#marchmeetthemaker summary

 

You may remember that I have been taking part in a daily photo challenge on Instagram  called #marchmeetthemaker.  Well we are now on the last day of the month and so my first Instagram challenge is at an end.

It may have been my first challenge, I certainly don’t think it will be my last though.  Taking part in a challenge where I have had to create a photo each day based on the prompt provided has helped stretch me creatively and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I have seen my follower numbers increase and met some great creative friends in the process.  It has helped me to start develop an identity for my Instagram feed and given me plenty of food for thought in terms of developing it as a marketing tool for Mr B’s Button Jamboree.

So here is the summary for days 16 – 31 of the challenge.  Check out the original post here for days 1 -15.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity for another time lapse video for day 29: In Action

Sewing machine adventures

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For my 40th birthday last year I asked for a sewing machine from my parents.  I had secretly wanted one for years and thanks to them I was able to finally get my paws on one.  My dreams of being able to make my own clothes, which had been fuelled by avidly watching every episode of the Great British Sewing Bee, were one step closer.

It has not all been plain sailing though!  First of all, I had to work out how to use the machine with a little help from the manual and a whole lot of trial and error.  I happily played around with it for a while working up the courage to actually make something.  And so the next hurdle arose…buying fabric online.  With a  lack of physical shops nearby, I had to make my first fabric purchase by wading through the overwhelming and bewildering choice available on the internet.  I eventually choose a lovely white cotton with green flowers on for my first project of a cushion (I fear making my own clothes is some way off yet!).cotton fabric and old scissors

Next issue to overcome reared its head.  In the absence of a pattern, how on earth do I measure accurately?!  I am not known for my ability to cut in straight lines – anyone who gets the wrapping paper after me is incredulous at how wonky I have cut it.  Despair was felt until my husband came up with the solution.  His mum used to sew and he remembered that she had a cutting board…with measurements!  Order placed on Saturday and arrived today.  Now there was no stopping me.  Or so I thought.  It wasn’t quite a simple as I hoped and it took several hours before I had usable pieces.

Happily I can report that the actual sewing up was fairly plain sailing (if we ignore the fact that I managed to not realise that I picked up a piece I had already done a hem on and started sewing it all over again) and here is the finished product which I am pretty chuffed with.  I no longer have any cats to model sitting on it so made do with a pretend one….

New Product Range Launched!

Hemp button bracelets sold by Mr B's Button Jamboree

Yes indeed!  As the title states, I have added another product range to my Etsy shop for Mr B’s Button Jamboree.  There were a few trials on lengths, number of buttons, how to finish them plus a few other bits and bobs.  Finally though I have made, photographed (okay that was done by the talented Colobus Yeti) and listed my brand new hemp button bracelets – check them out on my shop!

To wet your appetite, here is a compilation of a few little shots I did myself…

Hemp bracelets - Mr B's Button Jamboree

 

MarchMeetTheMaker on Instagram

 

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Having initially been very reluctant to join Instagram, I am now completely in love with it as a platform and hopefully as a way of marketing my little shop.  I used to view it as something used by beautiful and young people who particularly liked sharing photos of their food.  Towards the end of last year though I had a look and realised it is so much more.  Being someone who loves photography of many different types, Instagram opens up a whole world to me of inspiration, enjoyment and community.

Partly to improve my Instagram photography and to encourage my creativity, partly in start engaging more with the creative community on Instagram, I have joined in with #marchmeetthemaker set up by Joanne Hawker.  I thought it would be good to do a half term ‘report’ on my involvement so far.  It has obviously done me some good as I have increased from 49 followers at the end of February to 96 today…only 4 away from 100!

 

Day 11: Post run was my first attempt at a time lapse video – I have discovered a new love I think!

The Way of the Kondo

 

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At the beginning of the year, it seemed that you just couldn’t get away from Marie Kondo.  The queen of discarding, organising and tidying up in Japan was suddenly big news over here in the UK.  The start of a new year often prompts people to have a clear out and the promotion of her work was perfectly timed.

For us the discovery of the Marie Kondo came just when we needed it though for a different reason.  Ours was not a ‘new year clean out’.  We had spent 18 months living with a minimum amount of stuff on our travels and when they came to an end, alongside the happiness of seeing certain of our belongings again when we moved into our home…well there was a feeling of despair and of being weighted down by the sheer amount of belongings we had (admittedly we had added vastly to this whilst we were living in Japan).  Lease aside, no longer could we just pack up a few things and go somewhere new.  This was such an adjustment for us to make and we were not getting the enjoyment out of our belongings that we once did.  So when I read about the ways of Marie Kondo in this article about dealing with anxiety and stress in the Guardian, it really struck a cord with us.

I ordered the book, read it the moment it arrived and then started as soon as I could.  Though it felt odd sometimes standing there wondering if the object I was holding bought me joy, the more I did it, the easier it became.  I was dreading going through my books as these seemed quite a big part of me – even there though I discarded over half of what I had.  It is still a work in progress as I am waiting for Phillip to finish going through his stuff so that we can then look jointly at our ornaments and other such belongings.  The charity collection has not been booked yet either.  I do feel lighter and freer though so can’t wait to see how it feels once we actually do finish the process and what our ‘lighter future’ brings.

Marie Kondo clear out

First up – clothes. Top left – at the start, bottom left – what was left, right – all for charity!

Kondo clear out

Top two photos show all my books at the beginning. Bottom left is what is being kept and bottom right is all going to charity

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First up – clothes. Top left – at the start, bottom left – what was left, right – all for charity!

How much time?!

I wrote a week ago how I was planning my social media attack.  Well I am continuing merrily along with it…well I say merrily…doggedly may be closer to the truth.  I am determinedly sticking to my schedule, following my courses and focusing on one platform a week.  This week my focus has been on my Instagram account and I feel now that I have a better idea of what I want out of the account, how to improve my photos and have already gained another 13 followers…on my way to my target!  Taking part in #marchmeetthemaker has helped to give me a focus too…for this month anyway…

Instagram feed

Here is how my Instagram feed is starting to look now…I think it is starting to look better and more coherent…do you? (okay maybe the cat game spoils it slightly!)

It has come as somewhat of an unpleasant surprise just how much time I seem to need to devote to social media in order to see my products noticed by potential customers.  When I started up my business, I had this image of spending my days either crafting or doing non-business activities.  The amount of time I have devoted to social media and how much I need to focus on it in the future has come as quite a rude awakening especially for someone who didn’t really spend much time on it before.  Hopefully putting the effort in now will reap rewards later both in terms of reducing the time I have to spend marketing on social media and of course in more sales!

I have found some time for crafting though and hope to have some new products ready to sell very soon – yay!