Monday, June 30, 2014

DIY Fire Pit...

https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/102235702/up-north-custom-outdoor-fire-pit-handA while ago, I saw this gorgeous fire pit on a fabulous Etsy shop, it has to be the most spectacular piece of work I have seen in a long time, of course it comes with a pretty hefty price ticket, understandable really when you consider the amount of work and sheer talent that goes into creating such an unusual piece of functional art. Especially when you realise that the whole piece is handmade. Amazing talent.

Of course that price ticket is out of my range these days with a family but I would love to get something along these lines for my husband.

He is a bit of a fire bug and loves to burn things and play with fires like this, there is nothing he loves more than visiting a friend of ours who lives on a property in winter when he can setup a bonfire in their fire pit out the back end of their lot.

Unfortunately, living in a rental home we cannot make a permanent fire pit in our yard so I thought buying him a portable fire pit along these lines would be just perfect, allowing him to satisfy that need for a big flame without any risk.

I have been looking, and whilst there are a lot of options out there, many of them are extremely heavy or just not suitable for the space we have.

So I started looking for DIY options, something that was flexible enough for me to alter the concept to suit our needs and then I found this great DIY tutorial and am ecstatic, it was exactly what I wanted.

I can make it myself for a very low reasonable price, and even better, I could customise it by adding a size that suits me and even spicing it up a little by adding some colours and even possibly some speckled mix into the concrete to give a little interest or even, if I can find the right containers for molds, making a square design.

So wish me luck, over the next month or so I am looking for all the materials, especially the molds as I am hoping to find something a little unusual in shape, although it might be wishful thinking to find to two matching bowls that are unusually shaped and graduated in sizing, but I have the time to look around as hubby's birthday is not until later in the year.

Do you have a DIY fire pit project that you would like to share, something even easier than the above, I would love to see any fire pits you are making or have made recently to help inspire me as I get started on creating something special for my husband. Leave your link in comments if you have something you want to share.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Weekend Warriors...

This weekend I will be washing the dog.

Are you a weekend warrior, the kind of person who works hard on a Sunday, mowing the laws, doing the washing, working around the house, yard or helping others...This little inspiration board is a tribute to those who work hard on a Sunday in preparation for the week ahead. After all, not all Sunday's can be lazy days, sometimes the work just has to be done.
 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Travelling Child...

My daughter is off this weekend to visit her grandparents for a week of the school holidays. She travels as an unaccompanied minor on her visits alone to the grandparents and even though its only a short 1 hour flight I cannot help but worrying the from the moment she leaves my care until the moment I receive that phone call from the grandparents confirming they have her.  I am not sure that I will ever get over that need to worry about her even once she reaches her adult years and has her own life and family.

Of course she loves it, gives her a feeling of Independence and almost being a little grown up.  


Friday, June 27, 2014

Little Friday Link Up and The Grits Blog...

Today I am really excited to be Co-Host on Little Friday Link Up with Ash from The Grits Blog.

The Grits Blog
To start off, before I get to the link up, I thought I would share my favourite picks from last weeks Little Friday. There were so many to choose from but I can't go past food, Art and DIY projects.

No 1 - Food, has to be these delicious looking Oreo Balls.


No 2 - Art, As a jeweller, the ability to draw is something I have been working on for some time and love seeing watercolours from other artists also perfecting their skills. I am always amazed at those that work in portraits as I think sketching and painting people has to be one of the hardest skills to learn and loved seeing the original and watercolour of this Game of Thrones inspired image.


No 3 - DIY, my final favourite for the last week was definitely this DIY Pallet Bar, this is most definitely been added to my DIY Wish list for when we have a home of our own as our current home would not have the space for an outside bar, but my husband would love this too.


Now to the link up on the lovely Ash's Blog at The Grits Blog.

Ash (Follow Here!) // Ashley (Follow Here!) //  Rachel (Follow Here) // Rachel M. (Follow Here)

Rules are there are no rules! 

Please link-up to whatever you like! 

All that we ask is, if you wish, please follow us via the links above and that you link back to this blog - so that other's can join in and mingle! 

