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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

Sunday, 17 August 2014

REVIEWING THE PIE

Hello everyone

I get the feeling autumn has arrived a little earlier than expected.  Chilly, sunny, but very windy here today.   Such a shame as we have a family get-together next weekend and really need to be able to be able to spill out into the garden.  Never mind, it might have a to be a cosy get-together inside.

A busy week that ended in the really good news for me that I have found a refreshments provider for my Godalming Bazaar events for the rest of this year: The Pantry Tea Room.  I was beginning panic, but had a recommendation from a Streetlife member, contacted Julia and success, we have lift-off.  If you are not familiar with Streetlife, I really recommend you check it out.  I have been able to find lots of information and businesses on there that I was totally unaware of: I have had stallholders contact me via Streetlife, I have found a gardener, lots of information about things happening in my area and the surrounding areas.  Brilliant!

On Thursday of this week I took part in a pottery workshop my pottery tutor, Jean Tolkovsky, organised.  I and 7 of my fellow pottery students had a great day and our project was to make a figure similar to one
of Jean's models - as you can guess 'similar' had lots of different interpretations and here is mine:


The wire sticking out of his shoulders will be trimmed once the final firing has taken place.  I had a bit of an accident as I was tyring to remove the cocktail stick which had been placed through the body and upper arms prior to putting the wire through, his head fell off!!!  More disaster, his hat fell onto the floor and part of the brim fell off!  I managed to weld his head back on, but didn't have time to tweak the top of his hat, so it's not as smooth as I had planned.  Good fun really, and something I have never done before and I think I will have a go at making another one when our course begins in September.  I still cannot make decent lips and noses.nose -

If you would like to see what my model could have been (I wish) please check out my Friday Review - it is about my pottery tutor, Jean Tolkovsky.  I am sure you will agree her work is amazing.

About two months ago I applied to take part in a Craft Fair fairly local to me and was disappointed that four weeks after I applied they let me know it was full!!!  I had emailed them to find out the current situation because I was interested in another event that took place around the same time and I think that is the only reason they replied responded - I am not sure how much longer it would have taken them to reply.  They apologised for the delay, said it's summer and sorry, we are full.  I find the lack of professionalism in some businesses very disappointing.  Summer it may be, but surely that is no excuse for poor communication in a business?  Will they also blame winter?  Spring?  Autumn?

Another busy week looms: tomorrow I am lurking in a garden centre car park (as you do) to hand out flyers to my stallholders, then I am having lunch with a couple of friends (Lesley and Dawn - looking forward to seeing you both).  Every day this week has a meeting of one sort or another - Friday is a free day, although sadly that will be housework day to get everything ready for my family bash!  Housework is not the way to end a week.

Have a great week everyone - hard to believe next weekend is our last Bank Holiday until Christmas!  Mind you at the moment time seems to be whizzing by and I am not always too sure which week (or month) it is.  Don't forget to drop in on my fellow Handmade Monday bloggers, and I will 'see' you next week.

Jill

Friday, 15 August 2014

THE FRIDAY REVIEW: JEAN TOLKOVSKY, CERAMICIST

Hello everyone

My Friday Review this week is about my pottery tutor: Jean Tolkovsky.  I and 7 of my fellow keen pottery group members spent a day with Jean in her studio yesterday making models similar to those Jean creates.  I use the term 'similar' very loosely as we produced some very interesting pieces.  Several of my fellow pottery students have been with Jean for many years and some of the work I have seen them create over the 3 years I have been on the course is amazing and worthy of any good art gallery.

However, fabulous though their work is my review is of Jean's work and to demonstrate the range of her skills, this photograph is of the outside ornamental pot I bought from Jean last year (I couldn't resist it and already have my eye on another large outside pot she has made):


Isn't he amazing?  A very handsome fellow who has a gorgeous head of hair (not that you can see much of it in this picture) and he will soon have a pair of dangly pair of earrings.


This is another remarkable piece; fabulous rabbit-style ears - the colour of them is a salmon-pink shade and the finish is beautiful.  This is a piece you need to see in the 'flesh' to fully appreciate.

As you can see from the above photograph and the following ones, some of Jean's pieces are really quirky and as she says:

'I produce one-off figurative pieces including punks, jesters and other quirky characters...........  I aim to produce work which carries a narrative but is also open to interpretation.'



Still with the quirky, for me the next photograph is great.  I can't decide if my interpretation is people sitting in a doctor's waiting room or school boys sitting waiting outside of the head master's study, waiting to be reprimanded for something they have done (and been found out for):


Jean's recent work is very different to these previous pieces:




Aren't they beautiful?  They look so delicate and elegant - really stunning pieces.

