Category Archives: shop talk

julzcraftstore.com is now live! Go see!

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This website, with it’s accompanying blog, is NOW LIVE!

This post is a copy of the one I wrote on the new website.  It looks prettier there!

So, it’s only fitting that I write this post from julzcraftstore.com, and copy it over to my other blog – julzcrafts.com.

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This is your first order Coupon Code

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Please copy and paste it into your order on the Shopping Cart Page – if you don’t add the code exactly as it is, it won’t work!

It really has been an experience, setting up a new website, without knowing what I was doing – both technically, and with the constant question – will anyone actually buy from it!  I’ll find out the answer to the question very soon – smile.

The Good Stuff!

There are over 100 items for you to choose from, and lots of GIFT IDEAS.  I hope you will be able to find something useful that you like.  Go See at JULZ CRAFT STORE.

There are also a few oddities:-

please read this as it will save you some confusion!

When you come to fill in your address, either on the Shopping Cart page, or in the ‘My Account’ Page – for some reason it doesn’t give you a scroll down list of Countries to pick from.  Please start typing the country, and it should autofill – if it doesn’t, just enter the full wording.

Please note that for the UK, Great Britain or whatever you would normally use, you have to start typing United Kingdom, as it won’t accept any of the other names.

The same goes for USA – start typing United States of America – it should autofill before you get all the way thro’!

There is nothing I can do about it, and as the Shopping Cart Page is a standard fixed page, I can’t edit it to tell you to ‘Start Typing’!  I had trouble with this feature myself, and so have the friends I have asked to test the site! 

Also, there is no “Continue Shopping” prompt – but don’t worry, you can add as many items to your order without visiting the shopping cart each time!

 

Trying to help you find what you are looking for –

Because there are so many listings, it’s difficult to know how to make it easy for you to find them,  especially when you don’t know what I stock!  I have sorted them into a growing number of  CATEGORIES. 

In fact, many of the listings fit into several categories, and so they may seem to have got duplicated.  I have given you suggestions on how to find what you are looking for on THE STORE page.  If in doubt – you can always get in touch with me by clicking on the TALK TO ME page.

Trying to give you the best postage rates –

As I wrote in my previous blog post – copied here from julzcrafts.com – I have racked my brains to find a simple AND fair  way to charge for postage/shipping.

I have settled on Flat Rates for all 4 shipping zones – UK – Europe – and Royal Mail’s International Zones 1 & 2.

I have had to set them to cover postage on small parcels, so in some cases, the postage will be more than you should pay, and in others it will be less – and I will make a loss!

I don’t want to be unfair – so if you reckon that your order could fit into a large envelope, please contact me BEFORE you pay for your order.

I should be able to reduce your final total on the order, as long as you tell me your name, and country, before the order is confirmed.  If not, and you have already paid, if you let me know, I will refund you the over postage through Paypal.

Similarly, I’m sorry to say, that if your order happens to be very bulky or very heavy, and be far more expensive to post that the Flat Rate, I may contact you and ask if you are prepared to pay a little extra for the postage.

However, most of the time, you will probably find that the Flat Rate is near enough to the actual cost of the postage, or even less than it should be, and I won’t bother contacting you about it!

If you have any problems using the Site

please TALK TO ME!   

I EXPECT I HAVE MADE SOME SPELLING MISTAKES OR LEFT SOMETHING OUT OF A PRODUCT DESCRIPTION – JUST LET ME KNOW IF YOU COME ACROSS SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T LOOK RIGHT SO I CAN FIX IT!

 

 

I look forward to hearing from you!

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julzcraftstore.com will be live on 28 February

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This is a copy of the email – newz from julz – that I sent out yesterday to the several hundred people on my mailing list.

If you’d like to register for the

10% off all orders coupon

and email updates on my mailing list, please see the instructions below

 

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After a really long build up – it’s taken me ages to put it together – my new website
 
will be up & running by 28 February – a year after the landslip!
 
as you are already on my mailing list, I will be sending you a coupon code for
 
10% off all orders to celebrate!
 
Anyone who isn’t already on my mailing list will get a chance to register before 28 February.
So if you know anyone who’d like to get the 10% off offer – let them know!
 
They can register thro my blog – julzcrafts.com
 
by filling in the questionnaire HERE
OR
 
If they keep an eye on the blog (julzcrafts.com) they will find a coupon code for

5% off all orders

 
when I finally take julzcraftstore.com live.
 
