Friday, February 24, 2012

Easy Breezy Web Design

My first attempt at Web Design

So.. I have been asked so many times, 'Do you have a web page?'. When I say no, people kind of zone out the explanation about waiting on money, time, a web designer to offer up his services for free(email me)
Unfortunalty now the world is obsessed with the internet and its essential as a small(miniscule) business to have an online presence. I have had an etsy shop for 3 years and it has broken my heart again and again. I have no sales nothing its like I don't exist! This could be cause my work is horrific, my price is too high to compete with the pages of mass produced generic fabrics, or the site is just too vast and huge that people get stuck browsing for hours and never return to actually shop. Its been frying my head and I am seriously considering packing it in cause its a waste of money .20 cent per listing every three months I am actually loosing money by being on there! As an attempt to connect with sales I have joined etsy teams, used search ads, created a facebook page urghhhhhh!!

I was on Facebook doing the whole chain 'like' thingy on Etsy (if you like your fellow etsians they give you a like back) when I stumbled on the facebook of Studio Woolwork:
Which  is a brilliant etsy shop for buying felt, merino wool lovely crafty supplies. But what caught my surprise was their 'wix' facebook page which was like a little mini web page within the facebook page. I was intrigued and immediately forgot about 'liking' my fellow etsians and began designing a new facebook page. Wix is an amazing web service! Its so simple and easy to use you can just drag drop and click pictures text boxes etc. and then boom you have a website. Plus its free! yes free! Here is the first go:

Now I must admit that at the moment its a big hot mess but I'm just delighted to have something that people might actually be drawn to and fingers crossed I might actually get some likes!

Which by the way is harder then you think I only have 51 likes I feel like a facebook loser!  I mean I have like 120 friends but they don't even like it eek!  If your on facebook and your one of the 6 people who read my blog check out my facebook page and please please please give me a like!

Only one complaint at the moment, Once someone 'likes' the page they wont see the Wix site when they land on the page but just the usual facebook scroll. 

Once I started with the Wix site I thought I would finally tackle making my actual website using Wix. I bought the domain ages ago but have just had it redirecting to my etsy site. This has not been good as once people land on the etsy site there is nothing to stop them from getting lost wandering around etsy looking at everyone but yours shop!  I know from google analytics that I have had etsy traffic from that address, so where are the sales?

Using wix I have finally made a website! Yes! I'm delighted that I can say yes I do have a site. Granted its a bit all over the shop at the moment. But design wise its a first draft, we all know the first draft is not up to scratch. I have been working on it now for 3 days and I think it will be brilliant once I have it looking how I want.

I want it to be full of pattern and color and make it so that hopefully it will stand out.  Honestly I am aware that some people may find the insane clashing colors and prints a bit of a headache but I cant help it! Plus I think its good to throw it all on and then pull back rather then have it not be enough.

I am going to take a break for a day now and let it settle and then tackle the problems and let me tell ya there are loads of problems, lack of links, consistency, buttons etc. But at least now etsy will not be stealing my customers before I even have a chance!
My fabric page is as you can see so messy and crazy and hard to understand but I will work on it again and try to make it more user friendly.  If you need to make a website yourself check out  its brilliant!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fabrics inspired by the Sprog

My older son is obsessed with Dinosaurs, so when Spoonflower held a competition to design kids fabrics last year I was inspired to create a dinosaur fabric especially for him. I also designed prints with hedgehogs which was due to the fact that they are just so damn cute! When I say cute, you wouldn't believe it, I saw a hedgehog in real life! It was eating out of the cat bowl at my back door when I came home one night.  So tiny and beautiful I got down to have a peek and we made eye contact! I know this sounds crazy, but that hedgehog and I, we had a moment. Then he scampered away before I could take a picture little fecker.

The Hedgehog that is featured in the print is actually the work of an anonymous graffiti artist in Berlin. So funny to think about some bad ass hipster graffiti artist doing hedgehogs. I actually went out when I was like 19 with this dodge guy who does graffiti. It was a highly volatile fling, and he was a bit of a dick, but he took me out and gave me a can of spray paint. I must say it was highly entertaining. This was in the 90's so pre artworld explosion of cooler then thou graffiti people. I promise you my crazy scrawl would never have caused a wall to be taken down brick by brick to be saved for ever. It was vandalism really cause it was just really bad writing and messy. I have a feeling I probably wrote like my initials or a mushroom or something dodge (I was 19 come on!).  Now please don't think I was out spraypainting your grannies fence! We went out on the train tracks. It was so exciting sneaking around, this was in a very busy trainyard in California. So even in the middle of the night there were trains moving about. I get goose bumps thinking about it eek!

Anyways enough of my reminiscing about my wayward youth. Nowadays its considered a threat to national security to go anywhere near the trains in the states. I'd probably be suspected of subversive activities eek!

Now back to the kids.  So, my prints are the start of something I am going to explore more. I was thinking of writing a book for kids. As a mother I have read some amazing kids books (most of which have been purchased by my friend Jill as pressies for Iggy thank you Jill!).  The latest one, a lovely Christmas present, is called "Iggy Peck Architect".  Now as a child with a very unique name, Ignatius, Iggy is constantly disappointed when we see displays of tacky ornaments keyrings etc. which have names on them. Iggy is never ever there. He is so excited by this book which features a boy with his name! To make it even more exciting, it is a brilliant book. The illustrations are so lovely, there is a background of graph paper which is so cool I love graph paper!  The story is great, about a little boy named Iggy who is obsessed with building incredibly complicated structures out of say chalk or whatever is at hand.  It has a beautiful illustration of the Golden Gate Bridge at the end (ah home.......).  Now that Iggy can read to himself, this is a firm favourite. Only worry I have is that in the book they spell Ignatius, "Ignacious", as a clever play on words. Lets all hope that he doesn't start spelling his name wrong!

Hopefully I will come up with something inspiring for my children's book that's the key. It must have amazing illustration, style, and a catchy funny story. Another book Iggy loves is 'Wolves' by Emily Gravett. Now to explain how brilliant this is would be difficult, its unlike any other book I've seen, its the story of a rabbit which checks out a book about wolves from the library. Its so incredibly well drawn and put together. She also made another favorite book of his, 'Dogs', which he has loved since he was small. She is a talented illustrator the sketches of dogs are just wonderful, I'm pretty sure pictures of animals is the equivalent of kid-crack. You wouldn't believe how much the baby loves last years kitten calendar.

When Iggy says "Emily Gravett" he has a sort of awe-struck tone. He truly is amazed by the book 'Wolves' its really clever. She has a website  check her out. The 'Dogs' book would be good for 3 year old as a nighttime read and it still continues to entertain at 6. The 'Wolves' book is for 5-6 year olds. Check them out if you have any kids to buy presents for. I think books are great presents and they will be read over and over again. Plus if you dont start them reading now they could end up one of the millions of brainless drones who think that Twilight is a good book. I shudder to think eek.................