Monthly Archives: August 2012

Quick fix for markets!

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Thanks to everyone who came to visit my market stall on Saturday.  I will be in touch with proofs for those people who placed orders very shortly, and will get your orders out as quickly as I can.

We also sold $84 worth of Madagascar charity cards (also available in my madeit store) and I will be depositing these funds into the fundraising account in the next couple of days.  Thanks to all those people who chose to purchase a ‘Salama’ Greetings for Madagascar card.   All proceeds from the sale of these cards go to Azafady, all materials and photographs have been donated by Artist Jacqui Malins and all madeit listing fees have been covered by Firefly Stamps.  $7 gets you an amazing greeting card with a high quality photograph of the people and environment of Madagascar and includes postage to you within Australia.  These cards will only be available for a short time, so if you are interested please hurry to purchase yours!

I thought I’d share some of my quick tips for market stall preparation with you today including my business cards.  I put these together in a bit of a rush.  I have grand plans for very creative business cards, but I have been finding it hard to get the time to create them, so with limited time to prepare for the market stall I decided to create some with a combination of printing and hand stamping.  I simply used a snapshot of my store banner to create the background for the cards which I printed on to ink jet/laser printer business cards and then hand stamped my business details over the top.

I also ran out of time to order my brown paper bags for placing customer purchases in.  So, my solution on Friday was to duck into the supermarket to grab some brown paper “lunch” bags.  I used a decorative edge punch to give the bags a bit of embellishment and stamped each one with one of my stamps.    These will look a lot better when I use proper packaging bags, but for a quick, short term fix, they did the job!

Here you can see my market stall setup.  I was quite happy, over all, with the look of the stall as I only decided to go ahead with the market a couple of weeks before it was scheduled.  I decided simple was the way to go, but having said that it was still a lot of work to get it all organised in time. It was an interesting challenge coming up with a way to market my predominantly custom order based business effectively in a market stall situation.  If anyone else is in a similar situation and has has suggestions for how this can be done effectively I’d love to hear your ideas.  Please leave me a comment below.

Next week I’ll be back with a follow-on from my previous business card post, ways to further enhance your business cards using a variety of embellishments.  See you then.

Cheers,

The Crafty Firefly

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More tags and packaging ideas!

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A couple of posts ago I provided some ideas about creating simple and professional looking tags for your packaging and wrapping.   Today I’m back with more tags!  Ways to enhance your tags further and incorporate them into your existing packaging with only one or two simple extra steps.  Today’s examples also focus more on colour.

Create tag by stamping image on to thin card. Place a decorative strip of paper behind the tag and wrap around top of bag, box, parcel, envelope etc.

My first example tag (left) and packaging uses a square stamped cream tag and a background  strip of complementary decorative paper.  The colour scheme and style of this packaging creates a classic look.  I can imagine you’d find a hand dyed scarf or handmade soaps inside this package.  You can easily change the look and feel of your packaging by using your own business logo, stamping on coloured card/paper and selecting an appropriate background stripe.

Change the look of the square tag by turning on an angle and using it as a diamond shape. In the next example (below right) I have added a larger backing in

Using a coloured and/or textured backing card can add an extra dimension to your tag. Tie the colour or texture to your product style/type or brand.

bright green card which has an embossed 3D effect to it.  With the matching ribbon this packaging looks energetic and fun.

Add a 3d element just as an adhesive pearl, crystal or button.

Next, this cute little noodle box (left) has a tag with a matching Asian feel. The white stamped tag is backed with a larger multi coloured flower designed circle.  I’ve added an extra detail to this tag with a self adhesive black pearl.

This heart shaped tag (below left) is my attempt at a freehand shape.  I stamped the stamp onto the card first and then cut the shape around the stamp.  It’s simple, but quite effective.

My final tag today (below right) is a slightly different take on a tag – it’s more of a rosette and ribbon.  I selected a gorgeous backing paper and placed a complementary coloured stamped centre on it.  Then I folded the ribbon and stapled it to hold the fold in place and sticky taped it to the back of the circle.

