Tuesday, 27 December 2011

winter beaches

There's something quite invigorating about a visit to the beach in the UK. Dog walking, frisbee games, horse riding, running were just some of the activities going on today.

My favourite activity is seaglass hunting. I look for ages, until my eyes go funny from the concentration of searching for the smooth glass pieces amongst the pebbles. I would love to find beautiful pieces of driftwood but, as usual, there was none to be found. Today's measly driftwood hunt produced a miniature skateboard, one shoe insole and a plastic crate. I doubt I'll be creating any pieces of driftwood art from that lot!

My son's favourite activity is digging trenches in the sand with his Dad. They dig for hours making channels, pools and huge elaborate dams. Today's visit we were accompanied by my friend and her son so there was extra help on hand for digging duty. I let them get on with it; my husband is a structural engineer and my friend is an architect so you guarantee that it was a damn fine dam!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

picton castle christmas market

After a last minute cancellation I have decided to take my goodies to sell at the Christmas market in Picton Castle near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. I'll be bringing my selection of Christmas stockings, decorations (including cinnamon scented stars and hearts which smell amazing!) and a selection of gifts.

I went to the previous Christmas market held last year and it was lovely. The castle is a perfect setting and the rooms are decorated in a Victorian style. Unfortunately last year I didn't manage to get a photo of the tree. It looked beautiful covered in traditional decorations including dried orange slices and cinammon sticks.

These photos from last year don't do it justice really. I should have taken photos in the woodland walk, the majestic driveway, the beautiful entrance gates, etc... But I was on a tight schedule and had to get my stall set up before the masses came. Maybe this year I'll get to have a quick run round those too.

The accoustics in these circular rooms are very odd (last year my stall was in a room the same shape as this one and located opposite it). When you stand in the centre of the room and someone stands at the edge and speaks it is as if the sound is being amplified. This kept wierding me out last year, thought my ears were going funny a few times!

This year you will find me in the undercroft though, not in the upstairs room. If you are in Pembrokeshire and looking for something to do this weekend I hope you pop along. Picton Castle have their own website with details of other events which are happening there.

Right, back to the massive pile of things to do in order to prepare in time. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

clever friends

I have some friends who are really talented and just had to show you the latest work from Clare Ferguson-Walker. The piece titled 'Ship of Fools' is amazing, so detailed. I can't wait to see photos when it has been cast and finished.

As her photos show, it has so much detail on it. My favourite character is the rather chubby lady with her drawers on display, swigging from a bottle.

Or maybe it's this grumpy fella? I think that's more of a likeness to me! heehee!

Clare has more photos on her blog, please pay her a visit and take a look.

Monday, 14 November 2011

pembrokeshire christmas fair

Not long to go until the vintage fair in Narberth and I have been busy making some goodies to take along. It is being held in the Plas Hyfryd Hotel, Narberth on Saturday 19th November. Doors open at 10am and it finishes at 4pm. Afternoon tea will be available and it is free entry!

There is going to be loads of exciting stalls. Please say hello if you come!

Check out the Vintage Narberth website here.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

upcoming christmas events

I can finally confirm which events I will be attending on the run up to Christmas. I'm inundated with orders from the website and Facebook, not to mention a big shop order which I've just completed. All of this means that I have scaled back on the larger events and I'm concentrating on smaller fairs.

The first event is a fab vintage fair which is being held in the Plas Hyfryd Hotel, Narberth on 19th November. Free entry, doors open at 10am.

1st December Portfield school, Haverfordwest, Christmas Fair. 6 – 8pm.

2nd December Tavernspite school Christmas Fair. 3 – 6pm.

10th December Christmas Market, Oriel Y Parc, St David’s. 10am to 5pm.  More details on their  website

Lots of Christmas goodies will be on offer. Stockings, felt tree decorations, wooden decorations and my super 'Doodle Decorations'.
Hope to see some of you there. If you read my blog, please say hello!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

easy halloween crafts - mummy jars and milk jug ghosts

We have just had half term school holidays here and we have been having great fun with some easy Halloween crafts to do with the kids - mummy jars and ghost milk jug lanterns. I have put together a simple tutorial if you want to make some quick and easy Halloween crafts.

