Blogging and Bits

It’s been a while since I did a bit of a life update post, so here’s all the crafty and non crafty bits I’ve left our for the past 6 months or so!

Work and Side Hustles

I’ve been working a lot lately as my contracted hours have gone up. I work in a supermarket and there are quite a few surprising perks…like the free flowers above! They were past their display by date and would have been thrown away so I took a couple of bunches home and they lasted over a week.

I also get the odd ‘score’ in the free colleague section in the staff room…potatoes, bread, carrots, herbs…they all have best before yesterday dates on but most of the fruit and veg is still edible!

The downside to working more hours at my actual job of course, is that the side hustle side of things inevitably slows down a bit. But May was prolific!

After months of not being bothered or doing the bare minimum, May was like someone lit a fire up my ass and I was away!!

I started to write and post more regularly on Medium and the stats have definitely gone up over there because of it. I’ve been working on a second WordPress blog about writing, doing all the boring backend stuff like banners and logos etc. Now it’s just the actual content to finish before launching.

I even opened a new Print on Demand store on Zazzle a couple of weeks ago and yesterday I got a couple of things with my design on to test the products – a keyring and a tote bag. Boring but useful products!

They came from the US within a week and a half of ordering, which is really fast for both manufacturing and shipping and I love the picture quality on both products. Sometimes when you print on fabric the design can get a little blurry, but not this time! Zazzle is looking to be the best platform so far.

The daylight is a bit weird so the light isn’t the best in the photo! But I’ve used it for shopping already!

tote bag woolly orbit zazzle

Zazzle has hundreds of products with the ability for the customer to personalise the designs which is unusual, so I still need to do a bit more research on that one, but the shop is live now. I also figured out how to put one of my designs on the sidebar of this blog. I mean, am I technical or what?!

As for my other print on demand sites...Society 6 has 44 designs as opposed to 12 at the beginning of May, and RedBubble has over 300 although that needs a thorough sort out!

So, print on demand is going well!


Some Random Garden and Plant Pics

And it was my parents wedding anniversary this month – a big one! So, naturally, they got lots of flowers!

My cactus that I called Mr Whippy (after a type of ice cream in the UK) has nearly doubled I size since I bought him. He’s a Cereus Forbesii Spiralis if you’re interested…and just look at the Mammillaria below it – my babies are having babies now!!


Books

I’m slowly getting through my to read pile.

I’ currently reading Walden and Side Hustle In Progress. Recently I finished Design Your Lief andBird By Bird with Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg finished at the end of April.

BUT… I bought another one yesterday, so as the pile diminishes, so does it accumulate!

I bought The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins. I read The God Delusion by him a couple of years ago and the language was so hard to read…so many big words, lol! This looks easier and more interesting!

So, that makes the current To Read List as follows:

  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  • The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins
  • Side Hustle In Progress by Elizabeth Ogabi
  • On Writing Well by William Zinser
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Knitting and Crochet and Sewing

I finished a blanket in the previous post, but I’ve not been crafting an awful lot thanks to doing a lot on the writing and designing side of things.

I have a few balls of neon yarn left from previous projects and a little bit from this project so I might just do a few more granny squares and see where that takes me.

You can’t really go wrong with a granny square can you?!

I want to finish a couple of projects so I can make a start on some summer knitting, but I have no motivation to craft at the minute…it’s writing and reading, but that’s OK as it comes in waves, doesn’t it?


Priorities

Pinterest is something I’ve let slide in the past few months. Considering it’s such a useful tool for side hustles, it’s a shame I did neglect it, but you know what? I find it both easy and awkward!

Easy to create and schedule pins in Canva and the whole uploading process isn’t difficult, it’s just it seems to take ages to get anywhere. Followers mean nothing as it’s more about trends and what people are searching for.

So, Pinterest is a priority for me in June and July.

As is knitting a summer top! I have a couple of vest patterns for cotton yarn – see below.

And I really want to finish a leather handbag that I started dying a few years ago, but just never got around to sewing it together!

And sewing! Gotta get back into sewing somehow!


This has sort of caught you all up on stuff.

There’s always more planned than I have time to do, never enough crafting time!!

But right now, it’s writing and print on demand that’s the main focus, not crafting.

But I’m sure I’ll get back into knitting and crochet soon!



This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click the link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Knitting Project Bag – Review

A few weeks ago I ordered my first item from Society 6…a pink tote bag that simply says Knitting Projects on it.

It’s from my shop. I only have a few designs up as they need so many file sizes that it takes me ages to upload new designs, compared to RedBubble which I find to be a far easier uploading process!

