Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Craft Fair Virgin!

I did the craft stall! And it was awesome :)

To recap - my workplace decided to hold its first ever Craft Fair last weekend and I decided this was the push I needed to actually put my craft items out there, in view, in front of real people not just my polite family.
The plan was to spend the preceding weeks gradually building up some stock - spending quiet Autumnal evenings creating and looking generally like something out of Mollie Makes magazine (think bohemian outfits, inspiring workspace and a photogenic pet lazing amongst the creativeness). The reality was I left it all til the last two weeks, had to downsize to half a stall and my house looked like a Hobbycraft delivery lorry had collided with, well, another delivery lorry from Hobbycraft.

DD stepped in to help and was a godsend of organisation and inspiration. She helped with packaging and aesthetics (those colours together? You ARE joking right?)
I had some great moments like when the vintage map bunting was finished and some frustrating moments like when the lavender for the lavender bags ended up mostly on the floor. The floor smelt lovely mind you, which was useful as I hadn't managed to hoover for two weeks!

Anyway - the day dawned. As a member of staff I had the pain of having to be at the venue super early but the pleasure of having first dibs on the tables. By the heater. Oh yes!
DD did most of the setting up. No detail was too tiny, her OCD tendencies meant all the left over map star shaped confetti was all right way up and placed at carefully measured intervals amongst the stock. And woe betide any of Joe Public who might upset this carefully crafted design! She did a fabulous job....

 Then the doors were thrown open and the public flooded in. They actually did! Much to our delight the place was heaving. 24 brave stall holders put out their creative efforts to be judged by the public. It was an experience. One which taught me that my daughter is far better at selling than I am. I think I was too personally involved to really sell myself. What if people didn't like what I had made? What if they did? Then came back and complained it was crap? What if they loved it? That would be scary too! It was my own work they were judging with their purses.

The day passed quite quickly and at the end of it I was thrilled, astounded, chuffed even that I had sold a fair amount of things, I had even turned a profit!
I decided I'm not cut out to do this on a regular basis, but I might well have another stall when we repeat the event in the Spring.

And on the Sunday? I spent the day clearing up my house and working out how to display all the left over tweed hearts and map bunting :)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Good Practice....Crap gig

Last Saturday was the night... We have been rehearsing a new choreography at my bellydance class for the last few weeks and this was the night we unleashed it on an unsuspecting public.
The dance involved some traditional Ghawazee stuff to middle eastern versions of 'Deck The Halls' (go on, you can imagine it!) which then led into the Cancan complete with bloomers and frilly costumes.
I had to make some bloomers from scratch. Don't think DH has noticed the missing white sheet yet. But he will. These turned out ok in the end after some swearing and scissor throwing action.

The gig was in Swindon. Yes, that well known cultural capital. Finding the venue had its own complications but we got there. We were 4th on the programme, just enough time for people to be lulled into a false sense of security before we came on and 'thrilled' them.

Those costumes don't adjust themselves you know.

The performance, in fairness, wasn't terrible but two sections of choreography involved swerve steps to the left which meant that some of us ended up in the wings. Actually in the wings. Unseen by the audience. The 45 seconds allowed for a quick costume change just wasn't enough. My hat fell off and I didn't have time to put the choker on. To my horror I also forgot to remove the long black underskirt meaning my beloved bloomers were hidden. Realising this I managed an elegant (read 'bizarre') move where I cancanned off stage to remove it then cancanned back on again :P

The full view.

But do you know, it didn't matter. I was dancing with friends and we had a laugh and a great time. The atmosphere was supportive and warm and we received as much applause as the most polished performance of the evening (in my head anyway). My slightly perfectionist dancing streak could point out all the bits I could have done better but my heart pointed out that I'd enjoyed it nonetheless!

Roll on the next performance - I don't even dare imagine what my teacher will come up with next.

Thursday, 14 November 2013


My lovely blog friend Kristen (hope you don't mind me calling you that Kristen!) from challenged me to a new photo prompt game this week on Instagram. It's called the #5shotchallenge and basically, if you should choose to accept the mission you post 5 consecutive pictures for your chosen word before passing the challenge onto someone else. My word has been 'curiosity' and has been causing me some deep thinking!
Today's posted picture needed - I felt -  a little more explanation which there wasn't room for on Instagram.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a beautifully embroidered silk WW1 postcard. When I got it home I was fascinated to read the message on the back of it.

"Dear Annie, will you give Lottie this card as it is from a friend far across the sea. Hoping to meet you someday soon or after the war Annie" then there is some rubbed out writing. The address section simply reads "To Lottie from William"

Who was William? Was Lottie related to Annie or maybe a friend? Did they ever get to meet each other? Did it end in a romantic way or not?

