Christmas in June – not for me just yet.

Christmas has come to all the crafting companies! Yes, I know it’s only June and we haven’t even had anything like the start of Summer yet (in North West England). But that’s the way it is in the crafting world. In order to get ready for the biggest time of the year, we have to start early. Having said that, I’m not quite in the mood for Christmas yet, so whilst I’m keeping an eye on what’s new and going to be ‘on trend’ this year, I’m still working on florals and birthdays.

I’ve committed myself to a few things in the next couple of weeks. First up there is the local Primary school Summer Fair. This is going to be on Friday (June 21st), so not much notice this year. So I am trying to get together a stock of low cost items to take. I’ve had a first go at making bookmarks and I’ve put together a large collection of £1 cards. I’m also trying to do a bit of crochet to take too. I think it’s going to be a busy couple of days/evenings!

I’m also aiming to take part in several of the craft categories at Bury Show. I haven’t taken part for several years as it’s usually the same weekend as my Dad’s birthday. But this year I’m going to be able to have a go. I’ve highlighted about ten of the handicraft classes, so wish me luck on being able to make something for them all.

Finally the week after the show, Crafty-teen is helping out at the local Guide unit fundraising craft sale. They’re raising money for Bury Hospice and Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary. So I’ve been roped in the bring some makes along for them to sell. I think I’m going to see how the bookmarks do at school as I can make those relatively quickly and with a box of letter stickers, they can be personalised too.

So I have a lot going on, making wise (and that doesn’t include the orders I have for some pop-up boxes, my Dad’s birthday and my brother’s 50th coming up too).

Better get back to the crochet!

Happy crafting

x

(I didn’t Parkrun last weekend, too sneezy)

It’s Hunkydory Goody Bag time

Last week was Hunkydory Fest, with lots of great fun live shows as well as some extra special festival prices and the best part of any festival – the goody bag!

For £20 they guarantee at least £50 worth of products, and like their larger goody boxes, these include new products, not just old stock. So what did I get?

I did order some of the card blanks, so I could get free delivery and every order got a festival wrist band too.

There were a few small items in the bag, including some glue and a pack of glue dots. Then a fantastic background stamp set and a lovely roll of diamond sparkles gem stones (Aurora Borealis). I’m not a big stamper, but these stamps look really useful so I must have a go at doing more than stamping a few sentiments. The gems will be really useful. Finally for the smaller items, there was the little square book of Vintage Journeys. This is a matt finish pad of 20 different images (6 of each) and they are gorgeous. Lots of reminders of holidays past – Rome and Paris, as well as some lovely vintage images of campervans and cameras. This is definitely one I need to start crafting with. This little pile alone would cost over £20, so all the rest of the bag is essentially FREE!!!

Hunkydory are well known for their topper sets and there were a few included here. The Swan Lake and Sit Back & Relax are from the Topper Favourites range. I think both of these will be useful for family and friend’s cards.

Next were the Just married topper set (including 2 pieces of patterned and foiled cardstock) and the deco-large – Go Ape. I have the full deco-large kit with this in, but I’m ok having it duplicated. I think it’s a fab image (although at a push I might have preferred the red panda!)

These are another decoupage sheet of a princess tiara and a butterfly – not really my style, but I’m sure there will be someone out there who likes these images. But I love the bicycle stepper card and this will be fun to make.

Finally came a collection of cardstock, both shimmer glitter card in lavender and a full collection of pearl patterned card. I didn’t have any of these in my stash already, but I do have other collections of the patterned card packs and they are great for backgrounds.

So all-in-all I’m pretty happy with this little lot. It’s a goody bag and you have to be willing to take the chance with what you get. Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily have bought some of the items, it does mean I go outside my comfort zone with some of them and I get to have a try of something new (stepper card). I have seen a few bag openings on the internet and there have been a few quite like this bag, but not everything is the same. The people who ordered more than one bag do seem to have got a good mix of things, although all are along the same lines. In my opinion it’s worth the risk in what you get because the products are of great quality and it’s a nice surprise to get in the post (and who doesn’t want that once in a while?!)