But anyway…

I thought I’d see what their tote bags were like as I’m always on the lookout for a new tote! Since most of mine at the moment are either holding sewing materials like wadding or stuffing or they have current knitting projects in, I thought I it would be a good idea to try something new.

Here is the link to the design if you want to have a look yourself:

https://society6.com/product/knitting-projects-bag_bag?curator=woollyorbit

This is a screenshot of the design from a while back (I think they have 20% off at the moment instead of 40%…they have regular sales on different products which I like!).

As you can see, it’s a very simple design!

And below are some terrible photos by me…

And the quality?

It’s quite stiff and sturdy. There’s just one layer (that I can see) of fabric which looks and feels like a canvas type fabric. The handles are black and just the right length.

The colours turned out pretty true to the file I uploaded. I’m always slightly worried that the colours on my computer screen will look different on the actual product…but this is pretty true to the design.

On the whole I’m quite pleased with it!

On any fabric print on demand item which has your design printed on it, like pouches and bags, there is always going to be a point where you say the design could be printed a bit sharper, but I think it’s just part of the printing process.

I have the same trouble with RedBubble. I ordered a tote from RedBubble a few months ago with a green design on and the colours turned out perfectly, but could have been just a bit sharper.

There’s always a give and take with print on demand!

I have my knitted jumper that I’m working on in the bag at the moment…the crochet blanket has been relegated to a finished object bag in my wardrobe.

I’m looking at adding some more craft-based designs to both my RedBubble and Society 6 stores, so if you have any ideas for sewing, knitting, crochet etc. designs, then let me know!


This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission on that sale at no extra cost to you.


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9 Months Blogging

Tempus Fugit when you’re having fun!

Fun writing, that is!

This blog has grown little by little since launching it in January, I’ve gone off on several tangents and there isn’t really a particular niche other than Show And Tell about stuff I’ve been making, but it’s still fun!

I’m working on my own self hosted website and have another little free blog almost ready to go, all I need is a few actual posts!

As of writing (9 Sept) I have 2965 views in total.

I haven’t blogged every day or even logged onto WordPress everyday so it could be higher if I pushed, but that’s OK. I think I’ll hit over 3000 this week.

In fact I’m certain of it. How? Because any post with stats in does well…lol! And if that sounded tacky, well, it’s understandable. People want to see where other people are so they can judge their own level of success…or just be plain nosy. It’s human nature!

So, what else has happened as a result of writing this blog?

I joined and write on Medium and any post over there about writing or Medium itself does well. How meta to write about writing because people like to read about writing and then write about what they’ve read…about writing!

Did you know I’ve made money from this tiny WordPress blog? Not much, not even enough for a cup of tea but it goes to show it IS possible if you have the inclination and the know-how.

I’ve added a few affiliate links here and there and why not if I’m linking to places anyway?!

I’ve opened several print on demand stores, the one I’ve talked about the most is my RedBubble store but I’ve started to upload to Society 6 and Spoonflower this week too after opening accounts and putting them to the side.

Society 6 is a pain to upload to as there are so many different HUGE file sizes needed and Spoonflower is awkward getting the right ratios for patterns…if I upload a pattern will it turn out gigantic or minuscule? I can’t figure it out yet!

The Substack e-mail newsletter has been created but honestly put aside for a fortnight as I wasn’t well. That’s going to start up properly soon.

I’ve joined Pinterest and Twitter (only just yesterday for the latter) and Instagram, but I don’t think I want to focus on that at the moment. Pinterest has 1.9K views a month, up from 23 at the start of August. That’s progress!

And uploaded a few notebooks to Amazon KDP, but that needs a LOT of work.

I’ve opened but not yet launched an Etsy shop. Still working on things. And I’m writing a book too.

All from one little blog. Things can snowball if you let them!

One more Quarter to go before the year is out. Let’s see what I mange to do before then!


Sign up to Medium with my referral link here (if you use this link then I’ll receive a portion of your Medium fees at no extra cost to you)

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/membership


[This post contains affiliate links which means if you click the link and make a purchase, I get a small commission of that purchase at no extra cost to you!]

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5 Things This Week

I’ve been a bit quiet over here this week but I’ve been busy beavering away at other things. Even managed to get in a spot of crafting or two.

This week in general has been a week of little but long errands, like yesterday was my car’s MOT, but I went to a new place so had to drive a bit further than usual, so it was a little but long errand!

