Currency Change in Tin Teddy Graphics Shop @ Etsy

This morning 52% of the UK voted to leave the European Union.  This has caused the pound sterling to fall rapidly.

I previously had my Tin Teddy Etsy shop set to US dollars.  I have now changed it to Pounds Sterling.

This will benefit both myself and my customers.  British buyers will see no difference.  Buyers from outside the UK will be able to benefit from the weak pound and get more for their money than they previously did.

All Etsy shoppers see items for sale in their own currency.


Follow Me as I Write My New Fantasy Novel for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo

Mindfulness Colouring and Adult Colouring Books

It is very striking to see how many “adult colouring books” are available for sale right now.  My local newsagents have many titles (of varying qualities), and online shopping sites such as Amazon have many thousands of options available.

My mum enjoys colouring geometric patterns.

Colouring is considered to have many benefits, especially in today’s busy world.  The act of colouring is calming and relaxing.  I try to do a little colouring every day and find it really does help me.  I colour when on the phone waiting for people to answer (those dreadful automated systems that companies insist on having now).  I also like to colour whilst listening to audiobooks or radio plays.

These are my two favourite colouring books. There are Amazon links at the bottom of this blog post.

My father died last year and for a while I found it very hard to sleep.  I would colour and it helped me get through that very difficult time.  My mother did the same and has often said that her colouring books really helped her cope.

Colouring a printed “digi stamp” with alcohol markers. Stamp is from the Tin Teddy Victorian Fashion Stamps & Collage Sheets.

There are many economical colouring books available now, in every shape, size and subject.  I recommend checking that the paper quality is going to be good enough for the type of colouring tools you wish to use.  Coloured pencils will be fine of lower quality, rougher papers.  Felt pens need sturdier paper or the colours will bleed.  Some pens, such as alcohol markers, require heavier paper or the ink will just seep through to the other side.

The “Mindfulness Companion” colouring book has relaxing exercises as well as beautiful images.

For colouring in books you don’t need expensive tools to get a good result.  I colour in my adult colouring books with cheap felt pens, glittery gel pens, assorted coloured pencils and even children’s crayons.  I keep my “good pens” for colouring images that I will probably use later on other projects.

Millie Marotta’s images are very detailed. I use my Stabilo Point 88 pens in this book.

I particularly like my Stabilo Point 88 felt pens for colouring as they are economical to buy but give great results.  They are also very fine tipped and I like colouring tiny, intricate designs the most.

Assorted stamped images, coloured with alcohol markers and ready for future use.

I enjoy stamping images on to high density white card (Neenah card from Crafter’s Companion) then colouring then with alcohol markers.  I store them in a folder for future use on greetings cards and Artist Trading Cards.

Colouring a larger stamped image of a rose.

Preparing for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo – Planning my next novel

During April this year I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo.  This is a month-long challenge to encourage budding authors to get started on their literary masterpieces.  My target for the month was 50,000 words, which is considered by many to the the minimum length for a modern novel.  To hit the target one has to write an average of 1.667 words a day.  If you hit the target then you are considered a “winner” and get a badge for your blog (mine is down on the bottom right), plus special offers on various sponsor’s products.  Technically one could easily cheat… but as the idea is to encourage you to get on with your writing, that would be a bit defeating the object.


For April’s Camp NaNoWriMo I wrote the first 55,000 words of a historical novel that I have been thinking about for a very long time.  I will be finishing if off and publishing it, but am shelving it for now for various reasons.

There will be another Camp NaNoWriMo for the month of July, so I am now planning what I will write for this one.

I am going to be writing the first book in a series of fantasy/crime novels.  I have been thinking about this for many years and have many elements of my fantasy world planned already.

I will be writing using the excellent software, Scrivener, which I used for both my historical novel and my soon-to-be published non-fiction book, Make It, Blog It, Profit!.

Scrivener is a writing environment, created by an author for authors. As well as a conventional world processor, it also can handle research, plotting and formatting tasks.  I was able to buy it for 50% of its usual (very reasonable!) price, as one of the prizes from April’s NaNoWriMo.  There is a free month’s trial version available.   I will write a more in-depth review at a later date.

Throughout June I will be planning the plot of the new novel, and building the world in which it will be set.  This will be a lot of work, but something I will also enjoy.

I intend to work through this Magical World Builder- 30 Days of World Buildingby Stephanie Cottrell Bryant.

