Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Where's my festive feeling?

I'm normally a big fan of Christmas, I love the lights, the food, the decorations, seeing family and friends, having time to do some cooking, eating and drinking too much and the list could go on and on. But this year I just want to curl up on my sofa and sleep and not have any contact with the world for a least a week!! So I suppose I am still looking forward to it, but in my own way.

I started off the month feeling very festive and had some big festive plans. But then we had the burst pipe and then last week I was ill up with some kind of stomach bug and only had my first proper meal in 6 days last night. Its all kind of killed my festive feeling. I am sure when I finish work tomorrow I will rediscover some of my missing festive feeling, and I think I need to plan some things to get me in the mood. But at the moment its well and truly gone.

Monday, 13 December 2010


I had big plans for last week. I was hoping to take lots of product shots and list them on Folksy (better late then never), I was going to do a Christmas Giveaway and was generally going to get myself sorted and organised.

Unfortunately things went pear shaped again on Wednesday. We got a call from our lovely neighbour saying there was water pouring out of our roof. We got home to find some of the kitchen ceiling on the floor, water pouring into the living room and general the house in very wet chaos.

After contacting about 8 plumbers we managed to get hold of someone who could come round. It turned out to be a bust pipe. The plumber was really puzzled why it had happened as our pipes are lagged and the heating had been on a lot and nothing else seemed to be frozen.

So then the clean up began. Every room bar one was effected to various degree's so we called in back up in the form of my wonderful mum and dad.

The spare room got the worst of it, we had to pull up the carpet as it was completely soaking and the fitted wardrobe got a good soaking, all the wood has split or swollen and none of the doors will close. Unfortunately the wardrobe contained our entire selection of clothes, shoes, towels bedding etc... and almost everything got a good soaking. So I am currently working through about 20 bin bags of washing and my mum took several back with her too (bless her). All my shoes were full of water and I currently only have one dry pair. They are so wet I can't see them ever drying.

Some of the ceiling came down in the kitchen and water got into every kitchen cupboard and draw so everything has to be cleaned.

We were quite lucky in the living room as we have varnished hard wood floors and leather sofa's so have been able to cleaning up most of the mess, things are still drying out, but it doesn't seem too bad considering.

After a few days of hard work cleaning up, things aren't looking too bad (especially considering the amount of water we had pouring into the house). We are both trying to look on the positive side and things could have been much worse. I am still working my way through a massive pile of washing and things are a bit damp. We still have some things to sort, but we are getting there. I think most of the house will need redecorating, carpets and rugs replacing etc... so it will be a while before we are back to normal, but it just one of those of things.

Now I have the fun task of sorting out insurance, which is already proving very stressful and so far I am very disappointed with the service I am getting from the building insurance and I think it may be a hard slog to get anything sorted. Having said that the contents people seem much better.
I am just hoping to next cold spell doesn't last too long as I am so scared of it happening again!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Another strange one

This weekend I shared a stall with Pinnikity at the Contemporary Craft Fair at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. After a very disappointing fair the weekend before we were both hoping this would be a good one. But unfortunately sales were few and far between, we both sold a few things, but only really enough to cover costs, which was a bit disappointing.

Having said all of that in many ways it was a really good event. It was really well organised. (My day job is an events producer, so I do like and appreciate a well organised event!). The booking procedure, regular updates throughout the year, exhibitor manual sent out before the event, were all really good. Then onsite there were people directing you to loading bays, where there were trolleys available and exhibitor parking was close by, all of this made setting up and taking down really easy. All the stands were clearly labelled, and room plans were available at the door so you could see where to go. The organisers had also done a really good job with getting visitors, it was really busy, especially in the morning, but was it got a bit quiet in the afternoon. So I really can't fault the event itself. Its just shame people didn't seem to be spending any money. Many other stall holders were saying the same thing.

