Christmas

Christmas Glitter Ornaments

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 11.33.20Christmas is such a magical time and I love to go to the big department stores like Brown Thomas and Harrods in London. The imagination that goes into the dIMG_E1305ecorations of these trees is simply stunning and I am always jealous when I see how luxurious the trees are.

As I don’t have the budget to buy the larger ornaments, I am always looking for ideas on how to add that vavavoom feel to my own tree.

This year, I came across masks in Mr Price – a great source for craft material – for just €1 each and couldn’t resist buying a few. The shop also has bulk paint and glitter and styrofoam baubles – basically anything I needed for my glitter extravaganza.

The tinsel yarn (that’s what it’s called) I found in Aldi at one of their craft special buys. It came in a pack of four balls (didn’t even need one for five baubles). I crocheted strings of chains to make the yarn a bit bulkier (I am known to have not much patience) and fill the baubles better. PVA glue is a universal glue, also called wood glue. You can buy it in craft shops or DIY stores.

I think my Christmas tree looks quite stunning this year and could stand in Harrods on its own.

Enjoy xxx

Disclaimer: I am not connected with Mr Price or Aldi and have paid for all my material. This is not a sponsored post.

DIY

Jewellery Frame

I am not a jewellery person but you might be forgiven to display some disbelief. I was looking for a certain pair of earrings the other night (one of these rare nights when I was able to persuade Mr Make! to come to a function with me) and opened my little box of treasures. Everything was tangled up and it took me ages to find the matching earrings.

Being fed up with something is the best motivation to change things. And the fact that I remembered that I had some old (and I mean old) frames lying around. I went to an auction once (since then I am not allowed to attend any auctions anymore as I don’t seem to have any self-control) where I saw the old frames offered as a lot and I thought €50 is a bargain (husband didn’t think so).

But said husband comes in quite handy sometimes as his van and shed can be a treasure throve. He happened to have chickenwire and all I needed was a bit of patience.

This is my first jewellery frame and I have learned a lot from it (in case I get another notion). First, I would have added all frills before I attached the chickenwire – makes life so much easier.

Anyways, here is te result (and I noticed that I have much more jewellery than I thought I had (and a lot has already been sorted out and brought to the charity shop). It is all costume jewellery and things I found at craft markets etc.

When I took the frame and turned it around (I haven’t touched the box of frames since I bought it) and found this amazing label – I made sure that I didn’t take it off when I cleaned the frame. I tried to do a quick research into the business but came up empty – might do it more seriously later.

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I could have painted the frame but I love wood as it is (saying that, some upcycle I have seen were awesome) and I wanted to preserve the details on the frame. They were quite loose in some places and completely missing in others. I carefully glued the pieces back into their rightful place and cleaned carefully. I haven’t waxed it yet but it’s in the planning.

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Next, I stapled the chickenwire to the back of the frame – and here is the mistake, I should have added the wire last after I added the rod for the bracelets and the cotton lace for the stud earrings (also, I will be adding a second rod in a few days for the rings).

I am not showing you the back of the frame with my sorrow attempt to staple – I have an electric stapler but for some reason it decided not to cooperate and the staples were half hanging out so I had to hammer them down.

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Next I attached the cotton lace on top of the frame (again, I should have started with the rod). After I attached the rod (with two srew-in hooks), I didn’t have enough space on the top, so I attached a second ribbon of cotton lace.

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Now it was just a matter of sorting through my assortment of jewellery (and I should really stop calling it jewellery as it has no financial value whatsoever).

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Enjoy xx

Christmas · Crafts

Beaded Christmas Star

With Christmas approaching fast, my thoughts are going to my Christmas decorations. Every year, I am trying to add something new to the tree.  My theme is quite classic with gold tones and warm white lights. So when I am looking at things to add, they need to match the theme I already have (no mix and match here).

