Instagram pictures

You may have noticed on the right side of my blog some pictures from Instagram. Yes, I have finally joined Instagram and am enjoying it so far. I am using  a samsung tablet to take the pictures and like the convenience of it, I hardly use a camera anymore when I am out and about or away on a trip as I can just use my tablet.

To view other people’s pictures you can just go on Instagram and view them on any computer (it does not have to be a smartphone nor a tablet), but if you want to post pictures then you can only do so on your smartphone or tablet.

You can view my pictures here www.instagram.com/handmadewithjoy

Here are the ones I posted so far:

This is my mum’s potager and garden in France. I took this picture end of june. She is also a keen gardener and the 1st thing that she planted when she started this garden from scratch are those 2 palm trees. I dream of having one palm tree in my garden one day.

my mum's gardenThis is a fabulous houseplant book. I first saw it on morganours blog and had to have it. I want to review it in another post as it really deserves a review. Suffice to say, it does not have a lot of pictures but each plant has its own lovely illustration. You can get it on amazon or ebay, second hand, at a bargain price. I think I paid less than £3 for it (postage included). The book is from Readers’ Digest, the english version is called Success with Houseplants, and the french version is called Guide des plantes d’interieur.

success with houseplants bookThis is an echeveria plant that I got from Tesco while grocery shopping. It came with a square glass pot and only costs £2. It already has a little baby so I can propagate it later. The plants in the backround are some of my tomatoes.

echeveria plantI saw this butterly in the garden and snapped a picture. They are next to some housplants that are having a holiday in the garden during the day in summer. You can see there 2 purple oxalis triangularis, 2 pilea peperomioides, a philodendron from my mum’s house and a coleus that I have since planted in the garden.

butterfly plantsHere you can see some of those plants on my mantel shelf: a senecio or string of pearl plant, dracaena marginata, purple oxalis triangularis, pilea peperomioides, echeveria, money plant or crassula ovata and a papyrus plant.

plants on mantel shelfMore plants in the living room, next to the french patio doors: asparagus fern, philodendron xanadu, anthurium and a zamioculcas. The pots and plant stand are from Ikea.

houseplants on ikea plant standThis is a calathea plant that I got from Wilkinson (or Wilko), I love that the underside of each leaf is purple, and I was very taken by the lower leaves that have a pink edge. Wilko can be a great place to shop when it comes to houseplants as you can sometimes find treasures there at a great price (this one was only £3) but you have to be quick if you want a healthy plant. Anyone knows how to encourage this plant’s leaves to have a pink edge?

calathea plant from wilkoAnd finally a surprise flower bouquet delivery from Marks and Spencer. Thiis was from my bosses and colleagues at the counselling charity where I volunteer, as a thank you gesture for my work. How nice of them!

flower bouquet from marks and spencer

 

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Russian doll makeup bag giveaway

I’m very excited this week as the ad i bought on Nataliecreates blog is now live. It’s been up for 2 days now and there are lots of viewers but only a few clicks, which apparently is normal as the number of click is usually less than 1% of the number of views (according to Passionfruitads). Still, it is an experiment and at only $10 for a month, it is worth trying. I actually had not planned to buy an ad at all but I love Natalie’s blog and when she started offerings ads, I jumped on the chance. I figured that her readers are my target customers so I went for it without any hesitation.

passionfruitad

I used the picture on the back of my new business cards for the banner ad, and made it smaller by using this free imageoptimizer as the banner size had to be 250×125. The picture/banner looks ok on a tablet but does not look sharp enough when viewed on a laptop or desktop, so I think for next time I will need to either use a picture that is already small so it does not lose its sharp quality, or better still I should create a proper banner with my business name on it.

Another thing that I did this week is to test the usability of my blog via Peek. I first read about it on Whileshenaps blog: Peek offers a free 5 minutes video of someone using your site and giving their feedback about it. So I submitted my blog and was impressed by the service, it was very quick and did I say it’s free. Click on the picture below if you would like to view my Peek video (once there you will need to click on the green play button for the video to start):

peek madebylova blog

What do you think? Do you agree with the feedback? I think that she was right in some ways, I need to put a sub heading under my blog title, so that people know what this blog is about straight away (something like: this is a blog about gardening, sewing and running a handmade business), and I also need to put a picture of me on the About Me Page. So those are my tasks for april: improving this blog by making it clearer and less confusing.

