Thursday, 23 June 2011

Good news, bad news...

OK, so not really bad news, and it's all mixed in with the good news, so here goes.

Firstly, in the last couple of weeks I have had two shows at Morley Town Hall.  I think maybe Morley isn't quite the audience for my products.  In two shows, so, what 9 hours?, I made a grand total of 4 sales.  The most recent show, on 18 June, I made absolutely none at all!  It didn't help matters that there was a demonstration on the steps of the town hall, so no-one could actually get into the building!  It was a bit disheartening, but hey ho, you win some you lose some I suppose.

Secondly, I have been offered a stand at Handmade At The Corn Exchange!! It's a whole weekend - 2 and 3 July - right in the centre of Leeds, at the Corn Exchange funnily enough, and I'M SOOOO EXCITED!!  I've been trying to get a stand at one of these shows for ages!  Hope to see you all there!!

Thirdly, this is goodbye to this particular blog, it's been short but sweet, and it's been fun.  I will be closing down this page because...

TA DAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to!! Yes, my very own website!  I'm excited about it! Please do take a peek!  It's the first time I've ever done this, so please do let me know any improvements or suggestions!  All my blog updates will be done through the new website from now on so please update your RSS subscriptions.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Ilkley... And Beyond!

Last Saturday found me up and about at an absurdly early hour for a weekend.  The things I do for my art...  But a chilled-out train ride later and I arrived in Ilkley.  It's a very cute little town.  Almost reminded me of the Cotswolds, for you southern reader-types.  Setting up my table on my own was easier than I thought it would be.  I was half expecting Jo (the organising lady) to send a rescue party for me as I got lost under my enormous table cloth.  The problems of being a bit wee, eh?


The awesome Katherine came to help later in the day and brought some yummy sarnies for lunch, and helped out with the tons of sales.  The picture pendants and earrings were very popular again, but I sold a lot more semi precious items this time around.  I also took a few commissions!!

There were some awesome artists there as well, so I had a lovely time scoping out their tables.  Teazle Handmade Handbags were gorgeous.  Her table was right opposite mine, and I was eyeing up this but in a fabulous teal/turquoise colour.  I had to stop myself as I have more than enough bags already!!

The lovely Lucy from George and Lilly was next to me, selling her cute handmade felted items, and doing a roaring trade in her try-it-yourself felting kits.  I'd seen her before at the Reetsweet fair at Leeds Corn Exchange, so it was nice to put a face to a name!

And Jennifer Duenas, who I'd met at Saltaire was also there, it was lovely to catch up with her again!

So all in all a successful day! (There was good cake too).

And so on to the next one...  A friend at work is taking part in the Round The Island Yacht Race, in aid of the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust (basically, who can sail round the Isle of Wight the fastest).  She has been making a few items of jewellery as favours for her forthcoming wedding and so she asked if I would help out with a jewellery sale at work.  Of course I said I would love to help out!  So last Tuesday, Julie, me and a couple of office WAGS set up our wares in one of the meeting rooms.  I had taken my camera to take a few snaps to show you, but what a muppet, I totally forgot and my camera lay in the bottom of my bag all day!!

By the end of the day we had raised almost £150, which will be matched by our bosses!

To find out more about the boat race, check this out:
And for the Ellen MacArthur trust:

If you want to sponsor our mental brave colleagues you can click here!!

And finally, next stop... Morley!!  I had an e-mail from the organisers asking if I was still attending the show next weekend.  It's a good job they reminded me, as it wasn't in my diary! Oops!!

I have also secured a stand at the Wakefield Craft Market in August and September.  This is on a MUCH bigger scale than I have worked to previously, so it's going to be a huge challenge!  It will be on Union Street in the town centre on the 3rd Saturday of each month.  This time it's 2 tables, and as it's outside, I am having to re-think my display and layout (with help from my Dad!).  Not only does it have to be bigger, it also has to be easily transportable and fit into a suitcase, as I will be travelling on the train, but it also has to be wind-proof!!  Thinking hat is on!!!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Featured on the Arts Market blog, a showcase of who's appearing at Handmade at Ilkley on Saturday - check out who's at the top of the list!!!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Handmade At Ilkley

So... there's now less than a week before my next show at Ilkley, it's come around so quickly!  I'm looking forward to it, after the success of Saltaire, and this time around, now that most of the prep work is already done, there is a lot less that needs doing!  It will also be nice to get to see somewhere new; it's shameful that I've lived in glorious Yorkshire for so many years now, and a lot of these little towns and villages are still new to me!

