30 Sep 2010

New Clothes for Inistioge

I just sent off another order of clothes to Roisins Boutique in Inistioge, it was stressful trying to get it finished because of time constraints but I must say it was a really fun bunch of clothes to work on. Jackets/coats have always been one of my favourite things to make, I feel I can go a bit wild with them adding embellishments. I only wish I regularly had time to work on more pieces. When I get the markets of this weekend over with I'll be making more pieces for the shop.

29 Sep 2010

Peig Sayers at the Market

This is a rarity, a photo of myself on the blog, that's me on the left. This was taken last week at the market when all of us fell in love with the new scarves from Hanora.K.Designs and we had to try them on. I bought the orange one, Branden eventually gave in and got the grey one( he tried to restrain himself until he saw someone else trying it on, and then he had to buy it before they did). They are so cozy, they feel like you are wearing a blanket-a very comforting feeling when doing a 7am market.
Noreen sells her work at the market Fri-Sun every week and will also be at the craft fair tomorrow 11-7pm. The scarves are about 50-60 quid, but believe me they are well worth it, I've had loads of compliments on mine.

28 Sep 2010

Custom Order Wall Hanging

I have arisen from my silence for a quick post to show you a custom piece I did recently. A regular customer ordered a wall hanging for her office, as her logo is a dolphin it seemed like the logical choice of subject. We decided on using lots of blues, and to have just as a cloth hanging on poles. I've never done this kind of thing before, and it was really fun. I included a piece of bonded lining on the inside to add some weight to the piece and to make it look a little softer. Most of the design is machine sew, and the felt bubbles are hand stitched on. The nice thing about patchwork pieces like this is that it's mostly made of offcuts from garments. In this there is a sarong, pillow case, dress, and sample curtain material, then backed with some blue gingham.

For anyone wanting to try something similar, I got a friend to make the poles from a new brush handle, door knobs, and some very handy double sided screws- all of which you can find in your local DIY store. In the finished piece there was a second pole at the bottom but it was under construction while this picture was being taken.

18 Sep 2010

Tis the Season to be Busy

It's getting near that time of year again when my busyness level steps up a few gears in preparation for Christmas. This year half of my December is already booked up for Christmas fairs and I'm really excited to see how the Milk Market is during the busy festive season. There will be additional craft fair days in the early part of December, on top of my 3 day weekly markets there.
On the list of things to make
Sets of Christmas cards:
Last year I had sets of 10 lino printed xmas cards, I still have the carvings so all I have to do is print and package them. Easier said than done though. I ordered 500 blank cards a few days ago and I hope to get them the all printed in one week. I'm not sure if that's do-able but I'll certainly try. Also I'm not sure if 50 sets of cards will be enough considering the amount of fairs that I'm doing but I don't want to waste time making loads of stock that I get stuck with.

Felt Christmas Decorations:
Last year these sets sold very well, I either sold them individually for 6 euro each or a set of 3 for 15 euro. Lots of work went into them so maybe this year I'll try to figure out how to pare this down while still keeping them cute.

Handmade Brooches:
These are always a good seller as I do a special offer on the of buy 2 get 1 free, perfect for gift time when everyone is a little strapped for cash. I did have a bunch of these made already for xmas but a friend recently took them to a fair and they sold really well and all my back up stock is now gone...a good complaint to be making I know! I just gotta order more felt, pre-cut them at home and bring them to the market to keep me occupied when it's quiet.

This year I'd like to introduce a line of Shrinky Dink xmas decorations, and also some festive bunting. I know that the iphone cases should sell well too as lots of people have been looking at them lately saying how perfect they would be as a gift. I'm sure a few more things will pop up along the way too, but for now that's the main things I've to focus on.

...So all I need to do is invent an 8th,9th and 10th day in the week and I should get all that made in time for the coming Season.

What crafty plans do you have for Christmas, and have you started making them yet?

