Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Vintage Sewing Machines - Top Tips




I was in the UK last month. One day my mum took me to a precious little shop called Fabric Corner in Bournemouth, Dorset. It was full of vintage sewing machines! I love vintage sewing machines!





The owner, Stanley, is very friendly and helpful and loves having a chat. We spoke about the machines in his shop and I told him about my vintage Bernina. I had some questions (I don't have the user manual) and he had some tips.



Stanley's vintage sewing machine tips:
  • When threading an old Bernina, start with the foot up. Pull the thread down (into the tension shaft) and up into the next bit. Hold your spool so no more thread comes (with your right hand) and give a tug on the cut end of the thread so that it fully engages with the machine. Then let the foot down and finish up.
  • When threading a sewing machine needle, hold a piece of white card/paper behind the eye so you can see it clearly. If you have persistent trouble threading the needle, use some hair spray on the end of the thread and it'll be easier!
  • Always use the same thread in the bobbin and the spool.
  • The best thread, in Stanley's opinion, is G├╝ttermann, a German produced thread.
  


By the way, I recently discovered the brand new vintage style Singer 160 sewing machine. Isn't it stunning? Beauty and function hand in hand. I like!

PS. Are you into buying handmade? Yes? Then you should check out the amazing stuff in the Etsy Stock Take. If you sell your craft on Etsy, please come and join in :)


Follow Lifes Jewels on String


Sunday, 25 March 2012

Etsy Stock Take - Week Twelve


Etsy Stock Take - Week Twelve

UPDATE! Don't post your links here anymore, please click on the link to go over to the latest Etsy Stock Take! I plan to do this at the end of every calender week, so please look out for the newest post!

This week into the shop go two little denim hearts. Oh they are so sweet. I want to make hundreds of them and cover one whole wall in my flat. Each one would be different, some plain, some beaded, some with embroidery... (Ok, I know I'm a little crazy).

These are quite nice cos they are rather eco. Upcycled fabric (either old clothing or scraps from sewing projects) and also partly stuffed with shreds of fabric that are too small for anything else (I occasionally have landfill nightmares).

Even the ribbon is re-purposed (you know those ribbons on the inside of tops so you can hang them up? I never use them but cut them out cos they poke out of the neckline and annoy me).

They are also lovely because I can personalise them - bead them or maybe embroider an initial...

There might be some flowery ones in the shop soon...

Until next week,

Kat x

Join me:

I hope that you fellow Etsians will join me in showcasing your new items each week. I will post my progress every Sunday, but you can join in with a live list anytime!

You have 2 options:

1. For those with time to blog: 

Write a new post on your blog (telling us about your new items), title it Etsy Stock Take and link back here so your readers get a chance to find the link up list. Then create a link from here to your blog using the Mr Linky widget (where it says 'click here to enter') at the bottom of this post. Then we can find you :)

2. For those with a time deficit:  

Post a link that goes directly to your new items in Etsy using the Mr Linky widget (where it says 'click here to enter') at the bottom of this post (you can put up as many as you like!).

It'd be lovely if you took a moment to go and check out some stuff that others post below. 
I will list each week's stock take on my Etsy Stock Take page. Please go and have a browse...

Let's show our support for each other craftwise!

I'm hoping that my goal of listing one item a week will be a powerful motivator and a source of Etsy promotion for us all.



Thursday, 22 March 2012

Vintage Cars - UK Winter 2012


My FAVOURITE: Ford Capri
Mini Cooper
Citroen 2CV6 Special

Mint condition VW Camper Van


I was recently in Dorset in the UK visiting family. While I was there I noticed so many nice old vintage cars. I couldn't resist snapping some shots.

This is part of my new photography project: Vintage Cars in Hamburg. I now carry my camera wherever I go and I will collect pictures of old cars that I see while out and about. They just make me happy.
  1. Mini Cooper
  2. V.W. Beetle 
  3. V.W. Beetle with vintage skis
  4. Mini Cooper

LOVE vintage cars!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Etsy Stock Take - Week Eleven - Best of February

Etsy Stock Take - Week Eleven



UPDATE! Don't post your links here anymore, please click on the link to go over to the latest Etsy Stock Take! I plan to do this at the end of every calender week, so please look out for the newest post!


