Sunday, 24 February 2013

Gabs Fundraiser 2: Gaza

Well, as promised, the next instalment of this weekend's events: the St Gabriel's Hall Fundraiser. This year, the money is going to a charity that will set up water pumps in Gaza and therefore supply fresh water to school and hospitals in the area.

Last year, we raised money for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief. I offered to sell my cards at the event and the rest, as they say, is history. I got such a buzz from selling them that I had to do more so I found craft fairs and kept making cards - I was making so many that there was no way I could just send them by myself. 

Japanese Fundraiser - 2012
Gaza Fundraiser - 2013
So this year, I had to do it again. The only difference was that I had about 12 months experience this time around. It was interesting to look back and see just how much that experience had changed me and my cards. It's a bit like spot the difference looking at these two pictures!
I think the main thing that has definitely improved is my presentation - my cards now come pre packaged although, ironically, I'm taking them out of the wrapper to display them. I also have my lovely boxes to display - and store - all my cards. 

The event was - from my end of it anyway - a success, although it was quieter than last year and  I didn't sell as many this time around. I was also sharing a table with a girl that lives just down the corridor from me. I learnt today that she makes beautiful jewellery. She was explaining how she used to do it but stopped when doing her A-level and would only make pieces to give to friends for their birthdays. It sounded so familiar that I couldn't help but smiling! Between the two of us, our table raise £100. There is still the henna, food, entrance and a few other bits to be added to that tally so I can't wait to hear what the final count is - I will make sure to put it up on Facebook when I find out.

I also donated one of my paper pieced pictures - the Emma one - to the little market we also had going this evening. I noticed that it was snapped up very quickly, funnily enough, by the girl who did a lovely henna design on the back of my hand. 

Overall it was a really good evening and I even got to have a go at apple-bobbing - something I haven't done since I was in Brownies. It was just as well I wasn't wearing any make-up! I also got to try some delicious Spanish food - empanada and paella.

I should probably call it a night now, back to the day job, aka my studies, tomorrow. *Sigh. It's nice to have a break every now and then.

Back in the Game!

I was going to write about this weekend, well, once the weekend had finished but I decided that today's event needed a post all to itself. Besides, tomorrow's a pretty big day as well!

As you who are on my Facebook page will know (and those of you who aren't, why aren't you??), today was the first Manchester Maker's Market down in Fallowfield. I had high hopes for today, especially as the majority of the students at the universities live in or very near Fallowfield, hell, nearly all my friends live closer to the venue than I do! So I was looking forward to a good day.

It was a slow start. A very slow start. But being a Saturday morning/early afternoon it's not really that surprising when the average age of the local area is probably something like 25?? It soon picked up though and I even made a few sales! I think I've come the conclusion that it was probably my best fair yet (Victoria Baths was so incredible that non could compete so I've had to take it out the running!).

This is hopefully going to be a monthly or every-other-monthly event so I will definitely be signing up to the next one - it can only get better once word about it gets out!

I had a go at some different things on my stall today. The first of these was adding some height to my table. I did this by taking along boxes and with the spare fabric on my table cloth, to cover them up. It was an improvement but I really think I need a set of shelves or something similar. And bunting! Bunting looks so good around a stall . . . I might have to look into it. Where was I?
Right, different levels. Having this box on my table meant that I had a special place to put some of my products. 

Which leads me onto my next change. I had a revelation. What if I displayed all my Alice in Wonderland items together! Had the cards next to the frame! Why I never thought of this sooner I don't know but it looked good and caught people's attention. Although now I'm left with four Queen of Hearts and one Dormouse card as all the others have gone. Note to self: Make more. Especially Cheshire Cats.
The other thing I tried today was having some of my cards on display. Not in their plastic wrappers. I created mini displays on my table by using gift bags I had lying around my room. Trying to get them to co-ordinate was fun though! This, like the Alice in Wonderland display, looked quite good and it didn't deter buyers so I think this is something I am going to stick with as well. 
I mentioned tomorrow at the start of this entry. Tomorrow is the St Gabriel's Hall Fundraiser which, as some of you know, is the reason I am here today. But I will save all this for tomorrow evening - yes, I am spoiling you with two posts this weekend!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Valentine's Day

My life has fallen into chaos with all the work I have to do so once again, another over due post (this one should have gone out on Thursday, if you couldn't guess).

