Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Advent Calendar Pouches.

I've been selling my Advent Calendar Pouches for a while now but I was so delighted when one of my buyers sent me a photo of the pouches she purchased in all their glory! She was kind enough to let me show it off on my blog, so here they are!!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Other Art Fair. Part I.

I don't know why I've never been on TimeOut.com (when I've known about the magazine for years and years) ...a site with an abundance of information on things to do, something I am always seeking out as I always end up reading about things that have happened, or things that people have done...but I had never known about it myself until it was too late!
Anyway, I can't remember how I got on the site but I was browsing for a very long time and managed to fill in 2 Friday's and a Saturday...and lots of writing in my diary!
One of the first things I bought tickets for was 'The Other Art Fair'. I had wanted to go to 'The Affordable Art Fair' but was too busy at work to attend so when I had read about this on TimeOut.com, I was going to MAKE time! I was genuinely impressed with it and it reminded me of an 'art' version of London Fashion Week - quirky, fun and original! There was SO much to see and I took a million photos (thank you all who were happy for me to snap away!)...so, I have broken my 'review' on the Fair into three parts to make sure I talk about all that I loved!!
First is Clinton De Menezes whose work I didn't instantly gravitate to as I couldn't really see what it was from where I had been standing...however, my eagle-eye sister shouted over to get me to look at it up-close and WOW! There were mini-people inside the frames - they were the 'Art'! I was blown away by this and could have stared for hours, looking at all the detail and seeing what they were wearing! It really told a story to me, as if there was an Apocalypse and survivors are gathering in an open, deserted space....I watch too many films! His work is just amazing so if you want to see more, check out his website in the link above!
We then came across an origami installation by Kiwa Lam! This instantly caught my attention as it was 3D, I love origami and the colours looked beautiful together. I couldn't believe how detailed the 'bouquets' were and just check out the teeny-weeny ones in the frame!! Click the link above to see her works-in-progress...very fascinating!
'The Progression of Regression' by Mike Calway-Fagen was another interesting and unexpected piece I saw there.
Next is Gin Durham's ceramic pieces! I absolutely loved this stand and the detail was impeccable!
The alphabet boxes edged in gold were beautiful and there was a real sense of child psychology within all these pieces as they almost had a 'twisted' element to traditional child-like things.
My favourite piece were the fetish dolls! They looked so cute with their teeny black lips and beautiful rose design...totally unexpected but absolutely wonderful!
As my sister and I first made our way into the exhibition, we were photographed and when we were leaving, we spotted ourselves on the 'photo wall'! ...it was a piece of art itself!
I would definitely come to 'The Other Art Fair' again but I hope there will be other artists showing there too next time!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Folksy.

I don't think I've mentioned Folksy on my blog before, but it's basically a site to sell your handmade goods! I joined it ages ago but my Etsy shop was always my main priority.
However, Folksy have recently revamped their site with a new look and new rules. The new look is definitely my taste, white and clean...I thought the new logo was pretty cute too! One of the main new rules was also that handmade items, truly had to be handmade! This meant that I would not be able to sell my jewellery as they have been 'hand-assembled'...but this was not a worry! I liked that it had a different stance to other online handmade sites as I felt that it would also mean it would bring in a different type of customer...which is always interesting to see for those who sell handmade!
Below is a snapshot of my Folksy Shop which will predominantly be fabric based but it's nice that it is slightly different to my Etsy shop and it always encourages me to make more things besides jewellery!!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Film Review: Breaking Dawn Part I.

I don't know how my sister and I have done it, but we have always watched the Twilight films at the cinema on the first day of release since they came out in 2008...and we weren't going to break this routine when Breaking Dawn was released! From reading the books, I knew this was going to be a good one with lots of action and glad they decided to break it into two parts! A wedding, a pregnancy, a hybrid baby...the latter being the most interesting part to see! However, I will get to that later! The next best thing was of course the wedding! I was genuinely impressed with the set up and even more impressed with the subtle 1920's theme..1920's being my favourite decade of course!
Bella's dress was beautiful and I was amused that there was such a strong focus on it! Although I like her as Bella, I've never been blown away by Kristen Stewart's acting...but her nervous mood when walking up the aisle was very convincing and the whole scene was lovely to watch.
I also liked the short clips of the future and random visions as the book is predominantly narrated by Bella and I think the film really needed these deep surreal hints into her thoughts to keep it close to the book. I found these incredibly cheesy but Twilight has always been cheesy which is why I think I enjoy them so much!
Alice looked beautiful in her beaded 1920's flapper dress and I was so relieved that they finally sorted her hair out (and Rosalie's!), as I always thought it was awful!!
The film definitely starts to get more exciting when Bella discovers she is pregnant, with the 'baby' developing much faster than a normal/human embryo. Because the baby is a human/vampire hybrid, and Bella is human, there is risk that Bella will die...something that Edward cannot come to terms with and chooses to be rid of it! Remembering Rosalie's yearning for a child, Bella seeks her help for protection. I love Rosalie's character and I know she (Nikki Reed) is a brilliant actress, so I wish she had much more screen time.
During the pregnancy, Bella's body deteriorates and quite frankly, Kristen Stewart looks awful!!! She becomes frail and unrecognisable!
The birth scene was also brilliant!! Probably not great for those who are squeamish but I felt it was very well done and quite unexpected for a 'teen' film...which makes me wonder how brilliant the entire Twilight Saga could be if it was aimed at a more mature audience.
Nevertheless, it was a brilliant film and you can't help but notice the bigger budget gone into it! However, it definitely did not lose the charm it had in the first film...which was a relief and the last scene was a real 'wow' moment for me! I am desperate to see what they have in store for Part II now!!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

New Product.

