Hello and welcome to my first blogpost in a little while – It is a lovely March Day in Derbyshire and it feels like Spring is finally here.
Back in September last year I was lucky enough to secure a place with an earlybird offer on the first module of Lyndsey James’ Photocraft E-Course. For those of you who haven’t come across Photocraft before it is a business run by the lovely Lyndsey James. She has spent years as as a professional photographer, and now also helps creative business owners around the world take great photos for their brand.
Bloggers, Artists, Designers, and Retailers have all learned how to take better photos through the Photocraft e-course. She also provides a weekly tips programme, free workshops and live workshop events.
I set up Popsyclunk over four years ago to address the need for lovely memory boxes for my two daughters. I left behind my public sector office job and set off on my adventure, looking to work creatively whilst allowing flexibility to work around my girls.
My memory boxes are intended to be the perfect antidote to instant everything and trawling though things in a “cloud” sometime in the future. Instead they enable people to pick up and hold memories to tell the story of their child’s life, their love or their travels through a lovely box designed for them. They can enjoy the process of filling it with photos and momentoes of their life.
For a while I have been striving to marry my interest in Photography with the need to take good photos of my products .
I have a website and for the last 18 months I have also been selling my products on the popular handmade website Etsy. I have just gone past the 180 sales mark and I’m convinced this is because my photos are bright and clear and draw people in who are looking at lots of images in one go.
However, as well as being a small business owner, I am a mummy of two fairly young children and so time and money can be tight. I have made my own photo backdrops in the past but this takes time which is often better spent on making the products themselves.
Once I’d completed Module 1 of the Photocraft e-course it co-incided with Lyndsey launching Photoboards.
Photo Boards™ are 1:1 scale, high-resolution, small photography backdrop boards that make product, food and lifestyle photography easy for Designers, Makers, Artists and Bloggers.
Lyndsey asked me, as a designer maker, to trial one of her Photoboards and blog about my experience, so here I am!
The main feature of Photo Boards is that they look super real, just like actual wood, stone, fabric or metal, so people will think they are the real thing in your photos! Simply drop them into your scene as a new surface or background and shoot.
I was sent the whitewashed wood Photoboard which is the 60cm one and it was so easy to use. It also comes with a link so that you can read helpful tips about how to position it which makes it even more user-friendly!
Large Wooden Rainbow Memory Box
Unlike most large vinyl or paper backdrops, these mini backdrops are super high-resolution so look perfect even during close-up product photography.
What I liked about this particular backdrop was that it is light and airy to allowed me to keep the contemporary feel to my products. This particular memory box is bright and colourful and I think the Photoboard will allow it to really stand out when people are looking through my website or Etsy shop.
There are so many different styles of backdrop from “Sail’ white to ” Patisserie” and ‘Riveria” so they offer the choice of fitting in with your brand style. Whether you sell jewellery, fabrics or cakes, there is sure to be one that will be perfect for you!
For my popular wooden suitcase memory boxes, I used the Photoboard as a background rather than placing the memory box onto it. I really liked the feel that this gives and allows a more subtle feel. I already feel like it gives and air of style to my products which is definitely how I’d like them to be portrayed.
The Photoboard was equally as adaptable to be put with the detail vertically rather than horizontally as in this photo. They are incredibly versatile and I was equally as home using them with my pastel memory boxes such as this Tilly design one.
My next plan is to start using the Photoboards for flatlay photos. Not only is this very on trend and Instagram – friendly but I have also started an additional blog over on Tumblr which is where I will talk more about the story contained within the Memory Boxes. I think the Photoboards will be perfect for these Flatlay photos I have planned. Everyone has a story to tell and my “Memory blog” posts will start to explore that aspect of my work.
I’m hoping to use the tips that I learnt from Lyndsey’s free Instagram e-workshop that I took part in earlier in the week to really use the Photoboard to style my Instagram feed for Popsyclunk and make it really stand out in the crowd.
So if you are a designer-maker like me, or a blogger, or just like to take lovely photos I really would recommend Photoboards. They are a must!
Here’s a reminder of where you can find Photoboards, Photocraft and Popsyclunk!
Family Glamping – a weekend in The Wagon at Puckshipton
Last month, as part of my 40th birthday celebrations, we travelled down to Wiltshire for the weekend to the fabulous Wagon at Puckshipton.
Isn’t it beautiful! When I looked into booking something, about 6 months before for my big celebration, it started off being a weekend for me and my hubby, in Paris, then after some thought, I realised I wanted a weekend with a difference with my family, and Otto. I thought I’d like to try glamping as we love our sleep so wanted comfy beds but equally wanted to go back to nature. I started off looking for a treehouse, and soon came across Canopy & Stars, which is an amazing company. Their website was so easy to use and I instantly had access to a wealth of glamping options both home and abroad.
