Sunday, 22 August 2010

The Last Time

Well, I'd love to be able to report that that Tewin Car Show was an unmitigated success, and that we sold loads of stuff.  I'd love to, but it would be a complete fabrication.

First, the pluses - despite a slightly damp start to the day, the sun came out and it was a lovely day.  Val's gazebo was really easy to put together, so no hitches there.  We didn't even mangle any tent pegs.  (I have to say, that as everyone was setting up on the cricket field, and the 1950's music was playing  over a crackly loud speaker, the day began to feel like the start of an episode of Midsommer Murders, so to ensure that we weren't inadvertently responsible for any nasty 'incidents', we made sure that we securely locked Val's claw hammer in the van - you can't be too careful)
We set our stall out (as they say) and we were pleased with how it looked, with Jill's pictures -

My cake stands and jewellery -
and a small selection of Val's knitted stuff -
We had a few visitors , and about a dozen people said how lovely my cake stands were, but then they turned over the ticket, saw the price and walked away.  I'd priced them at £25.  Now, leaving aside my time, for a moment,  they actually cost me £15 per stand to make, just for the plates and fittings.  Then there's the time involved in hunting down suitable plates, driving to the suppliers to buy the fittings, and the special drill bit you need to make the holes.  It took quite a time to make them, and to choose which plates went together, then package them, and pay for the cost of the craft stall.  So, I don't think £25 is unreasonable, do you?
Never mind, I guess that's some of my Christmas presents sorted out. 
All in all, I sold 5 cards, for the princely sum of £4.50.  Well, it would have been £4.50 but one of my customers was busy chatting and forgot to pay me, so I actually took £3 all day.  I think it's unlikely I'll be nominated for "Business Woman of the Year"  
The only time I took any cash, was when I was doing my one hour stint in the refreshment tent - when we served cakes and drinks non-stop- including serving Lewis Hamilton's dad with a cup of tea!
On the positive side, I got to spend the day in the sunshine with two great friends, and we did have a laugh, and from where our pitch was, we were fortunate enough to be in prime position to watch the Morris dancers
I'd love to say more about the Morris dancers, but I really can't afford to offend any potential customers.  I remember watching a programme about them once, and the interviewer asked why they did it.  One of the dancers said that there was always a lot of alcohol involved.  I guess there would have to be.

The lack of customers meant that I had a chance to look around at the Classic cars - and this one was the most unusual - it's hand built and the bodywork is highly polished wood.
If I could have had my pick of the cars I saw - and there were lots of Porsches and Lamborghinis - I'd have picked the White Thunderbird.  I love those big American cars with 'fins'.  Knowing my luck though,  I  BET it belongs to one of the Morris Men.

So, I know I've said it before - and I'll quite possibly say it again - that's the last time I do a craft fair.  From now on I just make stuff for me.  Probably.

(The Last Time - Rolling Stones)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Crumbs From Your Table

Been busy making for the Tewin Car Show tomorrow.  I've made some 'rock' corsages, using imitation leather.  Not sure what I think of them, the design definitely needs more work, but being me, everything is left until the last minute as usual.   Oh well, another work in progress.
And I've made some necklaces - 
The pictures aren't brilliant, but I'm quite pleased with how they've turned out, and they look good against the black velvet background - which is actually my wooden chopping board shoved down the leg of my Mum's velvet trousers.  It's ok, she took them off first.
I have a stall at the show with two friends, and we have to start the day by erecting a gazebo, in case of pouring rain, or (ever the optimist) scorching sunshine.  None of us has ever put up a gazebo before.  What can possibly go wrong?  
Talking of which, you know in recipes where it says 'allow to completely cool before removing from the tin'.  I now know why it says that.  I made another courgette cake yesterday, and it looked beautiful.  I waited quite a long time for it to cool.  Oh ok, about 10 minutes then.  I carefully lifted it out in it's paper case and it promptly collapsed and dropped on the floor.  Mashed up courgette cake crumbs, anybody?

(Crumbs From Your Table - U2)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Lost and Found

Guess what - I found them!  I had a flash of inspiration - it still happens occasionally.  I looked in my studio and I went straight to my sparkles.  They were in a little plastic box, that fits (with lots of others) into a bigger plastic box.  I'm telling you, just in case I forget again.  Anyway,  as promised, here they are adorning the tshirt.  Ok, so it's not much to get excited about, but I was pleased.

