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Monday 31 December 2012


Hi everyone

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and are looking forward to a happy 2013.  What a fantastic year 2012 has been for the UK - wasn't it wonderful to be part of an Olympic Event that so many people had thought would be a disaster?  It was great and we spent many, many hours watching events that would not normally be on our 'viewing list'.

I am sure you have lots of New Year Resolutions planned, I would love to know what they are.  This time, I have decided not to admit to any because the vast majority of my resolutions quietly disappear sometime in February, or, embarrassingly during the first week of January, without any obvious sign of starting or completing them.

2012 has been a good year, tough going at times, but we have made it to today: healthy, certainly not wealthy, but definitely a little wiser than a year ago.  I have experienced highs and lows business-wise but I honestly feel more on track now than I was a year ago.  My designs and products have changed/been added to throughout the year, plans have either been carried out or abandoned as not being a good idea and I have made lots of new friends either in the flesh (always sounds odd) or online.  Their advice has been invaluable - all seem so much more organised than me and they are more objective about my business as not emotionally involved.  Oh, and I got my website set up - although still a work in progress.  How many times have I said that!

My last event of 2012 was the extra days spent at Secretts - a steep learning curve.  I will definitely take part in the three-day event and the extra days next year, but I  need to review what I sell and also to work on displays for things such as my wreaths and gift bags.  I shared my 'extra days' with my cake-making friend and we plan to do more joint activities in 2013 - here is a picture of part of our space as well as a photograph of the Christmas cake Linda made for us - it was lovely and we don't have much of it left (despite no New Year Resolutions, dieting has to be there somewhere):

Apart from business, I began volunteering for the Woking Cats Protection (WPC).  Hard to guess from my blog posts, I know, but I am a BIG cat fan - love them all dearly and could adopt each and every kitten that has been with me this year.  Initially I found it very hard to see them go when they had been adopted but was reminded by Pauline, the WPC Welfare Officer, that it is important to remember they are going to lovely new homes.  The last two kittens I fostered this year were the gorgeous Milly and Daisy, both beautiful black and white kittens and only a few weeks old.  We have always had tabby cats, I love their markings, but when I first saw Milly I just feel in love with her.  I couldn't resist her, so Milly very soon became a member of our family.

She is a lovely kitten, great fun, gets on well with Jazz, tries hard to get on with our Daisy - not always successfully but in time I am sure they will be pals.  She does have a very odd habit of collecting things.  Imagine the scene: washing completed, taken out of tumble drier, placed on chair for putting away, side-tracked by something else only to be reminded by Milly struggling along with a pair of underpants in her teeth!  It was hilarious, they are bigger than she is so she kept getting caught up in them!

Milly started her own mid-week post on my blog and will be getting back into a routine in January - Christmas has rather thrown her off track.  My kitten fostering will begin again at the end of January so I am sure Milly will be writing about the 'new kits on the block'.

In 2010/2011 I started to write a book, nothing whatsoever to do with crafting though, but another love of mine: crime fiction.  My plan for next year is to stop 'thinking about it' and get on with it, which leads me nicely to the next paragraph.

My plans for 2013 are to have more structure in my 'working' life.  Despite being glad not to have to work to deadlines, targets, etc as in my former life, I know that I do need that sort of organisation and structure, so next year will, fingers crossed, see a more organised me.

My Friday guest blog spot will begin again at the end of January, so please do get in touch if you would like to take part.  2012 had some fantastic guest posts and I enjoyed all of them.  As well as the Friday Guest Blog spot, I have also enjoyed taking part in Handmade Monday managed by Wendy - I have read some really great blog posts and been in awe of how clever people are with their craft work.  I look forward to reading more great posts in 2013 and to get the ball rolling, Wendy has a 2012 send-off linky party going on so have a look and catch up with what everyone has been doing in 2012 and is planning to do in 2013.

Happy New Year everyone - I look forward to 'seeing' all of you in 2013.


Monday 24 December 2012


Hi everyone

A little late with my main post this weekend, and realised Milly also forgot her mid-week post.  You just cannot get the right staff these days!  However, this is my 200th post and a brief one.

My time at Secretts over the last month has been a great success and, although it is thankfully a long way off, I am looking forward to and already planning for next year's event.  What did sell, what didn't sell - always very hard as the non-sellers could fly off the shelves next year - who knows.  Certainly my decorated gift bags are very popular.  I had one customer who called in on Saturday wanting to buy four medium sized bags, I only had one left in stock and agreed to make them for him to collect on Sunday.  I made five and he was so pleased he bought all of them.

Had a lovely lunch last Friday with the Twitter Gals - it was great to see Dawn and Lesley again, but a shame Michelle couldn't join us.  Next time, fingers crossed.  Nice to meet a couple of Lesley's friends too.  Thank you for arranging the lunch Lesley.

It is time to sign off now.  Our presents have been posted, delivered, handed out or are waiting to be given out tomorrow.  Tomorrow's lunch is all prepared and ready for cooking - thank goodness I have got out of the habit of the mad Christmas morning peeling session - it used to be a family ritual when I was growing up.  The friend who is spending Christmas with us arrives tomorrow morning and we are planning on having a relaxing day.

