Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere to share the ups and downs of starting a craft business, with plenty of tips, mishaps and the odd glass of wine!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Children's Craft Party

Waaaaaay back in December, I rashly agreed to run a children's birthday party at ZigZags in Coleford - obviously I was distracted, as entertaining a group of 9 year olds given I have no experience of what they can do and might like isn't something I'd usually have agreed to quite so readily!

However yesterday afternoon rolled around scarily quickly and so on I ploughed.

The girls had decided they wanted to make things for their teddies. What exactly was up to me.

I had a bit of a play with some of my the kids teddies and came up with two options for the girls to make - waistcoats or bags for their teddies.

What I should have done was come up with things that I could draw templates for so that the girls could each have had a template to work from. As it was, the 2 Mum's who stayed to help and I had to spend the first 45 mins going round each girl in turn and cut out their waistcoats because of course, all the bears were different sizes!

No-one seemed to mind, but I think next time (Nex time? Brave? or possibly just silly!) I'd try to plan activities that meant they could get straight on without everyone having to wait get started.

Despite my initial nerves and misgivings, the party went really well, the parents were happy, the birthday girl and her friends were all very happy - phew!

So, here is the result of 11 girls beavering away for an hour and a half:

They looked fab! Because I've taken the pics on my phone you can't see all the detail, but they'd really gone all out and decorated their bears' accessories brilliantly! (and now I've got the Jungle Book song, 'The Bear Necessities' in my head!)

And then after they'd gone, I turned round and this was the scene that greeted me! The chaos they left behind:

And this was after the Mum had done a good 5 mins of tidying up!!!

Still... I'm feeling brave (silly?) so I've said to the lovely owner of the shop that I will do more parties if she gets any interest. What am I letting myself in for?

As usual, I'm linking this up to the lovely Handmade Monday party over at Wendy's Handmade Harbour Blog

Friday, 25 January 2013

Tutorial....How to Make an Orange Candle

All my lovely Facebook fans, will know that I posted a pic of a recent make on Wednesday morning. This make was slightly different to my usual makes, in that it consisted of an orange and some olive oil!

I saw this first on Pinterest and for once when I said I'd seen something cool on Pinterest and described it to my husband, he'd actually already heard of this one!

So here's what you'll need:

An orange (any size)
Olive Oil
A knife
Matches (at least 5 in my experience!)

First of all, making sure you go through the skin only and not the flesh, carve all the way round the middle of the orange like so:

Then ease your thumb under into the slit and slide your thumb round the inside of the orange peel, so that you peel the skin away, without tearing into the skin.

Then you need to gently pull the peel off the orange flesh, like this:

You need to do the same for both sides, so that you have two empty orange peel halves and then you need to pour a little bit of the oil into the side of the orange peel that has the 'wick'

I've trimmed a bit of the 'wick' off as it was quite long and might have scorched the top half of the orange:

Then, although a bit of the top half of the peel has come away with the flesh, I've cut a bigger hole in the top so that again, the flame doesn't scorch the top of the orange

 Then it's time (once the oil has had a chance to sink into the pith) to try and light your candle. I usually find that I'm too impatient and haven't left it for long enough to soak up the wick properly, so it takes about 5 attempts to light!

Once lit, put the top half of your orange on:

And turn off the lights, to get the full effect!

 It should last for about half an hour, depending on the size of orange & how much oil you've used


Hope you enjoy and I'd love to see pics of ones you make.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Craft fail!

But it's sort of come good - thank gawd!

Well, what with all the lovely snow we've had this weekend in the Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire)

The view out of my dining room window

My daughter Seren (aged 4) announced on Friday morning, over breakfast and talking about snowman building, that her gloves didn't fit and could I please make her some more to go out in, TODAY! Talk about pressure!

So I drew round her hand, enlarged the template a bit and off I went. Here's the first attempt:

Possibly the right side for a doll!

That'll teach me not to make the first attempt out of the final material you want to use!!

So take 2:

Fine finger size, but the wrist opening would barely fit a newborn!
By this time, I was sweating, cursing, running out of thread and material.... the kids were champing at the bit to get out into the snow and my husband was getting bored with trying to keep them entertained inside, so I decided that mittens were the way forward. That's when I realised I didn't have enough of the original, more interesting material :-(

So out we went with Seren sporting these, tucked into her coat sleeves as I'd not had time to russle up any elastic!

The kids' first snowman
Not very happy with them though, I spent most of Friday night embellishing them, so they now look like this (still missing the elastic though!)

I'm quite happy now with them (though it would have been a lot quicker to sew the patterned bit on first!) and thankfully Seren loves them... but of course now Patrick wants some (in pink to match his sister's, of course!)

This week is the 100th Handmade Monday so keep your eyes peeled on Wendy's lovely blog for some wonderful surprises :-)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Giving up the Day Job...

... Means that I can do all those really exciting things like:

- The laundry
- The weekly shop
- Go to Weight Watchers
- Tidying the house.....

But it also means I can spend more time doing cool things like making these gorgeous baby booties (these are actually for a friend's baby, but they will also get listed as a made to order item in my shop):

 and then embellishing them with rockets and planets :-)

It is SO nice to be able to say 'I LOVE my job'!

Now I've got to get on with my tax return - I've been putting it off!

But in between I'll be catching up with everyone over on the Handmade Monday link up :-)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Too early to be thinking about St Patrick's Day?

Photo courtesy of Luxpresso.com
Happy New Year!

I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year - any sore heads out there today? I'm feeling a little delicate after a great evening at our place with some good friends, homemade curry (well, as the diet started today we thought last night should be a decent blow out!) and lots of yummy wine, champagne, toffee vodka and Baileys!

So as with all good hangovers, we've been talking about future plans and the usual resolutions and I started thinking about all the exciting things I can do with my business now that I am able to dedicate all my energies (when not being a wife, parent, housekeeper, chauffeur, cook, cleaner.... you get the picture?!) to it.

So I started thinking about Valentine's and St Patrick's Days... I think I will plan some new product lines which have the same items at their centre, but each will focus on the different celebration... so far I am thinking about VW Campervans and VW Beetles as the central items - they are certainly some of my best sellers, but I was also thinking about Mini Coopers and possibly Morris Minors.

Photo courtesy of Skybluefreelance.info

Photo courtesy of Classicandperformancecar.com
What other vehicles do you think would work well in felt?

The lovely thing about the car/campervan range is that they can be personalised, which is great for gift giving and they're a bit different which thankfully seems to appeal to folk!

Anyway, right now I have to get my house guests up (for the second time - they've all had to retire to bed for the afternoon!) and find something for my kids to eat for dinner.... ahhhh the life of a working mum :-)

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