I look forward to seeing you there!
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Hmm – some of the spacing I put into this post hasn’t worked – sorry about that – it makes it more difficult to read!

julzcraftstore.com – a quick update…

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blackshopcardFor those of you who seem to be checking this blog out on a regular basis, to see when the new website will be live – I can only apologise!

Well, I did say it would take some time to get THE STORE up and running!  And its certainly taking a lot of time!  I never realised it was going to be so complicated, and as I am not a ‘techie’, its been a slow learning curve.

I just thought I could follow the instructions and then it would take some time to enter the 100+ listings for the stock I have in my living room!  However – its not quite that easy, and it turns out that I have been spoilt by the large selling sites that I have been using up to now.

Ebay and Etsy have a very comprehensive system for costing reasonably accurate postal rates – or shipping costs – as others call them, and I thought I could do better than them!

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It turns out to be a very complicated matter, because there are 4 shipping zones to cover, all of which have different tariffs for weight and size, and even if I put in the weight and dimensions of each item, it still wouldn’t give me an accurate price per parcel!  I have done a lot of research on this, even spoken to Royal Mail themselves – and nowhere in their repertoire is there any help for websites to set up their pricing system.  The Business Section, which will happily link in with ebay to offer you cheaper postage – had never heard of a ‘plug-in’ for small businesses, and were utterly unhelpful!

When I contacted various other UK businesses and asked them how they had sorted out the problem, most of them said, they didn’t know, because they had employed a specialist to do their website – I’D NEVER EVEN CONSIDERED DOING THAT!

Having bought from various sites over the years, it seemed the best compromise would be to set flat rates for each shipping zone for the moment, and I even had trouble working out how to do that!  There are some +ve’s and -ve’s about using flat rates, and it would certainly put some of you off if I charged you parcel rate for an item that can be posted in letter form – so – head’s up for my readers – if you contact me before you put in your order for a small, flat item – like a badge or small signs etc – I will agree to refund you the extra postage that the system will charge – because I can’t find a way to be able to offer TWO FLAT RATES at the moment, and nor can the ‘Happiness Engineers’ at WordPress!

iuI aim to post WORLDWIDE, on the same basis, until I can come up with a better solution!

That said – there are a few more things I need to iron out before julzcraftstore.com – julz craft supplies – THE STORE – will go live – but it shouldn’t take too long now – cross fingers!

I hope some of you will come and visit when it does!

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I SELL WORLDWIDE + 20,100 hits – thanks!

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Whilst I have had my head down & fully immersed in setting up my new retail website – see previous post – the counter on this blog has been whirring round – and not only reached 20,000 – but added on another hundred viewings in the last week – thanks to you all – there must be something I’m doing right for once!

On the other hand – I’ve realised that I was being too coy in newz from julz and didn’t explain why I wanted you to fill out the form properly!  I also didn’t think about how to ask the questions on the form!

Part of the reason I’m investing in this new website, is to be able to

SELL WORLDWIDE

more directly to my customers.  Already, through etsy and ebay I would estimate that at least a third of my customers come from the US, and I also get quite a lot of people from Europe, Australia, and places I’d never have expected would have found me – and who must have seen this blog.

I also know, from the recent efforts I’ve made to send people who have originally bought via ebay, to my etsy shop, that you don’t like being redirected like that!

So – I am inviting all readers, from whatever part of the world, to fill in the slightly revamped form, so I can see where you come from, and whether you might consider buying craft supplies and/or gifts from me!  So far, I’ve only had responses from people in the UK!

And to thank you for giving me a bit of information, I will be sending all those who fill in the form a coupon for  10% off your first order on the new site – which is why I am asking for your email address.

Of course, if you aren’t in the slightest bit interested – don’t fill in the form – smile.  But if you are just a bit curious to see what I’m up to – it won’t take long – and you’ll be the first people I tell – when I’ve managed to work my way thro’ the shipping costings, and how to send emails confirming orders etc – that’s why its taking me so long – as well as copying my listings over from etsy, and adding in new stock etc etc……..

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So –  to the slightly altered form…….you can write a much or as little as you like – the spaces will expand if you need them to.

 

Many thanks to you if you have filled this in

 

I will send you the 10% off coupon as soon as I open the new STORE.

