Rain, Rain Go Away ..

I don't know about you, but I'm getting REALLY fed up with all this rain. I know it's good for the garden and that lots of rain hopefully means no hosepipe bans, but I'm getting just a bit bored of it all now.

Of course, the trouble with lots of rain means that I tend to stay indoors and although I should be busy restocking and starting to get my Christmas range organised, I tend to find myself "researching" lots of things on the net, which then means I get totally side-tracked and invariably end up buying lots of lovely things (particularly from fellow crafters and bloggers).
I just couldn't help myself the other day after reading Kim from Ragged Roses blog. She has got a fabulous talent for making "raggy" flowers and accessories and sells her gorgeous work through etsy. So after day-dreaming about how my new studio would look (lots of white to reflect the light) I just had to treat myself

AND I got a free gift too (unfortunately I can't seem to find the photo at the moment though - grrrrr !) Thank you so much Kim - they're both really lovely.

I also received a little note from my good friend Sarah at paper-and-string recently and enclosed was this

What a lovely idea. Thank you Sarah x

It never ceases to amaze me the wonderful talents crafters have and I'm always so jealous whenever I see something I absolutely love and wish that I was as talented as them. The trouble with me is that I can't just stick to one or two different crafts - I always want to try everything out and then think that maybe I could sell some of these different crafts and then I just can't keep up with everything !

I started out with my hand-stitched textile pictures (which is really my first love, but unfortunately not a big seller for some strange reason), and then moved on to making corsages and brooches from felt, then discovered needle-felting and so designed a range of felted accessories, and I have just come across another wonderful craft called Needle Punch. Basically, this involves using a special tool and working from the back of a piece of pre-printed fabric to create loops on the front, thus creating a beautiful picture, just like this

I desperately want to give this a go, but just haven't got the time. My "To Do" list is getting bigger by the minute as I'm thinking of adding a new range of "one off" pictures to my current range of textile pictures as well as a range of hand-stitched greetings cards. Arghhhh, I just wish someone would tell me to stop and concentrate on the one thing that will be the most popular. But it's sooooooooooo difficult.

We're off down to Cornwall on Wednesday to stay with the in-laws for a week and I can't wait to wander around all the lovely crafty shops in St Ives, Fowey, Padstow, Mousehole etc (and probably see lots of new crafts that I'd love to try out !!) I have mailed a few places to introduce myself and included photos of some of my work and asked if it would be possible to meet them with a view to them stocking some of my pieces. Tomorrow morning will be spent calling them up to see if they might be interested - fingers crossed !!!

So, I won't be blogging for a week or so, but when I get back I'll hopefully have lots of photos of the wonderful crafts I've seen down in Cornwall.

Have a good week or so xxxx

Haggle, Haggle, Haggle

Since Christmas I have been umming and ahhing about buying myself some new glasses. Last week I was in town and noticed that a number of the opticians had got "buy one pair, get a second pair free" offers on. So today I decided to do the rounds and see if I could get me a nice new pair of specs (well, I had had my old pair for nearly 5 years and wear them every single day as I just can't get on with contact lenses). After trying on numerous pairs, the best looking (and and probably the most expensive pair I could find) were these

BUT, when the woman told me the total price (including the lenses) I nearly fell over !! Now, call me tight if you like, but there was NO WAY I was going to pay the price she quoted me, and I told her so too !! Suddenly, as if by magic, she started saying things like "well, let me see what I can do on the price for you". After a lot of haggling I managed to get a massive £75 off the price !! YES, £75 !!!!!!! So, it just goes to prove, you can haggle on the high street and get money off !! And don't they look lovely ???? (the glasses - not me !!)

(sorry about the blurred picture - that's what happens when you try to take a photo of yourself in the mirror !)

I spoke with the lovely Robert from Mr and Mrs House today and he was really pleased with the scarf sample I sent him ... as he has now seen the real thing, I should be ok to show you a couple of pics (the bird will be on one end and the flowers on the other end of the scarf)

I will probably be going into production on these when I get back from Cornwall. Honestly, I just can't get used to having to work 2 seasons ahead on retail stuff ! I'm also working on a load of felted Christmas decorations ... so I'll be really fed up with Christmas by the time it arrives !

