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Monday, 31 May 2010

Pink and White

The week has once more flown by nearly as fast as the House Martins that are speeding up and down the green fields and making our fearless Terrier jump every time they pass. I keep on thinking the rain must be on its way, since they are flying so low, but somehow it avoided us nearly the whole week.

                                  Outside my workshop

The local farmer is desperate for the rain and I don't blame him. The ground has seemed to turn into a rock and where there used to be patches of everlasting mud in the winter there is now one big, baked mud cake with hundreds of huge cracks. It always amazes me how quickly one extreme moves into another.

Having said all this the rain eventually arrived and even though the garden had a good drink it also had a good beating up and looks like a bomb has exploded in several areas. Oh well, it will recover. At least I managed to take all these photos before the rain.

At the beginning of the week I made a strict working plan for myself, since it is only two weeks to go and then I should have enough stock to have a half decent stand at the Contemporary Craft Fair. Now comparing the results to the list, I'm feeling a bit panicky: the week didn't go exactly as I planned, but never mind, it never does and I should just get used to it!

I did though create a new animal to join the owl and mouse paperweights: a fat, floppy eared pig! (I will show photos of it later in the week.) Somehow, no matter what I am doing I always seem to go back to pigs! There is just something about them.... In fact there are three 'free range pigs' here in our farm. I call them 'free range' since no matter how well they are fenced off they always find their way out.

In the beginning the poor farmer was chasing them across the farm and making bigger and better fences, but I think now he has given up and in fact they seem to know where their cozy beds of straw are when they are ready for the night! And these pigs (shame I can't remember the names!) are so funny! So clever and so sociable. When ever they see a human being they have a need to come to say hello. Obviously they are after some food and failing to get it they are rather keen on trying to chew up your wellies! Oh, and even our Terrier has a healthy respect for them! Although it could be something to do with the fact that they are ten times (at least!) bigger that her.

Talking about our Terrier. I thought it would be a good idea to train her to follow the horses and maybe that would burn off some of her energy and she wouldn't be quite as determined to 'hunt' the postman everyday. I have only been riding for about a year myself, but I thought I would be ready to take her with us....

Riding here in the farm is fabulous, miles upon miles beautiful fields and bridleways, perfect for horse lovers. But for this particular day with the Terrier following us, we thought we'd stick to the road around the village – nice, slow and simple.

But if you are a terrier it is dreadfully boring as we soon learned after our Terrier had legged it back home several times. Every time she was waiting for us looking ever so pleased with herself. How annoying for us and therefore to prove the point that she has to stick with us we decided to carry her. Yes, I carried her on my lap whilst riding and yes, it was ridiculous!

But what was the most annoying thing about all this was that she clearly enjoyed herself and suddenly thought that the riding wasn't boring at all!! How typical. Not too sure though if this kind of riding really has the benefits for the dog that I imagined and now we must think of some other more sensible ways of exercise!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Fair plans and memories

The Contemporary Craft Fair in Bovey Tracy, Devon is approaching fast, too fast really and there is still SO much to do. Although that seems to be story of my life: always so much to do and so little time. In fact is seems like the time is speeding up with the same rate as I speed up to do things! So basically, it is a race that I will never win. But I will give it a good run nevertheless!

Back in March I did the Country Living Spring Fair in London which was great fun. I met some most wonderful people and even though it was hard work we basically laughed our ways through the five days. It was my first "big" fair having only done the Mary Howard Fair back in November here in the Cotswold. 

Some months before the Country Living Fair I got inspired by the Woodland Trust and wanted to create woodland creatures, a little friends for my Bears, and so the mice, owls, hedgehogs, shrews and birds were born and here are some of them.

I also thought about my stand and wanted to create a woodland scene for all my animals, but somehow it didn't turn up quite as I planned... I wanted it to be more 'woody' and mysterious, magical and fun and much more colourful, but as always I simply ran out of time and we couldn't possible fit anything else into the car! So this is what we came up with.

Now I am thinking again how to present my animals....? This time I'd like to try something different, something clean and simple... And I would like to group the animals so that they would stand out better... Maybe I could do with a white table cloth and some small stands (boxes or equivalent) that would be like small plinths that the animals would stand on in groups?
I have to look around what would work....

All this planning for the fair reminded me of some other fairs I did years and years ago in South London and in Surrey with my good friend who was selling most beautiful handmade cards and I was selling these funny little crocheted pigs.

Most of the fairs we attended were... how would I say it.... really, really bad! It wasn't our lack of selling skills or terrible products (at least I don't think so!), but it was the lack of people that came through the doors. The Country Living Fair in London attracts over 20 000 people, but this one particular fair that we attended probably had more like 20 people coming in!

As we had sat there the most of the day not selling a single thing, thinking what a waste of time it was a lady came over to our table and wanted to buy one of my crocheted animals. Now, any sensible person would have put the little creature into a bag, take the money, write a recite and say "thank you and good buy", but oh no. Us two, having been so bored and depressed, got terrible hysterical laughing fit and still to this day I don't know how we managed to put that creature into the bag and take the money. The lady thought we were complete bonkers and I am surprised she didn't change her mind about her purchase. Luckily these days I've trained to be a bit more professional and I truly hope that down in Devon we will sell a lot more than one small animal!

Monday, 17 May 2010

A Little Tour Around the Workshop.

As a beginning, I thought it would be nice to show you a little bit of my workshop. It is the heart of the World of Mirjami Design and where all the creatures are born. I spend most of my days there cutting, stitching, sewing and occasionally pulling my hair out when things don't go according to the plan.

 The workshop is set next to our small cottage and my work journey takes a magnificent thirty seconds on a bad day when I have to negotiate the overgrown holly bush that is ready to sting my side or when the side gate has once again broken and won't swing open like all the proper, well behaved gates do.

                                 As you walk in...

The workshop is a little chilly in the winter, but it stays wonderfully cool in the hot summers days thanks to its thick Cotswold stone walls. The downside of the fortress-like walls is that the radio reception is a bit here and there, but never mind at least my good old iPod gets some use.

                                 Turn left.....

                                                  And then turn right

I will take more photos, once the shelves have been restocked with more products. Maybe a few weeks time...... So better get sewing!!

Friday, 14 May 2010


Eventually I've decided to start my own blog! So welcome for all those that have found your way here.
I will try to keep you updated with all new products and their development and you may find a story or two from outside the thick walls of my workshop too. Although, I must admit that sometimes, having twisted mice tails or fluffed up owls eye browse for hours on end, I find it hard to believe there is another world beyond the World of Mirjami Design!