Sunday, 25 November 2007

The sweet taste of success!!

Ok, that sounds a bit grand but I just wanted to report that my first Craft Fair has been a success!!

I covered my costs of the space and made a healthy profit over the three days, gained lots of experience, learned lots and had the added bonus of meeting some really lovely fellow stall holders, as well as catching up with lots of friends and family who came along to give me moral support! Thanks everyone who came, it was lovely to see you, and I really appreciated the fact you came, saw and bought!!!

As for me now, I just have to count the pennies, pack up the boxes of stock I have left, send out a few thankyou cards, and put my creative feet up for a while before Christmas. I am having a bit of a break from sooziebee until the New Year, so won't be posting for a while. But I promise to be back soon, batteries recharged and raring to go in January 08 (which is a lot nearer than it sounds!)

So thanks for reading, commenting and stopping by, have a lovely festive period, and I will be back soon with more sooziebee news and plans!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Day 2 improvements!!




Just a little idea of the before and after pictures of the space for our stand this weekend at the craft fair. I couldn't really imagine what it would look like when our stuff was in there.... but voila, it didn't look bad when we had finished!

Day 1, quite slow for me. I think had something to do with the market and also sharing a stand with a friend who was selling similar stuff, which was brighter and a lot less expensive. Today my friend sold out of her cards, which was fantastic, they flew off the shelves! And todayI also started selling more.

I'm pleased with what I have made. Must say a big thankyou to all friends and family, who came along and gave their support, from as far as Norfolk and County Durham. You made my day!!!

Only one day to go now and I am on my own tomorrow. Let's see what tomorrow brings...

I think I may take my sewing machine along for a day out, as a lot of people didn't know that my work was machine-stitched.


Friday, 23 November 2007

Day 1

Well, I am now initiated into the world of craft fairs and trying to sell your own work! I was up at 6.30am and was at the fair for just after 8am. It was a bit hectic setting up, I think as I had never done it before, but luckily my friend Kasia had done a fair last weekend so she knew what she was doing.

It was quite a busy day on our stand, and although I only sold about 15cards all day, I think maybe the market tomorrow will be a bit of a different demographic and there may be more people (fingers crossed) that my work appeals to.

As for sales technique, not being a naturally pushy person, I am trying to gauge the way people like to be approached. Having worked in the the reatil sector of Pharmacy for several years, I have always asked if people need any help, let them get on with things and answered any questions if needed. Now, I know this pitch won't win any sales awards, but what is the secret of sucessful marketing? I'm thinking a subtle, observative angle, but am open to the opinions of the professionals...

So, sales-wise, a little disappointing, but am staying positive. After all, this is my first show, and I have a lot to learn, so even after this weekend, if i don't sell a lot more, I will know a lot more for next time.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

18 hours to go!

Well, in 18 hours time, sooziebee will have gone live to the public!

I have been stitching like mad today to try and get stock finished, and still have some to do. I think I will sleep like a baby tonight though. I'm feeling fairly organised. I just have to inventory the stock and bring all my boxes downstairs and then thats it!


Nervous and excited. Will post tomorrow night after day 1.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Four days to go!!!

Well, I am slowly getting there and getting myself ready for the Xmas Market weekend on Friday! I have done a 9-6.30 at my 'day-job' and got home, had tea and sat and mounted and packed 20 of my stitched pieces of work after my delivery of mounts from my friend Sally. Very satisfying to see the final product all packaged and ready to go.


I have more mounts arriving on Weds this week and have about another 10 pieces to mount so am quite pleased with the amount of stock I have to sell and just have to struggle with pricing. I am thinking of pricing the 230mm x 230mm mounted pieces at £20 and the framed ones at £25. Does anyone have ideas as to whether they think this is ok/ too pricey/ too cheap?

As for the cards they are going to range from £1.50 for the small 4x4 inch, £2-£2.50 for the 5x5 and £3 for the 6x6. You can't buy a decent card in shops for under £2 so I'm thinking this is about ok?? Again, comments welcome.

I will keep posting this week with my progress, I'm getting quite excited now and looking forward to the weekend.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Brrrrrrrr!