Now let’s talk about the giveaway. I recently partnered with one of my favourite bloggers to offer a giveaway on her blog, but the whole thing has been postponed so I decided to do the giveaway on my blog instead. I am offering 3 russian doll pouches, one per winner so I will select 3 winners randomly. All you have to do is check out my main shop and tell me – by leaving a comment here – what is your favourite item in the shop. The giveaway is open till April 3rd midnight (GMT time). It is open to anyone anywhere in the world. This is the picture of the pouch, it can be used as a pencil case but most of my customers use it as a makeup bag. I am offering this particular design as it is the most viewed item in my main shop. The giveaway is for the pouch only, the makeup products in the pictures are not included.

russian doll pencil case

Good luck, and if you would like to partner with me for a mutual giveaway on your blog and mine, please do contact me as I am looking for mutually beneficial blogging partnerships (just leave a comment and I will email you back).

To add a COMMENT (enter the giveaway), please click on “Comment” at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

Fruit trees for a small garden

I love fruit trees. Most of them are easy to grow and give you fruits that taste so much better than those you can buy in the supermaket. Having a small garden does not stop me from wanting to plant more, and I am now looking to buy an asian or japanese plum tree, maybe a Plum Beauty:

Beauty plum fruit treePhoto of Plum Beauty from Saundersallotment

Do any of you grow asian/japanese plum trees? Do they do well in a small garden?

One of my favourite trees in the back garden is the peach tree, I got it from Aldi and am very happy about it except that it gets the leaf curl disease every year. I have restrained myself from treating it but this year I decided to spray it with a bordeaux mixture. You can see it below last year in june, with no much leaves as I had to get rid of the diseased ones. I hope I will get lots of fruits from it this year.

peach tree with leaf curl disease june 2013

I’m currently reading Adventures in Consciousness by Jane Roberts and love this Sumari poem of hers which reminds me of all my fruit trees:

Song of the pear tree

The pear tree grows from the sweet pits of your feelings,

Sunken in the secret ground of your being

It grows in the silence of atoms and evening.

It grows in the knowledge of your unknowing

And blossoms in the clear air of your morning.

The pear tree stands dazzling and glowing,

The fruit of your love made living.

A gift of the seasons from the orchard of feeling,

The atom’s love multiplied.

Each leaf sings your praises.

The air is your breath through which each leaf dances

As your love climbs the steps of your spine

And blossoms in syllables and images,

So your love flows, invisible, outside the window,

And rushes up hollow paths of air.

Your love charms the trees into growing

And carves living plants out of unknowing.

The pear tree and all trees grow from the trance of your love.

silk peony flower

The garden is starting to show some flowers. The plum tree (unknown variety from Homebase that was supposed to be an apricot tree) is the first to start blossoming this week. And then there are purple crocuses, pink and purple anemones, hellebores and some orange calendula. The peony trees are also starting to leaf up, I can’t wait to see their blooms but in the meantime I have silk peonies in my living room.

Shop news:

Handmadewithjoy on bigartel is back to offering paypal payments as I was not happy with some aspects of the direct checkout by Stripe (mainly that the checkout says “shipping will apply” even though I offer free shipping, I thought that this may have put some buyers off). The free worldwide shipping will stop at the end of february so hurry up if you would like to buy something with free shipping. I am working on a flat rate shipping that will take effect from March.

I’ve bought an ad on Natalie Creates blog. I’m so excited by this as it is my very 1st ad, the ad runs for a month from march 25th, and it is for my etsy shop.

This is the new gift box for necklaces and earrings/necklaces sets in the shop. I quite like it but I am still looking for a matching box just for the earrings.

gift box melody note necklace earrings

Do you know any supplier for jewellery gift boxes that you can recommend?

New Sleeve Cover for MacBook Air in russian doll fabric

After some requests for custom made Sleeve Cover for MacBook Air, I though I would offer it in my shop. It is now listed in all my shops,  for both the MacBook Air 11.6″ and 13.3″. It can be made in any fabric you want (russian doll, liberty, kaffe fassett etc). You can see pictures of fabrics available in my flickr photo gallery (in the 4 folders called FABRICS FOR CUSTOM ORDERS).

You can still get free worldwide shipping in my main shop.

Or you can buy it here if you would like to pay in dollars.

cover sleeve macbook air russian doll fabric

cover sleeve for macbook air matryoshka fabric

Other shop news: I have decided to offer direct checkout in my bigcartel shop. For buyers, this means that you will be able to pay with any direct debit card or credit card. If however you prefer to pay by paypal, then you need to contact me with the details of the item you want to buy and I will email you a paypal invoice which you can then pay.

This week I will be:

* sewing a batch of new large cosmetic toiletry bags

* reviewing my business and production plan

* making time to bake biscuits and muffins