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It’s amazing to think that it’s about a year since I last posted on this blog and 10 months since I took part in a craft fair!  I have no idea why it has taken me so long to get around to correcting these things and I’m going to do both on the same day – provided I manage to finish this post in the next 45 minutes before midnight. Why am I typing this so late?  In a the vain hope that I might be able to stay awake to see a new Brit taking on Novak Djokovic in the US Open Tennis.  The match won’t start until 2am at the earliest.  Not sure I’ll manage it but no work tomorrow so it’s worth a try!!

I’ve been really busy in the last few months building up some stock, trying out some new ideas and preparing to hit the craft fair circuit again. I’ve got some new retail outlets which are both proving quite successful and I have plans to work on my Facebook page and Folksy shop to see if I can drum up improved sales online.

I set up my new display at The Crafty Pint Market at The Waverley Public House in Bognor Regis today.  I have recently purchased a 3 shelf collapsible bookcase – a great little item for a modest price, easy to transport and I thought it would be ideal to give some height and make my table more attractive.  Looking round the room today I see that many of my co-crafters had exactly the same shelving that I had selected – great minds and all that!

Ted’s modelling prowess brought some nice comments from the Bognorians – he sat patiently all day without complaint but failed in his ultimate goal – I still have the hat!

Spiders were a hit with the youngsters and my next fair at Worthing Pavilion on 9 October will see more of them escape from my bag – Halloween is coming and they can’t wait to take part in the fun (see last blog post below).

I was surprised that felted soap did not attract more comments.  Perhaps these unusual and inexpensive presents will be more appealing nearer to Christmas?

Thinking about the impending festive season, I spent the day making some hanging Christmas pudding tree decorations so, not only did I have a very pleasant day with fellow crafters, I sold some of my wares and was productive as well!

All in all a good day and, despite spending the day in a pub, not a drop passed my lips until the red wine I had with dinner this evening!!20160904_103847




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Halloween horrors

Here at Pip’s Place we’ve been getting in the Halloween mood by bringing to life a few little fuzzy legged friends with felt fangs!  Yes the Vampire Spiders are on the march looking for a spooky place to hide until the big night!! They will be on sale at Crafters Corner in Littlehampton very soon.


Here they are in all their googly eyed glory 🙂

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Dear Blog readers, I must confess…I told you a lie in my last post back in May!  My thoughts and intentions were completely true and correct at the time but the bug I’d thought I’d been bitten by turned out to be nothing more than a surface scratch which cleared up really quickly!

Littlehampton 10k happened without me, the summer came and went and here I am still thinking I must get those trainers out and attempt to get a bit fitter.  I’ve joined the gym but don’t feel inspired to go along even though it only takes 2 minutes in the car to get there.  I also live in a great place for running, Littlehampton seafront is literally a stones throw away, yet still I procrastinate and sit on the sofa 😦

Dark evenings are now with us of course which is never a great incentive to get out after work and also produces those SAD feelings which some of us are prone to.  However, I just think I’m being a bit lazy really and there is no use moaning about putting on a few pounds if I can’t be bothered to do anything about it…I only have myself to blame.

Last night in a moment of madness I entered the Santa Dash for St Barnabas Hospice which will happen on 23 November on Littlehampton seafront (in memory of my Mum who passed away there last November and liked to see me run).  Its only 3k so I could walk it if need be and no one would know my shame at doing so as I will be dressed up as Santa, with masses of other Santas around me!!  However, it would be nice to run it.  So, dear readers, I have just one question for you…


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Today I took part in my 7th Bognor Regis 10k run!  It’s my absolute favourite of all the many runs I’ve ever done.  Why is that?  Well, I used to live in Bognor so that made it special; its a great course and there is support almost every weary step of the way from the enthusiastic crowds who turn out every year, no matter what the weather, and it’s the first run I ever watched, many years ago with some friends.  Nothing special in that really except that whilst standing cheering on the runners I thought to myself  ‘I wish I could do that’ although I honestly believed that I never would.

I think that may have been in 2000 and now I can’t believe that, not only have I run the race, but I’ve done it 7 times!  I’m not in any way athletic – I was last to be chosen for the team in PE lessons on many occasions!  I’m not a great runner either – getting slower as the years go on and I approach a  milestone birthday!  But, with running comes an activity that no doubt helps keep you fit and healthy but costs little to take part in and gets you out in the fresh air. A good pair of running shoes and you’re off!

I’m not about to tell you it’s easy – I’m often reminded that the first time I attempted to run ’round the block’ my partner thought I was going to keel over!!  With regular practice however, starting slowly and building up distance (if not any great speed!), running will release all those wonderful endorphins in your brain that make you feel good (although outwardly you may look like a hot, sweaty, mess!).  I really do envy those ladies who can run a 10k and look as perfect at the end as when they started!!

