There’s a Mouse in this House

Our second day in York started off a bit damp, so as soon as breakfast had been munched we set off on a little adventure.

In our room was a book about York; where to go and what to do and while perusing the pages the night before we’d seen an advert for the Mouseman. A quick look on google maps told us it was a 30 minute journey to the visitor center where you’re introduced to the life and work of Robert Thompson, the craftsman who became famous for carving a mouse onto all his makes.

After a bit of a random journey (think relying solely on a sat nav that appears to be taking you deep into Yorkshire farmland and away from civilization!) and we had arrived at our destination. The place we had found was Kilburn which is where Robert Thompson’s original workshop is situated.

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So where did the mouse come from? Thompson was carving a screen for a local church and one of his craftsmen commented he was ‘as poor as a church mouse’. This little creature was then carved into the screen and onto every one of Thompson’s creations ever since.

If you’re in Yorkshire and want to see some rare traditional skilled craft, go and visit the Mouseman in Kilburn.

 

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Getting Ready for Christmas on Betty’s Farm

It’s been busy,busy,busy at the Bumbleblue desk!

The paint has been flowing and the Christmas songs have been playing – I’m in full on festive mode now. It’s difficult not to be when you’re surrounded by holly, Christmas trees and snowflakes. All my new decorations were carefully packed away ready for my next crafting event. This time I was at Betty’s Farm in Willington. It’s a chicken farm will a shop on site selling their own eggs as well as other goodies. We were in a marquee in the main yard which was next to the chicken fields. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many chickens! As we arrived, they all flocked to the gates to say hello.

…I think instead they were expecting us to feed them. No such luck chickens, the first job was setting up my table.

Then the second job was to get a cup of tea. I’ve not done a fair outside in the winter before and it was freezing! As usual, there were lots of hand made goodies and treats including unusual but yummy sounding varieties of home made soup.

All day were kept amused by the clucks and grubbings of the chickens outside – one of which decided to pop in and have a look around. Amongst all the chickens I saw my first robin since last Winter. It must be getting close to Christmas! Talking of robins, my newest little additions were very popular;

The bunting I made to decorate my table was the first thing to sell and luckily the lady who bought it also had a stall and I was able to keep it strung on mine until the end of the day.

Some more new Christmas decorations were also being admired. I still have my eye on the ‘Ho ho ho’ blocks but I can’t keep everything I make, as much as I could find a home for it all!

So even though the weather was a touch on the nippy side, we were kept warm with hot cups of mulled wine non-alcoholic of course.

If you haven’t been to Betty’s Farm yet, it’s definately worth a visit. As well as eggs, the farm shop is brimming with locally sourced cakes, bread, pickles and pies. In another shed next to the shop is stocked with gorgeous homeware and garden accessories.

I was happy to find a few Christmas presents in here and I know I’ll be back for some more bits for our house!

 

Boo-tiful Fair

It’s been years since I carved a pumpkin for Halloween, but in the spirit of the season I took one along for my table at Bakewell Craft and Gift Fair.

He ended up being quite a jolly looking pumpkin – could have been the bottle of red we shared as I carved him. Buddy came to investigate when I’d finished and wasn’t at all impressed with the new visitor. He kept rolling him over so he couldn’t see his face (either this, or another after effect of the wine). Obviously not a Halloween fan, which is slightly ironic for a black cat.

He looked quite happy sat on the chair at the end of my table. Usually I only do one day at the fair, but I decided to try a whole weekend. Fellow stall holders around me were lovely, and there was even a hedgehog called Thomas on the other side to me. Very cute, although I lost a bit of my glee when asked if I would like to feed him some dried grubs….mmmm.

I had such a great day on Saturday and had so many compliments on my table. I can’t say for sure that my head hasn’t swollen a bit. One lady ummed and arrred over which decoration to buy, only to tell me she would buy one now, and some more on the way out. She made a quick trip round the room and purchased the rest of the decs before she left!

My new bird decorations I only finished on the morning of the fair were the best sellers of the weekend – and I think I need to get some more quick!

Sunday was a bit of a quieter day, but that gave me chance to have a nosey round the other stalls. As is always the case, I find alot of tables at craft fairs aren’t filled with things people have sewn, baked or painted themselves, but with things they have bought to sell on. It’s such a shame when there are so many talented people out there – but I won’t get started on that (I’ll never shut up!)

I did find something I wanted to bring home. Dollypeg Delights from Belper makes gorgeous rustic and country home gifts. All the products are lovingly hand sewn using beautiful fabric and many are filled with fabulous scents like lavender and festive spices. This little chap was just too cute to resist and came with a yummy recipe for gingerbread! Ooh, another baking session perhaps?

First Autumn Fair

My first craft fair of the season was at the weekend. I haven’t done one for a while and was a little bit out of the swing of it all.

I’d been shopping for new bits and bobs and these were all ready in their new baskets (bit of an organisation freak so everything has to have its place!) As it’s only the beginning of October, I didn’t want to scare people too much with the thought of Christmas, but I had to take a few of my new festive bits along.

As you can see, Buddy was a big help with the photographs…

I made a big effort with my table display for this fair. It really helps to get you noticed in a room full of tables. I got some gorgeous pine cones all the way from bonny Scotland (Bud hasn’t quite munched through them all) and some new fabric and baskets for my table top. It was definately worth investing a bit on these little details, as I got some really lovely comments from my customers.

Another new product that I was excited about were my new welcome signs. It’s quite difficult sometimes to make and paint what’s in your head at a price that’s reasonable. By spending hours and hours just wandering around on the internet, I’ve found some great little suppliers that keep their prices low so I can pass this on to the customer. Although a bit fiddly to paint, they look fab when finished (even if I do say so myself!)…

All in all, it was a nice but quiet day at the fair. The morning was promising, but then the great British weather had other ideas and when the rain started, the customers left.

Plenty more booked so fingers crossed for the next one!

Been a Busy Bee

It has been a while since my last post, but I haven’t been twiddling my thumbs! I took a few weeks off to enjoy the sunshine and spend some time with Ed (and of course Buddy) It’s back to work now Autumn has arrived, and dare I say it the run up to Christmas wont be far away.

I love this time of year – Ok, so the weather is a bit of a disappointment, especially after the long sunny days of summer. There are still a few special days when the sun manages to shine through a fresh mist and everything shares the same golden glow. The pavements are scattered with crunchy leaves and pine cones and little red berrys cling onto the few remaining green bushes.

After a break, I was fully refreshed and ready to dust of the paint brushes. Lots and lots of painting has been going on at the Bumbleblue desk! My little keyrings are always popular presents, so I’ve added a few new colours.

I finally got round to finishing the lavender bags I started in the Summer – I changed my mind a few times about how to finish these off, but I’m chuffed with how they’ve ended up. One has managed to sneak its way into my wardrobe…. I just don’t know how that happened.

And I finally got round to finishing these little projects off…

It’s taken me long enough, but eventually my shabby chic chair and drawers are ready to go to their first craft fair. I’ve booked quite a few from now until Christmas, so although I’ve got more products, there’s room for a few more bits and pieces!

Oh dear, does that mean more shopping? Shame.

Treats for Tots

A really close friend of ours is about to have a baby boy. Of course I want to make her something special myself, but on many a late night wander on the internet I have stumbled upon some gorgeous and completely unique present ideas for  little tots.

I couldn’t keep such fabulous treats to myself, so here are just a few that I found…

When you start looking, it’s amazing how many talented and cleaver people there are out there!