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Sunday, 30 November 2014

IT'S THAT COMPLETELY STARK RAVING BONKERS TIME OF YEAR

Hello everyone

I bet the title of this blog post sums up how many of you are feeling?  I know Christmas only happens once a year and I know it only lasts for a short period of time, but I also know the whole world goes potty at this time of year and shops as if the world is about to end (or the supermarkets are closing down for good).  Trying to keep on top of everything is almost impossible and if one more person asks me if I have finished my Christmas shopping yet, I will not be responsible for my actions!  Despite organising craft & gift events and about to take part in some, I have to admit to not having bought any presents yet.  It gets harder each year to know what to give people that is different from what I gave them last year, finding something they will like and something that doesn't require a second mortgage to buy (or make) it.

I hoisted the Godalming Bazaar banner outside of the Borough Hall for the last event of this year, stood back to check all was okay only to see that the date I had put on said 6 December 2015!  I am taking bookings for next year, but think my banner advertising is a little premature.  

Over the next two weeks I have two events I am organising/managing and three events I am taking part in - one is a two-day fair.  My last event takes place on 14 December and my plan for the following day is to sleep for 24 hours or do I mean days?

I dropped into the Normandy Scouts Christmas Fair this afternoon - very busy and clearly very well supported by mums, dads, sisters, brothers and other relatives.  A wide variety of items for sale: cakes, cards, fruit, vegetables, jewellery, etc.   My cake-making friend was taking part and her cheese scones looked very tempting.

Back to work now, more bags to decorate, more wreaths to make and if time permits, scented candles to make too.  I made the following wreath yesterday and although the ribbon is dark green, it seems to have taken on the blue colour of the butterflies when photographed, and also when viewed in natural light.  Very unusual.


I am joining up with Handmade Monday this week and look forward to seeing how the crafting bloggers are doing with their Christmas work.  I must try to get back into the blogging habit - I do enjoy it, but it does seem to make its way frequently to the bottom of the To-Do's that are in my head.  
Have a good week everyone - if you live in or near to Godalming, it would be lovely to see you at the Bazaar next Saturday and don't forget this is Small Business Saturday, so a great opportunity to support lots of local small businesses.

Jill

Sunday, 26 October 2014

BYE BYE SUMMER

Hello everyone

With the clocks going backwards, it really does feel like winter now - such a long time to spring.  I understand we are going to have some nice weather over the next few days with unusually high temperatures for this time of year, so all is not yet lost.

How has your week been?  I know for all small businesses, particularly those of us in the world of handmade, this time of year is really hectic.  It's that time of  'I can leave that for a few days' and then realise that was not the best decision to have made.  It's a time when two (or more?) pairs of hands would be good, as well as 48-hour days and, of course, not having anything else to do other than create.

I have split my time this week between event organisation and making stock for my forthcoming events.  Really could have done with one or two 48-hour days or preferably two pairs of hands.

Here is one of my completed wreaths.  It has 11 metres of burgundy-coloured velvet ribbon wrapped the polystyrene ring and a gorgeous glittery peacock fixed to the bottom.  I am not too sure whether (and what) to add to the wreath or just leave it with the peacock adorning it.  I am happy as it it, but do wonder if it is a little bare.


On the event organisation side of my life, I have an Early Christmas Bazaar taking place in the Tongham Village Hall on 1 November and this coming week will see me out delivering flyers, putting up posters and banners and hoping the weather stays good until after next Saturday.  This is anew venue for me, so am anxious about it being successful.  I am always anxious about any of the events I organise, but a new place brings with it new challenges and they are often very ahrd to manage.  I tell myself it is all part of life's rich pattern (although the pattern is sometimes not my choice).

A short post this week as it is back to work and finishing off some more wreaths.  I hope you all have a good week and don't forget to drop in on my fellow crafting bloggers taking part in this week's Handmade Monday.