Time to get on with some actual crafting as I have a few things coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Happy crafting

x

(Parkrun was Clarence, time 49:18 – it’s a mud bath!)

Hunkydory Orders

After my ‘no spend’ decision going to pot after less than a day, I thought I’d catch you all up on the other recent Hunkydory orders that have arrived in the last couple of weeks.

First up was an order from the sale. I was after a stock up on some mirri card as I’ve been without any full sheets of rainbow mirri for some considerable time. As the price was too good to miss, I added in some gold too – I use it all the time these days and only have a couple of A4 sheets left.

As the paperpads were half price, I added in this shades of browns and greys. It’s a colour selection I didn’t already have and I think it will go nicely with some of the animals, wood and more masculine themes I have in my stash.

I then went a bit made on inserts and papers sets as they were great value (reduced from £9.99 down to £1.99). I don’t actually have all the corresponding kits for these, but I do have some of the little books and even so, the papers are so lovely, they will work in their own right.

Finally for this order were a few essentials – isn’t everything essential though really?! And who doesn’t need a spider web stencil?! It was so lovely I just couldn’t resist it.

My other order was from their Club birthday event and included the new set of Delightful Die-cuts which covers sports, birthdays and music. These will be so very useful for all the pop-up boxes I make and it means the image quality will be better than having to print out from the internet. I’ve also picked up the most recent club gift bundle – Moonlit Moments. The colours of this kit are so vibrant I can’t wait to find an event to make use of them. I’m not sure why I didn’t take pictures from this order, but I’m sure they will pop up on some makes soon.

I do love the quality of Hunkydory products, they really are lovely to work with and last a long time too. I’ve had to place an order during their current Hunkydory Fest, just so that I can get the limited edition wristband (it would be rude not to) and that’s including one of their festival goody bags – I can’t wait to see what I get in that one.

Happy crafting

x

(No Parkrun last week – had a lie-in instead)

What have I done now!

I told myself I wasn’t going to spend anything on craft supplies this month as I have several regular payments due (website hosting and Hunkydory club membership) and I have made a few purchases recently. But that seems to have lasted all of about 5 minutes!

I spotted a local lady selling a stash of craft items on Facebook Marketplace and it was too good an opportunity to pass up. (Plus, whilst the others are away I must play) So I walked over to her house this morning and collected a box full of crafty goodies.

There are loads of stamps, embossing folders, die sets and masks as well as few other bits and pieces (papers, toppers, stickers, punches, glitter, magazines and ribbons). I think crafty-teen might be steeling the colour pencils! Certainly a bargain for £30. This was me trying to cram everything onto the desk.

There is plenty for me to have a go at and lots of things I wouldn’t necessarily have bought, so a chance to try out some new products and techniques too.

It turns out that the lady I bought them from is on several craft design teams and has her own YouTube channels, so check out

CarolAnn Crafting and Imala

There’s lots of arts and crafts inspiration on these and her tutorials are really easy to follow. I shall definitely be having a go at some of them in the future.

Time to try to find somewhere to put all this lot now!

Happy crafting

x

Home Alone

Where has this week gone? It’s half term and I’m at home on my own as the others have gone camping in Scotland – I hope the weather hasn’t been quite as wet as it has been here! Camping isn’t for me. With major hayfever reactions, sleeping on the ground is not ideal, along with the fact I can’t stand the thought of being in a tent ( I feel like I’m going to be buried alive in one). So I’m looking after the cats and pottering about the house (as well as doing a favour for a friend looking in on her house whilst she’s away).

I had every intention to get through my order book and start work on the kit picked out for me by Crafty-Teen, but the week has simply flown by. I must make up for that this afternoon and tomorrow before they get back home again and the washing mountain re-appears. What I have managed to do is catch up on Lauren’s craft hauls and her finished challenge as well as all the Hunkydory shows. I’m expecting a delivery today from them as they were celebrating the 11th birthday of their craft club last week, so with double discounts and points available, it was a no-brainer to pick up some things I’ve been wanting for a while. But you’ll have to wait and see what they are. This week they are doing a Craft festival with extra shows in the afternoon, so I’m all crafted up with lots of inspiration. I could do with setting up a computer in the office though so I can watch and craft at the same time.

