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Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Hi everyone

Hurricane Sandy, or is it Superstorm Sandy?  So much damage and loss of life.  My brother and sister-in-law live in New Jersey and also have a summer home in Cape May.  I heard from them on Monday when they were fixing anything and everything down, but nothing since.  I saw on the news yesterday that Cape May was one of the flooded areas and as their house is appx 500 metres from the sea, I think it may have been in the path of the floods.  They were in their house in New Jersey, so I am hoping they are safe.  Property, although important, can be replaced, I just hope they are both okay.  The pictures of Times Square empty and quiet were amazing - I have never seen it like that.  Flooded streets, businesses unable to function, public transport not working, homes without power - dare I say it is almost like a disaster movie come to life.  I know it will take a long time to recover from this freak weather, but I hope no more lives will be lost.

The good news part of my post is that Beth, my hair dresser is pregnant and she is having twins!  She doesn't know yet whether it is 2 boys, 2 girls or one of each, but does know they are not identical twins.  Twins do not run in her family or her husband's family, but as she said yesterday, the trend has to being somewhere.  She has everything planned: she will continue working for as long as possible, then her clients will be taken on by the salon where she is going to work when she returns to work.  So organised - I need to take some tips from her.  Of course with twins, I am not so sure how all of this planning will be possible when it is double the work involved.  Plenty of time for me to get my knitting needles out - er, think I will be looking for some handmade baby clothes instead as my knitting needles rarely behave.

No guest blogger this Friday, but there will be a blog post, so don't forget to drop in for a visit.

I am at the Godalming Independent Christmas Market on Saturday, so if you live locally it would be lovely to see you.


Sunday, 28 October 2012


Hello everyone

I know colder weather had been forecast for Friday, but it still came as a bit of a shock.  So far no frost in Christmas Pie, but very cold.  In certain areas of our garden that are protected from cold winds, there are still some summer flowers blooming - hanging on until the last possible moment before they give up until summer.

Have you read my latest guest blogger's post?  It is mouth-wateringly good and just look at the pics of those cakes and cookies.  Thank you Mrs Crafty B, it is a great post.

This week has been busy - my first Christmas event is on 3 November and I am working to ensure I have a good variety of stock.  I have done this event before and it has always been good - perhaps helped because it is based opposite a Waitrose supermarket with free car parking for 2 hours?  I started to make some snow-globe cards this week and hope to have a few ready for next Saturday.  No cards to show really as I have been making and packing as I go, so my 'make of the day' is some more of my pottery work:

This is a half-circle tall candle holder made of porcelain.  The pattern is from a piece of embossed wall-paper and I cut the top to the shape of the pattern and then pierced holes all over following the design.  It is currently 'drying' and will be biscuit-fired the week following half-term (next week).  I haven't decided on the colour yet, but definitely something very glossy.

I haven't completely finished the wreath I displayed last week - I changed the embellishment from red velvet ribbon flowers to white roses.  The colour difference is more striking, but I haven't completely forgotten the red velvet flowers and they will appear on another wreath.

It's a good time to visit this week's Handmade Monday post to see other great blogger's work as I bet there will be lots of lovely Christmassy things to read about.

Following the Wedding Fayre I attended recently, I checked out one that was taking place the following week very near to where I live.  I emailed the organiser asking if they had spaces and what the price was.  They asked me to ring, which I did but the price was outside of my budget.  I told them this and they immediately reduced it by £25.  Still too high and they said 'well it is going to be a good event'.  Ten minutes later I received an email reducing the fee by a further £25!  I replied stating this was still outside of my budget (which it was, it wasn't me applying any stall price-reduction tactics) and they responded dropping the price to nearly half the original cost!  I couldn't decide whether this was a genuine offer to help a small business or a desperate plea because the 'two spaces left' really had a zero after the two.  I didn't do the event and felt sorry for anyone that had paid the full price if others came along later in the pre-event stages and paid considerably less.  I know it is possible to negotiate (sometimes) the prices of stall rental, but how fair is it on others?

I placed an advertisement with Adgo - I used this to specifically promote my wedding stationery.  If you place one of Adgo's banners on your blog or website, your advertisement is permanently free - how could I refuse?  Thank you Adgo.

Outside of my crafty world

The other side of my crafty world has been sociable this week.  I spent Wednesday helping a friend with her website - embarrassing really as I am still slowly, very slowly working on mine.  I am trying to convince her of the value of a blog, but not succeeding so far.  I am also encouraging her to use Twitter more to promote her work and the events she is taking part in.  As we live is a world that thrives on social media, I feel every opportunity should be taken to use them to support a small business.  I know my friend's priority is her website, so I am sure once that is up and running everything else will follow.

