This is the year penguins will fly.

Posts tagged “work

The Best Summer So Far

Yesterday was my last shift at what is definitely the best job I’ve ever had. I’ve been working as a presenter at ZSL London Zoo over the summer and it’s been the best summer ever.

Every day I was surrounded by incredible animals, I was constantly learning new, amazing things (which often meant getting close to the animals) and genuinely looked forward to work everyday. Sure parts of the job we’re hard work and stressful but it was always well worth it.

I’m going to miss seeing all the animals and people i met everyday and being able to share how awesome nature is with everyone but fingers crossed I can go back next summer!

But now it’s time to find a job over the winter, I have a few possibilities which would actually give me a lot more time to focus on The Penguin Theory, hopefully I can ace the interviews!

I’ve been playing with lots of ideas for new products and lines, but nothing has been finalised. I plan to work hard over the next few weeks to make lots of items for my Etsy shop and also for craft fairs! It’s time to get busy so expect lots more updates shortly! Keep an eye out for some brand new photography of some cute baby animals coming up shortly!

Claire x


The Importance of Understanding your Camera and Sloth Babies!

I’ve always had real trouble with photography in low light situations and always blamed it on my old camera, plus they always say that light is a photographers best friend! But sometimes good lighting is just not possible, especially when not based in a studio.

I recently took my camera to work with me to take pictures of all the cute baby animals we have running around at the moment. I was getting quite frustrated at my camera not being able to cope with the light levels in the perfectly lit room, no matter how much I changed my shutter speed and aperture I just couldn’t get a clear, well lit photograph of the sloth and its baby (see attempts below). But there was an old gentleman, and regular at the zoo, who then told me about ISO.

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Both unfortunately blurry and dark. 

I had heard of ISO but had always thought that it would seriously reduce the quality of my photographs, something which is of course true if you’re not using it properly, as I wasn’t. After hearing his brief explanation I decided to change my settings and finally got some good photographs! I just wish i’d played with it earlier on in the day.

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I did get a couple of good shots on a low ISO

Well since that day I’ve done a bit of research into ISO so I can learn exactly what it is and how to use it.

So what exactly is ISO?

ISO is the speed of the film, not to be confused with frame rate but instead it’s how sensitive the film would be to light. So a Low ISO would correspond to an insensitive film that would require more light to create a good quality image, whereas a High ISO would be a far more sensitive film needing less light for the same image quality. But even though you may need a higher ISO in certain situations, the higher ISO does also create grainier images and so it is best to keep the ISO as low as possible for the shot.

Of course if using a Tripod for a still subject it would be fine to use the lowest ISO possible, but for handheld camera work and moving objects it’s best to experiment to find the perfect balance between brightness and noise in the photograph.

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It really is so important to understand all the workings of your camera, I’ve had mine for nearly 7 years and I’m only just learning how to really get the most out of it! I plan to carry on learning about all aspects of photography and hopefully it will improve my photographs, in fact i think it already is!

But it’s not only understanding your camera, it’s also understanding your subject so I also plan to study the animals i’m wanting to take photographs of as well. There’s not all that much known about sloth babies, as they have about an 80% mortality rate in just the first week of being born, and a lot of that percentage is from the mother dropping them! I believe this is the first sloth baby in our zoo for around 50 years. So not only is the sloth baby proving to be vital research for myself into the animal kingdom, but also for the keepers who are learning new things about how they develop, grow and learn too! It’s all very exciting.

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I plan to take my camera to work again very soon and experiment more with the ISO settings, plus i want to get even more adorable photographs of various animals!

Claire x


Wild Job, Wild Nails

I’ve finally got myself a new job (although only temporarily) and am now working at London Zoo! I’ve only had a few shifts but it’s amazing. Everyone is so friendly and happy, plus I get to be around animals all day long and really spread the word about conservation and protecting the animals we have in the world today! It really is a dream come true!

It’s been in the news recently that the Female Sumatran Tiger has had 3 cubs, I haven’t managed to catch a glimpse of them yet, but hopefully soon I can,  you can follow their progress on London Zoos facebook page and their youtube.

To celebrate the new job, where I’m allowed nail polish, my nails can actually grow, and the arrival of the new cubs I decided to paint my nails!

Tiger Themed of course!

They came out so well! I’m super proud of myself. Last time I went to London zoo as a customer (for zoo lates which is awesome by the way) I also painted my nails ‘big cat’ themed with these leopard nails.

 

Unfortunately I still work at the pub on thursdays and I’m only at the Zoo for the summer (fingers crossed they take me back next year!) but i’m so so happy with my new job and just know I’m going to love every minute of it!

I’m afraid there might not be many crafty updates for a little while as I have a lot of scripts to learn (I am one of the presenters for the animal talks) and all my spare time is spent reading lines. But do not fear! I have loads of projects in mind, both sewn and photographed. Until then I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite pictures from the zoo so far!

I treated myself to a cool keyring for getting the job.

Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches are so much cooler than most people think.

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Two of my colleagues demonstrating one of the talks. Yes I get to feed giraffes by hand.

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A Sloth out for a morning stroll.


Exciting Things Ahead

I’m sorry for my absence recently, it has become a little intense on my end! A few people left the pub I work at and, with it all ready being understaffed (especially in the kitchen) i’m suddenly roped into 6 day weeks with over 60 hours. As you can imagine it’s not leaving much time for Penguin Theory-ing.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel as my life is soon to take on a drastic change!

