I just wanted to say a seperate THANK YOU to Becky who took over running the shop at the last minute so we could still get to Houston. She took it on having never even visited us before but has done a stirling job at keeping all our customers on the straight and narrow. And the good news is that she is coming back to do Saturdays between now and Christmas!
I love having other people around in the shop, it’s so much more fun in the down times when we’re quieter. Today in the shop there was me, Becky, Mum, Grandma & our friendly neighbourhood teen, Shanice. A full house! Although there’s always room for a few of our beloved customers ; )
Aaarrgh i am rubbish at this! I honestly dont know how people can do this everyday – I really wish I could, I totally mean to, but then one thing after another happens and suddenly it is months later and I am sooo behind in updating this. I cant even say I have been working on any cool projects, (the list of things in my head just keeps getting longer) I have just been uploading item after item to our website. But here and now, in the presence of all of you (anybody out there?) I hereby promise to update this blog every day…every other day…ok, at least once a week. Promise. Fingers and toes uncrossed I am not lying I promise.
So, apart from the website I do have a legitimate excuse this week. This week I have been internetless because we (mum, me & the lovely corinne) headed off to houston, texas (yee hah!) to bag me a cowboy. Ahem – sorry – I mean, to learn us some stuff about quilts. and oooh boy did we learn good. I had been warned about the excitement of the quilt market out there, but even so, nothing can quite prepare you for it. And the impact it has on your bank account. We definitely spent a lot of money we didnt have (the shop is still very early days yet and we are still paying off the initial startup costs) but I think we’ve bought a lot of very cool stuff. And most of it we ALL agreed was lush (if you know us, especially me and mum, you’ll know that agreeing on something we like is something not to be taken lightly, when it happens, you know you have to just go for it, to hell with the money!)
So we have some gorgeous fabrics, loads from Japan and Korea (after working there it seems I can sniff them out a mile off and just have to have them) Amy Butler’s fabric to go with the patterns (you’ve all been asking for it so I kinda had to, huh?
I can only find a pic of some ribbon we ordered in the japanese range – we ordered this with fabric to match… aw, it’s so kitschy and cute I am gonna be in heaven the day this fabric turns up!
And check these out – perfect for a mix of japanese and Amy Butler fabrics?
These patterns are by Melly & Me and were so fresh and vibrant we all just gravitated towards them. These aussie girls really know how to part a girl with her money! We were sat on the floor of their stand picking out patterns for a fair while, getting totally in the way of everyone else, luckily they didnt seem to mind! Unfortunately we only got there on the last day so we missed out Magoo the Monkey’s pattern (have to wait for that one I’m afraid) although we did get most of the others – including mad mozzie (check him out at the back, he’s the one with the crazy eyes – ok, the one with the REALLY crazy eyes!)
We also went to classes, overslept for classes, giggled like naughty schoolgirls in classes, nearly fell asleep in classes and learnt some pretty good stuff in classes. On the Saturday 10th Corinne will be in the shop (she hasnt had enough of us yet yay!) showing you all some of what we learnt and some cool new products we brought back. We didn’t quite have to pay excess luggage fees (phew!) but let me tell you, on more than one of the cases the weight was exactly on the top of the tip of the scales. And that’s a skill worth having. Although i wasnt such a fan of the skill of filling cases to overloading at gatwick where a lovely worker there wrongly told us the bus to the carpark was downstairs when it was on the floor we were on. 5 cases filled with fabric down a large ramp is bad enough – but up???!! Good thing I’ve been working out and lifting all those boxes of buttons.
So now I have a list of things to make as long as my arm inspired by all I have seen – hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll have some cool stuff to show you. But I’m sure I’ve said that before!
I haven’t written for a while – but I guess thats because I have been soooo busy because last tuesday we finally opened the doors to The Eternal Maker. I am so pleased with the response we have had – everybody has been saying that its about time chichester had a shop like this. We have tried to make it feel welcoming, and everyone has said how nice it is. It’s nice when you feel you have succeeded.
Well, not succeeded yet. Our main problem is getting people in the shop. We aren’t in the centre of town, and when we took flyers to the market in chichester we had a phone call from the council saying we weren’t allowed to advertise there (boo, chichester council, boo) and advertising in newspaper (which we have done) is so expensive. And let’s face it, we spent all our money filling the shop with lovely things!
Our ethos for the shop was to fill it with abit of everything – enough for people to do things with, not too little, but then when people ask for something else, if enough people ask, well- we’ll get it in for you. At the moment we have a lovely range of paper (as you might guess, I love paper) fabric, rubber stamps, inks, cardmaking supplies, BUTTONS!!!, ribbons, haberdashery, silks, stitchery, oooh, lots.
