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Thursday, 29 March 2012


Caroline Nash of Carolee Crafts

Thank you Caroline for being a guest blogger in my Friday Guest Blogger spot; I know everyone will enjoy your chosen topic:


Market research can be hard to the uninitiated and you often take the path of least resistance or effort, ie friends and relatives, they ooh! and ahh! over what you have made, say you are clever and wonderful and you think that is it, I can now sell.  Hold on, it's not that easy.  Friends and relatives are not the best line to take, you need to know what the buying public think; the number of times I have seen this happen to crafters who having been given a build up, they trot along to a fair full of confidence then by the end of the day they are deflated as no one has bought a sausage.  The recriminations are 'what am I doing wrong?' 'do they not understand me?' 'what is wrong with these people?' 'is what I am doing no good?'

Not all these thoughts will be followed by a yes, but if market research is done some of the pitfalls may be eliminated, so my suggestion is that you need a focus group.  Now these are hard to find but if you look around there are a lot of womens' business groups that meet once or more a month, they may or may not have crafters in the group but that is better as you want a varied spread of opinions.

1. Find a group of business meetings - I have a few in my area such as Ladies Who Latte and Coffee and Connect.  Check the meeting requirements, contact the organiser to introduce yourself and explain that you would like to do a bit of research to start/progress your business. would that be okay?  If the answer is yes, which 9 times out of 10 it will be, you are on the first rung.
2. Make, say, 12 key pieces (no more or it gets boring) that you are considering and ensure they are made to a high standard cutting no corners.
3. Label each piece will full details, if can be washed, colours suggested, but no prices at this stage.
4. Prepare a survey form with a section for each item and about 3 questions: ie Would you buy this product? What would you pay? (at this point list 3 price options with the middle one being what you think it want it to sell for) and the final one, what do you think of this item and could it be improved?
5. You could offer a lucky-dip by numbers to win an item for those participating; you may find they are more likely to fill out the form if they will get something at the end.
6. Do not read the feedback until you get home, have a box with a slit for the forms to be put in; that way people will not feel embarrassed if they have been negative.
7. When you get home sit down with a cup of tea and sort through the forms, read carefully
and accept that some will be negative.  Compile a spreadsheet per item with the feedback to make it easier to read and understand the results.  Then make a decision how to progress.

It may be worth doing, say, 3 - 4 of this type of research at different groups to build up a more accurate idea.  If it is all doom and gloom just go back to the drawing board and repeat with new ideas or if positive you have been successful and what you are doing is on the right track.

I hope this helps and remember it should be done throughout as your business progresses when you want to introduce new ideas as easier to make one of something and discard than a dozen and fail to sell.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Hi everyone

Is it really March?  Sitting in the garden early yesterday evening it felt like July.  Long may it last.

Jazz is progressing well - he does, however, keep chewing and trying to pull his stitches out!

Some sad news about Shadow; when my neighbour took him to the vets to check if the splint had helped to keep the plate and pins in place, it was found it hadn't.  Because his leg bones are very thin and fragile, no further surgery/pinning could be attempted and the decision was made to amputate his leg.  This was carried out on Monday afternoon and by the evening he was back home.  Animals are very adaptable and by yesterday evening, he was able to stand, sit down and walk.  He is lovely and it really is a great shame that this happened to such a young cat.

I have managed to get quite a lot of crafting down so far this week - in between gardening.  So hard to resist being outside as at this time of year - who knows when the weather may change back to its normal nippy/chilly day-time temperature.

Richard has a few days off this week, so more gardening and socialising.  Had dinner with friends last night - nice to sit back in the week and catch up with each other.  We started off the evening with some fizz in the garden - so warm (the weather that is, not the fizz) it really was just like a summer's evening.

I had some lovely news yesterday.  I have been 'drawn from the hat' by Cory of Coryographies and have won one of her beautiful bookcase necklaces and a pair of teapot earrings.  I thought they were both lovely when I entered the draw and to have been picked a winner is brilliant.  Thank you Cory.  The post hasn't arrived yet, but I will put a pic of them on my next blog post.  Do have a look at Cory's work - is is really lovely.

