Wednesday, 28 November 2012

December is nigh

This was supposed to be a short post as I have a lovely bath waiting for me and one child threatening to come down and ruin it, However I find I don't know how to stop once I've started.  I am writing now though as I didn't want to leave it another day before writing an update.

Since December is nigh, my mind has been focused on the pending festivities.  Part of the preparation required for Christmas to run smoothly this year has been to de-clutter!  After leaving my job of 7 years (teaching), I had accumulated a LOT of stuff (teaching files etc) which came home with me but didn't exactly find a home.  We also had a friend move in and all the things from our 'spare room' moved out- again, to no specific home.  These items have floated chaotically around the house- not in a Mary Poppins/ Sword in the Stone/ Fantasia positive kind of way, but in a magical toddler kind of way e.g. I just found a sleeve of a dress up outfit in the fridge.  
The positive side to this is that all my sewing things are now together, in one section of the same room.  There is still a mess on the other side of the room, but I see progress.  The re-jiggling of things has also meant that our garage is filling up and my Hubby has been inspired to do some runs to the tip! :D  We're very fortunate to live close to a very good household tip and really don't utilise it as often as we could.  Our local council will also be collecting our unwanted furniture and broken old dishwasher meaning the house is nearly ready to welcome all the presents that Christmas brings and then requires sorting and home finding!
The presents, of course, come towards the end of December, but the beginning marks the infiltration of Christmas decorations.  I try to get a few new items each year to add to the tradition and memories but am not strict about doing things the same way each year.  However, I was looking over my pics from last year, and really do like what we did to the staircase.  I've uploaded some pictures below.  I may replace the cones with fabric ones but this will be the general idea.  I have a few other things I am working on which I shall reveal when finished- including the new dining/sewing room layout.
P.s. At the fair, I sold all 4 cushion covers in the tutorial section :D and I have another fair on the 16th December in our local park- where there will be real, YES REAL, reindeers! Agghhhh excitement but also lots more work to do.

The little hearts I made myself and were slightly wonky but I liked them anyway.  The cones I also made using some gorgeous paper from one of those scrapbooking paper pads and the baubles opened so I filled them with chocolate Santas and coins.  It was lovely to give visitors a parting sweet of choice; candy cane or chocolate.

These are also creations I am proud of but they took a VERY long time.  I have made more this year but changed the colour schemes.  I didn't take as long with them and I think the finish suffers.  Looking at there inspires me to do them properly again, but not until next year!

Some more little handmade tree decorations.  These were a combination of green felt and scraps of Christmas craft cotton.  They coordinated with the wall hanging and cushion covers.  I have also made stockings, bunting and gift bags in these fabrics this year for the fairs I've been selling at, but I will be keep these for my own tree.

My wall hanging which was in my porch last year where there was a Scandinavian red and white theme but with touches of green (and a tiny bit of Gold)- altogether very traditional in comparison to the living room tree decorated with the children in mind!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Craft plugs

I have created an 'events' page which covers some of the fairs that I know of but please let me know if you're doing something in the North West if I haven't included it.  The purple ones are the ones I have a stall at so please stop by and say hello.
I don't think I have said much about some of the craft groups I go to: 
Parents Voice is held on a Monday Morning at the Kingsway Children Centre (In the Library) from 9:30-11:30. 
Here we have a chat and have a go at making a new craft each week, from wreaths, soaps, notice boards and baking. There are some fantastic people with brilliant talents who we can learn from or just support through purchasing the odd item from each other. 

I'm also a member of Warrington's Craftworkers Guild who meet every 3rd Saturday of each month at Warrington Baptist Church at 2pm. There are some exceptionally talented ladies there who often bring work in to be admired. There are workshops and guest speakers which also introduce you to fellow crafters and new skills.

For more craft ideas and like minded friends, I attend a group held at St John's Church, Widnes every other Thursday night from 7:15-9:15pm. This week we made Christmas crackers but the evenings range from learning to crochet and knitting to quilting, cards and jewellery.