The next step seems to be embroidery as chichester seems to have a large contingent in the embroiderer’s guild. So any advice, people, once more we have no idea!!
Oh, and look at our stained glass window – my mum bid and lost against our landlord for this window 15 years ago in an auction at chichester market. Now we have it! I keep telling mum thats it’s quite a long way to go to get it, opening a shop just for a window. but it certainly is beautiful.
Well, I should have guessed that paper buying would be one of my favorite bits… when I was little I absolutely loved stationery products, and let me tell you, when I was little paper didn’t look like this!
So as the website is not quite ready yet (it’s there, but there are no products!) here’s a sneak preview of some paper, at least:
This beautiful range of paper completely fulfills my illusions of grandeur.
I just love Basic Grey’s “Fruitcake” range, how’s about these for cool snowmen? We’ve also bought some stamps to match, with little pudgy snowmen, brilliant!
I have only just discovered just how cool Cosmo Cricket are: this Storytime range is just soooo cute, – note to friends, I’m expecting one of you to have a baby some time soon, it is urgent that someone has a baby that I can fill in this Itty Bitty Storytime kit. And the cloud paper – imagine the possibilities with such a beautiful blue sky as this.. Check out the rest of the range at www.cosmocricket.com!
If it were up to me, we would have ten times the amount of Rusty Pickle products. Unfortunately the budget only allowed for some, and we have picked carefully. Expect to see more in coming months! But in the meantime, how’s about this for a summer blockbuster?? Cap’n Jack paper, the only thing better in my book would be if we had Johnny Depp in the shop….
Have you ever had a job to do that you just don’t know where to start? I’ve got one of those, it’s called The Eternal Maker…
I have spent the last week or so (inbetween my buttoning duties) reading up on crafts. Looking up websites, books, magazines, everything I can think of to try and teach myself. At the same time I am trying to teach my mum what I am learning. This is not quite an impossible job, but it is close. Before you all start thinking I am being rude about my mum, let me set you straight. It’s not an impossible job because she is unable to learn it, it is an impossible job because I am unable to learn it or teach it to her. There is just SO much. Because we want to cover a wide range of crafts in the shop, it is not just a matter of learning about scrapbooking, or patchworking (although, each of these is a degree in itself I suspect). And I am being scared off I think, by the mountain that just seems to grow every day. I know once I get started it’ll get easier, but figuring out where to start is taking its toll on me, believe me. The worry of it all is invading my dreams. Where once I used to dream about buttons, (sad I know) now I am dreaming about this beautiful shop, with it’s beautiful workshop space, and lots of beautiful customers (aren’t I nice). But there is nothing to sell, no products to try, nothing. Oh dear I think I am working myself up into a state. And because mum is at a show, and everyone else has Fridays off, there is no one to tell my woes to but Big Cat (even Little Cat has better things to do) and she just looks at me blinking, as if to say, what do you expect me to do about it? Well, Big Cat, at the moment, let’s just say that you would probably do a better job than me.
So, the point of this self-pitying rant is that if anyone has any good ideas they would like to help out Big Cat with, let her know, I know she would be very grateful.
So, with a background selling buttons to garment makers, and then latterly to craft and haberdashery shops, this has been our only link to the craft world.
The other day my mum (Sarah) was looking for premises in which to run the button business ( www.buttoncompany.co.uk) and came across this shop front in Chichester. It was perfect for a craft shop. I went along a day later to have a look, and you know when you walk into somewhere and think, this just fits? Looking beyond the kitchen showroom that it is now you can see the bright lights and the workroom area, and you can feel the buzz and excitement of walking into it and seeing loads of bright colours and things you want to do.
To explain a little more about us, Sarah is my mum, I am her daughter (Anna). We are not alike at all except in one way: we both enthusiastically embrace a craft for about a week, and then lose patience with all the fiddly bits and put it away to be found a few years later festering in some dark deserting corner. What distresses me about this most is that I’d like to think I was just a little bit original. I mean, the knitting machine I just bought on ebay, that must be a new move, right? No. Not only did my mother go through this faze, but so did my grandmother. They looked at each other and tutted, muttering that after making a few mis-shapen jumpers it too would languish in a dark corner of my grandma’s garage. So I guess the trick is this, with this craft shop: as long as it keeps the two of us amused – and lets face it, there are a lot of crafts out there to keep us entertained for quite some time – we will probably make a decent go of it. My fingers are crossed.
Back to the shop front. It’s quite obviously another toy for me and my mum to play with for a while. I have quit my job in london and rented out my flat and we will be living a frugal life in her 1930’s bungalow in Chichester. Which is, quite literally splitting at the seams with buttons.
We get the lease on 1st July 2007, and hopefully we will open a month later.
This blog is hopefully going to detail our progress… or lack thereof.