Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Introducing the newest family member

I've been busy again these past few days. Amongst other things, finishing off this sweet little cardi for my new great niece.

The design was in Knitting magazine (issue 63 pullout). There's a cute beret and shoes to go with the cardi but I didn't get time to do these with making stuff for the craft fairs. I'll maybe make the set in a larger size for when she's a bit older. Deja Mae was born three weeks ago and as I found out at the weekend this cardi may just about fit her now as she's so big!

My mam, sister, her hubby and I spent the weekend in Aberdeen visiting my brother and his family - and getting lots of cuddles off the new baby. This photo was taken in Ellon where they live, via the camera timer delay and a strategically placed picnic bench!

Here's the proud parents and baby Deja.

And this is me having a lovely cuddle.

And here's the four generations of the family.

We had a great weekend catching up with the family gossip and meeting the newest member!

But now it's back to the crafting - I signed up for a couple of events on Folksy a while ago and now their time has come - a 'Secret Santa' and a 'Christmas Tree Decoration Swap' (I'll post photos when I get them done); plus I've got a couple of commissions to do; a Christmas present to make; and then there's new items for the final craft fairs of the year to do (Grainger Market, Newcastle - 12th and 19th December). I guess I'd better go and do some now...

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Support Cancer Research on Folksy

Is your Christmas shopping well under way? Still got a few pressies to buy? Why not have a look at the Cancer Research shop on Folksy - buy a great handmade gift AND support a wonderful charity. ALL of the money goes to Cancer Research not just a teensy percentage.

I've donated this sweet floral teddy bear that I made a while ago (in a break from the knitting!). She's made from hand dyed cotton with lots of pretty embroidered flowers and beads to make her look pretty.

But there are all sorts of things to buy, like these:

Guardian Angel Sign from Helen Jane's Designs

White Christmas Drop Earrings by See the Woods Designs

Four Squidgy Chocolate Cupcakes by Treaclezoo

Thyme Earrings by Christine Walsh

Heart Hot Water Bottle by NickyP

Louis the Wonky Donkey by Sara Carr

For more information on the above items please have a look at the Cancer Research shop on Folksy and see what other wonderful goodies you can buy too.

I've also got a permanent link to the Cancer Research UK website at the top right of my blog, where you can make a donation, buy from their catalogue, or find out more about the charity.

Please support this very worthy charity if you can. Many of these lovely Folksy people have been touched by cancer and they have donated their items for sale in honour of someone they loved. As I have: my wonderful Dad passed away five years ago after a long battle with cancer, and we have lost good friends of ours too.

One in three of us will be affected by cancer in our lifetime. We need to find a cure. Please help if you can.

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Sunday, 15 November 2009

Victor Meldrew is alive and well

Hubby and I had a lovely day yesterday at the Grainger Market Art & Craft Fair. The fair is held on the second Saturday of each month and this was our second visit their as stallholders. We sold lots of lovely items (it was much better than last week's fair!) - decorative scarves, woolly scarves, Christmas decorations, brooches and corsages - nothing was a 'big seller' so I guess people like to have the choice of different things on a stall.

The stallholders are moved around each month so it's a chance to meet and chat to new people as you're waiting for customers to stop and peruse your wares. We met some lovely people - both stallholders and customers, and people who just came to have a look and a chat. It's great to hear what 'the general public' think of your stall, and about the fair in general. We spoke to few visitors who were in Newcastle for the weekend and they all thought the fair was a great place to buy their Christmas gifts; they really seemed to enjoy the chance to buy handmade items rather than the usual mass-produced shop bought goods.

As well as all the nice comments, we did have a few raised eyebrows or rude comments from peole who obviously think stallholders are deaf. "£24 for a scarf? I don't believe it!" was one succint comment from a female 'Victor Meldrew'. Some people don't seem to realise that, yes, a ball of yarn might only cost £3 but you have to add on all the time that you've spent knitting it as well (plus the cost of your stall, insurance, packaging, transport, etc. etc.). I was dying to shout at them, "I'm trying to run a business not a charity!" but hubby wouldn't let me (he's the more diplomatic one in our marriage!)

The comments by the rude people were wiped out by one sweet elderly lady though. We chatted for a few minutes about life in general, and then she chose my Pistachio Scarf as she was a 'lady who loved green'. As I was wrapping up her purchase she gave hubby £20 (the scarf was £18) and told him to keep the change - "Buy her a Christmas drink" she whispered. Now how lovely was that?

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Monday, 9 November 2009

Where have all the customers gone?

Well, the craft fair at Emmanuel College didn't go as well as planned. The weather was lovely when we set off from home: a gorgeous cripsy cold day but sunny and bright - perfect weather for buying scarves and Christmas decorations, we thought!

Normally the organisers just have the main hall set up as the selling area, but this year they added an extra room near the entrance to the college too. And that, we think, is possibly where the problem was. The signage from the first room to the hall was minimal, and there were no staff directing people either. It seems as if the only people that came to the main area were those that had been to previous fairs, or those that went to the cafe and stumbled upon us!

There were about 80 stalls at the fair in total (20 in the smaller room and about 60 in the main hall) so I thought it was a great fair to be at - but the organisation could have been better. All of the stall holders that we spoke too had had a really poor day as there were so few prospective customers. We managed to cover the cost of our stall but that was all.

There was also a big Christmas fair at Gosforth Racecourse over the weekend so that will have taken a lot of custom away from ours. The college's fair organisers may need to have a rethink before next year's event.

The one consolation is that I don't have to replace many things for my next fair this coming Saturday! The Arts & Crafts Fair at the Grainger Market in Newcastle (see previous post) is held once a month and it gets a good amount of passing trade, so fingers crossed that we will be much more successful there. We did quite well at the fair in October when it was relatively quiet (so the regular stall holders thought), so hopefully people will be in the swing of the Christmas shopping and the fair on Saturday will be really buzzing. Here's hoping.

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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Christmas is coming and the baby has arrived

I've been a bit lax with the blogging lately - too busy making more goodies for the craft fairs! I've got some new scarves, new gloves and a tonne of Christmas tree decorations to price up ready for the next fair on Saturday.

Craft fair dates for your diary:
Saturday 7 November - Emmanuel College, Lobley Hill, Gateshead - 9.30am-3.30pm
Saturday 14 November - Grainger Market, Newcastle - 9am-5pm

Please come and say 'hello' if you're in the area!

Here's what I've been working on this week: some pretty, cushion-type decorations made from gorgeous Christmassy fabric, with silk thread details and a jingly bell in the middle.

And some 'Suffolk puff' decorations with added beads and festive holly sprigs (they look much better in real life!).

And can I just say -
Welcome to the world Deja Mae!
My nephew and his partner are now the proud parents of a gorgeous little girl; she arrived at 12.26am today (3 Nov), at a very healthy 9lb 2oz. A fantastic new addition to our family!

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