So as I’ve nothing new to show what I’ve been working on, I thought I’d show you what I got when I got hold of a couple of the goody boxes from Hunkydory a few weeks ago.

I was a little disappointed when they arrived as they weren’t in the best of condition from the courier. But they have made a change to their deliveries since this, so I shall see how things come in future. The goody boxes are done a couple of times a year one for everyday and the other for Christmas and I love that they include recent things and craft tools, not just old stock they are trying to get rid of. These were £30 each and they guarantee that each one will contain at least £80 worth of goodies. Just look what I got this time….

It’s a great way to try out something a bit different and I’ve put off trying the craft markers as they are a quite expensive for a whole set. I was thrilled to get a pack of the markers in one of the boxes as well as a lovely set of into the wild decoupage. There were lots of topper sets with cardstock as well as some dies, stamps, glue and gems, plus the whole set of moonlight fairies! Anyone for a Fairy card this year?!

So I have lot here to have a go at. If there’s anything you’d like to see me work on, just let me know. But I’m off now for a spot of lunch watching some more HD TV!

Happy crafting

x

(ParkRun was Oldham, time 46:13)

Back to a Crafty Challenge

After a very stressful and distressing week last week, I’m pleased to say I’m feeling a little better. It’s been tough to get refocused as my craft space looks over the devastation, but I am calmer this week . So it’s back to some crafting!

A few weeks ago I discovered a lady on YouTube doing some crafting challenges. I found her when Hunkydory were doing their goody boxes and she had posted some unboxing videos. I watched several of these on the internet so I could decide if I wanted one (or more) this time around. The ones I enjoyed watching most were by a lady named Lauren, so I subscribed to her channel (Lauren M & Co) and found she does lots of unboxing of craft orders, as well as some crafty makes and challenges set by her partner/son/subscribers. Anyway, I was really struck by her weekly challenges set by her partner and I think I might have to have a go at something similar in the future.

One of her other challenges though is to work through an entire kit / paperpad and see how many cards she can make with it. This is something I really need to do as well. I have so many papercraft kits and embellishments that I’m running out of storage space. I’d made a card for a friend’s daughter using some toppers from a very old Hunkydory kit and decided that this would be a great kit to use up. It’s the Dreams of Spring kit and it’s been in my cupboard since around 2013! So it’s well overdue using up.

Peach Flower Rocker Card

It’s a massive kit and I have used some of the concept cards from it several years ago (baskets and rocker cards pictured). There was still a lot left though – 5 foiled aperture cards, 3 foiled decoupage sheets, 3 collage elements sheets, 10 sheets of toppers and 14 sheets of cardstock – so plenty to go at there!

I started out with the aperture cards, just to get me back into the swing of crafting, simply adding a few gems, bows, flowers and sentiments. One of these as already gone to celebrate a young lady’s birthday.

Next I decided to work through each die cut sheet as they came out of the pack. I also set myself the challenge of using up some of my stash of card blanks ( I have lots in a range of sizes) and I wanted to make some different style cards as well. It’s taken me a few weeks so far but I’m almost at the end of the kit (does that mean I can restock?!) It’s been quite good fun to use up so much co-ordinating card, colours and patterns and I’ve really enjoyed finding matching gems and ribbons to add some interest.

To help me on my way I used the inspiration sheet for a few of my earlier cards. What do you think? They’re quite large cards and so used large pieces of the card and papers. I’ve liked how this kit is foiled in silver as I usually use gold, so this has also helped to reduce my stack of silver mirri card.

Once I was into my stride with the cards and what to do with the toppers, I was able to make quite a few cards reasonable quickly Looking through my cards and envelope drawer I found some aperture cards and twisted easels, both of which I had never used before. These were trickier to use as they required some precise measuring (Cat Hollis over on Hunkydory has a trick for doing triangles to fit, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it is). I enjoyed making these and choosing the stoppers but they do leave awkward pieces for the scrap box. I’m quite please with how they turned out for my first attempt.