And there have been more appointments for people and picking up and that sort of thing, which leaves you feeling you only have half a day to do stuff.

Anyway, this is what I’ve been up to this week:


1. I joined Twitter!

I had such a busy day yesterday with the errands, writing 3 articles for Medium, picking up people, doing household chores etc. that I decided to join a new social media platform too. I used to have a personal account years ago, in fact I only joined it then because I was forced to for a university project. I’ve never understood it much or loved it in all honesty, but I’m trying to be more social and business minded on the internet.

Which means that Pinterest just isn’t enough! Whilst I do have an Instagram account for Woolly Orbit, I only have 3 crappy posts on there, I’m beginning to hate Instagram with all the videos and I don’t use Facebook. Which is what I’ll have to eventually do if I want to progress with the sharing and marketing side of things, but anyway back to Twitter.

I have a few tweets and I’m just getting started, so stuff will change in the future, especially when I finally sort out branding and everything!

I’m @woollyorbit if you want to come say hello and help me figure out the platform!!

It also means I can do this here:


2. I’ve started to upload to my Society 6 shop

I joined a few months ago, but have been focussing on RedBubble. This week I looked at both Spoonflower and Society 6. Spoonflower needs a lot before I launch patterns as I need to order samples and so I’m going to wait until I have a lot of designs uploaded and ready to go.

But as of today, I have 5 designs live on Society 6. And OMG what a pain to get the file sizes! I’m glad I kept the Photoshop subscription as some of the file sizes are HUGE. And you need different dimensions – square, vertical, horizontal etc.

BUT I like the products they have over there…they have bar stools and deckchairs and yoga mats. They have a credenza! I’d never even heard of that before…but I can stick a simple design on one!

Screenshot (I can do those now) of a credenza on Society 6

I like the furniture they have on Society 6, although not so much the prices, but you know – furniture!

So, I’m going to keep going with that, even though it takes me a lot longer to upload each design onto the platform.

https://society6.com/woollyorbit

So that’s fun!


3. Medium – Publications and More

I won’t go into the details on here, but if you want to get your stuff read on Medium, you have to submit to publications. Which I haven’t been doing because I’ve been focussing on my writing. Also, the submitting and signing up process scares me!

Anyone on Medium can create a publication. They are just another part of the platform.

Imagine if you could create a group blogging section on WordPress and invite other bloggers or accept articles on relevant topics to your group. That’s kind of like what the publications are like on Medium, except the bigger ones get thousands of views and followers, and so your post is more likely to get seen and therefore read by more people. Hope that makes sense!

Anyway, not only did I write 3 posts on there yesterday, but I also left an add me as a writer comment on my first publication which might take a while to get accepted (he does say on the submission guidelines he only checks it once or twice a month). In the meantime, I’m making a list of potential publications that could work for me and I’m going to try and submit a few articles to them in the coming days and weeks.

First I need to spend a bit of time actually writing a REALLY good article!

I do have my own publication which is called Woolly Orbit Passive Income (no surprises there!) but I’m not doing much with it. Maybe now I have Twitter I can promote the publication itself on there as well as the articles themselves?

So, that’s another side of Medium I’ve been looking at.

If you want to follow my writing on Medium, you can subscribe via e-mail here:

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/subscribe

Or, if you want to join Medium you can use my referral link here (if you use this link then I’ll receive a portion of your Medium fees at no extra cost to you)

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/membership


4. I’ve been watching…

Simple Living Alaska

Skeindeer Knits

This Is Kachi


5. Finishing Miscellaneous Craft Bits And Bobs

A bit of crafting done this week but not much ‘big’ progress!

I’m just sewing in the ends of my Christmas Crochet Blanket right now and then I need to decide what to do with it. Where to donate it.

I love it, I love the colours and the fact it’s a Christmas blanket…but I have 5 blankets already and they’re just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. So, to charity with this one!

I’m also doing one more round of black cross stitch for the placemat I finished last week. I might see how much thread is left and do another round after that…but there’s not much black left. I just thought it would be easier to sew up if there was a bit of wriggle room when sewing the edges.

I’ve done about 10 rows on my knitted orange jumper. I am getting sick of writing that phrase on here…knitted orange jumper, knitted orange jumper! It doesn’t even have a pattern name, I don’t think! I’m on the home stretch for it now though.

Here’s a previous post about it.

And I’m about to cast on a pair of vanilla socks by Winwick Mum.

There’s no photos because they don’t look all that much different from previous posts for everything here…and I’ve been writing at the computer for hours today and I want a break!!


