Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Busy New Year!

It's been a busy time this New Year and I'm looking forward to saving a lot of money this year to buy myself a gazebo for the markets.

Now, my folks would be the first to tell me that it's a waste of time. But I love doing the markets, no matter how much - or little - money I make with them. It's the connection with the community and the people I love about them. It's because I get myself out of my house and to a place where there's others like myself there setting up shop and enjoying the day, or the night, and I enjoy the time I spend selling my goods.

So, this year, I'm still going to cool my heels a little and work on new gear still. I'm also putting money away into other accounts as much as I can so I can buy what I need for the gazebo. 

Otherwise, I'm working on a tapestry of Lake Como, which is coming along well. I'm still doing up bits and pieces of furniture, and I've seriously begun decluttering my house. There is one room which has stumped me; and I've begun it - finally! I've also begun a blog about my decluttering journey called A Work In Progress which I think is quite apt. You see our lives are all a work in progress... whether we're artists or writers, or people studying to be who we want to be... we are always a work in progress; and our homes are never finishes, no matter how long we work on them.

It's a nice little blog so far, and there's so much to talk about on it. But I'm still working on other things too. 

So, this year being the Year of the Fire Rooster, I'm hoping to get my butt into gear and working on many things that really need doing! Until my next post, keep creating!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Brislets

I've joined Brislets. It's a bartering market around Brisbane where I can sell and barter goods and services with people who are as like-minded as I am.

This year, I was sponsored by a great friend of mine - Jeni Lewington - and am hoping to get myself out there to work at their markets to sell, barter and work on my craft for people; as well as work on other things in my life where it will expand how I work in other fields (like my writing and gardening). 

I have yet to be invited to a market this year and so I'll see how it goes with them. I'll keep you all posted with the goings-on of this endeavour. Until my next post, keep creating! 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Newish Books

Over the past week, I've acquired two second-hand books from my craft group. The community centre I went to were cleaning out their books and they dumped a whole lot of them on the table... so I pounced!

The first one is 'The New Needlework Book' and what a book it is! I perused the book and it's got a whole lot of things inside it which I'd have a go at just for presents, decorations for Christmas and just to see if I can do them.

Then, the second one I scored for next to nothing is 'Celtic Cross-Stitch' which I've always wanted to try out. A great book with simple instructions on how to do brilliant and colourful designs. I can't wait to try this style of cross-stitch out.

Well, they were the two craft books I scored in the past month. I don't buy craft books often, but when I do, I really make sure they're worthwhile. What craft books and things have you come across have made your craft days brighter and better? Feel free to leave a comment about your great finds below! Until my next post, keep creating! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Week Before A Market

I'd like to post a few advisory things to do with the markets on here - on how to prepare for the markets, how to set up your stall, work your people skills and how to make it so when you do finally get into working the weekend or boutique markets, you don't feel as though you're walking in blind. 

One of the most-often asked question I am asked is how I prepare to go to the markets and what do I take? These are really great questions; and not a lot of people tell you what you need to take... as it's not something you're advised of when you get into working the markets.

Whenever I do a market, I always make sure I have almost nothing going on the week coming up to it so I can have everything all ready and organised for that particular market.

All the stock has to be ready.

The float has to be with me and ready.

I have to have enough food at the house to make myself lunch and snacks and drinks.

I have to get enough sleep about 5 nights before the markets - nothing worse than going out sometime during the week for dinner and having to recover from a bad curry, something you're going to react to on the day.

All my boxes have to be labeled, numbered and ready to go. This is so I don't leave anything behind. And a list on my phone is handy too for the same reasons. I know this sounds petty, but really I need to make sure I have everything, so I'm not panicking about what I need on the day and finding out that I left one thing at home.

But preparing for a market is something of a skill you have to acquire. It takes time, weeks of preparation and once you've gotten yourself into it, you will never forget how to do it. Every person is different, but how I work with mine is as individual as anyone else's. Some people rush their preparation; whereas I don't. I take about two weeks to prepare my market stall, money and other things to make my experience, workings with the market stall operators and retailers as stressless as possible - and that's exactly how it's supposed to be. 