So that's all my Christmas Fairs done for the year. I think next year I will be choosing what I do more carefully and may just do a couple of smaller local fairs, as its easier the cover cost and doesn't matter so much if you don't so well. I also hope that by next year, people may be happier to get their purses out again, but that seem unlikely.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Contemporary Craft Shopping Experience

On Sunday (5th December) I am sharing a stall with Pinnikity at the Contemporary Craft Shopping Experience, at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre.

I am really looking forward to this event and have my fingers crossed that its going to be better than last weekend. All the stalls are selling handmade goodies and I believe there are around 100 makers attending. The organisers have tried to get a good mix of crafts and looking at the website there seems to be a really nice selection. Sounds like it may be a great place for some more Christmas shopping. I am just hoping that its not effected by the weather too much.

Here is a photo of my snowy garden, not bad for city snow!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Hot Spicy Apple Juice

Thanks for all your lovely comments about my craft fair 'experience' at the weekend, really appreciate everyone's encouragement and its really helpful to hear other experiences.

Another success story from the weekend, was Hot Spicy Apple Juice. I spend Saturday looking rather longingly at people drinking mulled wine. And thought it would be great to have a non alcoholic version. So on Saturday night I went home and made some Hot Spicy Apple Juice, it was loosely based on a recipe for mulled cider by Sarah Raven, which is also very yummy.

The recipe is roughly as follows:

Hot Spicy Apple Juice

2 litres of apple juice.
2 apples, sliced
2 oranges sliced
Lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
About 2 tables spoons of brown sugar, you may want to do this taste.
1 tsp of mixed spice.

Bung everything in a large pan and gently simmer for an hour, then drain and drink. I re-heated the next morning and put in a flask and it was great.

I think this may become my tipple this Christmas.

Monday, 29 November 2010

More about the weekend....

Here are some more photo's from the weekend. Our stall was in a stable, so we were fairly limited to space, although I think we managed to make the most of what we had. It got a bit busy when people were looking, so we had to lurk nearby and this meant standing all day.

I have wondered if people may have looked or brought more if they didn't have to walk into the stall, I suppose its easier to casually browse at a table, but I doubt it made that much difference.

Here is Pinnikity's version of events!

I suppose the good news is I don't need to make anything for the fair this weekend, (although if I get time I may make a couple more hot water bottles, but waiting for a fibre delivery first). This means I can start thinking about making some things for Christmas or for me, which is quite nice. First project will be making my niece a Christmas stocking for her first Christmas, which I
am hoping she can keep for a few years.

I also need to find some time in daylight to take some product photo's, I have lots of draught excluders, door stops, Christmas cards, tea cosies etc... to list. I think its maybe a bit late for Christmas, but seems silly not to list them.

The curse of the craft fair continues.....

This weekend I shared a stall with my friend Nikki at the craft fair at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire. I try not to go to a craft fair with too many expectations as you never quite know how the day is going to go. But I think I was fairly hopefully that it was going to be a good one, as it was at a National Trust property, last year they had over 5,000 visitors, the stall fee was much more than I would normally pay, it was a two day event and its Christmas shopping time. So I think I was hoping we would do ok.

We woke up on Saturday to snow, although I am a fan of snow and still get excited by it, I wished it could have waited a few days. We managed to get to Kedleston Hall without too many problems although we did have a little incident trying to turn round in front of the hall and got a little stuck. But the hall and grounds looked beautiful and it all felt very christmassy.

Our stall was in the stable block and although it was very cold at least we weren't outside like some people. Saturday seemed very quiet, but I still sold a few a bits. I presume the snow put quite a few people off. So we went home on Saturday trying to remain positive and hoping Sunday would be better. When we arrived on Sunday and were relived to see that the roads were much better. But Sunday was so strange, its was really busy, but only sold one thing! I know many of the other stall holders were having similar experiences, but that doesn't really help.

I am experienced enough to know that not every craft fair will be a success, but I was thoroughly disappointed and it does make you questions your products, packaging, how you have displayed everything and if you are actually good enough.