I'm also excited to check out some of the amazing work of the other artists exhibiting there too.  Check out The Arts Market's blog!

(Also, I didn't realise how many famous people came from Ilkley - Jilly Cooper, Alan Titchmarsh, Richard Whiteley, AND what's-his-face from the Kaiser Chiefs!!).

Having done most of the prep work already, I've had more time to play around with new ideas and designs.  I've made a few items for friends, including a set of earrings and necklace in rhodonite (a lovely dusky pink) for a friend at work, to wear to a wedding.  But rather stupidly, I forgot to photograph them before I gave them to her!  I was also commissioned to make a necklace for Katherine.  She gave me reasonably free reign over the design, saying that she wanted something with a picture on it, of something architectural.  So off to work I went, and came up with an Eiffel tower/postcard affair...

It's a bit blurry, because the actual finished size is only 2cm across, but you get the general idea!  I wanted to incorporate a few stones and sparkles with it too, so decided to add a few freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals in tones of beige, grey and orange (sounds an odd combo I know, but somehow it works!) to pick out the colours in the image.  I really hope she likes it, I'm so pleased with how it turned out!

In addition to making lovely things for my friends, I also hassled the ever-obliging Jasmin at Jasmin Studio Crafts for her help with an idea I've been mulling over for some time.  Charm bracelets!  I can't believe I didn't think of that before!  Jasmin sent me a goody-bag of some of her smaller-sized glass cabochons and pendant settings, as I wasn't sure what size would work best.  I had THE best fun looking for ideas, this time I was looking for themes rather than individual images.  I've only made a few so far, but if they go down well at the shows then I will definitely be making more!

Butterflies with carnelian and lapis beads

"love" with freshwater pearls, silver hearts and blue and yellow Swarovski crystals

My favourite! Afternoon tea anyone?  Vintage tea cups and yummy cupcakes, with freshwater pearls and rhodonite beads
There were a few sizes which Jasmin sent me which didn't really work as charms as they were ever so slightly too big, which meant they were too heavy to be comfortable to wear as a bracelet.  However, one small trigger clasp later and... ta da!!!  Bag charms!  I went with a purple theme here, as the picture I had used was pretty purple and yellow pansies, and my gorgeous friends Katie and Laura had given me a massive bag of purple glass beads as a birthday present.  What a treat!

This is literally a one-off, as the butterfly and dragonfly charms came from a couple of necklaces I had which had broken.  Nice to put them to good use!!

And finally...  another make.  Not jewellery this time, but a housewarming gift for my sister.  I think these are so cute, even if I say so myself!

So, that's me off comms, got yet another idea floating around... laters alligators!!

Monday, 2 May 2011


So as you may or may not have gathered, yesterday was the craft show at the gorgeous Victoria Hall in Saltaire.

I was a little bit apprehensive to start with, as I had been allocated table number 13... eek!  But I needn't have worried (besides, my mum pointed out her birthday is on the 13th, so it can't be that unlucky!).

I had a glamorous assistant in the form of Adeel, a friend and work colleague, who was given the daunting task of being in charge of the bowl of sweeties on the table.  He did a smashing job (Cadbury chocolate eclairs and opal fruits, yummy yummy) even if it was only the two of us eating them!  So a huge THANK YOU to him for giving up the majority of his Sunday to help me.  He did a lovely job of helping me set up the table, his side was much neater than mine!!!

I really didn't know what to expect when it came to sales and how many I would make.  I'd read a few blogs and accounts of people's experiences of selling at fairs and shows, and at best they made enough to cover the cost of the table.  So I thought to be on the safe side, expect the very least so even one sale would be a pleasant surprise.  Which it really was.  And so was the second... and the third (who was in fact a repeat purchase from my very first customer!!)...  All in all I think I made about 10 sales, which was loads more than I anticipated, and was really surprised that I had underestimated the 'pocket money market'.  The earrings and hair grips from the Picture Box Collection went down an absolute storm with the little girls who had come along with their mums.  I think I will have to re-stock rather quickly in time for the next show!!  I was quite surprised with just how popular they were, and the pendants too.  I didn't sell much in the way of the semi-precious stuff, which I was slightly disappointed about as it was that which took the most work to produce!!  But as they say the customer is always right so I can't really argue.

