Thursday, 31 January 2013

Personalise your blog - Upload a favicon icon on Blogger

Now I smile every time I view my page!  I figured out how to get a little favicon (the icon for your page that shows on the tab).  You just need to have a square image that's less than 100kb.  Then find an online image converter that will change your image to .ico - then save.

Go to the blogger layout and upload the image to the favicon place in the top left hand corner - save and view your page!

Favicon not showing up?  Go to tools and delete your internet history and clear your browsing data - if this doesn't work clear your cookies and temporary files too.  Other people can probably see your icon but if you can't, this will let you!

Voila!  A nice personal touch to your Blogger page.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Teapot Earrings Galore

I've started making my tiny teapot earrings again and putting them back into my shop :)  They're quite fun to make, and I'm getting better at making them match.  It's a bit hard not to make one spout longer than the other, or one with a slightly wonky handle...

They look quite cute on little ears, and I have a couple pairs myself that I like to wear.  I find these don't sell well online for some reason, but are the most common item I sell at craft fairs!  Hmm...

Sunday, 27 January 2013

New Bookshelf Necklace! Harry Potter Bookshelf Necklace

It's been a whole year since I introduced a new permanent bookshelf necklace design to my shop - but I'm finally getting off my butt and have introduced a new Harry Potter Bookshelf Necklace!

It features a tiny Gryffendor scarf, with little Hedwig perched on the top shelf.  Underneath are a magic wand and some little glasses.  Very cute for any Harry Potter fan :)  The pendant part is about 1.5 inches high, and it's strung on an 18" bronze chain.

I wanted to design the other Hogwarts houses in necklace form as well, but wasn't sure what other objects could be placed on the shelves.  The scarf and wand can go on all of them, but additional items I'm not sure about!  I'll need an expert Harry Potter correspondant for that one I think.  
Anyway I hope you like my new necklace, and please do share it through Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest if you think you know people who would like it :)


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Self-Assessment for Crafters in the UK: The Guardian's 10 things you can claim for

The guardian recently published an article about doing self-assessed tax returns, which includes a section for us self-employed lovelies.  I'm reposting it here because it seems every time I look into it I learn a bit more and a bit more about what I can claim on my tax return...

From The Guardian, 12 Jan 2013

If you are a freelance/self-employed

Broadly speaking, you can deduct from your turnover all the costs you incur for the sole purpose of earning business profits, says HMRC. The full checklist is at
• Gas, electricity, water, council tax. If you use your home to conduct your work you can claim a proportion of all your household bills, gas, electricity, water and council tax against your bill. If your office accounts for, say, 20% of your household space, you can claim 20% of the costs against tax.
• Mortgage. The interest portion of your mortgage repayments can also be claimed, again on a pro-rata basis.
• Broadband/phone. The same goes for broadband/phone costs. You can claim for any business calls. For line rental and broadband connection, a proportion of the cost can be claimed based on business use.
• Computers. If your computer is only used by the business, you can offset the whole cost. But if the family uses it half the time ... you get the idea.
• The £104 no-quibble deduction. Warburton says if you use your home in a minimal way to conduct your extra business, such as writing up your business records, HMRC will accept a £2 per week office deduction. 
• Clothing. You can't claim unless you need specialist items that are entirely used for work. A self-employed journalist, for example, cannot claim for a new suit arguing he has to wear it as part of his work. But if, say, you are a self-employed tree surgeon, you can offset the full cost of steel toe-capped boots and a protective jacket.
• Entertaining. Taking clients out for lunch is a "non allowable expense", even if you spend the whole time talking about work.

I guess one thing I didn't know was about the office deduction.  As I work from home, but all utilities/internet/council tax are included in the rent, its hard to know how much to claim.  But a £2 per week deduction sounds mighty fair for using my kitchen table as my 9-5 work spot!  Once I live in a larger space with a dedicated office it will be a lot clearer.  Until then, my equipment is stored under a chair in the living room...
This year will be my 2nd time filing a self-assessment, and I'm hoping I've kept much better records than the year before.  I didn't keep each and every receipt I could have, and so didn't claim as much as I could against my business expenses.  But this year I've been much more meticulous!  I have a giant file folder full of unsorted receipts that will take me weeks to get through, but I'll do it...

