a virtual Christmas shopping experience

I think it’s quite safe to say that this year’s Christmas present buying will, for the many, take place online. Although there are shops open, and a few local fairs and markets taking place, I fear a lot of us will decide it is safer to stay away and let the fingers do the shopping. Besides, it’s great to have a glass of wine (mulled perhaps?) or steaming cuppa and slice of cake by your side as you ponder over the vast array of fabulous gift ideas available from the comfort of your own home.

Push away the thoughts of the big online shops and marketplaces, this post will be highlighting three close to home online present buying opportunities, all of which will satisfy that need to find something a little different and be able to support the many small businesses too. Here we go ….

Virtual Norfolk Craft, Food and Drink Market – a group on Facebook set up by the very talented photographer and huge small business supporter, Paul Macro. At the time of blogging, this group has around 180 local sellers all regularly showcasing their beautiful wares to a huge number of followers. Joining the group is easy, just click the join button, you’ll be accepted and away you go. All the sellers I’ve come across have been friendly and professional, with links to shops or Facebook pages to navigate to in order to purchase an item or request further information.

1000 piece puzzle of Cromer beach from Paul Macro Photography.
Delicious hamper including shortbread, gin liquer and marmalade from Simon’s Table.
Fun and tactile handmade card from Covenant Craft.
Pretty beach themed mug from Zoe Crawford Art.
Made from recycled wood jumpers – thick and cosy wrist warmers from The Norfolk Farmers Wife.

@LincsConnect on Twitter is the handle for Martin of Mandarin Leisure. If you are looking to purchase gifts from online sellers in Lincolnshire, Martin has set up a hashtag hour called #LincsArtCraftHour, dedicated to Lincolnshire based artisan businesses to showcase their products. You can view the hashtag at any time, but the dedicated hour is every Monday from 12 noon until 1pm. Alongside this is the hashtag #LincsConnectChristmas, for Christmas gift ideas originating from the county.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Calendar 2021 from local photographers Dave Newman and Andrew Scott – available from Andrew Scott Photography.
Beautiful stag wall art print from Christine Dobbin Art.
Fun and festive snowflake necktie from Create England.
Elegant stoneware spoon rest from Made With Mud.
International Bomber Command Centre painted onto vintage maps from Original Art by Fiona Duncan – a donation is given to the centre for each sale.

Of THE MAKERS is a new subscription box service run by Kerry, a Norfolk based supporter of the creative community. Kerry’s vision is to support small independent businesses by offering a selection of handmade items from UK designers and makers that is beautifully packaged and delivered through the letterbox as a special one off treat or on a quarterly basis via subscription. Orders for the special Premium Gift Box of lovingly made items from eight small businesses, needs to be in by 2nd December, for delivery in time for Christmas.

Beautiful handmade items from UK based creatives, delivered directly to your home from Of THE MAKERS.

Virtual markets

As the current pandemic continues to change the way we go about our lives, I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll need to write off this entire year when it comes to participating in indoor craft fairs and markets. I’ve already been told one of the markets I sell at over the Christmas period won’t be going ahead for 2020, so there’s a good chance the vast majority will follow suit.

On the up-side, there has been a rise in online (virtual) markets – the ones I’ve seen have been on Instagram and Facebook. Having taken part in one last month with Bluebirds Handmade Market, I’ve got the bug and signed up for another for next weekend with Handmade and Creative and have realised that they require as much pre-planning and on the day dedication as a live market. One thing is for sure, I’m now beginning to get to grips with “stories” and all that goes with it on Instagram … Facebook, sadly, is still a head scratching puzzle for me!

So, the Handmade and Creative fair, which can be accessed by using the hasthtag #handmadeindoors on Instagram, will take place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June between 7 and 10pm – perfect for when you’ve settled on the sofa after a busy day with a cuppa or glass of something chilled and you’re ready to go virtual browsing and buying from a fantastic selection of UK sellers.

hand sewn mixed media brooches by Ellie's Treasures - black cats, unicorn, pegasus and black poodle brooches

I’ve been busy at the sewing table building up stock levels with a few cute mini brooches and small mixed media artworks added to the list. Commissions will be open before, during and after the market if you’d like something special made. Hope you can join us.

hand sewn mixed media small dachshund dog themed canvas with easel - dreamy days

Bring on spring!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas with time to relax and rejuvenate ready for 2020. With the weeks after my last market whizzing by in a whirlwind of commission sewing, it meant the home didn’t get the festive sparkle until the 22nd December! Waiting until then did mean I had two extra helpers in the form of my adult children who had come home from uni, so it wasn’t all so bad! I have given myself a couple of weeks off “normal” sewing to endeavour to finish my own new fabric wallet (started about 3 years ago) – I’ll pop photos on when it’s finally finished (hopefully not in another 3 years).

