Chocolate lovers rejoice!

ilovechocoate_lr_1

The second of my Labrador series… this one has an apres-ski vibe and is perfect for any chocolate lovers (of the drink or the lab variety) 🐶☕ Available to buy in size A4 or A3 from my Etsy shop.

Leanne Warren is a member of and supports the work of ACID (Anti Copying in Design). All the intellectual property rights in our designs and in the images are and will remain acid-memberthe property of Leanne Warren. Any infringements will be taken seriously www.acid.uk.com

Featuring Handmade by Monica

For this week’s Feature Friday we meet Monica from ‘Handmade by Monica‘ who makes a selection of cute, quirky and colourful celebratory bunting….

Handamde

Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?Head shot

Hi I’m Monica and I love making bunting that brings joy and happiness! My little shop is full of colourful and glittery garlands and I am always on the lookout for fun fabrics and new ways to personalise bunting for special occasions. If I create something that brings a bit of colour or sparkle to someone’s life then I know I’ve done a good job!

Do you sell on any other platforms and if so could you tell us about those?

I have my own website which runs on the Squarespace platform (very easy to set-up and maintain!). I also sell on Handmade at Amazon but have found it a bit slow-going as the products were only being marketed in the US and I imagine potential customers have been put off by higher postage charges. The platform is about to be extended to the UK and some other European markets, so I’m hoping business will improve on there soon! I also very recently started up a Depop shop (a shopping app aimed at Millennials) and have had some sales and am also investigating a new venture called Look Lane (yet to be launched). I like to have my hands in all the pies, as you can probably tell!

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

My work space is actually the spare room which I share with my husband (he’s an artist) but despite having a desk and a dedicated space I can often be found spilling out onto the kitchen table with piles of fabric! I have a super cute yellow sewing machine that I make all my bunting on and my desk is covered with piles of colourful washi tapes and sharpies (I’m addicted).

What inspires your work?

I always find this question a bit tricky! It sounds a bit cheesy, but I honestly think that the element of making people happy with my makes is what drives me to create. Hearing lovely feedback and seeing pictures of my bunting hung at weddings really fills me with joy.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently going through a bit of a re-focussing of my shop and am putting more effort into occasion bunting – I’ve got a lovely collection of engagement bunting on its way soon! I’m also a bit obsessed with glittery iron on letters and hearts and have been experimenting with those on bunting too ❤

Personalised wedding bunting copy

How have you found your Etsy journey so far?

I’ve really enjoyed my Etsy journey so far, particularly the communal elements! I joined Etsy Resolution this year (a special programme Etsy runs once a year to walk new sellers through opening their shop – advice and tips provided by top sellers) and had some great support via the associated Facebook group. I am also part of the Etsy London Local team which hosts regular meet-ups and special events for London-based Etsy sellers. It’s really comforting to know there are other makers out there who share the same struggles and joys as you!

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

I would say this it’s really worth persevering with your product photography – I am literally the world’s worst photographer so I’ve had to put a lot of effort into getting my photos to a state that I would consider average! I recently went on a product photography day workshop for makers at Makelight which was incredibly helpful (highly recommended) and I’ve since seen an improvement in my photos (and sales).

Your favourite make so far?

My favourite make has to be my doughnut bunting! I can’t help but smile when I look at all the pretty colours 🙂 Who knew that there was a trend for doughnut parties?!

Doughnut_bunting

Your best seller?

My most popular item is my Alice in Wonderland bunting – I have been making it to order for quite a few months now! I think there is still a trend for Alice-themed weddings and tea parties – I just love the original drawings printed on this fabric 🙂

Alice_in_Wonderland_garland

beachbouquetMy personal faves are your beach wedding bouquet, which I absolutely love, your flamingo bunting and pineapple bunting and your hessian wedding bunting… so many lovely makes! What’s next for your shop?

As I mentioned, I’m currently doing a bit of re-focusing, so I’ll be putting lots of effort into building out my occasion bunting collections and there will be plenty more party bunting in bright colours too – watch this space!

Your Etsy crush?

I am a self-confessed cat lady and I have a serious crush on the ilikecatsshop on Etsy – our flat is full of little purchases from this shop and I’m pretty sure the owner, Toby, thinks I’m stalking him on Instagram 😉

Your favourite Etsy purchase?

This has to be the hardest question! I went back to look at all my Etsy purchases and there are nine pages of them – choosing just one item is near impossible!

