Christmas is coming…..

There’s no escaping it now, Christmas is definitely on the way!  I’ve so far managed to escape Black Friday, which appears to have become a whole week this year, other than being bombarded with e-mails, and I have tried to avoid Cyber Monday with being a little bit more organized and ordering things over the last few weeks.  Now I’m just waiting for everything to arrive.

This weekend we have gone head-long into Christmas crafting mode in the house, as Alice brought home her letter detailing all the Christmas activities on at school in December, and her plastic cup for the pot goody stall!  It’s the Christmas Fair on Friday, so we’ve been thinking about what to turn the pot into this year.  We’ve already had a snowman and 2 Christmas trees, so it’s time to think of something else.

We did the traditional list of Christmas or Winter ideas, and had  browse around Pinterest and Google images for ideas.  We eventually settled on an ambitious design or Santa stuck in a chimney pot, complete with reindeer, snow and a robin!

We raided the box of model-making items for a tissue box, teabag box and two toilet roll tubes, then attacked my crafty stash for some dark paper, found some brown paper with the wrapping paper and some bits from old Christmas cards for embellishments.  There was pva glue, double-sided tape and felt everywhere!!  Wax crayons are great for drawing brickwork, and you just can’t make anything for Christmas without using some cotton wool for snow!

We had great fun messing up the kitchen, and here’s the finished result.

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I had to make the hat and I sewed the face to it.  We then filled the pot with little goodies – mainly glitters, glitter glue, crayons, pens and some sweeties.

I think it’s our best one yet, what do you reckon?

Happy Christmas crafting
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New partnership

While I was at the Ramsbottom pre-Christmas craft fair the other week, I met a lovely lady, Emma, who has her own business, Empathy Holistics. She offers baby massage, pregnancy massage and workshops and was doing relaxing hand and shoulder massages at the fair. As well as the massage she makes up blends of relaxing massage oils, balms and creams.

Knitted Sacks

Knitted Sacks

We got talking and she fancied having something different to package her bottles of creams and oils in, particularly for Christmas. So we came up with the idea of my little knitted Santa sacks which I’ve used for sweets in the past. I’ve supplied 11 sacks in a variety of colours, to see how they go. Here’s a couple of the postings for the gifts showing my knitted sack.

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They seem to be attracting some nice comments, so fingers crossed for them being a good seller. We might try some larger stockings if they go well.  The gifts are fantastic for Mums-to-be and new Mums, both for Mum and baby, so pop over to the shop and have a browse.

Happy crafting
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Advent Calendar

A few months back I started out with a mission to make an advent calendar for my daughter. I love the look of the little crochet stockings that I’ve been making for tree decorations, so thought they would make a great garland to fill with little treats. It would certainly make a change from a cheap bought calendar and could be re-used for years to come.

Making 24 little stockings proved more difficult that I had imagined. I originally planned for all the stockings to be a deep red with white tops, however, I fairly quickly ran out of the red! So the plan changed to include some dark green stockings with white tops. Here are a few of the first ones I made.

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I had to make sure I kept enough of the red and green to be able to add numbers on to the stockings, so I adapted my plan again to include some white stockings, with red / green tops.

Well after a few weeks thinking there was no way I would get it finished in time for Christmas, I am pleased to say I have finally finished it and we all love it.

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We’ve filled it with celebrations this year, and Alice is thrilled. It’s up in the hall, our first Christmas decoration and it looks lovely. The colours have worked well together and the stockings should fit in small gifts too, so there’s room for different gifts next year!

Well, it’s back to the Christmas makes for me,

Happy crafting
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Hunkydory Prize Winner!

I’ve been a member of the Talkies craft group on facebook for about 18 months or so now, and while I take part as much as I can I haven’t really entered any of the competitions or swaps. However, in October they announced a little competition to make a card from any Hunkydory craft kit. It could be anything, the only rules being you couldn’t use any dies or any other kits, only basic essentials could be used for embellishments, so it was let your imagination run wild with any kit you liked. I thought about entering for a while, but wasn’t sure my simple approach to card making would be up to the intricacies of some of the very seasoned crafters.

In the end I decided to enter one of my cracker Christmas cards made from one of the Christmas kits. It met the brief and I was pleased with the finished card.

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I did leave entering until the very last minute, so later the same day I was astounded to find that I had been judged as the winner! The judge really liked the simplicity of the design and how I used the features of the cardstock to enhance the cracker!

