Monday, 17 November 2014

Castleton Christmas Craft Fair November 2014

After a break of a couple of months I attended a great craft fair at Castleton last Saturday.  it coincided with the switching on of the Christmas lights so the village was bustling despite the weather which was misty with occasional rain.

To get into the Christmas feel I set up my table with a red gingham cloth, made new price cards in red and added red lights to my white display tree. 

 As well as my usual goodies I brought along my mini Christmas Stockings and a new make for this year, mini bunting in a choice of Christmas or vintage/retro style fabrics.

It was a busy fair with a great range of stalls from turned wood to beautiful silver jewellery.  I also met a few familiar faces which is always nice. 

One particular one that caught my eye was Go Vintage, a wonderful selection of vintage and retro collectables.

It was a really enjoyable day, I made a profit and sold out of my Christmas mini bunting.  However I do have a few mini Christmas Stockings left so they will be appearing in my online shop.  

And finally.... as always there was a great selection of dogs visiting the fair but the one that caught my eye was Billy, who as well as being cute was the best dressed dog!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Project: Fabric Pictures

As I cannot bear to throw away any left over fabric I am always looking for new ideas for small projects. 

Having a good sort out of the back bedroom I rediscovered some unused picture frames so thought I would have a go at making some fabric pictures.  As I had some pieces of rescued vintage embroidery I thought I would start with that however you could use any fabric as long as it is not too thick.  So if you cannot afford those expensive curtains how about getting a sample and make a picture instead or if you have a much loved item of clothing that is no longer worn you could use a piece of its fabric to make a lovely keepsake.  

The frame I am going to use for this project is from Ikea and comes in a range of colours however most hobby shops can also provide small frames which you could decorate yourself. 

Gather together your fabric remnants and frame and look at what would fit best and go with your frame  Then take the frame apart, if it is new/used it will normally have a piece of paper inside, keep this to make a template. 

Measure each side of the paper and mark the central point on each side.  Then cut out some thin cardboard (I recommend using cereal packets) using the paper as a template and transfer the central points onto the card. If you have more than one frame keep the paper template to be used again. 

Then place the card into the recess on the frame to make sure it is a neat fit.  Next, to allow room for the fabric to be folded over, trim off around a millimetre from each edge.  Make sure your central markings still show. 

Next place the card under your fabric and move it around to see what pictures you could make.  Once you have made your choice pull the fabric tight under the card and pop the frame over the top so you can see how the finished item will look.  You may need to move the card a few millimetres one way or another until you get the look you want.  

The next stage will depend on the fabric, if your fabric has a central motif you can measure the final placement of the card, see Option One.  If your fabric is not symmetrical or you want the main pattern off centre you need to follow Option Two.    

Option 1:  Measure the motif across and then top to bottom to identify the centre.  Then using this central spot place the long edge of the card on it lining up the central mark on the card. Use a pencil to mark the fabric along the short side of the card.  Then turn the fabric round and do the same lining up the short side of the card with the central point.  This should leave you with four lines on the fabric which you can now use as a guide to place the cardboard.  

Option 2:  Having offered up the fabric to the frame carefully remove the frame and turn the fabric upside down on the table, taking care to keep a tight hold of the fabric so the cardboard does not move.  Then carefully fold back the fabric and holding the cardboard firmly down draw round it.

Having marked out your final layout you can trim the fabric leaving around half an inch.  I would now recommend ironing your fabric and if you have it apply a little spray starch.  You can also add to your fabric using appliqué but make sure you don't add anything too bulky as the final version needs to fit within the recess of the picture frame. 

Having finished the preparation of the fabric you need to stretch it over the card.  Placing the cardboard within the pencil marks start to fold over the fabric on opposite edges and stitch together starting half an inch in from the corner. Pull gently so the fabric is smooth but not too tight so it starts to bend the card.  Then continue to stitch pulling the two edges over the fabric until you are half an inch from the other corner.  

Next to avoid the corners becoming bulky cut the triangle off each corner making sure you leave enough fabric to still cover the card.  Don't worry if you cut it a little too close as this should be covered up by the recess in the frame. Then fold over the other two edges including the corners and stitch them together.  You should now have your fabric evenly stretched across the card.   

Finally secure your fabric picture in the frame and enjoy.  I have also made some others using untreated wood frames which I painted using tester pots (see Recommendations) and I'm very chuffed with the result!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Hathersage Craft Fair April 2014

Earlier this month I attended the first of my local craft fairs.  They are all in villages very close to where I live and as they usually have a lot of tourists and day trippers I am hoping they will be a success, more on that later!

This was held in Hathersage Church Hall and had a good mixture of stalls including driftwood, baking and handmade leather bags.   

As this was a Spring Fair I made some Daffodil Brooches as well as bring along my Fabric Easter Eggs.  I am especially pleased with my new white tree which I used to display my Easter Eggs.  

I also had my Vintage Embroidered Cushions and Drawstring Bags as well as some vintage style bunting and paper chain kits.  Unfortunately it was very quiet so only sold a few small items, I blame the weather which turned wet at the last minute and the Grand National!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sewing Essentials

I have been sewing/crafting for over a year and have collected a number of useful bits and bobs over and above the usual kit.  So I thought I would share with you those I use regularly.