I’ll list a few of my favourites here:

  1. Crazy unicorn lady mug – everyone needs one of these! (by Lazylinepainterbelle)
  2. Crochet fish in a glass jar – really unique idea and always makes me smile to look at (by Eden Reborn)
  3. Vintage swan scissors – great photo props! (by Ideatura)
  4. Owl wedding cake toppers – we had these on our wedding cake, so they have special meaning 🙂 (by The Haute Box Boutique)

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

Facebookhttp://facebook.com/handmadebymonicauk
Twitterhttp://twitter.com/handmademonica
Instagram http://instagram.com/handmadebymonica
Pinteresthttp://pinterest.com/handmademonica
Etsy shop: http://handmadebymonicauk.etsy.com
Website: http://www.handmadebymonica.co.uk

Thank you so much to Monica for sharing her story and introducing us to some lovely shops and makes! Please pop over to Handmade by Monica and take a look or go and say ‘hi’ on social media to keep up to date with Monica’s latest ranges and offers. 

Leanne x

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!

It’s a doggie bling double bill!

Something a little bit different this week, that I know will appeal to all of you dog lovers out there. We’re making the jump from last week’s colourful, quirky designs by Ip Dip to strictly doggie bling… introducing Alison Hatch from Crystal Wolf Collars and Lorretta Wyatt from I Made These Terriers

CWolf3

 

Firstly hello to Crystal Wolf Collars… Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?
IMG_3480My name is Alison, and my shop is Crystal Wolf Collars, specialising in top end dog collars and accessories that all have the optional added sparkle from Swarovski Crystals. I started making dog collars after rescuing my lurcher Tilly, four and a half years ago from the RSPCA, she was the most glamorous pup in West Sussex. All the lovely comments I got on my dog walks inspired me to open my Etsy store in 2014, producing beautiful but hard wearing collars, for everyday use. I come from a fashion background, and have been working in the professional dance wear market for last 20 plus years, think Strictly Come Dancing! I wanted to bring a little of this glamour to dogs and their owners.
I’m a fan of Strictly Come Dancing and love the glamour of ballroom dancing I’m slightly envious of your skills, what a fab idea moving your skills to dog accessories!
I am surrounded by sparkle and beautiful fabrics, some of which find themselves made into collars. I also love recycling garments and fabrics. My recent wool dog coats are made from Scottish blankets or scarves. I’ve also used vintage pillowcases and clothes for collars.
CWolf1
What a fabulous ibandanadea,  I love dressing my dogs in bandanas and bow ties (much to the husband’s dismay). What are you currently working on? 
Matching bandanas for my collars, as well as machine embroidered bags made from the wool blankets I make the coats from. I am also trying out using the machine free hand, to embroider the heads of different breeds of dog. So far I have only attempted a terrier but was happy with the result.
Sounds fab! How have you found your Etsy journey so far?
My Etsy journey so far has been a very slow one but I realise now how naive I was. At the beginning had no idea about the importance of SEO, good photos, networking, etc. No wonder I got no sales for ages! I have almost given up several times, especially in the beginning, but now sales are better. I still have a lot of work to do but the high I get when a customer is happy, has made me determined to make this work.
 CWolf5
Any lessons you would like to share with fellow Etsy sellers? 
Joining the Etsy UK Sellers Networking Group on Facebook has been the best thing I have done, I’ve learnt so much it is incredible. I also think its really important to be completely honest and transparent with customers, the more I communicate with them and show an interest in them the better the rapport. I would say definitely say don’t give up, I sometimes have no sales in a month but the next can get five or more.
Your best seller?
My favourite make is most probably my best seller, which is my blanket dog coats. They have really taken off, especially in the USA. I’m really proud of those as they seem to be really different to what else is on offer.
What’s next?
Next for my shop I plan to spend more time developing the bags, as well as my fleece whippet coats (of course this will be alongside working on my SEO’s and photos).
Your Etsy Crush?
My etsy crush would be the little felted animals created by PuppyDuckMakes.
They are adorable and am sure will hit the spot for all of the animal lovers out there! Where can we find you on social media? 

Stay tuned because next up for a little bit more doggie inspired fox terrier bling, we introduce Loretta Wyatt from I Made These.

Hi, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?
Ever since I can remember I’ve enjoyed creating. In 2007 I discovered metal clay and started creating jewellery this way. Metal clay is lots of microscopic particles suspended in an organic binder (the clay part) which can be moulded, dried and then fired in a kiln or with a torch. I love to work with metal clay. It’s very much like working with ceramics but on a smaller scale and it means that I don’t need to buy a rolling mill or other larger scale machinery, which is great when working in a small space! We have always had dogs growing up and our family is hooked on Fox Terriers including my beautiful fox terrier Pippa.


