Tag Archives: julz crafts

“julzcrafts.com”- yes I’ve registered the domain! + concerns about copyright

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So, I have decided to become “respectable”, and have registered this domain, and hope it will make it easier for customers to find me.  If you are still using julzcrafts@wordpress.com, you will be automatically forwarded to julzcrafts.com, so it won’t affect you.

As regular readers will know, I have been following the blogging101 course run by WordPress, and have changed the look and scope of my blog quite a bit in the last few weeks.

However, I lost most of the changes today, by pressing the wrong button!

Many thanks to the WordPress staff and  fellow members of the course, who have helped me restore it –  and since I was at it,  I also made a few more changes – ie: I have added so many widgets that you will wonder when its going to end – smile.  

Do comment if you think its over the top – or if you don’t.

The most important widget is all the way down at the end of the blogroll,  the column on the right hand side of this page.

One of the course members started a discussion about copyright, and members from Ireland, Sweden, USA, India, China and other countries got involved, all concerned about how easy it is these days to just grab a picture from anyones site, and make use of it without crediting the author.  It is one of the strengths and weaknesses, of the digital age!

I used to be a professional photographer – with letters after my name – and I hate to use other people’s photos, unless I have to, and whenever I do, I credit them.  (This doesn’t apply to the stock photos that I sometimes use because I’m too lazy to rephotograph product shots – smile.)  

Photographers have always been concerned about copyright, but before the growth of digital photography, it was less prevalent, because photographs were physical objects, and the most people could do was rephotograph them for publication, or run them thro’ the photocopier!

When I put my photographic greetings cards or posters up for sale on ebay or etsy, I always use the version with my copyright stamped across them, but had strangely, not really considered doing this on a blog.  Several members of this discussion group had found out that their photos had been ‘grabbed’ and were now appearing on strangers tweets or facebook pages, as if they were their own pictures!

I don’t think this is uncommon, and because there are millions of internet users, it must happen every minute, and often the original “creator” never finds out.

Blogs with heavily copyrighted images don’t look very friendly, but you can put a notice on your blogroll to warn readers that these are your images, and you would like recognition for them if they are used elsewhere.

I have adapted the copyright notice from another members blog – with her permission I might add!  In case you can’t be bothered to look – the text of this ‘Declaration of Copyright’ is as follows –

 

Gallery post: some of the stuff I sell

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dec cal pic

 

Today’s assignment on the  blogging101 course was to try out a different kind of post, and I have been intending  to put together a page that shows the type of stuff I stock, for spinners, weavers, felters, knitter, quilters and other crafters – so, why not use the exercise for this purpose!  This is the first Gallery I have ever put together and its rather random in nature, I could have put them together in categories, but, I haven’t – not this time.  I also intended to link the listings on etsy and ebay to each picture – but not this time. If you want to browse the listings, click on the personal links underneath my photo on the right hand side. If you want to buy direct see this page, if you want more information on anything contact me here!

If you want to buy anything, please do, smile, I  sell worldwide.  To see the captions and find out what the fibres are,  just hover over them.  I think it turns into a slide show if you click on any of the images.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Never Surrender.”

There were a few prompts on the suggestion page for this latest exercise on the blogging101 course, but this was the only one that got a reaction from me.

I have a strong sense of “justice”, I hate unfairness and I hate authoritarian incompetence –  and sometimes – I get my campaigning hat on, as you may have noticed, if you’ve read any of the posts in my “how ridiculous” category!

My Dad was a solicitor (lawyer for you yanks), and he was fond of the saying – a quote from Dickens I hasten to add  –“The law is an ass!”

My father as a young man, in his legal robes, having just qualified as a solicitor - circa 1945

My father as a young man, in his legal robes, having just qualified as a solicitor – circa 1948

He had a practise in Kensal Green, a predominantly mixed race area of London, from about 1955 – 1977, when he passed away.