I have been crocheting wire a bit more this week, and thinking about SEO, but as we are half way through March (already!!!) I thought it might be a good idea to feature my favourite Etsy Stock Take items from February.

Ready? Let's go:

Week Five:

Bagatelle Desgins

Week Six:
StudioLana
Week Seven:
BlindArtGallery

Week Eight:
BatesMercantileCo


It was soooo hard to choose these from all the great things linked up (even if February was a very slow month for the Etsy Stock Take...).

Another favourite that didn't get into the final four were some very original origami decorations at SVaethDesigns, go see :)

Oh, and it's only 1 day and a bit until spring! Hurrah! Check out my spring sale on winter stuff that ends tomorrow evening.

Until next week,

Kat x

Join me:

I hope that you fellow Etsian's will join me in showcasing your new items each Sunday (or anytime after that really!).  Let's blog hop!

You have 2 options:

1. Write a new post on your blog (telling us about your new items), title it Etsy Stock Take and link back here, using the Mr Linky widget (where it says 'click here to enter') at the bottom of this post.

2. Post a link that goes directly to your new items in the Mr Linky widget (where it says 'click here to enter') at the bottom of this post (you can put up as many as you like!).

I will list the links to each week's stock take on my Etsy Stock Take page. Please go and have a browse!

It'd be lovely if you took a moment to go and check out some stuff that others post below. Let's show our support for each other craftwise!

I'm hoping that my goal of listing one item a week will be a powerful motivator and a source of promotion for us all...

Friday, 16 March 2012

Working on SEO - Keywords



Today I've been thinking about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation - how to get found in online searches) and how to improve it.

So far, I've been working on getting new items into my shop (Etsy Stock Take!) because new content gets you noticed by Google. Etsy gives its users the opportunity to input tag words to help their items get found in their searches. These need to be good and descriptive. They also get seen by Google and other search engines. How can I think of good tags though? Good question, something I struggle with.

I once got some very good advice from a fellow Etsy seller, Tana Taylor:

"So I looked at a few more of your items and you DO have tags, but they don't appear to be optimized for relevancy. This means if you were selling a blue crochet beret, for example, you might want to use tags of blue beret, blue crochet beret, blue crocheted beret, crocheted beret, blue hat, blue crocheted hat, and so on ... basically, it's things that shoppers might search on."

She also said:

"I've *heard* that some of your tags should have bits and pieces of your title, 2 or 3 adjacent words from your title should be used as a tag (or two or three tags).
One handy way to find potential tags is to start typing the phrase you're considering into the Etsy search box and see what suggestions pop up. I've heard that these are recent and/or popular searches on the Etsy site, so at least in theory, they might be worth considering."

Now, neither of us are experts, so it is important to keep experimenting and checking the stats. I have the feeling that it is an endless work in progress!

Wondering what all those words at the top of the page are? They are the words used most in my Etsy shop, KatEzat! I think that using some of them in my tags will help with SEO.

Want a word cloud for your shop? 

Go to Wordle, click where it says create your own cloud and add your Etsy shop url. Easy! You can choose the colours you want too. A pretty way to help you see which words you use the most (they're the biggest ones).

There is also some good advice from BrightPig on selecting the right key words.

I wonder if you have any SEO tips?

PS: Don't forget to come back on Sunday for the Etsy Stock Take, where all Etsy sellers can promote their items for free here and find out what I've been up to in my Etsy shop...


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Reading in Hamburg (and Pinterest issues).



Look what I found in the Neugraben part of Hamburg last week: a book booth! 

Is that not the most lovely thing ever? I think it's brilliant. I even jumped up and down with childish glee. Let's get reading everyone! Shame the books were in German... 

What I'm reading:

On a slightly related note, I'm reading Our Mutual Friend by Dickens. Very lovely and atmospheric. It's a sister read-a-long, motivated by the unfortunate failure we both experienced trying to read this book in the past! My kindle tells me that I'm 25% through, so happy face :)



What I'm thinking:

On a totally unrelated note, I have deleted my Pinterest account. 