So, that’s pretty much it for now. It’s been another week of half days.

And a heatwave…29 degrees celsius yesterday and the day before. I thought summer was over, in fact I was getting ready to put all my summer clothes away!

I’ll try and post a bit more over here, but you know, I get carried away writing!


Two of my most recent posts on Medium:

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/what-youtube-has-taught-me-about-homesteading-in-the-usa-f821d0e2c728

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/how-to-update-your-redbubble-store-ed8085fea436

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Turning One Thing Into Another

I finished the stitching part of my latest cross stitch project last week (I just need to sew it all up).

And I thought I would have a go at adding it to my RedBubble store, just to see what it looked like. It looks pretty funky on the cushions I think!

The piece was stitched out of fabric and threads I already had and had no other use for. So, I turned things that were likely to be thrown away into a future piece of ‘art’. It’s going to be a placemat/ trivet type thing once I get around to sewing it up.

I then turned that into other products by taking a picture of it and uploading it onto RedBubble.

You could do this with knitting and crochet projects too. I’ve seen some funky designs with pictures of patchwork quilts that have been added to places like RedBubble.

So, you can make a little bit of extra pocket money from a project you’ve already sewn/ knitted/ stitched etc. I mean, even if you took pictures of things you made for other people, you could still make money!

Just a quick idea to turn your projects into cash without much extra work!

You can find my RedBubble store here if you’re interested. I’m in the process of sorting it out and updating collections and banners etc. for the autumn.

WoollyOrbit2000.redbubble.com


Other recent RedBubble designs below:

Follow me on Pinterest @woollyorbit

10 Things This Week

I’ve felt pretty rough this week and yet, I’ve been my most productive in a while.

Here’s a random list of things I’ve done/ come across/ watched this week.

1. Medium

I’ve been writing like mad over there and basically figuring out the platform. One thing I can’t seem to get my head around is the publications part. I’ve created my own, but I’m struggling to format it in an aesthetically pleasing way.

But I’ve been writing more and my few recent articles have been much better than the first ones!

Here’s my latest about selling printable/ digital downloads online:

10 Digital Items To Sell That Aren’t Wall Art!

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/10-digital-items-to-sell-that-arent-wall-art-aaa1ab9ee33

2. Knitted Baby Cardigan

I made a post about the trouble I was having with the raglan back part of a tiny knitted baby cardigan (thank you to the many suggestions in the comments on that post!). I’ve finished the left front and am now ready to cast on the right front.

I managed to do that in an hour or so when I really wasn’t feeling very well on Monday, so I actually feel like I did something crafty this week!

Front left of baby cardigan

3. Girl in Calico Youtube Channel

If you want to watch or listen to a relaxing video, this is for you! Crafts, gardening, making jam, homesteading, food.

I mean, look at the sunflowers in this video -my favourite flower. They’re gorgeous!

I think a lot of you who follow my blog would like this Youtube channel, so take a look and be inspired!

4. Cross-Stitch

I’m using up the last few threads I have. It’s a random ‘picture’ where I stitched a black frame and am just stitching random lines in different colours.

I was thinking maybe a placemat or trivet type of thing? Maybe put some wadding in between and sew it to some backing fabric. It looks pretty cool regardless of what I do with the finished product!

5. I managed to get to 150 designs on RedBubble! Yay!

I did a few simple geometric designs, a few stripes and a few random text based ones.

I’m still finding my way with the design process, and I know not all of them work. But I’m having fun and learning all the time.

Here are a few crafty ones that went up this week…they’re simple and I might take some down/ tweak them. They need a picture I think or a different font.

WoollyOrbit2000.redbubble.com

6. The Blackberries are coming along nicely!

These bushes are on a walkway between 2 streets in my village…so I don’t know if I’ll get any blackberries from these bushes, although I did see some large rosehips which I’m eyeing for reship jam/ jelly.

But on the country lanes where I go for walks, I’ve seen a few berry bushes with their little white flowers. Just a couple more weeks I think and they’ll be nearly ready.

Definitely going foraging this year!

I love at the end of a village and there is a path by the road to walk to the next smaller one, it takes about 10 minutes. On the old red brick wall between the two, are some fruit trees that are on the wrong side of the wall for foragers, but nevertheless the fruit hangs over and I’ve always been too slow to get it, or it’s rained at harvest time or I just plain couldn’t be bothered to go out in the cold and pick it!