I helped out at the Woking Cats Protection Christmas Fayre yesterday and it was a great success.  Lots of visitors who contributed to making it a great fayre and help raise much-needed funds.  I won a prize in the tombola and bought some cat nip twists for Jazz and Daisy and the kittens: Jasper and Wallace, who are still with me.  They are progressing very slowly - no longer spitting, purring more and hissing less, but still a little nervous.  They are off to the vets on Tuesday for their first jabs and to be chipped.

I hope you have managed to read my post about National Black Cats Day?  Three gorgeous black kittens waiting for new homes - have a look at their pictures on the website.

I met up with friends for a meal on Friday - we re-visited a restaurant we had been to before, but sadly it wasn't as good this time.  The service was poor, food not very hot and does it really take 15 minutes to make/serve a cup of coffee?    One off of the list for either future visits or recommendations.

A day of kittens and cards beckons.  Don't forget to come back for my mid-week post.  At the moment I don't have a guest blogger for this week, so if anyone would like to have a guest blog spot, please let me know (

Have a good week everyone


Friday, 26 October 2012


Hi There!

My name is Annie, known in the virtual world as Mrs Crafty B. I live in Cambridge with Hubby B, my beautiful Baby B, a grumpy old ginger tom cat called Tigger and a crazy little young cat called Tess. I recently left my job as an office manager to be a full time mummy, a child minder and a crazy crafter. I run a community crafts group and hope to hold more charity crafts fairs like the one I held this year for the Rosie Maternity Hospital.

I started writing my blog ‘Crafting a Daydream’ at the start of 2012 with a view to sharing my crafty world. I am sure as all of you who craft will know, the project list is never ending, just like the collections of crafting goodies. I wanted a place to share as I learned new skills and looked into crafts on a deeper level and I hoped to connect with lots of like minded people. The latter has most definitely happened!

I really hope that I can inspire something in others. It’s a totally selfish act. It brings me immense pleasure when I give someone a recipe and they make something they are so proud of, or when I teach someone how to cook something. A smile comes across my face when I realise that I roused something in a friend that has seen them start to craft as a sort of therapy and start their own blog. I absolutely love it down to my core. I love to see others enjoy something as much as I do and if I can help from the sidelines then great!

I’m a strong believer in crafts for children and encouraging creative thinking. Crafting is such social activity and gives opportunity to count, see colours and shapes, help the development of motor skills and so many other things that I could never see a downside. An afternoon spent drawing, playing with playdough, painting or picking blackberries for baking with Baby B is an afternoon well spent.

I have always been a bit crafty and I love to be creative. I’m never satisfied with following patterns or instructions. I have to make something my own! I am totally obsessed with crochet and I like to make gifts for the people around me. I hope that everything that I make brings a smile to at least one other person and I truly believe that the effort that goes into making a gift says as much as the gift itself. Sugarcraft is another craft that I like to dabble in and baking is where the love is! I love to make occasion cakes or whip up a batch of cupcakes for visitors or as an offering when visiting others. Some of my biggest achievements in the baking world are a white chocolate and caramac cheescake that I made for my friends wedding, my engagement cake decorated with self made sugar roses and my own wedding cupcake tower with self made sugar flowers for the topper.

As Christmas is almost upon us, I would like to share a couple of bakes from last years festivities in the hope that you will give them a go. Do you all have recipes for vanilla cupcakes, vanilla cookies and chocolate cookies that you love to use? I’ll tell you how to add a bit of a festive twist to these classics. First of all, take your cupcake mixture and add a bit of mixed spice. Spoon half of what you normally would into the cases, and then add a teaspoon of mincemeat. Fill the case with the other half of the mixture and bake. Top with some almond butter icing and you have yourself some yummy mince pie cupcakes. If you don’t want to use butter icing and decorate, why not add a crumble mixture to the top before you bake them. Here are some that I knocked up last year decorated with red and green stars. The green iced cupcakes are lemon and white chocolate flavour.

When it comes to your vanilla cookies, spoon a bit of mincemeat on top of the cookie mixture before baking and once cooled, sprinkle with some icing sugar. These went down very well.

The absolute favorites were my Christmas pudding cookies. I took a favourite chocolate cookie recipe and added a few cranberries and raisins. I used some glace icing to ice half of each cookie and decorated with some handmade holly leaves and berries.

Here are some Christmas shortbreads as well J

I hope that you feel inspired to give some of my ideas a try and if you do, please mention my blog if you decide to post them online. It would be fab if you could share the pictures with me as well. I blog at and you can post pictures on my Facebook page or Tweet them to me. Just find ‘Mrs Crafty B’ on either of these sites. I can’t wait to hear from you and see your pics!

