Friday, November 30, 2012

Craft fairs - so hit and miss

A few years ago I stopped doing craft fairs - mainly due to health issues but also as I'd found they'd become too much effort for too little return.

But being unwaged, skint and quite frankly desperate to earn a few quid. I've spent the last few months making some fresh items, Repackaging the old ones as we moved house last year and all the labels had my old details on. By the time it came round to booking some Christmas events in my new home town I found I'd missed the boat with quite a few, apparently they get booked up in June or July!

Anyway I managed to book 3 and the first one was yesterday. I WISH I could tell you it was a success but it was a real damp squib. Lovely venue, a five star hotel in the centre of town which has recently been refurbished beautifully, but the event had been poorly promoted and there was no parking nearby. I paid more for the stall than I sold, ended up £12 out of pocket and that's before petrol (and time and effort). I wasn't the only one everyone was complaining bitterly which didn't make for a nice atmosphere, some had travelled 50 miles or more at least I was only 3 miles up the road. All I sold was 2 bookmarks, one pair of earrings and a cheap wool brooch all priced at under £5 each.

I'm very exhausted - after I do these events it takes me 2 or 3 days to recover - and I have another this Sunday, I'm praying its better atttended and the poeple who come are in a buying frame of mind. 

I thought my stall looked lovely and was very excited before it began then when we had all sat there from 12 noon until 5 pm with hardly a sale between us, I'd lost the will to live. When there was a brief flurry around 6 pm it was crowded for half an hour but people weren't in a spending mood at all, they'd come down to see the Christmas lights turned on, watch the firework display and have a free glass of mulled wine and not to buy handmade items its such a niche market, you really need to target people who are specifically looking to buy handmade, not people who are looking for a cheap bargain. Its so hurtful when the few people who do look turn stuff over and say things like "£30 for a necklace you can get one for £5 in Primark". My skins just not thick enough.

Coupled with the fact that my mobile phone went on the blink so I couldn't contact anyone, and when I finally managed to borrow someones mobile I found out Brian had been rushed into hospital in an ambulance with a suspected heart attack (it wasn't - it was indigestion) it was overall a flipping nightmare. 

Here is my display (done on a tight budget) but I think it looks pretty good - though I may as well have just thrown everything in a heap on the floor for all the good it did.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Beaded bookmarks

Christmas is coming so I decided to make a few more beaded bookmarks, they always sell very well. I don't  like to have things just sitting around so I listed a few in my Folksy shop. But Before I could get any more lined up and ready to list they'd sold!

So I'm going to be making lots this weekend. I want to have a pile ready for a craft fair I have coming up and need to make a few to give as gifts they're great if you're giving someone a book add a Beaded bookmark t it and make it something pretty and special.

Find them or some like them in my Folksy shop. 
I'm offering FREE postage 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The cat who's adopted us

Since we lost our beloved Smokey cat almost 4 years ago we haven't had a cat. Now though we have been partly adopted by our next door neighbours lovely cat Pops who has been coming in our garden and coming up to us for cuddles as I think he's had his nose pushed out a tiny bit at home because their labrador dog has just had 8 adorable bundles of black fur.

Today I had the patio door open because it was so warm and turned around to find Pops exploring the kitchen! Isn't he gorgeous?

Its great like having a cat without the food and vet bills!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New car and sofas

The other day I collected my new (second hand) car - she's a nippy little hatchback by Hyundai isn't she cute? Its going to take a bit of getting used to being behind the wheel again after almost 10 years of not driving! But so far so good.

All my other cars have had names - there was Ozzy the (Austin) mini, Fifi the fiat, Vicky the Vauxhall - suggestions (clean please) for a name for my Hyundai Getz very welcome just add to the comments at the end.

Today we finally got the new sofas we ordered at Easter! two 2 seater sofas nice and squashy and a nice ig footstool which I can use as a workbox for my current beading project - its bigger outside and smaller inside than I really wanted but it matches the sofas. I got plain grey and then I can add touches of colour with scatter cushions when I fancy a bit of a change.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Olympic torch relay

I must admit I'm not terribly enthusiastic about the Olympics really. When the Olympic torch Relay came to my home town on Sunday we just muttered darkly about traffic jams and avoided the town centre!

