Friday, December 10, 2010


Seriously, what has been going on with the weather, I am glad that the snow is behind us for now...... I am not overly keen on the rain, but with my new cape (I am channeling my inner Joan Collins - it has a fur collar and cuffs) I am dry and warm!

I did my final craft fair of the year in Leicester on 28th December, it was a very successful day for me, but it was slightly hindered by the immense amount of snow that was dumped on Leicestershire on the 27th of December.

I think the organisers did an amazing job, but we didn't get a lot of loitering because the heating was broken, so all of us poor stall holders were frozen by the time 3.30 rolled round.

The craft fair season has been very successful for me this year and I have decided to have a craft fair break until Easter or early summer.

Hubby and I have bought all of our Christmas gifts and I have wrapped nearly everything. I got myself all wound up about how to wrap all of the gifts this year! I finally settled on gold and silver paper, with red wool and homemade tags - some of the brown tags I bought and some I've made, but all have been stamped with various greetings.

Today's pic shows 2 of our gifts all smartly wrapped - what do you think?

Now that the Christmas craft, cards and present thing is done, I have decided to do a few fun things, I am slowly clearing up the craft room, as it looked a bit like a Christmas bomb had gone off. I've also been through our card book and I have a list of cards I need to make for early 2011 happenings, I am also rooting through my stash and using things I'd forgotten about (more about that tomorrow).

My Ma bought me a nice ringbinder for my birthday, that I have been using for all the pages I tear out of magazines, I keep them for inspiration and tips for new techniques. So I have decided over the Christmas break, I'll be trying out some of the ideas I have been keeping - watch this space.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Successful day!

Brooch Display

I have been a shade under the weather the last few days, but Sunday's fair was very successful for me and I got to hang out with friends.

This isn't a detailed posting, more one to show the pics I took!

The new cake stand for the brooches has worked well - they literally flew off! And I got lots of comments about the boxes looking like pieces of cake!

The card stand performed well again (but is falling apart - irritatingly - time for investment in a metal one).
Scarf Display

I have a new idea for the Christmas Decoration display - as it was a bit cluttered and messy on Sunday. I like the new scarf stand - shame my sign was lopsided when I took the pic!
Christmas Decorations

I also sold a few of my work colleagues goods, so she is a happy bunny, as am I.

Snoods by Lucy B
I am pleased with the pics - I think my photography course has paid off! Looking forward to the spring and taking nice pics in the daylight of my items.

I'm also in good shape for Sunday's fair - which is the biggest I have ever done, so I am quite nervous, but excited. Just a few more bits and bobs to do, but not too much, after rinsing myself last Friday and Saturday to get masses done.

My stall!
I am still in 2 minds about making more Christmas cards! It feels a bit late to be making more Christmas cards, so we'll see!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How have I managed without it?!

Yes, you guessed it, I have a new toy!

I finally relented and bought myself a 3M ATG (adhesive tape gun) - truly it is the best thing ever! How I have managed to make all the Christmas crafts without it, I don't know!

I have been using disposable tape rollers, which are great, but they have actually been costing me a fair amount of money. I was watching a tutorial on YouTube and the demonstrator had one of these 3M guns and I was like - what is that?! I want one!!

So I did some research and the 3M version got the best reviews, they had a deal, I called Hubby to sense check my logic and then I bought it.

It is superb - a bit trixsy to get the tape in first time round, but I bet the next time will be easier. You get 44metres of tape per roll and it's currently £2.61 a roll - if that's not value for money I don't know what is! The tape is so sticky that I have found I can apply it to cards and then stick buttons and glitter onto the tape and they adhere and don't fall off later (normally you'd need to use a tacky glue) - it's truly amazing.

This latest addition to my craft kit, made me think about when I first starting crafting. Basically the tools I had were very basic, but useful. I have tried to only buy things that will make my craft life a lot easier and that I will get a lot of use out of. Implulse buying as a crafter is hugely tempting! I think impulse buying paper, embellishments, stamps etc is fine - there will always be a way to use those things, but its different with tools. They are a large investment and sometimes quite bulky! So not great to have hanging around until you decide you do actually like it / need it.

From the blogs I read and from the things that my few craft buddies tell me (insert sob here, I need more craft buddies) I think everyone's tool kit is different (there are obviously lots of things that most crafters have) - depending on how you like to work, the size of your craft space and what you make. 3 years on there are definitely things that I couldn't live without and there are things I have bought that I shouldn't have, but I think I'm getting wiser!

I have struggled to think of a picture that suits today's post (possibly because I am tired from the late night crafting and an early start today), so decided to just be a bit random and show a picture of my dream craft room - from Happy Zombie - I am totally jealous, I know one day my space will be fantastic doesn't mean I can't be envious right?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Learning can be fun!

Drain - it looks like a snowflake!
Hello there, hope everyone had a nice weekend!

I had a fun weekend, starting with my non-working Friday, I met up with a friend I haven't seen in over a year! Shopped a little and cooked dinner for the girls and Hubby.