Thanks for having me over here at Christmas Pie Crafts!

With love from
Mrs Crafty B

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Hi everyone

What a great day to start my Thursday cat-related posts, it's National Black Cat Day.

Cats Protection has many black cats and kittens (and other 'colours' too of course) in the various places they are being fostered and I know lots of people will be helping them find new homes, but my post today is specifically to support Woking Cats Protection's black cats.  Have a look at the website and you will see the following gorgeous kittens:

Almost needless to say, you can guess who they have been named after.  They are brothers and sister and are three and a half months old.  Aren't they lovely?  You can find out more about them by clicking on their name link under each photograph.  If you or someone you know is thinking of adopting a kitten please contact the Woking Branch for details of Mo, Jessica and Bradley - the telephone number is on the website.

Woking Cats Protection are holding their Christmas Fayre on Saturday, 27 October 2012 - come along and get some early Christmas shopping done and meet some of the great volunteers who give up lots of their time to help and support cats and kittens and find them lovely new homes.

So, Happy Black Cat Day - let's hope lots of you get new homes today.



Hi everyone

What grim, grey weather it has been so far this week.  Just waiting for the BIG drop in temperature we have been promised for later this week.

All bloggers know that it is lovely to get comments on their posts - not only does it enable people to share in our blog, but it gives us much-valued feedback too.  This is always very welcome - as long as they are friendly, positive and/or helpful comments that is.  I had a comment left recently that inferred that my kitten fostering activities give the impression that I have 'gone senile bringing in all the waifs and strays' (I should add that this was in the context of my cats, Jazz and Daisy, supposedly feeling this way).  A humorous remark?  Perhaps I have over-reacted and I am sure many of you will feel that I did, but I didn't find it funny and I haven't published the comment.

Once blogs and their comments are published, they are open to anyone and everyone to read.  Therefore my recommendation is think carefully before you post a comment that may reflect on you rather than the blog post you are commenting on.

Still  in a cat frame of mind, I am posting my first Thursday cat-related blog post tomorrow, so please do drop in and don't forget to come back on Friday to meet my guest blogger.


Sunday, 21 October 2012


Hello everyone

65 days left to get everything ready for events, orders and our own Christmas!  Am I panicking?  Of course not!!  Calm, collected and running around like a headless chicken not sure what job to start first, and often not starting any because of dithering too long about which one is the most urgent.

A hectic week - seems to be the norm at the moment.  I spent Monday helping a friend set up/sort out her spreadsheets for her business - not long in business and wanted to ensure she had the break-even calculations set up correctly.

Around numerous other non-crafty activities, I managed to make lots and lots of mini-cards.  I now have two ranges: 3" x 3" and 4" x 4".  Very easy to make and a whole variety covering Christmas and all other events that occur throughout the year, including birthdays. They always sell well at events and I want to ensure that I have plenty of stock for the ones I am taking part in in November - especially the 3-day event I am doing when I want to be able to move stock around so it looks as though each day has a brand new basket-full of mini-cards.

As well as mini-cards, my makes these week have involved ribbon.  I love ribbon, I can never have enough of it and buy it even if I don't have a use in mind - yes, I am a ribbon addict!  This addiction is not helped by my ribbon supplier often having offers of a discount of 25% off all stock and that means more ribbon arrives at Christmas Pie Crafts.  Lovely great big 50 metre rolls of the stuff.  However, I am not a complete nut-case, I am making inroads into my stock and this week I decided on a different type of wreath/wall-hanging made of Black Watch tartan ribbon and here it is in it's nearly finished state (unfortunately, I discovered my camera's battery is as flat as a pancake so I used my iPhone, which seems to have turned the Black Watch tartan blue!):

I bound the ring with the ribbon and I am in the process of making red velvet roses to attach to it - guess what they are made of? Yep, that's it, ribbon!

That's my confession over for the week, but I bet that if you visit the other participants in this week's Handmade Harbour blogging event you will find more addicts - craft addicts that is creating beautiful things and writing great blog posts.

Before I leave my crafty bit of blogging, don't forget to read this week's guest post from Claire of Lady Luck Jewellery - it's all about the good, the bad and the ugly of craft fairs.   It is a great insight into craft fairs from both an organiser's viewpoint as well as that of a stall holder.  Many thanks for being a guest blogger Claire, I really enjoyed your post.

The Other Me

As well as the crafting me, the other me has been busy this week with kittens.  Monkey and Damon went to their new home on Thursday.  As always, it was hard to see them go, but more so this time because Monkey was such an affectionate kitten; you sat down, and so did he - on your lap, neck, shoulder, anywhere he could get to.  I know they will have lovely lives and that is the important thing.

