Featuring Hope the Black Dog

Welcome to this week’s Feature Friday! This week we introduce the lovely Amy Donoghue from Hope the Black Dog

square logo (1)Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?
Hi! I’m Amy from hope the black dog, and I make DIY kits and gifts promoting positivity and mental health awareness. I donate £1 from every sale to Mind charity. I’m based in Nottingham and I live with my fiancé and my two pet rats, Marie and Rosa.

Do you sell on any other platforms?
My best selling platform is actually through Instagram , I do a lot of giveaways and discounts on there, and I love the friendly community that I’m part of over there.

Tell us a little bit about how and where you work?
I have different “stations” around the house where I do different tasks. I do any sewing on the sofa in front of the TV, I make necklaces at the dining table, I take my photos in the spare room under the window, and I package and wrap my parcels in the corner of the living room!

hopetheblackdogWhat inspires your work?
When I was diagnosed with Anxiety, it was actually about 15 years too late. And the reason for this was because I just didn’t know anything about mental illness. I thought depression was just about self-harm and I felt like the only conversations happening about mental health were in a negative light. What I wanted to do with Hope the Black Dog is promote discussion about the realities of living with mental illness. I wanted to talk positively about it, about the huge victories that we have every day, and how much stronger, empathetic and understanding our struggles make us. And by making it pretty, and making it empowering, it encourages people to talk, to get help and to understand.

sashayawayI am just wondering if you want to talk in any more detail about your journey getting help?  It’s been a really long journey from my childhood anxiety to where I am now. I didn’t understand ANYTHING about mental illness, so for a very long time I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I didn’t think that people like me got things like that. It wasn’t until a friend very similar to me admitted to having depression when we were at University together that I began to realise that anyone can have a mental health problem. I started investigating all of the physical symptoms that I was having, and all of them could be related to Anxiety (things like digestive troubles, acne, back pains, food intolerances, thinning hair, fatigue …. ). So that was when I went into the doctors and after bursting out crying for about ten minutes, I eventually managed to get the words out “I think I have anxiety”. It wasn’t until about a year later that I was able to admit to myself that I had suffered from depression too. I felt like it would be insulting to my family, or mean that I have failed at picking a satisfying job, or my friends were letting me down. I know that’s complete rubbish NOW but at the time it was terrifying. The doctors were so kind and so patient with me, and referred me to therapy, and explained my options when it came to medication too. I’ve been going back and getting more advice and more help on a monthly basis, and I’ve had two separate courses of CBT, as well as a couple of medications, and now I feel like I’ve got my life back. Sure, the side effects are difficult, but I feel like I’m getting back to the happy, carefree girl I was before the anxiety took hold, and I’m going to keep working hard to cherish that!

ilovemyblackdogWhat you would advise someone to do if they think they might need help? My advice would be, if you’re even suspicious about a mental health issue, please go and talk about it. The doctors have heard far worse and won’t be baffled, and if you don’t feel like they handle it as well as you’d like – go see another one until someone does. It’s scary but it is so, so worth it.

How do you find managing a business on your bad days – if in fact you still have bad days? It can be hard when you’re having a bad day. My bad days aren’t as bad as they used to be, but they do come along. I do a “little quit” where I accept that I’m not going to get anything done right at this moment on the business side, I give myself a rest, and then when I’m ready I do something else. Even if it’s something small like making a cup of tea. Do one tiny thing. Eventually I’ll either feel like I’m ready to do some work, or I’ll try and be kind to myself that at least I did something today. Aim for a non-zero day so that tomorrow you won’t feel bad about yesterday.

