Sunday, 31 October 2010

A Way With Words

Two weeks ago, in my post The far east challenge, I asked your ideas about how to compete with the low prices of our far east Etsy colleagues. Several of you responded with very bright insights in the matter and I wanted to thank you all.
One of the comments that spoke most to me, was Ingermaaike's. She says, among other things:
The story is vital, the product is of course a product but also a piece of an illusion, an idyll. This is something we all need to make better use of :)
Yes, I couldn't agree more, we need to sell the story, more than the product self.

To illustrate this, a funny example of a purchase of mine. I had seen 'candlewicking' mentioned a couple of times as an old historic american craft, so when I saw a candlewicking pillow kit on Etsy, I read the product
describing on the kit. It went like this:
'This lovely pillow kit is a combination of 2 American traditions. The design is based on a documented example of nineteenth-century folk art in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center in Williamsburg, Virginia. Included is a picture of the actual design along with its fascinating origin and rich early american history.'

So, I bought it and when the kit arrived, said candlewicking was revealed to be (mostly) french knots.

Self I would have described the item as follows:
Embroidery kit of a traditional motive executed in french knots with white thread on white muslin.

Accurate?: Sure. Would I have bought the kit?: I don't think so.

We have a lot to learn, people. Besides creativity and photographic skills, we need also a way with words.
Oh dear...

In the mean time, I am making french knots to my heart's content. Kind of zen, really. They should call them Washington knots for maximum patriotic effect, though...

Friday, 29 October 2010

My Friday Night Outfit

Handmade Earrings Emerald Green Chalcedony Briolettes on Oxidized Sterling Silver, Emerald Summer by Polestar

Vintage black pirate riding mid calf tall womens Leather flats fashion boots by Grannyvintageshoes
Little grey tube dress with ruffled sleeves by Lirola
The Cutest Bag- Green Black by StarBags

There is no Halloween here, but always place for some mysterious blacks and for the finishing touch lovely emerald green details.
Wishing you all a great week and for those who celebrate it, happy Halloween!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Our Creative Space...

 Mum has woven a small piece with ribbons, small but it took a few hours to accomplish.

After weaving it, a piece of interfacing has been ironed on it to keep everything in place and making it strong.

Then we sewed a border and backside of soft pink leather. Made holes and rivetted them for a corset closure, and finished the cuff.

It still needs to be photographed and listed, but it makes me wonder. How can people say expensive to handmade? I do understand 'above budget', but not expensive when they do not know how much work is involved, or I guess that is the problem, people should know how much work there is actually involved in handmade. I guess that showing creative process is the way to show people how much we (with we I mean creative people in general) put into a piece.

Mum found herself another frustrating job, she somehow likes to frustrate herself with boring projects :) She does like to do it, she only wonders how she get herself in to such things. This one has a funny story too, which she will share, next week. Oh and PJ's are a must with embroidery, no other outfit works better!

And finally my progress in my table cloth. Not as much as I hoped but almost three quarters are finished, so the end is in sight!

You can see more workspaces at Kootoyoo's blog!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Introducing: Daisy

We found Daisy on February 22th, 2003. An aquintance had a very light colored spaniel that we liked a lot and he told us that they had decided to give him to us and then the dog got lost or stolen. An other aquintance told us to have seen said dog in the street at night.
So Estella went in the middle of the night to look for the dog. Street dogs roam the streets at night in packs, looking for food. There are so many of them in our small city! Many are beautiful dogs, bought as puppies for good money and thrown out or abandoned when the dog is grown and it is winter and it pours with rain and walking a dog is a drag.

Well, Estella didn't found the lost spaniel, but look what she did found! Of course she was very dirty and skin and bones. And this is what she looks like when 'peeled', she has beautiful human eyes, gray and soft.
Very soon she put on weight, lots of weight, as a matter of fact, and a month after arrival she gave birth (on my bed) to seven puppies, all of different pluimage, probably souvenirs of every one of her pack friends!

Daisy is a crazy little dog, well, most terriers are crazy, but she makes the funniest noises and weird jerking movements with her head and sighs and talks and smells as fresh baked bread.
Dogs not only need food and care, but they need hugs and kisses twice a day, did you know that? They thrive on love, yes they do...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Monday Moodboard

While the birds are singing here, Frances is busy with the Ancient Olive Tree Project in Italy. She still needs funds to actually be able to complete everything! If you would like to become a sponsor and recieve work from her and by that helping her with her dream, please check this site!