So all in all a smashing day was had by everyone, I have a lot to think about and plan for the next show (Ilkley, 28 May, put it in your diaries!!), and fingers crossed there are a lot of little girls who will look very pretty with their new earrings and hair slides at school tomorrow!!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Awww, how lovely!

The lovely Jasmin at Jasmin Studio Crafts has featured me on her latest blog post!  Take a look:

How nice!!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Progress Part II... nearly there!

So I'm nearly there, almost.  Had a really productive week, filling in a few gaps I spotted and coming up with a few new ideas.  One I was particularly pleased with was a pendant version of the 'tangle' earrings I made.  I especially love how the freshwater pearl turned out (I have put pictures of all my makes on My Flickr Photostream).

Love this!!!

I now need to STOP MAKING STUFF!  Otherwise I know exactly what will happen - I'll be sat on the sofa, jump rings and pliers in hand, a total nervous wreck at midnight, hours before I have to be up in time for the show (1st May, people, Victoria Hall, Saltaire, put it in your diaries!!!), and that just won't help anyone at all will it?!

But what I really wanted to tell you all about, what is now my total favourite thing to make, is my picture box collection.  Pendants, earrings, both studs and little dangly ones, and hairgrips.  Possibly bracelets coming soon as well.  I couldn't do any of this without the amazing service of Jasmin Studio Crafts, so I would like to do a bit shouty THANK YOU to Jasmin.  I don't think I've yet found a supplier to better her.  Purchases dispatched within hours of ordering them?  Arriving next day?  Yes please!!!

But the best part of it is searching for images to use.  There is something that draws me to vintage images, often flowers or birds.  Perhaps it's because I'm a bit of  a romantic at heart, or perhaps just because they're just soooo pretty.  But making these also sparks the quirky and kitsch side of me, which is drawn to goldfish, little Russian dolls, geckos and teapots.  The Graphics Fairy blog has been a huge source of inspiration for me, as has good old Google image search.  As long as the images are copyright free, they are fair game!  It's taken a fair bit of trial and error, especially for the hairgrips and earrings.  An image may take my fancy, but if it's too dark or fiddly, once it's shrunk down to 6mm, it more often than not ends up an indistinguishable messy blob.  But the images I have found I completely love, and have even taken the oh-so techy step of getting to grips with my imaging software and playing around with them.

The pendant on the left is one I played with myself.  It is a vintage mirror frame, and a bird (called a tufted titmouse, isn't that a great name?!), which I 'cut out' using the super-clever software and popped him on the edge of the frame.  The pendant on the right uses an old perfume label.  So pretty.

As you can imagine, the possibilities are practically endless.  So I have my thinking hat on to find something to use the lovely big glass tile that Jasmin sent me as a free gift, to make something just for me.  I've been messing around a bit and come up with this...

It still needs a bit more work, but I love the bird, it's called a lazuli bunting, which I thought particularly appropriate as I use lapis lazuli in so many of my designs.  The sheet music is handwritten, from the 1860's and French.  Not sure what the tune is but it looks so lovely!

Earrings, with goldfish, geckos, pastel coloured union flags and Russian babushka dolls

Earrings, with gingerbread men, Japanese lucky cats, crowns and pink patchwork hearts

Hairgrips, with purple coloured union flags, paw prints, pineapples and love hearts

Hairgrips, with little vintage birds, green union flags, purple coloured leopard print and blue and pink coloured union flags

As you can see, I've been busy!!!  But I am now confident that I have enough stock to fill the rather large table I have been given, so it's now the organising side of it I need to get to grips with - deciding what items will go where, making sure I can remember what pricing I've decided on, that kind of thing.  Not long to go now folks!!!

Right, it's Easter Sunday, so it's only correct that I have chocolate and hot cross buns for lunch.  The raisins in the buns count as one of your five a day, right???  Laters alligators!!!