Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Edwin Mellifera handwrapped ring - big green spirals - $5.00

Edwin's first wave of rings. This wave were all made before he discovered silver-plated wire, so all of them use colour coated copper wire, or simply silver coloured metal wire. As such, I cannot guarantee the longevity of them. They are costume jewellery, and as such are priced lower than those using silver-plated wire.

Size of ring - Y or 12

The model photos show Tottie Spon Sills ...

Click Here to Visit My Etsy Shop!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Edwin Mellifera handwrapped ring - 3 planets, wrapped in green - $8.00

Edwin's second wave of rings. This wave were all made after his discovery of silver-plated wire, as well as still using colour-coated copper wire. As such, I cannot guarantee their longevity. It is better than the first wave - however it should be remembered that they are costume jewellery, and are not meant to be worn all day, every day.

Size of ring - N or 6.5

The model photos show...

Click Here to Visit My Etsy Shop!

Friday, 24 February 2012

A break from talking about jewellery

Some of you may have me as a friend on Facebook - some of you may know me in real life. If you've been reading this blog for a while, I've talked about mental health before, so none of this will be new to 99% of people reading it. Anyway, this week, I've been criticised for showing my blog entries from three years ago on Facebook. So I'm just going to answer this criticism.

Three years ago, I was a mess. I was having trouble getting used to medication, I was having trouble with the GPs, psychiatrists and other health professionals I was seeing. I wrote a journal on Live Journal (LJ) every day to keep track of where I was and how I was feeling.

The other day, I was looking for the entry about how I was given the name 'Life's Big Canvas' by Bel, a friend of mine. I read the other entries around it, and it struck me how far I'd come in three years.

So why did I decide to share bits of my LJ stuff on Facebook?

1. To show people who didn't know me then what I was like
2. As a 'feel good' thing to show how far you can come
3. Because I'm proud of myself, I won't lie
4. To show that you can overcome mental health issues if you find what you need
5. Because this is part of who I am, and I'm not ashamed

I hope me sharing this doesn't alienate anyone. I'm not saying you have to have the same problems to like what I do, even if it is part of what I do. Without painting, I wouldn't have coped. Without painting, I wouldn't be self-employed and running a shop.

I don't want my business to be defined by mental health - but I don't want to deny it either. I have clinical depression, bipolar tendencies, cyclothymia or OCD, depending on which mental health professional you listen to. As my friend Alice says, I am also 'a face'.

*edit to add*

This comment on Facebook made all this worthwhile anyway

"Why would anyone criticise you for posting these entries! I think it is absolutely inspirational how far you have come, and you *should* be proud of yourself. Also you are giving a real hope to all who have mental health issues - which let's face it, is a lot of us."

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tagline problems

I recently tweeted Rowan for something to add to her FAQs which I have been enjoying. I just cannot think of a slogan/tagline for my shop!


I've always had trouble with narrowing things down. It's partly an inability to make decisions, and partly because my brain races* quite a lot. I couldn't even decide what to call my business when I started it. I had a discussion on Live Journal, and went with a suggestion from a friend.

"Message from Bel, January 2009

Ok so these might be lame but just some names I was thinking up off the top of my head.

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” Pablo Picasso
* The Painting Diaries
* Diary of a Painter

“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.” Danny Kaye
* Life's Big Canvas

* Paintings for the Soul
* Chloe's Canvas' "
 Message from Chloe
"I love those quotes!! Life's Big canvas is it. i love danny kaye


So Rowan did a very helpful FAQ - and it's had me thinking all week.

Over the weekend, I had a visit from Zoe of Urban Magpie. She admitted being a little confused at first by my business, and she isn't the first one. I've talked on here before about how I see "Life's Big Canvas" as my shop, but then I make jewellery for my own shop, so I obviously haven't defined my business properly enough. I described it to Zoe like this

"My jewellery shop is like, say, Asda, and the jewellery I make is like their own brand range. Like Basics or Taste the Difference or whatever. But then I wholesale some stuff and I do sale or return on others depending where they're from and how well know they are, and how much I like the stuff, and whether it will fit in. Some stuff I buy in and then change, or package better. So... yeah.."