I’d occasionally go with him ‘to the office’ on Saturday’s, when I was a teenager.  He was that old fashioned kind of law man, that you never encounter these days.  He had an enormous old desk, in a very cluttered office, with a couple of clerks, and a long term bossy secretary who ran his office for him, and whose name escapes me just now, but I got to know her quite well.

I was supposedly there to “do some filing”, and I think I even got paid for it, tho’ I never did very much, and had no idea of what office work and the law entailed. (Boring, was what I though at the time!)   Actually, I was probably there because my mother wanted me out of the way for some reason.

Spending time alone, with my Dad,  was a very rare occurence, and we both enjoyed chatting on the drive there and back, and cautiously got to know each other.  I never understood at the time, that he wanted to get to know me, and he wanted me to get to know him, and this was his way of doing it.

One of the things written on the brass plaque outside the office, apart from his name and his proud boast that he’d got a degree from Oxford – BA(Oxon)  – a real achievement for a poor valley boy,  together with LLB,  legal qualifications,  – was

“Commissioner for Oaths” – its a strange ‘legal term’, and I can’t tell you exactly what it means, even now.  But its something about having papers witnessed and stamped.  Maybe immigration papers, as there were plenty of immigrants in London even in those days, and other official forms, I don’t know.

But what I remember very clearly was that, one Saturday morning, I happened to barge into my Dad’s office whilst he had a client there – a ‘no no’ in anyone’s book – and found him chatting with a down at heel Jamaican man, who’d come in to have some papers sworn.  He’d spent about an hour with him, explaining the law about something, and I hadn’t realised he was still there.

What I barged in on was a scene I will never forget.  The man asking what he owed, and my dad said,

“put a couple of pennies in the charity box for me will you, and we’ll call it quits.”

And then they shook hands.

The man could never have paid the legal fees, but this way he kept his dignity and his self-respect.   He’d paid his way, and helped someone else too.  My dad showed his compassion,  his wisdom, and his humanity in that small act of kindness – a side of him I’d never glimpsed in the hurly burly of family life.

It didn’t stop me arguing with him during my teenage years, but these days, I can’t remember what the arguments were about, but I can remember his actions that day!

So, rather than say, as I thought I was going to say when I started this piece – something banal like

“Never Surrender Your Fight For Justice”

What I’d prefer to say, in the name of my Dad  is  ….….

NEVER SURRENDER –

YOUR HUMANITY, AND YOUR COMPASSION FOR OTHERS!

His name was (a version of) Solomon, and I am proud to be Solomon’s daughter.

“never surrender” – a muse on the phrase…….

vat moss on digital downloads – designed to catch the big fish but only catching the small fry!

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CONFUSED – YOU SHOULD BE!

some definitions/explanations given below ……

Today’s assignment on the blogging101 course is to follow up on yesterday’s assignment which was to visit various blogs and leave comments and see if you could start a conversation going!  The challenge for today, is to write about your comment and expand your thoughts into a longer piece.

Yesterday, I started photographing the new stock that came in (plug), and then had a dentists appointment.  He insisted that two teeth needed to be taken out, and I wanted to keep them. For the first time in my sessions with him, I won, but I paid a price!   By the time I came home, the four injections that my dentist had used whilst filling the teeth, had numbed my mouth so much that I didn’t know where it was, and made me feel so ‘woozy’ that I had to go to bed.

So that’s my excuse for not “doing my homework”!  However, I can write something that fits into today’s brief, and its a subject I was planning on writing about anyway.

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpgThe title of this blog may well sound like gobbledegook to you – actually it is!

Just before New Year, I got one of those regular emails you get from etsy as a buyer, or a seller.  I usually just skim them, and perhaps click on a picture of something someone has made that I like. (its a site for craftspeople to sell their work)

This time there was a blog about the introduction of VAT MOSS to all digital download sellers, which caught my eye because I was planning to open a second shop on etsy to sell digital downloads of my photographs.

