The Little Experience - Owl Review...

We had a 'House Day' today - staying in the Casa, mooching, cooking, cleaning (crafting!) and LittleFish wanted to sew her Owl Kit that was a birthday gift... It is by "The Little Experience"
Naturally we scrapped the instructions and use the sewing machine - you could easily sew by hand but my little one is just not that patient.
The OWLS are fabulous darling!
The printed pieces are just darling and we enjoyed it.
My criticism of the kits would be:
Nowhere near enough stuffing (good job i have a bit in the studio....)
Naturally - i would have added buttons to embellish. The kit could do with a few nice embellishments to add onto the Owls afterward.

These were our babies stuck outside in the ivy (photo: courtesy of the 6yr old) but this wasn't enough for my girl. We have since had to make nests, a perch, some leaves.... to make them feel at home...
AAaaahh crafty bliss :)
Owls on Branchs and polka dot felt leaves!
Twiiiitttt Twwwwhhhoooo....

Nanna's Sewing Box

I had every intention of clearing through my Nanna's Sewing Box and making room for some of my things...
But i can't bear to do it.
It's not as if everything is 'vintage' - she was a Thoroughly Modern Millie. I just love to finger through her life. Her old buttons. The scissors she diligently used. Old Clothes labels.
My Nanna was a cross-stitcher. She loved birds and animals and her garden. She stitched until she was so blind it became impossible. I love her for all that tenacity.
And look! i even found the pattern she used to stitch my awesome Christmas Tree picture. This is so precious to me. The picture is beautiful.
Aaahhh, you know how it is. Still missing her in gentle waves.
Handmade items and things she held, bring so many more welcome memories
than photographs and financial legacies.
maybe i'll clear the Sewing Box next month.....?

My Crafty Friend...

To call her 'Crafty' is maybe an injustice. I am a Crafter - she is a very creative person with a Degree in Textiles and a vast experience / knowledge in sewing stuffs. I believe there is a difference there!
Anyway, the SmallFish and I were round at her home for a 'Play Date' last week. I wish i had the nerve to photograph her whole house as it was really inspiring. But i managed to take a few photos whilst she popped out to see the EggMan...
This is a huge gorgeous buttony mirror - it must have taken an AGE to finish! and her small 2 yr old keeps trying to pick the buttons off, which must be very satisfying for him but terribly annoying for her....

I might well have a try at this myself. I am going to keep an eye open at the Local Tip and Car Boots for a good sized mirror. I like the choice of colours as i would have been inclined to make mine much brighter but i think i like the subtle colours here better.

A giant floor cushion in Laura Ashley fabrics and others. Huge semi-circle tabs hanging down the edge sem. I love these tabs and i am even more determined now to finish my Smallfish's quilt.

And this COOL light pull in the bathroom. Gorgeous enough to wear. These were my last Big Felt Balls that my Crafty Friend purchased and i am waiting excitiedly for the new shipment so i can have a play with bright balls and buttons.

Contrary to what some people might think - i don't live in my own 'self-obsessed bubble' where I AM the first and last word in Crafts. On the contrary. I see inspirational people and projects all around me. I feel envious and inspired and intrigued at other peoples talents and feel i am not alone in my obsession with all things crafty.
Dear chum: Thankyou for trusting me enough to lend me your Selvedge Magazines. You know i will treat them as carefully as my dog  xxx

Running a Craft Workshop for Children

There are a million and one considerations and 'To Do's' before running a craft workshop for children.  I might even write a book on it all one day.... But, chances are, if you are considering this in the first place - you have a keen idea of what is involved anyway.
Here are some random tips that i use in my Craft Workshops:
1. Have everything set up the night before if possible. That way you can make a list of all the things you have forgotten to bring down with you.
2. It is a proven fact, time after time - children LOVE to craft with junk. If i bought nothing to the workshop but the contents of recycling tubs, sticky stuff and paints.... the children would be occupied for up to 2 hours. Pictured here is an army of 'Actimel' bottles with fluffy heads i stuck on the night before. Yes i started collecting them weeeeeks before. And Yes, my house is always full of clutter.
3. If you have a specific project in mind - adults and children really like to see an example of what you had in mind. Even if they go off on their own tangent and even when a 4 year old makes something amazing and makes yours look very inferior...they still like a visual aid to begin with.
4. It is a good idea to have a range of sticky stuffs. We do use good strong glue (not cheapo PVA) but also lots of sticky-backed tape which is much quicker and avoids that whole "bits falling off whilst children walk home" kind of scenario. You can take a hairdryer along - adults only and all that - to help quicken the drying of paints and gluey projects.