There were also three sheets of florals in the kit which I thought would be perfect for making flower boxes. So that’s just what I did. I hope you like them. They are all ready to be personalised for an event or person. I particularly like this one with the floral panels.

I’ve really tried to use up everything and stretch the kit as far as I can , so I’ve made quite a few smaller A6 cards with a variety of styles. These sizes are great for using up smaller pieces of card and also a way to incorporate some ribbon strips. I used an idea from Laurens’s recent project, putting a couple of card patterns together with a ribbon stirp across the join. I think they work well, although I can’t help being reminded of wallpapering with a dado rail! Is it just me?

I’ve also made a few panels using the card scraps I had leftover. I love making this type of card. I die cut ‘Happy Birthday’ sentiments from some more scrap pieces and I think the extra gems really finish them off well.

My most recent make was made using the sketch challenge in the latest Hunkydory magazine (issue 77) and I really like this style, so I can see me making a few more.

Well I don’t have very much of the kit left, just one piece of printed cardstock, a bag of scraps, a few sentiments and a couple of patterned paper shapes. Time to get my thinking cap on – or I could just move on to another kit maybe? I plan to ask Crafty-teen to pick me something to work through next – wish me luck!

I’ll update with the final card total from this kit soon – how many do you reckon I made?

Happy crafting

x

(Parkrun was at Worsley Woods, time 47:05)

Not a good week

What a week!
I’ve been quietly getting on with my current crafting project (another time) and all my regular jobs. Then Boom! We were hit on Saturday with the devastating news that construction works are to start on the lovely field opposite. We all knew it was coming at some point, and I think we all became a little complacent as our fight to save it has put work off for twelve years. Alas, as I write there is wanton destruction of habitat taking place. The birds are going mad as are we human residents. The housing company are refusing to ring me back so the Council planning department are taking the full brunt of my disgust. After three days of constant chainsaw and woodchipper noise I think I have finally lost my mind. I am absolutely heartbroken and I can’t put in print what I would like to do to the perpetrators of such utter devastation.


To try to take my mind off things a bit, I have volunteered to be an independent observer for some Year 6 SATs tests in school. That’s not a great place to be either at the moment due to financial issues. But the children all behaved well and coped under the pressure. It’s also given me a little quiet time to calm down a bit (I’m not sure quite how long that will last though). I feel a trip to my local sandwich shop is due after this.


In other news, Crafty-Teen has completed a three day expedition for a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Ans as you can probably imagine I have another washing mountain to tackle, I’m glad it wasn’t me camping out in the storms on Sunday night! Our garden pond flooded within an hour. They all seemed to enjoy themselves though, and were well and truly exhausted when they got back.


I had to escape to find some trees last night so made some flapjacks and gate-crashed Ramsbottom Running Club’s social night in Nuttall Park. It was so lovely to be by the river, listening to contented birds and be surrounded by trees. I even did a couple of kms walking. No running for me, just not in the right frame of mind. Hopefully things will start to get better (although I think we have several years of violating noise pollution and dreadful modern box houses for the future). So much for people thinking about the environment and reducing habitat loss!


I have discovered Greatest Hits Radio over the last year and I am hoping that listening to Simon Mayo drivetime will help drown out the chainsaws. It’s a lot to ask, but a bit of calming music may help focus my mind on a bit of therapeutic crafting. Fingers crossed. Hopefully I’ll have managed to have a more crafting post next time.


Happy crafting
x

(ParkRun Heaton Park, time 45:39)

Craft Stall Update and Review

Hello Again!

This week I thought I’d have a look back at some of the craft stalls I’ve done over the last year or so. I’ve made much more effort to get ‘out there’, although it’s quite difficult trying to balance the place to be with the costs of doing the fair. As my cards and gifts are generally low cost items to purchase, I need to sell a lot to even cover the costs of the table and there have been times in the past when that’s about all I’ve managed and that is very disheartening I can tell you.

