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Sunday 29 April 2012


Hi everyone

No, it definitely isn't a lovely day to be caught in the rain.  I have a sneaky feeling it hasn't stopped raining for at least two days and more on the way.  I know we need it, but as I understand it is the wrong sort of rain (not wet enough?) what's on the way will be welcomed.  Unfortunately, the end of our garden is already under water, so perhaps a little less rain please.

I took part in a Craft Fair in Weybridge yesterday; a very well run event and Nadia Townsend worked really hard to promote it before and during the event.  Thank you Nadia.  Sadly it rained for the whole day and we think this kept the (potential) customers away.  There were lots of lovely goodies on sale - one seller made felt owls with big gorgeous eyes. Several people had cards as a side-line, which reinforced my decision to branch out into other things as there is always so much competition at Craft Events.  Several stall holders said they had had a very bad year last year, but were hoping things would improve this year - as we all do.  Someone made an interesting comment that the clientele at the event were (in their opinion) not the sort that would be interested in and/or buy handmade.  How do you/can we find those elusive 'right clientele?  We can do market research for our products but what about for our public?

The comment about the clientele made me think that being involved with handmade is almost like taking part in The Apprentice.  We work hard, put long hours into our business and then off we go to an event that we think/hope will ensure that when we get back to the boardroom (oops, sorry, home) the Alan Sugar (99% of the time that is us) in our life will not say 'you didn't make any profit - you're fired!'  I like going to events because I love to see the work other crafters have made, meet visitors to the event, and sell, sell, sell - of course.  More often than not the advice that comes through is the bigger the event, the better the sales - the downside of course is the bigger the event, the bigger the stall fee.  Is it a good idea to dive in and book a big event and hope, or a foolish move in what is still a very volatile climate?  

Most of my week was taken up with the card orders I have received recently - mainly because of the promotion of a good friend and a friend of hers.  They have both placed orders with me for several cards and have passed details on to their friends and family.  Word of mouth and personal recommendation is so very welcome.

The brief for Jonathan's card was that he went to Cambridge University, back-packed across America, plays Lacrosse, loves rowing and is an Economist.  Boy, the person who ordered this one loves to set me a challenge.  I made the card to look like a notice board, which turned out to be  a good choice as apparently he had a notice board in his University digs that was covered in pics, etc.

The brief for this card was that Sophie was a party-animal, loved fashion, gymnastics and her Dutch rabbit. She went to a school with Forest in the name (I thought the last thing she would want would be a picture of her school on her birthday card, so I added a pic of a forest).  I placed mirror-card on to the bare card, I added a smaller sized piece of pink glitter card which I had covered in lacey thin paper.  I wanted it to be a little quirky so mounted each embellishment again on glitter card, placed them so that the right-hand ones overlapped the edge which I had trimmed back by approximately half an inch.  My customer was very pleased with the card and I hope Sophie was too.

We went for a meal with a friend yesterday evening to celebrate her cat's 21st birthday.  Yes, I know that may seem an unusual reason for a celebration, but I love a celebration.  Our friend's cat is getting a little doddery (think I would at over 100), but everything else is functioning well, so here's to her 22nd birthday celebration next year.  Perhaps it will have stopped raining by then!

I have a mix of orders for cards to make this week: wedding, thank you and birthday cards.  Most of them are just as challenging as the ones above.  Looks like it could be an interesting week.

My pottery course is going well - I am really enjoying doing a course that doesn't require intense revision, loads of homework and a gruelling exam at the end.  I did the basics of my first 'creation' on Thursday: a candle holder on the lines of a slab pot, but not a slab-pot.  Confusing?  When it has been finished to complete and absolute perfection (about 40 - 50 years time??) I will post some pics on here.  Still amazed at some of the lovely work people on the course are producing - so very creative.  My minds eye sees my finished item as very good, but my hands don't seem to managed to translate that to what I am working on.  All good fun though.

It's that time of the week for Handmade Monday, so don't forget to nip over there and read through the great blogs posts of everyone who has taken part.  

I hope you have had a chance to read my Friday Guest Blogger post?  Thank you Loretta and good luck with the Team Hannah Fund-raising event.  Don't forget if you want to join in, please do get in touch on  

I hope you stay dry and the rain doesn't cause any problems - I will be back on Wednesday my mid-week post.