I am very sad about this because I loved pinning and looking at pins. But it has come to my attention that I should really have read the conditions carefully before signing up:
  • When becoming a member you confirm that you own the rights or have express permission from the person who owns the rights, for everything you pin. Yup, even though it's not intended for self-promotion...! 
  • Also there is some talk that I don't completely understand, that says anything that is pinned becomes the property of Pinterest, for them to do as they wish with (i.e. sell) with no liability to the original owner (i.e. royalties). 
  • Oh and that in any legal issues that arise regarding ownership of images etc, the final liability rests with the person that pinned (that's me and maybe you!)
My personal concerns are:
  • I might have contributed to artists losing control over the ownership of their images, items and ideas. 
  • When I feature someone's work (usually Etsy shops) on my blog I always email them and check that I can use their pictures. I never did this when pinning, but if I follow the principle, I should have asked the image owners!
  • Although I like the promotion of my creations over Pinterest, I totally don't want them to think that they can do whatever they want with my images.
 All this is explained much more clearly at The Window Seat. I have just seen that they have updated their post and that there is some kind of communication flowing with the Pinterest guys. That's good. Maybe they can work a way around this.

Maybe I'll be able to pin again sometime soon. Meanwhile I'll have to find a new way of organising the gorgeous things I find online, what do you do?

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Perlen Poesie Beading Magazine - Who's that girl?

Perlen Poesie Magazine

I'm very excited! This week I received my copy of Perlen Poesie (Poetry of Pearls) magazine. 

Why am I so excited? Because I modeled for this issue - heehee :) You can see me on page 13-16. I must say I never expected to model anything, but this wasn't too bad, as you can see all they needed was my neck - haha!



Perlen Poesie is a great beading magazine for beaders, packed full of what is going on in the world of beads, new techniques, patterns and instructions for your own projects.



The magazine is prepared and published in Hamburg, in German (by my friends). However, this is the first issue that carries an English translation of the text everywhere it is sold outside Germany (I understand it is the biggest beading magazine in Europe, plug plug). You can find out more on their website: www.perlen-poesie.de

Meanwhile I had a super lovely morning. I went down to Mylys as I needed some ivory cotton yarn for a custom order. I had a yummy hot choc in their cafe and a nice chat with Naima. You should pop in if ever in Hamburg, it is the friendliest and cosiest wool shop I have ever been to.

Free street stuff: Bed linen

On the way back to the car I found this pile of bed linen on top of an outside rubbish bin cupboard. Wow! I was happy it was left in plain sight and not just tossed in the trash, it's all clean and nicely folded. I know exactly what I want to do with it - cushions for our rather uncomfortable kitchen chairs. Do you ever pick good stuff up off the streets?

I will make it live again!

Update: What I did with the bed linen.


PS: Remember, if you are an Etsy seller you can get free promotion of your stuff right now at the Etsy Stock Take

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Etsy Stock Take - Week Ten



Etsy Stock Take - Week Ten



UPDATE! Don't post your links here anymore, please click on the link to go over to the latest Etsy Stock Take! I plan to do this at the end of every calender week, so please look out for the newest post!

I've made something new and surprising. A metal brooch. Well, not totally surprising, after all it's still crochet!

I recently got my hands on some high quality metal wire (usually used for scientific experiments - yes, I have my sources...) and decided to see if it would allow me to crochet it. So far so good. I made a granny square. After my first attempt at granny squaring ended in disaster, I'm quite chuffed with how this came out.

Very sweet. Rather vintage, in a modern way. Do you want a close up?



Until next week,

Kat x

Join me:

I hope that you fellow Etsian's will join me in showcasing your new items each Sunday (or anytime after that really!).  Let's blog hop!

You have 2 options:

1. Write a new post on your blog (telling us about your new items), title it Etsy Stock Take and link back here, using the Mr Linky widget (where it says 'click here to enter') at the bottom of this post.

