Aches and Pains

This morning I did a 10 mile training walk for the Breast Cancer Moonwalk that I'm taking part in on 17th May. We just walked locally down country lanes (avoiding the rather large puddles) and up what is probably one of the steepest hills in Essex, North Hill. I was fine until I had to go up the hill and then I started to struggle. But, there won't be any hills like that on the actual event (more like lots of lovely shop windows to be looking in) so I'm not too worried that I found it a bit difficult. Don't forget, if you'd like to make a difference and help people with Breast Cancer, you can sponsor me (over there on the right).

I found out that Danbury runs a Farmer's and Craft market once a month in the village hall. They are on the look-out for new craft stall holders so I thought I'd check it out next Saturday before I decide whether to put my name down for a regular pitch. I've got the Spring Fair in the High Chelmer Shopping Centre in Chelmsford next Sunday, and that's my first event of the year, so fingers crossed I will do well. I've been manically making felt ball bracelets and sewing labels onto all of the bags, pencil cases and purses that I'm going to take along. I've also been approached to take a stall at a family day in June at an independent school in Kent. I'm mulling this over at the moment as it's a bit of a hike for me and I'm worried that any profit I make will be spent on petrol getting to and from the event. But, once again, it would be a great marketing tool and would get my name out there.

This last week has been very busy on the website front. Lots of orders coming through and also wholesale enquiries. I've also opened a shop on the European equivalent to Etsy - Dawanda. No sales as yet, but I think it's probably the same as Etsy in that it takes a while to get going. But it's free to list so isn't costing me anything.

My felted moneybox also got a lovely mention on Cuteable this week - thank you Lynsey !!

I've got my second meeting with the Essex Enterprise Agency on Wednesday next week and have to present my Business Plan (well, if you can call it a Business Plan - more like a load of numbers jotted down on a bit of paper that means something to me, but probably not a lot to anyone else !!) The poor man is going to wonder what on earth I've been doing, but hey - I'm a creative person, not an accountant and I work in a total muddle. As long as I'm happy that's all that counts (well, that's what I think anyway!)

These lovely felt necklaces will be added to my website over the weekend - they're a new line so I'm a bit undecided (and nervous) as to whether they'll sell or not. I'd love to know what you think though !! Also, a new felt kit - Ladybird Bags

And if you haven't wasted enough time reading this blog, why don't you check out this little tool ? It tells you how much your blog is worth in money terms !! Why on earth you would want to know this, I really don't know !! I can't believe it would ever equate into real money but it's one of those little things that everyone likes to check out !!

See you soon xx

Happy Easter !!

Hope you're all having a great Easter despite the horrid weather !

This is what I saw when I looked out of the window this morning ...

Unfortunately though there is no sun and it's that wet sort of snow that doesn't really stick to anything, so is useless for making snowmen, much to the children's disgust !

Yesterday should have been our Easter Egg hunt but once again, rain stopped play (for a while). After last year's debacle of the squirrels and magpies running off with the lovely sparkly wrapped chocolate eggs, I decided to tie ribbons to the trees, fences and anything else I could find. When we realised the sun was shining we quickly dragged out the wellies and went out into the garden on a ribbon hunt rather than an Easter Egg hunt. Despite it being freezing cold, everyone had a great time and were rewarded with felt goodie bags (sorry, I forgot to take a photo before I dished them out !!)

This is our Easter Tree. It's sitting in our dining room and received lots of lovely comments from our friends yesterday. It also doubles up as a display stand for my craft fairs (minus the eggs of course) and will get another outing in a couple of weeks time when I do the Spring Fair in Chelmsford.

While I think of it, I've had a new shipment of goodies from Nepal. This time, hair bobbles (blue or pink) and a new design of felt balls (all of which have been hand embroidered). All of these are on the website. I've also got some lovely felt necklaces (which I haven't had time to load on yet). I'll let you know when they're on.

The next 4 weeks will be rather manic because school has now broken up and my little man doesn't go back until 16th April (groan). Fortunately my little lady is still in nursery for 2 days a week, but I shall be going like the clappers trying to get things ready for the Spring Fair on the 6th April. Last night was spent sewing Blooming Felt labels onto all of the bags, purses and pencil cases.

And I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of spring flowers in our garden (taken before the snow came !)

See you soon !!

Sarah x

Business Plans

Yawn !!

I've been to see a business adviser at the Essex Enterprise Agency today. He has told me I need a Business Plan. And there was me thinking that I was playing at running a business and quite happily going along taking orders not worrying about income and expenditure etc. And now, everything seems to have got a bit serious and I've got to do Business Plans, register as self-employed with the Inland Revenue, keep proper accounts etc.

Now don't get me wrong, I know that all of these things come hand in hand with running a business, but I really am not the sort of person who is capable of doing all of these things. I'm so bad that I'm not allowed to have any sort of control over our household expenses (thank goodness for hubby's financial background) so how on earth am I going to manage with running a business? Oh, I don't know - I think I'll just go and have a read up on all of the other blogs and check out Flickr instead!

Sarah x

PS. Hope you all have a lovely Easter - we've got an Easter Egg Hunt here on Saturday for the children's friends - now that's something I am capable of organising. And I have to say thank you to Barbara in Florida for sending Mum to Target's to get all of the little goody bags !!

PPS. The hand-dyed silk strings are now on the website - check them out, they're gorgeous !!

