Monday, 29 August 2011

Imitation is not the greatest form of flattery

For a long time now I've been selling my deer, moose and bear stuffed pillows on Etsy.

Over the last few weeks I've been designing a range of pillow covers to complement these pillows and this is what I've come up with. 

I wanted them to have the vintage look of old t-shirts, lodge signs etc. 

I know that putting your work out there on the internet is opening yourself up to the likelihood of having your work copied.  As long as this is for private use I have no problem with it.  We are all inspired by others and by things we come across online.  One thing I love about blogging is the fact that so many of you give detailed tutorials on how you made something thereby giving others your permission to have a go themselves.  I have been inspired to 'copy' something myself many times.

The problem comes when something you spend many hours designing and perfecting is copied exactly by someone else who then offers it for sale on the same site you sell on.  A few months ago I came across a new Etsy seller who had made exact copies of a couple of my pillows.  I contacted her and politely pointed out that Etsy etiquette is that designs are not copied and asked her to remove her items or redesign them.  She did not respond to my message however did remove the items and has not relisted them, which is clearly an admission of guilt.  Sadly today I have noticed that she is selling these two pillows and another of my designs on two UK based websites plus designs which she has copied from another Etsy seller (which she has not listed on her Etsy site as she clearly realises that she shouldn't be doing this!).  My items are sold in shops throughout the UK and it's so annoying to be copied so blatantly.  I've now had to e-mail her again to ask her to remove them from this site or I'll take the matter further.  I hate being horrible to people and am really conscious that I must seem like a bitch but what else can I do?  I feel like I'm the bad guy here but basically I don't want my work copied exactly by someone else and the upshot is that I don't think it's fair for people to do this.

Whenever I think of something new that I want to print onto a pillow the first thing I do is carry out a search on Etsy to make sure no-one else has come up with it first.  There are a number of Etsy sellers who sell burlap pillows and we all have very distinctive and different items and styles.  So much so that I could now tell at a glance if a pillow has been made by My Adobe Cottage, Ramona Owen or Jolie Marche, all of whose designs I love.  We all use the same products for our pillows but we all have very different styles and very different items for sale.  It's really horrible seeing your own designs for sale in someone else's shop. 

Anyone else had any experience of this and have any advice to give?

It would be much appreciated.



Wednesday, 24 August 2011

May I be the first to wish you ...

..... a very

Things are hectic for me a little at the moment - ill children, wholesale orders, husband away with work...

My house is completely neglected and I feel completely uninspired and not really in the mood to get on with things around the house.  This will pass - I always lack motivation when I feel overwhelmed!

I was finishing up a large order for a shop in England a couple of days ago and while I was 'in the zone' came up with a few new pillows such as this one.  I made it with black lettering too. 

Hope you are all having better weather than we are right now - I got caught in a downpour today that was one of the worst I have ever seen.  I was soaked literally to my underwear, just running to my car.  Just another typical August in Wales :)


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Lily's home grown onions

I can't seem to get any projects or decorating finished at the moment.

I've been working and carting the children back and forth to my sister and then am shattered in the evenings.  I've been off since Thursday so took my kids and my sister's kids on the train to Cardiff for the three youngest to make a bear at 'build a bear' - Seth is now sadly too old for this :(

We had a great day, however, from about 8pm onwards Lily and Kitty (my two year old niece) started throwing up and this carried on all night.  On Friday I was too tired to speak and although I stripped the beds and soaked the yucky clothes I haven't got round to any other cleaning and my house is a tip! 

I'm of all next week so hopefully I can get on with more.

Before we went away Lily had planted a few vegetables and strawberries in the garden. We had loads of strawberries but Woody, our golden retriever, ate them as quick as they would grow! Is this normal! Does anyone else's dog eat their strawberries. 

Today Lily came to find me and was really excited to show me that she had picked and washed some onions she had been growing (we thought they had died).  She was so excited and is already planning a bigger vegetable patch for next year.  This kid is such an outdoors kids it's wonderful!

Here is my 'green fingered' baby girl with her proud 'crop'!

I just had to give them pride of place in my favourite salad bowl.

I'm not sure what we're having for lunch tomorrow but I know there are onions in it!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

French yogurt pot votives

In French supermarkets they sell yogurt and fromage frais in little glass jars. 
For some reason we only have plastic in the UK.

I love the various shapes you can get so always try and bring a few back to use as tea light holders.

They have tons of uses and one of the best is to use them for wine glasses for picnics at the beach!
Throw in a couple with tea lights in too and what a lovely way to spend a summer evening.

This time I brought three different styles back and the other night had some clay left from a wholesale order so made little discs which I flattened and then printed a single letter in each.  I did the words FAMILLE and NOEL.

I used some linen twine I also bought in France (I can't get this string anywhere else so this time brought back about 15 rolls to make sure I don't run out) and looped the twine through the disc, wrapped it round the jar three times and tied it at the back.

With the NOEL letters I tend to use a lot of mercury glass at Christmas so decided to paint the discs silver but it was a little flat so I rubbed a little metallic black craft paint over the silver and just rubbed it in with my fingers so it simply 'stained' the silver.

They would look even better with a little sand or some foliage in the bottom.

Cute and cheap - just like me ;)


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Some of the items I found at flea markets in France

I was a little disappointed with the flea markets I went to while we were in France but did manage to find some lovely things although they took a good bit of digging to find.

Lots of the same vendors were at each flea market and many of the things were too big to bring home.  Also I think they've cottoned on to us Brits going over and buying their stuff to sell on as some of the prices were really high.

Anyway, here are some of my lovely finds.

An alarm clock by French clockmaker's Jaz - I was really pleased with this find as it's such a great piece and the paint on the outside is all worn and chippy - just the way I like!

A vintage glass baby bottle which makes a lovely vase

Plenty of old linen

And some cute souvenir photo packs and old used postcards.

I am slowly ploughing through all the linen which is taking ages to do as I'm washing them one piece at a time on a hot wash to give it a thorough cleaning.  It's been a typical Welsh August here so we haven't had the weather to dry them outside so they've been hanging over my bannisters to dry!  My hall smells lovely though!

I've noticed little holes in a couple of sheets so they will be cut up to make other things out of.  The fabric on these old sheets is just gorgeous and modern fabrics just really can't compare to the quality of these old linens.  I'm delighted I found so many although there were some stalls at the flea markets that had sheets just piled up but the prices tended to be quite high too.  I was lucky with a lot of the ones I found and didn't end up paying 'silly money' for them.

I haven't had a chance to go through everything as I went back to work on Monday and haven't even caught up with washing all our clothes or giving the house a good clean yet so I'm adding my finds bit by bit to my etsy shop.

I came back relaxed and now find I'm running around all the time!
I wish I could learn how to slow down - anyone got any tips?

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend.
We've had a lovely thunderstorm here (I do love the sun but I love thunderstorms more!)