Friday, 5 December 2014

The possible demise of my digi-tutorials

Unfortunately, due to new EU rules about VAT (a form of sales tax) on digital downloads that come into force on 1st January 2015, I may have to stop selling my digital downloads

The EU, in all its wisdom, has decided to change in which country VAT is applied to a digital download. Instead of being in the country of sale as it is now, it will be the country of purchase. That means I have to add VAT to every European digital sale I make from the 1st January. As each EU country has a different VAT rate, the rates vary from 15% to 27%. The appropriate amount has to be added to each EU sale. We also have to keep details of every sale for 10 years and keep records to prove that we have or have not sold to an EU country.


As you can probably tell, this is going to be a major chore for a tiny, one woman business.

What's more, whereas in the UK we have the protection of an £81,000 threshold before we have to register for VAT, the new rules mean that anyone selling even 1 penny's worth of digital download is liable to pay VAT in the country of sale. We have to register for VAT on an HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) website (or, alternatively, every one of the 28 EU states) and send in four VAT returns every year. It applies to crafters, artists, musicians, authors, app writers, broadcasters, suppliers of telecommunications and electronic services, big businesses, small businesses. It also applies to anyone in the world who is selling digi-downloads - not just EU sellers. If you sell digi then you're caught.


It's big, it's scary, it's a mess. Anyone on Twitter can follow the scared and angry tweets of loads of tiny businesses who have been caught up in this by using the hashtags #VATMOSS or #VATMESS. I am part of a group on Facebook that has been pushing for changes to these new laws to protect tiny businesses. We are writing to members of Parliament, members of the European Parliament, the media, supporters of small business and anyone else we think may be able to help. Whether it will help is another matter.

I have already seen posts by many crafters who sell tutorials and digital collage sheets saying they will have to close up shop or stop selling to the EU altogether because of this. At the least it means price rises. Budding starts ups wont even get off the ground. It is too complex for many cottage industries and tiny businesses to cope with and I do not think the EU has thought this through at all.



In my case what it comes down to is what Etsy chooses to do about the new legislation. They are supposed to collect the VAT instead of leaving it to the seller. Sadly they have not made an announcement about what they are going to do yet. If Etsy does not step up then I will have to stop selling the downloads. Digital downloads were meant to be a new arm to my business. Instead it has become a nightmare.

So this post is really a plea. If you fancy one of my digital tutorials then I suggest you grab it now. I do not want to put pressure on my customers and followers at all. I always appreciate every sale I make. I just want you to know that if you fancied trying out some of my techniques then it is possible that they won't be there for long. 


You can find the tutorials in my Etsy store.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Beaded snowflakes

In my moments of internet surfing I came across this really nice tutorial for making beaded snowflakes. With the festive season just around the corner - and hopefully lots of snow - I thought I'd make one or two. Great for sticking on greetings cards, adding to packaging or hanging from the Christmas tree.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Tudor inspiration

I was watching the craft channel the other week when I saw a sparkly, pretty thing. It was a jewellery kit by Kleshna. As I have mentioned before, I don't wear much jewellery but this appealed to me. It reminded me of all things Tudor, like something Queen Elizabeth I would have worn. Having purchased a kit and made my first necklace I wanted to try other colour combinations. My first was gold and green then I made pendants in wine and cream and purples.


I made the gold and green one into a proper pendant with a silk cord and tassel.

 

I am sure there will be more of these. They're simple to do and the components are readily available. That's always good when you've learned a new skill and want to recreate it. The real problem is coming up with things to use them for.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Another new tutorial

Yes, another new tutorial on Etsy. This time it is for chunky paper beads. The beads are made from scraps of watercolour paper, are really simple to make and unusual to use in jewellery making or other crafts.



I am really enjoying writing these tutorials. I never saw myself as a teacher but I have so many little ideas for making simple things, particularly out of paper. It is really lovely to know that people want to find out about the projects.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

New samples

These are just the cutest sewing project I have come across. Everyone knows I like a spot of history but it's mainly ancient history. These, however, are reproductions of Victorian pincushions. They are new kits from Gina-B Silkwork and would make stunning Christmas decorations for the tree. Card templates, fabric, beads and pins to name a few of the items you will find in the kits. They make up really quickly too which was a surprise. I had to wrestle my Mum to get them back after I showed her. I should just get her a kit and she could make her own.





