Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Remember Me...

It's been too long - ridiculously long, but I'm sure I can blame it on something...

There has been work - FAR TOO MUCH WORK!

An amazing insight into the world of Swapping - Thanks Karen! (I'll post more about this later...)

A holiday - beautiful, relaxed & over much too quickly (I'll post another blog on this soon...)

And then there has been the Vintage Fair - Well done Tonia!

I plucked up the courage to dive in deep & put myself out there with other like-minded people & guess what...I LOVED it!

The location was fab - a lovely Cotswold Village...

The weather held out (no getting drenched when going to & from the car)

The neighbours entertaining...

The whole hall was full of nothing but loveliness!
(See Tonia's Flickr page for more images)
I went on the back of my china hire, but I took the opportunity to sell some vintagey bits & was delighted that people actually bought them! I also had quite a bit of interest in the hire & it's one more event getting my name "out there".

It was also wonderful to meet some people whose lovely blogs I follow - Katie at Textile Treasure Seeker & Lucy and her friend Jayne from Lucy Bloom - isn't it lovely when you meet people & they are just as nice as you wanted them to be!

All in all, a very successful day; here's to another one soon!

S x

Monday, 5 July 2010

My Weekend...

I think I have introduced myself properly now, so it's probably time for some "normal" blogging - a little bit about how I spend my time!
On Saturday, I decided that I would visit the Vintage & Handmade Textile Fair in Chipping Sodbury. Having had a good old 'nose' around the land of Blog, I found a number of references to it, with some stands that I was desperate to visit! I was very fortunate that Mr M was working on Saturday morning, so without any questions, off I trotted with great excitement!
I used to live 20 minutes away from Chipping Sodbury, but had never visited (how often does that happen, when something is on your doorstep!) & my first impressions were most favourable - a very pretty town with flowers & bunting everywhere!

Having found the Old Grammar School I was quickly immersed in a world of prettiness, style & taste - a little Vintage wonderland! It was lovely to meet some of the ladies whose blogs I follow - I only wish I had the confidence to engage in a little conversation, but I always feel that I may be bothering people.
Naturally I made a purchase - well several, how pretty do they look - & they're still wrapped...

Here they are in all their glory...

After arriving home, the remainder of the day was mainly chores-related, but I did find time in the evening to complete some knitting - a gorgeous Fuchsia Pink scarf knitted in Sublime. Now I know I shouldn't be knitting scarves when the weather outside is so beautiful, but it's all part of my grand Christmas plan. This year my friends & family will be receiving items which I have spent hours lovingly crafted, in the hope that the appreciation will be far more than that of a shop-bought something. 2 scarves down - countless other items to go!
On Sunday, I had volunteered to return a visiting Aunt to her home in Cornwall & had managed to persuade Mr M that he wanted to accompany us both! We set off early & made good time & decided to take a somewhat more picturesque route than the A30 on the return journey. Joining the coast just past Ilfracombe we happened upon Lynton & Lynmouth, never before visited by either of us.

Typically, the weather on arrival was not the best, but to be honest, this is often our favourite time to visit places as there is rarely anyone else around! Having refreshed ourselves with a Cream Tea, we stopped off at the Glen Lyn Gorge & our plan worked! As we paid our entrance fee we were informed that we were the only visitors there!

The gorge was very pretty, although there were a few nervous moments when there were some quite dramatic drops (I'm not a lover of edges - although I don't mind heights!), but we spent some time walking amongst the woods in the hope of spotting a red deer - no luck though, but look at these beautiful scenes...

After walking to the top & generally making the most of the peace & quiet, we headed back to the coast, where I had to take a picture of this little boat - well it's not often you see your name on the side of one!

Finally stopping to take a quick snap of one of the locals!

A quick check of my blog on returning home, showed that the buddies were announced for the Shabby Vintage Swap organised by Tilly Rose & my swap-buddy...(drumroll)...no less than Karen (Tilly Rose) herself! The pressure is now on for my goodies to be of the quality & special-ness that she deserves!
A lovely day & a lovely end to the weekend. Isn't it fab when you look back & have achieved a lot - the only problem is, it makes next weekend seem so much further away!

S x

Monday, 28 June 2010

Up & Running...