My prize was £30 of Hunkydory products, which I am delighted to say have arrived this morning in the post!  What a lovely bundle it is too.  I haven’t shown it to Alice yet as I’m sure she will want to get her hands on it as it is a full set of toppers, decoupage, concept cards, envelopes, cardstock, and inserts from the ‘Smudge and Mitten’ collection.  So cute, watch out for these cards in the future.

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Thank you to everyone involved in the competition and to Hunkydory for such a lovely prize.

Happy crafting
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The Final Craftseller

Last month I was absolutely gutted to receive a letter with my Craftseller magazine, to advise that this would be the last ever issue.

This magazine has been such a revelation for me, and other crafters. Finding a magazine that not only came with a free gift and free card-making papers every month, but included copyright free patterns, instructions and recipes for all types of crafts and articles written for the small crafter starting out in a business was wonderful inspiration. Every month included articles following different crafters with hints and tips from their experiences. I have found some fantastic fellow crafters around the country.

I was lucky enough during the few years it’s been on the shelves to have had a letter published with pictures of some of my Christmas makes, as well as being featured as an online seller.

I have thoroughly enjoyed using the patterns and papers over the years, here’s just a few things I’ve made.

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I have been given the encouragement to attend my first craft fairs, and also to help negotiate having my cards stocked in the local newsagents.

It is with a heavy heart I say goodbye to Craftseller, it was a unique publication and will be sadly missed.

Happy crafting
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Ramsbottom Pre-Christmas Craft Fair Review

After all the panic this last week over making sure I had enough stock for my stall, and that my stall would look ok, I can’t believe the fair’s all over! It was a fairly early start as I had to get Alice ready for her dancing class fancy dress, before loading up the car with all my items. Fortunately the venue was only 10 minutes away. We arrived, and Alice decided she wanted to stay and help me set up. I discovered that I actually had too many items for my stall space! So there was plenty left in the boxes under the table. Anyway, here we are all ready to go.

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I was in a lovely little room with six other crafters, all of us with different items and a great variety of crafts on offer. I was surprised by the variety available across the whole fair, as I’m used to finding several cardmakers and knitters, so it was refreshing to see upcyclers, candle makers, there was a lady making keepsake boxes and pictures, and we had a lovely lady who was making up creams and lotions as well as giving shoulder and hand massages.

I took plenty of crochet to do, but never got anywhere near it. The fair was pretty busy, although many of the other stallholders said that the previous two days had been busier. We all put it down to being Halloween and children having classes and parties to go to. I wish I’d realised at the time of booking the stall that it was half term, but when you’re sunning yourself by a pool, it didn’t even cross my mind!! Never mind.

I found that this was a very different and positive craft fair experience when compared to others I’ve attended. It was so nice to be able to speak to the other crafters, everyone was so very friendly and we all got on well. So much so that I think we’ll be meeting up again soon. It was a great chance to swap ideas, network and I got some other suggestions on other fairs to do in the local area. I might do Bury Light Night next year.

Back to this fair and I found that I had a lot f interest in my knitted and crochet items, but the unseasonably warm weather combined with it still being October, meant that people seemed reluctant to purchase Christmas decorations or winter gifts. However, my cards did do well. I was particularly struck by how popular the owls were.

Pair of Christmas Owls

Pair of Christmas Owls

I came home with only 1 owl birthday card and a pack of owl Christmas cards left! So I shall be making more of those. I was also surprised at how well the gift tags were received, in particular the packs with poinsettias. It’s so nice to get some feedback on my items, and to see that other people like them was a great confidence boost.

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Right at the end of the day my daughter came back to help pack up, and she sold my last little knitted duckling! I’ve never seen anyone look so chuffed with themselves as Alice did at that moment – so much so she had to buy a sparkly blue knitted hedgehog from another stall!!

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All in all it was a great fair. I sold a few items but I’ve learnt a lot. Next time I think I will concentrate on my cards, and display them more individually rater than just having them in boxes. The ones that were out on the table for people to see where the ones that grabbed the attention. I could have done with a slightly larger table really, but that was the luck of the draw I think as some of the others did have larger spaces. I think I will also look into some more display items to bring height to the back of the stall. So there’s lots to think about, but now it’s time to get on with a couple of orders I took while there.

Happy crafting
x

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