 

Newz from Julz

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NB:  There is a form at the end of this post – please fill it in for a 10% discount!  For what? Well just read the blog!

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A Frosty Morning in January

Well, I don’t know about you, but it feels like this has been a very unusual winter in West Wales.  The weather has been all over the place, and there is more to come – smile – there is always more to come!  However, there are signs that spring is on the way.  Snow drops are starting to appear, and daffodil shoots seem to be pushing up all over the place.

I have a large garden here – part of the reason I moved was so that I could raise chickens, and here are a couple of them!

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a couple of my 6 month old buff sussex chickens

The first batch of Buff Sussex started off in my incubator at the end of July, and are nearly 6 months old now, and hopefully will start laying soon. I ‘m just praying that the foxes don’t come around!

There is a lot of work to be done in the garden, and I have been pruning some of the overgrown trees and bushes this week, and planning where to put the veg patch and what plants I want to grow.  It will all take some time!  So it seems will the changes I want to make to the cottage!

There is one more important change that I am making….

….. and I’d like your help!

As many of you will know, part of the reason I blog is to let you know about the small business I run  –

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I sell a mix of craft supplies and gift items, which you can find here on etsy – and here on ebay.

I have thought about setting up my own website for a long time.  Whilst selling on the above outlets has worked fine for over 10 years – its getting more and more restricting.

The last straw, was when ebay recently changed their rules, and no longer allow any outside links on the listings – so – I was forced to take down any links to this blog – even the tutorials that go with some of the listings!  They don’t want to give buyers a chance to contact sellers direct, as they might lose some of their revenue.  However, since I am a business seller, my full details have to be shown on every listing!  Makes no sense at all, and I even told them that – but its the new corporate era for ebay, and they really don’t care about what I say!  They have changed so much since I first started selling with them – it was much more fun!

Anyway – whilst I will still keep the sites with ebay & etsy – I have taken the plunge and bought a business site with WordPress. 

I have been spending ages since Christmas working out how to use it and adding much of my stock – and have still got some major decisions to make about how I want it to look!

Originally, I’d thought I could just add a page or two to this blog – but it turned out that all the complicated stuff – like a shopping cart and taking payments etc wouldn’t work with this blog’s format.  You might have noticed that I tried working out whether I could sell direct from this blog a while back – and it didn’t exactly work well! (The lantern I was selling there has just been sold on etsy, and it went to Phoenix, USA!)

blackshopcardSo its a separate site, with a slightly different logo.  This is my first attempt at a business card for it – but I think it needs a bit more work – just as well I only got 100 of these cards printed!

As you can see, I’ve called it THE STORE.  This was to make sure it doesn’t get mixed up with the SHOP on etsy.

THE STORE ISN’T OPEN YET.  

If you try clicking on the link above, you should just get a page saying that the website is “under construction” – but feel free to have a look – there’s a nice picture with the message!  If by any chance, you do get to the site itself, please let me know, as something will have gone wrong!

In the meantime – would you be kind enough to take a few minutes to fill out the questionnaire?  It would be nice to know how many of you would be interested in using THE STORE.

Anyone who fills in the form below, will be sent a 10% OFF COUPON to use when the site becomes public – in the next few weeks- hopefully!

I look forward to hearing from you – thanks!

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The Twelve Days of Christmas – Last Part – 7 Swans a-Swimming + all the rest!

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12DaysChristmasBIRDS-1Exploring the 12 Days of Christmas History and Life in the 18th Century  

By Christine Henrichs – originally published in Backyard Poultry Magazine (2013)

This is part of a series  based on the popular Carol – that starts – ‘On the First Day of Christmas. my True Love sent to me – a Partridge in a Pear Tree.’

I have been running this series over the Christmas Holidays – starting with  Part 1.  You can find the full text of the Carol HERE.

Officially the 12th Day of Christmas is the 5th of January – or as Wikipedia says The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a festive Christian season celebrating the Nativity of Jesus Christ. In most Western ecclesiastical traditions, “Christmas Day” is considered the “First Day of Christmas” and the Twelve Days are 25 December – 5 January, inclusive.

However many communities actually celebrate Christmas on the 6th of January, Epiphany, instead of the 25th December.  

This series, based on the article in the American Poultry Magazine,  has attempted to link all the Gifts in the Carol with either poultry or a species of birds, and up to the 7th Day, it sort of works.  

