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Sunday 29 December 2013


Hello everyone

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that it was not ruined by power cuts or flooding.  Bad weather is never welcome, but at Christmas it seems even harder to cope with as it is a time when families get-together and this year that may have been impossible for some people.  I hope the New year brings better weather for all of us.

We had a mini power cut on Christmas day (not long after the turkey had been put in the oven), but as our power is via overhead electricity cables, this is something that happens fairly often and didn't cause us to rush out and light the BBQ (believe me, we had planned this as an alternative way of cooking Christmas lunch).  However, two roads very near to ours were without power for most of Christmas Eve and friends in Godalming and Shackleford were without power off and on for long periods of time over the holidays.

We had a lovely Christmas Day.  A close friend spent the day with us  and once we had eaten our way through a mountain of food (well , it felt like that) we were able to relax, listen to music and play some 'old but fun' Christmas quizzes.  As always happens we seem to have catered for a coach party - plenty of leftovers to munch our way through while we catch up on television programmes we have missed over the Christmas break.

Christmas Pie Crafts made it into the Surrey Advertiser in time for Christmas.  By chance I was at home when we had a visit from one of the newspaper's journalists who was asking residents about the name Christmas Pie, its origins and what people though of the name.  How could I resist mentioning my business?    I love a bit of free advertising, always very welcome - thank you Surrey Advertiser.

2013 is nearly over and it's time to reflect on the highs and lows of the year and make plans to move my
business forward in the New Year.  I have some ideas and there are new things on the horizon for me and my business and rather than rush into new things and possibly regret some of them, I am taking time to plan.  Although there will be new activities for Christmas Pie Crafts to get to grips with, top of my 'To Do' list is to spend more time on CPC Wedding Stationery than I have in the current year.  I have already booked two wedding fayres for 2014 -with companies I have been with this year and they were successful for me.  The fayres are both in March so I have time to plan new ranges, marketing and promotion - however, as I am very good at putting things off, I must make a concerted effort to begin making for them very soon.

The sun is shining, hardly any breeze, although still frosty but a good time to get out into the garden.  Because most recent week days and weekends were spent in the Christmas Emporium very little work was carried out and there is still quite of lot of tidying and pruning to do.

Happy New Year everyone.  I am looking forward to reading new and 'old' blogs in 2014, welcoming new followers and hopefully starting up the Friday Guest Blogger spot again - anyone interested in being the first guest blogger of 2014?


Monday 23 December 2013


Hi everyone

Yes, the fat lady has sung because it's all over.  My last day in the Christmas Emporium at Secretts Farm Shop was yesterday and I am completely shattered.  I have worked almost non-stop for the last 30 days - in the Emporium or making new stock or completing orders.

This year at Secretts has been very successful for me and I have enjoyed it immensely.  We have had tears and the odd tantrums along the way, but that's life when you get a bunch of women working closely with each other, isn't it?  Sadly, two stallholders lost their takings on one day - a situation arose where a large group of people came into the Emporium, the stall holders who were on duty were busy with customers and some sneaky person or people took advantage of the situation and walked off with hard-earned cash.  Most of the stallholders are small business sole traders, creating beautiful handmade items and although I do not condone stealing of any sort, big companies can bear the loss better than the small business person.  Needless to say, after this happened we were all very vigilant and, sadly, suspicious of nearly everyone who came into the Emporium.

My best sellers of the event?  My hand-decorated jute bags and wreaths - on the list for more jute type goodies for 2014 I think.  Cards sold slowly, but I came to the conclusion a long time ago that people do not buy handmade cards in large quantities because it becomes too expensive for them.  The odd personalised one, yes, but 20 or more drains the Christmas expenses pocket.

A quick post form Christmas Pie Crafts mainly to wish all of my followers, friends and readers a very Happy Christmas and a BIG thank you for your support throughout 2013.  I wish everyone a great 2014 and particularly those of us in the world of handmade, I hope the UK recognises that we are a force of talent to be reckoned with.

Have fun everyone and I hope you manage to avoid this atrocious weather.


Wednesday 18 December 2013


Hello everyone

This may be my last blog post of the year because next Wednesday is Christmas Day - I am still not too sure what that is, but I understand that among other things happening on the day there could be presents for me to open, so I will be rather busy.

Jen and Lisa, the last two ginger and white kittens, went to their new home yesterday evening.  How lovely, a new home for Christmas.  But we do have another foster kitten, we now have a teeny tiny black kitten called Mary.  She is very shy and nervous - the complete opposite to me in fact.  I am sure she will settle down when she gets used to all of us.

Lots of the homes around here have pretty lights hanging off of them and one neighbour has put lights around one of the trees outside his home.  It all looks very pretty but I don't really see much of it because when they come on, I am already in bed snoozing.

Well, it's time for me to go - very late in posting today - but just in case I don't make it on to the laptop next Wednesday, I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas.  Don't eat too much, and make sure you look after your cats and kittens over the Christmas period.

See you soon


Monday 16 December 2013


Hi everyone

My Sunday post is running late and has become a Monday post - it's been a hectic week.

Lots of days at Secretts, plus an evening event mean I am running to try to keep up - I should be stick thin by now!  It has been a week of excellent sales at Secretts, lots of decorated jute bag orders as well as orders for birthday cards.  I decorated some jute bags specifically for the evening event I did at Barnett Hill and lots of compliments buy no sales - however, did very well with my mini cards and lavender sachets.  It was a pretty soggy and foggy evening, and I don't think the  expected number of guests all turned up.  I was advised that only 8 stalls and no cross over so no competition - who was I placed next to?  Pheonix Cards.  Nice lady, nice stock, but how can I compete with their prices??  The handmade soap and beauty products did well, as did Pheonix Cards, I think the jewellery did well, but sadly the ladies selling beautiful Christmas floral arrangements didn't get any sales or orders.

Barnett Hill is a lovely venue and the fair was in a wood-panelled room with a lovely big open fire, which was alight.  Opposite was a big Christmas tree and it all looked lovely.  Here is a photograph of part of the room we were in:

It was a little dark in the room, so the photographs look a bit fuzzy.   Here are two pics of my stall:

I had taken in some sets of battery operated lights which I placed in a glass bowl - it did help poor light and highlighted some of the pieces on my stand.

