I'm super giddy to share my first ever Kickstarter project with you all today! I started the morning so nervous and anxious about releasing my new baby into the wild, and I suppose that's how i'll stay for the next 30 days! So if you love dinosaurs (as much as I do) and pastel pins, then take a peep and help me to create the beauties in real life!
There are four pastel lovelies to choose from; Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, Apatosaurus and my personal fave - the Parasaurolophus! All will be produced with soft enamel, with added epoxy dome, to really give them the illusion of being folded paper! Each will be 30mm in size and silver plated with rubber clutch backing. So if this tickles your fancy, please pledge for your chance to own one or all of these dinogami cuties!
Design inspired by the origami work of Dr Stephen O'Hanlon! :)
Unfortunately, I can't be one of those people who boast about being super organised and on top of life, because I would totally be lying. I also can't pretend to know what i'm doing with a lot of stuff I do. I seem to get by though, but I do have the odd person asking me "how have you made it this far in life, without hurting yourself?". I guess that's down to how unorganised I am as a person really. I live my life setting constant reminders on my phone, failing to take note of business expenses, forgetting birthdays, not having the courage to progress (in life and business) and letting Future Lauren deal with problems that I don't want to. So this year, I decided to change all of that.
The first thing I did was browse for yet another notebook to add to my collection (yes, I know, I have a problem). I had seen several people on Instagram and Pinterest create Bullet Journals, a notebook filled with super organised and well thought out sections, and I couldn't wait to get started on creating my own. I figured that this would be the first step I needed to start kicking the crap out of this year. Armed with my wonderful new vintage vinyl notebook, handmade by the even more wonderful Gemma of Melodies, I began my first pages into my Bullet Journal...
First stop: decoration! I'm sorry, but a true procrastinator can't dive in at the deep end, they need time to progress. I have no other excuses to make, I just wanted to colour in, test my calligraphy pens and play with washi tape. So this is exactly what I did. I planned out all of the things I wanted to track over the next few months, like my weight loss goals, budgets/spends and all the anime/manga we are currently watching/reading (it sounds silly, but just knowing where you are with little things like this, definitely makes me feel better). Having anything laid out in front of you, and not on lists on your phone really does make a difference. It was nice to see my yearly plans, and so far, I've kept up with checking and filling in my BuJo. I honestly didn't think i'd make it to March! I also took this "decoration time" to move around and decorate my entire office, just so I could put off the inevitable organising of my life as a whole. Just by stripping back the awful wallpaper, and replacing with a very light pink paint, it has given a new lease of life to my little room. I still haven't finished moving everything around, but at least my desk is back to being pretty!
At the start of the year, I also gave myself a couple of resolutions. I've never done this before, because I give up waaaay to easily, but this year was going to be different. I knew that to grow my business, I had to kick everything up a gear! I have to physically expand my selling channels and also branch out more with social media. I had never had the confidence to sell my work to other businesses or websites, so I decided to do some research and find some stockists! I started by Instagram stalking my favourite small businesses and seeing where they sell their items, and came across two shops in particular that stood out from the rest. Down a cobbled street in Sheffield lies the awesome Bird's Yard, and in the Grand Arcade in Leeds, the wonderful Our Handmade Collective. I decided to be very brave and approach both shops to see if they would accept my Thriftbox items, and to my surprise, both said yes! So now I am the proud provider of stock to both of these amazing shops, along with some of my all time favourite designers :)
It is so difficult to make new friends as an outgoing introvert, and unfortunately for me, this is who I am! The close circle of friends I do have, I adore. But I find it so hard to let anybody else into that tiny circle. So I knew that I had to let some of my guard down to grown within the crafty community. I started making myself post to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter more, and going out of my way to comment on fellow businesses posts, rather than just "liking" them. By joining a couple of Instagram chats, I started to chat more with people all over the small business world. I found that I enjoyed conversing, sharing stories and experiences with these wonderful people. I also found that it made me want to socialise more, and to go so far to meet up with them in the real world (scary stuff!). I really do think that this little push has boosted my confidence with others out there that are also in the same position!
I'm hoping that the rest of the year sees the same sort of productivity and motivation as the start of the year! I would love to be reading this in January 2018 (2 stone lighter) and to be proud of what I have pushed myself to achieve the past year. I want to see my comfort zones being expanded and my product lists to grow! Who knows, I might even try and do Thriftbox full time... but I better not get ahead of myself there! So here is to pulling your finger out and finally taking charge of your life, friends and business :) Fingers crossed that 2017 becomes a brill year to me and my small business, and to all you others out there!
I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of the lovely Girl Bosses that I have met over the last few years, through Instagram, Colour Walks and craft fairs. You all are awesome, and I wouldnt enjoy doing this as much without you all! I have made some amazing friends and had awesome experiences with you. So here's to all the brilliant ladies that have made that happen - you are awesome! :)
Recently I've been so desperate to make more items with cats on. I don't know why, I just can't help myself. I love the little critters. So I knew that the next enamel pin badge that I made, had to be dedicated to my two favourite things: black cats and Japanese culture! So I got to work designing a little kitty that would be perfect as a pin badge. But I realised the hard way, that I can't draw cats to save my life. No matter what I did, they looked like a weird blob with whiskers. Definitely not a good look. Luckily for me, in came my savoir and muse; Luna. I have the below photo of her sat on my desk, and she looks so lovely, that I knew that I had to use her as my model for the badges! As you can see, it worked really well and turned out super kawaii*- bonus!! The collar around her neck reads くろねこ, which translates from Japanese to Black Cat!
