Sunday, 28 February 2010

English Patient

I was just watching English Patient and got really in love with the beginning scene. It is absolutely fascinating how the human form is drawn by just a few simple strokes of the brush.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Holidays on Gran Canaria

Thursday night we came back from great holidays in Gran Canaria, Spain. This is also the reason why you haven't heard from me for the bast two weeks. I am now relaxed and full of sun energy. Of course the head-on crash with grey and cold reality of Denmark was a bit rough but nothing can bring me down when my towel still smells of beach and sun (and have tones of sand in it).

I spent most of yesterday and today washing up clothes, sorting through photos and uploading them on flickr. And now I am having an easy and relaxing Saturday evening. But before I forget, I would like to share with you a few impressions from the island.

Gran Canaria is home to delicious food (if you every happen to be in Maspalomas check out Vista Bonita restaurant on Calle Einstein. Yummy food and fantastic service):

1.Papas Arrugadas, 2. Sangria, 3. Pimientos de Padron, 4. Gambas al Ajillo

Gran Canaria has breathtaking and divers landscape:

1.Puerto de Mogan, 2. Gran Canaria Mountains, 3. Beach in Maspalomas, 4. Colors of the Blue Mountain

People of Gran Canaria enjoy ornamenting their homes and cities in a variety of ways - sometimes quite weird (but mostly beautiful):

1.Ceramic House Number, 2. Handmade Menu, 3. Ceramic Art in Mogan, 4. Street Art in Maspalomas 5

And last but not least, the flora of the island is fascinating:

1.Plants of Gran Canaria, 2. Puerto de Mogan, 3. Colors, 4. Plants of Gran Canaria

I hope I have a chance to go back there some day. I have not seen half of the things, the island has to offer.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

It Pays to Give for Free

Day 6/365 : When I was happy to hold all this money, originally uploaded by ~jjjohn~.
Sister Diane from CraftyPod and Paul Overton from DudeCraft (which is by the way one of my favourite blogs) have recently shared their ideas about Free - the concept of sharing your work for free to profit the community and ultimately yourself. You can listen to their podcast and read blog posts here and here to better understand the concept and what they think about it. I advise you to also read the comments because the discussion is really interesting.

After reading the posts mentioned above, I thought I will also share with you my thoughts about Free:

First of all, I love to share and I do it whenever I can. I volunteer for this opensource, democratic and contributive organization. I make jam, I don't really like and give it away to friends and family. I work with people on a number of art projects and I open my house to complete strangers (again, read about BeWelcome). All of this might make it easier for me to see the value in give-and-give situations. But I can also see how the concept gets more tricky if you try to make money of your handicraft. Persuading sceptics is never easy and much less so, when you are asking them to release their property and/or copy rights.

So, bugger the charity, good will and karma of it all. What is the real value of Free? What does one get out of giving out ones work if money are not involved? And the answer is: the network!

Consider this: the greatest marketing tool that exists is the all powerful word of mouth. When people speak about your positively your customer pool grows and you also get a third part endorsement - much more trustworthy for customers then your own advertisement. So, you want people to find you and you want them to talk about you to their friends and audiences.
Now, imagine you have created a beautiful scarf and sell it in your shop. You post about it in your blog and on twitter, and you add a photo to your flickr photostream. This means that there are 4 places where potential customers can find your scarf. Now imagine, that apart from the scarf you also release the pattern, for FREE, on your blog and Anna from blog X and Johnny from blog Y make your scarf from themselves. They love your pattern and they post about it in their blogs, linking to you. Now you have two bloggers who support your work and already 6 places where customers can find you.
Imagine farther on, that you are feeling particularly generous that day and decide to release your photo of the scarf under CreativeCommons attributive licence and I use it in my blog (like I did with the photo above). Now my readers who like your scarf can find you and who knows, maybe your photo is so great, that you will be asked to participate in writing a book, or an ebook about scarves!
Your network has grown by 3 blog audiences and millions of CreativeCommons browsers.

In this little scenario, what you lost was...nothing. What you gained was 3 more links on the internet and an enormous pool of potential customers who would not find you otherwise. And the community gained new free pattern and a photo that can be used by others to learn and adorn their work. I guess the math is simple on that.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Book Review: Doodle-Stitching by Aimee Ray

Full Title: Doodle-Stitching. Fresh and Fun Embroidery for Beginners
Author: Aimee Ray
ISBN: 978-1-60059-061-0
Pages: 128
Language: English
Flickr Search: doodle-stitching aimee ray
Buy it:

Content: Embroider Your World - Embroidery Essentials - Materials and Tools: getting started - stitch library - sewing essentials - Projects - Patterns - Acknowledgements - About the Author - Notes About Suppliers - Index

In the book
This book, as many other craft publication, is divided into two main parts: the general introduction to doodle-stitching and project directory.
In the first part, Aimee Ray provides a rather short but still competent and easily understandable description of the art of stitching.
Just in case you are a total beginner (just like me), she starts with basic information about materials, tools and tips and tricks you need to start with this craft. The main part of this section, however, consists of the Stitch Library, where embroidery stitches are taught.
Second part of the book contains 29 embroidery projects. From difficult quilts and sawing projects to simple pins and ornaments, everyone will find something for themselves no matter their proficiency level. Aimee starts each project with enummerating what materials and stiches are needed, to complete the work and moves on to point-by-point instructions. Each project is also accompanied by beautiful, colorful images and helpful diagrams.

Strong points:
- 29 projects
- clear descriptions
- many, many beautiful pictures
- great graphic design

Weak points:
- Stitch Library could contain more interesting stiches

Can you live without this book? Yes, you can. Can you doodle-stitch without this book? Absolutely! Do you want to?
No, no,, no. Aimee Ray's book is one of the very special publications that speak to your creative side. The beautiful images and fantastic designs in the book are sure to inspire you to try doodle-stitching on your own. Absolutely recommended.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Playing with Fire

Just a quick post, dear readers, to let you know that I hunted me a treasury this morning. It is called Playing with Fire and explores how fire can be perceived in the crafts world (as allegory, tool or inspiration). So have a quick look and let me know what you think of it.

Monday, 1 February 2010

BeWelcome and Busy Me

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was pretty good, but also really busy. It all started on Friday with special orders for my earrings from the new collection. Now, you will hear no complaint from me there! Nevertheless arranging the orders, packing and sending them out took some time.

Then, exactly as I suspected, I got impatient and posted the new collection into my etsy shop instead of waiting until the end of February! It's very exciting to see it finally out and about. The earrings are the first on the line and necklaces will follow soon so keep checking in.

I also worked on a new design for candle shades. And I am really happy with the outcome. The shades make beautiful light patterns and create something special out of the simple tea lights. The first pair is already for sale in the shop and they look like a great gift for St. Valentines day. I will continue with this project and I'm planning to write up tutorials for this design.

And also, all through the weekend, next to my craft projects I've been working for Those of you who follow me on Twitter could have noticed some tweets about this great community. The basic idea of the organization is to provide a completly democratic, free and volunteer driven platform for travellers. Members can exchange ideas, tips and helpfull materials but the best part is that they also open their homes to others and meet in real life. You can read more about the project here.
As you can already see I'm completely in love with the idea and so I spent a lot of the weekend with other enthusiasts from around the world writing up and translating the community newsletter. I just love working with passionate people. Check out the website and join in the network of open doors around the globe - it only takes few minutes to fill in the form. And once you are a member, don't forget to give me a shout. You can find me under the username: demorganna.