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Monthly Archives: November 2011

BBC Good Food Show Winter

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I spent the weekend in Birmingham at the BBC Good Food Show Winter. This was at the massive exhibition center the NEC and was full of all sorts of stalls, stands and shows to do with food cooking and most importantly eating! We have been a few times before and this time around decided to invest in some tickets to see three shows. One we watched was the MasterChef Experience presented by Olly Smith (the wine guy!) and starring Greg Wallace (the one that likes puddings!) and John Torode (the Australian one!) Here’s a picture:

A bit blurry but you get the idea! We also saw Laila Rouass as the celebrity guest at the Saturday Kitchen stage and Felice Tocchini who cooked a cake with sprouts in it. (If you’re wondering it tasted a bit like a carrot cake but with an aftertaste of Christmas dinner!) However the best bit about the Good Food Shows is the producer’s village. These are all the stands of people who sell food and drink, you can buy their produce and more importantly, try it before hand. (As I overheard one lady say, it’s best to sample all the food first before trying all the alcohol!)

Thinking about my craft products and selling at craft fairs, it was interesting to see the different ways producers attracted customers to their stands. Obviously free food works well but I couldn’t really do that with crafts. Competitions were very popular and I entered a few myself (I won a hamper of cordial last year!) and could be done at a craft fair. It would also be a good chance to get a marketing list together of customers to send newsletters to. I guess it just shows that you can get inspiration from anywhere, especially at a food show whilst stuffing your face with sprout cake!

Look at this cute tea shop

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It’s called the Lavender Barn Tearoom and is in Dunham. All the treats were homemade (you can see I chose a delicious chocolate shortbread) and the crockery was mismatched vintagey, floraly designs. We stopped here whilst going to the National Trust property Dunham Massey which is really worth a visit even just for the gardens and deer park. I really like the National Trust and volunteer at on of their properties one day a week. I’m really passionate about preserving our heritage so I’d encourage anyone to visit as many properties as they can and support National Trust’s work. Back to the Tearoom, I was trying to find a website for them but I don’t think they have one. However I did find a great review of it on another blog if you’re interested here is a link.

P.S. If you like the tea service in the photograph you should check out a blog called My Vintage Table. I’ve posted the address on my Links page.

Rag rug wreath

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Here is a (really poor quality!) photo of a rag rug wreath I made at college. One of the girls showed us how to make them as part of a skills sharing presentation we have to give. It was so simple to make, the kind of thing where you say “Why didn’t I think of that!” All you have to do is bend some thickish wire into the shape of your choosing (mine is so obviously a heart) then cut small strips of fabric and knot them in the middle around the wire. Keep going until all the wire is covered and there you have it! Christmas is coming up and I think these would look really good as circular wreaths for a door. The good thing about homemade decorations is that you can tailor them to suit your Christmas colour theme or your interior design tastes. This is also a great way of using up those bits of fabric that you just have to buy, them get them home and don’t have a clue what to do with.

I don’t have a shiny fish but I’ve got some plastic stands!

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So I didn’t get to make my copper fish shiny this week, but only because I was busy playing around with plastic. Using a machine (that I think is called a line bender) which heats up a metal string that you place your plastic over until it is soft, I made the blue stand. When the plastic is soft, you can bend it to any degree you want. Mine cracked a little bit because I didn’t wait long enough for the plastic to soften. The grey stand was made in a special oven type thing which heats up to 160 degrees and softens the whole plastic sheet. Then (wearing big, thick gloves) you can take out the plastic and shape it around a mold or former. I thought these might be quite handy for displaying my notebooks for the £5 fair at college.

Paper pages

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I’ve been busy collecting envelopes, old paper gift bags, magazine pages and scrap paper to make these notebook pages for my college project. We have to create six items that we can sell to other students and staff at the college for under £5 and it has to be somehow based on our brief of organic structures. I decided to make these little notebooks out of collected paper and then on the cover I will create a design to fit the brief.  I thought this might be a good product to sell at a college as everyone needs a notebook. The only problem I am having is with pricing, usually you can get an idea from the cost of materials, but as mine were free I’m a bit stuck!

Look what I made at school today!

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What is it? It’s a copper fish of course! We all made these to learn about how to make things out of metal, like jewellery or something else made out of metal. It was quite exciting to actually use equipment and carry out processes I have only read in books such as annealing, soldering with flux and using jewellery benches and saws. My fish isn’t finished yet though, he still needs to be polished in something like pickling solution (I think that’s what it’s called) to get rid or the discolouration. Although I quite like the texture of the discolouration, I want to learn how to make it  shiney and will do so, next Wednesday.

Christmas comes early

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I’m selling some of my hand crafted things at a small craft fair in a weeks time and thought I would show these christmas tree decorations I have made. They are made from white and frosted Shrink Plastic which I have glued crystals and glitter onto (personally I hate anything to with glitter as it follows you around for days, but I think it looks really good at Christmas time) I also added two small beads to make it even more dangly. I’ve been wanting to use my frosted Shrink Plastic for ages but wasn’t sure what for, I think it works well with a cold, christmassy theme though.