I came across and decided on The Wagon in Puckshipton, near Pewsey, Wiltshire as it was just about the right amount of distance from Derbyshire (just under 3 hours) for us to get away from it all but a justifiable distance for a weekend. It also accommodated 2 adults 2 kids and a dog. PERFECT.
With a nod from the hubby and a moan from the kids – “What no electricity ALL weekend – no TV?” We don’t even watch that much TV! and it was booked!
I must admit on the run up to the weekend I thought lots about whether the kids would like it, would Otto be ok as he’s still quite young and would me and hubby get to relax. I didn’t need to worry. AT ALL!
It was mid September so the nights were still fairly light and we had a good drive down so it was still light when we arrived. Juliette, The owner met us there and she offered the perfect mix of showing us round but also leaving us to just get on with it too.
It was clear straight away that the perfect seclusion that we enjoyed at the Wagon allowed Otto to run free at all times. He’s still young at 18 months but he’s amazing at recall for his age and came back at a whistle. The Wagon was surrounded by trees so you could hear him ferreting about for sticks but he never ventured too far so he couldn’t see us. This was a real sign that he’s bonded with us and sees us as his family for life.
The Wagon itself was just beautiful – it was obvious that James Noble was a master craftsman as the attention to detail was stunning. The girls has a bunk bed one end of The Wagon and there was a comfy double for me and hubby the other end. The wood burning stove was fantastic and we all set about finding sticks to crank it up so we had hot water to wash up and for the (outside – more about that later) shower. The Wagon also has these amazing solar lamps that charge up during the day and gave us plenty of portable light when the sun went down. I read up on them when we got back and apparently they were invented in South Africa for when there were frequent power cuts. We have some in our house now too.
Not only were the solar lamps practical they looked equally as beautiful.
As the sun went down, I looked round at my family pottering around, the kids and hubby collecting kindling to start a fire, Otto sniffing about with dreams of running free already collecting in his head. This place was starting to infiltrate into our souls. Osmosis of the setting and serenity taking place before our eyes.
Before we knew it a fire had been made and the smell of toasted marshmallows was filling the air. It was still pretty balmy for September so we sat round the fire and before we knew it were talking about the science of the best size of marshmallow for toasting, not a mention of TV and phones had been switched off for the weeknd. Discarding them until we got home was amazingly therapeutic.
We flopped into bed that night feeling fully content, smokey hair, fresh air in our lungs and love for this place in our hearts. The only thing that could have woken us was Otto’s animated dreams. If he could speak I think he would have given us a thousand thankyous.
The next day was a fabulous mix of messing about in boats that came with the hire of The Wagon and exploring the local walks, in abundance from our doorstep. I thought I could handle the rowing boat and just managed to go round in circles so had to get rescued by the others in the canoe. We fell about laughing as I proved I wasn’t quite as ” Swallows and Amazons” as I first confessed to being.
There were plenty of walks from the Wagon and we loved the beauty of the surrounding countryside. We found an amazing horse chestnut tree nearby and the kids excitement for finding fresh conkers on the ground was lovely to see as they filled their boots with nature’s bounty. All this with regular glimpses of the famous white horses of the Wiltshire landscape.
Later in the afternoon we cranked up the wooden burner inside The Wagon again so we had hot water for the shower and to wash up. To be totally honest it took a bit of courage (and a beer at the local pub) to work up to the shower as it was outside in the trees just behind The Wagon. I don’t know why I was bothered though because as soon as I stepped in it was just amazing. The girls soon joined me and squeals of delight ensued as we looked up and felt the exhilaration of showering al fresco. It reminded me of travelling round the Yucatan Peninsula in my early 20’s and regularly showering with lizards for company.
That evening we fired up the pizza oven that’s just near The Wagon. We cheated and took pizzas from the supermarket ( and from a well know pizza chain at that – other brands are available) but oh my goodness – they tasted just amazing. Proper wood- fired pizza (washed down with a couple of glasses of Prosecco for the grown – ups – it would be rude not too) . We were in heaven.
Another evening of toasted marshmallows and chatting round the fire and modern life seemed a million miles away. The “risk’ had paid off. We all LOVED it. My littlest little loved the washing up outside and trying different food cooked in different ways. ” I love surviving”, she said.
My bookworm biggest little loved lying back in the hammock with her book. She’d never been in a hammock, or messed about in boats. I could almost see the memories filling up in her little head.