 My father has been a goldsmith for over 40 years and I have been wanting to collaborate with him to produce some pieces for my Etsy shop for ages, and it isn't until now that I have been able to put it into action! I started off getting a basic design made first, a simple sterling silver band ring that is accompanied by my fully customisable handmade pouches! Available here.
I have been busy sketching some more ideas for my father to make and will post about them at a later date!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Film Review: Immortals. (2011)

I was so excited to watch this when I found out about it several months ago...not only is it 'from the producers of 300' (loved this film!), but it had my favourite Greek Gods in the cast! When I was at school, I was constantly exposed to Greek Mythology - whether it was part of the curriculum or if I had chosen it as an inspiration... so I have always had an interest in it.
I've already mentioned Freida Pinto in my 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' film review and I still felt the same thing watching her in 'Immortals' - nothing. She was an 'Oracle' and I thought it would be a good role for her to show her acting skills but I wasn't impressed...in fact, I kept thinking how the 'Oracle' in '300' would have been better, even though all she did was float around for a few minutes.
Apart from Freida Pinto and the fact I had to watch it 3D, everything else was great! The storyline was unique and apart from the fight scene between Theseus and a soldier with a Minotaur-shaped helmet, I found it all to be quite original with great effects!
Henry Cavill plays Theseus, a peasant who lives with his mother in a small village that is attacked by Mickey Rourke's character, King Hyperion ...and he is brilliant!! I had no doubt that he would play this character well as I've never actually seen him do a bad job, ever! I was very amused by his costumes though, especially his helmets! Actually, helmets in general were quite amusing to me throughout the entire film! I can't add another image to this blog entry as there is already quite enough, but Poseidon's helmet was just hilarious.
King Hyperion declares war on the Gods after his family dies from an illness and searches for the Epirus Bow, which he intends to use to release the Titans from Mount Tartarus, who are enemies to the Gods.
The Titans looked amazing and I wish they had much more screen time!!
Isabel Lucas really stood out to me although I'm not sure if I was more in awe of her costume (I work in Fashion so this can't be helped!)..or impressed with her acting (I would need to watch it a second time to see). Her interpretation as Athena was fantastic although I definitely yearned to see the interpretation of the other 'popular' Gods such as Aphrodite and Hades.
I felt that the film was very rich with content and I never got bored watching, my favourite scenes are definitely with the Gods which is also where there are most special effects and the ending is a little annoying because I would have given anything to see more!!! I couldn't compare it to '300' though, I see them as quite different... '300' was beautifully stylised but 'Immortals' had a more diverse storyline. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this film!!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Curious Creatures.

I came across a lovely Etsy shop called 'CuriousCreaturesShop', which specialises in jewellery, and I just had to blog about it! It is run by Larissa and what got my attention was actually the photography! Blue is my favourite colour and it was her use of this fresh, celestial blue in both her photography backgrounds and jewellery that really stood out! I am obsessed with branding so I really appreciated this!!
Her style of jewellery is also super chic, modern and wearable. I especially loved this blue tiger-eye beaded necklace, and its asymmetry...I think this would also be amazing as a cuff! Do check out her shop, there are some great things in there!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Things British - update.

I recently mentioned that I have been hiring a shelf at 'Things British', which is a new shop selling handmade goods, located in Carnaby Street, London.
If you read my entry, you will learn that I wasn't impressed with my merchandising effort at all and had to do something about it!
So, for the past couple of days, I have been analysing my shelf and making note of what I needed to do. One thing that I had to address immediately was to help explain what everything was! I can't believe I was expecting people to part with £20 on a Gold Vermeil necklace when there was no signage at all explaining that it was Gold Vermeil! I basically just left out lots of information!

I came across these little acrylic display stands on eBay and decided to get a few to help indicate what everything was and to also state the price as I hate it when I need to fiddle for a label to find the price! Everything on a shelf has to be labelled anyway though, but I think making the price visible is still important. These were super fun to make and I'm so glad I came across them and persevered with improving my shelf!
I prepared some more stock to take to Things British as it was in need of beefing up! This included several more ribbon-bound notebooks and also some pocket mirrors! When I arrived in Carnaby Street, I decided to visit Muji to see if there was anything else I could use as a display tool and found an acrylic compartment block, which I used to place some of my jewellery and the pocket mirrors (at the back). I spent about half an hour re-arranging everything and decided to have most of the jewellery out of the cellophane packaging so that customers were able to touch and try on if they wanted to. I felt so much better about it after I was done...and I hope you would agree!!
There is still more I can do though, like hanging some of the necklaces...but I have yet to find a good way to do this, while still keeping to the aesthetic of my brand...and something else instead of tags as I find them quite annoying! I am also pleased to say that one of my notebooks was placed at the front of the shop!
I am a bit of a perfectionist so don't be surprised if you see yet another blog entry about my shelf at Things British but if you're around Carnaby Street, do pop by and check the shop out...there are tons of great things for Christmas gifts! There is also a 20% SALE Event happening in the whole of Carnaby Street on the 17th November but you need to sign up to get free tickets for it!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Secret Circle.

