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Sunday 28 August 2011


Hi everyone

I always begin to write my blog 2 - 3 days before it is due to be posted (I forget things otherwise) and at the moment (Friday morning) the weather is grim!  Tipping down, flooding in the garden and very dark, grey skies and it is miserable.  However, I am pleased to say that I feel much, much better - cotton wool has disappeared from my head and my brain seems to be working again and I don't feel dark, grey and miserable.

Returning to this section of the post at the end of Friday hasn't seen much improvement in the weather - a teeny, tiny bit of sunshine and then it ran away!

Daisy is very sensible and settles down to a cozy day snoozing in a comfortable chair with a good book and later on a glass of wine, getting up for the occasional biscuit.  Jazz hates this weather but hates being stuck inside even more, spends all of his time rushing out for a few minutes and realising he is wet, rushes back in and shakes himself over us - firstly having walked over every 'just-cleaned' surface!

I have found that evening crafting is a bit of a no-no with these two at the moment; I often do cutting work for my cards while watching television.  Unfortunately, two cats on my lap prohibits me from even picking up a pair of scissors let alone using them to cut paper.

The reason for the title of this post, Exciting Times, is that I have received an email from Popular Crafts saying they would like to feature my blog in their favourite blogs feature in the next issue!  The feature will include a pic of my blog and the web link.  How exciting is that!  I am so very pleased and really looking forward to seeing my blog in print, so to speak.  In addition to attracting new blog-followers to Christmas Pie Crafts, my current followers and those blogs I follow will, I am sure, enjoy some new visitors too.  I am not too sure of the publication date of the issue my blog will 'appear' in, but watch this space for further news.

The day hasn't been spent only following the USA weather news throughout the day (I have a brother and sister-in-law who live just outside of New York and want to make sure they are both OK) as I have made a start on Christmas cards.  About time too, I hear!  Last year for Christmas I began a range of small (3" x 3") cards and they sold incredibly well at fairs.  They can be used either as greetings cards or gift cards and were popular with children or people who had to buy a lot of cards, but only needed small ones.  I have a big stock of general all-year-round ones, but decided today was the day to make a start on Christmas ones, and here are the first 5:

I have added ready-made embellishments to each card, as well as clear 'jewels' to look like snow.  In addition to selling these as single cards, I also sell them in packs of 5.

As the weather is very similar to how it was when I first began this post, I feel very motivated to carry on card-making - it looks just like winter out!    Raining heavily, pretty chilly and windy.  Roll on summer.

I'll be back blogging on Wednesday - likely to be a late evening post though as 31 August is my final day in my 'day-job'.  I am pleased to be leaving the stress and long, long days behind, but will miss the people I work with.  However, 1 September sees a complete change of work style for me - full-time (or nearly full-time) crafting.  I have a long list of all the things I need to do: clear out cupboards, clear out drawers, empty boxes that have been full for ages - as well as replenish my card stock and carry on putting my new ideas into practice.

Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday everyone

Don't forget that on 21 September I will be making a blog post about what everyone (buyers and sellers) expect of Craft Fairs, so if you have ideas, requests or suggestions, please let me know and I will add them to the list.


Wednesday 24 August 2011


Hi everyone

A short mid-week blog this week.  I have been knocked out since Sunday with a cough, cold, flu - not too sure what it is.  Spent a lot of time lounging as felt too grim to to do much else.  A little better today, although still tired and achey.  I managed to get the Congratulations card made that my friend ordered, plus an anniversary card, but that has been the extent of my card-making this week.  Sadly, didn't get around to photographing the congrats card.  She was very pleased with the card, so that made feeling poorly worthwhile.

Despite planning to make oodles of Christmas cards this week, I haven't made any!  Very disappointing but my excuse is coughing and sneezing all of the time makes cutting paper, adding embellishments and writing very, very hard.  The weather seems to have come out in sympathy - cold, grey, miserable, wet - just how I feel!

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone - I am off to wallow some more and hope to be back with a cheerful blog on Sunday


Sunday 21 August 2011


Hi everyone

First of all, a BIG  thank you to my new blog followers (as well as my 'old' ones of course).  It's great fun to share my 'ramblings' with fellow crafters as we talk the same language.  Also great to have non-crafters join me too.