I read the blog, I read the comments, commented on the blog and on other sellers comments.  Most of them were absolutely furious, not only that they were now going to have to register for VAT MOSS, but that etsy had left it until the last minute to tell them about it.

I don’t blame the etsy team all that much, after all, not even the tax office seems to be able to explain what to do, although it does seem it is the site that takes the payments that is responsible for registering for this scheme.  I would give you a link to this post, but so many of the hundreds of commenters are easily identified by their pictures, so I think I should just give you the link https://www.etsy.com so you can find the blog for yourself, if you want to.

A good number saw no way round this new regulation, because the digital downloads are done thro’ the etsy site, payments made through PAYPAL, and you don’t even know what country your customer comes from!  Many were seriously intending to close their shops rather than deal with the new regulations, or treat their EU customers separately.

The regulations have been made by the EU, but they affect all small businesses, and large businesses,  selling digital downloads of any kind, from any country to EU customers.  That means that anyone in any country has to pay this tax, and what’s more, you have to register with the tax authorities, even if you only sell £1, $1, 1 euro’s worth of downloads – and that, I think anyone would agree is RIDICULOUS!

As a result, I started looking into this issue and couldn’t believe what an idiotic law it is.  How badly drafted it is, and how the “law of unintended consequences” is going to crush all those small businesses that are now becoming the only way to earn a living since the recession.

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpgI said, in my last blog, that I was now living in a digital world – and now that world is going to be TAXED! 

There are:

photographers selling their photographs – they have to register,

artists selling all digital formats of their work – they have to register,

self publishers selling their books – they have to register,

musicians selling their own music – they have to register,

people selling training videos – they have to register,

knitters selling knitting patterns – they have to register,

(altho the knitters site Ravelry has arranged that another retailer takes the responsibility for tax payments)

 

and nearly everyone who sends digital information around the world is theoretically caught in the EU’s net.

As far as I can tell, the reason the law was drawn up was to get some revenue out of those large tax dodging companies, like Amazon, Apples’s iTunes and SKY, and possibly, it was widened to try and catch those nasty pedophile rings.

Those are the big fish – and, no doubt, they will find a way round the regulations.  We are the small fry, and will be badly affected.  I have put the idea of selling digital downloads of my photographs on the back burner, but at least I hadn’t started yet and won’t have to comply.  There are others that actually earn a reasonable amount from this, and they face the choice of shutting up shop, or paying tax to all the EU countries, all of which, set their VAT at different rates.

And there are not thousands, but millions of small businesses around the world, who will theoretically be affected by this, even if they don’t comply, they will be worried that they might get prosecuted.

There are various angles to this whole discussion, but for once, I think I will make my point and keep this post short – but not sweet.  If you don’t know what I’m on about, the basic explanations are below.

I have signed a couple of  petitions I found against the introduction of this scheme – if you want to sign them too, these are the links – if you can find others to sign, please let me know and I will add them to the list.

http://euvataction.org/take-action-now/  is a site that has been set up to campaign against VAT MOSS

This petition is to the EU official responsible and can be signed by anyone from any country

This is the email address of the UK Treasury official responsible public.enquiries@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk    UK  ONLY

This petition is to Vince Cable MP, UK Minister responsible  not sure if those outside the UK can sign it, but you can try.

For UK sellers only, Vince Cable has negotiated that the regulations can be side-stepped, if you email your customer directly – but as I said, etsy sellers don’t know where their buyers are from, so you have to opt out of the digital download  scheme altogether to comply.  As far as I know, no other country has this arrangement,

Brief explanations of the gobbledegook

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpgI will try and be succinct here, and explain what this involves.

VAT is VALUE ADDED TAX – that currently adds 20% onto the cost of each purchase in the UK – excluding most foods and children’s clothes.  The customer pays the tax – usually hidden in the price, and the seller has to add up all those 20%’s and declare them to the VAT man, and pay the tax they have collected to the government.  In return, they are able to get a refund of the VAT they have paid for business supplies etc, which is usually a much smaller amount than they have collected.