Happy Little Friday Everyone!




The Grits Blog



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Design and Inspiration Boards...

As a designer, a place to keep all your sketches, designs, creative ideas and inspiration is an absolute necessity. Whether you have one board for all your ideas or separate boards for every design, space or theme.

There are a variety of great ways to keep your own version of an inspiration board from traditional to modern, including:

1. Digital inspiration boards are my favourite as I do so much on the computer already, so whenever I find designs, brands, colours or anything that catches my eye and inspires me I create a little digital boards like these. My boards can include very specific ideas and designs for upcoming jewellery collections or generic themes like where I want to go in the future, designers and brands I admire for their success or their style, the type of jewellery I would like to create in the future, skills I want to perfect (like drawing) and so much more.

Some of my preferred programs and sites to use for creating your own digital design boards are:

a. PInterest is my favourite and it is in itself one big inspiration board so is the perfect place to start, just make a board and start pinning.

b. Polyvore I started making inspiration boards on Polyvore for clothing sets and fashion ideas but very quickly discovered there is so much more that can be done.

c. Picmonkey or any other photo editing software that has the capacity to create montages or pages.

Digital boards are the perfect way to collate ideas for new collections,
things you want to achieve, designers you admire and so much more.

Over the next 12 months I am trying to revamp my jewellery collections so that I have a more cohesive look to my work and have been creating a range of design boards for each collection of items that can be grouped and these boards will be the starting point for my expansion and redesign of all current jewellery to create collections that flow.

You can see just how flexible and fun creating digital design boards can be, but creating traditional Inspiration boards can be great too.

2. Wall Board, this can be in many forms including some very unusual and visually appealing ideas:

a. Traditional pin board or elastic strung board
 
b. I saw this ingenious idea of using clipboards arrayed on the wall to allow for a variety of themed inspiration boards, perfect for designers that create collections, sets or any multi-design fields. In fact I am thinking about making something like this as the starting point for my new collections, printing out my digital boards, attaching them to a clipboard and start adding, changing and playing with the ideas.  
c. Using a string line and Peg to clips your images and design sketches like a banner across your wall, very cute.
 
3. Books, keeping designs and inspiration in a sketch pad or folder is another great option for a designer allowing your to add colour swatches, images and more to your own handmade sketches and notes. This is the original form that most people kept their mood or design boards in before we went large made our design inspiration part of our d├ęcor. This concept is probably the most widely used, even today, I know I sketch all my design ideas in sketch pads and expand on those in my books. 

Do you create mood / inspiration or design boards. Having any ideas you can share, DIY projects you love to create something special. Share it in comments so we can all see what inspires you or visit my PInterest Inspiration Board for ideas on creating your own visual display.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Purple Haze on Etsy...

In the spirit of my weekend post about Supporting Handmade I thought I would share a little Handmade Inspiration from Etsy today.





Monday, June 23, 2014

Creative jobs in the community - Photographer...


Earlier in the month I shared the first post in my new series, Creative Jobs in the Community: Fashion Design or The Dressmaker

Today is the second job in the Series:   The Photographer
 
Photography is a hobby many people enjoy, and often amateur photographers dream of quitting their day job, and taking up photography as a full time career. As with anything, doing this requires time, effort and hard work, as well as an often quite substantial financial outlay to start the business.

But where there's a will, there's a way, and here are a few tips to help you on your way to making photography your full time job:

Firstly I would recommend never working for free, even if you're an amateur, and don't think you're fantastic at it!! If you're providing a service for someone, you deserve to have at least your expenses covered, as well as something for your time. Many, many amateur photographers fail to make their business work, as they get a reputation for charging nothing, or charging very little, and find it extremely difficult to break out of this low priced market. And photography has high overheads, so you just can't sustain this for very long.  Work out what your costs are, including equipment, insurance, admin, editing time, and use this as a guide for what to charge.