Plastic Vegetable Trays
These have no end of uses but in particular I use the long thin one as a rubbish bin.  It’s a great size to sit on a work table and can be moved about as needed.  I find it particularly handy when unpicking as it can sit on your lap directly under your sewing so capturing those loose threads. 

They are also useful to gather together trimmings, buttons etc. for a particular project.  You  have all you need in one place for the duration of your project and you can also easily see if you are short of anything.

Curved Tweezers
I think these are for working with beads but I have found them invaluable when sewing.  When unpicking they are great for picking out any loose threads that are left in the fabric.  They are also useful when turning a narrow or pointed piece of sewing the right way out.  You can use them as tweezers to pull the fabric or hold the points together to get into tight corners.   They also act as a great “finger” if you are trying to sew something narrow on your machine, they hold down the narrowest of fabric.

Curved Scissors
These are usually sold as nail scissors but I have found then great for snipping threads that the quick-unpick can’t get at.  Also if you need to cut a thread close to the surface of fabric you can get a lot closer without the risk of cutting your material.

Reading Glasses
When working small stitches or dark fabric and thread I have found using a cheap pair of non prescription reading glasses at a higher magnification than you would use makes such a difference.  They are far easier to use than a table top magnifier or one of those ones you hang round your neck, they also look a lot better. 

Poking Sticks
Essential for when you are turning things to their right side or stuffing small items.  My father made the wooden ones using the handles of some old wooden spoons.  One has a rounded point like a pencil the other has one side of the point flattened.  Its particularly good for running along the top of stuffing to even it out.  I also have a "00" metal crochet hook which is great for tight corners. 

LED Head Torch
When working with dark fabric or on those too frequent dull days you need extra light.  Rather than having to sew hunched over a table using a lamp you can sit where ever you want and direct the light exactly where you need it.

Glue Gun
Albeit 99% of what I make is sewn there is the odd thing, such as attaching brooch backs, where I need to use glue.  Having struggled with tube glue and sticky drips sticking where they shouldn’t the glue gun has opened up a new world; at last I get the exact amount I need in the right place!

Zipper Bags
I use loads of these.  They are great for small projects, to keep together bits and pieces while you are in the middle of a make.  They are also ideal for storing your trimmings, I keep mine grouped by colour. 

Small Tray

Last but not least is my small gingham tray!  It’s essential if you work with a lot of buttons and beads as you can safely tip them out and sort out what you want to use as well as layout out other sorts of trimmings during the design stage. 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Bakewell Craft Fair February 2014

I attended my first Craft Fair last year in Bakewell and enjoyed it so much thought I would give it another go.  As it was half term this week I booked two days midweek to see how I would get on.

As well as my cushions and drawstring bags I took along my Gingham Flower Brooches and my latest make, Retro Sugar Bowl Pin Cushions. 

Unfortunately it was quiet, which I put down mostly to the recent weather.  However I met some lovely people and got some great ideas on how I can improve my display.  

I also met Ruth from Sticks and Stones Jewellery, she took an amber necklace that I no longer wore and rethreaded the stones to give me a lovely very wearable necklace.  

So I may not have covered my costs but to me it was still a success and I look forward to attending my next. 

Monday, 20 January 2014

New Year, New Ideas

Although I enjoy the festive season I do look forward to the lull after Hogmanay.  It’s good to get back to normal as well as take stock.   This year I have taken the time to think about what I would like make in 2014 rather than leave it to the haphazard approach of last year. 

One thing I wanted to do better was having items for special occasions so being a compulsive list maker I put together a calendar of special days, holidays, seasons etc.  I then worked out when I would need to have items ready to go in my shop. 

I already had a few new ideas of things I wanted to make so I matched them to my calendar.  I then used my scrap book for inspiration and came up with some further ideas to fill the gaps. 

Now I have a list of great projects for the first half of 2014 as well as a calendar of when I need to have things ready to go into my shop.

While I was in an organising mood I thought I would also do  a stocktake of my fabrics and trimmings and needless to say I found lots of things I’d forgotten about!   But it did give me further inspiration and allowed me to plan what I would use for each of my makes as well as identify anything I would need to get.   So in theory no more rushing around at the last minute when I find I have got the wrong colour of ribbon.

My first project, Valentines Day Hearts has gone well, I had everything I needed and they were completed on time and are now for sale in my Folksy shop

I don’t know if I will keep this up but for now I have no excuse for missing the boat when it comes to special occasions!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

From a personal point of view I have always felt that Christmas should start around 2 weeks before the 25th December.  I hate seeing mince pies for sale in October and avoid looking at Christmas Decorations until I have to admit defeat in early December.  Where other children wanted to open their presents before the big day I was horrified at the thought and although I am now grown up I would never peak, shake or rip the wrapping paper!

 However as a seller I have learnt that I have to embrace the festive season a lot earlier.  Last year I was a bit late in getting my Christmas Stockings online so this year I had to be more organised. 

Some sellers have had their Christmas ranges up for sale since October but I opted for a mid-November launch to tie in with CRAFTfest, a online craft fair.  This has hopefully given enough time for sales but is not too early for the magic to run out!

So having launched my new range of Mini Christmas Stockings at CRAFTfest they are now available from my Folksy shop. 

This year I found a great range of new retro fabrics as well as some of my favourite fabrics from last year. 

I have also included some individual gingham designs for those who like to be more traditional.

Although I hope I have good sales this year lets hope there are a few left so I can use them to decorate my own home!