This is clearly rubbish. This isn't a mission statement, it's garble. This is why I asked Rowan in the first place. Her slogan is

"Say No to Boho, Grab Something Colourful Kitschy Funky and Fun"

This says everything about her jewellery range, and she also has a clearly defined mission statement by inviting people to 'say no to boho'. It's short, sweet, to the point. I'm jealous of it.

I also like Kim of Finest Imaginary's slogan

"Defeating bland outfits and boring spaces with a single purchase!"
This works because although it's long, it's snappy, and it brings to mind comic books (When I first met Kim she was making her 'Grrr' and 'Aargh' necklaces)

I have had slogans before. The first was...

"Recycled art jewellery"

There's nothing about this which is either a slogan, or appealling.
Then I changed my Folksy and Etsy banners, and decided that this would be a good one...

"Life is like a big canvas, you are your life's canvas, your accessories are the paint"

However, now I see that this actually makes no sense, is far too long, and not catchy at all.
I had to make an advert very quickly recently for a print deadline, so I rushed off...

"Affordable individual jewellery and accessories and gifts from cult UK designers."

Still too long, and I've clearly stolen the bit about 'cult UK designers' (without meaning to) from Indie Cindy's old flyers. However, it is starting to narrow down what I'm trying to do with my shop.

Rowan herself has also noticed the problems I'm having with defining what I want to achieve.

" ♥ What's your mission?
Chloe sells her own designs and other independent designers' work in her shop.  But what is the mission? To sell limited edition designs from UK based designers? To give first-class customer service? To provide accessories to a very specific sub-culture customer? "

I've worked with Rowan before, and she's known me for about a year now. She's even confused about what I do, and she worked in my shop.


1. I want to provide things for people to buy which are only usually available either online or at craft fairs. This is 90% jewellery, but I also have little dolls, baby grows, some sweets and purses.
2. I want to sell them at the same price they are sold online for, as I know how savvy people are about internet prices
3. I want to provide great service, and help people pick out the right gift for themselves or others
4. The stuff I make is limited edition, but some of the other designers make multiples of the same design. However, I try not to have more than one of the same item in store at the same time.
5. I suppose I want to appeal to a specific sub-culture - people who want to wear stuff no one else is wearing, whatever their age or personal style. I have a lot of customers who are part of the burlesque scene, as well as the Lolita girls, the local tattooist, the lady who flyers outside the hairdresser (who is older than me) and children (who are obviously younger)
6. My shop has been described as being like a sweet shop, particularly because it always smells of jelly beans (I have a Jelly Belly air freshener above the radiator) and I do actually sell sweets as well as jewellery.

Words already coming to mind are: child, candy, limited, appeal, service, people, sweets


So far I have come up with the following on my own. I'm writing down all of them, so no giggles please

"Body Candy For the Child Within"
"Providing you and your loved ones with first class service and gifts"
"Limited Edition Body Candy"
"Appeals to the child within"

The one I like the most was this one, however

"Limited Pieces for Limitless People"

So I tweeted it for reactions

"I Like it"
"Love it"
"It's great"
"Too businessy"
"Sounds upmarket"

I got some good advice

"it all depends on the market you are aiming for, you have a pretty good core following from what I see and as long as you don't isolate them it's never a bad thing to try and draw a new crowd"

I also had this suggested as an alternative from someone who thought it was 'businessy' and not 'cool' or 'quirky' enough

"(Indulge in) Life's Little Luxuries"

This has given me a lot to think about. Even more so than before.


Any feedback gratefully received!

*if you don't know what brain racing is, basically it's like having a four year old shouting ideas in your head every minute of the day

Monday, 13 February 2012

Twitter - post bootcamp!

