Monday, 26 December 2011

Oh SEW cute were all my new handmade owl friends, I felt obliged to spread their button-eyed love far & wide. As well as giving the little fellas to some of my chums as Christmasy presents, I decided to have a go at whacking on a price tag & selling them at a Christmas market. I booked a stall at St James' Christmas market & spent the few weeks leading up to it going mentalist with all kinds of crafty matters.

St James' was one of the four schools from my youth - spending 5 years there in a picnic blanket style skirt & shapeless blouse. Hair tied up, skirt 2 inches bellow the knee, no make-up, no jewelry, no straps on boyfriend. (Final rule wasn't exactly a 'rule' but more of a fact given the other rules. My appearance in these five years left much to be desired). It was a rather unusual school, to say the least - we meditated, learnt Sanskrit, had philosophy & cross-stitching lessons, ate vegetarian food & chanted at the beginning & end of every lesson throughout the school day. Oh, & we weren't allowed to look at boys, let alone speak to them. We sung the Nelson Mass in morning assembly & went to classes called 'The Art of Hospitality' where we learnt to cook & fold napkins. Sound a bit like - 'finishing school' for girls with a bit of an alternative edge - to you? It certainly felt something like that. Despite it's quirks I absolutely loved it. In fact, I think the quirks were what made me love it more. At meals times we were told off for serving ourselves, we were only allowed to take food if it had been offered to us. In the classroom we had to stand whenever a teacher came in & greet her, we weren't allowed to stay inside during break times & had to take skipping ropes to the playground where hop scotch was another acceptable activity. There wasn't much bitchiness or bullying..the ethos of the school wouldn't allow it.

So, this was the location chose for my first Christmas market stall. I felt sure that the good vibes of the crazy place would work in my favour. I set up my stall & had a wonderful afternoon selling my bits & bobs & conversing with teachers from my past - standing up to greet them of course.

On my stall I was also selling t-shirts. These were hand printed by my friend Austin who goes to Brighton art school. I cruised to Brighton a while ago to visit him & returned with a massive suitcase filled with t-shirts. They are really fab - printing with all sorts of designs - swirly cupcakes, a cool vespa, sad clown, dangerous sandwich, 'Make Tea Not War', & many more designs.

Fimo! Fimo! Fimo is just so fab - it's a bit like play dough which can be molded into all sorts of fun shapes. I made fun little earrings which I then popped into the oven to harden them. I made loads & on various occasions forgot to take them out of the oven so was left with burnt little brown owls with melted eyes. Most sad.

In the 4 hours I was at the market I had the chance to wander around to check out my competitors at neighbouring stalls. Many wonderful things...

 The funniest thing was when I realised my immediate stall neighbour - competitor no.1 - was Haya from Lord Sugar's 'Young Apprentice'! A girl hand-picked from thousands of applicants as one of the most entrepreneurial bright young sparks of Britain was selling almond hair oil on the stall next to me while I sold...owls. Great.

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