An interesting week weather-wise - gorgeous sunshine and warm one day, horrendous rain the next!  The one good thing is that our hanging baskets and pots were well and truly watered and I was saved trundling around with watering cans.  I love gardening, but have reduced the number of containers I plant up over the last couple of years as a lot of enjoyment is lost because of the time-consuming watering that takes place.  However, the rain has encouraged the lily buds in the pond to expand, so hopefully they will be in flower very soon.

Jazz and Daisy have not been overly impressed with the changing weather this week; Jazz in particular is a sunshine boy, whereas Daisy is happy to snooze her day away no matter what the weather.

Have been working on a card-order today for a friend.  Her niece has got good A-level results and will be off to University, so a congratulations card has been requested.   I won't give anything away, just in case she reads this blog, but will add a pic to my Wednesday posting.  I am always so pleased when friends ask me to make cards for them, as I feel it is a big compliment and I do hope they will be pleased with this one.

This coming week has got to be Christmas card-making week - otherwise I will be turning up at events with only birthday cards, thank you cards, etc.  I have lots of material, lots of ideas, just need to get down to work.

With the exception of my friend's card and an anniversary card, very little crafting has been accomplished this week.  However, I have spent time on sorting out my blog and looking for similar blogs to follow and I have found some really beautiful ones.  While you are visiting my blog, don't forget to check out the links to the left hand side of my postings - especially Shiloh's tails, he certainly seems to be 'exercising' his family.

Don't forget I am looking for and collecting ideas for what crafters and customers expect from fairs - have a look at my 17 August post for more information.  Caroline of Caroleecrafts has already started the ball rolling with good recommendations, so come one everyone let's make our Christmas events the best ever.

Have a good week everyone - I will be back on Wednesday with my mid-week blog.


Wednesday 17 August 2011


Hi everyone

A break from the norm.  I have decided that I will try to blog mid-week as well as on Sundays just to keep everyone up-to-date with life at Christmas Pie Crafts.

It's the time of year when I and my fellow crafters begin to think of Christmas - well to be honest, the more organised have not just been thinking of it for several  months, but have a considerable amount of stock already made.  Me?  I like to kid myself that as my tastes and style changes so often, if I make something in the summer for December, I won't like it when it comes to sale time!  However, I do find it a little difficult to sit and make cards with snowmen, Santa Claus and Christmas trees on them when the sun is blazing down outside (not that we have seen that happen much recently).  Because of this my production rate has been fairly low, but I know that I will need to kick myself into touch or else.

Yesterday I had a lovely surprise visitor.  Towards the end of last year I had a stall at an event for the local Parkinson's group.  A lady who had been to the event had my details and called in to buy some cards from me - it was lovely to see her and she bought several cards, and arranged to visit me at one of my Christmas events.  It's great to get new business, but even better to get repeat custom because it means my greetings cards are enjoyed.

My visitor prompted me to think about the events I have booked for this year and also because I have seen a lot of posts recently on craft forums relating to what to do (or what not to do) at an event.  Lots of great ideas.  I know that fellow crafters read my blog and thought they might like to contribute to a future post on my Blog about craft eventing?  As a business person, what do you do that makes you stand out at an event?  What do you think your fellow crafters should do/can do to raise the profile of handmade at events?  I am aiming to have a one-off post on Wednesday, 21 September 2011, so bags of time for you all to put your thinking caps on.  All contributions will be acknowledged by way of a link to either your website or blog or both (you choose) so the post should be of benefit to everyone.  Let's not just leave it to crafters, how about contributions from our customers and potential customers?  What do you want from us at events?

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone - I will be back with my usual Sunday blog at the weekend.


Sunday 14 August 2011


Hi everyone

When I started to write this week's post there wasn't much sunshine around, but I am a very optimistic person and hoped that by the time I published my post the sun would be out.  It is.

Where did last week go?  I planned to accomplish so much and actually achieved so very little; not too sure if this is because I know I have extra time about to be available compared with this time of year normally or am I slowing down!  Heaven forbid!  Think my mind is on holiday and has decided to leave working until September.  A good excuse and means I can continue to do as little as possible without feeling too guilty.