Getting your name "out there" is probably the hardest thing to do when starting any new business venture, so I figured "in for a penny..." Well, I actually spent quite a few pennies & bagged myself a spot at a local wedding fayre with once again my usual low expectations - why is it so hard to be positive for yourself when you have an abundance of it for your friends & family!
Many weeks of planning & preparation led me up to the big day & there I was - all alone & touting my wares! How ridiculous, but I was quite nervous! Honestly, put me in front of a roomful of people & I'll deliver a business presentation with no concerns, but give me the opportunity to talk enthusiastically about something I love & I go to pieces!

I even made the bunting!

It was an interesting day & I met with lots of people, some of whom understood exactly what I was offering, whilst for others, the concept of hiring vintage china for any occasion seemed quite alien - is it really so odd?

I was delighted with the colour theme. Having recently acquired some beautiful floral china with a soft yellow colour, I thought the combination of yellow & pink might stand out. Neither of these are what I would describe as MY colours, but this isn't about me, it's about tempting others! The palette was quite pleasing & I had some wonderful comments.

I made some good potential business contacts & had far & away more interest than I thought & as a result of the fayre have received my first bookings - yeay! I can now officially say "Booking into 2011" - who'd have thought! I learnt some lessons from the day - one of which was - HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE, but overall I am glad that I took the plunge - no looking back now!

That pretty much brings me up to speed with the business, it's early days & I am already looking at other ways to improve & make me stand out & I will enjoy sharing with you.

Probably the most exciting piece of news is that I have followers - 2 of them in fact! Thank you to Carole & to Lisa at noodleBubble for your comments - please stick with me & we can go on a little adventure together!

S x

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Next Step...

With the excitement & hard work of the wedding over, I decided it was time to focus on my sideline venture of vintage china hire. One thing that amazed me, was that in the 10 months from when I had started collecting china - the number of people with similar ideas had escalated massively! Checking out the competition really opened my eyes, but nothing ventured...!
One thing that my day-job has taught me is that marketing & presentation really do matter, so the first thing I needed to organise was photography - from which everything else could be worked. Now I understand the skills involved with photography - but why are they SO expensive! After hours of internet trawling, I found Heather - a wonderful local photographer with her own studio, who was reasonably priced & the biggest bonus of all - only a 10 minute drive away!

With studio time booked, it was a lot of hard work to get everything up together for suitable settings, but after much deliberation & a few shopping trips I was all ready. I spent a very enjoyable few hours with Heather at the bottom of her garden & was delighted with the outcome...

The next thing to organise was a website. Now, unfortunately I do not have a bottomless pit of money & having spent out on the photography I needed a quick & cheap fix, so set myself up with a DIY website. I was realistic with what to expect & being my harshest critic am clearly not happy with the result, but with my beautiful new photographs, managed to make something half-decent & more importantly gave me some web presence!

I was on my way to having my own little business!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

How it all began...

So, the wonderful Mr M proposed - beautifully & it was all about the organisation of the wedding day.
Wanting to do things always a little differently to my friends, I thought "Vintage" & set about scouring the charity shops, car boots & my personal favourite - eBay, for gorgeous, delicate china that would set the tone of the day.
However, after hours of online research, a lot of petrol & many hours at the weekends visiting suitable wedding venues, our final choice did clearly not lend itself to the vintage theme. Undeterred as ever though, I continued with my new fascination & decided "I'll hire it out - surely there are other people who would want this for their wedding day". Armed with ideas & brimming with enthusiasm, I commenced planning all the facets of my new business venture, but had not bargained on the tiny detail that was...full time job + wedding planning = not a lot of spare time! So the months went by with very little action! Oh - apart from marrying Mr M, having a wonderful day with all my fab friends & family and generally feeling very happy with my lot!
As you can see - a complete u-turn from vintage!

Monday, 7 June 2010

An Introduction...

Am I completely ridiculous at being nervous about this - my first EVER blog? The prospect is, that I write (badly) & no-one ever reads my musings/rantings/general thoughts...Everyone else whom I already follow, has my upmost admiration for being articulate, funny, interesting & insightful - I hope that if anything I am not bland - I hate bland!
Asuming I have not already lost you - hello! My name is Steph, I am (newly) married & I live in Cheltenham. I am insanely jealous of all those who I read about with the "perfect lifestyle". My definition of this is children/pets/rural home, none of which I am currently lucky enough to have in my life, but all of which I dream of. I am also not fortunate enough to spend my days keeping house & crafting (not that I believe these to be an easy way of life, I hasten to add), but when faced with endless days of office work, you can probably understand my fascination!
However, I have a dogged determination that I will achieve some if not all of my above dreams & this is my little story of hope!
S x