Saturday, 10 December 2011

Busy times - Glasgow, Newquay, Harrogate, Lancaster and Edinburgh!

I've had quite a gap since my last posting as I have been really busy! So this will be a whistle stop tour of all my comings and goings over the past few weeks.

I went to the Country Living Christmas Fair in Glasgow with my friend so we could help her daughter on her stand. I could only help one day this year, but what a busy day! and I believe the other days were just as busy as by the end she had sold all her stock bar a few items - a great achievement. Her company is called VNTG designs and a link can be found on the side bar. I only managed to take one photograph - which was at the end of the day once the fair had closed and we were setting up again for the next day. VNTG makes quirky vintage inspired products including lovely covered notebooks and cards amongst lots of other beautiful products - take a look!

I did have a chance to have a look around the fair myself and bought a few bits and bobs for christmas!

I travelled back from Glasgow and the next day I left very early on the train for Exeter to meet my daughter C. It is such a long way for her to travel home during term time as she would spend most of the weekend on the  train, so I go down and we visit a different different town each time. This time we stayed at Newquay. C is a keen surfer, having taken up the sport last year when she started at Uni, and although she didn't surf this weekend, we did have a fantastic walk along the cliffs on the Saturday. The day was really nice, sunny but a little windy, and we went from Newquay to Watergate to start our walk following the South West Coast Path. We went through Mawgan Porth and onto Pendarves Point, where we had lunch watching the waves crashing in. Then turned back and retraced our steps. 

The following day we went to St Ives. Here we visited Tate St Ives and the current exhibition 'The Indiscipline of Painting' which looks at the history and legacy of abstract painting, and then went to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and sculpture garden. The Trewyn Studio where she lived and worked were given to the nation and placed in the care of the Tate in 1980. There are displays of sculptures in stone, bronze and wood, both in the house and in the gardens. Also there is a time line of archival material which we found really interesting.

The next day we travelled back to Exeter, but stopped on the way to visit one of my favourite haunts down this way, Cowslip Workshops just outside Launceston. It has a fantastic range of fabrics and very helpful staff and a wonderful organic cafe. Workshops and classes are offered throughout the year, and I'm hoping to make one of my visits south coincide with a workshop in the spring. I hadn't realised, silly of me not to have checked, but there was a Christmas Crafts event being held there over the weekend - which we just missed. The staff were telling us all about it, and the fact that Kirstie Allsopp had also been there over the weekend filming for her C4 series Kirstie's Handmade Britain - which I believe is being shown this coming week on December 14th. 

Inspired by all the fabulous quilts and patchwork I bought some material which I will make into a small quilt - probably after Christmas now.

Cowslip fabric shop

C and I had a lovely cup of coffee in the cafe and we went on our way back to Exeter. Whist C was at her lecture I went into the city and found another lovely craft shop 'Inspirations' - packed full of beautiful material, wool, ribbons and all things crafty. I just had to buy some wool to knit some socks!

Back home for a few days, then off to the Stitch and Knit show at Harrogate - just for the day this time. This is a really big textile exhibition, for knitters and stitchers and so much more - paper crafts, felting, embroidery, jewellery making. Interesting, but very different to the Quilt festival that I went to in Birmingham earlier in the year.

My next diary point was much nearer home. I sing with the Casterton Choral Society each year. My good friend A and I go along, rehearsals start in September and culminate in performances over two nights in December (4th and 5th). This year we were performing Handel's Messiah. The performances take place in the local Parish Church, and at the first performance this year we had a little snow/sleet storm which made the whole thing feel very Christmasy. 

Over the past few months I have been building up to taking a stand at a small Craft Fair. I have made lots of bits and bobs for friends over the years who have encouraged me to try and sell some of my items, so I have been busy developing my products which include tote bags, teapot cosy's, fabric covers for note books and diary's, children's crayon bags, christmas bunting, stockings and decorations and a few cushions. The fair was held this week on Wednesday and here are a few photo's of my stand just after I had set it all up. 

There were nine stands, selling a variety of different items from sock monkeys, to jewellery, to spiral bound notebooks with the covers made from old board games, to preserves, soaps and body products, mobiles and children's jewellery. It was an interesting afternoon, and for a first outing I was pleased with the way things went and the way my products were received. 

Now with Christmas almost upon us I have to get organised to buy gifts, think about food and generally tidy the house and make it more festive! So my last outing was to Edinburgh to shop! I had booked a hotel a while ago and have been looking forward to visiting Edinburgh again, it is always lovely at Christmas time with the Winter Festival. The city centre is all lit up, there is a German Market and there is ice skating and other fair rides in the Princess Street Gardens. However, my visit coincided with the worst storms in Scotland for at least 10 years! On the way up my train stopped due to water on the line just outside Tebay, then when we got going again the train was terminated at Carlisle and we had to wait for the next train to come through for Edinburgh and because of the adverse weather conditions a 50 mph limit was imposed on all the trains in Scotland - so my journey took over five hours, instead of two!! Still, we all got to Edinburgh safely but the whole city seemed to be closed down because of the weather - no market or funfair because of the high winds. The shops were still open, and in fact were not that busy - I guess people had stayed at home - so I wandered around and took it all in, made lists of what I would go back and buy the next day (just in case I forgot which shop had what!).  The journey back was fine, I was loaded down with bags, but at least I had done the bulk of my christmas gift shopping and had a lovely break.

Wow, if you are still reading - thanks for sticking with it! hope you have a good weekend.

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