The Week in Soap: 22nd Oct 17 (Blogtober 23)

Blimey it’s been a busy week! It started on Monday with two double batches of Luscious Lavender and Warm Gingerbread:

Luscious Lavender in the mould

Luscious Lavender in the mould

Warm Gingerbread in the mould

Warm Gingerbread in the mould

and continued on Tuesday with two double batches Welsh Rose and Clarity:

Welsh Rose in the mould

Welsh Rose in the mould

Clarity in the mould AFTER CPOP

Clarity in the mould AFTER CPOP

I was so SO pleased that the Clarity turned out ok:

Clarity, freshly cut

Clarity, freshly cut

 

The two previous batches failed (I wrote about that trauma here) and I still need to try my hand at rectifying the failed batches with the oven method. Soon, soon…

Wednesday was my regular weekly soaping presentation. I only have one more to go this season before the hotel closes for winter, but I’ve been asked to go back in the spring which I’m really happy about.  That’ll be my fourth year so I must be doing something right!

On Thursday (after the day job) I spent the late afternoon / most of the evening wrapping and labelling soap for the Beddgelert Craft Fair the following Saturday. I spent all day (and evening) on Friday doing the same.

Saturday was the fair itself and, being the organiser, I needed to be there before anyone else to set up, and was the last to leave after the clear up.  Despite the (relatively) poor turnout, which was entirely down to the rubbish weather, it really was a good day. The stallholders and customers left happy, and I breathed a sigh of relief – it’s definitely going ahead again next year 🙂

Sunday, yesterday, was a family day. I needed a breather, away from work, so the kids and I baked and generally spent the day relaxing. Well, as much as one can relax when one’s dear husband is taking apart the bathroom… Yep, the next phase of home renovation has started, the reno-rollercoaster has begun again and we should have a shiny new bathroom by Christmas. I’ll share pictures when I can.

Thanks for reading, back tomorrow!

Vick.

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Beddgelert Craft Fair (Blogtober 22)

This time last year I wrote a post called 10 Tips for Organising a Craft Fair which was a response to organising one in Beddgelert,  my home village, for the very first time.  For the last month or so I’ve been working hard putting together this year’s event, which was held yesterday.

Yesterday! Those of you in the UK will know that yesterday was pig of a day, weatherwise.  Storm Brian came to visit, and the weather was shocking.  Strong winds and torrential rain. Ho hum.  This resulted in two stall holders cancelling on me last minute, which was a disappointment, but we managed to spread out the other tables and I don’t think they were missed by customers.  The other issue with the awful weather was, of course, that people clearly didn’t want to leave the warmth (and safety!) of their homes.  Footfall was down from last year, and I can only put that down to the weather. Nothing we could have done about that, and so I was really grateful to those people who did brave the elements and came out to support us. I thought I’d share some pictures of the day with you here.

Kevin & Kay collect driftwood and other ‘recyclables’ from the coast locally and turn them into gorgeous items to decorate the home.  The Christmas tree with incorporated fairly lights are a special favourite of mine… Kevin & Kay aren’t on any social media at all, they can’t keep up with production as it is so have no need to advertise – what an great situation to be in!!!

Driftwood Crafts

Driftwood Crafts

The stall next to Kevin & Kay was taken by Pauline of Jewellery by Pauline.  Practically all my earrings these days have been made by Pauline, and as well as other jewellery she also makes adorable embroidered lavender bags.

Jewellery by Pauline

Jewellery by Pauline

Next up was Vanessa of Vanessa’s Papercuts.  Vanessa has an amazing talent creating art with paper – either intricately cutting it so that it’s almost lace-like, or using lots of cleverly cut layers of paper to create an image:

Vanessa's Papercuts

Vanessa’s Papercuts

The came me.  This was the very first outing for my step risers, so I haven’t necessarily worked out the best configuration for the display yet…

My table

My table

Next was my next-door-but-one neighbour Cadi.  She makes the most lovely Christmas wreaths and had a small table in order to take orders for this Christmas.  I always have a wreath of hers on our front door during the festive season.

Handmade Wreaths

Handmade Wreaths

Next up was a group of three local ladies who are INCREDIBLY talented with yarn and fabric.  I wish I’d taken some close-ups of their work, so intricate and finely done:

More Handicrafts

More Handicrafts

The next table was taken by the ladies of our village Craft Club.  They meet once a week in this hall, and had lots of knitted/crochet items for sale (along with a few jars of homemade preserves which went down a treat too).