My lovely new Japanese craft book arrived today and I've spotted a couple of little designs I shall be using to add to my current range of textile pictures

Now, TUGGLE. Remember me telling you about this wonderful new retail site specifically selling items produced by Work at Home Mums? Well, it has finally gone live. I've been busy adding some of my items to the site and have lots more lined up. Why not take a look and see if there's anything you fancy on there - there are lots of lovely ideas by lots of lovely Work at Home Mums just like myself.

See you soon !!

Byeeeeeeee xx

General Rambling

Sorry I haven't posted before now, but I haven't had an awful lot to report lately.

Things have been plodding along here and I've been working on a new design for an internet retailer and putting together my contact list for Cornwall gift and interiors shops, so I sadly don't have any photos of my work to show you at the moment.

However, I have had a little ebay frenzy lately and as well as listing loads of Sam and Grace's old clothes, I have also been having a little bit of a spend-up. These arrived in the post this morning all the way from the US.

They are water-soluble pens which seem to cost an absolute fortune here, but buying them on ebay and having them shipped from the US is still cheaper ! Also, the rick rack - this will be used on the birdie t-shirts I am working on and I'm also hoping to do the same design on some bags, so it will definitely be used !! I'm also waiting for these beads to arrive.

These will be used on the latest project I'm working on (sorry, but I can't show you photos until the guy has decided whether he wants the items or not), and this fantastic Kaufman fabric which I use lots of, particularly on my "Name in a Frame" personalised pictures.

On the home front we have finally finished the children's playhouse. I have to say a massive thank you to my wonderful Mum & Dad who have slaved over this playhouse for hours on end. Can you believe this house is actually around 15 years old? We were very kindly offered it from a friend who had bought it 2nd-hand from one of her friends around 8 years ago. The previous owners to that had had it for a good 5-6 years before their children had outgrown it and decided to sell it. Apart from a couple of rotton planks and the roof needing to be re-felted, the house itself was in pretty good condition. Dad did all of the repairs and then Mum painted it all. After replacing the perspex in the windows and door and running up some lovely lime green and blue spotty curtains, the house is finally ready for its new occupants !! Sam & Grace ... welcome to Howe Green Cottage !!

I can't wait for the busy lizzies to start flowering in the little pots on the verandah - how homely it all looks !! The busy lizzies in my hanging baskets have loved the heavy downpours we've had over the last couple of days and are absolutely blooming !

Sadly, our roses didn't fare so well and we have piles of rose petals all over the place where they took such a hammering. I just hope they can hang on for a couple more days so that our guests at my Mum's 60th birthday BBQ on Sunday can see how beautiful they are (were !)



Nothing much to report

Hi there !

Well, from having a jam packed blog post last time, I am afraid to say that this post isn't very interesting. I've been having a bit of a rest, because the last couple of weeks have been pretty manic.

I've listed a few of my items on ebay as it was half price listing weekend (not that I'm a cheapskate or anything .... oh, ok, maybe I am !) I'm not really expecting to sell anything, but was hoping that it might be a bit of cheap advertising and drive people to both my website and my blog in the hope that they might think of me in the future when they need a few "different" gifts.

Yesterday I attended a craft fair at Cressing Temple Barns which is about 10 miles or so from where I live. It was a 2-day affair and I wanted to check it out because they are running another 2-dayer at the end of September which I was considering taking a stand at. However, after seeing how few stands there were (not to mention people), considering it is such a big venue, I was a bit disappointed and have decided not to bother. BUT, they also run a 2-dayer Christmas Food and Craft fair in November (I attended this event as a buyer last year and it was absolutely packed - over 2,500 people), so I'm thinking of enquiring about costs etc and hope to take a stand at that event. I reckon if I start making my christmas stuff now, I should have enough by then !!

I've added another little section to my blog - over there on the right - it's a section where I list some of the books that I either own (or wish I owned) and that give me lots of inspiration. Having said that, I've just bought this beautiful Japanese craft book from ebay and I can't wait for it to arrive - what's the betting it turns up when we're down in Cornwall ??!

