Saturday, 2 March 2013

Spring Inspiration

I just started a colour inspiration thread over on my Ravelry group. (If you're not a member come join us). Sometimes my brain starts to run a bit empty on the colours I want to use, and I love taking inspiration from pictures, so thought I'd ask others to see what they like.

My friend Katherine posted this picture

Isn't it gorgeous? It's one of her bees drinking nectar from some early spring flowers. The bees are just starting to come out again after the cold winter. In sunny weather like we have today our hives are buzzing away like crazy, and the bees are heading off foraging, even at this time of year they can usually find something that's flowering. That's partly why it's really important we plant a variety of things in our garden, at this time of year the bees need a source of food, they're run down after the winter, and are possibly at their most vulnerable. This blogpost highlights exactly what we should be growing. 

I chose to pull out the colour at the tips of the unopened buds, I took a pale yellow, a pale green, and some white, and added a sprinkle of pink angelina.

It's a bit more obvious in this photo

Perfect for spring spinning.

There are still a few batts left in the shop from last night's update, but most of them sold really quickly, if you want to get an email in your inbox when I do updates in the future the mailing list signup is over on the right sidebar.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Plastic Fantastic

This weekend at Unravel I was trying out a new device.
It's a way of taking card payments, using my iPad. Conventional card terminals that you get in shops don't work out to be very cost effective for small businesses like me. I do less than 6 shows a year, and go months during the winter where I do no shows at all, if you have a conventional card terminal you're stuck with paying rental agreements, and contacts involving set fees.

This however, changes all that, there's no hire fee, no monthly cost, and it means I can accept cards for pretty much the same fee as it costs me to take a payment using paypal.

It's a chip and pin reader that connects to my iPad using bluetooth, and then processes payments just like a regular card terminal. 

I use the iPad to key in the amount, the card slots in the bottom of the reader, you enter your pin to authorise the payment, the iPad talks to your bank over a 3G signal, just like a regular mobile card terminal, and it's as simple as that. 

I used the chip and signature version at Unravel, and it worked flawlessly. I picked iZettle because they were one of the first options available in the UK, but there's more companies offering this sort of device all the time. I know quite a few fellow indie dyers and fibre artists have one, or are getting one, so I think it's going to be a pretty common sight at UK festivals this year. It's just as secure as using a regular mobile card terminal like this one, but an awful lot cheaper for a small business like me. 

I'd always rather take payments in cash as there's no fee for me to pay cash in at my bank, but if you are coming to a show, and would rather pay for something by card, you do now have that option. 

Oh, and just so this isn't an all shop talk post, here's a chicken picture!

They spotted me head outside to take pictures of my new toy, and headed over to check if I had any food. As soon as they realised I hadn't they resumed digging up the vegetable beds. For little birds they manage to send soil flying everywhere as you can see in the blur of dirt and feathers!

A shop update with lots of batts is on it's way tomorrow, and I'll be putting up pre-orders for my Odin's Ravens colourways as well.