Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bits and Pieces

 Look! I have my own spinning wheel!! A friend of my Mum's is clearing out their attic and rediscovered this. I bought it from her for €60, which seems very reasonable and it is in full working order (if only I knew what to do with it!!)

Learning to spin is something that was on my long-term list but I didn't think I'd get a spinning wheel so soon. My friend Jeanette spins so she will teach me :) Watch this space for updates in the New Year!

Talking about updates - I just received the latest update from one of my sponsor children - Bariki in Kenya. I just love the fish and mango tree that she has drawn!!

It's only thanks to everyone who buys my crochet bits and pieces (or sea glass and cards) that I can afford to sponsor two children - so thank YOU! 

 And here are some ceramic Christmas decorations that I made at a workshop with a local potter :)

 More Christmassy posting!  I'd taken this photo above to show my old penpal friend in Germany some of the little decorations that she had sent me over the years -- but it turns out that the fireplace on in the centre must have been given to me by someone else as she has no memory of it! So all these years, I've been thinking about Michaela and Tom when I light the tea light in the fireplace, and it is nothing to do with them! 

Our conservatory is finally finally almost finished - all we need to do is to fix in a couple of loose wires and then give it a lick of paint where needed.

After a lot of nagging the electrician came to finish our lights last month - up until then we had just had wires hanging from the walls with bare bulbs -- we'd waited over a year like this! I know it isn't really that big an issue in the big scheme of things (first world problems) but I am so relieved that the job is done and we've finally had his bill.

Now that the light fittings are in situ we could start to hang up our paintings and pictures on the wall - something that I've been waiting for for so long! 

 There are still a few more bits and pieces to go up in there but it feels like a proper room now.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Nearly Christmas

 I've been busy decorating the conservatory, ready for Christmas :) I love this time of year - taking down the boxes of decorations and lights and then putting them up on the tree. So many of our decorations have lovely memories attached to them and while I decorate the tree and room I remember the 'story' behind each one - whether it was a gift from a friend or family member, or if it is one that we bought ourselves, where we were when we bought it.

We got a lovely big tree this year! It's slightly wonky and definitely has a 'good' side but that's part of the charm of a natural tree I's never going to be perfect.

I've got some new decorations this year - we bought this wreath when we were over in England - and I added the bow at the top and the felted snowman (I bought him in Marks and Spencers last week)

..the little mouse and polar bear are from M&S also..if they have any left on sale after Christmas I will buy a few more as they are so cute and would be nice on the tree...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Markets Update

The last couple of weeks seem to have really flown and now it's the day after Peter's birthday and we're starting to gear up for Christmas.

I've done three out of my four local markets - the last one is in Glenbeigh this Sunday afternoon.

As usual the one at the Tech in Waterville was my best one of the whole year - indeed, it managed to beat my record for takings at a market! I sold 1 cowl, 1 card, 3 hats, 5 little wrist cuffs, 6 crocodile wristwarmers, 8 plain wrist warmers and 1 pair of my merino wrist warmers.

The Tech one always has the most magical atmosphere - with a proper Christmas tree and all the sellers are selling things that they've made themselves. 

Next up I went to the market in Cahirciveen. They weren't having one at the Old Oratory this year as it was too busy with pizza (I'm delighted that they are doing so well with the restaurant but it was a lovely location for a Christmas market too!) so I went to the Kerry Coast Inn. 

Several people had said that it was a very dimly lit venue but I found it fine and there was Christmassy music playing there too so it had a nice atmosphere.

I'm happy enough with how I did there, I was right opposite Anita, who sells handknitted hats and headbands, so it was a funny layout in some ways: but I still sold 1 card, 5 pairs of croc wristwarmers, 2 hats, 2 headbands, 1 pair of merino wristwarmers and 3 pairs of plain ones.

On Sunday I was at the community centre in Ballinskelligs - my first time going to the market there (it was their first time running one). It was all in aid of the local primary school.