I have somehow managed to bag myself a job and London Zoo! I’m so excited as I seriously love animals (if you hadn’t noticed from reading my blog) and I will be earning more than I do now with a job I just know I’m going to love! Plus I’ll have more time for Penguin Theory as I will be working less hours also. I seriously cannot wait to start! I wish it could be now! It’s shame it’s just a summer job for now, but I plan to work hard and really try to impress.

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I couldn’t resist a penguin selfie.

I am also still owed a lot of holiday from the pub job and so I have next week off (I only found out a couple of days ago!). I will be using that time to catch up with my 365 project posts and making lots of new items for my shop as well as starting some new exciting projects.

A project I really cant wait to start is this gorgeous coat, I won the pattern from an excellent blog: Custom Style . Thank’s Brooke! I can’t wait to get stuck in! I have so many ideas for the fabric choices but just need to buy some fabric large enough. I think this will also be the first project i make a mock-up of first so I need to get some muslin too. Unfortunately I might have to wait for my new job to be able to afford it as the current one (even with all these extra hours) only just covers my rent and other expenses.

By the way brooke, your handwriting is so pretty!

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I also have some very big plans for my photography and will be going on lots of adventures with my camera during the next week, and not just taking photo’s of nature but also getting back into longboarding and other sports.

I’ve already entered the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (just before the deadline!) although i wish i’d had more time to really explore and take more photographs, I still think I might have some good contenders entered but I’m just happy that i’ve at least tried. Fingers crossed!

I really can’t wait for this next month, it’s going to be amazing. As cheesy as it sounds, i feel like it’s the start of the life I’ve always wanted and I couldn’t be happier! Bring on the rest of 2014! 😀

Claire x


365 project – Days 27 to 32

On the 27th I finally finished this tie I’d had in mind for far too long and I love it! It’s already available on my etsy here

On the 28th I opened the kitchen for the second time ever and first time on my own (5am starts! Ouch!) but as I was lighting the grill I noticed it looked kinda pretty. Obviously being at work I only had my phone on me, but the picture still came out pretty cool…or should I say hot 😉

On the 29th I was playing with this adorable fabric! I think I have to buy more soon!

On the 30th I dressed up all Chinese style for a photoshoot to celebrate the new year! Ok, so I didn’t actually take these photo’s but I did think of the concept, the styling, modelled and directed the shoot so I think it still counts. You can find the post I wrote here

I did actually take a photo myself on this day (sort of, it was after midnight but I was only just leaving work and hadn’t slept yet so I guess it counts). The weather was super foggy and looked awesome so I just couldn’t resist!

The 31st I had finished the adorable-fabric skirt and it really is cute! I took some bad phone photo’s as my camera’s battery had died and I’d lost the charger! Oops! Lots of photo editing later and you can find the skirt in my shop here

On the first (wow February already!) I had my last day of work for two weeks! Yey for being owed holiday! I also went and bought a new charger as I will be needing my Camera on Sunday! This charger not only charges my old styled DSLR battery (my camera is a very old model) but also AA, AAA (etc.), newer camera batteries, phones and has a car adapter! It’s going to be perfect for holidaying!

Today is Sunday and I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for the photo as I’m probably out and about taking it! I’m  adventuring to the centre of London for the Chinese New Year celebrations and hoping to get a few really good shots! I’ll definitely update with a blog post when i’m back and the photo’s are fully edited so keep your eyes peeled!

What have you been celebrating this week?

Claire xx


365 Project – Days 21 – 27

Jan the 20th saw me excited over my work week. No closes? No finishing work at 1 or 2am? Actually on morning shifts for once? Definitely something I am rarely treated too.

On the 21st i must have moisturised my hands constantly. My mum bought me this hand cream from Avon as my job was making my hands very sore. It works wonders! I accidentally made the photo purple, I guess that will teach me from looking at the filters in bad lighting. oops!

On the 22nd we finally got news back from our old tenancy! We had to take legal action as our landlord was demanding to take more money off us than our deposit, but he was a big, fat liar and we got all our money back! It’s a shame it’s all gone on rent we owe for the current place and so we’re still as poor as ever, but such a relief to finally have it sorted! Plus it was right before staff party which meant I could enjoy myself without worrying too much.

On the 23rd Ash and I went to a little cafe for breakfast burgers to recover from the night before. They were delicious and our drinks even came with cute heart and triangle ice cubes! It was nice to get out of the house together on a (sort of) date as it’s something we haven’t done for ages due to lack of time and money. We’re hoping to start where we left off from with our Alphabet dating series soon. I can’t wait!

On the 24th I FINALLY finished a project! I’d planned out this tie for a while and now it’s done. It should be up in my shop shortly. Still many more half done, or not even started, projects to go though…

Yesterday I had a catch up with my sister over a cuppa tea and murder she wrote! We then went to IKEA to get her some items and I somehow came back with a car full! Oops!

Today was my first official ‘Crafternoon Tea’ with a good friend. She brought some tiny sandwiches, scones and cheese and biscuits. I made some soup. Then we crafted all afternoon with a cup of tea in hand! She made a big cushion cover and I made good progress on a dress I started in the summer!

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Sorry they are all phone pictures this week. It’s been a bit hectic socially. Next week i will definitely try to take more with my big camera. (one week i might actually stick to it!)

Until then stick around for more sewing, products and some hopefully awesome photography.

Claire x


365 Project – Days 14 to 20

Jan 13th saw a 12 hour shift in the kitchen. Ouch. But hot chocolate with marshmallows made up for it 🙂

Jan 14th saw another 12 hour kitchen shift (double ouch!) plus I wasn’t very well, but my sweet tooth saved the day again as I spoilt myself with yoghurt. I always view yoghurts as a special treat as I very rarely buy them to try and save a bit of money, I seriously love them though, possibly even more than chocolate!!