Speaking from my own experience I think openly talking about mental health with your partner is one of the most rewarding and valuable things you can do. I wonder how much you would say this is true and what your experience is of this? My fiance and I have been together for about 7 years now, and for 5 of those years I had no idea I was dealing with mental illnesses. When I decided to talk to my doctors about it, I mentioned it to Matthew and he didn’t bat an eyelid. He wasn’t judgy, or flippant, he didn’t try and persuade me that it “was just a phase” or tell me “you’re just stressed” as I was expecting. He gave me a hug, he made me a cup of tea and we talked about why I thought I had anxiety. He’s not a man of many words but the ones he did say were just right. We talk openly about the limits of my anxiety, and he’s very understanding when I message him 85 times because I had a horrible vision that he might have been attacked on the way home, or that I throw a huge tantrum when he leaves a cupboard door open, even though I’ve made a mess of the whole rest of the house! He’s so pleased and proud of my journey, not just that I’m a much nicer person to live with now that I have learned to cope better, but because we are both so pleased to have mental health talked about so much more openly.

positive pantsI can relate to so much of that! Many congratulations on your engagement, Matthew sounds so supportive… so have you set a date for the wedding yet?
Yes, we’re having a very laid back, floral affair in London with a fish and chip tea! Quite vintagey and a lot of recycled flowery fabrics.

Oooh – sounds lovely and like a lot of fun pulling all the vintage bits and bobs together! What  are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my newest product line which is embroidered “body-positive” pants. The diet culture and social expectation upon females in particular, but everybody generally, is so damaging for our self-esteem and positivity. These pants are embroidered with empowering words to give you a boost under your clothes!

What a fantastic idea, I’ll be sure to check them out when they’re launched. How have you found your Etsy journey so far?
I have absolutely loved it. I found the social media side really hard at first, until I found Instagram. The best thing has been meeting so many wonderful people who have become close friends already, particularly within the Nottingham Etsy Team. Sales are picking up and my presence is growing!

That’s fantastic to hear and encouragement to newbie sellers like to me to keep going with it! Any lessons learned so far that you would like to share with other Etsy makers or online sellers?
Just start. Don’t wait until you think it’s perfect, make a start and work on it from there. It takes time and the sooner you begin, the sooner you will start succeeding!

 

Sounds like very good advice to anyone on the Etsy Resolution course who still hasn’t opened their shops! It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset of perfecting something, never feeling it is good enough and then not moving forward. I’m glad that I just went for it in the end as opening the shop is just the beginning, things will always be getting improved along the way.

Your favourite make so far?
My first make, and my first sale was the kit for ‘Anxiety Is My Super Power‘. I made this because it summed up my feelings about my anxiety. Yes, it’s been terrifyingly hard at times, but Anxiety has also made me achieve so much. It’s also the basis for changing my life and creating my little business, which has been the best thing I have ever done.

Your best seller?
Until recently, it was my ‘This Too Shall Pass’ kit , it’s a very powerful message to lots of people. And since I listed it, my ‘Hug’ Boxes are doing really well too!

 

My favorite makes from the shop are the ‘W’ anchor necklace (you have to check out this cheeky little make, it’s so cool), the ‘Above All Be Kind’ embroidery hoop, ‘Paralysis by Analysis’ and ‘Pijamas All Day’ embroidery hoops as well as all the cute little necklaces. For the sewers out there the little sewing pin emboridery hoops necklaces are a must! There is so much more in the shop to treat yourself to! 

What’s next for your shop?
More clothing kits, more craft fairs and more sales!

Your Etsy crush?
So many! I absolutely adore Deborah Panesar Illustration , as a business woman and as a person.

I am also so grateful for the introduction of CMarshallArts into my life, both personally and professionally.

They are both very talented, I love their customized pet portraits, gorgeous! Your favourite Etsy purchase?
My favourite Etsy purchase is one in the making! The lovely Dawn from DawnysSewingRoom is currently working on a craft fair money belt for me in a gorgeous bright pink flamingo fabric. I already know it’s going to be amazing!

Thanks for that, I love the bright pink flamingo fabric, I’m sure you’re money belt will make quite the statement!  The beer bottle top apron is a great idea for a fathers day gift too!

Thanks so much to Amy for getting involved this week. For me personally it’s refreshing to see products that celebrate and highlight metal health in such a positive way. I think Amy is incredibly courageous to talk so openly and honestly about her story, I find her a real inspiration. All of her positive mental health embroidery hoops and embroidered gifts are available to buy in her shop… please pop over and say hi if you are on Instagram, it’s fab account!  Amy is contactable across social media platforms, please do show some support: 

Etsy shop: hopetheblackdog.etsy.com
Instragram: Instagram.com/hopetheblackdog
Facebook: facebook.com/hopetheblackdog
Pinterest: pinterest.com/hopetheblackdog
Twitter: twitter.com/h0petheblackd0g
website: www.hopetheblackdog.com

See you next week where we will be speaking to the very talented Becky Hogan from Little Wisteria… can’t wait!

