I was looking into creating a gift for a lovely friend of mine. She is a very talented crafter herself, so I needed to come up with something she hadn’t done herself already.
Thanks God for Pinterest – I am actually addicted to it and keep collecting ideas for later. One of these ideas was crocheted snowflakes – just loved how filigree they were lookings. I had some mini baubles and a piece from an old artificial Christmas tree laying around so the idea of creating a decorative hanging was in my head.
I crocheted five different snowflakes I found on Pinterest (unfortunately, I am not creative enough to come up with my own designs) and needed to stiffen them. For that I purchased a bottle of fabric stiffener – I had never used it and wasn’t sure how it will turn out. The first batch of snowflakes turned out nice but I stretched them on a wooden board I had with nails I had in my ‘toolbox’. That wasn’t such a good idea as the timber stained the snowflakes where they touched the board after being sprayed with the stiffener and the nails left dirty marks on the tips. So the first batch wasn’t usual for what I had planned.
So, off I went crocheting five new snowflakes (the beauty of them is that each only has rows between 3-6 rows so you can do them quickly in an afternoon). This time I used a cork board covered in plastic and sewing pins. I pinned the snowflakes tight enough to keep them off the surface (just in case) and sprayed again with the stiffener. Left them to dry overnight and the result was stunning.
I hung the snowflakes on white yarn I used to crochet them on the piece of old Christmas tree and added mini pearl baubles to the mix. I love the look and getting ready to crochet more snowflakes for my own window – just use hooks with suction on your window and hang the snowflakes in different heights and hey presto, you have a stunning window decoration.
I used white as I had lovely cotton yarn in my collection of wool but you can use any colour really. I recommend using cotton yarn rather than wool to give you clean edges.
What I learnt:
Fabric Stiffener is quite wet so make sure you dab off the excess. PVA glue thinned with a bit of water does the same trick.
Leave the snowflakes at least overnight to ensure that they have dried properly
Pin opposite sites to ensure an even stretch
Using a spray – make sure you are not near anything as it sprays wide. My phone looked a bit funny after being misted.
Christmas 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 decorations 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.
Disclaimer: I am not connected with Mr Price or Aldi and have paid for all my material. This is not a sponsored post.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details on the Blarney Christmas Fair.
Over the last few years, I have been organising craft fairs in Blarney, near where I live. We are short in Blarney of places with space so I tend to go to the same hotel all the time although support from that hotel is minimal in promoting the craft fairs. The job falls on me anyway as the organiser.
I am always blown away by the sheer talent and creativity the crafters and artists bring to these fairs. Not only their products but also the way they decorate their stalls. When going from stall to stall, I find so much inspiration myself and I am in utter awe on what people are able to make. I also noticed that talent and creativity don’t always translate into sales and that can be heartbreaking if you have to pay for the stall and spend a whole day trying to make a living. So, I looked a bit deeper into the situation and compared crafters who seem to sell at every fair and crafters who don’t and here is what I learned:
No matter how beautiful your stall is, if you can’t be seen, people will pass by. They might look at your offerings but if they can’t ask questions or see who made the items, they will leave. A lot of crafters are building their stalls high to present their products – and there is nothing wrong with that – but make sure you stand beside your stall and not behind if you are covered by the display. At one of my fairs, a girl had beautiful handmade accessories but she sat on a chair behind the tall stall and made hardly any sales.
You don’t believe how shy some of the crafters and artists are. No matter how introvert you are, you are the ambassador of your brand. Think how you feel when you go into a shop and no one looks at you. The same applies to fairs. People want to know about your product, want to ask questions. A smile also opens up, invites people to stop by and have a look at your offerings.
Know your prices
If you don’t display your prices (and I recommend that you do), know your prices. Don’t hesitate and make sure you quote the same price for an item (you never know if two friends compare notes). The best is to have prices on your products as some people might hesitate to ask. You will get people commenting that the price is too high – no matter what you will answer, these people will not buy as they are going for price point rather than quality. So don’t fret over it.
Not everyone will buy straight away. A lot of people are searching for a special gift but might be hesitant to buy straight away (maybe the husbands stands next to her etc.). Make sure to hand out business cards or leaflets with your contact details. I have seen cards and leaflets with just a Facebook page mentioned. Make it easy for potential customers to get in touch with you by adding at least your email address.
Handling money is always akward but needs to be done (that’s the reason you are at a craft fair after all). I have seen people using a little plastic bag for their money – that looks unprofessional and takes away from your business. How can someone take you serious with a plastic bag of coins? Having to look for change costs time and you might loose an inpatient potential customer while searching for the right change. Money boxes are quite inexpensive and worth the investment. Make sure it has a tray with sections where you can sort your money, making it easy and quick to return proper change.
I mentioned already that some people use high displays for their stalls and that is great as it draws the eye up (making sure you are still visible). As storage space is always limited at these fairs, crafters tend to pile their products up high as well and get as much products on the table as possible. Now imagine yourself looking for a certain person on a crowd – difficult, isn’t it? Look from a customer’s point and decide how much should be on the table, keeping in mind that an overcrowded table can also invite thieves as you might only notice later that something is missing from your table.
That goes hand in hand with smile. At a lot of fairs, I can see crafters chatting away to each other and almost ignoring their customers to the point that they are leaving. We are all attached to our phones these days – you head down will prevent you from smiling at potential buyers. We are all programmed so that we don’t disturb people who look busy. You look busy when you talk to your neighbouring crafter or browse the phone. Yes, sometimes it can be boring waiting for your customers but you will miss them when you don’t pay attention.
Showcase your skills
You spent so much time creating these amazing items – don’t think that people know that (many times stallholders are selling things they bought themselves). While having downtime, why not do something with your hands? If you are a knitter- knit. If you are a painter – paint. It doesn’t have to be the next masterpiece but showcase your skills to others. People will stop to watch you, giving you the perfect opportunity to start a conversation. Some crafts are not suitable to be done at craft fairs, that is fair enough but if you can – do.
I will be posting more on the subject, so watch this space. If you like to take part in any upcoming craft fair I am organising, please contact me at email@example.com