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Friday 20 October 2017


Hello everyone

I am so sorry to mention the word 'Christmas', but as we know the shops start promoting it once August Bank Holiday has bitten the dust and in the craft world, we start making for it just after the last one.

Plans are going well for the Christmas Pie Crafts & Gifts shop in The Village Guildford.  Despite looking forward to it, I feel nervous as there is so much to arrange: my stock, promotion, a sign for the shop, staff rota, tables, chairs, display material and everything else we will need.  I hope it will be very successful for all of us and it will certainly be a challenge.

However, we took a few days out of the crazy world of Christmas Pie Crafts and went to Alderney.  We love the Channel Islands and although we had been to Alderney many years ago, we couldn't really remember much about it.  The weather wasn't too bad, but we did experience the very strange low dust cloud and bright orange sun on Monday that everyone in the UK seemed to share.  It is a very quiet island and we assume the tourist season finishes quite early as many restaurants were closed, our hotel had very few guests and some of the trips we had been hoping to do had finished in September.  The beaches are beautiful and so clean and here are some photographs of the island:

Braye Beach - we stayed in the Braye Beach Hotel

How clean and well looked after the beaches are

You can see from the sky and waves in this one that the weather was a little grim

The view from our hotel room

We had spent some time recently listening the the local radio, Quay FM, and it was nice to put 'faces 'to names and places.  We arrived home to thick fog and the news of more bad weather to come, but it was a lovely break and we will certainly go back again, but plan to do so in the summer when sea trips to the smaller islands are available.

It's now back to making, organising, making and more organising.  Four events and the Christmas shop to plan for mean some pretty intensive weeks in the run-up to Christmas.

Have a great weekend everyone and I will 'see' you soon.


Wednesday 13 September 2017


Hi everyone

We survived last night's wind and rain - everything in the garden remained where it should be.  I had visions of getting up this morning to find the new pebble area have been 'moved' to the other side of the garden.  It is still very windy, but the sun is shining and it is warm, so it's rather nice to be outside.

A friend and I went to Wisley yesterday for a wander around the Sculpture Trail and we saw some weird and wonderful pieces.  We do pottery together and feel confident we can add our work next year - as if.  One item that we both wanted to take home with us was not part of the Sculpture Trail - the gorgeous dandelion heads.  Really beautiful work and if you live near to Wisley, you must make sure you see this sculpture (as well as all of the others):

As my life is full of cats and my friend is a fellow cat-lover, we were both pleased to find a statue of one:

In typical cat pose - asleep.

My new pebble area is going to be home to a range of small grasses and I bought some in the Wisley Plant shop yesterday and placed an order for some more when I got home.  Arriving tomorrow, and I will leave them in their pots and put them in various places before I plant them to make sure the area looks how I want it to.  Pics to follow when all the work has been completed.

It's back to work now and and plans for my Christmas shop are moving forward - I have two of my A Fair to Remember stallholders joining me and I am planning to ask another two.  It's important that I have a variety of work in the shop and there is method in my madness, I will need cover for the times when two people are a must and/or I cannot be there.  Exciting times, but a lot of work as I am approaching my autumn /winter events, making stock for them and my shop and organising everything the shop needs.  Roll on January - sorry, didn't mean that really.

Have a great week everyone, enjoy what is left of summer and hope you haven;t suffered from the wind, rain and other weather horrors being thrown at the world at the moment.


Friday 8 September 2017


Hello everyone

It's been holiday time here - well holiday time for Richard.  I have been fitting my holiday time in and around work things.

It has been a great two weeks with time spent in France, going to the cinema, lazing, catching up with friends, 'heavy duty' gardening (laying 100 cwt of Glasgow Pebbles) and yesterday we went to Bletchley Park; a place we had promised ourselves to visit on several occasions and really glad we got around to it at last.  As it says in the guidebook 'it is where the World War Two Code-breakers broke seemingly impenetrable codes and ciphers and where the world's first electronic computers were installed and operated'.  We were able to take photographs of displays and other pieces in the huts and this is one of a 'sculpture' of Alan Turing produced in pieces of slate.  An amazing piece of work that must have taken an incredibly long time to create.

I have been working hard on producing new stock for the events I am taking part in and to add, as soon as time permits, to my website.  However, my 'exciting times' is all about me renting a shop for the four week period up to Christmas Eve.  My shop will be in the VillageGford complex in Guildford town centre.

