Tuesday 20 October 2015


Oh my goodness it's been 4 weeks since my last post!! Where has that gone?! It's properly autumn now here, all beautiful colourful falling leaves and crisp first thing in the morning. Only this week to go then it's half-term, the year's flying by .....

My big news since my last post is that I've launched my Facebook page .... www.facebook.com/jillemeraldcottage :D Launching it makes it sound like it was a massive event, well it wasn't. Although I did have to make sure I had a few things lined up to share on there. I'm hoping to use it as a platform for selling a few bits, my aim really is just to fund my yarn habit. I've made a couple of sales already .... 

I hope I can keep the momentum up, and that it wasn't just beginners luck. 

If you fancied visiting my page and giving it a Like or a Share that would be lovely thanks, so far it's my real-life friends who have Like'd and bought things, and obviously that's quite a limited market place. Some Likes further afield would be really great :)

The upside of a blogging break is that I do now have lots of things to show you here.
Last time I posted I was making Sewing Kit Jars. I sold two of these ....

... and having had a little production line ....

.... I have another few ready to sell ....

I've made another memory cushion, for the same friend as the last memory cushion (http://emeraldcottage.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/everyday-cowls-and-more.html). My friend has a Dalmatian, and her late Mother had done a beautiful Dalmatian cross-stitch. The cross-stitch was very grubby and had rust marks and black pen marks, plus one side was stitched with about 4mm between the stitching and the edge of the fabric, making it really hard to secure. But I managed to sponge out the marks, and turn the skinny edge under just enough to make it usable.

I've had the dark blue fabric in my stash for about 14 years. I bought it as a tablecloth years ago but it never fitted my table. I used part of it 12 years ago to make a drawstring bag for my son when he was at nursery, and the remainder has gone through a couple of house moves with me, like a faithful friend.
The airplane fabric was bought for another project but there was just enough left to make this cushion cover.

I braved the button-hole foot thingy on my sewing machine for the second time in 20 years :) And I did 5 buttons in the end.

Here's the final result ... quite a good job if I may say so :)

On the crochet front I've made a couple of little children's granny square bags, which my friend in Scotland ordered. I love making these, they are a really good one-evening project and simple enough to do in front of the telly :) The remit was - one girl likes pink, the other likes purple, and they both like turquoise as that is their Mum's favourite colour. I think I've met the brief ....?

They're both lined and have a button fastening, just like the ones I blogged about here http://emeraldcottage.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/children-granny-square-bags.html

I've also been making key rings. Owls and hearts. Lots of pieces made but not quite assembled.

I'm doing a stall at our school craft fair at the end of November so I need a lot of small ticket items. I'm thinking mug cosies, Christmas stockings and decorations, fabric-covered note pads, pencil cases, doorstops, etc. Today I made my first Christmas stocking. I found this jumper in the charity shop ....

It's so soft, and the stripes just screamed Christmas stocking at me :)

It took a while to get the pattern exactly as I wanted it, as each stocking is made from 13 pieces, but now that I've made one (and it looks quite good if I do say so myself :) it should be easier to run up a few more.

The stripey bit is a knit fabric, the red bits are plain old cotton. I've always been scared of sewing with knit or jersey fabrics but it worked like a dream.

Now my dilemma is how much to charge ? I asked a couple of school Mums and floated the idea of £10 and they looked at me as though I'd said a thousand. I don't want to under-value the amount of effort I put in, but equally there's no point in even making the effort if noone wants to buy the thing. Little Tomboy helpfully suggested that a price of £2 might be better. Aaaah bless her. But no.

I have so many ideas, I find it really hard to focus on one thing at a time, but I'm hoping that the deadline of the fair will focus me. My friend makes cards and we are sharing a stall, I think our things will complement each other nicely. 

Oh one other thing I wanted to show you .... I was doing a bit of clearing out old stuff and look what I found - the ceramic nameplate from my bedroom door from when I was little. Can't believe I still have that, isn't it fab :)


  1. I wish you lots of success with your sales! I'm sure you'll sell lots of things, your work is lovely. I always wanted a ceramic sign for my door like that, I remember them well. I'm sure there were plenty to be found with such a common name as mine but I never did get one. Maybe now, but I'd have to add my husband's name too. :)

  2. Well done, Jill! I hope you have great sales. What fun to find Jill's Room :) What a great sign for your crafting space. xx

  3. I had a name plate like that too when I was little!
    So hard to decide on prices for things to sell isn't it. I often think I'd like to earn a little money selling homemade things, but when you work out how long it took and how much you can get, it hardly seems worth it. The problem is people are so used to cheap mass produced goods, they aren't prepared to pay that bit extra for quality handmade
    So I guess maybe £7.50 for your stockings?

  4. Good luck on sales. I did a lot of crafty sales when younger. Lots of work sometimes! Have you opened an Etsy shop? I have one of those. I get an occasional sale. Have fun.. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  5. Oh my goodness. I still have my name plate and it is exactly the same as yours except for the name.

  6. I love all your makes - especially your Sewing kits, they are just wonderful xo

  7. I used to do a lot of craft markets and did relatively well, they are certainly hard work keeping up with stock. Keep the prices realistic but don't undervalue your work. If you have more than one event planned start the stockings at say £9.50 and then reduce them at the next event, if indeed you need to I think that is a fair price. Good luck with your new venture.