If you would like to know more about Jean's work, where she exhibits and the events she is taking part in this year, please visit her page on the Surrey Artists' Open Studios website.  I am sure you will agree her work is amazing and as it's always changing, so you never know what she will create next.

Jill

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

MILLY'S DIARY

Hello everyone

I am guessing summer has finished?  A shame because I love the sunshine and it means I get to play outside for a looooooong time every day.

Hard though it is to believe, my post this week is not about me!  It is about a cat who is being looked after by one of the Woking & District Cats Protection fosterers.  Yes, I am writing about another cat, and even better (or is that worse) she is black and white!  Before I go any further I must point out that she is not as beautiful as me, but then that is never going to happen in cat-land

This black and white lady is called Tom Tom.  Okay, I know, why call a girl Tom Tom?  In my short life I had always been lead to believe that Tom Tom was a satellite navigation gadget - perhaps this particular Tom Tom is pretty good at finding her way around places?

Tom Tom is around 9-years old but as we all know, there is that special someone who releases the inner-kitten in all cats and someone reading my blog post could be that person.  She has her own Facebook page where you can read her daily diary and you can also read more about her on the Woking & District Cats Protection website.

Tom Tom has been with her fosterer for six months and as much as she loves being there, she would really like to be settled in her own home soon.  So come along you cat-lovers, if you have been thinking of adopting a black and white cat that is nearly as beautiful as I am, Tom Tom is the gal for you.  You can contact Woking CP on their website (click on the link above) and arrangements will be made for you to visit Tom Tom - just let them know that Milly has sent you and I am sure you will be able to see her very soon.  You will find Tom Tom sitting on the window sill waiting for your visit:



I will be back next week and it would be lovely to be able to say, yippee, Tom Tom has been adopted.

Milly

Friday, 8 August 2014

THE CHRISTMAS PIE FRIDAY GUEST BLOGGER

Hello everyone

I am very pleased to introduce my Friday Guest Blog Spot, Karen of Casalana -The Woolhouse:

Hello and thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your blog.  My name is Karen and I am a mother to 4 children and a proud grandmother to 3 boys and 2 girls, the youngest born just 8 weeks ago and this is where it really all began.

My mum taught me to knit when I was very young and that was when my love affair with all things woolly began.  I used to knit for my children and more recently my grandchildren and friends and family have been telling me for years that I ought to sell my makes.  So, in January of this year I finally bit the bullet and launched my Facebook page: Casalana-thewoolhouse.

The name Casalana comes from the Spanish words for house (case) and wool (lana) and I chose this because I am fortunate enough to own a lovely country property in Southern Spain and my time is divided between there and the UK.  I am here in Spain at the time of writing this blog and it seems crazy as we are in the height of summer here and I am sat knitting my range of winter wear and Christmas items.


I try to make my items interesting and unique and I always use the best quality wools I can find.  I love to buy from small independent crafters who spin and dye their own wools and I have a couple of favourites that produce some beautiful yarns.  I also like to use recycled materials and have made some lovely crochet baskets from recycled sari silk which is collected by a group of ladies in India from sari factories and then spun into yarn.  These have proved very popular.


I love to make baby items and like to design my own range of cot and pram blankets like this cot blanket which I call the Jester because of its bright colours and pom-poms.


I have recently expanded my baby makes range to include gifts for Baby Shower parties and the new baby, the most popular of which is the Hickory Dickery Dock Nursery Basket.  This is a crochet basket with a clock face and pendulums and even has a cute little mouse running up the clock like in the nursery rhyme.  It is filled with all the lovely goodies that a new mummy will need and even a little pamper gift for her too.


When I am not knitting and I am here in Spain I love to make jams and chutneys from the many beautiful fruits and vegetables available here and from my own fruit trees and veg patch.  I go to my local street market every Friday to stock up on all the lovely fruit and veggies as well as olives, meats and cheeses all produced or grown locally.

I hope you have enjoyed reading a little about me and my life and if you would like to see more of my work please visit my Facebook page and you can follow me on my Blog

Karen

Sunday, 3 August 2014

THE HARDEST THING IN THE WORLD

Hello everyone

I know the old saying 'hard work never killed anyone' but there are times when you do wonder if this is quite correct.  We all know we work very hard at our business, making items to sell, completing all of the necessary administration work, but very often it is the 'hidden' hard work that knocks us down.

