Monday 27 October 2008

Just another Sunday

Yesterday was the first Artsmix event at the new venue The Loft. I have to say I was very excited about the event. I for one had never been involved in such a glamorous looking and potentially unique event. It's normally characterless school halls, drafty church halls, or worse still, cold, windy outdoors.

You have to admit that this is quite a venue. Have you ever done a craft event with chandeliers shining above you? A trendy bar and sofas a few steps away? A relaxing cafe down below? I wish I'd been a shopper and been enjoying all the facilities. There was even a gallery space in the room next door that I never quite made it to.

The downside to the day, although it didn't seem to bother me too much, was that people weren't quite ready to shop yet. There were endless positive comments about the day. 'Just what Leeds needs' 'So different' 'I'll be doing all my Christmas shopping here' (Do it now!) I did well enough. I got enough interest, enough sales to make me happy and I know potentially it's going to be a great place to showcase.
I was quite pleased with my stand. I'd decided the night before that I needed a banner. Yep, it was 7pm, we were due out at 8pm and I needed a banner. (It was completed at 6am that morning) You can just about see it going across the back at the top. There were certainly plenty of space and I did like the backdrop for extra room - although I'm not quite sure whether people really notice what's back there.
Another truely positive part of the day was being surrounded by so many talented, wonderful people. It was so inspiring. It was lovely to meet some great people and looking forward to us sharing this experience and getting to know each other more and more.

First up, Marianne. Marrianne's little stand was so cute. What a brilliant idea to use the dolls house. It looked gorgeous. As for her work - hate her - too clever. (you know I don't mean it Marianne x)

Liz, of Blue Shed Knits, was setting up opposite me and I knew I was going to be in for a treat with gorgeous eye candy to last me all day. Just check out that knitted bunting!
Another very talented lady, Helen Riddle of Riddles just across from me spent the day creating even more scrumptious pieces with her clever felting technic. It kept Ruby transfixed for hours. She cleverly makes some fun jewellery, brooches, cards, but my fave had to be her vegetable patch!

I would have been attracted to Ruby Rouge and her beautiful stand whatever her name would have been. Sarah and her man (sorry, I never got to know your name - next time) were so lovely and her jewellery looked exquisite on her beautiful display.

Final introduction must to go to the delightful Helena who was my first purchaser of the day, before I'd even brought all my boxes in! She spotted this little fella (who became my hit of the day all round) through one of the boxes and he consequently sat with a 'Sorry, I'm sold' sticker on his ear for the rest of the day. Helena is a very talented illustrator and makes some gorgeous felt creatures - and is a great person!

So how was your Sunday?

Thursday 23 October 2008

A change from Christmas

I HAD to go dress shopping today. Sometimes life is really really tough. Today was one of those days. Next month we are celebrating my nephew's Bar Mitzvah (a big deal for 13 year old Jewish boys) as well as my cousin's son's Bar Mitzvah. Consequently a girl needs dresses. Yes, not just a dress, but dresses.

Unfortunately the dress I had seen in Hobbs only had one in my size and that had a flaw in it. I was offered a discount, but how gorgeous would I look in a beautiful red dress (could only download a photo in black) with a diagonal pull across the front? Tempting as it was, I declined.

I trawled round Whistles...nothing. Jigsaw...nothing. Walked past Harvey Nics...well, maybe if I only needed one outfit. So I down scaled and did Zara. I didn't really want to, but the advantage of needing party dresses at this time of year, is that they are EVERYWHERE.

I picked out a lovely slate grey rouched short empire line dress. Tried it on. It fit. So I bought it.

Next stop Gap. I thought I might get fixed up for the day dress I needed. I decided on this, which is more fitted and much better in real life (honest). What's more it will look great over jeans. I have a big problem with buying things specifically for one occasion. Don't get me wrong, I would love to buy endless dresses for endless occasions, but the budget won't quite manage it so I have to think laterally.

Final need was the cousin's Bar Mitzvah party at The Hippodrome. Something hip for The Hip was definitely needed. I have a fab red SJP-esque skirt that needed a little sprucing up. It's had many an outing and I still love it, but it needed something fresh. Something new. And lots of jewellery to accessorize. Again, Gap obliged with this cute silk black top.
So out comes the red skirt - again. I'm hoping it will be hip enough.

And whilst I was shopping. Rule number 73... don't forget your asyers...'as you are going...' I thought this little black shirt would be quite useful this winter. No?
It will probably all go back tomorrow.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Shop Update

I'm not sure how I am managing to get anything done this week because Ruby and Noah are off school AGAIN for 2 days. But for some reason this is being my most productive week for ages - and it's still only Tuesday.

