Hallowe'en Craft Cafe

 You still have the Weekend to get Hallowe'en Crafting.
I love Hallowe'en - LOVE IT! and i don't want to hear any rubbish about anti-christianity and devil worship.
It is nothing of the sort. It is a Pagan festival full of celebration, not of 'naughtiness' but of thankfulness.
The dressing of ghoulies and ghosties is to shoooo away all the naughty spirits and celebrate the end of SummerTime, the end of the Harvest and recognise the beginning of a harder Winter.
 And children love it. The opportunity to go out AT NIGHT! or to get dressed up or to play at being naughty and fiendish... you know most adults would love this licence to Play too...
So we have celebrated in true Craft Cafe style.
We did some Ghosties on the sewing table and i have always loved how hard children try at the sewing. They are so tenacious and patient. They *want* it finished so badly.
 Paper Bags make easy and cheap 'treat bags' to collect their illicit goodies in or just feel part of the whole process (even if they are not allowed to go out treating) I just photo copied a £2 pack of stickers and enlarged them, so they could cut and paste them.
 The JuNk TaBlE
Always been the top most popular table at our Craft Cafe's.
The opportunity to build and paint for hours on end in a space big enough to house BIG projects.
It is fascinating to see how big children's work can get if you give them big tools and plenty of space. Such a liberating way to create that families at home rarely ever get (unless you get creating in the garden...)
 My nephew made the most awesome Dracula Castle. It rocked!
thank the lord for Toilet Rolls... the possibilities are endless but they do lend themselves to the making of Castle Turrets and Canon Guns.... (gotta love the Boys)
Please notice his Peg People DRACULAs along the top there, mwahahahaha....
 Some children go completely renegade.... they find items in the Craft Boxes that i never knew i had and they just go off on their own mission. This is so satisfying to watch. My job? usually to help show the best glue or tape for a particular job. And Needle threading. I spend 2 hours re-threading needles.
 Parents usually hate the painted bits.
i know, i am sorry. But it is so much fun to slap paint around.
 We love the Dads who turn up *waves at MrH in his fit hat*
This holiday we had lots of Granparents, a few Dads, a couple of au-pairs and some very excitable Mums.
It makes for an eclectic mix. There were 40 children crafting, including mine and my extended brood.
 Yep, that is mine. The one with the gappy teeth just in time for School photos.
How she can contain her excitement is beyond me.
Up at 6am "Mum Mum is it Craft Cafe today? is it?Is it??"
In competition with my Nephew, she too made a huge castle with various rooms and a COFFIN! for her Bride and Groom Zombies, complete with hidden string that lifts the lid for you. *so proud* (?)
 A collection of seasonal Brooches i wore for the day...
SO it is with the heaviest of hearts that i declare this was my last Craft Cafe as we know it.
I have said a fond farewell to this sticky chaos and it breaks my heart somewhat.
It has been 5 years that i have been running these Craft Cafes.
Every Thursday in the School Holidays... and i have loved every single session.
I cannot describe how being with the children makes me feel when they are sooo very proud of what they make. It fills me with selfish joy and pride. i have loved them.
There are many reasons that make this a sensible choice.
It is just 'time' for a break. I need a break and maybe someone else would like a chance to run some workshops now? i don't know.
I am relieved at the break. These things take alot of time and effort to organise and they rely on volunteers who make my life easier and it is time i said a big THANKYOU to all those who stay and help clear up!!
You have been the BEST.

The last mini Craft Cafe will be on Sunday 13th November
11.30am - 2pm
Boddington Village Hall (upstairs)
and downstairs will be the Christmas Gift Fair with lots of stalls.
£4 per child and we will make some decorations and Christmas Cards.
a last fond farewell for me. But maybe i will find some new plans and projects?
who knows....

Felt Ball Bracelets

I added nothing to mine other than the fuzzy balls themselves.
You could add buttons and decoration and big balls with small...
but i was dying to just the smallest ones.
 I have worn the grape / navy / white ones so much already
adds a bit of colour and fun to the school run clothing.
I am going to do a post later on our AMAZING Craft Cafe Hallowe'en fun but wanted to just show you these briefly.
I also have some news to talk to you about -
and i am planning on some workshops next year doing the odd fun class in balls n beads and other such loveliness.
My head is a-cracked with ideas and beginnings and ends and all sorts, but i thought i'd share these photos with you before i discussed all that....
later x

What to take to your Craft Stall...