We regularly attend a fox terrier walk that has become such a big event that on last count I believe there were near to 80 terriers with their owners! During the walks it became apparent that I wasn’t the only one who was obsessed with fox terrier artifacts – figurines, photo frames, tea towels – you name it, and when I was complimented for my ‘Pippa pendant’ that I was wearing I thought that it would be a good idea to start a new range of terrier inspired jewellery!

This year I spoke with a group online called The Terrier Friendship Fund UK  who do a fox_terrierfantastic job of helping to raise money to help any terriers who need help for vet bills and support owners online by just being there for them really. They were very approachable and I wanted to help as best I could with raising money for their cause by donating 20% of all sales to them. I’ve had some very positive feedback so far and I’ve even had some owners buying pendants for their dogs to wear on their collars. Very stylish!

What are you currently working on?
I am working on other Terrier inspired jewellery, including cufflinks, brooches, more pendants and charms for another terrier charity. It’s top secret at the moment but I promise to update everyone once I have the go ahead so watch this space!

foxterrier

How wonderful, that sounds very exciting and we can’t wait to hear more! How have you found your Etsy journey so far?
I discovered Etsy resolution in 2016 and thought that I should really give Etsy another go after giving up with an earlier shop. If others on Etsy can make it work for them well so can I! I’m self taught when it comes to social networking and finding out different ways to get your work out there has been an eye opener, exciting and inspiring! The main lesson that I have learned is that you can’t just stick some photos of your work somewhere and hope to make a sale, it involves so much more work that that!

Your favourite make so far?
That’s tricky as I only have five items so far but my favourite has to be my ‘Pippa pendant’ as she was my lovely dog so I am completely biased!

IMG_0730

Your best seller?
I think these terrier charms are popular as they can be worn as a necklace, added to a charm bracelet or used as a phone charm. Its also a simple stylised design.

foxterriercharm

Very versatile, I can see why they’ve proved so popular! What’s next for your shop?
I would love to expand to other breeds of dogs. Maybe pugs. They are a popular breed at the moment and they do have very cheeky faces which I’m sure I could capture using metal clay.

Your Etsy crush?
I have many including, Forever Foxed, Rock Rose Jewellery, and Curious Magpie Designs.

Oooh lovely shops! Thanks so much for the recommendations. I’ve included my fave finds from each of the shops so readers get an idea of the types of things sold, why not click in and have a closer look:
Forever Foxed 
Rock Rose Jewellery 
Curious Magpie Designs

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

Facebook: www.facebook.com/imadetheseofficial
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/imadethesedesign/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IMadeThese

Thanks so much to both Loretta and Alison for sharing their doggie makes this week. If you have time don’t forget to go and have a browse of their shops and treat you and your doggies? Also don’t forget to tune into social media so that you can be the first to hear about new lines and offers as they come up. If you have time please pop on over to our Rose Filtered blog where we say hello to the lovely Amy from Hope the Black Dog, it’s a really great read so I do hope you can come over and show your support.

Thanks for reading!

Leanne x

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

 

Featuring Natsula Designs

I’m really excited about introducing this weeks #FeatureFriday as I’ve been a huge fan from the moment I set eyes on Natasha’s delicate, intricate and stunning paper cuts. I think you’ll agLOGOree after reading this that her work is beautiful and would make a fabulous addition to you home, or a lovely gift for a loved one… young or old!

Hi! Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop? I’m Natasha and  I live in London, Maida Vale to be exact. Natsula Designs was born out of a desire to live a fulfilled and happy life. I have lived a colourful and exciting life thus far – I have worked in Advertising in New York, as a Sports Therapist in London and I’ve been a Dive Instructor and Boat Tour Leader in Thailand (my favourite place to be is under the water).

With each job I’ve been searching for a sense of fulfillment and contentment and although each job has given me a different sense of myself, something has been missing. It’s taken me many years to realise that being creative is what nurtures my soul, so I’ve set about doing just that and I’ve never been happier. I take great pleasure in creating my artworks and, in turn, I hope they bring joy and light into people’s homes.

In my Etsy shop I sell original artwork, as well as fine art limited edition giclée prints of some of my original works, and greetings cards which have extra embellishments making them even more special. My collages are for both little ones and grown ups!