This week is another mad one: Secretts tomorrow, all day Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  in between a visit to the dentist to have a tooth removed (not looking forward to that!), catching up with friends for lunch on Wednesday and fitting in time to get my hair cut.  Still no further forward with our own Christmas and think it will be squashing shopping and decorating and present buying into Monday and Tuesday of next week.  Next year I will plan to be more organised.....................

Have a great week everyone, not long to go before the Big Day.  Off to join in the Handmade Monday party

Wednesday 11 December 2013


Hello everyone

A busy day today, well it will be once I have had my mid-morning snooze.

Not to sure what all this fuzzy white stuff is in the garden - good job I am a cat because I can see through it, but it is wet!  It clings to my whiskers and paws.  As you know, I don't do wet!  I was born in August, so I am a summer cat and as there just is little sun around at the moment, I tend to spend more time inside than outside.

Jill met up with some of the lovely Woking Cats Protection volunteers last Thursday and I understand they talked about my blog.  My fame is spreading.  I could be in with a chance of winning a Blog Writer's Award - okay, perhaps not, but a cat can dream.

Lots of talk around here of that thing called Christmas.  Sprouts and parsnips have been mentioned, whatever they are.  I do know what a turkey is though - I wonder if it comes in a small packet with a picture of a black and white cat on it?  Although I had been with Jill and Richard for a few weeks before last Christmas I only moved in properly on 4 December so I was a bit shy!  Yeh!  As if.

I think next week could see 'the tree' being set up.  I do hope Jill and Richard realise that with five cats in the home, the tree might not be 'up' for very long.

It is still looking fuzzy outside, so I am going to settle down for a snooze - very close to the radiator I think.  Have a good week everyone - see you next Wednesday.


Sunday 8 December 2013


Hello everyone

Sorry for the pun-ish title, couldn't think of an appropriate one and this popped into my head.

How are your Christmas plans going?  I am no further forward and can see that the bulk of our Christmas shopping will take place during the three days before Christmas.  This is the second year I have been involved in the Christmas emporium at Secretts, but this year has been busier because an extended range of 'makes' has meant lots of lovely extra orders.  We have had some poorly stall holders this week, which as you can imagine has put pressure on others to jump in to help out.  For the second weekend running Saturday was not great for sales, but Sunday was.  I wonder why?

Jute bags completed this week have included 12 butterfly-decorated ones for Lesley, a second Scottie dog one for Denise, a black cat one for a customer at Secretts and another butterfly one (purple) for Carrie, one of my fellow stall holders.  In addition to orders, I am decorating a small stock of bags to take to an event I have been invited to on Thursday evening at Barnett Hill, which is just outside of Guildford.  The event is to promote the venue to existing and new clients and although the advised attendance will be low, fingers crossed they are in a Christmassy buying frame of mind.

As so often happens, I have no photographs to show of bags made - I try to remember and I always so, once they have been passed to my customer!

Another busy week looming although some social things too.  Catching up with a couple of friends tomorrow evening and then I will be having a Christmas lunch/get-together with my pottery group.  Hard to believe another term is over this week - but guess what?  I remembered to take photographs of the pieces I was working on this week and here they are!

This is a very tall wraparound vase, with a slightly fluted top.  I am not sure what colour to use and as I will have the Christmas break to think about it, I might buy some glaze as we have a limited range of colours available at the centre.

This candle holder was made with the left over trim from the fluted vase.  It just seemed a waste to return it to the bag, so I rolled it and lo and behold another piece of pottery.  I have blended some of the edges, made the centre wide enough to take a thicker than normal taper candle, and I am rather pleased with it.  Again, not too sure what colour to go for but rather fancy a bright shiny red.  

I am off to catch up with the Handmade Monday bloggers but I must thank everyone who took part in last week's blog hop for visiting and commenting on my blog post.  I know it is a frantically busy time of year and I appreciate you and all my other lovely visitors/commenters stopping by.

Have a great week - see you next Sunday


Wednesday 4 December 2013


Hello everyone

Oh dear, oh dear, I nearly forgot to write my diary again!  Think it has something to do with what people keep calling Christmas - not too sure what that is, but everyone seems to be extra busy because of it.

Emily, Lois, Jen and Lisa are still with us, but Emily and Lois are going to their new home tomorrow.  I know Jill will miss them, but we will still have Jen and Lisa with us, although I know they would love to have a new home for Christmas.

Jill has said we are going to have a Christmas tree in the hall - but what is a Christmas tree?  Will she dig up one from the garden and bring it inside?  Why does it have to be brought inside?  Although, just thinking about it, I rather like climbing trees and to have one inside could be lots of fun.  Okay, I agree, you and Richard can bring a tree in from the garden just for me.  They keep talking about a turkey coming here too.  I don't understand this because when I bring birds in I am told off, so why can they do it but not me?  Life can be pretty unfair for the world's cutest cat and I really don't understand human beings at all.

It's very late for me to be writing my diary, long past my bedtime, so I will sign off now.  Have a good week everyone - I will be back next Wednesday.


Sunday 1 December 2013


Hi everyone

A busy week and getting busier all the time.  Being busy work-wise is always very welcome but getting behind with our own Christmas arrangements is not so good.  Like lots of people I haven't bought any Christmas presents, written any cards or even thought about pre-ordering food for 'the day'.  Never mind, only 24 days to go and I am sure between now and 25 December everything will come right.

You may remember my Scottie dog jute bag?  I had an order to make one with two Scottie dogs on and the customer was so pleased with it that she has ordered another one.  As well as that I have one to make with a black cat on (to be collected by the customer tomorrow) and another one with purple butterflies on.  Here is a photograph of the double Scottie dog bag:

The Christmas Emporium at Secretts has been busy although rather strange, yesterday was very quiet.  Our first Saturday of opening was very busy and we were all hoping for something similar yesterday.  It may be that there were other events taking place locally that prevented visitors coming to our 'show' - I think some of the local towns turned their Christmas lights on yesterday and Godalming (very near to Milford where Secretts is) had lots of activities on during their 'switch-on'.  A good friend of mine, Jan , covered yesterday afternoon in the Emporium for me - thank you Jan, I hope you enjoyed your session.

A fellow crafting friend, Dawn of Stone Pit Crafts, has some space on my table in the emporium and her hand-knitted head bands and bangles are proving very popular, as well as her wellie-boot toppers.

