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  1. Warwick turned out to be one of the best days of our year so far. Lovely event. Hill Close Gardens is an area next to Warwick racecourse and in Victorian times it was divided into a number of gardens and allotments and used by local business owners as weekend retreats from living 'over the shop'. There are currently about 4 acres of these allotments left divided into about 18 gardens (I think! but that number may actually be greater) some of which are grass gardens, some with varying degrees of vegetation and others as allotments. A lot of them have lovely brick built summerhouses. There is a great visitor centre and its not very expensive entance fee either.

    It was a great sunny day, there were only half a dozen stalls or so but hundreds of people! The christmas wreaths, garlands and dangles were popular and the newly launched christmas tree decorations were really popular. Some lines sold out on the day and a sign that the festive season is fast approaching.

    The candles were well received, so much so that we had to put in a new order. We had the last weekend off so I went to Wales for a short break and on the way there called in at the social project that manufacures them to pick up the order. Had an interesting few minutes looking round the manufacturing plant in a small market town seeing how the candles are hand made and meeting some of the employees who have learning and physical disabilities. Great to feel that whilst running our own business we are also supporting this worthwhile project.

    Whilst down in Pembrokeshire I also did some driftwood collecting and after the recent storms there was lots of interesting pieces in the cove below our cottage. Whilst gathering the wood I also found a small beacon cast into the sea as part of an arts project by the Cillrialaig Arts Centre in Kerry, Ireland. Apparently a number were cast into the sea in September in the hope that they would end up on the east coast of America. Apparently this is the second one found in Pembrokeshire in the last few days! Collected lots of driftwood and have started drying it so we can produce some new mirrors and dangles, and possibly other decorations, over the winter to put on our stall and website in 2013.

    This weekend sees Halloween events. On Friday evening we are at the Witches Cauldron event at Badsey Village Hall, Worcs between 7pm and 10pm. Despite the late finish we will be up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to return to Severnside, Bewdley for the pumpkin day event under the gazebo by the River Severn. Forecast is for a cold but sunny day so it will be on with the thermals and hopefully lots of sales to keep us busy.

    We are also booking up our final events of the year so keep an eye on our calendar page to check out where we will be. 

  2. Hartlebury turned out to be better than expected with quite a few sales in the last 30 mins. Can't understand why some stall holders pack up early even if things have been slow while there are potential customers about it pays to stay open. We have often made sales while we have been packing up after closing time so can't understand why some people go early. I think we've only been the first to pack up once and that was when we were in the gazebo at Evesham when a thunderstorm effectively finished the event and would have damaged our stock.

    Anyway off me soapbox and onward this weekend to Warwick. We are going to Hill Close allotments' apple day. Never been there before but apparently its a set of allotment gardens established in Victorian times on the then outskirts of Warwick and was used by shopkeepers etc who lived over the shop but wanted some outside space. Apparently they've been restablished as working allotments and often sell older varities of plants etc. There is lots going on apparently and we are looking forward to the cider tasting .... and making lots of sales of course!

    A new service we have introduced is the virtual party plan or eparty. We have been invited to a number of events this year run by charities which have conflicted with other events already in the diary. In this case we have offered the organiser the opportunity to have a group sale from the website (excluding the calligraphy cards) and have 20% of the proceeds to the charity. This replaces the table fee we would have paid if we had gone to their event. Anyone who is interested in having an eparty should email us for further details as we have a factsheet we can email out. We would point out that as the order will be handmade on receipt we have a cut off of 30th November for anything required before Christmas so anyone interested should contact us sooner rather than later.

  3. Well where did September go to. Peopleton village fete turned out to be a really lovely event in good weather with lots of customers. It was a really traditional event Kids races, tug of war between the village pubs, wi marquee, gardening and art competition, and lots of vintage cars. There even WW1 bi and tri planes over flying at various times. We followed that up a couple of weeks later by going to the Soroptomists Fun in the Park in Solihull. Again the weather was good and the event was a pleasure to be at. We started displaying the christmas tree decs and had some success with them. The only off putting was some of the local bands playing the stage perhaps should have a bit of voice training - there again others were very good and I'm not one to speak as I can't sing a single note let alone get up in front of other people and do it.