But this year will be different, no really! There’s a pear tree, an apple tree, possibly a plum/damson tree, maybe something else. There’s also a plum tree across the road on the path by a farmer’s field, but last year the farmer trimmed it when he did the hedges, so now there’s only really the top fruit which is too high for me to reach!

It’s a goal for this year!

I’m thinking an apple and blackberry crumble!

7. Blog re-design

If you’re reading this on the WordPress Reader (as I think most of you are!), then you won’t notice anything different. For everyone else, the look of the blog has changed a bit.

I’m still experimenting a bit, the header will get changed…the logo, icons, fonts, colours, widgets in the sidebar will get moved around a bit soon.

But it was in need of an overhaul.

Hopefully it doesn’t look too much like an early 2000’s blog now!! 🙂

Header in progress!

8. Pinterest Pins

For a few of my posts on Medium, I’ve been creating Pinterest Pins to go with them and uploading them to Pinterest.

It’s not something I’ve ever done for this blog, maybe because I don’t write the kind of content here that would be suitable for a pin.

I’m going to start thinking about pins…but I’m not the best at designing them!

These are two I made for the latest post on Medium (the link is above in point 1).

Which one do you prefer?

I prefer the one on the right…but that is the real secret to Pinterest…

You create MULTIPLE PINS for the SAME BLOG POST!

That way, you reach a wider audience. If someone doesn’t like one pin, they might be tempted to click on a different looking one!

9. Granny Square day 2021

I remembered about a thing before the thing was done and gone!

And that thing was Granny Square Day 2021!

Make some crocheted Granny Squares and take a picture and post to your Instagram account with the hashtag #grannysquareday2021 so that all the pictures create one huge Granny Square Blanket.

The charity is Woolly Hugs this year, which I’ve heard of, but never got the timing right for posting blankets etc. as the timing for submissions always falls at awkward places in my makes (I start knitting and crocheting Christmas things around September but their deadlines for submissions are around September/ October if I remember correctly).

They make handmade blankets to give to babies, children and teenagers in UK hospitals.

You can read more about Granny Square Day here:

https://www.gathered.how/knitting-and-crochet/crochet/granny-square-day/

10. Planning and Pondering

I’ve been looking at various ways to make money from writing and related things for a while now. To be honest, I tend to start one project, then see something else and start that and so the cycle continues. I guess you call it MAGPIE BRAIN?! Always distracted by the shiny object…

At the moment I only write on this blog and on Medium. Medium is new to me and I’ve only been on there a few months.

I’m also writing a book, at the time of writing it’s about half done. I want to get it published in August. I think I’ll manage it.

But I want to do more writing and not just any old, write whatever happens to spew out of my crazy mind. I want to write more with purpose and write with value for the reader in mind and to have streams of income, not just from places like print on demand sites and affiliate links, but streams of writing income.

So, I’m looking at Substack which is a free or paid e-mail newsletter subscription service. And Fiverr. There are a lot of places like Fiverr, like Upwork, People Per Hour etc. But Fiverr is probably the most well known and where a lot of beginners start.

The one thing I’m not really interested in are the content mills. Places like Textbroker etc. where you get paid very little for a lot of work.

I’ve seen requests on content mills in the past for ethically dubious articles e.g. one thing sticks in my mind quite clearly. Someone wanted a writer to write 3 essays for them…on clinical psychology for children! So, someone was studying at university on a clinical psychology course and was going to pay someone else peanuts to write their essays for them (also, would you want your child seen by someone who didn’t write their own essays/ do their own research at university?!)

That’s just one example that I remember, and not every request for writers is like that, but I’m not interested.

This article by The Write Life has more information about content mills if you’re interested:

I’m quite a fast typer and so joining something like Substack isn’t going to take up a HUGE amount of extra time, especially if I started with one newsletter a week.

I’m going back and forth with the options I have listed in front of me (I’ve scribbled down more than the ones I listed above…this post is getting long enough as it is!) and so, that’s something else I’ve been working on this week. Not really something to ‘show’, but thinking time is still time well spent.

To be perfectly honest, I need to sort out the Woolly Orbit branding first, before I go subscribing to things left, right and centre!


Phew! That was a post and a half!

Well done if you stuck around till the end…you’ve earned yourself 10 points and a pat on the back!

For a week where I didn’t feel very well, I think I did alright!

Today I’m going to finish another Medium article (just need to edit it, hopefully won’t take too long!). Then, look at some affiliate programmes and try and get back into the Etsy shop prep and more work on the book.

What did Bilbo Baggins say about feeling like too much better spread over not enough bread?!!

Hope you had a good week and have a crafty weekend!