See more moodboards at FleurFatale's blog!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Another Visitor

Now that I think of it, it is pretty funny how two city girls (Mum born and raised in Madrid me in Amsterdam) got so easily used to having visitors in our garden and home such as turtles, snakes, scorpio's, lizards, chameleons and other creatures.
Luckely we are both cold blooded and pretty relaxed about our interesting visitors. Only problem is to keep them actually safe from our doggies, who are mostly hunters and will kill them.

This tiny little grasshopper was on our fireplace yesterday, in our living room. It is a miracle how it survived the journey from our frontdoor till there without beeing noticed, but I had to safe him eventually by catching it in a glass and bringing it outside. Cute, eh?

Friday, 22 October 2010

My Friday Night Outfit

Purple Rain - Kunzite and Enamel Earrings by staroftheeast
Clutch with a knot in Apple green by milloo
Purple Bohemian Maxi by italianpostcards
Soft leather ballet flats by lunashoesuk

Purple and green has always been one of my favorite color combinations. I can't say that I wear it often, but love the look of this outfit!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Our Creative Space...

Mum is busy with a bubble smock bag. And as it turned out that the fabric is tougher then anticipated, there is coming steam from her ears. It can be very frustrating when fun projects turn out in to a nightmare, but she will finish it, o yeah, no giving up :)

In the mean time I'm happy to tell you that I passed half of the tablecloth, by working on it for quite some hours every day. Still quite some left and then it will need to be washed, ironed, cut into a circle and the border, which I can't wait to show you!

A little fun in between project are these wrist spoilers, made with vintage velvet, antique handmade lace and other yummy stuff. They still need the leather finishing touches.

And I though you might want to see the bag of last week, which will be listed in our bag shop today or tomorrow, turned out great, if I may say so :)

You can see more workspaces at Kootoyoo's blog!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Introducing: Bibi

You all know that we have many dogs, and we thought that it would be nice if we introduce them to you one at the time.

This is Bibi, our oldest dog, or, at least the dog that has been the longest with us, since we don't know the age of many of our dogs.

Estella found her on april 14th 2002, at an abandoned building site, covered in filth, ticks, with running infected eyes and hind legs that could not carry her from malnutrition. Visitors to our house found her a very ugly dog.
But, as you see, with dogs is as with people, when they are loved, they become beautiful!

She was very afraid and tense, but all that is over now and she is the cuddliest, most loving little dog that you can imagine, with deligthful smelling paws and strong, healthy legs.
Before Bibi, we liked dogs, of course, but she teached us to really love them. They are like little kids, really, curious, naughty, funny and with a strong and unique personality, each one of them.

Many people are amazed at how we look after 14 dogs, and how we don't confuse their names. Even funnier is that all of them have atleast one nickname! Bibi's are Bibke, Bib-bibulishka and Pitirik :)

Next week you'll meet (crazy) Daisyof our fur family!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Monday Moodboard

1. sunshineartdesign  2. psarokokalo  3. lilarubyking  4. kaleda

There is a very cloudy and grey weather here, but the birds are still singing and a pair are actually making a nest right in front of our window, so sweet!
Wishing you all a lovely week!

See more moodboards at FleurFatale's blog!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Far East Challenge

This is a picture of the bag in the making right now. It will be another bubble smocked bag and as you see, it is a fairly complicated process involving seven needles at any given time.

This is the front. It will take about a week to smock the front and then we will still have to make the bag it self.

Last week we got a very friendly convo by the listing of an other smocked bag asking us if we could make that kind of bags for $10. The lady indicated that in that case she might buy five or more.
It is not every day that you get such overwhelming offers, but I had to tell her to try her luck by our colleagues in the Far East.

What brings me by the problem- or shall I call it challenge?- of our competitors in the Far East.
The market for bags is even more difficult than the market for custom jewelry. While the rich and beautiful choose to spend thousands to buy a brand bag, the regular customer wants them cheap.
And, lets be honest, at the Far East, very good bags are being made, often of leather and with a gazillion zippers and other details well above of what we can offer for that price. In fact, the thousands dollars brand bags are also made in the Far East!