A mini-ish post today - thank you everyone who posted on my Handmade Monday blog for your comments and pussy-cat good wishes.  Don't forget to come back and read a fellow-crafting blogger's post on Friday.  It's a good one and of interest to all of us in business.  I am off to finish the guest post I am writing and I will add a link to that as soon as I have posted it and it is published - thank you Lesley, it will be with you very soon.

Enjoy the sun everyone


Sunday, 25 March 2012


Hi everyone

Fabulous door-to-door sunshine - it feels so good to sit in the sun (especially when I should be working!).

I hope you read my Friday Guest Blog post - it is a really good one and for all animal-lovers a must-read. Thank you Lesley for joining me in my Friday slot.  In blogging terms, Lesley is a neighbour as she lives in a beautiful village that is about 4 miles from Christmas Pie.

I hope you enjoyed the Shadow update?  He is still continuing to do well and hopefully his splint will be removed tomorrow.   Carol asked for pics of him and I will add some to my blog when he feels up to posing for the camera.

Still on the subject of cats, you may recall that when I first mentioned Shadow I added that Jazz had taken to walking around with a limp.  We took him to the vet who put him on anti-inflammatory medication (the administration of which is a fun story!) and we were advised to bring him back if no improvement was evident after one week.  Unfortunately there wasn't, so back to the vet he went at the beginning of this week.  He was put on anti-biotics and we had to return with him for a check-up on Friday.  Off we went on Friday afternoon and saw the new owner of the practice who gave Jazz a thorough check, squeezing his 'pawly' paw and checking for any problems.  Throughout Jazz was very amenable and our vet commented on this saying most cats would have taken a chunk out of him!  Jazz is a very good-natured cat and very little ruffles his fur.  The diagnosis wasn't good and following an x-ray it was discovered that his toe was in a bad way and it was removed later on Friday afternoon.  Poor Jazz - our vet told us that he may never play the piano again.  This was good news really because Jazz is rubbish on the keys!

We collected Jazz from the vets on Friday evening, one very spaced out cat.  Eyes as black and big as saucers, a heavily bandaged paw and a very quiet cat - soooo unlike him.  He (and we) had a pretty bad night as he had problems with the rather large bandage and the left-over anaesthetic, plus each time he tried to drink, he managed to dump his paw in the bowl and slosh the water all over himself.  Plus he kept nibbling the bandage in an effort to remove it.  After a few hours sleep we got up to find the bandage still in place - thank goodness; our vet had said he might remove it, if he does bring him back on Saturday.  An hour or so later, he managed to divest himself of the bandage!  Back to the vets we went - everyone was so pleased to see him.  Apparently he was as good-natured while 'in custody' as he is at home.  The wound and stitches were still in tact, and it was felt that another dressing wasn't needed - especially as he would no doubt remove it!

We have to take Jazz back the week after next for the stitches to be removed and to get the results of the toe analysis.  We are trying not to think about that at the moment, as our vet said there are two possibilities: a serious infection or possible cancer.  We just hope it is the first one.  The biggest problem at the moment is keeping him inside.  He loves the sun and likes lounging in the warmth outside, hates the rain, so you can imagine it is going to be an interesting week.

I have been busy crafting for most of the week - in between the above and the sunshine, but haven't anything in a finished state to put on for Handmade Monday - back to normal (more or less) next week though.  Don't forget to catch up with the other HM blogs - great reads and fabulous work to see as well.

Enjoy the sun everyone, I will be back on Wednesday with my mid-week post.


Friday, 23 March 2012


Lesley Beeton whose has a great blog called Mad Dog Woman of Shackleford

Thank you to Jill at Christmas Pie Crafts for hosting my guest post. What a really good idea, and very friendly blogging.