I have spent today working on customer's orders as well as decorating candles - lots of beads, baubles and ribbons in use.  I am so pleased that I have three whole days off during the week - woo hoo!  However, they are three days off from working in the emporium, but here at Christmas Pie Crafts it will be three days of making scented Christmas candles, cards and decorating jute bags, as well as taking my foster kittens to the vet and two of them to their new home, pl,us pottery on Thursday.  All very hectic,but also very enjoyable.

Thank you to everyone who visited and commented on my blog post last Sunday and I am so sorry it took me a long time to return the compliment.  It seems to get harder and harder as the weeks go by to visit everyone who takes part in Handmade Monday and I am sorry about that because I love to catch up on my fellow crafters work.  However, I do recommend you try to visit as many as possible taking part in this week's blog hop as I know you will really enjoy reading about their week.

Have a great week everyone  - just seen on the news that snow is forecast for the end of the week!  Hope it's not too much though.  'See' you all next week.


Wednesday 27 November 2013


Hello everyone

Boy, is my face red!  yes, I know that is very hard to see on the face of a black and white cat, but believe me it is.  I forgot to write my diary last week.  Did you miss me?  I was soooo busy that the week just disappeared.

Having missed a week, I didn't get around to telling you about the four foster kittens we have: Emily, Lisa, Jen and Lois.  No photographs yet because Jill says they are just like all the kittens she has fostered, they won't keep still long enough to have a picture taken!  They are sisters, ten weeks old and there are three ginger and white ones and a tortoiseshell one.  As always, Jill says they are very cute, but I don't know about that because as you all know, there is only one cute cat in the world: me!

It's getting very cold here and I am really pleased when it is time to come into the warm after a day spent playing, chasing and rushing around.  However, it doesn't stop me from rushing out again in the morning - I have been collecting feathers and bringing them in.  Although they disappear very quickly and as this has happened before, I think someone here doesn't like pigeon or magpie feathers dropped on them.  No sense of fun and I did hear Jill say something about making a wreath with feathers - not pigeon or magpie feathers  apparently.

It's late, it's dark and I am hungry so nipping off now for my tea.  I promise not to forget to write my diary next week and I will get Jill to include a photograph of 'our' foster kittens.

Have fun everyone.


Sunday 24 November 2013


Hello everyone

It has been a lovely day here, chilly but reasonably bright and we had a little sunshine.  It was rumoured that snow was likely to fall this weekend, so no snow means happy days.

Many thanks for everyone who visited and commented on my blog post of last Sunday and my apologies for not returning the compliment to everyone who dropped in.  It has been hectic here and as anyone who is involved in selling knows this is just the beginning of the 'mad time'.  That time of year when everyone, yes us included, realises that time is slipping away and very soon it will be last posting time and the shops are shut and it is too late to get that last present you wanted to buy.

However, before that happens we still have lots of making and selling time, so all is not lost.  Five of my fellow stall holders from the Secretts three-day event have opened our Christmas Emporium; which is based in the Secretts Christmas Marquee.  Yesterday was our first day and for me it was very successful - much better than day one of last year's Christmas Shop.  We have arranged a rota between so that we don't have to do every day and today was my first free day - boy was I glad of some time at home as I had a large order to sort out and get ready for collection from the Emporium tomorrow.

A short post today as I have some hearts to decorate for tomorrow as I only have one of my large willow ones left for sale.  Have a great week everyone, don't forget to visit the other bloggers taking part in Handmade Monday and if you are local to Milford, Surrey, please come along  to the Christmas Emporium.  Not everyone is selling handmade goodies and I am sharing my spot with my cake-making friend, but there are lots of lovely things to see (and buy of course)

See you next week


Monday 18 November 2013


Hello everyone

We all know that the weekend begins on Friday and finishes with a relaxing day on Sunday - well most weekends that is.  Mine began almost at the crack of dawn on Friday setting  up my spot at Secretts Christmas Fair and finished at 4.00 pm on Sunday.  Those of you who do fairs know the drill, you take time and care when setting up and then it's a mad rush to put everything away as quickly as possible when the doors close.

It was a great fair for me and I almost doubled my takings of last year.  I think it was because I had extended my range of makes/items for sale this year to include my jute bags, more wreaths, gift bags and other Christmas decorations.  I had a great time, met some lovely new crafters, one in particular was Cathie Brooks who has seven cats!  As you can imagine we had lots in common.  Cathie very kindly gave me a bag of knitted catnip balls to pass on to my cats and foster kittens as well as some other lucky kittens and cats currently being fostered by Woking Cats Protection.  Thank you Cathie - look forward to seeing you during my time in the Christmas Emporium at Secretts.

I took some photographs of my stand, but think that must have been just after the mulled wine!  A couple of them look a little fuzzy but here are two that seem to be clear:

A photograph of one of the willow heart wreath I decorated - very pleased to say these proved to be popular so I will be decorating some more.

It is always interesting talking to other stallholders to get their impression of the event.  Some said seem quieter than last year, some said it was busier, some did better last year, some not as good.  It was a very well organised event and although very cold on Saturday, we were warmed up with supplies of mulled wine and free tea and coffee.  The only thing I would change is the name of the event - it is promoted as a food and craft event, but although plenty of food is available, not all stalls are selling craft work.  Perhaps food, craft and gift fair would be more appropriate.

Day off today and then back on the mad working treadmill tomorrow.  Back to Secretts on Friday to set up for the month-long Christmas Emporium event.  This is great fun, with six stallholders taking part selling a mix of gifts, craft and food.  If you are local or live nearby why not come along and see us.

Off to check out Handmade Monday now - I am running late this week.  It's a bit lastminutejilldotcom here.  Thank you everyone who visited my blog last week and left me lovely comments.  have a great week everyone.


Wednesday 13 November 2013


Hello everyone

It seems to be panic, panic, panic here at the moment.  Jill is getting ready for her three-day event at the Secretts Christmas Fair this weekend, Richard is on leave and wants to relax and our home looks like a warehouse!  I have asked Jill if it really is only three days she is getting ready for.

Very, very frosty here and I have never been out before in frosty weather, neither have Poppy and Coco.  We all spent last winter as inside kittens, so this cold wet stuff on our paws feels very odd.  As it is wet stuff and I don't do wet, I think I will be inside today making sure I keep warm and possibly snuggling up to Jazz.  Daisy is very sensible, she stays in as much as possible in the cold weather.