    Last weekend we spent two days at the Belbroughton Scarecrow Festival. Two contrasting days weatherwise but that didnt affect us as we were in the school buildings. Fabulous turnout of people and the village really does go to town. It was our first event where we had the scented candles available and they really went well. The different shapes all had their supporters and it won't be too long before we have to re-order! With the onset of autumn thoughts of christmas are in many peoples minds and we did well on the dried fruit decorations. The candle and fruit table decorations sold out and we had our first order for the garland design that we are selling by the half metre length (commission for 1.3 mteres!). So a really good two days there and Frankie went to Stirchley Market last night where the dried fruit decorations again proved to be a great hit. Not only that other event organisers were so impressed that we had invitations to go to other events - not sure if we'll be able to accommodate everybody but we'll see.

    This weekend we are off to the 'countryside' event at Hartlebury Castle on Sunday. Although we are inside again we are hoping for good weather as the event needs that to draw in the crowds. The following Sunday we are outside again at Warwick at the Victorian allotments by the Racecourse so we are hoping for a fine autumnal day. See our events diary for more details. 

  4. Well what a difference a week makes.

    We went to the Autumn Fair on Monday at the NEC and loved some scented candles handmade by an organisation that employs people with learning difficulties and mental health challenges. We should be taking our first delivery in a couple of weeks or so and we'll be uploading them to the website soon after.

    Tuesday afternoon and evening we went to Stirchley market with the gazebo. Lovely sunny afternoon and evening which drew the customers out. Very positive event and looking forward to following up the positive comments about the dried fruit products for Christmas.

    Hopefully the sun will continue to shine for thw Peopleton Village Fete on Saturday (see events page). Looks like it'll be a shorts and T shirt event so we'll be taking the gazebo and full display. I understand there is going to be vintage cars etc there (look out the events website for more details so we are looking forward to a lovely day.

  5. Well we did the scarecrow day which covered costs and not much else but just got back from The Blue Cross Fete at Catshill which was a completely different kettle of fish. In the 'craft' marquee with loads of space. If I'd known could have taken an extra table but had to make do with the boxes. Fortunately had covers with me so the display looked fine. Cracking day with '000's people there. Only open for four hours but certainly a hectic day.

    We're off to the NEC on Monday to the Autumn show to pick up some ideas not only of possible products but marketing and display aids.

    Tuesday we make a return to the Stirchley community market. Weather forecast is fine so we are looking forward to a good event.

  6. After the event at Hallow we ordered a new gazebo from Gala and it arroved within 48 hours so we had it in time for the vintage gathering on the 4/5 August by the river under the trees at Evesham. Had an initial bit of difficulty putting up the new frame but got there in the end. Bit of a slow day on Saturday as nothing much was happening in the ring and weather was a bit inclement. Left the gazebo up overnight and de-camped home to watch the Golden Night at the olympics. Well done Jess (aka Laura Tyrrell!!!), Mo and Greg. Sunday dawned clear and we had a good sunday morning. People attending, vehicles and events in the ring and a steady flow of sales. Then about 1pm a flash across the tent - was that a reflection of the sun off the windscreen? The crash of thunder said it wasnt. Never seen a field clear so quickly and within a few minutes there was a torrential rain storm for about 45 mins. The good news was that although the atmosphere got damp the gazebo didn't let in a drop of rain! Unfortunately the storm killed the event so as not to damage any stock we packed and departed early. The gazebo spent the night hanging from the rafters in the garage.

    Fortunately it dried very quickly as we were back out on Tuesday 7th at the Stirchle Community market. From 4pm to 8pm on the car park of Stirchley United wm club. An interesting event and a positive start so we'll be hoping to go back there again next month. Watch the diary for details.

    August 12th saw us at Far Forest Countryside Show just outside Bewdley. Thousands of people there but sales a bit slow to begin with, not helped by a couple of storms - the first one at 10am just as the gates opened. Weather improved after lunch and sales improved but the real bonus was afterwards as during the event we had an enquiry about a trade order. We heard nothing further but yesterday after an exchange of emails we had an order confirmed for 22 chilli decorations to be delivered next week. Sometimes standing in a field in pouring rain can be worth it!

    We've got a family celebration this weeked - ANOTHER birthday - so we are staying in but the following weekend we are at Redditch Scarecrow day at the Bordesley Abbey centre. At least we'll be inside here and not under the gazebo.

    We are hoping to get the new stock ordered soon so once thats here we can get the Christmas web pages published as we've had a number of enquiries already.