Secondly, invest in some quality education. If you can't take time off from your family or work, try doing some night classes, and keep an eye on the experienced local photographers who may offer classes in their speciality from time to time. Joining the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) is also a great idea, as they regularly offer classes to members, and you don't have to be a professional to join as they offer amateur memberships as well. If you do have time to study, it is well worth your time checking out the local technical colleges and Universities. Most Universities offer Photography courses, so if you really want to take it seriously; this is a great place to start.

As well as honing your photographic skills, don't forget that photography is a business, so perhaps some business training is something else you can invest your time in. As with any activity, having a solid knowledge of basic economics or business skills will really benefit you in the long run, ensuring you don't undercharge customers, or run into trouble at tax time. Learning how to manage your time is also essential, as photography often requires long hours of editing. Work out how to balance the amount of time spent in editing with the price you're receiving for the job.

Photography is also a highly competitive field, so once you've spent some time on the practical aspects of running a business, and training yourself up to a professional level, you need to look at where you can make money. Developing your own unique style and a signature look or theme can really set you apart; perhaps you take amazing pet portraits, funky and colourful kid's photography, or artistic nature images or creative weddings. Work out what you do best, find your own particular niche, and then continue to develop and refine it into something really outstanding.

Photography is a fantastic hobby that offers many ways to progress into a full time job and way of life.
Increasing your skills through further education and training definitely pays off, and taking the time to find your own unique style and a niche market that suits your talents and abilities is essential. Photography is an immensely rewarding job, with the opportunity to meet many exciting people and travel to beautiful places. Put the time into building your business on a good foundation, and you'll be able to make your dream of your own photographic career a reality!

Visit my introductory post to find out the motivation behind this new series and a list of the jobs I am looking to focus on over the coming months.

Next up will be Jewellery Designer. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

High Tea on Sunday...

Spend a luxurious afternoon indulging in the revival an old fashioned tradition with a Sunday High Tea. Have a little fun with tiny sandwiches, bring out the good china, make beautiful pastries and cakes and really indulge yourself...




Saturday, June 21, 2014

10 Tempting Side Dishes to Dress up any Meal...

As my husband and daughter can be quite plain in their food favourites, there are some nights the only way I can turn a simple dish into something a little more delicious is through the side dishes.

One of my personal favourites is a very quick and simple Brussel Sprout dish. Yes, I know, so many people hate the dreaded Brussel Sprout, but done with something a little different they can be just delicious. This idea is so easy and quick to do it is one I do alot. 

I cut my sprouts in half and quickly cook for a minute in boiling water. Yes, I cheat and use the microwave, it’s quicker. I want the sprouts to start cooking but still be nice and firm.

Then I stir-fry the sprouts in butter with garlic, chilli and bacon. Simple, delicious and even better, fast.


Here are a few other simple but delicious side dishes I have tried to give me a bit more freedom to dress up my husband and daughters favourite simple meals.

Potatoes are a staple in our house and my husband and daughter complain loudly if I skip this particular vegetable off our menu and I get a little sick of mashed potato all the time. Hasselback Potatoes and Spicy Potato wedges are a great way to add a little interest but still quick and easy to do even on the busiest night.

Corn, Carrots and Sweet Potato are the only other non green veggies I can usually convince my family to try and these recipes have the thumbs up from them every time from the Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob which is my daughter's favourite, the Spicy braised carrots that are a regular in our house, some days I keep it even simpler and just add a splash of butter and honey in the carrots and then my husband's favourite is the Sweet Potato + Jalapeno Mash which I love too.

Next are the greens, my favourite is the sprouts above, but zucchini is a close second for me and this recipe for Parmesan Lime Zucchini is very tasty and my daughter loves anything with bacon so the Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus goes down a treat (although I do have to tell her that the prosciutto is bacon to keep her from turning her nose up at it, go figure, kids huh!) 

Then there are a few little extras that I love, including Baked Sweet Onions, which is the perfect side to have with a a roast or slow cooked pork belly, which is a big winner in our house. 

I had to include at least one summer side dish, my focus at the moment tends to be on hot meals due to the cooler weather settling in, but during summer Creamy Pasta Salad is a big favourite in our household. 

Have any great vegetable side dishes that are a favourite in your home, share your recipe in comments so we can all try something new this season.
 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bathing Beauty...

