Monday, 18 October 2010

Crushed Walnuts? No ... I always walk like this!

I was asked a couple of weeks ago if I would take a table at the parents christmas shopping event at school in mid November.  It sounded a fair way off at the time so I said yes!  Now I am wondering what on earth I was thinking.  Making stock for a sales table takes a lot longer than you might first think, and that's assuming you have identified what the parents would like to buy and how much they want to pay. In all honesty I haven't had a tremendous amount of luck or joy selling my 'stuff' in the past  so I am not expecting miracles this time but it is for the school so I am happy to support it.

Pricing 'bazaar' type items is such a difficult thing. In the past it's been my experience that most people love what I make but don't love what I charge, and quite often I don't even ask full wack.  Last year for example I've had a guy who bulked at paying £40 for a cot sized quilt  - pieced, longarm quilted and hand bound!  He loved the quilt and kept saying how nice it would look in his kitchen (he was a farmer and the quilt was farm yard animals). He asked the price ... I said it was on sale at £40 and he said "oh" and put it down and walked away.  He was about the 3rd person that had done this so I decided enough was enough... I needed to understand why they thought it was expensive.  I explained how it was handmade in England and how much time it took ... blah blah... and he looked mortified.  He was terribly sorry that he had insulted my work and that he had not appreciated what was involved. Did he buy it ... No !  Why ... because he thought it was a lot to pay for a textile item!   Shame but thats the story .. textiles don't get the acclaim they deserve and most people associate handmade with homemade and that means CHEAP.

Actually I could rant on about pricing handmade items for ages and I get very cross when I see textiles undersold on Folksy or Etsy for example But I do understand why its done and its quite simple .. the market won't pay more because we (the hand crafters) are competing with foreign imports. Add to this the inflated cost of fabric and other craft materials compared with the States (for example) AND higher minimum wages we (British crafters) stand little to no chance of competing. Personally I think we need a two prong attack, with the Government doing their bit as well as the hand crafters doing theirs by pricing correctly  .. and by that I mean making sure they cost for all materials and overheads and include labour rates ...that are at least minimum wage. (Hear that ... AT LEAST minimum wage ... thats £5.93 an hour now)  Sorry was I shouting?

So you see .. its with this in mind that I have decided to make only penny items for the table this time... well around 500 pennies actually. I am thinking a fiver is probably a sum that people would not bulk at parting with. But what can I make for fiver?  Answer ... not a lot really.
So if you can think of anything please let me know.

I have started with pincushions though. I have some lovely russian dolly fabric that is perfect for  pincushions or tree decorations.  The ladies stand about 5" tall by 3" and are quite simply to sew up. Stuffing was another matter of course!  I had some wool stuffing left over from another project which was lovely. The ladies smell all lanolin-ny .. if you like that kind of thing and the pins glide in and out but then I ran out!  Drat ... so I spent ages .. and I mean ages trying to find Crushed Walnut Shells for the stuffing.  Why?  Well I'd read it was supposed to be good for pincushions.  Could I find any in the UK .. no!  I tried every pet shop known to man ... every reptile house .... and every bird santuary. (all supposedly supply sources for walnut shells on sewing forums in the States).  In the end after exhaustive detective work I tracked some down and have a MEGA supply now.  I'll sum it up for you too.. ITS GOOD STUFF!
So please if you want to make pincushions .... give me a shout for the filling.  I've put it up on my online shopping site here (or  you can get it at my Folksy or Etsy shops too).

So crushed nuts guys?  (No.. I always walk like this)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Here chick chick chicken!

It was the Christmas quilt along weekend yesterday and as usual I was late to the party. Just had time to make a small contribution to the spirit of the day with this log cabin chicken decoration. This one is based on 7" log cabins and prairie points. She is stuffed with wool waste and smells lovely! (if you like lanolin!) I have several other lone log cabin blocks all slightly smaller and these will become pin cushions once the crushed walnut shells arrive. (Let me know if you need any) I'm on a deadline today so sorry it's a hasty post and to all you other Christmas quilt alongers .. I will visit you all soon to check out your progress. Have a great Sunday, Tracey - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone