Sunday 20 December 2009

Christmas Surprises

I just deleted a post because I showed a picture of Christmas orders I've made and it suddenly occured to me that the people who are about to receive these gifts might, just might see this blog and have their surprise ruined. So I will wait until after Christmas to show you what I am making right now!

Saturday 19 December 2009

White Christmas

I got a white Christmas tree this year, appropriately just before the snow started. And although it's artificial it looks oddly right against the snowy outdoors.
I started off just putting shades of white decorations on the tree but it looked a bit dull so I've added red and now it looks ok. Just one thing missing. I can't put twinkly lights on the tree because the wires are green and would spoil the look.
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Friday 18 December 2009

La Maison du Chocolat

During Christmas shopping in London my daughter (above) and I stopped off at this wonderful cafe.
Tea and coffee came with these 'free' Christmas chocolates.
Flavoured with Christmas spices they were delicious. It's the little things that make Christmas special.
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Thursday 17 December 2009


I have been wanting to visit Laduree in the Burlington Arcade for some time. It's a gold shop famed for its macaroons. Very lovely, very expensive but if you want to taste the merchandise with a cup of tea you must sit outside the shop. Some hardy souls were doing that but not us, too cold. We sat in the warm in La Maison du Chocolat round the corner. Perfect.
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Wednesday 16 December 2009

Magical windows at Fortnum and Mason's

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Fortnum's windows

Regular readers of this blog will remember how visiting Fortnum and Mason's for the first time last Christmas blew my mind! And their windows are equally amazing this year!
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Tuesday 15 December 2009

Keep the little flame burning

Life is full of ups and downs. One day the future looks rosy and the next day the future looks bleak. Inspiration and joy are never far from my shoulder. Then I hear the news and wonder what will become of this once 'Great ' Britain. Mired in debt with a government that throws borrowed money at any fad project that catches its imagination. Are they hoping we will be distracted from the obvious mess they have made of our economy? It's tempting to try to ignore the wider situation and focus on our own little world of friends and family and their happiness. But we are all affected on a daily basis. Maybe we should be thinking of how we personally can involve ourselves in making this country into one we are again proud to call home.
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Monday 14 December 2009

Tree decorations

Sorting through the tree decorations to see what I can give my daughter for her tree I picked out these old favourites. I love the reindeer. Does anyone know the name of the maker?
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Sunday 13 December 2009

Maker status

This display of beautiful woods by my friend Chris Burgess got me thinking about presentation. The way our work is displayed is so important. Sales depend on it. The customer must feel comfortable that he or she is buying into something well made and reliable. Some galleries give out a sheet of information about the maker with each purchase. Sometimes there is information about the maker displayed next to their work.
A carefully thought out display, like the one above gives the customer confidence that they are buying something sound. While a display that looks as if it has been thrown together with no prices and no information gives the customer no confidence and however desirable the product they probably will not risk buying from that person. I think there is a right balance. For example the maker can try too hard and I don't like the enormous dangling tags from work often much bigger than the work itself which look as if the maker is desperately trying to draw attention to his or herself. But better that than torn scraps of paper with scant information on them.
Some work is much easier to display than others. I find my work which is so varied from buttons to dolls to jewellery and mostly small pieces very difficult to display well. Sometimes I am pleased with how it looks but more often I am frustrated that it could look so much better.
Do you find presentation easy or difficult? Are there any rules to help us? I want to know what you think.
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Friday 11 December 2009

Feeling Christmassy

Suddenly there aren't enough hours in the day. Christmas is just two weeks away and orders need to be completed. Then there's shopping for Christmas presents which has hardly started in my case. And I want to get a nice tree - when? I'm working in Tricot Too today and hurrying now to finish some more strawberry brooches to take in with me.
Yesterday I visited the smart new gallery Red Dog which looks very festive with gorgeous blown glass baubles by Will Shakespeare decorating its window. Wish I'd taken my camera with me. I bought some lovely laser cut paper decorations. I am always pleased to see my work in such good company!
How are your Christmas preparations going? Ordered the turkey? Decorated the tree? Bought the presents? How is it going with you?
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Thursday 10 December 2009

Lots of Goodies!

Tricot Too at Petersfield is offering my dolls, fairies, various Christmas decorations, felt cuffs, lariat necklaces and flower and strawberry brooches. It's a special shop (more pictures below) and well worth a visit. Opening hours are 9.45am to 5pm daily except Sundays.
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Tricot gorgeousness

The unusual rust tree in the window attracts lots of attention.
The ultimate in cosiness! These velvet and cotton patchwork eiderdowns and cushions.
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Monday 7 December 2009

A Miniature Toy Shop

This belongs to my mother. She sets it up at Christmas. Pictured above is outside the toyshop.
Inside the toyshop.

And an aerial view when my giant hand has taken the roof off!
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Smart Display

Saw this smart display of Melt Christmas chocolates in Selfridges. Packaging is so important isn't it? If a gift is beautifully wrapped you don't care much about what is inside it, you just enjoy the look of the gift!
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Sunday 6 December 2009

Festive Spirit

I vow I will never do an outdoor event again. Never. Remind me. Not ever.
First I parked to unload on what looked like waste land but turned out to belong to a local business who said I would be clamped if I didn't move immediately. Then an attractive gift shop said don't set up outside our shop. It was freezing damp cold with rain threatening.
Some of the people that hurried past muttered about my prices. So why bother? By midday I'd had enough. Let braver souls than I set up and try to sell outdoors. I will not be joining you again!!
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Wednesday 2 December 2009

Carluccio heaven

Yesterday we tramped down Regent Street, Oxford Street and Bond Street visiting Liberty, Anthropologie, Uniclo, Selfridges, Cos and Fenwick. We became very hungry and it was heaven to find a Carluccio cafe in Fenwicks and to sit comfortably and enjoy an Antipasto Verdure with extra foccacia and dipping olive oil. Yum. Imagine preserving and bottling aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and artichokes so you could eat like this at home! We then looked at the beautifully packaged Christmas foods in the delicatessen - chocolate pannetonne anyone? And the dried mushrooms, sacks of carnaroli rice and shaped pastas. If I was rich I would spend a lot of time here. The staff could keep me fortified as I wrote my novel! No time to visit Fortnum and Masons unfortunately where last year I was bowled over by the beautiful Snow Queen themed windows. That will have to wait for the next London shopping expedition.
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Winter at Anthropologie

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Christmas Shopping

Giant decorations in Next, above and Oxford Street umbrella lights below.

And Carnaby Street, above.
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