  7. As it says in the title but this is a charity raising funds to pay for hair pieces for children affected by cancer treat. Hall village hall, just outside Worcester on Sunday 11 till 3. Hoping for a good turnout  and that the good weather continues.

    Well the good weather continued in between the showers! A heavy shower just as the event opened at 11am drove a lot of the uncovered stallholders inside but left a few of us outside. Once the rain stopped and the sun shone it was quite warm and despite another shower about 1pm we ended up having a good day and Girls Wana Have Fun raised enough to buy a couple more wigs for affected children (we are told they cost £200 each).

    Onward and upward and despite a poor forecast we revisit the Vintage scene this weekend with the 2 day event at Corporation Meadow, Evesham - by the river again (hopefully not in it!). Its the Evesham Riverside Steam & Vintage Gathering and our previous experience of this type of event has been most enjoyable. Hoping to have the new orange and white gazebo as our existing one is suffering from some structural failures after the trials of this summer.

    Away from the events we've already had a couple of enquiries about Christmas stock so we aim to have our new Christmas section in the shop online in the next 2-3 weeks.

  8. Last Sundays event turned out to be one of the best days so far this year - not bad for a last minute replacement event.

    We turned up gazebo-less as we had a place allocated in the craft tent. However the Council staff agreed we could have our gazebo on the car park instead so I had to charge home to get it. As a result we were a bit late opening and had our first customer before we had everything organised - thank you Mrs P!. Turned out to be a very good decision as apart from a couple of very brief showers in the afternoon we had a lovely sunny day with little wind. The event was organised very well and there must have been at least a couple of thousand people there with all the attractions. Had a very good day with people buying even as we were taking the gazebo down. Got home just in time to see RF taking the last 2 sets of Andy Murray.

    Had a phone call Monday to say that Saturdays event the Astwood Bank Carnival had been cancelled as the field was waterlogged. So more last minute emailing and ringing round and have managed to get ourselves booked into 2 events at the same time. So come Saturday morning James and I will be heading, with Gazebo, to Cutnall Green First School which is holding its Summer Fete from 11.30 to 2.30. Frankie on the other hand will be off to Shirley Methodist Church where we are trying one of Lydgate Management's events for the first time. Its inside and runs from 10am to 4pm so its a bit of a tester with that organisation.

    We have also put feelers out for events over the next 2 weekends as it seems to be going a bit quieter as the holiday period approaches. That will give us a chance to start increasing production ready for Christmas - what a frightening thought! 

  9. Well last weekend we should have been at Lapworth CC but got rained off and after a few frantic calls we were able to go to the Transport Day at Hartlebury Castle. Thanks to the staff at County Museum in being so co-operative.  Now we've just had  next saturdays Hanbury Countryside Show cancelled but fortunately we are able to go to the Green Fair and Fun Day at the Countryside Centre in Arrow Valley Park, Redditch. Again thanks to the helpful staff at Redditch Borough Council. This is on Sunday 8th from 11-4 (I think?) and hopefully this will survive the current 'summer' weather as we are in our own gazebo and not in the craft marquee. I'm told this is the 10th year its been going and last year about 4,000 people turned up. At least its not far from home. 

    Also now got a table at Christopher Whitehead' Worcester school fete. Many thanks to Sally from CWLC and we had a good day at the school's christmas event hoping for more of the same. Indoors so definitely going ahead.

  10. Well we had a great two weeks away. A hot and sunny week in Italy followed by a not so hot but nice and sunny (at times) week in Wales. We were able to gather a lot more driftwood so watch out for a new line shortly.

    We were due to go to Lapworth CC today for a charity event in aid of Myton Hospice. Unfortunately the midweek 'end of the world' storm and subsequent showers put paid to that but we were able to get a last minute booking of a table at the County Museum at Hartlebury Castle. We went over there today not quite sure what to expect at its Transport Day but happy to say we were warm and dry - and made a profit. As opposed to Malvern didnt sell a duck or penguin but made up for that by selling lots of lavender bags and some chillie rings and hearts. Frankie's back on production this week to make up stock in time for next Saturdays Hanbury Countryside Show. Forecast is for another wet week but fingers crossed that the event will go ahead despite this.

    Will be putting our first driftwood products on the site shortly. I have decorated 2 mirrors with driftwood collected from some beaches near our place in Pembrokeshire. I'm also making a couple of dangles so hope to get them all on the website in the next few days.