Welcome to my blog

Welcome to Fresh on Folksy, a place for me to shout about all the wonderful and inspirational handmade goods from the creative makers selling on Folksy. There is no favouritism or any kick backs, it's simply things I find on Folksy that I like and would part money with. Some will be new goods and some will be older but all will have some element of creative genius.

Here's to all those makers, to all those who strive to create wondrous things from nothing, here's to all those who bring a little whimsy into our lives, they should be celebrated and commended.

I myself, peddle my wares on Folksy, you can find me lurking over at Ed's Place come over and say hello if you get a moment.

So as not to confuse anyone or mislead I would like to point out that I do not work for Folksy or have any affiliation with Folksy. I do what I do simply to promote the Folksy sellers and by definition Folksy itself. The views expressed on this blog are mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Retro Kitchen Art Print - Vintage Coffee Pot


This image appeals to me on lots of levels, love the colours, love the mid 19c styling and I would love a coffee pot just like this one. I have just started collecting Hornsea Pottery (well I have one piece but I intent to get more, donations very much welcome ;) and although this isn't Hornsea it would be very welcome in my house. Visit Jill Adam's shop for more great retro illustrations.

Chickens


It's all about the quality of the line. This particularly delightful image could translate well from a drawing into stitch or wirework but the simplicity of it is it's beauty.

Peas in a Pod paper cut


One of a series of four lovely paper cut pictures. I can see all four sitting nicely on the wall in a row, like a gaggle(?) of colourful soldiers standing to attention waiting to be adored.

Personalised Baby Print - Big Panda


I think this gentle giant looking over you as you're dropping off to sleep would make you feel quite safe and snug. It's a shame there's only 1 item in their shop although this does come in various colours and as the title suggests, you can personalise the name. 

Orange and Green Vintage Paper Bunting


I love the patterns on this paper bunting, it's the sort of thing you could have up all year round without it looking like a kids birthday party every day. There's plenty more lovely things too in Catherine's shop, all paper based and each one has some sort of vintage style pattern somewhere, lovely. 

LetterLove Postcard


I love the simple sentiment of this postcard, all too often we get wrapped up with email and instant messaging. We forget that it's a joy to get mail through the post, it might be old fashioned but it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Hannah's got a great style going, this postcard is just the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at her shop and her website, both are rather nice.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Modplants - print


I have a certain penchant for mid century style artwork and this print is heavily influenced by that period. Apparently, it was also available as a cushion but it must be sold now because I can't find it in the shop (on Folksy of course). No matter, I do love the print.

Classic Clockwork Orange T-Shirt


Thirteen quid.... THIRTEEN QUID! That's all this cool 100% cotton T shirt will set you back. It comes in a range of four colours (red, orange, white and black) and is available in all sizes for both men and women. Iconic image with a hand drawn finish, me likes a lot.

'Plan B' Recycled Skateboard Dogtags


These little bits of wood have worked hard for their existence, surely they deserve a good home to retire to. I know teens can be tough to buy for at Christmas but this would light up the eyes of any skate obsessed young whipper snapper. I might even buy them myself, best be quick...

Three Birds Original Lino Print-Red and Teal


I think you guys know me well enough now and should know I have a little obsession with all types of print, lino included. This is a beauty and in two of my most favouritist colours too. Check out Mangle prints Folksy shop, there's some amazingly intricate lino prints, delightful indeed.

Functional Man Typewriter Key Cufflinks



More cool cufflinks I can't wear (only because I am more of a jeans and sweatshirt kind of guy). There's something double entendre about these little babys, "ooo I could do with a margin release", or "hello darling, had a nice day at work, fancy a back spacer?" Or that could just be me...





Afternoon peeps and welcome to a brand new feature on Fresh on Folksy, it's called creative hero. This is really my excuse to throw in some arty bits and pieces and go slightly off beat from the Folksy promotion work, forgive me. It does also serve to hopefully inspire one or two of you, to show you the bounds of creativity and in some cases to question your own creative perspective, which is almost always useful.