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Great Resource for Writers, and Interview for Murder Lab

Kris at Murder Lab has come up with a great idea for writers - as writers often need to do their research to make a plot or characters realistic, she is trying to compile experts in different areas that can help authors, in order to consult them or answer questions about a type of job, an area of the world, etc.

Kris is herself a cancer drug discover biologist, as well as fiction author, and combines her two skills in her novel The Vesuvius Isotope (which also includes a bit of archaeology!).

And while I wouldn't call myself an 'expert' in archaeology (yet!), I've lent my name to the list if any authors might find it useful to tap my brain for their writing!  And as well, I've been given an interview about my experiences with archaeology and how it might lend itself to an exciting plot :) You can read it here:
Ask the Expert: An Interview with archaeologist Cory Cuthbertson

Monday, 21 January 2013

100 followers on GFC! And New Year plans.

Hooray, I've reached 100 followers on Google Friend Connect!  This has been my goal before I start doing giveaways and things again.  I'll have to get ready setting one up now :)

If only my workshop looked like this :)
I'm also on the road to recovery from my tonsilectomy, and feel like I can start slowly returning to the kitchen table and doing some sawing now.  It's been as painful as expected, but I naievely thought 'bed ridden' meant 'lots of time to read and work on things'.  But no...

So I'm hopefully back in the swing of things in full force now.  I might have mentioned in earlier posts that I'm applying to start a PhD next Autumn, so I will also be working on getting my application together - I'm quite excited about that!

I DO want to get my new bookshelf designs up and made soon - I have 2 in particular that I want out very soon, and another 2 that I will be trying to put together after that.  They will be necklaces that are 'themed' more than my previous ones, and I'm excited to share them :)

So we have lots to look forward to with Coryographies this year... as soon as I get back to working hard that is :)

Friday, 18 January 2013

Where in the world have my bookshelf necklaces been sent to?

As you can see I love maps.  I also love seeing where people who purchase my jewellery are from!  It's taught me a lot about geography, and since it's meaningful, I remember :)

This is the world map showing countries I've sold a bookshelf necklace to:

Notable mentions that got me very excited were: Israel, Vietnam, Brunei, Malta, and Japan!

I should get one of those world maps that you can scratch off the countries as you visit them, and I can use it for this.  As my husband would point out, I love inventorying everything...!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Excellent, look what I found today!

My necklaces are on a site called Trend Hunter, under their fashion section:

It includes a little write up about my necklaces, and a whole bunch of my photos - with links to my site!  I'm very pleased, hopefully it brings in lots of people wanting to wear a bookshelf around their neck - and I'll be very happy to make one for them! :)

New Coryographies Packaging

I like to package my jewellery nicely when I send it out, so that it looks pretty but is also really protected so it makes its journey ok.

I always put my necklaces on a natural coloured card backing with my stamp, and put it inside a little plastic bag, with the chain secured with some decorated washi tape. I've tended to then wrap it in bubble wrap and secure it with a sticker and a pink bow, and then stick my card through, but I've wanted to make it look a bit more special than that - so I've bought some pretty tissue paper to liven it up a bit!:

My goal is for someone to be excited about the package even before they open it :)  I think this looks nice and special!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Sales Map of Canada!

As I did with the US States I've sold a bookshelf necklace to, I've created a map of Canada to tick off provinces and territories as I'm lucky enough to send one of my packages there :)  Here's where I am now:

Hooray!  Almost all the provinces have a bookshelf necklace except for New Brunswick and Newfoundland, and I haven't yet sold to a territory  :(  But I imagine if I sold to Nunnavut I'd have a really hard time filling in all those islands...!

