Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New EU VAT regulations

Yes, the EU is at is again. Apparently they have been at it since 2008. So why are we only finding out about it now?

EU VAT rules are changing. From January 1st 2015, VAT payable on digital items will no longer be dependant on the sellers location, it will be dependant on the buyers location and payable to the buyers government. To add insult to injury, cross border thresholds are a big fat ZERO.

By now, many of you will have your eyes glazed over and you have no idea what I am talking about. Let me explain the situation from my point of view.

I sell digital crochet patterns via a number of internet platforms such as Etsy, Craftsy and DaWanda. Most of my digital sales go through my website. As I am based in the UK and I am well below the VAT registration threshold, all of my patterns are VAT free. I can continue to sell like this to the UK and non-EU countries.

However, from January 1st 2015, if I sell just one digital pattern to any one of the other 27 EU countries, I will have to register for VAT with that country and and pay VAT on that single pattern to that countries government.

My alternative would be to register for VAT in the UK and fill in a single form that would cover the whole of the EU. The downside to that is that less than 7% of my sales are cross border EU digital sales and I would have to charge VAT on the other 93% of my sales as well.

The silliest thing about all of this is that Distance Selling EU VAT thresholds, which are set by each country, are totally different. The lowest one, when converted to GBP, is just over £22,000.

This means that I can print off a pattern or put it on a cd and post it, then I would come under the Distance selling regs. Sending by email or using an instant download system, means I come under the ESS regs.

Makes you wonder whether the people who set up these regs have anything between their ears!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Posh Jewellery Stands.

I went to the "Festival of Quilts" at the NEC last weekend, while I was in Penarth visiting my parents. Knowing that anything I bought would have to fit in my case to be brought home via the London Underground, I had no intentions of buying anything.

But fabric is so much more compact than yarn!

I bought a 3 metre piece of lovely cotton with the plans to make a new skirt and top set. That is the floral piece in the background.

Then I saw this stunning hand dyed fabric. Very expensive but soooooooo gorgeous. It is made by Farbstoff. The lady was lovely and spent ages helping me find the right colours.

Originally I was looking for a pice to photograph my work on but I ended up getting two pieces, the second one to make jewellery stands with.


Yes, I know they are going to work out very expensive jewellery stands but I need something special for when I finally get around to designing the silk jewellery.

I used a template I found online. Stella & Hodge show you how to make some simple stands that fold flat. They make theirs from card. The template is perfect for what I wanted to do. I just wanted them posher.



I had also bought some very thick interfacing at the show. I went stash diving and found the Bondaweb and then I was ready.


As interfacing doesn't score and bend like card, I cut one full piece. The second piece was trimmed just inside the dotted lines of the template so that the pieces didn't touch.





I ironed the pieces all together and then got out the sewing machine. I tucked ribbon between the interfacing and the fabric.

I did a single line of stitching, from the back, along the centre of the gaps in the second layer of interfacing.


As my machine does embroidery stitches, I used some to decorate either side of the lines. This was done from the front.

This is partly to make it pretty and partly to make sure the interfacing stays firmly in place. I know from exereience that as Bondaweb get older, it loses its "stickiness". I do not want my stands falling apart while on display.






Finally, fold the hem over, sew a single line of stitching from the back to hold it all in place. Then a decorative row just inside from the front.

I only had enough interfacing for 3 stands so bought some iron-on interfacing to make the other two. It was no where near as thick so I used three layers to build it up. This way worked out a lot cheaper than the using the thicker interfacing and Bondaweb, it just meant more cutting out to do.

If I make any more, I would just use one layer for the full template and build up the strength in the separate pieces. This will give a much sharper fold line and make them sit better. I would also use thinner ribbon and magnetic catches in stead of having to ties bows each time.

Now all I have to do is design the silk jewellery to display on them.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Having a Murphy Day!

Actually, it started yesterday. The sewing machine wouldn't work. I took it all apart, cleaned it out then the door bell went. It was Sue for my class which I had forgotten all about. Actually, I had forgotten it was Wednesday but that is just a minor fact.