It's a very short post this week as Jill is telling me she needs 'my' laptop.  Cheeky devil.  I am off to find a warm spot to snooze in, but I will be back next week.  have a good week everyone - keep warm.


Sunday 10 November 2013


Hello everyone

As it says on the packet above, it's all go here and exhausting too.  I know it is the same for everyone involved in any sort of business at this time of year, but those of us involved in the world of handmade know that it seems to be doubly exhausting.

I took part in my last wedding fayre of the year today and have five quotations to prepare and hopefully future contact from people who said 'I'll be in touch'.  I know we all hear that occasionally, but the optimist in me is hopeful.

The weather here today has been lovely - I was hopeful that the good weather would bring the brides out and I wasn't disappointed.  Lots of other lovely wedding sellers, but the most eye-catching was a wedding cake stand (they always catch my eye) and here are photographs of two of the gorgeous creations by Alexander Taylor that were on display at today's fayre - what a talented person he is:

A burger, hot dog, box of fries and a coke.  I wouldn't want to cut into it.  The designs are so out of the ordinary, you couldn't fail to be amazed by them.

Love and peace man - a Sixties themed cake.  Incredible!

Alexander's wife and her father were on duty today and as you can imagine there was a lot of interest in their stand.  The best bit was seeing the look of 'I don't believe it' on visitors faces.

I had planned to make an all white range of wedding stationery for today and I managed to make some of the range.  My thanks to Jan of Handcrafted by Picto for the suggestion to have a red trim.  A great idea and I did just that using burgundy velvet ribbon and diamante embellishments.  Here is a photograph of them - not very good because the lighting at the event wasn't great:

In the Christmas Pie Crafts workshop, I have been back on the make, label and pack treadmill.  The fear of not having enough stock is hanging over me: have I got enough of this, should I make more of that, will they sell.  I am sure my fellow handmade business people know this feeling.

I bought four heart-shaped willow wreaths recently and have decorated each them in a different way.  The light has gone now and I cannot photograph them, but will do so during the week and post them on my blog next Sunday.

This time next week, I will be breaking down my stand following my three-day event at Secretts Garden Centre - I am looking forward to it (and feeling nervous about it too) and will be making stock up to the very last moment (probably during the event too), but there is that 'oh dear, I hope my things sell' feeling, and I will let you know next week how the event went.

Back to the treadmill now, but before I go don't forget to visit the bloggers taking part in Handmade Monday and a big thank you to everyone from last week's linky party who visited my blog and commented - always appreciated.

I have had a couple of people say they are interested in being a Friday Guest Blogger - that would be lovely and I look forward to you joining in, can you email me on and we can arrange dates, etc?

Have a good week everyone - Milly will be here on Wednesday and I will be back next Sunday.


Wednesday 6 November 2013


Hello everyone

Grey and soggy weather here, not good weather for cats.  Lots of leaves to collect and chase, but not many feathers to bring indoors at the moment.  Perhaps all the birds are wise to me and hide when I go outside.

The good news of the week is that Rosie and Violet have been re-homed.  A lovely family came to see them on Saturday and on Monday Rosie and Violet were taken to their new home.  We will miss them (well, I might not miss them all of the time) but I know they will be very happy with their new family.  Jill said there will soon be more kittens here, so I will be able to pull faces at them through the door.

This time last year I was a foster kitten here and it's quite hard to remember what that was like, because when I moved in I became the Boss Cat!  Despite being rather small I am in charge; I tell the other Pie cats what to do, push them out of the way if they dare to move in on my food bowl and I make sure I get all the comfortable snoozing spots everywhere - preferably on a lap.  However, I do remember what it was like to not have a home or have any idea where one might be found for me and there are lots of cats and kittens out there in the same position.  If you love cats and would like to adopt one, please visit the Woking Cats Protection website and have a look at the gorgeous cats and kittens (although not quite as gorgeous as me) who are looking for homes.  You can tell them that Milly sent you.

Don't forget to make sure your cats are kept in at night - particularly at the moment with these weird things around called bonfires and fireworks.  Not too sure what they are, but Jill and Richard have told us that they can be dangerous.

Have a good week everyone - see you next Wednesday.


Sunday 3 November 2013


Hello everyone

How are you?  I hope you survived the storm of last Sunday night/Monday morning.  Quite a few trees were uprooted around here, but as far as I know no damage sustained by homes or people and no loss of power.  I know there are lots of moans and groans about the 'event' being over-dramatised by the media, possibly because it was under-dramatised back in 1987.  It, did, however give us a chance to prepare for potential problems.  Because of past bad weather, loss of power, etc some time ago we invested in a generator - it's a small one, but at least it means we are not lit just by candle-power during the frequent power-cuts we have.  It was interesting to see people in supermarkets shopping as though they were never ever going to be able to get to a food shop again!

An event free weekend, thank goodness, but the last one for a long time - I think my next event-free weekend is the one after Christmas.  After my three-day Christmas Fayre at Secretts Garden Centre, I am
having space in the Christmas Emporium  (doesn't that sound good?) and on Friday of last week, Linda (who shares the after-three-day-event space with me) and I attended a lunch and meeting with our fellow emporium-ists to review the floor plan, marketing and promotion, duty rota and all the other little bits and pieces that needed to be dealt with.  We may all have different products to sell (not all handmade) and certainly we all have different ideas, viewpoints and plans, but we all want to sing from the same song sheet throughout the event.  We talked about having Christmas carols playing when we were open - perhaps we could form a singing group?  Uhm, perhaps not.

This week I have made what seems like 100's of mini cards, some more jute bags (one which has a lovely owl as the design) and loads of Christmas cards - no photographs unfortunately as I am pricing and packing them as soon as I have made them.  I already have 4 large cardboard boxes full of stock and that's without all the loose piles of things everywhere, the large laundry bags full of table and wall coverings, bags and all the other things needed at an event, and the tables, racks, etc.   Thank goodness Secretts is near to me as I have a feeling it might involve at least a couple of trips to offload what I need for just the three-day event, let alone the longer one afterwards.

