A place I saw this weekend …… just thought you might like to see it too – smile …..
A place I saw this weekend …… just thought you might like to see it too – smile …..
I went to Wonderwool yesterday and thought I’d share my day out with you.
Wonderwool? Its a ‘trade show’ (or as they call it ‘A Festival of Welsh Wool & Natural Fibres) for spinners & weavers and other crafters, and was held at the Royal Welsh Show grounds in Builth Wells.
The forecast was for rain, and it looked like it was right on the drive there, but by the afternoon it was a brilliantly sunny day!
I found some new suppliers, and bought some lovely silk fibres, which I will be putting up on etsy & ebay in the coming weeks, but this post is just about some of the people, and animals (!), who I came across during my day out.
Apologies to the others who haven’t got featured, it was a big show and I didn’t get around it all, and I kept getting distracted by all the nice stuff there, and forgot to get my camera out!
So here is a gallery of the photos I DID take – hover over the pictures to see the caption, or click on them to get a slide show – you may need to do this to read the full descriptions – I have given the contact details for all those featured.
And look out for the May/June issue of Yarn Maker whose editor I met several times in my meanders, and who was also taking pictures for a feature. (www.yarnmaker.co.uk)
I have just looked at the home page of this blog, and its beginning to look very bitty! That is because I decided to join the A-Z Challenge for April, and when I originally signed on, I registered this site as the as one I would be using for the challenge.
Then I realised I didn’t want a daily post on this blog, especially as I had decided, at the last minute, to write on the theme of Poultry – you may have noticed by now, that I have kept chickens for over 20 years – smile! So I moved the daily posts to “the spare”. However, the rules of the challenge are that I have to write something on this site to be considered to be contributing – so its become a bit of a “catch 22”!
For the next couple of days, I thought I’d redress the balance, and write the alphabet posts here, and since today is the letter J, why not take a little time out to tell you something about my approach to selling, and my attempts to ‘build a brand identity’ for what I sell under the names of Julz Craft Supplies and/or Julz Spinning & Weaving.
This is the banner I use for my etsy shop – if you click on the image, it will take you there – I also use the same image for my banner on the folksy shop.
I use the image of a scarf I wove many years ago, as a logo – it appears here on this site – and on my business cards – which I attach to the each order I send out. I even took the plunge the other day and got a car sticker with the same design! Why do I use this image? Just because I like it! Because I made it, and its a favourite scarf of mine, which I still use – tho’ pink is not the colour I normally wear, and it has been pointed out to me that pink is not a very good colour for a logo! What do you think?
I choose, at the moment, not to convert my two ebay sites – julzweaving and 85solway – into shops, so, although I sell at lot on both of them, its difficult to even sneak in a mention of this blog, let alone a visual identity! I have taken to putting in a link or two, that is relevant, on some of the listings – and I have seen clicks back, so that’s something at least – and, as on ebay, if you leave your email address on a message, you may find that the message gets rejected, I do include the blog address, and hope that someone might take the hint and use my contact me page, to get in touch direct, if the only way I can help them is to talk to them direct!
When I first started blogging, I used the scarf image as the background “wallpaper” for this blog, but it was a bit too busy, and when I joined the blogging101 course, I changed the look of the site, after being prompted by several comments about the readability! It only took me 3 years to realise! But, I didn’t blog very often, and only used the site to let customers know what stock was coming in, etc.
I would have used the scarf banner for the top of this site, but it didn’t look right, so instead I adapted a crop of another of my favourite pictures.
You might be surprised to see that it comes from here!
This is a photograph I took of a dry stone wall, which I played with in photoshop – and the bit I am using for the banner is just the very top of it!
Actually, it was supposed to be a short term solution, as I really intended to have a “craft” image there – but anything else I tried looked a bit too obvious – so it’s still there – and I like it!
When I came to live in Wales, over 30 years ago, I did a documentary exhibition about the village I live in, which led to a job with the (ex) Welsh Industrial & Maritime Museum, then based in the old Docklands area of Cardiff, photographing the area before its planned redevelopment. So I turned one hobby into self employment, and have now done the same with another! I have been involved in spinning & weaving for about 25 years.