 I am no Craft Stall Guru you understand. I don't have the 'magic touch' and nothing you or I do can ever guarantee a good Sale Takings on the day, however....
 I have a bag with me that never gets unpacked when i get home so i know - KNOW - that everything will be in there if i pick it up to go to a craft sale. And inside that bag is my essential Craft Stall Kit.
 TWO plain white table cloths (i cannot abide black velvet cloths, sorry if that is your thing)
I know a lady who used greengrocers fake grass as her cloth.... cool!
The second cloth is a spare, you'll be surprised how many stall holders ditch at the last minute and you could grab a free extra table.
 A pad and pen for writing down the sales so i can be sure to let the Tax Man know just how much cash changed hands (!)
And a packet of sticky labels to price the items. People really like to see a price without asking you... honestly, they just prefer that.
 A purse with approximately £80.00 of change in. This is a float. You know that though.
I collect many £5 notes for my float (they are rare) and i have lots of £1 and some 50p and a few £10.00 notes. Change is vital. And i re-stock the float when i get home to make sure it is all ready for the next sale.
People who know me *for real* will surely laugh at all this, as i come across very scatty!!
A stack of postcards and business cards.
Some magazines if i have been in them, just to "La-dee-da" myself a bit  :)
And a pot with:
Blu tack, sellotape, string, clips, safety pins, small butchers hooks, drawing pins
You never know where there will be space to hang and display stuff from so it is good to have bits like that with you.
I take other stuff - like Water and... stock! but that is my list of essentials.
If you are Craft Fairing this season - GOOD LUCK and have fun.
Be nice to other stall holders too. It is just better that way.

Apple & Damson Gin, hooya!

 OMG! i mean it... O  M  G!!
This really is nectar of the Gods. I kid you not when i declare it to be
"Worlds Finest Apple & Damson Gin"
 I read something, somewhere about England having been home to the Apple Gin, many moons hence, but that it isn't really made here anymore. And last year i made the Damson Gin from my Brother's Fruits.... which was great (if i remember correctly... if i actually can remember at all!!)
And i was sat with a glut of Apples also..... and so came the Apple & Damson Gin.
 I wasn't that keen on the idea. I am not a great fan of Apple as a 'flavour' ya know? It can be a bit Apple-y.
Anyway, the fruit, sugar and gin have been steeping in a jar for a few months now so i decided to strain it and bottle it, ready for the bracing Autumn weeks ahead.
Seriously... it is amazing! so Bloooooomin YUM x
Of course it was tempting to eat the fruit..... but think about what alcoholic content it has now adopted!?
And it was a Sunday, and i had a Birthday Party 'pick up' run to fulfill....
Besides, the Damsons have stones in so it would have been a bit faffy to eat around them without breaking an expensive dental crown.
You will, of course, be pleased to know that i made TWICE as much Sloe Gin also.
It isn't ready yet, but i do think it so very important to have a second homemade alcoholic beverage, with which to perform a comparison consensus on Christmas Day....
Seriously good my friends,
seriously good...

Pink and Green

Pink and Green by kirstyfish
Pink and Green, a photo by kirstyfish on Flickr.

There might be a tutorial of mine happening over at Lupin's House...
Lupin is a bit of a Gem and i send her huge hugs over the t'internet airwaves *hi babe* xxx

Bowls, Buttons & Balls

Bowls, Buttons & Balls by kirstyfish
Bowls, Buttons & Balls, a photo by kirstyfish on Flickr.

I had a wonderfully crafty day today. It started with a run. :) love my running! Some packing and post office trip. A bit of sewing, some photography and setting up my craft stall for the morning... Great x

Craft Fair Saturday 15th October

Attractive Waste... by kirstyfish
Attractive Waste..., a photo by kirstyfish on Flickr.

10 - 4pm Helmdon Church, a small village between Towcester and Banbury. Great simple fare with tea, cakes, Ploughmans Lunch... i love this fair! and i will be there x

Shrinking Balls... and other Ball News....

 I know, I know - another 'post' i am bombarding you with shop nonsense.
But the felt balls are shrinking / have shrunk!
Listen though - these are cute, right? Teeny Tiny Felt balls... approx 1cm
 At this moment i am only selling them in a bag of 100 - with 10 each of 10 colours.
Super super happy to see these. LUFF-LY
i will get around to breaking them into 10s of each colour... soon (ish)
 Even bigger news than that tho...
my 'rescued' dog played with a toy (a ball) for the first time since i got him!
We had a little play and he chewed it without looking at it like it might chew him back....
 That IS my dog in the background, and not a cheap inadequate draught excluder.
Oh he is such a lovely boy.
I used to coo over my Baby Girl like this but now school have stolen her and i think that is terribly unfair.
A great deal of Balls today.

Christmas Cute...

A couple of new Gingerbread Boys on the Block.
I have changed the faces from previous years to make them a little sweeter looking.
 Peeking out of this gorgeous Christmas Tin...
 And there is, sllooooowwwwly.... a collection of Christmas Babushka Babes getting into the Christmas Shop. I have some great ideas of how to extend my Christmas Range next year.
Hey - not only am i well early for Christmas, but i am already early for Xmas 2012
(somebody shoot me!)
 Like the tin?
I adore Christmas Tins, and my real favourites are all the Marks & Spencer range.
But guess what? i don't want all the biscuits! I am a cake fan, but not a biscuit fan.
The great thing about this yummy tin is that it is empty! - some of you may think me mad, but that makes me happy :)
If you want to buy your own tin £6.95 - (without the biscuits!)