17 Sep 2010

The Milk Market on Facebook

A few days ago I set up a facebook fanpage for the Milk Market, as we definitely need the extra advertising. These days social networking is a free and easy tool that every business should avail of, it's a quick and lets your customers know about news/special offers/opening times etc.

I'm doing the Market one to help bring in extra customers on Fridays and Sundays, and also profile the Saturday market too. I plan to have a photo album for each trader with all their contact info so people can see the amazing things that are for sale there. I also want to let people know if any of the traders are giving special offers, or introducing a new line of products. It's a bit of extra work for me, on my already busy schedual but a little bit of work every day makes it manageable.

I've been delighted with how popular it's been in only a few days of having the page, in just over two days I've already gotten 700 fans, this is mostly through to people doing the 'suggest to friends' thing, which really helps getting new fans. Since there are so many traders I hope that it will continue to grow in popularity. Have any of you seen numbers like this before? It's taken me nearly 9 months to get the same number of fans on my own business page.

16 Sep 2010

Etsy Ireland Artist Trading Cards

Recently there was an artist trading card (atc) swap on the Etsy Ireland team blog. Readers volunteered to make a piece and swap it with another reader for free, it's a really nice idea for starting a mini art collection, and also a fun exercise to do. I've been a little late submitting my piece as I've been up to my eyes with work and the move in the house, and I just finished mine now. You can see the results of the other pieces here, there are some really good pieces, I hope they run with this idea again.

I already received my beautiful piece from Mary at My Rasimon, pictured above, and it's hanging on my studio now! I also received a really nice little red evening bag as a little extra surprise, which was so nice of her...thanks Mary!

The piece I did was a little colouring pencil sketch as a homage to the encroaching Autumn Season, it reminds me of warm coats and wet evenings. I pictured it here with the original photograph and also with a 50c piece to show you the scale of these mini artworks.

15 Sep 2010

My Transformed Studio

I did it at last!! I managed to join my bedroom with my work studio, and it worked out far better than I thought. With the help of some large storage boxes from guineys neatly hidden beneath my navy throw at the end of my bed I was able to store a lot of my materials. I also got some large flat boxes that fit neatly under my bed for spare scraps of fabric. Altogether I think I spent about 100 euro in storage boxes but it was really worth it.
For materials I don't use as often I boxed and stored them in our mezzanine attic, we hope to get a small curtain soon to cover the clutter. I included the view from my bed, you can see the pretty eaves but I'd prefer not to look at all those boxes though.
The soft lighting in the evening really helps to make it feel more like a bedroom, the long light box was made by my friend Norma Lowney, it's silk screened on tracing paper and framed in this large box. I also put some flower fairy lights on my bed post. I also hung up some more paintings on the walls to make it feel more homely...cos between work and sleep I'm gonna be spending a lot of time there.

13 Sep 2010

You Can't Take the Print Outta the Girl

At heart I'm still a print nerd, you can take the girl out of the print room but the ink will never leave her veins. I had a suitable droolish fanboy moment when watching this video, so I wanted to share. Hope you enjoy!

10 Sep 2010

New Handmade Cards

Welcome to my shrinky dink obsessed world!! I thought you might like to have a look at the cards that I've been making with my new favourite craft material. They've been selling well at the market so I think they will become a permanent fixture at my stall. Actually I must order some more I'm flying through my class pack of 50.
Also since the last time I posted the how-to I've gotten a commission to do a large scale artwork with them, placing all the shrinky tiles together to make one image. I'm quite excited about this project and I can't wait to get started on it!

9 Sep 2010

Live Jazz

One of the best attractions at the Milk Market every Saturday is the amazing music provided at Mari's Cheese Shop, there you can see at great mix of stunning musicians from Trad, Folk, and Jazz. There is a really great atmosphere, really chilled out, you can sit, have a coffee, take a break from your shopping and listen to cool music. Mari has decided to extend this to Sunday mornings between 11-1pm for the next six weeks as a trial run. If we get support for it I hope it will continue, so if you are in the area please pop down. Each week she will have different Jazz musicians playing live, and the best part is that it's free! If I wasn't working there I would go anyway, it's such a nice way to spend a lazy Sunday morning. Last week she had an amazing guitarist and pianist playing and the buzz was infectious.