Now it is back to make, label, pack and even more make, label and pack,  A little light relief from making Christmas stock is my final wedding fayre of the year at the Old Thorns Hotel, which takes place next Sunday.  I haven't done a wedding fayre this late in the year and I am wondering if it will be as busy as those I have attended recently.  I want to make one completely brand new range in all white with a ribbon trim - haven't decided on the colour yet, hope to have photographs for you next week.

Thank you everyone who visited my blog last week and an extra special thank you to those who commented - I love feedback, its always helpful and often gives me ideas of things I need to change and/or new things to make.  Don't forget to drop in on this week's Handmade Monday blog party and read what everyone has been up to during the past week - lots of lovely Christmas makes are appearing each week.

If you would like to be a guest blogger, now is a great time to join in.  You may have events or a new product range that you want to bring to peoples attention - how about a blog post here?  Get in touch if you would like to join in or would like more information.

Have a great week - see you next Sunday


Wednesday 30 October 2013


Hello everyone

We survived the storm without any damage - although heavy flower pots in our front garden travelled a few feet!  Jill and Richard told us that quite a few trees had been blown over in the roads around us, but that we had been very lucky.  Good news, because some of us Pie cats like to climb trees.  I hope everyone who reads my diary didn't suffer any losses or problems because of the bad weather.

Jill took part in the Woking Cats Protection Christmas Fayre on Saturday and fame struck me again!  A visitor to the event spoke to Jill about her blog and said that they read my posts.  Jill said something to me about my head getting too big - I don't understand that, but I rather like being famous.

I have been very well behaved recently, no birds, frogs or other creatures have disappeared because of me - am I losing my touch or are they all wise to me and keeping out of the way?  I am still building up my collection of feathers - well I would if they stayed where I left them!  Every time I bring in another one, the previous one has disappeared.  Is there a sneaky feather thief around here?  Or, even worse, perhaps the birds they originally belonged to are taking them back?

Time for me to go out to play - I have had to come home earlier each day this week because night time seems to be arriving earlier than last week.  Something to do with those clocks going back to wherever clocks go to at this time of year.

Have a good week everyone - see you next Wednesday.


Sunday 27 October 2013


Hi everyone

A wet and windy week and just hoping the weather men have got tonight's stormy forecast wrong.  In the last 'great storm' we spent two weeks without electricity and don't fancy going through that again.  We do have frequent power cuts here, mainly mini ones thank goodness, and think it may be due to having overhead electricity cables - no not the 'great big pylons' in my garden ones, but no underground electricity delivery around here.  good job one of my makes is candles - might just need to get on and make some more.

Thank you to everyone who visits and comments on my blog - I do love to read your comments.  Very often they are great advice too.

This last week has been (almost) wall-to-wall card-making, bag-decorating and fabric wreath producing.  I was booked into two events yesterday - tricky I know, but one was going to be covered by my cake-making friend Linda.  Because of my involvement with the Woking Cats Protection branch, I managed my stall there and it was a good day, despite the frequent bouts of rain.  My mini-cards sold well, Christmas gift bags also sold and another one of my decorated jute bags was snapped up.  It was, naturally, a cat-filled event - as someone said to me it was one of those rare occasions where you can talk non-stop about your cats and not have people look at you as if you were completely bonkers!  there were lots of cat-themed stalls there and I know the branch raised some much-need funds, so a good day for everyone.  Here are some photographs of my stall including one of my Scottie Dog jute bags - I had made and sold one the previous week and felt another one was a must-make.

Sadly, Ripley Craft & Food Fair was a different story.  Nothing of mine sold - I don't think I can recall experiencing a 'no-sales event', so at this stage in my craft business life it came as a big shock.  The weather was pretty grim and as stall holders are housed in summerhouses, sheds and gazebos, not always the best places to be.  Apparently at least four stallholders didn't turn up or bother to notify the organisers - so unprofessional and unfair to Claire who works hard and always has a waiting list of stallholders to be involved.  As the products that didn't sell have always sold well before at this venue and sell well at others, what was the problem this time around?  

Linda and I shared this event each having our own items - was this a bad idea?  Could it be that the cake/bread buyers saw only them and didn't think other items would be for sale at that spot?  So disappointing and we have made the decision that apart from our joint venture in the Secretts Christmas Emporium, we will manage our own stalls but each offer a very limited amount of each others stock.  We think it is the right decision and to be honest, less confusing for customers.

Despite the forecast, the weather here is gorgeous at the moment: sun, a little wind and mild.  It's time to do some gardening - have to make the most of that time before it gets too wet.  I hope you all have a great week and don't forget to nip over the read the blogs taking part in this week's Handmade Monday.  If you fancy promoting your Christmas stock or an event, please do get in touch about being a Friday Guest blogger - it would be lovely to have some Christmassy-themed posts.


Thursday 24 October 2013


Hell everyone

What a grim day weather-wise; heavy rain and wind already and more on the way.  Hope it disappears before tomorrow as I am taking part in two events - at the same time!  Well, that was the plan but as you know it is impossible - but in the future, who knows.

As many of you know I am a volunteer for Woking & District Cats Protection and tomorrow is our Xmas Fayre.  Last year I was a helper at this event and this year I am a stallholder.  the event is taking place in Brook Hall, Brox road, Ottershaw, Surrey, KT16 0HG and is open from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm.  Apart from lots of lovely things to buy there will also be great refreshments including bacon rolls - the only reason I am going!  If you are in the area, a cat lover or support of the work done by Cats Protection do come along to this event.  yo can find out about the gorgeous kittens and cats currently looking for new homes, meet man y of the volunteers and do some early Christmas shopping at the same time.

My second 'appearance' tomorrow is at the Ripley Nurseries Food & Craft Fair.  Sadly, not me but my cake-making friend, Linda, is covering for me as well as selling her cakes and bakes.  She makes a great range of breads, so do go along and buy some and she also makes very tasty cheese straws.  The event is taking place at Ripley Nurseries, Portsmouth Road, Ripley, Surrey, GU23 6EY and is open from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.  Have a look at the nurseries' Facebook page for photographs of their recent events - lots of different goodies for sale.

I hope you can visit both of these events, not too far apart and both certainly worth adding to your list of places to go to tomorrow.

Have a great weekend - hope you manage to keep dry.


Wednesday 23 October 2013


Hello everyone

Woweeee, it is windy here!  Cats and kittens like windy weather, makes us run around more.  Lots of leaves to chase.

