Mission complete!

 

Very excited that my studio is finally complete! It’s taken all winter to do, fitting DIY around jobs and commitments has felt like a never ending chore but I’m soooo happy that we’ve put the effort in and it’s finally done – hurray!!!

So, this weekend has been all about finally getting in there, using the bright light and gorgeous white space to start trialling some new product photography… it’s been lots of fun. 😄 Everything I’ve read about starting a small business has said that product photography is key but to be honest I’ve found juggling so many things at once it’s never top of my to-do list.

I have to admit that product photography hasn’t been something that I’ve put a great deal of time or effort into but I’m now realising that yes I have a lot to learn and it’s a steep learning curve but it seems like it could be an incredibly rewarding outlet for my creativity too!

I’ve made it my goal this year to improve these skills and try to showcase my dog art and Etsy shop in a better light… so I’ll be keeping you posted on progress.

After my busy weekend of styling and snapping it’s now time for a cuppa. ❤

 

 

Featuring a certain little blue girl…

This week we feature the Little Blue Girl Co. Introducing the lovely and talented Louise Flintoft…

Flintoff Family-32 (1)

Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?
I’m Louise mother to a lively 2.5 year old. I’m based in the Newcastle-upon-tyne. I work in product management in the medical diagnostics field and this takes me all over the world, screen printing is an artistic release from the business cases and clinical reports and valued adult time! My Etsy shop alllouise4ows gives me a place to show-off my screenprints.

Tell us a little bit about how and where you work?
My workspace is a tale of two halves. I do most of my sketching at home on my lap in the evenings after putting my toddler to bed, but have access to some amazing facilities at the Northern Print Studios.

What inspires your work?
I feel really fortunate to live in the North East of England which is an astonishingly beautiful part of the world, especially the coastline. Not all of my work, but a good portion of it is inspired by walks with my little girl. She loves mammy’s pictures and looks forward to spotting herself on the newest edition. There’s a good portion of artistic licence in the scenes which are recognisable if you know where my (smartphone) snaps are taken but are meant to be reminiscent of scenes everyone can relate to. I also draw inspiration from the inks themselves. I love exploring the way I can mix them on the screen and how it makes every single print unique. I’m on a search for the perfect sky!

bluecastle

What are you currently working on?
I have been been exploring a range of seaside scenes along a common theme and colour palette. I’ve started to explore some alternative colours and scenes. I’m going to look into doing some smaller prints of the little blue girl, which I’m intending to put together into a larger piece at some time in the future. I’d like to develop a custom option in my prints, by integrating sketches of other people/children into my landscapes. I definitely think the little blue girl needs a male counterpart.

 

How have you found your Etsy journey so far?
Like many on Etsy I’m juggling this with lots of other priorities. With a full time job and a small child I find it slow developing my business. It’s a challenge to get new items in my shop, not just developing the ideas and creating the pieces, but the networking required to drive traffic to my page.
I must admit I find Etsy a little overwhelming if I think about it too much. There are so many really talented people out there it’s hard to imagine how you could get noticed. I worry that my work isn’t commercial enough, or perhaps it’s too niche. I’ve found that the community as a whole is so positive and there’s a lot of love being shared.

Any lessons learned so far that you would like to share with other Etsy makers or online sellers?
There is no such thing as too niche on Etsy!

Your favourite make so far?
Castle View Sunset, 2I’m really loving the latest edition of “Castle view”. I wanted to explore some other colours as I thought the graphic nature of this print would really pop with a vibrant sunset. The inks on this one just mixed so well.

The piece that has attracted the most interest is the original “little blue girl” print. I think that it really sums up the atmosphere of a cold sunny day at the beach.

What’s next for your shop?
It was a huge thing for me even getting my Etsy shop open. The next major milestone is making that first sale!

littlebluegirl

Your Etsy crush?
It has to be Liz Whiteside Artwork. I love Liz’s work. She’s such a talented artist and has a complimentary range of artwork, soft furnishings and smaller items that work so well together in a cohesive shop. I can imagine giving so much of her work as gifts to my family (and of course keeping a little for myself!)