2. Post a link that goes directly to your new items in the Mr Linky widget (where it says 'click here to enter') at the bottom of this post (you can put up as many as you like!).

I will list the links to each week's stock take on my Etsy Stock Take page. Please go and have a browse!

It'd be lovely if you took a moment to go and check out some stuff that others post below. Let's show our support for each other craftwise!

I'm hoping that my goal of listing one item a week will be a powerful motivator and a source of promotion for us all...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Work in Progress: Knitted Lace


 Knitted Lace

I am attempting to knit lace. After mastering socks and embarking on a whole piece of clothing (a waistcoat) I feel that the time has come to learn a real grown-up knitting technique.



Here is what I have managed so far. It's a very pretty leaf repeat (can you see the leaves?). More about the pattern on Ravelry. It turns out that knitting lace is not as horrifying as you'd expect. Just a series of increases and decreases. The increases are made by doing a yarn over, which is exactly like it sounds, pop the yarn once over the needle to form a 'stitch', this makes the holes in the design. The decreases are mostly formed by knitting 2 stitches together, or slipping one, knitting the next one and making the former jump over the latter. Simple!

 You do need to concentrate on following the instructions, as it seems a bit like it's constantly changing at the beginning. Hypnotising! However, as you go you get a sense of repetition and things get easier. Although maybe knitting lace with a glass of wine at your side is not the best idea in the world!



The design is looking a bit scrunched up right now, but I have a feeling that it'll block lovely and clear. And the best bit is that yarn. Pure silk. The true colour is somewhat between the first and second photos. This sample is destined to become the star feature of a little fascinator hat I'm planning for Mimi.

That's luxury knitting that is!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Etsy Stock Take - Week Nine

Sequin Heart



Etsy Stock Take - Week Nine



UPDATE! Don't post your links here anymore, please click on the link to go over to the latest Etsy Stock Take! I plan to do this at the end of every calender week, so please look out for the newest post!

This week has not been terribly productive as I just got back from visiting family in England. I do have a new item in the shop to show you though! It's a new/old item, it was in the shop some time ago and now I have tweaked the listing and put it back in!

It's a very glamorous sequin heart. I almost love it too much to sell it, but I can always make another one... :)

I have been taking a lot of new photos, trying to get things more consistent, so you might notice that in the coming weeks as I process them and edit the listings.  

Until next week,

Kat x

Join me:

I hope that you fellow Etsian's will join me in showcasing your new items each Sunday (or anytime after that really!).  Let's blog hop!

You have 2 options:

1. Write a new post on your blog (telling us about your new items), title it Etsy Stock Take and link back here, using the Mr Linky widget (where it says 'click here to enter') at the bottom of this post.

2. Post a link that goes directly to your new items in the Mr Linky widget (where it says 'click here to enter') at the bottom of this post (you can put up as many as you like!).

I will list the links to each week's stock take on my Etsy Stock Take page. Please go and have a browse!

It'd be lovely if you took a moment to go and check out some stuff that others post below. Let's show our support for each other craftwise!

I'm hoping that my goal of listing one item a week will be a powerful motivator and a source of promotion for us all...

 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

How to: Beaded shoulders - Jazz up a Jumper.

 
I beaded a jumper! 

I bought this top in a sale some time ago, pure cashmere, a bargain. But it just wasn't doing it for me, the colour was a bit meh, and I only wore it once or twice.

Then I saw some gold coloured seed beads in my local supermarket when still living in Geneva, Switzerland (they have amazing craft stuff in their supermarkets!) and I knew what I had to do.



I hand-sewed the beads on, not pulling the thread too tight. I followed the shape of the shoulders and didn't really plan where to start or stop, although I did try to get the two shoulders even and matching.

Now I really enjoy my cashmere jumper and it has become a wardrobe staple, the beads make all the difference, adding a certain je ne sais pas.



It makes sense to me to modify clothes that I already have to make them work better for me, rather than constantly buying new stuff, or dumping things that I'm not wearing much. Especially when it is a high quality item or fabric.

I wonder how others work their wardrobes...



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