I have just started creating some maps for the world, using Campaign Cartographer 3+ software from Profantasy.  As I am very new to this software, I have a lot to learn and so am experimenting and learning as I go along.  I will use it to map out the main world, towns and villages and to create floor plans of buildings.  Some of these maps will end up in the books (I will redraw them nicely!)… others will be purely for my own reference.

Here is a snippet of one of my first mapping attempts.FirstMap



Just Doodle – creating doodle art for fun and relaxation – Zentangle and beyond

I do enjoy a good doodle.  Always have.  No doubt always will.

I doodled a lot as a child (often on things that I wasn’t really supposed to be doodling on), and still enjoy it as a way to relax.

Here are some of my more recent doodles, I hope they inspire you to do some of your own.

I started by writing the word “flower” then just doodled around it. The biggest problem was knowing when to stop! The thicker outlines were drawn with a black Sharpy pen and the thinner ones with a Micron Uniball.

Over the last few years there has been a lot of interest in doodling, in particular with the introduction of the version trademarked as Zentangle.

Official Zentangle Books – lots of ideas for “tangles”

I have quite a few Zentangle books, and have been very inspired by the beautiful patterns.  I like to use my favourites and combine them with my own to create “make it up as you go along” designs.

One of my favourite Zentangle books. Click the image to read my review of this book.

I love creating ATCs – Artist Trading Cards, which are small pieces of artwork. Click this link for more information about Artist Trading Cards – Introduction to Artist Trading Cards.

Two more ATCs. Here I have used bird stamps by Woodware and doodled inside the designs

Doodle art can be incorporated into all sorts of different crafts.

I made this sampler in 1997. It is a form of embroidery called blackwork and dates back to Elizabethan times. Sort of doodling with threads.

Sometimes the doodling is the background and the main feature of the piece is actually a blank space.  This works very well for Zentangle-inspired art pieces.

For this ATC I first drew the outline of the cat, then zentangled all around it with a fine black pen. This was part of a series of 4 cards, each with a different cat silhouette in the middle.

You can start the doodle off with an image.  Printed, stamped, die cut or collage pieces – there are many options for this.

# For this ATC I used one of the Tin Teddy 1″ Photo Faces as a starting point, then added the tangled “arms” around.

There are many styles of doodling.  I rather enjoy the “kawaii” style that is based on Japanese and Korean characters.  These are very simple to draw but look cute.

Another ATC. This time I wrote the word “Fun” in pencil then used a black Sharpy pen to draw random little characters all around it. Some overlap the word to make it look more like part of the image.

You can include doodling in journals, card making, scrapbooks and more.  It is such a versatile art form.

This is a page from one of my art journals. I drew the tree freehand, divided it up then filled it with Zentangle designs from my books. The background is stencil in acrylics and the birds are from rubber stamps.

Combine Zentangle type designs with your own artwork to create original pieces that have extra impact.

Another ATC. I sketched the mother and child in pencil then inked over it. I coloured the people with pencils and filled the background with assorted Zentangle type patterns.

Start your creativity with a simple stamped or sketched design and just start doodling.  Don’t worry too much about what goes where..just let the dots, lines and squiggles flow from your pen how they will.

For this ATC on yellow card I started with a rubber stamp of a skull. I then doodled around it for a “Day of the Dead” themed result.

Make it, Blog it, Profit! – New book for craft sellers, Now Available

Out Now!

You have read that having a blog will help you sell the handmade items in your online store.

You created a blog, or are about to, but have hit a stumbling block.

What on earth should you actually write about?

Make it, Blog It, Profit! – Blog Post Ideas for Craft Sellers is the exciting new book from Deborah Richardson of Tin Teddy.  Thousands of ideas for blog posts especially for the sellers of handmade crafts and art.

Never be stuck for a blog post again:

  • Chapters concentrating on popular hand made niches such as Jewelry, Home Decor, Wedding Products and many others.
  • Be continually inspired with seasonal, topical and daily post ideas
  • Ideas for how to make the most of each blog post
  • How to take an idea and adapt it to create dozens of different posts
  • Ensuring your blog posts are found by your target market
  • Spend less time wondering what to write and more time actually writing
  • Create ambassador posts that people will search forMIBIPCoverBig

Make It, Blog It, Profit! – Blog Post Ideas for Craft Sellers is currently available in both printed and ePub formats from Lulu.

Printed Version of Make It, Blog It, Profit!Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.138 Pages, £6.99

ePub digital version (Nook etc) version of Make It, Blog It, Profit!Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.
119.83 KB, £3.99

It will be available from Amazon and select online retailers in print, Kindle, PDF and other formats very soon.

Etsy Rank – a Useful Site for Etsy Sellers

Starting out on Etsy can seem very much an uphill struggle, and every day there is more competition to contend with.

