So, I vowed I wouldn’t go back to the world of craft fairs, but this time for a very tiny fee my friend was arranging a craft fair so I agreed to come along.
You may of read my previous rants about craft fairs, and in honestly this was exactly the same, but there were some key differences.
Firstly, the cost of me getting in was equivalent to a bottle of wine, and I donated a small agate necklace with sterling silver findings as a tumbola gift.
Secondly the other stall holders were friendly, all made the effort to socialise, and boost each others confidence.
Thirdly, whilst the Hotel probably wasn’t the best venue in the world for a craft fair, it was on a main road (2 minutes walk from my house), the room was spacious, it had air con (when the staff remembered to switch it on). It was marketed on social media, and had a board outside.
All in all, I actually enjoyed the fair, chatting to the people as they wandered in for a look, leaving their partners in the bar.
The table was there for me, and marked up so no confusion. I had a suitcase, battered, vintage but served a purpose. I up ended it, made a metal flashing for the inside and double sided sticky tape to hold up the craft kits.
I sold enough to cover my costs that day, no profit but that was to be expected, there was a steady stream of browsers, but overall it was an interesting experience!
So last weekend we had a birthday party! A jewellery birthday party, 7 girls, all around 12 years old all wanting to make different things.
My basket was raided, absolutely raided, I took seed beads, elastic, silk cords, waxed cords, sari silks, general findings all sorts of jewellery items and the girls had such fun.
The creative juices were flowing, initially we all made a sari silk bracelet with a magnetic clasp, they each chose a silver finding to thread on, and then as the glue dried they moved on to threading seed beads on elastic or wire, they made rings, bracelets, choker necklace, long stringy necklaces, sari silk and seed bead hair grips each taking home several items, in a pretty fabric party bag.
The party was hosted by #craftybetty and some of the stringing materials we used were from #jewellerymaker, the silk was from #yarn-yarn, it was great to see the girls having fun and learning too.
Well, the Great British Sewing Bee is back on the TV, Celebrity Great British Baker too, why not combine the two and book a Crafternoon Hen Party at one of several beautiful venues? You can learn to sew, make a tiara, make jewellery using precious gemstones or pearls, combined with afternoon tea, and then add on a spa trip, or overnight stay to make your weekend complete.
Do contact Michelle @ CraftyBetty for more information including how to book.
Well despite my slight apprehension I really really enjoyed teaching at Crafty Bettys last Saturday, it was a fabulous crafty atmosphere with customers popping in the shop taking a huge interest in the delights on our class table. It over ran slightly as we veered off and made earrings to match the illusion necklace & scalloped bracelet in pearls, the daisy weave bracelet was addictive, and a set of 3 interlocking glass bead stretchy bracelets seemed to be a hit. So, we made Christmas wreath, started a daisy chain bracelet, 3 stretchy strung bracelets, an illusion pearl necklace, a pair of pearl earrings, and a scalloped edge pearl bracelet all in just under 4 hours ….. then a few hours later I read this on Facebook ……
“Thank you to Crafty Betty and particularly Fiona who provided a fantastic jewellery course. I have been well and truly inspired and would wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone interested in Jewellery Making.”
Its just so lovely to receive public feedback like this, really made me smile, and what more could a teacher / instructor ask for than to inspire others ? Still, days later makes me smile to read this 🙂
So we have another in the pipeline, and a Bridal Workshop / Wedding Fair in March 2015 so busy busy busy. Am stocking up on pearls & wire as I type!
Check out the JM products on the table I used as well, and the JM tool kit, over the years I have used many sources for my threading materials and own countless tools but I will say I have found the wire, and tool kit exceptional from JM – and at a reasonable price. #jewellerymaker
The only thing we will have to differ on is that JM designers use the macrame board, and the necklace & bracelet boards I will always prefer a bead mat, or a bead it board, as I found the foam holds the beads, whereas the macrame board the pearls especially tend to just roll away on!
Anyway I am buzzing with excitement, planning my next workshops at the Bridal fair, and making my lovely sister some Christmas Party Jewellery ….. pics to follow later
Last weekend I had the most fun I have had in such a long time, on the Saturday I took my monkeys out for a run around Conkers, a outdoor park in Derbyshire (I think), they enjoyed running around in relative freedom, riding the train, playing on the climbing frame and outdoor play equipment – I think it did us all good to get out in the fresh air for a change! But the real fun came on Sunday (although at the time am not so sure I was truly having fun!)
I was honoured to be selected for the Sunday Experience, in Redditch at Jewellery Maker. It meant an early start as you need to be at the studios for 8.30am, on a Sunday (yes a Sunday) so I didn’t sleep too well the night before, a mixture of strange bed, pure adrenaline & complete excitement kept me awake most of the night but I was up, had (forced) breakfast and located the studios (thanks to WAZE) in time for 8.30am. Lovely friendly welcoming warm atmosphere greeted me, as I walked in the workshop located immediately next door to the studio. The kettle was on, Elena the presenter for the morning was buzzing around making the 5 of us tea & coffee, Sheila introduced herself, as did Linda both amazing guest designers, and genuinely lovely people.