For the very first creative hero slot, allow me to introduce to you (I know many of you will know about this guy) David Mach, sculptor and artist. David Mach uses found, everyday objects to sculpt with. I'm not going to delve deeply into the psyche of the man as there is much to be read on the beloved internet (David Mach). I am in deep awe of a guy who can see so exquisitely in three dimensions. I don't really know much about how he creates, the processes involved in his creations, I mostly care about the end product and how amazing it is, in my opinion. So, without further ado, I give you the work of David Mach:

Polaris - 6000 tyres

Elvis - Painted matchsticks

Close to the Bone - Painted matchsticks

Fuel to the Fire - Truck, cars, various everyday objects swept along by 100 tons of magazines

Train - bricks

Wild Thing - Coat hangers (unbelievably)

Gorilla - coat hangers

These are a few of my faves and the Polaris sculpture (not one of my faves) is one of his earliest pieces. I do urge you to find out more about David Mach and his amazing work. 

Now that I have managed to distract you from your work for five minutes it's back to the grind stone for you I'm afraid. Don't blame me, blame your boss, and if you're the boss then you can afford yourself a little wry smile that no one is going to shout at you.

Ed x

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Mid week day off.... yippee!

Good morning folks
After a very late night and an early morning I have managed to meet my deadlines and best of all, the people I work for seem to be smiling this morning. This all means I get to have a mid week day off. So what to do with this unexpected pleasure? Scrape the inside of the oven clean, um no, cut the forest of grass which has sprung up in the garden, not even close. I am going to do... well not much actually, it's going to be one of those slow meandering days where there's no plans, it just sort of happens. Hot homemade soup for lunch with some crusty bread is the only plan I have. Have a great Wednesday, even if you don't have it to yourself like me. Oh and enjoy my latest picks from the wonderful sellers of Folksy.
Ed x

Accordion and Lion - Original Screen-print


This little musical lion looks very content in his chosen profession. This 10cm x 14cm screen print is one of only 14 to be pulled and it's signed so you may well have a great investment on your hands.

Set of 4 little gift boxes


Nice whimsical style going on here, I can see these sat very happily under the Christmas tree this year and then in the New Year it's a flea circus for me I think, the infrastructure is all in place now.

'Blood Bath' bubble bath


This one may have been better served up over the Halloween period but I can see some young boys (and some girls) eyes light up finding this in their stockings. Luckily, it has a cherry scent so once it's out of the fab packaging it's just like any other bubble bath. It's even safe for those who have sensitive skin and ethical enough for all you vegans out there.

Mr Blue Bird original screen print


Finished my work and met my deadlines at 7.30am this morning after a very late (11.40pm) finish last night and I am free as a bird for the rest of the day so this is how it feels to be me this morning. Wonderful screen print, which makes me smile :)

Hand Blown Glass Bauble


I wish, I wish I had enough money to be able to start an heirloom set of Christmas decs, these would be in the box for sure. Where can you get colours like this on the high street, nowhere, that's where. There's plenty more colours to choose from too in Corrina's shop.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Glasgow District Subway


Who would have thought that a public transport system would provide the basis for such a wonderful piece of illustration. I've seen the London tube map as art but not Glasgow, to be honest I didn't even know Glasgow had an underground system. I looks pretty iconic to me, bravo Breuk.

Wine barrel oak coat rack


I love the idea of pieces of furniture (big and small) having a story to tell or some distinct history and this one definitely has a back story, I can almost smell the history in this rack, a mixture of mature red wine with mature old wood, two of my favourite smells. The only smell missing is a deliciously mature cheese but that wouldn't work so well in my opinion.

Comedy Fun Glasses (Vinyl Decals)


I think you could have quite a bit of fun with these as a kid. Put them on a mirror or on the patio doors and turn yourself into a mini Tom Cruise. Come to think of it, Tom Cruise is quite mini anyway so I would imagine these are life size. Great fun idea though, I like.

Rox stacking game


This game seems to defy gravity, I would like to think I could get the blocks to balance even after a few crafty scoops but I'm not sure it's that easy. It's like normal building blocks but for the mentally obtuse. I'm not sure why but I just like looking at the stacked blocks.

Eastbourne Pier - Original Embroidered Textile Art Canvas



I think this piece by Gillian Bates is simply stunning. It's hard enough to have a beautifully loose style in traditional sketch (pen or pencil) but to achieve it in stitch takes some doing. It does make me wonder whether this was straight off the bat or there were several hundred attempts before this beauty arrived. No matter, the result is exquisite IMO.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Today's choices

Evening readers, it's late but I thought I would try to keep up the momentum with the postings.

Apologies I haven't posted as regularly this week, it's been a interesting one, we have been trying to get the house ready to be put onto the market. Officially, the house is now available to be purchased, unofficially we are in denial and refuse to acknowledge the huge list of chores still to be done. Anyway, I'm blathering (again) so without further ado, here's my picks for today, enjoy, there's some real gems in the mix
Sleep tight peeps
Ed x

Lavender rabbit in zesty orange


Mmmm smelly rabbits. I love these tight lipped rabbits and would put a smile on my face each time I open up my wardrobe in the morning to see one hanging. I'm not saying I want to hang a rabbit.... er backing away slowly from that one before I get complaints.