I've recently heard about Halton Crafters Association  who are hoping to bringing our community of talented crafters together. Hosting craft markets and crafting taster sessions for everyone in the Halton area.  They hosted their first craft fair last Sunday which was a success.  With 30 lovely stalls and over £400 for the ante-natal ward at Alder Hey hospital.  See the following link for more info: 
I'm very much a beginner and failed Textiles at school, so it's a friendly place to share your creative loveliness whatever stage you are at, without judgement :D 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Craft Fair

I did my first craft fair- one I also happened to organise.  Steep learning curve, start to finish!  Overall I was quite pleased as I made more than my minimum desired amount personally and we made approx £80 for each of the groups we were supporting.  I say 'We' as even though I took the lead role in organising, some of my fellow stall owners were of immense help and I couldn't have done it without them (Ree, Tracey and Cindy particularly).  We didn't have the footfall I would have wished for but we were in competitioon with 2 other craft events in our town thhe same day/ time and the Manchester European markets opened that day too.  The advertising was done by a friend so we saved money there and managed to get in the local paper so I don't think there's much more I could have done for this first fair with the money I had available.  Enough writing though- I'll now show our pics! :D (apologies that they're small- I'm not allowed to enlarge them)
 So this was my stall.  I was disappointed with it as I had about 10 mins to set up after running around getting other things sorted.  My husband helped me but I was so tired I neglected to push my way forward.  My wall hangings blended in a little too well to the kids displays on the board behind note to self- make items STAND OUT!)

 Some of my favourite items- my quilts!  The blue one was sold early on but still attracted lots of people aand has resulted in several commissions :D

 I was dreading this stall as I know the lady who madelots of the items and knew heer to be amazing with handmade crafts.  As children, she often made us beautiful fabric covered hangers/ waterbottle covers etc.  Her items were gorgeous- especially the patchwork hanging hearts.  I was very flattered when she came over admiring my items and she even bought some :D

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Squashy Things

Here's the last of the stalls that I saw and really liked at the Rivendell Craft Fair (almost 2 weeks ago now :s)  They have a facebook page where you can see some of their beautiful products:
Here's a little look at their stall- I really didn't get the best pics though as they were always swamped by customers.

These were definitely my favourite items- partly due to admiration as I have tried to something and failed, but also I just loved the materials used.  I'm talking about  the large letter cushions of course!  The Facebook site above shows bunting and other cushions including beautiful 'Ruby' cushions and my other favourite, the 'home' cushions.  Please visit their page if you like too

Monday, 12 November 2012

Craft Fair

A big part of the reason I have posted less than I imagined is due to the all consuming event that is the craft fair I am organising.  I have never done/ sold at a craft fair and here I am organising one!
I belong to a few different craft groups and mentioned to them that I'd like to do one but I was nervous of the approx £50 stall price.  They agreed so we thought it would be good to do a beginners one and here I am 6 weeks on and it's going to happen on Saturday.  So from the advertising through putting up posters around our town and Social Networking, we have 29 stalls- YAY!  It hasn't been without hiccups with people dropping out and not having enough tables- other events on the same day and even a bigger and better more professional) fair scheduled for the next day.  I am not concentrating on this now, but focusing on how on earth I am going to get enough stock finished before Saturday!
So this is why I have been quiet and may not get many posts in before the weekend, but I will rewrite to let you know how I get on!  I'll be taking pictures of what I've made before I sell them hopefully) so will post a few pics too.  Have I mentioned how nervous and apprehensive I am now?!  Aghhhh

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

more wood work

I am having a love/hate relationship with this wood stuff.  Somethings work out great and others are just shocking.  Well, it's the lack of proper tools that is impacting on this and I have to weigh up to what extent I can justify buying more stuff for what is kind of a whim (the wood in general really is all a whim) and then something works great and I think- oooh i could make more of these.  For example, I am really pleased with how the following things have turned out.
I ordered the wooden sleighs along with little snowflakes, hearts, teapots, baubles and various other shapes.  They were where the original decision to have a go at making some door signs/ decorations came from.  So I spray painted them red and went over the 'blades' with a gold pen.  I selected pieces of wood from the free stash and painted them blue at the top, and white at the bottom to create a winter sky.  I sprayed them with glitter and then stuck the sleigh to the wood with a gold ric rac trail coming from the sleigh.  My next job will be to write Ho Ho Ho or Jingle Bells on them and create a hoop for hanging them.  On this occasion, I feel the efforts have worked.