When I leave the house, I make sure I have the car packed the day - or night - before. Or if you're living in close quarters with other people (like I do), do it the afternoon before and cover the boxes in your car with blankets so nobody sees what you're carrying. 

Arrive around an hour before the market starts. You'll be battling for a parking spot along with other market retailers and working in close quarters with other people. It does pay to be firm with people when it comes to your 'spot'. I know this sounds rude, but when you have to share small spaces with others, you'll always come across some who will try to shove you out of your space. It's happened to me and best thing I've done is tell them where to get off... in the loudest voice I can muster. Not only does it embarrass them but it also shows people that you're not a person to be bullied - especially if you look like a doormat in the first place, when in truth you're not.

Don't take too much stuff. Streamline your stall into as little as possible; and yet make it stretch as far as possible... yep, this sounds like you're making your storage boxes look and feel like the Tardis, but it's not a good look to bring everything but the kitchen sink. Recently, I've had to have a good look at my stall and overhaul it (this is the 3rd time I've done this) and I think I've finally got it right! I have 3 boxes, 1 old-fashioned picnic basket, and 1 basket... and that's it! This means I will have only 2 trips to the car! That sounds great! I used to have an easel and other bits and pieces which had me running to and from the car about 5 times. But setting up still takes me an hour - pulling down takes 20 minutes. And the term for showing up and going home - as a retailer - is bumping-in and bumping-out. It takes time and you have to allow for it all... you also have to allow for travel, traffic and know at least 3 different ways to get to your market in case there's something going on during your journey - so make sure you have your GPS handy in your car with the address of where you're going. 

So, there you have it. How I prepare, how long it takes, what time to show, how long it takes to set up, pull down and the correct terms ... and yep, there's always bullying in every place - especially the markets. Wherever there is competition, you'll find bullying. Sad but true. Well, until my next post, keep creating!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Reorganising Frenzy!

I have my first market coming up on 26th, November (in about 2 weeks this Saturday) and I've been in a frenzy of activity!

Yes, I've been organising my craft stall to go to the Logan Art Gallery. I have to be there an hour before the place opens to set up my stall and have it ready to meet the public - and the place opens at 10am. I hope so.

Anyway, I'm still working on the Book Tree painting and other craft items. I have to get in and finish up some oversized pegs and get them sprayed, glued up with magnets and packaged up and then work on more things that are just to do with image ideas for the market on that day.

Mainly I have to make sure the two new items I have planned do work out properly... well, I hope they do. I have plenty of pin cushions, plenty of picture frames, have to re-wrap my 'Adult's Lucky Dip' (I mean who doesn't love a Lucky Dip?), then I'm hoping to get in and make sure my table looks as inviting as possible; then get in and work on getting my till back up to what it was... that's not going to take long - as I don't carry that much money on me to begin with.

Anyway, that's all the news at the moment. I've updated my website, so go and have look at the new photos and blogs there for the new works I've been doing. Until my next post, keep creating! 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Other Hobbies I Love

Besides painting, needlepoint and knitting, I enjoy refurbishing old furniture - and I mean really old furniture. 

This is the type of furniture where I've found chair (let's say) and it's been left out somewhere because the last owners can't fix it. But I can see its potential. So, I pick it up and bring it home, sand the old stain off and apply a few new coats of stain and then it's usable again.

But it's not only chairs I fix. And I started small - really small.

I stared out with an old cutlery box of my Great-Grandmother's. My Mum had it under the house and I spotted it, asking if I could fix it up. She hesitate as she wanted to do something with it, but then said yes. So, I got in and gave it a new life as a peg box - wooden dolly pegs in one side, plastic ones in the other.

Then, we picked up my late-Grandmother's Glory Box/Hope Chest. It had been in storage for some time and badly needed to be looked at. My Aunt wanted it, but wouldn't do anything about it - she kept saying it was supposed to be hers. Then I started working on it and she didn't see it until I posted some photos into a photo album on Facebook and she said she wanted it. Mum told her that I had been working on it for about a month and it was a great project and it looked good in my bedroom.