Try a freehand shape and coloured card.

A simple thank you rosette would look cute attached to any packaging.

The hardest part of creating any of these tags and packaging ideas is going to be pulling the elements together in the first place.  Once you have decided on the size, colour and shape of your tag and have your physical resources in place it might only take half an hour or so to create a batch of tags that you can have on hand ready to pack up your orders.

Some considerations:

–          Do you have an existing logo?  What is its style? Does it utilise any colours? Your packaging will look better if it works well with any existing elements of your brand.

–          Try a coloured card for your tag or stamping with coloured ink for a quick packaging pick-me-up.

–          Try attaching your tag with something interesting: string, bakers twine, wool, embroidery thread, ribbon etc.  It’s these small extra little touches that customers love when they receive a handmade product.

Resource links & inspiration:

Noodle boxes

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/15-SMALL-WHITE-NOODLE-BOXES-GIFT-WEDDING-BOMBONIERE-BOX-PARTY-FAVOURS-CRAFT-/120845500620?pt=AU_Party_Supplies&hash=item1c22f400cc

http://www.packagingproducts.com.au/shopping/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=169

Pearl adhesives

Lots of sizes and colours to browse here:

http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m570.l1313&_nkw=pearl+adhesives+scrapbooking&_sacat=See-All-Categories

Paper bags – brown, coloured, with and without handles:

http://www.createforless.com/search/paper+bags/a!3,p!0-inf-/results.aspx?SH=QT1wYXBlciBiYWdzfkI9cGFwZXIgYmFnc35DPTJ_RD0yMH5JPVByaWNlfks9NH5MPTF_TT0zfk49M34

http://www.packagingproducts.com.au/shopping/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=167

http://www.packagingproducts.com.au/shopping/c-bags.asp

Cello bags:

http://www.packagingproducts.com.au/shopping/shopdisplayproducts.asp?page=2

Pre-made tags & stickers etc:

Manilla hang tags

http://www.ebay.com/itm/30-Manilla-Blank-Hang-Tags-3-3-4-X-1-7-8-95mm-x-48mm-for-Gifts-Scrapbooks-/370629027291?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item564b3625db

Natural cardboard hang tags

http://www.ebay.com/itm/25-Large-Blank-Shipping-Tags-Natural-Paper-Scrapbooking-Gift-Tags-Card-/380451617414?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5894aefa86

A range of paper trimmers:

http://www.createforless.com/search/results.aspx?txtSearch=x%20acto%20paper%20trimmer

Bracket style tags in autumn colours

http://www.ebay.com/itm/20-SQUARE-BRACKET-HAND-PUNCHED-BLANK-CARDSTOCK-DIE-CUT-HANG-TAG-/200789983565?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item2ec004014d

Kraft traditional tag shape

http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-Blank-Kraft-Tags-Punched-Hole-Gift-Tags-Craft-Supply-Holidays-/360415665183?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53ea729c1f

Tags with patterns:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Calico-Hang-Tags-Gift-Tags-Blank-Tags-/110335177218?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19b07d3202

Scalloped edge:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/shabby-chic-cottage-rustic-Round-SCALLOP-KRAFT-card-blank-HANG-Tags-shop-labels-/170882664638?pt=UK_Home_Garden_Celebrations_GiftWrapping_ET&var=&hash=item6d78edd183

Coloured:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/30-recycled-card-MEDIUM-Scallop-DIY-swing-tag-labels-shop-price-tickets-wedding-/170889701227?pt=UK_Home_Garden_Celebrations_GiftWrapping_ET&var=&hash=item6d7950bb12

Also see my last post  which provides more tag creating ideas and links to resources, tools and inspiration.

Next week I’ll be back with a follow-up to last weeks post – more ideas for crafty business cards.  Hope to catch you then.

Cheers,

The Crafty Firefly

Coastal Craft Handmade Market stall – Sat 25th August 9am-2pm

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Attention anyone in the Illawarra NSW who loves handmade markets!

