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Wednesday 29 May 2013


Hello everyone

I have given up on being outside for today, it is looking pretty miserable out there.  Sunshine first thing this morning, but the sun has gone home for the day.  It rained non-stop yesterday and I hate the rain!  Jill said it makes my fur coat soft and silky, so I suggested she might like to stand out in it for a while.  She didn't seem too keen to do that.

Daisy is having a snooze with me - well not too 'with me' because we do occasionally confront each other.  I like to bounce, skip and play and Daisy doesn't seem keen to do that with me.   Problem is I occasionally like to bounce, skip and play on her.  These oldies!!

Jazz arrived home one afternoon earlier this week with a scratch on his lovely nose.  Jazz is a big softie and unable to stand up for himself, this means that some local cats biff him one when he gets too close to them.  He only wants to be friends, but they don't see it that way.  Poor Jazz, think he needs to learn to run away from those other cats - or call for me, I will sort them out.  I may be small, but I am tougher than I look.

Coco and Holly are still with us - nip over to the Woking Cats Protection website if you would like to know more about them or arrange to visit them.

I am going to have a snooze now, because the sky is getting darker and darker - is it night time already?  See you next week.


Sunday 26 May 2013


Hello everyone

Lots of gorgeous sunshine - hope it lasts a few more days.

First of all a big thank you to everyone for their comments last week, particularly for the advice given regarding my weekly foray's into a local country market.  A special thank you to Stephen (Soy of the North) for his great advice.

I have decided that I will attend the market this coming week as I have been advised that out of term time (half-term here next week) is always very busy.  I will do the following week, then take a break for a week and after that may go for either every other week, or perhaps one week out of three.  I have been able to talk to people who regularly attend two other local markets, ones that are much bigger and more popular than mine, and their sales (of craft items) are either low or non-existent.  I feel my time can be more profitable either looking out for other events or making stock.  I wont; abandon it completely because sellers at the event say Christmas is always a good time for craft sales.  Can I wait that long?  The people there are so friendly and helpful and it makes the morning go quickly, however, as sociable as they are I am in business and need to sell.  Oh, I nearly forgot, I sold another candle!  Two in four weeks!

I attended a Willow Heart making course at the Farnham Maltings on Thursday evening - it was great and I hadn't anticipated how hard it would be.  Even when wet some types of willow are hard to bend, and I kept snapping mine!   The tutor was great and I would definitely sign on for another one of her courses.  I made two hearts - one very big and one small in comparison - and brought home more willow to finish them off.  I also made a start and here is a photograph of it:

I have also been busy in my pottery class making a mix of outdoor candle holders (for citronella candles) and hanging snowflake ornaments for the Christmas tree. I know it is rather early, but making, firing, glazing, etc takes a long time, so I need to begin early.  Here are some photographs of my makes:

A square pot with two sides cut away - the back can act as a sort of windshield.

A tall, narrow pot which I have painted brown - a flat base has been added as I felt it was rather narrow and may topple over in the wind.

These have been made of porcelain and I have painted them white on the 'front' side - depending on how they turn out I will probably not fire them at a higher temperature or glaze them.

I also made a card for a friend for someone who was moving to their new home.  The brief was the recipient was moving into an Edwardian house, liked to ride their bike, was a computer person, and walked/ran a lot.  So I had a bicycle leaning against the wall of the house, a computer sitting inside the window and a pair of trainers on the door step and yes, I forgot to photograph it!  Oh, and the person it was for is a web-designer so the salutation on the front was in the form of a website address.

Still on the subject of making things, don't forget to nip over to Handmade Harbour and catch up with the lovely bloggers taking part in this week's Handmade Monday linky party.  Great reads and fabulous makes.

I met up with my cake-making friend, Linda, and we planned more things to do for our end of year events.  Lots of work to do, and we wop it will be successful - lots of new things from both of us.

I had some requests left on last week's post asking for details about being a guest blogger and I do apologise for not contacting each of you.  However, I hope you are still interested.  Each post should be approximately 600 words long, although I am happy if it is longer.  you need to include lots of photographs to promote the content of your post and don't forget to include your links to your Blog, Website, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.  This is a great opportunity for some free publicity.  I tweet about the post every day, more often than not twice in one day and lots of my followers kindly RT the post for me too - so you could be read by thousands.  If you would like to be a guest blogger or need some more information, please do contact me on

We went to one of our regular family get-togethers yesterday at my sister's.  As always it was great fun and lots of laughs - we grew up with these particular special cousins (Maralyn and Evelyn) so we share lots and lots of memories and very similar senses of humour.

