Monday, December 17, 2012

All Sorts.

 There are some differences between mothers and sons. I thought this vase of roses would be nice in the bathroom. Hugo thought that it would handy.
 Archie thought that this phrase was perfectly wonderful for his new journal. Nice shadow block writing though.
 I have been making lots of these birds from the book below. This book is amazing. More another time.

 A little felt decoration by Stef - I love it.
 One of Archie and Hugo's new decorations.
 And I had to take a couple of photos of the cameos for Mandy's website. I love these paintings soo much. 

Agggghhh. Time to make school lunches.
Love Kate xxooxx.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


 Finally we have warmth again. Our hydrangeas our flowering (just like Lucy's) and roses rosing. Heaven. Is there anything better than being able to give someone a bunch of flowers from your own garden wrapped in foil and sparkly ribbon?
 I had to tamper a little bit with the soil to get pink hydrangeas. In New Zealand with our wonderful volcanic ash and subsequent acidic soils, they are all blue. I LOVE blue hydrangeas but it is always nice to have a change from the norm.
 I have been playing around with my new Samsung Galaxy tablet (the one with the stylus) and made this Christmas label. It's funny how the moment you start a new thing you just want to perfect it. I can't wait to make some more labels now....
 Jonno and Hugo have been celebrating the glorious spell of weather by making a flying fox for a bucket so that the boys can relay important notes to each other from the verandah to the tree house.
 I read one of their messages to eachother. It had in scratchy and fading felt tip, "Put a better pen in the bucket".
Have a lovely day,
Love Kate xxooxx.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Enough on the Christmas Balls Already.

 I found these amazing mini glass baubles at Cotton On yesterday.  They were reduced to $6 and I found myself suddenly hyperventilating. The thing now will be using them as they are so beautiful in their box.

I know it's wrong to eat glass, but still....
And I also bought myself some new nail polish. And now I am walking around with one polished thumb nail. I should really finish the job but there never seems enough time to let them dry. How do you crochet with wet nails?
Have a lovely weekend.
Love Kate xxooxx. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

More Christmas Balls.

I am starting to think about decorating our house for Christmas. The first thing to go up is always this wreath of crochet balls, one of the first projects I made when beginning to crochet. You can find the pattern for the balls here.

Have a lovely day/night.
Love Kate xxooxx.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How to Host an 'At Home / Open Studio' Event.

 I hope you don't mind but I thought that some of you might be interested in why and how I hosted an open studio at home. For years I have been dreaming about having an exhibition(ey) sale of everything I make each year. But, as each year has passed, the thought of organising venues with subsequent overheads and marketing needs, has overwhelmed me. Even market stalls have been difficult to do as Jonno works most weekends and the boys are so tuckered out by Saturday that anything extra would be too much for the family. Also, when I have done a stall, I've found it to be a little demoralizing with everybody searching for the bargains that are just not possible with handcrafted goods.
 So the idea cropped up one day when having a cup of tea with a two friends... why not set up everything at home for interested people over a short, sharp period of time. Not only would there be good things to buy, but they could also have a little nosey around the house too... I LOVE looking around other people's houses...
I am extremely lucky because I do have a lovely, light filled studio however, this is not essential!!!
And so, here are a few tips on how I went about it.
- Use word of mouth, technology and friends! I used my blog, facebook and emailed all of my friends. I then printed out posters for local schools and also put a notice in our school newsletter.
-If possible, join forces with a friend. This was the best thing that I did - I am so lucky that my neighbour is sooooo talented. By doing this, pressure was taken away from me having to make over a million things. We both made very different things for the sale and that meant that there was a much wider variety of products. By sharing the event, we also widened our customer base.
-Choose dates carefully. Obviously before Christmas is the best time, but other considerations also come in to play. We had to make our sale before December 3rd as that is the final date for posting overseas ensure gifts will arrive before Christmas day. 
-Have an opening night. We opened the first night from 6.30pm - 9pm which was a great success with everyone wanting to get in for first pick. In fact, we had quite a few people turn up earlier so shower early to avoid being taken by surprise (true story).
-Set up in at least two rooms. Using as many rooms as possible worked really well for us as it made it a much more personal and interesting experience. It was also a good way of showing how our crafts looked in their natural environment.
-Treat it like an exhibition. Not everything has to be for sale. I have been working on the Stanley House for the past couple of years (you will see more of it next year) and had it on display. Next to it I had Christmas Stanley house cards for sale which I had printed here. The cards were also great as they were an inexpensive purchase so there was something available for every budget.