We had a terrific storm last night.  Lots of thunder, wind, heavy rain and some lightening too.  I wasn't bothered by it because I am a very brave cat.  Jazz lifted up his head, wondered what it was and then went back to sleep.  The rest of the Pie cats slept through it.  Jill sat with Rosie and Violet during the storm and they didn't seem to be bothered by it either.  Talking of Rosie and Violet, Jill managed to get some photographs of them which have been added to their page on the Woking Cats Protection website - here is a sneak peek of one taken while they were having lunch:

Jill is taking part in the Woking Cats Protection Christmas Fayre at Brook Hall, Brox Road, Ottershaw, Surrey, KT16 0HG on Saturday, 26 October 2013 (10.00 am - 1.00 pm).  She would love you to go along and see her and she can tell you all about me and how wonderfully gorgeous I am.  Okay, okay, she will tell you all about Rosie and Violet too if you would like to know more about them.

That's me blogged out for the week - the sun is shining and I have to make the most of it.  Jill said something again this week about the clocks going back this weekend - again, she didn't say where they are going back to!  Why do humans have to make a cat's life so confusing.

Have a good weekend - see you next Wednesday.


Sunday 20 October 2013


Hi everyone

A very busy weekend following a hectic week.  It's definitely a feet up and watch television evening - well, it will be once I have done some more work.

Yesterday I took part in the Play Kenya Craft Fair in Pirbright and a great day sales-wise.  I sold my lovely black cat jute bag, as well as one I made in the week with a Scottie dog on a red sequin lead.  My mini-cards were a great success and I also sold one of my cuppa-candles.  I completely forgot to take photographs and my cake-making friend, Linda, took some instead but they may have to wait for next week to be posted on my blog.  The craft fair was pretty near to 100% handmade, which was lovely.

Today it was the Wedding Fayre at the Frensham Pond Hotel.  I have taken part in a wedding fayre at this venue before and it is always very well organised.  Mala, the Sales & Events Organiser, regularly visits each stallholder throughout the day to see how their day is going; there is always good follow-up after the event and a really nice touch is that we get vouchers for tea and coffee and a sandwich.  Lots of interest in my wedding stationery, a request for a quote and I hope there will be follow-ups once the brides-to-be have ploughed through the large bag of promotional material they collected during the event.

Earlier this week Mala asked if I could produce some wedding stationery to go on their welcome table - their colours were going to be purple and white.  I produced an invitation and place name card.  Mala also asked if I could produce two menu cards for the table, which I made in similar colours to the invitation and here are photographs of them:

The following are a of pic of my stall and a sample invitation I was recently asked to produce :

One of the highlights of the event was this cake:

Isn't it fantastic?  All those lovely vegetables.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  The cake is made by the brilliant Cruikshank's - have a look at this website and you will see the gorgeous cakes he makes.  I asked him if I could take this photograph and promised I would add his details as a thank you.

It's over to Handmade Harbour for me now to catch up with everyone's week.  Thank you everyone who commented on my blog post last week - as always very much appreciated.

A slightly quieter week for me - hopefully - although I do have two events to make for on Saturday, but thankfully nothing on Sunday.

Have a good week everyone.


Friday 18 October 2013


Hi everyone

Fridays on my blog have always been reserved for guest bloggers who have a post they want to share about their products, a hobby, a favourite animal and sometimes an event they are either organising or are involved in.  Just for today, I am using the Friday Guest Blogger spot to promote the two events I am taking part in this weekend.

19 October 2013: 11.00 am - 4.00 pm: The Play Kenya Craft Fair at Lord Pirbright's Hall, Guildford Road, Pirbright, Woking, Surrey, GU24 0JN

The event is hosting a wide variety of craft stalls to raise funds for Play Kenya - have a look at their blog to see what they have been doing recently.  As an organisation, Play Kenya is devoted to supporting emotionally damaged children through therapeutic play.  The aim is to support and give skills to local communities so they can make a difference to their children

20 October 2013: 10.30 am - 3.30 pm: Wedding Fayre, Frensham Pond Hotel, Churt, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 2QB

This is a beautiful venue for a wedding fayre, and en even better one for a wedding.  There will be a great mix of wedding businesses taking part in this event and you will get the opportunity to spend time collecting ideas and advice for your special day.  I will be there with my CPC Wedding Stationery hat on showcasing my beautiful range of hand-made wedding stationery, so come along and enjoy the day with us.

Hope to see you at both events and come back on Sunday to read my review of how they went.  Have a good weekend everyone.


Wednesday 16 October 2013


Hello everyone

A down-in-the-dumps day today because it is raining, it's dark and it's cold.  All five Pie cats are indoors because none of us like this sort of weather.  Wet fur is not nice - the choice is either lick it dry or let Jill rub you dry with a towel.  Decisions, decisions.

Jill has been busy all week making crafty things for the events she has this weekend - this is great fun for us because we keep pinching bits of felt, cotton, ribbon and playing with them.  Not so much fun for Jill, because she wants them back!

Rosie and Violet are getting bigger every day and are very friendly - when I go up to the door of the room they are in, they rush up to talk to me.  I can tell them apart because Rosie is a little bigger than Violet.  They love to play and have lots of toys - some of them are ones I used to play with when I 'lived' in their room.

Pauline from Woking Cats Protection is coming to see me next week - ok, not me, but Jill and the kittens but I am sure she will want to see me.  I am actually rather famous - a lady at the Therapy Garden event on Friday told Jill that she reads my weekly diary.

I think it is time for a snooze - I wonder if the sun will be out soon.

See you next week


Sunday 13 October 2013


Hello everyone

What a soggy and miserable day today is - only weather-wise that is.  I don't think it has stopped raining all day - thank goodness we did a bit of gardening yesterday as the ground is now pretty muddy.

A busy week again - it's that time of year, isn't it?  You just can't sit back and think everything has been finished, you are on top of your work and it's time to put your feet up, can you?

On Friday I took part in the Autumn Fair at the Normandy Therapy Garden.  A little surprised when I arrived to find that I was going to be in a small marquee - there were three other stalls in with me.  If you recall Friday's weather it was very, very windy and although the marquee was well anchored to the ground, the sides were flapping a bit, but we did have quite a bit of sunshine during the morning.  I know the organisers as I have held a card-making workshop there so it was nice to see Penny again.  Thank you everyone for the numerous and very welcome cups of free coffee.  The event was very well attended and I am pleased to say I made a small profit.  The Therapy Garden is a lovely place and if you live in this area or if you visit here, please do go along and have a look at it.  It provides great learning opportunities for people who may not get the chance to work with plants.  You can also buy vegetables there, plants and some pretty amazing wooden structures (plant frames, bird boxes, etc).