In the UK, you can run a small business and NOT be registered for VAT, the threshold for registering for VAT is a turnover of £88,000 (approx) a year  – so why do we have to register for VAT MOSS for a £1 sale?

VAT MOSS is the pan European name for the scheme to collect this tax.  MOSS is “Mini One Stop Shop”

If you really want to read gobbledegook, this is the site for the UK’s HMRC (tax office),  I don’t understand it, and there’s enough confusion as it is!

Basically, it tells you how to register and then how to send in your accounts, by country, of your sales, so YOU have to work out what you owe, to all the 26 European countries, pay a total, and the HMRC will distribute each bit to the relevant country.

This blog by Heather Burns is the best account I have seen of the complications and unforeseen consequences of these new regulations.

and just cos I’ve put in all this work to inform you – you can find my etsy shop  here

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Going back in time – photographs of a small mine that still worked with pit ponies in 1981

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This original 12″ x 10″ print is available on etsy

sepia1 - miner copyright_Fotor

set of 4 mining postcards available at etsy

Whilst working on this blog, with the help of the WordPress Team, and the other hundreds of people on this online course, who come from every part of the globe, I have been reviewing and rethinking, and struggling at times with layouts and exactly what to say.

In my first blog for this course, I put up a couple of images that I published as sepia postcards, and I wondered why I did that, because I took them so long ago!   You can see that post HERE.

For whatever reason, I am prompted to put up two more of this set of images, my favourites. There was a small mine a little way up the hill from where I live that was still working with their well-loved pit ponies, in 1981 (the year I moved here from London).

I’d heard that they were there, but wasn’t sure how to find them.  I was out with my old olympus early one morning and just happened on them.

The mine was family owned and just above their house. Their land, their farm, and their mine, that had made them rich.

They were lovely people,, and at that time were happy in their work.  They must have had some stamina, because it was certainly heavy manual work, and they were no longer young.  They were part of the old Wales, the close knit mining community, and they knew there was no one to follow them into the dark.

Their ponies didn’t seem overworked – but it was such a strange sight – a tiny little industrial pocket in a dip of the grass and shrub clad hillside and the grazing sheep.  I could easily have passed them by and not noticed them – if it wasn’t for the noise of coal going down the chute.

They knew I’d published these photos, I gave them some of the originals, that I printed myself from the negatives, and some of the professionally printed ones I have for sale.

Because the morning mist had not yet disappeared, the negatives were really difficult to print from, and I tried many different variations, in my little darkroom.

Well, the darkroom is now dark, damp and unused, coal is no longer mined nearby, the mine closed sometime around the 1985 strike, and these are images of men and work that have passed into history and the Welsh Heritage Tourist Industry.

When I have these pictures on display, or give one to someone local as a gift, they all say, oh, I knew him, he was a lovely man – he was – you can tell that from his face.

Bye Bye 1981, and manual cameras – I’m in the digital world now, and learning more about it every day.  And oddly, despite the melancholy mood I have been expressing, I’m looking forward to something good happening in 2015.

If you click on the link on the captions of each photograph, it will take you to the listings on etsy.  On the other hand, you could just look here, but please don’t grab them off the screen, they are my copyright, and part of my life, and they don’t belong to you – smile.

I thought I’d see if I could link the to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Gone, But Not Forgotten.”

Now Royal Mail can’t even deliver letters to itself!

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ceramic milk carton money box actually!