Enjoy the rest of the Bank holiday everyone, I will be back next week and Milly will be here on Wednesday.


Wednesday 22 May 2013


Hello everyone

Weather is a little grim and grey here, but doesn't stop me going out to play.  Ooooh, the sun has just begun to shine!  Yippee.  Oh, no, just as I am writing this post the sun has gone back in.  Oh dear.......

My feather collection is growing nicely - well it would be if Jill didn't keep removing them!  I brought a lovely one in for her recently, dark and mid-brown colours - Jill said it could belong to a pheasant.  It doesn't, because it belongs to me!  Well it did, but it seems to have disappeared now so I am going to have to try to find another one.  The problem is I want to bring them home as presents, but they don't appear to be very welcome presents.  You just cannot please some people.

I have nibbled a couple of worms recently.  I don't understand why  humans go 'yuk' when they see me doing this and try to stop me - they really don't know what they are missing.

Coco and Holly are still with us.  They are very friendly and so close to each other.  Jill says they need their own home so they can have lots of room to play in and a garden to run around in.  If you know of anyone who would just love to share their lives with these two kittens, please get in touch with Woking Cats Protection.

Worms and feathers are calling me, so I must get back into the garden.  Hope you all have a good week.

See you next week.


Monday 20 May 2013


Hello everyone

Do you think summer might be just around the corner?  We still seem to be having very mixed weather and the forecast for the end of this week says the temperature will be low, but I am very hopeful.  Everything in the garden is growing well, including the weeds which never seem to suffer from high or low temperatures, cold, frost or anything else Mother nature throws at us.

A dilemma.  My time at the Jacob 's Well Country Market was unsuccessful again, despite being slap, bang in the middle of the hall.  So many people there tell me they can attend for weeks without selling anything, but can I continue do this?  I know I have only taken part for three weeks, but having sold only one candle during that time the motivation to turn up is beginning to dim.  It is not a case of 'I could be somewhere else selling my work' but it really is 'can I spare this time of not doing anything?'  The sellers are a great group of people, very friendly and so helpful and I have been given lots of good advice and great ideas to work on, but does that justify losing 3.5 hours (the market is open for 1.5 hours but we are asked to help set up and close down) every Friday?

Initially I had thought I could use the market as a way of promoting my work - having been told sales are low, profit little, etc.  However, despite a lot of interest in my candles, this has only turned into one sale.  Last Friday I was opposite a lady who makes the most stunning stained glass items: swallows in flight, dog's faces as well as framed pictures - she didn't sell anything on Friday and said she rarely does.  I think one of the reasons why I feel so frustrated about this market is that card-makers do very well.  Despite there being three sellers there, they all sell, every week!  A couple of sellers told me that out of term-time more buyers attend the market, and as it is half-term next week I will leave my decision about whether to continue or not
until then.  I don't like to abandon this, it feels like I am letting the organisers and other sellers down as well as possibly missing out on potential sales, but I have to be realistic, I want to sell and make some profits.

It has been the usual busy week here: making, workshop promoting, planning and preparing for meetings and  as the weather has been very generous this week, gardening.  Celebrated a friend's birthday on Saturday and celebrated it again with other friends on Sunday - a nice way to spend the weekend.

No photographs of work this week as most of the time has been spent on not producing, but planning.  However, I must recommend a visit to the bloggers taking part in this week's Handmade Monday linky party as I know they will have lots of photographs of gorgeous work they have made during the past week.

I have booked a spot on a Willow Hearts making course this Thursday evening at the Farnham Maltings.  Looking forward to it as hope it may be something else I can add to my range and I will let you know how it goes and hopefully may have photographs of what I make.

I received a copy of Homemade with love at the beginning of last week.  It looks a great magazine and has lots of lovely things to make.  On my list (supplies already purchased so no excuses) of things to make this week are the fabric covered flowerpots.  Apart from being lovely for me to use in my work room., they will make lovely gifts too and who knows could be something else to add to my range.

Have a good week everyone, I am back next weekend, Milly is here on Wednesday and if you would like to be a guest blogger, please drop me an email on  I love having guest blog posts, lots of lovely interesting reading.


Wednesday 15 May 2013


Hello everyone

It is cold, wet and very windy in the Pie today.  I was born in the summer, so this 'winter' weather is not much fun for me.  Jill said there is something called a sun that is supposed to be in the sky.  I am sure I saw something similar last week, but since then absolutely nothing but soggy stuff.