Jan 15th I still wasn’t very well and took the day off work (I was meant to be on another terribly long shift). By the evening I was starting to feel better and so treated myself to Chinese with the housemates whilst watching films.

I spent most of the 16th playing League of Legends with my housemates. It’s super fun, although quite complicated and stressful at times, but i think i’m starting to pick it up now and am not completely rubbish.

on the 17th I took all the ingredients for a chicken wrap to work with me. Unfortunately I completely failed in making the wrap somehow, but my kitchen friend came to the rescue. Yum!

On the 18th I decided it was a good day to show off my window. I love this window and it’s view. It makes me smile every morning!

Last night I took this picture of my Fish lights. It was after midnight and so it counts as the 19th 😛 My sister got these as a present years ago as I’ve always been obsessed with the sea, they fitted in with my ‘under the sea’ themed room and now I have them strung up on the partition in the middle of my bedroom. I think they’re awesome.

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Next week is a lot nicer shift wise and I plan to do a lot of sewing and adventuring!

Claire x


365 project – Days 7 to 13

January 6th saw me finally decide on the final packaging for my products and I took many pictures of my new, pretty packaging before sending off my parcels to their new owners!

Jan 7th I spent the whole day organising my deadlines for things I want to make, blogs I want write and other boring admin things.

Jan 8th I watched Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Zoo Quest’ from back when TVs were in black and white and David was handsomely wandering madagascar in a pair of converse. Of course i got a lot of sewing done as well.

Jan 9th I went to Alexandra Palace to try and shoot my own nature documentary of sorts, unfortunately the creatures I wanted were not to be found and so I got Ash to take a few photographs of a new product I was wearing instead. Whilst we were there we saw this man ecstatic to be feeding pigeons. His enjoyment was contagious and I couldn’t resist a few snaps of him.

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On the 10th I had a horrible headache (probably from not sleeping enough) and just climbed into bed as soon as I was home from work.

On the 11th a friend who has moved to Denmark was back for the weekend and had a gathering. Unfortunately I had to leave early for work (the story of my life!) but at least my shift wasn’t too bad.

Today, Jan 12th, I have again been mainly organising and watching nature documentarys. But I did make a delicious stew type thing in my slow cooker! It’s a shame it came out extremely watery, but tasted nice enough.

Next week is horrendous shift wise at work, but hopefully I can still keep up with some daily photo’s, even if they’re just from my phone.

Have Fun!

Claire x


New Year, New Start.

I know this is something which is said every year, but for the first time I feel like it is actually true for me.

This year will be so much bigger and better than last year and it really will be a new start! I’ve just moved house, far bigger and better than the last place and I actually have a place I can call an office (I will have to take photographs soon!). After 2 years I finally seem to have a way out of the day job, which was only meant to be temporary in the first place, and seem to have bagged a job which actually excites me and makes me happy to go to work. And I’m more determined than ever to make The Penguin Theory a success.

Last year i’m afraid I only managed to reach one of my goals, but luckily I think that goal will be crucial for success this year. I am finally a lot more organised than I’ve ever been in my life, keeping to deadlines, sorting out paperwork, keeping notes in my diary. There is still a lot of improvement to be done but i don’t think myself or my family have ever seen or expected me to be quite so diligent.

I thought I should have some goals for this year as well, but this time maybe actually manage more than one. I decided to narrow it down to 5 big goals of things that definitely have to happen.

1) Make The Penguin Theory more successful 

Regularly update my blog and other social media. make an item and/or go on a photography adventure every week. Make more sales on Etsy and at craft fairs. I don’t have to be living off it (although that would be nice) but i definitely want to make visible progress.

2) Get a Job I actually enjoy

I need a day job to fund my penguin theory adventures (unfortunately) but whilst I can’t survive of The Penguin Theory for the moment, I should at least be in a job I enjoy. My current job was never meant to be permanent and yet i’ve been there for almost two years.  It’s time to move on to something I can look forward to everyday and I think I may have already found it! A couple of months ago I worked at Legoland for a week and loved every second of it. It’s a longer commute but so much more enjoyable which makes it an obvious choice for me. Not only are the hours more regular but they’re actually during the day!  The only problem is that Legoland closes for a few months every year as a lot of the rides cannot be operated during the winter months. I am still trying to decide if I should keep the pub job for 1 day a week so that I can definitely have work in the winter or just to quit altogether and hope that I can find a temp job or make enough money through penguin theory for the winter months.

3) Go travelling

I want to go on holiday and explore somewhere I haven’t been before. In all honesty even somewhere in the UK would be fine, but it would be amazing to go abroad.

4) Enter Wildlife Photographer of the Year

It’s something I’ve always been fascinated with and in these last few months i’ve realised that I really do love to take photographs. I’ve always followed Wildlife Photographer of the Year and seen the exhibitions whenever possible. This year I’m determined to enter. It doesn’t matter if I don’t win, or even get a mention, I just need to try.  I will most definitely be viewing the exhibition at the Natural History museum this year as well.

5) Pay off Debts and Start Saving

I wont lie, the end of this year has been horrendous money wise. Ash, unfortunately, had to leave university as we couldn’t afford for him to continue and with this difficult time in the job market he had to rely on me for a few months, the problem being that minimum wage is barely enough to cover my costs. Luckily I had a lot of savings but they are completely wiped now and we’ve even had to borrow money from my mum and our housemates. But now that Ash has, not one but two jobs ,we are slowly paying everyone back and can hopefully build up some savings between us again.

