20 recent positive news stories…

Noticed this video in my timeline this morning on Facebook, and I knew that I just had to share it.

Here’s 20 recent positive news stories that you probably didn’t know…

A Crafty Parent Interview – Button & Bobbin

I am so pleased to have had two amazing parent crafters to have interviewed.  I do hope that you enjoyed reading my previous post – ‘Humming Bird Gems’ – and that you’ll enjoy this post just as much.

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11263062_10206892901746119_3239658561785716974_nHello! I’m Clara Rowland and I currently live in Aylestone, Leicester. I am the owner/creator of Button & Bobbin which started trading in January 2014, which is about the same time I started experimenting with my craft. My children are Thomas, 3 and a half, and Maxwell who is 2.
Up until April 2014, I managed a team of 20+ in a call centre. A very stressful job, but I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time. After having my boys and being spoilt with maternity leave, I realised I wanted to stay at home with my children. So I waved goodbye to office hours and overtime, and started making Christmas cards while my boys slept. In December 2013, we had some fun with salt dough, making handprints and gift tags, and so my clay crafting addiction began! Clay decorations were never my intention, but demand took over, so I’ve rolled with it.
My first creations were Christmas cards, but when my friends spotted my salt dough gift tags they encouraged me to sell them. I’ve come a long way since, and now make custom clay decorations for all sort of occasions. My favourite make is my clay kitchen tags. These were a big turning point for me. I made a set for myself and my Facebook followers went crazy for them. I’ve since made 100’s of them and they’ve remained a firm favourite with my lovely customers.
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As a Work At Home Mum, I am able to keep some control over my working hours, and work around my children. I am Tommy and Maxwell’s mummy first, and Button & Bobbin is all about me. It’s taken a long time, but with the help of my boys starting pre-school in September, I’m now finding my work/life balance. Although, I have to admit, I do pull a fair few very late nights when Button & Bobbin gets busy.
My children are fascinated when they watch me at work. They love to make their own creations with the help of play dough and little rolling pins. We make decorations together every Christmas now. I love that we now have this little tradition. Since the children are still very young, most of our creative play is messy play. A day with the paints out means I’m likely to end up with a mini Incredible Hulk as Maxwell likes to cover himself head to toe in paint which is seemingly always green!
If I were to host a dinner party, I’d definitely invite Nigella Lawson and Kirstie Allsopp. When I grow up, I want to have their apparent grace and elegance, and seemingly never ending talent to be able to make the most beautiful of things! I’ve always admired their passion and skills in their “crafts”. My third guest would be Tom Hardy…. Do I need to supply a reason for him?!
I’d serve goats cheese to start as it’s easy but delicious. I do an awesome Christmas lunch, so it’d be turkey and all the trimmings for our main course. I love to bake when I get the chance. I’d dish up a nice big fat chocolate fudge cake for dessert. I’m guessing they’ll be staying the night, as they won’t be able to move after that menu!
My top three pieces of advice for a new crafting business would be, patience, perseverance and confidence. It takes time to build up and retain your custom base. There are some very lucky crafters who just take off with what seems like little effort. This doesn’t happen for the majority of us, and that’s ok. Just have a clear plan in mind and go with it. Don’t give up! Keep chipping away, keep on crafting and showing off your skills. Confidence is a big one. Fake it until you make it, as they say. Don’t doubt yourself, don’t think you’re not good enough. Customer’s are  buying into you as well as your craft, so being confident and proud of your creations/pricing/brand is so important. Every order placed is still a massive boost of confidence for me. I am both humbled and filled with pride when I see a new liker join my Facebook page, or when I hear the Etsy “kerching!”.
You can visit Button & Bobbin here:  www.facebook.com/buttonandbobbin

A Crafty Parent Interview – Humming Bird Gems

I have always wondered how established crafters manage to juggle their crafts with their children, and vice versa.

I have been scouring several social media sites recently, on the lookout for a fellow parent crafter to interview, and I was fortunate enough to find Melissa.

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Melissa Stuart lives in Aberdeen City, Scotland, and she is the owner of Humming Bird Gems.  Approaching its’ third birthday, Melissa has been crafting since her teens.  She was never able to find items that suited her taste, style and mood, so she decided to start making her own jewellery pieces so she could always have exactly what she wanted.

