As Christmas approaches life becomes impossibly busy. I have cut right back on craft fairs because of the demands of my day job and life in general and have my first Christmas fair this Saturday – King Edwards School Bath 10 til 2. Here is some of my stock-making…
Ooh it’s been a busy Winter. Busy, but profitable. What has slipped has been writing (and housework…sorry Mark!). So here goes…a brief summary of 6 weeks in the life of Sue Deere, textile artist.
I have worked on a teeny weeny Artist Trading Card for the Very Berry Handmade swap:
I have had lots and lots of orders – many for pieces using the customers’ own photos, so I can’t really share them here while others were freemotion pieces and now Christmas is over, I can let you see!
My photos as well as textile art:
I had a number of craft markets and hugely successful and enjoyable open studio with my friend and willow artist, Su Macpherson (involving plenty of mulled wine and mince pies too!) – for the Christmas Fair at Bath Library I even had a very lovely young French lady to help me run the stall.
Su and I treated ourselves to a half day fused glass course at Silversides in Larkhall:
Excitingly, Su and I have also decided to work together running craft workshops – a creative fun day out, suitable for the absolute beginner: Grownups Playgroup
We are now booking for:
- 21 March 10.00 – 16.00 willow plant supports (only two places left)
- 28 March 10.00 – 16.00 willow sculpting
- 11 April 10.00 – 16.00 introduction to free motion embroidery
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
I will also be running a workshop for the Bath WI, making pincushions in teacups:
As well as all this crafty loveliness we have had a lovely selection of frosty mornings and Winter sunshine…stunning sunrises and delicate moonfalls.
A few brisk Winter walks to put roses in our cheeks:
Lots of wildlife to admire, including a kingfisher in the Botanical Gardens in Bath!
In contrast, the cats have been making the most of the central heating. Max has been experimenting with different resting places including Christmas presents, a hamper, boxes and a rather nice pack of truffles! Rio stuck to Mark’s dressing gown and the ironing board…
There were decorations…
…and lots of baking…
…injuries – little ones like burning my arm on the oven and bigger ones involving an ambulance ride to A&E when our neighbour tripped and cut her head badly.
There were party hats, racing wind-up robins, cocktails, two Christmas dinners, accounts and my first tax return…
…and the new year started with a new hair cut!
So here’s to 2015 and all the excitement ahead!
With a shed load of Christmas craft markets coming up, I could do with some little elf helpers! As the house fills with Christmas goodies I am already feeling festive…just hope it doesn’t wear off before Christmas! All available to buy or to order in my Christmas shop.
Of course you can come along to one of my Christmas stalls – Friday 21st Nov Yatton Keynell Village Hall (2pm to 4pm), Saturday 29th Nov King Edward’s School, Bath and Saturday 6th Dec Bath Central Library.
This year you could be wearing a Deerey Me creation…brooches and earrings!
Of course you can dress your Christmas tree too!
…and don’t forget Christmas cards!
Last but not least, it was my mum’s 80th birthday last week…she got a round of applause and and a birthday cupcake at the Pump Room on the day and then a family get together at the weekend. Happy birthday (again) Mum!
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.
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!
So the presents were wrapped…and slept on…!
…the baking was done and food was eaten…
…Christmas afternoon snoozes were snoozed…
…paper hats from crackers were worn and games were played…
…and now it feels like time to take down the decorations and clean the house ready for the new year. I am not a big fan of New Year’s Eve. Whatever the opposite of a party animal is, that’s me. I do, however, love New Year’s Day. I like the excitement of opportunities ahead and the feeling like I have a clean slate and a little mini fresh start. I have a lovely piece of red velvet with little red riding hood’s name on it (metaphorically speaking) and a big roll of chalk cloth and 100 blank cards waiting for a bit of free-motion embroidery and a head buzzing with ideas (and not all of them totally crazy).
Flooding permitting we will go and get some invigorating sea air (while Sue and Don cat and house sit), hide all remaining chocolate (we were given loads!), rediscover fresh green food and ditch the sugary carb-heavy Christmas food habits, dig out our bikes for regular exercise, put up the raised beds where we cleared the turf, plant seeds in the grow house, decorate the bedrooms…oh and I will be grasping my new crafty person role with the Bath WI. See what I mean? The new year is really exciting! I have such a good feeling about the coming year…!
How about you? What are you all looking forward to?
First things first…or no…actually before that…I must apologise for the lack of attention I have given my Deerey Me website. Such a busy time, I confess I have been favouring the speed and ease of my Deerey Me Facebook page, which has had more than a hint of Christmas party about it. I have all sorts of plans for the new year, including lavishing more attention here.