A puppy saved my life – Brin’s story

We never thought it would happen to us.  Growing up in Johannesburg, crime was all around us, but somehow we were much more aware of danger then.  We moved to a village in Surrey. It all seemed idyllic, just what we had imagined, and longed for.  A large garden, neighbours separated by woods, no street lighting.  Surely no evil would be lurking here.

How wrong we were.  Just three months after moving in, still unpacking, decorating and renovating, a burglar broke in to our home.   He forced a bathroom window and ransacked our property. Nothing was left untouched.  And he stole just about everything of value, some items of great sentimental value.  Our lovely old rescue cat, Rosie, never quite recovered from the fright of it, and we lost her a few months later.

The Police came and rattled off the statistics about burglary in Surrey.  It wasn’t very reassuring but we withstood the assault and moved on with our lives.  It wasn’t going to happen to us again.  We beefed up window and door locks, fenced the garden and secured the garden gates.  No alarm system, we said. We don’t need it.

Oh, but we did need it.  Four months later, coming home from work early on a Friday afternoon, I saw a man at the front door, inside the front door, inside the house.  Almost in slow motion I jumped out of the car, trying to get the key in the front door, while dialing 999 and shouting at the operator for the Police.

Luckily for me, the burglar escaped through the broken window at the back of the house.  The Police dog arrived minutes later and gave chase, but never caught him.  He took nothing with him, but had caused several thousands pounds of damage breaking into the house.

We had a terrible weekend.  I suffered from flashbacks, thinking about what could have happened if he hadn’t run away.  I had run into the road to shout for help, but no-one could hear me. There was no-one around.

We ordered an alarm system, with monitoring and a link to the Police.  We paid a security company to be first call, so that I would never face a choice like that again.

And we found our darling Boxer dog, Brin.  My saviour. Brin has the most effervescent personality. He’s a real human dog, very sensitive. And he loves his walks. It was because of him that I started to leave the house again.  He depended on me and I needed to be brave. Slowly, the terrible migraines lifted.  The little panic attacks receded. I actually started to enjoy the walks, too.  And Brin grew into my steady companion.  He’s a big boy, so provides quite a presence to strangers, too.

I can honestly say that little puppy saved my life, gave me courage, and showed so much commitment to our relationship.

Five months later we brought Themba home. Themba means ‘hope’ in Zulu, and I will continue with ‘Themba’s story’ on my blog Mad dog woman of Shackleford. You can follow me @Shackleford_LB.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Hi everyone

Lovely, lovely weather - please let it last for a long time.

Thank you to all of the lovely people who commented on my Handmade Monday blog post - I love to hear from you and try to reply when time permits.

My mid-week post this week is about Shadow.  You may remember I briefly wrote about him a week or so ago?  The vet was able to save Shadow's leg from amputation and he eventually came home with a plate and pins in his leg.  Very subdued possibly due to pain and being kept in.  My neighbour took him to the vet on Monday to have the stitches removed from his leg wound and to check out a swelling that had happened on his leg.  Unfortunately it turned out the Shadow was rejecting the plate and pins, but never ones to give up, the vets splinted his leg and wrapped it in tape.  Home again he came sporting a pale blue bandage, settled down for the night and everyone was hoping he would be fine.

On Tuesday morning my neighbour called us to say Shadow had somehow managed to remove his bandage/splint and was off to the vets again.  This is no mean task for a weak-ish cat as the splint/bandage is approximately 6" long.  The vet wrapped his paw up again and Shadow came back home with a bright blue bandage.  So far, all is peaceful and we hope he will not be stripping off any more until he goes back to the vet next Monday.  The big problem of course is trying to ensure he doens't hurt his leg by moving around too much - pretty difficult with a cat.

The trials and tribulations of 'owning' a cat (or dog) are many - but the fun they bring into our lives is amazing.  With this in mind, don't forget to come back on Friday and read my guest blogger's post - it is a great post and I know you will enjoy it.

