Sunday, 29 November 2015

Champagne Lace and Damask

Still working on my new vintage collection this time a beautiful bag made in cotton canvas for body but overlaid with a heavy guipure lace, adding faux leather handles in a dark brown.

As you know not making a lot atm but loving what I am doing, feel back to how I used to feel when stitching, happy and content not to mention confident that doing something I love.

Damask Monogram Lavender Sachets

These are for an order for a group of ladies who sew and natter. Damask monogrammed initial lavender sachets, made in ivory linen and filled with lavender, delicious. Will be adding these to my website as think they fit the vintage collection perfectly.

The last fair of the year for me was on Saturday at Headley Village Hall, fun, music, laughter and visitors looking for a perfect gift for Christmas. This event is always so happy maybe because organised to raise funds for the hall and not an organiser. I did so well and from the comments the ladies who bought were happy as well. One thing I have learnt over the years at this sort of village fair is to sell and make low ticket items. This year I had sale items but if I feel the need to use up odds and ends with low prices this is the time to do it. 

All goods packed away in the stock room now, which frees me up to decorate the house with glitter and baubles. Love Christmas and our tree goes up on Monday. Then Tuesday relax with a good film, a Chinese courtesy of M & S, maybe a tipple, exchange our cards, what could be better than the 1st day of the festivities. Not forgetting to open day 1 of our Jacquie Lawson advent calendar. I buy one of her calendars every year and also send one to a couple of friends, just love them.

Have a good week and hope you all did well at events this weekend and any future bookings for 2015.

Check out Handmade Monday at Lucy Blossom Crafts

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Back to Vintage and a weekend fair

I am really back into Vintage and although again should not be making, with a workman messing around in the utility room had to do something! Well that is my excuse. A bag, simple design, made in natural linen with lace from my stash box (have no idea where I got it from) Vintage wording embroidered onto pale rose print linen and edged again with crochet lace trim from my bits and bobs box. Faux silk ribbon bow, love this ribbon and stronger than the silk version. Button from MIL's tin.
Measures approx 9" X 9" with a 26" strap. Lined with a pocket and tied together with more of the faux silk ribbon.

'Liphook Village Market'

Started off with this event this time last year and did well, April good, June and September dire sales = £0, so my expectations where not high. However, as I did my Inventory sale and no new stock did okish. My main aim was to move the old stock. Have one more event to do at Headley on 28/11 and will do the same. I know I have made some new things for Christmas but would rather shift old stock and keep the new on my website. Sadly this will be my last Liphook event unless I want to have another sale next year. It has changed from an Artisan fair to a village market and not sure that a large fruit and veg stall mixes with handmade very well, plus allowing in 'Hallo Vera' now, certainly not handmade.

Check out the other stalls at Lucy Blossom Crafts

Same place and time next week for more tales of daring do, lol

Sunday, 8 November 2015

My machines were calling

Okay I had said was not going to make anything until next year but after the Home and Vintage fair last week felt inspired, plus my machines were sitting looking so lonely and just called to be plugged in. A vintage inspired make, these lavender sachets are done in white linen and silk, the cutwork design is done on my embroidery machine. The cut areas can be left open but I thought a touch of shell pink silk looked so vintage in styling.

A stitch artist sent me another cutwork design and decided to add both green and pink to this one, a bit fiddly but got there in the end.

When clearing MIL's home there were a pile of vintage linens that I just had to keep. Made some lavender sachets from the hankies. The buttons were also in various tins belonging to MIL and know some came from her Mother, so quite old. That was the time when all shirts and tops were never thrown out without taking off the buttons first.

My sewing room smells delicious with the french lavender from the Chateau de la Gabelle, Provence. Must order another kg as think going to be using this a lot.

Check out the other blogs at Handmade Monday

If only this rain would go away and we could go back to the crisp but sunny Autumn days of long ago. I love the colours of Autumn but sadly with this murk and mist not seeing much of it.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Research and now a published Stitch Artist

Last week I posted about my first craft fair and this week about a bit of research I did on Saturday by visiting a Antique and Artisan fair. Digressing slightly funny thinking back to when I first started this crafting malarky there was no internet, you had to find events in the local paper and actually visit or write if you wanted a stall. No mobile phones, no web to do your research, had to haul the yellow pages onto the table and trawl. The only way you could apply for events was to visit and make a note of the organisers telephone number. How things have changed, someways for the better. So easy to go to a keyboard but think how much we are missing by not visiting events to get our own unbiased view of how they are run, layout of stalls, number of duplicates, quality etc. Now I am not knocking the internet as Waitrose and John Lewis do very well out of me and my bank balance, lol, not to mention the fabric shops that I otherwise could not get to because of distance but nothing like feeling the cloth for real and using our eyes plus the exercise with the walking round and event is good for us.