So did you reach your goals for last year and what are your goals for this year?


Katy Jade Dobson Art

I was 3 hours away from my home, my legs we’re aching after running up a steep hill and I was all dolled up in a pretty party dress and heels frantically trying to get in touch with a friend.

It all started weeks ago when my friend, and artist, mentioned an evening event at a gallery her art was being shown at. In passing Ash suggested that we surprise her and turn up to the gallery without her knowing. I looked at my Rota and I finished work early enough on the day to be able to get there just in time, plus I had the day after completely off!

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So then it was a waiting game. I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when we just randomly turned up, and I very nearly told her of our plans several times. I was just too excited!

On the day I finished work at 4, then I had to run some errands, post some packages, pack my bags. By the time we left it was 5:30 and we we’re definitely now in a rush. The drive was surprisingly easy, just the A1 for most of the way. We got there and it had seemed like the event had been cancelled, katy wasn’t replying to texts as she was other wise occupied so we decided to walk to the gallery anyway.

As expected it was closed, eventually I rang Katy and asked if she minded two people imposing themselves on her. She was very shocked but luckily seemed delighted that I had travelled to see her.

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The next day myself and Ash left Katy to go to and open up the gallery before joining her later in the day after a bit of breakfast and sightseeing.

Her gallery really looks amazing. I knew her paintings we’re gorgeous, but they look even better in person than in the photographs! The colours she uses range from natural earthy tones to bright dazzling rainbows. Every painting uses colour to great effect, really catching the eye. The subjects are superbly drawn in a messy but elegant way, really giving life and movement to the pieces. I know I may be biased, but I really do love her Art and I believe it speaks for itself.

Whilst I was there I decided to do a little interview with her:

CR : What did you want to be when you were younger?

KD : Well originally I wanted to be a horse, then a tooth fairy, and then an olympic gymnast, but I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Always, always.

 

Photo courtesy of Katy Jade Dobson Art

 

CR : That is adorable! So what was it about Art that interested you? 

KD : Well, I would say its whatever is suggested in art, the small things like a glance, or a certain positioning, or the way that not everything is recorded in a painting but it is suggested and you can fill in the blanks yourself in any way you want.

CR: What inspires you? 

KD : Sometimes, before I am inspired by the subject, I am more inspired by the want to paint something of a particular nature (powerful, strong or soft and calm) and then the decision the work on a particular subject and the research behind that is then the inspiration to actively get up and do the painting. I’m also inspired by artists like Odilon Redon who can work in dreamy and ethereal ways, thats why my work isnt always an accurate depiction of a scene, I like to add a dreamy quality to it.

 

Gorilla by Katy Jade Dobson Art

 

CR : When you’re not painting, what do you like to do? 

KD : Painting is quite a solitary process so I like to be around friends a lot. I like to go out for walks when it’s sunny, walking a dog,  going out for food and drinks or getting inspired by other artists.

CR : What have you found to be the most challenging with your art? 

KD : The process, the development and the actual physical act of the work seems to be very fluid and not exactly easy, but without its challenges. On the other hand, the part i struggle with is the side that I cant control as much, such as the material i am working on, if it takes a knock it effects the final piece. I am learning to see what materials work best to keep the longevity of my work to a high standard, i dont want that to compromise the work that is on it

Stag by Katy Jade Dobson Art

CR: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

KD : Oh gosh! Well I have lots of ideas for collections, some conflicting ideas but all seem to relate back to my own style. As I experiment with other materials to work on I might see a shift in technique and therefore, maybe, some new styles. But for now I am still figuring that out, I will have to see what happens in the future and how my work translates into prints and merchandise.

You can see Katy’s Elegant Mess Exhibition at the Sam Scorer Gallery in Lincoln until the 14th of April. Or if you don’t live close enough you can follow her wordpress here, find her facebook page here and her official site here!

Photo Courtesy of Katy Jade Dobson Art


All Work, No Play

Sorry for the delay in updates, work has become hectic!

 

We have an auditor (it think it will be one of the higher ups in the company) coming in today and tomorrow to make sure everything is good in the pub and to pick up on any faults.

 

This means we have to clean literally EVERYTHING! And, as usual, i’ve been lucky enough to be in the close the two nights before. This meant for the last couple of nights we’ve been leaving later than usual, it was 4:30 this morning. I can’t really complain though, at least my shift today isn’t until 12 (although thats still too close for my liking), one of my bosses left after us and then had to be in at 6am!! He may as well not even gone home in all honesty. I very much doubt he was able to have even a nap.

It doesn’t help that we’re having our ‘first pay day after christmas’ rush as well…

Oh well. Better start getting ready for this 10+ hour shift! So glad it’s not another close.

Hopefully I will be able to get back to some real sewing again soon, as well as some proper blog postings.

‘Till next time!


Writing your CV

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It’s obviously important to have a good CV. This is what your employer will be looking at before they meet you and you can win them over with your dazzling personality. In this CV you really have to sell yourself and don’t have a lot of words to do it in. I really struggle with writing about myself and I know a lot of other people do too.

When writing my own CV I used a guide I found on the University of Kent’s website (which can be found here) and found it extremely useful, I would highly recommend it for any one struggling to write their own. They have a very easy to follow guide to help you know exactly what to (and what not to) put in your CV, breaking the process down into easy to follow points.

I actually visited the university of Kent when writing my dissertation as well so they have definitely helped me a lot in life, despite never attending their university.  All the staff I dealt with were extremely friendly and useful, they have definitely earned my respect and gratitude.