I know it doesn't sound very hard, but at the moment my 'hardest thing in the world' is getting a face-painter to take part in my Godalming Bazaar events!  Easy peasy really.  No, it isn't.  I had one for my first two events, and she was really good, but the income generated amounted to about 2% of her fee and if you know what face-painters charge, you will have an idea of how much that income was.  Since then I have been trying to find one who will hire a table/space from me (I have offered this at a reduced price) and all the income will be theirs.  Two face-painters almost bit my hand off to book.......  then it went very quiet and despite advising me they definitely want to book/pay, I think they have been gobbled up by spacemen.  I sent a gentle 'not long before the event' reminder and that appears to be the end of that episode.

I have posted a message on Facebook, Twitter and Streetlife and received lots of recommendations and I have contacted all of them.  Replies?  One, so far - unfortunately, despite her work being fantastic her fee was far too high for me.  Am I wrong in hoping face-painters will come along and make their money at the event without me having to pay to have them there?  Am I wrong expecting them to be like other crafts people/artists who book a stall at the Bazaars?  I see them as a crafts person wanting to sell their 'work' at my events - am I wrong in that view?  I appreciate and respect their amazing skills and really do want a more family-friendly atmosphere at my events, but I am almost thinking they are for more bigger events than I organise.  I know that I need to come up with something else that will attract families to the events - any ideas?

Like everyone, it has been the usual busy, busy week here.  I was going to add pictures of my hot-glue-fixing work this week, but decided that as I have not yet got around to putting them on my website, I would prefer to do that first.  Face-painter search permitting that is.  Apart from a day out at Wisley with three friends it's been work, work, work for most of this past week.  We went on Thursday and it was quieter than I had expected it to be.  We had a stroll around the gardens before lunch, which we had in the restaurant (we decided to splurge the refund we had obtained from TravelZoo on a waitress service lunch rather than the hustle and bustle of the cafeteria).  We worked off lunch with another wander around a different part of the gardens.  It's always surprising to me that, no matter how many times I visit Wisley, there is always something I have missed.  I always like to visit the small gardens, because they are very inspirational and at this time of year checking out the fruit and vegg patches is a must.  They all looked so much healthier than mine although I was pleased to see the odd weed.

That's my week in a large nutshell; next week begins with a meeting tomorrow morning with a Godalming cafe-owner about providing refreshments for my events - fingers crossed they are happy to do it because I have always found having refreshments at these type of events encourages people in.  They may wander around the stalls, then have a cup of tea and a cake and then go off around the stalls again to buy what they have seen first time around.  I have a 25th Wedding Anniversary event to provide invitations, acceptances, maps, menus and place cards for, so it's head down and make some samples based on the suggestions the couple have given me.

Have a great week everyone, enjoy the sunshine and get lots of crafting done - don't forget to call in on the other crafty bloggers taking part in Handmade Monday and if you haven't had a chance to read my Friday Review post, have a look here, you will love Dawn's knitted people.

Jill

Friday, 1 August 2014

THE FRIDAY REVIEW: DAWN HART OF STONEPIT CRAFTS

Hi everyone

This week's Friday Review is about someone I met through Twitter and has become a good friend who jumps in at the deep end end, literally, to help out with the Godalming Bazaar events.  However, in 'real life' Dawn is a crafts person and my review is focusing on one aspect of her creativity.  In addition to making beautiful greetings cards, Dawn is also a fantastic knitter producing great items from hat-bands to flower-pot covers and bangles to babies jackets.  Over the last year or so I have watched with keen interest as she has turned her skill and talent into a very successful business.  Her product range is always changing and expanding, so it is a good idea to check out her website regularly.

My Friday Review is about particular favourites of mine: her knitted people, all in uniform.  Apart from making great toys for children, they are also lovely keepsakes for people in the professions Dawn has represented in her creations.


This particular gentleman is a Paramedic - a profession close to Dawn's heart


How about these three?  I love the attention to detail: buttons, tie, helmet badge, the nurses fob watch.  My favourite is the fireman - apart from a man in uniform always being attractive, I love his hat.  

In addition to making items for sale, Dawn also runs several knitting groups in the Godalming area and you can find out more about them on the Knitting Groups Information tab on her website, where you can also see more photographs of her hand-knitted items as well as her cards.

I know that Dawn will have some of her people and possibly more at the next Godalming Bazaar, which is on 6 September in the Godalming Borough Hall.  Come along and have a look at her work and I am sure you will find it very hard not to ask her to make one of Knitted People for you.

Come back next Friday to see who is under the Friday Review spotlight.

Jill

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

MILLY'S DIARY

Hello everyone

I had big plans to write my diary early this week, but a frog got in the way!  He looked pretty lonely sitting by the pond, so I brought him indoors.  I thought he might like some of my breakfast.  Jill thought differently and took the frog back outside to the pond!  No wonder I don't have any friends, she takes them all away from me!  Mind you, it isn't just me, she took a frog away from Coco on Monday!

