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I’ve set up a coupon code for my ETSY shop, The Smallest Forest

Buy a handmade journal, or both of Kris’s books (or anything else on there) for a total of AU$40.00, and get 15% off the price of the items by using the code
at checkout.
Watch the spelling (or Copy/Paste it from here to be sure,) and look out for the blue link “Apply shop Coupon Code when you’re on your Shopping Cart page

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Applied properly, you should see how much of a discount you’re getting BEFORE you proceed to checkout.

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Runs until November 15, 2014, or the shop runs out!

Thank you!


You are invited…

This Friday night…

dream menagerie invite

an opening with all the most fun artists and friends I know! I’m looking forward to an evening of nibbles and glasses of bubbly, all sorts of animals, a separate room for the always wonderful work of Sandra Kendell and Marita Albers (I’ve written about Marita here, and here)  great stories punctuated by lots of laughter, and a big recharge on hugs. I’m so excited, I feel quite giddy. (You can tell I don’t get out much…)

The Capricornian Emporium of Curious Curios and Marvellous Oddities


This Sunday…

ETSY Pop Up JuneJune’s ETSY Pop-Up market at the George Brown Botanical gardens…sure to be even lovelier, now that the dry, cool weather is here. The theme is Moroccan (though not limited to that) and there are many more stalls participating this time around. For the scoop on who’s going to be peddling what handmade wares, head over to the ETSY Territorians facebook page, where Fleur and Isabel do a marvelous job of posting Territory talent and Top End handmade treasures regularly.

Handcrafted, come what May.

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The first ETSY Territorians’ Pop-Up Market was a success beyond our expectations…some 400 visitors descended upon the Darwin Botanic Gardens throughout the day, and we ETSY sellers were on our feet, meeting interested people and selling our handmade creations without cease from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m., when an afternoon thunderstorm showered our first ever craft event with blessings and tropical relief from the heat! Most of us didn’t mind, we’d all done so well that we were quite ready to pack up and go home.

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Encouraged no end by this, I’ve rolled the day’s takings into making more journals, getting more art prints done, and improving my stall’s wares for the two ETSY Territorian Pop-Up markets happening in May:

May 3rd, Saturday & May 4th, Sunday…


May 18th, Sunday…

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At our “regular” venue: the beautiful George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens…pavilions and pompoms and dainty stalls under the leafy outspread branches of great-grandfather trees, across from the fountains of the water lily pond, and within desiring distance of the Botanic Café and their organic coffees and luscious cakes…

You’re invited!

A Pop-Up Upmarket : : ETSY Territorians

ETSY Territorians Pop-Up Upmarket 2014

I’m pretty excited about this new pop-up craft market that’s coming to the Territory…the ETSY Territorians Pop-Up Upmarket.

Happening only during the 6 months of the Top End’s cool and gorgeous Dry Season, this once-a-month boutique-style array of handmade loveliness is different from most of the markets to be found in Darwin, in that it features only Top End craftspeople and artist/makers who also have shops on ETSY, and whose work is of the highest quality. ETSY sellers bring experience with global markets, internet savvy, marketing and styling panache to the local market scene…no mass-produced touristy tat, or poorly-made tchotchkes flown in from someone’s holiday in Bali, here! This is the market where you’ll find something handcrafted, unique and precious—for yourself, for your home, or to give as an outstanding present to someone very special.

The first Pop-Up Upmarket is happening on Sunday the 13th of April! If you live in Darwin (or even further out but don’t mind the long drive into the city on a Sunday), please come to the very first ETSY Territorians event—set under the massive old trees of the George Brown Darwin Botanical Gardens from 9a.m. – 4 p.m.—and help us start this new market with a flurry of discovery and delight! The market is officially supported by ETSY Australia, and by the Northern Territory government.

We aim to grow this market into a popular Top End tradition and you could, years hence, be telling everyone that you were there from the beginning! 🙂

For more information and to help spread the word about the very first pop-up upmarket, please visit the official ETSY Territorians facebook page, or share  event invitations to April’s market with friends and family who live in the Top End.

To find out who our local ETSY craftspeople are and see what they make, check out the ETSY Territorian team.

Fabric Bunting Beads

at a Darwin craft market

Shop update : : down to just one…

The Video Shop

(This is boring—and I have procrastinated as long as I could!—but it’s got to be done)

This is just to let you all know that I have closed my Madeit shop. I mean for good…asked the admin to delete my account a couple of weeks ago.

I am so sorry to lose my Madeit shop…I loved the fact that it was an Australian-based site, and that sensible, considerate Australians preferred it because they were buying locally handmade things instead of stuff from ETSY shops overseas. But I have had a nightmare of a time logging into my account this past month…most days I wait for an hour for my account page to load. Some days the page just never loads.

I have no idea what’s wrong…it seems no one else has complained of a similar problem connecting to Madeit, and I am certainly not blaming them for my troubles (if anything, I like to blame evil overlord Telstra’s wireless broadband dongle for everything that’s wrong in the world, including poverty and the miserable quality of clothespins these days…) But it has been very frustrating trying to get into my shop just to perform basic actions like pay my monthly fees or add a product…can you imagine how infuriating it would be if I sold something and couldn’t view the order, or reply to the buyer? I had to close the shop down before something like that happened.

Which means that I only have one outlet for my handmade things now, and that’s my ETSY shop. I hope my patriotic Australian buyers will still consider visiting my shop, even if it’s hosted by a non-Australian website.

But wait! Before you go to check out my ETSY shop, now, I have to tell you that my ETSY shop is also closed—for just two weeks—because I am going to Malaysia tomorrow.

That's all Folks!

– – -✂ – – – a day on the sewing machine – – -✂ – – –

a day with the machine

I started out by hand-stitching my next batch of patchwork journals, but just had to give it up: funds are very low these days, and my day job place will be closed till March for major renovations. That means no income, however small, for months. *sigh* I have a tendency to overdo the handwork on things, and it can take as many as three days to put one of these journals together. At that rate, I can’t make these fast enough (and there’s no way I could charge three days’ worth of work for one book!)

I finished the rest of the patchwork pieces using a decorative stitch on my vintage sewing machine, hoping that they are still pretty enough. It still takes a long time, but a fraction of what it would if I hand-embroidered every book.

Been wracking my brains for some sort of acceptable compromise between quality handmade things, and a product that makes financial sense. Yes, I love what I do, and I love it when others love my items, too…but at the rate I’ve been going, I’ll never manage to “give up my day job,” the way so many of those amazing ETSY sellers featured on their blog have. I’ve tried before, and ended up living on boiled rice with soy sauce.

On the same note, I wonder if online craft makers like ETSY sellers are pricing their work realistically. Sometimes I suspect they are only charging for material, and not for the time it takes to make the things. I’ve come across journals similar to mine that are within the price range of machined, mass-produced, made in China journals and notebooks. Some are cheaper than Moleskines! It makes it hard for a maker like me to keep up my quality work. It puts me under pressure to find cheaper, quicker, ultimately less special alternatives. Why anyone would underprice their work when they make special, laborious, one-of-a-kind items is beyond me. Is it just to get shop ratings up? Is it to become popular, at any price? Shouldn’t we help raise the standards and public awareness of how time-consuming a handmade item is by setting a realistic price that takes some of our time into account? We all stand to gain from increased value, I think.

Do you have an online shop for your handmade items? Do you charge for your time? Is it working out? Have you been able to “quit your day job”? I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this.

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* photo effects were created on Rollip *