Anyway, balancing act aside, I did a few stalls last year. I ended 2022 with a successful stall at the local primary school Christmas fair. It’s a good cause to support, the table money goes to school funds and they ask for a raffle prize for on the day. With it being after school on a Friday, it only lasts for a couple of house as well (and there’s the bonus of only having to transport my things down the road). It’s hard work but good fun and I can always nip home if someone asks for something specific! I could do with more like this.

Into 2023 and I arranged to have a small stock of special day cards in my local Post Office. I’d missed the boat for Valentine’s / Mother’s Day, but I did get a decent collection of Father’s Day cards in there. They went down quite well, so I also did some thank you teacher, Halloween and Christmas cards, and then some Valentines and Mother’s Day cards this year too. The cards don’t sell in huge numbers but as the ad says ‘every little helps…’

Back to 2023 and I discovered that my local Dunelm has a community group and they offer a table at weekends to local small businesses in exchange for a donation to their charity fund. I thought it was worth a try to see how it went, so a booked myself in for a few dates. It’s a long day (10-4) and I was on my own for a large part of it – definitely one to limit drinks! Crafty-Teen (craftykid has grown up) dis accompany me on a couple of occasions but didn’t stick it out all day. I did the weekend before Father’s Day last June in the hope I could sell some sports shirt and trophy cards. I tried to make at least one for every football team I could think of! The weather was ridiculously hot. so it wasn’t the best attended stall I’ve ever had but I did sell some things and get my name out there. I had another table in October, this time in a different location in the store. Once again the weather wasn’t on my side as it was very wet. I focused on Halloween themed items and sold a few knitted pumpkins (new for 2023) and some little tassel ghosts. All in all it was a better day than it had been in June.

At the end of the Summer term I attended the primary school Summer fete again. I always take lots of teacher thank you cards to this but hardly ever sell any which I find very strange. However, the small knitted/crochet characters went down well with the children. I guess small mascots at pocket money prices area winner. It was nice this year as we were able to have the tables outside and it was very well attended (I was starving at the end though as I was very close to the BBQ station).

I had another table at Dunelm in November with a focus on Christmas cards. I find it difficult when to pitch Christmas as lots of people don’t want to see festive things until December, but with making and selling cards I really need to get them out there well before Advent. This was the earliest stall I’ve ever done for Christmas and I launched my £1 card collection which did reasonable well , along with my regular recycled cards. I did a few bundle deals too which seem popular so I will continue those again next Christmas, It was my best stall of the three at Dunelm but it really is a very long day on your own, with long periods of nobody stopping to chat. Thank goodness for some friends dropping in to say hello!

I managed to get a table at Clark Crafts in Ramsbottom at the start of December. I was really lucky to get a last minute cancellation place as I had somehow been missed off the initial listing. I was really looking forward to this one as I had been double-booked for their first market in the Summer, so missed out and it had been really well attended. It was cold! Snow on the ground (and we didn’t get much over Winter) but the Ramsbottom Maker’s Market was on so my fellow stall-holders and I were hopeful. I think the weather must have put people off because we didn’t have lots of customers. I still managed to do ok, but it was a long day and several stall-holders didn’t make their table money back. The highlight was a lovely lady selling Thai curries and she gave us all some of her tasters – much needed on such a cold day!

I finished 2023 with another table at the school Christmas fair and again it was the little knitted characters that sold to the children. It’s a fun way to end the year, but it wasn’t as well attended as previous ones and my sales were down a bit. But it is very local and not a long stand! The time does go very quickly with lots of people to chat to.

Total sales from the stalls:

Cards – 51; Knitted/Crochet Characters – 44; Gift tags – 35; Christmas decorations – 29; Chocolate orange covers – 14; Keyrings – 6; Pumpkins – 6; Hat/Gloves – 5 Ghosts – 4 Poppies – 3

And from the Post Office: Total 20 cards (to date)

Father’s Day – 3; Teacher/Thank You – 7; Halloween – 1; Christmas – 6: Valentine – 1; Easter 2.

