Season’s Greetings!!!

Season’s greetings to everyone from Ireland!!! It’s been an unusual sort of day for me, working in the morning, exchanging gifts and having an excellent lunch with Carmen and Peter followed by a little more work in the late afternoon. Now I’ve got my stove lit, a glass of wine poured and a good book to read. Alan’s ringing later from his mother’s house then tomorrow I’ve more work to get through in the morning before meeting up with my family for a welcome and delicious lunch! I hope you’re all having a great day, lots of love from Clasheen.

Another marathon day is underway

The day has gone pretty quickly to date. I was under a little pressure to get set up at Mount Juliet, possibly because I needed to make some fresh cranberry salsa to send home with Alan as well as catch the bank before coming here. It’s also Alan’s birthday today and tonight’s the last night we’ll see each other until the new year so loads to do and almost NO time to get it done in! Anyway, I changed a little of our display here and now all we need are customers to arrive.

Emma manned a joint stand at Borris this morning as we didn’t want regular visitors to miss us for the last market of the year. I don’t know yet how that went, hopefully better than last week though!

A short little update…..

Raising the front table and changing around the felt has definitely made a difference to our stand at Mount Juliet today. Ironically, it doesn’t look as cohesive as before but definitely more people are walking inside and browsing both the felt and Emma’s paintings. Yesterday Emma altered her section, I think that between us we’ve a better chance of sales over the next few days so fingers crossed we’ll all finish this marathon on a high!

Things are hotting up slightly

While Borris House Christmas Fair at the weekend didn’t exactly rock my sales boat too much the atmosphere was lovely and by the end of yesterday evening I was happy enough with how things had gone. Mount Juliet Christmas Village on the other hand has been extremely disappointing so far, great if you are bringing your children to the Santa train (as 10s of 1000s are!) but totally hopeless to date as regards customers browsing the stands and making actual purchases. We’re committed to having our stand there until 9pm next Sunday evening so all I can do is hope that more visitors come this week to the fair itself as opposed to the train.

Creative Carlow pop up shop

Creative Carlow pop up shop

This morning I had my first working stint at the Creative Carlow pop up shop on Tullow Street, I enjoyed myself and made a couple of good sales too thank goodness! Now I’m at home trying to catch up with the blog and a few household chores, washing, cleaning, tidying etc. but everything will never be done before 24th and neither will presents be sent abroad in time for Christmas delivery or indeed purchased before the big day itself for some of my Irish buddies. I’m annoyed with myself as I had really hoped to have everything bought or made by now, presents posted and cards sent, possibly I under anticipated how busy I would be travelling to and from all the outside events. Hopefully everyone will understand and enjoy their gifts even if they are a few days late, good friends will anyway so fingers crossed!!!

Our stand at the Creative Carlow pop up shop this morning

Our stand at the Creative Carlow pop up shop this morning

One thing that I am happy about today is that I was able to add another mannequin to our display and change around stock for Leiko and myself this morning in Carlow. While it’s not the best picture (rain has prevented any pics outdoors) you can see the sleeveless top I finished the other afternoon now displayed on a mannequin. As I mentioned before, it’s a real juggling game trying to keep each venue looking good with a variety of different items and colourways, tomorrow I’ll have a go at revamping our space at Mount Juliet.

Finally for today, I had a lovely time visiting Jim and Tina Behan at his house/ceramic studio on my way home from Carlow. Tina had selected a couple of felt pieces for herself over the weekend and I was able to trade with Jim for some fabulous eastern inspired wood fired tea bowls and pots. I’ve always adored this work of his so was in seventh heaven, thanks Jim and Tina!!!

Business is picking up a tiny bit…..

I’m just home now after the first day at Borris House, Santa made an appearance too and will be coming back tomorrow to visit some more lucky girls and boys. Leiko and Norma (my current work experience aide) manned Mount Juliet and while neither venue made brilliant sales we all did a little better than other days. Tomorrow should see a much bigger crowd in Borris so fingers crossed they’ll be in a buying mood!

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I’m feeling pretty pleased this evening following a surprisingly successful bout with my sewing machine!

I’ve had a reprieve from manning the stand at Mount Juliet today, instead, thanks to Leiko and Emma, I’ve spent the whole day finishing 5 abstract landscapes and creating a vest from a wrap! Basically, I got my super duper straight stitching sewing machine out of cold storage, wound the bobbin and just got to work adding some free machine embroidery to my latest flat felt pictures. Those of you who know me well understand how stressful I find sewing, however, I would like to say that in this case the correct equipment does make a difference, no broken threads, perfect tension and at the end of the day new framed work to bring to Borris market in the morning and Borris House Christmas Fair over the weekend. I was starting to wonder had I been crazy investing in my Janome 1600P last year, fear not though, I’ll definitely get myself organised and continue to do some more stitching in the new year, possibly at Duckett’s Grove considering it’s too cold to felt there at the moment. Pop over to Clasheen on Facebook page to see some photos of the finished work, all these landscapes with the exception of one were felted using a selection of the naturally printed and dyed silk I’ve been working on recently. The odd one out is a piece of needle punch felt which I also naturally printed/dyed, it was then felted onto a backing of undyed needle punch prior to stitching, I’m quite pleased with it and must try some more of this style after Christmas.

Armed with a successful start to the sewing day, I finally was brave enough to cut armholes into a short wrap that I felted last year. This wrap was made in white with a border of black, I dyed it using acid dyes when felted and although loads of people commented on how much they liked it at Duckett’s Grove it never sold.

Armholes underway

Armholes underway

Anyway, after cutting the armholes I pinned the raw edges, tacked them (basted) and having changed the foot on the sewing machine back to a regular one stitched twice around the edges. I’m thrilled with how this turned out, a lovely vest which I hope to take pictures of tomorrow.

Crazy schedual and free personalisation of ‘niki & niki’ felting tools from now until Christmas!

My crazy schedual continues! This weekend I was very happy with my sales at Duckett’s Grove, not so happy with them at Mount Juliet but then it’s early days there still.

Later today, I’ll be heading into Carlow town to stock up on more lighting for Mount Juliet and set up both my work and Leiko’s in Tullow Street for the Creative Carlow pop up shop. It’s a bit of a juggling game at the moment trying to gauge which stock to have at which venue, I mustn’t forget the market in Borris on Friday and the two day Christmas Fair in Borris House this weekend!!!

'The Minimilast' felting roller from 'niki & niki'

‘The Minimilast’ felting roller from ‘niki & niki’

There’s still time to order your ‘niki & niki’ felting tools for Christmas. At the moment you’ll need to get them from Niki Collier’s Etsy shop as I’ve no more in stock, we’re also offering free personalisation on each tool over the next two weeks, just our way of saying thank you to our customers!