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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Taking a Very Brave Leap.


[Edit: It's begun. See part one here. I'll update every Friday, and put an archive together.]

   I'm going to do something brave - and I mean this. This is very scary for me. I have a fear of theft for things like this. I worry that I'll put the work in, be proud of the final thing, and have someone else steal the entire thing, slap their name on it and claim it as their own - these things happen with even famous people - in fact, from time to time, it's the famous people that steal things.
   But like I said, I'm going to be brave.

   Over the past week or so I've been contemplating writing a short story to post on the blog. The idea started out as just posting an entire short story in one or two posts. But if it was a short story, the world wouldn't be something I could dive too deep into, and the characters wouldn't be ones I'd be so attached to - and then I remembered that I am incapable of writing short stories. I can't make a world that I don't intend to dive into. I can't make characters that I can't get attached to. So I considered writing a normal story and posting it in many parts, like Looking For Group does - but with words, not comics. I can't do comics. The problem here, however, is that I think if I'm in the right mood to sit down and do some writing, I ought to put that work into the book I'm trying to pitch to agencies.
   However, I sat down last night to try to work some more on my trilogy - and found that, while I wanted to write, I couldn't write that. So I thought "fine, I want to write, but I won't risk writing the trilogy. I don't want to write drivel. I'll mess around and give the new story a go - it beats playing another three hours of pokemon and getting bored of it before I get my own DS" - judging from when we went to bed, it would have been about 5 and a half hours of Pokemon, not three.
   So I gave it a go. And this is where my bravery comes in. I tried to make it interesting, create some interesting characters and an interesting world and plot, but at the same time, not so interesting that if it were stolen I'd cry my eyes out for months and never risk anything again. What I post here is my original work. It isn't to be copied, and I have copyrighted it - you'd think I didn't have to, given the Berne Convention, but there we go - and while I have no intention to make money from it yet, that doesn't make it free for use.
   I have not and will not post anything that I do intend to sell. If I write enough, I may end up putting it together on Lulu and selling it myself, and maybe some illustrations of characters, but at this point, I may not go further than four posts. The longevity depends entirely on whether or not I can keep it up.

   Well, anyway, like I said, I started writing it last night. I don't want my posts to be too long, because I seriously don't want to bore people who aren't interested, and I expect there will be a lot, but I don't want to write it in seperate segments, so what I've done is just write it normally, and when I've reached a point where it would be appropriate to stop the post, I have. Some parts will be longer than others, but I'm hoping to update it weekly - fortunately this means I should only need to write like 4 or 5 pages a month, as opposed to the 44 pages a month target I have for my "professional" writing - I have little idea what else to call it. My aspiring writing? The book what it is what I wrote and want to use to buy house and foodz.
   So if you're interested, keep your eyes open! I'll probably get the introduction up this very week! I have no set plan for it yet, I just sort of started writing, so to be honest, I have no better idea of what will happen than you guys will while reading it. I am very excited about this!




Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Atomic Cowlick

   Giveaways. They're great, aren't they? They can be so useful for representing your shop - they don't always lead to sales, I think it's important that everyone knows this - but you have to choose the right items. There's no use grabbing your cheapest item, or the item that no one seems to like in the hopes of getting rid of it, because it won't reflect very well on your shop, and you're better off not giving anything away at all, and disassembling the product altogether.

   Well, I enter giveaways, but I usually only enter them if I genuinely want one or all of the prizes. I think it's a bad idea to enter a giveaway just because the item is free, when you don't really want/need it, as it's not fair on other users, or the donater. I stumbled across a giveaway a few weeks ago on Pulp Sushi, though, that I fell head over heels for. It was for a couple of t-shirts. I've been trying to build up my summer wardrobe (which previously only consisted of two t-shirts, one with a tiger cub, another with Garrus from Mass Effect (since Mordin wasn't available for the ladies), both black), so this was a great opportunity. So I went ahead and entered, and one of them was to choose which of the four "The Women" was your favourite. I had a good look, but because I'm still going through a strong woodland phase, I picked The Horned. I submitted all my entries and wandered off, thinking back every few days about it and hoping.
   I loved the t-shirts, I love most of the things on the website, in fact, but my luck never runs that well with superficial things like this (I have what I consider my perfect man and a family who loves me, despite what we all go through, and few but brilliant friends), so I had already decided to add The Horned to my wishlist.

   I got an email the other day telling me I'd won, it was so stupidly exciting! I must have retold Seeg about seven times that day - literally. Naturally, I chose The Horned as my The Women t-shirt of choice, and I also got a Leopard Butterfly t-shirt dress too! Problem is, now I need to buy some leggings so I can wear it!