So those were my 2023 efforts to get out and about a bit more. It was hard work and I must thank my husband and Crafty-Teen for their help with transport, setting up, lunches and packing up. I have learned a lot about what people are prepared to buy/pay at these small local fairs and I’ve met lots of lovely people (fellow makers and customers). I will definitely continue with the school fairs and need to have plenty of pocket money characters ready for these. I shall keep taking a view on my stock before making a decision on doing Dunelm again, but I have got my name down for Clark Crafts again and I will get my Father’s Day cards back in the Post Office soon. Then it’s back to updating my Facebook page!

Happy Crafting

x

(Last week’s Parkun 44:52)

Hello Again!

Well hello there! it’s been almost a year since I wrote anything on here and it really does seem like forever. I don’t know where the time disappears to these days – it must be my age!

So, what has been going on? As I said, I’m not really sure where the time has gone. I’ve been busy as normal with my regular routines – looking after the house and garden, shopping, cleaning and shopping for my parents. Just the normal sort of life stuff, including mountains of washing (where does it all come from?) I’m also still a governor at my local primary school, although I am trying to step back from this a bit. Having said that, I’m now Vice-Chair, so my plans aren’t quite working out on that front! Ha ha.

One properly new part of my life is becoming a regular at Parkrun. It’s over eighteen months since my first ‘run’ and I am now a firm fixture at Heaton Park on a Saturday morning. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy the run/walk element of it, but being out in the park is very refreshing and I usually feel better for it a couple of hours latter! I’ve never been a runner, so this is very new for me and I find it incredibly difficult, so much so that my first attempt took over 52 minutes! I’m now able to run some parts of it and I’ve just dipped under 44 minutes 30 seconds. I’ve completed over fifty 5k’s now, mostly at Heaton Park, but there have been a few at other venues when we’re visiting friends and family or just because my other half fancies a different place. It’s been great to meet new people and I’ve also volunteered for a few different roles. Who knew I would enjoy being a course marshal so much!

Work wise, the admin job in Bolton didn’t go any further. They took on someone full-time who had previous experience in commercial property. So I’ve been back on the job hunt for a while. Recently I’ve had a couple of interviews and I’ve just taken the plunge and registered with an agency to do some exam invigilating. My thoughts being it will fit around all my other commitments but also get me back into working outside the house (and with other people). I’ve done all the registration process, DBS checks and an online training course so far. There’s an incredible amount of reading to do before I even get near an exam room. So with exam time looming, I’ve been trying to get all my jobs done at home – mostly washing it seems like. It has included some crafting as well so I’ll sign off with a crafty project and I’ll catch up again soon.

Happy crafting

x

A quick update

Once again, I find myself saying “it’s been a while.” This time it really is ages since I put pen to paper and there’s a lot to catch up on.

I’ve caught up on my last musings and I am pleased to report that we still have regular hedgehog visits, but I didn’t get around to making a hedgehog house with the pallets I’d collected. ( They have since been turned into another tiered planter and a box planter). I’m hoping for another good garden year and we now have a new bespoke fence as well as a new hedge down the side of the garden. The hedge means we can still give plenty of access to wildlife and it will give some structure all year round. My husband is obsessed with photinias, so that’s what the hedge is completely made up of. Fingers crossed for the lovely red leaves throughout the winter!

There are some other garden projects to catch up on, but they’ll keep for another time as I have some more interesting news….. I have a part-time job!!! I didn’t see that coming after a rotten few years of applications and rejections, so I’m still somewhat in shock. It’s all happened so quickly as I was contacted following a Father’s Day card post I put on LinkedIn. Unfortunately it isn’t a card-making or even a crafting position, it’s an admin job at a commercial property company in Bolton. So I’ve done a day and a half to see how we all get along. I think it went pretty well so far, everyone seems very friendly and I’ve managed to make a brew and tidy up a cupboard (as well as putting a couple of reports together). The rest of the admin is going to take some getting used to as it’s a whole new area of business for me, but I think I’m okay with the computer work and answering the phone. Let’s see how it goes. I am tired now though, it’s going to take some getting used to!

Hopefully I’ll find some time to do some crafting soon.

Happy Crafting

x