It's freezing! But it's lovely!

We got up this morning as we were both off work and went down to the river at 8.30am. We had a really heavy frost last night and everything looked magical. There was a mist hanging over the water and the sky was blue! Perfect start to the day. Lots of interestng shapes to inspire me for my work this afternoon.





So after that, I came home and had a very productive afternoon, trying out some new colours and textures, with some lovely terracotta handmade paper I found in my box and brown thread to stitch with instead of black. So although the day started out very wintery and cold with pastel shades of blue and pink, it has ended on a distinctly autumnal note, with my fave colours appearing yet again.

These pieces below have been done to fit a square 230mm frame with a 120mm window. Mounts are arriving soon, just in time for me to finish them, sign them, and pack them, ready for Xmas Market.
I'm sure this time next week I won't be feeling this calm. SEVEN days to go and counting....











Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Look at this!

Lucky old me!
Look what my fab hubby has made for me. Its a wooden type easel type thing (more commonly known as portable display unit!) with pegs in, so I can display my work at the Xmas Market next weekend. I can put it together and take it apart myself, due to the thoughtful design for DIY-simpletons like myself! It's great!



Thursday, 8 November 2007

16 days to go!

WELL, my news..... I got my grant!! I applied for some financial assistance with Newark and Sherwood District Council as they run a Creative Initiatives Support Programme. I applied in September and got my letter this week telling me that I have been successful and have got the grant I applied for!! I'm soooo pleased! Thanks Paul for your help with my application, your comments were invaluable!




And with only 15 days to go until my first Xmas Market I think I have finally got enough work to sell. I have been hard at work this week and now have a significantly smaller 'to do' list than on Monday! I have made two big pieces of work (see above) today and have inventoried (if there is such a word) the rest of my work and think I finally have enough to fill out my stand. Well, I say 'my stand' I haven't a clue how I am goingto put it together, may have to look on The Switchboards for some ideas.
So I think I can chill out now, in my new pyjamas and not think about all of the things I have to do. Ok, well I do have a few little jobs that need doing but I'm going to think about them tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Where all the work gets done!

So I have posted plenty about my work but I haven't told you anything about my little room, where it all happens! This is our third bedroom, which was a bedroom, hardly-used, until my art mess got too much for my DH to take, and that was what clinched the deal! We have been in the process of converting our brickbuilt outhouse at the top of the garden into somewhere I can do my work, but like anything, it's taking time. It has been re-roofed this summer but we are still waiting for the builder to come and rebuild the back wall.
Until that is done then our third room will stay as 'my room', it's just not quite big enough for all the boxes of material, paper, paints, pencils and threads: hence it never looks tidy! So rollon, our builder arriving and then we can get on with the hard work of making it warm and cosy. Ooh, I can't wait!


Yes we are gonna lose that awful rug! I'm thinking of going neutral and maybe painting the wardrobe doors white to make it look a bit more spacious!



And my inspiration boards, which include pics of my friends and family, work I love, and ideas formy work!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Inspiration and my new logo stamp

Here is the work I did on Thursday evening after checking out the autumnal palette surrounding us at home at the moment. I have been collecting leaves today, for some work I want to develop with the tree images I have done. It was great rummaging through the woods looking for the perfect leaf!


And more great new, my stamp from Stamps Direct arrived today, and I have stamped most of my stock this afternoon as we had another power cut, so I couldn't use my sewing machine. Here are the results below, I'm really pleased with them, they give the cards the final touch they needed, although my photography probably doesn't do them much justice. Anyone with any tips on how to photo my work better, feel free to advise!! Maybe I should get someone else to do it!




AND NOW WE ARE OFF TO A BONFIRE PARTY!!! YEY!!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Autumn colours

Here are just a few snaps of the beautiful autumn colours going on down our lane today, shame the sun isn't shining, but these colours have inspired me to go and do some pictures and cards in shades of red, orange, gold and green, my fave colour pallette of all. I will post the results if they turn out well and I like them enough.