The Craft Club's Table

The Craft Club’s Table

There was one more table, next to the one above (you can just see a corner of it in the photo) but it was a stall being run for a children’s club, and there were children manning the table.  I failed to get a photo without any of the kids in it, so I can’t share any, but they had Christmas stockings, greetings cards, purses, bunting and lots of other lovely stuff for sale.

We should also have had a wood turner and a lady who makes mosaics, but they were the two who were sadly unable to come at the last minute.  I think there was plenty to interest the lovely folk who came in to support us though.

At the other side of the hall we also had a lucky dip for the children, a tombola and a fabulous refreshments table manned by the local club for *ahem* ‘people of advanced years’.  I suppose you could call them Golden Oldies 😀  They did us proud, serving up teas and coffees and SO many homemade cakes.

All in all it was a great day, and could only have been improved by having more people come through the door, but there’s no predicting the weather around here!!

Thanks for reading, and my apologies if this post seems a little rushed – and for the quality of the photos!! Up until now I’ve managed to get posts written at least one day before, and schedule them to go live on the morning of deadline day.  By the time I got home last night after clearing up the hall I had absolutely no inclination to write, and today I’ve been busy with the kids, so it’s now 7.30pm on deadline day – eek!  No matter, as long as it’s live before midnight I’m still in the game lol 😀

Back tomorrow!

Vickx

Social Saturday #3 (Blogtober 21)

Happy Saturday guys!  I’m now officially two thirds through this blogging marathon, and I seem to be noticing more articles online about why you shouldn’t post on your blog too often (like this one!)  I’m committed, I’m not giving up, but there’s no doubt that I can’t find the time to write in depth, well rounded and well researched pieces at the moment, so my writing does feel a little superficial.  I guess it’s all part of the challenge 🙂

This is the third Social Saturday of Blogtober17, and today it’s Facebook’s turn. Ah Facebook.  Is it losing popularity?  Is it becoming the social medium for an older demograph? My number of FB followers has grown slowly but steadily over the years and I get more engagement on there than I do on Twitter, but less than I do on Instagram. Insterestingly I have more business followers on Instagram – that’s where I’ve connected with most of my wholesale customers / stockists, and Facebook is the place where I find I have the most personal, individual customers.

Today’s post is a real quickie.  For the last couple of months I’ve been organising the second annual Beddgelert Craft Fair. It happens today (woop!) and I have an awful lot to do, so, with no further ado, this is my Facebook Page. Do pop over and say hi, or share your link in the comments field and I’ll come to visit you!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a run down of the Craft Fair – keep your fingers crossed for me today!

Vickx

2nd Beddgelert Craft Fair

The Week in Soap: 27th Nov ’16

Last week was a pretty quiet one on the making front. On Tuesday evening I made three batches – Luscious Lavender, Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) & Blodau (Flowers):

Soap in the Mould

Soap in the Mould

The Lavender restock has a slight twist as I’d run out of one of my micas and had to improvise. I’ll share a picture very soon – I did take one of the cut but I seem to have deleted it – gah!

I shared the cut and the story behind Yr Wyddfa in this post last week.

And this is the cut of ‘Blodau’.  Blodau is Welsh for ‘flowers’, and the fragrance is a lovely blend of lavender and ylang ylang essential oils, balanced with a touch of rosewood  to give depth. Please forgive the rough and ready appearance – this was taken five minutes after it was cut:

Blodau - freshly cut

Blodau – freshly cut

Much of the week was spent preparing for the Porthmadog craft fair on Saturday. This is the only regular market/fair that I do. I could easily do more – I’m often asked – but to be honest I started this business to be able to work from home, and spend more time with the family, so I’m really not inclined to spend every weekend away from them.  Nevertheless I do happily join my crafty family on the last Saturday of every month, and I get a lot of pleasure from catching up with my fellow stallholders and regular (and new!) customers.

The Dinosoaps proved to be very popular (this was the basket I transported them in by the way, they weren’t displayed like that!)

Dinosoaps wrapped

Dinosoaps

The other soapy highlight of the week was a fabulous mica delivery from the awesome U-MakeitUp in Spain:

Mica samples

Mica samples

This was the second lot I’ve ordered from them, and I’m so impressed with their range of colours and great customer service. This was the first selection I received, a few months back:

More mica

More mica

Lots and LOTS of colours to play with!

In other news, this week the children wrote their letters to Santa, and I made a start on the Christmas shopping. This coming weekend we head down to south Wales for the weekend to visit my husband’s family, so we need to have all their Christmas gifts wrapped and ready to take with us.