Lemon and I went on our photography course on Saturday, it was really good, I learnt so much, some of which has popped my mind a bit, but I am sure with practise it will become second nature. We learnt all about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, framing, etc! It was fun to actually leave the classroom and try out the things we had been taught during the morning session.

Bench at Greenwich University
Today's pictures were taken during the practical part of the day and I am really pleased with them. It was a great gift from Hubby and I can't believe I waited so long to learn how to use my camera properly!

Its been nice thinking about my other interests and not just crafting and Christmas - my mind has been occupied with these 2 things recently and I needed a bit of a break, so the course and my Sunday of rest (Hubby and I ate a lot and watched 4 films - sweet!) has got me back on track and I will be hitting the craft room with a vengeance tonight.

I did an inventory last night, so I know what I really need to make ahead of Sunday's fair and the one on the 28th - which is good, it is better to be organised! I am planning 3 late craft nights this week - so watch this space for my tired, incoherent posts!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

I am addicted.... Martha Stewart!

I know I shouldn't be, but I love her website and I love her products!

On my Christmas wish list are several of her items - especially her around the page punches, they are really great to use and her website has lots of ideas of how to use them.

I find her website really useful and I get a lot of inspiration from the ideas on the site. Especially at this time of the year, when I have gifts to make and don't want to repeat what I did last year, but don't want to take on a new project that might turn out wrong!

Today's picture is of some simple bath snowballs from the Martha Stewart site - basically they are a clear plastic ball, filled with home scented epsom salts, put them in a decorative jar, add a tag and some ribbon and you have a beautiful gift.

I can't wait for tomorrow - I know I have a lot to do, but I am going to spend some of the profits I have made on a nice new winter coat and get ready for the photography course on Saturday.

I'll be back after the weekend, have a good one.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hard work pays off!

Hello - so I missed a couple of days this week - but I have been feeling quite tired, as I pulled an all nighter on Friday, so I could be ready for Saturday.

Saturday was a huge success and I am very grateful to my friend Sooze and her mum Mary for hosting the mini fair for me - it was a huge confidence boost and made all my hard work more than worth while!

Even though it was a mini fair at a house, I decided it would be good to road test some of the changes I have made to my stall / display following the Berkhamsted Market. I was pleased to see that the 3 major changes drew results / compliments.

The changes I made were -
Brooch Display - I have never really sold that many brooches and I was convinced that this was in part due to the way they were being displayed. So I bought some really beautiful boxes and put the brooches in and it worked - I sold 10 brooches on Saturday, so definite improvement - hopefully using the vintage cake stand to display them at the next 2 fairs will bring even better sales.
Price Display - I usually have my price list on one sheet, in a nice perspex holder centrally on the stall, but I realised that this is not great for everyone - so I made individual tent cards and wrote the product, price and any special deal on this and positioned them infront of the products. Once again this worked, as people didn't have to ask for prices and I think this makes them feel more comfortable.
Card Display - Normally, I display my cards in the boxes I use to transport them - they are pretty, but don't showcase the cards. I bought a decent card rack and this means you can see what the cards are like - therefore tempting you. One of the ladies on Saturday commented that this made it much easier to choose cards.

I am really pleased that I was honest enough with myself to implement changes, even though they are relatively small, they have enhanced my sales a great deal.

This is my first week of not working on a Friday - hurrah! However, there is a reason for these non-working Fridays - I need to concentrate on the next 2 craft fairs, I need to start sewing the bags for the Esher fair, finishing the painting of the Christmas Decorations and replenishing my depleted stock (cards, brooches, felt decorations, scarves) - please note I am NOT moaning, I am happy that my stock is depleted because I have sold it!

I am also busy compiling a list of what to make / buy / give people for Christmas, there have been lots of requests for cards, so once the craft fairs are out of the way, early December is going to be busy! Hubby and I have also been working on our Christmas card list - which is epic - how did it get so big?

Today's picture is from Hobbycraft - it is an advent calendar and I have modified it to make my own - which I have sold 10 of so far!! They are so cute and really easy to make and a good way of using up oddments in your stash.


Friday, November 5, 2010

A happy week

Hello there!

Firstly apologies for not writing an entry before now, but it's been a busy week!

Hubby and I had the most amazing anniversary weekend in Camber Sands, the weather was glorious, the hotel was out of this world and the food was faultless! We didn't want to come home and today's pic is from our epic beach walks!

I also sold my first batch of Christmas cards - whoo hoo!

Finally proof that I am not insane (well not in a cardmaking way!), my work colleagues were lovely and bought 180 of the 210 cards I took in - so 18 sets of 10 sold! I wasn't actually expecting this and only took so many in for there to be some variety! I am really really pleased and it bodes well for tomorrow and the 2 other craft fairs I am doing.

There is a downside though - I had to work late into the night last night and will be doing the same again tonight to replenish my stock!

It's been a pretty good week and the weekend is shaping up to be awesome too.

Have a good weekend, I'll be back on Monday.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Can you craft whilst hungover?

This is a question that is at the front of my mind today! I had planned to go home tonight and spend one more evening making Christmas stuffs, before Hubby and I depart for our Anniversary trip, however as I was a touch naughty last night and indulged too much, I am not convinced that handling anything sharp is wise!!