Library card 'save the date' cards


Although we are well and truly out of wedding season, I know how early you need to start planning and this save the date card is a unique way to organise your guests. I'm not sure I could remember the date I met my better half but these cards can be fully personalised, ingenius!

POLAROID Sun 660 Land Camera Bottle Opener Keyring


Being a self confessed Polaroid geek, this keyring come bottle opener is right up my strasse. I am putting this on my stocking filler list for sure and at £3.75 it's a snip.

Set of 3 single seedboms


I love this novel way of spreading some spring/summer colour for the lazy gardener. As packaging goes, this wins on every level, minimal, eco, and very cool.

THERE'S ALWAYS ROOM FOR ICE CREAM


I think this one was made especially for my little Gracie. No matter what she's eaten I don't think she's ever refused ice cream. It has been known when she visits nanna that ice cream has been on the menu for breakfast.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Autumn Leaf - Hand pulled screen print


These colours work for me, looking at the print makes me want to put the kettle on, put another layer on and stare out of the window until I can see the bottom of my mug again, obviously whilst consuming vast amounts of ginger biscuits in the process.

Retro wind up robots cufflinks


If ever I get back to having to wear cufflinks for functions or for work (highly unlikely these days) these would be my first pick. I used to get invited to weddings but most people know the shapes I throw on the dance floor so the invitations have sadly dried up.

Tweet Tweet Felt Gadget Sleeve


Christmas is fast approaching and I for one am on the look out for those unique gifts at affordable prices. This sleeve ticks both of those boxes. It also appears to have a very nice finish and I know a certain someone would love this.

Garnet red oversized grunge sweater


Sticking with the knitted theme and lazy Sundays, I think this sweater works. What I know about fashion (although I am no fashion slouch) can be written on a postage stamp but I know what I like to see, and I like to see this

"Pebble" Tea Cosy


Tea cosies make me think of autumnal Sunday mornings. I do like a bit of style on the table and I think this knitted cosy has it in abundance.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Imaginary London poster


I have a penchant for linocut and woodcut prints and this one particularly appeals to me. I love the composition and the colour choice. Once again, you lucky people, the print comes titled and signed and at £12.00 it's a snip for an A3 print 

Owl Deer Maybe Next Time


I love all kinds of illustration but I am really feeling Ashley's style here. There's an almost humanistic quality to the eyes especially. It almost makes me think that owls should have antlers, it looks right. This print comes signed and numbered so you might just be buying an investment.

Felt Fox Brooch


Loving the style of this fox, I can quite imagine an animated series based around the animals Stripes and Stars produce.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Memoirs of little old me

Note to self: condense and rewrite to ensure to alertness of the reader
Note to self 2: It's late, if they don't want to read it all then they don't have to


So I was wondering whilst laying awake at 3am (like most nights for past 3 years) whether I should introduce myself properly to you now that we are almost best buddies and against my better judgement I think it's a good idea. I would like this little blog I have started to be as inclusive and open as possible so I think a warts and all overview of who I am and what makes me me is in order. I'm not sure it's going to be that interesting but for those who would like to know, here goes... deep breath now.

I am and always will be slightly odd. Not odd as in I wear green pyjamas to work or eat raw beef for breakfast, in that way I am quite normal (ish). More like I feel different to everyone else around me, like I'm out of step with the vast majority. Not that I'm complaining you understand, I like it this way, it appeals. I guess my mother had a lot to do with it, she's quite left field, even now she's always on the go with some new scatterbrained idea, of course I love her deeply. My father, on the other hand, he's left field in his own way, twenty six years in the army can do that to a man. I still, to this day, look up to him.

I went to art college just as I turned sixteen, learnt how to do lots of creative things on a superficial level and enjoyed every second of it, my real taste of freedom you might say. From there I went to Poly to study furniture design. I'm not sure why I chose to specialise in furniture, perhaps I thought everyone will need a chair to sit on and bed to sleep in, even when the world goes pop. It was a real eye opener during those years, you could say I was very green when I first turned up and came out well a bit murky coloured, like when all the Plasticine gets smushed together. All the better for a few life lessons it has to be said.