What have I been doing since my last post?  Weeellllll, I have not brought any more feathers in, but I have brought in some twigs, with fluff and leaves attached and the other day I brought a twig in with some black stringy stuff attached to it.  Jill said she wasn't sure if it is was plastic or hair!  She says I appear to think I am a bird collecting lining for my nest - well I do like to be snuggled up when it is cold, so she could be right.

Coco and Holly are still with us.  I do like their coats, very brown, black and peachey colour.  I wonder if I can get one like that for next winter?

Woking Cats Protection are going to be at the Oatlands Village Fayre, Oatlands Recreation Ground, Weybridge on Saturday, 18 May between 12.30 pm and 4.30 pm raising funds.  Why not go along and see them, Alison, Catherine and Margaret will be manning the stand and would be so pleased to see you.  Don't forget to tell them that Milly sent you and said hello, especially to Alison.

The rain doesn't really stop me enjoying myself in the garden, so I am off again to find more things for my 'nest' - but don't tell Jill.

Have a good week everyone - I will be back.


Sunday 12 May 2013


Hi everyone

A late Sunday evening post - time seems to be rushing by so quickly at the moment.  Too much to do, and as always I have plenty of excuses not to do it all.  The beginning of this week made me feel summer had arrived, today makes me feel that it has finished!

My Jacob's Well Country Market trip on Friday did not produce any sales - disappointing, but I wasn't the only one who didn't sell anything.  Being tucked away in the corner didn't help and I have been promised a more prominent spot at next week's market.  The lady on the stand next to me sold cards to the value of £20 to one customer - I was very pleased for her but, as you can imagine, being a card-maker who cannot sell cards at this event, this combined with my lack of sales made for a rather disappointing event.  Still, I won't give up just yet, no sales means no costs apart from petrol (the hall is very close to where I live so travel expenses are quite low), so can I really complain?  One visitor to my stand said to me: 'why do they ruin crockery like that by putting a candle in them'.  They?  Uhm, perhaps this may be one reason why I had no sales this week, am I spoiling the 'crockery'?

However, on the brighter side the plans for the joint workshop Lauren and I are running on 11 June are moving on very well.  We have a venue booked (Normandy Therapy Garden), we have started a blog to promote the event and we have three online adverts running - more to be arranged this week as well as local advertising.

I had a card order to complete this week for a fellow student on my pottery course.  The brief was 'natural, no glitter and likes homoepathy'.  This was a hard challenge, but I am glad to say she was very pleased with the card - as always apologies for the poor quality picture, but here is one view of it:

I printed the photographs and text on to gold-coloured paper and I was really pleased with the effect it created.  It gave an out-of-focus, smokey finish to the photographs.  I was so pleased with it that I re-printed  some of the digi-stamps downloaded from Wendy's links onto the gold paper and here are the results of one of them (not finished, but well on the way):

Something weird happened on my computer and printer, when I printed the quilt digi-stamp it went all black-and-white on me, so I have decided to colour that one myself - here are a few bits of 'colouring in'.  Great fun:

My progress work-wise for the last two weeks has been fairly slow - Richard has been on leave and it is hard to work around someone who is 'on holiday'.  Sadly back to work for him tomorrow but it does mean I should be able to catch up on everything.

I will be back next week - hopefully having caught up with everything: blogging, an interview, Wendy's digi-stamp feedback, etc, etc.  Milly will be back on Wednesday with her 'Life of Pie' tails and I am off now to check out the other bloggers taking part in this week's Handmade Monday.

Have a good week everyone


Wednesday 8 May 2013


Hello everyone

I am sorry for being very late with my diary this week - so much to do in the garden when the sun shines, not that it has today though.

I have been collecting feathers form the field at the bottom of our garden.  I have brought four in so far - Jill and Richard are not overly impressed with my efforts!  Just no pleasing some people.  They should be thankful it is only feathers I bring in and not the whole bird.

What a gorgeous Bank Holiday (I am not sure what a Bank Holiday is mind you, but Jill said it was gorgeous so I have to assume it must be something good).  I spent a lot of my time in the garden; Jill and Richard were there too chopping things up, planting things and mowing the grass.  I helped by supervising from a very comfortable thing called a lounger - a kitten cannot be left alone with gardening tools so I decided it was best to leave them to it and they seem to be making a reasonable job of things.