Valentine's Day - or Single Awareness Day, depending on your relationship status - is probably one of the biggest days of the year for card shops, florists and, these days, anyone in the commercial industry. I think it's safe to say that I have now experienced Valentine's Day on three levels: single, taken and for the first time this year, on the other side of the shop counter (so to speak).
As you know from my last post, I had a craft fair a couple of weeks ago so naturally, I had to make a handful of V-Day cards for that. Word is spreading through my halls about my cards so as well as selling (very few) cards at the fair, I also sold some from the comfort of my own room. 

I'm not going to lie though, making lots of what I see as rather personal cards, was quite odd. The few times that I had sent a Valentine's card, it was more that just another card so making some that were for other people to send to their Valentines seemed quite strange. I didn't have any commissions, just the ones that I had made while watching TV in the evenings.

I guess I should probably share some now shouldn't I? Bring on the Hall of Cards . . . 

 I have now reached that point when if I am stuck for inspiration, I make an owl card to fit with that theme. I already have my design for Mother's Day!
 I really liked these two cards. I only had a couple of the heart embellishments otherwise I would have made more. I found the red, white and black colour scheme worked quite well for Valentine's cards. 
I was surprised that the calligraphy cards I made didn't sell. I only made two - the other one said Be Mine - but I thought, for something a bit different . . . ah well.
I plan on making lots more using calligraphy soon, especially for this weekend's fairs*.
Another owl one, yes, I know but I had to have two owls on a Valentine's Day card. I told a lie before; I did get a commission, from mum. She wanted an owl card but the two I had previously made had already gone so I had to make another one.

*That wasn't a typo, that 'fairs' was definitely a plural. Well when I say fairs, one of them is the new Manchester Maker's Market happening on Saturday. The event on Sunday isn't strictly a fair but is quite an important one for me: the St Gabriel's Annual Fundraiser. Those of you who have been with me from the beginning might remember that is was because of last year's fundraiser that I am where I am today, although don't go getting the birthday cards out yet though, the fundraiser is earlier this year!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Yet Another Flop

I was going to post this on Sunday but technical difficulties got in the way and I was laptop-less until yesterday. So here it is, a little late but here non the less.

Saturday's craft fair, if you hadn't guessed from the blog title, was a bit of a fail. I was there in plenty of time and I had a nice stall set up - like many of the other stalls - there was just no one about. I even bought my pretty heart shaped fairy lights because it'll be Valentine's Day soon.

The fair did give me a couple of things to think about with my stall (the learning curve is forever . . . er . . .curving?) and luckily - and as per usual - I had my trusty sketchbook on hand to make notes.

The first thing was that I should probably invest in a rack or small shelving unit to display my cards. This way, I can play around a bit more with my stall and try different layouts. 
To go along with this was the idea that I shouldn't wrap all of my cards up and leave some of them as display cards so people can see what they look like as cards - it's all very well showing them in the plastic wrapper but having them stood up on the table also gives me more options to play around with my display.
The other idea I had is a bit bitter. It came from watching the cake stall across from manage to get about 95% of the people to go over to her stall. How? She offered free samples. Rather than waiting for people to wander over and have a look, she invited them over with the promise of free samples. Yes I am slightly bitter about this but it's a technique that obviously works so I might try by putting chocolates or sweets in a dish on my stall. Even if it fails, it gives me something to munch on during the day!
I was able to keep myself occupied at the deathly quiet fair by doing a bit of crafting - treated myself to an extra magazine this month (those damn owls got the better of my once again, this time in the form of some really cute stamps) so I got to play around with the free gift. 
I was also productive in an architecture student sense by reading some Ruskin.
I was extra good and did a bit of networking as well by taking a wander and talking to the other crafters, picking up a couple of business cards while I was at it, although I still need to take a look on Facebook.

Despite the flop of last weekend, when I was able to get back on my laptop yesterday, I was greeted by a lovely e-mail about a new maker's market happening just down the road from me at the end of the month. Obviously, I replied immediately and I already have the form to book my place. One thing that this one definitely has going for it is that it is in student central so hopefully there will be plenty of people. Handmade is SO in right now!