Leanne x

PS I’ve quickly run off and bagged myself two DawnysSewingRoom pink flamingo bandannas for my pooches, couldn’t resist! Readers can watch this space… I’ll upload a picture very soon of them sporting their hot pink outfits!

PPS If you love animals then check out this weeks Leapup blog where it’s strictly about the doggie bling… it’s a double bill where we meet two talented Etsy makers. Dog lovers won’t want to miss it! 

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Camera Intervention?

by Steve Warren

So, it turns out here at Rose Filtered HQ we’ve developed a slight addiction to collecting retro vintage cameras. This was by no means an intentional choice, it just kind of happened. It all started with the idea of making little vintage style postcards for our Etsy shop of old retro cameras. Ebay showed a fantamy first camerastic range of vintage cameras, going for a huge range of prices, just a few careless clicks and we’d have to sell an awful lot of postcards to make this project worthwhile!

After a LOT of research we bagged two very cute looking Kodak Instamatic cameras for £1.20 – total bargain! (OK, so postage was £8.95 so not that much of a bargain but still pretty cheap). Lots of fun was had photographing these great little cameras but I quickly realised that if these were going to be postcards we could really do with a few different ones to make a set. So back onto ebay and look for more cameras… the bank account quivering in fear….! I bagged my current favourite, a Kodak Instamatic 100 model for just £4.

 

Then a venture up into the loft leads to a surprise find – my old camera from my younger years. We do own a retro camera after all! As I removed the worn leather case what did I find – only a Kodak Instamatic 50, woo hoo!!! What are the chances!  A worthy addition to the set.

love photographySo, if you’ve been keeping mental notes you’ll have realised that’s 4 retro cameras, which means a set of 4 postcards – perfect. That’s pretty much what I imagined when I set out on this project. So no need for any more cameras then. Well you’d think not. Have I been endlessly looking on ebay at more Instamatic cameras? Yes. Do I have an Instamatic 204 and 300 on the way to me as I write? Afraid so. Do I have a bid currently on two more Instamatic cameras? I think you probably know the answer. Does Leanne know about these latest purchases? She will when she reads this. How much trouble will I be in? Probably lots. Do I need an intervention? Maybe…

Our retro camera postcards will be available from our Etsy shop later in June.

Additional notes by Leanne Warren: Yes an intervention is required! I’m also slightly gutted that Steve didn’t get the retro Polaroid camera with the rainbow stripes that I’ve been hinting about all week… it soo cute and I might start stamping my feet and spitting my dummy out if we can’t include that in the postcard set. I think we might both need an intervention but only once I’ve bagged a Polaroid – that or a new house to store them all plus a win on the lottery.

 

 

Featuring Jes Hooper Pyrography

This week we introduce Jes Hooper. When I saw her illustrations I immediately knew they needed sharing, she’s a very talented lady as I’m sure you’re about to agree!

Introducing Jes Hooper PyographyCould you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?

Picture 1 Jes Hooper, photo credit to Thom Undrell

Photo credit artist and photographer:  Thom Undrell

I am a freehand pyrography (or “wood burning”) artist living in Brighton, Sussex. I am a self taught artist with an interest in animal behaviour and ecology. My material of choice is oak, and I work with local Sussex mills to source reclaimed timber that has interesting grains but would otherwise go to waste. I use large oak planks to create pointillism artwork, where I burn thousands upon thousands of dots into the surface of the wood that merge in the viewers eye to form complex images. I started wood burning in November 2015 as a hobby to lift my spirits during a lengthy time of unemployment. Having never been taught how to draw or burn, I posted my first attempts on Instagram to find there was a keen interest in my work and my art style. That month I set up my Etsy shop selling small wooden gifts, and just three months later I became a self-employed artist. Now in my shop you will find my original oak artworks and an ever increasing range of personalised home decor and gifts.

