Oh my! Where has the time gone? My day job keeps me pretty busy, but I have managed a wee bit of creative stuff (even if I haven’t managed to reopen my online shop)
I am still in love with miniature work and have done a couple of Very Berry Handmade hoop and artist trading card swaps…as well as a gift of some really minute embroidered brooches.
I love embroidering animals – particularly birds and this kingfisher was one of my favourites.
There have been a few cards and pet portraits…
…and the days when I wake up with an image in my head and just want to give it a go!
A couple of my friends have had babies…which always calls for turning soft gloves in to cats and dogs!
However, the outstanding memory will be my ‘Summer of Cakes’. I only make cakes for friends and family – not a business – but there have been quite a few this Summer. I have been decorating cakes since I was a child; my first wedding cake being my sister’s wedding cake when I was 16.
This Summer’s wedding cakes called for modelling…both in fondant…
…and in paper.
And now? Well now it is full steam ahead towards Christmas!
I spoke to my mum today and she asked if I still have a website…erm…oops. Life has become very busy as I have moved from full time textile artist to part-time textile artist and part-time office manager at Demuths Cookery School. It’s quite tough fitting everything in to my week, but there are definite perks…like getting to take part in the Andalucian Spanish Tapas class to see it from the students’ point of view!
As well Demuths, the Bath WI is still taking up a lot of my free time…all very exciting though as Gardeners’ World came to film our garden in the Bath Botanical Gardens and our Kitty showed Rachel de Thame how to pickle runner beans!
Of course there is still time for sewing and the odd craft market. I went to Corsham Creative Market for the first time and had a lovely time – back there again on 7th November.
Still loving freemotion embroidery…with a miniature artist trading card and an embroidered washbag.
Last year I started taking part in a few artist trading card swap with other stitchers, via lovely Ali at VeryBerryHandmade, and got hooked on making things tiny. The latest swap was on the theme of ‘home sweet home’. This was the one I made and sent off:
…and this is the little piece of gorgeousness I received from Cynthia:
All this working in miniature inspired me to try some well known views of Bath and frame them in 3″ flexihoops…my version of Bath bubbles!
I also embroidered a few more birds…
All were very well received at my stall at the Larkhall Festival on Saturday – had a lovely time; thank you to the organisers and all the lovely people who came to support me (and Su selling her willow work). We also had lots of interest in our Grownups Playgroup craft workshops!
…and that means a bit of Spring cleaning! Since I started Deerey Me I have been selling through Etsy.com, but most of my orders head off to the USA, so I am going to have a go at selling on Folksy.com to see if I get more UK sales: https://folksy.com/shops/DeereyMe
I am starting with pieces not previously available for sale and am concentrating on freemotion applique and embroidery.
If you fancy having a go at freemotion embroidery and applique yourself, you can have your chance on 11th April as we still have a few spaces on our Grownups Playgroup workshop! You will have a fun day learning about the equipment and materials that will help you along the way, getting to play by producing a stitched doodle sheet like this…
…and then make and take home a piece of your own hoop art, perhaps a couple of owls…
You may have noticed a decided absence of posts. It is not that I have not been working at all – there have been custom orders and stock developments – but there have also been distractions in the form of visitors, days out with Mark and needing to get things done for the Bath WI. We now have no visitors, Mark is back at work (for a couple of weeks anyway) and my lovely comrades at the Bath WI committee have taken quite a bit off my shoulders so I have two weeks to work very hard…before Mark and I hand over the house and cats to our regular ‘sitters’ and head to Devon for a week in a listed barn conversion; peace and quiet, lots of photos and perhaps a little crochet beside the wood burner (probably alone as Mark has spotted there is a PlayStation in the property!).
So first of all, let me share some of my distractions…
Stourhead National Trust house and gardens:
The Courts, National Trust gardens at Holt:
Afternoon tea at the Bailbrook House Hotel:
Yeo Valley Organic Gardens:
And now the work! I have been having fun printing photos on to cotton poplin, and there are now options in my Etsy shop to request custom orders using your own photos…the kids, pets or holiday snaps! Christmas present for Granny?