I am very excited about next week, I get to sell my Christmas cards at work - a good trial run before the Craft fair on Saturday - it will hopefully put my mind at ease about the cards I have been busy making in isolation for several months!

I am also excited about celebrating our first anniversary this weekend in Camber Sands and decided that today's picture would be of the beautiful dunes at Camber, which Hubby and I are going to spend our afternoon's walking across.

Happy weekend crafters, I'll be back on Tuesday.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The joys of married life!

Image from ink'n'rubba
Ooh as an early Anniversary present, Hubby bought me 4 sets of Letraset Promarkers! What a lovely gift and they are so delicious I could eat them.

I tried them out with a pretty stamp and they work so well, they make my colouring in, look really professional. I think I will use them to make all our Christmas thank you's. It will be a nice project after the intense Christmas period.
The colours are fab and the 4 sets I have cover a wide spectrum of colour, but I am now going to become totally addicted, as I am convinced I am going to want quite a few more of the colours!

Uh oh here comes another obsession, they come in so many colours and Letraset naughtily supply a colour chart with each set and so now I can see all the other glorious colours and I WANT THEM!

So today's picture is a nicely geeky one courtesy of the ink'n'rubba blog, I love this blog and want to thank Annie, as I love her blog and this chart is a great idea - I have seen quite a few other people do this, but not as well and it is a really good idea to create your own chart, using your own Letraset Promarkers or Copic, as I believe that some people use both, so they can find exactly the colour they want.

Enjoy! I am off to scour the internet for the best price on promarkers!


P.s Letraset if you are reading, I'd quite like the cool grey set - thanks!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Introducing the Polzeath 2010 Range

So, way back in July when Hubby and I were in Cornwall on the Halley / Grantham family holiday, my brother-in-law Stu made an off the cuff comment that stuck.

Hubby was busy drawing the Ham 'n' Mule in the sand and Stu said 'that can form part of the Ham'n'Mule Designs Polzeath 2010 range!

Anyway about 5 weeks ago, I came across a sock filled with all these beautiful pebbles and stones and then I remembered that Hubby and I had spent an afternoon chilling on Polzeath beach and had collected all these pebbles. However we didn't have a bag with us, so Hubby gave me one of his trainer socks to put them in! (true love right?).

It triggered a reminder of what Stu had said and I started wondering how I could incorporate them into my crafting. Then I found these beautiful little jars and I got an idea. I made the tags tags, filled the jars and attached the tag - voila! Paperweight!

I've already sold one to someone, he proposed to his wife near Polzeath and is giving it to her as an anniversary gift - sweet.

I think they look really good and they are unique - as no 2 pebbles are alike, unfortunately my picture was taken with my Blackberry, so you can't see the riot of colours, there are reds, deep blues, creams and greys - really pretty.

The great thing about these are they are so easy to make and if you collected pebbles/stones from every holibobs you went on, you'd have a really pretty and useful keepsake.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Yummy, yummy, yummy for my tummy!


Hope you all had a super weekend! I had lots of fun, dinner with some friends and hubby on Friday, lunch and theatre with Hubby on Saturday - which was excellent, and yesterday was spent food shopping, baking and relaxing.

Today's picture is of the cupcakes I made using the Hummingbird Bakery book I was given as a birthday gift (thanks Lemon). These bad boys are Chocolate and Banana and they are totally yummy and really really bad for you!

I also managed to squeeze in some crafting, although I might need to review some of the things I made over the weekend - too much vino tinto means some of the items might be a bit crazy and have to re-locate to the sale box!

Which leads in nicely to a top tip - the first craft fair I did was run by an amazing woman, she gave me these 2 tips:

1 - give a free gift - no matter how small, people getting excited (at Christmas I give Candy Canes)
2 - have a sale box - people LOVE a sale box - it is also a good place, for selling the items that are not quite right - be it broken, damaged or just weird, they ALWAYS sell if they are in the sale box. Which is great, as you don't waste things that aren't quite right.

Also both the free gift and sale box are good talking points, often people will stop and ask what is the free gift - I always say 'you'll only find out if you buy something......' I find that if people stop and talk to you, they will often buy something - so remember to smile and be friendly (and preferably not hungover and smelling of booze!!!)

Short post today, it's a bit busy today, but I promise more on Weds!


Friday, October 22, 2010

It can't all be about Christmas!

Hey there, I am very pleased that I have followed my friend's advice and been more regular with my blogging, it's very rewarding - especially when my friends read it and send me emails to say how much they like it.

Today I thought I'd move away from the Christmas focus that I have had for the last month and talk about what else I am up to.

Obviously Christmas has been a big deal in my craft world this year and whilst I have been making all of the lovely Christmas things, I have realised that I might need some new tools, so here are some pics of the things I want or have already purchased and why I think they are handy.