The only disappointment and nothing to do with the Therapy Garden is the signposting here.  About three years ago our Parish Council (PC) promised to put up signs to the Village Hall and the Therapy Garden (they are on the same land).  True to their word, they have put a sign up - directing everyone to the Manor Fruit Farm!  Great if you know that the land where the Village Hall and Therapy Garden are situated was formerly the fruit farm but if you don't live in the area, it will not mean anything to you.  I feel a letter to the PC coming on.

I made a few items of new stock and here are some photographs taken at the event:

This one is made with what felt like 1,000,000 ribbon circles!

An autumnal ribbon wrapped around a polystyrene ring, decorated with same ribbon ties and topped off with felt flowers and brown beads in the centre of the flowers

As you can seen, the sun did shine during the day 

A work-in-progress wreath.  navy blue ribbon wrapped around a polystyrene wreath and decorated with sea shells (bought from The Works, not removed from a beach).

I had a lovely order for a large quantity of my decorated jute bags from a friend this week - thank you Lesley.  I am going to enjoy working on these very much as they are to be butterfly themed.

I have a meeting at a local day centre on Wednesday to discuss holding regular card-making workshops there.  I should have more information for next week's Sunday blog and will tell you all about it then. I hope that not only will this be of interest to the people who use the centre regularly, but also to local residents, people who have attended my card-making workshops and newcomers to this lovely craft.

A very busy week which ends with a Craft Fair in Pirbright on Saturday and a Wedding Fayre at Frensham Pond Hotel on Sunday.  I have a feeling that this time next week, I might be asleep!

Between now and then it is work, work, work - no doubt the same for all of us involved in the world of handmade.  Have a great week everyone and don't forget to visit this week's bloggers taking part in Handmade Monday - would you believe it is week 138??


Wednesday 9 October 2013


Hello everyone

It's busy, busy, busy here!  In the garden I have lots of leaves to collect, play with and then throw all over the place.  I imagine they are all sorts of things: the red leaves are butterflies, the brown ones are moths and the few green ones that land on the ground are frogs.  I seem to be spending less time in the garden every day as it doesn't get light until much later than I am used to and gets dark even earlier than I am used to - Jill said something about the days being even shorter when the clocks go back.  Not sure what a clock is and have even less idea where it goes back too.

Rosie and Violet are still with us.  Violet was a little shy when she first came to us, not any more!  She is nearly as brave and confident as her sister.  Every morning and a couple of times during the day Jill tidies up their room - cushions back on chairs, covers over the back of chairs - five minutes later it looks as though I have been in there!  Toys everywhere, cushions often on the floor, water bowl sometimes splashed all over the floor.  I am sure I behaved much better when I was in that room.

It's Coco and Poppy's birthday tomorrow - they will be one year old.  Not as old as me because I am 14 months and 8 days old, so very grown up really.  What shall I get them for their birthday?  A mouse, a frog, how about a dragon fly?

A very late Milly's diary today - Jill wasn't around first thing to help me open the laptop.  I am off to play with more leaves now, although Richard tries to beat me at collecting them!

Have a good week everyone.


Sunday 6 October 2013


Hello everyone

It's a gorgeous day here and possibly the last warm one for a while.  We recently had our 'green sacks' replaced with big brown wheelie bins.   A pain for storage, but as we are doing some heavy heavy pruning of
our fruit and other trees at the moment, it is very welcome - in fact we could do with two at this time of the year.  We shred and compost as much as we can and over the years our soil has benefited from the addition of our shreddings.  Today is also likely to be the last chance we have of cutting the lawn (well we like to think of it as a lawn, more a big patch of moss, weeds and some grass) because it takes ages to dry out and for most of the day it is wet from a very heavy dew and partially in shade.

As for everyone in the handmade world, it is a very busy time of year for me.  Making what we think will sell as well as what we enjoy making - do you find that very often they don't go together?  Something you were glad you had finished proved very popular and you had to make more.

This week was spent making cards, more gift tags, sample wedding invitations and I found time to decorate another jute bag; this time for Halloween.  I don't really 'do' Halloween crafts, but felt it was about time I made something and as the colours of black and orange are ones I like, I couldn't resist the opportunity to use them.  I am taking part in an Autumn Fayre on Friday at the Normandy Therapy Garden and think this might be a popular item, and here is a photograph of my make:

This week, time permitting, I will have a go at making a ribbon or fabric wreath in Halloween colours.  I have four events I am taking part in this month, one of which is a wedding fayre, plus a fifth one that a friend is covering for me/sharing with me.  This coming week is going to be hectic and I think I had better get back to work now - but I will do some gardening first as it is very relaxing and the sun is shining.

Don't forget to visit the Handmade Monday bloggers this week - as we move towards Christmas, they are blogging about lovely Christmas makes.  Thank you to everyone who visited and commented on my last week's post and I am so pleased my cat-decorated jute bag was liked by so many.  Using the feedback as a gauge of popularity, I think I had better make some more for stock.

Have a great week everyone - see you next Sunday (Milly will be here on Wednesday with her purrs of wisdom).


Wednesday 2 October 2013


Hello everyone

What a horrible, soggy day!  I could be inside for most of today snoozing and lounging.

Coco and Poppy like wet weather - how strange.  In fact in the summer when Jill was watering the garden, they often ran through the water.  Daisy prefers anything warm, so wet weather is certainly not her favourite.  Jazz doesn't mind any weather - well, except snow.

Rosie and Violet are still with us, but there is a family interested in them so paws crossed they may be off to a new home soon.  Jill says they are very cute and I can see that they have grown a lot since they have been here.  Jill has been trying to take some photographs of them, but they wriggle and keep coming up to the camera, but here are two that she managed to get:



It is still grim and grey here, so time for me to snooze.  Not too sure if the sun will be out later, but I hope so, because I need to be out checking on the local wildlife.  I am sure they are already missing me.

I hope you all have a good week - I will be back next Wednesday when I hope the sun will be shining.