  8. Good luck with your new enterprise, it's just the time of year to start. Karen x

  9. Ooh wow you have been so busy!! You made such gorgeous items!
    I find it difficult too, to put a price on Something you made...
    Good luck with your preparations for the market, have fun! Lots of love from Mirjam.

  10. Your crochet is beautiful! Sometimes when I was a teenager I used to come home from school and find my mum and her friend sitting by the fire knitting and crocheting, and my mum's friend taught me to do granny squares. I haven't done any crochet for years but seeing your work might just inspire me to do some. I know what you mean about having so many ideas - I have a list of projects and the list is never ending but I love it! What to charge IS a big dilemma. Yes people are too used to getting everything cheap and are really miserly when it comes to paying for handmade work. It's incredibly hard to know what to charge. I've seen this subject discussed all over the internet. I see some stuff on Etsy and think "That's far too cheap!" I've done my share of craft fairs (selling bags) and have never made much profit for the amount of work I've put in. I used to be flattered when people saw my work and asked me if I'd like to have stall at their fair but soon began to realize that it was to THEIR advantage if I accepted. So if anyone asks you to do a stall somewhere, ask questions like how well is it attended and what other sorts of makers will be having stalls.I did one in the summer at a fair at a home for the disabled at which my friend has a daughter, thinking that I'd like to do it to support the place, (so for altruistic reasons really) but honestly I made hardly any profit and afterwards I thought that I should have been more sensible and not done it. I noticed the lady on the stall next to me, who was selling cakes, practically sold out. All the visitors to the fair just seemed to want to buy stuff to eat! I was selling small bags, between £5 and £12.50, and home made jams - the jams sold much better than the bags. Sometimes I feel like stall holders should be paid to have a stall and not the other way round! Fair organisers WANT you there. They often don't do enough to advertise the fact that you and other makers are going to be there. Oh and something else I've just thought of - I know someone who sells knitted animal "toys" .They are really lovely, and she sells loads, but it's all been by word of mouth - she sells one and someone else sees it and wants one. As far as I know this is all she does plus putting pics on Facebook. BUT - she sells them for far less than they are worth. She likes doing them in her spare time so is happy not to charge a lot - she should probably double the price. Hope that helps! And it's great that you've made some sales through Facebook - keep plugging away at that.

  11. Oh!oh!oh! I spy airplane fabric! Do you have any scraps left? I would love to buy them - no matter how small!
    When i get to my laptop, I'll like your new FB page. A lot of people are selling thru their fb pages.
    Another item you can sell is a kit put together for the buyer to make themselves a wee bit cheaper than what you have made. Don't forget to list excess supplies.
    Finally - open an etsy shop and cross-advertise them. The bigger audience of buyers will eventually make it worthwhile.

  12. I hope that it all goes really well for you Jill!!! The little jars are gorgeous! Of course you know that I was thinking of strawberries when I saw them! Stick to your guns on the pricing, don't charge too little, you can always lower the price, but if things sell well you cannot suddenly raise them! Good luck! Let me know how it is going! xx

  13. You're such a talented Gal Jill & what a great idea to go on FB! I'll look you up on there. I love all of your recent makes & I think I need some of those key chains! We have a thing for owls over here. ;)
    I love that you found that old bedroom sign. You need to put that up in your crafting area. ;) xo

  14. Look at you! Oh my you are gone for a month and turn up with all this wonderful stuff you are making. I liked your Facebook page, but have to confess I am not much of a Facebook user. I wish you the very best at your stall.

  15. You have been a busy gal ... Love the sewing kits!

  16. Goodness Jill you have been busy, what alot of lovely stuff. Pricing is always hard as I have found and often only people who 'craft and make' appreciate the work that has gone into something. Good luck with the fair, I haven't got any lined up this year. L Anne xx

  17. You have been very, very busy and I love all the things you've made. The Dalmation cushion turned out really well. I haven't used a button-hole foot - or zipper foot either - for many years. The Christmas stocking is fantastic - I really understand your problem with how to price it. I did a couple of craft fairs in the past and no-one wanted to pay a sensible price for my hand made items. They seem to think it either takes you no time to make the things or that you deserve to be paid pennies per hour for your work. I have also been selling (sorry, trying to sell) some of my work on Etsy. I've only sold a couple of items because I'm not prepared to let them go for a pittance. I also had a table at the first Yarndale and again found that the vast majority of people aren't prepared to pay for hand made articles. I don't want to dishearten you! Having said all that, I have recently given a mountain of knitted and crocheted items to a friend to sell at a fair for charity. I know she'll not get what they're worth (they're all made with either 100% wool or 100% cotton) but at least all she gets will be able to go to her chosen charity.

  18. P.S. I love your new profile picture.

  19. I will hop over the FB after this to your page :)

    All your makes look fantastic - I am sure they will be loved!

    Take care
    Crochet Between Worlds

  20. Lovely post Jill - everything you have made is beautiful - especially love those granny square bags you have done. You sure have been busy :-) i used to have a name plate very similar to that - wish I could find mine !!!!

  21. I can't believe that you also have the plaque from your bedroom door...so do I!
    I think it only survived because it never actually made it onto the door. I love all your crochet bits and pieces, really clever ideas for a craft fair but pricing is difficult I agree. (I have done two) Your sewing kits are super, may have to borrow that idea for my sewist auntie.


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