One day, one of my neighbours found an old chair next to her place where somebody and left it to be picked up. She told me it was all wrapped up and she didn't want it. So, we opened it and I found it was an old 1970's chair without the cushions (why they weren't there puzzled me, but that chair was naked!). Anyway, I offered it up to her, and my neighbour said she wouldn't know how to fix something like this and let me have it. Oh! I had so much fun fixing up this chair; as it was just so beautiful to start with... to curves and turned wood was lovely.
It took me around a week or so to get it back to what it looked like when it was bought almost brand new. Then, Mum and I took it to Ash Chapman's at Noel Street, Slacks Creek. This place works on old furnishings and upholstery; and did a wonderful job on my chair. It takes pride of place in my office now, as my Reading Chair; and yes, I've fallen asleep in it a number of times while reading my favourite books.

I've also fixed up a square coffee table, which I found during a council toss out month... which is now in my living room and a few other things, as well as my Chiswell Dinner Table and chairs, which I bought on Gumtree as is. 

But my biggest project thus far is my Great-Grandmother's wash table. It's been going for about a year now, and has been put away to dry properly. I'm so happy to wait for the next few days until I can pick it up and bring it home, placing it in my bedroom... where I can put the basin, jug and other bits in place for them to look as beautiful as they're supposed to; instead of looking out of place in my living room. 

Well, this is my other hobby I love. I don't get to do it very often as where I live doesn't allow for the noise of electric sanders and stench of stain to bother my neighbours... it's all legal stuff and red tape I have to deal with... but it's something I'd love to work on more because I'm good at it. Until my next post, keep creating.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I'm In the Logan Art Gallery Store!

I didn't want to tell you guys - not until it was certain! But last week, I got confirmation that my Itty-Bitty Pin Cushions were accepted into the Logan Art Gallery Store between October and December!

This is so cool!

I was sent out a spreadsheet to fill in pricing and titles. Then, I had to write a bio about myself... then I had to give them a photo of myself. This was tough seeing I never like any photos of myself. 

Today, I dropped off them off in this lovely little container. Even though the lid and box don't match, it doesn't matter, they're not going to be on display, they just hold my pin cushions out the back with the label on the lid (so they know who's they are). So, they don't really have to match.
The funny thing was that when I dropped it off, Shania was amazed at the box and the pin cushions... she thought they were the cutest things! Three other ladies, who were also there, also loved them. One of them spotted the only heart-shaped one and was amazed at how I got that done - I told them that I was too! I haven't been able to figure out how I did it. We all laughed about that and I said my farewells until this Saturday when I work there.

Well, that's all there is for now. I'm exhausted. Last weekend, I spent three full days working my butt off painting pegs and other things around the place - spray varnishing them and all - to get them ready for the Bartertown Markets at Enoggera, only to find out I'm unable to go! I have volunteer work on this Saturday... darn! I was looking forward to this market too! Well, next time I guess. Until my next post, keep creating!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Crafty Pegs Update!

A few things have been going on with my hobby business and I'm very happy to report, things are humming along nicely! 

I'm still making tiny pin cushions - which have been accepted into the Logan Art Gallery's store over the last few days. I put in my application for that a few weeks ago - as the gallery showed some interest in them - and just this past week I've had an email sent to me about them. Now, I have to get a profile written, a nice photo of me and around 25 of my pin cushions all priced up and ready to go before the end of the month! 

Then, there's the Bartertown Markets at Enoggera Bowls Club which is on next Saturday. I'm hoping to sell a lot of stuff there - if I get myself going with it. There may not be enough pin cushions, but I'll see how it all goes - seeing I've got a good majority of pin cushions in the gallery now. But the rest of my stuff looks like it may sell well.

And this will be my first market back into the public eye again too. 

I'm also trying my hand at Macrame... I've bought a couple of books and found myself wondering exactly what the hell I've gotten myself into! But I do remember doing this some years ago and having fun with it. I think I'll need another craft/sewing box to store my macrame stuff; as my ordinary sewing box is filled with my sewing gear. I know that sounds excessive, but really it's not.