Monday, 20 October 2014

A WORK-IN-PROGRESS CRAFTER

Hello everyone

Where does the time go?  Do you find that at this time of year the days and weeks disappear much faster than in the summer?  I seem to have so much work-in-progress (WIP) or is it that I just start too many things that I use WIP as an excuse?

I seem to spend a lot of time running to keep up, trying to remember all of the things I have to do, and thinking of all the new things I really must try when I have the time!  It could be that I still suffer from the disease I suffered from when I was a wage slave - an inability to say 'no, I really don't have the time to do that'.  I used to say 'yes, I can do that' and then panic because I knew I was over-committed.  Now, I still have a problem saying no, but justify it by telling myself it is okay because it is my own business that might suffer if I say no.  Oh dear, will I never learn?

The good news for me is that I have actually made (or begun to make) some stock for the events I am taking part in as an exhibitor - and I have really enjoyed getting back in the crafting saddle again.  Yes, it is still work-in-progress, but hey everything has to have a beginning, middle and end.


My trusty glue-gun was used for this - holds the large gold Poinsettia in place and also the fabric centre I added to it.  I still have work to do on this wreath, but at the moment I am not too sure what other embellishments I will add.


More work-in-progress and no, not the beginning of the five Olympic rings.  These have been covered in ribbon and one has had string wrapped around it too.  I have lots of embellishments to add, just need to plan the design.

I had planned to write this blog post yesterday, but WIP got in the way!  The usual things that always take longer than planned: cars to garages for MOTs and repairs, kittens to cuddle, cats to feed and also cuddle, plants to plant out ready for winter and spring, plants to bring into the greenhouse away from winter, family and friends visits to arrange, and life generally.

My 'Me Day' on Thursdays is still very enjoyable.  I feel that I am at long last moving forward with my designs.  They still don;t always resemble what my mind's eye sees, but they are not as disappointing as they used to be.  I have been working on getting to grips with noses, lips and eyes this term and this is my first offering of the new style hat man:



Believe me, it is a big improvement from the Mick Jagger-look-a-like lips I was producing and sticking onto a tube of clay.  The Tate Modern will be on the phone any day now, so watch this space.

Back to WIP now - I was recently invited to take part in a Christmas Market taking place on the evening of 4 December, so I really have to make sure the WIP becomes WIF (work is finished) because my two-day event follows soon after.

Have a great week everyone and I am linking up this week with Handmade Monday and Creative Mondays, so don't forget to check out the bloggers taking part.  

See you next week

Jill

Monday, 13 October 2014

FOUR DOWN, FOUR TO GO

Hello everyone

Yet again, another month has disappeared since my last blog post.  Do you find that the days and weeks whizz by at this time of year?  I just feel this autumnal/winter-like weather has come a little too soon for me and I just want the warm weather to return as soon as possible.

In my time 'away' from blogging I have been on holiday (or rather we have been on holiday) to Malta, another of my Godalming Bazaar events took place on 4 October and I took part in a Wedding Fayre at the Frensham Pond Hotel yesterday.  Our holiday was lovely, very hot and humid but also very relaxing - for most of the time.  It did involve work for me as I took my laptop and various other bits and pieces so that I could keep on top of the event organisations side of my business - my latest event took place two days after we got home (not good planning on my part).  Here are a few photographs from our holiday:


The view from our apartment balcony.  The temperature every day was around 30 degrees, sometimes 34.  Humidity was also very high and this often created a misty appearance.



We visited Gozo, which is a small island off the coats of Malta.  Interestingly, it is much greener than Malta.  I was lucky to find some of my favourite animals, cats and these ones were supported by the local animal charity.

Back home and the weather here wasn’t so good and in fact on the day of the last Godalming Bazaar event, it tipped down until about 30 minutes before closing time.  Despite the weather, we had 354 people through the door.  Some may feel this is not brilliant, but the majority of you who are involved on either side of craft events, know that visitor numbers are often disappointing and I know that the venue I am using does not attract a big footfall for similar type events.  