5. 2 hours is ample time for a workshop. I personally wouldn't go any longer unless the children are older - like young Teens, you know.
6. If you have a big enough hall - it is a good idea to separate the craft projects out so each table has exactly what it needs. If you are a group of adults / parents running this together then you could take responsibility for one table / activity each. Then you can be sure the children have what they need to hand.
7. There is no need to spend a great deal of money on crafty bits. Children are happy with scraps and bits and collected treasures. Wrappers from Easter Eggs and old Christmas cards. Truly, children have way more imagination than adults. Give them good quality glues and paints and scissors and they are well on their way.

8. Try not to be an adult that moans about the sticky mess their child wants to bring home (that includes myself and the giant dog bed my daughter made). Tell children it is fantastic. Let them tell you all the details of their amazing person / truck / atomic flower gun they just made, because they have usually put a great deal of thought into it. Keep for a few days at least before shuffling it outside on bin day.
Children get a massive amount of self-esteem, satisfaction, contentment, excitement out of crazy craft projects.
I feel totally privaliged when they choose to come along and craft with me. I thank them all for making my day so great and inspiring me xxx

CRAFT CAFE - this Thursday...

Have I left it a little late to remind families? - THIS THURSDAY IS THE CRAFT CAFE!!
Tables open at 10 am and finish at 12pm, regardless of how late or early you arrive.

The Hall is on the Warwick Road in Upper Boddington, NN12 postcode. It the last building on your RIGHT as you exit the village if you come in from Byfield.
If you are coming in from Banbury, it is the first building on your LEFT.
£4.50 per child Ages 3 - 13yrs and we will be doing cutting and sticking with fabric and plant pots and some sewing Lavender Bags.... stuff like that...
See you Thursday XXX

Fun Fair.... MaKe! Tips on selling.

That's my mum! on my stall. It was the Bank Holiday "MaKe" Craft Fair at Wolverton.
The venue is fantastic and i love going there as a stall holder. As ever, there was plenty of colour, fabric, felt and buttons.... the variety of stalls was good and the standard of work was high.
I know i have written 'Tips for Craft stalls' in the past. i am no expert and don't want to come across as terribly preachy or smug. Craft Stalls are hard work and it is very scary putting yourself and your goods out on display. Some people can be cruel and dismissive of your work (how rude are they?) but many people truly 'get handmade' and are there to support you.
THIS fair was particularly hard in some ways. It was after Easter (and nowhere near Christmas!) the school holidays with families gone away... so getting customers to shop was always going to be more of a worry. A few tips for this sort of fair...
1. It has become a regular fair - so any fair that you attend on a regular basis is completely to your advantage.
2. Blog the fair, blog the date (get the date right!? - iam guilty of being rubbish) and let everyone know what you will be selling.
3. Download the poster that the organiser sends you and ADVERTISE the fair yourself too.
4. Email local customers and tell them What fair is on, what they can expect to see and that you will be there.
5. If it is a more expensive fair, and your table fee was £30.00 - to my mind i would need to have, at minimum, £300.00 worth of stock to sell. Ideally, £600.00 That seem alot to you? It is, and i had maybe £450.00 of stock with me, so i need to heed my own lesson.

Jane Charles' amazing fabric and felt display tree - i love her egg box on the stand too.
Lots of quirky display ideas x
A very very pretty lady sat opposite me with a great table cloth and beautiful hair!
What else can i say about selling at Fairs that hasn't already been said? not much, so i'll just repeat the obvious... and trust me, i kick myself each time i forget these things too:
1. A variety of items is best, with a variety of prices from 0.50p to £15.00 personally, i don't sell much that has a price tag over £15.00 at a craft fair. Other people might have a higher maximum tag.
2. Cards with website address' to hand out - I have had customers email me BEFORE i have even got home from the fair wanting X,Y,Z ordered.
3. Talk to customers and browsers about crafting and techniques... they are the stall holders that took money at this fair.
4. Does your display POP OUT from the entrance to the fair? Can people see you from further away? is there good height to your display? WHAT is it they will remember when they walk away? Because being remembered is the key to building up a base of local customers who will want to return to your stall at the next fair.
5. Ask yourself the serious question - Are you selling things that people *want* to buy? or are you at the 'right' venue for your products customer base?
And - a big ole wave to lots of people who i saw at the fair - the lady in the YUMMY dress who has a daughter the same name as mine. And her Mother-in-Law in that fantastic handmade jacket.
Hello the very pretty lady with 3 daughters whose husband talked about buttons with us.
Helloooo Emma-Louise and the lady with you who were there for crafty supplies and i didn't have much chance to chat properly.
HHHHeeeeELLllOOO girls who made felty bracelets - and their great mums :)
Helllooo Melanie who shopped (thankU) and cycled over with her poorly son.
and HI! to the lady who is a local teacher and came with her mum and has come to see me a few times now...
StitchyWoo & Jess
(i don't want to sound like i am at the Oscars here just THANKS for coming, all crafters appreciate the support xxx)


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