   Excuse the poor photograph. And there was a collar on the apricot t-shirt, but I can't stand t-shirt collars, so I cut them off. I never used to wear them because I find them unflattering, but it only occurred to me recently to just chop them off - so now I can buy t-shirts again! Next in line is a Nightingale t-shirt from Skyrim, and a tentacle one from ZenThreads, which has been sat in my Etsy shopping cart for a few weeks :D Also the tops look a bit loose-fitting, that's because I've been wearing the apricot one, and the dress is a little loose around the body, but I like to customise my clothes a little - tighten here, loosen there, and so on. I'm considering adding lace corsetry a little way up at the bottom to fit it a little more ^^ I might do a tutorial if it goes well!

   They arrived yesterday, and the t-shirt especially fits perfectly. I may well return and buy some more clothes at some point, but I felt I should share it with you all, because the fabric is great, the designs are great, and the people are great!





Etsy Favourite Feature

I love Etsy, I do. It's the best place to look for gifts. I just bought my dad a wonderful journal
for father's day on the 17th with money I made from my recent sales! And what makes it truly
brilliant for gifts is that there's almost no way anyone else would buy someone the same item,
particularly if it's one of a kind, and you can almost guarantee they don't have the item already!
The only time it might be a pain is if you're shopping for someone who equally shops on Etsy.
But either way, here are a few great summer gifts from my favourites list! Enjoy ♥





Friday, 25 May 2012

Penny For Your Thoughts - Mini Moos

 
   I don't always get feedback from buyers. As a seller and a buyer, I always make sure to leave feedback on Etsy the second I receive something or have had a chance to try it out, but some people only come to Etsy to buy - no avatar, no shop-like screen name, only a few ratings left by other people saying how good a customer they are. These buyers don't always think to leave feedback - and that's totally fine, sometimes it's best to see no feedback as a good thing. If they were disappointed or angry you'd certainly have heard something.
   But when you don't track your packages (I'd be charging about $13 for US shipping with tracking, otherwise) it's difficult to know if something has arrived. I spend a lot of time on the Etsy Success Team forum, and I see a lot of people worrying about items not turning up due to lack of communication on the buyer's part, but I always assure them that if the item hadn't arrived by that point, they probably would have said something.
   We seem to rely on feedback as a way of finding out if items have been received, as well as what they thought of them, but there are people, as I've said, who simply never think to leave it, or don't know they can. I hate to ask for feedback, and I hate it when people ask me in the package. I like ebayers, they offer great things for great prices, usually, but they almost always seem to ask for feedback - and not politely, either. Listings themselves will beg for 5-star feedback, and half of their business cards beg for the same, with several exclamation marks, and it gets boring. Etsy is not Ebay, so if you must ask for feedback, do it creatively.



   Perhaps you have your own unique way of dealing with it - perhaps you offer a discount code for people who leave feedback, or perhaps you simply don't mind not receiving it - successful sellers don't need it, that's for sure, but if you're just starting out, feedback is crucial.
   I've made almost 40 sales, but I still don't get feedback for each, and I'm still at a point where feedback matters. And I really wanted to use some Mini Moos. So I designed a card that says "Penny For Your Thoughts", added some bright colours, and added a URL that sends them either direct to the feedback screen, or to login, then feedback. Mini Moos are the right size for this (and they're cute), and along with the design, I clean up a good English penny, stick it down and send the card with each order.
   I just received my cards, and since I've not included any personal info on it, I wanted to share them with you! And the best part? Moo are currently allowing an order of 100 mini moo cards for free! All you pay is shipping, and it's open world-wide as far as I can see, so if you're in the UK, just change "us" to "uk" in the URL! So you can give it a go without breaking the bank! The only downside is that the Etsy logo will be on there, but the logo certainly doesn't mess with the design, and the penny will mostly cover it up, too!

   So first of all, download the designs here! (scroll down to blue "download from sendspace" box)
   Secondly, get them printed!
   Now comes the fun part! Clean your pennies! I always used to end up with pennies but I rarely pay for anything with cash anymore, but somehow they still find their way to me. I have a nice big box full of pennies, which should last me quite some time,




1. Get your old coins. If they have dirty marks on them, the solution won't remove them, only the darkening of the copper. Put all of your nice shiny ones to one side, you'll only ruin them if you try to make them look even newer.








2. Now mix together some salt and vinegar (tomato sauce works just as well, so I used that since I have no vinegar) and blend it nicely. You want to soak the salt, so you'll want a little more sauce than salt.









3. Get a cotton wool bud and dip it in the sauce. You don't need much. I tried this another way, by soaking the coins in the sauce for a few minutes, but I ended up bleaching them rather than cleaning them, and from the coppery smell that came afterwards, I'd warrent that it might also be unsafe. So don't soak them in this mixture.






