Sunday, 24 November 2013

Christmas build up...

The Christmas momentum has already started at work, with Saturday being really busy, and we've not even hit December yet!
I have to admit Christmas is my least favourite time of year, which I know makes me sound very baa humbug, but its only because of having worked in retail for so long. I miss out on so many of the fun things, i'd love to bake goodies, and decorate the flat festively and take the time to make personal gifts. But unfortunately the season to me means major stress, very long hours and being so tired... And now stores are forced to open on boxing day too, i'm not in a fit state to enjoy the day...
This week I got the opportunity for a trip to London for a merchandising meeting.

This included a trip around the top stores to look at their windows and in-store displays, how they had tackled Christmas and to see if there were any trends.
This was a very enjoyable trip and a great insight. We started in Harrods,

and their luxurious rooms and ostentatious goods, which included a quarter of a million pound table.
Their windows were spectacular, with a locomotive steam engine in the first window, and all following ones were set up like the carriages for travelling away for the season.

Their Xmas store was a little disappointing, as in it didn't have the same luxurious feel. It was bright  and festive though.
After a stop off at the V&A museum store we just had to check out Selfridges especially the infamous window displays.

They had big over-sized objects, surrounded by miniatures, which was very effective.

Inside, their displays were very bright and fresh and clean looking.

Then it was off round Bond Street to the top end stores.

A common thread used by large departments and small individual stores was the use of technology  and using projected images, which were very effective.
Lastly we went to Fortnum & Masons. I don't think i've been there before and I was impressed and enthralled.
It felt very homely all through, and festive in a sophisticated way.

And when I entered the Christmas store it made, even me, feel the magic of the season. I oohed and aaahed my way round. It made you feel quite emotional.

The details, the colour co-ordination, the soft music, the beautiful wrapping.

All areas of the store looked inviting, they even managed to make vegetable displays look beautiful.

All in all, a very enjoyable work day....

Back at home, in between the working hours, I've continued with the mini stockings. Just a couple more I think, before then adding the little hooks and transferring them into a garland.

Also, I have started another project. This, for a change, is just for me...
I had purchased this yarn back at the Knitting and Stitch show, I couldn't resist the beautiful multi-colours.

Now that the days are getting chilly, and I certainly feel the icy winds when standing around at bus stops, I felt a cowl was definitely required.

Nothing fancy was needed, as I didn't want to detract from the colour.
So I just used double crochet and chain stitches.

I'm loving how this is looking already, so I can't wait to finish...

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Birthday outting

This week i've had two trips out.
Firstly, on Monday, my Mum came to visit. We haven't seen each other for awhile, so it was great to catch up. After some lunch, we drove to nearby Staines, where we spent a couple of hours around the shops trying to look for present ideas.
This weekend, we had the novelty of a whole weekend off work. It was my birthday on Saturday so we took the train to Kingston for a day out.

The Christmas lights were up, and we started working our way round the shops.

We found a little traditional little market. Some cute little stalls.

We also found there was a Craft Fair too. With beautiful stalls of handmade goods. And I did manage to pick up a chrissie pressie...

We saw a fantastic duo called 'Idrum', who made drumming fun and exciting to watch.

We stopped for some lunch, before tackling the big Bentalls shopping centre.

It was pretty busy, but it was enjoyable to do something that we don't normally get the chance to.

The hours soon flew by as we were engrossed with all the lovely goodies in the stores. We stayed right till the stores closed, and then spotted a nice little Italian restaurant just as we came out the last store.

A lovely dinner, followed by a scrummy pudding!

After the train journey home, I still had my cards and presents to open.

I was very lucky and was thoroughly spoilt with lots of lovely goodies...

We just finished the night off with a nightcap...

Only a little crafting has happened in my busy week, but I did manage to get 3 little mini stockings completed. I've stuck to traditional red and white, in slight variations of stripe, this i intend to hang as a garland, after i've completed a few more little socks...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Mini Stockings...

So this week, I came across a lovely image of a mini Christmas stocking and it came with a pattern, so of course I had to give it ago!
It was an easy to follow pattern, and such a quick and delightful little piece to make.
I did it in one colour to start with just to test out the pattern.

Then I tried it in traditional red and white.

Before finally using a multi-coloured yarn, of which i then decorated with matching buttons.

I think i will a make a few for colleagues and put a few little goodies in...

I also got my last lot of little stars steamed and strung on to the red sparkly ribbon...

Tomorrow I get to see my Mum, which will be lovely as it's been a while.
And next week as its my birthday, i have the whole weekend off work, so hopefully me and hubby shall have a nice day trip out.
And of course i'll be whipping up a few more little stockings!!!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Star decorations on Etsy

Short and sweet this week, as I havent had much time for crafting. On my day off from work I spent some much needed time on my Etsy store as its been a bit neglected.

This is my problem as work takes up so much of my time and energy, I dont get the chance to make enough stock. I have loads of ideas that race through my mind, but I only get to make such a small percentage of them, so my store is nowhere near as stocked as it should be. Secondly I need to spend time spreading word about my store, on facebook, twitter, instagram etc so I can get noticed.With no signal at work and not enough hours in the day I end up spreading myself too thinly, and the making nor the marketing gets the time it deserves. So it goes full circle, that I feel like giving up when I get no sales and dont get noticed and wonder why I keep going, expending so much energy on it all, and having no time to myself, and then getting a new burst of energy, because at the end of the day crafting is my love and passion. As of yet I dont know how to get off this roundabout, all I know is i'm feeling quite drained. But enough of my woes, i'm sure there are plenty of crafters in the same position, juggling what they want to do in between doing what they have to do.

So when I was rummaging through my basket of yarn and makes, tucked away in the corner I found this little bundle of stars that I made ages ago.

I believe they were Attic 24's teeny tiny stars. I decided to do an extra row around the edge so they weren't quite so little and then I will string them along some red glitter ribbon for another little row of bunting...

Last night, we seemed to be one of the lucky ones who managed to get to see a firework display. We had been hit with blustering winds and lashing rain in the south, but we were lucky although a strong, chilly breeze our spectacular local display went ahead, with plenty of bangs, oohs and aaahs... Meanwhile, just 2 miles down the road in the centre of town the big main display did get cancelled. We did need a hot chocolate to warm up with on the way home though!

So until next week...