Sunday, 18 December 2016

Happy Christmas

Wishing you and your families a very Happy Christmas

Eat, drink and be Merry, see you in the New Year

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Last Event of the Year

Phew! last event of the year, all stock packed away until next year. As usual Julia pulled out all the stops, Christmas songs playing,  a jolly atmosphere, lovely customers and stallholders. Really Christmassy and loved it.

Apart from 2 pairs all my lace Christmas tree earrings have sold, yippee

Now for the planning for new lines next year, first on my list 'Wedding's' in of course a vintage style.

Another New Years project is to sort my sewing room. Did my workroom a while back but my sewing room is so bad!!! drawers that will not shut because of too much fabric crammed into them, Spare spools of thread overflowing, ribbons cascading down from on high every time I lift the box down and they never fall out as they are but proceed to unravel across the floor.  Ordered a ribbon storage box from Amazon, think it holds about 17 reels. Will need more than the 1 but thought would give a go first, these should feed the ribbon out through a slit so you just pull and cut. Have not told Lee that I will be buying more storage boxes as he thinks by now I should have enough, little does he know how much 'stuff' I have, lol. All needed of course.

After packing away the stock from Saturday going to have a well earned rest for a couple of weeks. Apart from snowmen and tree cookies, caramelised cointreau cream cake to make and maybe some sweets, perhaps some fudge and chocolate covered turkish delight, yumm!

Have fun

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Almost Christmas

Well a busy week, had an order for 12 of my cutwork sachets, concentrated on them over the weekend and into Monday. all done and winging their way to a new home. 

M & S for Food goodies on Tuesday.

Christmas tree up and decorated over Wednesday and  Thursday. Collapsed at that point and watched Jason Bourne after eating a delicious Chinese from M & S.

Friday Waitrose delivery and repacking stock from last weeks fair. 

Saturday & Sunday sorting for the Vintage Brocante on the 10th. Next week will double check have pricing labels and props etc. Only a 4ft stall at this event that has to be born in mind when thinking of props and placement. Want the stall to look enticing but not overcrowded like a jumble sale.

This is my last event of the year and over the holiday's I look back at events diary some on for next year and delete others. Look at other opportunities etc. Got chatting to a lady at the Headley event, met her before through the fair and the WI, she has joined with about 12 other ladies and they have formed a craft co-op. They hire out the cricket pavilion in Grayshott and hold a mini event. May go along and have a look to see if would suit me. A small event but those should never be written off as sometimes they can be as good if not better than larger events, when you are competing with 50+ stallholders.

January and February are also my planning months for new lines, directions I want the business to go in etc. etc. Also the months when I start making Birthday cards and gifts for friends and family for that year. Planning Christmas 2017 gifts, I know sound a bit odd but as this is my busiest time like to be organised.

Check out the other blogs at Sum of Their Stories

Until next week, have fun

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Local Christmas Fair

I have been attending the Headley Christmas Fair for years, small local event but worth doing normally, this year? an unmitigated disarrster. Lovely atmosphere, music playing, laughter, chatter but no sales to write home about. Have I reached the end of the road for this event? I think so. A shame but must not let my heart rule my business head.

Talking to another regular we notice that a lot of new stallholders, now that is okay but sadly without the Arford and Liphook WI, who bring in a lot of members, the sales were way down. Too many cake stalls, stalls selling things cheap which made my prices seem expensive. I may ask questions next year and mention to Jo that without the WI and the Lions it is lacking a certain something.

Couple of photos and a case of hunt the customers:

Time to move on and only one more event for me to do, then I can pack away until the New Year. Fingers crossed the Home and Vintage Brocante fairs better for the stallholders, if like the last two should be good, plus all in all not bad for advertising myself and my product line

Check out the other blogs at Handmade Monday

Until next week  by which time we should have our Christmas tree and decorations up, such big kids but just love Christmas.

Have fun

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Craft Fairs and Expectations

I have been doing fairs for more years than I care to remember, stopped doing them then started again. We all have expectations as to what our craft fairs should produce and the rule of thumb is 10 times the rent. So if the rent is £30 you hope to make £300. Now in reality that has never happened to me or to others I have talked to. 