I’m excited to be running my first market stall at the Coastal Crafts Handmade Market on Saturday 25th August 9am-2pm.

The address is: Lighthouse Auditorium 4/9 Durgadin Drive, Albion Park Rail

For more information about the Coastal Craft Handmade Markets and the stall holders for August visit the Coastal Crafts Handmade Market facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Coastal-Crafts-Handmade-Market/321171077953824

Come say hello and discuss any personalised stamp needs you might have.

Hope to see you there!

Create your own business cards with character – they’re cost effective too!

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How effective do these business cards look???

A couple of months ago I was approached to make a business card stamp.  I was really impressed by the end result of the stamp in combination with the unique approach to designing the cards taken by the customer.   Jacqui is a Canberra based artist who creates sculptural ceramics and large drawings using pastels and charcoals. She wanted to create a business card for an upcoming exhibition and workshops which had character and also reflected something about her art.  This is what Jacqui says about creating her business cards:

Materials used to make Jacqui’s business cards

“With my Firefly stamp, I was able to create business cards that look handmade and individual, but still professional.  I used sheets of business cards that you can buy for laser printers.  My recent exhibition was of pastel drawings, so I used pastels in some of the colours prominent in the show to draw lines down the left hand side of the cards by hand (while they were still joined together), then stamped them with my name and contact details, and sprayed them with fixative to preserve the pastel.  I used different colour combinations on different sheets, and then

A very simple business card using red ink on a white pre-purchased laser/inkjet printer business card, given a decorative edge with a craft edging punch. In this instance I have used red ink so that it shows clearly in the photograph, but many lovely in pad colours are available through craft supply stores

mixed them up so each new card off the pile would look different.  I can use the same approach to make other

unique stationery quickly and easily, including letterhead and envelopes.”

Including a business card or two when you send out a package can be a great way to have your business details passed along to your customer’s family and friends.  So I got thinking about other ways to personalise your business cards giving them character and a “handmade” touch.

Obviously what you do will depend on how much time you have and how much money you want to spend.   When

Classic black ink on olive green card. The corners have been rounded using a craft corner rounder punch, but prior to purchasing my punch I used to use the base of a glue container to draw the rounded corners and cut them out with scissors.

word of mouth plays such a crucial role in marketing for small online or market based businesses having your business details available in a striking, easy to distribute format could be a worthwhile investment of your time.

Using a personalised polymer stamp to create an impression on a business card has many advantages including:

–          It is cost effective to purchase the stamp and you don’t need to pay for large numbers of pre-printed business cards you may not use

–          Hand stamped cards have more character and complement “handmade” products

White stamped card with red backing sheet and heart punches.

–          You can embellish your business cards in a variety of ways to help develop your “brand” and build a consistent theme

–          You can prepare as few or as many at a time as you like – it’s up to you

Hints & tips:

If you want your stamping to be more precise choose a transparent stamp and clear acrylic block over the traditional wood mounted stamp.  Because you can see through your stamp and the mount, it is easy for you to stamp your impression exactly where you want it.  You can see a transparent stamp and block in the picture of Jacqui’s materials.

I’m more of a crafty person than an arty person!  Below are three suggestions for ways you can create your own handmade business cards using simple paper crafting techniques:

Combine the elements: contrasting blue card, rounded corners on inner piece of card and a hole punched through to contrasting blue card.

1) Cut coloured card to size and stamp using coloured ink to create your own brand or complement your logo.  There are a number of good quality stamp inks available from craft and scrapbooking suppliers and paper craft stores which come in a wide range of colours and varying shades.

You should be able to find one to complement the colours in your logo.  If you don’t already have a logo you can use this opportunity to start developing your brand with your choice of colour scheme.       2) Use a small craft punch to punch a shape out of the corner of your business card.  Craft punches come in many shapes – you might be able to find one that aligns with your business or product.  Alternatively use a corner shaper, edging punch or decorative edge scissors to add interest to the outline of your card. If you don’t have access to these craft tools you could create yourself a template you can use multiple times from a thick piece of cardboard.