I've now been using Twitter 'properly' for about 2 weeks. I started using it again just before my bootcamp organised by Sew You and Kitschen Sink, just so I knew why I found it difficult and could ask decent questions. I wanted to learn to use Twitter because I don't like letting things beat me, and I was having the following problems with Facebook.

My problems with Facebook

1. Constant changes of the way things work, including the latest introduction of 'Timeline' - this is awful, and was the last straw. I don't want people to look too closely at all my old stuff, I want them to judge me on what I'm doing right now, not four years ago.
2. Random privacy control rubbish - I keep being 'checked into' places I'm not at, just so that someone else's business shows up on my newsfeed
3. Trying to run a business profile, a personal profile, and a facebook page - I annoyed one person with marketing stuff, even though it was my business profile, and keep forgetting I have a personal profile
4. Facebook being full of children, and/or childish people - there's so much drama on FB, it makes me feel very paranoid.
5. Etiquette problems - I've annoyed people in the past by doing stuff which is against their personal facebook etiquette, and not doing somethings which seem totally opposite because it's what someone else expects. This is the fundamental issue with facebook - everyone uses it so differently, it makes me even more paranoid.
6. Constantly being asked to be involved in competitions which I know break the FB rules - eg 'like' this photo please!
7. Most evenings I'd end up in a ball of mess ater using FB because I'd done or NOT done something someone else expected me to do

Problems I had with Twitter

Every time I tried Twitter instead of FB, I'd end up in the same ball of mess. This time it was because I couldn't understand what was going on. I knew what RT meant, and why people used @ symbols. But what's with the # (hash tag)? Plus everything moves SO QUICKLY.

It occurred to me though that this swiftness might counteract the problems I have with FB - things move so quickly that people are surely only going to judge me on the last few things I say.

I also used to blog A LOT a few years ago, but time constraints have meant I haven't been expressing opinions about my home life. Twitter is often referred to as micro-blogging, and I wondered if this might help me get back to my roots of talking about ME as well as my business.


During Bootcamp, all these issues were dealt with. We talked about etiquette, what is expected of you on twitter. There really isn't very much which is frowned upon as far as I can tell - you follow people, you don't have to ask permission, if you unfollow, no one minds.

Obviously I'm not going to tell you everything which was discussed, I want you to go to one for yourself, but here are the first three changes I made

1. A new profile picture
2. A new bio
3. Installing a twitter app on my smart phone

A week later

So, I think Rowan and Abi must be witches of some kind. A week of using twitter regularly, using the advice they gave me, these are the changes

1. 100 more followers on Twitter
2. 28 more likers on my FB fanpage
3. I now use FB more like I used to, mainly as a way to chat and keep up with friends, and I remember to use my fan page if I want to talk business
4. Website traffic increase of 80% - that's an average of 14 people a week, up to 162 in one week
5. Not only have I had more traffic, I've had more sales. Up until last week, I'd only sold 2 things on my website - last week I sold 3 items.
6. I've also been featured in a blogpost here - http://www.intheseheels.co.uk/2012/02/07/life-is-one-big-canvas/ - from one of the sales
7. Another sale is for another blogger, who I hope will review :)
8. I thanked the Leeds Guide for the feature  using a tweet, and they retweeted it to their 11,000 followers

So, I took a lot away from that workshop - very simple, small things which when they were said to me made total sense but which I hadn't even considered. It's not really magic - I hope it's fair to pass on these two pieces of advice.

1. Twitter is like real life - treat people and conversations on Twitter as you would in real life.
2. Decide who you are on Twitter and what you want from it - and stick to it

Friday, 10 February 2012

Valentine giveaway

I've decided to do a very quick giveaway - for the next 24 hours, any comment on this blog gets you an entry into a draw to win this necklace.

You can also tweet or share the link on facebook for another entry - that's three possible entries.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Blog and Buy sale

I hadn't heard of Blog and Buy until last month, when two of my suppliers posted about their stalls. I followed the links and found a lovely little site, with online stalls. My two suppliers are people I trust (Finest Imaginary and Crown and Glory) and for £15 a month, it seemed great value.