But on a more positive note, I was really happy with our stall and personally thought it looked great and I had a really good laugh and it was lovely spending a weekend with a friend I don't get to see too much. So it wasn't all bad!

I have also been thinking maybe I need to choose the fairs that I do more carefully, but until you do it you never know what its going to be like, but I think in future I will try and stick to more contemporary fairs, where everything on sale is handmade. It does bug me when something is described as a craft fair, but half the things on sale are not handmade or have been brought it (there was someone selling Cath Kidston products!)

We're doing another one on the Sunday 5th December at the Warwick Exhibition Centre, I'm trying to go with limited expectation, but I have my fingers crossed that it will be a better experience for both of us, I think we both need a bit of a boost.

*I have some better stall photo's which I will show later in the week, these were just taken on my phone.

Friday, 26 November 2010

I feel exhausted today, its the first time in about a month that I have done a full week at work and I'm just not used to it! Its our quiet time of year, which always seems to make me feel more tired and makes the days go slow.

But on a positive note I am starting to feel more myself and really in the mood to get creating (better late than never!). I have made some Christmas Cards this week, which you can see a sneeky peak of here. I have 6 designs and they are mounted on brown recycled cards, I hope to take some photo's at the weekend.

I feel a bit late with everything this year, I have loads of things I want to photograph and put in my Folksy shop, but feel I have probably missed the boat for this Christmas. Oh well its just been one of those years, must try harder next year!

Kedleston Hall Christmas Craft Fair

17 & 28 November - 11am - 3pm

I am sharing a stall with Pinnikity this weekend, we're in the stable block so I'll be wrapping up warm, but I am really looking forward to it. Come and say hello if your in the area.

Enjoy an opportunity to buy Christmas presents with a difference with a selection of Craft stalls from around Derbyshire located in our stable yard and Caesars Hall. Listen to traditional barrel organ playing Christmas tunes and see crafts being made. Free bus service from Derby bus station every hour leaving at 10:30,11:30,12:30 & 13:30. Return bus service from Kedleston Hall leaving at 12:00,13:00,14:00,15:00 & 16:00.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


I seem to be doomed with craft fairs this year. Was meant to be doing one at the weekend, but unfortunately I had to pull out at the last minute. I was absolutely gutted as its normally a really good one and a good laugh too, but sometimes real life has to take priority and this was one of those times.

I am doing another fair this weekend and am keeping my fingers crossed that I not only make it, that I also sell some things too!

With a bit of luck you will find me at The Craft Fair at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th November, if open between 11am - 3pm. You can find out more about it here. I am sharing a stall with Pinnikity, who makes gorgeous aprons, amongst other things, we'll be in the stable block.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Sherwood Contemporary Craft Makers Market

At the moment I am busy preparing for for The Sherwood Contemporary Craft Makers Market. I feel a little under prepared due to one thing and another, but I am hoping things will come together.

Its being held on Saturday 20th November at The Place in Sherwood, Nottingham, which is just off Mansfield Road and is open 10am - 4pm. Its a really good fair with a great selection of local makers and is always good fun and nice to catch up with some other makers who I haven't seen for a while. So if you are in the area pop by, its a great place for some Christmas Shopping.

Monday, 1 November 2010

One Style

I know now is not the time to think about the direction of my work too much. But it has been playing on my mind slightly, that I may have quite a random selection of work when I display everything together at my first craft fair of the season in a couple of weeks.

I think I can currently slot my work into 3 'collections' Pebbles, Felt Flowers and then my appliqué pieces. I suppose I am just not sure they all work fit together and look like they are made by the same person. Is this even that important? I am also not sure if I should display collections together or mix everything up?

To be honest I think I probably just need to have a play and see what looks best and not worry about it, but sometimes I think it would be nice to have just one style, but then I would probably get bored!

