Crafty Blogs

Thursday, 5 December 2013

My first crafting Christmas

It's an exciting time of year, and it's a time when I usually hand make gifts for family and friends, but this festive season is even more exciting for me than usual. This is my first Christmas as a professional crafter, and I've been planning for it since August when I first drew up plans for some special Christmas items for the Lucky Ladybird shop.

Plans for a mince pie purse
Plans for a Christmas pudding clutch

Having drawn up the plans I didn't actually start to make either of these until after Hallowe'en when I was first able to dedicate some time to Christmas. I made some prototypes, did my best to improve on the designs and then was able to put together the finished items in early November. It gave my husband a shock to see I'd unpacked the Christmas decorations a month early so I could take some suitably festive photos!

Mince pie and Christmas pudding purses
The Lucky Ladybird collection in a festive setting. The decorations when back into the box after this photo was taken!
The mince pie and Christmas pudding purses have a red polka-dot lining (unlike most Lucky Ladybird items which have a pink polka-dot lining) and are embellished with sprigs of holly instead of the traditional felt strawberry, but they're still soft and fleecy like my other creations with plenty of felt detailing.

Once the Christmas specials were designed and made I decided that the website could do with a Christmas makeover. I added a special 'Christmas Shop' section where my products are arranged into useful categories for anyone looking to buy gifts. The exclusive Christmas items and gift sets are easier to find and visitors can also browse items by price to make it easier to shop for stocking fillers.

After the website re-launch I managed to find some time to write a quick tutorial for a website called PVB Daily. They had put out a request for 12 Christmas-themed tutorials for a 12 days of Christmas crafting feature, and I was thrilled when they decided to include my guide to making your own Christmas pudding tree ornament for day 6. As you can see from the picture the decoration is a simplified version of my Christmas pudding coin purse.

Tutorial available at PVB Daily

The rest of November I spent stocking up on my most popular items ready to attend my first ever Christmas craft fair in Donnington near Telford. The venue (Cordingley Hall) was new to craft events, but when I found out that there would be hot food and a special Santa's Grotto for the kids I could tell it would be a popular local event.

The morning of the fair I packed plenty of tinsel and even wore my Christmas jumper to get into the spirit. The Christmas music playing in the hall helped set the scene and when the doors were opened the venue was quickly packed with visitors. 

Me set up and ready to go at the Christmas craft fair
Santa's visit was a big local attraction as predicted and there was also a surprise visit from a dancing reindeer! There was mulled wine at the bar which helped to warm us up, but by the afternoon the hall was quiet. Fortunately it so happened that many of the stall holders were on the look out for handmade gifts, me included! In the last hour I bought some handmade chocolates and some pretty hand-carved wooden gifts from my fellow crafters. They returned the favour by buying some special Christmas items from me, which made for a nice end to the day. 

One thing I've learned in my first year of professional crafting is that many good craft fairs are booked far in advance, sometimes over a year before they take place. There are lots of local events that I would love to have taken part in but which were organised well before I was even thinking about self-employment! I've already signed up to take part in a Christmas craft fair in December 2014 in Shrewsbury and I plan to be at many more if I can. Christmas is a great time of year for family events like craft and vintage fairs, especially in Shropshire. 

Happily my stockists have also arranged Christmas events this year, and my items have also been available through them. Urban Folk took Lucky Ladybird items to a special Pop-Up Shop at Eat Up in Shrewsbury as well as to a Christmas Fayre at Concord College at the end of November. The Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre are getting in on the action too with a ‘Shopping and Santa Special’ this Sunday 8 December. There will be crafts and stories and a visit with Santa for the kids and mulled wine for the adults as a well as a relaxed atmosphere perfect for doing some Christmas shopping.

Until next time good luck with all your Christmas preparations. Lots of love


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