Take an old jar and wash it out thoroughly. Draw 2 eyes on paper and stick onto the jar (or stick on googly eyes but I had none so I had to improvise).

Take a length of crepe bandage and blob on some PVA glue. Wrap around the jar, pop in a tea light and you're done. Easy peasy!

The next one is even easier - turn an empty milk jug into a ghost like lantern.

You need an empty milk container, sharp knife, black marker pen, battery operated tea light.

Wash out the container and remove the label. Use the sharp knife to cut out a square out of the back of the container.

Draw on a spooky ghost face with the black marker. Pop in a battery operated tea light and that's it! I told you it was easy. My six year old loved doing these with me and we made loads.

I hope you have a great Halloween!

Friday, 21 October 2011

autumn leaves

How fortunate to find a hollow to crouch in to get a walking shot! Saves me from lying in the leaves and mud I suppose.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

easy halloween craft turorial

Halloween is just around the corner and I thought I'd show you my easy peasy Halloween craft tutorial.  Tonight we have the delight of the school Hallween disco and I have made these little ghost lollipops to take along. I like Halloween crafty makes like these to be easy and quick!

Step 1. You need lollies, tissues, elastic bands, scissors, a Sharpie and modelling clay.

Step 2: Place 2 tissues at an angle and place your lolly in the centre.  Pull up the sides of the tissue to wrap around the lolly and secure with an elastic band.

Step 3: Draw on a spooky face with a Sharpie.

Step 4: Place modelling clay onto a tray and cover with paper tissues. Stand the ghost lollies in the clay and you're done! You could also poke holes into a cardboard box and stand the lollies in that if you prefer.

Let me know if you make some ghost lollies! Mine all sold out at the school disco tonight. Just adding to that sugar rush!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

it's beginning to look alot like Christmas

Things are getting busy here at nellie dean towers.  Web orders, Facebook orders and a big shop order to complete. Exciting times indeed! I appreciate all of them, so thank you.

These personalised Christmas stockings were a big hit last year. I loved stitching each one, taking customer comments into account to ensure that they were what the customer had in mind. Each one features a mixture of new and vintage glass buttons, hand embroidery, applique, cotton tape and trims. Not to mention a fab selection of vintage, upcycled and new fabrics from my stash.  Each one is entirely unique and, I hope, made to treasure for years to come.

My son is 6 and at this age his drawings are super cute.  I thought it would be lovely to have a way of preserving them so I transferred the image to fabric and stitched over it. Hey presto, one unique Christmas tree decoration! You just have to love a snowman with big slitty eyes.

OK, it is Sunday night and the usual round of homework, reading and uniforms beckons. I hope you have enjoyed me sharing some of my Christmas goodies with you. If you are interested in buying some of them, they are available on my website

Monday, 10 October 2011

vintage fair news

The vintage fair in Haverfordwest was great fun. You are usually guaranteed to meet lots of interesting stallholders and customers and this event disn't disappoint. It's nice to meet up with old and new friends to have a gossip and catch up with the news. I spotted one customer who was holding one of my bags. She said that she has used it almost every day since buying it!

Photo curtesy of Geranium blog

Camilla from Canvas and Cloth was there with her stall crammed full of vintage and new haberdashery and fabrics. I'm always jealous of how fab her stall looks - serious stall envy! I'm always impressed by beautiful displays where stallholders have taken the time and effort to make their stall look enticing. Camilla shared her stall with Jeannie who is a talented knitter (something I cannot do!) who makes contemporary knitted items from naturally dyed yarn. I may just treat myself to a beanie hat this winter. Jeannie has a blog, pop over to see what she's up to Geranium blog.

The organizer Mandy had a stall crammed full of vintage goodies. I bought some beautiful glass buttons to use on my Christmas stockings and a Kenwood Chef cookbook. I was lucky enough to get a vintage Kenwood Chef from Freecycle but I've hardly used it as I just didn't know how to use it! The book is full of handy hints for wives to cook meals for their husbands. Love it!

