Blogger Templates


Wednesday 26 February 2014


Hello everyone

A very late and small Milly's diary this week.  I have been soooo busy looking after our foster kittens.

Noel went to his new home today - I did offer to take him, but Jill said it wasn't a good idea because his new family might want to take me too.  Twinkle and Holly go to their new home on Friday.  It won't be quiet on the fostering front for us though as we have two new kittens moving in on Monday - I will tell you all about them in my diary next week.

Now, what else have I been up to?  There has been lots of sunshine here - although we had very heavy hail storm yesterday.  Very odd - chunks of ice falling out of the sky!  Someone must have emptied their ice cube tray up there.  Jill said the weather is always bad when she goes to Farncombe Day Centre for her card-making work shop - trying to tell her something?  I pinched a bird from Coco - she had caught it and thought she was so clever!  You have to be quick to get one over on me.

Apart from that it has been the usual playing, playing and even more playing.  Oh, yes, forgot the occasional meal times and going to sleep at night, which I do in the bottom of Richard's wardrobe.  Well, he was very silly and put a couple of t-shirts on the floor and I decided that it was a comfy bed made for me!  Sorry, Richard, you won't get to wear them anymore.

Time for me to go to bed - it's been a long day here, ando I need my beauty sleep.  I will be back next week though, so have a good week everyone.


Sunday 23 February 2014


Hello everyone

Wet and windy again today, but the last few days have been so lovely.  Isn't it amazing how sunshine can make you feel?

No new makes this week - feel I am getting a little adrift from my own craft business and that concerns me, but I have included some pics of the promotional material I have produced over the last few weeks for my forthcoming events:

The 'big' banner to be placed outside of the venue the week before each event

Thousands of copies of this flyer have been produced, with the date left blank for me to add for each event.  Flyers are on their way to stallholders who have agreed to help out with promotion, lots more will be dropped through local letter boxes and displayed on notice boards and in shop windows.

I have spent a lot of time this week answering queries from stallholders, booking them in, sorting out advertising, etc.  Like many of my blog followers, I have spent oodles of time at craft events and oodles of time wondering why my things haven't sold, why so few customers turned up, why so little advertising had taken place, why the person two or three tables down seems to be doing a roaring trade.  What is the solution?

I have had lots of emails from stallholders who have taken part in previous events at the venue I am taking bookings for.  Some are pleased to be taking part again, some have decided not to because they didn't sell much.  To the 'no's' I have replied that things are changing, not because I feel they should/must/need to but mainly because when you take something on you like to put your own stamp on it.  I have added that I don't have a magic wand to improve/increase footfall, but I am working very hard to do so.

What more can I do?  I have also added that once the customer is through the door, the stallholders share the responsibility for promoting their work.  I, and I am sure many of you have too, have taken part in events where stallholders have sat and read a book/magazine when customers were at their stand, munched their way through a sandwich (sometimes a burger) while communicating with a customer and occasionally abandoned their stall to chat to the stallholder next door to them or even further away (sometimes they have left their stall without asking someone to cover for them, just assuming the person next door will help out). There are also those stallholders who have no idea of how to communicate with customers - not even a 'good morning, rubbish weather, isn't it' leaves their lips.

It's not all gloom and doom, the disappointing ones are far outweighed by the fabulous ones that you thoroughly enjoy working with.  They love their work and are enthusiastic about it, they chat to their customers, keep their stall neat, tidy and well stocked, are friendly and helpful to their fellow stallholders and rarely, if ever, moan about the event.  Thank goodness there are more of them than the unhappy ones.

I came across a great post on UK Handmade, very refreshing to have a different viewpoint from a seller and I am going to recommend my sellers have a read through as it contains some brilliant advice about how to approach and get more out of events.