I now have Jasper and Wallace, two little ginger boy kittens aged 7 weeks.  They are very nervous, Wallace more so and although you can stroke them, picking them up to cuddle is not easy - they wriggle a lot.  I feel this is going to be a challenge and I will let you know how things go over the next week or so.  Here is a photograph off them; they are not as keen on having their picture taken as Monkey and Damon were:

Jazz, as always, is fascinated by them and what is very interesting is that Jasper appears to like Jazz as he purrs when he is near by.  Daisy looks at them with a 'oh, no, not another lot' look on her face.

In my pottery sessions I have added ears and hair to my mask.  I have decided it is going to be as you saw last week, not blending the features into the face.  Perhaps this can be my practice mask and the next one will be the 'real' thing.  The hair is not quite hair, but looks (to me) like the top of an acorn, so Mr Acorn it could well be.  I made another pendant this week, but no earrings; I planning on using a shiny black glaze this time, with some 'rubbed out areas to give depth'.  I do enjoy the course and I am really glad I made the decision to join last term and book both morning and afternoon sessions this term.  Hard to believe we are already half-way through this term and I know the weeks after the half-term break will whizz by even faster than the first half.

Time to get back to my ribbons - so many ribbons, so little time to enjoy them.  Before I forget, this week's funny keyword search terms are 'tellero' (er, how did the searcher end up on my blog??) and 'christmas wrapping ribbon'.

Have a great week, don't forget to come back on Wednesday for my mid-week post and Friday for my guest blogger.  I haven't forgotten that I mentioned I will be starting a cat-related blog post on Thursdays, but will be leaving that for a week or so.


Friday, 19 October 2012


Craft Fairs, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

by Claire of Lady Luck Jewellery

It’s hard to know where to begin when writing an article about craft fairs, as both an exhibitor and organiser, I ‘wear both hats’ as it were. This time of year is just bursting with fairs, from local school gift shopping evenings to massive extravaganzas like the Country Living magazine fairs, and all of those hundreds that fall in between.

After 5 years of running a jewellery making business, and 4 years of running fairs, I’m both afraid, and glad to say I’ve pretty much seen it all, from poorly organised fairs with virtually no visitors, disinterested stallholders and some quite odd product offerings, to bustling, exciting fairs and exhibitors with some of the most beautifully made products I’ve ever seen.

When you’re looking to book into a fair, be aware of the difference between handmade only craft fairs, and craft andgift fairs, or local ‘shopping events’. You’ll usually find with the former that the organiser will at the very least want to see good quality photos of your products, and will make sure that there are a good variety of stalls too. The latter will see bought in products, and sometimes, quite pushy reps for party plan companies – I was once stuck next to one at a shopping evening, and she harrassed all of the browsers close to my stall with her sales pitch. Needless to say, I didn’t sell much! Having said that, not all handmade craft fairs are good, not all general gift fairs are bad.

The motto of the story is, check each fair out carefully before booking, try to find out if it’s been run before, how many visitors they’re expecting, what advertising they’ll be doing and who had stalls there in the past - there’s nothing like a good word of mouth recommendation from another crafter.

I’m often asked, what is a reasonable price to pay for a fair, that really is a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question as it depends on the fair, but to give a very, very rough guide, here is what I would expect to pay for the following types of event;

  • A small village or school fair  up to £25, plus a donation of a product for a raffle.
  • A craft fair in a medium sized venue e.g a hotel, conference centre, large town hall, small National Trust property with 30+ stalls  between £30 - £100 per day depending on the track record of the fair, and the promotion done by the organiser.
  • A large country fair, shopping marquee based event or higher end design fair - The skys the limit, I have heard of £1000 stall fees, but if an event brings in enough of the right kind of visitor, it can be worth it.
 If you’re new to fairs, please make sure, even if you leave everything else at home, arrive on the day armed with a smile and a cheery hello for the organiser, and any customers who pass your stall – a sullen face won’t sell anything, and organisers love cheerful optimists too.

Have a good think about how to display your products, try a trial run at home with to see what looks good, and where possible try to cater for a good range of budgets – people might fall in love with that original painting that’s out of their price range, so they’ll buy the card or print of it instead – think laterally about your product range and how you can make it work for you at every event.

