Sunday, November 25

Market Set-Up

All ready to go.
Before that though: lots of organization and muscle!
It's always hard to envisage your site until you're there and you change as you go. No two market stalls are the same for me. What do you think of today's feature board? I'm hoping it'll draw attention to the Xmas theme, esp the bunting. 

Friday, November 23

Travel and car boots

I usually head off to a market solo. When I get to bring a friend/slave along it's a bonus, but I usually have to prepare and execute myself, which brings up challenges of transport and logistics.

Firstly, I downsized my car this year. Oops. Fitting my market gear into my new boot has meant a rethink of my packing habits and really gotten me to just take less stuff. Or rather, fit the same stuff into fewer boxes. I use vintage suitcases in my displays so they're all full of products now - they have to earn their place in the boot!
All other items have to fit into one plastic lidded tub: other display boxes, cloths, cards.
I have a smaller tub which is my kit: business cards, receipt and record books, pins, tape, scissors, stickers, pens, tags and labels, snacks and a mag or two for the quiet times.
My purchase bags are out of a big box and into a smaller bag that fits down the side.
I have a new display board too, but that's in behind the passenger seat (you'll see photos of that on Sunday).
And lastly there's my chair (needed for some markets, and comfy!), and my super super important fold-down trolley. That thing was my best investment; I can get everything from the car to the site in two trips. That's important when distance and access and parking are often not ideal.

On the day, I like to allow 45mins to set up.
That allows for all sorts of mind-changing, but also coffee buying in the time between set up and door opening.

At the end of the market, I am gone in 15 minutes. Super fast pack up, which is great when I need to hit the road.

There are a lot of things that you learn along the way, but plenty of resources to learn from those who do markets a lot more often than I do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, November 22

No Internet!

It's been an interesting day with almost no mobile service and no Internet. This is all due to a fire at the regional telco exchange. Our city has no banking services, and no computers has crippled a lot of businesses.
I'm lucky, but the expected week out blackness is going to be tough. Short post, but I'll be in a different region tomorrow which will make life easier. 

Wednesday, November 21

Wednesday = sewing, sewing, sewing

Let's not mention Tuesday...  and go straight to the good night and discuss Wednesday.
I have the sewing machine out:

I discovered that I had somehow forgotten to print any 'X' pages, which is an oversight for my 'Merry Xmas' bunting sets that couldn't be ignored.  So I set up the printing and got that done first.
I'm a speedy sewer, so I like to have the pieces in piles ready to sew in order so that they can all zip through the machine as it whirs along.  Which sometimes means that when the bobbin runs empty, I might not realise until I get to the end - oh well!

When I set up the photo above it was like the pages were zipping through as I snapped.

I found a spool of this wide red grosgrain ribbon which has turned out really nicely on these pages too. I like the red ribbon combination, but not everyone uses red in their Christmas colour scheme, so the black ribbon can be just as popular.

The zoomed in version of the photo above showed be (with some horror) how dusty and in dire need of  a good clean the machine is.  It reminded me to enquire about whether servicing is available next month, or whether I'll need to do my own version.

After sewing up all of these bunting sets, my next stage is to knot and end the threads, trim the ribbon and then package them up.  More things ready for Sunday  :)

Monday, November 19

monday night = fail!

And I thought that a daily post in the lead-up to a market was a great idea!
I should have predicted that it wouldn't last long... but I was kinda hoping for more than one night :(

So the real job overtook my time tonight and about the only thing that I did that was related to Sunday's Piccadilly market was that I thought about it.  And moved some things about when I was looking for something else.

But let's look at the lesson here - running a small business, or expanding a hobby/past-time/craft obsession like I have really is a juggling act, and sometimes the real world invades that time.  You know, the real world that pays for the wishful world!  It's unfortunate, but I don't have the amount of time available that I would like to spend on my papercraft.  There are many craftisans who would say exactly the same thing - we're all time poor.  I'm so conscious of this fact in the days before a 'deadline' as such, because I think back to all the grand plans and brilliant designs that I was sure would be ready for the next selling date.  Pfft!  Grand plans, but at least I am able to have many new things, and some old favourites.