Back to the fair it was fantastic and would love to display here. Vintage and Artisan mixed together comfortably and the stalls were so interesting. Think that Vintage/Handmade is for me. Could have spent hours but with DH hovering in the car park (parking was a slight issue) had to be sensible.

Published Stitch Artist

I have tried to keep this as quiet as possible but know a few of you know that Haute Handbags approached me in March to submit some samples of my work, chose the 3D flower and dragonfly silk clutches. Well the publication is now on the shelves and the best part is have got paid for my tutorial. This has given me confidence to try a few publications in the UK, not as prestigious as this Stampington one as they produce craft magazines of the Tatler and Vogue of the crafting world.

I have sorted my 5 drawer chest in my workroom this week, my sewing room is in a bit of a mess as have 'things' that unsure what I want to do with them yet or should I say where to store them, used my sewing room for the sorting as more room, well did have!!!!!!. Think this is going to be a slow process. Getting bored now think need a break.

Check out the other blogs at Lucy Blossom Crafts

Same place, same time next week. Not sure what is planned this week but making sure I drag Lee out and about

Sunday, 25 October 2015

My first Craft Fair in the 80's

As some of you know I am not making atm but having a sale, even bought new sign and thought could use every year.

So what can I blog about this week? don't want to loose blogging momentum. Had a thought about my first ever craft fair in the early 80's and comparing with how things have changed now after all those years. I booked my first craft fair at Charterhouse School in Surrey, a marquee event and very large, so all a bit daunting. Probably should have booked a local village one first but a bit more gung-ho in those days plus had the money to pay the higher rent as working. 

Being in my 20's I thought I knew it all, walked tall with confidence and set up my shop, those were the days when my Mum used to come with me so had company. Had taken a course in how to dress a shop window at art college so knew certain rules and regs. My stall did look good and got a lot of praise from the organisers and some other stallholders. 

I mention the word 'some' as one thing I soon discovered was how clicky it was. I went round the stalls in my marquee armed with a box of quality street (always been taught when somewhere new take a gift) and said hello and introduced myself, the responses? well about half were very welcoming but the other half? you would think I was invisible and they never even acknowledged me. This was not mid set up but moments before the gates opened. In those days did not worry what others thought and moved on.

Now I find events friendly and chatty so events now are better. The downside not as much money spent by the customers. Back in the 80's craft events were vetted and you had to submit samples (juried in the US), now a lot of them take anyone just to fill up the spaces. Taking little time to check if bought in or the standard of the workmanship. Also now like the late 80's (recessions times)  find a lot of new crafters who really do not have a clue how to make but thing and easy way to earn money. Fling together cushion covers with no finishing inside, pile up the tables like a market stall, sell cheap, fall's to bits in a couple of months then the rest of us get bad press. I think part of the blame lies with the organisers they need to take pride in their events and check and check traders again. 

I had an invitation recently for an event in Southampton (a bit too far for me) where you had to quote your tax reference along with a copy of your pli and samples. Very efficient and the rents reflected this as £200 for the day. Broadly advertised and looked well organised.

Also as sellers we should do our research, with the internet at our finger tips so easy to search for reviews of events from sellers and buyers alike. Most post pic's of stalls after the event so you can have a look what is for sale. The best way is to visit before you book. Now I appreciate this is not always possible particularly if a long distance and not on that often but so worth the effort if you can. 

Next year I am looking for Vintage and Artisan fairs, perhaps Steampunk if I can find one locally. Next Saturday there is a Vintage and Artisan fair in a small village not far from us, plan to visit and see what is on offer, what the stalls look like, volume of visitors etc. Or do the sellers have a hungry look every time someone walks through the door. Fresh meat to be dragged to the stall and forced to buy! only joking never been that bad but think most will understand what I mean. Quality of the handcrafted on offer and how many textile stalls that may be competition for me. Not to mention the prices of the stock on display.