‘Till next time!

Claire


How to Decide on that Dream Job

 

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I think before you really start looking for a job it’s important to think about what you want out of it.

Do you want it to be a long term thing or just a job as a means of income until you can get the job you really want? Do you care about what your job involves or are you more family oriented and just want to be able to pay the bills?

Knowing what you want out of a job will inevitably help you find the ideal job for you.

If you really care about your career and feel like you have to find a job you truly enjoy then here are a few things to keep in mind in that job search:

 

1) How many hours would you like to work? Are you looking for a full time job or would you prefer to have a bit more time to yourself? Do you mind working nights or would you prefer the 9-5? Do you want a set routine or are you ok with shift work?

I originally started working at the pub because I didn’t really mind when I worked, I just knew I wanted part time to give me lots of time for acting and the such. I also quite liked how I would get a lot of days off in the week as this would mean more time for auditions. However, now i’m concentrating more on sewing and Ash is at University during the day i’m finding i’d much prefer a regular day job. I’d like normal(ish) hours and no more closes at 2am so I can get myself in a routine and have more time to spend with Ash.

 

2) Do you want to progress in your career? Do you want the opportunity of promotions in the company or are you thinking of moving on soon after? 

If you just want the job for money until you can go for the job you really want then I wouldn’t be too fussy about where you apply or about any promotion opportunities. However, the willingness to learn and to advance in your career is always going to impress the interviewer whether or not you really are looking to stay permanently. Plus any progression you do make will look great on your CV!

 

3) What is it you enjoy? What kind of job do you really want to do?

I think it’s important to enjoy your job, I know people who don’t and they are miserable. You will have to be going to this job every day/week so you have to at least find something your enjoy about it, even if it is just a temporary or part time thing. Think about something you really enjoy, maybe some kind of hobby you do in your spare time. I love to dance, Act and sew. As much as I love dancing I know I wouldn’t want to do it professionally, however I can really see myself taking up sewing or acting as career. The only problem is that both of these are difficult to get going so I know that I need a full time job until I get my feet off the ground. When looking for something I knew that I loved interactions with customers as opposed to an office job and thought bar work would be perfect! I was right and I do love my job, it’s just that other circumstances have changed but maybe I can look into jobs in a box office at a theatre. Then I would be linking my acting and love of customer interaction whilst (hopefully) avoiding such late closings.

 

It really is important to think about exactly what your looking for before you start applying. Otherwise you might just find yourself in the same position a couple of weeks down the line.

‘Till next time!


How not to sell at a craft fair

Welcome to the new launch of my blog!

It even comes with some fancy new banners on mondays, thursdays and Saturdays!

Monday is now the ‘Back to work’section of my blog and will be here to help you and I learn how to do well in our careers. From finding a job, to promotions and even running your own business!

This first instalment will cover an aspect of the crafting business, that I am obviously interested in, craft fairs.

Craft fairs are essential to any maker as they seem to be the best way to make money and are able to reach a wide and local customer circle.

Yesterday was my first real craft fair and, although not a complete failure, there are definitely a lot of improvements needed to be made.

This instalment will take examples from the fair I attended yesterday and give you tips on how not to run your stall.

1. Get everything ready before hand

By everything I mean everything. Have all of it packed up and ready to go the night before at the latest. In my defence I was pretty ill and worked a 14hr shift the night before, but I ended forgetting to take a few important things (such as my info poster, carrier bags and even half my stock!).

Save yourself the panic of trying to get everything together that morning because you will definitely forget something.

2. Think about the little details.

Everything from decorations to levels and even packaging. You need to make it look and feel professional.

A large sheet to cover the table is a must! Also play with arranging boxes under the sheets to create different levels and to add a bit of interest. Try and think of exciting ways to display your products, little bowls, stands or anything you can hang your items from. As you can tell from my images I forgot to pack those kinds of things and so had trouble really arranging my stall. It didn’t look the neatest it could have done but I don’t think it looked terrible. I will definitely think more about how I can really show off my items.

You also need to think about what you’re going to do if you make a sale. Customers will expect a bag at the very least. If you want to think about wrapping you products as well that’s also a good idea.

3. Take someone else with you

Craft fairs usually last a few hours and there’s not really a point when you can leave your stall unattended.  You will most likely need the toilet and/or food whilst there and so will need to leave your stall at some point. Plus it’s always fun to go have a look around at the other stalls and spend too much money see what they have for sale, maybe swap a few business cards.

If you can’t get anyone to keep you company you should definitely pack yourself some drinks and snacks. Usually you will be able to ask the stall next door to just keep an eye on your table whilst you nip to the loo at least.

Unfortunately I couldn’t take anyone with me and forgot food and so was feeling pretty rough by the end of the day, especially as I was ill as well.

4. Have a varied stock

Don’t just cater to one price bracket. Have smaller, cheaper objects as well as the larger/more expensive ones. It’s always good to have something kids can spend their pocket money on, or adults can buy without worrying about how much money they will have left. With smaller objects it will be a lot easier to make more sales, how ever you should still have some more expensive items as then one or two sales could cover the cost of the table. The table next to me had lots of little items and sold a lot of products, I had forgotten all my smaller products and didn’t make my first sale until a couple of hours before closing.

5. Be polite and engaging 

If work in sales and retail has taught me anything, it’s that if you’re smiley and engage the customer in conversation they will ultimately feel welcomed and be much more open to spending money. Think about it, would you buy from a grumpy stall holder who didn’t really seem interested in your custom?  Of course not! Engage the customer in conversation, ask them how their day is, if they’re enjoying the fair, talk about yourself and explain your products and what makes them special. Take an interest in the customer and they will take an interest in you.