The results of the day were that some stallholders did very well, some didn’t and some did better this time than last time – the life of a crafter at craft events is an interesting one.  There was plenty going on throughout the day: we had You Ukes playing from late morning to the end of the event, two lots of crafty make-and-take workshops and a face-painter.  Plenty to draw people in, and as the weather was poor, our refreshments people did a roaring trade.  

Here are some photographs of the event taken by Dawn Hart of Stonepit Crafts - thank you Dawn:






As the title of my post says, four down, four to go.  I have four more events that I have organised for this year and it's now on to the next one which takes on 1 November at the Tongham Village Hall.   Tongham is a village not far from me, it has a few shops and well supported activities take place in both the village hall and the community centre.  Fingers crossed this event does well for everyone involved.  The next Godalming Bazaar event is on 22 November - a Christmassy themed one I feel.

And finally......  Yesterday I took part in a wedding fayre at the Frensham Pond Hotel.  We had a steady flow of visitors and it was very successful for me.  I have to prepare 8 quotes for stationery ranging from just invitations to a full range of stationery.  I hope they all turn into confirmed orders - lucky for me they are spread throughout 2015 and 2016 so I will have time to work on them.  The most popular design was a simple one with a scroll at the top and a ribbon across the middle.  Here are a few pics from yesterday:



My lovely new pop-up banner.  The company I now use for my banners and flyers produce double-side pop-up banners.  Great if you are placed where visitors are walking by on both sides (back and front) of your stand.  I need to order one for the Christmas Pie Crafts part of my business, so might go for a double-sided one.



The scroll range of stationery.


I decided to go for a heavy weight A6 flyer rather than a business card - I feel it catches the eye of visitors to the stand more than a business card will.


Purple is still very popular.

One last finally...  I have two new foster kittens, both girls - one is tabby and white and I have named her Ruby and the other one is black and white and I have named her Pearl.  They are only 9-weeks old.  Milly has said she will add some photogrpahs of them to her blog post on Wednessday.

I am off to join up with the Handmade Monday bloggers - I have missed them recently and looking forward to seeing what they have been up to since my last visits to their blogs.

I will, hopefully, be back next weekend with some more bloggy news - have a good week everyone.

Jill

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

MILLY'S DIARY

Hello everyone

As you can probably guess, I don't like this foggy weather - I snooze in the conservatory while it's like this.  It's all very well everyone telling me that the sun will shine in the afternoon, but I want it to shine in the morning as well.

Did you know I have my very own bedroom?  Well, it's a room within a room.  I sleep in the bottom of Richard's wardrobe and have done ever since I moved in properly.  If I didn't have my own room, I would probably have to sleep in a cardboard box.  It is nice and comfy sleeping on Richard's jumper - tough if he wants to wear it!  I get a little annoyed if the door is closed and I chase Jill and Richard until they understand what I want.  Humans!  You are such hard work!

There is another black and white cat in the neighbourhood.  A boy!  He has much more white on him than me and Jill says his white is cleaner than my white - she mumbled something about using the right sort of washing powder and then laughed because she thought she had made a joke!  He keeps coming into my garden, sits on the drive hoping I will come out and play.  I keep trying to tell him I am not interested, but he won't give up!  I shall have to get my big pal Jazz on to him - actually, that won't help, because Jazz is a friendly cat and will make him his new best friend!  Cats!  You are such hard work!

Sun's out - I'm off!  See you next week.

Milly

Sunday, 14 September 2014

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Hello everyone

Long time, no write.  I think I should write a blog post about the all the excuses I can come up with about not writing a blog post.  I did promise myself that no matter what I would write a post every week, but this year that promise has gone to pot!  Despite, as always, having plenty to say, because I join in with the Handmade Monday gang I feel guilty at not having any makes to show and share.  As time is whizzing by since my last post, I thought 'hey, join in anyway'.