  1. I love the idea of a 21st birthday party for a cat! The cards are a really personal gift, a great idea.

  2. Lovely cards. I think the bigger events are more successful simply because of numbers - if you pay a hefty stall fee, you're likely to get good advertising. Doesn't always work, though. I think location has a lot to do with it too. It's a complex mix! Good luck with the next ones x

  3. I enjoyed reading about your thoughts on craft fairs. Have not really thought about it before but you now have my grey cells pondering!

  4. Shame about your Craft Fair. Talking about The Apprentice, I wonder if things would improve on the Craft Front if Alan Sugar got himself interested?
    Great cards as usualand I love the idea of a 21st birthday for an aging Moggy.
    I have not ignored your lovely award but still trying to pluck up the courage to try and get it sorted. You know what I am like over anything dif. on the pooter. I promise I will have a go, perhaps tomorrow.

  5. I think that the weather is so bad it's keeping everybody inside. We went out yesterday as it was sunny and our little town was throbbing with people, which wasn't a few days earlier when the weather was grim.

  6. It's a tricky one when considering whether it's worth doing the big fairs. It's a huge layout of cash and what if you don't make it back? A dilemma that I think a lot of us are having at the moment. I wish I knew the answer.

  7. A difficult decision to make about which craft fairs are more beneficial. In my experience it is the right type of clientel you need rather than the volume. As for the weather I can remember doing a craft fair two years running. The first it was raining so hard we ended up paddling between stalls and the following year was good weather. We sold the same amount, nearly to the penny, both years! It's a tricky one to get right!

  8. Why not a 21st cat Birthday, Shiloh has his 1st in June and we are celebrating along with his siblings! that will be fun.

    Know what you mean about events think our coffee chat is going to be very talkative.

    Love the cards, have a good week with the proper rain, who for?

  9. Loving the cards Jill - something like the ones you make are things to keep for ever - really personal to the person. Sorry about your rain - we had a break from it over the w/e (by some quirk of fate!) however it is back today! I dont think the weather helps with craft fairs - I know I would be less likely to go out if its horrible weather. Mich x

  10. Very interested to hear about the Weybridge craft fair as I was thinking of doing that one - hopefully it was just the weather as Weybridge seems like a good location otherwise

  11. Pets are part of the family so why can't they have a celebration. I can't comment on craft fairs but I do a lot of local events and usually come away with a profit. I always make sure I have something for everyone's pocket. Works for me but probably not everyone's cup of tea.

  12. What lovely cards! you have a real gift for connecting in with other people and what is special to them as well as a wonderful creative talent!

    I can sympathise with your frustration about the difficulty of manifesting your creative vision in clay - i so often feel like this when it comes to my creative projects! although there is usually some satisfaction at having created anything at all! :)

  13. I know exactly what you mean about your mind's eye seeing one thing and your hands doing another. I do exactly the same!
    It's cool your friend's cat is 21, that's quite something!
    And I really liked that card, it was very creative, I'll bet it will be enjoyed. You have certainly been busy.
    Oh, and we have had rain rain rain too here in FL and I'm very tired of it, plus we've discovered our roof is leaking again, so we have to get them out to fix it, but of course, they can't do it stops raining! Oh my. :)

  14. Sorry to hear your craft fair didn't go very well. I'm not sure that bigger necessarily means more sales. I think it is often just finding the right place for your items. I sell a lot of children's things so often school fairs work out better for me than more upmarket craft fairs.

    Your cards are really lovely.

  15. I know that craft fairs are struggling but your goods are of such high quality... each week you wow is with something different or a new twist, which is why I enjoy reading your posts so much :)

  16. Hello Jill, thank you for your encouraging words regarding my knitting! :) Really looking forward to the volunteering too. As always your cards are looking fab! And at least the sun is out today - YIPPEE!! xx

  17. I don't think it is ever going to stop raining! And we still have a drought!
    Can't help with the craft fair I'm afraid (am no where near that stage- maybe one day!) I guess it's all trail and error, you'll get to know which are the best and worth the table price.
    Love the cards, it's great that handmade means something so personal.


  18. Hhmm, I do wonder about craft fairs. There is so much competition for footfall. What about selling at a village store?
    Lesley x.


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