3) All the ideas in point 2 could be further enhanced with a contrasting coloured sheet of card or paper placed behind them to create a really striking look.

Below I have included some links to provide you with some inspiration regarding materials, tools and resources:

–          Visit Firefly Stamps on madeit or craftumi to view our range of personalised stamps

www.craftumi.com.au/fireflystamps

www.madeit.com.au/fireflystamps

–          Decorative Corner punches

http://www.createforless.com/search/results.aspx?txtSearch=corner%20punch

–          corner rounder

http://www.createforless.com/search/results.aspx?txtSearch=corner%20rounder

–          Paper and card stock

http://www.createforless.com/search/results.aspx?txtSearch=Papers

–          Ink pads

http://www.createforless.com/search/ink+pads/a!3,p!0-inf-/results.aspx?SH=QT1pbmsgcGFkc35CPWluayBwYWRzfkM9Mn5EPTIwfkk9UHJpY2V_Sz00fkw9MX5NPTh_Tj0zfg

–         A range of paper punches and decorative edging tools for tag cutting and decorative elements

http://www.createforless.com/search/scrapbooking+and+paper+crafts+punches/a!3,p!0-inf-/results.aspx?SH=QT1zY3JhcGJvb2tpbmcgYW5kIHBhcGVyIGNyYWZ0cyBwdW5jaGVzfkI9c2NyYXB

ib29raW5nIGFuZCBwYXBlciBjcmFmdHMgcHVuY2hlc35DPTF_RD0yMH5JPVByaWNlfks9NH5MPTF_TT00Nn5OPTJ_

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MINI-Size-Paper-Punches-13-Brand-NEW-Shapes-To-Choose-From-by-Punch-Bunch-/380401954274?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item5891b92de2

–      Blank business cards:

So many lovely options in this ebay store!

http://stores.ebay.com/rikyandnina/_i.html?_fsub=2118600014

I hope you have found a little bit of inspiration to get creative and try making your own business cards ! If so, let me know how you go.   Next week look out for more ideas for creating tags and incorporating them into your packaging, and keep a lookout for some more business card ideas which I plan to post in the next couple of weeks as well.

Cheers,

The Crafty Firefly

‘Salama’ – Greetings for Madagascar!

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We are working with Artist Jacqui Malins to help raise funds for Azafady a charity working to eradicate poverty, suffering and environmental damage in Madagascar.  To do this we are selling greeting cards featuring some of Jacqui’s photography from her recent trip.

Cards cost $7.00 including postage within Australia, with all profits going to Azafady.  All materials have been supplied by Jacqui and all selling costs donated by Firefly Stamps/Crafty Firefly.

11 different greeting cards available.  See them all in our madeit store www.madeit.com.au/fireflystamps.  If you know someone who loves to travel, wildlife, beautiful scenery or interesting people then one of these cards would be perfect for them!

These cards will only be available until mid September 12.

Purchase one now from our madeit store: www.madeit.com.au/fireflystamps

See more information about Azafady: http://www.madagascar.co.uk/

See more of Jacqui’s art: http://www.facebook.com/Jacqui.Malins.Art

Thanks for supporting our fundraising efforts!

 

Cheers,

Crafty Firefly

Give your products a professional edge – hand stamped tags

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Simple stamped tag ideas using Firefly Stamps

Today I’m hoping to inspire you with the easiest of tags you can create cheaply and quickly to dress up your product packaging or gift wrapping.    Hand stamped tags allow you to create professional, personalised tags at a fraction of the cost of having tags printed professionally.  Use your business logo or have a pre designed tag stamp personalised with your details.  This is one of the simplest ways of creating gorgeous looking product packaging in only minutes.

Tags may be used to provide your customers with reminders of your business name,  logo, contact details, blog address and product information.  They can also be used to highlight the nature of your products whether they be handcrafted, recycled etc.  More and more craftspeople are packaging their items with a thank you or other messages and tags are the perfect place for them.