A very happy Christmas to all of my blog followers, Handmade Monday bloggers and friends (and family) who visit regularly.  Have a great day - I will be back next weekend.


Sunday 16 December 2012


Hi everyone

It's a crazy time of year for crafters isn't it?  Rushing to keep up with orders and replace stock, while trying to make sure you have everything for your own Christmas.

I am about to go into a full week at Secretts - not every day as I am sharing the cover with my cake-making friend.  Good really as I am finding it hard to keep on top of orders, etc, so need some free time to make stock.  We are both stall-holding on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and really hoping for some great days sales-wise.

It has been a good week so far and in particular the sales my golfing friend managed for me at her club's Christmas Lunch.  A great success and lots of lovely compliments, which are always very welcome in our business, aren't they?

Lots of makes this week, lots of forgetting to photograph them, as always, but took some pics today of bags I have made - again poor quality as it is rather dark in the tent where I am selling:

I was disappointed, and a little hurt, at the comment I came across on a crafts forum this week from a fellow crafter - in fact someone I know.  As those of you who read my post regularly know, in addition to the extra days I am in the Christmas Tent at Secretts Farm Shop, I also took part in their three-day Christmas Fair in November.  The comment made was attributed to someone else, but I wonder about this and it included this: 'the craft stalls at Secrets are a load of tat ........ the garden centre has such lovely stuff to buy why would anyone buy that stuff'.  Not only do I think this is grossly unfair and completely wrong, but I am surprised that a fellow crafter would be so harsh in print, particularly if as they say someone else said this and the writer may not have actually checked out the stalls for them self.  Oh well, it is Christmas - a time to be charitable and forgiving?

I hope you read week one of Milly's diary?  She is settling in very well and it is almost as though she has been with us for ever.  I think she and Daisy have signed the first page of a truce, but there are still several chapters to work through before the final sign-off.

I went for Christmas lunch with my pottery group on Friday and we all had a lovely time.  Nice to see everyone in clothing that is not covered in smudges, paint spots and bits of clay.  We had Christmas crackers and I collected all the 'left-over' bits to use on cards and bags.  Beautiful silvery patterned paper that will look lovely when recycled into Christmas cards and bags.

We had a family Christmas meal yesterday with my sister and her husband.  They are away for Christmas and we always try to spend a day together before they go that is as near to Christmas as is possible and is a good excuse to begin early the Christmas celebrations.  However, it wasn't roast turkey, but beef with pickled walnuts.  I know it may sound unusual, but it was gorgeous - even if I do say so myself.  We did have crackers and all the other normal Christmassy things.

That's it for today, I have to get back to the grind-stone of making (not really a grind-stone) as I need stock for tomorrow.  I hope you all have a good week and don't forget to come back on Wednesday to read Milly's diary, but equally as important is for you to nip over to read the other bloggers taking part in this week's Handmade Monday round - great blogs, great makes and good fun to read and it is the last one before Christmas so a 'must not miss' event.


Wednesday 12 December 2012


Hi everyone

I have just been called a kleptomaniac!!  Is that the way to treat a new kitten that has moved into your home?  Okay, okay, I have collected a few things since moving in: a carrier bag, a scarf, a pen, a sock - plus lots of other things that my new family know nothing about!  But name-calling is not something I expected and surely they realise that I was only collecting things I need to go shopping with!

Yesterday I celebrated being here for four weeks - but only one week has been as a 'proper' family member and I can honestly say I am loving my new life.  Good food, plenty of warm places to sleep, two humans who think I am wonderful, lots of lovely toys and a very snug igloo that I have to battle Daisy with to occupy.

I now live with two grown-up cats, Daisy and Jazz.  They are both four years old and I love Jazz, I follow him around, play with him (but he does occasionally bop me when I get too playful) and I curl up with him on the sofa each evening.  Not so sure about Daisy yet, don't think she is very keen on me but I am sure I will win her over.

My first week has been spent exploring everywhere because being in a home is brand new to me and as you can imagine there are lots of exciting places to check out.  I have discovered there is so much fun to be had here: climbing curtains is wonderful, getting into cupboards and drawers is great fun as is throwing the contents out on to the floor.  Computers are incredible - things keep moving across the screen and I try to catch them, no success yet, but I won't give up.  The keyboard is great fun too as is sitting on the iPad screen!  That one doesn't seem popular with Jill who claims she is working!  Doesn't look like work to me!

I think I need a snooze.  I am only 17 weeks old and get tired quickly, but I will be back next week with more tales of my new life and also some photographs.


Sunday 9 December 2012


Hello everyone

Firstly a massive apology to everyone from last week's Handmade Monday and to those friends who kindly commented on my post - I am so sorry that I didn't return the compliment and promise I will do so this week.  Life at the moment is making for my stall at Secretts, selling and making orders - a lovely position to be in, but organising everything else is proving a problem.  I do wonder how I managed to do all of this plus a nearly full-time job!

