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Friday 20 October 2017


Hello everyone

I am so sorry to mention the word 'Christmas', but as we know the shops start promoting it once August Bank Holiday has bitten the dust and in the craft world, we start making for it just after the last one.

Plans are going well for the Christmas Pie Crafts & Gifts shop in The Village Guildford.  Despite looking forward to it, I feel nervous as there is so much to arrange: my stock, promotion, a sign for the shop, staff rota, tables, chairs, display material and everything else we will need.  I hope it will be very successful for all of us and it will certainly be a challenge.

However, we took a few days out of the crazy world of Christmas Pie Crafts and went to Alderney.  We love the Channel Islands and although we had been to Alderney many years ago, we couldn't really remember much about it.  The weather wasn't too bad, but we did experience the very strange low dust cloud and bright orange sun on Monday that everyone in the UK seemed to share.  It is a very quiet island and we assume the tourist season finishes quite early as many restaurants were closed, our hotel had very few guests and some of the trips we had been hoping to do had finished in September.  The beaches are beautiful and so clean and here are some photographs of the island:

Braye Beach - we stayed in the Braye Beach Hotel

How clean and well looked after the beaches are

You can see from the sky and waves in this one that the weather was a little grim

The view from our hotel room

We had spent some time recently listening the the local radio, Quay FM, and it was nice to put 'faces 'to names and places.  We arrived home to thick fog and the news of more bad weather to come, but it was a lovely break and we will certainly go back again, but plan to do so in the summer when sea trips to the smaller islands are available.

It's now back to making, organising, making and more organising.  Four events and the Christmas shop to plan for mean some pretty intensive weeks in the run-up to Christmas.

Have a great weekend everyone and I will 'see' you soon.


Wednesday 13 September 2017


Hi everyone

We survived last night's wind and rain - everything in the garden remained where it should be.  I had visions of getting up this morning to find the new pebble area have been 'moved' to the other side of the garden.  It is still very windy, but the sun is shining and it is warm, so it's rather nice to be outside.

A friend and I went to Wisley yesterday for a wander around the Sculpture Trail and we saw some weird and wonderful pieces.  We do pottery together and feel confident we can add our work next year - as if.  One item that we both wanted to take home with us was not part of the Sculpture Trail - the gorgeous dandelion heads.  Really beautiful work and if you live near to Wisley, you must make sure you see this sculpture (as well as all of the others):

As my life is full of cats and my friend is a fellow cat-lover, we were both pleased to find a statue of one:

In typical cat pose - asleep.

My new pebble area is going to be home to a range of small grasses and I bought some in the Wisley Plant shop yesterday and placed an order for some more when I got home.  Arriving tomorrow, and I will leave them in their pots and put them in various places before I plant them to make sure the area looks how I want it to.  Pics to follow when all the work has been completed.

It's back to work now and and plans for my Christmas shop are moving forward - I have two of my A Fair to Remember stallholders joining me and I am planning to ask another two.  It's important that I have a variety of work in the shop and there is method in my madness, I will need cover for the times when two people are a must and/or I cannot be there.  Exciting times, but a lot of work as I am approaching my autumn /winter events, making stock for them and my shop and organising everything the shop needs.  Roll on January - sorry, didn't mean that really.

Have a great week everyone, enjoy what is left of summer and hope you haven;t suffered from the wind, rain and other weather horrors being thrown at the world at the moment.


Friday 8 September 2017


Hello everyone

It's been holiday time here - well holiday time for Richard.  I have been fitting my holiday time in and around work things.

It has been a great two weeks with time spent in France, going to the cinema, lazing, catching up with friends, 'heavy duty' gardening (laying 100 cwt of Glasgow Pebbles) and yesterday we went to Bletchley Park; a place we had promised ourselves to visit on several occasions and really glad we got around to it at last.  As it says in the guidebook 'it is where the World War Two Code-breakers broke seemingly impenetrable codes and ciphers and where the world's first electronic computers were installed and operated'.  We were able to take photographs of displays and other pieces in the huts and this is one of a 'sculpture' of Alan Turing produced in pieces of slate.  An amazing piece of work that must have taken an incredibly long time to create.

I have been working hard on producing new stock for the events I am taking part in and to add, as soon as time permits, to my website.  However, my 'exciting times' is all about me renting a shop for the four week period up to Christmas Eve.  My shop will be in the VillageGford complex in Guildford town centre.