Melissa has two children – Brae, who is 4, and Lizzy, aged 3; and is a stay-at-home mummy.

Me:  “What made you get in to selling your crafting?”

Melissa:  “I had some friends ask where I bought one of my bracelets, and I told them that I made it myself.  I would make things for family and friends, but it really wasn’t until my other half went in to college full-time that I thought about selling my work.  It was a way to help make ends meet.”

Me:  “So what made you choose your specific craft?”

Melissa:  “Since it (jewellery) was something that I had done before, it was easy.  With the crocheting, it was because I wanted to learn how to make teeny, tiny, little animals to put in to resin, and use with the jewellery making.  I haven’t gotten the skill up enough to make them, but people seem to be loving the bigger, cuddly versions just as well.”

Me:  “Did you try any different style of crafting before the one you do now?”

Melissa:  “Yes, I’m a very creative person!  I get a lot of enjoyment out of making things.  I’ve done origami, I’ve tried drawing (I’m horrible at it, by the way), and I had knitted in the past, when I was a young teen, but I can’t remember any of that now.”

Me:  “So tell me.  What has been your favourite make, and can you tell me why?”

Melissa:  “Oooh!  Now that’s a hard one!  I think it would be my resin make with dandelions and iridescent glitter.  It really looks like it’s dancing!”

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Me:  “Now I’m interested in your children.  What do Brae and Lizzy think of your crafting?”

Melissa:  “Brae doesn’t seem to have much interest in it truthfully.  Lizzy, on the other hand, is right in there.  She loves watching me, and asking questions of what I am doing.”

Me:  “Do they try to help you?”

Melissa:  “They do.  I’ll let Lizzy pick out colours or beads, and even let her string some of the beads on to wire.  I would let Brae also, but unless I’m working with something he has an interest in, he normally just ignores what I’m doing.”

Me:  “Do you do any other forms of crafting with Brae and Lizzy?”

Melissa:  “Lots of colouring, playing with PlayDoh, those kinds of things…  Crafts more suited for the younger ones.”

Me:  “So how do you juggle your crafting around Brae and Lizzy?  Do you have a set routine?”

Melissa:  “It’s a routine base.  Both of them are in nursery, so I have my morning to myself.  I try to get some networking done, but I often use that time to try and get things done that I can’t do with them around me.  Like resin work.  Whilst they’re at home, after lunch I will network, or bead, do some image template work…  Things I can often involve them in, or I can easily just drop in case one of them wants to play, or go outside.  The kids come first when they’re up and at home.”

Me:  “Do you think children taking part in (any type of) crafting is important?”

Melissa:  “I really do.  Kids are naturally curious about everything, and as the parents and adults, we really should be feeding that.  Nurturing it, so when the kids become teens, and indeed adults, they will still have that with them.  It can help them in life, with work, or even just play.  It can help them to relax, and it’s great for bonding and keeping that bond going!”

Me:  “Thank you Melissa.  Let’s move on to something ‘just for fun’.  You’re hosting a dinner party for a few celebrities.  You can invite 3 celebs.  Who would you pick, and why them?”

Melissa:  “Firstly, Robert Downy Jr. because…  Well, it’s RDJ!  He’s funny, and hot, and down to earth, and HOT!  (laughs)  Second on my list would be Jennifer Lawrence.  I hear she’s another down to earth celeb, and doesn’t stomp on the little people.  She’s still in the newly found “shell shocked” stage.  The last would be Dakota Fanning.  She’s been a brilliant actress since she was very young, and one of the few child starts that didn’t go in to drink or drugs.”

Me:  “Great choice there.  But let’s get to the real nitty-gritty…  You’re also doing the cooking for said dinner party.  You’re prepping a 3-course meal, so what’s on your menu?”

Melissa:  “Starts would be some kind of finger foods.  Three cheese mini pizzas, or popcorn chicken…  Something small that they could munch on whilst chatting.  Main course would be steaks with my homemade sauce, mashed potato and veg (corn or broccoli, or both).  Dessert would be lemon cake with a light lemon drizzle sauce.  Maybe some custard too.  Custard is yummy…  I’m hungry now.”