Good chalks! These are vital, I had been using some cheaper ones, but the colours weren't lasting as long and so I invested in these Dovecraft ones, that come with a handy applicator tools and lots of applicator pom poms!
Dovecraft Chalks Bright

I do have a slice, I do have a sharp craft knife and a ruler, but nothing beats a good quality trimmer or guillotine and I haven't purchased one yet, but from the research I have been doing it would appear that Purple Cows make the best ones and from what I have seen I think I agree and they are reasonably priced.
Purple Cows 2-1 Laminator + Trimmer or Laminator + paper cutter
Whilst I have had lots of fun sourcing paper, etc, I think that next year (or later on this year!) will be investing in one of these lovely digital kits from Funkyhand - the picture below shows all the papers and stamps that come in their 'All I want for xmas' downloadable kit - they have lots of other kits and I am in love with the Papercraft Factory ones. Basically these equal really good value for money and you can use them over and over again and some of the designs below would be suitable for non-Christmas crafts too!

All I Want For Xmas - Downloadable kit
I have also been stamping quite a lot - not just Christmas cards, but other cards, gift tags, wrapping paper etc. Good quality inks are vital, I am a big fan of Inkadinkado inks - but they are hard to get hold of in the UK (eBay is a crafter's best friend!) I recently bought these chalk inks, they are sublime, they have a really nice blended effect and when they are dry they feel like chalks - cool!
Inkadinkado - Chalk Inks
Also if you are doing a fair amount of stamping, good quality marker pens are a must, now the jury is out on which ones are the best - personally I think it's a toss up between Letraset and Copic. I am using Letraset Aquamarkers right now and they are great, if you buy a 12 pack, you get a blending pen too and you can apply them to stamps. Another good tip for watercolour pencils or other waterbased markers is to use a waterbrush pen (this is a brush, that looks like a pen and you fill the handle with water, ink or colour), you can
then blend or paint over and you will get a watercolour effect.

Letraset AquaMarkers
I think my plan to NOT purchase anything craft related in November is not going to happen!

Have a good weekend - I won't be blogging, I'll be at the theatre with Hubby, building new warddrobes and getting on with Christmas.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Which way round does it go?!

So as I mentioned yesterday I have been exploring new things to make.

I've always liked to sew, but have been pretty useless at using patterns, until I got a copy of Sew Magazine - which I now subscribe too.

Not only do they give you a free pattern, but the instructions are really really clear.

I've had quite a few successes this year with their patterns - I made 2 beautiful tops and have modified the pattern to make a longer tunic style version - check me out!

Because of this success, I thought for Christmas it would be nice to try out a new tote bag pattern, it's working really well and I think they will be a hit!

I love Simplicity patterns, they are simple! I have a couple of new ones that I am going to try out over the Christmas break, as they are for dresses and you need a bit more time than I have right now. Also as I mentioned before I don't find sewing that relaxing, so it will be nice to sew when I have oodles of time.

Today's picture is of one of the patterns that I will be trying to make - a touch more advanced than usual, but I am getting braver and braver - especially now that I understand how to use patterns. I really want dress B, that is soooo going to become a wardrobe staple (if I get it right!). Dress b also looks like something I am coverting on the M&S website, so if I can make it for less than the 39.99 they want, I will be dead chuffed!

Making clothes is something I would love to do more, but it does require a bit more time than I generally have. I remember a really good piece of advice about not starting too many projects at once, as you can get overwhelmed with all the 'work in progress'.

The other good thing about using patterns is that you don't get so much waste, as you know exactly how much fabric you need. I have some really beautiful fabrics, that I am going to use to make the Cynthia Rowley dress b.

I love fabric so much and one of my favourite places is Gaga Fabrics, check out their store - their stuff is AMAZING! They sell Robert Kaufman fabric, Japanese imports, Amy Butler patterns (my summer tops were an Amy Butler pattern) and lots more. They aren't the cheapest, but price is not always the key - their range is so great and their shop is really easy to use and these things often make me happier than a bargain (geek).


p.s a final shout out to Pam from Chicks of a Feather, her blog has been my solace for such a long time, it fills me with joy to know that she reads mine and likes it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

November Craft Fairs

So November is going to be a busy one for me - first my friend's Mum is hosting a mini craft fair at her house (with me as the only seller), then I go on the photography course that Hubby bought me for my birthday, then on the 21st and the 28th I am doing 2 more craft fairs!

I really enjoy craft fairs, I like talking to people and it makes me feel so chuffed when people compliment me on my items - it's a lot of work to create enough stuff to sell, so it's nice to get positive feedback.

The picture today is the poster for the fair on the 28th November in Leicester, I am looking forward to that one a lot, as I will be heading to Melton Mowbray on the Friday night, so we can spend the weekend with my in-laws and Hubby's godmother - we haven't seen them in forever, so it will be nice to catch-up before a big day of selling!

I realised the other day that whilst it is nice to specialise in certain craft items, it's always nice to mix it up a bit and I have used Christmas as the perfect opportunity to try out new things and test my skills.

I have made paperweights using the stones I brought back from the beach in Cornwall, they are gorgeous - I must take a picture for you. I enjoyed making these, quick, easy and the results far outweigh the effort required! I have loved making the felt decorations, but I haven't loved painting the wooden ones, so I don't think I'll be doing that again.