Starting with the white rectangular tag (on the left in photo), I created this tag in a matter of seconds. It is the ultimate in speed and simplicity as far as tag making goes.  Stamped in classic black ink on white card, the card is actually a laser/inkjet printer business card that you buy from office supplies and stationery stores and normally feed through your printer.

Simply stamp the business card in the desired location.  Punch a hole using a single holepunch at the top and thread through your choice of thread, ribbon or string. Voila! Your tag is finished!

Tag 2 (running clockwise) is one of my favourites as my penchant for recycling comes to the fore here.  I created this tag from the cardboard backing of an old notepad.  I traced the shape of a rectangular stamping mount I had close at hand and rounded the corners using a craft corner rounder, which you can buy from paper crafting stores.  In keeping with the rustic feel of the cardboard I used a piece of jute string through the hole of this one.  If your handmade goods are created from recycled materials it makes sense that the environmental integrity of your product is followed through to your packaging.  If you are running a small business on a shoe-string like many of us, then being creative and using recycled materials in your packaging also makes perfect sense.  Some of the most gorgeous packaging I have seen when purchasing handmade goods online has involved some aspect of recycling.

The next tag looks a little bit more decorative, but is actually quite simple.  I used a craft cutting template and knife to cut out the shape, then I stamped it, punched the hole then threaded a lovely piece of lace which complements the tag’s decorative edge.

The final tag has been created using cream card and black ink.  This time the card is circular in shape.  To create the circle locate an appropriate shaped object to trace around and then cut out. If you prefer a more perfectly cut circle you might want to invest in a craft cutter or punch.  This makes the task very quick indeed and each circle is cut exactly.  For this tag I have utilised a black ribbon which I think creates a more formal and rich looking tag compared with the first.

Some considerations:

–          Tags that look effective are usually quite simple and unfussy.

–          Keep them as cost effective as possible.

–          Their style and colour should be in-keeping with your product/brand.

–          Craft tools can be handy, but expensive.  Find a household object you can trace around or search the internet for a good tag shape and   create yourself a traceable template out of thick card.  Invest in more expensive craft tools only when you are confident with the look and design of the packaging/element, or if you know you will need to create a large number.

–          Try creating your tag shape free hand – imperfections add to the sense of character and authenticity of handmade objects.

Materials and tools:

Below are some links to materials and tools for creating your own tags.  They allow me to show you the types of tools and materials I have used to create my tags, and some materials/resources that I hope you might find inspiring. I find lots of my supplies online via ebay and online stores. I find this opens up different options and a wider selection of items.

–         Visit Firefly Stamps on madeit or craftumi to view our range of personalised stamps

–          corner rounders in a variety of sizes:

http://www.createforless.com/search/results.aspx?txtSearch=corner%20rounder

–          Single hole punch – I got mine at K-Mart recently for $2

–          A range of paper and card stock:

http://www.createforless.com/search/results.aspx?txtSearch=Papers

–          Ink pads:

A range of good quality basic ink pads available at www.craftumi.com.au/fireflystamps

Craft quality ink pads in a wide variety of colours:

http://www.createforless.com/search/ink+pads/a!3,p!0-inf-/results.aspx?SH=QT1pbmsgcGFkc35CPWluayBwYWRzfkM9Mn5EPTIwfkk9UHJpY2V_Sz00fkw9MX5NPTh_Tj0zfg

–          Some lovely examples of string/twine:

http://www.createforless.com/search/results.aspx?txtSearch=doodlebug%20doodle%20twine

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Jute-string-twine-9-colours-10m-for-99p-craft-twine-/261069767277?pt=UK_Crafts_Cardmaking_Scrapbooking_Ribbons_Fibres_EH&var=&hash=item3cc8f8826d

http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-yard-Baby-Pink-Blue-Twist-Twine-Cord-Trim-5mm-Braid-Trim-String-T60-Pastel-/270956104918?pt=Sewing_Trims&hash=item3f163e0cd6

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Natural-Twine-Strong-Packaging-String-about-39YD-36m-/290629141784?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43aad8c518