Then last night I managed to turn the computer off at the plug before it finished shutting down. When I switched it back on this morning it threw a temper tantrum or two. I had to leave it scanning and fixing the hard drive.

Then I put the sewing machine back together and it still wouldn't work. Very strange since it worked perfectly the last time I used it. Turns out there was a rogue bobbin in my box which I had just happened to use. I rewound the thread on to another bobbin and we were well away.

Back to the computer. Everything working fine - except for Kaspersky. It was complaining about a few things so I had to re-install.

Back to sewing. Going along nicely until I realised I was running low on thread. No thread that colour in Chatteris so it was off to trusty old eBay.

And the title? Murphys Law - Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Website Changes

Remember that new "Instant Download Provider" I mentioned? I have been having so much fun with it.

First of all, I have been able to do this!

And, thanks to the new CSS I have been learning, it follows you as you scroll down the page.

Ok, so I don't yet understand the finer points and in some of the older IE browsers it does not work properly but, when it does work, it's great!

You can see how many items you have added to your basket, change the currency you wish to buy in and see the total in the currency you have chosen. I have set it for some of the more common currencies but am happy to add more if I get a big enough demand for them.

If you click on "View Basket", there is a drop down menu where you can change the language on all of the buttons. I have set the default language on the pages to the most appropriate. Go and have a play! Click on the German or Swedish flag and see it change automatically. I am loving it.

And for those whose browsers don't show the cloud in its correct position, I have added these. They sit just above the first pattern on each of the pattern pages and you will have to scroll back up the page to use them.

Sorry but I am not a website designers and I don't even begin to understand the finer points of CSS. I just try to find a solution to a problem when somebody emails me about one.

All of this means that I no longer use Ravelry for my instant downloads. I am sorry to say this but they just do not fill my needs any more.

I am planning on expanding into kits and possibly supplying some speciality yarns/threads. When I do this I would have to look at an alternative shopping cart as Ravelry does not provide this service. There new EU rules have just made me do it all sooner rather than later.

ShopIntegrator Instant Digital Downloads
And I suppose you want a link to the new system? Click on the icon.






Sunday, June 15, 2014

Website Woes

Ok, so I understand the concept of CSS. I am also amazing at "Copy and Paste". So all I need to do is find the relevant coding and C&P it into the right places?

Errr, Nope!

I won't bore you with the details but there was a lot more work than that to get the pages looking like they do. However, you may think, apart from the fact I put the navigation buttons down the side, that they do not look a whole lot different. They may not to you but, trust me, they do to Google!

Go and have a look!

I managed to get the patterns pages finished well before the deadline for the new selling regs. This included the new T&C page along with a cancellation form. I also managed to get the T&C pdfs upload to all of my Ravelry patterns. Whether people actually download them, is another matter.

However, Ravelry does not have the tick box required by EU sellers to protect themselves from unscrupulous people and this is one of the reasons I have decided not to use their download facilities on my site any more.

I have found a new instant download provider and, I must say, I am loving it!

Yes, more work to do on the website. More learning curves. And more late nights.

Watch this space for more news!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eleven




Number 11 completed. Decorated with Snails which I made up. Pattern will be available when I write it!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Steep Learning Curve.

So, there I am thinking that I can learn all of this new stuff gradually when I get thrown yet another curve ball.

There are new selling regulations which are coming into force all over Europe on June 13th 2014 and my website has to comply with them!

Panic!

These new regs are "The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013" and have been updated to include a new section to cover the selling of "Digital Downloads" and that means me!

If you buy anything online, you have 14 days in which to change your mind and inform the seller. You then have another 14 days in which to return the item and the seller has 14 days from its safe return to issue a refund.

You generally do not have a right to cancel once a digital download has started. However, this is only the case if you have been told and given your explicit acknowledgement. You generally do not have a right to cancel once a digital download has started. However, this is only the case if you have been told and given your "explicit acknowledgement". The simplest way to gain "explicit acknowledgement" would be a tick box at the check out.