Are you working full time on your art? I’d love to work on my art full time, but realistically that’s not possible at the moment. My main job is as a sports therapist, but I’m self employed so I make my own hours and am lucky enough to have free days where I can concentrate my efforts on my art.

How did the name Natsula Designs come about?  I live with my wonderful fur baby who makes me laugh and feel loved every day.  She also shares my company name…  I’m Nat and she’s Sula and so Natsula Designs was born!

Sula is gorgeous! She is my beloved, black, soft and furry four-legged cockapoo friend, who makes me laugh and feel loved every day!

IMG_2156

Cockapoos have such a beautiful nature, she is gorgeous! Sula is five now and a true companion. She makes me laugh every day and is incredibly empathetic – reading my moods better than any human. When I’m happy she’s happy, when I’m sad she comforts. Where I go, she goes!

Tell us a littleAt work in the studio bit about how and where you work? I work in my kitchen, which I’ve set up as my studio as it’s lovely and bright. I use predominantly authentic Japanese chiyogami papers for their vibrant colours, luminescence and texture. They bring the collage alive. I also use Italian marbled papers, which are beautiful and also reflect my heritage. I use a scalpel or scissors to attentively cut out my shapes.

Tell us a bit more about your Italian Heriatge? My father is Italian and now lives there as do all my relatives. My brothers and I spent all our school holidays in Italy as we had a family home just outside of Florence. I love everything about Italy – the delicious food, the warmth of the people, the stunning countryside! It flows through my veins – I am super passionate about things, have a fiery temper! and talk with my hands! I don’t get to visit now as much as I’d like – probably about 2 times a year, because of work commitments and my fur baby!

What inspires your work? I’m greatly inspired by nature, colour and form. All my artworks are driven by nature and colour and each piece has a great deal of movement either in the subject matter or by virtue of the shapes I form with the paper.

When are you at your most creative?  I’m a morning person – up at the crack of dawn, which is when I’m at my most productive. But this means that by early evening I’m useless! And usually in my pjs and slippers after my last little walk with Sula around 7pm! My ideas come to me in all sorts of ways – sometimes they hit me while I’m in bed unable to sleep – I always keep a notebook on my bedside table to jot things down. Other times, I will be inspired by something I see in nature, as I’m walking Sula. Sometimes, I will be working on a piece and suddenly go in a completely different direction.

Do you ever get creatively blocked and if so what do you find is the best way to get ‘unblocked’? I think every creative person becomes blocked at some point. I often get stuck and start to panic thinking I’ll never have any more ideas! But they come…. as soon as I let go of that panic. I do something completely different – go to the gym, walk Sula, meet up with friends – just allow myself to relax and then the ideas get a chance to form.

I imagine the scalpel is the most important tool in your toolbox? I love my scalpels! Some people collect shoes – I collect blades! The length of time it takes to replace a blade really depends on what I’m cutting, i.e. the type of paper, and how long I’m cutting in one go. But generally I’ll change them once a day.

Wow that’s a lot of blades you get through! How have you found your Etsy journey so far? I opened at the end of last year, but I would say that I really focused on it from the beginning of this year and it’s been a bit slow if I’m honest. Now I’m not the most patient person so perhaps I need to relax and wait to see if things pick up! Fingers crossed they will! In the meantime I’m exploring other avenues. As my Gran used to say – “Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket!” Very wise words!

IMG_4931

You say your Etsy shop has been a bit slow… did you do the Etsy Resolution course or have you been involved in any business courses that are aimed at helping Etsy shops…? Yes, I did the Etsy Resolution course and other business courses, but I think the problem is that Etsy is becoming very saturated. And I think a lot of shops have suffered with the new algorithm they introduced a few months ago.
How do you find working on SEO in your Etsy shop? Have you used Etsy Rank yet? I find SEO quite difficult – probably because it’s boring and I have a short attention span! I’ve used Etsy Rank too to search for keywords. I probably need to spend some time on Etsy and tidy the SEO up but it’s finding the time!

How do you find the social media and social networking side of owning your own business – do you find it time consuming? I often wish I could clone myself multiple times so that one of me could be working on the social media, another me could be creating, another me could be marketing, another me could be working on the website… and the list goes on. As a one man band, I sometimes get overwhelmed by how much there is to do, and I find it hard to prioritise things, as in my mind they are all important.

IMG_4939I totally feel your pain! The Leapup shop and my other Etsy shop Rose Filtered are facing exactly the same challenge. It feels a little bit like spinning plates at the moment, if you lose focus on one area, it drops and you never have enough time to focus on one area as much as you would like – aaaarrrggghhh!