6. Business Cards

A lot of people might not buy on the day but might want something later on. Take business cards and hand them out as often as possible. I was a little slow on the up take with mine, I just kept forgetting about them. But there were a couple of potential customers who seemed really interested in commission pieces. If they do get back to me it’s possible I can make back all the money I spent on my stall!

Plus business cards are useful to swap with other crafters. You can keep in the loop together letting each other know of  upcoming craft fairs, advertising each others wares and generally giving each other support.

7. Change

Always always always have a float. People will be paying money for things, if you don’t have enough change to give them you may well lose a sale. Deciding how much money to take is hard and really depends on the event and your prices. I took £30. £10 in pound coins and the rest in £5 notes.

8. Multi-buy Deals

Everyone loves a deal and, if it doesn’t mean you’re under selling yourself, there is no reason why you can’t have one on your stall. Maybe you have some little hair grips that are £3 each. Why don’t you sell 2 for £5? It shouldn’t affect your price so much that you will lose out and more people are likely to end up buying a second hair grip that they wouldn’t have necessarily have bought before! Of course these deals aren’t for every shop, but it’s a good way to get a few more sales under your belt.

9. Offer Solutions

If someone wants one of your items but isn’t sure, why don’t you offer your services to create one that suits them perfectly? I had one woman want my cupcake apron but it was too small for the child. She almost bought my pink and brown striped apron but wasn’t sure if the child would like it as much. I said I could make her the cupcake apron in a larger size if she wanted and gave her my email. I  missed out on doing this with a few other people which could have resulted in more sales, if not on the day then at least in future.

10. Enjoy yourself

I was a bit mopey all day due to my insides trying to fight to get out, but sitting there and looking bored is not going to attract customers. Sure you’re sat there for a long time and it can get boring, but at least don’t let everyone else know you’re bored. Maybe take some work to do with you. The table next to me were busy sewing little ornaments whilst running their stall and got quite a few good comments about it. People like to see the artist at work and it means you can add even more stock to your table.  Of course not every craft will allow you to do this in which case you’ll have to find some other way to keep yourself amused.

I have a lot to do before my next craft fair and a lot more stock to make. I did manage two sales though and handed quite a few business cards so hopefully I will see interest in my products picking up in the next few weeks.

For now though it’s time to keep sewing and planning for my next craft fair!

‘Till Next Time!


Another Job Search Begins

I’ve decided that once this craft fair is done I will be looking for a new job.

I need more regular hours, I need better pay and I need to feel like my needs are taken into account.

Thats not to say I don’t like my job and the people there and they don’t look after us (most of the time), but I have been thinking of leaving for a while and last night I felt like I really didn’t want to be there.

In all honesty the main reasons I’m leaving are because of money (especially now we’re hiring more staff and my shifts are going back down to 20hrs from working 40+ hrs) and because I’m finding the constant change in my sleep pattern is taking it’s toll.

I would like spare money to put aside so that I can afford holidays and other nice things, I would like to have a routine to my day so I feel I can be more productive. This job allows neither of these things and so I know I need to look for fresh new pastures.

The thing that has tipped me over the edge though from it being a ‘I should, but I like it here’ to a ‘Yep, I need to leave now’ is the fact that it’s so hard to book any time off. I know it’s probably because we’re so understaffed for the moment so not really my bosses fault, but I never seem to be able to book any time off. Sure I had my trip to China, but i’d told them about that in my interview and so they knew about that before I even started and knew there’d be no way for me to work. I’ve only tried booking time off twice since and both times the rota has been changed a couple of days before making it hard to find cover or even cancel the thing I was booked off for (or at least cancel with a chance of getting my money back).

This time I’d booked off this sunday for the Frost Fair in North Finchley I will be attending. I’ve put down money on a table and with 2 days notice there would be no chance of me getting money back and would have created a pretty bad name for myself with my first big craft fair.

I spent my whole shift last night trying to figure out a way to get it covered and asked everyone I could, but they all had good reasons as to why they couldn’t cover. Eventually one of the new staff agreed to swap. She’s now doing my day shift and I’m doing her close down (pretty good swap for her! Everyone hates closing down).

However this does mean I’ll be working a finish on Saturday (so wont be home until about 2 or 3am), getting up at 8 for the frost fair and then doing another finish that night. I might not be functioning at my best but I will just man up and deal with it.

I think i’m just getting tired of this job in all honesty. I love the people, I love the sociable aspect, but i’m just tired. Constantly tired.

I would like to find a new job in something creative, maybe in a small shop, or in a theatre. Sure they might not pay much better, but at least the hours might be a bit better suited (i.e. no 3am finishes as well as 8am starts). Plus I think i’d have more time to put into this Penguin Theory, or at least I’d spend less time procrastinating through tiredness (as of now it is nearly 1pm and I’ve done nothing on my list of things to do for sunday).

So if anyone out there is looking for an assistant, a receptionist, a saleswoman, even a coffee maker in London/North London. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. All I ask is that there will be no early morning finishes! (at least not on a regular basis)

‘Till next time!


A Few Little Changes.

I have decided to make a few changes to my blog as it seems a little scatterbrained, I feel I keep forgetting it’s purpose. I’ll still have my everyday posts for items i’ve made and random things i’ve done, but I also want to add some more regular, and Penguin Theory themed posts.

