Category Archives: Crafty Stuff

Projects and How To’s

How To: Make a Wall Planner

Running a business can be very expensive, especially when you run one of those ‘kitchen table oh-my-god-all-my-time-and-money-is-poured-into-this’ like mine.
I have managed to step up from my kitchen table and have rented out a little workspace with the lovely Lucy from Lucy Made Me.
We have managed to furnish it on the cheap, using furniture from our own homes and a few bits bought from charity shops….and being creative types we have come up with a few other solutions too.

We don’t always work together at The Dairy (our workspace) as Lucy works 9-5 in London and I work shifts, so we needed some sort of world domination wall planner, and I wasn’t willing to pay for one.

Luckily I watched enough Blue Peter as a child to have a few tricks up my sleeve…

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I had one of these super cool freebie calender from a magazine. Normally the calendars I manage to get for free suck, but I love the quirky crochet drawings on this one.

I took it apart and laid all the months in a 4×3 square and then reached for my secret weapon…dancing Pug tape.

 

How to make a wall planner (4) My husband bought me this tape for Christmas….he knows me soooo well.How to make a wall planner (2)I simply overlapped the pages of the calendar slightly and stuck them together. Funky Pug tape makes all the difference.

Now Lucy and I can plan out when all our fairs are and when we will be holding open studios too, and we can mark when we are away on hollybobs so the other knows.

I popped it up on the wall using washi tape so it didn’t mark our rented walls!How to make a wall planner (3)

Have you got a good use for a free calendar?

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How to: Make Felt Bread Play Food

How to make play bread felt food tutorial DIY

One of my friends is super talented and has created one of those ratty-old-cabinet to schmazing-dream-playkitchen that you see on Pinterest for her daughter. She sanded and painted and stitched away for weeks on it till it’s looking like something I wish my kitchen looked like.

For Christmas I thought that some felt play food would be in order to add to this little play kitchen of dreams so I grabbed my basket of felt scraps and put my mind to work.

In this post I’m going to show you how I made slices of bread…perfect for little hands to practice making sandwiches and toast.

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Firstly I drew a bread slice shape onto a piece of card and used it as a template. I always make templates as I find it so much easier than cutting freehand as I always manage to muck it up! I cut 4 light brown bread slices.

I also cut two really long thin ribbons of darker brown felt for the crust.

I laid two light brown slices together and stitched them together, using the dark brown felt like bias binding, covering the edges. This ensured the bread was nice and thick and not floppy. Who likes floppy bread eh? No-one.

I did this as one process rather than two to save me time as I was handstitching. This could of course be done on a machine, but I liked the rougher look.

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I stitched the entire way round, over lapping the felt crust slightly on one edge and stitching it securely.

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This barely took any time and was quite theraputic!

How about teaming this with some square slices of yellow felt with holes cut in for Swiss cheese, some circles of pink for ham and some green lettuce leaf shapes?

Anyone else hungry now?

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Cranleigh Show with Lucy Made Me

If you follow The Pigeon’s Nest on Facebook….which you TOTALLY should by the way…not only am I witty and do I upload pictures of my latest makes in super quick time…. it is also where my lovely buyers get to see all the backstage action from the fairs I do with the gorgeous Lucy from Lucy Made Me.

I have officially stopped booking fairs and shows that require me to go solo as spending the day selling with Lucy is honestly the only way I want to sell face-to-face from now on. FACT.

I thought I’d just share some of the photos that Lucy took of our grand day out that started at 4am and ended at 6pm, which included playing shops, a very helpful and dishy platter man, our next door neighbour playing JAZZ music ALL DAY, us planning world domination, a large box of sausage rolls, free wine from a nice lady, being asked where our brick and mortar shop is….(eeeeeek we wish!) and stuffing our faces…a lot.

Enjoy!

Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show

The day ended with me sitting in a Kaboodle Bag that I will be reviewing VERY soon as I think it is flipping aces!

I mean HOW ELSE do loooong days like that end?

Lucy Made Me & The Pigeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show

If you want to come and have a giggle with me and Lucy in the flesh we will be at Godstone Village Fete on August Bank Holiday Monday. We will also be doing 3 DAYS (don’t get me started – I’m flipping terrified!) on the first weekend in December at the lovely big Christmas show at Caverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells….we have a chalet and EVERYTHING….