I don't resent the far eastern sellers on Etsy, as long as they are not copying others and as long as their product is well made. Cheap labour does not mean bad labour per se and that people also have to eat and make a living like the rest of us. I think that every one of us buys once in a while from the Far East when is convenient, so let's not cry when we are the seller.

The question remains, how to compete? Is there a market for painstakingly made bags that necessarily cost a bit more? Creating a niche for yourself is easier said than done!
What are your ideas and opinions in the matter? Let us know!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

My Friday Night Outfit- On Saturday :)

Sea Urchin Collection- Special Gothic Earrings by staroftheeast
Vintage shoes black cow and crocodile leather boots by thepuddingstorevint
Longsleeved dress with Vneck by ThongbaiTatong
Victoriana Medium Lili Clutch by BagatellesandCo

Yesterday I was so busy with my table cloth (see previous post) that I totally forgot my friday night outfit :)
I guess I'll go out on Saturday this week, with a slightly Halloween-Gothic outfit, in an elegant way.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Our Creative Space...

This week we've made a delicious bag. With a beautiful blue suede leather and a gorgeous vintage velvet, photographs are not doing any justice due to the cloudy weather but we will soon be able to take some decent pictures. Mum had to clip the pieces together as it was impossible to stick needles through the materials, again a nifty solution.
The velvet is atleast 50 years old. Mum has had it almost all her life as someone gave it to her as a kid to make doll clothes of it, but she found it too beautiful to use it and has kept it all these years, took it from Spain to Holland and then to Turkey. Only one bag came out of it, so this is a very special one!

 I'm making nice progress in my old Unfinished Project (you can see it in our previous creative space too).

Mum was kind enough to do all the outside lines of the flowers and branches so that I can easily see where I have to fill things up. I gave myself a deadline of 12 november, and yesterday night a quarter of it was finished. The border will be something interesting too, which you will see once the time comes :) I hold the embroidery hoop with both hands and make the tiny movements to fill up the flowers.

I made a picture with my hand so that you can see how large it is, wish me luck as embroidery thread is thin and loves to break often which gives alot of frustration :)

You can see more workspaces at Kootoyoo's blog!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Monday Moodboard

These days we often are talking about olive trees on the EuropeanStreetTeam. The reason is the photography project of Frances Melhop which I have mentioned a while back. She is now in Italy and has her project on Kickstarter to get funded. If you want to help an artist and get unique photography, check this out!

See more moodboards at FleurFatale's blog!

Friday, 8 October 2010

My Friday Night Outfit

Ruby earrings by littlellama

brown Alpaca poncho by ileaiye

La Fleur Bag - Dusty Red by StarBags

1980s Red leather slouch boots by eeksten

I'm in a Chocolate + Cherries mood, made a Treasury this morning, with the same colors. Down side is both are not in stock at home arrrrrgggg.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Our Creative Space...

In 1999 I attended a machine embroidery course. This is not the high tech way where you put some fabric and the machine does the work. You hold the fabric and with your hand movements it becomes something pretty, if you are doing it alright. Anyway, I finished some pieces during that course, which took all winter and close by the end I started a huge table cloth. Needless to say, I never was able to finish it during the course, but I also never laid my hands on it in the past 11 years.

Now that we are trying to finish our UFO's, this one has almost become vintage while waiting so now is the time to finally finish it. I've started yesterday, and hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll be able to show you the finished piece. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please :)

You can see more workspaces at Kootoyoo's blog!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Monday Moodboard

1. PetitPlat  2. lacravatteduchien  3. P8Accessories  4. domoshar

Weather is finally cooling down a bit, so it is time to bake cookies! I made cookies this weekend, slowly it will become the time to snug under a blanket and watch a movie, yaaay!

Have a great week :)

See more moodboards at FleurFatale's blog!

Friday, 1 October 2010

My Friday Night Outfit

The Organics Collection - Limpet Shell Post  Earrings by staroftheeast 

Keep 'em Flying brown jumper dress  by BombnBelleClothing 

Boots - Tall, Two - Toned Mod Vintage 1970's by bytheway 

Perry in HONEY velvet corduroy  by bayanhippo

Some yummy browns and creams, perfect color combo for Autumn!

Wishing you a great weekend!