Coco and Holly are still with us and here is a photograph Jill took of them through the conservatory window (it is a little blurred but you can see the colours of their lovely coats):

If you would like some more information about them or arrange to visit them, please do check out the Woking Cats Protection website.

Back to the garden for me - Richard is cutting the grass, so I need to check and make sure he does it properly.  I will be back next week with my 'tails' of life in Christmas Pie.


Sunday 5 May 2013


Hello everyone

Hasn't the weather been gorgeous recently?  Very hard working inside at the moment - I can make cards outside, so that is not a problem but making candles is a little tricky and that is what I need to work on now. moment.

I attended my first country market in Jacob's Well on Friday.  It was an interesting experience.  When the doors opened at 10.00 am it was rather like the first day of the sales - well not really, but similar.  Customers made a bee-line for the stalls selling cakes and savouries, followed by the meat stall, then eggs and lastly plants.  Those of us selling crafts had a few visitors, but apparently this was how the market is most weeks.  I sold one candle - to be honest I wasn't too disappointed.  No table rental and free coffee and biscuits makes it a not too disappointing event.  In addition to it being my first event, customers were not expecting candles to be on sale (because of anticipated sellers (who didn't turn up) I was 'in the corner'), so I am hopeful that things will improve in the future with some advertising and word-of-mouth promotion.

Stall-holders do not take payment for their goods; on entry into the market customers are issued with a list and for each purchase the stall holder adds their details.  Payment for everything is made at a central point (rather like a supermarket) and during the first market of each month, cheques are issued to the stall holders for their sales during the previous month.  If sales are high, I would find this difficult because of needing to purchase supplies to make more stock - however, it is rather like being an employee as in paid at the end of the month.  I look at it as another outlet for my work and the feedback was good - lots of people said they 'will make lovely Christmas presents', so fingers crossed.

My fellow stall-holders were great, very friendly and helpful.  Two offered to source cups and saucers for  my candles, told me of good places locally to buy them as well.  The event is well organised and everyone pitches in to set up and clear away.

It is generally acknowledged that (as with all events) the market needs more customers.  Despite prices being very reasonable, even low for many perishable items, the footfall has decreased over the last year and promotion of the market is vital to help its growth.

This week (or rather it is last week now) has been hectic.  Not a lot of making, but a lot of other creating.  On Monday I went to West Dean with Linda (the cake-maker).  We went for some forward planning time in gorgeous surroundings, also to check out the shop as on a previous visit Linda had been amazed to see a cup and saucer candle set on sale for £24.95!  We have lots of plans, ideas and proposals for the Christmas sale season.  It does seem very odd planning (and making) for Christmas when I am desperate for summer to arrive, but as we know in the craft world you have to be at least one season ahead.

On Tuesday I met up with the lovely Twitter Gals (Lesley, Dawn and Michele) for lunch at the Harrow in Compton.  We were able to sit outside - so nice to have lots of lovely sunshine and good company.  Dawn is going to be a Stampin' Up demonstrator and this leads me nicely to my next 'bit' of news.

At the end of the week I met up with Lauren who I worked with at my inaugural card-making workshop.  Lauren is a Stampin' Up Expert and we spent Friday afternoon planning our next joint workshop.  The date is 11 June 2013, and the theme is likely to be cards for males (always hard to find really good ones in the shops or the right material to make them).  We have agreed date, content, costs, and I am off to check out two potential venues on Tuesday and then it will be advertise, advertise and advertise.  We have lots of ideas and plans for future workshops, so watch this space and if you know anyone in our area (Guildford, Farnham, Ash) who may be interested in attending our workshop, please ask them to get in touch with either of us.

It's time to get back to digging and planting, but before I go I want to thank Wendy of Handmade Harbour for her lovely digi-stamps, which I am trialling and using to create cards. I will post the results next week.  I have an order for  a new baby card and am using one of the designs for this.  One of my fellow pottery students gave me an order for a card this week - the recipient likes natural things, so I have a lot of work to do to come up with ideas that may suit.  Don't forget to visit my guest blogger's post - all about tools and equipment for the craft market.  Many thanks for taking part Alison.  Finally, a 'must do' is a visit to the Handmade Monday bloggers - always lots of great reads.

Have a great week everyone.  Milly will be here on Wednesday (she is rather busy at the moment as she is being interviewed by the gorgeous Rumpydog) and I will be back next weekend.