The concept is great, the floor manager selects some of the strands to the aired on the channel that morning, for the Sunday Experience participants to use, you only use the strands aired, and the findings provided – believe me thats hard! It really makes you think out of the box, but not only that, you are under pressure to make something good enough to be featured on air – SCARY So, in came some Carnelian Strands, Tigers eye, Wooden Faceted beads, a kit of some beautiful Purple Quartz (I think) some other pretty pink veined gems & two strands of quartz one clear the other smoky. The purple gems bagged quickly, as were the carnelian strands, I got the Quartz bundle and some silver plated findings. I also grabbed half of the wooden faceted bead bundle as they went beautifully with the smoky quartz, but immediately decided to macrame a quick bracelet, a chunky one.
The reasoning behind this decision was that a macramé bracelet would be a quick make. I used some brown satin cord which was on the table but I was comfortable that I had a project on the go, it could be finished in less than 30mins which meant that some of the immediate pressure to make something was off …. (well not quite as one piece wasn’t going to be enough), the TV was on, an air of shhh fell across the room Sheila said Ready Steady Goooooooo WAVE TO THE CAMERA I glanced up at the TV in the room and to my absolute horror (but I was I was part way through the bracelet) ….my dress was cut too low so I was in serious danger of flashing the world my boobs eeeekkkk
Making the macrame bracelet was so much easier using the proper equipment too, I can’t rave about the Macrame board by Beadsmith highly enough, I was making bracelets in this style using a piece of flat metal plastic coated sheet, with a huge metal clip it worked, but its not a patch on the foam board from bead smith. The edges have slots all around to securely hold the threads in place, its pure luxury at an affordable price, a staggering £6.95 currently! Needless to say, I now own one, and the metal homemade board has been resigned back to the scrap pile at work.
Next project was inspired by Sheila, she was teaching each of us the correct way to build a strand of gems on wire, in order to create a hair piece / tiara, as she was also using the time to prepare for a Bridal workshop that she was hosting later in the week. Jewellery maker do run regular workshops, I have yet to try one, I would love to go on the wirework on, I have a particular interest in the wirework rings which Sara Elvin & Deb Rudge frequently create and have monumentally failed at replicating so far.
The wire wrapping with the smoky quartz ended up not being a hair piece but a pendant, I added the rose gold findings from my own stash (please don’t tell Sheila!!!!)
So with 2 pieces under my belt, confidence was blooming, WAVE to the camera frequently came across the room, time ticked on, I whipped up a hair piece using the same technique as the pendant had wire wrapping the Quartz, clear this time instead of smoky, we were also allowed to add a few extra beads from a bead scoop in the room hence the addition of the black beads to make this monochrome hair piece.
A quick beady bead, using up the faceted wooden beads, imagine my surprise, and sheer delight when I suddenly spotted my beady bead (cubic right angle weave to the beaders amongst you) being shown live on air whilst Elena was presenting the wooden faceted beads – I was bursting with pride, (and was literately bursting out of my dress each time I bent forward!!)
Moving on, I wire wrapped a ring, with some simple three wrap weave, but am not happy with it, I don’t think its very neat, and most definitely required more practise ….time was ticking, WAVE to the camera as we appeared on tv again, but am not happy with the ring so dismantled it, and may remake …..give me time for that.
Suddenly I realised that I was out of beads, job done but Sheila handed me another strand, this time the tigers eye. Now these beads, high polished slabs they should really be described as, which each stone had a huge depth of colour, hadn’t been used.
Confession point, In all honestly nothing I had used so far really grabbed me, as none of the strands we had been provided with were colours I wouldn’t normally ever select for myself, beige, browns, clear. Couple that with the fact that they aren’t really the shape or size of beads I would select either, I found it quite hard to get excited or interested in these beautiful gems but it is really interesting to be in a position to make something that you wouldn’t normally select for yourself, its interesting and really challenging to see what the end result is. It is also really worth remembering that my taste is different to the next persons, so what grabs me might not grab your customer so this experience really taught me to make beautiful jewellery, not necessarily for me but to accommodate other peoples tastes in my designs. All that aside what really did grab me was the wire coiling gizmo. (More on that another day when I have bought one!!!!!)
With time ticking each of the pieces created where being moved in to the studio ready for our big starring role, which hadn’t really been mentioned much, by 11.45 I was starting to get a touch nervous ….
