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  1. If you've been following the blog you'll know we couldn't tell you who the High Street retailer was until Nov 4th. Now we can reveal its M&S!

    Our decorations aren't on sale but they are forming part of the decorations in the foodhalls of 16 stores. Trouble is we don't know where they are so we are running a competition through our Facebook page inviting people who see them to post a photo and there will be a draw with the winner getting a packet of 4 hand made dried fruit tree decorations for christmas. So why not check out our Facebook page (theres a link on our homepage)

    In the meantime we've been busy making stock as we have a load of events coming up and this weekend we are in Stratford upon Avon on Saturday and Rednal by the Lickey Hills on Sunday. Details on our events page.

    See you there.

    David

     

  2. Well not sure where the last two months went to! We've done a variety of events but perhaps the highlights have been the commercial orders and the pop-up shop.

    We had an unsolicited order for 640 christmas decorations for a major high street retailer who is going to display them as part of its christmas decorations in its food halls in 16 stores. All of the same style we got the order out on time and delivered it to the distribution centre in Thetford a day early. We can't tell you who it was until November 4th, so watch this space or our Facebook page.

    We've also had trade orders for varieties of dried fruit christmas decorations from a local garden centre at Chaddesley Corbett near Kidderminster and a major farm shop on the A435 at Wythall. The products are on display and there have already been some sales so we are excited about this and hopeful of some further orders.

    On top of all this we have opened up a pop-up craft and gift shop in Rubery B45. With 6 other traders under the banner of The Perfect Gift we are open 10-4 Mondays to Saturday. First 4 weeks have gone very well with trade expected to get busier as we get towards Christmas. We've even got more people who want to come in with us if any of the current traders pull out! If you are in the area why not pop in and say hello.

    On top of all this we have a series of events coming up for the busiest time of the year so we are busy making new stock - and we've just launched the Christmas shop on the website. Fortunately our new stock of dries fruit arrived a few days ago so the house is smelling lovely!

    We are next out at Bewdley Pumpkin day on Saturday. This was a fabulous event last year and we'll be by the river on Severnside North in our orange topped gazebo, hoping the rain keeps away.

    Till the next time

    David

     

  3. Just got back from Upton Festival ....and what a busy few days. Some of the organisation left a bit to be desired but most of the acts were very good.

    We got there on Friday morning and having been told we could get on site at 7am were kept waiting until 7.30 when scurity opened the site. Found ourselves a pitch in the main shopping enclave and had everything erected by 10'sh only to find the public were not allowed into the arena until 5pm. Some traders had been there for 24 hours already so were already a bit dischuffed! Weather was very warm but a bit drizzly but the music played from 6pm till midnight and was very good. Friday night saw David sleeping in the gazebo while Frankie popped home.

    Saturday dawned cooler and a bit breezy, one gazebo near the stage biting the dust, but we were OK with our storm guys in place - more as a precaution than a necessity. The arena opened at 11am this day with the music starting at 12 noon. Again an good line up of 'historic vintage' acts so we know most of the music and could sing along. Daylight was much better today so trading was steady rather than spectacular and ended about 10pm as although we could have stayed open till midnight our gazebo lights weren'y over effective and anyway once the main acts were on stage most punters were watching. Frankie stayed in the gazebo on Saturday night and David went home to the comfort of a proper bed and shower.

    Sunday was a chilly morning but turned into a lovely afternoon and evening. David called in and bought some better quality gazebo lights so got there after the arena opened again at 11am. More well known bands from midday but as the weather got better so more people came into the trading area. Also being the last day we had customers who had been to see us previously coming back and making purchases. The new lights were very effective and made a big difference and in fact we had a few last minute sales when in previous night we would have been closed. Watchedthe fireworks at 9.30 and then closed at 10pm so we could go over and watch Slade (Dave Hill but no Nobby Holder). After a lound and bouncy 30-40 minutes  went back to the gazebo and packed everything so to make it easier to break camp on Monday, David stayed in the gazebo overnight. Can't say slept as the adjoining (larde) stall and the funfair decided to break camp then and leave camp overnight. This was most inconsidrate of them as they didn't finish till after 1.30am and until then were making a loy of noise with HGV engines racing to power up the generators. Finally got to sleep after 2! Got up at 6, broke camp, left about 8 and home before 9.

    Although there were some hiccups with the organisation on the whole we had a great time and some f the acts were outstanding. Particularly impressed with Chesney Hawkes (hence the blog title), The Troggs, Bad Manners and Slade but there wasn't a bad performance that we saw.

    Next weekend we are at Bromsgrove Blue Cross fete on Wildmoor Lane, Catshill and its open from 12-4. This was a very good event last year although as there isn't a craft tent we are in our yellow topped gazebo again. See you there................. 

  4. It's only a few days to go now - The Upton International Music Festival is at the weekend and we have our pitch booked in the main Arena. Slade, Bad Manners, Brotherhood of Man, The Wurzels, The Troggs ......I'm digging my flares out as we speak! Oh yes... and trading goes on until midnight every day/evening. It will be an interesting experience reliving some of our youth and we are sleeping in the gazebo so its just as well that Monday is a Bank Holiday to allow time for recovery!

    Not sure what to take so the answer will be everything. We'll be taking two cars so one of us can come home each night to have a break while the other one will fight it out at the campsite facilities in the morning!

    Look out for the Christmas range as we'll be launching it on the website early next month. We took some to Arbury Hall over the weekend and sold quite a few ...and had a large trade enquiry today so thats exciting as well.

    Don't forget to check out our Facebook page as there are links to the Upton Festival and other attractive sites as well.

