Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

The art of selling

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

I love going to Craft Fairs and other sorts of markets. There are so many talented people around who make the most beautiful jewellery, textile art, hand knitted and crocheted items, woodwork, photography, hand crafted cards, cakes, biscuits and other foods. There is always something special to buy, and some new ideas to pick up.

But unfortunately I often find that these events aren’t as enjoyable as they should be because the majority of the craftspeople and market stallholders don’t know how to sell.

When a prospective customer approaches a stall, the seller should greet them by standing up, smiling, saying hello and having eye contact. That tells the customer that they are welcomed and that it’s ok to look at the goods, pick them up and to ask questions. Unless a customer feels welcomed and at ease touching the goods and asking questions, they will never turn from a looker into a buyer.

I cannot understand the mentality of stallholders who don’t do this. I’ve looked at so many stalls where I would have liked to have picked something up and ask a question but haven’t been able to because the stallholder has chosen not to acknowledge my presence.

When I’ve tried to catch a sellers eye, I’ve had them sitting down texting or playing with their phone, reading, deep in conversation with the person on the next stall, with their back towards me or just ignoring me.

What’s my reacton to this? I don’t pick up the item I’m interested in. I don’t ask my question. I don’t turn from a looker into a buyer and I move on to the next stall.

I’m left disappointed because I haven’t been able to buy what I was interested in, and the seller has lost a sale.

Surely it’s common courtesy to smile and say hello to someone who comes into your ’space’ even if that space is in front of a market stall. When a craftsperson has spent time, money and effort making something beautiful and gone to the trouble of paying for a market stall and travelling to the market, I would have thought that they would be really enthusiastic about talking to prospective customers. But they don’t seem to be.

Yesterday I went into a local hall where there was a Craft and Food Market. It was lunchtime and I’d been out all morning and wanted to buy something to eat.

I found a stall that was covered in delicious looking homemade cakes and scones. I love cheese scones and thought I would buy a couple. I couldn’t see a price on them, so I looked up to ask the stallholder.

She had her back to me, and was engrossed in converstion with the lady on the next stall. I waited, thinking ’she’ll notice me in a minute’. But she didn’t. I waited a bit longer thinking ‘the other lady will tell her she’s got a customer in a minute’. But she didn’t.

There was a small boy sitting behind the stall. He looked at me without smiling. I nearly asked him how much the scones were, but decided at around 5 he was too young to be expected to sell things when his mother couldn’t be bothered to. I wondered if he might tell her that she had a customer, but he didn’t.

I waited a little longer looking longingly at the scones, and then moved on disappointed and hungry. I could have interrupted her, but I would have had to shout and really why should I?

I wish people would learn how to sell if they don’t have that natural ability. It frustrates and upsets me when I see people with wonderful products that they not only don’t try to sell but actively put off their customers.

A slice of porridge

Monday, May 10th, 2010

I often have a bowl of porridge for breakfast. It’s quick and easy to cook in the microwave, it’s good for me and it’s warming and comforting to eat especially when the weather is cold like it has been this winter.

This morning, I didn’t have a lot of milk so I used a bit less than usual, but I knew that would be alright if I didn’t leave it too long before eating it. I also decided to use a different bowl from the one I usually use. It’s wider and shallower.

I gave it it’s usual 2 minutes in the microwave, and left it for a couple of minutes before it would be ready and cool enough to eat.

Then the phone rang. It was my friend Annie phoning to discuss the cardmaking workshop we were running in the afternoon. Amidst thoughts of designs and papers and what equipment we needed, all thoughts of porridge went out of my head.

By the time we had sorted everything out, I must have been on the phone for quite a while. When I got back to the microwave and opened the door, a flat, solid circle of rubbery porridge greeted me. Oh dear! I hate porridge like that, but I needed some breakfast, couldn’t spare any more milk and so I told myself I had to eat it!

I had the bright idea of mashing up a banana to mix in with it to make it more moist and soft. It was a good idea, but completely unsuccessful! That porridge was so solid and rubbery that nothing could have been mixed in with it. So I ended up cutting each spoonful of porridge and adding some mashed banana to it. I managed to eat it, but I can’t say I enjoyed it!

So what did I learn? That the wide shallow dish probably isn’t a good idea for porridge. Using less milk than usual is only ok if I eat it quickly after cooking it, and if the phone rings as it’s cooking, I should answer it on the cordless phone and eat it while I’m talking!

Oh well, they say it’s good to learn something new everyday, and that’s quite a few things I’ve learnt today!

My craft blog

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I’ve just started another blog where I can go into more detail about craft projects. Have a look for it here.

A mitred square

Friday, February 13th, 2009

I had a very creative day today. I took a days holiday from work and went to a Creative Craft Show with some friends. It certainly was creative and very inspiring. There were stalls and demonstrations of all sorts of crafts. I got ideas on cardmaking, jewellery making, machine embroidery and knitting.

I could have spent a fortune at the stalls because there were so many exciting products, but I was careful not to get too carried away and managed to find some good value items that were a bit different.

As I was looking round, I saw a piece of knitting made up of squares where the stitches went round a 90 degree angle! I’d never seen anything like it before and it facinated me. The angle showed up well because the squares had been done in multi coloured yarn. As I was looking at it and asking the knitters about it, they told me that there was going to be a workshop later in the afternoon where I could be shown how to it.