There are so many articles on the net about stall set up, how to get ready for a fair etc, so I won’t go into that in detail, but here are a couple of articles that I’ve found interesting in the past

You might be reading this article, thinking, ‘I could run my own fair, surely it’s easy’. I’m afraid to say, you’d be wrong to think that. It is hugely rewarding, and something I’m passionate about, but the one thing it’s not, is easy. Well, you could just rent a hall, sell some spaces to local crafters and sit back and wait…for no shoppers to turn up. Rinse and repeat with the next bunch of unsuspecting stallholders who might not have read any useful articles about fairs, and how to choose them. You’ll do that twice, taking a lot of deserved flack along the way before word spreads and you struggle to fill the spaces. Unfortunately, I have met organisers who do this, and their attitude is quite openly “there’s plenty more fish (crafters) in the sea” – this is why, especially if you’re new to fairs, to visit a few, and ask crafters who they would recommend. If you’re planning to run your own, think about what kind of organiser you want to be.

Organising a good quality handmade craft fair isn’t a difficult task, like brain surgery, for instance, but it does require a lot of planning, patience, diplomacy, thick skin, motivation, and that word no-one likes to talk about – money. It saddens me when I hear crafters saying that the only people that make money at fairs are the organisers, when sometimes it’s simply not true. Of course, there is money to be made, we wouldn’t do it at all otherwise but as with making products to sell, if you realistically work out the hourly rate you come out with after spending hours planning, researching, emailing and the hours pounding the streets shoving leaflets through doors it can often be more like pence than pounds.

As an organiser, you have to pay out for the venue rental, organiser insurance, leaflets, advertising, signage, event website etc from my own pocket, before you might have even filled the event with crafters. An event can be run on a budget, but you must be realistic. For example, the 2 that I organise are at different ends of the size scale, the newly formed Weedon Craft Market 

( is a village event, with up to 30 stalls, and the Christmas Craft Shopping Experience ( is held in an exhibition centre, with over 100 stalls. As you can imagine, not only are the venue rental costs quite far apart, but the advertising strategy and budget for each is totally different. For the Weedon event I can think locally, a piece in the local paper, lots of leaflets in places for people to pick up, roadside signage, making sure all of the key village contacts (WI leader, PTA organiser etc) know about the event. For the Craft Shopping Experience I have to think big – I send out on average 200 press releases each year for the event – these have to go out by June to catch the magazines Nov/Dec editions. I spend a huge amount of time speaking to local and regional papers to try and encourage them to run promotional material for the event. Without divulging numbers, the total cost of the Weedon Craft Market is less than half the advertising budget for the Craft Shopping Experience!!

I’d love to see more, good craft fair organisers around, but if you’re thinking of running an event, please go into it with your eyes (and purse) open. Having done both, it’s certainly a lot easier to be a stallholder!

Finally, some good craft fair organisers in the Midlands and a place to find craft fairs:

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Hello everyone

Awoke this morning to heavy rain, dark skies and trees being thrashed about by heavy winds.  A big improvement since then: no wind, no rain, some sunshine.  Fingers crossed for weather today similar to yesterday's.  I know it is a long, long time ago, but I recall one very bad windy night in October, which I am sure everyone one does, when we woke to no power, trees down in the garden as well as a chimney stack!  Overhead power cables mean we are prone to lots of cuts and in the Big Storm we were without power for 2 weeks - it wasn't not much fun and romantic though candle-light is after a few days it began to get a bit boring.  Would prefer to give it miss please Mr Weather-Man.

I hope you like the falling leaves on my blog - I understand that on some people's computers the screen appears to be juddering.  I promise it is not the falling leaves causing that - I have checked on two different platforms and on my PC it is fine, but on my iPad it judders.  So I am guessing it doesn't like some systems.

Monkey and Damon have been adopted - I am so pleased for them, but will miss them very much.  I took them to the vets this morning for a check-up, first inoculation and micro-chipping.  They are all  ready to go and their homing may take place tomorrow.  Damon whinged all the way to the vet's, but settled down and snoozed on the way home - they clearly knew where they were going.  Monkey couldn't get a meow in edge-ways!

The highlight of my day so far has been a email offering me 25% of £28.5 million if I hand over my bank accounts details!  Hard to refuse isn't it!  The worrying thing is that I am sure there are some people so desperate that they do fall for these emails.

A mini-mid-week-post today, off to try to get some more de-cluttering done.  The problem is it is going so slowly that by the time I get back to it a whole new pile of stuff to de-clutter has appeared.  One step forward and quite a few backwards.  I wonder if Jazz and Daisy are moving things around?

Or perhaps a cup of coffee while I plan what I am going to do with £7 million would be a good idea.

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone, don't forget to come back on Friday to meet this week's guest blogger.

Talking of guest bloggers, it is the 11th birthday today of one of my favourite bloggers: Badger Boo.  He is having BIG celebrations on his Facebook page, so why not drop in and wish him many happy returns of the day?