All the Christmas crafting has also given me an excuse to buy new tools and I did finally buy a Sizzix Texture Boutique, which I love - it's so easy to use and you can use Cuttlebug embossing folders too - just check the size, as the Texture Boutique has a smaller apperture!

I am going to attempt not to spend any money in November on my stash, but I'm not sure if I can actually manage this! In my lunch hour today, I went to the art supply shop and spent £6 - no will power! I can't resist craft stuff!


Monday, October 18, 2010

I love the sunshine!

Bah humbug!

I am back from my lovely trip with my girls - Tenerife was hot hot hot and we had fun fun fun. More pics to follow.

I managed to craft whilst away and made brooches, Christmas decorations and continued to crochet my lovely scarf - which my Ma said is actually looking ok, she says I've improved greatly - so A+ for me.

It was so nice to be away, not to work, to feel the sun on my body and wear flip flops like it was summer! I am totally bummed about being home - but it has been lovely to see my gorgeous Hubby and of course the mewling fur children.

Do you remember the wedding I went to in Rye and I mentioned I had helped out with the favours, well the picture above is the favours that I put together - the bride sent me a pic, don't they look gorgeous! I am so pleased and that has relieved some of my misery at returning home to the cold dark winter.

Perhaps next year, I'll just stay there all winter............


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friendly advice


Today I have been thinking about good advice. Mainly because I have needed to dish some out! And partly because of my friend JJ.

JJ and I haven't been friends that long, but she has become a pretty good friend - she is also my friendly advisor on all things craft! She knits and stuff, but she is also a designer, so has a pretty good eye. She is also very frank.

Earlier this week she was telling me how much she liked my blog and mentioned that the last post was in August - tsk tsk. It made me realise, I HAVE to make time for my precious blog and not let it slide into obscurity!

So thank you JJ for reminding me not to half finish a project!

In honor of JJ's contributions to my craft world, I thought I would talk about crochet (she knits, I can't.So crochet it is)

So I literally only learnt how to crochet 2 weeks ago, I am starting out small and making a scarf (?) unfortunately I am not convinced that I completely have the hang of it all yet and whilst the stitches all look lovely, the scarf is a rather unusual shape, it looks a bit like a Cobra! I was aiming for something like the picture below (pattern is from Idiots Guide to Knitting and Crochet), but I am not yet convinced that it's ever going to look like that.

However on a more positive note I am totally made up that I have learnt to crochet and even if my scarf never ever looks like a scarf, at least I made it.

The one unfortunate thing about learning to crochet is that I now have another craft stash requirement - wool! Ooh wool is so yummy - check out the main picture, I can feel an obsession coming on and a large sigh from Hubby!


p.s JJ just incase you didn't realise this posting is dedicated to you!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Christmas has exploded in my room!

Ha ha, not quite, but I've attached a picture of the drying area in my craft room and I think you can see there is quite alot going on! There is also a picture of one of the cards on the shelf, close-up!

I have hit the 300 card mark with the Christmas cards - so yay for me, but there is still a long way to go - gotta hit 500 before November the 6th.

I have a reason for this. If I have 500 cards (= 50 sets) and I sell a reasonable amount on Nov 6th, then I will only have to make a small amount to cover my work sales and the Nov 28th fair! Logical right?

I am finally loving the wooden Christmas decorations, they have been a bit of trial and error to be honest and I am still not 100% in love, but I can be a bit like this about the things I make, I get a bit insecure! Especially if they have taken awhile to get right!

The felt Christmas decorations are my fave, as I get to use felt, hand sew and use my button collection.

I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I've enjoyed the Christmas crafting this year and I think that I owe that to my fellow crafters and their handy tips - start early, pace yourself, take a break - wise words indeed.

On a slightly different note I noticed last night that one of our cats is covered in glitter! She did run off with a rather expensive Magenta Stickles a couple of weeks ago, so I am assuming this is why!

Whilst I am mentioning Stickles, I have to say, I thought they were going to be an expensive waste of money, but they have brought me only joy! I love using them, they add so much to my projects and are easy to use and best of all seem to go a long way. Papermania have brought out some similar products this year for Christmas and they are a cheap alternative to Stickles and ok, but not as good.

Lastly a bit shout out to Pam at Chicks of a Feather - who left me a really sweet message a few weeks ago, I totally love her blog, it's an inspiration.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Where did September go?

Ok, so I need to up my game right?

It's been over a month since I last brought you up to speed on all that is going on in HamnMule world and that's just poor!

So, let's recap -

The new kitchen is complete and a thing of total beauty, I'm not going to show you a picture, but I will say that after 3 painful, take-away fuelled weeks, I could have cried when the builders told us they were finished (on time and slightly over-budget).

Amsterdam was fantastic as ever and I managed to buy all kinds of random craft goodies, which I have stashed for post-Christmas crafting!