We had another amazing night’s sleep and then it was nearly time to leave which we were all really sad about. This weekend had been the perfect retreat from everyday life for ALL of us. The girls got chance to be in the middle of nature, Otto ran free and fill up his store of “best sniffs”. We as a couple got to appreciate and look at what really matters to us in full technicolour, without a theme park or sugar coated fabricated “day out” in sight. Most of all this weekend has been afforable and in all aspects more valuable then we could ever have imagined. If you can, please do something like this with your littles, your partner, your doggy or all three. You will not regret it.
The Wagon was the perfect choice for us, so much so we have booked again for next year. Perfect serenity in A World that can sometimes be challenging just by the nature of its speed and intensity. Memories are so important, make them, keep them and hold onto them. These guys are my World, and sometimes stripping back to the bare minimum just reinforces how important your World is and how important memories are to family life.
I’ll leave you with his image that sums up how I felt at the end of the weekend. I would definitely recommend a break with Canopy & Stars for the perfect Family Glamping Weekend! If in doubt just go for it!
Happy Friday Everyone! Just a quick post about my exciting week at Popsyclunk.
I started off the week taking part in a fantastic Product Photography Webinar by Lyndsey James over at Photocraft. You can read more about what she does Here
It made me look at photos of my products in a different light (pardon the pun) and was perfect timing for launching my new range of map design memory boxes.
At school I was always fascinated by maps and paint (weird I know – I was a geek!) and my new product marries the two perfectly. With my new suitcase memory boxes, you are able to request a significant reclaimed map for the top of the box or if you’re not fussed, I can surprise you!
My hubby got involved this time and even though he runs a business of his own (you can look at it Here ) he advised me on the sanding process to make sure that the map is an integral part of the lid.
I have also been working hard on polishing up my listings for my Etsy Shop, and as well as this mini map suitcase I’ve also added some designs for the larger suitcases for Children as well as Wedding, Anniversary and Engagement suitcases.
I have used reclaimed maps for my new map suitcases, If you have any atlases you no longer need, I’ll always be interested in adding them to my collection. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This month I had a lovely chat over Skype with my best friend Clunk, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, and who is the namesake of Popsyclunk. She talked about her new found love of mindfulness and meditation. It was really interesting and re-inforced in my mind, about being present and living in the moment, especially with our children. With this in mind, I asked my daughter to show me what she had put in her memory box recently. She showed me the top of a seed that had popped off when her sunflower had started growing, as well as a paper sandwich bag that I had doodled on for her packed lunch on World Book Day. Both of these things made my heart happy. It really is the little things that our little people remember, because to them, the little things are actually the big things.
With this in mind, we planted more sunflower seeds in the garden recently as our annual family sunflower growing competition is underway. Look who wanted to help!
I have also started adding more boards to Pinterest this week, as a lovely customer said she found me on there, so it must be working!
New Baby Gifts Girls Wooden Bunting. New Year New Babies! It has just been my daughter’s birthday and although people might get the January blues it us always a happy time for us as we celebrate her birthday. So here’s a picture of one of my latest strings of Wooden Bunting made for Lucy. The pretty pink flower reminds me of the bright colours of Spring which is just round the corner!
It’s been busy busy at Popsyclunk this week. I’ve been nursing a poorly Popsyclunker which although not nice, has given me some time look forward to the future and a new product for Popsyclunk.
I’ve been making Memory Boxes for a while now, and as well as the wooden square boxes with a lift off or hinged lid I already offer, I had the idea of offering a wooden suitcase – style box. I love the idea of a mini suitcase to keep all of a little person’s special keepsakes in. It ties in with the idea of their journey or travels through life. I worked on the idea of monogrammed suitcases from the early to mid 20th Century where people used to have their initials etched or stitched onto the side and of course wanted to give it a Popsyclunk twist of fresh colours that give it a modern feel. Each one could be personalised with the child’s initials. The little wooden tag has been hand painted with the words “Rosie’s Travels” and the little balloon shows her date of birth.
The suitcase is 17 x 23 x 9cm so a perfect size to send through the post too! I made my first suitcase for Rosie, my best friend Clunk’s little girl, for her birthday. Here she is looking very pleased with it. It travelled all the way back to Australia with her.
The ” My Little Wooden Suitcase” will be handmade to order and will be £24 plus £3.75 P&P . They will be listed in my Etsy Shop soon. In the meantime if you’d like to place an order for one please contact me through my website here or my Facebook Page. They are perfect as a personalised birthday present, new baby gift, christening gift or maybe start thinking abut Christmas ! Eeek! After all, its less than 100 days away!
I hope you’ve had a lovely week, I’m hoping next week will be less about illness and more about painting!