I actually only realised this after one of my best friends started making her website. It’s not finished yet but she let me see a sneak preview and it looks so inspirational! Perfect for those of you who like the little things in life and want to enjoy them and yourself. You can find her Blog here. Hopefully she’ll have her website ready and raring to go soon!

Reading through the articles on her site, everything had a purpose and it all fitted together to give motivation and self belief. It inspired me and I knew I needed to up my game. So here I am with an all new battle plan and The Penguin Theory at the helm!

As you should (hopefully) know, The Penguin Theory is all about trying hard to become the kind of person you want to be and get to where you want to be in life. I think this is important and so feel this blog should also try to send this message across, which I don’t think it is doing to the best of it’s abilities for the moment.

I will be setting days for certain articles from now on. Articles to help you achieve your goals and to make your life a little easier. Articles about work, about relationships, about your home. Tutorials. Reviews. Everything you can imagine to help you make a decision on how to get where you want to be.

Of course I will still be posting updates for my Etsy shop and random little updates from my personal life, but most things will be sorted into certain categories to be released on their own day of the week.

MONDAY : BACK TO WORK

Tips for your work life including how to get a job, how to work with a team, how to progress and tips for running your own business.

WEDNESDAY : HOMELY HABITS

All you need for creating a happy home from the decor to cleaning and even some recipes!

FRIDAY : FRIDAY FABRICATIONS

Tutorials galore! From crafts to computing. Fridays will contain all you can make and do!

SATURDAY : SOCIABLE SATURDAYS

The social side of the spectrum, relationships with friends, family and boyfriends! How to make them work and fun things to do together.

I will probably do two of these a week, alternating each week, as I know my day job would get in the way other wise.

I will also be including a monthly (or sometimes a bi-monthly) “Etsy Finds” where I will make a treasury or showcase a particular Item from Etsy.

All in all I know it will be a lot of work, but i’m really looking forward to it and I hope you all are too.

If any one has any ideas for articles I could write, or have even written something you feel would fit into one of these categories,  then please don’t hesitate to let me know or send me link! I’d love to include other bloggers and crafters in this too!

I think I will start doing this next monday as for now I need to prepare for a craft fair on the 18th (more details to follow). I will be sewing and brainstorming until then. I hope you will all join me on my new(ish) venture with The Penguin Theory!

‘Till next time!


Penguin Fashion

Yesterday I went into work and found that one of my bosses had a surprise for me!

It was this Penguin Hat!!

I was so excited I actually squeeled. Apparently she just had to buy it for me because it seemed so perfect! (She knows of my love for novelty hats and knows about The Penguin Theory)

I will definitely be wearing this non stop from now on.


I’ve been neglecting the penguin theory for the past week, I’m actually writing this on my break at the day job!

It was Ash’s birthday so I treated him to a meal (ok so out was only in Weatherspoons, but it was yummy!) And then we went out
partying in Camden. We had loads of fun and it was a really good night out, there were one or two hitches but in the end we all got nicely drunk and enjoyed the night.

image

his birthday its actually today, Sunday, and I’d planned on spoiling him all day. Unfortunately my shift was changed at work and now I’m working for 12 hours. I guess I’ll have to pamper him another day.

This is one of the reasons why I’ve decided to look for a new job. The hours are too long and irregular and I just find I don’t have any time for sewing our time to myself. So I think I will look for a job I’m more interested in, maybe even
something to do with sewing like an alterations shop.

I’ll just have to see what there is for me out there.

Till next time!


An Exciting New Project

I’ve started work on a new big project that I want to build a whole range around. I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for ages, since I first started sewing really, and thought it was now time to act on it.  It’s actually proved to be more difficult than expected but I think the effort will be worth it!

I went out shopping yesterday for the items I needed and some more material so now all that’s left to do is make it!

I think i’ll finish the christmas stocking i’m making first though, I don’t need any more half finished items at the moment.

Items from the shopping trip.

I also bought some new work shoes whilst i was out, unfortunately I was in a rush and so just grabbed a pair with my size on. It turns out that someone had put the wrong size on the wrong hanger and so I now have a pair of shoes which don’t fit me and another with a massive hole in the toe. I guess I’ll have to go out again tomorrow when I have a day off.

Will be updating very soon to unveil my new items!

‘Till next time!


New and Old Item Updates

I’ve been a busy bee lately. Not only working long shifts at the day job (a 10 hour shift the other day!) but i’ve been busy taking pictures and sewing.

I decided that some of my older listings in my Etsy shop had some pretty poor images and so thought it was time to update them. So far i’ve updated these Large Orange Earrings and these Gold Triple Stranded Earrings.

I’ve also taking pictures of a new set of earrings that have been made for a while but never listed. These Venetian Glass and Pearl Earrings are now available in my shop! (And with it i’ve reached 20 items!!)

But i’ve got more! Last night I finally got round to finishing off a tie for my boyfriend. He loves playing Minecraft (and I actually really enjoy it too) so I thought he might appreciate a Minecraft styled tie.  I have loads of Green material and so thought a creeper (one of the monsters in game which explode if you get too close) would be a great choice.

I think it’s come out great! One of the eyes is a little wonky, but overall I’m very proud of my work, so much so that this is now also available in my shop (made to order)! This is also more the route I want my items to go down from now on, cute, fun and quirky items.

A tie that will literally blow everyone away!

For now though I need to eat and then go to work, so that’s enough photographing and editing for today! Hopefully I will be updating with more new items soon!

Till next time!