Ellie's Treasures, Deepdale Christmas Market, Norfolk
Deepdale Christmas Market, Norfolk (2019) – credit to Jason for the snap shot.

Both Christmas markets were very busy – thank you to all who dropped by, it was great to meet you and I hope you enjoyed the fairs as much as I did taking part. I picked up a selection of lovely commissions but thought I’d show you this special one … a bespoke science themed artwork for a customer’s daughter. I have to admit, I did dig out my son’s GCSE chemistry textbook for this one, just to make sure I was getting the element details correct!

bespoke mixed media artwork by Ellie's Treasures
Science themed mixed media artwork commission.

Looking onwards to spring and my first new item for the shop is this cute hedgehog charm. With the lobster clasp clip, it’s perfect for attaching to a handbag, set of keys or spiral bound notebook. Sewn in striking lime green felt and decorated with lots of pretties, the idea of using a hedgehog charm came from another commission request – I can’t believe I hadn’t added hedgehogs to my range before this.

hand sewn hedgehog bag charm, hedgehog notebook charm, hedgehog key clip in lime green by Ellie's Treasures

Hedgehogs are the cutest – we don’t often see them in our garden, but when we do, they are usually scurring away from danger – it’s amazing how fast those little legs can carry them.

Did you know hedgehogs are known as the “gardener’s friend” as they enjoy eating garden pests that could otherwise munch through a patch of prized blooms and veggies? An adult hedgehog can have around 5000-7,000 spines, which are keratin stiffened hollow hairs. These come in handy to ward off predators, rolling themselves into a ball and sticking their prickly spines out. In recent years, the baby hedgehog has been given the name “hoglet”, which is adorable! My husband was a big hedgehog fan during his uni years, calling them hedgepigs and finishing off his signature with a rough hedgie sketch.

Festive fairs and Christmas spirit

With my last Christmas market on the horizon I’m keeping my needle threaded, my charms and beads at the ready, and boosting stock levels whenever I have a spare hour!

hand sewn angel bag charm by Ellie's Treasures
hand sewn angel bag charm/key clip – “hope”

Last week’s fair at Pensthorpe was amazing! The weather actually stayed dry (in fact the sun peaked out for a short while), the line up of independent sellers was fabulous and the organisation was brilliant. I’m looking forward to my final fair of the year, and as it’ll be my third year at Deepdale, I know it will a lovely weekend with a great atmosphere.

Ellie's Treasures Norfolk craft markets and fairs
Pensthorpe Natural Park, Fakenham, Christmas Market 2019

If you are in Norfolk (or surrounding counties) and fancy a trip out to start or finish your Christmas shopping, then do consider dropping by Deepdale at Dalegate Market, you won’t be disappointed. It’s free to enter and free parking, and with vast selection of stalls, in marquees, barns, pop up sheds and the church too, plus delicious grub to enjoy, you won’t be disappointed.

Ellie’s Treasures will be inside the Brick Barn and I’ll be accepting commissions over the weekend should you be looking for something specific.

Dachshund mixed media canvas artwork

Happy Christmas shopping!

Norfolk Christmas markets

With my first 2019 fair under my belt, I thought I’d pop a post with details of upcoming Christmas Markets where you’ll be able to find Ellie’s Treasures.

Ellie's Treasures Christmas Craft fairs 2019
2019 Christmas market venues for Ellie’s Treasures

You may have read my past posts on tips for selling at craft fairs (over four parts), and I think I should have had a little catch up read before the market last Sunday as I felt a bit rusty packing everything up and making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. I’ve updated my to do list with a few things that came to light this time.

Ellie's Treasures products
It can take a remarkable amount of time to prepare for a craft market

The pop up event on Sunday was lovely, although the weather was atrocious. The heavens opened from dawn to dusk and driving an hour and a half to Reepham in Norfolk at 7 in the morning wasn’t fun! Having said that, the venue was superb, warm and undercover, and it was great to meet and chat with such a wonderful bunch of sellers. We were all amazed how many people braved the weather, despite talk of local roads being closed and cars being abandoned in flooded areas. A big thank you to the organisers, Kerri’s Farmhouse Pine – a fantastic venue to visit at any time with plenty to browse and buy, wonderful tea room and country walks right on the doorstep.

Ellie's Treasures at Kerri's Farmhouse Pine October Pop up 2019