That's it for today, sorry it seems to be a bit whingey, must be the miserable weather.  It is an interesting experience moving from one side of the stall to the other (and back of course).  I am thoroughly enjoying it and so glad that I am able to have a foot in both camps - er, think that is what I mean.  Now it is back to the drawing board to think of new and interesting ways of promoting my events - now, do any of you fancy getting dressed up as a greetings card?  A candle?  Bracelet?  Gloves?  These will catch peoples attention as they walk along the high street and will certainly make them flock to the event.

Have a great week everyone and don't forget to drop in on the Handmade Monday bloggers to catch up on their week's escapades.

See you next week.


Wednesday 19 February 2014


Hello everyone

It's been ages since my last blog post - been so busy helping Jill with her event organising that I have not had much time to put paws to keyboard.  But I am back typing again.

A very sad day for us yesterday in Christmas Pie.  My friend, Diva, died yesterday - she had been unwell for about three weeks.  She was rather like me only bigger and her black and white fur was longer.  I am going to miss her very much even though she used to boss me around a lot.  She was only eleven years old.

We have three new foster kittens: two boys (Noel and Twinkle) and one girl (Holly).  They are eight weeks old.  As you can guess from their names, they were born just before Christmas.  A family came to see them on Monday so I am sure they will not be with us for too long.  They are very shy, and Jill says they are very cute!

Jill also said the following two cats are cute:

This is Coco and Poppy in a rare moment of quiet togetherness.  They really do not get on very well with each other despite being sisters.  Coco is on the left; it is hard to tell them apart, but Coco has creamy/gingery marks on her paws and Poppy has very dark brown/black paws.  Even after all this time of them living with me, I still find it hard to tell them apart if they have their backs to me.

As it is not raining, woo hoo, I am going to play in the garden.  Everywhere is still muddy and we Pie cats are covering everything with muddy pawprints, but that is what life is like with cats.  I will be back next week with more cat tails.

Have a good week everyone.


Sunday 16 February 2014


Hello everyone

So nice to have sunshine, blue skies and a reasonable temperature.  I hope you all survived last week's dreadful weather?  We have some flooding around here, mainly where fields are flooding onto roads, some holes have appeared in a few roads and when I ventured out on Saturday morning I came across lots of trees, bushes and numerous other things scattered across the roads around Christmas Pie.  We survived Friday night's high winds without too much damage - things that resided on one side of the garden appear to have decided they preferred to be in other places and one of the windows to which an automatic vent is attached in our greenhouse was ripped off.  Some roof tiles parted company with the roof, but on the whole we have been very lucky and hope it remains that way.

A busy week mainly working on my new project.  Banners, bunting, balloons and flyers have been received and because I ordered a bulk quantity of flyers, I have also purchased some sticky labels with the date of each event.  I left a space on the flyers for these to be applied, so time will be spent this week un-peeling and sticking.  I have had  lots of enquiries from crafters who have seen my post about the events on Streetlife and I am pleased to say that several have already booked a place in some of the events.

It hasn't been all event organisation though, I made another ribbon-wrapped bangle.  This time the bangle is covered in white silky ribbon and then decorated in strips of black and white net flowers:

I have also been decorating more jute bags for stock.  Hard to believe, but this one (a work in progress)  is bright red on black - looks more orange than red.  I really must take some lessons in how to take decent photographs.

That, briefly, is my week.  Another busy one coming up, no pottery this week as it is half-term, so some extra time to do things.  I hope you have a great week and the weather is kind to all of us.  Don't forget to visit Handmade Monday - I have a feeling we might be seeing Easter things this week.


Sunday 9 February 2014


Hello everyone

Dare I mention the weather again?  Only to say how hard it is to see people struggling to survive in areas of heavy flooding - I hope that very soon this traumatic and stressful time ends for all of you.

A little humour when watching our cats try to work out how to get around the flood at the bottom of our garden.  They had gone through our hedge and into the field beyond to get past it on the way out, but were clearly stumped when it came to getting back.  However, I am pleased to say they did make it back.