You can see a brief biography on my About Julz page.
I’m not much of a spinner, but I do know a lot about spinning, and a lot about the equipment needed for both spinning & weaving and related crafts. I’ve also done some felting, quilting, knitting, sewing, crochet and even stained glass – when I have the time to get down to it.
Ironically, I have had less time to do my own work, since I have take up selling – smile. The original idea was just to fund the work I wanted to do, and get my own materials for free, by buying wholesale and selling the extra!
I have always sold – now I think of it – from my teenage Saturday job at a local Newsagents, in London, where we also sold loose sweets that we weighed up and bagged for customers, and somehow found ourselves eating more than a few of them ourselves!
Then I moved on, becoming a shop assistant at Marks & Spencer at the Oxford Street store, in my school holidays, where I always remember the amazing meals we had in the staff canteen that cost 7 pence – that was peanuts, even then!
I have sold at boot sales, charity events, trade fairs, and the craft fairs I used to organise in the South Wales area. I enjoy interacting with customers, especially face to face, and realise that I learnt a lot about selling that I can easily transfer to the online experience.
However, there is a difference. You really don’t know who you are selling to, and you don’t usually have much of a chance to chat to buyers and find out why they have chosen this instead of that, and so are often “selling blind” – the only measure of whether you have got it right or not, is whether what you stock actually sells – smile. I still make mistakes, and buy in something I love, only to find that others don’t!
The upside of internet selling is that you have a far wider reach, and can sell to customers all over the world that you would never have had a chance to encounter before the digital age!
Please do ask me for advice or information about anything you see on my sites, and I will do my best to help, even if its to tell you that what you were about to buy, won’t work the way you want it to! I’d prefer NOT to sell you something you would be unhappy about. And if I don’t know – I’ll tell you I don’t, and maybe pass you on to someone who CAN answer your question.
If you are already a customer of mine, why don’t you leave a comment.
Tell me what you bought, and why you bought it – smile – whether you used it as expected or found it didn’t suit the original use you had in mind – if you found another way to use it – what you think of the selections I have for sale – or any feedback at all – good or bad!
And whether you have bought from me or not, even whether you may or may not buy from me at some time, please take some time to tell me what you might like to buy, and how you would want to use it. And whether you think I have got the price range right? No pressure – just looking for some help and feedback so that I can be more effective!
This is a small selection of some of my stock … well I might as well use the opportunity – smile! There is lots more! (if you hover over the images, the description will appear – if you click on them, you get a slide show.)
TO FIND SOME OF THE ANSWERS TO MY QUESTIONS – PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOW UP BLOG HERE.
I came back home last Thursday to find this leaflet rolled up in my letterbox, as I pulled it out, I thought, what on earth is this? Normally leaflets like this advertise things you really don’t need, and I throw them away before I even look at them!
As I was putting the shopping away, I glanced at it before putting it in the recycling bin. As you will guess, it never got there, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to scan both sides, English & Welsh, in case you were wondering, and put the two scans up on this blog.
My first thought was, my neighbours weren’t going to like this! They have 6 children, and on bin days, there is so much rubbish outside their house that you trip over it! So even with a large bin, they can’t cope, and yes, before you ask, they do recycle too – the recycling sacks are stacked up above the bin, and tend to fall onto the pavement.
Now, before you start thinking – oh what a good idea – taking the large bins away and replacing them with smaller bins will ensure that everyone recycles their rubbish – what environmentally responsible Councils they have in Wales, let me tell you why they are doing this.
A few years ago, the EU made a new law, that fined any country that used too much landfill to bury their rubbish. This was supposed to force everyone in Europe to recycle waste. A good idea, in principle. It has now become UK law and, as the Councils are responsible for collections and disposals, they are the ones that get fined, if they go over the limit they have been given.