Anyway tell us a little bit about the local shop where you sell? I’m actually selling in a clinic! My friend is an osteopath and owns a clinic close to me. My cards do really well there and I’ve just put my framed children’s pieces on display and they are also doing well! I’m so grateful to Byron and Sophia for being so supportive of my work and giving me this wonderful opportunity.

That sounds fantastic and it just goes to show other Etsy sellers that sometimes it’s good to think outside of the box. It may not need to be the traditional ‘gift shop’ that you target, maybe products could sell in more quirky/unusual places that are less saturated, where maybe other people haven’t thought of selling?

Any lessons learned so far that you would like to share with other Etsy makers or online sellers? Don’t give up!!! You just have to plug away and power through and believe in yourself and your products.

Good advice which I’ll try and take on board myself! Your favourite make so far? Oh, that’s a tough one! In my children’s range I love “A Touch of Magic” – and for the adults I’ve just finished a 3D paper artwork which I’ve now hung in my bedroom and don’t want to sell!! It’s called “Dragon Eye.”

Dragon-Eye

I think your work is beautiful ‘Dragon Eye’ is stunning! My fave make is your piano with birds flying out, I absolutely love it… are you musical?  My brother is the musical one! I played as a child but was too impatient! I wanted to be able to play like a professional pianist but without having to practice. My grandmother was musical and I remember sitting next to her as a child practicing and playing duets.

-® Into the Light

Your best seller? The Fairy Range in my Children’s collection – in particular “Winged Dreams” and “A Touch of Magic.”

What’s next for your shop? I’m currently working on preparing some of my original work to sell as limited edition giclee prints.

Your Etsy crush? Small Doses of Wonder – I love her illustrations – they’re magical and Cat is a lovely! I met her through instagram and we’ve become “instabuddies!”

They are beautiful and well worth a look! Where can we come and say ‘hi’?

Etsy Shop: www.natsuladesigns.com

Instagram: instagram.com/natsuladesigns

Facebook: facebook.com/natsuladesigns

Twitter: twitter.com/natsuladesigns

Pinterest: pinterest.com/natsuladesigns

Thank you so much Natasha for taking the time to contribute to our #FeatureFriday, I hope you’ll come back and let us know of your future collections and successes.

Dear readers, if you have a moment, Natasha’s shop is well worth a look, her prints and original papercuts would make such stunning gifts for loved ones. If you’ve read this far please help us to spread the word of Natasha’s beautiful work (by sharing this short link: http://wp.me/p7dAyG-ca on Twitter or Facebook). It’s incredibly difficult as a sole trader/small business to get the word out and to get your work seen, so any help with this would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

Next week Laura Bittles from Ip Dip Design joins us and trust me, with her bold and cheerful doodles and prints, you’re in for a real treat! Her work is the prefect ‘pick me up’ and I really hope you can pay us a visit and come and say hi! 

Leanne x

PS you might also be interested in reading about some beautiful geometric designs that are showcased on our Rose Filtered #FeatureFriday blog post. If you get a chance pop over and meet Natalie North Design

 

 

Birds of a feather

It’s Treasury Tuesday, a day aimed at highlighting some of the lovely finds on Etsy. After a slightly traumatic mid-week when Oscar my King Charles killed a bird in the garden . I decided to do a treasury based on birds in an attempt to get over it and well…. because I love birds so much. My in-laws who live in the North West of England are very superstitious about birds and think they bring bad luck so won’t wear clothes or anything with them on – I hadn’t ever heard of anything like that and pretty much love any item with a bird on it. Have you ever heard of anything like that?

Anyway take a look at the treasury, if anything catches your eye please click in and take a closer look, all items are available to buy now on Etsy.

This week the pink block printed feather pillow from Pauline Plug really caught my eye, I wasn’t planning on including pink items but it was just so lovely I couldn’t leave it out and how cute and intricate is that key ring from Ellies treasures UK? So many lovely goodies so please do take a look!

You can purchase any of these items by visiting the treasury here: Etsy ‘Birds of a feather’ Treasury by LEAPUP

Birdsofafeather

 

Scribbles

So my mission going forward is a very quick pre-bed scribble before bed every night… if I write it as a goal then it’s more likely to happen!!!!

 

 

The idea being that if I at least draw something (even if for five minutes) then it will help keep my ‘creative juices’ flowing so my ideas keep coming, even if I’m not really in the mood for doing much.