This weekend I am going to have a little fun making some homemade bath and beauty products that would make some great little treat for myself or a lovely personal homemade and affordable gift. I have a heap of cute little mini mason jars and other little jars leftover from my Chilli Oil project that I want to use and thought some bath salts, scrubs or homemade beauty treatments would be the perfect way to use them.

So I visited the archives of my old blog and am sharing some of the items I found ages ago and sharing the projects that will be the inspiration behind my homemade weekend with some DIY projects for baths salts and more. Many of these great little projects can be made with everyday items found in most household cupboards or supermarkets.

Firstly there is a great little project for DIY bath salts on one of my favourite blogs The Idea Room which can be scented in with your favourite essential oils. I personally love peppermint, it always smells so fresh, although lavender is better for a relaxing and soothing night time bath.

Actually, The Idea Room has a variety of great bath product DIY projects so whilst you are there have a look around at what else they have.

Then I found a great customisable recipe for a face scrub using items available in the supermarket.

I really like the idea of the brighten and tone with Almond oil and strawberries, this is on my list of to do's over the weekend as I think this would be a nice pick me up for my face.


Then finally I found this great little DIY scalp treatment which is fabulous as I get build up after using the same shampoo for a few weeks. I usually keep two types of shampoo's that I can swap over whenever I feel that there is a buildup, which helps, but is not great. I am hoping to try this little DIY treatment to see if it solves my build up problems.


Do you have any homemade bath or body products that you make from everyday ingredients, share in comments so we can all try something new?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Safety in the Home with a Baby or Toddler...

Having a 12 year old daughter it’s so easy to forget how hard it is when you have a new baby in the house, especially for first time parents. My brother and his partner just recently had a beautiful little boy, just a few months old right now and they are currently going through the huge task of baby proofing their home.

Being new and first time parents they are very protective and highly conscious of all the things around the home that can be a hazard to little hands. It’s bad enough when you are out and about at the home of others or in public places as you cannot control how well these spaces are protected and baby proofed so you have to be super aware of the baby at all times.

But when you are in your own home environment, being able to relax and just let your baby free is absolutely necessary to your sanity. Having to watch them every moment at home would be not just impossible, but exhausting. Your home should be your haven.

I thought I would share a few tips that I learnt when my daughter was young to keep your home safe with a baby, these are no in order of priority, after all, everyone’s focus, homes and needs are different:

First: Lock all external doors. This is really important if you live in a large city or right on a busy road, and especially if you have a backyard pool. Not only does it keep intruders out, it keeps babies and toddlers in and safe.

Second: Cupboard Child Locks. Yes I know, those childproof locks are frustrating and I lost count of the number of times I struggled to get drawers and doors open when our daughter was little. But let’s face it, a few seconds struggle with a child proof lock on your kitchen drawers is far preferable to coming into the kitchen and seeing your 18 month old playing with sharp knives because he managed to get into the drawers, or watching a toddler guzzle down cleaning products they found under the sink that looked like cordial.

Third: Animals. Now I know this is personal preference and every case is different and animals are a part of your family, but I have to say I think it is best to keep animals away from newborns and infants and let them slowly learn to adjust to the new member of
your home. Cats especially can be a problem as they can climb into anything, including a cot. Depending on their reaction to your new baby the results can be disastrous, whether they deliberately harm the baby or even accidentally smother it without it meaning to because it just wanted to cuddle up to the baby.

Of course, once they are old enough, there is nothing cuter than watching your children interact with their pets and pets are, in my opinion, an essential part of a child's life.

Fourth: This is the most obvious and probably does not need to be said in most cases, everyone is warned about the dangers of making sure you put babies to sleep at night on their back. The risk of SIDS or Cot death if very real and terrifying to a new parent. There is a great article over at the Baby Center that explains SIDS in more detail.

When our daughter was born we would put her to sleep in a baby sleep positioning product, it was really just a slip of material with two rolls on either side, stopping the baby from rolling over during sleep but it was the best thing and there are heaps of similar products out there to help reduce the risk of SIDS. Of course, this is at its most dangerous for the first 6 months, after that the risks lower.