So I paid up, and then was customarily flaky and forgot to send a couple of details - I got a nice, polite email from Blog and Buy requesting what I'd forgotten, and then they put together the whole stall for me, using the links, images and blurb provided. It's being hosted for the whole month by them, and they regularly tweet.

It's bringing traffic to my site, and I'm meeting lovely new creatives I hadn't met before. So I'm recommending it to anyone who's umming and aahing.

The whole February showcase is here - I'm Stall 17, and if you fancy tweeting about it, or liking it on facebook, there are tremendously handy buttons to do just that right on the page.

Apply for March here

Monday, 6 February 2012


Guest blogger Jane Wynn of Wildheart gives us her opinion on the Mary Portas review.

In December 2011, Mary Portas (dubbed by some “Minister for Shops”) published ‘The Portas
Review’, a 55 page report which is summarised in 28 key recommendations. A mixed bag of
suggestions, some which are basic common sense like making better use of empty units, and
some which may cause a few ruffled feathers in certain places, in particular regarding betting
shops and out of town shopping centres.

I was saddened but not surprised to see that in the media interest following this publication
that Rochdale was featured. I was born and spent the first 18 years of my life there and have
been a regular visitor over the years so know the place quite well. I have memories of the old
covered market and can recall the building of the first new shopping centre that replaced it. The
old development was a lovely place, which included an arcade of small shop units, full of lively,
interesting independent traders. One I remember in particular, called ‘Duggies’, sold all kinds of
everything and was a family business which included his wife and the banter between these two
was often rich and hilarious. The building of the first shopping centre at the bottom of Yorkshire
St (the main shopping thoroughfare) started a ripple effect of new development along that street,
seeing many of smaller traders in the area crushed out of being and replaced with more retail
chains. People celebrated when the Body Shop opened up in Rochdale - this reaction only
eclipsed by the public outcry when McDonalds decided to close its town centre unit last year.

I used to live in the Midlands and got to know Birmingham’s shopping areas quite well.
Birmingham used to have a fantastic little shopping mecca, known as the Oasis, in the city centre
underneath one of the markets. Accessed by dimly lit stairways, the basement was full of small
retail units, jostling and often overflowing into each other, where rock fans, punks, Goths, et
al, could find everything they could ever need to satisfy their hunger for the alternative. All run
by small independent traders, many of them makers and designers, it wasn’t just the things to
buy that brought us in week after week, it was their knowledge and passion for their market and
products that made it a great place to shop. The place was refurbished many years ago, with the
higher rates meaning that many of the smaller traders couldn’t afford it anymore and they sadly

I think the Portas Review makes many good points when it comes to sole traders, small
businesses and markets, if managed with a view to the traders and their customer base. The right
kind of independent shops will bring the people back and go a long way to help revitalise our city
centres. In many cases, they’re supporting local people in their own business which will have a
big impact on the local economy. For some, it’s giving new designers and makers an opportunity
to launch themselves on the market and start building a customer base. My memories and
personal experience tell me that shopping with independent traders is a much more rewarding
experience for customers, often having that personal touch that is missing in the homogenised
atmosphere of some of big shops. There may be larger shopping centres available to us now but I
feel choices have become increasingly limited over the years, with the same formula and products
rolled out by retail chains over countless high streets across the UK. It’s all getting a bit too 1984-
ish for my liking and, unless we really do want a proletariat society, something needs to be done
before it’s too late.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

February plans - update

My daily blogging has gone from bad to non-existant. However, I'm now all over Twitter, because I learnt how to use it properly. It's meant that I'm not really using Facebook, so I'm waiting for the Facebook media bootcamp so I can use those two properly. HOWEVER, I have found Instagram, so even though Frooly has gone bankrupt, I still have the same amount of pointless online accounts.

When is someone going to do a bootcamp about blogging? I definitely need one.