Christmas cards colour version



This is what they look like with a bit of colour, I like them a lot. Not sure of the baubles, as I'm not sure they look very Christmassy. I'm not feeling very Christmassy at the moment, am more into the beautiful autumn colours on display at the moment. So I have been playing about with some designs for autumn pictures this afternoon.
We had a power cut for about two hours this morning, and I tidied up my 'studio-room' so some good did come out of it! It was a bit frustrating that I couldn't get stitching, but what can you do.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

'Tis the season to stitch holly!




As another of my fave blog ladies sugarloop said this week the festive season is creeping up on us without us realising. I haven't really been concentrating on anything Christmassy for my sooziebee range I must admit. But after a bit of market research with some good friends (thankyou, you know who you are!!), the general concensus is 'I need something Christmassy and some more colour in my range asap'. (Plus my first show is a CHRISTMAS MARKET!)

So today I have been trying to do just that, but am not feeling too happy with the outcome. I am feeling full of cold and not very inspired, I think I'm just not in the mood today and need to go back to bed!!

Anyway, here are the initial results, or the ones that made it past the bin! Off to take some paracetamol and have a little nap now as it's just not happening today.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Trying something a little different

Having played around with various plain stitched designs for my cards I thought I would try to incorporate another of my fave media (mediums?):- collage.
And at the weekend so this little piece below was born. I raided my paper box (which is full to the brim with lots of lovely papers, collected over the last couple of years, and which I might add is still in disarray, after my many attempts at trying to organise it into some kind or order!). If you stitch paper onto paper and keep the machine running quite quickly it kind of perforates the top decorative paper, making it easy to tear away, leaving just the shape you want inside the stitch.
I think I like this, so maybe this may be the start of my second sooziebee range. The only downside is it takes longer to do, due to the fiddly tearing part, but the end effect is a bit more interesting than stitch on its own.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Sooziebee Corporate identity


I now have my own corporate id/brand, whatever you want to call, but this is the new stationery for sooziebee, courtesy of hb-media. I'm loving it, but am not sure which I love the most, the brown or the pink. Thanks H, you are a star!!



It has made this whole sooziebee venture so much more real now I have OFFICIAL business cards, letterheads and compliments slips. Also the fact I now have boxes of blank cards littering the floor of my little studio. I had better get back upstairs and do some more work.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

And introducing......


I haven't anything, workwise, to post this weekend, as I have been having the weekend off! I know, how decadent! But we have had a mega-chill-out which has resulted in about 9 jars of home-made Pear and Ginger chutney which I made yesterday, quite a few miles of walking under our belts and a very tired dog, a couple of empty wine bottles, and some nice food.
So, I leave you with an image of ... my new Husqvarna Sewing Machine. Hopefully I will hear about my grant from the Council soon, fingers crossed on that one.
My new company stationery is, as I type, on it's way down to Notts, so I will post and let you know what it looks like soon.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Flower power



Well it just shows what you can get done when you put your mind to it! I think my morning walk in the autumn sunshine with my DH and dog inspired me to get some serious work done today! I have spent all afternoon up in my little 'studio' and as a result I have stitched and painted about 2o pieces for framing. I also had a job-lot delivery of blank cards (200!) which now need stitching. But not today!! They are sat in their box and will stay there until next week methinks!
Whilst stitching yesterday I thought I would experiment with a few new ideas, ie more contemporary, and less traditional, and I'm really pleased with the results. Just hope the general public like them. They will make a lovely Christmas present for someone special!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Autumn landscape


My latest textile piece for the Xmas Market, inspired by autumnal landscape and colours. I think I will split this one into two portrait pieces for smaller frames as I have tried it out and they look good. I originally wasn't going to add sky but my sister-in-law hinted it may look better and she was right, it definitely finshes it off.
Only 6.5 weeks left for the Xmas Market at Patchings and I have ordered all of my blank cards which, postal strike permitting, will arrive later this week so i can get on with them and that will be one less thing to do. Today, I have a 'to-do' list as long as my arm, so I had better get off and make a start...

Friday, 5 October 2007

Ooh, a good film, and a bit of a chat

Been a bit lax with posting lately but a lot has happened in the last week. Working, birthday, and working, lots of presents and cards and abit more working. No work to post as yet, although general consensus and advice seems to be to cover the back of my cards. I am ordering my stock to create about 300 for my Xmas Market.

