Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mug cosies, confessions and people who know better than you

Well, I think it's time I made a confession about my lack of blogging activity over the last few months. All the reasons I cited are valid but the nitty gritty fact is that I had something nasty happen to me that kind of put me off having a full on web presence. I fell out with someone quite close to me and instead of talking about it face to face she concocted a pretty vicious story which has meant that it's likely that we'll lose our home. It should have been obvious to anyone with half a brain cell that the story couldn't be true, and when we showed it to our solicitor he laughed but she somehow managed to get someone who matters to believe it. At the end of the day it's her karma and deep down I know me and mine will always be ok but we really don't want to lose the smallholding. I knew she was reading this blog because I could see her IP address and that put me off writing anything but the most mundane stuff. So, now I've explained that let's shove it behind us and get on :) They say the best revenge is to live well and I totally agree.

Sunday was my husband's 50th Birthday. Having spent the last year bemoaning the fact he managed to have a splendid time. We had an array of friends and family around to help him celebrate and ended the evening with a bonfire and some fireworks which were generously donated by our fantastic new next door neighbours. He had 50 candles on his cake and a friend of ours who plays the bagpipes played beautifully as I stumbled up the field ( I fell down the stairs on Tuesday morning and mashed up my ankle - rolls eyes at stupid self) to present it to him. All was going well until the cake was cut and handed back to me and I managed to drop the lot! Silly cow. Never mind, people just ate it off the ground - lol!

Three of our friends are in a band called Bagas Degol and they came and played for us and kept everyone entertained for hours. They really were the icing on the cake (the one that didn't get dropped) and we're so grateful to them for coming. I got a couple of pictures but the camera seems to have been as drunk as I was as they all came out blurred!

The second one is blurry because everyone was dancing so fast - honest :D

It was a lovely day and hopefully everyone who came had a good time.

Lots of people were asking how the business is going and I found it quite hard to explain. I look back over the last year and I've learned to spin, learned to make felt, learned to make myself a website and publish it, learned all sorts of other associated things - all whilst living with an illness that can pole-axe me and send me to bed for a week at the drop of a hat. I want to be absolutely sure that I can handle it before I 'launch' it properly and then find out I'm right back at square one. When you try to explain to people that you need to take it slowly you can see them thinking 'Yeah, right. What she really means is she can't sell it because it's shite'. In actual fact I've had such a positive response to my work when I've been brave enought to take it out somewhere that it kind of scares me. I started this business through a combination of boredom and bloody mindedness. My consultant told me that I'm nowhere near well enough to start a business so I did it to prove him wrong., There are times when it's all grinding to a halt that I have to admit he was probably right. My illness should have nothing to do with my business and what I fear is having more work than I can handle and subsequently letting people down. So, despite the people looking askance and thinking 'This woman hasn't got a clue' I'm treading exceptionally carefully in regards to where I sell, how much I can realistically produce etc until life is on a more stable footing. There will always be people who think they know more about your business than you do so I'm going to learn to nod and smile graciously and say 'Thank you'.

I'm doing a really interesting Marketing course which (despite my initial reservations) is proving to be really useful. In one way it's reassuring as it's reinforcing that I'm doing the right thing and in other ways it's opening up different avenues for me. I'm hoping to be much more confident writing/speaking about my work by the end of the course and then I can get on with some press releases and maybe entice a couple of mags to come and do a feature on what life is like as a craftsperson on a Cornish smallholding. The foundations of the business and my business practice are all there and they're nice and solid, I just have to be sure I don't try to run beforeI can walk (quite literally - lol)

Speaking of business, I got some feedback from the Marketing course that people really loved the tea cosies but don't use teapots. Someone suggested mug cosies so I bought some nice, plain whiteware mugs and had a go. This is what the 1st small batch came out like

They'll be on the site very soon but I'm particularly looking forward to selling them at fairs. I like them and I'm grateful to Ross for suggesting them - thanks Ross :)

I'm still enjoying doing the functional stuff but I really yearn to do something beautiful just for the sake of it. As you know I've struggled with this aspect of creativity for a while - hence my anti art-textiles rant last year but I have to concede that I really do love experimenting with techniques and materials just for the sake of it. I loved making that bowl and would love to make more, bigger ones. I've decided to keep on with the functional felt for a while to get settled and then see if there's room to expand into more fine art type stuff later on.

I've agreed to sell spinning tools for a a lovely craftsman called David Goddard. His stuff is lovely, hand carved/turned nostepinnes, spindles and various other spinning knick knacks. I'm looking forward to using his beautiful drop spndles in a spinning kit. They'll all be on the site later this month and I'll be talking them with me to Wonderwool and Woolfest. I know you'll love them as much as I do. Here's a nostepinne in action

So, I guess that's enough for the time being - lol. Hopefully I'll be able to get over the nasty taste left by last year's shenanigans and blog a bit more frequently.



Blogger Rita said...

I'm very sorry to hear of your troubles, I do hope you don't have to give up your smallholding. It's good to see you back, love the mug cosies, what an excellent idea! And it sounds like a very good plan to have other goods to sell - it could tide you over a sparse patch if that were to happen and you wouldn't have to shut up shop.
Have a good time at Woolfest, I wish I could get there!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Craftydramaqueen said...

I hope everything works out well for you. This person- whoever she is- should be very ashamed of herself. The mug cosies and teacosies are fab. Hope to see you at Woolfest.:-)

12:54 PM  
Blogger peri said...

Love the mug cosies - what a great idea, especially if they match the teapot cosies as well - selling as a set.

I truly hope you don't loose the smallholding and whoever is dumping on you from a great height gets theirs! I do firmly believe we reap what we sow.

2:41 AM  
Blogger artyfartykat said...

So sorry to hear of your problems and I hope that it doesn't come to you losing your home.
The mug cosies are fantastic, a brill idea for coffee drinkers, though I adore your teacosies!! Looking forward to seeing all your goodies 'in the flesh' at Woolfest!

12:45 PM  
Blogger TutleyMutley said...

I use a teapot! But the mug cosies look very cute. I'm very sad as I'm working the weekend of wonderwool - maybe woolfest.

You sound in good spirits and I, too, firmly believe in karma.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Artis-Anne said...

Oh gosh I am so sorry to hear you have been having such a rough time. I am always amazed by how hostile & vengeful some people are, I don't know why as its part of life but I still find it upsetting but I do hope that things will sort and that your home will be safe.
Love your party photos they really showed the atmosphere.
I too cope with a chronic illness and know what it takes to battle through things and also have days which are so bad that I end in bed or the sofa for days. So for me also, my crafts are my escape and have given me back some of my lost confidence in myself as being able to produce something .
I look forward to seeing you at Wonderwool Wales & at Woolfest too :)

1:34 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Thanks all - I appreciate the comments :)

We have 2 new lambs this morning - that always feels nice.

It'll be great to see some of you at WW and WF - a bit nerve racking though - be gentle with me - lol.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

The mug cosies are very pretty. I'm sorry to hear you've had such an unpleasant time.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Toggle said...

Go Stacey.

That was a fun party.

And if you want to see what i'm doing with your roving, hit my blog. i've spun enough for socks already

3:31 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Hi Stacey
I'm worse at keeping up with the blogging than you! If you ever want a chat sometime, we could meet for a coffee/tea somewhere & talk wool-related art/craft businesses & the issues related to how much time you can devote to them because of the rest of life going on around one! Not sure what part of Cornwall you're in, but I travel around a bit (although I live in mid-cornwall - south coast), but if you want to meet anytime, give me a shout!

1:25 AM  

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