On a positive note you also have to factor in advertising, a fair is your form of advertising and by handing out business cards you may get repeat or new business via your website.

I use postcards with product images not just small business cards, as these can be lost in bags, thrown away when they get home or if not enough info the customer may not remember what it was you did. The secret is to make it as easy as possible for a customer to look at your card and have a memory jog.

Advertise the event yourself on Facebook and your site, newsletters, notice in your car etc. I do not expect the organiser to do it all for me as I may live in a different area and can reach a wider audience.

Your stall should also be well laid out, worth practising first at home, pricing clear (though you will still get asked 'how much is this'). Be ready in case someone asks for a special order, have an order book with you and explain clearly what you expect from them ie, full payment up front, postage costs etc. Sometimes with fair orders I waive the postage fee but that is up to you. I just feel they have made the effort to visit, pay to come in and place an order, all part of my customer service.

Make your stall as enticing as possible, adding props, lights etc. This is your one chance to make a lasting memory to the visitors. Remember your 1 or 2 or 3 day event is your shop front for that time. Customers may not visit that event again but make sure they remember you and your products.

At my last event, Brocante at the Cathedral, a lady rushed up to my stall, so pleased I was there as she had bought from me at the Grayswood Brocante. She spent some more money with me and said she would come again to Grayswood in December. This made me feel happy as to have a customer that follows you is brilliant, that they love what you do. She even brought her Mum with her and she bought as well.

I was told that my stall was memorable as so pretty and pink. I do tend to make in pink, white and ivory, some say this is limiting my customer base but remember reading some time ago to make your website cohesive. Not too many random colours try to keep to a uniform palette. This way you build a customer base round the colours you use and the products on the website mix and match.
These are mine with an occasional hint of duck egg and grey

I have used random colours before but since following this rule have had far more compliments and at Guildford had an elderly gentleman, whose wife had bought from me, said 'Do you make this all yourself' my reply was yes and he said 'it is all wonderful such pretty colours, I could stand here for hours just looking'. These type of comments mean a lot to me as so good to be appreciated.

So are fairs worth it? well they are a cheap form of advertising, as we all know that can be a horrendous bill. Customers get to meet you the maker and feel the cloth, so to speak. Weigh that up and then decide was the event worth it or not. Some are not as I think all down to the customers. I love meeting up with other business women, have a chat, swap ideas, hear about good fairs and those to avoid.

Best practise smile and look as if you want to be there, talk about what you make with passion.

A new venue this week for Handmade Monday Sum of Their Stories

Until next week, have fun

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Book Review - The Natural World of Needle Felting

The Natural World of Needle Felting by Fi Oberon

I have been asked to review this book, this is a subject I have never had a go at but always wanted to so perfect and animals could not be better.

A hard cover book, always makes a book feel better and the photography by Brent Darby is beautiful, so enticing to continue through the pages learning how to make these wonderful animals and birds.

The contents are broken down into easy to read sections:

Nature and Nurture about the author growing up and her love of wildlife

Tools, Equipment and Techniques covering the wool (had no idea so many wools and what each can do). Needles, equipment such as felting blocks how to go about structure from a basic shape. How to sculpt, adding colour, textures, character and wire work.

A special section to me was creating sets to place your animals into, this adds dimension to the item made and natural sets look so good. This covers things such as trees, shells and more.

Farmland Traditional farmyard animals such as chickens, cows, a beautiful swallow with her nest and chicks, the sheepdog, sheep and rabbits. 

Polar Region from polar bears, reindeer (would look brilliant in a Christmas scene and penguins who does not love these cute little fellows.

Uplands more the creatures we are used to goats, fox, hedgehog, snail loved by little boys, the sweetest little dormouse in a conker shell am going to have a go with this one, squirrel and owl

Coast Love this section as all things to do with the sea remind me of times spent in Devon when a child. To make from this section a starfish love the instruction as to how to make the lumps on the body, seagull and an oyster catcher.

I would highly recommend this book for needle felting beginners and advanced alike as inspirational, well done Fi.

How about adding to your Christmas list available from 

Thank you Jessica for giving me this opportunity to review a delightful book.

