Tuesday, November 29, 2011

dec the halls

I've been making Christmas decorations:

These are a bit of a new take on the scrappy trees I made a few years ago.
As you can see from the top picture, I've stitched strips of fabric, lace and ribbon onto a piece of cream wool blanket, then I've stuffed them and backed with a white linen canvas.
The little cone is similar to some I made a few years ago too. Also utilising the same old wool blanket.

I'll be getting some of these into my shop, when I can get a decent picture of the them. The light is shocking today and even photoshop doesn't seem to be able to work it's magic. Well, it could be photoshop, or it could be me. I'm inclined to think it's me as I'm not quite top notch at the moment.
After suffering a horrible cough, sore throat, wheezing, earache, and a headache, I took myself to the doctors to find that I have tracheitis. Without wanting to sound wimpy, I honestly can't remember a time when I felt as poorly as I do now.
I've still got tonnes to do though, so I'll still be working away here, but do excuse me if I'm absent from here for a little while.

Something that has been cheering me up a little is a new radio station I've found, called Smooth Christmas. It plays lots of Christmas tunes and no adverts - brilliant! It's only live until 27th December, but I rather suspect I might have had enough of it by then anyway!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Handmade Winchester

Are you in the Winchester area tomorrow, Saturday 26th November? Then please pop in and say 'hello' to me, as I'll be at Handmade Winchester in the Guild Hall from 10am-5pm, along with over 70 other talented designer makers

It's great for a spot of handmade Christmas shopping. I'm not sure I'll be able to leave without buying anything - it's always such a good fair!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Printed Stockings

My fabric samples have arrived so I spent a few hours yesterday making up my stockings:
One of my cut and sew stockings, available here

4 x Stockings Cut and Sew Pattern, available here

mini stockings cut and sew advent calendar, available here
My usually very trustworthy Bernina decided that she didn't want to sew these stockings, and after several needle changes/breakages, much twiddling of tension knobs, changing of thread and a bit of yelling with expletives every time the thread broke (which seemed like every 2 seconds!) I got out my second (back up) machine, which is a Brother, and he handled the stockings with ease, as if to mock the Bernina, who was clearly just having an off day.
I'm ashamed to say, I barely use my Brother because I love my Bernina so much. She's a 1960's cast iron girl. She makes a bit of a racket when she sews but she feels comfortable and more importantly I can freehand stitch on her, which I can't do so well on my Brother. Still, my Brother saved the day, so hurrah for back up machines!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What does it really cost?

I was selling at Southhill Park craft fair for 2 days at the weekend. As it was a fair at an arts centre and people had to pay to get in, you were pretty much guaranteed that the people who were visiting were there to buy
my monsters
my printed softies
Whilst I was off looking at everything else a couple of ladies visited my stand and spoke to my husband. They had been looking at my work and then left. After a couple of minutes they returned to tell my husband that they had been discussing the price of my felted wool monsters, which they absolutely loved, but they felt that the price was just a bit too high, and that they felt this was putting people off buying them.
My husband tried to explain what goes in to making one monster, the time, the materials etc and that for the last 3 years my monsters had been sold for £18 each, but due to rising costs, they had just gone up to £20 each. My husband did a great job, but I so wish I had been there to speak to them so I could have talked them through the making process so they could appreciate what it takes to make a single monster.

I buy all my jumpers second hand either from charity shops, ebay, and occasionally boot fairs. You can't buy a lambswool jumper in a charity shop (well not the local ones to me) for less than £5. I have a rule that I'll never pay more than £10 for a jumper, but on average I'd say that one jumper would cost me £7 (this is a round figure). The size of the jumpers largely depends what can be made from each jumper. I buy jumpers more for their pattern and colour than their size, so If I'm lucky I could make 4 monsters from a big men's jumper, and maybe 2 from a small ladies jumper.

Each monster has button eyes and other features (mouth, scars etc) that are hand stitched with cotton threads. They are each stuffed with polyester toy stuffing and then machine sewn with polycotton threads. They also have a tag attached with my name on.

The hidden costs are the ones that are hard for people to understand. Time is a huge hidden cost. To make a monster, starts with a couple of wool jumpers which need to be cut before washing in the machine. They then need to be air dried and ironed before I can begin cutting the pattern. Then there is the time taken to actually make the monster, which on average can be made in an hour.
Other hidden costs (let's call them overheads shall we) is the cost of electricity - for the washing machine, iron, sewing machine, heating and lights.
Then there is the cost of paying for the craft fair, which depends on the size of the event and venue, and of course the cost of petrol to get there and back and parking charges. Let's not forget to add the time spent labelling and pricing the product (and packing and unpacking) and the time spent at the craft fair to sell the monsters that have been made. And then there is profit.
I know I'll never be rich because my profit margin is low, but I make this decision in order to actually sell my products in the first place. There is no point of having a lot of product that you just can't sell.
I have no doubt forgotten some costs here too.

When I've made a product I'll often show it to my husband as ask him what he would pay for it. He hates it when I do this, because even though he knows what goes into making something, his estimated price is always lower than what I think the item is worth.