A Quick Catch-Up!

Been a while since I looked at my goals for May and I gotta say I’m well ahead! As of Friday 21st May, this is where I am at…

Etsy

I’ve finished most of the behind the scenes Etsy stuff like FAQs and shop policies and stuff. Just concentrating on creating the listings to go in the shop right now. I’m working my way through chapters I have planned out, as I plan on publishing a paperback through Amazon KDP at the same time as launching the shop properly.

Things will just need to be re-sized and Etsy listing ‘photos’ made. Not super difficult stuff, but SO time consuming.

I have 2 listings mostly made. I want to get 5 -10 ready when I open the shop. And I have the pages ready for another 2 or 3 listings.

RedBubble

RedBubble – I have uploaded 118 designs so far. Which is awesome considering this time last week I had about 79 and last Saturday was a total write off thanks to a bad back, as well as HOURS, literal HOURS spent on upgrading my computer’s operating systems.

I don’t think I’ll make 200 by the end of the month, but 100 was a big goal and I’m glad to have reached that goal!

Medium

I wanted to write and publish 5 articles for Medium. Check! Done! And I have the drafts for 10 more…I’m doing a 12 month post series and I have January – April already published. I just haven’t had the time to finish the rest, but for about 8 or 9 of the posts, I have the lists written out just need to add a bit more content!

And yes…I joined the Partner Program!

I made money too…hold on! 4 CENTS! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

But it works! I wrote 5 articles and left it a week or two. I haven’t really promoted anything or joined any in house publications like you should to get seen on Medium. Basically I did nothing and still made money. So, I’m fired up to get writing in earnest now!

And on the topic of joining things, I joined SkillShare and I’m loving watching the videos on graphic design, especially Procreate and Affinity Designer!

AND I did join up to Spoonflower and another UK fabric Print on Demand supplier, but honestly I haven’t done anything with these either. It’s getting all the files ready in different formats for each site that I can see being a huge headache. But, I suppose once it’s done, that’s it!

General

Did I make another font? Nope!

Did I sign up to Creative Fabrica as a seller? Nope.

Did I make any digital stickers? Nope…but I have ideas for that.

And out of the original 10 things to do in May, did I sign up for my own self hosted website? Yes, but it’s not live and I need to work on it quite a bit more before it is.

AND NOW FOR THE CRAFT GOALS….

I’ll give you a clue…it’s all NOPE!

I did some cross stitch and that’s about it!

Really busy and still loving the creativity that is spewing out of me like a volcano recently. There’s a cool image…a volcano spewing out craft items like fabric, wool, paints…

Music

I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff in the background too. Heard of a group called Sofi Tukker? If you’re in the UK, you’ll recognise a song called Drinkee, it’s in an advert (for the AA I think) with a puppet dog and a fan. I quite like Drinkee, it’s catchy!

There’s also a song called Batshit which I’ve just found, but I’m loving the aesthetic of the costumes in the desert…90s inspired bright colours with a woman basically just singing ‘Batshit…Batshit…Batshit Crazy…’

If you’re bored or want to listen to something new…check it out! 🙂

Goals for May

I started this little blog in January 2021.

I intended it to be a record of my crafty creations, both good and bad, and I thought it would consist of knitting, crochet and sewing finished objects and patterns, links to sites I like, Youtubers I follow etc. Maybe some daily life thrown in, recipes, baking, new crafts, that kind of thing.

And it started off that way, for sure, but it has been a bit deathly quiet on here for the last 6 weeks or so because I got such a sudden burst of energy at the end of March, that pretty much most of my craft projects got put aside and I haven’t even thought about them, let alone worked on them!!

I am still working on my Neon Fair Isle knitted bag, I did a few rows about a fortnight ago and that was that. I read a book called I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi (spoiler, no he won’t as I don’t invest in stocks and shares!) and I did a couple of cross-stitch projects…that’s it for the crafting!

But crafting is really another way to talk about your creativity and oh boy have I been creative lately!

A couple of posts ago I talked about making by own fonts with Calligraphr, I’ve since got an app called ifontmaker which is much easier and quicker to create a font – I’m not exactly graphic designer level yet, but it’s a fun side hobby.

I’ve signed up for a Medium account (the writing platform) and I’m getting my profile sorted and stuff like that before I sign up with their partner program. And then of course I need to start writing articles, but that parts the easy bit for me, I’m quite a fast typer and once I’m in the zone, the words just flow.