But today I went into Richmond for a bit of shopping and was surprised to find crowds of people forming as the torch relay was working its way back to North Yorkshire and was due in the town. I got very swept up with the party atmosphere and even though I get quite panicky in crowds I managed to find a fairly quiet spot where the handover was going to be - I was even given a seat by one of the Stewards and was right at the front when the relay parade arrived and cheered along with the rest when the torch was lit. 

I found it quite moving and just wanted to share a few of the photos I took on my phone.

Although it looks really quiet where I was there were thousands upon thousands of people in the main market square and up by the Castle and at Richmond School where Lord Seb Coe went.

It was handed over from Charlotte Brown to Amy Potter

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fantasia necklace

I've finished my latest creation - the Fantasia necklace. I really enjoyed making it and I think some of that joy shines through.

I collected a whole medley of toning and complementary beads and cabochons in a froth of citrus green and sherbert pink, luscious lavender and foamy lilac. the centrepieces are shell, collectable vintage buttons and a pretty gemstone.

I then mounted each large cabochon onto stiffener and hand embroidered around it in peyote stitch, bead by tiny bead, each one surrounded by a slightly different but matching selection of glass seed beads and pearls.

Once all the components were completed to my satisfaction I backed them with soft coffee colour faux suede, then joined them together to create this stunning neckpiece.

Suspended from a chain of matching beads and fastening at the back of your neck with a silver plated push in flower clasp decorated with a tiny sparkling crystal.
It looks amazing worn over a simple black high necked sweater.

You can buy this necklace now in my Etsy shop 

Monday, May 14, 2012

I've been drooling over all the stunning beadwoven jewellery on the Etsy beadweavers blog  I've been a member of Etsy for quite a while but felt a bit shy to list any of my work there. However I've taken the plunge and opened an Etsy shop and put just a few items in it. My favourite Marie Antoinette bracelet and the River Lune pendant necklace are two of them.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Just been looking out some of my freeform peyote work which I made a while ago as I'm making a few new pieces which I'll be adding here soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Free bracelet tutorial

Hers a super free tutorial I found for this lovely mandala bracelet, I've made a few similar to this before and they are great for using up those odd leftover beads and make a stunning statement piece.

See Mandala Bracelet and 1000's of others - or share your own on Cut Out + Keep

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bead giveaway

For all you keen beaders I've just come across a fabulous bead giveaway on The Beading gems journal blog - I'm kind of reluctant to share it as I'd SOOOO love to win it but sharing it gives me and extra entry into the prize draw so here's a link - Beading Gems journal giveaway go forth and DROOL over these lovely beads.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Trying to find inspiration

I can't believe its been over a year since I've blogged about anything craft related. I've been posting on my book blog but apart from that I haven't been doing a huge amount of crafting we've been kept busy with a rather fraught house move which has included downsizing. Anyway we're now settled in our lovely brand new house. Most of my craft materials apart from a box of beads had to go into storage and I had to have a serious de-clutter!

Now we've got a bit more sorted out I've managed to commandeer the smallest bedroom as a craft room and although its pretty hard to work in there compared to my last huge studio, as everything has to be put away after use (then found again which is the hardest bit)

I've joined a couple of local groups trying to get my creative juices flowing, one is called Open Arts at the Darlington Arts Centre, its open to everyone and is aimed at mood enhancement and helping beat depression and mental health problems through art and crafts - which I think is fabulous.

We do all kinds of crafts from painting and pottery to papercrafts and textile art. Every week either a guest tutor or demonstrator comes in to run a workshop, or a member does a demonstration or workshop. I took in some of my beadwork and they've asked me to hold a couple of classes - which I'm nervous about doing but busy planning as I do love to share my love of beading.

I've also been very inspired by the beautiful textile art, embroidery and felting which I've seen there and am trying my hand at that ( like I NEED another craft to obsess over!!)

I've also met a lady there who runs a craft group and has asked me to show some of her ladies some card making ideas as they have lots of materials which they had donated and don't know how to use, including rubber stamps and embossing powders and lots of embossing boards and stuff.

I'm SOOO out of practice not having done any cardmaking for over 4 years I'm having to sit down and reteach myself so I don't make an absolute fool of myself.

So I'm scouring the internet for ideas and inspiration once again. Especially looking for ideas and tutorials on using the keepsake embossing boards like bookatrix, majestic and romance, so if You know any good projects or tutorials or have any ideas for using them on your blog or site please leave a link in your comment.