Scottish Grand Tour

I’m sorry for not posting last week but the Scottish schools were on October Half Term and so we attempted our own version of a grand tour.

One sunny saturday morning we (1x stressed husband, 1x bored 11 year old girl, 2x excited toddlers and me) piled into the car and headed north. The plan was to drive between Glasgow (home) along the scenic roads to Fort William, then along Loch Ness to Inverness, then wind down through Banffshire to Dundee and then home again.

We can only attempt such an outing because we have recently upgraded our car. We now drive an extremely un-eco friendly diesel guzzling american tank – a Chrysler Grand Voyager with 7 seats and more space than our current kitchen.  We love it, the toddlers love it because they have so much room and can’t touch each other no matter how hard they try, and the 11 year old adores it because she has her own sound system, storage areas and is relieved of having to attend to her sisters bad behaviour. We would never have tried to drive 500 miles with the three girls sitting side-by-side in the previous car.

So, out and north along the “bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond…” We stopped for some lunch at the village of Luss at The Coach House, our favourite lunch stop within an hour of home. Even the bored 11 year old cheered up at the idea of warm food and maybe some cake.

By evening we had arrived at Fort William, which is rather beautifully situated with Ben Nevis in the background. The road takes you through Glen Coe, but sadly the mist and rain had caught up with us so we just photographed from the safety and comfort of the car. Our travelodge was just opened and were modern – the dvd player we had brought from home would not plug into the too new technology and so we were forced to talk to each other… This was the view from the hotel, across Loch Linnhe to Camusnagaul. The toddlers fancied taking the ferry but mean Daddy said we had to start driving towards Inverness.

We explored Fort George, a historical site I highly recommend for a visit. It seemed the perfect all family entertainment from grumpy husbands to excited toddlers and then picniced on the beach. In October. 

All in all a very nice road trip with some quite nice weather (remembering that this is Scotland in late Autumn.) We may have to do some more of this driving stuff now our children do not need threatened with eviction from the car for bad behaviour.  I shall tell you about our drive south and home on another blog.

Now back to more regular business. The October Giveaway was won by Anna F – and I’ve already been in contact to send her the lovely Onyx Bracelet. I’ll try and run another giveaway before christmas.

I have been making some jewellery since we returned, mostly earrings for the many many craft fairs I have booked for the next few weeks. I may need another holiday by the time christmas is over… I’ll get the new pieces photographed and post them here during the week.

So, enjoy your October Break – I know that lots of the English schools are on holiday this week, and enjoy the last days of Autumn. Here in Scotland it feels like winter is coming very very fast.  I’m heading to Handmade Harbour to try and get some crafting tips. x

Christmas Preparations.

I’m in the middle of the panic month for Christmas  In my diary I have seven craft fair type events between now and mid December.

I think I need to get organised and work on my presentation  The children and I went hunting in the park for a suitable branch to be “planted” in plaster of paris in a large plant pot, in order that I can hang necklaces from the branches. I’m rather pleased with the end result and think it should really help with the appearance of my stall. I trialed it at a local Macmillan coffee morning and it was commented on kindly.

I need to work on some signs. The space hanging from the front of my stall is currently wasted so I shall fill that with a good clear explanation of who I am and what I do.

The ceramic bowls are black with turquoise inside, so they are great for children’s wooden bracelets or mobile phone charms for the teenagers. I should take a full length mirror so that customers can try on my work and see how it looks.

I’d like to have some way that customers could pay by credit or debit card and have heard of a fancy app that allows a smartphone or tablet to serve this purpose, so I’ve tasked my darling husband with this.

One of the events is a two day extravaganza so I’m planning to take my crafting desk and tools so I can work during the day. I’m hoping it will generate some interest, and of course I can make alterations to suit a client needs.

So I’m going to be very very busy. Please wish me luck. I think the temptation to hide under the covers is going to get stronger as we get nearer to Christmas.

I’m off to Handmade Monday to get some advice from the other crafty people who are no doubt better organised that I am.

Armfuls of bracelets.

In the next few weeks I have several coffee morning or school shopping night events booked. These events are really good fun and I always say yes if I am free to attend. They are excellent sources of cake and personal shopping (I will hope to stock the dreaded Christmas List from such events and in the process help and support other crafters.) I like meeting and networking with other small businesses in my local area and there is also normally a charity to raise funds for, the great good that we are all gathered together.

 

However, these are not events at which I expect to sell my reasonably expensive sterling silver jewellery. This is not always the case – one memorable summer I sold £250 of necklaces and earrings in a few hours, from an event that I hoped to make my pitch back from and have a nice sociable afternoon far removed from my children.

I learned a while back that coffee morning events are more successful in hard cash terms if I arrive with lots of pretty (read cheap) sparkly pieces. So I take a large basket of bracelets priced under £8 which can be more easily explained to grumpy husbands at evening time.

Reasoning that my stock of said bracelets and key charms was depleted I have spent today on this project. It is always rather good fun as I look at my box of odd beads, the leftover groups of 3 or 5 beads from a completed project, or the rejected beads from a selection that were somehow too large or too small for the necklace they were bought for. I’m rather pleased with lots of these. I’m hoping that my coffee morning ladies are too. I’m off to Handmade Harbour. to see what the other crafters have been doing this week. I’ll let you all know how the cakes at the coffee morning rate. I may even have to take some photos and blog all about it! Joanna x