Etsy Rank is a very useful free-to-use website that can help even the most experienced sellers polish their shop.

The two features I have personally found the most useful are the ability to find tags that have misspellings and items that do not have all 13 tags.  I was rather shocked to find I had quite a few of both!

Here Etsy Rank has spotted that I have misspelt “digital” in one of my listings.

Etsy Rank also has a very handy “Listing Audit” option for looking at the tags, title and Google SEO of your listings in a way that makes it much easier to see where improvements can be made.

There are a other tools included too, with new ones being added. Everything is clearly laid out and intuitive – just register and have a poke about!

The Etsy Rank Profile checks to see if you have the main components of your Etsy shop in place.
The Etsy Rank Profile checks to see if you have the main components of your Etsy shop in place.

I strongly suspect that every single Etsy seller could benefit from this using this website.

A New Look for Tin Teddy on Etsy

This week Etsy rolled out a  significant new look for seller’s shops.

Now my Tin Teddy shop on Etsy looks like this…



Previously it looked like this.


The biggest differences are that the product pictures are bigger (a good thing!) but reviews and polices are now on the front page (which seems unnecessary to me and distracts from the products).

Sellers have a choice of using the new, huge!, “cover pictures”, as I have done, using their old banners (which do no show at all on mobile devices) or having no cover or banner.

I am trying the cover picture for now on this shop.  My Antique Dog Prints vintage shop on Etsy still has the old small banner up.  I will wait a while to see how people respond to the changes before settling on one or the other for good.

Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2016 – April Tag – A Tutorial for My Version

For this month’s Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2016 I thought I would take a break from the usual large tags I have made, and make a short, fat one instead.  I used the “Love From”  Tag Die Set from Tonic Studios.

In Tim’s example tag he uses his new Mosaic kit.  This is not yet available in the United Kingdom so I have attempted to create a similar effect using the supplies I have to hand.

I cut the main tag shape from 300gsm black card (it has a bit of a canvas texture on it) and used the oval die to cut white 300gsm stamping card.


Next I inked up the white card oval using Distress Inks.  I used Fossilized Amber all over the oval then blended Spiced Marmalade around the edges.  I wanted an irregular look.


I then ran the oval through my Big Shot machine inside the wood-grain embossing folder from Crafters Companion.  I love the effect this gives.


Using Brushed Corduroy Distress Ink, I darkened the raised parts of the wood grain.  I kept the blending tool vertical and dragged it width-ways over the oval.  In this picture I have done the right hand side only.


A added a bit more of the Brushed Corduroy Distress Ink around the edge of the oval and glued it to the black tag.  I made two little beads of Dovecraft 3d Pearl Effects in each corner and put this aside to dry.


I cut a butterfly from 300gsm Centura Pearl card using one of the shadow dies from the Paper Artist 3 Butterflies and Shadows die set by Hot off The Press.

ButterflyDieCut I coated the die cut butterfly with modelling paste then pressed a dryer sheet into it to give it some texture.  Here I have laid it on the black tag so you can see it clearly, it is not glued down.  I left this to dry for a couple of hours, to be sure.TexturePasteonButterfly

I cut a pile of tiny pieces from some scraps of coloured paper and began to stick them to the butterfly with Ranger Multi Medium Matte.  This was quite fiddly and took a while.  I coated all the pieces with the Multi Medium to ensure they were all glued down properly.  I then left it whilst I had a cup of tea,  to ensure it was all dry.

MosaicPiecesGoingOnMosaicedButterflyI coated each of the piece of paper on the butterfly with a thin layer of Ranger Glossy Accents.  I used a cocktail stick to push the Glossy Accents into the corners of the pieces.  Again I left it to dry thoroughly.  The 3d tiled effect looks far nicer in real life than in pictures,  honest.


I put some sticky foam behind the butterfly and fixed it to the tag.ButterflyAdded

Next I stamped the word “Love” in Memento Tuxedo Black ink.  This stamp is part of a set called Flutterby from Debbi Moore.StampedLove

I applied the Fossilized Amber Distress Ink all over the word, cut it out and added a little Spiced Marmalade around the edges.  I mounted it on a piece of white paper to give a tiny mount.  I coloured the word in with a Brushed Corduroy Distress Marker and added some little faux stitches with a white Uniball Gel Pen.  The word is more distinct in real life than it appears in the pictures.  I fixed the “Love” to the tag with sticky foam squares.


And finally a green ribbon to finish.

FinishedButterflyTag TTAprilTag