4. Rub the cotton wool bud over the coin. You'll start to see the colour lighten beneath it. Don't do this for too long or you'll regret it. The edges of the coin might be more of a nuisance so consider blobbing a little mixture around the edges and then cleaning the inside before rubbing the outside away. This gives the solution a little more time to work into the grooves of more detailed parts.





5. Ta-da! Clean, shiny penny. Remember that this mixture will only clean the parts it touches, so make sure to do both sides, and the very outside edges. The mixture isn't runny so it won't run all over it, so you'll have to make sure you get all the bits yourself. Make sure you really wash it all off afterwards. If you leave it on then the pennies will either bleach or go green! Some sort of chemical reaction, I think. The worst of that can be scrubbed off but bits will stay and eat away at the sealant.




There are simpler mixtures out there, perhaps, but I didn't have any vinegar, so I had
to make do with one which didn't use it. Visit Pinterest or Google for alternative methods

   Once you've cleaned your pennies, get some double sided tape, cut a square out, stick it on the back of the coin, peel the backing off and stick it down in the space on the left of the card. The tape should be strong enough to hold the coin in place through transit, but weak enough that the recipient can get it off. Free penny! This appeals to me massively - I've never been a coin collector, but I am interested in different currencies. The only coins I've ever seen have been been either GBP Sterling or Euro. Getting pennies from across the world is quite exciting! Moreso than stamps :D





Use these to your heart's content, but don't claim you made them. That's just rude.



The Best Brownie Recipe Ever!

Courtesy of Buns in my Oven for allowing me to repost her pictures and direct you all to her recipe!

   I love brownies. I do. But for a long while, they didn't like me. I faced all kinds of problems with them, the biggest being that the middle would never cook, but the outside would burn to a crisp! Oh it was tragic. But it wasn't just that - no other recipe tasted as good even when I cut the burns off! But this one...ohhh this one...I'm dribbling already. In fact it saved our anniversary dinner! We wanted a truly delicious dessert - we had Gü last time - but we couldn't find what we wanted in the shops, and lord knows when it comes to both cooking and baking (particularly cooking) I am a hazard in the kitchen. Ladies, we've come a long way. Seeg wants me out, now! :D
   Well I decided to whip up some brownies since Seeg (and I) love them so damn much! I had them in the oven while we ate the main course, then got them out and put ice cream on them - also his favourite Frankie and Benny's dessert :D

   Well I wanted to share the recipe with you guys, because they're so good, you need to add them into your diet. Seriously. And the ingredients aren't that hard to come by like they can be for some brownies!


Ingredients:
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
• 2 1/4 cups sugar
•4 large eggs
• 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

The only cocoa powder I could ever find was cheap rubbish and ended up making my brownies thicker than I wanted them to be, so I substitute it for Cadbury's drinking chocolate powder instead - it's more chocolatey! And instead of chocolate chips, I like to break open a Galaxy bar, chop each piece into three and press three (one full piece) chunks into each brownie before they go in the oven. Despite the low melting temperature of Galaxy's chocolate, they have never burned in the oven, they stay absolutely perfect! Another reason the wonderful Karly's recipe is my absolutely favourite! And I mean that! If I'm in the kitchen, there's only one thing I'll be making! - Well, two. A mess, for certain. Which is why I need an Apron - Vivid, dear, I'm still waiting on "More Mr Kipling, Less Mr Darcy" as an apron! Get to it, girl! :D





Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Ad Problems

[Edit: sponsorship has now changed to manual for the free offer.
Passionfruit will be used when fees apply]

It seems that for some of you the promo code isn't working. Be sure to enter it exactly as shown, as it's case-sensitive. Should it still not work, let me know and I'll refund the full price - but please know that payments from Passionfruit only come through to me on Fridays so all refunds will need to wait until the weekend.
Passionfruit doesn't work like Etsy. On Etsy, the payment goes direct to you, paypal take their cut, then you pay Etsy - but on Passionfruit, the money goes straight to them, they take their cut, Paypal takes theirs and then I get what's left, which comes through on Fridays.



Free Sponsorship For Ads up to August 31st!

   Yes, you heard me. I've recently changed over to Passionfruit Ads - yes, I'm following that juicy train! - and found the promo code button.

   I knew I'd not get any sponsors for a while yet, but I also began to think lately that I'm juggling an awful lot, and if someone were to purchase one of the ad spots, I may not be able to completely deliver my end of the bargain.