A good twenty to thirty attempts at different career paths later (including barman, salesman, computer man, project manager man) I decided to go it alone and set up my own business. My thinking was that if was going to work sixteen hour days and drive all over the country I would rather be doing it to line my own pockets rather than the pockets of anonymous share holders. I set up in an annex we had in the garden (nothing grand nor fancy, it was a terraced cottage) and spent the next four years alone but extremely busy. It does send you quite mad on occasions, all that loneliness, you find yourself talking to anything that doesn't answer back. The point where it all got a bit much in that little annex was when I was asked to take photographs of the entire jarred product line of a well known supermarket, all sizes, all products, front, sides, back and top. I was then tasked to model each jar up (I work with a fairly complicated 3D CAD modelling software but it was far removed from my furniture design training) and apply all the photos to the models. I looked up from my screen at 1am to be confronted with trays of jarred product stacked so high I couldn't see any walls at all. As I recall it took me over two weeks to complete and I was paid £2000 in total. Gods knows what they did with it after that but I was asked to hand the product back (I confess, I did stick my finger in the chocolate spread jar!) and I never spoke of it again, until now.

It got a little cramped in the annex, especially when my best mate joined the company as co owner. We soon moved out and into a smashing little office, side by side fifty other creative agencies and we started to generate a real buzz. We did all sorts of work over the next few years, dabbled a bit with web design and graphics (not with much success it has to be said) until we got to a point where we felt we needed to launch our own line of products. It would be easy, design the products, get the patents, and it would be a nice little silent seller, running in the background, virtually taking care of itself. Nothing could have been further from the truth. 

And so it came to pass that we designed a great range of products designed to tackle the huge problem of waste within the exhibition industry. All of our products were made from recycled cardboard and they could in turn be recycled or pulped back into the system. We did our homework, we knew what we wanted to achieve and we succeeded in getting backing from the bank and private investors to push on and push on we did. It consumed our lives for a large chunk of four years, designing, developing and launching to market. It was well received too, we had interest from all sorts and then the orders started coming in. We had our little slice of the market well and truly sewn up, we sold a lot and I mean a lot but it never seemed to turn into hard cash, whatever came in went straight out again on development of the next phase of products. We never did get our gold plated watches or the jet packs we were promised. 

At the height of the operation we had a large order from Innocent drinks to fulfil, two articulated lorry loads to be delivered in Paris, the biggest order we had ever received! We handled the order with aplomb and everything was manufactured and delivered on time until disaster struck, there was a mix up with the artwork and the entire consignment was rejected and sent back to the UK. Now, to this day I don't know why all of it was rejected because when it came back into the UK we went over the order with a fine tooth comb and most of it was just fine. About 10% of the order was eventually consigned to the cutting room floor and we sent the remaining goods back to Paris along with the 10% reprints, all at our own cost. To cut a long story short (and this is becoming a long story in the truest sense) we ended up footing the bill and penalties and we were stung for more than we could afford.

We limped forward from then on in but you could say that was the start of the demise. Not even a `Most innovative Product for Industry` award could save us, not even our best sales figures ever could save us and the company went down one year later. Now I'm not moaning about Innocent, in fact they were very good to us in the early days but we were constantly living on the edge, we always spent any capital on further development so there was nothing left to fall back on, it was inevitable I guess you could say. All of this coincided with the biggest melt down in the economy the world had seen for almost one hundred years. I was in deep, no discernible income to speak of, the house was wrapped up in security for the company and I was in debt to the tune of a six figure sum. The better half of me was beside herself with worry and we had two young kids to feed and clothe. The calls started, pay up or else we take the house, pay up or we will send someone round to take an inventory of all your assets (laughable as we had nothing to speak of). These calls were constant, around six or seven times a day, seven days a week. We were in the middle of our very own nightmare. 

Now all of this could have and perhaps would have buried a better man than me but a second disaster struck which changed everything. I can't say in too much detail what happened because I would like to keep most of this private but a very close family member was diagnosed with a terminal illness and the focus shifted immediately to making sure my better half got through this terrible time. In the meantime we still had the calls coming in and debts were mounting. I decided (in my wisdom) to set up another company doing exactly the same thing as before but with the added bonus of no staff and very little overheads. It was a massive undertaking, new company structure, name, logo, website, sales leads, suppliers but with an almighty push and over several sleepless weeks we managed it. We were back in the game, we were taking orders again and most importantly we were making money, enough to pay the bills and clear the back log. Things weren't exactly getting any easier but we could at least put food on the table (it does sound strange saying that now but that's exactly what it came down to, putting food on the table, not luxuries or meals out). 

