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.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Semco Sewing Baskets

On Wednesday, while I was out doing my grocery shopping, I also went to Spotlight and scored myself a lovely Semco Sewing Basket

They were on sale at Spotlight and I paid $30 for mine, finding it was an end-of-line production.  I did find Birch and other brands there, but they weren't as large as the one I found and fell in love with - plus mine was purple! 

I love purple... it's just the most lovely colour out of the spectrum.

And so, once I got this gorgeous little thing home, I pulled out the tiny plastic one Mum bought me - along with my Elna Sewing Machine - and found that it was dwarfed in size compared to it. I transferred everything from one box to the other and soon found how much more space I had in the bigger box and have enjoyed using it since... and the best thing is that I can put in not only what I'm working on (pin cushions) but other needlepoint and knitting if needs be and the box will hold everything I need for my sewing needs - this includes my large scissors, pins, needles, quick unpicks, a collection of threads, small rulers and needle-threaders - amongst other things as well. It also holds my work glasses in their case easily; so I'll never forget them again!

The size was another thing I loved about the Semco brand - it's big without being ostentatious - and yet still very pretty. However, I did look at the Birch brand and found that, even though they were sturdy and very pretty, they didn't come in the sizes I wanted or the range of colours... they seemed to also have the same range of patterns, just in different colours. So, I thought that it would be best if I went with Semco and had different styles and colours to work with.

The best thing was that my purple sewing box was the last one on the shelf... very nice. I love it and my little one is just nice for smaller projects, but not for what I need right now. I'm trying to make it so I can have all my sewing needs in one box, not have to carry everything in three bags. Until my next post, keep creating. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Focus

With Winter just around the corner, I'm starting to work on other things around the place.

There's plants to repot in the garden, paintings to complete and needlepoint pin cushions to finish up and put away until next year's new markets.

Then, there's me looking for a new kitchen table so I can get in an do some serious sewing of my very own... sounds great, right? Yeah, I've been planning on making some book bags for my markets next year - and I can't wait!

However, my new focus is on making sure I sell my old kitchen table first... and get another one as soon as I can to replace - something solid and something useful; something that doesn't look tiny either. I know that sounds weird, but really need something that will live up to its name of being a good dining room table.

I'm having trouble with keeping my craft gear tidy... most of it is still invading my living room; even though I built a great work bench. Now, this isn't good because it makes my house cluttered and - let's face it - nobody likes it when something like this invades our private living areas of our homes. So, I'm hoping to get my place worked out to a point where I can be ready to move to another place when I can. I'd love to move to a 3 bedroom house - not a townhouse; but a proper house. I've lived in a tiny, squishy place like this for far too long - and my next move will be the place I'll be for the next 20 - 30 years. It will be the place I'll live in for the rest of my life - my real home where I can decorate and properly stretch my wings in the art department. In the townhouse, I can't do that because of Body Corporate rules and regulations not allowing me to make noise, smells (that are really not great) and I don't have a lock-up garage. I also have no privacy to do any of my artwork either. 

And I've been waiting for a long time to hopefully move from where I am... it's not a good thing to have to wait for so long; but I hope it's over soon. I've been painting, reading and writing as much as I can. However, it's a matter of being able to have my own room to have it all there in one place instead of it being spread around my living room, kitchen and near my back door that will really make the difference. 
So, do you have your own art room? Or are you stuck like me - and many others who are in my position as well? Until my next post, keep creating.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Catch Up Time!

I've been meaning to catch up with you all about what I've been up to lately. However the internet has only just been connected back up here after almost two weeks without it. Yep, Optus disconnected me and I was borrowing internet off my folks... long story short, they got back in contact with me, helped me back online and worked it all out. But there was no explanation of why it occurred.

But I kept myself busy during that time. I made a few pin cushions, started up my decluttering and began reading 'Lord of the Rings' again. I also started on a new self-portrait as well - it's been a while since I did one of those. I've also started thinking about looking into getting a new dining room table to be able to work on getting myself into doing more sewing (as my current one tips to one side if I put the sewing machine on it). 

Otherwise, I've begun writing again in long hand and have to get the car fixed for a second time for the same thing - fortunately it won't cost me anything because it's under warranty.

The garden it being looked at for this Winter - which means I'll be saving up money left and right for the next few months to get whole lot of the larger plants repotted and move smaller ones into the remaining pots left over... making the garden bigger. 
During the colder months, I'll be looking into working on making my home even more mine by clearing out more things so when Spring comes around, I'll be able to make more clothes and bags (which is the plan with the new dining room table) and keep the house tidier as well... and find more space with another little cabinet from Fantastic Furniture. 

By the end of the year, I hope to have my house with less rubbish, more of my style and working in such a way I don't feel as though I need to keep everything. I'm being brutal with my decluttering as it is anyway and I'm pleased with that. However I'm looking forward to being at the Boutique Markets next year again. Taking a year off wasn't a great idea - I feel like I'm at lose ends and am wasting my time... however I'm not really. I'm finding new things to add to my stall, old things to remove from it and better things to make it truly my own. 

So, you know what I've been up to, I hope you can all pop over to my new Pinterest Page and have a good look at the beginnings of my 'Craft Things' page to see what I've been up to. I'll be adding to this page over time so you can keep up with it all too. Until my next post, keep creating!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Back To Crafting At Springwood

Today I started back at the Queen Beez Craft Group at the community centre up the road from my parents' house. It was so good to catch up with the ladies there; despite how hot it's been lately - and today was so very steamy too!

Thankfully we had a nice storm and a good drenching of rain to help with the humidity. But the air-conditioning was something of a blessing to us inside. The ladies were amazed at how long my hair has grown since last December and that my right hand has healed so well since I was unable to really work with it the last time I was there.

They were equally amazed at what I've been up to lately too over the last month since my scar has healed properly. I have been making some lovely pin cushions - double-sided ones - of all sizes and have started selling them online as well as by chance when people walk into the Logan Art Gallery.
But not everyone was pleased about my little endeavour of how I was making them. The one lady I thought would love them wasn't pleased with them. She said 'they were okay... I guess.' and wouldn't touch them. She asked if I missed out on putting the tassel and cord in for the scissor-keeper. I said no, and that I had made them bigger and heavier so they were pin cushions for traveling, or for that time for when you don't need so many pins, or when you just need to use needles and that's it. She still didn't like them and walked off.
Ilene - one of the other ladies - told me that this lady who had taught me needlepoint last year, and had helped me through my first day when I burst into tears - didn't think of it first. And seeing I did, she didn't like it. I thought my teacher was being a wet blanket about it when a student does better than her. And that's the thing about teaching somebody something: if your student becomes the teacher and shows you something new, never poo-poo it. It's just not right.

Everyone else loves my double-sided pin cushions. They think they're wonderful; and that's it's even better that I have already sold two of them before going to the markets. 

First one sold

Lady Lace Tiny One I use

Aren't they the cutest things? They take three days to make and I have made about twelve of them so far. They price between $10 and $20Aust with a shipping fee depending where you live of $3.00 Domestic and $5.00 International (anywhere in the world). 

So, what have you been up to over the New Year period? Do let us all know. Until my next post, keep creating!