Finger Ring Pincushions

My large pincushions have been selling really well at the market so I had to restock them a little bit. But they are really time consuming, I needed to find something quicker to make to keep up with the demand. I remembered seeing a how-to for these bottle top pincushion rings ages ago, it seemed like the perfect solution. They are cute, and quick to make. I kept my signature cupcake icing, this adds a bit of time but I think it's worth it. For anyone following the how-to don't worry you don't need a drill, I used a hammer and a nail, just as effective and much simpler. Now I'm on the hunt for plain bottle caps so I can make loads more, unfortunately lots of drinks have the logo printed on them. I know it wouldn't make much difference but I prefer it when they are plain.

I also gave these shrinky dink pins a shot too. They are really easy to make and I think they really complete the pincushions. I think I'll give two of them with each ring. The only problem is that some of them curled up when they were shrinking, so there was a little bit of wastage. I still haven't decided on a price yet for the rings, 5 seems too little but 7 is too much, maybe a happy medium at 6 euro each. What do you think?

6 Sep 2010

Sorting, moving, boxing

The epic clean up on my studio has commenced! As I mentioned earlier on the blog John will be moving to Cork for a year to do his Masters, so this means I need a new house mate to help with the rent. Which in turn means I've to move my bedroom into my studio!! We got lots of work done on it last week, and John was a great help getting things into our small attic. I've lots left to do this week, but I'll show you more photos of my studio/bedroom when it's totally finished.
Thankfully my really good friend Cecily will be moving in, so the worry of living with a stranger has been eliminated. It's all happening this weekend, I can't belive it rolled around so fast! Hopefully the year without John will go just as quickly.

2 Sep 2010

I Bought Some Lovely Art

I saw the work of Lynn Kenny when I was at the artisan craft fair on Thursday, I couldn't help myself I had to buy a piece. I've been insanely in love with her work for years but I never had enough money to buy any of her work, even though they are really reasonably priced at 150 for a medium sized piece. At the craft fair she has mini framed artworks at only 45 euro, as soon as I picked it up I had that sensation that I couldn't put it down again-I had to have it!
Even though you can see the lovely drawing style in her pieces on the website, you really have to see them in person to appreciate the layers of texture and detail. There are layers of material and embroidery that just can't be captured in a photo. The above picture is similar to the piece that I got...can you tell I'm feeling too lazy to whip out my camera?? Maybe later in the week I'll post an update with a picture of my delightful new piece of art. I have this feeling that this may be the start of a Lynn Kenny addiction.
I had the pleasure of meeting her at my stall recently, I was chatting to some customers about crafts and selling on line. Until one of them mentioned that she was an artist, when I asked for her business card I had a mini fan boy fit. I had loved her work for so long I was mortified and delighted to meet her. By the way she's really lovely in person, it's nice to meet your heroes, especially when they turn out to be down to earth people.

1 Sep 2010

New Handmade iPhone Cases

Lately I've been bringing my pre-cut felt iphone cases down to the market and doing my hand sewing while I'm there. It means I can get some Christmas stock made while it's quiet down there. I'm spending over 20 hours a week standing at my stall so it makes sense to use that time wisely. I learnt from pre-cutting my brooches that it saves time to design and cut the pieces at home before hand. I recently ordered lots of felt from Lupin, so it was great to be able to design them and have all my new coloured sheets at hand.
I'm still not sure what to do with my etsy listings. I know lots of sellers take photos of their pieces and if it sells they make one as similar as possible. I don't know if I want to get into that kind of production line work. Half the fun of making them is coming up with a new design and figuring out how to make it work. I know it isn't very practical but I'd like to keep them as one off pieces...or at least only similar but not exact replicas.
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