Sunday, 14 October 2012


Hello everyone

It's a little bit nippy now (sounds very similar to the opening words of an Elton John song) - the sunshine is very welcome, but the cold isn't and this is just the start of the chilly season.  The good thing about this time of year, rather like spring, is that the colours in the garden are beautiful.  Reds, browns, bronzes - quite spectacular and the complete opposite of spring with its yellows and whites.  I have a lot of bulbs still to plant - got behind with them - and have some big pots I want to put them in today so a few hours in the sunshine beckons.

The crafting flip-side of me

I am hoping that by now the winners of my World Card-Making Day competition have received their prizes - I know one has.  I hope you are all pleased with them.  Again, a big thank you to everyone who took part, whether as a maker or a voter and thank you to Make and Craft for sponsoring the competition - I hope your launch day was a great success.  My digital copy of the magazine is excellent and has lots of lovely things to make.  I have had two suggestions for the next competition: 'anything but cards' and, of course, cats.  Any other ideas?  I will put the suggestions into a hat and let one of my cats choose the theme.

Still on the subject of cards, did you read Ally's guest blog post on Friday?  Ally's cards are beautiful and make me realise that I must get into stamping - I have loads of stamps and as with lots of my craft 'things' they are in a box waiting to be used.  I think that in my stack of craft materials there is a 'I must do this' list.  If you would like to join Ally and everyone else who has been a guest blogger, it would be lovely to have you  on board.  Please get in touch:

My photographed 'makes' for this week's post are not for my business, but for me from my pottery course.  The first photograph is of the pendant and earrings I made last term, glazed this term and fired last week.  The pendant has a loop at the back and I may just add ribbon or a chain, not sure yet.  The earrings are ready to have hooks added.  I am pleased with the effect the wallpaper and rubbing off some of the glaze has created and glad they are not too heavy.

The second photograph is of one of this term's main projects - a mask.  I haven't yet decided whether to blend the features into the mask, but I am pleased with the nose which I learnt how to create last week.  The lips presented a problem in that I just couldn't get a good shape to them and they still do not match what my mind's eye wants.  I am going to add hair and ears to the mask, so there may be more photographs on the way.

In between various other things this week, I have been busy making stock for my events - mainly concentrating on two ranges of mini-cards.  They sell well and although I have two weeks between the first and second event, the second event is a three-day outing and is followed closely by my last event of the year and I want to have plenty to be able to ring the changes, particular for the three-day event.  I also need to make stock for my wall at Bourne Mill which, despite the high street shops already having them, doesn't have any of my Christmas range for sale yet.  I have to say that I am beginning to be rather concerned at how little time I have left and how very far behind I am.

don;t forget to checkout the other blogs taking part in this week's Handmade Monday.  Always lots of beautiful makes to see and great blog posts to read.  

I had a card order to make for a birthday at the end of this month.  The brief was the recipient likes pink, purple, spiritual things and cats.  I love these challenges, made the card and forgot to photograph it - again!  My customer was very pleased with it, so hard though it was to match the brief it was a success.

The other flip-side of me

I have two new residents who arrived yesterday morning - Monkey (how can you call a kitten that?) and Damon (equally poorly named).  They are ten weeks old; Damon is the little black kitten and Monkey is the grey one.  almost needless to say they are gorgeous, very playful and friendly and purr at the drop of a whisker.  I am not to sure how long they will be with me - they haven't yet been homed but there is a possibility that someone is interested in them.  As you can see, they are quite happy to have their picture taken - or probably fascinated by the camera.

Jazz is fascinated by them, Daisy definitely isn't.  She is not a very sociable cat; loves her home and us and Jazz (most of the time), and that it all she needs in her life - as well as food of course.  Everyone who enters our home (two-legged or four-legged) is a potential friend for Jazz - he bounces up to them and wants to be their best friend.  He is, however, a little concerned by Damon (black kitten) - we feel that he looks at him and thinks he could be a miniature Shadow (the cat who frightens him).  The joys of cat-owning and kitten-fostering are great fun - and exhausting.

I am thinking of adding another mini blog post on Thursdays, specifically in support of Woking Cats Protection.  I plan to feature one (or a pair if they are to be homed in pairs) kittens each week, so watch this space.  I hope you read my post last Wednesday about the gorgeous Simba?