When it comes to 8 Maids a-Milking , 9 Ladies Dancing, 10 Lords a-Leaping, 11 Pipers Piping and 12 Drummers Drumming, I’m not sure you can stretch the analogy that far!  People have tried to find various links, including  Hugh D. McKellar, a Canadian hymnologist, who published an article, in 1979 – “How to Decode the Twelve Days of Christmas”.  He suggested that “The Twelve Days of Christmas” lyrics were intended as a catechism song to help young Catholics learn their faith, at a time when practising Catholicism was criminalised in England (1558 until 1829).  This hypothesis has now been found to be incorrect!  So who knows?

So, I’m going to stop at:

Seven Swans A-Swimming

“On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…seven swans-a-swimming.”

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Seven Swans a-Swimming – well a pair of adults and their 5 cygnets. Swans mate for life.

Swans are one of the most charismatic birds. Their graceful flight and peaceful beauty as they glide across the water have inspired humans to find spiritual meaning in them. Iron Age Britons, eighth century BC and later, considered them supernatural. Mute swans are the traditional birds of folklore. Although migratory, they became semi-domesticated in Britain by the 10th century.

Richard the Lionhearted is often credited with bringing swans to England on his return from the Crusades in the 12th century, but some documentation shows swans being kept as far back as 966, during the reign of King Edgar.

It was in the 12th century that the Crown claimed ownership of all swans. In the 15th century, swan ownership was shared with the Vintners’ and Dyers’ Companies. That continues today, with an annual ceremony called Swan Upping, in which cygnets, baby swans, are captured, weighed, checked for health problems, banded and released.

So, the 12 Days of Christmas meaning behind Seven Swans-A-Swimming would have had royal as well as spiritual connotations.

In the 17th century, Mute Swans were semi-domesticated in England. In the Netherlands, they were farmed, for their down, their meat and as ornamental birds, according to Sylvia Bruce Wilmore, in her book, Swans of the World.  In the Netherlands, those practices continued until after World War II.  Because all swans in England belong officially to the Royal Family, swans given as gifts would have been marked on the upper part of their bills. Their markings identified the person who had responsibility for them and thus could benefit from them. Marks date back to 1370.

Today in the U.S., migratory waterfowl are protected by state and federal laws. Permits are required to keep wild birds legally. If you are in any doubt about birds you are considering acquiring, check with the state department of fish and game, parks and wildlife or natural resources.

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Mute swan (Cygnus olor) spreading its wings. photo by Adrian Pingstone

Mute swans are controversial residents along the East Coast, where they have displaced local Trumpeter swans. Mute swans have been acquired as decorative waterfowl for parks and estates, but easily escape and become feral. They are now regarded as unwanted invaders, trashing the fragile wetland habitat in which they live and chasing out native birds. To avoid those problems, the state of New Hampshire requires by law that Mute swans be pinioned, an operation done on young cygnets to remove the distal joint of the wing, making flight impossible. They retain their mythic grip on people, touching the hearts of those who glimpse them gliding across a misty lake. This dichotomy confounds wetlands managers who want at least to control Mute Swans, if not eliminate them entirely.

“They are a beautiful form of biological pollution,” said Jonathan McKnight, associate director for habitat conservation at Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. Others disagree, citing Mute Swans’ circumpolar migratory route, and claim that they have a historic presence in North America.

Current wildlife control professionals hunt them to reduce the population, which has been successful. Tundra and Trumpeter Swans are unquestionably native birds to North America. They remain protected. (I have added the paragraph below, as well as all the pictures of Swans)

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3 Trumpeter Swans flying

Trumpeter swan, Black-billed species (Cygnus cygnus buccinator) of swan, named for its far-carrying, low-pitched call. About 6 ft (1.8 m) long, with a 10-ft (3-m) wingspan, it is the largest swan, though it weighs less than the mute swan. Once threatened with extinction (fewer than 100 were counted in the U.S. in 1935), it has made a strong comeback; though still listed as vulnerable, its population in western Canada and the northwestern U.S. now exceeds 5,000.

 

I haven’t found any evidence that swans were ever raised commercially in North America. They are wild birds, the largest flying bird, and formidable aggressors willing to protect their nests. Swans-A-Swimming remain a lovely image, but one not practical for domestic production.

I hope you have enjoyed this series and maybe even learnt something useful! Please do leave a comment and let me know what you think!

 

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