Archive for the 'craft fairs' Category

It’s not all jam and Jerusalem…

June 21st, 2012

Hi, my name is Claire and I am a member of the Women’s Institute.   Very proud member in fact; so much so I volunteer on the committee too.  Our WI is one of the newer generation of WIs where most of our members are in their 20′s/30′s, most work full time or are studying but all have an interest in cooking, crafting, gardening and generally meeting other interesting people.  I think that the perception of the WI is changing, mainly thanks to some of the other, newer WIs springing up all over the place, and popular media is helping too with films, TV shows and documentaries.

I probably had one of the best introductions to being in a WI as the first meeting I went to was a baking taster evening in Oct 2010 – the range of baked goods that evening was amazing and I met loads of other new people who were also new to the WI.  I’m actually quite reserved (I hesitate to use the word shy) with people that I don’t know, and wondered if this would be somewhere that people would be friendly (I can feel quite panicky in new social situations) but I need not have worried.  I even got chatting to a lady from Ballymoney where David’s family live, really proving that it is a genuinely small world!   One of the nicest things about our WI (and the other couple of WIs I have visited) is that they are really friendly, so you never really feel on your own as there’s usually a bunch of people that introduce themselves to you before you’ve had a chance to get a cuppa!

So, what do we do, apart from eat cake?  Well cake clearly does feature significantly in most of the things we are associated with, but there’s more to us than that.  Each month we have a guest speaker on a topic that is of interest to the group – last month we had a talk on organic gardening from Ecoworks.  We have also had talks on vintage fashion, eating seasonably, and the work of the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance.  Sometimes we book guest speakers, other times we have really fascinating talks from within the membership, such as our January meeting where one of our members spoke about her experiences of volunteering to help clear up the damage left by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Next month we are having Robin Hood guide us on a walk around Nottingham.

The WI also have a long history of (and a fearsome reputation for) campaigning on a variety of issues, from environmental campaigns such as helping save the bumblebee, to reducing packaging on foods (I love that some WIs took back all of their excess packaging to the supermarket and dumped it on the manager for them to deal with).  The current resolution (what members vote on and what will be campaigned on in the following year) is to call for more midwives, and for more midwife training.   The resolutions are proposed by members, and voted on so whatever causes are close to people’s hearts they have a chance to submit proposals each year to be (hopefully) selected and voted on – I like the democracy of the process, which seems to make a refreshing change in the current climate!

One of the things we do really well in Nottingham City WI is our fetes – this year will be the third fete we have held, and the second one that I have been involved in.  This is one of the main ways we raise money for charity – this year’s nominated charity is The Friary Drop In, an organisation I work with closely in my day job and who do some pretty phenomenal work with really disadvantaged people, on next to no money.  We raise money for this by selling cakes – have a look at the cake table from last year:

(Excuse the rubbish picture – these were taken on my phone as I had sensibly left the camera at home…!) and by having a raffle, which last year was epic and covered the bar upstairs completely.

Speaking personally it’s the only place pretty much I sell my Pinky and Boo bits and bobs now, and there are lots of other really talented crafters out there who also sell their work too.

This was my stall last year: 

This year our fete is on 7th July at Cape Bar in Hockley, Nottingham from 11-3.  I know I could be accused of being biased, but you really aught to come down and have a look.  Not only is there the amazing cake stall and raffle (which lets face it is actually reason enough) but you can get hold of some lovely crafts, clothing, home grown plants, pottery, even get your nails manicured!  And meet some lovely people in the process of it all too.  Who knows, you may even end up joining us too!

If you don’t live in Nottingham, find out where your nearest WI is – I thoroughly recommend you find out what they’re up to, you may be surprised! xoxo

P.S.  We don’t sing Jerusalem either!


November 17th, 2008

Or that really should be “squeek”…. Look who has travelled over from Northern Ireland to come and live with me and keep my pins nice and safe. Eileen, my new granny sent this little lovely over along with a couple of kits to make them as she thought that they would look lovely on my stall, so thank you, I plan to take the kits with me on a long train journey to and from London on Thursday and get them made up.

After a manic week – combination of not feeling very well and needing to sew, sew, sew for the craft fairs the relief I feel as the end is in sight is immense. The Beeston fair was awful – really slow Thursday, a bit better Friday but still not great, and David managed til 1 on Saturday. However, he packed up early (after taking the princely sum of £7) as I was selling out at The Place. If you are one of the visitors that came to the event, you will know what a buzz it was. That’s what all craft fairs should be like, and restored my faith in myself and my little bits and bobs. Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re down (and hormonal, wich always helps…) then rejection of your things you have literally spent every waking moment putting together, makes you think it’s a personal rejection. Especially when I don’t think my prices are expensive….. Anyhoo, I feel like a new person after Saturday. The only shame was that I didn’t have a second to take pictures or have a look at the other stalls other than the ones around me that I could see from where I was, but a small price to pay really.