I think what I'd better do is make a list of everything I have in the world, and write where I've put it.  At least then I'd only have to read through a long list, and I wouldn't have to turn everything out, and put it away again.

So, having got the day off to a good start, I thought I'd make some cake stands for an upcoming craft event.  I'd already got some plates drilled, I drilled some more, and I've come up with these.

They are for the Classic Car Show at Tewin on Sunday.  I'm having a stall with some friends, and I'm also doing teas for an hour or so,  (I'm only warning you in case you're coming, and you may decide you'd prefer  to bring a flask!). Hopefully I'll have made some jewellery before Sunday too.  WHY do I always leave everything to the last minute???

(Lost And Found - Echo & The Bunnymen)

Monday, 16 August 2010

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

If I could get back all the time in my life that I've spent looking for stuff, and that I know I've  put in a safe place,  I reckon I'd only be 28.  Today, it's those little iron-on diamante things.  I bought a Tshirt in Oxford Street on Saturday, it's got black shoes with red bows printed on it, and I decided I wanted to make the bows sparkly.  Simple job, you'd think.  Well, it would be if I knew what I'd done with them.  I've looked through all my bead stuff (a cupboard and a drawer) my Roses tin of 'embellishments' , a biscuit tin full of sequins, and two plastic boxes of stuff with things that don't really fit into any category.  I thought I'd struck lucky when I found my Bedazzler  (Oh, come on - don't make out you that you're not conversant with the Bedazzler!  I can't be the only one that bought one from that certifiably-enthusiastic saleswoman who used to demonstrate at the early Knit and Stitch shows? )  But no, that box only contained the diamantes that fit into the little gadget,  but no iron-on ones.  I'm only telling you this, because I thought it may concentrate my mind and I might remember.  I'll not only let you know when and where I find them - but I'll show you the  finished Tshirt.  It's a matter of principle now, I'm not wearing it until it's got sparkles on.   Feel free to suggest the sort of things that  you'd file iron-on diamantes with, if you had any, in case I've done the same.

I've had a bit of a making week.  I made a net petticoat -

to go under under a dress I made, to wear to a 50's themed party. 

The dress isn't vintage, obviously - I only made it last year - but the belt buckle is, if that counts.
Oh, and I made a courgette cake. Who says I don't eat vegetables?
It was so absolutely lovely, (even if I do say so myself), that half of it was eaten before I remembered to take a picture as evidence.  
I've been making some jewellery, but I've not quite perfected the design, so pictures will have to wait, and I've also done a bit of work in my sketchbook, in the would-be style of Fan My Flame but the sketches are still a bit rubbish, and without a proper theme, so I'm not showing those either.  However, what I WILL show you, is my sister's beautiful new puppy Bentley, who I met for the first time yesterday.  I stopped at a petrol station, and you know there's always some tacky gadget or toy that you can buy for a couple of quid as long as you spend the equivalent of a month's wages on petrol, well I've always wondered who bought them,  and yesterday I found out - it was me.  The magnificent offer was for a stuffed Meerkat dog toy, and he loved it.

Sorry, I couldn't limit myself to one photo. He's so gorgeous and bouncy.  I want one.

(I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2)
I toyed with the idea of  Puppy Love by the Osmonds, but that's definitely not very Rock'n'Roll.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Everyday Should Be A Holiday

Saw the Dandy Warhols last night at Koko in Camden with my friend Jane, of janeslondon.  Really good gig - it was the last night of their European tour which usually means the band is up for a good time.   I think that happened  the last time I saw them too - they must always finish up the tour in London.  And why not?  Apparently they've been supporting the Specials on tour, which seems to be a bit of a weird musical combo, but if it suits them....
So, as it was the last night they got the horn section of the  Specials on stage to play with them on a couple of songs.
Sorry, the pictures are a bit ropey, but anyway .........
I think that's one of the Specials in the wings, together with the ex-Adam and the Ants flute player (who knew AATA had a flute player??) who also came on for one track.  

On a more rural note - the tomatoes are now coming thick and fast -

How many tomatoes equals a glut.  Don't say I'm gonna have to start making chutney!
And it's not just tomatoes - I have blueberries too -

I think I may have to get a couple of sheep and a goat, and then I could save a fortune on milk, cheese and yarn.
Right, I'd better turn in, us farmers have an early start.

(Everyday Should Be a Holiday - by the Dandy Warhols)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Girls in Their Summer Dresses

I had a trip to London with  Fan My Flame on Wednesday to an exhibition of 1950's  Horrockses frocks at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey.