Check out the other blogs at Handmade Monday

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Brocante at the Cathedral

Here I am again at a lovely event organised by Julia Langley. Guildford Cathedral sits atop a hill just to the south of Guildford, you can see the whole town from this elevated position. A modern cathedral I usually prefer the older ones such as Winchester but still manages to have grace and poise.

The Home and Vintage Brocante was sighted at the front of the Cathedral in a lovely marquee. 
As before a well organised event, friendly customers and stallholders alike. Good to meet up with friends made at the last event.

This time on my own so no helper to unload but managed okay and did more trips, normally pile myself high like a pack horse and end up drained before I have started. A learning curve for me to take things easy as have always been know to rush.

All set up, coffee drank and ready to go.

A busy day with lots of visitors, hardly had a chance to have a coffee until early afternoon but so worth it.

Slept like a log last night. I now have a break of a month until my next event so today's 'To Do' list:

1.Put stock away in the stock room

2.Update website

3.Sort a banner for a US site I am joining for a trial year

(Managed to sort out a competitive tracked postal rate, thank you Parcel Monkey)

4.Book review to get ready for next week's blog, this one is about needle felting something I have always wanted to try.

5.Hospital with DH
6.Hair Cuts.

7.Big Autumnal clean this will go on for some weeks as a lot to do, lol.

I think that is enough to be going on with, off to have a lie down, lol as forgot about the clocks going back and got up at an hour earlier.

Check out the other blogs at Handmade Monday

Have a good week and enjoy the ever changing colours of Autumn

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Make It, Own It, Love It by Matt Chapple Book Review

Congratulations to Matt for winning the Great British Sewing Bee a worthy winner and for the publication of his new book.

Make It, Own It, Love It

I have been lucky enough to receive his book to review. Now I am passionate about sewing and just love the Great British Sewing Bee, would love to work in the studio, so airy and so many goodies to choose from.

Onto the book. Lovely hardback cover and packed with so much information from cover to cover.


Tools - A must for every seamstress and can never have too many

Fabrics - This can be a minefield but Matt breaks it down to easy to read and understand what different fabrics do and how they stitch

Stitching - Get to know your machine along with hand stitching guides and understanding patterns

Make It Your Own - Covering seams, fitting, alterations, embellishing, zips and pleats

Make It From Scratch - How to make some items without a paper pattern, to ensure perfect fit for you

Make It Wearable - Maintaining your clothes such as replacing buttons, zips repairs

Make It Live Longer - How to keep your clothes looking good for longer. in this modern world I think we are all guilty of discarding items that with a bit of love could be worn for several more years.

Each section is clear with detailed descriptions and pictures. I loved this book and although been sewing for 50 years I found it packed with useful information that had long since been forgotten.

I would recommend this book for any skill,  not just for beginners as the altering and customising sections are so informative. If like me you love all things sewing and can spend hours in a fabric and haberdashery shop, or know someone who does, Matt's book would be the ideal Christmas gift. I know I would love to receive this book, to spend Christmas afternoon by the fire reading.

Available on Amazon

Cannot wait for the next series of the Great British Sewing Bee

Happy Stitching

I am joining the Handmade Monday Linky party at Lucy Blossom Crafts

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Back in the land of crafting

I am back to full fitness, after 4 weeks of being poorly, now creating  for my next event at Guildford Cathedral on the 29th October. Another first and so excited, Julia Langley who organises the Home & Vintage Brocantes is excellent and so well organised. Plus lovely to see an organiser passionate and caring about the event and stallholders, think this one may be a keeper.

Whilst mainly sorting some extra stock, adding details to the paypal app etc, which seems to take an age, lol, have been making, my first offering some pretty glitter baubles with added lace covers then embellished with pearls ribbons and roses.

Angel Wings embroidered made on my machine then embellished

Tasks for next week: Vintage style applique iphone cases, gold lace clutch bags with rosettes and have been asked to do a review of Matt Chapple's (winner of the Great British Sewing Bee) new book called: Make it, Own it, Love it. I think Matt was a worthy winner and cannot wait to go through his book this week.

Check out the other blogs at Handmade Monday

Bye for now until next week, stay warm and dry