I have a growing list of ideas and plans for luciandjoe... let's see how many of them become a reality in the next little while.  But for now, sleep and I'll try again tomorrow.

Have you liked us on facebook yet?

Have you entered our competition yet - there are two great prize packs up for grabs.
More details can be found on this blog post.

Sunday, November 18

the getting ready phase

I am fascinated by markets and the whole market experience.  Even before I fulfilled a dream of being a stallholder myself, I would stop in at any markets I saw and even plan trips around being able to visit them.

Any time that I see blog posts about markets, I zoom straight in and soak up every detail.  I want to know how they displayed their product, what tools and equipment I could see hiding on the other side of the stall, and of course, I wanted to be amazed by every detail of their products themselves.  I definitely have market love.

So in order to put back into the blogosphere what I love to take in, I'm going to do a daily post for the next seven days giving some insights into what I'm up to in the lead-up to what might be the biggest market of the year for me.  I said "might" because in true market fashion, I have no idea of which markets will be filled with buyers, or which products will be popular from one day to the next.  It's hit and miss, but that's what makes it a bit fun too.

So tonight it's Sunday, and I didn't have high hopes for spending much time on my products this weekend.  I did manage to fix my printer problem and was able to finish off a print run I began a couple of weeks ago.

In this first photo, it gives you a very good idea of the state of my desk.  There are lots of piles, some needed for Sunday but others that will need to be moved away.  I try and keep most of this space empty and just my working projects on there so that I don't get too swamped.  That ideal doesn't always work and it becomes a dumping ground.  First job will be to move most of this stuff away.
The notebook that you can see at the front (it's upside-down), is my latest attempt at a proper inventory system.  This information will get transferred to a database, but I need written info when selling at the market.

This is just inside the door (and in front of a large noticeboard that I don't see half of at the moment).  
The shelves were part of my market display for a little while, but they're just too big for my car so I've gone back to using my vintage suitcases instead.  This suits me better not just for the car space, but also because I store a lot of things in the cases and have cut down the amount of boxes that I actually take with me.  This is a huge consideration when I go to markets alone.

I've got a framed canvas sitting on the top shelf there which is going to be a new display board for my 2D items - the garlands and bunting which are hard to display to good effect sometimes.  You don't often have a wall or backdrop behind you that you can string them from, and signage is hard for that too.  I hope that this canvas will help to display these more effectively.

This is the table from the other side and there's a pile of printed pages at the very front which are ready for sewing.  Putting those bunting pieces together is what I'm going to do over the course of this week, as well as trying to create a more effective packaging for them - high hopes!

These are a lot of the books that I'll re-box up for Sunday.  I spent some time a couple of weekends ago retagging everything.  My old labels were not wearing up to the challenge, and I wanted to add some more information onto them.  I also sorted out what cards were left and remade some of the more popular styles.

I won't get a chance to do anything much else tonight, but am aiming to get the sewing machine out tomorrow night - let's see if that happens!

Wednesday, November 14

Piccadilly Market - Sunday week

I  love market season!  Each one brings a different experience and a different reason to get excited.
The Piccadilly market in Geelong is a large one with a great variety of stallholders.  I am often found bringing home some treasures of my own from other stalls - it is incredibly tempting at this one to do a lot of purchasing.  And why wouldn't you, it's a market that has some beautifully handmade products and amazing choices for gifts.  It's definitely the weekend that I'll be finishing my Christmas shopping.

The market is located in the centre level (ie. not the cafeteria level, which is currently undergoing renovation works) of Deakin's Waterfront campus in Geelong.  This year, due to those renovations, we are spread throughout that level, both inside amongst all sorts of nooks and crannies and in the gorgeous internal courtyard.
They've organised some ongoing live music all day and of course there are food carts and COFFEE available all day too.  It's definitely worthy of a visit - for those based in Geelong, and anyone within a good Sunday drive's distance away [that should be a new unit of measure!].