If you follow me on Facebook, you will have seen that I have been sharing and liking a lot of the posts for this venture.  In addition to a wide variety of shops, there is also a bar and several eateries and nearly every day sees activities for children and their families.  This, according to my family and friends, is a crazy and mad thing to do, but I love a challenge.  A friend is helping out the the pre-opening work and will also have some of her work in the shop (and sharing the 'shop assistant' role with me).  I also have two of my regular stallholders taking part - and I am planning on asking a couple of others to join in too.  There will be special opening-day offers as well as other offers during December, so keep an eye on the Christmas Pie Crafts website and this blog.

Later today we will be celebrating the birthday of one of our neighbours - he is 89 and has much more energy than I do.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Sunday 20 August 2017


Hi everyone

I know, the title of my post is from a song - I can't remember which one, but does seem to reflect what I am doing.  I am building up, moving on and improving my Christmas Pie Crafts business.   Sadly, it has taken a back-seat to my event organisation and it shouldn't have done so because, to me, it is just as important.  I have begun work on improving/re-designing my website, which had been abandoned and neglected.  It is still a work-in-progress, but I am really pleased with the background I have found, which took hours or searching on the internet to locate something that really appealed to me.  I have changed my business colours from purple and green to fuchsia-pink and lime-green, with a hint of black (well some black lace for my table top at events).  Have a look and let me know what you think: Christmas Pie Crafts

Like lots of people who run a small-crafting-business, I do have doubts about what I am doing.  Will
it sell, if it does if I make another one will that sell too, why doesn't it sell?  Does it look similar to someone else's?  Will it be copied?  Sadly, all of these things do happen and do go through one's mind, but it doesn't mean we have to give up and throw in the towel.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again - I do hear and read many negative comments about being in business and feel sure that if Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg had abandoned their ideas on day two, life would be incredibly different for all of us now.

I am trying to find a way of using my website background (which I have also used for my business cards and my Facebook banner) as my blog background.  It is an image and didn't come with the code that Blogger seems to need, but I shall keep in trying to find a way to use it

Got it!  Just remembered the song is called Movin' On Up and while all of the words do not really relate to what I am doing, one line does: Movin' on up, nothin' can stop me.  

So, it's time to move on up to my work space and get some stock made.  I think I am behind with what I should have ready by now so the next few weeks are going to be slog, slog and more slog.

Have a great week everyone - fingers crossed the Bank Holiday is a very sunny and warm one.


Thursday 13 July 2017


Hi everyone

Just when you thought I had given up blogging here I am.

Just back from a much-needed holiday in Jersey and feeling refreshed and ready to go, I thought 'I must produce a blog post' - only to find that I had two sitting in the draft folder that I had written towards the end of 2016 and earlier this year.  The problem is I write my blog posts, leave them for a day or two to 'mature' and as has proved fatal, forget them!  However, I think a few holiday snaps are needed here following our visit to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Zoo:

No, the seagull isn't an endangered species, he just wanted to join us for lunch one day.

It has been a busy year so far: a knee operation followed by events up to the end of May, then the million and one things we all do and then seem to forget about.  I am still doing my much-loved pottery course, but now realise that there are certain things I know I cannot make.  I tried to make a hedgehog and sadly it looked more like an armadillo and I then turned it into a wall planter - believe me when I say it is best not to ask why or how.

A Fair to Remember events are on a summer break, although 'the office' is still maned daily and emails, marketing, website, publicity, etc are still being dealt with.  I know summer will disappear and our first Autumn/Winter event will be upon us very soon.  I have often been 'told' that between events I probably don't have a lot to do and this seems to be a popular misconception.  Since becoming an event organiser I have acquired a lot of respect for anyone who organises events.  Yes, I am still critical because I can see where improvements could be made to ensure a good event for both stallholders and customers, but I also know the amount of 'hidden' work that goes on before the day of the event.

I watched an episode of the Hotel Inspector the other day and was interested to see that a Vintage Fair being held at the hotel Alex Polizzi was helping to improve had a footfall of 60.  If Alex Polizzi's presence cannot encourage a high footfall, what hope is there for the rest of us.

Not quite a blog post covering everything that I have done since my last post, but I am back on the blogging trail - I hope.

Have a great week everyone - I will try to blog again very soon.


Sunday 13 November 2016


Hello everyone

I am notorious for leaving everything until the last minute.  I have somehow managed to create a wonderfully organised personality, which is quite untrue.  I tell myself that my best work is produced 'last minute' but I know that is incorrect, because often it is thrown together in a very unprofessional way.  However, I would like to assure anyone who has purchased work from me or taken (and taking) part in my events that where they are concerned, I am very organised.  Disorganisation happens when I arrive home and shut the door on the world!  Then chaos reigns.

