Happy Halloween

I’m not a big fan of Halloween, but I do enjoy seeing a pumpkin lit up! This one will be adorning our kitchen window this evening.

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Have a safe and happy Halloween
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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
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Halloween Costume

Half Term is upon us again and this time we have Halloween in the school holiday. We always made more of Bonfire Night when I was a kid, attending an organised bonfire and firework display at the local golf club. But things have become far more Americanised in the last few years, and the shops have been filled with Halloween costumes, accessories and treats for several weeks now.

This year I will be at the Ramsbottom Craft Fair on Halloween itself, so I am thinking about adding some spooky accompaniments for my stall. In the meantime, though, my daughter is having a spooky dress up competition at her dance school, so I have had to think about a costume for her.

I don’t really like all the ready made costumes, but I’m not the best dressmaker. We have bought a couple of costumes in the past, but all the children end up in one of about three outfits!  And with the issues raised by Claudia Winkleman after her daughter was badly burned, I decided it was time to use some imagination and make something a bit more individual. Plus she will need to be able to do her dance classes in the costume, so we needed something simple and effective!

We set about looking through the wardrobe and her dress-up draw, and came up with a purple tutu (a bit short), a headband with an orange witches hat, lots of plastic and rubber spiders, snakes and bats, some spider tinsel and a plastic cauldron. With that we set to work and I orders a black leotard and some purple and black stripy tights. I had lots of fun sewing spiders to the leotard as per my daughters instructions, then we added some more spiders, snakes and bats to the tutu. Finally I hung a couple of spiders from the hat and cut up the tinsel to add to the tutu.

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A bit of gruesome makeup should finish it off a treat. She loves the completed effect, we just need to think about a wand or a broomstick. I did suggest her Dad took her on a walk to find some suitable sticks, maybe this could be a project for the coming week while I get my stock sorted out for the craft fair?!

Happy Halloween
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Half Term Baking

Half Term is upon us again. We have an extra day due to staff training, so we decided to put it to good use and do some baking. My 5 year-old loves being in the kitchen, although she does lose interest after a while.

So today we did some Mum and daughter Halloween cakes and biscuits, some paw-print biscuits and I made my Christmas cake!!

We started off with a very simple all-in-one sponge mix with added cocoa powder. My daughter chose to also add chocolate buttons and mini marshmallows to the mix for extra goo! She loved measuring everything out and adding the ingredients. I have to say she’s much better at cracking eggs than I am!!

Chocolate cakes

We let them bake for about 15 minutes then put them on the side to cool on a rack while we started on the Halloween biscuits to take to a Halloween party tomorrow. These are a really simple butter biscuit recipe. Instead of using castor sugar I used a bag of spiced sugar from a spiced apple juice kit that I’d been given (there was no way I would ever make 2 gallons of spiced apple juice, so what better way to use up the sugar!) The dough needed to rest in the fridge for around 20 minutes before rolling, so to keep her attention, out came the rich tea biscuits. I made a small amount of white water icing to top each biscuit and she added giant and ordinary sized chocolate buttons to make a paw-print on each one. I think they are lovely. So effective and they taste fantastic.

Paw-print biscuits

When the biscuit dough had rested, I rolled it out and my daughter had great fun choosing the spooky shapes to use. She settled on bats, cats, stars (large and small) men and Mickey Mouse! A fun half hour of rolling and cutting followed, with me on a bungee between the table and the oven!. Here’s a peek at the first batch once they had cooked.

Halloween spiced biscuits

They have a very subtle spicy flavour to them from the sugar. Very moreish. I think they will go down well at the Halloween party.

Once all the biscuits were cooling, it was time to decorate the chocolate cakes. Buttercream was the choice, so I made a batch, splitting it in half and adding orange food colouring to one half and green colouring to the other. Very spooky! Then it was little one’s turn to get creative with the decorations, and for her, more is most definitely more!

Halloween Cakes

The overall effect is great though. Very spooky and just right for Halloween.

Happy Halloween fun
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