   I found a quick solution, though! Head on over to the sponsorship page, and at the top, you'll find the promo code. Scroll down, read the ad descriptions, pick the one you want and do as Passionfruit asks. Input the code and viola! Free ad. This applies to all three sizes, too!
   The point behind this is that if no one has payed me any money for their ad space, there's room for me to make noob-like errors. Maybe I don't tweet enough, maybe I tweet lots one week and not again for 2, maybe I didn't chase up people about giveaways or guest posts, who knows? But if these mistakes are going to happen - down to me not having some kind of monthly sponsor schedule - I'd rather they happened when no one has anything to lose. It might turn out that I need to add a single massive ad, or reduce the number of large ads, or change around trimmings to keep my blog running smoothly, and not sponsor-related-content-exclusive

   So go on over, look at the ad sizes and trimmings, pick what you want, make your ad (though it seems Passionfruit will stretch/shrink your ad to fit the size you've chosen if it's not quite right) and submit it. With Passionfruit, the ad will be put up straight away, and will run for 30 days from date of purchase. But be sure you use a contact address that I can reach you on, I'll need info for the monthly sponsor introduction posts.

   This will run as if you had payed for them - the only reason it's free is to leave me room for error. So go on ahead. I hope to see my blog's sidebar full of lovely new graphics!


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Etsy Favourite Feature

I spaced for a few hours but I remembered in time! I don't know where my head is at these days!
I'm putting a lot of work into spreading the word of Have You Heard? so that must be eating
my time, as well as my much deserved holiday. So enjoy these pieces ♥ I will!





Monday, 21 May 2012

2 Year Anniversary

   It was our 2 year anniversary on the 17th, and though it might not seem that long, Seeg moved over here from the Netherlands not long in to give this relationship a chance, and being plunged into my family like that has been no easy task, so I'm pleased with how well we're doing!
   I want to save a post on how we met and all of that for a more special event than a 2 year anniversary, but instead I'll just update you on Sunday, when we celebrated.

   We live with my parents so that we can take care of my mum while my dad works, and the money we're given for that, along with whatever I make from Etsy, is the only income we have. My parents almost never go on holiday - until last year, it had been 8 years since their last - and we certainly can't afford to go away ourselves, and I'm a little apprehensive of going and staying with his parents in the Netherlands, but it's something that will happen (and thanks to them a weekend in London may be on the cards - I've lived in England all my life but I've only been to London once for a few hours), so my parents going away for a week is the only time we get truly just the two of us. And it's awesome to have that space and freedom.
   Sunday was the first full day we had to ourselves. I'd been preparing a few little gifts for a few days already, making little things, so the first thing I did when he got in the shower was sort out the little boxes I'd put together. I covered them in washi tape and filled them with sweets and little gifts, then attached an origami heart to each one stating something I loved about him - it was difficult. That's not to say I can't think of anything I love about him, but to try to single them out like that and not be cliché is difficult! And what made it harder was that I wanted to leave them in places I knew he'd go throughout the day - for example, we were having duck that night, so I put one of the boxes that read "I love that you can cook" (I can't cook - brownies are all I can do) behind the duck - so I wanted the notes to reflect whatever he was doing.


   He has always been interested in ancient Japan, and has lately been playing a lot of Shogun 2 - he usually tires of PC games quite quickly, the games that last are usually on the xbox, so I'm especially surprised that he's been playing Shogun for a month, at least. Shogun is a war strategy game, but it's a historical one about Japan and clans and such. I've not really sat and watched it, strategy games like that are not my thing, but it gave me a simple idea for some gifts I could try and make.
   I didn't have high hopes for them, I don't tend to get on too well sculpting clay in such a way, but perhaps that's my fault for only really rolling it out and cutting shapes out these days. But I thought I would give them a go.
   You might notice that the black and white mask has nothing to do with Japan. It's a bauta, a male venetian mask. We're both interested in such things - I have about 6 masks of my own - and the bauta is his favourite, so I decided to try it out. It went much easier than I thought, but that night turned out to be a very good clay night, the best I've ever had, I think! Everything I tried to do, worked!
   The other items are a Japanese mask that I will hesitate from naming in case I get it wrong, a poor katana, and a sashimono of the Takeda clan ^^ I'm quite pleased with how it all turned out, though!