I didn't do so well there - only selling 2 pairs of plain wrist warmers and 2 pairs of the plain ones. But again, the atmosphere was lovely (the school children were dancing, singing and playing music on the stage) AND I won a hamper in the raffle so it was all good.

Friday, December 1, 2017

More Newness

I've had to remake this hat as it has sold again :) I think I've got enough of the wool left for one more - or if not one more hat there should be enough for a headband. I guess it's popular as it's such a 'neutral' kind of colour? 

 I just finished this bouclĂ© cowl last night - it was a nightmare to make! I ripped it out twice so this was 'third time lucky'. BouclĂ© yarn is something that I don't want to see in a long time - it was awful! But having said that, I do like the finished cowl and hopefully someone will like it enough to buy it.

These three pairs of wristwarmers are all from the Cygnet 'boho spirit' which I just bought in England last month - at just about every market someone asks if I have wristwarmers that don't have any wool in them so this year I will be prepared. 

And these are good old faithful King Cole 'country tweed' 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Annual Stock Take 2017

Now that Lucy's shut up shop for the winter months I have got all my 'stock' back so before I embark on the Christmas markets it's time for my annual 'taking stock' of things...

last year and 2015 & 2014 (just for comparison, as it's always good to look back on these things)

This year I currently have a total of 82 listings in my Etsy shop.

  • 32 listings in my wristwarmers and cuffs
  • 30 in my hats and headbands
  • 1 in my bags section
  • 13 in my seaglass/shells
  • 1 in my greetings cards
  • 5 in my scarves
 I've had 1034 sales to date and my feedback rating is still 5* overall with 537 people leaving me feedback.

I've decided to just let my greetings card listings expire rather than keep on renewing them - they don't seem to sell well on Etsy so it's pointless to keep on and on renewing them in the hopes of an odd sale or two. 

So my listings total is down again on the previous year (I'd 88 this time last year) and on the years before that. I had that big order for scrubbies from Airmid earlier this year so that slowed down my production of wristwarmers/hats etc (the money was so handy though and I'm hoping that they will need more eventually!)

Things really to have been slow for me on Etsy lately so it's good that I have a few Christmas markets to go to and hopefully bump up my takings a little year I will be selling locally in Lucy's centre again as well as the Daly's craft shop on their farm in Valentia so hopefully things will continue to improve.

More New Listings...

This is the silvery grey sparkly scarf that I was working on - I brought it over on holiday to England with us as it is a bit slow to make. People at the markets are always asking if I have any scarves so at least I will this time round -- and I think they make the mannequin look a lot better (rather than sitting there with just a hat/headband on and a bare neck and shoulders)

This cowl is made with some wool that I was given as a present by a friend on the ferry - it was a NIGHTMARE to work with as it's one of those yarns where it's hard to see where the stitches are, but I really like it now that it's finished. It's 100% polyester but is so soft!

 And these two hats are ones that I've just remade in the last couple of days as the original versions had sold in my Etsy shop - again they are made with yarn that I was gifted (by a friend of one of my sisters this time) - I have enough in the blue for one more copy of the hat but I still have plenty of the silvery grey.

And finally, this is a hat that I made a while ago, using some of the yarn that I'd bought in New York city - from KnittyCity. I'd made it just as a plain hat - there was only just enough wool in the skein for the hat but wasn't happy with it just being plain so I was going to try making a toning flower in a different yarn. Then I found this great big button in my collection and it seemed just 'right'.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

New Listings

As you can hopefully see, I've been busy lately! It's taken me a while to get round to getting these photographed and listed in my Etsy shop and Facebook page but it's all done now.

 I'm really hoping that some of these sequined wrist warmers will sell for me at the local Christmas markets. 

This is the last of the King Cole 'country tweed' that I have in this shade and it's been discontinued so I think that they will be the last pair that I will make in it. I do hate it when they discontinue yarns for no good reason - you'd understand if there was a fault or if the dye ran but when it's something that's a good seller it's a real shame.

I've been listing some of the items that were in Lucy's shop in the village through the Summer months - the more listings I have on Etsy the more hope I have of getting sales.