Me:  “Ha ha, ok, finally, let’s be serious just once more.  What’s your top tips for anyone who wants to start their own crafting business?”

Melissa:  “Firstly, come up with a name that’s catchy, then Google it.  Make sure that it is not popping up with anything.  The only thing that came up with mine (Humming Bird Gems) where pictures of humming birds.  Make a facebook page and email address with the same name, but don’t publish the facebook page yet!  Secondly, know what you’re doing.  Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, do what YOU want to do.  Know what supplies you need, keep records of what you spend – you’ll need that for the tax man, make a few things, samples, starters, get some good photo’s of your things, and once you have a few photos and posts on your page, then publish it.  That way it doesn’t look barren.  Make sure that it’s (your craft) is something you love to do, and that even on your darkest days, you don’t give in.  Every crafter out there has wanted to throw in the towel at some point in the game.  The difference between the winners and the losers are those who give up.  As long as you love what you are doing, keep doing it.”

You can visit Humming Bird Gems here:  https://www.facebook.com/hummingbirdgems

30 Day Writing Challenge

There’s a new trend happening on several blogs throughout the “t’interweb”, and it’s starting to move over to facebook too.  It originally started off to give bloggers inspiration on what to post…  Topics of conversation, if you like, for those who struggle to think of ideas themselves; so, after seeing this on several occasions, I thought I would join in with the trend.

It’s the “30 Day Writing Challenge”.

I’ll be starting tomorrow, as this was just the introduction.  Why not join in too..?  Copy the picture below to your blog / facebook, then make a post every day following the theme.  Don’t forget to let me know if you’re joining in too 🙂

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It almost made me sick…

Please take note.  What I am about to write about may be too much for those with a heart, or with a sensitive manner.  It may insult some people, and it may boil some peoples’ blood to the point that I will receive many personal messages, comments and threats.  Please let me assure you, that by writing this post, I am not intending to insult anyone.  I am simply writing my thoughts and feelings, as with every other post I make.

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Once upon a time, on a facebook not too far away from you, I saw a status update from a friend of mine.  It read, “Why would facebook allow sick twisted people to post videos of muslims slaughtering kamels infront of children !!!”  There was more to it, but this is my focus.

The next post down from this stated “**** has commented on a video”.  It was the same friend, and indeed, he had commented on a video to which my stomach immediately knotted.  It had a thumbnail of a camel, lying in a pool of blood.  It seemed like it was some form of hoax.  Surely that’s not blood?  Surely this is one of those posts to simply get a raise out of you..?  Surely all that red liquid is some form of water, simply dyed red..?

I read some of the comments.  There was the comment from my friend.  It simply stated how disgusting the video was.  The majority of the other comments were in Dutch.  I clicked the ‘see translation’ on a few of them, and not one mentioned about the video.  It was just insulting those with the Islamic faith.  Nothing was said about the camel.  I thought my friend had got the wrong end of the stick.  Maybe he just jumped to a conclusion, without watching the video…

I clicked play.

There was a camel on a leash.  One of its’ four legs had been tied up from the knee.  About 10 seconds in to the video, someone came out with a large blade and plunged it in to the throat of the camel.  Blood instantly started to gush out…  It was like a violent waterfall…

I couldn’t watch any more.  The 10 seconds of the 6.32 minute video was too much for me.  I felt sick.  I actually feel sick now, and I watched it about 4 hours ago.  That poor camel.  Those poor kids who were stood around in the circle…  Why were they smiling?  Some of them were laughing…

I don’t understand.

Shaking, I clicked on the ‘report this video’.  Couldn’t do it.  I tried again…  It still wouldn’t work.  What’s going on?  I immediately went over to Twitter, and typed in “Facebook”.  There must have been a problem with the servers, as this error seemed international.  I shot straight back to facebook…  Clicked the report button again…  It allowed me to get to the end of the report, and when I clicked “send”, it said it could not be sent.  There was an error.

I couldn’t cope with the video being on my newsfeed, so I blocked the page instead.  At least it allowed me to do that.