   We had a bath later that day, after I put boxes all over the house, so I got to try out some of the new Lush products I bought. Their bubble bars are pretty good - though I've grown used to pouring an entire bottle of bubble bath in because I have so few baths, I prefer showers, but given the price of the bubblebar, I was forced to restrain myself. Well, the bubbles were nice, the water felt so silky soft, but the water turned bright pink. It was freaking awesome. I knew the water would change colour, as it so often does with Lush products, but I didn't expect it to be so bright! When we got bored of it, though, we tried the Dragon Egg bath bomb - I can see why it's a best seller. When it began, it didn't fizz so much as melt into a cream, it was great, and it had little bits of coloured paper soap floating around as dragon scales. But what we didn't know was that the white was only a "shell". Enough of it melted that a great big crack appeared in it that was bright orange. I thought it was just a collection of "scales" until it started to fizz - properly fizz - and before I knew it, half of the white had melted away and revealed the entire inside to be orange - or so I thought. It continued to fizz until the water was a bright orange too (I had run half of the bath again and gotten rid of most of the pink before hand), and then another layer revealed itself, the true core of the bomb - it was golden glitter. It fizzed away but it was made up of mostly just glitter, it was amazing. I never got a picture of it because, well, I was in the bath, but I am certainly getting it again! If you want to see the effects I urge you to buy one for yourself - my skin was so soft afterwards too, and their products are all natural, so it's great even for sensitive skin!
   We did regret the bath afterwards though. The water was too warm and the scents so relaxing that we crashed on the sofa shortly afterwards, unable to move. I think I may have fallen asleep briefly. We have one last bath bomb left, Phoenix Rising - it's purple with golden glitter on it, and a stick of cinnamon, but now I wonder if the interior is as it seems. We're going to save it for another bath, but we're going to do that on a night. So that we can fall asleep afterwards.


   We had a lovely meal together later on, too. Seeg's parents are great and did me a huge favour of sending over some of his favourite chocolate bars (I just couldn't find them anywhere, and they were far too expensive online), and when they came to England last time they brought with them some duck that his uncle had prepared. It was cooked and canned, good until next year, all we had to do was heat it up - well that was entertaining. We figured out how long everything would take to make, got it all going, and just as it was time to put the duck on, we unscrewed the lid - I didn't think it looked very tight - and were greated with a tin seal. It was written in french and it wouldn't fit on any can opener (it was a glass jar, I should have known anyway), but in the end, clever cloggs searches the words up - we had to pierce the lid to get it off. Well, we did that with a scewer. We had made a hole. A lot of pressure had left the jar when we did this, but the lid stayed put. We then resorted to finding my dad's tool box. We stabbed it with a screwdriver a few times. We're a bit mad, I think...but we must have made about 10 holes before my basic science lessons kicked in. I told him to stop, reached out to the tin lid...and lifted it off. The pressure had been released and the lid came off. Just like that. Yeah...
   Anyway, we had a lovely meal of duck, potatoes, gravy and veg - not extravegant, but the duck was delicious. We wanted to get Gü, but Dad couldn't find a chocolate one we had last time they went away, only fruit, so we decided to get it from the corner shop. Or, I did. Seeg reminded me we got it from Sainsburys and I didn't really want to take a 20 minute walk to pick up a pudding, and we certainly didn't have the money to make the trip truly worthwhile, so we went for his favourite Frankie and Benny's dessert, but homemade. I made the brownies while he made dinner, and we bought a tub of Ben and Jerry's to go on it. Best part: plenty of seconds. We didn't have any, though, we'd had more than enough already, but the meal was great.

 His card to me by DoodleLove ♥ My card to him by StoreyShop. His is nicer.

   We watched He's Just Not That Into You afterwards, a film I'd wanted to see for some time, but whenever I'd tried to watch it, I got 10 minutes in and gotten confused by so many famous faces. We gave it a go, though, and while most of it was nice, it got extremely frustrating after a while, I wanted to bang some of these girls' heads against a wall in a hope of knocking some sense into them. It ended well enough, I was particularly pleased with the resolution of Aniston's couple, but I will never watch it again.
  Then came presents! Yes, that was a good bit. I had made Seeg the above four things as well as left notes all day, so he felt bad that he hadn't gone through the same effort I did, but it didn't matter to me at all, we had a great day together and that was all I wanted. I had only bought him two things, though, a Nintendo DS game, and the first season of Bleach on DVD - I'd never seen it, the only animes I'd ever seen were Pokemon and Dragonball Z, but we started watching it (in Japanese with subtitles) and I admit I'm enjoying it, even though I'm not a fan of anime.
   But he got me a documentary I'd wanted for ages, the new Johnny English film (we watched it yesterday afternoon, such a painful movie, but equally as good as the first one, I thought, which makes a change - sequels are rarely as good), the new Sherlock Holmes film (not yet watched, but I'm hoping it'll be as good as the original, fingers crossed - though the story does twine into the original, which they don't usually, so it could be good), and - the best thing - a little baby dragon in a chestnut shell!
   I'd seen it before on Etsy quite recently and fell in love with it - he payed attention :D But the price does not reflect the amazingness of it. The paint work is great and the eye really completes the little thing, and it's securely fixed to the interior of the shell - I'm (somehow) going to fix it to a necklace.

Dragon from FeythCrafts

   It was a marvellous day, and since my parents are away until Saturday, with any luck it'll remain a wonderful week - we even plan to leave the house! Shocking! Though, we also plan to stay in and order a fatty pizza with all the trimmings, but nevermind. I'll just work extra hard with my exercising :D

   How has everyone else been lately? Do share! ♥ And also a last quick note to say that Have You Heard? is still live, and will remain so at least until the deadline, maybe longer if it's doing well.


photobucket



Saturday, 19 May 2012

Have You Heard? Now Live!