This was one of the larger pieces of wood in the box and I chose to use this as a sign for my stall at the craft fair (in less than 2 weeks AGHHH). While in the 'works' today, I notices they had lovely stencils including this little bird one- 4 pictures for £1.  I went around the edges with a silver pen and now just need to add to encourage visitors here.  I am really pleased and think a change of background may be upcoming along these lines!

So I posted the pictures of the Christmas blocks I did in the Red, white, green and old theme and this is the other theme I am going to pursue with pale blue, white and silver.  These will be sprayed with glitter when finished too and I am pleased with them- although not perfect, I like them.  But it is these that make me think I need some proper stencils as the proportions of letters is a little too varied!

 And then there are these little baubles, which I love.  I sprayed them all red and have decorated them in different designs- 2 of each so far including these 2 and others with Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas, spots & stripes.  I have tried a few different ribbons through them but don't like any yet- so it's off to the market tomorrow to find something suitable!

And then there are these pieces which my husband kindly described as looking like a kid has done them- i think he's very kind to say so but they will be getting repainted tomorrow!  I am now placing an order on ebay for some very lovely stencils I have seen!  I just hope they arrive in time for me to get some use before the craft fair :s

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Craft stalls from last week

Well I didn't post one a day as I had planned :s so here's a few more pics of some of my favourite stalls from last weekend's Rivendell Craft Fair.  I Loved this stall called Lou Lou Moon.  The website is under construction but here's the link to the Facebook page:
It was displayed beautifully and the items for sale were all items I would have in my dream country farm house/ cottage.  The Christmas stuff in the Scandinavian theme were particularly pretty as you can see on the below pictures.

I know you can get Shabby chic items off the internet but it's lovely to see and handle them first.  I am trying to become more supportive of small independent sellers, especially if there's hardly any difference in cost after postage.  These items were all reasonably prices and again, so pretty.  I love Ikea and BHS' home range but I do like the idea of having something others don't have or giving a gift that they won't receive off someone else.  Lou Lou Moon select beautiful pieces for the home.   I wish them all the best.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Working with wood

I had hoped to post before now but I have been busy making and painting things.  I did however add a new page 'What Katie Did' and this post is along those lines...

 I went to our local 'hardware store' (D.I.Y. shop) where they let me have lots of 'firewood' for free.  I could have taken more but I couldn't fit much more under the pram! It is mostly chipboard around 1cm think although there are a few thinner pieces and I was fortunate enough to pick up some much bigger pieces (which I'll save for another post!)
 It needed a bit of sanding before I could do anything and I had been thinking of covering with fabric but decided I'd have a go at painting them instead.  A few months back I ordered some wooden shapes off a website and when they arrived they were much smaller than I'd hoped and thought I could paint them and mount them on some wood.  I have done a few of these but this wood gave me a different idea.   They were similar sizes but not exact so I chose 3 colours which seemed Christmassy and bought some tester pots.
 I also bought some Gold and silver pens but more on that shortly.  I began by painting a couple of the blocks in red and then green and lastly white.  I was worried the white may be too thin but it held up ok.
 Next came the stencils.  I chose a font on the computer and printed it onto Acetate.  I chose one which was traditional but not too difficult to cut around.  Unfortunately, the 'printer friendly' acetates wouldn't dry or cut easily, so I changed plans impatiently and placed A4 plain paper on each and made an imprint of the letters.  I cut each out and had my stencils.  Only, due to being paper, any paint that touched the ends made it go soft so the lines weren't crisp :s 'Enter Gold Pen
 So I went around all the edges with the Gold pen in an attempt to neaten them up a bit.  However, the pen didn't like writing on wood and needed a little encouragement.  So I shook it (as instructed on the back of the pack) but didn't put the lid on, not realising it would splatter little gold blobs over my newly painted and mostly finished letters.  However, I quite liked the crude effect it added.  The corners of some letters were a bit bashed and white paint had made its way onto some sides making them all look quite old and worn.  The gold blobs added to this and so I shall leave them as they are.  Here they are pictured in my living room and despite being made for the Fair, I don't want to sell them anymore! Ho Ho Ho