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

Look back … look forward.

Happy new year to all my readers, I hope you’ve all had a good festive season with time to recharge and look ahead to 2019.  

Christmas themed bag charms.
Christmas themed bag charms – the little black cat with a Santa hat was a personal favourite!

The lead up to Christmas is often a busy one for small businesses, especially those that involve selling, and it is quite a relief to have a little downtime to collect thoughts, look back on the past year and then look forward to the new one with new ideas and optimism.  For me the beginning of the year is often quiet on the selling front and I should by now be used to this and try not to get a too twitchy!  There are so many things involved in running an indie business that a space of quiet like this should really be a blessing to catch up on non-sewing work, but naturally you can’t help hearing those inner voices casting small nuggets of doubt about your craft and where your path is leading.

As these thoughts can pop up at any time, I keep a month by month journal listing anything positive that happens with regard to Ellie’s Treasures. When the doubt sets in, I find it a help to look back and see that business is not stagnant, there is always something in the pipeline, always something to work on and improve and, hopefully, a lovely customer or two that comes along at the right moment with a compliment that makes you start to believe in yourself again.

A monthly list of positive steps that have been taken in your business.

The last few months have been a whirlwind of sewing, listing, restocking and selling so I thought I’d share with you a couple of lovely things that have happened since the Autumn and a few plans for the coming year.

I can now show you photos of an artwork commission I received back in September and completed in October.  It was a privilege to work alongside my client and be trusted with such a personal birthday present and seeing it come together, piece by piece, was really fulfilling.  

Mixed media hand sewn artwork commission.
Close up detail of mixed media hand sewn artwork.

The end of November and beginning of December were busy craft market times for Ellie’s Treasures with Pensthorpe Craft Fair and Deepdale Christmas Market over two consecutive weekends.  Both were extremely busy and great fun. It was a pleasure to meet so many supportive sellers, customers and visitors, it really does make the early mornings and late evenings worthwhile.  I’d like to thank Lottie of Lottie’s Little Treasures (who was also selling at Deepdale with her beautifully gorgeous goodies) for taking the time out of her busy days to track me down so we could meet in person – it was a lovely surprise, thank you so much.

Plans for 2019?  Well I have a few new ideas up my sleeve! I’ve just started to introduce planner charms to my range, two are now listed, one is waiting to be photographed and several are ready for sewing. The clip charms are cute and original little accessories that will brighten up any thin ring bound notebook, diary or journal – perfect for the stationery lover.

Hand sewn unicorn planner journal charm in pink.
cute unicorn planner charm in pink – a new line for Ellie’s Treasures

I’ve been hearing on the grapevine that nature will be featuring big this year, so I’m in the process of developing a range to include more tactile embellishments along these lines.  Also, getting Ellie’s Treasures out on the road is something I’d like to do more of as I really enjoy meeting folk face to face. This does mean I need to be sewing a lot more than I already am so a big challenge there for me as time always seems to be against me.  Finally, perhaps this year will be the year I start my own shop website – we’ll see … one step at a time!

Do you have exciting plans for 2019?  Drop me a comment, I’d love to hear how you see the year progressing for you.