Christmas crafts are progressing nicely - I'll have a pic of some of the goodies for you tomorrow (I promise), I am now in the final card making push, I have nearly painted all of the the Christmas decorations, the felt ones are all cut out and half are sewn, the rest will be done next week in Tenerife! I am just going to start putting together the advent calendars, but that's a pretty quick job, as I am creating quite basic, but pretty ones. I am slightly concerned that I haven't started the make-up bag, clutch bag sewing yet - but sewing is difficult, I have to be totally in the zone!

One of my friend's mothers is hosting a mini-craft fair for me on November the 6th - it's so lovely of her to do that and I am working hard to make sure that all my products live up to her marketing of me! I have also accepted another craft fair on the 21st of November, but that is more about my scarves and bags, good to have variety and a mini break from Christmas before the big fair in Leicester on the 28th.

I have had Laryngitis, so hubby was overjoyed to have me silent for a week! I recovered sufficiently to celebrate my birthday in style. Today's pic is of the beautiful Thank You cards I have made for all the people that gave me gifts.

I almost forgot to mention that my Ma taught me how to crochet as my birthday gift and I am busy making a scarf in the morning on the way to work, as an L-Plates project!

We have just spent the weekend in Rye at a wedding and the second pic today is of me at the wedding in the cutdown version of my wedding dress - thrifty!

So, I am pretty busy and not sure exactly how I am managing all of this, plus spending time with my friends and family, but I love it, so it makes it all worth while and this year has been a very successful one for Ham'n'Mule, so I can see my hard work paying off!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Busy Busy Busy!

Hello there!

Well it's all been hectic in my world, Hubby and I have been doing way too much socialising!

I delivered the Union Jack baby quilt I made for my friend's baby Daughter - it looked amazing, they loved it, so all the nerves and hard work was worth it.

Also, as I previously mentioned I have started the Christmas Crafts, so I have been busy cutting templates for the things I want to make, making cards, priming the wooden Christmas decorations, buying paint and surprisingly taking orders for Christmas. So the 150 cards I have already made are effectively sold, which is amazing and really satisfying, but means I have to up my productivity - I forsee quite a few late nights ahead!

I have also been looking at purchasing a Sizzix Texture Boutique - I like the idea of embossing and like the look of the Cuttlebugs, but as I have a Slice, this seems an expensive purchase just for embossing. I am going to sleep on it and probably buy it tomorrow.

Hubby and I are on mini holibobs to Amsterdam this weekend, which will be fun as usual - today's pic was taken on our last trip, I hope to take a few more pics this weekend. It's tricky when you have been to a place quite a lot, you need to be careful not to take photos of the same old same old.

I am also happy that we are going back to Amsterdam, as I can visit my fave shop Hema, which stocks some amazing craft things, so I intend to make a few purchases to add to my stash. There is also a Monday morning textile market - which is really amazing. Not sure Hubby is down with the textile market, but I am sure I can deposit him somewhere with a book and coffee!

Following on from the Berkhamsted Craft Market, I have been working on my presentation for the Christmas Fair in Leicester. I have purchased a couple of stands to display my products better and I have also bought some really beautiful boxes for my brooches. I am also planning to take a mini Christmas tree + lights to display the Christmas decorations.

Anyway that's it from me for now, I will be back next week to show you my Amsterdam purchases.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gifts For Babies. A Tutorial.

I like making gifts for babies and one of my favourite things to make are babygrows.

Well it's a bit of a cheat really, as I don't actually make the babygrow, but I buy good quality ones in packs.

I have found that the parents love receiving personalised gifts, so I use the Slice (there are lots of fun tutorials on the Slice site) to cut the initial of the baby - as shown here in today's pic - B for Beatrice.

It's really easy to do -
  1. Choose your fabric (needs to be lightweight if you are using the Slice to cut)
  2. Iron on some fusible web (Making Memories do their own, but a decent lightweight fusible web will do), but leave the backing sheet on
  3. Choose your initial / shape and either draw onto the fabric and cut out, or use your Slice to do this
  4. Remove your initial / shape from the fabric and peel off the backing and iron onto the babygrow
  5. Then using a decorative stitch on your machine, sew around the shape
  6. Give the babygrow one last iron, iron on your nametab and the babygrow is complete.
Really easy to do - a good tip is to wash the babygrow and the fabric, so they don't shrink later. Also you can always embellish the design further - especially if you use a shape, I often sew a button or a ribbon bow, but becareful to make sure that these are affixed really well, we don't want babies pulling them off and swallowing them!

Have a good day.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Christmas Crafts!

1. Christmas Stocking
So it's a bit strange that in August I am starting to make things for Christmas, but I learnt a valuable lesson this time round. It's better to start making the things I want to sell sooner rather than later. It means my items are better quality - as I am not rushed, I also get more time to experiment with new techniques and ideas.

I've been looking around for ideas for Christmas, as I want to make things for the Leicester Craft fair, but also as Christmas gifts.

I have been giving boxes of cards, scarves, etc for awhile now and I will still be giving cards - but I think people would appreciate a different gift.

I also am trying to convince Hubby to let me have a Christmas Tree this year and so will be making Christmas Tree decorations for us and to sell.

Here are a few pics of the things I'm going to try and make.