My artwork is also on sale at the Oriental Brighton throughout May as part of the Artists Open Houses exhibition, and at Thomas Rainsford Art Gallery in Brighton all year round.  I also sell my artwork and take commissions via my website and I will be attending Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace in September.

Tell us a little bit about how and where you work? 

 

For me, what started as a hobby quickly turned my already cramped bedroom into a chaotic workshop. Pine boards and huge slabs of beech were crammed under my bed, tree branch sections were drying (and often moulding) on all my shelves, and everything from wooden spoons to oak boards and various power tools were precariously stacked in piles on the floor. Essentially, everything you see in my studio pics was once crammed into my bedroom.

Then there was the problem of preparing the wood- I needed space for sanding.  This literally involved me chasing small sections of branch around our conservatory floor with a sander. Fun fact: I have tiny hands! Holding a piece of cross section with one hand and a sander in the other is somewhat of an advanced skill I have yet to master. One day, as I was playing tag with another piece of wood, my dad walks in and gives me a stern look… I’ve covered our entire conservatory in a blanket of sawdust. That’s it I thought-game over. Two minutes later he comes back into the room, and nails in a make shift clamp to the floorboards to make it easier for me – my Dad is one in a million!

A week or two later, we were both hauling out the furniture, and setting up the space as my studio. It has changed my life! I now produce large pointillism pieces which I was previously unable to do for lack of space. I can store all my tools and materials in one place. I can organise everything so I know what stock I have, what pieces I am working on, what materials need preparation, and I have areas for wood drying and oiling/waxing final pieces.

This is all however only a temporary workspace. In the coming months I will be joining my boyfriend, a professional carpenter, and his work colleagues in their new carpentry workshop, which is a beautiful converted barn in the Sussex countryside. I’ll be surrounded by wood, machinery, and farm animals- what more could a girl want?

Your new work space sounds amazing… and idyllic. I hope you manage to get some work done rather than spending all day admiring the views!

What inspires your work? 

noggindude

 

My main inspiration comes from my experiences travelling and working as an animal behaviourist. When I select oak I look carefully at the grain. Often I will place a piece if oak board in my studio in full view whilst I work, spending days glancing at it to really determine what the grain would represent in an animal’s environment. I then burn an image of an animal into the grain in a way which represents it’s interaction with its natural habitat. For example, “Noggin dude” (two sea turtles) depicts two sea turtles surfing the current, as sea turtles in the wild use currents as a tool for migrating to their breeding and feeding sites.

What are you currently working on? 

Picture 7 giclee printAt the moment I am working on a special collection of limited edition giclee prints. I really wanted to make my artwork accessible to everyone, which is not always possible to do when each pyrography piece takes weeks (if not months) to complete and are one-of-a kind art pieces that cannot be reproduced. Prints on the other hand, are a great way to offer affordable artwork, making my artwork accessible to more people.

In the past few weeks I have been making a start on a collection of ocean inspPicture 6. Giclee printired pointillism artwork on paper, to accompany my pyrography artwork. Like my pyrography work each drawing is comprised of thousands upon thousands of dots drawn freehand, which merge in the viewers eye to form detailed images. Each drawing is reproduced as a giclee print, the highest quality in fine art printing, all printed locally to me in Brighton to support the local art community.

How have you found your Etsy journey so far?

I am relatively new to Etsy, having set up my shop in late November 2015 when I started pyrography as a hobby. I have found Etsy is a great way to display art and craft and offers a unique opportunity to interact with people from all over the world. I love the way in which it is a personal platform which allows sellers to show not only their craft but their creative journey and their inspirations. I am still working hard to make my Etsy shop the best it can be, but the support from different Etsy teams and administrators is really helpful and I have found a supportive home in the online Etsy communities.

Any lessons learned so far that you would like to share with other Etsy makers or online sellers?

My biggest lesson learned so far has been product photography. I found taking pictures of my work was quite challenging when working from home as I had limited space and natural light. With practice and a lot of trial and error I now have pictures that I am happy with, though I am always learning and improving where I can.

Your favourite make so far?

My favourite make so far has been my seahorse art pieces, because I can create endless shapes and patterns working with the grain and different burning techniques.