I did run for a club (Worthing & District Harriers) and took part in the excellent West Sussex Fun Run League but my interest in this lapsed as I was having problems with my hips – although an x-ray confirmed nothing to worry about.  At that point I decided ‘one more Bognor 10k’ thinking if my hips didn’t improve, it could be my last race 😦

I’m pleased to say training went okay, glucosamine tablets are either a great placebo or are doing wonders for my hip joints and the bug has bitten again – now it’s onwards and upwards to the 10k Coastal Run in Littlehampton on 7 September!

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It’s almost here again! … yes, on Saturday the glitz, kitsch and complete insanity that is the wonderful Eurovision Song Contest will grace our screens for 3 hours!!  Two evenings this week have been spent sifting the awful from the very awful and now we have the ‘best’ 20 plus the ‘big 5’ and last year’s winning country, all lined up for 8pm on Saturday in Copenhagen to do battle.

Some interesting entries to look out for – woman on roller blades (think that was Montenegro), Romania’s circular piano, man in a hamster wheel (Ukraine I think!), Conchita Sausage from Austria (the bearded lady), a whistling Swiss bloke and Greeks on a trampoline!  Then of course there is the UK entry – Molly.  The song is mediocre and we will be lucky to get in the top half , but what do I know?  Now I’ve committed this to the blog we will probably go and win!!

Ireland will be disappointed not to have made it to the final.  Jonny Logan will be shedding a tear in his Guinness – do you who recall the heady days in the early 80’s when Ireland couldn’t stop winning?  I have a copy of ‘What’s Another Year’ somewhere although I remember it warped in the sun and was never the same again!!

Graham Norton will be entertaining as usual and all the political voting comments will be rolled out again – with Russia and Ukraine both having qualified, there may even be some changes in who gives who 12 points!

Who will win?  On first listen I think Sweden have a good chance, or perhaps Italy, or Austria, or …?  I’ve been watching every year since I can remember and I never get it right, but then that’s half the fun!!

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I will apologise in advance for this post as I’m afraid it may be less than positive.  The main reason for this is I am 49 tomorrow and whilst this is not an issue in itself, this is my first birthday without my Mum.  People told me this would be a difficult year, the first time for everything without sharing it with her or telling her about it.  I got through Christmas surprisingly okay but this feels more significant somehow.  I now think it would have been good to have a brother or sister to share these feelings with (not a thought I’ve had very often I confess), instead I bend the ears of my nearest and dearest and my understanding friends, all of whom have been brilliant and seen me through the low points so far – trouble is I am well aware that once tomorrow has gone there will still be other firsts and low points to come in the months ahead.

On a happier note, I have been busily crafting away recently and did my first fair of the year yesterday at Broadwater Parish Rooms.  I do find that escaping into a world of colour and creativity is a buzz that helps keep me sane at times.

There were a lovely selection of crafts and vintage for sale and a really happy vibe to the place thanks to the super organisation of Suzanne Bramble.  My hand felted brooches and purses drew some interest, discussion and sales; some of my cards disappeared too so you just never know what could come of that!  I only had a small table but the display went well and there are some photos below of my set up.  No other fairs booked at the moment so I must get to grips with updating my Folksy shop and changing my stock at Crafters’ Corner.

Also this week I do have two exciting music events to look forward to.  If you have seen my Facebook page you will know I like my music.  One of my all time favs is the brilliant (in my view) but not incredibly well known Green Gartside aka Scritti Politti (if I hadn’t told you my age at the start you’d have a good idea of it now I think!!).  I am seeing him twice this week!!  I’m just a little bit excited :0),  firstly he is supporting the Manic Street Preachers at the Brighton Centre on Wednesday, then doing a solo gig in Guildford on Thursday.  If you haven’t heard of Scritti, check them out on YouTube.  I remember hearing John Peel say in the early 80’s, after having them do a session for his show that ‘anyone who rhymed popsicle with hospital was alright by him’.  It’s definitely all right by me too…

I’ve surprised myself, this post is not as down beat as I thought it would be and I feel in a better frame of mind now I’ve written it!












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Felt Evolution

I’ve had a big chunk of well deserved ‘me time’ today.  Thanks to an email from the tutor whose felt workshops I attended last year at the wonderful Sussex Prairie Garden, I have spent the day wet and dry felting at Evolution Arts in Brighton (www.evolutionarts.org.uk).

Mo Jackson is an inspiring tutor who genuinely loves what she does and this rubs off on those she teaches.  We began with making a piece of felt by the wet method (fluff and soap suds again) and I chose pinks, purples and white.  My ideas began to change as I laid out the wool and, as with my previous nuno felting, I ended up with some straight lines and pattern to my finished article.  I think it will make a good wall hanging or I might frame it.  ???????????????????????????????It measures about 10″ x 10″ so would make an impact on a plain wall.