A couple of people (other makers) told me that they thought my work was really well priced (i.e. probably too cheap), but then they understand what the real cost of making and selling is.

So, no. My items are not  priced too highly, very much the opposite in fact.


Despite this, I did have a good couple of days of sales. The majority of my sales were for items of £10 or less. Times are hard for everyone at the moment, so I know it's always good to have items for £10 or so at the sales events I attend.

On a different note, if you haven't already, go and enter my fabric giveaway here. You can get your hands on a yard of any monda designed fabric from my shop completely free!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fabric Friday Giveaway!

It's fabric giveaway time!
If you've arrived here from Owen's Olivia, welcome to Mondaland! and hello to my lovely regular visitors *waves*

So, let's get down to the important stuff. I'm giving away a yard (of quilting weight cotton) of Monda designed fabric, it's as simple as that!
You can choose a yard of any design in my shop - here is just a small selection:

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is to leave a comment on Nancy's blog: Owen's Olivia telling her which of my fabrics from my shop you like the most. You can also read a little bit about me too.

For more chances to win:

1. Follow me on Pinterest.
2. Follow me on Twitter and spread the word about this giveaway via twitter
3. Favourite my Etsy shop
4. Follow Nancy's blog

and most importantly, make sure you leave Nancy a comment for each additional entry.

This giveaway will end 27th November 2011 at 9pm EST (that's 2am on 28th November if you live here in the UK) and is open to everyone - no matter where you live.  
The winner will be selected via random.org. by Nancy. The winner will be announced on my blog and twitter, and on Nancy's blog.

N.B. For those who have already entered the giveaway via my blog, don't worry, your comments will be counted by Nancy. This was an admin error on my part. I'll just put that down to my ridiculously  busy schedule!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Free Fabric Shipping!

It's FREE shipping day in my spoonflower fabric shop today:

My Little hanging birds cut and sew pattern seems to be quite popular at the moment, quite a few have been flying off to new homes in the last week:

Free shipping goes live at 8:00 am on the US East Coast, but will be different for you if you live somewhere else.  In the UK, Free shipping starts at 1pm on Thursday and ends at 1pm on Friday.
A reminder, too, that if you create your order before the promotion starts, you may need to refresh your cart page for the free shipping discount to show up.

And if one lot of free goodness isn't enough in a week, come back and visit me tomorrow for more news of free stuff.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

stocking up

Why, when I am so busy (with my massive making to do list) does my head fill with ideas of new things to design and make?
I'm still busy beavering away making lots more supplies for my upcoming Christmas selling events, but seemed to find a couple of hours yesterday to design a DIY cut and sew advent calendar (latest spoonflower competition)  and a couple of stockings:
fits on a yard of fabric

fits on a FQ of fabric

fits on a FQ of fabric

The benefit of being so busy is that I don't have time to procrastinate over a design. With this design, it was just a case of getting it done as quickly as possible. It's very easy to spend hours arranging and rearranging elements in a design but it's nice to change the pace up a little from time to time too.

These will all be available to purchase soon. I just need to see the samples to check they are all good first.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Christmas here we come

My first pre Christmas fair went fairly well:

Sometimes with these things you never know if they're going to be hit or miss, and there are so many factors which can influence a selling event - the weather being a big one.
I'm wondering how the economic climate will influence sales this year. For me personally, I have to think about where every penny goes at the moment, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has started cutting out coupons and using vouchers at the supermarket for free points or 20p off this and that. 

My next event is in 2 weeks, which gives me 12 making days so I need to pull my socks up and increase the production rate around these parts. I fear my blogging may be quite sporadic over the coming few weeks although I'll no doubt be popping in here and there to show you what I've been up to.

Oh, and I'm still offering 15% off in my new shop, so please do pop over and have a browse, using the code MONDA15 at the checkout if something takes your fancy.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

a christmas cracker

I started the day today by varnishing some little wooden badges, and I finished the day by setting up my work at 'A Christmas Cracker' in Wargrave. It's been an insanely busy week so far and it's not over yet, but it's all good. I'm certainly making up for my less than productive week last week.
Pop in and have a gander if you're in the Berkshire area. Details below:

In other exciting news, my lovely husband was offered his dream job today. He had 4 interviews for the position (!) but was told that his CV and design work stood out from the word go and he really impressed all the way through the interview process too. We've been behaving like a couple of kids at Christmas all day long - we're so excited!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

MONDALAND is here!

I'm happy to announce that my new shop MONDALAND is now open for business!

and by way of celebration, I'm giving a 15% discount on everything in the shop until midnight on Sunday - just use the code MONDA15 at the checkout. I'd love to hear what you think so please do pop over and have a little look.
I will still continue with my old shop too, but I just wanted to separate my felt-y goods from my print-y and illustration-y goods, for the sake of cohesion really.

I've been baking

some new softies:
Mrs Cupcake

Mr Cupcake

they are both backed with their own co-ordinating fabric

 I'm still working away on my mega long to do list. Why does it keep getting bigger? Eep.