Better go, I have a cat to get in….. xoxo

Where has October gone to?

November 4th, 2008

Last time I knew I was blogging about a dog show….. sorry weeks have slipped past. I do know that most of my time has been taken up by work (yes, I am supposed to be working 3 days a week and 2 on Pinky and Boo, but that all seems like theory and not much reality…) and doing , well, stuff for craft fairs. Feeling more than a tad frustrated that work (the day job’s added extras I have been roped into for my “old” project) is taking over and I haven’t done as much as I wanted to have done by now. I am at a 3 day event in Nottingham (Beeston, if you know it and are around) on 13th, 14th and 15th November, and another one in Nottingham again on 15th. I have managed to rope David in to manning the stall on 15th in Beeston whilst I do the one in Sherwood. Goodness knows how it will pan out, so we shall see…. I have another fair in West Bridgford on 5th and 6th December but that gives me a bit more time to make stuff.
I think if I do shorter, less rambly posts, I may have a better chance of updating by blog…

Also, here’s a shout out to Hannah, new blogger on the block. If Hannah hadn’t fitted my wedding dress for me I would not have had a dress quite simply – pop over and say Hi if you get the chance.
‘Til next time, adieu x

My new obsession (and other ramblings of a tired mind..)

June 20th, 2008

Is it me or do other people develop obsessions for things – recently it’s been all the re -runs we have had of Sex and the City, which is made even better by having Sky+ so I can record whilst David is watching something non girly. He doesn’t mind me watching it, but it’s not quite the same as I know he doesn’t like it (and thinks SJP looks like a horse… which is mean!). But even more urgent than that obsession is Pushing Daisies – love, love, love – I am so envious of Anna Friel’s clothes – so beautifully retro and 50′s, she always looks sickeningly glam. And it’s kind of fairytale-in-a-messed-up-way, which is a guaranteed way to earn Brownie points in my book. Anyway, I am probably unhealthily obsessed with it, but never mind – if you haven’t watched – well, where have you been?!
I got a lovely parcel when I returned from the craft fair (can’t believe a month has gone by since the last one – and I can’t wait to work part time so I am not going crazy trying to get things ready in my “spare time” – 2 weeks now – hurrah!) which was my swap for the Russian Doll swap I joined in – I haven’t finished mine, and I haven’t got the camera (David has it with him whilst he’s in Holland) so I can’t show you pics, but I love the bag and doll Clare sent me.

The craft fair today was slow, but I managed to make something, and my Etsy sales paid for the booking, which was good. Haven’t got any decent pics again, but I made some new aprons and tea towels with prints on them - I have spent a lot of time with Bubble Jet Set so when the camera is back with me I will have a bit of a Show and Tell for you.
Sorry if this is a bit of a rambling post – I have had 5 hours sleep, and been on my feet all day – I am not going to try and make other things for tomorrow, I have enough and am happy to take orders, and I can’t face anything else for a few hours. In fact I am going to have a ginger biscuit, a glass of milk and go to bed. ‘Night xoxo

Craft fair day 2

May 17th, 2008

I don’t mean to moan, as I had a good day, but I ACHE! From head to toe I feel shattered. Even my hair hurts, if that makes sense….But I had a good day. I made a bit more than yesterday, and it felt like a steady stream of customers rather than big gaps. Loads of the other stall holders were complaining that it was quiet, and that it wasn’t normally like that, and they expected to take more money. I was just happy to be honest that people liked my stuff so much that they parted with their cash for it! (How easily pleased am I?!). I can’t be bothered with a long post today, so sorry. Here’s some better pictures of the stall – I think it looked better today with the vintage quilt backdrop and was better laid out, and I am happy (apart from Gaynor my friend who insisted I needed to be in the picture when I really didn’t want to be and wasn’t looking my best by a long shot…), so thank you to all of you who have bought my bits in the past, this weekend, and whenever, and thank you so much for the good wishes, I appreciate it xoxo