Yes, that's right, I've finally decided to make the business card swap event live now.
You can see full details here!

Deadlines are as follows:
Sign up: 9th June
Opt-out: 16th June
Post deadline: 16th July

You can get free business cards from Moo, too! All you pay is postage!
100 Mini Moo cards
50 Standard Moo cards
(available in UK, too, just swap "us" for "uk" in the URL)


photobucket



Friday, 18 May 2012

Dear Future Kim...

Dear Future Kim,

   I really hope you've got a clearer head on your shoulders by now, in 2012 you've been doing so well with keeping your feet on the ground and realising when things were futile or couldn't change no matter how hard you tried, and realising when things were truly worth pursuing. I hope we've kept this outlook. And that happiness is a choice, not always just a result.

   I also hope you're still writing. I'd imagine you were. We've been writing for 9 years already, it wouldn't make sense for five or ten years to change anything, especially since we're good at it and have some great ideas - someone needs to toot the horn, right? Also, remember, I don't care how many times you've been turned down by agencies - or publishers if you're lucky enough to have an agent - we do want this, and it's not worth giving up because everything we've written so far hasn't been worth a stranger who is just doing their job to take a chance on. The next thing we write could be it.

   I hope we've gathered up more followers on our pitiful little blog, too. It's been lots of fun putting it together, and it's a great way of keeping track of things we've decided to dedicate ourselves to - for example, I know I've failed with Project 52 at this point, and I wouldn't know that if not for the blog :D. We've also met some nice people - I hope we're still in touch, and that we've met more. And that you're still making jewellery. I understand you may be busy writing but surely you have the time to plonk down in front of the TV and squish up some clay.

   I'm a little apprehensive of writing this, because I've seen How I Met Your Mother, and I know things and plans can change - either by accident or on purpose. Though I like to think we'd know this without the TV having to point it out.
   But as long as you're happy, and healthy, that's the main thing. Also Seeg better be planning to propose soon. If he isn't, start laying down hints - and you know how bad he can be at picking them up, so don't be subtle!

   Lots of love!

   Present Kim x


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dear Past Kim...

Dear Past Kim,

   Aren't you a funny little thing? Always changing your mind about what you wanted to be when you grew up, from a lollipop lady (I'm so sorry, they don't actually eat lollies all day :( ) to Britney Spears, and everything in between. Well unfortunately you're none of that, unemployed, and still living with your parents - though for a good, honourable reason. You've been working on writing a lot, been through a strange Emo phase and come out the other end with a good head on your shoulders, even though it might wander quite high into the clouds sometimes.

   You've also found a great guy. He is honest - brutally so, sometimes, but you can always trust his word - very funny, and plays the best video games (not to mention that he is almost always at the top in shooters). Lord of the Rings is his favourite film, and though he's hard to shop for and you might really want to give up with presents, you almost always come through in the end - but be aware that you do have to give him an unceremonious shove to get him to even look at Christmas and birthday presents for you, but nevermind!

   I'm also glad to say you've stopped throwing stupid hissy fits, you can (occasionally) put your opinions aside in arguments, and have realised that summer is not always a bad thing. You've also started losing weight! Yes, you exercise now. Hard to believe, eh? You've not got the body you've always wanted, but we've come to realise we're also not built that way, but you can still look good.

   You're also an aunt! None of us saw that coming. Your nephew is a (sometimes) sweet little boy who likes to dribble, hit and play with balls, but I assume that's what little boys are like. You've also learnt that if a child falls over and you make a fuss, they will cry, and if you leave them be to dust themselves down they'll be fine and keep playing. Unless it really hurt. But unfortunately you've also learnt you are just terrible with children. You don't know how to hold them or interact with them, in fact you treat Riley - for that is his name - like a dog. You once even pretended to throw a ball. And yes, he did try to find it. But you've also found that Seeg - you're wonderful Dutch boyfriend - is great with kids. If it all lasts, at least we know that one of us will be able to raise a child.

   Looking back, I believe I had a happy childhood, and I'm sure you'd agree, little Kim. You might have spent a lot of time wandering around the playground on your own, talking to yourself at playtime, but you were still happy. I wouldn't want to change anything. And I'm sorry that Pokemon cards got banned. Mrs Bower got no better as she got older - you'll see her again when you go into school for Amy's end of year play and she'll still give you evil looks, eventhough I'm quite sure she didn't recognise us.

   Love you lots you silly little thing,

   Present Kim x


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Have You Heard? - Starting very soon!