Fifth: As you baby begins to grow, crawl and even walk make sure that danger areas, like stairs and
doorways that can ‘drop’ to the leading rooms, its best to install gates that are childproof to protect them from falling down the stairs. These can also be a good way of blocking off areas that you don’t want a baby to have access to. I always had a baby gate in the door to my jewellery studio when our daughter was little so I did not have to worry about her being at risk when I wasn’t watching. They are also a great way to keep dogs away from the baby until you are sure they are safe to be around each-other.

Sixth: Once children being to walk, especially in the first 6 months when they are very unsteady on their feet and really hold onto any and all nearby surfaces, make sure you keep items off the edge of tables and benches. Imagine how you would feel if you newly mobile toddler grabbed at the nearest table to steady himself and ended up wearing your burning hot morning coffee.

Last but Not Least: Never leave small items lying around your house where baby or toddler is playing. The one things you can count on is that if you leave something small enough to choke a child left within reach they will almost certainly pop it in their mouth at some stage.

Of course, these are not the only safety tips a new parent should be aware of, just a few of those I remember from my days with a newborn and toddler in the house. And I am by no means an authority on this subject either, just a mother who has been there, done that, got the scars and gray hairs to prove it.

The list could be endless really, but hopefully the above helped as a reminder and a starting point for new parents.
***Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net /
1. Danilo Rizzuti 3.  Ashley Cox

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Sea Green Romance Treasury on Etsy...

Found my jewellery in this lovely gently romatic Etsy treasury this week. 

A Sea Green Romance Treasury by pinkneonvintag 

 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meal Planning...

This year I am trying to get more organised around the house and my task this month is to make myself a plan for meals and shopping.

It's a simple truth that having a list and planning your shopping and meals saves money. Over the last few months I have been rather fluid with my budget and often end up using money that is not budgeted for food, due to lack of planning on my part.

So whilst I figure out what works for my family I thought I would share some of the resources and sites I will be using to help in my meal planning process:

No. 1 is from the Organized Housewife, one of my go to places for organisation, storage and de-cluttering ideas. In addition to a 'how to' meal plan she has a great range of meal ideas to add to your plan.

No. 2  is the Good Food site, whilst it is not a how to make a meal plan it includes a fabulous range of meal plan ideas grouped by season giving you a really great place to start looking for recipes.

No 3 is PInterest, when I decided that I really need to start getting organised I created a PInterest board for 'Meal Planning' and whenever I find a recipe that I think our family would love, suits our lifestyle, looks delicious and achievable, I pin it. When I need inspiration I head on over to my meal plan board. Make your own meal board and browse the wonderful array of meals and recipes on PInterest for Inspiration.


No 4 Kid Spot, if you have children this is a great place to find kid friendly meal ideas and plans. Let's face, some kids are fussy and if they are anything like my daughter, have a very limited range so no matter how much you love the look of a recipe, if the kids won't eat it, it's no good. You either end up cooking 2 meals or food that is not particularly exciting for yourself. I do envy those parents who have children that eat a variety of food and will try anything.

No. 5 was at The Kitchn which I really like their 15 Tips for Better Weekly Meal Planning as it goes beyond just the how to and meal ideas, but talks about tips for making it work for everyone. Of course, they also have recipes and so much more. 

Next week I will share my finished plan design and hopefully inspire others to get organise around the home.

***Main Image courtesy of  Praisaeng / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Family Fun Sunday...

Have a little fun with your family this weekend and make it a Sunday Funday, forget the chores, forget everything and just play. Need a little inspiration for what to do with the kids, here are some great ideas for family fun on PInterest...


Saturday, June 14, 2014

The importance of supporting Handmade products in your community...

Why is it so crucial we support those Craft locals.

Cottage industries have always been around, but recently there has been a dramatic increase in the number of micro-businesses working to produce handcrafted products, with everything from soap to sandals being crafted and sold locally.

But why should you buy local? Is there any reason why it's better to buy your child a t-shirt from a local crafts-person, instead of just stopping in to Target?

