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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).


Wednesday 18 September 2013


Hello everyone

While Milly has nipped out to catch her usual quota of wildlife, we have jumped onto the laptop to write her (ours really) diary post this week.

We are two 9-week old black kittens and Jill collected us on Thursday of last week.  Our first day was rather frightening because we didn't know anyone here and our surroundings were very strange to us.  Friday was a little better for us and a couple of Jill's friends came in to see us and we played with them.  Since then it has been fun, fun, fun all of the time!  We know we are only here temporarily, but we are really enjoying ourselves.  We play a lot - our room has lots and lots of toys for us to play with: footballs, catnip mice and lovely wooden blinds that we climb up!  That last 'toy' isn't so popular with Jill though - not sure why.  We also sleep a lot - well kittens do, don't they?

Here is a photograph of us playing with one of our toys:

Oops, think Milly has just come back in and will want 'her' laptop back - sorry, Milly, not this week.

If you would like to find out more about us or are thinking of adopting two gorgeous black kittens, we are just the ones for you and you can get further details on the Woking Cats Protection website.

I think it is time for a snooze now, so forgive us if we drop off to sleeeeeeeeep

Rosie and Violet

Sunday 15 September 2013


Hi everyone

Summer seems to have disappeared rather quickly, although (ever the optimist) I am still confident we will have a few more sunny days before the bad weather sets in.  Perhaps we will have a warm autumn.  The forecast for today is pretty grim, although at the moment (early morning) it looks lovely outside.  Cool, but very sunny - hope it lasts longer than predicted.

This week has been full of bag-decorating, card-making, list producing (for what I need to get ready for Christmas events), an 84th-birthday supper, collecting kittens that I am fostering and, despite the frequent soggy weather, gardening.  It seems to be a bit of a rush to get things tidied up in the the garden for winter now that the weather has changed.

The working week began with decorating bags with my cake-making friend, Linda.  We made some lovely cupcakes (sadly not edible ones), which we lightly padded and then fixed them to the jute bags.  I forgot to take photographs (what's new?), but will do next time we meet up - they do look good and I hope they will be popular.

Decorating jute bags seems to be a popular activity at the moment and it is interesting to see the variety of methods that are being used: ironing on pictures, material, etc, making things, ie cupcakes, to fix to the bag, as well as printing - not sure how this is done, although I know you can buy pre-printed ones using your own design.  Here are a couple of photographs of ones I have decorated this week:

This was produced using a panel of fashion and sewing pictures that I found.  I have cut the small pictures up and using Bondaweb, fixed them to the bag.  A slow process really, lots of cutting, trimming and ironing.

This is a work-in-progress as I want to add glittery mini-butterflies to the design.  I used a similar process to the above bag, good old Bondaweb.

Last week I promised that I would post pictures of some of the beautiful Heucheras I bought from the Wisley Plant Fair and here are some of them:

The colours are so gorgeous.  The first flower bed nearest to the back door into our garden was turned into a Heuchera bed last year and the plan for this year is to move the table and chairs on the patio well over to the left so that when we look out onto the dark, grim and grey winter days we will see these beautiful plants and the weather will not seem so grim and grey.

Many years ago we purchased two geese (no, not real ones).  We put them in various places around the garden and have to anchor them to the ground because various members of the Pie Five like to jump on them or knock them over!  Here is a rare photograph of them upright.  We, unimaginatively we know, named them Goosey and Gander:

Final picture for this week is of my two new foster kittens - I was able to name them and in keeping with my love of plants I called them Rosie and Violet.  They are 9 weeks old and, as you can imagine, very small.  On day one (Thursday) they were nervous, Violet more so - she is on the right hand side of the photograph.  Three days later they are bundles of adventurous inquisitive fun.  You can find out more information about them on the Woking Cats Protection website

Last but by no means least, don't forget to visit this week's Handmade Monday blog posts.  I love to see the variety of work the contributors to this event make - everyone is so talented.

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog post last week - I love to read your comments and the feedback and help is always appreciated.

My Friday Guest Blogger spot is 'open' if anyone would like to join in.  I have some lovely bloggers signed up already and I am looking forward to getting things up and running again.  If you would like to be a guest blogger, do get in touch:

Have a great week everyone - 'see' you next weekend.


Wednesday 11 September 2013


Hi everyone

The mornings are chilly, the nights are chilly and the last couple of days have been a little cool too.  I am not keen on grey days, I am a sunshine girl.  This is going to be my first winter of 'going outside'.  Last winter I was a foster kitten then kept in by Jill and Richard when  they adopted me until I was ready to face the world - or rather the world was ready to face me.  I think my first foray into the garden was in April of this year.