Sunday 29 September 2013


Hello everyone

It was a nippy start here to what is supposed to be a very sunny and warm day.  I hope so as more 'putting the garden to bed for this year' work is to be done today.  Our greenhouse is rapidly getting filled with pots of cuttings - all intended for what we call the 'front, front' garden.  I know, as often happens, not all of them will survive the winter, but as long as most do, it will be a great start to next season.

Thank you everyone who commented on my blog post last week and especially thank you to those who responded to my question about dress at craft and wedding events.  We all agreed that it is very important for us to look professional at events, because we are the first contact people have with our business and we want that first impression to create interest in our work.

Last week was the usual million-and-one-things to do, but not quite getting there.  I spent a lot of time making stock for Christmas: cards, decorated bags, gift tags, etc as well as working on the three wedding stationery quotations I had been asked for.  I have requests for sample invitations to be produced so that the brides-to-be can see what their ideas will look like.

The Christmas Fair season seems to be in full swing now and I did what I felt was my first Christmas event yesterday.  I took part in the Ripley Craft & Food Fair yesterday - this was my third one and although it was quiet compared to previous ones, I did enjoy it. Organisers and stall holders are very friendly and the novelty of setting up shop in sheds and summerhouses its still great fun.

I sold one of my decorated jute bags and was really pleased about that;  I also sold more of my mini-cards (note to me, make some more as stock is getting low) and some packs of Christmas cards.  Stall holders selling Christmassy type things felt that buyers were not overly keen to say goodbye to summer and jump into thinking about Christmas - hope they do soon because those of us in the world of handmade often find this time of year is our most successful.  So come on you shoppers, buy handmade please.

Here are a few photographs of my items from yesterday's event:

Well, I had to have a cat's face on one of my bags, didn't I?

Triple-layered Christmas hearts: felt and poinsettia material

I know this looks very Valentiney, but I liked the colour combination.  The black stars are covered in sequins.

A shot of one part of my stall.  Those walls behind are soooo tempting - but we cannot hang things on them using pins, etc because the sheds and summerhouses we all occupy at the fair are for sale.  You can imagine how someone seeing loads of pin holes would think it was woodworm!  Not a great selling point.

From now on it is work, work, work - in addition to several craft events that I am booked into over the next few months, I also have two wedding fayres I am taking part in, plus my 3-day event at Secretts Garden Centre in November.  I really enjoyed last year's event and feel more prepared for this year's one - plus I know that I need a variety of items to sell.

Time to tackle the list of jobs for today - the sun has just come out, so outside jobs first.  I hope you all have a great week, don't forget to visit the crafting bloggers taking part in this week's Handmade Monday blog hop.  I will be back next Sunday and Milly will be here on Wednesday.


Wednesday 25 September 2013


Hello everyone

It's very misty here and it's raining - I am not so keen on getting wet, so it could be an inside day for me.  Lots of snuggling up in warm places, treading on Jill's work and possibly sitting on her lap if she sits still for a few minutes.

I hope you enjoyed Rosie and Violet's post last week - I turn my back for a few seconds and there they are, tapping away on the keys as though they write a blog every week!  They are still with us and nobody has been to see them yet, so don't forget if you are looking for two little black kittens, I have them here so take them quickly please!

Did you know that black cats are not very popular, I am sure you did.  However, did you also know that black and white cats are not very popular - how can this be?  Look at me, I am gorgeous!

Well, that's enough about me, it's time for me check out the weather.  I think it has stopped raining, so I could go outside and check on the local wildlife.

Have a good week everyone - see you next week.


Sunday 22 September 2013


Hello everyone

Last day of summer yesterday, first day of Autumn today - how mild it is though, quite muggy really.  Is there any other country where the weather is so frustrating?

It has been a hectic week making goodies for forthcoming Christmas fairs and because I was contacted at the beginning of last week with an invitation to take part in a wedding fayre today.  After a bit of negotiation over price, I agreed to take part and as I was going to be the only wedding stationery there, how could I refuse?  I am an early bird, but getting up early to go to work on a Sunday is not really much fun - I don't mind getting up early on Sundays if I know I can take my time getting going.  However, an early start it was and and when I arrived at the venue, I was surprised to be only the second exhibitor there.

The information received from the organisers suggested that if leaflets were to be included in the fayre's goody bag, they should be delivered or dropped off by Friday of last week.  The name of the person they were to be addressed to was an unusual spelling and I wondered at the time if it was possibly someone I knew.  A lovely surprise when I arrived at the hotel this morning, it was an ex-student of mine and I was so pleased to hear how well she had done since she left college.  Even nicer was that because of her enjoyment of a Unit she studied with me, Event Management, she had made a career in that subject - I love to catch up with ex-students and find out how they are doing.

The wedding fayre was very good, a steady flow of visitors throughout the day and I have three quotes to prepare, one of which is 99% a definite order, so I am a happy bunny. Here are some photographs of my stand and some of my wedding stationery, as well as a photograph of a gorgeous red Cyclamen I took with me.  At wedding fayres I always like to take either flowers or a plant on my table - I think it looks rather nice.

As everyone who takes part in craft fairs of any sort knows, it is exhausting and you can't wait to get home.  It was a good day and I met some lovely people - both potential clients and fellow wedding exhibitors.  I have a question for my blog readers though, how do you think one should dress for wedding fayres?  I feel it should be smart and certainly not casual.  One person today was dressed in jeans and baseball boots - am I wrong in thinking they hadn't really dressed for the occasion?  At the wedding fayre I exhibited at in August, one person was wearing denim shorts!  My feeling is that we are business people and as such should dress accordingly.  What do you think?

Thank you to everyone who left comments on my blog post of last weekend, I love to read them.  A message of Lesley, yes, I have lots of Christmassy decorated jute bags.  Would you like some pics of them?

I am off for a glass of wine, feet up and watch Young Montalbano - I love the 'old' Montalbano and this is proving just as good.

Don't forget to drop into Handmade Monday this week - always very inspiring and great fun to catch up with everyone.

I am also taking part in this week's Creative Mondays blog hop - great fun so do check out the participating bloggers.

Have a good week everyone - I will be back next Sunday and Milly will be here on Wednesday (catching up for missing this week coz those cheeky foster kittens, Rosie and Violet, pinched the laptop from her).