Merry Christmas

Phew. That was a busy day. Today BorderlineStraggler and I helped close down the pop-up shop. We sold, wrapped, packed, tidied, swept and generally dismantled the whole place. It has been an amazing experience being part of this shop. I learnt so much, met some wonderful artists, and made some new friends. AND I sold things, to real life people. As it turns out quite a lot of things. Today my bag at the end of the day contains only two bookmarks and a reindeer, this is all that is left of my stock. I am so proud of myself and the things I made. So now I am going to kick back with a table heaving with munchies, curl up under a quilt with BS and watch some festive telly.

Merry Christmas blog world xxxxxx


In defence of Kirstie

***EDIT: please read the bottom of the post, I am taking it all back!****

Yes, you read that right and you know who I am talking about.

Ok, now before you either a) snort and delete me from your feed, b) call some sort of mental health professional, or c) text me to make sure my blog hasn't been hacked let me explain. I like many of my crafty friends find Kirstie's handmade series a patronising, unrealistic representation of the work it takes to create hand-crafted good of a high standard, and the recent foray into competitive craft has left me feeling sad that something so central to my life could leave me feeling so angry. 

But that is the rant that I am not having today. Today I am sat on my sofa knitting socks watching Kirstie's Handmade Christmas remembering a time in my life when I would watch this show again and again having recorded it on the digi box. This was back when I was in a job I disliked, filled with a barrel load of late-twenties-life-crisis, wondering what I should do with my life. I would watch the Kirstie shows, and the Mastercrafts shows incessantly, loving to rewatch bits of the weaving episode, or glassblowing and imagine a different life where I wasn't a frustrated administrator by day and crafter by night. And do you know what, that is exactly what I have now. I am training to become a designer/maker, I have grand plans on what BorderlineStraggler, SilverLining and I are going to do when I am done at school, I have products in an actual shop and a lot of that was inspired by the early Kirstie shows. By putting professional craftspeople on primetime television this show made me realise that there were thousands of designer/makers our there who did exactly what I longed to do and it inspired me. Some did intense, amazing processes I had never dreamed of like blacksmithing, others made their living making things using techniques that I used like knitting and baking. They were real people with lives I was jealous of. Sitting here, this repeat is bringing back a whole range of different memories and emotions, not all of them good, but mainly I am remembering the wonder I felt the possibilities out there. 

Now I am certainly not saying that Kirtie's handmade home was the only thing which made me jack in my job and change our lives, that would make my decision seem shallow and impetuous and easy, when in reality it was hard, and scary and took years of lots of little things building up to help me come to college.  But it was one of those little things. So I am happy that this show helped me and even thought the current incarnation makes me shout at the TV like a woman possessed, I hope that there are other people out there who saw this show and were inspired to do something creative.

Even if it was make god awful, ugly PMC jewellery, and hideous cushions with hares on them.


I am very sad to say that I just watched the Christmas edition of the new Kirstie show and it made me so angry and sad. I think the whole thing was summed up when Kirstie admitted to the camera that she didn't want to make things to compete anymore, she just wanted to go to the fair and buy a quilt, not make one but buy one. And that is the problem. The past two series have taken all the gentle joy of crafting out of the show. There is no longer any happiness in Kirstie when she is making things there is fear of being too original, instead it is all about conforming to a 'traditional' aesthetic which is acceptable to the Judges. There shouldn't be judging in craft. People craft to escape the mundane strictures and rules of proper life, if you make even your that a race, what is left to do for fun? Very saddened by the whole thing.


Festive table fun

This is by far the fastest turn around from idea, to product, to sales I've ever had, about 72 hours in total!

Whilst at work on Wednesday night I came up with this design. I wanted to make something new for our Christmas table for our first festive season in Hereford. I love setting the table for Christmas, it reminds me of getting out the poinsetta tablecloth with my parents and special star shape platters in time for our grandparents to descend for the day. When I got married I wanted to start creating my own holiday traditions and our table is slowly being added to each year, refining its seasonal wonder as our taste change. I have some thoroughly cute placemats, I embroidered some napkins a few years ago, there is the occasional piece of Christmas-y crockery but till now our napkins were allowed to roam free, unravelling from my inexpert attempts at folding willy nilly.

I thought some lovely metal rings were in order. In all honesty I couldn't face soldering even 4 napkin rings, the solution was to make a little plate that I could then thread a ribbon through to tie around the napkins. If they were little plates they needed to say something. I have been listening to Christmas music pretty much non-stop since 30th November at work so festive lyrics became my inspiration:
I was so taken with these, I thought I'd see if they would fit in at the pop-up shop. Steve approved, so my last day at college was spent making more to sell - I made 22 in total, stamping, cutting and polishing the day away. And sell they did. I dropped them off in the shop at 2pm on Saturday and by 5.30 they had all sold. All of them. Including the ones I needed for our table. So once again are napkins are naked, but I am unbelievably happy that they were so popular. 
A final gratuitous shot of them all heaped together in their box for delivery. 


Artsite 3 Christmas Shop

Welcome to:

I have been doing a couple of shifts a week at the shop and it has become a very lovely way to while away a cold afternoon. The shop sells 

A yarn addicts dream tree

There is a corner for prints and original paintings and drawings
Jewellery, aprons and gorgeous mirrors
Beautiful glass, ceramic and textile tree ornaments
A box of cushions I just want to sit in!

And then here are all of my things: notebooks, diaries & bookmarks

These are some reindeer I had been making in the shop. Lots of people asked me about them and wanted to know how much they were so after I had finished the gift ones I made a few more for the shop. I'm told I've sold a few!

One even made it into the window. Very, very exciting.


Yes, I've been a bad blogger, but I have had assessments galore this week and several shifts at the artsite3 shop (otherwise known as the most beautiful little shop in hereford), so sadly very little Blogger time. Tonight I have a late meeting but tomorrow there will be time for posting beautiful pics of this lovely shop and some of my things in-situ.
Till then here is a sneak preview of something I've been working on.


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