Enjoy the sunshine.  I am off to an event at Wisley tomorrow evening with a friend, so hoping to get some goodies for the garden.


Sunday, 18 March 2012


Hello everyone

It's the beginning of a gorgeous day as I am writing this - very appropriate for Mothering Sunday really.  The daffodils in the gardens look so lovely - I wonder if any colour other than bright, sunny yellow could represent spring better?  My Forsythia is flowering and a few flowers are showing on my Kerria.  What a beautiful time of year this is.

I hope you enjoyed Eva Godden's guest blog post on Friday?  Eva is an old friend - in the sense of having known her for a long time that is.  We taught on the same course many years ago and are both lucky to now be doing work we really enjoy.  We meet up every so often with other shared 'old friends' and we are also frequent Tweeters and Re-Tweeters.  Many thanks Eva - I am already looking forward to your future guest posts.

The Friday guest blog spot is going well - fully booked up to and including 13 April and one booking for May.  Lots of lovely posts on the way - some craft-related and some not.  If you are interested in writing about a topic that is close to your crafting heart, or on something not craft-related, please do get in touch:

Our massive clear out continues.  My biggest problem is that although I know I should dispose of so much, especially as I haven't used it or needed it for years, I am a hoarder and getting rid of things is so very hard.  Any tips anyone?  I have been more ruthless this time around - mainly as I think we are running out of space!  Went to the RSPCA at Chobham this week with a big bag of goodies, books, some old towels and some cat food - how I didn't come away with a few more cats I will never know.

A bit of plugging here: the RSPCA Chobham have a Car Boot Sale on Sunday, 15 April.  If you are local, how about either taking part or going along to buy lots of goodies and have a look at the gorgeous animals there in need of homes?

Had lunch with friends on Friday and one told me about an event at the end of March that she is involved with - it is very local to me and I will definitely be there.  Once I have full details I will add them to my blog.  Who knows, by then my website may be up and running too.  My background is IT (and accountancy) and Richard is always saying that he will take me to A & E to have my computer surgically removed from me, yet I seem to find it very hard to get my website set up.  Lots has been done on it, but not enough for me to feel happy releasing it on to an unsuspecting public.  It is almost as though I feel that spending time working on my website takes away from the time I should spend making cards, etc.  Odd?  Yes, I know - must be the time of year!

Handmade Monday is with us again (tomorrow, I know, but I am keen) and I used to hate Mondays because it meant the beginning of the working week.  It still does in a way, but working for me, not for someone else, so that 'oh dear where has the weekend gone', no longer exists.  Yippee.  While you are checking out the other great blogs participating in Handmade Monday, don't forget to look at Wendy's new 'baby: Handmade Harbour - full of great tips and information for makers.  Well done Wendy - look forward to reading your regular HH blog.

Hannah Blavins (a recent Friday guest poster of mine) opened a topic on the Popular Crafts Forum on Friday asking what everyone had in their 'Craft Bucket' - by this she means what are we  planning to do or what would we like to do that's crafty.  A long list has been drawn up by Phoebe Moore and this thread made me think about what other crafts I wanted to do.

I would love to have a go at glass fusion - the work I saw at the event in Godalming by Fran McCaskill was beautiful.  However, the financial outlay would prevent me taking that up seriously.  When I finished work (well working for someone else that is) I had planned to enrol on a Calligraphy course (did a taster day last summer and loved it), but didn't pursue it - planned to do lots of courses, and got no further than looking.  It seems that the majority of craft work involves a lot of expense, so if I took up something new in a business-sense I would have to be 100% sure of its success and I think that is not really possible in the current climate.  But that doesn't stop me doing something new for fun, so I have enrolled on a pottery course.  I did pottery at school and loved it and have looked frequently at courses that are available locally, and done absolutely nothing about joining one.  My course begins in April and I am really looking forward to throwing some clay around again.