I'll start with the biggest reasons; buying local is one of the few ways you, as a consumer, can make an impact on those big ethical issues we often feel powerless to change. Buying locally handmade goods ensures you aren't supporting slave labour overseas, or contributing to child labour issues in developing countries. The knowledge that the clothing your kids are wearing wasn't made by other kids is a very powerful gift you can give, both to your children and to the world.

Decreasing your environmental impact is another big ethical reason to buy local handmade goods. Most handcrafted businesses are very environmentally conscious, low impact and use locally sourced base products. You're decreasing your carbon footprint and encouraging the growth of local, environmentally sustainable industries, and decreasing your reliance on large corporations with shady ethics.

As well as these big two, you also get increased choice with handmade products. If you find an item that's almost the same as what you're after, the artisan will usually be very happy to custom make exactly what you're after. This is fantastic for people with vegan or vegetarian lifestyles, allergies and dietary intolerance's, and planning big events like weddings and graduations. The quality is usually better as well, with attention to detail and pride in craftsmanship that the big manufacturers cannot offer.

Originality is another characteristic of local handcrafted products, something else that the big manufacturers cannot offer. Everyone knows the disappointment of finding the perfect outfit for a special event, only to find another person, or even worse, several people wearing the same outfit. Suddenly it doesn't feel so special any more, does it? If you buy an item locally crafted, you know you're getting something that really is special. It's a find, an uncommon jewel in this world of mass production. And if you do happen to be wearing the same item as someone else, it then becomes an opportunity for a great conversation, not an embarrassment. You've got no. 1 of 5, she has no. 3...where did she get hers? Isn't the artisan amazing? You've found a new friend through the shared appreciation of beautiful handmade items, your connection to the person who made them and your commitment to supporting local industry.

Buying locally supports local creative's who are pursuing their dream, you can't get much for feel-good than that! Many handmade businesses start out as hobbies, or mums at home with a little one. Supporting the self-determination of others is an extremely powerful thing. Seeing other people reach their goals and being a part of their success also encourages and empowers you to follow yours, so buying locally has a flow-on effect in your own life that is very special!

So get out there and visit some markets, or pop in to your local co-operative handmade store. Find someone a truly unique gift made with love, support a local artisan and contribute to making your community, and the world overall, into a much more positive place.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Little Geometry goes a long Way...


I love the trend for honeycomb and geometric shapes, especially wall shelves. There is something just a bit different about non standard geometric shapes that is very appealing, just a bit to the left of centre from the usual square and rectangle but no so wild that you would tire of its wackiness over time.

I found this great DIY on one of my favourite blogs, A Beautiful Mess providing instructions on making your own Honeycomb shelves which is on my wish list of item to make when we move into our own home.

https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/170233831/set-of-3-honeycomb-bookcase-recyclableI also found a great range of ready made products for those who are not quite into the DIY scene. Including:

1. Recycled shelving
2. Simple White Shelves
3. Contrast Shelves

I think this Shop has it right as well as the contrasting honeycomb shelves they now have these great little honeycomb planters which have gone right to the top of my wish list.






My god that list is getting long, pity Christmas is still so far off.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Amazing Art of Papercutting or Scherenschnitte...

I have become fascinated by the intricate art of paper cutting or Scherenschnitte (which means "scissor cuts" in German). The amazingly delicate work that is done by these artists is incredible, and the creativity that they show in taking something as simple as a piece of paper and turning it into art is nothing short of incredible talent.

Watching the intricate cutting work in progress is inspiring and Thomas Witte is just so talented, his Ancient Map of the World would have to be on the top of my 'If I could afford it Wish List'.

See his spectacular art here.

Of course, I would imagine it takes many years and many hours to get to this point, and more importantly, a great deal of patience. Not sure I am quite capable of feats such as this no matter how long I practice, but in the mean time, I am definitely considering having a go at some simpler items and found a great range of templates for the beginner and to give a starting point on Etsy this week.



