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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June gloom brings Halloween fun

Hello everyone!
Let's all give a great big wave good-bye to June. This month should go down in history as one of the rainiest, coldest and gloomiest (is that even a word?) on record here in New England. Lets hope July will bring some warm sun our way.

The one ounce of good that came out of this miserable month was us staying inside and working in the studio more. The weather was fitting to create some new Halloween designs. Here are some of the new pieces we have been working on this week. They are a series of mini ornaments that we have dubbed "Windcatchers". We are trying to incorporate crepe paper into our designs which we think is a very Halloween-y (again, is that a word?) material.

Have a great rest of the week and hope that we see the sun soon!

All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Swirly Designs and may not be used, copied without the express consent by Lianne and Paul.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Swirly Designs: How it all started

Since we have been decluttering the studio the last couple of weeks we came across a box sitting high on top of our bookcase that was filled with some of our early test ornaments. We thought we would share with you the stories behind some of the earlier Swirly Designs.

This was one of Lianne's first commission pieces from 1997. She created a pin with a leaf motif for a charity auction that, at the time, Paul was a part of. She had to create approx 150 pins in less than two weeks. She pulled it off and the the pins were a huge success for the charity.

These two ornaments were really the spark that started whole company. Lianne created these for her personal Christmas cards. As a designer she always designed her own card every year but now she added a little something extra with the cards...an original ornament!

As we both began doing more and more designs we also got requests for commission pieces. A friend of ours approached us about creating favors for a bridal shower with an ocean/water theme. We came up with this cute magnet showing a boy and girl fish kissing in a fish bowl. The magnets turned out great and the bride thought they were a great remembrance of the day.

With this earlier ornament above, we were experimenting a bit more. We were trying different kinds of swirls in the background and the 3D snake texture for the tree etc.

We have also created larger pieces like this door plaque. We have one for every season and we have done a few for kids rooms as well. We also tried experimenting with different types of ribbon, shown above, embellished with a colored bead before we settled on shear chiffon ribbon for our ornaments.

One of our earlier retail accounts was a local garden center. They carried our ornaments in their gift shop during the holiday season. This "Eggplant Seeds" ornament was a part of our garden seed package collection. We thought it would be nice to tie in these garden designs to better target their clientele. We started to then realize that our designs didn't have to be strictly Christmas themed.

This Swirly Dove Wreath was one of our biggest sellers when we launched our catalog back in 2002.

The interesting story behind this is since we usually create small quantities of our designs, this one was an early sell out. For the next year we decided to double or we might have even tripled the amount we made and unfortunately we never did sell the same amount as in the past.
The lesson learned is that you can never predict what your customers are going to like. Plus we would rather have them wanting more than having too many leftovers.

As you can see, our ornaments are constantly evolving and we are always reworking them to keep them fresh. We love trying new and different things with them and we like to see what our customers will respond too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Swirly Gone Fishing

In honor of Father's Day, I thought it would be nice to do a post about one of our fishing outings with my Dad and my son. I remember the day Gryffin was born, my dad was so excited to meet his first grandson and he told everyone he can't wait to take him fishing.

Well four years later we thought it might be a nice time to try fishing with Gryffin & Grandpa. For the past few weekends in June the local ponds around where we live had free family fishing derbies. They supply everything, so this would be a perfect opportunity to try without investing in all that fishing equipment. Gryffin was very excited to go fishing, but with his attention span I know this trip would be very short.

Here are a few photos of the days events with my dad and Gryffin.

We had to travel through the woods to get to the perfect spot. As we were walking, a family of geese were also working there way to the water. Gryffin was a trooper walking in the woods even in his flip flops.

Gryffin loved playing with the live worm bait... especially throwing them in the water

Look at me I'm fishing!!

ok I'm done fishing I just to play in the water now.

..And after 3 hours of trying, guess who caught the only fish of the day.....

ME...check out this small mouth bass I caught. He was a brilliant green color. Too nice to eat so we released the little guy back into the water.

I would say the day was a success. It was really nice to get away from the craziness of work and spend some quite quality time by the water with my Dad and my son.

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Ad For Where Woman Create Magazine

Hello all!
Well here is the final designed ad for the Autumn Where Woman Create magazine that we have been working on for the past few days. This ad size is only a 1/12 of a page which is a little bigger then 2 x 2.

Whenever we design an ad for our ornaments we want to tell the reader a whole lot in a minimum amount of words and pictures. Sometimes that is easier said than done. We try to use a big, bold image and minimal text. Emphasis on handmade is an important element and it's also a plus to show our picture so that readers can put a face to the name.

Hopefully we've done a good job. Check it out when it hits newsstands in August. We'll do a follow up to let you know if the ad was a success or not.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Time is flying by in the Swirly Designs studio

What a week... How quickly 2009 is flying by. So much is happening both personally and professionally. We are still adjusting to our work and life schedule with our 2 month old daughter. (It's shocking it will be 2 months on the 15th, yikes!) And our little guy will be celebrating his 4th birthday this week as well. It seems like just yesterday it was September and we were weepy sending him off to preschool and now he wrapped up his first year last week.

We have also started the process of searching for a new studio/home which we will be blogging about more in the coming months. We are hoping to be relocated before the fall so it doesn't conflict with our holiday production. Stay tuned!

Now on to what we have been working on this week. It's been Halloween all around the studio. Sketching and planning our new Halloween designs is in full swing. Here is a sneak peek of what we have been working on:

And on the marketing end: This week we have booked ad space in two fairly new publications. One is called Where Woman Create Magazine and Somerset Holidays & Celebrations vol 3. Over the last few months we have been busy researching magazines that we feel will be a nice fit for us to advertise in. We are cutting back on the craft shows this season, so advertising will be crucial to us getting our name out there. Look for us in Autumn 2009 issue, Winter & Spring 2010 issues on newsstands. Check out the magazines and let us know what you think and if there are any magazines out there that you think might be a nice fit for our ornaments.

Well back to work.... enjoy you week!
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