Yesterday morning, early, I’d run out of milk.  Exciting yes?  I’d got up about 4 am, thinking, ” I can’t write all these blogs without letting the local sorting office know”.   So I printed off copies of all the posts – yes printed them – and on my way to the newsagent,  (who still opens at 5 am, and somehow always manages to dress immaculately at that hour),  I posted the letter. It was a wad of pages in a white C5 envelope, on which I had scrawled, “TO ALL THE STAFF AT P……….SORTING OFFICE – hope you like this!”.  I also scrawled in the top right hand corner a little square and wrote “NO STAMP BECAUSE IT DOESN’T NEED ONE” (I’ve done that before, and its fine).   And  “What time is the collection from this box?” 

my nearest post box - says 7 am on saturdays

my nearest post box –says 7 am on saturdays

The only flaw in this plan was that there are roadworks in front of the local box I am on about (see pic – if you click on the caption, it will take you to the first blog) – the one with the notice that says, “Last collection – 9 am Mon – Fri – 7 am Saturday” and I doubted anyone would be collecting from it this week,  so I took the envelope down to the very reliable post box outside the Post Office, which is emptied several times a day.  It should have got to its destination before lunchtime, especially as that’s where the van goes with all the post that’s collected – to the SORTING OFFICE!

Later in the day, I got the email from Customers Services,  and,  because I felt I’d kept everyone informed, I didn’t worry about publishing it.  And despite having put some considerable time into this innocent query – it takes me ages to write and edit a long blog – I fully intended not to bother wasting any more time on it.  It is, on the face of it,  a very small concern.

And I certainly wasn’t going to contact The Escalated Complaints Resolution Team (what a name!), and play their game for months on end.  I was never after compensation, I just wanted to know whether, if I didn’t feel like getting dressed on a lazy Saturday morning, I could put a coat over my pyjamas, and slip down to the local postbox, with the large letter envelopes, and not have to bother going to the Post Office.  Hope that made you laugh!   The Post Office, and its post box, are a drive away.  The local postbox I can sometimes manage to get to without petrol – smile.

By an odd twist of fate ….. there was a failed parcel delivery.  The postman knocked when I was in the garden.  I didn’t hear him, and, several hours later, I found the red bordered notice on the floor, saying I’d have to go down to the Sorting Office, several miles away, to collect it.  I tut-tutted, and was annoyed he hadn’t delivered it to the designated neighbour.double new postbox pm_Fotor I went down to the Sorting Office this morning, having printed off a copy of the last blog for them, to pick up my parcel.  It’ll give me a chance, I thought, to ask them what time the collections ARE!

As I pulled the form from my sodden jacket, (there was a ferocious storm last night) so that he could find the parcel, I saw that the postman had put a note on the back, that the neighbours hadn’t answered the door.  I was inordinately pleased he’d tried, whoever he is.

I used know who delivered my post, and what time it came, and over the years there had been many friendly conversations.  The sorting office used to be down the road, and I was a frequent early morning visitor!  These days, you never know who’s doing the round, or when.

When I’d got my parcel, I casually pulled out the piece of paper in my pocket and put it down on the hatch top, and asked if the had got my letter yesterday.

What letter?  I described the letter as above.  No, I haven’t seen it? I think I was talking to the manager/supervisor because he had that attitude.  Who did you address it to?  To ‘all the Staff.’ Oddly he didn’t turn round and ask the lads sorting the mail behind him if they’d received it, and I know  they’d heard me, and no one came out to say, Oh yes, THAT LETTER! So I had to explain what was in it,  and that I’d brought the last instalment of the blog with me, and he looked at me in amazement. What post box are you talking about ?– I told him, and he immediately said

“Oh the last collection is after 5 pm”

close up of notice - last collection on saturday - 7 am, weekdays - 9 am!

close up of notice – last collection on saturday – 7 am, weekdays – 9 am!

I said, (this account is not verbatim),  then why has there been a notice on it for over a month,  saying that the last collection is 9 am on weekdays.  “Oh well.”

So I told him the story, that you can read here  in the earlier posts, about touring the area and looking at the notices on the boxes, and photographing them, because I was so bemused.  And he laughed.  And said, well you could have gone to the post office.  (But I was going to Asda’s, and that’s the other way – was what I wanted to say, but didn’t – and I hadn’t read the notice properly anyway.  Just seen 7 am last collection on Saturday!)