The reason for the title of my post is that life is hectic at the moment and the days/weeks are not long enough.  A long time ago, I posted the question on here asking can I organise craft fairs and still take part in craft fairs organised by others; the questions still remains completely unanswered and having taken part in two fairs recently as a seller, I am still unsure.  The silly thing is that I excuse my self forgetting to take things to a craft fair on the basis that I am too busy!  Er, yes, so is everyone else.  I forget that I owe it to the organiser to do the very best I can by dressing my stall attractively, having a nice range of work to sell, following their terms & conditions and giving myself over to enjoying my time spent at the event (and all the time worrying about the million and one things I have not done).  Oh dear.

I took part in a craft fair in North Camp, Farnborough yesterday.  The weather was atrocious and this affected footfall, which was low.  However, the event was well organised, I met lots of lovely stallholders and I was pleased with my sales - I covered all costs and made a profit so left the event as a happy bunny.  A couple of pics of bags sold at yesterday's event:

My only niggles were my left and right side stallholders - lovely people, but......  If terms & conditions say don't put boxes, shelves, items, etc in the gap between tables, why do some stallholders think it includes 'but you can if you want to' on their information sheet?  To my left was a very big space, which was great because I  moved my table several times to escape the ever-growing pile of display material the stallholders on my right were adding to the gap!  I placed one of my bags on the door to my left only to have the daughter of the stallholder plonk herself down in front of it and lean on it - despite there being a very large space to park her backside elsewhere!  How unfair of me I can hear people say, but come on we are all there to display and sell our work, enjoy the company of others and look back on a successful event - not have annoying memories.  As I said, lots of lovely stallholders, but just a plea for some to remember they are not the only ones in the room.

When I take part in fairs, I take along work to do because even at busy events, there can be time to catch up on making.  I was able to complete a bit of work yesterday, but also had the time to look around me with my organiser's hat on; someone recently suggested I email photographs of a good stall set-up to my stallholders.  I have seen some really well set-up stalls, ones that look beautiful and others that look as though the stallholder walked into the room, threw their things onto the table and left.  One yesterday was a good example (or rather bad example).  No table cover and all storage boxes on display under their table; the table top display was poor too.  Why?  A table cover can be a bed-sheet - clean and ironed it can look very smart.  I suppose this is a little niggle about sellers who complain that they haven't sold anything, nobody went to their stall, etc, etc - come on you lot, you are a shop as far as the world is concerned so if you want to sell, please dress your 'shop window', lay out your goods beautifully and don't have all your boxes, bags, etc on show.  It makes such a big difference and your fellow stallholders will like it too.  Don't let event visitors remember you for the wrong reason.

I digress, I was supposed to be explaining why the post is called Izzy, Whizzy, Let's Get Busy because I must get busy.  A two-day event in two weeks time at the Medicine Garden in Cobham followed by my final event of the year as the organiser, closely followed by a hospital admission to have my knee sorted out.  An early Christmas present?  Fingers crossed.  In between these are lots of Christmas lunches and evenings out with friends and family and getting ready for Christmas at home - mobility will be limited so I will be able to get Richard to do all of the preparation and shopping. As if.

Have a good week everyone - see you soon.


Tuesday 8 November 2016


Hello everyone

Boy, is it cold today!  Is it because we had mild weather in October that the recent cold and frost makes me think we have a bad winter on the way?  Snow is already forecast for the midlands - is it earlier than usual?  I like snow and it is lovely to wake up to find everything covered in the garden - especially if I don't have to go out in it.  Being a clumsy idiot who manages to fall over when there is just a sprinkle on the ground, I would prefer it to fall and then disappear pretty soon after.