I have had two card orders this week but as I know both of the people who will eventually receive the cards are readers of my blog, I can't post the pics here yet.  My make for Handmade Monday comes from a card kit I bought recently.  The pack contained four pre-decorated cards, with bits to be removed and embellishments to add.  I made up three of the cards, but changed each one to something slightly different: for one I hung the salutation in the 'knocked-out' hole, for another I added the salutation to a ribbon and fixed that to the card and for the third I used the circle that was from the knock out of another card to add something different to the inside of the card.  I hope you like them.

Off now to enjoy some more of the sunshine, dig some weeds up, prune some more shrubs and generally soak up the warmth.  Hope you all have a good week - don't forget to email me if you would like to take part in the Friday Guest Blog spot.  I will be back on Wednesday with my regular mid-week post.


Friday, 16 March 2012


Eva Godden, who organises travel in three countries, Italy, Cyprus and Hungary, for discerning guests.  Eva is writing about Luguria, the best kept secret and a hidden gem in the Italian Riveria.

Hello everyone

I am passionate about travel; it broadens the mind and travel experiences teach us to be more tolerant towards other nations.  Understanding their customs brings better communications, which is vital in our troubled world.

Today, I would like to introduce you to one of my favourite places, Liguria.  This undiscovered, hidden corner of North West Italy is where I have been going for the past ten years and hope that one day my husband and I will spend more time there.  Not a chance yet.

I call myself a ‘holiday letting specialist’ and an expert travel guide in my chosen three countries.  Expertise gathered by working in the industry for the past five years, local knowledge by frequent visits and languages.  I speak passable Italian and am fluent in Hungarian, as it is my first language.  Eva’s Unforgettable European Holidays provides a tailor-made holiday at the fraction of a cost of other holidays.  Staying in a real home, in a beautiful location, with all the information you need.  The tiny town of Fiascherino, where our home is, is situated to the south of Lerici and is reached on a narr0w serpentine road, which snakes up above the coastline.  Driving further up, you reach the charming village of Tellaro.  Eva Casa has a sunny terrace over-looking the olive groves.  There are plenty of local restaurants and shops to delight.  Tellaro, with its panoramic terrace over-looking Portovenere and the islands of Palmeria, Tino and Tinetto, is a popular destination.  You can sip your Prosecco or coffee while enjoying a local atmosphere.  All this is a stone's throw from your holiday home.

Tellaro's tiny harbour

It is easy to be inspired by this corner of the Liguria as beauty is all around you.  This area is also known as the Golfo dei Poeti.  In the early part of the 19th century it was a hide-away for the English literati, the likes of Percy Shelley, Byron and later D H Lawrence.  We still have the pink house, which is called the Byron house by the locals, now a small hotel at our local beach in Fiascherino, where Shelley died in a boating accident.  There is a debate as to whether it was an accident, but if you look at the high rocky cliffs falling into the sea from a great height, you have no difficulty to imagine the enormous storms and the tragedy as the tiny boat was trying to moor.  It was smashed to pieces on the rocks.

The pink Byron House and our Franco's beach

The whole area requires some effort to find and its seclusion has the attractiveness.  It does not want to be ‘touristy’ and fights this vehemently.  However, over the years Lerici has evolved into a glamorous retreat for wealthy Italians.  Its other attractiveness is its mild weather in the winter, as the Apuan Alps protect it from frost and cold.  Very few speak English and it is far away from the suffocating crowds of Versilia or Cinque Terre over-run by Americans and North Europeans.  Once Lerici’s car park is full, that is it!  However, we have our charming bus service down to Lerici, so n need for cars.  Eva Casa has a secure parking space – gold dust and a must have!


There is so much more to tell you about this incredibly beautiful place and I hope to do that in a future post.  I am always at the end of the phone and delighted to help with any travel tips.


Mobile: 07816 605362
Twitter: @EvaGodden

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Hi everyone

Is there a time gremlin out there somewhere that removes days from my week (and probably yours too)?  Where does the time go?  I feel it was only a few minutes ago that I was writing my Sunday/Monday post.