But ...tonight a friend is dogsitting as we are off to London to see Billy Elliott at the theatre tomorrow, and we have been to the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham to see 'And when did you last see your father', true story based on the book by Blake Morrison, about his relatonship with his father. Amazing film, with excellent cast, including Jim Broadbent, Colin Firth (ooh er Mr Darcy) and Juliet Stevenson. A real tear jerker, had me trying not to blub out loud, beautiful scenery of Yorkshire and Cumbria. A must see, if you like a good old Channel 4 film.
http://www.channel4.com/film/reviews/film.jsp?id=163040 for more.

And more work soon. as the countdown to Xmas market is on....

Oh yes, more sooziebee stuff to report, the corporate id is done, thanks to the help and expertise of hb-media (http://www.hb-media.co.uk). This will be on my blog as soon as poss, just need the files in correct format and you can see it.

By the way, can someone please tell me how to put a link on my blog without showing the whole web address as novice-me has done above

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Should I cover the back of my stitched cards?


Having a bit of a think about whether I should cover up the back of my stitched images on my greetings cards. Would you think this was unprofessional and messy if you opened a card and could see the bottom thread (even though it's white)? Thoughts please......
Also does anyone think they need colour, I'm quite happy with the minimalist black and white but people have asked me whether I am going to colour them?

Thursday, 20 September 2007

My first sooziebee cards!


Hot off the press, or should I say sewing machine. My first attempts at cards and I quite like the results. The big question is..... will everyone else?

Getting down to business!

I have been busy this week actually starting to produce some work for my first show in November. I bought my sewing machine after a positive conversation with a very nice man from the Grants Dept at the Council. Hopefully me grant application will be successful!

So after a few trial runs last week, and getting to know my new gorgeous machine, I have started to produce some work. The clock is ticking and I have about 9 weeks to get enough stuff together for my stand.

I thought I would try and look back over my college assignments for some inspiration and came across a Landscape project I did two years ago. The colours here are so beautiful at the moment with all the the cornfield cut or ploughed I thought I would try to capture the rolling countryside and colours in the stitched piece above.

Also I have been going over some flower designs and putting my machine through its paces with different types of threads, very exciting, and I am liking the results, esp with the brown thread, it isn't as stark as the black.

And coming soon, the first sooziebee cards off the production line. Have decided to go for handmade and will get some others digitally printed soon.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Blue skies smiling at me...

The week on the canals in Cheshire was just perfect. We had sunshine which was a rare treat and we had the longest boat EVER!! Well, okay it wan't the longest boat ever, but it felt like it when I tried my hand at steering it (and crashed into the side of the canal!!)
We set sail last Sunday from Anderton Marina in Cheshire and sailed down to Whitchurch through 40 locks, 2 lift bridges, various pubs and some fantastic scenery. I would definitely try it again, but sadly, next time without Jack, our dog, who still hasn't found his sea-legs and got himself nearly squashed by 70 tonnes of steel when he misjudged the canalside and fell in!! And maybe next time I will try steering, but only if it's a smaller boat! If anyone is thinking of trying a holiday on the water I can't recommend it highly enough, everyone is so friendly and full of good advice and the pace is so slow you can really chill out!

Here are a few of my holiday pics just so you can see how long that boat really was...

1st Captain Steve with boating crew Lynn (the Duck Spotter) and Captain Jack (the one on the grass!)
See the sun does shine in England!!

Hole in one yet again, Captain Keeling steers the boat into another lock with deftness and precision!

And that is how long that boat really was!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Sparkly disco shoes anyone?


I know I said I wasn't gonna do anymore shoes, but I'm enjoying them at the moment. In fact, I should be working on them now instead of writing my blog. But I feel like I haven't posted in a while so here is a collage creation, variation on a theme!! I tidied out my shoe cupboard today to see if I could find any other exciting ones lurking, forgotten in the bottom of my wardrobe! No such luck, I may have to go on a summer sale spending spree, all in the name of research of course!
We are heading off to Cheshire on a narrow boat on Sunday for a whole week, so I had better go and get some work done as there is only 13 weeks left until the show and the rate I am going I'm not going to have anything to sell.
I am also applying for a grant to start-up my business, so keep all those fingers and toes crossed that good fortune will shine down and deliver the goods (business cards, corporate id, sewing machine and computer would be nice please!!)