If you follow me on Facebook, you will have seen that I have been sharing and liking a lot of the posts for this venture.  In addition to a wide variety of shops, there is also a bar and several eateries and nearly every day sees activities for children and their families.  This, according to my family and friends, is a crazy and mad thing to do, but I love a challenge.  A friend is helping out the the pre-opening work and will also have some of her work in the shop (and sharing the 'shop assistant' role with me).  I also have two of my regular stallholders taking part - and I am planning on asking a couple of others to join in too.  There will be special opening-day offers as well as other offers during December, so keep an eye on the Christmas Pie Crafts website and this blog.

Later today we will be celebrating the birthday of one of our neighbours - he is 89 and has much more energy than I do.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Sunday 20 August 2017


Hi everyone

I know, the title of my post is from a song - I can't remember which one, but does seem to reflect what I am doing.  I am building up, moving on and improving my Christmas Pie Crafts business.   Sadly, it has taken a back-seat to my event organisation and it shouldn't have done so because, to me, it is just as important.  I have begun work on improving/re-designing my website, which had been abandoned and neglected.  It is still a work-in-progress, but I am really pleased with the background I have found, which took hours or searching on the internet to locate something that really appealed to me.  I have changed my business colours from purple and green to fuchsia-pink and lime-green, with a hint of black (well some black lace for my table top at events).  Have a look and let me know what you think: Christmas Pie Crafts

Like lots of people who run a small-crafting-business, I do have doubts about what I am doing.  Will
it sell, if it does if I make another one will that sell too, why doesn't it sell?  Does it look similar to someone else's?  Will it be copied?  Sadly, all of these things do happen and do go through one's mind, but it doesn't mean we have to give up and throw in the towel.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again - I do hear and read many negative comments about being in business and feel sure that if Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg had abandoned their ideas on day two, life would be incredibly different for all of us now.

I am trying to find a way of using my website background (which I have also used for my business cards and my Facebook banner) as my blog background.  It is an image and didn't come with the code that Blogger seems to need, but I shall keep in trying to find a way to use it

Got it!  Just remembered the song is called Movin' On Up and while all of the words do not really relate to what I am doing, one line does: Movin' on up, nothin' can stop me.  

So, it's time to move on up to my work space and get some stock made.  I think I am behind with what I should have ready by now so the next few weeks are going to be slog, slog and more slog.

Have a great week everyone - fingers crossed the Bank Holiday is a very sunny and warm one.


Thursday 13 July 2017


Hi everyone

Just when you thought I had given up blogging here I am.

Just back from a much-needed holiday in Jersey and feeling refreshed and ready to go, I thought 'I must produce a blog post' - only to find that I had two sitting in the draft folder that I had written towards the end of 2016 and earlier this year.  The problem is I write my blog posts, leave them for a day or two to 'mature' and as has proved fatal, forget them!  However, I think a few holiday snaps are needed here following our visit to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Zoo:

No, the seagull isn't an endangered species, he just wanted to join us for lunch one day.

It has been a busy year so far: a knee operation followed by events up to the end of May, then the million and one things we all do and then seem to forget about.  I am still doing my much-loved pottery course, but now realise that there are certain things I know I cannot make.  I tried to make a hedgehog and sadly it looked more like an armadillo and I then turned it into a wall planter - believe me when I say it is best not to ask why or how.

A Fair to Remember events are on a summer break, although 'the office' is still maned daily and emails, marketing, website, publicity, etc are still being dealt with.  I know summer will disappear and our first Autumn/Winter event will be upon us very soon.  I have often been 'told' that between events I probably don't have a lot to do and this seems to be a popular misconception.  Since becoming an event organiser I have acquired a lot of respect for anyone who organises events.  Yes, I am still critical because I can see where improvements could be made to ensure a good event for both stallholders and customers, but I also know the amount of 'hidden' work that goes on before the day of the event.

I watched an episode of the Hotel Inspector the other day and was interested to see that a Vintage Fair being held at the hotel Alex Polizzi was helping to improve had a footfall of 60.  If Alex Polizzi's presence cannot encourage a high footfall, what hope is there for the rest of us.

Not quite a blog post covering everything that I have done since my last post, but I am back on the blogging trail - I hope.

Have a great week everyone - I will try to blog again very soon.