Perhaps it is because the weather has been so lovely the last couple of days and this has meant I spend time in the garden and then rush to catch up with the craft biz things I have to do.  This time of year is very difficult as I love gardening, but there are also many 'special card-making days' coming up and I need to work on them.

I have been advised that the 21st birthday card I made has been given to the birthday girl, so I can place it on my blog today.  Used a mix of sheet music and pics of a choir (both loved by the recipient) and topped off with a bottle of champagne, some musical notes (glittered of course) and some mini bits of music.  The card used was green and on top of that I placed gold card, slightly less in size than the green and then added the other 'bits.

Hair cut this morning and Beth my hair-dresser gave me a very good idea to add to my future makes'.  It so often happens that ideas for the future often come about from chats with friends and other people we know.

Off to the sunshine, no card-making, oh no actually off to the RSPCA at Chobham with more clear-out goodies.

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone - don't forget to visit my blog on Friday for this week's guest post.  I know you will enjoy it.


Sunday, 11 March 2012


Hi everyone

What a gorgeous day it has been.  We went to a good friend's birthday lunch today and it was great and the fantastic weather was a bonus.  I made the name cards and menu's for the meal in West Ham colours, as our friend is a great supporter of their team.  It was a lovely day.

I have had a hectic week.  As well as the name cards and menus, I also had two card orders to finish, plus get everything ready for my first event of the year in Godalming.  This is the second event I have attended that was organised by Loretta and she really does work hard getting everything right - in addition to regularly checking that we were all OK, she spent a lot of time outside encouraging potential customers through the door.  Although the event wasn't all handmade, there were some great stalls there.  I was next to Fran McCaskill who is a fused glass designer - her work is absolutely beautiful and I do recommend you visit her website.  I bought one of her glorious big red hearts - it looks so lovely with the sun shining through it.

Events are interesting in that people will pay a high price for things that are not handmade, but  refuse to pay what, to us who make handmade, are reasonable prices.  Do you find this happens at events you take part in?  My mini-cards did well again, so I need to get making more.

One of the card orders I had has been posted and received by the recipient, so it is safe to put it on show.  I used various layers of gold card and other lacey and numbered papers and then topped this off with two champagne glasses with a figure 50 in the middle - I added gold star glitter to the figure.

The 21st birthday card should have been received by the birthday girl this time next week, so I will be adding that to my next Handmade Monday post.

The week before last I spent a Spa Day with a good friend and as usual it was more chat than spa - I did do some gym work though, so felt pretty good about that.  During the day, we talked about business life in general and crafting in particular and decided that we would have a go at a joint-venture later this year, so watch this space.

My Friday Guest blogging has taken off again, and I have some great posts coming up over the next few weeks - not all craft-related, so look out for some great topics.  It would be lovely to host some Handmade Monday bloggers, so if you have a topic you would like to share, please do get in touch:  Thank you Hannah (Spans Studio) for your post last Friday - it was great and certainly struck a cord with the handmade community.

A bit of a short post today as I am so tired - it has been a week of hard work (as well as socialising).  Next week I have some more card orders to complete, plus we are still battling our way through all of the 'stuff' that we have accumulated over the years.  Why the walls haven't fallen over trying to contain the things we have 'held onto just in case' I will never know.  Phyllis Tuckwell, the RSPCA and Cats Protection are benefiting from our 'down-sizing' and I hope it helps them.

Have a great week everyone and thank you to everyone who stops my my blog and leaves a comment - I love to read them all.  I don't always get the chance to reply to all of them, but I do appreciate them especially the great advice and helpful suggestions many of you leave for me.  Don't forget to visit the other Handmade Monday bloggers to read this week posts and see everyone's lovely makes.

I'll see you all on Wednesday.


Friday, 9 March 2012


Hannah Blavins from Spans Studio

When Jill asked me to write a guest post I decided to talk about what handmade means to me.