I went on a Calligraphy course on Friday and really enjoyed it.  I made some mistakes, got a few things right and know that I really need to practice a lot.  However, I feel it is something I can add to my card-making that will give a personalised finish.  I had a long list of materials that I had to buy for the course and being a dedicated Internet shopper, I worked my way through various stockists.  Unfortunately, the delivery time for most of them was too long.  I decided to look locally and went to the Godalming Art Shop, Bridge Street, Godalming - not only did they have everything I needed, gave me lots of help and advice, and didn't encourage me to buy expensive equipment, they also have a 10% discount scheme for just £5 a year!  As I purchased quite a lot from them I covered my membership fee in my first visit.  Even better, they stock a lot of the material, paper, card stock, embellishments, etc that I need for my card-making.  Thank you Alan and Charlotte for your help and advice.

The tutor on the Calligraphy course also demonstrated some decorating techniques using water-colour pencils.  the flowers she drew looked so good and I definitely have to have a go at that technique.  It's amazing how something that starts off so simple (spots, dots and lines) can end looking really beautiful.  Again, I feel it is is something extra I can use in my card-making.  I feel it is important to keep moving forward in the design and style process and I can't wait to add my new found skill to my cards.

I recently joined the U3A and spent some time today deciding what courses/subjects I would like to study this academic year.  So far I have decided on a calligraphy course as well as a bobbin lace course (I saw someone doing this at an event I took part in and the work looked beautiful); thought it would be a good idea to see how this is done and try to produce something myself.  I am hoping it might be something I could add to my cards.

In addition to calligraphy and bobbin lace, I am also going to enrol on a course called Starting Points - it is 'a practical course for inexperienced enthusiasts providing an introduction to approaches and techniques using such materials as pens, pastels, pencil, crayons, water colours and gouache paints'.  Rather reminds me of painting and drawing classes in school, which I really enjoyed.  Perhaps this may release the inner artist in me - again something different I can hopefully add to my card-making.

I just hope I have the time to fit everything in!  I shall be having a go at my Calligraphy exercises this week and if they are good enough, I might just be brave and post some pics on here.  So, watch this space.

Don't forget to join my blog as a follower if you haven't already and have received this post purely by way of Twitter or Facebook.

Have a good week - I hope we get some more sunny days.


Sunday 7 August 2011


Hi everyone

Hope your week has been good.

I was 'in work' for three days this week, but due to having stacks to finish off, went in for a fourth day - feeling generous as I am leaving.  It is a very strange feeling; I am happy to be leaving, but in a strange way think I will miss the frantic stressful time that the start of a new academic year brings - well, easy to say that when I know I will not be involved!  Hey ho, onwards and upwards.

Haven't done a lot of crafting this week, although I have been working on notelet packs as I think they could be a good addition to my range.  It has been a busy week though.  Had lunch with friends on Tuesday and it was great fun.  Sold some cards to one of my friends as had taken a selection along to show them - also took an order for a Blessing card.  So profitable as well as fun.

Worked on my website (again) but no further forward.  I have located a variety of possible templates, tried to load each one in turn to see how it would look and it appears none of them are compatible with the package I am using.  Disappointing as I did find some really lovely ones that matched the colours/patterns/designs I am looking for.  I have contacted the company I use for hosting to see if they can provide the clue to 'unlock' these templates.

I have joined the Guildford Network group following an invitation from Caroleecrafts and hope to attend meetings of local branches as I know it is a great way of promoting my business.  Once my 'day job' has finally finished (two days left at the end of August), I can better plan my time - well that's the master plan, but time management is not my strong point.

A short-ish blog this week, but a few requests: don't forget to become a blog follower on here.  You will get all usual blog posts, news about Jazz and Daisy, plus details of any special offers/new ranges or events I am taking part in.  Second request is to vote for my gorgeous cat, Jazz: - this is a competition for him to win a year's supply of food, which he has promised to share with Daisy.  The last request is for fellow crafters - if you are looking for a great craft forum, come along and join me on -  there is a link on this blog.

Have a great week everyone