2. Baubles
1.Christmas stockings
2. Baubles - using clear plastic balls, that I can either decorate the outside, put pretty things (ribbon, etc) inside or turn them into little stocking fillers, with a brooch, or some homemade sweets
3. Christmas decorations - this pic is of little wooden trees, that you can paint and embellish, I am going to try out other shapes - stars, balls, snowmen
4. Clutch bags
4. Clutch bags - these little bags are from lushlee, they are the cutest thing ever and have totally inspired me to give clutch bags another go (it was a disaster last time). I love the lushlee site and spend far too much time drooling over all the lovely things

 5. Table runners/napkins/coasters/placemats - I made some of these for a friend last year and I think they make great gifts, good use of oddments too for the coasters. The pic here is of a gorgeous set made out of white pebbles by Viva Terra - I love them, I will NOT be making out of stone - how much time do you think I have?!
6. Cushions

5. Table runners/placemats
6 - Cushions - I've made cushions for my home, my Mother and a friend, so think I'm ready to branch out. The pic is from CinnamonLime, I met the maker of all their products at the Craft Market on Saturday and I was inspired by her work.

Anyway, this should give you some ideas too and some lovely new sites to check out.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Cards are king!

Well, Saturday's craft market went well, it started really slow and I was a bit worried, but it came good in the end.

The best thing about the market was learning so much! I have a few things to work on  -
  • my display - needs to be a bit more professional, I need to buy racks for the cards and something to display the brooches and scarves better
  • my table covering - I think it needs to be a really beautiful piece of fabric or a really bold colour and I should have a Christmassy one
  • sewing - so I've mastered the brooches and scarves, now it's time to look at cushions and other soft furnishings
There are a few other things for me to consider, but those are the main ones.

Today's pic is of one of the cards I sold. On Saturday cards were the big sellers. I didn't expect that and I am really chuffed to bits. I think the 3 for £5 deal on the cards really works. Also, I got lots of compliments about my card designs and some great feedback on what people are looking for. This is really helpful, as I often work a bit 'blind' to what people might need, I mean I have a loose idea, but it's nice to have that cemented and to have new things to consider.

All in all, it was well worth it - I got to hang with my friends and their baby, met some cool people at the craft market, sold some of my stock, made some money and learnt some stuff.

Now, it's time to sit down and plan for the Leicester Christmas Market at the end of November.



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yay! New Craft Table

Yes I am most excited  by my new craft table. On Saturday I went to the opening of the new HobbyCraft and there is was, the table of my dreams.

Hubby and I have been cracking up at the fact that it is called a Creation Station - it's a tad obvious.

Today's pic is of my updated craft space - complete with creation station. It tilts, it came with a stall and it has 6 drawers which are now full with my stamps, inks and pens. On the table you will see my Slice, a little stack of stuff for the Christening we went to and some brooches that were drying. It's a great space now and it's so much better for sewing.

It's absolutely joy and I am at a much better height now and Hubby put a new blind up for me, so if I keep facing forward I can ignore the fact that the rest of the room is full of wardrobes, shoes and laundry!!

Tonight will be my last night at home before the craft market on Saturday. I will be checking I haven't forgotten anything and trying not to be too nervous.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm so proud!

As you may have gathered it's all been a little bit busy in my world, but I am back (for now) I really need to find more hours in the day!

Anyway, I am totally made up right now, as I pinned the Union Jack quilt together and it looks amazing - today's pics are the ones I took before it was sewn together - I just need to add the bias tape and then voila! it is complete. I'll show you more pics when it is finished later in the week.

The apron's went down well at the Christening on Sunday and I was really pleased with how they came out - however my photos are pretty rubbish (boo!) and I'll have to wait for my friends to send me a pic to show you. I do however have pics of the babygrow that I made for Beatrice who was being Christened (tomorrow!).

It's now only 3 days to the craft market and I am packed and ready, can't stop making things though and so the craft table is full of extra bits and bobs that I considering taking - I wonder if I have too much stuff, but I think more is better than not enough!

So I'll see you tomorrow - enjoy the quilt - I've written out the steps and will scan it all in tomorrow, ready for posting with the final pic, so that you can make your own quilt.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Not enough hours in the day!


Sorry for the absence, last week was properly mental - what with Hubby's birthday (= drunken affair), work and craft fair activities - I really didn't know if I was coming or going.

Anyway, I am a tad sad today, as I only had one entry to my competition - RHR you win the pincushion, please email me your colour choice! No matter - it's all a learning curve and I will just have to figure out how to promote myself better!

So I had a nice busy crafting weekend - I made one of the aprons ready for Sunday's Christening BBQ. I am so pleased with it, I got the pattern from Taly's Creations - she kindly let me mention her here. I hope you can make use of her really straightforward tutorial and make your own apron. I will take a pic and show you my ones - but need to take the pic during the day, they come out much better that way!

Union Jack quilt has hit a pause - due to the flannel I ordered being incorrect! I am feeling very calm about the craft market, scarves are nearly finished, cards are finished, brooches are finished, make-up bags will be complete, once the replacement zipper foot arrives (I left it out and the cats swiped it), starting baby-grows tonight, so it's all going well!