Keep up to date with information about the market on their facebook site, or through their website.


As for luciandjoe, we've been madly getting our Christmas delights organised - a plethora of cards so that we can keep this ancient tradition going, specialty garlands and our ever-popular Christmas bunting.

On the weekend we were able to travel to the local Melobeda Christmas tree farm and get in before the annual chopping begins in December.  It was a gloriously sunny spring day [read: hayfever], but despite the consequential symptoms, the photos look amazing.  The shoot was a lot of fun too - it even attracted David off the mower to come and help us source a good spot out of the wind.  This involved a maze-like wander through trees three times as tall as myself, following a voice to find somewhere with the right tree, the right light and the right wind!

The top photo shows the bunting which is printed onto vintage book pages, with an old typewrite font.
This lower photo is of the more modern bunting that has a different font, a flourish design at the bottom of each letter (not seen in the photo) and is printed on a gorgeous parchment paper.

Both are available at the Piccadilly market on Sunday 25th November - come on by and smell the Christmas tree :)

Tuesday, November 6

giveaway time!

I've decided that it's time for not only one giveaway, but two!!
The instructions for entry are simple, but you will have to do something in return... read on...

My first giveaway is for this pack,

In order to be in the draw to win pack #1 above, you need to leave a comment on this post here on the blog.  I'd love to hear some feedback from you - whether it's about some of the posts on the blog, your response about whether you still send as many Christmas cards as you used to, or even some suggestions for products.  Just leave your comment and you are eligible to win.

This pack contains three popular cards, a small square notebook with the Paris' Seine river on the front, and a handmade concertina book.

To go into the draw to win this pack, you need to head on over to the luciandjoe facebook page and like us over there.  That's it!
Anyone who's liked us over there from when we launched last month, to when this draw closes on the 30th November is eligible to win this pack, which contains a small square notebook, three popular cards and a small concertina book.

I'm more than happy to send the winners' packs to wherever on the globe you live, so sign on up!
If you like us on facebook and leave a comment here, then you are eligible to win both packs.
There's truly no catches :)

I'll be closing the giveaway at the end of the 30th November, and will use a random number generator to decide the winners for both.  I'll get in contact via your facebook page, or email reference here on your account, so please make sure that each is up to date.

Enjoy  :)

Friday, November 2

are Christmas cards still valued today?

I'm pondering this question because I know that I have such a biased view on this.
I haven't bought a commercial card - whether with a cute reindeer, or birthday greeting on it - for many, many years.  I make all of my own cards for all occasions.  I also make cards to sell.  So, I'm not a good/objective measure for such a question.

But I ask it because I wonder how many Christmas stamps will be [legitimately] used this coming Christmas to send cards across the globe, both near and far?

I'm going to speculate that people still do send cards, but not necessarily in the same quantity as years before.  It wasn't all that long ago that you would dedicate hours of time, over a night or two some time in December, working your way through your most recent address book, trying to work out who to send a card to.  And it wasn't an easy decision.  Did you hear from them last year?  Have you got their current address?  Is that even their current name?

And then there's the decision about which card to send (did you also save the most religious card for the peson on your list you knew would actually appreciate its message?).  And who received a copy of the bulk update letter?  You don't send those to everyone I'm sure.  Side note: I actually really enjoy receiving these myself; it's a great little biography on an A4 page for those who don't have a facebook account.

My working theory is that cards are still sent to particular relatives, special friends and certainly in bulk by businesses to their 'most' valued clients.  But I believe that the list of those from whom we only hear news at Christmas time, is shrinking every year.  I know that I personally don't send out as many cards as I used to, and don't receive as many in return.  But I am in touch with more people throughout the year through our wonderfully easy and reliable communication methods - facebook, emails and texting.  The need for a yearly check in is not as necessary as it once was.

But I really hope that we still do value the handwritten card or note.  Not just because I really enjoy making such products for you folks!  But because I love receiving them myself and wish that I would remember to send more of them throughout the year, not just in the spirit of Yule.

What are your Christmas card intentions for this year?