Your favourite Etsy purchase?
My first Etsy purchase, which opened my eyes to the creative genius on Etsy.  It’s a  scarf that I was immediately taken by when one of my friends in Melbourne, Australia posted a picture of it on Facebook.OWLscarf

When I wear it across my shoulders the wings of the owl spread down my arms. It was a total indulgence having a hand-printed scarf shipped all the way from Australia but I think that’s the spirit of Etsy, seeking out those unique things that you really love.  Shovava Owl Scarf

I’m soooo jealous I’ve been hankering after her swallow scarf for what seems like for ever, her designs are so beautiful, you lucky thing!

Where can we find you on the web to come and say ‘hi’?
Etsy Shop: littlebluegirlco.etsy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Little-blue-girl-co-1680315448895431/
Instagram: @littlebluegirlco

I have really enjoyed seeing Louise’s beautiful artwork and ideas develop. Her prints capture her love for her daughter and the North East coast so beautifully and would make gorgeous gifts for any living space. Louise is also available to take on one-off commission pieces and I hope you can take a moment and pop over to her shop or over to social media to say hi… I’m sure she’d love to hear from you!

Beautiful birds

For this weeks #treasurytuesday I’ve curated a collection of gorgeous bird items including beautiful illustrations, hand printed cushions, jewellery, coasters, sculptures, ceramics and even some edible art to celebrate our feathered friends! You can buy any of these gorgeous goodies on Etsy: Beautiful Birds by Leapup

BEAUTIFULBIRDS

Introducing Ip Dip Design

This week I’m very happy to introduce you to the lovely Laura Bittles, the maker of the most colourful, quirky and fun hand drawn designs. I met Laura via the virtual Facebook world of the Etsy Resolution course. Keep reading  to find out about what has notoriously become known (in the Etsy-sphere) as ‘happy mail’ and a little robot might just rock your world!

It’s time to introduce you to Ip Dip Design…

IPDIPlogo2

Hi, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?

Hello! I’m Laura – doodler, designer and creator of Ip Dip Design. I’m 26 years old and am a trained Graphic Designer with a BA Hons degree from Winchester School of Art. I have always wanted to run my own business but considered it a pipe dream until I spotted the advert for the ‘Etsy Resolution’ campaign in January.

The name for my business is inspired by the classic rhyme ‘Ip Dip Sky Blue’. I wanted something that sounded fun and reflected the happy-go-lucky nature of my work. The logo incorporates two of my favourite things – clouds (I’ve always been fascinated by them) and the colour blue. My main aim is to create fun and quirky pieces of work that make people happy.

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

One day I would love to have my own dedicated studio space, but right now I am working from the coffee table of the flat I share with my boyfriend. Most of the time it is covered in sketchbooks and coloured pens! A lot of my social media posts get set up there too. This is the complete opposite to the setting of my 9-5 design job – a desk in a shared office.

Followers of my social media accounts will know that I have a little desk top companion – originally named ‘Desk Robot’ – who features in the occasional post when I am at work. He has quickly become my mascot and is now immortalised in print as part of my collection! It makes me smile to think that customers will have stickers and prints of him in their workplaces, too.

What inspires your work?

For me, inspiration can come from anywhere! Sometimes it’s a great colour combination or a particular word or phrase that gets the ideas going. I like taking already known phrases and changing them slightly to make something new. A great example of this is my popular ‘Make it all’ print, inspired by Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’.

IpDipDesign_Prints2

 

What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m working on some fun and exciting designs based around the ‘Great British Summer’ and music festivals. They are influenced by a self-initiated project I undertook at University about 5 years ago!

Sounds interesting, really looking forward to seeing the new designs. How have you found your Etsy journey so far?

So far, my Etsy journey has been a fantastic experience! From creating, listing and selling my designs, to meeting new people and becoming part of the wonderful handmade community. I have loved every minute of it! I am also lucky to have a great customer base who are always sending me photographs of their Ip Dip Designs in their home or workspace which brings me great pleasure.

Wow, they are all fab photos from your customers and how nice to see your work brightening other people’s work-spaces, you must be bursting with pride! One of your little prints is now sitting pride of place at home in my living room, I must get a picture so you can add that picture to the collection.