Horrockses made off-the-peg women's fashions in the 1940's and 50's.  Mostly cotton dresses, housecoats and beachwear.  (Housecoats!)
Sorry about the standard of the pictures - I couldn't use flash in the exhibition, so they were very dark, and I've lightenened them a bit in Photoshop. Not brilliant, but you'll get the idea.

Love the dresses - not sure about the playsuit thingy in the back though.  The fabrics were really beautiful, and the designs came from a number of sources including in-house staff, commercial design studios, freelancers and also from well-known artists such as Graham Sutherland.
 This next one depicted plates of food ..........

Gina and I both picked the same one as our favourite ...
I love the black gingham overprinted with blue roses.  I might have to try the same thing with applique.  I'll just add that to the list of intended projects.
As well as the dresses, there was some of the original artwork for the fabric, and it was interesting to see a bit of the design process.  
It's a lovely exhibition - and if you are interested in vintage fashion, I'd urge you to go. It's on until 24th October.
I have become more or less self-sufficient in the garden.  Well, ok maybe that's a tiny exaggeration.  I have nine tomato plants, five in the ground and four in pots.  I planted them in good quality compost, I've staked and tied them (several times, as they've got bigger)  I have watered them everyday, and fed them every week with Tomorite (other tomato fertilisers are available). Oh, and I used an organic method of slug control. 
Surprisingly enough it worked.  No poisonous blue pellets, no egg shells, no coffee grounds, just a little notice informing them that they weren't welcome.  Organic, or what?
And today, finally I have reaped the benefits.  I had two (yes, two!) of my very own tomatoes.  
True, they were on the small side, but they were delicious.  And there's plenty more green ones, so as long as the sun shines again in the next few weeks, I'll maybe get some more.

(Blog Title - The Girls in Their Summer Dresses by Airborne Toxic Event)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

To Cut A Long Story Short

Rock At The Castle (or RATCastle) went off very well.  After listening to the weather predictions the day before, and looking out of the window before I left, I was just a bit concerned it was going to be a wet one.  Now, obviously, having been to Glastonbury a couple of times I am used to standing in the pouring rain, with mud covered wellies,  listening to bands who choose to  ignore the fact that they run the risk of imminent electrocution, all for the greater good.  However, on Sunday, while the sun didn't exactly shine, at least it didn't rain. There was some great music, and everyone seemed to have a really good time.
I thought I'd make a photo collage of the bands, predominantly Sweet Sister, obviously, but I've included some of the other bands  too, not wishing to appear biased.   
It was a really good day, and hopefully the organisers will have collected a nice lot of money.  

On an entirely different subject, I don't know if it's just me, but if ever I go off to do any arty-crafty weekends or courses, the blokes at work always say "how did your crochet class go?"  It's a particular source of annoyance to me - as I'm sure they are only too well aware -  because although I have always painted, knitted, and stitched - I couldn't actually crochet.  I wasn't really too worried about this, until I started reading Lucy's blog and saw the wonderful things she creates with yarn, and a crochet hook.  So, last week I went to Jolie at Walkern, the beautiful shop that sells knitting pattern books and wonderful yarns and pretties and lots more besides.  There were only two of us students - so we had constant individual attention from Linda, who taught us all the basic stitches. Dany kept us constantly fed, with coffee and biscuits, and then a lovely lunch, and then tea and cake.  Oh, and I did finally learn to crochet.  Not only did I make a Granny square on the day - I came home and made some more ....
I do love pink and orange together.  And, as I've been up to London again today, I've nearly finished another one on the train.  I think they're going to be a cushion when they grow up.  
I nearly forgot, whilst we were busy learning to crochet, a man put his head through the window (no injuries sustained, thankfully, the window was open),  and said "Hello Girls"  I thought, "Blimey, that bloke looks just like Tony (Spandeau Ballet) Hadley.  Then Linda said "Hello Tony"  and it was him!  I didn't get a photo, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  So, if you're a potential Tony Hadley stalker, best you get yourself down to Jolie and book a few courses, and maybe he'll turn up again.  And, if he doesn't, at least you'll have learnt some new skills and had a delicious lunch.
I had thought I might make my squares into a blanket, but I recently inherited a large quantity of knitted oblongs (it's a long story) so I might sew those up into a blanket instead. 

They are in different widths and lengths, so it's going to take a bit of working out, but it will certainly be colourful when it's finished.