My friend Susanne, who lives in Germany, came last year for a visit and in her suitcase she had some great goodies, including a pack of wired star shapes. We mixed some beads and sequins together and started wrapping beaded wire around the star shapes. The result was stunning. Susanne uses her on her tree but I tend to use mine as napkin rings.

Word of warning tho – it is tricky getting the beads etc. onto the wire and you might loose the will to live. Either watch telly while doing it, or better, do what I did, have your friends arounds for a craft session.

I got these star shapes from Germany (Susanne sent me a care package) but you can easily shape strong wire yourself to use.

Beads, sequins etc, are available in Vibes & Scribes in Bridge Street as well as the Cork Craft Supply shop in Paul Street Shopping Centre.

Enjoy x

Craft Business · Uncategorized

Craft Fairs – The Display

Going to craft fairs is one of my favourite activities. I love seeing new trends, talents and get some inspiration for myself. I also try to make connections with crafters to invite them to my Christmas Craft Fair that I organise every year in Blarney. I love introducing new crafters to the visitors at the fair.

As I see crafting as a business, I always look at how people display and sell their ware. Some items are harder to display then others. For example, hand-knitted baby clothes, cards and jewellery can be very difficult to arrange nicely.

Below are some of my thoughts on a good display.

  • Don’t overcrowd

    • You want to get as much on the table as possible – but keep in mind that too many items can be confusing to potential buyers. Can each item be seen properly? Do people have space to pick up things without anything collapsing? You have space under the table, store your items there until you have space again. You don’t need five of the same – if people are interested but want it in a different colour – they will ask.
  • Build up

    • Laying everything flat on the table doesn’t look very attractive and it will look more like a carboot sale than a special craft stall. There are different ways of displaying your items. Below are some examples for different items. (Photos taken from the web)
  • Display Prices

    • Ensure that your prices are visible as not everybody will ask you. Most people have a price point they won’t overstep and having to ask for prices might lead to an embarrassing experience for both sides. Seeing the price ensures that people who stay will consider buying. Displaying your prices also ensures that there is no need for you to know all your prices by heart. It has happened more than once that I was quoted a price for an item while my friend a few moments later was given a different one for the same item. That can offend some people and they will avoid your stall in future.
  • Business Cards/Leaflets

    • I have mentioned this already in my previous posts about craft business – some craft fair visitors might just browse and won’t make a decision on the spot but would like to ponder about a purchase. If you don’t have leaflets or business cards displayed with your contact details, you are loosing a potential customer right away. Stallholders have come back to me, saying that they were contacted after the fair for a purchase. So, make it easy to be found and contacted.
  • It’s handmade – Proof it!

    • One of my favourite things to do at craft fairs is to watch crafters making things at their stall (saying that, always be aware when visitors are at your stall). It is firstly proof that the items are really handmade but it also opens communications up as people might feel more relaxed watching you and asking questions etc that can lead to a sale. Secondly, it also shows that items can be personalised.
  • Smile – The Best Display

    • You are part of the display – an extension of your craft. And your smile and openness is the best advertising for your stall. In case you are having a bad day – leave that at home. It has nothing to do at the fair – just think how you feel when you are going shopping and have a grumpy sale/shop person ruining your day. Same applies here. This is your business – and your smile is your sales agent.

Most of all – have fun and enjoy the experience

Maker's Profiles

Maker’s Profile: Wild Atlantic Waves

It was Culture Night in Cork City and I went to the County Hall for their advertised craft market. My friend Sabrina works in the County Hall and it is always a great way of meeting up. She had already done her round around the craft fair and pointed out Linda O’Callghan to me.

My friend Sabrina is a potterer and of course, she is always on the lookout for other clay-based crafts but she couldn’t believe her ears when she heard that Linda was using polymer clay for her beautiful creations. 30725469_296914664174832_3338589808460038144_n.jpg

Wild Atlantic Waves are beautiful pictures featuring the Wild Atlantic Coast with a golden sunset and little gems of pebbles, seashells, and sea glass. She is a seriously talented woman with a lot of patience.