Sage and Angelica went to their lovely new home yesterday; they have new names and are now known as Milo and Mimi.  Apparently we have more kittens coming to stay with us next week - as you cat lovers know, there are always more kittens on the way and Woking Cats Protection are always looking for lovely homes for all of them so if you are planning on adopting a cat or kitten, please do have a look at the website.

As you  all know, because I keep reminding you, it's my birthday on 2 August - my star sign of Leo is so appropriate.  I did some research of the Kiternet and found some interesting things out about Leo's:

Leo strength keywords are: confident, ambitious, generous, loyal and encouraging.  I am ambitious, confident and loyal, but not so sure about the generous or encouraging bits.  Leo weakness keywords are: pretentious, domineering, melodramatic, stubborn and vain.  I have to admit that I can identify with some of these too.  I am domineering, melodramatic and stubborn; definitely not vain as my often grey, should be white, fur testifies.  I don't think I am pretentious, although having looked up the definition on the Kiternet, I am now wondering about this: 'attempting to impress by affecting greater importance' - me?  Never!

It's time for me to go and be stubborn and see if that silly frog is sitting by the pond again!

Have a good weekend everyone - see you next Wednesday.

Milly

Sunday, 27 July 2014

A LITTLE BIT OF RAIN WOULD BE NICE, PLEASE

Hello everyone

It has been a good week - a little too hot, but hey, it is nice to have sunshine.  On Monday, I meet up with Lara Beardall of Lovecow to collect the rosettes she had made for me.  These match the lovely bag I also bought from her.  You can see pictures here of the beautiful items that Lara has made for me.

I decided recently that instead of a Friday Guest Blogger spot (although if you are interested in being a guest blogger, please get in touch) I would have a Friday Review post in which I write about a website I have found that I like, a product I use, am keen to use or something I have bought - all handmade related.  Lara is my first Friday Review - don't forget to come back and see who has been blogged about next Friday.

This week has also been spent locating and booking another venue for a Christmas Fair; this one is in Tongham Village Hall.  It is not a large venue, but I am hoping it might be a good place for other events next year.  I have hired a Town Crier to promote the Godalming Bazaar events for the remainder of this year.  This particular venue/event needs a lot more oomph to get it noticed and I can't make up my mind if it is the venue or it has run its natural course.  The Town Crier will spend one hour on the day of each event 'encouraging' people to come in and buy.

I love to try out new techniques and something I had a go at this week is hot crystal fixing - embarrassed to say I have had the gadget for a long, long time and as with so many things, put it away to use another time!  I have some work-in-progress pieces that should be completed by next Sunday's blog post and I will add some photographs of my makes then.  I can imagine just about everything in my home will have crystals on it!  Nothing dares to stand still for too long.

I have been working on my Christmas Pie Crafts website and my events one and although not completely finished, here they are for review:



I am not completely happy with the SIM website as the pictures on the home page are slow to load - not very slow, but I don't like what looks like white blanks when it opens.  Let me know what you think.

I started writing this weekend's blog post yesterday while quietly (as if!) waiting for a delivery I was expecting to arrive between 7.06 am and 9.06 am.  9.06 am came and went, no delivery, no phone call, no email.  I checked the courier's website to find a message saying the delivery company (City Link), City Link, were running late and my package would arrive before 12 noon.  

Like everyone, I hate waiting around for deliveries, the time we waste is gone for ever.  I rang Wilkinson's (my order was for 5 flip-top packing crates) and explained the situation.  They were very sympathetic, checked their records and told me that the delivery driver had marked his records to show that the delivery had been made at 12.15 pm.  I don't know where to because it certainly wasn't to Christmas Pie Crafts.  

Shock, horror!  A 'white-van-man' turned up at 2.50 pm with my parcel!  I asked what had happened but unfortunately, he didn't understand what I was saying and just kept replying 'thank you', 'thank you'.  I rang Wilkinson's to let them know the order had arrived and I have been busily filling the crates since 3.00 pm with more craft materials, stock, etc for my storage unit.  (Sadly, one of the crates is badly damaged, so the saga hasn't quite ended.)  I did a quick check on the City Link website and it said my delivery had been made at 8.06 am yesterday morning and signed for by me!  

No parcels expected this week - thank goodness, I couldn't take the stress!  Decision time - pack more 'stuff' or do some gardening?  As it is a little cooler today, gardening wins.  Have a great week everyone and don't forget to drop into Handmade Monday to see how one has been coping with this 'gorgeous' weather.

See you next week.

Jill