Monday, 28 March 2011

Handmade Monday 9 - Looking Back Over The Years

Welcome once again to Handmade Monday organised by Wendy of 1stuniquegifts where clever crafters join together to share stories via their blogs. Having spent this week attempting to finish all my bags and failing miserably i tried to think of something different to share with you this week and i thought of looking back at other crafts i have tried over the years. Ever since i was a child i have always been making one thing or another ,as i guess most of us crafters have, usually as presents for family. I love to try anything but dont always have a lot of patience if things dont turn out right straight away. When i left college many years ago it took me a few months to get a job so my mother and i got into decoupage. We didnt make cards though, we did pictures on tiles and plates and personalised them with letra set letters. We cut all our pictures from wrapping paper and covered with a plastic covering. All seems so basic now especially after seeing ,at the NEC this week, all the latest equipment for card designing. Please excuse the photos as they are 25 years old and not that clear!! We booked a christmas craft fair at our local civic hall in Kent, there didnt seem to be so many events in those days and the novelty factor brought in so many visitors. I can remember us having crowds round our table, it was a fantastic feeling and we sold loads.
A few years later i had my first son and took a year off work and got into salt dough for something to keep me occupied.

Again i got transfixed by it and built up a massive stock of wall decorations, kids mobiles and clown name plaques for kids bedrooms. The plaques especially sold well but after about a year i gave up when, at a school fair, i overheard a child saying to his mother "oh we did that in school this week. It's easy!"
A couple of years later i bought a felt picture hanging kit. I loved it so much when i finished i knew i had to make it my next project! Only did one fair with these and sold what i'd made plus a few decoupage bits provided by my sister. (Once again please excuse the quality of the photo)
So by this time i had 2 small kids and a full time job cooking and i turned my attention to novelty cakes, mainly for my boys birthdays.

This forever friends teddy on an armchair i made 2 or 3 times for different women, i loved making it coz i loved the end result.
Mr Potato head was quite a funky one.
And i was really proud of this one though it took ages making each footballer. And that little boy isnt so little now and nowhere near as cute!!
And just to finish off i would like to share with you the only wedding cake i have ever made and am extremely proud of.

It was for my bosses daughter and was really nerve racking to make as it obviously had to be perfect for her and would be viewed by 100 people.

Each flower on top was individually made and if you look closly round the outside edge i tried a sort of lace effect and each piece made and stuck on individually.

It's lovely looking back at things but even better to look forward as there is still so much to learn and achieve. Cant wait!

Thanks for popping by and if you have the time please pop by Wendy's blog to find out what other crafters have been up to this week.

Until next time.


Saturday, 26 March 2011

Hobbycrafts And Sewing For Pleasure At The NEC

One of my christmas presents this year was a ticket to The Hobbycrafts and Sewing fo pleasure show at the NEC this week, 24th - 27th March. Details can be found here .

I went on Friday and the show was absolutely packed with women. The car park was home to several coaches from all over. Many women walked with trolleys, obviously intending to spend spend spend!! The first hall was mainly for card makers with each stall selling everything you could possibly want for card making. It had been my intention before i went to make sure i looked out for a stand selling the BigShot Sizzix machine so i could have a demo and see if it was really something that would be worth buying for myself.

I wasnt disappointed as THE CRAFT BUG had a stand there specialising in machines and dies and they were able to answer all my questions which resulted in my OH declaring that he was buying me one for my birthday! They were £20 cheaper than the one i had looked at in Hobbycraft the other week so it made sense to buy it then and there.

And here it is.

As my OH had bought the machine i needed to get a couple of DIES to get me started. They were selling at £12 each with an offer of 3 for £33 so i went with the offer! These are the 3 i chose but have since had a look at their website and made a list of 6 others i want!

Another purchase i made yesterday was some fabric that i spotted looking very lonely in a basket on the stall of a lady selling wooden hanging plaques. Not sure what i'm doing with it yet but i'm sure i will think of something!!

As i said the lady was selling hanging plaques and very kindly let me take a photo of the stall, as it was one of my personal favourites and she was very welcoming and friendly.

You can find more of her work at and i see she also has a shop on folksy .

As well as all that i also bought some fabric squares for pin cushions from a company called PINFLAIR .
Have a look on their site for all your craft requirements as they seem to do quite a range of items.

And then i found spotty buttons so i had to have some!! They were supplied by CRAFTY RIBBONS and what a selection of ribbons they had. Take a look at their site for more info and i've also just found their blog which i will be having a good read of when i have time.