What have I been doing since my last post?  In between the usual million and one things we all get bogged down with, earlier this year I applied to take part in the Farnham Maltings Christmas Fair, sent off my paperwork with photographs of my work and as you can imagine, the next few weeks were 'will I, won't I' times.  I was so pleased to receive an email telling me 'you have been successful'.  It is a two-day event, used to be just one-day, and so many people have said it is hard to get into, so you can imagine I am extra pleased.  Need to get on with making stock now - can;t make excuses for not doing that.

My latest Godalming Bazaar event took place on Saturday, 6 September.  From an organisation point of view I felt it was successful in that there was plenty going on at the event (craft workshops, wildlife charity, Town Crier and great refreshments) and we had a fantastic 512 customers through the door (compared with 247 visitors at the last Godalming Bazaar event).  Those of you involved with craft events, on both sides of the stalls, know getting customers through the door is hard work and getting them to stay and buy is even harder.  Of course there were moans - not everyone was pleased, not everyone did well, but it is very hard trying to please everyone and I am sure one day I will realise that it is a pretty impossible task to do that, but for the time being I shall continue to try to achieve the impossible.  I have had some great feedback from customers: very impressed with the variety and quality of work at the event, liked that there were not too many stalls selling similar items, great to have make-and-take sessions, first experience of a craft fair and pleasantly surprised, and definitely going to come along to the next one.

On to the next one which takes place on 4 October.  I have arranged two make-and-take craft workshops (I use two halls at the Godalming Borough Hall so one in each will be a great attraction), a face-painter, one of the stallholders is offering Henna Tattoos, another is giving Reiki and Indian Head Massage tasters. Plenty to interest and encourage people to spend time at the event and buy from a fabulous range of handmade items.  Oh, nearly forgot also have You-Ukes joining us between 1.00 pm - 3.00 pm.  Will I please everyone?  No, of course not, but it's great fun (and flippin' hard work) along the way.

Several foster kittens have passed through our home recently and gone on to fabulous new homes.  We are kitten-less at the moment, but there are plenty more out there waiting to be taken in, looked after and re-homed.  It does get a little easier parting with them, and I know they are going to good homes, but if I had a much bigger place.........

That's me more or less up-to-date and this week I will be catching up with my fellow crafters taking part in Handmade Monday - I bet there will be lots of Christmas-themed makes to have a look at.  There seems to be lots of new crafters joining in, so it will be nice to see what they all make.

Have a great week everyone, looks like we are going to have some more sunny days.

Jill

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

MILLY'S DIARY

Hello everyone

What a day!  We had no Internet connection today from early morning until about 4.00 pm.  Jill was behaving, in her words, as though her right arm had been cut off.  Not sure what that is supposed to mean, except that it sounds rather painful, but she was a very happy person when she was able to get back online.  Yet again, these human things confuse and surprise me!

My big best pal Jazz is feeling much better after his trip to the vets on Sunday.  He is so lucky, he gets fresh chicken for his meals - I offered him fresh pigeon, but he wasn't very keen on that.  He may be enjoying the chicken, but I don't think he is as keen on having the tablets twice a day!  Never mind, Jazz, only two more days to go - a shame because I have been pinching some of the chicken and very tasty it is too.

We don't have any any foster-kittens here at the moment - our last two, Boris and Barry, went to their new home on Tuesday and I am sure, like the sensible boys they are, they are now in charge.  That's just the way it should be.  Cats rule! 

Because of this business with Jill's arm being cut off, my post is a little short this week.  I am off to bed now - we kittens need our beauty sleep.  Well, actually I don't because I am beautiful no matter what happens, but I do need to tuck Jazz in and make sure he has taken his second tablet of the day.

Have a good week everyone - see you next week.

Milly

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

MILLY'S DIARY

Good morning

Woo hoo, it's going to be hot and sunny here today!  Summer's back at last.  I have spent too much time inside snoozing recently and that's not much fun for me.