These events seem to be run about 4 times a year and although had planned not to do early in the year, may consider 1 to give it a go and the October date.

Now that I have written war and peace should really start to do what I said I was going to do and that is sort my workroom, have been finding excuses all week not to start. Fills me with dread and whilst have done one drawer so far the thought of sorting card bags, envelopes, card blanks, bits and pieces. Now what can I do instead?

Check out the other blogs at Lucy Blossom Crafts

Have a great week and take care x

Sunday, 18 October 2015

The big tidy up continues

I mentioned in my post last week about the big tidy up venture I am currently on, done the stock and stock room (at the end of my workroom). Now starting on the workroom proper. Bought a chest of drawers earlier this year, filled the drawers with 'stuff' stored in boxes but that was it. Now the big sort has begun.

Must admit having this few months of no making and just sitting back is refreshing. I now am not torn between what I feel I should be doing (making) and what I should be doing (tidying). Have tried in Jan and Feb before but usually like to make on start on Christmas and Birthday gifts for the year. Think this time even these may be started before this Christmas, good grief how can I be so organised, working a year ahead, lol.

Have spent some time out with Shiloh and my camera, I just love Autumn or Fall as my US friends call it. Nature can be so perfect, all the mix of colours blending so well together with no help from man. This is a beautiful tree at the end of the cul-de-sac, just perfect.

My website is in the middle of a revamp added a picture index instead of the miniscule titles across the top, I for 1 found it hard to read the titles at times, not finished by a long chalk but getting there.

Have you heard of the Professional Crafters Guild, I have been a member for some time and love it. Geared towards the business end of crafting with lots of helpful hints and tips, you get a certificate when you join and if you upgrade to a premium member, which for £35.00 a year is not too expensive, you will have a free ad in the monthly publication, certificate for your stall:

Access to the full members area which has some really useful information if running a business. Take a look at Professional Crafters Guild

Been searching on Pinterest for display ideas, here are a few I have found and just love them.

It never ceases to amaze me the creative thought behind some displays and if only I could produce something like these would be a happy bunny.

That is all for this week folks, check out the Blogs at Lucy Blossom Crafts with Vicky at Handmade Monday

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Inventory close out sale and change of direction

I had a revelation on Sunday, well tbh got to the end of the road with my current stock and after a not very good fair. I have been swayed in the past by comments from others, saying why don't you make this or that. Listened and did what they suggested then failed dismally.   I decided to do an inventory close out sale, in other words clear most of my existing stock by the end of December. Have already sold 4 bags, a day after the sale went live. Still working through my stock and adding to the sale section of my website.  Stock takes are endless, well seem that way and have found put things back in the wrong boxes, in other words a mess.

I feel that change and reinvention is good for us all and does not hurt, I have got very jaded with the craft fair circuit and next year my makes will be going back to the vintage style I love. Hence looking for vintage and artisan fairs. I don't do modern and think has taken me a while to realise this and let's face it so many styles in the shops at a fraction of the price I can make them for.

My passion lies with lace, beading and still machine embroidery but using heirloom designs. Have a wonderful designer that her embroideries designs are the best. So 2016 will bring new products and a new me doing what I love as am sure it tells in your items and your persona at fairs when you are not happy. I did vintage with my original craft business years ago before it was 'in' and did well cannot believe I got swayed to make things that I really did not like. A lot of people say you should listen to the buyers but when they are not buying because they claim to be able to get an item as well made (yeah right) and cheaper (okay right, from a sweat shop) time to move on and start afresh.

Starting my new pinterest boards with ideas and mood boards with designs, fabrics etc. Love mood boards and have done a few times in my almost 58 years of life. My plan is to have a successful vintage inspired business and lose weight (now don't all fall about laughing about the latter). I do try frequently but as soon as I say I am on a diet always starving. Anyway plan to do all this by the time I am 60, that gives me just over 2 years (or 24months or 104 weeks). Think much beyond that age not sure would be bothered to restart again but then again my passion for handmade has not gone away and don't think it ever will, after 30 years of running business's handmade is an addiction and way of life.

Check out the other blogs at Lucy Blossom Crafts

Have a good week and enjoy the dry Autumnal weather, I am off out with the camera for some colour combo shots.