Craft fair day 1

May 16th, 2008

Back again after yet another bloggy break – feel like I should be writing lines out as punishment – “Must be a better blogger”
“Must be a better blogger”
“Must” – I’m bored now, but you get the point! I have been spending what feels like every waking moment making things and packing things and generally worrying about whether my stuff would sell. I had 4 hours sleep on Weds evening and worked til midnight last night, up again at 6:30 and pretty much getting straight again on the sewing machine to finish off my bunting for the stall….. I am so tired I have reached the “I can’t get warm” stage. So tonight, instead of pushing myself to do more I am going to have a bath, finish off a couple of bits of hand sewing for tomorrow and then have an early night. I haven’t been very pleasant to be around recently, so if you are reading this and know me in real life, I am sorry. Normal service will be resumed soon!
I placed a lot of pressure on myself for this craft fair, mainly because I need to be able to pay for the honeymoon, especially so now I have been told I may be (read: probably) made redundant in July (month before the wedding – great!) so I need to make money, basically. I have applied for a secondment to a more strategic post within the same organisation, which would be working 3 days a week, leaving me 2 days to do Pinky and Boo stuff, which would be wonderful if I got it.
I had been to the same organiser’s event recently in another part of Nottingham to see how it was set up, and there have been a number of “urban myths” flying around about just how good this craft fair is, some people making £600 in a weekend. Now, that is a lot of money and would see me rightly. So, the pressure got to me. I chilled out nicely with the Stitched Up ladies on Wednesday, and have had some great support from Vicky and Pamela in particular (thanks guys!x) but still been manic, mainly wondering whether I would have enough stuff to sell (after a conversation with someone on Weds who worried she hadn’t got enough) but the amount that was rammed into Vicky’s car today, and the fact I wouldn’t put all my stuff out showed I didn’t need to worry. However, I only managed to have my camera phone on me to show you what the stall looked like – proper photos tomorrow. The walls of the marquee were filthy, so tomorrow I will be taking some sheets and bits to cover them up, and probably move the way I have displayed stuff. Apparently Fridays are a bit quiet, but Saturday is great, especially as it coincides with the fortnightly farmers’ market – more people who are interested in buying up pretty thing hopefully. I made back the weekends’ site fee and the same and half again, so I am happy for day one. The otheer bonus to it being quiet was chatting to some lovely people who make fantastic stuff, which made the day pass really quickly.

Anyway, I feel a lovely hot bath coming on, probably followed by a slice of lemon cake and an episode of Pushing Dasies I recorded last week….Back tomorrow xoxo

Pinky and Boo have had their debut!

October 29th, 2007

And to a bit of a mixed reception. I had my first craft fair on Saturday. I found it so hard to stay on my stall and not go wondering round and spending money on bits and bobs that other people were selling. There were 3 other craft stalls apart from mine – a stall selling handmade bags, a stall selling cute doggy sweaters and another stall selling lovely turned wood pieces.

Everyone that came in seemed to really like what I was selling, but I think the prices I charged were a bit beyond what they wanted to pay. I took along my pin cushions, needlecases, some crochet baby blankets, crochet dishcloths, embroidered vintage pillowcases and peg bags and aprons with embroidered patches on them (you may recognise some of the embroideries from the ones I have shown previously.
I tried charging what I thought was a fair price for the work I had put in and the quality of the fabrics and design. However, so many people loved my peg bags, but would not want to pay £12, when the stall selling handmade bags had some ones from plain fabric for £2.99. I sold 4 pincushions in all, so I made £8 profit after travelling. One of the ladies from the handmade bags stall told me not to be disheartened, and seemed a bit surprised that I wasn’t. I don’t feel many of the people that went to the craft fair wanted to buy craft things (it was on the back of a Victorian Christmas Market and a Dolls Fair), and the sort of things I make possibly have a different audience.
I did however have some lovely conversations with ladies, of a certain age, shall we say, that told me all about the things they made when they were younger, and how young people don’t know how to sew (if they had access to t’Internet they would see how wrong that view is…) and what made me feel better about it all, how they thought my work was very neat and well made (something I have a real paranoia about, and in some ways I can be a bit of a perfectionist, which is no bad thing when I am trying to sell things) and how it toook them back to their child hoods, or their grandparents.I was really pleased with the stall – I took some of my vintage tablecloths along to cover the table with, and my china and glass cake stands to display the pincushions and needlecases on. In the time I was on the stall I managed to complete 4 more needlecases to add to the ones pictured (I was a bit bored, and can’t abide having idle hands, so I took some emroidery and other bits to do). Had a disaster with the clothes rail I took – one bit was missing and so ended up having to borrow my friend Angela’s clothes airer to display the aprons on, but apart from that I was happy with what I took and it was a real learning curve having the experience. I am going to try and do some more before Christmas if I can and in the meantime try and get my Etsy account set up to sell. So, I shall leave you with some more pictures of what I may list here in the next week or so for sale.

If you are interested in anything please feel free to email me for more details. Thanks for stopping by and all your positive comments – it’s appreciated! xoxo