Win a custom made russian doll case for your phone

Hi everyone! I took some time off blogging as the recent months have been quite hectic for me. I spent most of december in France, to attend my sister’s funeral and to spend some time with my family. I didn’t close my shops while I was away, so then spend most of january catching up on december’s orders. Thank you so much to those of you who have been very patient with your orders.

Today, I have 3 custom made russian doll cases to give away, one per winner. You can use it as a phone case or a purse or a business cards holder/case. I made the one in the picture to fit a Samsung phone. The one you will win, will be custom made for your phone, so you need to let me know the name/model of your phone. If you don’t like the russian doll fabric, you can ask me to make it in a different/surprise fabric.

handmadewithjoy phone caseTo win one of those cases, please visit my etsy shop and let me know (in a comment here) what you think I should make and sell that is not already in my shop. Don’t forget to put in the comment the name/model of your phone in case you win, and wether you want your case made with the russian doll fabric in the picture or a different/surprise fabric. The giveaway is open to anyone worldwide, the 1st person to leave a comment will automatically win, and I will draw 2 winners among all the other participants on March 11th (the giveaway is open till March 10th 2015 12pm GMT time).

If you’d rather buy one for you or for someone else as a gift, you can find it in my shop here: www.etsy.com/listing/224412544/russian-doll-case-custom-made-for-your

Good luck!

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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.

 

 

 

 

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

Aldi fruit trees 2014 rootstock

As you may know, Aldi is selling some fruit trees this week. I have bought some from them in the past (peach, cherry, apple, pear, plums) and have been happy about their quality. I have also bought other trees from other suppliers, some costing 10 times more than the Aldi ones. In my experience, the Aldi fruit trees are as good as the more expensive ones, so I went and bought 2 more Aldi trees this week (czar and opal plums). The labels on my trees say that they will grow up to 3 metres. I’ve temporarily planted them in a 55cm pot until my garden buddy is able to come to help me plant them in the ground.

aldi fruit trees

I know that a lot of people with small gardens or allotments want to know what rootstock are used on the Aldi trees, so I contacted them and this is their answer (unedited):

Apples, – These will be budded onto a “M26” rootstock, which will fruit earlier.

Cherry, – These are budded on to “Colt” rootstock which has uniformed growth pattern, it is semi vigorous and will not grow too large.

Pear, – These are budded on to a “Quince A” rootstock which is a virus free example.. Williams Pear – Pyrus Communis

Plums, – Will be budded onto a “St Julian A” root stock or a “Myrobolane” root stock these are virus free and semi vigorous growing.

I will grow my trees as standard and will prune them if they get to big. While looking for ideas on how to fit more trees in a small garden, I stumbled upon the picture below (the fruit trees used in the picture are from Lidl, so I am sure that you can also get the same results with Aldi trees). I would love to do this somewhere in my front garden.

criss cross cordon fruit treesPhoto via www.pinterest.com/pin/134545107591887908

In my own garden, I finished weeding the front garden and have planted lots of tulip bulbs there. There is still lots of tidying up to do in the side yard and back garden, and I am going to start sowing seeds indoor this week-end.

On the sewing side, I finally sewed a cover for my sewing business diary/planner. It’s an A4 size and I used a fabric called Giverny Wildflowers (by Kate Spain/Moda) for the outside, and the lining is made with a paisley fabric (by Wendy Bentley/Timeless Treasures). If you fancy sewing one for yourself, there is a very good tutorial on Lara Cameron Design Blog.

handmade sewing diary planner cover sewing diary planner cover

By the way, thank you so much to those who have ordered from my new shop. You can still get free delivery this month. I’ve set up the shop to have prices in pounds but I am now wondering if I should change them to dollars as a good majority of my customers are international. Also, payment is processed by paypal but I wonder if I should sign up to direct checkout which only accepts debit and credit cards. For those who have a bigcartel shop, do you have any advices for me regarding those 2 issues? For my etsy shop, direct checkout and paypal are offered and I have noticed that most buyers use the direct checkout.

I’m also in the process of re-working my packaging, and have ordered some new business cards from Overnightprints. I’ve used Vistaprint and Moo before, but found out that Overnightprints offer better prices, I paid £32.16 (VAT and shipping included) for 500 double side cards. I am very happy with the quality of the cards.

business cards handmadewithjoy business card

This week, I have enjoyed:

* watching Sean’s allotment garden 2013 movie on youtube

* reading Creating Money by Sanaya Roman

*doing a meditation on magnetizing business for self employed people by Orin / Sanaya Roman

Handmade Gifts book

Sorry I have not been blogging for months. I really want to make more effort with this blog so I am thinking of having a blog post once a week from now on. I would be very grateful if you could let me know what you would like to read more on my blog: gardening, sewing, selling handmade, sewing room ideas? Thanks in advance.

Do you remember the book I was working on beginning of this year? It is now available to buy in all bookshops and you can view it on amazon (ISBN-10: 1409334058  ISBN-13: 978-1409334057):

www.amazon.co.uk/Handmade-Gifts-Dk-Crafts/dp/1409334058

Amazon and some of its marketsellers offer international deliveries if you would like to buy one but live outside of UK. I’ve bought several copies there for members of my family in France. I got my copy from the editors and it is a great book with a lot of lovely crafts to make. I will do a proper review of it another time but here are a few pictures:

Handmade Gifts book   Handmade Gifts book DK

The book was written with several other crafters and is published by DK (they also sell the book directly there – as a hardback and an ebook), my contribution is on page 106 and my name is on the authors page 251).

my ipad cover in Handmade Gifts book

This is the list of projects in the book along with the name of all the contributors. My name is on the top right of the right page.

Handmade Gifts book authors

Handmade Gifts book Lova

Yes I know, I have a very long name. For those wo are curious about it, I am originally from Madagascar.

To celebrate the release of the book, I thought I would offer FREE DELIVERY (including international deliveries) for all my handmade items (including custom made items) that are purchased directly from me (not from my shops). So if you would like to purchase something, have a look at one of my shops (links on the right column bar) and contact me here  – by leaving a comment (or via any of my shops) and I will email you a paypal invoice. You can pay by bank transfers (or cheque/postal order/cash at any HSBC bank) or by paypal.

Here is a Nook cover that I sewed lately for a customer.  I now I offer a custom fit cover for any ereader (Kindle, Nook, etc), and you can also chose the fabric you want (I have more than 100 fabrics to chose from).

On the sewing room front, I haven’t had time to re-organise it yet but I found a nifty solution for storing my iron board. If you remember, I have found my dream table which serves as cutting table (with a self healing mat on the right side of the table) and an ironing table (with a homemade portable ironing board on the left side of the table). My iron is big bulky and heavy so I don’t want to store it in a cupboard as I use it everyday, but it does not look nice permanently on the table, so I put 2 Ikea mini chest of drawers on top of each other under the table (like this one but mine has 9 drawers) and now my iron sits on top of those drawers and is ready to be used anytime.

sewing room iron storage

Now, I am still debating whether to sew a curtain or not to hide all the junk under the table (right now, my tulip bulbs are parking there until I plant them in december). And talking about gardening, here is a picture of my side yard this summer (in august), as promised. I will write a blog post about my success and failures in the garden this year, next time.

my side yard august 2013