Saturday, 26 November 2011

Socially mobile

Is it possible to feel withdrawal symptoms from hand sewing? It certainly feels like its possible. I haven't done hand stitching for about two weeks and it's making me kind of...well...twitchy. I have been busy doing other things at least, and I had the new issues of Mollie Makes to occupy me on the train to work but it wasn't quite right somehow. I love having the peace and quiet of train journeys to read and think, but I'm starting to think a train journey isn't right unless it looks like this.
Ahhhh train embroidery bliss
I know it's been a little quiet around here, but I have actually been doing things behind the scenes (I really have, really...HONESTLY!). I've decided to expand my social media dabbling a little bit and I now have a Facebook page. A lot of people have picked up my cards at the craft fairs I've done recently, and though I LOVE my blog, it can maybe be a bit detailed for those who just want to browse your products based on what they've seen at a craft fair (I LOVE the detail of blogs though, and I hope you do too!). So I took the plunge. If you are on Facebook and you want to 'like' me you can either go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Awkward-Niche/315672438459616 or click on the 'Like' button over on the right hand side of the page. Am I web 2.0 now?

I also took part in a craft fair in Broughty Ferry on the 19th, and I had an enjoyable day. It was very busy and lots of people passed through. We even had the lovely addition of a cafe provided by the organisers featuring tea, coffee, mince pies and even homemade soup! With Christmas music floating through the air it was certainly a craft fair with benefits! Sales-wise it was a bit odd. We were rarely quiet, but little money was changing hands, although quite a few people took my little mini Moo cards (hence the Facebook addition). In the end I actually had a really good day sales wise, thanks mostly to friends and family who came by to support me (thanks guys!), and some last minute decisive shoppers who bought several items from me just as we were about to pack up. 
All the stalls had Christmas lights!
The most exciting thing about the day? I sold two cushions! These were my first cushion sales, and it was great to sell something that I'd completely developed myself to my own designs and themes. There is something so gratifying about somebody buying something you have designed and made by hand. Although I do very much craft for myself, there is something wonderful and possibly addictive about that warm feeling you get when someone buys something you have made. But you know what? I even felt a little bit...well...sad in a way! It's weird to think I'll never see or touch those cushions again! Can you tell I'm very new to selling my creations?  However, this was outweighed by the comforting thoughts that these two cushions might be snugly placed on a lovely couch in someone's house right now! I LOVE that thought. Goodbye fox and monster cushions, enjoy your new home!
 
I've also joined a local crafting group over the last few weeks. A lovely friendly group of people who want to use the winter nights to create, swap patterns, ideas and techniques, and just have a friendly natter. I lug my sewing machine down to the local community hall and blast through a bit of machine sewing while chatting. It's a great way of giving me some focused machine time with no distractions (TV, chores, books etc.), and it's a great way to be inspired. Being part of this group actually encouraged me to look back over some of the crafts I made before I started to blog, and I found a lovely tunic dress I made for my daughter about a year ago. She only wore it once at a friends wedding and I promptly forgot about it. When she saw it again she wanted to wear it, and it has now become a tunic! It's great to see it again (it's the only item of clothing I've ever made here as I'm a little scared of clothes patterns), and it looks 
supercute with jeans!
It's actually making me feel a little more brave about attempting some more clothes for her. She DOES have a Christmas party coming up in a few weeks...maybe a linen tunic with some nice red details? Hmmm....oh dear...time to get out the sketchbook!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Fairs and fairs!

Wow, it's been a busy week so it's been a little quiet on here I know! Just got halloween out of the way and now I'm onto festive craft fairs already. It still seems a little wrong to be talking about THE C WORD so early...but when it comes to crafting you have you have to start thinking pretty darn early!

I had my first seasonal craft fair on Sunday, near where I live in Fife. It was a really good hall with lots of varied sellers. I had a great time and chatted to lots of visitors and to some of the local crafters (if you find your way here from picking up one of my business cards, it was great to meet you all! I really love talking to fellow craft peeps!) Unfortunately it was a bit quiet, and I didn't quite make my table money back (boo). Still, quite a few people picked up cards and a couple of them seemed keen to contact me later about special commissions. 

Next up is the Christmas Boutique Chic event in Broughty Ferry on the 19th of November. This is set to be all singing and dancing, with fairy lights and mince pies no less! I'm hoping this fair might be a bit busier, and hopefully I'll have a busy, chatty day, and maybe even make some sales too. Anyway, here's some pics from Sunday. I managed to finish a few more things to sell too and you can see them below.
Here's how my little stall looked. I hope it looks nice and bright and inviting. My mum came along to help out because it was local and to showcase her knitted bits and pieces which I also had on sale. Cheers ma!

Finally I now have three cushions completed, hurrah! I've developed a little theme for them, it's called 'sometimes you just have to...', and then each cushion has an animal and some text to  fit the theme. Each is labelled with a little tag that explains the theme too. So far I have
1. A fox with 'Be sly'
2. A giraffe with 'Stand tall'
3. My signature Awkward Niche monster with 'Be yourself'
I have another couple in the pipeline, such as a mole with 'Dig deep', and I plan to get to ten. I've noticed that all my work seems to be developing in themes, which I really love. It really fits with the semi-organised way I like to work. Of course, I still follow whatever motivates and inspires me, but working to one or two ongoing themes gives me a little bit of much-needed direction.

Here's a little close up of the monster cushion. Letters are fabric scraps that are blanket stitched on then bordered with a thick running stitch which creates a lovely raised border.

The reason I'm grinning insanely here is that's my Mum on the left posing as a customer. I just couldn't keep a straight face!

This shot shows some of my stuffed monsters and boxes of my Mum's knitted treats. There are knitted hanky cosies, and some lovely cotton dish scrubbies and gorgeous soft face cloths. 

Oh and finally finished, I turned my embroidered hare into a lovely stuffed heart. It really seems to suit being a heart, so I might do a few more.

Now I'm off to assault an old port box with a drill...tara!


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