Ooh and I forgot to mention the giveaway to win an “Amelia” name plaque on my Facebook Page. So if you have an Amelia in your life, get over there before Midnight on 27th September and you could be in with a chance!
****This blog post has been brought to you by strong tea, chocolate digestives and junior calpol.****
A few things have sparked off this blog post: The Summer Holidays are imminent, some schools have already broken up. Ours break up tomorrow.
Yey! School’s out for Summer! Does that fill you with dread, or delight or a bit of both? For me its a bit of both. Here in Derbyshire I have 6 weeks stretching ahead of us. I down tools at Popsyclunk during this time, but in the time I grab at night when the kids are in bed, I am plotting and planning where I am going to take my business come September when I have both children at full time school. By day I am busy entertaining the little ones. Filling those days, sometimes with exciting trips out, ice cream, and their favourite thing, “making” as they put it. This of course has to be balanced with food shopping, housework and other chores, at which time they have to muck in or chill out with a bit of TV down time. ( I never thought Id stick the TV on to be a bit of a babysitter while I hoover the whole house in 2 mins flat). My eldest daughter wakes up (6.30am is a lie in!) , has a wee, asks for sellotape (other brands of sticky tape are available). I love this in her, she loves being creative and I think that she sees my passion for Popsyclunk and all that goes with it as an inspiration for her to follow. I hope she knows that by being a work at home mum, it is possible to shape your own destiny and in my case follow my creative passion while running a home and a family. It’s not easy, and sometimes there seems to be not enough hours in the day. The 6 week summer holidays do slightly scare me. Im still taking orders but not making orders until September. I will be earning less but possibly needing to spend more. At the same time though I think of memories of my own childhood summers ; Playing dominoes with my Nottingham Grandpa for a prize of 2p’s and 1p’s; The smell of Fish and Chips at my Stafford Grandpa’s with the familiar pattern of the blue and white plates at their house; nettle stings on bare legs with a dock leaf to soothe it; blue ice poles; strawberry sauce; wicked thunderstorms; dressing up the dog; feeling like your childhood would last forever.
So I think what I am trying to say is that I am going to grasp these summer holidays with both hands, arm in arm with my family, friends and the kids themselves, I’m going to try my hardest so make sure that these little people have times that give them a happy heart. I know there are going to be supermarket tantrums (thats just me) and frustrations, but I’m hoping for some warm balmy days, the smell of freshly cut grass, being carried up to bed half asleep, “fresh air tired” and a day that you want to last forever. I’m going to blog, partly to keep you up to date with what we do, with any ideas worth sharing and hopefully to keep me sane.
I won a wonderful print last week from Becky Bettesworth with the words “Enjoy Today” and that is what we plan to do. I am also going to run a little competition where you can share your favourite summer memories on my Popsyclunk Facebook page. I’m still trying to decide the prize for my favourite favourite – if that makes sense! A voucher towards a memory box maybe, to fill with all these memories! Watch this space….!
This month I completed a bespoke order for a customer who wanted a larger size wooden memory box than those I currently offered. It was so successful I am now offering this size wooden memory box.
This memory and keepsake box is made from pine and has a hinged lid. The grain shows through the painted design which gives a lovely effect. The box is hand painted and then finished with a wipeable clear gloss.
The new size of the box is 27cm x 27cm x 14cm so is quite deep and perfect for not only new baby keepsakes but also mementoes of a child’s life as they grow up.
The price starts at £52.00 and the price is dependant on the amount of detail you would like. As always my trademark Popsyclunk wooden letters are added to personalise your memory box.
This “Chloe” box was for local collection, so I am yet to send one in the post. I can confirm at time of order but I expect UK P&P to be around £10-15
Please enquire through the contact form if you are interested in ordering a memory box or any other Popsyclunk personalised product. I have slots from mid April onwards and my lead in time from then will be around 3 weeks.
A belated Happy New Year to everyone. So far in January I have been birthday planning and children’s party making, nursing poorly little people and also planning for the year to come in Popsyclunk. Exciting times as I can show you this lovely rose design on a wooden name plaque I made for baby Rosie. I have also got a few new product designs in the pipeline. Aside from my popular bespoke wooden memory boxes, I have an idea to use boxes of a different kind which could be used as wedding props with a hidden use, to complement your wedding day! If you are getting married this summer why not contact me and I might be able to share this idea for your wedding day and I’ll be offering the new product at a reduced price to the a pair of guineapigs who gets in touch via my website. The catch? Just allow me to use photos of the product for Popsyclunk. If you are interested and particularly if you are planning a handmade wedding, please get in touch!! If there’s a few people that get in touch then I may have to draw someone out of a (top) hat!