At last something to see

I am very pleased to say that this weekend I actually made some things. I probably didn't get as much done as I had hoped, but I am still fairly pleased and it felt good to be creating again.

I started off on Saturday with a felt making session. The felt will eventually turn into hotwater bottle covers. I love feltmaking but it always takes longer than you think, so I need to have another good session or two.

I then finished up a batch of tea cosies, followed by starting some door stops, which are similar to my draft excluder's (thanks for Ellie at From the Wilde for the idea), they are not quite finished yet, but are very cute.

My first fair is on the 20 November, at The Place in Sherwood, Nottingham, it has a wonderful selection of local makers and is always really enjoyable. I just need some more making sessions first!

Thursday, 28 October 2010


I actually managed to spend an hour on my sewing machine last night. It may not sound like much, but at the moment this is a major achievement! I enjoyed it too.

I am trying to be more organised and to have more of a system to the way I work, I am hoping this will save a bit of time. So the other day I spend some time cutting out work, I cut out about 10 tea cosies and 10 door stops. I started to add machine embroidery yesterday and after that they will be sewn together. I can see why it makes sense to work like this, as it does defiantly save time, but its perhaps not the most satisfying way to work as it takes much longer to see finished pieces.
Somehow I have managed to re-claim this weekend, so I no longer have any plans. So I am hoping to have a really good sewing session. I know with the fast approaching Christmas craft fair season I need to get moving and I am sure a couple of good session will make me feel better about everything and help find my missing productivity.

I also promise to take some new photo's at the weekend.

Monday, 25 October 2010


This weekend I met up with some friends in Manchester and went to Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. I really enjoyed it and it was lovely to be able to have a good look around. The fair was huge and we were all exhausted at the end, too much eye candy for one session!

These were some of my favourite things:

Lynsey Walters -I love her bright wool jewellery, I was very tempted to buy something, but just couldn't decide what I liked best as its all so gorgeous.

Sarah Thirlwell - I loved these vases, they looked so beautiful with the light behind them.

Maxine Sutton - I really liked the combination of print and embroidery with bold colours.

Ruth Green - Lovely illustrations and print. Have put a link to her NOTHS shop as I couldn't seem to get onto her website. She has so many lovely prints.
There were loads of other beautiful things by some wonderful makers, (too many to list, so maybe I will do a part 2).

So it was a lovely weekend and great to catch up with some friends who I sadly don't see as often as I would like, but another weekend has gone by without me making a thing. I really need to pull myself together and get making and I am seriously running out of time now! Eeek!

Monday, 18 October 2010


I am really struggling at the moment, I have been feeling a bit under the weather and very tired, so where I would normally be coming home from work and spend a few hours making things I just don't seem to have the energy at the moment. I am very conscious that its not long until my first craft fair of the Christmas season, so I had hoped to get lots done this weekend, as I think it was my last free weekend until the middle of December. But a combination of no energy, lots of house stuff to do and visitors, meant I just didn't get round to it.

So I am starting to worry slightly now. Normally this is good, as I seem to produce more under pressure and I will do simple things, like do an hour before work and take some sewing to do during my lunch, but I just don't seem to have the energy. I am thinking I may see if I have any holiday left and take a couple of days off. I am sure when I get started things will start to flow and I will probably feel much better, but right now my perfect day off would be to curl up in bed and sleep all day!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Just Wrong

I am currently on day of 9 of working 12 days without a day off, not that I am counting and today I am feeling very tired. I have been working long hours staying in a horrible hotel for a few days, I like my own bed!! But I am so looking forward to to weekend and hope to get lots of sewing done. It feel likes ages since I have made some andI can't wait to get started.

A few weeks ago I decided to have a go at making some stitch and burn Christmas decorations. I really enjoying making my brooches and hoped that would transfer well to decorations. Sadly I was wrong! I am not sure if its just the colours or something more, they also took ages as well. So I think this idea is going to be put away for this year, but I may try again next year as I think it could work.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

No idea

I was asked today by someone when my Christmas cards will be finished as her sister in Australia wants some! That is of course great, but also makes me go eeek!