But I’m not going to talk about the meaning of the word or what I think a handmade product is.
To me handmade is more than that.  It’s a process.  Making something by hand takes time and energy.  You go through many emotions, trials and errors and triumphs.

When you buy something that’s handmade you are buying someone’s journey, a part of them.  It’s a brave thing to do to give something of yourself to the world to be judged, rightly or wrongly, by others.  It’s what all creative souls that make handmade items for gifts and to sell do.

To me handmade is about healing.  About finding something that defines who I am and allowing myself to do what I love and be happy.  I know a lot of people deny that part of themselves and it’s very freeing to accept that part of yourself and make something for whatever reason.  Everything I make is a part of my healing journey.  Depending on the medium depends on what it does for me.  Sometimes it calms me, sometimes distracts, sometimes it brings me into the moment.  Sometimes it stirs emotions and I find that by working through it I heal. That is part of my process.

Hand making things makes me feel worthy and whole, whether it is seen as a quality item is irrelevant as by the time it is done I’ve gotten all I needed out of it.  I have been through the process and come out the other side and I am usually looking to the next project.

Learning a skill to make something takes time and lots of practise, this is something that never ends.  There is always something new to learn and add to the process of creating.

I hope you understand what I mean when I talk about handmade. I think its easy to just think of the end product as that is the tangible thing but the process behind it, what the person has gone through for it to get there is what makes it unique and the reason why I not only make handmade things but I buy handmade products too.

I have many gifts that have been made for me by family and friends and each one means a lot to me as the process was taken with me in mind.  They have given that part of themselves to me and I feel very blessed to be the person that receives it.

So next time you see a handmade item and like it, ask yourself, what did the person that made it have in mind? What journey did they and the item go through to get there? Hopefully you will see what I mean when I say that handmade is more that just a product.
Twitter: @spansstudio

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Hi everyone

Life has been hectic at Christmas Pie Crafts these last few days.  Card orders and 'things' for my event on Saturday, plus 'the return of the stray cat'.

A few months ago a big black cat began visiting my neighbour and us.  He was friendly, if cautious, and we assumed about 8-9 years old.  My neighbour and I asked around locally to see if  he belonged to anyone, or if anyone knew anything about him.  The answer was 'no'.  We fed him when he turned up at either of our homes, which wasn't every day day and he had a very healthy appetite.   Last week we noticed he was limping quite badly on his left front paw.  Richard, who as well as being a big animal lover is a coward where they are concerned when they are in pain, injured, etc said 'I think you need to catch him'.  I spoke to my neighbour, to whom he was a more frequent visitor, and as he often nipped into her conservatory, she said she would try to contain him.  Move forward to today, following discussions with CP and RSPCA, he is coming home having had his leg platted (it was fractured in two places), he has also been chopped and chipped and he is moving into his new permanent home with my neighbour.  The biggest surprise was that he is only 2 years old!  Our vet (we both use the same one) advised my neighbour that as he had been living rough for all of his short life, he had clearly had some tough times out there.

His name is Shadow - because he comes and goes like one, and here is a recent pic I took of him in our garden.  He looks pretty fierce, but is really a big softy and a beautiful cat:

I had some great responses to my request on the Handmade Monday post about guest blogging - many thanks to everyone for your advice and support.  The general feeling was to open up my Friday spot to non-craft related topics as well as craft-related, so I did and the good news is I have fabulous posts for 9, 16, 23 and 30 March - 2 craft and 2 non-craft.  It would be lovely to have some lined up for April too - so if you are keen to join in, please do contact me on  One suggestion was to provide ideas on what to blog about, so below is the original list I mentioned a few weeks ago but I am happy to include topics not on the list:

What inspires you to create
Do you still make (and  sell) the item(s) that set you on the road to being a professional crafts-person
How do you motivate yourself
Is blogging a good communication platform
What does handmade mean to you

That's me for today, have a great rest of the week everyone.  I will be back with my Handmade Monday post and hopefully lots of good news about my first event of this year.  Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that for the last few days Jazz has been walking around with a limp - yes, in his left front paw!  Jazz was originally a stray cat and I think this is stray-cat-left-foot syndrome.  We took him to the vets, where he is fast reaching the status of having a seat in the waiting room with his name on, and they couldn't find anything wrong.  He is on anti-inflammatory liquid but is still limping - so watch this space, as it could be another trip to the vet in the not too distant future.