Sheila (JM Resident Designer) had this amazing idea to get the Gizmo out (not the Gremlin version either) but the wire coiling one, and table clamp. She hooked up some gold wire, 0.6mm (I think) and then coiled some coils, it was amazing, so simple, so easy yet so incredibly effective. We created spacers with coiled wire to put in between the tigers eye gems, then another strip of gizmo coiled wire, re-gizmoed (if thats a valid term) to make it uber coiled as a dramatic centre piece.
Each of these bits of coiled wire were placed on a 1mm piece of wire, with the ends wire looped, a couple of findings added and hey presto a wire collar was finished. To further add to my buzz of the morning one of the studio girls (sorry really not sure of her name) came back in to the workshop room with my collar piece in hand raving about it, desperate to know if she could have it, I was more than willing to let her, but wasn’t sure whether it was mine to give away! Anyway, aren’t those gems simply stunning, the veining, the colour tones, saturation and graduation through each piece. It really is surreal to imagine that these are completely natural, completely unique and staggering to think that each stone took years to be created in the natural world, these aren’t pieces of plastic being knocked of a production line somewhere in the East of the planet, In actual fact I believe its a real privilege and honour to own these gems, they will of course be around much longer than I will be!
Just to make a set, I whipped up a pair of earrings to go with the choker, again using the wire gizmo.
Tension was mounting, 12.45 was almost upon us, we were walked in to the studio, with Sara Elvin walking us in, tidying my straps up on my dress, whilst I tried to be remember to keep my shoulders back so I didn’t flash too much boobage…… a deathly silence fell amongst us. Each of us stood behind our creations which had been neatly laid out on the Guest Designer table. Mine was last in the line thankfully. Nerves mounted, the camera was on, Elena was selling then advert break, she walked over Good Morning Sunday Experience Ladies …. all I can say is, I enjoyed every second of it, I would happily do it all again, I really can’t wait to get my application in for another Sunday Experience session – it was AWESOME
Here is the link to the video, after 3hours, 52mins ish the Sunday Experience ladies are LIVE on tv, but obviously we appear randomly throughout the morning, and my beady bead & bracelet do star independently too!
I rarely do craft fairs, not because I don’t love them (because I do, there is a huge amount of talent out there) but I don’t do them because I find it difficult to part with my creations. Anyway over Christmas I decided to book this one event, after having a reasonable amount of success at the Christmas event I did in the local shopping centre. Learning from other stall holders, remembering the excitement of people genuinely loving your work and getting money I decided another event could be fun.
Obviously I had grand plans but as usual for me they never really got any further than the planning stage ….bunting, bracelets, tiaras, hair combs, necklaces and much more anyway I have more than enough stock and my aim with the stall is to share the love of creating a piece of jewellery so I have a number of beady kits which hopefully some little monkeys and families might like to try. Its billed as a family fun day, so I have focused on a number of children friendly bracelet style kits, loom bands and some real treats for the Mummy’s and Gran’s should they fancy something special.
My day job which I rarely mention apart from being a Chartered Accountant is running a roofing supply business, (Fab-Linc) we (I) manufacture flashings, gutters, sell tile effect metal roofing sheets, fixings and much more (yawn) but my point of mentioning this is that I am hand folding all my metal display stands to give my stall some height, here is an example of my creation.
I was also hoping that by manufacturing it in galvanised metal it reflects some of the natural light (on the day) back on to the the sparkly creations and really show the natural beauty of the gem stones. The picture isn’t the best in the world, its indoor, its a dark overcast day, but aren’t the Amethyst Square cut gems beautiful (no prizes for guessing where these came from!) all 55cts of them! I am two minds about those, I want to sell them at the weekend so I can invest in more stunning gemstones, buuuttttt I don’t want to sell them because I love love love them, the simplicity of the necklace, the way it drapes, the geometric cut of the Gems its summery, its pretty, its easy to wear, there is little it wouldn’t go with clothes wise, and don’t you think the clasp is amazing (again JM findings pack! a treat from my mum this is a similar pack available on the site – silver plated copper findings pack)
You may also notice the wire wrapped pearls on the tiara on the bottom stand, and the hair comb, these are unfortunately “fake” pearls but still pretty effective, they don’t have the natural lustre of genuine pearl, nor do they have the touch they are synthetic, they didn’t cost a million dollars but when my little girl spotted it, her eyes grew large, her jaw dropped, she was hyper-ventilating and bouncing across my solid wood 1930’s flooring in sheer joy and excitement as she burst out with I ♥LOVE♠ my new princess crown mummy ….. I NEED NEED NEED one for all my friends at nursery
Just one other quick note, I know many craft sellers sell as their main business, this isn’t my main business its a hobby, its a form of escapism, I love crafting, experiencing different mediums to work with, and sharing my experiences I also know full well that I don’t charge enough for my work but I just hope to sell enough for me to justify buying new gems, new kits, and that the customer feels they have paid a fair price for an item they love too.
So if you are in the area at the weekend, do pop over support the Air Ambulance Charity and say hello as I would love to meet you!