And then I told him I had gone to the Post Office afterwards and asked what this change in time was about, and they didn’t know, and I’d phoned up the Sorting Office and he or his colleagues didn’t know, so I wrote the blog, cos I thought it was ridiculous. And he laughed.  So I said: well are they going to switch over to the new times or not?   Ah well, we haven’t been told yet. And I said: well how will I know?  Er well, its on the box. No it isn’t: (no one has put another notice up to say its “business as usual”,  was what I’d meant to say.) Er well, it will be happening, cos they want to save money, Well I know that, I said.  But they’re not going to save any money because the two boxes with the 7 am notices on them, are on the van’s route anyway, he goes from – to, and I named the boxes – and the route. (I actually said what I wanted to say this time!)

Ah well, there are rural places where it would save money.doubledx4   Yes but they won’t save on this route so why change it?    They’re cutting back and this will save salaries –  two of the four vans,  and their drivers will be going.    (That means that two men were going to lose their jobs, don’t you care, was what I wanted to say.)

I was going to ask him to explain to me about the changes, but he was laughing at me. Instead I said, well that’s obvious, and I know that, but why can’t Customer Service people tell me when its going to change?    I did say. (…….   Or if its not happening soon, why don’t they tell me, and change the notice.)  Well that’s what I meant to say, but by this time the guy was looking at me as if I was an alien.)  He just stood there watching me without bothering to ……..

answer

apologise

say he’d phone up head office and find out

take my number and let me know

he just laughed at me……. My image of this encounter had been a cosy chat commiserating about the idiotic changes and asking them all to “Like” the blog, and pass it around so that it looked like there was loads of support for my little campaign.  

(which is not really about the postbox, I hope you’ve realised that by now!)

  Nor did he seem that bothered about the cuts.  His job was obviously safe.  So I ended up repeating several times “then why don’t head office tell me” and pushed the piece of printed paper towards him and said READ IT – JUST READ IT and walked out! It took me quite a while, and a walk round Tesco’s buying extra print cartridges for my printer, to calm down. But it still begs the question – why did an unusually addressed envelope, with no stamp, not arrive in the hands of the staff that were sorting it, and if it was addressed to them, why did no one open it, talk about it, and pass the information around?

Or is my title true, and Royal Mail can’t even deliver letters to themselves???

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Postscript:  

Later today,  I got another of the red bordered notices, and unlike last time, I actually looked at it. I couldn’t face going back to the sorting office, so I thought I’d phone and ask for it to be put on the van for Monday.  I phoned the number on the card and found it was an automated message –  a long introduction and: press 1 for….: press 2  for ……etc What amazed me was that it told me that I had to wait 48 hours before I could collect a parcel from the Sorting Office, and could only book a redelivery thro the website.  “Or you can have your item taken to a local Post Office branch for a small fee for you to pick up using our Local Collect service”.

if you look hard you can just about read this and decipher the 48 hrs inserted in the 1st paragraph, and the instructions I mentioned opposit.

if you look hard you can just about read this and decipher the 48 hrs inserted in the 1st paragraph, and the instructions I mentioned above.

I don’t belieeeve it – as Victor Meldrew used to say!

I wasn’t going to stand for this, so I tried looking up sorting office phone number in the directory: I couldn’t find it.  It was just after noon, and they closed at 1 pm – the parcel wouldn’t be available, but if I could phone, AND I could by-pass the arrangements above.

Then I remembered that the guy at the Post Office had written their number on a scrap of paper for me, when he had advised me to call them on 6 December – I thought I’d thrown it away, but after rummaging through some paperwork – I found it!

And I rang, and I’m sure it was the same man I’d spoken to earlier, but he wouldn’t acknowledge it.  He did, however, take my name & address and promise it would go out on Monday – hope I don’t miss it this time!