Well, that's all there is to it now. I've retrieved my artwork from the gallery since the Allsorts exhibition finished last month and nobody bought it ... and now it's stored away in one of the wardrobes in my house as I don't have the wall space to show it off. And I'm working hard on more pin cushions for the Bartertown Markets. Until my next post, keep creating!

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Great Purchase!

I've been hunting for a dining setting online lately; and it's pretty slim pickings. I mean, I've been on Facebook pages which are bartering sites around Logan City - and they were okay, but the tables were either too big and ugly, too small and made of glass or way too big and absolutely gorgeous. Then, I went on ebay where I couldn't find my way around on it and it showed me everything I ever wanted to buy - and anything I didn't - so I gave up there (even when I went through the categories, I still didn't find what I wanted). And then, I went on to Gumtree... man! What a place! You ask for dining settings ... and you got them in every shape, form, style, colour, and texture! And they were from all over Australia, Queensland and Brisbane to all over the world. I found a lovely table for my house, but it was in San Francisco... bummer! I could afford it too, but the shipping would have killed me!

Then, I found this one table that was $145 and gorgeous! The best thing was that it was my local area! Yay! 

So, yesterday, I went around to this person's place and had a look at the table, but found it was too big for my house - damn! But, he had another one... a smaller one he could show me; and it was perfect in every way. He also tossed in 4 chairs for $20 each. He hadn't cleaned them up, so that's why they were so cheap.

Today, I was up at sparrow-fart to collect my new dining setting - and it's a Chiswell. This is a great brand of furniture which is made from solid wood and just isn't around so much anymore - unless you attend auctions or surf around ebay or Gumtree and find the pieces on there either fixed up for a lot of money or you happen to inherit those gorgeous pieces from somebody in your family who has great taste. 

Dad wasn't too keen on the dining set until Mum said that it will look great once I have it fixed up; and that I won't let it go because of the product name. It was then he made sure he'd help me pull it together. We pulled apart the chairs, cleaned up the cushions and put furniture polish on the wood - once we cleaned up the stains on all the flat areas. Meanwhile, we had to fix the veneer on the underneath flat area of the table - gluing and sanding it - and then we'll be staining it with a few coats to make it look like new. The table doesn't need much work, just a few coats of furniture polish and that's it really... it does look lovely otherwise. 

I'm looking forward to getting my other table sold on Gumtree for $100. It's the old Art Deco one I no longer need or want. I just hope somebody out there wants to do it up where I don't know how to... well, there is always someone out there willing to have something that hasn't completely fallen apart. I still have a little way to go on the new dining setting before it comes home with me. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Social Engagements

So much has been going on since my last post here; and I haven't had much time to get on here to tell you all about it.

But today, I do.

My needlepoint - 'Autumn's Journey' is now on the wall of the Logan Art Gallery and will be there until the end of June in the Allsorts Exhibition. This exhibition showcases the talent of Logan City residents and volunteers of the gallery - and are there some brilliantly talented people out there! 

The opening was on 27th, May and just last Saturday was the Garden Party (yes, the same weekend as the weather event that inundated the East Coast of Australia in rain). Even though a lot of people pulled out of the Garden Party, we still had a nice gathering of artists show up for it in the second gallery. I didn't stay to the end as I wanted to get home before the rain became too heavy.

'Autumn's Journey' is for sale at the Logan Art Galley for $220 if anyone is interested in it.

I've also been working on new things - new work - for another exhibition I'm hoping to get in and apply for in the next year or so. I can't say much for now, but I hope to get in and work on more of it soon. But I will say it's bigger works than I've been working on in the past.

Then, I've been knitting again and doing more needlepoint pin cushions. I have so many pin cushions that finishing the ones I have now aren't really important, but just something to do. I hoping to just get in and paint more than I have been over the last six months; space is something of a problem - but I have worked through that before. 

Anyway, there's not much more to tell you about. I'm hoping to look into doing some sewing soon - over the next few weeks - and then see if I can make something that will work out for the markets next year. Otherwise, I'm still looking at making bookbags something of a permanent thing at the market stall - seeing how people love to cover their Kindles, Nooks and other ereaders in something pretty and not just something durable. Until my next post, keep creating.