I have been helping Jill in the garden - she spent yesterday morning digging holes and putting in the 'things in pots' she bought at a place called Wisley.  Once they were in the holes, I thought it would help if I laid next to them to keep them warm and also tidy up the soil around them.  Jill said they didn't really need my help.  I wonder why.

Poppy caught a mouse yesterday!  Not on, Poppy!  That's my job.  These young kittens do seem to be very cheeky and even worse, Coco spent all of yesterday evening on Jill's lap!  That's my spot, but I did manage to squeeze on as well - good job we are both small.

I understand we are getting two foster kittens tomorrow - I must make sure they get the message they are foster kittens not ones to be adopted here.  No room here kittens!  I am sure Jill will tell me they are gorgeous - but I will let you know all about them in my post next week.

Time for me to go because it looks as though the sun is trying to come out.

Have fun everyone - see you next week.


Sunday 8 September 2013


Hi everyone

As the post title says, it has been a week of sun, sand and showers for us.  At the beginning of the week we spent a few days with Richard's sister in Norwich.  A very interesting city with lots of great buildings to explore and we were disappointed we only had a few days there.  Here are some photographs I took while we were in and around Norwich:

A view of Norwich Cathedral through an archway

Norwich was playing 'host' to more to 50 life-sized gorillas that created a conservation art trail throughout the city centre.  We saw some beautifully decorated ones, and the above photograph is of one of those we 'met' in our travels.

I also took a photograph of the Edith Cavell monument in Norwich, but am embarrassed to admit that I chopped her head off!  

We spent one day in the lovely Wells-at-the-sea.  We walked the full length of the beach and arrived rather tired at Holkham Hall.  It was lovely walking through the sea and of course walking on sand is pretty good exercise.  The beach at Wells-at-the-sea is BIG, clean and not very busy on the day we were there.

There hasn't been a lot of crafting carried out this week, but I feel a lot has been packed into our 'holiday'.  We rounded it off with a family get-together yesterday; cousins (Maralyn and Evelyn) and sister (Anne), plus husbands joined us and as always we had a great time, lots of laughs and sadly as always, the time went far too fast.  Looking forward to the next one.

Today a friend and I went to the Plant Fair At Wisley and thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  I bought lots of my favourite plant: Heucheras (I will include some photographs next week), as well as some Sempervivums to put in pots around our pond.  Despite the rain, it was very popular and we only got caught out once - we decided to shelter in the Dahlia marquee and as you can imagine, there were some absolutely gorgeous blooms on show.  Here are some of them:

The variety of colours was superb and some of the blooms were the size of dinner plates.  All so lovely.

Back to serious work this week.  A bag decorating session tomorrow afternoon with my cake-making friend and back after a long gap at the Jacob's Well country Market on Friday.  And, two kittens arriving here on Thursday - definitely for fostering, not for adopting.  I think the Five Pie's would kick up a storm if we adopted any more.

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog this week and in particular to those who gave me ideas for getting rid of the wrinkles and creases on the jute bags I am decorating.  Steaming has helped and I think while they are a little damp weighting them down has also helped solve the problem.  I took delivery of some more this week and they were crease and crinkle-free, so I am hoping the first ones were the only wrinkly ones.

It's time now to visit Handmade Monday and catch up with my fellow crafting bloggers - a great opportunity to find out what they have all been doing over the last week.

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


Wednesday 4 September 2013


Hello everyone

They're back!  How dare they go away and expect me to look after Jazz, Daisy, Poppy and Coco all on my own!  Okay, okay, I wasn't completely on my own, our neighbour, Jean, was looking after us.  Why couldn't they take us with them?  If I was going away, I would make sure they could come with me.  Humans can be so selfish at times :0)

I disgraced myself by catching a pigeon for their home-coming though - well, they said I disgraced myself.  Me?  I thought it was very good of me to think about them needing a meal when they got home.  You really cannot please some people, can you?

I did miss them both very much and I know they missed me - they told me so - and yes, they did miss the rest of the Pie Cats.  No pressies for us although they came home with plants for the garden, so more lovely soil will be available for all of us to roll in and dig holes in.

It's a mini post today as Jill needs the laptop - something about catching up with her emails, whatever that means.  I will be back next week with lots of news from here in Christmas Pie.

Have a good week everyone.