Apart from designing and ordering banners, balloons and bunting wearing my other hat of Surrey Independent Markets I have also had a go at something new with my crafting hat on.  I don't know if you subscribe to the Craft Focus magazine - it is a bi-monthly trade publication for the craft industry and it is brilliant (and free).  Apart from having news about what is on trend, interesting business articles, etc, it also carries 'how to make......' guides.  This month's one is about bangles (hence my blog title).

I decided to have a go because the ones on the front cover of the magazine and in the article looked so pretty, so here is my first attempt:

I purchased some plain wooden bangles and as a ribbon fanatic (mentioned before on my blog I am sure) I had plenty of widths, colours, patterns and styles to choose from.  I decided to go with a dark brown one to cover the bangle - as you can see in the pic above.

I then added some fuchsia pink ric-rac and here is the finished bangle.  I was tempted to add butterflies and as this is a practice one, I might still do that.  It is such an easy project and so very quick too - I can see this becoming a very popular craft.

I have plenty of bangles and stacks of ribbon, so lots of playing about with designs is on my list.  It is something I can see would be very popular at craft clubs, easy to make, inexpensive and very assuring to the novice crafter that something can be made very quickly without prior skills.

Apart from bunting and bangles I had my usual pottery fix on Thursday.  Getting nervous these days about what may happen to my creations and I imagined all sorts of things might have happened to my cat plaque and was very pleased to see that it had survived its first firing:

I trimmed the the porcelain away from the full back plate and it is now double thickness.  It has been biscuit-fired and this week I glazed it a gorgeous dark brown.  I had hoped to paint each cat a different colour, but in reality I would not have been able to achieve a smooth finish or keep a clear definition between each cat.  Once it has been fired, I will possibly add some jewels for their eyes.

I made something new this week too - a wraparound pot made of stoneware which I trimmed with shavings of porcelain on the fluted edge.  

The plan is to finish the edge in white glaze and the body of the pot in purple glaze.  As always between now and when it is finished it, I may have changed my mind.

The sun is still shining, so I think it is time to abandon my computer and go outside and make the most of some dry weather.

Have a good week everyone, don't forget to drop in on my fellow Handmade Monday bloggers to see what they have been up to recently and I will be back next weekend.


Monday 3 February 2014


Hello everyone

What a fabulous day it has been here in Christmas Pie - sunshine, fairly mild and not a single drop of rain.  Ideal gardening weather - it's always surprising how much there is to do at the beginning of the season (well nearly the beginning) despite working very hard to put the garden to bed in autumn.  Lots of daffodils peeping above the ground and one has a very large bud about the burst.  We have had a rose flowering throughout winter and I still have beautiful dark pink cyclamen flowering in a pot just by our back door.  I know the forecast is still for heavy rain, but let's hope spring is not too far off.

I held the second of my card-making workshops this week at the Farncombe Day Centre and in addition to six of the regular centre users, I had a lovely lady, Jenny, join me who found me via Streetlife.  I don't know if you have discovered Streetlife yet, but a good description is that is is like a very local Twitter and Facebook.  Its a great way to catch up with what is happening where you live - because there are often thousands of tweets showing up in our timeline, it is easy to miss something of importance.  Streetlife is more tailored to where you live so have a look at it and see what you think.

You may remember that I wrote about my pot last week and what had happened to it?  I found out last week that someone (unknown) had dropped it and sadly didn't bother to own up to it.  I would like to be charitable and say these things happen, which I know they do, however, failure to own up to it annoyed me.  Very disheartened as it is the third piece of work that I have been really pleased with that has either been damaged or, in this case, broken.  I am now worrying that my cat plaque survives the first firing without any damage or breaks.

A post without pics of makes again, I am getting very behind as need to get some jute bags decorated for stock.  However, hopefully next week I will have photographs of what I have been working on - fingers crossed.  Don't forget to nip over the Handmade Monday and catch up with everyone.  Have a good week and I will be back next Sunday.