I held my second event in the Wilfrid Noyce Centre on Saturday and although it would have been great to have several thousand visitors, the stlalhodlers entered into the spirit of the occasion and created a really lovely busy, buzzy atmosphere.  As always a big thank you to everyone who took part.  Our next event is on 3 December, my last one as organiser for this year and as always I am looking for attractions to encourage and retain visitors.  However, I always say I work hard to get people into the venue, then it is down to the stallholders to turn visitors into customers - even better if they are ones who came back again and again because they are pleased with what they have bought.  Here are a few photographs of some of the work that was on sale at Saturday's event and more can be found on the A Fair to Remember Facebook page:

Like everyone in this country I moan and alternatively congratulate the NHS, but I am always pleased that we have them on our side.  I developed problems with my right knee earlier this year and following several GP appointments, x-rays, hospital visits and an MRI it was identified that the cartilage in my right knee had gone 'mushy' and I was referred to a knee surgeon at the Royal Surrey Hospital.  My appt letter arrived early last week with an appointment for 4 January - then out of the blue on Thursday I received a call saying that as a new consultant was on board, appointments were being offered for this week.  I was offered yesterday afternoon and it meant a tricky day as I was due to be at a funeral in the morning in Bristol and I really didn't want to miss it.  I made both with time to spare, thank goodness and was advised by the knee surgeon that keyhole surgery will be carried out to repair the torn meniscus and it will possibly be in appx six weeks time.  Thank you NHS, I am so pleased that I don't have to suffer for a long time with a very painful knee and, being selfish, hope the operation takes place after my remaining events this year.

I am taking part in three events (two as a seller one as organiser/seller) and have a lot of work to do: bags to decorate with new and popular designs, candles to make and wreaths to make - if time permits.

Have a great week everyone - see you next week.


Monday 31 October 2016


Hello everyone

It's a little bit foggy here, but still very mild.  Many of the trees around here still have all of their leaves, although they have changed to beautiful golds and reds.  The colours at this time of year are so gorgeous and almost a pity that they signal the real end of summer for the year, but there is always spring to look forward to and we have planted some more bulbs this year.  Every year I tell myself to photograph the places I have planted bulbs, so that I know where to put new ones - every year I forget.

I took part in the Woking Cats Protection Christmas Fayre on Saturday and it was great to meet up with the branch's team members as well as fellow stallholders (some I have met before and new ones as well).  The event was a great success for CP and I was a very pleased stallholder as my bags were popular and sold well.  The favourites always seem to be the ones decorated with butterflies and I sold out of those, so it's back to making more for the next few events I am taking part in, but the quirky new design ones were popular too.

In addition to selling my bags at the events I organise, I will be taking part, with my Christmas Pie Crafts hat on, in the two-day Christmas Market at the Medicine Garden on 26 and 27 November.  Making will be 24-hours a day form now until then as also need to make new wreaths and Christmas scented candles.  Looking forward to this event as I really do prefer to do two or three day ones - I think it is being able to walk away on day one (often the most tiring because of setting up, etc) without having to pack-up.

My sister and I had a return visit to Prawn on the Lawn in Islington on Friday.  This is a 'to die for' fish and seafood restaurant that at first glance you think it is just a fishmongers.  They have an excellent menu and wine list and it's a great way dine away a couple of hours at lunch time. Their homemade Taramasolata is soooooo good we bought some to take home with us (as well as some jumbo prawns and truffle oil).  Already planning our next trip.

Back to candle-making, wreath-producing and bag-decorating but I will be back next week with details about the 5 November A Fair to Remember event in the Wilfrid Noyce Centre and how it went.  Have a great week everyone.


Sunday 23 October 2016


Hello everyone

My blog disappeared!  I have spent many weeks trying to locate it, on my own, with the help of Blogger/Google and have been tempted many times to throw my computer out of the window - I am sure many of you understand this feeling?  However, I am the first to admit that computers are not to blame, it is we humans who do most of the damage.  It turned out to be a different email address I had opened and for some crazy reason had used it to access my blog - er, why?  I really don't know, but I am so pleased that I have now solved the problem and can access my old blog posts.  I know the authors hoping to win next year's Booker Prize have nothing to worry about, but not being able to access the blog meant I could not update any information about events, layout, etc.  You can probably hear the sigh of relief and feel the warmth from my very red face.  I am now one happy blogger.

Since my last blog post, which must have been, oh years and years ago, I have had an event at a new venue: the Wilfrid Noyce Centre (WNC) in Godalming.  A lovely venue that was refurbished earlier this year and now has two great halls; the main one has lots of light and plenty of room.  It has a very smart brand new kitchen, which makes setting up our pop-up cafe very easy.  We have a great caretaker who helps us set up and pack away - what more could we ask for in a venue?

Our next event in the WNC is on 5 November.  I have been trying to arrange a Best Guy competition to take place during the event, but the response has been disappointing.  I put a couple of posts out asking for local Godalming businesses to support the event, but sadly, nothing.  My plan is for it to be on a quid pro quo basis of mutual benefit to everyone involved, so Godalming businesses if you are interested please do get in touch.  Just a small gift, promotion for the event and plenty of advertising from me both before and after the event.