I usually get a bit excited about craft fairs and next weekend is no exception to this! I think it is going to be a good opportunity for me and my little business, I hope it works out well and that my friends are happy for me to keep crashing with them, so I can become a regular at the market.

It's my sister-in-law's birthday tomorrow and my Ma's on Sunday, so I have been making little treats for them over the last week or so and now have a little pile of pretty things to wrap, which is nice.

I need to update my craft picture stash - so I was a bit stumped about what I should have as today's pic, then I realised I could show you the pattern for the Union Jack - so that is what today's pic is!



Monday, July 19, 2010

To be a pincushion or not! + Competition!!!


I have been itching to get home and get crafting, but before I get too involved I am taking a break to write this post.

Today's pic is something I thought you'd like to see! Hubby drew it in the sand for me when we were in Cornwall! Isn't that sweet! I am trying to think of  a way to use it  - maybe the HNM 2010 Polzeath range - ha ha. Watch this space for more news.

I have made a start on finishing the scarves for the craft fair - this is the dull part, once they are done I can show pics - just like yesterday's cards - they are just a small selection of what I will be selling in Berkhamsted

I thought I'd give you a bonus and upload a second shot and run my first competition, seeing as though the blog was a bit sparse last week! This shot is of the pincushions I've been making - so cute! I've sold quite a few and they get used for lots of different things!

So, the competition is - post a comment, telling me what you'd use the pincushion for - besides pins!! The best answer wins their very own pincushion - colour of their choice (from pic and if in stock). Answers by Fri 23rd July and I'll announce the winner on Monday 26th July.

Good Luck!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Let the madness commence

Wow! It's been a really busy week, unfortunately a bit too busy! So I didn't get to blog much this week!

As predicted I have gone into full panic about being ready for the craft fair - it's my first time at this particular fair and I want to make a good impression!

I have cut all the fabric for the purses/make-up bags and most of the scarves.

I still have to finish the baby quilt and the aprons I am making for a BBQ Christening, so I am a tad stressed right now, but secretly (or not so) loving it! The craft room looks like a week long party has been going on in there and I really need to get back to being my normal tidy self (well in the craft room I am).

I have mainly spent this weekend crafting and it's been fun! Hubby has been indulging in one of his hobbies, so we've been playing music and having shouted conversations from room to room!

I have sewn all the scarves together - including two I am making as gifts, I have started putting the make-up bags together now and will finish these Mon/Tues. I will be doing the finishing later on in the week or over the weekend, as it's Hubby's birthday on Weds.

Today's pic shows some of the cards I made this weekend, I have been experimenting with stamping and watercolour pencils! I am pretty pleased with the results.

I was very happy on Saturday to discover there is a new craft shop in Croydon, I picked up lots of sale items and I am busy trying them out, I've also been working with free stamps and papers from a craft magazine.

Anyway this has been an epic post - I'll be back to normal after this week, work will have calmed down a bit then!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

I love scarves!


Hope it's hot enough for you - it's very hot here in London. I am going to spend the day loafing around in my Ma's garden, awaiting the return of hubby from Cornwall.

Scarves are of the items that I make and sell lots of. They are quite straight forward to make and I like to experiment with different types of fabric.

Both my Ma and my Mother-in-Law, like scarves make out of jersey!

I on the otherhand, quite like satins and chiffons - today's pic is me wearing one of my own creations made from a really beautiful super shiny satin.

Everywhere I go, I always keep my eyes peeled for a couple of metres of fabric that will make nice scarves, I restrict myself to 2-3 scarves per piece of fabric, depending on the size of the fabric. I do this, because then the scarves become 'limited editions', which lots of people like. I also restrict myself, as my fabric 'stash' is fast outgrowing my storage system and I am sure hubby is going to start selling it on eBay if I buy too much more!

I will post a couple of pictures next week of 2 of my friends wearing their fave scarves that they have purchased from me, it's really nice to see people in my creations.

I love to give scarves as gifts, but this Christmas I think I'm going to have to come up with another gift idea for the ladies, as most of my friends and family are proud owners of several of my scarves!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

July is gonna be busy!

So I am back from my holibobs in Cornwall, brief but fun!

I took some awesome pics whilst away and once I have sorted them out, I'll post a few up for you to see.

I've suddenly realised that July is going to be a busy month, as I am doing a craft fair on 7th Aug (hence today's pic) and I had a quick peek through my stock and realised that I need to get myself behind my sewing machine for about 2 weeks!! Oops!

No matter, I love to sew and I have spent tonight cutting out pieces for scarves and make-up bags, I've finished a whole batch of brooches and so I'm feeling pretty relaxed about it all. However I always say that, then 2 days before the fair (much to my Hubby's dismay) I panic that I don't have enough stock and stay up for 2 nights straight sewing my socks off!

Do you remember in my first post, I mentioned that I am making a Union Jack baby quilt? Well I started cutting the fabric tonight and it looks yummy, I am very excited. I'll take some pics, once the pieces are all cut out, so you can follow it's progress.

I guess I should say goodnight as it's the wrong side of midnight and I have a day job to do!