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

I think making your customers know how special they are to you is important. I tend to take quite an informal approach to my social media posts and interactions as I want each and every person to feel like they are getting updates from a friend. When packaging up and sending out my orders, I make sure that each one is carefully packed by me to a particular standard.

The bright blue colour of my packaging and the additional finishing touches of washi tape and stickers have led to my orders being dubbed ‘happy mail’ which I love! My ‘Ip Dip Delivery’ posts on social media have proved really popular and also get customers excited about their orders arriving. I have been lucky enough to have received some great feedback and customer photographs so far and I want to make sure that each person knows how grateful I am to have such a great customer base.

It made me happy getting it through the post and those sunny postage photos are fabulous!

Your favourite make so far?

I always enjoy drawing and coming up with my designs, but I think my favourite make so far has been the Ip Dip sticker pack.

It’s full of a range of my most popular designs and is fun for me to make! Although it may be the most time consuming product I have at the moment (I cut out each sticker by hand before making the cellophane sleeve and adding the handwritten header card) it is the most rewarding to finish, and I have loved seeing customer’s notebooks and planners adorned with them.

Your best seller?

So far my postcard packs have been really popular with other makers and creators for decorating their pin boards and studio spaces. I’ve loved seeing photos of where they have been put up and how they are presented – some in frames, some with pretty washi tape and some pegged onto string!

IpDipDesign_Postcards1.jpg

 

As you know I totally love the ‘Awesome Sauce‘ print and ‘awesome sauce’ is now a very well (if not slightly over used) phrase in our house. I also know a lot of readers of the blog are animal mad like me so they will totally love your ‘Crazy cat lady‘ and ‘Delightful dog lady‘ at work prints, they are great and on my to buy list!

Here are your Ip Dip quick fire questions:IpDipDesign_Mixed1

City pad or country retreat? Country retreat

Dog or cat? Dog

Nightclub or sofa? Sofa

Heels or flats? Flats

Early bird or night owl? Night owl

Introvert or extrovert? Introvert

 

So, what’s next for your shop?

I am always thinking of ways I can develop and improve the designs in my shop. As an avid stationery lover I would love to create a range of notebooks or to-do lists one day. For now I am happy to keep building my product line and customer base gradually.

When you do launch any new lines I hope you pop back and share them with us. Your Etsy crush?

There are so many awesome Etsy shops I could mention here, but one of the first that I stumbled across and fell in love with was ‘Hello DODO’. Their designs are so fun and colourful, and I love the way they playfully use words. I am the proud owner of a Hello DODO t-shirt and tote bag. A couple of colourful prints grace the walls of Ip Dip HQ!

That’s a new shop for me. It’s all very fun and funky and a little bit silly, well worth a look…

 

Your favourite Etsy purchase?

I am lucky to have discovered lots of new and exciting Etsy shops whilst taking part in Etsy Resolution 2016. So far my favourite purchase has to be my pencil case from Sarah at Knight and Gray. It is extremely well made and perfect for keeping all of the pens and pencils I use for creating my designs. My favourite part is the custom plaque which reads ‘Ip Dip Design Tools’!

IpDipDesign_EtsyCrush

Ah yes, I love Knight and Gray too. We’ve featured one of Sarah’s bags over on our ‘Happy Treasury’ Rose Filtered blog. After seeing this I now have a serious case of bag envy. Your own personalised version, how swanky is that? Love, love, love it! I also love the creative minds sketch book, given what a messy person I can be I think it’s quite apt! There are some really gorgeous designs that would make great gift ideas.

creative minds

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

I love the social aspect of running my Etsy shop, and am pretty active on all of my social media pages! You can find me on:
Facebook                www.facebook.com/ipdipdesign
Instagram               www.instagram.com/ipdipdesign
Twitter                     www.twitter.com/ipdipdesign
Pinterest                 www.pinterest.com/ipdipdesign

There are more lovely designs in Laura’s shop so please take a moment, pop over, take a look and treat yourself!