Your best seller?

My best seller on etsy is my homeware range, with my personalised wooden utensil sets a particular favourite. I like making utensil sets because the small surface space presents a unique challenge in design and intricate burning. I also love to create personalised items because I get an insight into the person who the item is intended for, like being let in to a strangers life for just a moment.

Your Etsy crush?

It has to be “Pocket Moss“, a shop run by Zoee Nuage. Zoee make the most magically cute folklore accessories. Plus, mushrooms. You have to check out her shop to understand!

There are so many cute and adorable makes, I can see why you love it!

pocketmoss

 

What’s your favourite Etsy purchase?

My favourite Etsy purchase so far is a lovely little coin purse made by TotesByWendy. I always find myself perusing through material wares. I can’t work out how to thread a sewing machine let alone make something!

 Where can we find you on the web to come and say ‘hi’?

Etsy: www.JesHooperPyrography.etsy.com

Website: www.jeshooper.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jeshooperpyrography

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jeshooperpyrography

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JesHooperArt

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jeshooperpyrography

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/JesHooperArt

Handmade Fair: http://www.thehandmadefair.com/whats-on/shopping/jes-hooper

Thanks so much to Jes and please pop over and take a look at her lovely makes and if you can go and say hello on social media I’m sure she’d love to hear from you. Every little bit of support you give means so much to artists and makers! In the shop there’s lots more to see and it’s well worth a look!

Next Friday on Rose Filtered we will be featuring Amy Donoghue from Hope the Black Dog I hope you can make it!

Leanne x

PS if you’ve still got time we have something completely different over on the Leapup blog this week… we feature Laura Bittles from Ip Dip Design with her quirky, colourful designs, well worth a look. Enjoy!

Featuring Natalie North Design

It’s that #FeatureFriday time of the week again where we say hello to an Etsy seller and get a look into their world, their inspiration and take a look at some of their lovely makes. I’m really please to be featuring Natalie North this week from Natalie North Design. Natalie is local to Rose Filtered HQ, she’s based up here in sunny Newcastle upon Tyne and I absolutely love her first range of geometric line designs. Welcome to Natalie North Design…

 

Hi! Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?

Hello my name is Natalie and I am a designer; I’ve been classifying myself this way for so long because I’ve always felt like I was one. Now that I have my shop up and running on Etsy I feel I can back this statement up, not just with sporadic projects but a fully developed product line!

Logo

After I graduated from my degree in Architectural Venue Design I felt the same pressures as most to get that perfect job that made all the training worth while so I went
out into the world with the sole focus of getting a design job. Within 6 months of working for a playground design company I knew that I was on the wrong path and needed to reassess. I looked back at the projects I had enjoyed most and the work I was most proud of still. For the most part I realised the things I loved most were not the structures themselves but the imagery of them. Close ups, shadows, all the patterns that 3D elements make so that’s when I decided creating patterns should be my new path.

Since this moment I have been honing my process, and my Etsy shop is a reflection of this. I like to think of all my items as statement pieces adding a little bit of something extra to everyday items. I developed my cushions first as I love adding special touches to my home and hope to expand my business into a bespoke interior design service over the coming years. I added a range of items in the same launch patterns that I like to think add an element of style to someone’s everyday carry. At the moment my Etsy shop just stocks the 3 patterns I launched with but over the coming months I hope to expand with further patterns and products.

Do you sell on any other platforms and if so could you tell us about those? Alongside my Etsy shop I have built my own website to showcase my designs. I worked with the Squared Space platform to build it; not only for the flexibility when building but also their relationship with Stripe. The payment system Stripe allows me to take secure payments through my website and reassure my customers that I am a professional.

I also sell in a store in Newcastle where I am based. The shop Whosit & Whatsit is situated on the Quayside and supports independent designers. The shop is a cornucopia of treats and I often come away with something unique to add to my home or as a gift. All the staff are really friendly and have helped me to push my business further.

The shop sounds fab, I haven’t checked it out yet but it’s now top of my to do list!

I’m working hard to make my designs available in other shops and have meetings at the end of the month with shops in Guernsey so watch this space! 