I love it when I get a sale from Canada - it's a little communication from home.  I've even sold a necklace to someone from Vancouver Island!  That was a surprise :)

Ohhh Canada, our home and native land...!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

New photos of my bookshelf necklaces :)

I have a new camera that takes much better macro pictures... so even in the doom and gloom of winter, I've been practising taking a few more shots and updating some outdated photos (I really am a terrible photographer!).

I'm recovering ever so slowly from my tonsilectomy, and playing around with and making the photos nice is a good way to pass the time!  Here are some of my new shots:

Slowly getting better... if I look back to my old photos I took, it's a definite improvement!  I think I do have to build a light box though.  Perhaps a Spring project.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Have you ever thought of self-publishing?

I'm probably not alone as one who dabbles in writing their own fiction.  Lately though, with the boom in e-readers and self publishing online, becoming a published author has become easier than ever.

Now that I work from home, trawling social media sites and marketing my wares, I've come to know this amazing community of independent authors on the web.  It's really interesting, and makes that little dream we all have of becoming an author seem like a reachable goal.

With all that being at home in front of a computer as well, I've been able to start writing again (I don't think I'd spent much time at it since I was a teenager!), and I've thought about trying to casually (har har) put together a novel in my free time.

I've come accross a great article though, that has some really useful tips for those of us considering self-publishing:

Self Publishing a Book: 25 Things you Need to Know

I say 'casually' put together a novel in a way that I'm sure any published author would wrinkle their nose at.  But that's ok.  I don't need it to be good, it's just for fun... and could maybe turn into something more serious down the line...

...after all, that's how Coryographies started!

Monday, 7 January 2013

15% off - and ZOMG, I'm going in for sugery in 4 days!

Gulp!  I've never had surgery before, and now facing me is a scary tonsilectomy at the end of the week.  Apparently it's really painful, and the recovery time is about 2 weeks.

I'll keep my shop open as usual, but will be offering 15% off to people who purchase from me while I'm bed-ridden and not at the kitchen table workshop!  The discount will apply from today to January 18th, and people who purchase during that time will not have their order started until after the 18th.

Use the code BOOTONSILS in the coupon field at point of purchase :)

Boo tonsils!  Now visit my shop :)

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A Look Back at 2012 and the 5 states with no bookshelf necklaces!

I've had such a fun 2012 with Coryographies.  This year I've experienced my first ever craft fairs, selling my necklaces at In With The Old in London, launching my Facebook page and Twitter, doing giveaways, the month long hiatus when I was in France and came back to ALL THOSE ORDERS, the full time office work in September-November that was crazy to balance and still do this... and lots more!

Last year around this time I looked at all the US states I sold to in 2011, the first year of Coryographies:

At that time I estimated I had sent to about 30 states, which I was thrilled about!  The US is the country I sell the most of my necklaces too, and it's been so fun looking up towns where people are from, and learning the states and where they are located (I love maps...)

So in a look back to 2012, here is the NEW updated map of US States who have purchased a Coryographies bookshelf necklace:   (drumroll...)

Ta daa!!  I'm so impressed, look at how many states I've been lucky enough to send one of my necklaces!  It makes me so happy to feel like there's a big web of Coryographies wearers out there, wearing our bookshelf necklaces together...

I think I was most pleased about selling to a girl from Alaska - Alaska is closish to where I'm from, and I think of it as the wild wilderness similar to where I'm from :)

But there's 5 more to go still!  The 5 remaining states yet to receive a bookshelf necklace are: Hawaii, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and West Virginia!  If you're reading this and you are from one of these states... come on... lets fill out the rest of this map!  Join our bookshelf necklace club!

I still have to update the world map, and I'm going to introduce a Canada map as well to update.  I'm not forgetting the rest of the world I promise :)  Maybe I should have a county map for the UK as well!  And an Australian province map?  Don't worry, I realise I'm entertaining myself more than anyone else ;)

2013 looks to be a good year - I'm going to introduce more bookshelf necklace, start doing giveaways again, possibly start doing book reviews and make my blogging even more active and interactive :)  I hope you'll come back to visit often as I bumble towards the 2nd anniversary of Coryographies!

Thanks for being there!