilt and even a blue quilt on the couch (that one I made my bil for his 70th birthday)

My niece and I pinning. No quite so colour co-ordinated this time but Jude and I matched up in our black. Joy also was wearing a black and white top.

I have taken over as co-ordinator of the Handmade With Love group but so far that has just entailed taking possession of all the stock for sale and getting the forms to change the bank signatories. Not a whole heap. I have started to take photographs of the stock to put onto the Etsy shop. That is going to be a long process. I have to represent the group to the monthly meetings of the Our Rainbow House and present a report. We are also on Facebook if you want to look us up and follow us there Our Rainbow House Handmade With Love.

Speaking of the Etsy shop have you popped in to check out what we have there? www.HandmadeWithLoveORH.etsy.com Please do. Even if you don't buy anything if you could favourite the shop and some items in it that would be great - it helps bump us up the algorithms and directs more traffic to our site. Sales have been steady - not huge but ticking over a bit.

Exciting news on the travel front is that I am off to Zambia in May to visit the school, "Our Rainbow House" that we support. I am going with Peggy, the former co-ordinator of Handmade With Love.

Peggy and I - off to Zambia in May

We will work together in the school with the kids and staff - maybe some sewing, some music, some teaching, - not exactly sure what we are going to do... probably all of the above and a whole lot more. I am not sure how much in the way of photographs I am going to be able to put on the blog, especially of the children themselves, as the charity is very strict about privacy to protect the children but I'm hopeful that I will be able to share some of the experience with you.

We are also off to Fiji in July for a wedding so that is going to be exciting too.

The latest project I have been working on for Handmade With Love have been produce bags, to use in the fruit and vegie section of the supermarket. Our state (Queensland) is banning single use plastic bags at the point of sale later this year and it is promting awareness of the use of plastics. A tv show "War on Waste" has also been instrumental in raising awareness of ... well waste.  Anyway I made a set of 6 bags and a little pouch to put them in. I put a photo of them on Facebook and asked my friends if they would be interested in buying them at 6 of $10.

 In 5 days I had orders for 35 sets!! I sewed madly for the next week.

Initially I used up some lace curtaining and netting which I had on hand and then I went to the local second hand shops and purchased a couple more curtains and a bag of netting scraps. I made 24 sets from those. I  bought some more netting from Spotlight and made the rest of the bags I needed. I had hoped to have some left over to put on Etsy but as I sewed and posted updates on my progress I kept getting more orders and thus all 36 sets I made were ordered. 

The price is going to go up after this as in order to have a consistent product on Etsy I will be using new fabric. From now on they will be $15. I don't mind that my friends got a bargain. Many of them have been very generous supporters of the charity over the years. Its been a crazy few weeks. 

To be honest the reason I took the photos was to put on this blog. I had started writing this post and mentioned the bags and thought I should photograph them... once they were photographed I decided to share them on Instagram and then shared it to Facebook as well. Things got so crazy so quickly I didn't get back to finishing this blog.... and then I had to rewrite a heap. Talk about crazy.

If you are interested in buying some produce bags you can drop me a line... or wait till I get them up on Etsy and order that way. I'll let you know when we actually go live with them. (if I ever get through my back orders)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Happy New Year

Happy New Year - yes a bit late but well... its still January at any rate. I haven't blogged much since April last year. All sorts of reasons for that mostly I have been incredibly busy.

With the new year I am hoping that I can get myself motivated and back into it.

I have been on Instagram a fair bit (going over to the dark side?) My handle there is @Handmadewithloveorh so if you Instagram why not check me out and start following me.

In September last year Handmade With Love had a stall at Brisbane Comic Con. It was lots of work and lots of fun too. I shared the table with Earthyyu, my son's partner (formerly known on this blog as Gamer Girl). I was selling zipper pouches and bags made from a range of licensed geeky fabrics. Check out her Instagram account here and her online shop at Store Envy

Earthyyu sold prints, stickers and charms which she had designed and produced. We worked hard and enjoyed the amazing spectacle that is Cosplay. 

We did it all again in November at Brisbane Supanova. We've signed up for Gold Coast Supanova in April, (super excited cause Peter Capaldi the 12th Doctor from Doctor Who is going to be there.) We have also applied for Brisbane Comic Con in September. Currently sewing madly to get my stock up - especially lots of Doctor Who fabrics.

Loved meeting this friendly dalek at Brisbane. He was pretty cheeky though.

