Monday, 4 February 2013

Love Southsea February 2013

Really quick blog post this morning. This weekend saw the first market of the year for me at in Southsea. The Palmerston road Love Southsea markets run on the first Saturday of the month. I did a few of these before Christmas and they proved to be very successfull. I was less hopeful about a cold February day but I was really pleasantly surprised by the number of people around. I sold well and also made a few interesting contacts which may come to something.....

Here is an overview of my stand,

Rescue and Revive
Something Old to Something New

Friday, 18 January 2013

Working from home - Snowy thoughts

It's a lovely snowy day in Fareham, and I have just updated my facebook page as follows:

"Lots of lovely snow here - downside of working from home - can't really play the 'can't make it in' card !!!"

Which got me thinking, I have been working for myself, from home now for 13 years, you would think in that time I would have cracked them best way to make it work, but every year I change things with the hope that I will be 'more organised', 'seperate work and home', 'work smarter', etc. etc So why haven't I got it right yet ?

You have to go back to why I gave up 'proper work' in the first place. I have three boys, very close in age. When they were born I worked in the civil service (defence) and in fairness work was very flexible with my hours, I went part time after number one was born. I stayed part time throughout and after number three was born I went back to work.

The boys were in nursery when I was at work, and back then there was no help with childcare costs and so the whole of my wages went on the nursery fees. In addition I moved jobs and really didn't enjoy the new post. I steadily reduced my hours until I was down to 10 hours a week ! It then dawned on me that I really wasn't happy, and so work agreed to me taking a 3 year career break, and so my 'working from home life' was born.

My OH has a very odd job and works strange hours - generally afternoons and evenings, with different days off each week. Being at home meant I saw more of him and more of the children.

My 'work' at home has taken various forms over the years, computing, childrens crafts, childrens second hand clothes, websites and now 'upcycling' (although the computing / website work has continued throughout)

I have always found it difficult to get enough work done and also find the time to have a break - with work in the house it is very difficult to get away. Work / Life balance is near on impossible when the two are in the same place.

I think the main reason that I never feel I get it right though is that the needs of my family have changed so much over the years and you have to continually adapt and be aware of that. In the early days, though hard work with three young sons, the children do sleep more - afternoon naps and early bedtimes free up lots of evening time.

When they start school the day initially seems long - even though they seem to finish school very early ! But because you 'work from home' you end up helping at school, going on school trips, being a school governor, fundraising, going to assemblies, school plays, concerts....... and so it goes on. Don't get me wrong, I was very lucky -  I was able to take an active part in all these things and I wouldn't have changed it for anything, but it eats into your time and work takes second place and you are left wondering why your business isn't making any money.

Of course as they get older the involvement with school lessens - you no longer have to walk them to school, there aren't school plays anymore :( BUT they need more support in other ways as they hit the teenage years, AND they go to bed much later !! So time is restricted in other ways.

I think that as a mum working from home you have to constantly remember why you chose to work that way - for me it was to be there when the children needed, to take them to and from school, and even now (they are all teenagers) be here when they get home - they might only grunt at me when they come through the door but I am lucky enough to be here for that grunt !

So why haven't I got it right yet ? - because it constantly changes - Advice for anyone thinking of being a 'work at home' mum - be adapatble, and don't give yourself a hard time - you can't do everything :)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Looking Forward to 2013

So, having looked back at 2012 it's now time to look forward to 2013.
I have loads of ideas for creating lovely things, here are a some of the ones I hope to develop or continue with in 2013

Wooden Planters
Planters created from tea cups
Magnetic fridge frames
Hand stamped spoons
Peg Kits (for hanging artwork / photos etc)
Loads more chalkboards
Jewellery trees
Fork racks
Coat Racks
Magnetic fridge pegs
Days of the week boards
Mosaic pots

and lots more.............
all made from 'Something Old'......

I hope to continue with my markets and the regular ones will be Alton, Port Solent and Love Southsea.
I am planning to take part (actively !) in CRAFTFEST again

I also plan to develop this blog further, sharing ideas, research, thoughts and more while I hopefully develop this business throughout the year.

Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest also need a mention as in the past I have tended to dip in and out of doing these - I would like to build up likes, followers and most importantly chatting to other crafters through these.

Last but not least of course there is online selling. I did a little last year, but this year I really need to get to grips with selling through the website, Folksy and Facebook.

So as the year goes on I will keep this blog updated with what's happening, what's going well and what's not !! and I also hope to share lots more 'How to's' with everyone.

Next week I will post about how I make my herb planters :)

Rescue and Revive
Something Old to Something New

Monday, 7 January 2013

Looking Back at 2012

I wanted to start of 2013 with a quick look back at 2012. Looking back my first posts of 2012 were a bit similar  - lots of new plans, projects and excitement !!!

I think overall I can take a lot of positives from 2012. The things that I make have grown and improved I think. The number is markets that I do has increased but there is definitely room for improvement online with my website, Folksy, Facebook and Twitter (but plans there are for the next post)

Craft Fairs and Markets 2012

Port Solent March 2012

Alton May 2012

Winchester October 2012

Winchester 2012

Southsea Fest 2012

Port Solent December 2012

Learnt that a dark blue gazebo roof is too dark and bought a replacement white one which works much better !!

Products 2012

Here are a selection of things that I have made and sold this year using a variety of techniques - painting, decoupage, wood work, mosaic, metal stamping.... All with the aim of upcycling / reusing / recycling - lots more planned for 2013 :)

Coat rack made from reclaimed wood and oak pegs

Three tier cake plate

Jewellery rack from picture hooks and reclaimed oak

Book ends upcycled from scraps of wood and an then decoupaged with a dictionary

Stamped garden markers from old spoons

Upcycled iPad stand created from reclaimed wood and an decoupaged with an old A to Z

Phone stand decoupaged with old sheet music

Chalkboard created from an old picture frame decoupaged with monopoly money

Mirror with decoration from old necklaces

Days of the week chalkboard

Upcycled mirror decoupaged with a map

Magnetic Fridge pegs

Hand stamped spoon

Next time - looking forward to 2013...........

Friday, 4 January 2013

Happy New Year

A huge Happy New Year to everyone. One of my (many) New years resolutions is to pay more attention to my Blog - so this is a first quick note to say just that. I hope to post more regularly than I did last year, updating you on my successes and failures in running my craft business.
My first (proper) post of the year will be next week with a review of 2012 - what went well, what was a disaster, how my products developed / changed over the year and of course my plans for 2013

Be back soon :)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

This week's car boot finds being upcycled

The weather has been so bad recently the car boots sales locally have either not been on or really short of sellers. This Sunday I did manage to grab a few bargains, which was a relief as I am very low on stock and have a craft fair at Port Solent a week on Sunday.

Amongst the many purchases this week were a pile of picture frames in various states:

A mirror - well past its best !

 & an old London A to Z

The A to Z provided the paper to decoupage the mirror frame, the effect worked really well and I tried to keep in some well know landmarks

& here is the upcycled result !

Other work now in progress  - a frame decoupaged with a map of France, and one done with music

Friday, 15 June 2012

Recycling T-Shirts

Quick update on t-shirt recycling that I started earlier in the week. I've made lots of t-shirt yarn !! :)

So then there was a bit of experimenting with various plaiting techniques, but the best effect I have found sp far is using finger knitting. Four finger knitting was used to create the chunky pink one and two finger knitting was used for the slimmer black one. 

If I can find enough t-shirts and interesting buttons this is definitely a new product. I think the finger knitting would create great key fobs as well - I though trying of trying to do football team colours for Christmas.

Hope the weathers fine this weekend so I can get to some car boot sales !!!

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