A huge thank you to Laura, firstly for getting involved in this weeks Feature Friday (it’s made me very cheery) and secondly for helping us with our Feature Friday doodles which I’ve turned into animations to help promote the Leapup and Rose Filtered blogs. It really helps working with someone else as you’re not starting with a blank page, so a very big thank you! I’ve made Laura this little present, turning her cute little robot into a sort of ‘business card gif’ as I’m hopping to start making this type of thing for other Etsy sellers… so I’ll leave you with that!

Next week we will be featuring some dog accessory bling – can’t wait!

Leanne x

PS please don’t forget to pop over and say ‘hi’ to Laura on her social media… sign up to follow her Instagram or Twitter feed and I promise your days will be that much brighter!

PPS if you have time over on Rose Filtered blog we feature Jes Hooper Pyrography… well worth a visit, please pop over and show some support if you can!

IPDIPROBOT

 

The Leapup ‘Feature Friday’ starts this week!

I’m really excited to announce that Leapup’s first ‘Feature Friday’ will start this week. This is your chance to meet an Etsy artist, maker, designer each week and find out about what they do, why they do it, their learning curve selling on Etsy and of course gives a fantastic opportunity to showcase their latest makes and best sellers. This feature will be published each Friday and is currently only open to Etsy sellers.

If you’re wondering how you can promote your Etsy shop, details on how your small business can be featured will be posted on Friday.

Our first feature will be Megan Heffer from ‘Little Stitch of Nature’  – I look forward to sharing her talent with you and hope you’ll come and say ‘hi’ on Friday!

#LEAPUPFF

Sunshine and showers

It’s Treasury Tuesday again, yay! Here at Leapup HQ we love to find some of the latest makes to help brighten your day.

This week’s treasury is themed around last week’s crazy weather. We had hail, snow, warm sunshine, thunder, storm clouds, basically all weather in one week… you’ve got to love our crazy British spring times! I continue to keep everything crossed that we’re in for better things this May!

So this week we have a themed treasury celebrating that wonderful British phenomenon, the weather. I was little bit spoiled for choice this week, with so many gorgeous, raindrop, clouds, rainbow and weather related ‘makes’ available to buy on Etsy. It was tough to choose, but after a little bit of pondering we have included our top picks which you can view in detail and buy here:

‘Sunshine & showers’ Etsy Treasury by Leapup

Sunshineandshowers

So many goodies this week including those adorable little coasters depicting rainy storm clouds by TheCornishCoasterCo, and that lovely screen print with a little girl shielding herself from the rain by Little Blue Girl Co. How about that miniature embroidery hoop necklace with rainbow drops by Pixie Craft? Those bright and bold hand drawn posters by Ip Dip are always sure to put a smile on your face – no matter what the weather! So much talent and so many lovely goodies.

This weeks ‘STAND OUT’ is the adorable Cloud Desk Tidy by Pygmy Cloud.

STANDOUTclouddesktidyIt’s so cute and if you have a thing for clouds you should seriously take a look at the Pygmy Cloud shop as it’s simply bursting with white cloud cuteness including coasters, washi gift tape, greetings cards, a cloud cosmetic bag and even the most gorgeous hand crafted cloud side tables. Take a closer look you won’t be disappointed!

So that’s about it for this week but please don’t forget if you like what you see, please visit the shop and maybe help these talented makers who are all small business by sharing this post or their items on social media. They don’t get the same exposure as the corporate giants or high street stores so lets share the love and help get these gorgeous goodies seen!

I’ve got that Friday feeling… sort of.

Not very long a go ‘Yay, I’ve got that Friday feeling’ would have meant something entirely different to what it means today. I would have got home kicked off my shoes, run upstairs and slipped on my PJs, pored myself a glass of wine and planted my self firmly in front of Netflix, snuggling with the doggies and the hubbie.

Since the end of January however my ‘yay’ has come to mean I can run home: update Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my blog; potentially start uploading some listings; possibly work on and improve my SEO; obviously check the weather to see if there will be any product photography this weekend; and then maybe, just maybe the small possibility that I might actually make something?

