Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Giving Without Expectation!

When I gave the little key-purse to my work-friend for her birthday I had no ulterior motive or expectation of any kind.  It was simply a gift and I was grateful to pick up the clues from her to be able to give something that was genuinely useful.

About a week later, I received an email from her.  She'd had the idea to give a similar little purse to each of her grandchildren and asked if I would be kind enough to make them. And how many grandchildren do you think she has? Seven!!!

I am so excited - it's my first commission since my brief daliance with machine knitting many, many years ago (I've been searching for my creative niche for a long time)!!  

This may be the key to the start of selling my homecrafted items and it's come about by accident.  Rather than making random things to sell, I should concentrate on making gifts for others and things to use/wear myself.  This would be a way of testing the market and finding out what people like.  It could lead to orders and would make people aware of what I do in order to open doors in the future.  I wouldn't want to launch myself into things too suddenly so this would be perfect. There's a strong possibility that my job will finish around September this year so I need to have a plan :-)

I promised a handmade bag to another friend at work after she gave me lots of materials during a clear-out, so I'd better get on with that soon.  And this time I will have (not so much an ulterior motive as) a plan!!

While DD and her boyfriend were away in Florida we shared the care of their 2 doggies with his parents.  They looked after them in the week and we brought them to our house for the 2 weekends.  Here they are  in the back garden after we had a little snow. 

This was their home for 3 days each week. It's an enclosed area at the back of our house but has no heating. Due to OH having developed a mild allergy to furry animals (since being stung by a hornet and various wasps over the years in his work as a forester) we had to keep the dogs out of the house. Unfortunately, it was the coldest period of the winter so far and they are not used to being kept outside, but they had plenty of warm bedding and we set up a heat lamp.  They seemed happy enough and are now back home with DD. 

I used to think it would be nice to have a dog around the place - maybe when I retire and can be at home more - but this experience has made me think again.  The dogs were on my mind most of the weekend and I felt guilty when leaving them outside to amuse themselves.  It was like having small children again and I felt like I should be entertaining them constantly.

I'm still on a roll with the stitching!!  Using fabric from my store I've run up this lined shopper and matching purse for my sister's birthday in March.  All the materials are off-cuts or recycled.  I ran out of the red buttons when I got to the purse but noticed I'd used one on my needle case so cut it off and will now have to find one to replace it. 

Cowl knitting is also progressing well.  For this I used a ball and a half of yarn left over from knitting OH a jumper about 20 years ago.  The yarn has a small percentage of wool in it and judging by the missing bits of the black thread that runs through it, my guess would be that THAT is the wool part (pesky moths!)

very useful needlework book I've had since 1983
I didn't use a pattern as such; just cast on as many stitches as I thought necessary (in multiples of 10) to suit the stitch I wanted to use from this book (the cream stitch design with diagonal holes in the book above) and knitted until the yarn was all used.  Will sew in ends and join into a ring soon to finish. 
Usually, when I've had a good run with stitching something else has gone by the wayside, such as baking or cleaning.   But look!!  Over the last couple of weeks I've even managed a bit of this too.  Above is one of 2 Walnut and Banana Loaves from Jamie's Great Britain (my son's book)........

..........and this is Gingerbread made in my breakmaker. I've also managed a small batch of scones which are all gone. The fact that my house is filthy is neither here nor there (only joking!!).  All of this is due, in no small part, to the fact that it's a quiet time of year for social, church and family events.  The trick is to keep this up when the whirwind begins.

While making the bag for my sister, I experimented with a different style of bottom corner with a little scrap of the fabric. It was sitting on the table for a few days, as I continued sewing, looking as though it was waiting to be finished off. So I tidied up the edges, made a little lining and topstitched the edge.  I don't know what to do with it now!!  It's really quite sweet and needs to be put to good use.  I want to find a really ingenious use for it so that I have an excuse to make lots more in different fabrics!

Stitching progress since last time:

Shopping tote for sister with matching purse - finished
Grey lacey cowl - just needs finishing off
The 7 Zipped Purses - fabrics gathered
Mini fabric pot - waiting to have a use

Bye for now
Teresa x


wayside wanderer said...

Yum! ALL YOUR BAKING looks delicious. I loveeeeeeeee gingerbread. Mmmm....

And congratulations on your sewing work. That is exciting and nothing better than getting paid to do what you love. You are talented and I wish you the best.

Those are some beautiful dogs. What kind are they? That is interesting about your husbands allergies and how they have gotten worse. The body is so interesting in the way it works.

Well, I hope you are having a good week and keeping warm. Hugs from Texas.

Miss Prickly said...

How wonderful that you get put your talents to use AND make a little profit for yourself!

Linnhe Mara said...

Wow , you have been busy. Makes me feel even worse about my own inactivity over the last few weeks :o)

I've just recently come to a similar conclusion re. crafting. Having spent the last three years making a concerted effort to attend craft fares and sell the wares that were building up in my workroom I have decided I'm going to give it a break for a while.
I found I had stopped enjoying creating because I was so concerned about having enough on a stall to appeal to as wide a range as possible.
I want to get back to making for pleasure, and for people that ask me to make for them. I can't imagine never making, I just need to rediscover why I make.
I hope your new venture works out well for you.

As far the dogs go it a tricky one. We lost our dog a year ago last November, and while I miss him dearly ( he was a dog in a million) and occasionally have pangs to get another (mainly for the company and the inevitable exercise) I have to admit we have been a lot less tied without him.

Very Berry Handmade said...

Congrats on your commission. About 50% of my sales are commissions, which is great, but at the same time slightly stressful because the buyer has expectations! If they are just buying something from my shop, they get what they've seen, so no potential for disappointment. So you have to have nerves of steel! I love that red stripy bag and the offcut creation!

Little Green Doll said...

It's great that you have your first order :) I hope your job will continue after September, but if not, I'm sure your plans will come true! Beautiful dogs!! Have a nice week! :)

Highland Monkey's said...

How nice to get a commission from your friend. Your sister is going to love the bag you've made for her it's really nice. Yummy to the cooked goodies!