I even ran out of time for my mid-week post and had planned to turn that over to Milly, our 'new' kitten to write.  She has also been busy, settling in, so her first post will be this week.  You may have read a recent post on here about the igloo we have for our cats - here is a pic of Milly in the igloo.  She prefers to jump on the roof, flatten it and then snuggle inside.  She clearly appreciates that heating is very expensive and is finding ways of keeping warm.  At the time of writing this post, she is cuddled up to Jazz - she is a big fan of him, but he is not too sure yet if he likes it.

As we all know in our business, there are days when it is so frustrating to be involved in handmade and days when it's the best in the world.  I am happy to report that this week the days of 'when it's the best in the world' have occurred more than the not so good days.  I am currently in the process of making for three places: my stall at Secretts, my wall at Bourne Mill and a friend has kindly volunteered to take a big selection of my work to her Golf Club on Wednesday when the society's Christmas Lunch is taking place.  This is in addition to some orders I have to complete during the coming week, so life is hectic but good fun too.

My cake-selling friend, Linda, is helping out on the stand at Secretts and she has been covering for me over the last few days while I have nipped off early or arrived late-ish so that I can spend time making.  Thank you, Linda, I couldn't manage it without you.

At most events I attend I take work with me, but as not all stall-holders are in every day we have to provide cover (an interesting arrangement), so making time is very limited.  However, here are a few photographs of my makes this week - they are taken when in-situ at Secretts, so my apologies for the fact they are not great pics.

Another wreath made with gorgeous black-watch tartan.  I have added a spray of apples, Christmas tree branches and a fir cone to this as well as some gold leaves around the display.

A straw circle, red ribbon, silver leaves and some snow - this sold within minutes of it being put in display and I had spent some time thinking 'no, I am not too sure about this one'.

A black star-covered bag to which I have fixed strips of holographic silver card.  I have added glittery snowflakes to this as well.

A gift bag which features a house in a starry sky and snowy field

Apart from stall management and craft work I am still enjoying my pottery course and this week I collected another pendant that I had made.  This one is made of porcelain and I painted it black and white and then dipped it in a clear glaze.

Unfortunately, the bottom edge touched another piece of work I had placed near to it (it was earrings) and it smudged the glaze.  It is all part of the learning curve and I know next time to be more careful when placing them on the rack.  We have been planning what our project(s) are for next term and I am looking forward to trying something new.  We are off to a local restaurant on Friday to have our Christmas lunch, a nice finish to the term.

A short-ish post finishing with the promise that I will visit and comment on as many of this week's Handmade Monday contributors as possible and also a thank you to everyone who does visit and comment.  I do love to read your comments and really do appreciate the feedback.

Talking of comments, I have received lots of spam comments over the last couple of weeks.  The mind of a spammer is a weird and wonderful (wonderful?) place, but no place for it on my blog

Have a great week everyone.  Milly will be writing the first of her weekly diary posts on Wednesday and I will be back next Sunday; in the meantime, don't forget to visit this week's Handmade Monday bloggers and catch up with what they have been doing over the last week.


Monday 3 December 2012


Hi everyone

I took advantage of extra days in the Secretts Christmas Marquee and have slowly lost the plot regarding what day it is.  I did a couple of days last week plus Saturday morning, all day Sunday and all day today. Going 'out to work' on a Sunday is not the norm for me and it has thrown me completely.  I was convinced that yesterday was Monday and therefore today is Tuesday!  This does of course mean I am incredibly late with my weekend blog post!  Or can I pretend that I am early for next weekend's post?

No matter what day it is, I am behind with everything: blogging, blog commenting, Twitter, Facebook and emails.  I need a week free of crafting to catch up with everything.  I have been busy creating and the following photographs are of my stand at Secretts and some of my makes:

I am sorry about the poor quality of this photograph.  The lighting in the marquee is not great and although at the end of the day when our Christmas lights are twinkling it looks lovely  during the day if the weather is bad, it is a little dim.  This is a photograph of a small table display: my velvet wreath a large Christmas card with matching gift tag and two decorated gift boxes.

Another wreath made with gorgeous tartan ribbon and decorated with apples, Christmas tree 'bits' and a fir cone.

A gift bag decorated with Christmas trees, a reindeer and sleigh and liberally sprinkled with snow.  I was so pleased that this sold the morning after I had made it.  A friend had suggested I get a move on with ? Christmas bags, and they are proving so popular - so guess what I am working on this evening!

In addition to the above I also completed an order palced with my by Lesley Beeton (Mad Dog Woman of Shackleford) for a Christmas wreath.  Is it wrong to say I though it was lovely?  I am so pleased to say that Lesley did too.  Here is the photograph Lesley posted on Twitter.  The wreath is made of gold chiffon, shot through with red, green, gold and tartan ribbon, and gold baubles have been added.  I took some photographs  but unfortunately (as always happens with my pics) they were not that great.

It is a short post from me this week - that's what happens when you lose track of the days.  But before I go |I want to let you know that we are adopting Milly - one of the kittens I am currently fostering.  She is gorgeous and here is a photograph of her in a rare quiet moment:

I hope you all have a good week.  I will be back on Wednesday (or judging by my current lost the plot state, who knows which day), but don't forget to nip over to Handmade Monday and have a look at the lovely blogs taking part.