Friday, 24 October 2014

Embroidery - again

I signed up for another embroidery course. Two actually - this time courses that are a bit more straight forward. Craftsy were having a sale, you see, and I just HAD to take advantage of it. Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery is the first course. I signed up for the Mastered course a few months back and while it is very good (high quality with great lessons and helpful people) it is a little less about the stitches than I was hoping for. So far Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery is hitting the spot. It is giving me the tools I was looking for - the stitches, from basic to advanced, and the inspiration to keep going with needle and thread. Once I have finished it I will go back to Mastered and finish what I was doing there. 


I have actually been so inspired that I can't stop myself from embroidering. I started practising stitches just for fun on scrap bits of fabric. It turns out that these scraps are called doodle cloths which I think is a great name. It really is just like doodling - shutting your mind off and randomly drawing with thread on fabric.


Stupendous Stitching: Adventures in Surface Design is the second course I signed up for. It is all sewing machine related and encourages you to try out all the decorative stitches you have on your sewing machine. Unfortunately I have a sewing machine that only does straight stitch, zigzag and buttonholes. You can't even change the stitch width or length. And I hate it! It grunts and snorts and rumbles and rattles - even after I have put in a new needle. It has to go. So, come Christmas, I am hoping to get a sparkly new machine, one that does a few decorative stitches. That is when the course comes in to play. Definitely something to look forward to.

And one final piece of embroidery is my stumpwork butterfly. I started it about a year ago and only just got around to finishing it. I'm not totally happy with the stitch work but as it was my first butterfly I'm sure it will get better over time.


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Cute little box

I picked some plain boxes up from the craft centre a few weeks ago. They are nice and chunky and open to so much creativity. This is the first of the ones I have decorated. Wrapped in paper, touched up with ink, a couple of decorative buttons and a tiny tassel on a cord.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

I'm on a roll!

My second downloadable tutorial is ready! Hooray! It seems I am on a roll. I had been struggling for months trying to get one done then I get two finished and a third written in one week.

This tutorial is for making paper jewellery components that I call Paper Pebbles. You can turn them into pendants, earrings, rings or brooches. You can even add them to scrapbook pages or cards if you want. I love the feel of them in my fingers. They are rounded and smooth - just like a pebble found on the beach - which is why I call them paper pebbles.


Here is a photo of some of the things I have made with the pebbles. They are very versatile, addictive to make and use watercolour paper, glue and some sanding skills. I hope they will inspire some people to create something a little different.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Tutorials!

I have started selling downloadable tutorials on Etsy! Yes, I have caught my fear by the tail, given it a shake and told it I was going to give this a go. Having been asked a couple of times in recent months to write tutorials for publications. So I thought I had nothing to loose in selling digital downloads of some of my paper jewellery ideas. I really hope people enjoy them. Personally, I have spent a small fortune on digital downloads for a variety of crafts and always enjoy learning new things from them. I would love to think that people are inspired by what I show them - and that I show them in a clear manner that makes it easy for them to learn.

The first digital download is for a Paper Bracelet Cuff. It is simple and uses watercolour paper, glue and some pretty papers to make a lightweight but sturdy and interesting item of jewellery.


My next download, which I hope will be up very soon (but I will keep you up to date here about that), is for paper jewellery components I call Paper Pebbles. After that I have another tutorial in my head. I just have to sit down and write it out. Who knows where this will go but I have enjoyed producing them. I hope people will enjoy playing with them just as much.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Buttons and beads

I've been re-inspired by buttons this week. Back in 2011 I first got into making thread wrapped buttons and use them often in many of my crafts. This week I bought a bunch of perle cotton thread in size 8. They are fabulous for wrapping buttons - fine and silky, they give a lovely finish. I even made some Scottish saltire buttons.



I also bought a lovely little downloadable tutorial for quilted beads from Victoria Gertenbach earlier this year and have been making up a few beads. Although she uses quilting fabric and batting to make her beads I have made most of mine using wool felt. They are so simple to make using offcuts of fabric, you can decorate them in numerous ways and use them in all kinds of craft. You can never have too many beads. But then I'm a beadaholic and I would say that.