Ooh, that sounds exciting, I have my fingers crossed for you!

 

Tell us a little bit about how and where you work? My workspace is pretty flexible and I’ve actually found myself working in some pretty strange places like the ferry or a coffee shop! I create each pattern by hand using a stylus on my iPad. I researched a lot of
different applications and stylus before selecting the ones I currently used, created by Studio 53. I found that they simulated hand drawing as an action the best for me while maintaining the vector finish that my aesthetic required.

For me each design I work on is a balancing act with a moment of decision after almost every stroke. With each pattern I aim to create a striking yet minimal pattern so it is important to not overcrowd the space but also not leave the design feeling empty. I generally start with the colours; I like to work with 3-4 different colours as I have always felt that minimal doesn’t have to mean black and white! Once I have picked out the tones  I start the process of building the pattern up; for this line of patterns I worked with lines only but for the next line I’ll be working with shapes as well.

The flexibility of my iPad means that I can work on my design whenever inspiration hits hence the weird workings spaces! When it comes to finishing the designs though I always work in the same space, my living room. Each design is refined and adapted for the various products on my computer at home which is hooked up to my television enabling me to blow my designs up to large scale and really get the details right.

After each file is finalised the work with my specialised printers begins; I chose early on to work with professional printers as I knew that I wanted to have a high end finish that I couldn’t achieve at this stage. I work with two printers to deliver my designs, one that specializes in high end textile printing and another for the items that involve paper. They are both British companies and I am proud to be an entirely made in Britain designer.

The process to finalise the items I currently have in my Etsy shop was a long one as I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect and consistent with each and every item that went out. I have to say that I am really happy with result and can’t wait to launch the next line of designs!

 

What inspires your work? Geometry, Pattern, and Straight Lines. When I look back at my work across all the fields I have dabbled in there is definitely one constant, my aesthetic. I have always leaned towards working with straight lines and geometry. From the scaffolding structure I built during my BTEC to the Stringwall I installed while volunteering at the Silk Mill Museum I have always worked with the straight lines and the patterns they make. This aesthetic still inspires me and I draw a lot of my starting imagery from architecture and modern art. I have always loved Piet Mondrian and I feel that it is his use of colour that pushes me to avoid the black and white of traditional minimalism.

So many things influence me on a day to day basis but if any of you are looking for a healthy dose of daily design inspiration you can never go wrong with Dezeen!

What are you currently working on?  I’m currently developing both new designs and new products to expand my shop. The big plan is to launch a new line of three more designs by the end of the summer and, as I mentioned earlier, I am toying with shape for these designs and I am really excited about the way they are developing. Alongside this I am developing some new products to expand the range of my designs available for your home. Natalie North Design has always been planned to evolve into a bespoke interior design service so I’m hoping through the introduction of more homewares we can continue to move towards this goal!

That’s sounds like a fantastic vision you have for your business and based on what we’ve seen of your designs I’m sure it’s going to be great success. 

How have you found your Etsy journey so far? In Etsy I have found a whole new community of supportive and fascinating people! It has been so much more than a vehicle for developing my business and has actually linked me to the people that I go to with my wins, my disappointments, and to ask advice. I couldn’t recommend it more highly to anyone considering it; not only is it a great place to show off your creations but a great way to meet like minded people! I have to agree with you on that one, it has been a little bit of a relief and inspiration meeting so many like minded people all on similar journeys facing different business and personal challenges, with the same doubts and insecurities. It really is a fantastic and supportive community!

 

Any lessons learned so far that you would like to share with other Etsy makers or online sellers? The biggest lesson I have learnt is to get your manufacturers form in early. It is easy to be daunted by it and worry that your printers won’t get approved but it is nothing to worry about! The team at Etsy are really good and understand that for some of us the creative process benefits from some professional equipment that we can not access on our own. Although the team are great the process can be lengthy and I made the mistake of trying to perfect my shop before submitting which ultimately slowed my progress down. So that would be my advice if you work with a printer or other outside help submit your manufacturer application early and perfect your shop while you wait for it to be approved!

 

Your favourite make so far? My favourite make so far has been the Asymmetric Scatter Double Sided Cotton Cushion.