But she doesn’t just make beach scenes, her miniatures are just as stunning – she makes mini cakes and you would have to look twice to see that it wasn’t edible. I can’t wait to see what Linda is coming up with next.

You can follow Linda on Facebook – she also sells her creation on Etsy.

Christmas

Blarney Christmas Fair 2018

It is that time of year again, autumn has set in and we are thinking already of Christmas.

Applications for the 2018 Blarney Christmas Fair are now open. The fair will take place on Sunday, 25th November from 11am – 5pm in the Blarney Golf Resort. We have booked a beautiful room in the clubhouse upstairs (lift is available). The room has good light and is spacious. The stalls will be limited to 30 to give people space to move around.

As we have already a few jewellery stalls, we decided to limit the number of stalls to three. But we are still looking for awesome crafters – so far we have handmade soap, macrame, textile, ornaments, personalised gifts, handmade chocolates, handmade cheese hampers and much more. We would love to have other crafts & arts included such as paintings, ceramics, glass etc.

Please email elke@biasasta.ie for details on the Blarney Christmas Fair. Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.30.31

DIY · Uncategorized

Command Centre

 

A lot of my work is done at home – I write a lot for the local newspaper, my food blog and some of the clients I have. I have a lovely office and I have my diary (a real one as I don’t like online/computer calendars – it’s a personal thing). Very often, I get a phone call asking me if I would be free to attend this or that event or would I be free to MC an event. I then have to look for my diary, flip the pages quickly to see if I have any commitment on that day.

After a while, I grew tired of this and I considered ways of making access to this type of information more accessible. Looking through Pinterest (and losing hours over this), I found several ideas of so-called Command Centres. This is what I needed. As my desk is towards a wall and I have a shelving unit on the other wall, I wasn’t able to just screw something to the wall so needed to think outside the box. And here is what I came up with – rather than having individual items on a wall, I decided to create a board on which everything is placed, hanging on a rail on my shelving unit so that I can move the command centre along the shelf when I needed something from behind. All the measurements below are based on my needs – you might need different ones.

Command Centre

You need:

  • 1 sheet plywood 1cm thick measuring 50cm x 70cm
  • Sanding paper, different grade from rough to fine
  • Satinwood paint black (you don’t need much)
  • A brush
  • A blackboard measuring 21cm x 29cm (got it from a discount store and painted the frame in copper-gold)
  • A pinboard measuring 24.5cm x 24.5cm (also from a discount store)
  • A pad of monthly planner measuring A4 size (I got mine from Sostrene Grene in Cork)
  • A strip of magnet
  • 3 magnets
  • 3 pegs (I got mine in Tiger Store in Cork)
  • 2 hook screws
  • nails
  • hammer
  • 1 rail measuring longer than your board with hanging hooks (I got mine from Ikea)

I took the sheet of plywood and drilled a hole on either side of the top sheet large enough so that the hooks from the rail fit through and sanded it down with a rough sanding paper first before using the fine grade one. I didn’t need it to be perfectly smooth. I then painted it with black satinwood paint (I added two coats to make sure it was all nicely covered), covering also the sides.

 

Measuring the items that needed to go on the board, I nailed the balckboard directly onto the black plywood. Next to it, I added the pinboard (I drilled a hole in the middle and used a hookscrew to fix the board to the plywood.

I then drilled a hole on either side of the planner pad, large enough to hang on the hookscrew. I held the pad in position on the board, marked the holes and srew in a hookscrew so that I was able to hang the planner pad in position.

I then added three pegs (I used first doublesided tape but that didn’t last long after I added a photo to the pegs, so used hot glue in the end) and glued the magnet strip and added the three magnets.

I had a craft magazine that had pop-out bunting (it’s a few years old actually), so I used the triangles to complete the bunting and hung in on top of the command centre.

And et voila, when someone calls now, I just have to turn around to check if I am free on a certain day. I use the blackboard to keep track of my projects and the pinboard for anything that might float around the desk otherwise.