We love having visitors and we promise not to be too over excited…. ok….that last bit is a fib…

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How To: Make a Tea Towel

For all my hand stitched makes and crochet creations, I am still a bit nervy around my sewing machine. The only lessons I have had on it are from my GCSE Textiles (where I scraped a C….silly girl…I think not embracing my GCSE Textiles is deffo one of my biggest regrets). I feel a lot more confident stitching by hand as I feel I can predict how it is going to come out, and I am still to find and follow a simple dress pattern to make myself something pretty to wear.

What I can do however is whack together simple shapes and make owls and whatnot, so when our friends bought a beautiful new house, I thought I’d make them a housewarming gift….tea towels.

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Isn’t this fabric bloody gorge? I TOTALLY need to lady up and make a 50’s style frock from the remaining fabric….le sigh….

Firstly I measured up using one of my tea towels from the kitchen, ensuring I cut it large enough to be able to fold the seam allowance on itself to ensure a nice clean finish.

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I then ironed…this is the only action my iron ever sees by the way… a sharp crease about 1 cm into the fabric.

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I then folded the seams over on themselves again and ironed again, pinning them together ready for stitching.

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Using a small straight stitch I ran these bad boys swiftly through the machine.

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Ending up with two lovely tea towels with a nice straight edge which took about 15 minutes to make.

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I folded them together and wrapped them with a pretty ribbon, because when fabric looks this fab, why cover it in paper?!

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I’m tempted to make a dozen more…despite the fact we collect tea towels from our holidays rather than souvenirs, so we have about a million!

Have you ever made tea towels?

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5 ways with Fir Cones

5 ways to use fir cones pine cones

I can’t help but pick up these little nuggets of nature on every walk with Chekhov and I love using them around our home. Free stuff is awesome don’t you know.

Firelighters

These babies are great for starting a flicker in the grate. They burn really well once dried out and look so much nicer in a basket by the fireplace than a box of firelighters…..and they are free!

Home Decor

You can’t write pine cones into Pinterest without seeing a MILLION ways to use these beauties in your home. I particularly like displaying them in a simple bowl or placed on the matlepiece. You could even spray them for Christmas! I have about 12 big ones in my christmas decorations box which take up position on my mantel every year with baubles and bead gardlands….and glittery stags….you know… the rustic decorations….

Fir-cone-candlesClick image for source

In your flower beds

Rather than using expensive bark to mulch your plants, use collected fir cones. Yeah….it might take you a while….so try to fill a section at a time. I also pop one or two in with my chooks to keep them interested and so they can eat all the bugs!

As place settings

Puhlease….. how cute is this?!

howto5_br_30sep09_bclick image for source

A bit of spray glitter glue and I’m anyones!

Bird feeders

These always look gorgeous hanging in the garden and they attract gorgeous birdies to your garden too. I use this tutorial from Dragonfly Blue.

Are you a fir cone freak too? What do you use yours for?

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How To: Preserve your bouquet after you wed

Bride and Groom big fat pigeon wedding

So you’ve paid for or had someone kindly create you a gorgeous fresh flower bouquet for your wedding….check.

You’ve decided not to chuck it across the room at your reception at your single female friends who do not need or want their singleness highlighted…. check.

You want to keep it to look at for years to come…ahhhh……you’ve come to the right place.

I kept mine in water on my mantelpiece for nearly 3 weeks before I decided to dry it to keep as a keepsake. I loved looking at it each day as I settled into married life and decided that even though this is no longer the 90’s (did anyone else Mum have LOADS of dried flowers in their house? Just me?) a dried wedding bouquet is something special.

I hung it upside down in our home office on the end of a curtain pole for a fortnight, where it naturally dried out. It may take an extra week if you have a monster bouquet and you’ve trained for weeks to be able to lift the thing.

Things that mde m ehappy this weekend my dried wedding bouquet

You can see that some of the colours have changed, but I don’t love it any less!

I hope this has been helpful for those interested ladies who emailed me last week…especially to see the before and after piccies.

Big love!

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How to: Prepare for a Craft fair

I feel only now, after two years of hitting craft fairs pretty hard that I have some sort of system that I can share with all you lovely folks who are starting out.

toadstool leaf keyrings

how to do a craft fairSo lets assume you’ve found a fair you fancy doing….you think it fits your target audience, your budget and it isn’t going to take you two hours to get there….

First things first, have a look at the events social media pages, see what people are saying about the event, does there seem to be a lot of coverage? If they aren’t working hard to get people in the door for you on the run up to the day by promoting the arse out of it, what on earth are they charging you for?