    See you soon

  5. A plea from the heart as events are coming thick and fast and we need to make lots more stock!

    Last weekend was everything we hoped for. Redditch Kingfisher was steady all day and it's surprising how the sales accummulate over a 8.5 hour period.  Sunday at Far Forest was a real bonanza as there was a very good turnout to enjoy the pleasing weather. By 1pm apparently 7,000 people had gone through the gate. We were in the Craft marquee and had the benfit of a neighbour not turning up so the organisers invited us to spread our display and take it over. Had a really good response across the whole product range.

    This weekend we are going 'upmarket' a bit and attending the Warwickshire & West Midlands Game Fair and Country show at Arbury Hall near Nuneaton. Its being held over two days on Saturday and Sunday but we have to be there on Friday afternoon to put up our stand. Could be interesting as potentially it's the largest event we've been to (until the Upton pop Festival next week!).

    We'll be taking samples of our Christmas decorations, perhaps a bit early but we might get some trade orders. Anyway we'll keep our posts on Fcebook going so if you want to hear our very latest news why not log on to our page - panachegifts and like us.

    Till the next time

    David 

  6. Just looking at the diary for the coming few weeks and as we are now approaching the Christas season we are booked up for most weekends and for some midweek events too.

    Must admit before we started this business always wondered why shops started displaying their wares so early. Now we see it from the other side it's amazing how so many prople spread their Christmas present buying over a period of months. I suppose it makes sense really to spread the cost over a period of time, especially in these austere times, but it's surprised us how many people do it. We will be launching our full Christmas shop range next month on the website although most items are already on our stall at events.

    We've got a double header this weeked. On Saturday Frankie will be in the Redditch Kingfisher shopping centre (9-5.30) at its craft and vintage fair. First time at this event but it's a nice indoor venue. Sunday is a bit different as we'll be in the middle of a field, albeit it in the craft marquee, at the Far Forest Countryside Show just outside Bewdley. Did this show last year and it went well so hopefully the fair weather forecast will hold and we will see the crowds again this year.

    We've also started gathering and drying fir cones for the Christmas pot pourri and we need to get back to Pembrokeshire as the driftwood is selling quicker than we can make it - best check out our Facebook page for this where we've put pictures of our new single T light holders. Why not Like us on Facebook and this will keep you up to date?

    Bye for now

    David

     

     

  7. Two events in three days last week. We had a stall at the Walsall evening market. Got off to a slow start but picked up as the evening wore on and ended up still selling as we were trying to pack the stall up! A bit noisy as were only 50 yards or so from the live music stage but otherwise a good event and we will probably go back in October - watch out for it on our events diary page.

    Saturday saw us going to Warwick to join in with the Folk Festival atmosphere. We were in the grounds of St Johns Museum - popped inside for a few minutes. Really interesting but you know you are getting old when your childhood toys and teenage clothes appear as museum items! A steady stream of vistor to the stands with the cards being the stand out sellers on the day. Different again to Walsall where the driftwood and candles took centre stage although one customer bought three chillie and pumpkino decorations. The consistent thing about our sales are that they are inconsistent>

    Off Warwick way again this weekend when we are at Hampton Magna village fete. Only a short event (1-4pm) but hoping for a good turnout of villagers ...and some decent weather.

    Till the next time

    David

  8. Thats to us! Life has been a bit crazy for the last few months and the blog has taken a backward step. We've just  returned from a fab holiday in New York and Costa Rica full of new energy so watch this space!

    What have we done since our last post? We've been out at events most weekends and these have been very successful despite all the economic doom and gloom. Dried fruit has continued to sell well proving that it's not 'just for Christmas'. We are in the throes of launching our Christmas range but more about that in a few days. The driftwood has proved really popular and in fact we have struggled to get it listed on the website as it sells virtually as soon as its made. If you can't see what you want on the website feel free to email us and we will respond quickly. Alternatively check out our Facebook page (follow link on home page) as we sometimes post images there - better still like our facebook page and we can keep you updated.

    We've also launched a summer sale for the Pot Pourri recently so if you want some lovely colourful fragrant pot pourri check out the info on our shop pages.

    We have a large number of bigger and gazebo events booked up over the next few weeks. Why not check out our events page - we'd love to see you at an event.  

    We'll be posting blogs more regularly now so see you next time!

    David

  9. At last we've found a top quality Potpourri to add to our Home Fragrance range. Having investigated a number of different suppliers (and tested some very dubious aromas!), we decided to go for quality and have now launched a range of 6 gorgeous fragrances.  

    Also in stock are the corresponding refresher oils and just a few drops added to the potpourri every 4 weeks or so will keep the fragrance fresh.  They work well in oil burners and diffusers too.  

  10. Just got back from a few days in Pembrokeshire where we spent some time on a few beaches gathering lots of driftwood. Since getting back we have already been busy grading and cleaning it to make sure it really looks good. We have already started making some small mirrors, initially approx 8" square but I've also got some small hexagonal mirrors in production. I'm using an mdf base from which I've cut out a recess into which the mirror is set and then its finished with a driftwood surroundThese mirrors went well last year, as did the garlands, and although there are only one or two currently on the website more will appear soon. We are keeping them at a reasonable cost - £15 for the square ones and £12.50 for the hexagonal ones and its also free postage for orders over £25 on the website. I'm also busy making T light holders, garlands and other decorations. Although the intention is that our production will eventually be 100% handmade by ourselves, we are also selling some bought in hand made items, such as driftood Tea light holders, driftwood hearts, and driftwood bird feeders amongst others. Best to check out the website for availability because once they've gone they are gone!

    hex mirror

    Latest hand made driftwood mirror with approx 240mm square base with the mirror surface approx 150mm between parallel sides .

    It was SOLD at the Barnt Green guides spring fair the first time we offered it on the stand!!