What It Is, and Why

In 2012, a friend of the family asked if she could buy a pair of the earrings I was making.

I’d been crafting for years, doing various crafts and forever picking up new crafts.  I craft a lot.  I have depression and some other related issues, and crafting keeps my hands and my mind busy.  It gives me a sense of purpose, and the thrill of finishing a project never fades – whether it’s an origami crane or a crocheted dragon egg.

 

However, when you do a lot of crafting you end up with a lot of crafted products.  There’s only so many jewellery pieces you can wear, and there’s only so much shelf space you have to display things.  I was ending up with boxes of pieces just hiding away.

And so I decided to sell them.  I started with friends and family, and set up a Facebook page.  I gradually started going to school fairs during the summer and at Christmas.  When I decided I wanted a website, I decided that I really wanted a craft blog too.  In the last month I’ve set up an Etsy store.  And so Crafted By Colette grew.

I’m still a small little company.  I don’t make very much money.  If I factored in what I spend on supplies I don’t make any money at all.  But it’s something I enjoy, and it keeps me going.  Everytime I get a new follower on Twitter or on Facebook I get a little jolt of happiness.  When I get a sale from someone who isn’t a friend or family member I get a bigger jolt of happiness.  Strangers are actually buying my things?!

And doing the school fairs is fun too.  I don’t particularly like big crowds of people, but when I’m safe behind a table it’s not too bad.  Especially when a little kid comes running up telling a friend that I’m the lady who makes the cute mini aliens.

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I do have plans for a bigger business.  I’d like to have a wider reach.  I’d like to attend more fairs – like proper craft fairs.  I’d like to have a bigger store on Etsy.  I’d love to sell at conventions maybe one day.  I’d love to be a popular blogger.  And my ultimate goal would be to make enough money to actually make a living from Crafted By Colette.

I have lots of little brainstorms and ideas, some of which don’t come to fruition, some do.  Some might do one day.  And some are going to happen a little earlier than planned.

I hope you enjoy my rambles, and my attempts to learn new crafts.  I hope that you’ll keep coming back, that you’ll share with your friends, and that you continue to join me as I attempt to turn my crafting-coping-mechanism into something that I can share with the world.

Watercolour Progress

I’ve always said that I couldn’t paint.  I have no brush control.  But as I’m developing my art skills, watercolours is something that appeals to me greatly.

I’ve had watercolour pencils for a while now, which I have to admit have been mostly ignored since I discovered alcohol markers.  And last year I did some experimenting with a cheap waterbrush and the paints I’d had for years.

I decided after that to get myself some better paints.  And so for Christmas I got myself a nice set, some brushes and a palette.

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The brush in the paint set was very not-useful.  Not for painting anyway, but I put it with the brushes I use for glue.  Swatching was fun.  I know that some people dislike swatching, but I really enjoy it.  And the colours are very pretty.

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The paints seemed a little chalky.  I’ve watched enough art videos on YouTube to know that chalky is not good for watercolours.  But I carried on regardless, because they were pretty and new.  And I needed to practice.

I painted a little galaxy.  I’d been working on galaxies with alcohol markers – which I will blog about at some point.  As usual, the galaxy looked kinda crap until I added the stars.

I painted a little monster.  Because that’s what I do.

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Which is when I discovered I had used the wrong inking pen.  I didn’t notice it with the galaxy because I used black paint.

So the next step was pen testing.  I do enjoy the testing aspect of new supplies.

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And once I’d narrowed down which pens were safe to use, I started on an actual piece of art.

I remembered to paint sections that were not adjoining so that the paint didn’t run into itself and go muddy.

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And I remembered that I could use a heat gun to dry the paint quicker – which is good because I’m impatient.

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I learned that I need to be more careful about dripping paint.

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And I got gradually more annoyed with the chalkiness of the paint.

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I practically ruined an inking pen going over the lines after it had all dried.  But I enjoyed making the background, and I’m happy with the piece overall.  Who doesn’t love K-9?

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The chalkiness irritated me so much though that I haven’t really touched them since then.  Which, as you can see from the date on K-9, was back in early January.

I have just bought myself some proper paints though – as well as some other supplies – so look for some more watercolour learning posts soon.

 

 

Not Enough Unicorns

So it turns out that yesterday was National Unicorn Day.  And I missed it.  Which sucks.  Because I love unicorns.  I have unicorn stationery, and lamps, and craft projects and all sorts.

I was going to fill this post with drawings of unicorns, but I went through my work and found only two recent ones.

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Before that, the last unicorn I drew was way back in January last year when I decided I needed a whole sketchbook filled with unicorns and rainbows.

None of them are original pieces though.  At the time I was still teaching myself to draw by copying pieces I saw on Pinterest.

I definitely need to draw more unicorns.  Lots of unicorns.

Moving to Etsy

There are lots of changes afoot here at Crafted By Colette. I’m working on all sorts of things. Here’s just one of them.

I don’t make a huge amount of sales. Aside from the school fairs that I attend several times a year, most of my sales are friends and family. I’d love to fix that.

I was selling things here on the website but didn’t have a shop add on or anything, so it wasn’t very clear, or easy, or secure. And so after much research and comparing of fees and such, I have made the decision to move to Etsy.

My store name is CraftedByColetteShop – I’m not entirely sure whether I used CraftedByColette or someone else did.

I’ve picked a wonderful time to do it. There’s been an influx of new furniture and a reorganisation of old furniture in my house that isn’t quite going to plan and a lot of my stuff is in chaos. I plan to take proper pictures of my stock at some point soon, but that isn’t possible right now.