“The Welsh Government has set out a requirement for all Councils in Wales to increase their recycling rate year on year, with a 58% recycling rate having to be achieved by 2016 and 64% by 2019/20. Strict fines will be imposed on local authorities if the targets are missed.”
As they are local councils, and we pay council tax, that means we, the residents, will end up paying the fine. So, it may be a good idea, but, did we agree to them spending money on the new bins – no, we never knew about it!
Do we know what they are doing with the old bins – no idea? Are they being sold, recycled, or just dumped in a big bin mountain! Most people generally agree that recycling is a good thing, but it has got a bit ‘over the top’. (SEE HERE)
In our Council area, we have small bins for food waste, large plastic boxes for tins and bottles, and free thin plastic sacks for paper and cardboard, which must go in separate bags, and another one for garden waste.
In the neighbouring council area, they have three differently coloured boxes, as well as plastic sacks and bins. There are different schemes in different parts of the country. Recycling policy is up to each Council, and so is the way they dispose of their collections.
Our Council does compost the garden waste, and they sell it on to market gardeners – altho sometimes the compost contains things that wouldn’t normally be there, because not all the waste has been sorted properly. I’m not sure what they do with the tins and bottle and paper and cardboard. Maybe I will ask, and let you know.
But I do know that lots of our waste gets exported to ‘Third World Countries’ where young children sift through it and try to make a living out of selling what they find. If you have watched the film, Slumdog Millionaire, you will know that sometimes they get sick, because they don’t even bury the waste in India or China, they just dump it somewhere, and the gases affect the people who live near it.
Is that being environmentally responsible? Are we colluding in this abuse?
People here are liable to get fined if they do not recycle their rubbish, and there have been known to be “bin wars” where people steal others bins, because they haven’t got enough space in the large bins, let alone the new small ones.
Most people now paint their house numbers on the bins! There has also been a rise in illegal dumping, as companies now have to pay to have large amounts of waste collected. Rogue operators, collect the rubbish for a fee, and then dump it on remote mountain tops and fields, sometimes even paying small amounts to the farmers for ‘looking the other way’.
“The Council investigates environmental crime along with partners such as the Environment Agency. If anyone is found responsible for causing crimes such as littering, dog fouling and flytipping action will be taken against them. There could be an on the spot fine of £75 or even prosecution in some cases.
Fly tipping of waste is a serious criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £50,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months (or an unlimited fine and up to 5 years imprisonment if indicted to the Crown Court). Any vehicles involved in incidents of fly tipping may also be seized. We have a successful prosecution history and will prosecute all caught offenders.” (quoted from the Council’s website)
How is this change going to affect me? A small bin is fine for my household. I recycle most of the waste in the ‘old fashioned way’. I have a compost heap in the garden, where all the food & garden waste that can’t be eaten by my chickens goes, and after a year, when the bugs have done their work, its great for the garden.
In the 1920‘s the owners of my stone built terraced house, dating from the 1860’s, must have been very proud when they made a major improvement to the kitchen. They replaced the open fire with a Chattan.
It’s a cast iron fireplace, with an oven on the side, and must have been very expensive at the time. So I recycle the paper and cardboard into heating, for the room, and, the fire also heats a tank of water connected to the back of the Chattan. Old newspapers and unwanted leaftlets are great for starting the fire, especially if they have been soaked in the old oil from my chip pan!
For once, the Council was very efficient about The Big Bin Swap (get it?), the very next day, as we get a collection every other Friday here, they came along with three huge trucks, one to empty the rubbish, one to collect the old bins, and another one to dole out the new, smaller bins.
Councils – the local tier of government – in Wales we have the Welsh Assembly and the UK Parliament. EU – then we have the European Union, who seem to make most of our laws these days! landfill – literally what is says – digging huge trenches in waste land – filling them with rubbish, and then covering them over with soil. rubbish – you use the word ‘trash’ in the States. council tax – this is based on the value of your property, the more expensive it is, the more you pay as a contribution to the services the council supply. These include waste collection, street lighting and road mending, schools, and all kinds of other services. chip pan – for frying chips or ‘french fries’