Guilty Pleasure...

Guilty Pleasure... by kirstyfish
Guilty Pleasure..., a photo by kirstyfish on Flickr.

I know it really is ALL things bad in life, but.... TOWIE is soooo addictive!

Wool Felt Swatch... and Professional Craft Chat...

 I have cobbled together these books of Wool Felt Swatches...
I wanted customers to have a wad they could handle rather than Ickle Tiny sqaures that can be frustrating to view and impossible to 'feel'
 I have no idea how attatch the colour name to each 3x3 sqaure so i have STUCK (as best i could, with my top most sticky down pushing force) the name of each colour on the felt. Not the best soultion, but the best i can come up with, without stapling each piece.
I am already dreaming of all the new colours i want to add. And i have been having a little play with some pieces and it is oddly addictive... all that softness, mmmmm....
 I am busy People - super busy and i'd like to try and write a Blog Post soon about how hard we professional crafters work. I was thinking about it so much today. I am guilty of coming across a bit "ooh, it's so easy all this Button Lark..." but it isn't easy. There are so many tricky elements to the entire BEAST that is: online selling... original Designing & Making
 That is me :)  (looking wasted with a glass of Vino) in Craftseller Magazine - "Thankyou Alice!" i appreciate you!
and the big vain monster in my Ego says "i like seeing me in a magazine" but there is often so much more work that goes in than what you see in the pulp.
I could go on and on about the commissions i have taken for books and magazines that took my time and effort that were later CUT at the last editorial moment. Or the times i quoted a price for my work and was never paid.. and so on... it has happend to many of my professional peers too.
I wonder why i keep on taking extra work?? it can't be just my ego, can it?
No, of course not, it is LOVE of the job - like any other profession.
In my last job i did sooo many extra unpaid hours. Is that what they call a Vocation? a Calling?

Well... i am exhausted. Yet there is so much more to talk about.
I have a possible impending lawsuit... other people ripping off my designs and selling them as their own. Since when was that okay? Thank goodness for Copyright Laws that state quite clearly
"Thou shalt not copy an identical design from another professional and begin manufacturing it and selling it as your own"
LISTEN UP people: don't look at my little shops and assume i won't follow you round with a big stick!
I have got big loud friends and even bigger louder Lawyers.
Off to have a few more glasses of the Goodly Vino.

Sneaky Stripes... and Thursday Musings

 p.s. i did sneak these new Stripe Buttons into BigFish whilst you weren't looking.
They are the Sister Buttons to the Polka Dot Party Spotty Buttons. Same everything 'cept they're stripes.
Only available in 6 colours at present... let's hope we get the full 13 as that would be fun!
 I was at the School / Church Harvest Festival this morning.
How cute are little kids, singing about fluffy cauliflowers!?
And i found this eggshell on my walk and then i put it down next to this tiny piece of slate.
There was something so heart wrenching about seeing this egg next to a tiny stone into which my LittleFish had scratched "sorry" some time in the Summer.
She had nothing to be sorry for... but you know, eggs are the start of new birth and life.
Knowing the season has shifted again. Knowing she won't be singing in the Harvest Festival forever. That dull Mother Ache of babies growing up so fast...
 Harvest is also about being thankful - feeling grateful, whatever your religion.
The Pagans were big on the Harvest. Give thanks to the land for providing n all that.
I am so thankful for it all.
Happy insides.

Wool Felt by the Yardage... yippeee!

 Wool Felt on the Bolt - this feels soooo good.
Seventeen Colours to start with and i have tried to choose natural shades that are very different from the Acrylic Felt colours. These are softer more natural with flecks in. So soft and very different from the Acrylic Felt i have been using and selling for years.
 Naturally i am happy just to own and stroke these big blocks of colour and never sell it.
It is so satusfying. I don't see why i can't just replace the internal walls of my home with it?
 Soft and thick like blankets wrapped round a piece of card, ripe and ready for chopping up and sewing cushions / toys / purses... I haven't even begun to play through all my own ides yet!
 So,,,, i am stocking 17 colours to begin with but might add to the range...
Each colour has a % of wool and a % of rayon. Not 100% wool as that would cost a bit of mint to buy.
It is very wide at 90cm / 35inch on the bolt and can be purchased in half metre cuts upwards. You get lots of felt for your hard earned monies.
Currently in FuzzyFish on etsy but i'll have it in LovePaperFish as soon as i can.
Don't ask me for swatch sheets yet... i haven't got around to samples and swatch colours.
Give me time!
Fun :)


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