Such as this one.

The problem here would be that I do not have my own check out. I use a variety of selling platforms across the www. Mostly USA based who do not have to conform to these rules and are not willing to change things to help European sellers comply with regulations.

We think we have found a way around this while still complying but trying to get a straight "Yes" or "No" from anybody official is like banging your head against a brick wall.

Back to that steep learning curve. Instead of learning everything gradually, I am having to learn it all at once. Mostly I can find what I need online and adapt it to my needs. But sometimes I get totally stumped and have to look for an alternative way.

I think, by the time I have finished, I will have earned a degree in "Copying, Pasting and Fudging it". But I am quite pleased with what I have achieved so far. Checkout my new Rainbow Valley Homepage!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Ten


It has been rather a long time due to other commitments but I have finally finished number 10.

The flowers are from Scrapbooking with Crotat.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Life Changing Decisions.

I have never been one to air dirty laundry in public. I like my private life kept private. The problem is that things happening in my personal life have drastically affected my professional life.

So, without going into too much detail, here is what has been happening over the past few months while I have been extremely quiet.

Just before Christmas, I left my partner of 10 years. I hadn't been happy for a while. My son certainly hadn't. And over the weekend of November 30th/December 1st, things happened which made me evaluate my situation and make the decision to leave.

It wasn't an easy decision to make, in fact it was one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in a very long time. But needs must and on the Friday of that week I moved into a new house with my son.
I moved in with my partner with a whole heap of belongings but, over time, they had been whittled down and I moved out with very little.

This is when you realise what amazing family and friends you have!

Money, furniture and household items came from all directions and in no time at all, my new house was a cosy home.

Of course, moving that quickly meant no internet but, again, I had loads of offers to go and make use of a variety of WiFi connections. I had to rely on my poor little, overworked netbook but I was able to keep an eye on things. My internet was connected mid December but trying to run a business on the net book proved very difficult.

My other major problem was that I lost all motivation to crochet - not a good thing when that is how you earn an income.

While I was struggling with the curve ball life had thrown at me, my son positively bloomed. As hard as the decision had been, I knew it was the right one.

Life marches on and that was nearly six months ago. Things have changed. I feel better apart from an occasional pang of regret. Not for leaving, I certainly don't regret that, more for not realising what I did a lot sooner. But the past is in the past and that is where it should stay.

The future holds so many possibilities.

And I have so many plans!

This time next year Rodney, we are going to be millionaires............


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Nine


Number 9 finished!

The Bumble Bees are from "Scrapbooking with Flowers and Friends"

Now I know when it is quarter past and quarter to. And it is actually looking like a clock on the wall.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Six


Now I know when is it 6 o'clock.

Or half past 12.

Or I will do when I get it up on the wall!

Decorated with Violets from "Scrapbooking Flowers & Friends"





Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Twelve




Number 12 completed. The photo is taken on my keyboard to give you some idea of the size. If you are anything like me, you see a measurement and need to get a ruler out to see how big it is.

If you are not like me, you will probably want to know that it measures about 12cm tall.

Yes, this is going to be a big clock!

And the details?

The Numbers are from Alphabet Mobiles - Numbers.

The decoration is from two of my free patterns, Doodling and Mini Flowers.


Friday, February 14, 2014

The "I don't do Minimalist" clock.

We moved.

We need a clock.

And we have a big, plain, boring, bare wall.

So, do we go for a picture and a small clock? Or do we go for a big feature clock? Much discussion followed.

Eventually we decided to go for a big feature clock. But what type? More discussion followed. We finally found one we liked on eBay that was within my price range, ordered it and waited impatiently.

What a shock when it arrived! First of all it wasn't any where near as nice as it had looked in the picture. It was some sort of resin, not metal.

Secondly, it was smashed to pieces and totally unusable.

We had to find another clock. More discussion followed.

Eventually, I had enough of discussion and bought this one.

It is a "Minimalist" style clock. The big hand is about 30cm long.

But those who know me, know I don’t do minimalist………….

Watch this space.