Event organisers have a duty to their stallholders and if they are charging you £30 upwards then you want to make sure that you are getting a good coverage. Of course some fairs will struggle to get the footfall despite all attempts by a lovely event organiser… they can’t control things like the weather, train strikes etc.

Be cheeky… email some of the previous stall holders and see how they found it. Small business owners are on the whole really supportive of each other and I have found out about some amazing fairs by asking other stallholders. It’s your cold hard cash you have to part with…make sure you can at least make your pitch back.

make a stock listSo you are at your super busy fair and you are selling heaps and heaps! Fantastic! So tell me, do you know what your best selling item was? What percentage of your overall take was those thingummybobs? Did you make your pitch back? What was your profit? What do you have to make more of over the next week?

Now…if you have a stock list you will be able to answer me ALL those questions.

A stock list can range from an izzy whizzy spreadsheet to a handwritten list on the back of an envelope in a cute little notebook. I run both. I keep a master stock list in Excel that is updated before & after a fair and I keep a running list of everything I sell in a notebok as I sell it. I admit I have never been so snowed under that I cannot jot down the items I have just sold to a customer. The main rule of thumb is if you know what you take you can compare that to what you bring home.

photo(6)TravellingI drive…do you? Do you need to? I met a lovely lady at my last fair who took the train because all her goods fit in a large wheelie suitcase! GENIUS!
Make sure you find out exactly where you are going before you leave and pop it into the sat Nav/your smartphone the night before. Also find out about parking from your event organiser and if there is cheap parking…I have far too many times, had to leave my stall and go and move my bloody car because my ticket has run out!

I have also decided not to travel any further than 45 minutes from home for fairs…mainly because it adds an extra hour and half to my day out, which is normally already pretty long. This is purely personal and is up to you.

ManpowerDo you have a lackey? A spouse, sibling, child or friend who you can drag along to help you out?

I don’t. My husband, whilst endlessly supportive and a silent partner in my business (he has to put up with all the mess, stress and gore of my creativity), doesn’t come to craft fairs with me. It isn’t his scene, he’d be endlessly bored and I don’t really want him in my way. This does mean however I have sacrificed all lackey privelages, like having someone to guard your stall whilst you pee/move your car AGAIN/go for a wander round and spend all your profits on other people’s gorgeous stuff.

This also does mean that I need to be able to set-up and shut-down my stall by myself. I have seen solo stallholders do many ‘trips to the car’, but I have my stall down to a one carry trip (even if I do pull faces like that man in the Yorkie advert).

Also as a solo stallholder is is important to say hello and chat to your fellow stall holders. They may help you out when you finally dive into the loo and a customer starts purusing.

streamliningOk…this is where my love of packing comes into its own…especially as I have to make it portable for my weakly girl arms to carry.

Pack up all your stuff the night before…make yourself a little tidy non-whiffy lunch…load your car the night before if you have somewhere safe to park it…

Also…plan your stall. I know this sounds mental, but lay it all out a few days before and take pictures or do yourself a little diagram. Once you have learnt works well for your products you won’t need those pictures but they are great for when the first tme fair nerves kick in. It is also helpful to do a stall plan when you get a new piece of display furniture.

Prep your float too. I take £20 in £1 and 50p pieces, as that is generally what I need to give. If your items are more expensive you may need to take more.

stall interestingThis means how you display your products. There are a million and one ways to skin this particular cat and I have collated lots of my favourite idea using the god of all websites…Pinterest. Here is my craft stall inspiration board.

My two big piece of advice are ‘height’ and ‘make it work for you’. You are a creative person…you make awesome stuff…make sure you display it in a way that shows it off.

My stall has gone through many different changes as I have managed to buy & freebie bits and bobs to display my items on, but I am currently head over heels for my display.

Craft fair set up display how to photo 3(2)

Interesting also includes YOU. Don’t sit and tweet about what a shit time you are having. Don’t make phone calls. If you are really bored take some pictures of your stall and upload them to your Facebook or Twitter. Chat to your stall neighbours. Make something whilst you sit there. I always take items to make as a lot of people don’t actually believe that I MAKE the things I sell….like I have a granny sweatshop in my loft cracking out bunnies and foxes.

I hope this has been helpful! If you have any questions please please please ask them below and I will try to answer them as best I can!

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