On Friday I went with a couple of friends for my second day trip this year to the Isle of Wight.  The weather was gorgeous - sunny all day (despite the forecast), slightly chilly wind, but a great day.  We did a walking tour of Bembridge - started in the main street and made our way  down various side roads to the beach, then all they way along the beach (great big pebbles, stones and rocks everywhere - so hard going) and then back up some steep steps (no exaggeration here) which came out just to where we had left the car (thank goodness as my legs felt in need of a rest).  We then went off to Old Shanklin for a late lunch (gorgeous crab salad), wandered around the village and then slowly made our way back to the ferry, via Ventnor for a brief look around.  Everywhere was very quiet, which was nice - the ferry crossing was also quiet both ways, which meant speedy loading and unloading.  We are now planning our next trip and considering a Christmas market in Bruges.

I am helping a friend with her spreadsheets tomorrow.  She is not a great computer fan to say the least, and starting spreadsheets from scratch is daunting for her.  Lunch is included, so how could I refuse?  Yes, I know I should be stock making, but..............

I am off  now to work in the garden as this gorgeous weather is too good to miss and my daffodil bulbs are crying out to be planted.  I also have some pansies and polyanthus plants to go in - so may top the daffodil pots off with them - a nice display for most of the winter with the pansies.  I had meant to pot them on, but didn't get around to it, so think it is straight into their final growing place today.

I hope you all have a great day, don't forget to come back on Wednesday for my mid-week post and also on Friday for another great guest blog post.

And finally a couple of gems from this week's searches stats (apart from being intrigued as to how they landed on my blog, I am so curious as to what they were originally looking for):

crafts with bricks and toilet rolls crafts


Thursday, 11 October 2012



My name is Allison, I'm 43 and I live in Harlow, Essex with my partner Simon and my gorgeous labradoodle called Henry. I'm a primary teacher and in my spare time I love making cards but I also enjoy making bookmarks and tags. Sometimes I just like to chill in front of the telly doing cross stitch.

I've been making cards for a number of years and initially made them for family members, friends and colleagues. About a year ago I decided to try and sell to a wider market so I had a stall at a local Christmas bazaar and then another at a big arts and crafts Christmas fayre. I really enjoyed both and had some lovely feedback which in turn, spurred me on to open a Folksy shop (

When I was growing up, I used to sit and watch my mum knit and crochet. She also used to make all of me and my sisters clothes (we were often dressed identically!) and I vividly remember her laying out material on the living room floor, attaching paper patterns, cutting them out and assembling them on the sewing machine. She was never idle and I guess she was my main inspiration for crafting in general. I can't knit or crochet (much to my mums despair) but I do follow her in always having something to do.

We are very lucky at home, in that we had an extension added to the back of our house. This is our office. Desks run all along the back wall and along part of each side wall (imagine a u  shape). My partner and I are able to sit side by side working at our computers. I then have space along the side where I do my crafting and have lots of cupboards for storing my crafty stash. Mind you, if I don't stop soon, we will need another extension to fit it all in! When I'm making my cards, I often look on the Internet for inspiration and may see card layouts that I like. I particularly like Splitcoast Stampers for that. I also enter a lot of card challenges. This keeps the ideas flowing and card sketch challenges particularly help with card designs. 

I promote my business through a few different mediums. As mentioned before, I have a Folksy shop. I also have a facebook page ( and you can find me on twitter ( I also have a blog ( Although I've been doing this about a year, I still consider myself a new business and am constantly looking for ways to promote my cards. 

I love sitting at my desk making cards, especially thank you cards, or playing with paper, but I hate not having enough time or energy to do it whenever I want. I guess my ideal for the future would be to give up work and craft full time, but I'm under no illusion that this is most likely a pipe dream. Unfortunately, selling cards does not bring in much money.

So that's me, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Hello everyone

It's a gorgeous sunny morning and not too chilly.  Days like this at this time of the year are few and far between, so extra special.

I hope you had a chance to look at the cards entered in my World Card-Making Day Competition?  Weren't they all so good - hard to decide the winners and it is a pity everyone wasn't able to win a prize.  The contact details of the winners have been passed on to Make and Craft, and I am sure their prizes will be on their way to them very soon.  Don't forget that I am planning to hold another competition end of November/beginning of December and I am looking for suggestions for a theme.  One suggestion was anything but cards - any other ideas?

The main focus of my post today is about cats, one cat in particular.  I promised the Mary Morgan, the Branch Coordinator of Woking Cats Protection that I would include a mention in my weekend blog post about this special cat, but I didn't as I felt it would get lost amongst everything else I had to write about.  If you are a cat-lover I know you will be interested in this particular boy and if you are looking to adopt or know someone who is, then please point them in the direction of the Woking branch's website.

As you can see, Simba is a gorgeous white cat.  He has been with Woking Cats Protection for a while and is looking for his 'fur'ever home.  The link above to the branch's website goes straight to Simba's page, so please have a look and read more about him.  If you can give him a home, please contact the branch on the number provided.