In addition to new venues, it has been a very sad time here in Christmas Pie.  One of our neighbours, who would have celebrated her 101st birthday next month, died last week.  This was closely followed by the loss of a distant family member and as we were thinking that unhappy events tends to go in threes, we received the very sad news that a favourite uncle passed away on Friday.

This time of year is always busy for me, both on the organising of events side as well as the taking part in events side.  On Saturday, 29 October I am taking part in the Woking Cats Protection Christmas Fayre in the New Haw Community Centre, Woodham Lane, Addlestone, KT15 3ND.  If you are free on that day, why not come along and buy some of the goodies there will be for sale in support of our kittens and cats.  There will be lots of lovely stalls selling gorgeous things, a chocolate tombola and I understand there will be bacon sandwiches.

Have a great week everyone - I will definitely be back next week because I now know how to get into my blog.


Sunday 10 July 2016


Hello everyone

What a gorgeous couple of days it has been - please Mr Weather Forecaster, don't suddenly change your mind and tell us rain is on the way?

Since my last blog, which was, embarrassingly, several weeks ago, I have completed my last craft event this side of summer.  I made the decision a couple of years ago not to hold events between late May and September; I found that people coming into the town centre were there mainly to quickly get their BBQ goodies and their week's shopping and either nip back home to their garden, off to the beach or to buy supplies for their holiday travel.  As both a stallholder and an event organiser, I know how disheartening it is when footfall is low.  However, that doesn't mean to say work has stopped for the summer in the A Fair to Remember office - requests to take part in the autumn and winter events are coming in every day and I am still on the lookout for venues I can use that are in a busy town centre or (impossible I know) guaranteed to attract a high footfall.

What else have I been doing?  Catching up with friends, lots of gardening, visiting Wisley to see their plans for improvements and changes, spending a day at the Chelsea Flower Show; not sure I agreed with the choice of Best in Show or the Peoples Choice Best in Show, but hey that's what Chelsea does, creates controversy and talking points and we wouldn't really want it any other way, would we?  Of course, almost needless to say, a big talking point was Diarmuid Gavin's garden with its spinning trees, roof rising up and down and flower beds spinning around the building - great fun and he can be relied on to do something very, very different.

I am still a one-day-a-week potter - I love the course, feel I sometimes move one or two steps forwards only to fall three steps back, but it is great fun. My fellow potters are friendly and some of them are incredibly talented and I am not too sure why they are not selling their work for hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds.  I still have the 'what I see in my mind's eye, doesn't match what I produce' problem, but I can't be talented at everything (as if), can I?

I am looking to take part in events (as a stallholder) in the winter months and prefer to do two or three day ones.  The first day is always hectic and it is great to be able to walk away at the end of the day and arrive the next day knowing all I need to do is uncover, tidy and begin selling.  The Farnham Maltings Christmas event is open for applications and I will have a go.  I was disappointed not to get in last year, but was very surprised that this year they are showing a video on their website from the 2014 event which has some of my work!

I am on a bit of a go-slow at the moment as I have damaged ligaments around my right knee.  I have dodgy knees and weak ankles so it doesn't take much to give me mobility issues.  However, I have no idea how I damaged the ligaments - I have racked my brains as to when and how it happened and I really don't know.  On anti-inflammatory medication and about to start physiotherapy, so hopefully it should soon be better - although one week on and it is still pretty painful.  It is easy for doctor's to say 'rest', but in real life that is almost impossible.

So embarrassing, I wrote this post and didn't publish it - er, not too sure why.  However, I think an update is needed.  I didn't get my application for the Farnham Maltings completed in time, so sadly I won't be taking part this year.  My knee is still giving me trouble - turned out to not be ligaments, but physio doesn't know exactly what it is so a return to the doc's this week is on my list of 'to-do's'.  My
pottery course has now finished until September - lots of plans on what to make next term, but I am possibly going to return to making my face pots, which I enjoy and they seem to work out fairly well.

Richard and I went to Jersey for a few days this week - the weather was a mix of cloudy and sunny.  We lovely Jersey and it was nice to go back to places we knew and also to stay in our favourite hotel.

More or less up-to-date - nearly forgot have just watched Andy Murray win Wimbledon.  A great match and a great player.

Have a great week everyone.  Now for my 100 lines: I must regularly update my blog, I must regularly update my blog.