Why?  That’s all I can think.

Networking Ladders are NOT Fair

As I have said, time and time again, I have several pages on Facebook.  One of which is a small business, for my Treasures and Trinkets.

If you own a page for a small business on facebook, it is vital that you join as many networking pages as possible to build your clientele and contacts.

Some networking pages on facebook play “ladders”.  For those of you who don’t know what a ladder is, it’s when you have the chance to plug your page to lots of people at one time.  The general rule is that you ‘share’ the ladder on your business page; tag your page on the status; and ‘like’ / become a fan of some other pages that tag themselves.  In return, you will gain some extra ‘likes’ and fans yourself.

Some networking pages post a couple of other ‘sponsored’ pages, that they would like you to become a fan of before you tag your own page and share the status too.

About two hours ago, I decided to join in with one of the networking ladders that appeared on my newsfeed.

As the ‘rules’ went, I was required to share the status on my business page, ‘like’ the 3 sponsored pages listed, then tag my page below.  So I did.  I then went on to ‘like’ four other pages that had tagged their links underneath.  I posted on their walls to introduce myself and my page.

Then, the networking page that was hosting the ladder began to tag lots of other pages in the comments.  There was suddenly a list of over 50 other pages that were required to be ‘liked’.

I decided to draw the line there, and I pulled out.  I removed my tag, deleted the ‘share’ from my page and had a bit of a rant.

So, how many likes did my page receive in return?  None.

How many other people suffer with the unfairness of networking ladders?  I’d be intrigued to hear.

Rumours

It’s funny just how fast rumours can spread.

Something is briefly mentioned, someone overhears it, tells someone…  Soon enough, practically the whole world can know about it.

Yesterday, the world found out that Cory Monteith had passed away.  For those few who don’t know who he is, he played the character of Finn in the programme, Glee.  He was just 31 years old.  Coroners are due to perform a post-mortem some time today (Monday), but speculation is already flying around that it was a drug overdose.

Earlier this year, the whole ‘Gleek’ population was shocked to hear that Cory had checked himself in to a rehabilitation centre, to get help with his drug addiction.  After a month, he checked out clean.

Two weeks from now, he was to attend a wedding.  His own.

Lea Michelle (fiance and co-star, plays Rachel on Glee) had been his rock, and had supported him through his addiction cleansing.  She was planning a wedding, but is now planning a funeral.

I spent a lot of time scrolling through Twitter yesterday.  I’m normally a total facebook addict, but Twitter seems to have the “know”.  The tweets are up-to-date, and you can find out a lot of information about what’s going on in your area.  However, a lot of the tweets are for speculation.  You have to either read between the lines, or research further by googling it (my choice of search engine).

I seen this yesterday…

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This is just one of the tweets, this one, as you can see, has been retweeted 5543 times.  There are other tweets, very similar to this one, the top two lines are the same, but occasionally, the third person is someone else, and there is a fourth listed too.

I recognised the name, Kyle Massey, but I just couldn’t put my finger on who it was.  After visiting my beloved Google, I found out that he played Cory on ‘That’s So Raven’, and his spin-off show, ‘Cory in the House’.  There were pages, upon pages, on Google regarding how Kyle is just 21 years old, saying that he is terrified of dying, and asking people to pray for him.  Obviously, I was taken on in the spin of the tale.

I get up this morning, and my husband had been reading the entertainment news on imdb.com (if you’ve never visited the site, you’re missing out!).  One of the first things he said to me was, “that Kyle Massey hasn’t got cancer”.

Once again, I hopped on to twitter, and the tweets are still flying around, similar to above.

I opened up another tab in my browser, and went to imdb.com myself, in order to hit the nail on the head of this insensitive rumour.  I made a tweet myself, linking the page.

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The point I am trying to make is simple.  Don’t believe everything you hear / read.  Do your own research on the matter first.  If you don’t, you’re just as bad as the rest.  Don’t be a sheep – It may be easy just to retweet, or re-say something that you have heard, but think about what you are doing first.  Afterall, you wouldn’t like it if the rumour was about you.

“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.” – Hebrew proverb