By the time I’d finished walking round I was tired and needed to sit down so the workshop was just at the right time. A lovely lady called Sue gave me yarn and needles and instructions and I knitted my first mitred square! Now all I have to do is think of something that would look good knitted in them!

Giving a talk

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

I’ve been asked to give a talk on my handcrafted card making. It isn’t for a while yet, but I’ve never done anything like that before, so I’m going to have to do some thinking and some preparation. I want to demonstrate various methods and media that I use and show a selection of styles and ideas that are possible. I’ll have to take photos of the different stages so that I can show them on the computer screen as I’m talking about them. I would have preferred to use a digital projector, but it’s a small group and they don’t have one. The meeting is in a fairly small room, so the computer screen should be big enough. Once I’ve got the preparation done and the slide show ready, I’ll practise on my friend to test it out and give me confidence. I’ve got 45 minutes to fill which is quite a long time, so I’ll finish with a slide show of some of my photos that use to make cards. See the post Being Creative to see examples of my cards.

Foggy New Year’s Eve

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

After being so cold yesterday but without any frost, it was completely different today. I woke up to thick fog, and thick frost on the lawn and the trees and hedges. It looked stunningly beautiful. Usually when the windscreen is iced up, by the time I go out later in the morning it’s thawed out, but not today. The whole car including the lights were iced up. It took me ages scraping it off and my fingers were freezing when I’d finished. The car soon warmed up though. I knew the roads would be icy, and visibility wasn’t good so I drove very carefully and more slowly than I do in good conditions. The fog was really thick especially on the road that hasn’t got any hedges beside it to keep the fog away. That’s where I took this photo. The journey was fine, except for the woman who drove behind me far too close to be safe for the distance and conditions. When she refused to drop back and leave the proper braking distance between us, I pulled in and let her pass. She shot off far too fast for the conditions, but she was the only one. Everyone else I saw was driving sensibly. Oh yes, Happy New Year to everyone!

Foggy New Year's Eve

This photo can be seen on my Flickr photostream. Can you see the trees through the fog?

Like Warhol

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

One of the many things I like about the photo sharing website Flickr is ‘Flickr toys’. These are scripts etc that other Flickr users have written that can be used to create special effects on photos. One of the most prolific inventors of Flickr toys is fd. I’ve already used his Mosaic Maker on Flower Mosaic and Abstract Art and now I’ve just tried his Warholizer. It mimics Andy Warhol’s famous Pop Art silk screened multi coloured repetitions such as the one he did of Marilyn Munroe. Once the images have been created, I can keep changing the colours until I find something that I’m happy with. These are two of the first ones I’ve made, and I’m very pleased with them. I must try printing them out as I think they would be good to use on my Katie-Rose hand crafted cards.

Closing down sale

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I went back to Woolworths today, and this time they were having a closing down sale. It didn’t seem to be any different from before, though. There was still up to 50% off, but the most usual reduction was 20%. The only difference seemed to be that there was a big sign on the window saying ‘Closing Down Sale’ I was visiting a different town today, so it was a different Woolworths, but I wanted to look round while I still can. I didn’t buy anything today, as there wasn’t anything I needed. I did look for a mug or a cereal bowl to go with my plate, but unfortunately they had sold out.

Flower mosaic

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

I’ve has another go at making a mosaic from some of my photos. I wanted to practise to make sure I could remember how to do it. I would like to be able to use the mosaics to make some small photos for my card making, so I could perhaps have 4 3″ x 2″ images within a 6″ x 4″ photo that I can easily get printed. At the moment I’m using a photo editor to make the small photos, but it’s a very laborious, time consuming way of doing it. I’m hoping that the mosaic maker will make it easier and quicker so that I can print a lot of my photos for card making without having to spend hours on it.

Here is my latest mosaic. All the flower images can be seen bigger on my Flickr photostream. Click on Katie-Rose’s photostream on the right.

Light Painting

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Photography is my hobby and my passion. I love colours and shapes and patterns, and that’s reflected in my photos. I’ve been told that I have a good eye, and I certainly know what I like and what I want to photograph. In spite of this, I don’t know anything about photography. I would love to know more, I would love to learn so that I can take even better photos, but it doesn’t seem to be very easy to find out the information I need. I’ve tried reading books, but they are too technical and don’t start at the beginning so I don’t understand them. Other photographers seem to either assume that everybody knows, or they want to keep the information to themselves! I have a good digital compact, but I only ever use it on auto. It has lots of other functions, but without an understanding of manual photography, I don’t understand how to use the camera’s manual settings.
Recently I went to a talk on shutter and aperture priority, and it was brilliant. They were explained really well, and even though it was very complicated with lots of numbers, I did grasp a bit of it. Then someone showed me how to use the TV setting on my camera. Armed with my new knowledge, I couldn’t wait to try it out, so I kept stopping the car on the way home from the talk to have a go at long exposures, and I took my first light painting! It isn’t perfect, but for a first attempt, I’m quite pleased with it. It has a certain charm. It was taken with a 15 second exposure, with me moving the camera in a circular motion taking in the street lights and the lights on my dashboard.
I’ll certainly try it again and see if I can improve, but I quite like this first try.
If you would like to see more of my photos on Flickr, click here