Cotton Cushions

 

Everyone that sees it in person comments on how much they like it and how they love how simple it is; I always smile politely and thank them while silently lamenting about how complex it actually was to finish!

The pattern itself wasn’t too bad as I had quite a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve in my mind although this is still 1 of 5 designs that I tried! The true complexity came when organising it on the cushion. I experimented with a few different placements before deciding that I wanted the pattern to originate all from one corner spanning out across the cushion. Working on the templates for this was a little trickier than another alternative but I was determined; the cushion then went back and forth with the printer several times, each time adjusting how the patterns met each other at the seam, until it was perfect. I’m so happy with the result and wouldn’t change a thing but can’t help silently cursing every time I hear how wonderfully simple it is!

Isn’t that always the way though? A lot of people seem to think that everything is simple, until they try it themselves! They maybe never appreciate how much time, effort and work goes into each piece, but I’m sure many, especially designers, will see it for the simple perfection that it is and appreciate the work it took getting there. Maybe now you’ve done this article hopefully your fans might have more of an appreciation too 🙂 Your best seller? At the moment my notebooks are my bestseller; I think the A6 size and slimness appeals to people. At this size they are great for slipping into a bag for jotting down your day to day thoughts. I even market them as ‘everyday carry’ because I know that I always have one with me for noting down my thoughts and important things to remember!

A6 Notebooks

What’s next for your shop? The next big thing will be the launch of my new line of patterns at the end of the summer but also keep your eyes peeled for different products over the coming months! Very exciting I certainly will keep a look out and maybe you can come back and share your lovely makes after your new products are launched.

 

Your Etsy crush: For my Etsy crush I’m torn between EcoDeer and GingerbreadJewellery.

 

The concept behind EcoDeer, they make me chuckle every time I see them, paired with their minimal aesthetic makes them an awesome shop in my books. They make plant versions of mounted antlers, it sounds weird but they are great – check them out! I love these, as a veggie having an antler head on the wall, even a cardboard or felt one isn’t quite my cup of tea, but plants and flowers displayed in this way are lovely, so unique and right up my alley! 

GingerbreadJewellery create beautiful and fun food inspired jewellery that make perfect gifts! I especially love their macaroon bracelets – so sweet! Excuse the pun.

 

Excused, I think every blog article should have at least one pun! I love the colours of the macaroons, yum! They really do look good enough to eat. The whole shop looks delicious and I hope my bestie isn’t reading as she’ll know what she’s getting for her birthday. 😉

 

Your favourite Etsy purchase? I have to say that my favourite buy from Etsy was a felt card from Mombi & Ted. Theirmombiandted shop is  full to the brim with fun gifts and well worth a visit if you need something to smile at! When I saw their Lumpy Space Princess, Adventure Time birthday card I couldn’t resist! It sums her character up perfectly and when I handed it over to the birthday girl she really laughed! In fact I think she liked it more than the gift I had bought for her!

 

Where can we find you on the web to come and say ‘hi’? 

Etsy Shop: www.natalienorthdesign.etsy.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nattily6/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natalienorthdesign

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nat_Tily

My Website: www.natalienorthdesign.com

A huge thank you to Natalie for sharing her story so far. Please, please, please if you have read this far could you (pretty please) take a moment to share this article to help spread the word about Natalie’s beautiful designs… the link to this article is: http://wp.me/p7t6oh-da

If you want to tweet it or post on Facebook that would be soooo appreciated. It’s hard work getting products seen and getting the message out with all the Etsy, Facebook and Google algorithm changes, it means we rely on readers to help spread the word more than ever! I hope you have a moment to browse the full range in Natalie’s shop and don’t forget to check back in a couple of months for her summer collection!

Next Friday we will be featuring Jes Hooper Pyrography, I hope you pop back for a read! 