–          large size tag punch:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MERCHANDISE-SHIPPING-TAG-Extra-Giga-Clever-Lever-Paper-Punch-Uchida-Marvy-/330699369221?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cff37eb05

–          Blank business cards:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-ribbed-brown-kraft-manilla-mini-business-card-TAGS-blank-do-it-yourself-label-/170882526598?pt=UK_BOI_Office_Office_Supplies_Stationery_ET&hash=item27c9646d86

http://www.ebay.com/itm/your-custom-mix-100-business-recycled-COLOR-KRAFT-cards-blank-DIY-custom-stamp-/200788990388?pt=UK_BOI_Office_Office_Supplies_Stationery_ET&hash=item2ebff4d9b4

–          Pre-cut tags:

Lots of gorgeous pre-made tag blanks in this ebay shop:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/your-custom-mix-100-business-recycled-COLOR-KRAFT-cards-blank-DIY-custom-stamp-/200788990388?pt=UK_BOI_Office_Office_Supplies_Stationery_ET&hash=item2ebff4d9b4

http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-Large-Tags-Blank-Primitive-Vintage-inspired-Old-World-Aged-Rustic-prestrung-/230830818623?pt=Folk_Art&hash=item35be96c53f

http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-Blank-Kraft-Tags-Punched-Hole-Gift-Tags-Craft-Supply-Holidays-/360415665183?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53ea729c1f

Next week join me to see how effective hand stamped business cards can look.  And also coming soon, ways to take your tags and packaging up one more notch.  You will be surprised how easy this is!

In the mean time post me a comment to let me know what you think about my tags.  Let me know if you make your own. If you have any great hints and tips be sure to include them.

Cheers,

The Crafty Firefly

Crafty Firefly is off and running – come share marketing ideas for crafty business people

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Welcome to my inaugural Crafty Firefly blogpost.  I’m so glad you could join me!

I have a couple of interests that I aim to share here through my blog.  The first is my interest in Crafty DIY handmade packaging for crafters and crafting business people.  So I plan to blog regularly with inspiration and ideas for people packaging handmade goods for online selling, markets and niche stores.  I am aiming for once a week!  I have my own store on madeit and craftumi here in Australia selling personalised polymer stamps, some of which are specifically for use by hand crafters/artists etc.  I hope I can provide a few new ideas for my customers and other crafters who want to create unique and gorgeous packaging.

I buy lots of handmade items online from madeit and etsy and really enjoy the thrill of opening a thoughtfully wrapped package that arrives in the mail.  An ink stamped thank you, a little wooden peg attaching a business card to the item, a safety pin attached with a brightly coloured bead – these small, often simple, yet thoughtful gestures really add to the experience of buying handmade.   It is the items with personal touches that I love to tell other people about after I have received them.

Over time I hope to cover a range of ideas including unique business cards, general stationery, tags, wrapping, seasonal wrapping ideas and more. They will range in time, complexity and cost from the very easy and super cheap to more detailed and, depending on your available budget and choice of materials, perhaps a bit more costly.  No idea must be replicated exactly, but each is there to provide you with ideas and inspiration for use with your own product and marketing strategy.  I hope you will join me, provide me with your feedback and share your own ideas.  Please feel free to leave your questions, feedback and ideas in the comments section.  I will be checking there often.

I also love making handmade cards and have been giving handmade cards to my friends and family for years.  This is how I managed to “get into” making personalised and craft polymer stamps!  For those of you who also have a passion for card making and stamping I will try and provide you with inspiration on how our craft stamps can be used and techniques for creating your own cards.  If you have experience with these techniques I would love you to share your suggestions and ideas.   Blogs are such a great forum for sharing knowledge!

I hope you can come along for the ride.  If you would like to be notified via email when a new post is added please enter your email address in the box on the right of the screen and if you are on facebook you can visit Crafty Firefly there too!

Look out for my next post on enhancing product tags and also my customer gallery showcasing my customers packaging ideas. They’re both coming soon.

Cheers,

The Crafty Firefly