WiRE Networking

On Monday night I attended my 2nd WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) meeting. I was very fortunate in that they had asked me to showcase some of my goodies.
The first half of the meeting was devoted to mini talks by 4 of the members about their businesses - all of which were very different and interesting.

We then moved onto the product showcases, which was my part of the evening. I had taken as many items as I could, including the needle felting kits, peg doll kits, felt pencil cases, purses, garlands, bags, balls, keyrings etc and explained a little bit about how I have sourced my products and my website etc. Unfortunately I didn't take any price lists or price my items up because I wasn't expecting to sell anything !! DURRRRR. But I did sell a few bits and bobs and everyone was so kind and said they thought my items were lovely. I gave out loads of my little business cards and everyone said they would take a look at my website too. I've also been asked if I would like to go back in October / November for a Christmas shopping evening, so I am very pleased with how it all went.

2 other ladies also showcased their products - one was a lady with silver jewellery that she imports from India and the other a lady who makes the most delicious Caribbean food. She very kindly bought in lots of tasters for us and had very little left at the end of the evening !

I also met a new member of the Group who designs and imports the most beautiful peruvian knitwear, all made from lovely soft alpaca wool.

This is the link to her website and I'm hoping to be in contact with her again very soon, as I feel we have a very similar customer base and could potentially help each other out quite a lot.

And do you remember way back towards the end of last year when I posted some pics of my winter hanging baskets and told you about the half barrels I had planted up with spring bulbs etc? Well, some of the bulbs in the half barrels have decided to open and this is the result - very pretty me thinks ! They certainly brighten up the front of the house.

Oh, and before I forget, I just wanted to let you know that I will be taking part in the Playtex Moonwalk on the 17th May this year. It's a walking marathon, overnight, around the streets of London. I will be walking with a team of friends in aid of Breast Cancer. If you could spare a few pennies to sponsor us, we would be really grateful. The details and link to my sponsorship page are over there on the right. Anything you can spare will be very gratefully received. Thank you.

Oh, Oh, Oh - I've just realised that the Queen of Felt has mentioned me on her Blog. Thank you Betz White - I'm honoured !!!!

Sarah x

11,500 Felt Balls !!

This is what 11,500 felt balls looks like !!

Well actually, it's 11,100 felt balls because I'm missing 400 of a particular colour (boo hoo). This evening will be spent loading them all on to the website for all of you lovely people to buy ! So don't all rush at once now - there's plenty to go around (I hope)

I also received these fantastic felt sheets - remember me telling you about these in a previous post? All 100% wool felt, handmade and luxuriously thick (sounds like an M&S advert !). None of your acrylic craft felt here !!

These will also be loaded onto the website either tonight (if I don't fall asleep) or if I do, then sometime over the weekend. They'll be for sale in colour sets (I think).

I've also devised some rather nifty packaging for the felt balls, so if you are kind enough to order some, this is how they will arrive (apologies for the poor photo).

And due to popular demand, I have signed up for the Charity Craft & Gift Fair in the High Chelmer Shopping Centre in Chelmsford on Sunday 6th April. It will be open from 9.30am to 4.30pm and if anyone lives close to Chelmsford and fancies coming along to say hello and take a look at my goodies in the flesh, then it would be lovely to see you.

While I think of it, now in stock are the Betz White "Felt so Good" felting books. This book is absolutely fantastic and has some beautiful projects and ideas (some requiring felt balls!).

Oh and another thing (sorry about this), if anyone was kind enough to sign up to the mailing list on my website (front / home page), would you mind doing it again please? For some reason the emails / details haven't been reaching me, so I haven't been able to add you to the list and I would hate for you to miss out on the special offers I will be running soon. Thanks

I'm off to list felt balls !

Have a lovely weekend

Sarah x

Happy Mother's Day !

Hope all you other Mum's have had a lovely day today and been spoiled.

I was treated to Breakfast in Bed by my 2 little monkees and then presented with a box set of Audrey Hepburn DVDs, a CD of 1980's 12" tracks and this most fabulous book !!

I was really excited when I opened this one because I am expecting a delivery of these books later this week and they'll be available for sale on my website. I can highly recommend it - if you want first dibs on one of these new arrivals, please email me and I'll start to make up a list.

On the website front, I have very sadly had to stop offering free postage. This is due to the fact that Royal Mail will soon be increasing their prices and it would mean increasing the cost of every item on the website which, I am sure, would put you all off buying my goodies. So, I've added a flat rate of £1.50 per order (still cheap) on UK deliveries, £3.50 to European locations, £5.50 to the USA, Canada & South America and £6.50 to everywhere else in the world. But you can still get free delivery on orders over £30 (so you'll just need to order one of the books and a few other bits and bobs and you're done !!) I really am sorry about this and hope it doesn't affect your decision to shop with me in the future.

On the felt ball front, DHL are charging an extortionate amount in shipping charges so I've had to resort to snail mail, but I've been informed that it takes anywhere between 4 and 7 days for mail to arrive from Nepal, so I'm hoping they will be here later this week - once again, many apologies.

Now .... my embellisher ! I've finally had a chance to play around with it today and this is what I came up with.

Egg cosies !!

I am slightly disappointed with the amount of needle punched holes that are visible, but hey, it was my first attempt and I'm hoping that future attempts will be a bit better !

Oh, and thank you to everyone who has encouraged me to do the charity event in Chelmsford's shopping centre in April. I shall be booking my pitch tomorrow !
Sarah x


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