I hadn't mentioned this in my entry about MCM Expo but my sister and I had recently finished the entire Smallville series and when we spotted Jessica Parker Kennedy at the event, we decided to go and say hello! She had a small role in Smallville as 'Plastique' but we both really liked her character and my sister wanted to get her autograph. Jessica was so lovely to talk to and much more beautiful in person! We also found out that she is in a new TV Series called 'The Secret Circle', which is about witches....and we knew we just had to watch it!!!
We've watched a few episodes now and although it started off quite slowly at first, we are hooked!!
The main character is Cassie Blake who is a 16 year old teenager and moves to Chance Harbor to live with her grandmother, when her mother is murdered - which is not to her acknowledgment. She only believes that her mother died in a fire.
She is befriended by five other students at school explaining to her that they all come from a history of witches, and that they need her to complete the 'circle' which makes them even more powerful. Of course she doesn't believe them but when magic starts happening, that is when the show becomes much more exciting!!
I was actually most surprised when I noticed Natasha Henstridge playing a Principal! This actually put me off the series a little, as there is no way she can go from playing a bad-ass alien chick in 'Species', to a simple Principal! However, her character quickly develops and it is clear that there is much more to see!
Jessica Parker Kennedy plays Melissa, and although her role starts off quite small, there is one episode when she is possessed by a demon and really excels at this!
Britt Robertson is Cassie, but I am still undecided about her. She hasn't really stood out to me yet, despite being the main character...and I actually found it a bit cliche that a 'pretty blonde girl' is the lead. I didn't like how she was styled and found her quite forgettable but I hope that her acting blossoms in the upcoming episodes. In fact, it is a similar feeling for most of the characters and that some of the more experienced actors really expose the less experienced ones.
However, on a better note...I am really liking the character of Faye Chamberlain, played by Phoebe Tonkin. Her character is unpredictable, selfish and power-mad...which makes it great to watch! She is standing out the most to me so far and reminds me of some of the characters from 1996 witch film 'The Craft'.
'The Secret Circle' is a mix between 'The Craft', 'Charmed' and some other current TV shows like 'The Vampire Diaries'. In fact, Cassie's grandmothers house actually looks like the house from 'Charmed'! 
I have huge hope for this show and I do hope it is successful as there is so much to explore and so much more character development to be made!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Things British.

A couple of months ago, I was sent a message from 'Things British' which was a new shop opening in Carnaby Street, in London ...and that they were specialising in selling handmade goods to the public.
I've often been emailed similar things before, but never paid attention due to lack of time. However, as this shop was going to be in London and in a great part of it too...it certainly peaked my interest! The deal was very simple - I would pay (a very good price) for shelf space, and that was all! I was set on involving myself with this, but found it very hard getting the time to prepare things for it as I was at the busiest period with my full-time job!
I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity as shelf space was going fast, so I decided to just dedicate a few hours over the weekend sorting it all out. There was so much to consider as apart from selling online, I hadn't really experienced any other selling method! I had to think about how I was going to package everything, label/price them...and most importantly, how I was going to display it!!

I decided to get some oversized postcards made via Vistaprint (very happy with the outcome!) as I offer such a variety of things that wouldn't fit on the shelf, so I hoped that people would take one and visit me online too!
Onto the hard part, packaging! As all of my charm necklaces are supplied with a matching pouch, I couldn't decide whether to leave them out or to package them in cellophane...I decided on the latter and popped a business card (made from MOO.com) into each one. I roughly laid my jewellery, some books and writing sets out on my table and took a quick snap oh how I hoped it would be merchandised on my shelf.
The evening before I had my shelf booked, I took everything to Things British in a box and with no time to merchandise it myself, hoped for the best! The shop was also so lovely and in a great location. There is an abundance of things to look at and I was pleased to notice the products of some fellow Etsy sellers there too!
It wasn't until another 2 weeks that I was able to stop by again to look at my shelf for the first time and it definitely didn't look like how I had hoped! It was exactly how I had displayed it at home, but it unfortunately did not look the same on a shelf. It was clear that I had much more to learn about Visual Merchandising and I found a new appreciation for the skill. 
My shelf just looked boring and I felt there was no personality...and if I was a customer, I don't think I would hang around my shelf for long! I also thought it was quite flat and made a mental note of getting some more acrylic display stands into place! 
Darrell, the Director, also gave me some good advice on how to improve my shelf and feedback on some of the things I had sold. So regardless of how I felt about my shelf, things had still sold, which was a positive! I just knew I couldn't leave it how it was...and coincidentally had taken a week 'holiday' off work and decided to utilise some of this time to sorting it out properly!! An update on this will be published soon!