Talking of Cornwall, I'm not sure if I mentioned it previously but I am hoping to do a mailshot to a number of upmarket gift shops and galleries down there in the hope that I can get a few appointments to see people and get them to stock some of my items. But, I'm having a bit of a nightmare getting the names of suitable shops etc, so this is a plea for help. If you can recommend any places you think might be worth contacting, do please let me know. I am ideally looking at St Ives, Padstow, Mevagissy, Falmouth, Mousehole areas, but am more than happy to consider others. You can email me at sarah@pictureitinstitches(dot)co(dot)uk. I do have a couple of other lovely bloggers who know the area, doing a bit of research for me and I truly thank them.
And now, in true Cornish fashion, I'm off to have a pasty !!

Orders, Adverts & Networking

Remember me telling you about the advert I was placing in Crafts Beautiful magazine? Well, it's there ! Look ....top right hand corner !! Fame at last !

I have to admit it hasn't been particularly successful so far (just a couple of enquiries) ... but hey it's only been out a week, and I'm hopeful that people will be inspired by the needle-felting article on the previous page and want to have a go themselves so will be flocking to my site in their hoards to buy supplies and kits to have a go !

I sent off my little shipment to All the Fun of the Fair on Monday - am waiting to hear whether it arrived yet and what they think of the hair clips and corsages. I did take a picture of the whole order looking all nice in the tissue paper in the box, but I can't find it - sorry (but it did look nice !)

Today I've been chatting with www.mrandmrshouse.co.uk about the t-shirt sample I've created for him. Here's a sneaky peek (sshhhh - don't tell him I've shown you !)

I'm also working on some felt scarves for him too. If the t-shirts are popular, I will be creating a different range for sale through my own website and shall be expecting you all to buy one !!!

I've also been busy uploading lots of my products to the new Tuggle website, which should hopefully go live sometime next week. If you're not aware, Tuggle is a lovely site where you can buy all sort of goodies made by work at home mums like myself. I'll let you know when it goes live.

And now a bit of plugging for some blog friends of mine:

Sara from All about Eden is doing a craft fair up in Derbyshire this weekend and has very kindly offered to place some of my fliers on her table - so if you're up in her neck of the woods, do please pop along and see her - she is a very talented lady who creates the most gorgeous textile gifts.

And Samantha from Plump Pudding is being extremely brave and is holding an open house event this weekend. She's over in the Vale of Glamorgan and, like Sara, creates the most beautiful textile items. She is very nervous about the whole thing, but I'm sure it will be a great success. Check out her blog for more details and if you do live near her, pop in for some tea and home-made cake !!

Good Luck to both you of !!!

And, as I've been so busy recently, my weeny little work space has turned into the desk from hell with paperwork all over the place so I just HAD to treat myself to some lovely folders

- Laura Ashley I thank you !

Byeeeeeeeee xx

Summer's Here !

Yes .... it's official. Summer has arrived at our house. The cover came off the pool, the boiler went on and Sam jumped in !! Sadly, as soon as he jumped in he got straight back out again because the temperature in the pool wasn't quite up to what it should have been, so it was a bit of a shock to the poor little thing !

This morning I hot-footed it over to Burnham-on-Crouch as there was a Craft Jumble in aid of the Essex Air Ambulance. I managed to buy 3 beautiful patchwork and applique books and absolutely loads of fabric all for £9. What a bargain ! On the way back I stopped off at a lovely little farm shop to buy some veg and strawberries for lunch tomorrow and was amazed when I walked into the shop (I hadn't been there before) to find it stuffed full of fresh local organic produce including meat and dairy products. I bought the most delicious beef and horse-radish sausages which we had for tea this evening. I shall definitely be paying them a visit again in the near future.

I then met up with Paul and the children for lunch at Pizza Hut and afterwards we popped into PC World so that we could buy a lovely new printer for me !! I can't believe how much smaller, quieter and quicker than the old one it is - I think Paul's a bit cross because he's got to have the old one in his office now !

This afternoon was spent cutting the grass (again !) and pruning roses.

And I just wanted to show you a picture of my beautiful new shoes (sorry - I'm sad, I know !) But they have been hand-embroidered and I just HAD to have them ! I very rarely wear shoes with heels, especially since I've had the children, but Paul and I are off to the races at Newmarket in July (a corporate bash with his work), so I needed to buy something reasonably posh to wear and I bought a lovely black and white retro print dress whilst we were in the US and just needed a pair of shoes to go with it ... how nice are these??

Enjoy the sun and the rest of your weekend !



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