I’ve been using Procreate and Photoshop a lot as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I realise that for designing icons and simple pictures for my RedBubble shop I need to look at creating vector designs, so I bought the Affinity Design app whilst it was half price (it might still be, so have a look if you want to snag a bargain) and the free app Vectornator.

Both have pros and cons and I’m still getting my head around vectors and paths and nodes etc. It’s hard for me because I have no design experience AT ALL! But it’s fun…is it the challenge that’s fun? I don’t know (God knows the drawings don’t look fun – so far I managed a vector heart and a button!).

I signed up to RedBubble and now I like the idea of the Print On Demand type of passive income so much I’m seriously thinking of joining other sites too.

I would love to make repeat pattern designs for sites like Spoonflower and other specifically fabric based printing sites. I need a little more practice at it, but it’s nothing extra really, especially since you can sell the same designs across different platforms.

I opened an Etsy store too for something I have seen for ages and thought I would be good at but just never got around, or got motivated to do before…and that is digital downloads. I know I’ve posted a few simple freebies here on this blog before, but the ones I would sell on Etsy would be far superior! I’ve signed up to Creative Fabrica to buy fonts that I can use commercially, and I now have a Canva Pro account.

That’s all to come though because I want to do something at the same time as creating printables which is…

…putting them into a book! I joined Amazon KDP and am thinking of putting the printables into a book that can be photocopied by the buyer. So, you buy the paperback book which is in either A4 or US Letter size, the reader then photocopies the worksheets as they need so they don’t have to write in their book (which they could always do too of course).

I’m having a few issues here. The biggest of which is deciding which software program to use to create them with. Canva, Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, Google Docs, Apple Pages…and then I need a commercial license and there’s the fonts too which need to have commercial license/ permission to use them. If I make an e-book then the fonts are typically embedded into the e-book software, right? But so many font licenses have clauses against embedding…argh it’s a minefield, it really is!

BUT, once I get all that figured out, the actual creation process will take no time at all, especially since once the printables are made, I will be able to make bundles of them for Etsy, sell them separately AND put them in the book.

I could even open a Gumroad or Creative Fabrica store and sell the printables there too.

So, there are a lot of things going on and in my mind, but it’s getting the right licenses etc before it’s full steam ahead.

Saying that, I do have a few goals for this month.

  1. Upload 200 designs to RedBubble in total (I have 74 so far) and weed out any ones I don’t like anymore or that could be improved.
  2. Finish all back end Etsy stuff and have 5 printables listed in the store.
  3. Actually create the printables that will go in the Etsy store and the book! Decide on which software to use!
  4. Write 5 articles for Medium – finish my profile and sign up to Partner Program.
  5. Sign up to a fabric printing Print On Demand company eg Spoonflower.
  6. Sign up to Skillshare and use their free trial to have a look at vector drawings, digital designs and creating my own fonts
  7. Try and make a font good enough to sell…might not manage this one!
  8. Sign up to Creative Fabrica as a seller…need to apply for this so need a portfolio of places first e.g. Yes I have a RedBubble, but what else? Woolly Orbit Pinterest is only just up and running!
  9. Think about a ‘proper’ website where I can put affiliate links etc.
  10. Create digital stickers – maybe to sell and maybe to put on here for free!

Not very crafty goals are they?!

So here’s a few to stay on top of things (and hopefully make a bit of room!)

  1. Finish Neon Fair Isle Bag – knitted about 2/3 so far, only the second half to finish knitting and sew together
  2. Start The Testaments book by Margaret Atwood – once I read this, I will have all my books on my bookshelf
  3. Do some more on my knitted orange jumper
  4. Cut out the fabric pieces for a denim rucksack I want to sew…I may need some more fabric, but we’ll see how much I have first!
  5. Leather handbag…all cut out, dyed, oiled, ready to sew…it’s on my shelf ready. Started this a year ago, so we’ll see if I still remember how to do saddle stitch!

Phew! That’s about enough for May I think! And this blog post which is about 3 times what I normally write! If you got this far, well done!

Lot’s to do, lot’s to create, lot’s to dream!

Hope you have a lot make too in May!

——————–

Just so you can see my skills with vector drawing…below is about my level of skill – not perfect, but it’s a start, right?!

THIS BUTTON IS MY FIRST EVER VECTOR DRAWING!!!!!

WoollyOrbit2000.redbubble.com

Have a good weekend and go do something nice for yourself – have a cup of tea, bake a cake, sew yourself something…do something creative!! xx

My First Font! (It’s quite bad!!)

Isn’t it funny how you start with one idea or purpose in mind and then end up with something totally different! Like, you start down one path and end up going in a completely different direction.