I have been really struggling with ideas for Christmas Cards this year. I am working on some felt tree's similar to the decoratutions I have made, I have a pile made up and they just need attaching to cards and deciding if they need some kind of back ground.

But I also like to make Christmas cards that are quicker to produce, as I think people don't tent to spend as much on Christmas cards as they do on normal cards, so I like to do some more costs effective options as my felt christmas tree's do take a while to make.
The last few years this has involved lino printed cards and printed cards based on some of my illustrations. I try and do something different each year, but this year I am struggling I am sure something will come to me and normally a little pressure helps.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Standard Lamp

For a while I have been looking for a traditional style wooden standard lamp. I live in a 1930's house and have a wood panelled hall way featuring some gorgeous flying ducks, so I thought it would look good.
I finally found one in a charity shop the other week and swiftly set about re-vamping the shade. I choose some gorgeous Anna Marie Horner fabric (Baby Bouquet Meadow) from her Little Folks Collections. Its a lovely soft fabric and think I will be getting some more as it feels so nice and is probably slightly wasted on a lampshade.

As the fabric is quite thin I decided to keep the fabric of the original white shade and cover over it. I created a template of one of the shade panels, then cut out the 8 fabric panels with a 1cm or so seam allowance and then sewed them all together.

I then got my trusty glue gun and glue the top and bottom of the cover to the shade. I then attached turquoise ribbon to the top, turquoise pom pom fringe to the bottom and added a flower.

I must say it was surprisingly easy and it all fitted together really well. I don't get chance to make things for myself very often, so its a nice feeling when I do,

Monday, 27 September 2010

Production Line

I can't believe its almost October already, its so scary as I am running out of weekends before Christmas fair season, so this weekend, I started a bit of a draught excluder can't believe its almost October already, its so scary as I am running out of weekends before Christmas fair season, so this weekend, I started a bit of a draught excluder production line. I wasn't sure if I should make any of these, as they don't really go with my new work, but they were my biggest seller last years and they are fun to make, so I thought why not. I now have this pile waiting to be stuffed and to have eyes added. I can't wait to see them all together.

Friday, 24 September 2010

From The Wilde

I have some very exciting news. I am now selling some of my work through From The Wilde. If you have not seen this site you should certainly check it out as its full of some wonderful things and I feel really proud to be part of something so lovely.

I only have a few items listed at the moment as I am still working on my photo's, but I hope this will be added to over the next week or so. Here is the link to my work.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

My Dream Dress

I am a big fan of Orla Kiely, I love her prints and I am lucky enough to own a few of bits. I should really stop looking at her website as its too much temptation, but the other day I saw this dress and have fallen completely in love with it. Its absolutely gorgeous. I could never afford it, but if I win the lottery this weekend, I'm getting one!!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Gotta speed it up and then slow it down

After a really productive few weeks, things have slowed up again. This is mostly due to life getting in the way and being busy with other things. But this week I am determined to get productive again and start getting some stock together ready for Christmas Fairs etc..

I have also signed up to sell with two online shops, but I will tell you more about this soon as nothing has been listed yet. First I need to take some better photographs of some of my work.

I know I have mentioned before that this is something I struggle with, but at the moment I have hit a bit of a brick wall and can't seem to get the type of shots I want. Part of this is whenever I seem to have some time available, its always too dark and the photo's are rubbish. Then its the setting. I ideally want some lifestyle type shots, so want to take photo's of my cushions in situation. I am finding this a bit tricky as all my chairs seem to be too light or dark or patterned, or not against a plain way and I can't seem to find the right place in my house. I am also struggling with making the cushion the main focus, but still having it in a setting. So I need to have yet another try, so I am hoping for early evening sunshine this week!

And on a rather exciting note, I have been featured on this lovely blog. http://charlottehupfieldceramics.blogspot.com