I have also, with the help of my daughter, Fangirl (from Fangirl Stitches) set up an Etsy shop for Handmade With Love. So far it has only got the stuff that I have sewn in it - the things I make to sell at Comic Con and Supanova but I am planning to also put some of the other "non geeky" products we have sewn....when I get some time. The shop is https://www.etsy.com/shop/handmadewithloveorh. I'd love you to check it out... maybe favourite a few items... or buy something! All profits go to support Our Rainbow House

Friday, October 13, 2017


We travelled recently to 6 different countries:- Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and the UK. ((I won't count Dubai as we just transited through there)

We saw a huge range of buildings - from those different cultures plus covering a range of ages from ancient castles to ultra modern buildings. This is just a taste of the ones that stood out to me - and I was in a position to take a photo of.


Tokyo Tower, Japan

The roof of a museum in Tokyo

Wacoal Kojimachi buidling (or the Cyberman building according the Fixit Guy)

Asahi Brewing company building Tokyo. Its built to represent a foaming mug of beer. Beside it is the beer hall with what is supposed to be a golden flame but has become known to locals as The Golden Turd

Czech Republic 

The roof of the main train station in Prague - it had a beautiful dome with these paintings and statues all around it.

Underground tunnels in the Terzin Fort. Built originally for defence - with moats that could be flooded when attacked. It was never attacked (methods of warfare changed) but served instead as a prison. During the 2nd World War, after Czechoslovakia (as it was then known was invaded by the Nazis, it was used to house political prisoners.

Cobbled streets of Litomorice

Road underpass, Prague


Originally a house, this building has been remodelled into a hotel. Whilst at university studying archietecture our hosts had both worked on the design of the hotel

Dome on the roof of a tower, built in medieval times

Wasserschloss (Water Manor house) was a mill at its earliest times which grew into the Manor house it is today over time. It is still occupied by descendants of the  family who have owned it for centuries. The title has been lost as the last Duke died leaving only daughters. Part of it was open for inspection

The tower at Wasserschloss. The wrought iron stair case is a later addition. Access was formall via a ladder to the small door almost half way up. Once inside the ladder could be drawn up leaving those inside safe from invaders (for as long as the food held out) It is said to have been the inspiration for Grimm's story of Rapunzel.

Hiedelberg's Holy Spirit Cathedral , famous for having existed for centuries as a divided church, with the Catholics in one portion and the Lutherans in the other. (dates in part from the 1300s)


Hermitage Museum Amsterdam. The contents of the museum were spectacular but I was captivated by these windows on the side of the museum


Store house Fredricstad Fort


Mini lighthouse at the mouth of a canal from the sea to a loch

Covesea lighthouse designed by a member of the Stephenson family (Robert Louis Stephenson's uncle) 

Decommissioned Church Glasgow, now 12 flats

 Interior of St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Whilst driving around Scotland on our trip in late August/early September 2017 I became fascinated by bridges. 2 in particular took my interest.

We happened to be in Scotland when the new long awaited and no doubt very expensive Queensferry Crossing Bridge opened.

The 1.7 miles (2.7km) structure is the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world and also by far the largest to feature cables which cross mid-span. This innovative design provides extra strength and stiffness, allowing the towers and the deck to be more slender and elegant. 

The bridge and its opening was mentioned to us by several people whilst we were in Edinburgh and it was pointed out to us from the top of the castle when we were there. Several people told us that their aunt/mother/friend had been lucky enough to get tickets to be pedestrians on the weekend when it was going to be open for pedestrians to walk over. We didn't think much of it. 

On the 30th of August we left Edinburgh heading north to visit FG's cousin in Canoustie. We put the address into the GPS and off we went. What we hadn't realised was that the bridge had actually opened to vehicular traffic that day - as a trial run - before it was closed again for pedestrians to use on the weekend and then be officially opened by the Queen the following week.

 SO.... we got to drive over the bridge on the first day that it opened. The traffic was pretty slow as lots of drivers were deliberately out for a drive that day to cross the bridge. They slowed down to admire the view and so we had to crawl along for some time. 

I snapped away madly as we drove over the bridge

 I love these massive swooping cables and the extended towers. 

The following day we continued north up the coast and near St Cyrus we turned off the road to explore a little by-way. In particular we had spotted a beautiful bridge which turned out to be an viaduct that is now part of a cycle path. The contrast between this old bridge and the railway bridge also visible from there was so very strong

A week or so later we drove across the Humber bridge
Once again I loved the cables stretching up, making their unique patterns agains the sky

At Kralupy, in the Czech Republic during our river cruise we had moored near a bridge built in the 1920s that was inspired by the Bauhaus movement.