   I've contacted a couple of blogs to request support for the event - to help gather interest and participants and the like - and though I've not heard back from all of them, I'm going to make a start hopefully in the next few days! So keep your eyes peeled!

   In the mean time, here's the event page. Deadlines will be posted at the top the second it goes live! And if you can't join in this time around, if it goes well, it'll come around again soon after!

photobucket

Also, you can still get free worldwide shipping in my shop with the code ShipToMyLou
Shipping costs have just been raised a smidge, so take advantage!



Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Etsy Favourite Feature

I've been coming up with a few ideas for my writing lately, and it feels great. I've redesigned
characters I've not even written about yet, changing their histories and who they are, and I finally
have a solid idea of how the trilogy ends! But, through that excitement, I forgot about this feature
until Monday! But here are the wonderful pieces I fished out for you anyway!





Monday, 14 May 2012

When next you make a purchase...

   You know that little box that requests any extra information? Like where to leave the parcel if there's no response, or to request a particular colour of something, or some other request? Request a drawing instead - anything you can think of. Otherwise that box will just remain empty.
   There's been a recent rise in the number of people requesting drawings on their pizza boxes, so I thought I'd get in on this, expand it to any online purchase, and create a gallery - but I can't do it without you!

   The idea is simple: the next time you make a purchase online (or over the phone or something) - be it Etsy, Amazon, NOTHS, whatever - wherever a box appears asking for extra information, request a drawing. These boxes are usually used for requesting the parcel to be left in a certain place, or requesting a particular colour of something or making some kind of extra request, so if you have nothing better to ask, ask for that.
   Then, when you receive your order, grab a picture of the part of the invoice where they printed your request, then another picture of the drawing (in context if possible, for example if it's in a pizza box, I want to see the pizza, if it was with a parcel, put the drawing next to or on top of the product, etc), and send them to me, along with your name (here is an opportunity to include a link to your own website, blog, 9gag profile or whatever) and the name of the place that did the drawing, and I'll post them on the gallery page.

   It's so easy to participate. Just the next time you place an order anywhere - hell, even a restaurant! - ask for a drawing and see what happens. Or your food to be arranged as a face. It's likely they won''t comply, but let's just believe they will!


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Agency update


Use the code ShipToMyLou for free shipping until May 18th!

   I sent those Guild letters out to the literary agencies last week, and so far I've heard back from four of them. Like I said in the original post, agencies generally expect the first three chapters, a synopsis and a covering letter from the off, and don't generally require a preliminary letter or email, but one agency from the extremely short list of fantasy-accepting agencies did.
   A few months ago I read through the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and searched all of their agencies. Very few of them said anything about fantasy, but I checked all of the websites of everyone who mentioned nothing about it. I ended up emailing about seven agencies who never stated they did or did not accept fantasy novels - I've heard back from half, all of whom have declined - but the few agencies who have expressed interest in fantasy didn't accept email. This was where my letters came in.


   So I wrote them up, printed them out, sealed them and made them lurvely. I made sure to state in the letter that it was a fantasy novel, and also included a brief 3-line plot outline, so once I sent them out the balls were well and truly in the agencies' courts. The four I've heard back from have all asked me to send out my first three chapters. One sent me a standard form letter, but, surprisingly, the other three agencies actually took the time to hand write a request - one of them was only a line written at the top of the letter I sent them, but the other two put more effort in. I'm a little more hopeful with this now. Each of these four agencies know I'm sending in fantasy, but are interested anyway, so I'm hoping that now, finally, I'll be judged on my work rather than my genre.
   I'm still waiting on an order from the wonderful Fawn and Flora - some giant paperclips (and cute notepaper which has little to do with anything) to bundle my manuscript together and post it out to them, since they don't want them bound any other way, but since I don't have them yet and heard back from these agencies much faster than I expected, I'm going to just send this first one out as it is.
   I've also decided that, after printing merely the first three chapters and seeing it reach 79 sheets of paper (required to be printed on one side, and double spaced), I'm only printing it once. Generally, if you send a stamped addressed envelope, an agency will return your manuscript to you. I hate to think what this will cost to send, but in the face of a future career, no cost is too great. Of course I only just managed to find an envelope big enough, I have little idea of what to do if I'm lucky enough to be requested the full manuscript - though that will  be a problem I'll enjoy having.
   My plan for this is to wrap the bubble wrap envelope (it was all I could find big enough at my tiny post-office/chemist) in parcel paper, tie it with string and use the wax seal again, to keep it visually consistant.
   None of this means anything, not really, what counts is the writing itself, of course. And since it's a trilogy, as I've said time and time again, even if my manuscript is good, the series factor will decrease the likelihood of a contract. But I have plenty of ideas, so if this doesn't work, I'll try something else. I'm submitting the first book of the trilogy, but I'm already writing the second, and have plans for the third, and then on top of that I have plans for a duology in the same world with a few thousand years between them, and two other books in their own worlds and with new stories. If this trilogy won't be my debut, something else will be. I want this too badly and am working too hard for it to never happen.