I wonder if it's that age old scenario of working best under pressure. I've loads of deadlines this week and even though I have very little time, it just HAS to get done. So it is! Okay, so the house is a mess, washing stays in the machine for days, but work is looking great.

I'm very aware that Christmas is round the corner and so have been very conscious about getting everything in the shop so all my lovely customers have something to buy. So today I managed to upload the christmas cards on to Blueberry Park as well as these lovely babies. I've been delighted that the delightful Kristen has let me be a stockist for her words-can-not-describe-how-gorgeous-these-beauties-are Matryoshka Making Kits. Go take a look and grab one while they are in stock, because honestly, with them being featured in Sew Hip too, they aren't going to be around for long.

Not only do they make a fantastic gift themselves, but you could be really creative and make some gorgeous christmas presents with them. Brooches, purses filled with dolls, magnets. Just let your imagine get carried away while gently stroking this beautiful fabric. Ok, maybe I'm getting a little bit obsessed now :-)

Also new in the shop is this fun Advent Stocking Calendar Kit. I realised this really had to get listed in the shop so you've all got time to make it before December 1st arrives. I think this will be a really fun thing for a family as a whole to do. How exciting will it be to see whose stocking it is that day? And what a gorgeous heirloom to get out year after year.

So, busy times, busy actions and still loads more exciting things to come. Don't worry...I'll keep you posted.

Sunday 19 October 2008

Even closer to Christmas

Finally my 2008 Christmas cards have had their finishing touches and are out in the market place.
I'm quite pleased with some of the quirky greetings that I've chosen this year. And hopefully they'll bring a few smiles and chuckles.

I'm not sure which is my favourite, although I am quite partial to Mr Penguin.
And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a bowl of Figgy Pudding.
Only time will tell which is your favourite though.
They are available here and here and very very soon here too.
Oh and here.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Ready for Christmas

This is what I have been working on for the Crafteroo Christmas Decoration Challenge. A Mini Stocking Advent Bunting. Mini felt stockings hooked onto a buttoned ribbon that are just big enough to hold a daily treat. Not so big that we are all going to be rolling our way to our Christmas Dinner.
It's such a great idea (the competition - not my entry!) and there are some fab interpretations? Everyone is getting all festive. We're probably going to be bored of Christmas before it even arrives :-)
Join in the fun and post an entry - there's a £20 Amazon Voucher up for grabs for the winner.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Luscious shop

For those of you that don't know it, The Leeds Craft Centre & Design Gallery is a haven of stunning work by lots of talented people. It is brimming with beautiful eye candy, from exquisite jewellery to the most tactile ceramics to gorgeous textile items.

Some of my favourite designers are often found featured here. Ken Eardley. Helen Noakes. Poppy Treffry. Linda Bloomfield. I could go on and on.

Matthew works very close to here and whenever we can we meet in the equally gorgeously renovated Gallery cafe upstairs for lunch. We then saunter downstairs and have a mooch in the Craft Centre.
They have a fantastic selection of handmade greetings cards too.

On one of our visits I was in an unusually confident mood and decided to approach them about my cards. I'm not sure what prompted me to do this. So many times I go in to places like this and feel in awe of the talent out there. Maybe we'd had wine with lunch that day. Whatever the reason, I'm so glad I did because they said they sounded interesting and please bring them in.

So I did.
And they loved them.

And I got a cheque this week because not only do they love them, but it seems that their customers do too!
I am still completely overwhelmed that my modest cards are holding their own in this hugely talented arena. So thank you to those that believe in me - and keep buying the cards - the Christmas ones they have ordered should be arriving any day.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Lovely Bedroom

Isn't this a lovely bedroom?

Come and take a closer look... Doesn't that bed look inviting?

It's covered with my very favourite crocheted throw from Habitat.

I bought this cushion aeons ago in a Designer Guild sale. I love it just as much today.

As for my corner of tranquility with the all time greatest Tree Fall Design Pear Cushion.

And look at the view. On a day like today this is a pure slice of heaven.

I have this beautiful print on the wall by the talented Munieca. I could stare at this picture all day - until I get around to buying this one.

I've even position nice little scented lavender hearts in unexpected places (you don't know this one is there until you've closed the door behind you.)

This has to be my favourite room in the house for all the above reasons and more. You may wonder then why we choose to sleep here instead?

I have absolutely no idea! You'll have to speak to my husband about that! In the meantime, I'm taking my coffee and going back here.

Ahhh. That's better.