In addition, there are organised people getting ahead with their Christmas shopping and I have had a number of custom orders including Wizard of Oz Christmas stockings – I liked the ruby slipper one so much I made an extra one to pop in my shop, and am always happy to make items personalised with names and/or photos.
Just at the moment it is a bit of a struggle fitting everything in to the day. All things I enjoy, but I am being pulled in so many different directions….having to ration cups of tea with friends at the moment as I just don’t have time. If that means you, I am really sorry!
Anyway, I am trying to organise my days so I can fit in a wee bit of sewing first thing, followed by paperwork and by lunch time make sure I am stripping wallpaper in the front bedroom.
There are some achievements from my efforts, for example my very organised fabric stash (I won’t show you my haberdashery and art supplies drawers, as a lady should not post photos of her drawers!)
I have cleared out a load of craft books and magazines I am hoping the WI ladies will take away with them at the next Crafty Night In and made some shelf space. However, there is one spot I am going to have to leave empty for Max the cat!
In addition, yesterday I had one of those wonderful days when you get to realise a project you had only ever seen in your mind. I popped in to the Plush Addict website to get some more linen look cotton (great for book bags) and stumbled across some fabric with a newspaper print. It called to me…“Sue, Sue, buy me and turn me in to a paper boat made from fabric..!”. Yesterday I did just that.
I made a paper version first to get the right size rectangle to start with and used it as a pattern (plus seam allowance) to cut two pieces of the fabric and one of interfacing. Ironed the interfacing to one of the fabric pieces then sewed the two fabric pieces right sides together, turned it inside out, ironed it and top stitched around the outside. Then I just made up the paper boat, ironing at every stage and hand sewing a few stages to help it keep it’s shape. I know I should be modest, but I confess I am a wee bit chuffed at how it turned out!
In addition, last week I had a short telephone interview about crafting and well-being; the way having something to create and to focus on helps deal with anxiety and depression. It is all the more pertinent with the sad news of Robin Williams’ suicide. I am very fortunate and haven’t had much trouble at all with anxiety or depression over the last couple of years, but I am aware of how it lurks in the shadows looking for an opportunity to creep back. One of the reasons I wanted to do the interview is that I believe we should talk about how we feel. Anxiety and depression are not signs of failure, just of being human, and talking about it helps us know we are not alone and that there is always the choice to keep on living…the darkness will pass. It is so sad that the world has lost someone who brought so much to people’s lives through his work.
Yes, I know it is July and not technically Spring, but I have indeed been Spring cleaning. I had my fourth craft fair on Saturday and a few things have sorted themselves out in my mind.
I started Deerey Me wanting to try lots of things – because I like making so many different things – hoping something would come to the surface. I think it now has. What I enjoy most is free-motion machine embroidery and applique and I think I should keep my stock to this theme. I will sell cards and pictures and zip pouches and to that I may add brooches and tea cosies and aprons, but all will have my style of free-motion twiddliness.
One thing that has not sold at all at craft fairs and not too much recently online is the larger tote/shopping bags, so I am going to stop making them as stock (except the book bags). I am happy to make anything at all for custom order – tote bags, slippers etc – but I won’t keep them in stock and I won’t take them to craft fairs. My one exception to all this is Ellen Mouse. I love her too much not to have her around – and I don’t want all that CE testing to go to waste.
So, my friends, I now have some stock to clear out of my way. I have decided to take them out of my Etsy shop and sell them a few at a time on my Facebook page, so why not head over there, ‘like’ my page and see what bargains pop up each day!
In addition, the more free-motion work I do, the faster I get, so I am now able to reduce the price of my cards from £4.50 each to £3 each!
Finally, and I shall whisper this…my Christmas shop is now open over at Etsy: Deerey Me Christmas shop. I had a couple of people buying stocking-fillers on Saturday and thought I should be ready for the early birds. The Christmas section does include some non-applique pieces, but…well…Christmas is Christmas and some liberties may be taken!