And to help get me started I found a few how to tutorials on the basic techniques:

1. For a complete novice this simple tutorial is fantastic, in addition to showing how the paper cutting is done, it also outlines the basic tools and equipment needed.

2. This is another good basic tutorial with a great starter template with a fairy-tale theme, really cute and simple as a learning tool.

3. Want something a little more challenging, this paper cutting artist has tutorials, tips and tricks in her Frequently asked Friday. She also has a range of beautiful free templates on her blog, not to mention her spectacular work on an amazing array of materials in her shop for those who want a finished product.

So now hopefully I have all the inspiration and information needed to have a go at this great form of art, hopefully I will be able to share my results with you in the next few weeks. I thought I would start simple with something similar to the love image in the first tutorial but using my daughter’s name, nice and simple.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Retail Packaging for Handmade...

Retail packaging is one subject that makes me a little cross eyed; I spent many months researching ways to package my items in a way that was secure enough to protect delicate items in the post and appealing enough for offline selling. 

Etsy is a great place for inspiration on creative and unique packaging ideas. Selling handmade products can give a little creative flexibility in how you package your items but it’s important to remember that what works for an online Etsy retailer, can often not be right when selling in a retail shop as there is a need for a slightly more professional approach. 

Branding is a must offline. You packaging should have impact and appeal to the customers and be immediately recognisable to your brand. Of course, professional does not mean commercial. I package my jewellery in little tins with branded stickers. The look suits the handmade nature of my product but is still professional enough to work in a retail outlet.

Some elements you should consider when developing your packaging include:

Labelling: Duh, yes I know, obvious right. Some products may need to be labelled with ingredients, like soaps and food items. But giving a good general idea of the product type is worthwhile even if it’s not required. And it shouldn't need to be said, but just in case, your business name and website should always be prominent on your labels.

Colour: Complement your logo and product type with colour. Don’t package jewellery in Pale Blue if you brand is Fuchsia Pink. Of course, there are always exceptions to this and if you are using a rainbow of colours in your branding mix and match may work for you.

Materials: Use materials that suit your product. Natural materials are a great option for products that are eco-friendly and recycled. I use silver tins for my modern silver jewellery.

Using sleek contemporary logos and materials for retro and vintage inspired items would clash, so consider what you sell when creating your branding and packaging.

Pricing: This is probably the biggest consideration. If you are selling handmade soaps for $5 or less, you cannot justify spending substantial sums on your branding. Keep it affordable, remember that even cent you spend on packaging needs to be recovered, especially for wholesale and consignment, this can affect the bottom line substantially.

Think Like a Buyer: What would you expect as a customer? Branded boxes, little gift bags, tags and a paper bag? The list is endless, but the package should suit the price range and the feel of the product. If you spent $150 on perfume you would be disappointed if the bottle was handed to you in a paper bag, no box, no wrapping. Luxury items can be all about the experience, not just the product.

I love when I buy myself a treat and it feels like I’ve been given a gift. The items I remember are those that are beautifully packaged, and more importantly, I almost always keep the packaging, bags or boxes. What better way to brand than having your logo in people’s faces for years to come even when the product is all used up. More importantly, I will want more so will become a repeat customer.

Here are some ideas for affordable ways to brand your products:

Stamps: Custom stamps can inexpensive and very flexible, use on hand cut tags, labels, external packaging, boxes and more.

Stickers: Have a generic sticker made that, like the stamps, can be used in a multitude of ways.

Mini Business Cards: Mini Business cards like the Mini Moo are a great flexible branding item. Business cards, hang tags, labels on packages, jewellery cards for display and lots more.

Ribbons: This is a very simple way to make anything pretty, take a basic box, add a sticker and some coordinating ribbon, pretty, simple and inexpensive but makes a lovely package for most items. And lots of places offer printed ribbons with your brand, this is a more expensive option, but a great way to get your brand recognized.

To help inspire us to create beautiful and appealing packaging I have started a Packaging PInterest Group board to share with others so we can share ideas and inspire each other with great inexpensive and achievable packaging ideas and designs.

Contact me if you would like to become a contributor to the board at RMD Jewellery