At the fair I handed out lots of postcards advertising the next vintage fair which I will be selling at. It is very local to me, around the corner infact! It is being held in the Hotel Plas Hyfryd, Narberth on Saturday 19th November. I'm planning on taking my purse so I can pick up some unique Christmas presents. The organisers have a website: Vintage Narberth.

That's enough talk about Christmas - I'm off to slave over the sewing machine!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

a pembrokeshire vintage fair

Yes, the rumours are true, there is going to be another vintage fair in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire! The last fair in May was a big success and I'm pleased that another one is being organised.

It is being held in the same location, the Albany Hall, Hill Street, Haverfordwest. There is free parking on the green which is located just behind the hall, or on the streets surrounding it.  The hall is a fab old fashioned church hall, complete with a kitchen where a selection of tea and cakes will be sold from the serving hatch.

It is being held on Saturday 8th October, from 10am to 2pm, with free entry.

I'll be taking along a selection of some new vintage goodies, including the above lavender hanging. It has been made from a vintage tray cloth which has beautiful hand embroidery but was spoilt by a hole. I have patched up the hole with a little bird and reused the embroidery into something lovely.  I will have lots of other products too including papier-mache letters which have been decoupaged with vintage maps, music and newspaper.

I better get back to the work room, I have lots to finish! Hope to see some of you there.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

testing testing 123

I'm just testing out blogging from my iPhone using the Blogger app. I have no idea if it will work and where on earth the photo will appear! I hope it comes out ok - it was taken at the Ironman event at the weekend. It was a brilliant event and the competitors are all truly amazing for completing the gruelling course. Meanwhile, I have just managed to struggle round 5k....

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

new orla kiely bags in tesco

Tesco and Orla Kiely have teamed up again and released a new design bag. I love these bags, I'm building up quite a collection with all the designs which have been released. The new design has a blue flower on one side and a red one on the other side. The flower is a fab pixilated pattern(is that the correct word or did I just make it up??)
I may have bought a spare one which may or may not be included in a forthcoming giveaway!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

lovely walks

I am lucky to live in the beautiful county of Pembrokeshire in west Wales. The above photo was taken about 5 minutes walk from the house and it is where we often walk the dog.

There's a stream at the bottom where we chuck sticks in for the dog to paddle around in the water and attempt to retrieve. She's a bit daft and usually misses them all! 

As you can see it is quite well used by walkers, cyclists and the sometimes odd horse rider. I have just noticed that my son seems to be hitching up his trousers in that photo!

I have been having a play with a few new products to put for sale on the website and at local craft fairs. I quite like my felt covered notebooks, I have used a butterfly design here which I have previously used on greetings cards. I find designing products for men quite difficult and I was requested to come up with more male designs at the last event I went to. I did some customer research and I got some great feedback. Lets see if I can come up with the designs!

the ironman commeth!

Our town is looking forward to an ironman race, how exciting! The competitors have to complete a gruelling course starting with a 2.3 mile swim in the sea, followed by a 111 mile bike race and finishing off nicely with a full marathon run! I cannot believe that anyone is capable of completing those distances all in one race. We will be having the bike race come through our town so we will be watching them coming through.

The event is based in the pretty coastal town of Tenby and we will be heading down there too to watch the proceedings. I think it will be quite a spectacle to see all the competitors heading off into the sea for the swim leg of the race. How we will get down there is a mystery though as lots of roads are closed on race day so no doubt we will be taking the scenic route to get there!

My husband has recently started competing in triathalons and has been training hard all the time. At the moment he is only competing in the sprint distances (a shortened version of the race) and hopes to enter the full distance races next year. The amount of training involved to compete in even the short races is incredible so how these atheletes train for these long races is unimaginable!

I'll try and remember to take my camera with me and will hope to get a few photos of the crazy folk who are taking part in this crazy race. Meanwhile, I am attempting to get running better. Unfortunately I am still at the plodding stage!

Get all the info on Ironman Wales here

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