   The response I got today, however, and fortunately, requested my work by email, so yay, saving paper (and postage and ink). I've sent that to them this morning, but I probably won't hear anything back for a month or so. As for the rest, I'll be sure to update when they're sent out, and whenever, if ever, I receive a positive response.



Friday, 11 May 2012

Have You Heard? - A Sellers' Opportunity


   I've been all in a cuffuffle these past few weeks, and as such I have nothing crafty to share with you on my usual (ha!) Project 52 post day - instead, I offer sellers an opportunity.
   I recently made a trade with a friend of mine, but we decided to not only trade a product, but also a few business cards. The idea was that with each sale one of us made we'd send the other's business card with it. Our shops are different but both quite unique so it seemed like a good idea.
   But as I put one of her business cards into my most recent package, I added a piece of paper and wrote "have you heard?" on it - to make it seem less pushy and more like exciting news, but then an idea occurred to me: create an event where people send their own business cards to other sellers for the same purpose. Well I put a little more thought to it, came up with some rules, but also decided I'd need some supporters to help spread the word. I've contacted one such person today, and intend to contact a few others once I've created a button for the event.
   But for now I'll outline for you the most important parts:
·         It will be international - as long as you have a handmade shop, on Etsy, storenvy or anything similar and you ship internationally - you can join in, but you must be willing to send your business cards internationally too.
·         There will be deadlines - opt-in, opt-out and dispatch
·         Participants will be categorised by theme, not product. I don't wish to pair two jewellery makers or two stationery makers together, instead I wish to pair whimsical, nature, retro and so on.
   I've put a page together with the entrant details, the entrant form, full rules and a share button, but the button still needs work. When I have the page ready, and enough supporters, I'll announce here the deadline dates and get the event running.
   Don't worry if you miss out or can't join in this time around, if this goes well it will happen again a few months on. Successive deadline dates will be announced each time the previous one is reached so notice will be given.

   If you're interested in participating, keep your eyes open. I'm hoping to have the page available in the next few days, but when everything is ready I'll announce it.



Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Etsy Favourite Feature

I totally spaced last week and forgot all about this feature! I don't have any idea what I was doing
that made me forget but it totally slipped my mind. So here it is this week instead. I promise I
won't forget again! Also, have you seen the letters I finally wrote to the literary agencies?
And have you met VividPlease?






Saturday, 5 May 2012

Friday, 4 May 2012

Project 52: Guild Agency Letters

   I finally managed it. I got all the materials, I got the stamps, and I wrote the letter. Now they're all ready to get posted out. I'm quite nervous, though. I've already submitted my work by email to other agencies, though those agencies never explicitly said that they did or did not accept fantasy, and I've heard back from most of them with polite but form rejection letters. But these five agencies I'm sending letters to have mentioned fantasy, or there abouts. But that's still only five agencies.
   Most agencies want you to send a synopsis and first three chapters up front; only one of these agencies requested a preliminary letter first. Then I had the idea to write the letters as if they were from the world within the book itself, based on a girl I'd heard of who had written a letter to a university in the style of Cinderella because she wanted to take their creative writing course, and she got in. It's risky, though; I worry that some agencies might take themselves too seriously and not want to deal with someone who will do something so different and light hearted like these letters, but Seeg said at the same time, do I want to work with people who think that way? He has a point, but at the same time there are so few agencies that I can submit to. I'm taking a chance with this anyway, and if I don't hear back from anyone after a few months, I'm just going to do it the right way and send them my material like they expect me to, with a normal letter.
   My goal from doing this is purely to stick in their minds. It probably won't help me get signed up, since it's my writing that counts, but at the very least it shows a little creativity and a little bit of me in a simple form. I want them to receive these letters and read them for what they are, but at the same time, I'm hoping that they'll stand out from the usual white/brown envelopes they receive, and letters typed in standard Arial (not Ariel, that's a mermaid, thank you Seeg). I'd think it would get boring, but maybe it's the kind of boring you don't notice because it's normal. Either way, I hope they remember me. If they remember the letter, they may remember the brief plot outline, and then they might...yeah, getting ahead of myself again. I just really, really want this.

   Fingers crossed, please, everyone, right now. Seeg has his crossed :B I can't type with mine crossed, ORR Tthiss happeens :D So I'm relying on you guys!





Parchment paper & envelopes - Paperchase
Wax stick and seal - Katrina Alana
Font - Saginaw


Also, on another note, have you seen my interview with Vivid?


Posting these today ♥


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