Our suppliers were great, they were young, enthusiastic about the products and flexible enough to work with as things changed rapidly. They then dropped a bombshell.... we've been selling your product to our customers and there's nothing you can do about it.... crushed, deflated, angry, all those applied at this moment in time. 

Panic set in, we had lost our main supplier and we had direct competition using the very same products we had designed years back. We had a European wide design registration as protection against this sort of thing, it was fairly water tight too but these things don't stop someone copying your work unless you drag them through the courts, this of course would eat up valuable time and eat money we simply didn't have. I thought I would give things one last stab before resigning myself to starting again... again. I called our suppliers with fire in my belly but luckily with a clear head. I told them all about the design registration and that they were playing with fire if they thought we were going to take this lying down. I threatened them with legal action and told them to cease all activity at once, they virtually laughed down the phone at me and then hung up, that was that then, or so I thought. The very next day they called me back and offered to buy the company, the design registration and all stock (of which they were holding). It took about a week of negotiations but we eventually sold to them. Now some of you might be thinking that was a bit weak, selling out after bully boy tactics but I didn't see it like that at the time. I saw it as a way of paying back some of the crippling debt we had inherited when the company went down. I saw it as a way of reducing the overwhelming amount of stress which had become unbearable with the calls, the lack of money and the worsening condition of a loved one and to that end it was the right decision.

During all of this, strange things started to happen. We started seeing the kids as a pleasure rather than an inconvenience, we started enjoying the outdoors more, walks in the country, picnics by the river, we even managed to bag ourselves an allotment. We worked hard at the allotment, we knew/know nothing about growing veg but we were enjoying our failures as well as our successes (failures=tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, parsnip, beetroot  successes=courgette). We saw our family life grow and develop into something we treasured and the greatest moments were quite often the simplest of things. The triumph of fixing my own washing machine, making a bed for one of our little ones, the joys of camping in a tornado (no really.... it flattened the tent entirely but luckily we were in the pub enjoying a rare pint) and the joys of home baked goods, bread especially. Our whole outlook on life had changed in the space of a year.

After a very long, valiant struggle, the inevitable happened, he died. It was a crushing blow, life again was upside down and I think to some degree it still is. Once again, it was all about survival, lurching from one day to the next, not knowing if it was one we could cope with. At this point I had decided to freelance, I wanted  to be at home to make sure things were good and if not good then better than they would be if I wasn't there. Things eventually eased, to a degree where you can think clearly again and start to see a way out, a future. 

Work was intense. I was working every hour, doubling up on jobs, tripling up if I could, I don't think I have ever worked harder. Bit by bit we started to clear the debt (at least the what was left after we spent all the income from selling the business on other debt), small bits here, larger bits there, there still is some left even now but over the course of one year we had cleared almost three quarters of what was to be paid back. I could have gone bankrupt, it was an option we discussed for a long time but they would have taken the house. 

Now bearing in mind, we had sold the terraced cottage and used a proportion of the equity to fund the failing business and moved into an even smaller terrace. It wasn't even worth fighting for, the biggest reason we fought it was that we didn't want the kids to get any grief at school and although the house was a mess when we moved in and it was beyond small for a family of four, it was ours, not theirs, ours. We hadn't wanted any of this, it was a good deal of bad luck and arguably bad judgement that led us to be in this situation. We decided we would, with all our strength fight to save the house. Over that long and arduous year of seriously hard graft, we did just that, the house is now safe and the kids have a roof over their heads for as long as we keep paying the mortgage. When we got the call that the house was no longer in danger, I secretly took myself off for a short cry, not that anyone knew.

You might think that this was all in the past, years ago and we are happily hunkered down, doing well for ourselves and a happy little family unit and to some degree we are but we only got the call about the house this summer. We still do have a hangover of debt which we are slowly but surely working off, we still live in that pokey little house we call a home (we actually do quite love this house now) and am still freelancing and working hard, admittedly not as hard as I did last year but I can't keep going at that pace. My better half has managed to carve out a lovely little sideline with her crafting (and there's the link) which pays for all the little luxuries in life. You know the kind of thing, chips and a pint in the beer garden on a Sunday, a Chinese in front of the telly box once a month and if we're really lucky a trip to the seaside when weather permits.

So there you have it, that's me in a nutshell, albeit a monumental sized nutshell, apologies for getting carried away but once I start....

Monday, 14 November 2011

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