So back to ‘first things’…I drew the winners of my calendar giveaway. First (Aaron) and second (Emma) who commented over on Facebook, but I was delighted that the third name drawn was lovely Caitlin, who commented here. A Sue Deere Photos calendar will be winging its way to all three very shortly.
Most years our house is full of gingerbread houses and yule logs waiting to be collected by friends and family but this year my only request for a gingerbread house was received too late for me to have time to make. In fact my only gingerbread house was a handbag for the WI Christmas Fair…
I did have my usual Christmas cake gifts to make and decided to use the spherical bun tin I treated myself to a few years back to make mini fruit cake spheres that I turned in to little fat robins…of course!
My mum is not meant to have marzipan or icing, so her cake just has a hint of edible gold spray and some gold plastic reindeer.
I have a little more baking to do before Wednesday and last night was our Christmas street party – a great regular event. One of our neighbours has even put an extra shed in his front garden, which he has converted in to a bar…and this year there was homebew on tap too! We gather around a brazier (not to be confused with brassiere!) and sing carols, drink mulled wine and eat nibbles (the mini meat pies were particularly awesome…). My contribution was these melting snowmen cookies I saw on Pinterest.
You can use any sort of biscuit/cookie (even shop-bought), spread a dollop of white glace or royal icing and – before the icing dries – pop marshmallows on a greased piece of baking parchment on a microwave-safe plate and zap for no more than 20 seconds (just long enough that they start to puff up). Oil your fingers and squish a melting marshmallow on each biscuit. When cool and dried pipe on arms and faces. Another time I would use larger biscuits and add fondant scarves. I bought rolos and giant choc button to make hats, but again the biscuits were too small…ah well, we will just have to eat the chocolate.
Talking of chocolate, I made some hot chocolate spoons as little extra Christmas gifts. I bought a big pack of wooden teaspoons and filled them with milk and white chocolate and added Christmas sprinkles and edible glitter; when stirred in to a mug of hot milk they will make yummy hot chocolate.
I was worried that this year, with all the Christmas sewing starting in late Summer, I might be fed up with Christmas before it got anywhere near. However, I am delighted to announce that I was still very happy to decorate the house this week. We have so many Christmas decorations…
…but there’s always room for a few new home made lavender cats!
Actually, I made so many lavender cats and other lavender bags, I ran out of lavender and had to move on to cloves and cinnamon.
With all the Wintery preparations for Christmas…
…it was rather nice taking a moment out to look forward to the new year and Spring with a get well card…
I intend to be back here before Christmas, but just in case I get buried in icing sugar and shortbread (what a way to go!), I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and/or Winter break.
My business sewing is pretty much finished for the year and now I feel I can take a breath, finish off a few Christmas gifts and get on with a bit of Christmas baking. A few of my Christmas presents may actually miss Christmas, but should reach their recipients early in the New Year. I have made some Christmas and floral Dalek pincushions as gifts but have a few more things to finish.
For us it’s just not Christmas without a trip to the American Museum at Claverton. It’s decorated for the season and this weekend there is also a craft fair and a sale of Christmas decorations.
Mark and I bought each other a Christmas decoration, although my choice may well stay out all year long. This beautiful glass toadstool is about 10cm tall, and very elegant.
Mark chose something more seasonal…
Mind you I am already excited about next year’s makes. I am waiting for an order of red velvet for some little red riding hood themed items to start my fairy tales range, and some tin boxes in which to make miniature fabric scenes for Spring and Valentines Day, and this strange parcel arrived from Plush Addicts…
I am very excited about using the chalk cloth (in the tube) to make storage boxes with labels you can write on and bunting where you can change the message at whim.
First things first…with the New Year looming I thought somebody might like a free calendar. I love taking photos and these calendars (one wall calendar and two desk calendars) are my chance to sift through the hundreds of photos to pick out some favourites. If you would like one, just add a comment here or on my facebook page and I will pick the three winners on Friday 20th!
My first craft fair was really good fun, and I learnt a lot. I hope most craft fairs will have larger tables, but I have learnt not to overload whatever size table I have. I sold quite a bit at the fair and more in the online shop, but had got a bit carried away making stock, so still have some to refill the virtual shelves in my online shop.
Amongst the stock there are lots of Christmas stockings…
and Christmas tree decorations…
I generally post first class, but am happy to upgrade to courier service to be sure gifts reach you before Christmas – send me a message and I will let you know the additional postage cost and expected delivery time. Do go and have a look! Deerey Me Etsy shop.