So for the moment there are just a few things on the Etsy store. Mini aliens, and Meeple keyrings, and Pokemon badges and dragonscale dice bags.

There will be more things added gradually, so go check it out and save it as a favourite shop to get updates. While you’re there, use BLOG10 to get 10% off your order 🙂

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, to see my random rambles (including lots of cat pictures), to get more offers and to join in on giveaways. You can also see more of my art on my Deviant Art page.

Peeps

There’s a Twitter account called Philippe the Peep.  It’s about Philippe, who is a peep, with many peep friends.

Peeps, for those who are unaware, are these horrific looking marshmallow things from America.  They’re supposed to be chicks, hence the peep.  But they branch out into other shapes.  Like bunnies, which are not horrific.

And the bunnies are where they’ve gone for the plush merchandise they sell.  You can buy all types on the Peep website.  They look soft and fluffy and adorable.  Three attributes that I look for in a soft toy.

So back to this Twitter account.  I love the account, and some of the posts are hilarious, some are cute.

I’ve been envious of Phillippe and the peeps, and I’ve looked several times into the website to see if I could perhaps encourage a peep to come live with me.  Unfortunately the travel costs across the Atlantic are a little prohibitive.  So I decided that perhaps one might manifest in my home, with the aid of my many craft skills.

The first, and most obvious option, is to sew one.  Some fluffy material, a sewing machine, some stuffing.  Et voila.  And so “make a peep” sat on my very long and extensive to do list for months.  Until I was sat watching a movie with my friend, idly playing with some yarn, and I decided I’d knit or crochet one instead.

Step one, find a pattern.  To Ravelry!  The expansive website for knitters, crocheters, and other yarny crafts, has many many patterns.  Free patterns, paid patterns.  And a comprehensive set of search options.  I started with “peep”, and after I’d filtered out the patterns that cost money, and the ones that were clothes and other items with the word “peep” in, I looked at a few patterns and settled on this one.

It’s by a lady called Rebecca and the Ravelry pattern page is here.  The pattern link leads to her blog Schnicklefritz, where you can find a simple, clear knitting pattern to make a peep.

And I knit myself a peep.  Meet Phoebe.

While I was knitting her my friend Cayden decided to have a go too.  He decided to crochet his, using the same pattern.  This idea had never occurred to me, but it was simple enough.  The instructions worked really well for  a crochet pattern too.

And so I had to crochet a peep.  It ended up a little larger than Phoebe.  I used a thicker yarn, and maybe crochet uses more yarn.  A row of crochet stitches is bigger than a row of knit stitches.  I didn’t have enough of the yarn I started with to complete him, so he ended up with multiple colours.  Meet Rufus.

Rufus is a tiny bit larger than Phoebe.

And of course I couldn’t stop there.  At Christmas I decided I’d make a candy cane striped peep.  I may have been selecting the yarn in a room with bad lighting.  I’d stitched an entire side before I realised I was making a hot pink & cream peep instead of a red & white one.

But I carried on regardless.  Until I ran out of stuffing.

So I currently have two and a half peeps, while I wait for more stuffing to arrive.  But you should definitely go check out Phillippe and say hello.

Pokemon Fan Art

It might have skipped your notice but a couple of weeks ago (February 27th) was Pokemon Day, which is the anniversary of the original game’s release.  On this day Nintendo announced a new set of games called Pokemon Shield and Pokemon Sword.  This game will introduce a whole new generation of Pokemon, and the starters were revealed.

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As with 90% of the Pokemon, these little pocket monsters are absolutely adorable.  And the deluge of fan art was quick to begin.  Some of my favourites include these girls by Goo…

 

…these adorable ones by Gloria…

…this one by Kitsune257 on Deviant Art…

Ruby and Scorbunny

…this set by VT2000 on Deviant Art…

Pokemon Starter

…this Sobble-in-action by Winterfaux on Deviant Art…

Sobble // Protecc

…and this Grookey by Bashven on Deviant Art.

Grookey Gang

There are so so many more.  You could look them up forever and never see them all.

Naturally, I had to have a go myself.  I did an image of Sobble on Pokemon Day.  I actually did two.  Sort of.  I really wasn’t happy with the colour I’d picked for the first one.  I tried to perservere and finish it anyway, but then my second colour just dried up on me.

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I was much happier with my second attempt.

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But of course I had to do one with all three.  I did a sketch I was really happy with, then inked in.  Then I decided that I’d get really fancy and do a foreground and a background as well.

“I’ll ink the foreground in a thicker line and the background in a thinner line.”  I said to myself.  Then I made a mistake and started the foreground with the thinner line.

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Then I got all confused and thought maybe the foreground should have a thinner line.  I asked the Twitter art community for help, and was advised to do the thinner lines in the background.

After I’d finished inking I decided I’d wait until I’d ordered my new set of markers to colour it.  I have a lot, but not nearly enough different shades.  Luckily that was going to be in a few days.  And so here it is.  I’m very happy with it.  Maybe this should be the first piece I sell prints of?

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Shading Makes a Difference

Before I decided to learn to draw, my 2D art consisted of zentangles.  I love zentangles, they’re theraputic and pretty.

But something I never did was shade them.  I couldn’t get to grips with the shading, so I just avoided it.  The stark look is fine for zentangle pieces, though.  I love the way my zentangle pieces look.

When I was just doing colouring, I rarely did any shading there either.

And I’m really happy with those pieces.

But since I started the sketching, and the inking, and the colouring, I’ve learned a thing or two.

Flat images are great.  They look good.

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But when you some shading, you get a whole different effect.

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Shading is awesome.  I shall do more.