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Thank goodness for sisters!


These shoes came courtesy of my sister, H. Luckily for me they had stretched and were too big for her dainties so she gave them to me!

Still stuck in the house with my 'lurgy' (nearly a week now this is no joke!) and to make matters worse I fell down the step in my lounge today and hurt my foot, so am now hobbling as well as snivvelling!
Okay, I think thats enough of shoes for now.... Handbags anyone?

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

My Red or Deads

A little sketch of some lovely bright pink sandals I got a couple of years ago and they are still going stron. Not sure of the shadowing though...

Monday, 20 August 2007

Shoes, Glorious Shoes!!

Well, I have had enough of flowers for now. The weather never seems to be sunny for long enough to get out into the garden to sketch! I wouldn't be surprised if half the population of UK end up with SAD before winter this year as the summer has been so bad! I just hope we get the 'Indian Summer' to compensate!!

Never mind, I always find shoes cheer me up, so here are a couple of sketches I have done today, whilst being stuck in the house, feeling poo with a cold!

Maybe this will be the topic of my next range of ideas for cards and prints??? Shoes and handbags always go down well with the ladies, and I have a wide and varied selection to peruse for ideas....

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

My first show is booked!

I have found out today I have managed to get a space at my first Craft Fair, at Patchings Farm at Christmas, a shared six foot table with a friend of mine from college. So now I HAVE to start producing some work to sell. I have until mid November I think so have plenty of time, even though I am working extra in my 'day job' throughout the summer.

Step One, tomorrow, I have an appointment with a Business Advisor at Nottinghamshire Business Venture, to get some useful (I hope) information on things I need to be doing... Step Two, speak to my lil sis, H, about getting some business cards and corporate id done. Step Three, go off camping for the weekend, well a long weekend really as I have Thurs and Fri off this week, to a beautiful campsite in Calver, Derbyshire. Its a fantastic site in a level grassy field, nice clean loos, stream trickling by, views of Curbar edge, and stumbling distance to the pub!! We had hoped to go off to Norfolk but the site we wanted is booked for weeks, the good news about that one got out!!
Fingers crossed for good weather, and for the Business Meeting :-)

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Back from France, and wishing we were still there!!


We are back from an amazing week in France with Steves family

and stayed in a beautiful villa in Eyvirat in the Perigord Vert region of the Dordogne. Check out the website www.villaindordogne.com The place is owned by a lovely English couple and they have catered to you every need, including a 10m pool in the back garden. The area was gorgeous, amazing scenery, quiet towns and villages a short drive away. We were really sad to leave but on a positive note, it seems we have brought the sun back with us. I have spent all day in the garden sunbathing, which is the first time this year due to all the rain! I suppose I had better go and unpack my bags now the sun has disappeared!!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Lazy Daisies!

I know I have been lazy lately.... but on Sunday, when we had a glimmer of that strange thing in the sky that I think they call a 'sun' I nipped out into the front garden when my hubby went off fishing, and sketched some lovely daisy like flowers (not sure of the proper name!) that have braved the English summer, and although they look a little rain-battered they are really pretty. Thought I would have a go at stitching them onto some watercolour paper, et voila... (yes I'm getting a bit of practice in for France, we fly out Saturday to the Dordogne with the family. Oh yes, and it's hot and sunny out there, YEY!!)

The big question is, do they look better with a coloured background, or should I stick to plain white??? Thoughts and comments please xx








Sunday, 22 July 2007

Once upon a time...

Well, as I haven't done any work recently, due to my day job and also getting ready for a holiday next week in France (hope the weather is better than it is in Blighty!!) I decided to post one of my projects from my first year at college. We had to design a book, using typography mainly, instead of images. So I did mine on my childhood, grwoing up on a farm and all the happy memories I had! It nearly made my dad cry when he saw it!! Hope you like it.

























Aaaah, leaving home, sniff, sniff!!