 The Stanley House.
 Some of Dominique's jewelry.
 Take time with displays. Make your displays a visual feast. I used cake stands and my favourite plates and bowls to display goodies upon. We also had vases of roses and sweet peas which filled the house with their fragrance. I have to say that the house never looked better.
Don't be afraid to hide your washing behind your bed. Not every room has to be on display. I only just kept on top of the washing and ended up with a sweet smelling mountain of clean laundrey hidden in my bedroom. It is okay to shut some doors.
Provide drinks and nibbles. On our opening night Dominique made up two batches of punch, one with alcohol and one without. That way we could give out complimentary drinks without spending a fortune. We also had a table with snacks such as grapes, meringues, brandy balls and chips and dip. This made it much more like a party and something that people will hopefully look forward to attending again next year. On the two following mornings we had non-alcaholic punch, tea, coffee and baking available.
Price everything clearly.  This is really important and stops people from trying to buy your grandmother's urn (not a true story).
Be confident in your handmade goods and price accordingly.
Clearly state your times in the information you hand out.
Keep track of all purchases in a book.... and always use a calculator. We recorded all sales and items in our book which is a great record as we can now see what the most popular products were.
Have a float. I went to the bank and took out $100 worth of change.
Have fun! On the whole, I treated it a little like a party where we celebrated craft (and people gave me money - a great theme when you think about it). Next year I think we will also run some short little crafting sessions to make it even more irresistible.....
I hope I haven't bored you too much or been too much of an expert. I just think in this economy it is such a great way to go and there are so many of us out there that cannot afford to sell our goods on to retail shops or have time to sell online or do markets. For me, this was a very effective and fun way to earn some extremely timely pocket money before Christmas.
If you have any questions, please leave a message in the comment section.
Lots of love,
Kate xxooxx.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Open Studio.

 I am two thirds of the way through my open studio (1 night viewing and two mornings) and it is going very well. So much fun being able to show everything off and also being able to play 'shops' at home. Especially when home is my favourite place to be. So, here are a few photies of the set up.

More to come.
Lots of love,
Kate xxooxx.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Big Day.

Weeeelllll, today is the big day. My open studio begins tonight and I am suddenly wondering how on earth I am going to finish hiding my mess that is currently strewn around the house. The junk cupboard is already bulging and there is no space left under the bed. Hmmm.
This is one of the cards I will have available for sale tonight. Once again, I can't wait to be able to offer them online next year.
Eeek. Time to stop playing on the computer Kate - start setting up now!!!
Love Kate xxooxx.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Setting Up.

 Tomorrow my open studio and sale begins and from here to there - I have an awful lot of setting up to do. 
 It is so satisfying to see things starting to line up  though.

 Here is one of my Christmas cards - I am so looking forward to doing them on a larger scale next year.
 Cushions waiting for price tags - and a good iron for a couple of them.
 Headbands and crocheted corsages ready to find heads and hands.
And I am very lucky because my neighbour is bringing over lots of her things too. I will soon have a herd of dresses on my front lawn - I wish I could keep them all!!!
Lots of love,
Kate xxooxx.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fancy Christmas Baubles.

 This year I have gone a little bit fancy with my Christmas baubles!
 I have become more than a little bit obsessed with velvet and sparkling ribbons. The challenge has been trying to find a way to use them. And use them I have... sorry, channeling Yoda again.
Although I have to say I am a little puzzled about something. When did my sons reach the stage that they giggle every time I talk about my Christmas balls?
Lots of love,
Kate xxooxx.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Some Weeks....

 I am so, so, so sorry that it has been over a week since my last post.... I have been sick with a horrible bug that has had me in bed for the past little while. It's amazing how a little virus can stop you in your tracks. Thankfully, I have been able to do a bit around the house today and we may even have some clean clothes tomorrow.
Hugo is still wandering around with Chocolate Brownie stuffed down a sleeve, pocket or in a collar. He is just starting to grow his feathers and look a little raggedy (the chicken, not Hugo) but Hugo loves him all the same. I have never come across such a patience little rooster.
 One of my favourite roses, 'Pierre de Ronsard' is flowering. It is a climbing variety and is now well over 2 metres, shooting away over the last couple of months. I have spent a lot of time standing in front of it with admiration.
 I have my studio sale coming up next week and have been finishing all sorts of projects that have been lying dormant for the past couple of years. There are little fellows like this strewn all about the house.
 And last thing, the boys took some flowers to school today - Hugo for a little friend who is having a birthday and Archie for his teacher. They make my heart sing.
By the way, my most exciting news is that my sister has started up a blog again. She is the most wonderful photographer, creative, writes beautifully and is doing all sorts of wonderful stuff building a new house AND renovating another one. You can find her over here! I am so excited because it is such a lovely window into her world. Go and say hello!
Lots and lots of love,
Kate xxooxx.


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