Busy times here again; Jill has her next Godalming Bazaar event on Saturday - I have offered to help with putting the paperwork together, packing things into envelopes, but she has refused my offer of help.  She has told me that a wildlife charity (Harper Asprey) will be taking part in the event - I wonder if that's why she doesn't want me to help out on the day?

We have two new foster kittens: Boris and Barry.  As always, Jill says they are very cute - she so needs new glasses!  There is only so much cuteness in this world and I have all of it!  You can find out more about them on the Woking Cats Protection website and you can also check out Tom Tom's information on there too.

As you know I am a big supporter of the Woking Cats Protection branch and I am happy to blog about them and their wonderful work, however, you can imagine my surprise when I saw on Facebook that they are looking for a home for Ringo!  Come on Woking CP, surely he made enough money from being a celebrity to buy his own home - have things become so tough for him that he needs your help?  Has he hung up his drum kit?  Stopped talking about that tank engine he is so fond of?  I think my readers need to check Ringo's Facebook page out and make up their own minds.  I have to say the years have been a little unkind to him, he is very hairy and ginger now!

Off to catch some more sunshine - see you next week.

Milly

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

MILLY'S DIARY

Hello everyone

Oh boy, this weather is so horrible!  All that rain!  Just not good for a sunshine girl.  I have spent so much time inside over the last few days, I have almost forgotten where all of my favourite play spots are.  Jill said that she has heard that the local bird population are very pleased I am inside - wonder what she means by that. And it's cold and I don't like the cold!

We have had busy times here recently, Prickle and Dandelion went to another fosterer on Thursday and then to their new home on Tuesday, we had a big family get-together on Saturday and we have Richard's sister staying with us for a couple of days too.  In between friends and family, we have Mr Soakaway Man and tomorrow Mr Plumber!  If that wasn't enough, we have a noisy men chopping down trees in the field at the bottom of my garden.  Why does nobody ask me if I mind all this upheaval (see, I am learning big words now)?  There is also some mumbling going on about decorating!  Hang on, enough is enough - peace and quiet here please.

I bet you are all as surprised as I am that Tom Tom has not been adopted.  How can you not want to take that lovely black-and-white girl into your home - all black-and-white girls need nice comfortable homes.  I have got mine and know I am very lucky and I know that Tom Tom wants to be in her furever home too, so come on you cat lovers, get over to the Facebook page and check her out.

I am off to find a nice snuggly warm spot - inside of course.  Have a good week everyone and if you go to see Tom Tom, please leave a comment here because I would love to know what you think about her.

See you all next week.

Milly

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

MILLY'S DIARY

Hello everyone

I am so disappointed in this weather!  I know it is sunny, but it is a little too nippy for me.  I am spending more time inside than I normally do at this time of year.

Come on you black-and-white cat lovers!  Tom Tom is still waiting for her fur-ever home and I am so surprised she has not already been adopted.  Get in quick because I am sure she will be adopted very soon and if you have been thinking about going to see her, don't think, go!

We have two foster kittens with us at the moment: Prickles and Dandelion (I call Prickles Burdock because I think it goes together with Dandelion).  They had a family visit them on Sunday and they are coming back to see them this afternoon, so paws crossed everyone - they could be on their way to their new home very soon.  Jill took this photograph of them - rare for them to be quietly sitting together, normally they are running around, chasing everything, playing with anything and everything they find and generally having a very good time (the remind me a little of me!).


Not too sure what it is going to be like around here over the next few days.  We have a family bash here on Saturday (I hope they are not expecting to share my food with me), but tomorrow some men are coming to dig a trench and a very large hole in the front garden!  Buried treasure?  Hope they cover the hole up because we cats are very nosey.

Not so sunny here now, so it's back to the conservatory for me - it's nice and warm in there, just right for me.  See you next week and don't forget to go and see Tom Tom if you are looking to adopt a beautiful (not as beautiful as me) black-and-white cat.

Milly