Leanne x

PS you might also be interested in reading about some gorgeous paper cuts that are showcased on my Leapup #FeatureFriday blog post. If you get a chance pop over and meet the very talented Natasha Sorelli from Natsula Designs

 

The recipe for deconstructing a dandelion clock

Ingredients

  • Canon EOS 450D
  • Sigma DC 18-50 f2.8 EX lens
  • Tripod
  • An intact dandelion clock
  • Blu-tack
  • Tweezers
  • Black bed sheet
  • Too much time on my hands
  • Persistence
  • A healthy amount of anal retentiveness

Method

Step 1 – find a healthy looking dandelion clock

This proved to be an easy task. I went down to my local park and they were there in abundance. I selected the best looking one then realised what step two would entail….

Step 2 – get in-tact dandelion clock back home

Given these things have evolved to be masters of wind borne seed dispersal this was not as easy as I first thought. Let’s just say my journey home attracted a few strange looks from passers-by.

Step 3 – set up studio

My original plan was to photograph the dandelion in colour against a black background. I hung the black bed sheet on the wall behind the dining room table which was positioned next to a south facing window for optimum natural light conditions. I set up my tripod and placed a reflector (home made from scrunched up tin-foil stuck to a piece of card. Hey – it works brilliantly) opposite the window to reflect some natural light and fill the shadows.

Step 4 – get photographing!

The first photo was of the whole dandelion clock. This proved to be the easiest shot as it was a case of simply holding the dandelion in front of the lens. I don’t own a dedicated macro lens (though I would love one) but my trusty Sigma lens has a very close minimum focussing distance which came in very handy here. I shot at the maximum focal length of 50mm and went for an aperture of f11 to give good overall sharpness but soften the edges of the seeds.

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Step 5 – deconstruct

Once I was happy with the ‘full clock’ photo I started the deconstructed images. I began by carefully removing an individual seed using a secretly commandeered pair of Leanne’s eyebrow tweezers (shhh.. don’t tell her) and positioning it in front of the lens, rooted in a blob of blu-tack. I moved the camera in as close as my lens would allow at 50mm and shot at f16 for good depth of field. All that was left was  a bit of Photoshop work to re-create the bottom of the seed that had been lost in the blu-tack.

IMG_5483

Step 6 – the ring of irritation (yes, I realise how that sounds…)

I had subconsciously left the most challenging shot until last. I wanted a perfect circle of individual dandelion seeds to mirror the shape of the original dandelion clock but show a simple, uncluttered composition highlighting the essence of the dandelion. All very well in theory – not so easy in practice! Employing the same blu-tack tweezer method as for the single seed I intricately placed 7 seeds in a perfect semi-circle…… did I say perfect semi-circle? Well, after reviewing the first batch of shots they were all far from perfect. This is where I had to draw on my many hours of playing Operation as a child. If I could remove all those organs without a single buzz then I could damn well make a perfect semi-circle of dandelion seeds! After a LOT of intricate tweezer work I eventually got a shot I was happy with (the persistence and healthy amount of anal retentiveness well and truly used up by this point).

Next up was a lot of intricate Photoshop work to clone out the blu-tack and re-create the missing seed ends.

IMG_5495

Step 7 – Computer time

To create the full circle of seeds I took the semi-circle image and flipped it 180 degrees to create the bottom half of the circle then cloned out the overlapping seeds. So now I had my final set of dandelion images against a black background but I wasn’t happy with the final look. I played around with the levels but still wasn’t happy with them. I decided to try inverting the images in Photoshop. This converted the black background to white and turned the dandelions blue – a little strange, so I desaturated the images to make them black and white and adjusted the levels to improve the contrast.

Conclusion

I finished off with some careful cropping and finally ended up with a set of images I was pleased with. I hope you enjoy them too! Our deconstructed dandelion print is available to buy here in our Etsy shop.

 

Rustic_dandelion_3square

Feeling Creative?

Hello creative followers, family and friends just a note to let you know that I have an Etsy voucher that gives you 40 free lsitings on Etsy to sell your products – so you can give it a try and see what you think! If you’re seriously thinking of selling your creative makes on-line you could try starting with an Etsy shop as it’s a seriously low risk strategy, with minimal investment required (logo, your products and that’s about it). Pretty simple really.

Get started selling on Etsy with 40 free listings here: Etsy Voucher – 40 free listings

If you do start a shop using the voucher please let us know, say hello and introduce yourself so that we can come over and offer some support!

Thanks

Leanne x