After a quick spot of lunch we came across two lovely ladies working hard at a small table with polymer clay. Now i bought 4 or 5 packs or fimo in the summer with the intention of making buttons but the ones i made didnt really look quite right and i was interested in learning more so they talked me thru a few processes.
Even my OH found their demonstration really fascinating and we both felt we had learnt something. You can buy clay and other materials from their website CLAYAROUND .
To end my days spending spree i popped by the JANOME sewing machine stand to ask for a new foot for my machine that i could use when trying to embroider a design, as with my present foot i cant see the pattern i am sewing and this foot has a wider eye so i can see.
I will let you know the result. If you are a janome machine owner you may be interested in this blog i follow SEW JANOME
I left the show at 4pm feeling exhausted and rather poor, but excited by my new goodies i had purchased. Definately a great christmas present.
The HobbyCrafts show returns to the NEC in November from the 3rd to the 6th and will be accompanied by Crafts For Christmas Show. One ticket gets you into both shows. Full details can be found on the ICHF Events site .
Thanks for popping by.
Until next time.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Handmade Monday Week 8 - Bags, Fabrics and Cushions

Welcome to week 8 of Handmade Monday run by Wendy of 1stUniqueGifts. I feel quite a sense of achievement to still be joining in with the challenge of weekly blogging and still being spurred into keeping up with my sewing because of it.
Have to admit failure on The March Hares listing club on Folksy though, managing only to list for 5 days of the month!!!! Maybe try again in April!!
So this week was a positive sales week for me. If you popped by earlier in the week you will know i did a fair on Tuesday at Blooms Garden centre in Rugby and did really well. 4 bags sold and i now have 5 on order so a lot of sewing going on in the evenings after work at the moment.
Before doing anything new this week i finished off a bag i had been making from some left over William Morris fabric i had from a customers order earlier in the year.
As yet i havent put flowers on the front as i'm not sure they will look as good on this fabric and am wondering whether to try a small bow instead. As that bag was finally finished i visited The Bramble Patch and spent rather a lot on fabric!! It probably is a much dearer way of making things when i only buy by the quarter but it means i can always keep fresh with different designs and colours rather than mass producing the same product all the time and getting bored by what i do.
So i got some more dotty and daisy fabric but also some blue, red and even pink corduroy.
Preparation is the boring part so i cut, pinned and sewed darts in all of them at the same time, and also the linings.

Then the best bit, sewing them together!!

So that's the bases done and next job this week is to do all the pelmets.
As well taking all my new stock to the fairs last week i took some of my old stuff as well and put on at a bargain price just to destash.
Among these items were the bolster cushions i made a couple of years back for kids. Filled with small polyester beads they are brilliant cushions for kids, especially on long car journeys.

And i did well and sold half a dozen and even had a lady asking if i could make her one in chicken fabric, which i have!!

Now to clear up the mess on the floor!!!

Thanks for popping by and dont forget to pop by 1stUniqueGifts blog and see what other clever crafters have been up to this week.
Until Next Time.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Blooms Garden Centre Craft fair March 15th

On Tuesday i took a days holiday from work to attend another craft fair at Blooms Garden Centre in Rugby.
I had been told about the fair from a fellow crafter from the craft forum and, as it was local, decided it would be a great opportunity for me.
As usual it was a mad rush for me as i was one of the last to arrive but it didnt take me too long to set up.
Blooms runs a gardening club and on this particular day they were offering double points to their members so we knew there would be quite a few people around.
We didnt anticipate how many though!!
All morning there seemed to be people everywhere and quite often i found that there was quite a gathering around my table.
It was a lovely feeling having people looking at my table and an even better feeling when they started buying. And buy they did!
I managed to sell 4 out of the 6 bags that i had made plus orders for 3 more. The fabric flowers also went well as did the pen cases and mobile phone cases. Several of my cards were picked up plus an invite to attend fairs in Bourton on the Water.
It was a great day and a good morale boost plus great to catch up with fellow crafters that i havent seen for a while.
But now i need to retreat to my machine and get sewing. The next fair is a big one so lots to be done!!
Until next time

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Handmade Monday Week 7 - Benn Hall Craft Fair

Welcome back for this weeks handmade Monday organised by Wendy of 1st Unique Gifts.
This week i have avoided the lure of the internet in order to get myself organised for my first fair of the year.
For those of you who dont know me i began attending fairs about a year and a half ago with my best friend. Unfortunately, due to personal differences, we went our seperate ways just before Christmas and i made the decision in the New Year that i was going to start my own solo journey.
So today was the first fair for the newly formed CottonsAndDreams.
There were plenty of things to organise this week so on my day off from my "proper job"on Friday i took a trip round the shops to get final bits and pieces.
I found a lovely haberdashery stall on Northampton market and bought a lovely selection of buttons and a lovely string of embroidered coloured flowers.