When I signed up for the Etsy Resolution 2016 I’m not sure if I knew what I was letting myself in for. It’s proving to be very hard work and an incredibly slow slog. Having nothing to show for it i.e. not one sale yet, I’m sure some would argue that I’m ‘a busy fool’, should get a ‘proper job’, wasting my time etc. I guess the key thing is I’m still saying ‘yay’ when I get home. I’m excited to be doing this stuff and it means not having to work for anyone else, so for the time being ‘yay it’s Friday’.

wooflywkend

fridayfeeling

 

Print Love

This weeks Treasury Tuesday I’ve curated a collection of beautiful prints, all originated through the traditional printing methods of lino cuts and screen printing. When I started out this week I wasn’t sure where it was going but I enjoy it so much and am just overwhelmed when I start looking and find so much amazing talent. I’ve pulled the collection together with the colour scheme of predominately orange and teal/turquoise as well as black.

On reflection the central images from bottom left up to top right might slightly over dominate and steal the lime light, maybe I’ll try and make sure that the selection is more balanced when I make a treasury in the future. Nonetheless I think they are all really beautiful pieces of art work in their own right. If anything takes your fancy you can buy the items on Etsy by clicking here: Etsy ‘Print Love’ treasury by Leapup

printlove

Let’s go to the beach!

 

This weeks Treasury Tuesday is full of lovely blues and sea greens as well as nautical patterns and beach shapes. This week we’ve got a mish-mash of items from jewellery to shopper bags, camera straps to fine art. I think (or at least hope) that these gorgeous sea greens and blues pull all of these items together. Obviously I’m not forgetting a dog collar and lead in lovely beach colours for the pooch!

I’m really loving the unusual beachy bridal bouquet from Handmade by Monica for anyone thinking about taking their vows whilst feeling the sand between their toes. The sophisticated, yet laid back, nautical rope mat by The Lazarette has me hankering after a weekend in a beach house by the sea. I can’t forget to mention the gorgeous Tynemouth print by Louise Flintoft of the Little Blue Girl Co, my screen printing buddy who is also on the Etsy Resolution journey with me.

You can find all of these lovely beach goodies here: Etsy Treasury ‘Let’s to to the beach’ by Leapup

Let's go to the beach

You can find these gorgeous goodies here…

Busy as a bee

After two full Saturdays in a row in the print studio as well as doing my normal day job, it’s been unbelievably busy getting the art work together and exhausting  / exhilarating spending two full days in the studio. Things are rolling along steadily and fingers crossed I’ll have my shop stocked and open very soon (nerve wrecking).

Here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been up to with one of my prints, of the yellow lab variety…

 

Pooch Paradise

It’s that time of the week again that can only mean it’s #treasurytuesday, yay!

As a dog fanatic, here are some of the handmade goodies that would be perfect for my black Labrador (Sophia) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (little Oscar). After having had a look around it’s clear there’s some really lovely well made items to choose from… a pooch paradise you might say.

 

You can take a closer look at all the items I’ve listed on my Etsy treasury here…https://www.etsy.com/uk/treasury/MTMxNDAwNjN8MjcyNTczOTk1Mw/pooch-paradise?ref=pr_treasury

TreasuryTuesday 08march2015

#treasurytuesday

Since starting the Etsy Resolution course back in January I’ve been meaning to pull together my first ‘treasury’. After trudging through lots of items on my ‘to-do’ list this weekend I’ve finally taken the time before work this morning to figure out, what one is and how to do one, yay! Basically my understanding is that it is a collection of beautifully made objects/items pulled together that can help signpost other users of Etsy to find nice things. There are so many sellers that it helps highlight especially nice finds to others, ‘helping to spread the love’ and support other sellers which seems like a great (but also slightly addictive) idea.

I knew it was going to be an enjoyable job with so much talent out there and so many beautiful products to look through it was fun! I can see how (like Pinterest) creating treasuries could become a little bit addictive so maybe I’ll limit myself to a treasury a week for now. I’ve named it ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ after a lovely sunny walk out at the beach with the dogs yesterday, it feels like spring is just around the corner. I’m lusting after all these gorgeous handmade goodies…

 

If you’re interested in any of the items I’ve featured then you can visit my Etsy treasury here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/treasury/MTMxNDAwNjN8MjcyNTcyMzI1NQ/the-skys-the-limit?ref=pr_treasury

theskysthelimit