While you are looking at Simba's page, have a look at the other beautiful kittens that are looking for homes.

Good luck Simba - I hope you get a new home very soon.

I hope you all enjoy the sunshine today - I will be back with my main blog post on Sunday, but don't forget to drop in on Friday to read my guest blogger's post


Sunday, 7 October 2012


Hello everyone

I am so glad I didn't have to make a decision about the best cards that were entered in the World Card-Making 2012 competition, because it would have been very hard as they were all fabulous.  Thank you to everyone who took part, every card was really beautiful.

A BIG thank you also to everyone who voted.  I know it was very hard to decide which three you felt were the best and I know the card-makers will be so pleased with the feedback received by way of your votes.

The results for the three prizes are as follows:

Card No 1 - this card was made by Claire Lomas

Card No 9 - this card was made by Helena Skutter

Card No 11 was made by Karen Clark and Card No 13 was made by Helena Skutter and they both received the same number of votes.

As you know, there are three prizes for this competition and as Helena has been featured twice in the highest numbers of votes placed, I am sure she will not mind if the third prize is awarded to Karen.  Congratulations winners, very well deserved and well done everyone else - you cards are great.

I will contact each winner tomorrow morning to obtain their address details which will be passed to Katherine Jewitt, the Editor of Make and Craft and she will arrange for you prizes to be posted to you.

This competition has been great fun and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.  How about another one?  Not just yet, but around about the beginning of December I think would be good.  I will arrange some sponsorship again but I am gong to ask if you could like to suggest a theme.  I know is is Christmas time, but perhaps by December the card-making community will be carded-out I'm sure, so perhaps something different?

Now back to normal and first of all a big thank you to Karen (yes, Karen Clark as above) for her great guest post last week - confessions of a Craftaholic struck a cord with me, and I am sure everyone who is involved in handmade.  I hope you have read it, but if not I recommend it - it's a great read with lovely photographs of Karen's beautiful work.

If you would like to be a guest blogger, please do get in touch (  October is fully booked as is one date in November, but if you would like to promote your Christmas makes, this is a great opportunity for you to do so.

I attended my first Wedding Fayre today which was held at the Frensham Pond Hotel and it was very good.  Very well advertised and consequently very well attended too.  I had requests for two quotations and lots of questions put, leaflets collected and requests for details of other events I am attending.  A great day for everyone - and we had free sandwiches and tea and coffee.  How good is that?  I spent last week working on some wedding stationery ranges - it takes a long, long time and here are photographs of some of what I made, plus my table at today's event:

My black and gold range.  Apparently black is very popular for weddings at the moment and this was further confirmed by a black wedding back being available at today's fayre.

A photograph of my table - almost set up, just needing some literature to be added.  Note the bowl of chocolates on the left hand side - very tempting and of course very popular.

It's time for you to head over to read the other posts for Handmade Monday where I am sure you will read lots of references to that day in December when we all eat too much, drink too much and then go on to make resolutions that we won't keep.  A great time really, so I hope you enjoy the posts.

That is my post for today.  After today and working almost non-stop on Friday and Saturday, I am off to put my feet up and watch lovely Inspector Montalbano - if I can keep my eyes open that is.  I hope you all have a great week, don;t forget to get in touch if you have an idea for a competition theme.  I will be back on Wednesday and my guest blogger will be here on Friday.


Saturday, 6 October 2012


Hello everyone

My 'out of the ordinary' Saturday post is dedicated to all of the lovely handmade cards created around the world - and to celebrate World Card-Making Day.  A BIG thank you to everyone who entered my blog competition - your cards are beautiful and I am so pleased you have joined in and shared your beautiful work and I want to wish you good luck.

You will see a wide variety of  styles, techniques and finishes in the display: some are photographs of flowers mounted onto a card, lots of lovely decoupage, thank you cards, birthday cards, lots of lovely reasons for sending a card.

I have given each card a number, so please leave a comment saying which three cards are your favourites - I know the makers will be really pleased with your feedback.  Why three cards?  New craft magazine, Make and Craft (first issue to be published on 12 October 2012) have generously donated three great prizes.  Thank you Make and Craft and here are the cards:

Card No 1

  Card No 2

Card No 3

Card No 4

Card No 5

Card No 6

Card No 7

Card No 8

Card No 9
Card No 10

Card No 11

Card No 12

 Card No 13

 Card No 14

Card No 15

Card No 16

Card No 17

Card No 18

Card No 19

Card No 20

I will announce the winners in my main Sunday blog post which will be published tomorrow evening.  Have a good weekend everyone.