Then off to The Bramble Patch for MORE fabric! They will know me by my first name soon!
In Wilkinsons i found these cool black fruit baskets and thought they would go well on my stall.
Also in Willkinsons some cream bowls for smaller items.

And after a lovely pub lunch with my mum i went home and organised myself into bag making mode!
I managed 4 more bags for the collection.

I finally crashed into my bed at 1am last night and up again at 7 this morning to finish little bits, pack and head off for The Benn Hall in Rugby town center.
It was a decent sized fair and it was good to see a few familiar faces.
I used some long boxes at the back of the table to give me a bit of height and was overall pleased with my first attempt at setting up the stall. I know it takes a while to get your desired layout sorted. The photo below doesnt really do it justice as it looks a bit cramped and slightly cluttered.

So how did i do?
Well i didnt make a million and was a bit disappointed that there wasnt a lot of interest in the bags but i DID sell quite a few of my fabric flower brooches and a really good selection of everything else plus an order for a bolster cushion so i am a very happy and very tired lady this evening!
And i have another fair on Tuesday at Blooms garden center so fingers crossed for more sales.
Thanks for taking the time to pop by and if you have the time check out what the other participants of Handmade Monday have been up to this week by visiting Wendys blog and clicking on the links.
Until next time.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Handmade Monday Week 6

Welcome once again to Handmade Monday organised by Wendy of 1stUniqueGifts.
This seems to be turning into a very popular weekly blog, which is great. Last week there were 25 participants, all with lovely stories to tell of their week of craft. It's lovely to read about what everyone else is up to.
So for me it was a chance to finish my bags and as i reported in an earlier post this week i am very proud of what i have achieved.
And here is the finished result!
Pretty in Pink.

Glorious green.

And accessories to match!!
Mobile phone cases and pen cases.

Looking forward to hearing your comments on the bags as next weekend is my first craft fair of the year and these bags will be making an appearance.
Also making an appearance will be fabric flower brooches.

And just to finish off, a photo of my red heart wreath that i listed on folksy yesterday as part of The March Hares challenge, listing an item a day.
No sales so far but still hoping. If you are interested in my wreath or any other products you can find me on Folksy under CottonsAndDreams.

Thanks so much for stopping by and if you want to see more of Handmade Monday bloggers, pop over to Wendys Blog.
Until Next Time.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Do You Ever Just Gaze Instead Of Craft?

Weird title i guess for a blog post but lately it's something i find myself doing more and more.
I have loads to get on with and yet i sit at the desk and daydream about everything i can make and how i can make it. And do nothing!
Today was my day off from work so my aim was to finish off the 2 bags i have been working on all week. It took me literally all day as half the time i just sat gazing and thinking of how i would like to finish them off.
I have come to the conclusion it's either an age thing or just an artistic thing!!!
But the bags finally got finished and i am sooooo proud of the result, they are beautiful. I wouldnt usually say that about my own product but this time i will make an exception.
But you will have to wait til Monday to see them as i plan to unveil them on Handmade Monday when i know they will get a good viewing.
Below is a small teaser for you of the flower on the front of the bag!

And here is my listing in The March Hares challenge on folksy for day 4. No sales for me as yet this week but here's hoping.
A yellow and white padded heart wreath. Would look lovely in any home as a wall decoration.

Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Folksy March Hares!

Well what a day!
Having spent a bit of time browsing thru the folksy forum last week i decided to join in the March listing club or The March Hares as it has been named!
The idea is to list an item each day thru March, view all others items and promote things that you like in order to create more sales for sellers.
The first day has been very successful with many sellers joining in and, i think, a few sales have been made.
So i decided to blog my 6 favourite items.
This was a chore in itself as i have never done a grid of 6 clickable photos before!
Having followed a template on a blog i have just done the mammoth task of teaching myself to use Html code. And it worked!!
So here are my favourite 6 items of today, tho i could have easily picked more. Click on the photo to take you to the sellers shop.

Ann Chandler Originals-Shoulder Bag Uniquely Yours-Handbag
Boy In Park-ACEO Chiyo-Necklace
Just Bev Soaps-Lollipop Soap Helen McCartney Designs-Card
If you, like me, have never done a clickable photo or grid you can read all about it here
And if you have a Folksy shop and want to join in the challenge pop along to the Folksy forum and join in.