I’ll leave you with this view from my office window last Saturday morning, 8am, just after loading up the car for the fair – gorgeously clear and crisp.

A room with a view

A room with a view

10 Tips for Organising a Craft Fair

10 Tips for Organising a Craft Fair

10 Tips for Organising a Craft Fair

Last Saturday I had a stall at a local craft fair. Not any old craft fair mind you, this was important to me for two reasons. First off, it was right here, in my village – the first one we’ve ever had. Secondly, it was the first craft fair that I’ve organised myself.  It was the culmination of a couple off months of planning, and, if I’m honest, a fair bit of anxiety.  I needn’t have worried – it was a great success, so I thought I’d share with you here a few things to consider if you’d like to organise something similar yourself.

  1. Do your research regarding other markets and craft fairs in the area and make sure your event doesn’t clash with another on the same day. As well as competing for visitors, you’ll also be competing for stallholders.
  2. As soon as you’ve decided on a date, secure your venue.  You don’t want to be inviting stallholders until you’ve confirmed your accommodation for the day.
  3. Invite / organise crafters as far in advance as possible. Many crafters book themselves into markets and craft fairs many months ahead.  It’s also worth considering asking for a deposit on the cost of the table – this decreases the risk of stallholders not turning up on the day.
  4. Ensure that all your stallholders have public liability insurance.
  5. Ensure you know how many tables you can fit into the available space. You don’t want to ask 20 crafters to attend and then find when you’re setting up that you can only fit 19 tables into the room!  It’s definitely worth having a trial ‘set up’ before deciding how many crafters to invite.
  6. Don’t double up on crafts unless it’s a BIG event.  There’s nothing worse for a stallholder than setting up at a fair of, say, 12 stalls to find that there are two or three other stallholders there selling something very similar. It’s not fair on any of them.
  7. Don’t try to charge too much per stall / table, especially if it’s the first time this event has taken place. You won’t have any idea what the footfall is going to be and won’t be able to make any claims as to likely number of visitors.
  8. Advertising, advertising, advertising. You want as many people walking through the door of your venue as possible, so this is an instance where too much advertising is never enough.  Get your event all over Facebook – on your personal feed (ask friends to share), on local selling pages, and on local community sites. Put a small ad in the local newspaper, a paragraph in the parish magazine, get it listed on’What’s Happening in Your Area’ type websites. Make sure there are posters put up in the area. Don’t forget your local tourist bureau and local hotels / guest houses if you live in a popular area for visitors – local crafts are just the thing that they’ll be interested in.
  9. Have a spare cash float or two.  It’s not unheard of for stallholders to arrive at a craft fair without their cash box.  Not me of course, oh no… well, only that once a few months ago 😀 and I was both grateful and impressed that the organisers had thought to bring along a couple of ‘spare’ floats for just that eventuality.
  10. Rope in as much help as possible.  Setting up, decorating the venue and getting plenty of directional signage outside and in the immediate area can take longer than you anticipate.  If you’re also planning on holding  raffle / tombola / lucky dip / cake stall you’ll need yet more hands on deck.
  11. A bonus tip – if you’re holding the craft fair or market to raise money for a local cause, consider also having a raffle / tombola / lucky dip / tea, coffee & cakes stall. Just make sure that you put out the call for donations well in advance

Market Set Up

September was my first month of regular markets, and it seems I’ve neglected my blog a bit – apologies!

I’m currently committed to three monthly markets – there are more out there that I could do, but I think I’ll wait until it all becomes a little easier (as it surely will when I’m more organised and the preparation becomes second nature) before I agree to do any more!

I did a bit of Pinterest research on the best way to set up my stall, but please tell me I’m not the only person to pin, pin, pin and then fail to go back and read it all, let alone implement any of the advice!! 😀 Still some work to do on that score  I think…

Anyway, I thought I’d post some pictures of my set up at the last two markets.

This was my stall last Saturday.  Tables were provided,  and were smaller than I expected, so I was careful not to make it look too crowded.  Notice the rubbish bin to the right of the picture?  Arrgghhh!! I persuaded the organiser to cover it with a tablecloth soon after this photo was taken!

1-Pictures 150The following day was a different market, and I had a dedicated gazebo area and a larger table. I tried to keep my booth as uncluttered as possible with boxes and other paraphanalia out of sight (those you can see in the picture belong to my neighbours):

1-Pictures 185The display stands are simply cardboard boxes covered with random fabric, but they do the trick:

1-photo 1

I know there’s probably a lot I could do to improve the look in general – some kind of backdrop would be good as a start.  Time to get back on Pinterest I think!