If you would like to get your hands on one of our little rose gold beauties, then follow our link to our Etsy page here!
*Kawaii means cute in Japanese!
Last year, me and my better half finally booked our dream trip to Japan! Firstly, I need to give you a bit of info about our history together, for you to appreciate what this means to us. I met Joe (18 at the time) when I was just a spring chicken of 17 years old. He was my first love, and introduced me to so many awesome things, that in turn shaped who I am today. He showed me my first ever Studio Ghibli film and introduced me to the world of anime and manga. We had made a pact that we would visit Japan together, and go on amazing adventures of culture, food and all things kawaii. In the year that we were together, we talked about this non-stop. However, when it was his time to go to University, we broke up. As you can imagine, I was pretty devastated. In spite of this, we stayed friends, and we were still close over the next few years. As we moved in the same circles, it was pretty hard to avoid each other! Little did I know, that five years down the line, we would start dating again, and five years after that, we would own our very own home together, complete with our little black panthers, Luna and Goku! So when we got the opportunity to book our dream journey together, we obviously jumped at the chance. So, in September 2017, we will finally embark on a three week long trip, nearly twelve years in the making!
It seems that I have become a planning demon recently too, and I'm loving organizing and arranging our itinerary plans, even though there is a hell of a lot of stuff to cover. Of course I bought another new notebook for the occasion (note to self: stop buying notebooks), and starting saving spare change in our custom made Japan Money Box that my Auntie and Uncle made for us for Christmas. I find that I spend most days researching new places, using google maps to learn the areas we will be staying in and learning Japanese alphabets (don't get me started on Kanji!), when I should be doing other things... like work. But hey ho! This is more important than earning a living, right?
In my Japanese procrastination stage, I've come across some amazing Japan themed items by incredible makers. So the rest of the post is an homage to all things kawaii, Japanese and just plain awesome!
I wanted to kick off with someone who I have girl-crushed on for a few years now. She is an amazing illustrator, cosplayer and advocate of all things crafty, cute and Japanese. Jordan Love is one of my all time favourite designers, and I instantly fell in love with all of her work. She mixes sassy, colourful and kawaii together to create unique items that definitely stand out. So I just had to give a shout out to my two favourite items of hers, her Baka Unicorn Kitty Sticker and the amazing Kawaii Babe enamel pin. If you havent checked out her stuff, do it now! <3
As you know, I have a massive love for enamel and button pin badges, so I couldn't do an appreciation post without including some of my favourites! Nothing says Japanese Candy more, than everyone's favourite sugary sticks: Pocky! Sally McAdam, the enamel pin queen over at Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes smashes it with this colourful and awesome pin of the famous treats. Her work is always incredible, and I can't help but love her bold style.
Another enamel pin on my payday-wishlist is this Mount Fuji pin by Scotland based Asking For Trouble. I have only recently discovered Marceline's work, and I've already popped a couple of items in my basket, poised and ready to go! I cannot wait to visit Mount Fuji, so as soon as I saw this pin, I knew it was one I had to buy. The famous "red sun" surrounding a super kawaii mountain is just the best way to sum up the famous landmark!
Now I don't just love Japanese pins, I've also come across some awesome art along the way. One of which, I was introduced to at the Northern Craft Fair, when I just so happened to be stall neighbours with the lovely Livi Gosling. I loved Livi's art, but didn't get a chance to fully investigate her designs during the day of the fair. So it was a complete surprise when we came home, and Joe gave me a gift that he had bought for me during the fair. It was a beautiful, dreamy and wonderfully illustrated print, from Livi herself. I was blown away by the lovely details and beautiful colours used throughout, and couldn't wait to hang it in our living room! It now takes pride of place, and is a reminder of the awesome places we will visit!
I know that I am just rambling now, so I will promptly wrap this post up, finishing with the super cute work of Stephanie over at Frilly Pops! I've always loved following her on Instagram and seeing her kawaii adventures and new work. Her Onigiri Bunny and Kawaii Your Eyes Out patches have been added to my payday basket, and I've already made space in my mind on my future backpack for Japan! I love the pastel colours she uses in all of her work, and the dreamy illustrations of Harajuku Girls are the cutest I have seen. It would also be very wrong of me not to buy a Sakura Mochi Bunny tee before our trip too, right?
Now that I have already spent all of next months wage on all this super kawaii stuff, I must say that I am more excited about our trip than when I first started this post. So if anyone out there has any Japan tips, tricks or must-do's please let me know in the comments section! I would love to hear any recommendations on places to go, food, drink and anything you can think of!
Crafter. Anime Lover. Cat Lady. Ghibli Enthusiast. Hufflepuff.