Friday 3 May 2013


DragonBright – quality tools and supplies for craftspeople

Hi!  My name is Alison Lloyd, and I’m one half of DragonBright Ltd.  Along with my business partner, Nigel, we’re a new company stocking and making tools for craftspeople.  We also carry some basic supplies, and we’re focussing on lamp workers to start with.  Jill has kindly allowed me to post an introduction as a guest post on her blog.

Our flagship product at launch is a low-cost extraction system.  We have spoken to a number of glass workers, and we’ve tried to tailor the extraction to what they asked for, but this would also be suitable for any craft that needs to remove fumes from the work area.  The prototype version is running on our glass bench!  The base extraction system consists of a mains-powered fan, 2 meters of aluminium ducting, a hood, and a gravity grille cover (to keep birds etc. out of your ducting).  We also include a mounting stand for the hood and a mains cable with 13A plug for the fan, as well as complete assembly instructions.  The system is designed to be installed with the outlet exiting through a hole in the wall (6” diameter), but where this is impractical, the end of the hose can be temporarily draped out of a window or other opening when in use.  The fan is capable of up to 230m3 per hour flow rate, draws a maximum of 25W, and is almost silent.  At launch, we expect the entire system to retail for £60 plus delivery, with additional options (such as multiple fans or more ducting) available.

Our tooling line is specially manufactured by ourselves, and we have lots of ideas that we will be developing in the near future.  We can supply threaded mandrels in almost any size, and we will be launching with a speciality 2-part 18” mandrel, that breaks down into 12” and 6” parts; this allows a bead to be made in the middle of the mandrel, without the difficulty of having to fit an extra length of rod into your kiln.  We are also working on a rod holder (to make using the last little bit of a rod easy), made out of stainless steel, that should be available shortly.  We don’t have firm pricing just yet, but expect these tools to come in around the £20 mark.

We can also create custom tooling, to your specifications.  Examples include tungsten shapers and rakes (with custom or selectable end shapes) and mandrels with thicker sections or other add-ons, right through to more complex systems, such as electric mandrel turners (to save your wrists).  We are planning to stock a range of sundries, such as nuts to be used with ring cabs, as well as a line of 90 CoE glass.  If you have an idea for a tool, or you have a problem we may be able to help with, please drop us a line – you can contact us via our website ( or via email (

We have some great ideas going forward, too; we’ll be working on new
tools, but we’re also looking to set up a line of work lights.  These will be 12V LEDs, designed with flexible (gooseneck) stands, to allow positioning on the fly.  We’re working on the design and manufacturing, but the finished system should be flexible, with a single power supply capable of running multiple lights, and a variety of fixing methods (screw down, magnetic, etc).  At this stage, we’d like to launch the lighting system in the second half of 2013, but you can see a prototype version in the picture of our bench above – it’s mounted just to the right of the extraction system.  We are also looking at display systems for beads, primarily made out of wood.  These will range from simple, cheap stands to custom, one-of-a-kind hand-crafted versions.

As you may have gathered, DragonBright is passionate about what we do, and want to make a difference to craftspeople in the UK and beyond.  At the time of writing, we are sorting out the final logistics, but we intend to launch officially in the next few weeks.  Our website is, so please look us up.  As always, we’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday 1 May 2013


Hello everyone

Is this summer?  If it is, I love it.  I was born in the summer time, August, but don't really remember much about that time because I was very tiny and only interested in sleeping, eating and playing with my brothers and sisters and driving our mum up the wall!

I brought home a very long feather yesterday and the day before.  Jill says it is from a pigeon, but she isn't sure how or where I got it from.  Needless to say I am not going to tell her - I bet she thinks I have caught a pigeon.  I am having lots of fun in the garden - I found a worm the other day and tried to eat it!  Jill says I have acquired some disgusting habits.

Coco and Holly are still with us and Holly is not as shy as she was when Jill first brought them home.  She doesn't run away when anyone goes in to see her - although I have a sneaky feeling she might do if I went in. Jill says they are gorgeous and it would be lovely for them to have a new home very soon, so if you are looking to adopt two kittens, these could be the very ones for you.

The highlight of my week is that I am going to be interview by Rumpydog - how exciting is that?   Rumpy is a very special dog in that, apart from having his own blog, he cares very much about animal welfare and encourages everyone to be aware of the need to improve animals lives.  Thank you Rumpy, I can't wait to talk to you.

Back to the sunshine now, I will be back next week - have fun everyone.