I’ve been looking at a lot of things to do with digital downloads and design software lately, getting to grips with design tools and elements and trying to figure out vectors for drawing and designing (I have NO graphic design experience or qualifications whatsoever by the way).

And then one day, after watching so many design videos on Youtube, I found a few videos about making your own fonts and I was hooked.

There are a few options as to how to make your own font, I should add I’m only looking at free ones or maybe pay a few pounds for an app. I’m not looking to spend thousands on professional design software!

There are apps such as ifontmaker or there’s Calligraphr. Which is what I used.

You sign up for a free account (or you can buy a paid one which gives you more characters to choose from – the free version only gives you 75 characters which isn’t very much, so if you wanted to make fonts to sell, then you would have to create a few more characters than 75).

Then you download a template, import the template into an app such as Procreate, which is what I used, write your letters or characters, export as a PNG and reupload it back to Calligraphr, mess around a bit with spacing and letter height and then create your font.

Once you download your font from Calligraphr, you can add it to your design software, I uploaded mine to my Canva account and I wrote the page below in Canva.

Now, this might sound like a lot of back and forth, it certainly looks it when I come to write all this out, but believe me it’s not. The whole process was quick and easy and a lot of fun.

But I now realise how terrible my handwriting is!! :O

Proving I had NO IDEA what to write when making this!!

And the pictures are my hand drawings from Procreate too. I can’t believe how the last month has been WHOOSH of technical stuff.

I dont know where this saying comes from but I feel it’s appropriate for me right now:

‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know!’

Want to have a go at creating your own font? Head over to Calligraphr it’s really easy.

You could create a birthday card or type a letter for someone if you wanted. Maybe even make an e-book with it. Or even sell it if it was any good.

Printing My Own Design On Fabric

In the last couple of weeks my creativity regarding designing and using Photoshop has just exploded.

I have a better understanding of Photoshop and have been able to create repeating patterns. So, naturally I thought, why not get one printed onto fabric?

The first website that springs to mind for this is Spoonflower, a company from the USA but which has a manufacturing centre in Germany.

I uploaded one of my designs and yes, in hindsight I probably should have waited because I have since created other designs that I like better than this one! But this one is special because it’s the first ever one that I had moved all the pieces into place and created layers and figured out shortcuts…it’s special, you know?!

So, I received it in the post today (Tuesday) after ordering last Wednesday, which to create and ship and have it delivered in the space of a week in these pandemic and Brexit trying times I think is pretty good!

The fabric was a cotton, I can’t remember the exact name of it, but it feels quite nice and the print quality is pretty good, the lines will never be as crisp and clear as when you print onto paper because that’s how it goes with fabric, but overall the colours are pretty true to my design and it looks good. There is only one real downside…

The print is MASSIVE!!!!!!!

I hold my hand up, I think that’s my fault for missing the part about sizing (although I’m pretty sure I read it through before I ordered) anyway, I think I know where I went wrong, aside from ordering the biggest piece of fabric as a test piece. It’s all in the pixels and how many and what size canvas etc. Oh well, I know for next time and to be frank, for figuring out everything in a fortnight, it’s all still pretty good!

Here we go:

I drew these pictures on Procreate…they are MASSIVE on the fabric though!!

I still have a lot to learn about pattern placing and making good patterns that are specifically for fabric but overall, it’s not bad for a first go! 🙂

As a comparison, this is what it looks like when it’s small, as on my RedBubble shop…it looks WAY better as a tiny design! I guess size really DOES matter!!

tiny pattern!

But seriously…what the heck do I do with such a HUGE pattern?

Patchwork is mostly out because the squares would need to be huge. Maybe a cushion, of which I have a million already, or a tote bag? I haven’t made a proper tote in years…oh dear!! What should I do with it?!!!

RedBubble Shop

After playing around with digital ‘art’ making in the last week or so (which is why there has been so little crafting going on!), I decided to open a RedBubble shop and see what happens.

Now, I am no graphic designer by any stretch, but once I got started I found I couldn’t stop!

I’m still figuring out sizing of images etc. and I’ll probably play around with images and uploads of what’s already there, but it’s early days and I can only improve in time 🙂

The first collection called Monochrome just jumped out of my head…now I’m thinking a NEON one next! Maybe even an 80’s inspired something…I’m not sure, I like the idea of a green leaves collection too. It’s just an explosion of creativity here right now 🙂

Have a look and see what you think x

WoollyOrbit2000.redbubble.com