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” ― Cicero
Well I have a garden and few bookcases and a Kindle, so it is looking good – what’s more I got to spend Saturday in Bath central library! The really cool thing was that when I got there I found I had been allocated the table smack in front of everyone coming to the library’s craft market. It brought back so many memories of the library in Loughborough when I was little and would be taken to change my books. I remember the parquet flooring and how clean and shiny it was and sometimes there would be someone reading stories to the children and most of all I remember a book. A book with an illustration of a long table covered with tall, elegant jellies. Some things never change!
I do have wonderful book childhood book memories – my dad reading me Alison Uttley’s Sam Pig stories at bedtime, my sister reading Alan Garner books to me, sitting on the windowsill in her bedroom, and reading Watership Down myself one of the Summers I was sent to stay with my great aunt in Cornwall…I spent the whole Summer digging rabbit warrens in the sand.
Anyway, I digress. The craft market was not as financially successful as some, but was still profitable and I came away with some custom orders and I met ever so many nice people (and I think recruited a few to the Bath WI), lots signed up for the Deerey Me newsletter and I heard about people’s vintage patterns and button collections, saw photos of beautiful crocheted shawls and gave little dog stickers to lots of kids (and only one cried). It was fun.
I wanted to have a few bits and pieces appropriate to a library, so made some book bags – classics as I am not sure about copyright and whether I can use the name of the book (I queried whether I could use Harry Potter titles and the nice people handling copyright for JK Rowling were really helpful and replied the same day and explained that the HP copyrights are now with Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers have not yet responded…but I will stick at it!)
I also put my new found crochet skills to good use and made some pocket money friendly bookmarks – my fist sale was one of these to a cute little girl who wanted to use it in her library books.
I know it is hard to believe, but on Sunday I was somewhat tired and grumpilicious, so Mark took me to the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum in Britain (at Claverton on the outskirts of Bath). Nobody could be grumpilicious in the face of such colours!
Became even less grumpilicious strolling (well limping a bit) around the beautiful gardens before sipping lemon and ginger tea on the terrace.
After all this, I can only conclude that Cicero was right…If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
(Well…and a nice chap to help you unpack and pack your stock at the craft fair, carry your camera bag and lenses, wait patiently while you take even more photos of bees and has a pot of tea waiting for you when you’re finished)
Yesterday I had a stall at the Larkhall Festival in Bath. Our nearest shops are in Larkhall – just five minutes walk away – and it is a lovely little place on the edge of Bath, with a real community spirit. There’s a newsagents/post office, a butchers, a deli/bakery, a green grocers, two cafes, a couple of pubs, a pet shop, a hardware store…oh you get the picture. Every year there is a community festival that brings together local residents and businesses, with lots of live music, kids’ activities, competitions…and a craft market! I hadn’t had a stall there before and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had a brilliant time. It was a successful day financially, and lots and lots of people took away my advertising postcards, but more importantly I met so many lovely people! The day flew by and the other stall holders were so friendly – Diane and Terry were like old friends by the end of the day and the lovely lady with the top hat gave me some useful advice about selling at craft markets (and even offered to share her twiglets!), there was live music from a pianist and a guitarist (complete with his sweet little dog who went from stall to stall saying hello to everyone), and the nice lady selling her jewellery danced with her baby grandchild. The customers were interested in what I make and how I make it and I had some fascinating conversations, I think I may have some new recruits to the Bath WI and one very lovely lady has even offered me a bag of crocheted lace and other fabric!
A big thanks to Cassy for organising the craft market – I just had such a nice day (and amazingly my dodgy knees seem to have held up ok – rather expected not to be able to walk the rest of the weekend). All went so well, I rather wish I had signed up for today’s market too!
Apologies for poor quality photos – I didn’t want to take my posh camera.
I didn’t need to make much more stock for the market, but made a couple of vinyl/oilcloth bags as they seem to go down well and a few more cards:
What’s more, it is a bank holiday long weekend, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the wisteria in the garden looks gorgeous alongside the apple blossom…what my friend Annika would describe as a ‘blooming tree’…ah, fond memories of afternoon tea at the Royal Crescent Hotel with my favourite Swedish ladies.