Too Busy Serving Pints

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while, i’ve been busy working and not the good ‘Penguin Theory’ work, my normal day job work. Don’t get me wrong, I do quite enjoy being a barmaid, but the shifts are so irregular that it’s really screwing with my body clock. One day i’ll be working until close (which means we don’t get out until about 2am) another i’ll be opening at 8am. This leaves me pretty tired a lot of the time and is quite draining, especially when i’m working so much at the moment and continue to work when I get home!

Lots of staff are calling in sick at the moment as well and a few have just left meaning that there’s lots of hours for the rest of us. Good for paying my bills (which i’m struggling with enough at the moment), bad for The Penguin Theory.

I promise I have been working though! I have a project which is almost finished!  (and it’s my first clothing piece!) I was hoping to get it finished today whilst it was still light but then I had to stay at work a little longer to cover an absentee and just haven’t quite got round to the last details. I should definitely have it finished and some photo’s taken tomorrow as long as I don’t mess around too much during the day.

I’ve even taken pictures all the way through the process so that I can do a sort of mini tutorial for you 🙂

For now though i’ll just leave you with a picture of the label ready to be sewn together before being attached to the garment. I’m rather proud of it! 🙂

Unfinished label, ready for the sewing machine


Some new Aprons

It’s been a while since I uploaded anything to Etsy. I’ve just been too tired from working a lot. Not helped by working until close this week (I usually get home around 2) and we’ve had roadworks outside our window waking me up every morning. I was tempted to complain about it, as it’s really not fair if people have to work nights, but then again, they’re just doing their job and it’s probably something that really needs doing.

But any way, I’ve decided to go through all my old stock and retake the pictures. There’s a lot that I haven’t even put onto Etsy and so I think it’s time I finally uploaded them. So far i’ve only listed a couple of Aprons, but there are a lot more to come!

Blue/Green Striped Apron

Pink Flower Apron

I’m also still working on some other projects which should hopefully be completed soon. So many projects in the pipeline but it seems like so little time to do them!

Well, I better get cracking I suppose. 🙂

‘Till next time!


Date at the museum

Yesterday my boyfriend and I went to the British museum as a date as we haven’t really spent much time on ourselves lately and museums are free (and make awesome dates!). It was lots of fun and I even gained inspiration for a necklace or two!

We saw lots of statues, the rosetta stone (which my silly boyfriend thought was a woman and not an actual stone…), some mummies and a giant doorway! (amongst many other cool things). Unfortunately none of them came to life, but I guess we didn’t stay late enough for that.

After we’d had enough of wondering around the many rooms there (it was getting close to closing time)  we decided to mooch over to the south bank, one of the places we went on the first day we met each other (and also one of our favourite areas). We sat down and enjoyed the view and watching people milling around. Then we wondered over the the performers area to see what was on show. Some how we ended up in the Magners garden, a must see if you’re in the area. There’s loads of outdoor seating and bars as well as shows and, at the moment, a mini theme park! We didn’t go on any of the rides (lack of money being one reason) but had fun wandering around looking at everything going on, and sitting on some swing chairs in the sun.

All in all it was a really lovely day spending time together.

Today hasn’t been nearly as good…I had work and it seemed like everything that could go wrong went wrong.

First I managed to sleep through not one, not two, but THREE alarms! Then I messed up so many orders it wasn’t funny and my boss had to keep changing them for me. I thought it couldn’t get any worse but then I crouched down to put a tray of glasses on the floor and heard a loud ‘RRIIIIPPPP’

My trousers had split.

I quickly ran to the glass wash and refused to go out and serve customers. My boss was really nice and lent me a jumper so I could finish my shift and make it home without too much embarrassment. Such a life saver!

I was going to buy a new pair of trousers from somewhere like asda until my boyfriend reminded me of my sewing machine…

I guess I should get round to fixing them then.

In other news, I set myself goals to reach for the 13th. One being reach 50 likes on my facebook page, sadly i’m just 1 like away! Another, though, was to reach 15 followers on wordpress, a goal i’m glad to say i’ve achieved. So thank you everyone who has followed me so far! I will do my best to keep my posts interesting and regular. 🙂

I will have to create some new goals for next week and also get sewing again! I’ve had too much time off…

Till next time!


Just about Settled.

So we still don’t have internet fter being messed around rather a lot. First they told us the wrong date, then they didn’t even show up, then they decided they didn’t need to as we already had a line installed, now they’ve realised there’s a ‘fault’ in our line. They should have fixed it before the 5th but I don’t know when tht means we’ll actually have internet. Hopefully it will be sometime soon, i’m feeling very cut off from the world.

Our window

In the meantime i’ve been sorting out the mounds of belongings we seem to have and have been working at my part time job in a weatherspoons (where i’m currently sat for the free wifi). I have a few projects in line for the sewing machine which I will hopefully get cracking on with soon. This hopefully means that there will be an explosion of new items to upload when I finally have my internet sorted.

The 'Kitchen'

I did go back to the north briefly to pick up the last of my things (such as my microwave) and met up with friends and family whilst there. I got there last saturday night and went for a meal with friends (one of whom was going back to uni in plymouth the next day) and then from there went to another friends house for a catch up over wine. They’d just moved in and done lots of decorating and really made it their own. I hadn’t seen either of them since uni and it was so nice just having a nice chat with them and finding out what they’re up to, it was like we’d never been apart.

Clothes area

The next day i went back home and had a big roast with my family. Why is it that mum’s cooking always tastes so much better? After the meal my cousin performed some magic tricks for us which were actually very impressive!

Celebratory chinese!

I promise the next update will be a little more exciting…Or at least i hope it will be.

Till then keep smiling!

Bedding!!