It’s amazing to see what others create from the same raw materials and my fellow felters all produced lovely finished products but all so different.  Here’s a photo of a few of them.


After lunch we were offered a choice of what we wanted to make; flower brooches, a bowl, needle felted balls or small animals.  I chose to needle felt on to a polystyrene egg shape and, if I’m honest, I wasn’t best pleased with the result and wished I’d made a flower instead!  But at least I’ve tried this now and know I can do better.  Photos below show the egg shape with some wool attached and the finished fully felted shape.???????????????????????????????

I was definitely in a pink and purple mood today!

???????????????????????????????One of the very helpful tips that I picked up from Mo today was that I could do my needle felting much quicker if I used a coarser wool so I will be shopping around for some of this online later.

I finished off the afternoon making some small needle felted balls to turn into a necklace in a mixture of greens and yellows although after someone said they looked like sprouts, I’ve been put off the idea of wearing them!!

I ended my trip with a cappuccino and a toasted teacake in Costa – perfect end to a lovely day!

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The Purple Welly Brigade

Have you noticed how coloured and patterned wellies have become the norm nowadays, in fact they could be classed as a fashion accessory?

I must admit that until a week ago, the only wellies I possessed were of the ‘green’ and, quite frankly, boring variety and had only been used when cleaning the car.  I think someone gave them to me and, being a size 7, they are much too big, requiring vast socks to fill them up enough for me to walk without losing them!  There is no way I would have worn them out in public.

The recent awful weather has changed all this.  On a visit to The Range I spied a selection of very attractive boots of the welly variety and took a long time choosing between sensible-ish black ones with a red sole and white flowers down one side, all over liquorice allsorts, stripy, spotty and flowery and settled on the only ones that fitted my colour scheme – purple and pink.  They have little scotty dogs all over in pink and grey on a dark purple background and are just gorgeous (well I think they are!).  To go with them a pair of bright pink socks called ‘Heat Holders’ which are fleecy inside right down to the toes – I couldn’t wait for it to rain again!!

Today they were christened in a torrential downpour in Worthing.  No soggy wet feet for me – just dry and cosy toes.  Bring on more horrid weather and I might be seen wearing them into the office!!


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Robin Request


These little chaps have been literally flying off the craft table this year.  I’ve made and sold 52 in the last couple of months!  Thanks to my dear work mates they are now in various locations far and wide and I am told that one will be on it’s way to Denmark too (I didn’t know Robins migrated!).

This morning one of my colleagues brought a Christmas craft book in to the office to show me a lovely little hanging reindeer that I could work on for the next festive season – the antlers looked a bit fiddly but I will have a go.  If they have the potential to be as successful as my robins, I will need to start making them during the summer!

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I’m not sure where this year has gone.  People used to say that the weeks, months, years going by so quickly was a sign of getting old but seeing as my 19 year old complains of the same thing, it can’t be an age related.  And now it’s almost Christmas…I have to admit it’s not my favourite time of year but at least it’s a few days off work.

2013 has not been great.  I have lost my Mum who was my anchor in life and I’m now bobbing about in a direction-less state wondering how long it will be until I feel like myself again. Everyone has been very kind and supportive in these difficult times.

We had a leaking radiator at home which caused loads of damage in the lounge and has resulted in me not having a sofa anymore.  That sounds odd I know but before the builders came in, we got rid of the old one and have had all manner of problems finding a new one that is small enough to get through the hall – I can’t quite figure out how we got the old one out, it was huge!

Crafting has gone okay but there have been some disappointing craft fairs and generally a lack of time to practice my new techniques.

My fitness has gone downhill – I’ve not run as much and don’t really feel motivated to do so.  I did do some sessions in the gym which were okay but the novelty wore off after a while.  As a result there is certainly more of me than there used to be!  This is not altogether a bad thing – my Mum always said I was too skinny and she at least was pleased to see me with ‘a bit more flesh on my bones’.  It is something to keep an eye on though, I can’t continue to expand and Christmas is full of tempting treats, both at home and at work where boxes of chocolates and biscuits seem to appear daily and it would be wrong and impolite to refuse, wouldn’t it…?

On a positive note to finish; I have been to some great gigs (notably Billy Joel at the NEC), had a lovely holiday with Mark and friends walking Hadrian’s Wall, been to two excellent felting workshops which have given me lots of ideas on how to take my felting forward and I spent a lot of precious time with my Mum.

Whatever 2014 throws at me, I know that Mum would want it to be a great year for me.  I intend to make sure it is…

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