Sunday, 4 March 2012


Hello everyone

What an amazing mix of weather we have seen today: heavy rain, snow, more rain and from about 3.00 pm onwards brilliant sunshine.  I am sure that it is only in this country that you can experience all types of weather in just one day.

Thank you to everyone who visited and commented on my Handmade Monday post of last week, my Wednesday Multi-Coloured Blog Swap Carnival post from Karen and my Friday Guest-Blog post that wasn't a guest blog post.  Karen's post was lovely and I hope you enjoyed it - hope you also managed to visit my corresponding post on Mammasaurus's blog.  Thank you Trouble Doubled for arranging the Swap - great fun, lots of new visitors, followers on Twitters and new blog friends too.  I must add also that Hannah, a great all-round crafter, featured me in her Share Your Story post last week - thank you Hannah.

I love blogging and try to post twice each week - it's great fun and has brought me into contact with lots of new people around the UK and the world.  Not all craft-related and that's the great part of it really, because it has given me the chance to read and 'talk' about lots of things I don't really know much about.  Apart from the social part of blogging, I think as a business we tend to use it as a promotional tool.  We can talk about our business and what we make without feeling guilty because we are not forcing people to read our witterings.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my guest blogging this week and also taking part in the blog swap.  Sadly, I have found encouraging people to take up my offer of a guest spot on Fridays is proving very hard work.  I have a great blogger post this coming Friday, but not too sure what happened to last Friday's blogger.  Perhaps I should have sent them a BIG reminder, but (embarrassed) I have no contact details for them (except posting on their blog) and could not locate any in other likely places.  Tried via Twitter and discovered that unless someone is following me I cannot DM them even if I am following them.  Oh well, such is life - I know they are very busy and I hope will be able to join in at a later date.

The lack of participants in the crafts field has made me think that perhaps I should open up my Friday guest spot to anyone who would like to join in - what do you think?  I have a friend who runs a travel business and she has asked if she could join in - at the time I said sorry, no it has to be crafts-related, but I may re-think this.  I know everyone is desperately busy, and often it means extra work, but if you have time can you add to your comment why you think guest blogging is hard work.

It is lovely Handmade Monday time and unfortunately I have no makes to display.  A good reason as I have several card orders (one for a Golden Wedding, one for a 21st birthday, one for a 60th birthday and one for an 'ordinary' birthday - this is in addition to place cards and menus for the 60th birthday boy).  By next Handmade Monday all of my orders will be finished and I will add some to my next HM post.  In the meantime, please do visit all the other HM contributors and read their great posts and look at the lovely things they have been working on this week.

Have a good week everyone - I will be back on Wednesday.


Friday, 2 March 2012


Hi everyone

What a great day Wednesday was for blog-swapping - such a lovely story on my blog and you must all check out Karen's blog to see pics of her lovely boys.  Thank you Trouble Doubled for organising such a great swap - I have had lots of visitors, Karen's posts received some really lovely comments - a big success.  Don't forget to check out Mammasaurus's blog for my guest post on Jazz & Daisy.

Sadly, no Friday Guest Blogger today - my expected 'poster' didn't make it.  However, back to normal next week and there is a great post due on 9 March, so please check back then.

My story of a crafting life has been added to Hannah's blog this week under her regular Share Your Story slot and there are some great posts on there, so please do read them - and mine of course.

A mini post today just to bring everything up-to-date.  I will be back with my regular Handmade Monday post and in the meantime hope you all have a great weekend.