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awe and wonderment

The greatest thing to come out of the internet, in my opinion, is Pinterest. I have a great hatred for the internet as you have to trawl through mountains of adverts, untruths and useless information, but Pinterest is uniquely spectacular. As a designer, illustrator, Craftisan (and gardener), I rely on this for a daily dose of inspiration. I liken it to shopping on-line, without any expense! Imagine walking around a country sized supermarket with a train-length line of shopping trolleys. Each shopping trolley has a different theme of your choosing and as you walk about the shop, put stuff what you like in your trolleys. If you really like something, you'll find hundreds of related items all in one place, but if you are not careful, you will wander miles from your original search, on a path of total awe and wonderment!. I can easily spend a whole day on Pinterest. Without doubt it is the greatest source of inspiration, mood lifter and intriguing place I can immerse myself into for hours.

My favourite thing about Pinterest is that you can view un-sellable things people have made for themselves, such as mosaic tiled stairways, tree branch stained glass front doors or wind propelled, musical instrument garden sculptures which would never be sale items on Etsy or Ebay. It is easy to save all of your Pins (interests), so you have a constant record of the new things you've discovered. If the internet were to go down, this is the the only site I would miss and regret not being able to continue using. I am constantly spell-bound by things I discover. What I love is that when people make something for their home, the attention to detail is mind-blowing and seeing an item specifically crafted to a certain space, theme or environment inspires so many possibilities!

When I start developing a new range, the first port of call is to see if the product is already being made by someone else. I start by googling images and then check Pinterest. On the odd occasion, I will find my idea has already been done. At this point, I analyse as to whether I could develop it further and better it so it will stand out from the rest, or whether to scrap the idea. One of my strictest rules is to always buy the best materials/embellishments I can. Eg Holly leaves for the top of Christmas pudding pom poms. I noticed most people only used felt leaves and berries, or small, shop bought pom poms. I tried many experiments with various beads, bells and pom poms and eventually chose 10 mm silk holly leaves and red, craft pearl beads. The extra few pence spent produced a unique, high quality piece. My Christmas puddings really stood out, oozing quality, creativity and individuality. If I couldn't have significantly improved the initial design, I wouldn't have put the puddings into production. I learnt very early on, that using the best supplies you can is vital, for confidence to know your work is the best it can possibly be.

Once the new piece is made, I then go to Etsy to see how much it should be sold for. I am struggling a little with Etsy at the moment. I recently listed my pom pom Easter bunnies, and when I went to see where they were in an Etsy search, I was truly shocked by how many irrelevant items were listed before my bunnies, which appeared on about page 5 after baby clothes and other such nonsense. I was also quite appalled with some quality of listed items which were far more expensive than mine. I feel people searching are going to get fed up trawling through pages of poor quality and irrelevant listings, meaning a lot of nice stuff is never going to get viewed. I am sticking with it though, as I have good reviews and have quite a few sales. Understanding Etsy is on my 'To Do' list!

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