Part of me would love to know the story behind the card - part of me is happy to imagine and fill in the story for myself. Curiosity.......

Monday, 11 November 2013

A moment to stop and think.

Today is Remembrance Day and amid the chaos of a nursery visit to the outdoor centre where I work we found time to stop for a minute and remember all those who have defended our country over the years. It was quite moving seeing even the little ones pause and join together.
Today I feel so proud. 

In the centre, my Grandfather. A member of the Home Guard. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013


Just a quick update today... I decided to go ahead and sign up for Susannah Conway's Blogging From the Heart e-course. A week in and I already have lots to think about including some quite deep questions about the motivation for my blog and the creation of a 'mission statement'. Motivation so far has been to share some of my pictures, talk about my stuff and to revel in the wonderful ordinariness of my life!
I'm thinking maybe my pictures should be bigger?!? :)

Shadows on a sunny day

My impending craft fair stall has inspired me to new heights of industriousness. The teacup candles are finished, I have created some fab vintage map bunting (it might not even make the stall) and have all sorts of other goodies in a variety of stages of complete. On the downside the house is a complete mess and the cats are begging for attention (the children are just making the most of extra tv time).
Photographs to follow (of the crafted items, not the children watching tv)

The sudden rush of enthusiasm has also spilled into my gym routine. I have to admit the first flush of gym bunny fever had passed and I was making more and more feeble excuses to miss my sessions. So, I booked a refocus session for today and blimey, am I now refocussed! And unable to walk! Or lift things... Seriously, it was really useful and just what I needed. Sophie showed me lots of new equipment to try (me and a cross trainer...ha ha ha) and got me doing excercises which involved a balance board, a medicine ball AND some step ups. I have never felt so co ordinated.

My #alphabetofme photo project has now reached S. Apart from one missed day I have managed to post everyday and I am still enjoying the challenge. I have to say, it has shown just how much random stuff I do like and that's without sharing all the really weird bits!

And I said my life was ordinary??!!

Friday, 1 November 2013

All in the Presentation...

Wow - for someone who has virtually no social life I have been very busy recently! More film nights at The Bobbin. They had their Hallowe'en season and featured such classics as Young Frankenstein (so funny) and Nosferatu. Each film is preceded by a vintage public service film which causes much hilarity!
I am back at The Bobbin tonight with DH for another Burlesque Night. I thought I had missed the October one but they had to postpone it due to heating problems (no one wants to see a chilly burlesque performance) and luckily I managed to book a table. Whoop whoop!
My workplace had a film event too. The Blair Witch Project, outdoor in the woods on Hallowe'en... The rain kept off, the wind was just enough to add atmosphere and although the film is not one of my favourites, it worked brilliantly.

I have managed to sneak a few days off over the school hols and have spent much of it pottering and relaxing. Just what I needed! I have lots of craft stuff planned as I have booked a table at an upcoming craft fair (more of this later). I figured booking a table would give me the kick up the behind I need to get started and make stuff. I will make stuff. This weekend is the plan... watch this space to see if I need to reduce my table to half a space! :-)

DH took me to visit Tetbury yesterday. We have driven through a few times and marvelled at the amount of antique shops. It was a good day but many of the shops were way too expensive for my budget. We found a fabulous vintage clothing shop called Qetty Bang Bang. Great displays - I especially liked the wall covered in old photographs - and some beautiful clothing too.
As lunchtime approached we found a little place called The Blue Zucchini. Another hidden gem. They had some awesome music playing, I did ask what it was and can now recommend 'Dirty Honkers' to those of you who like swing music with a modern twist. The decore was eclectic and the food and drinks were served with style!

Loved the presentation.

Coke in a jar! With a handle!

I have been brave and had my hair cut to its shortest length for, well, ever! Am loving my new bob although I cannot get it to look as sleek as the hairdresser. She used things like hairdryers and round brushes and (gasp) straighteners!! Looks like I'm going to have to learn some girly skills.

Selfie showing off washed neck!

The #alphabetofme photo project is going well. Some letters are easier than others. I have been jotting down ideas in my journal as I am inspired although some have several options and I cannot decide which I like best. I am keeping it to one picture per letter but maybe some deserve two!?

I am debating on whether to enrol on Susannah Conway's Blogging course. I had it in the back of my mind as my next thing to do but noticed today that it starts on Monday.... Not sure if I will have much time to devote to it at the moment but equally it gives me an excuse for spending time on something for me (and you guys, my readers!!) I will ponder over the weekend and see if I have divine inspiration!

Sir Stanley Sparkles - before being mounted (on the wall!)

Well, off to spruce up Stanley now, the latest addition to the House of Stuffed Stuff. Sir Stanley Sparkles as the rest of the crew have christened him (don't ask!). He will fit right in!