Sunday, 3 May 2015

Can't believe it's been two years!

Hello everyone - that's if anyone is still around!  I can't believe it's been almost two years since I updated my blog. And everything in blogland seems to have changed since then - for a start all the blogs I used to follow seem to have disappeared from my feed so will have to spend some time finding them again!

Two years ago I decided to try selling my cards - and my feet have hardly touched the ground since, I have to say.  I started out by setting up a Facebook page and another blog - also not been updated since late 2013.

In August 2013 I found a crafters market on the Fish Quay in North Shields and took a stall there for three days per week.  It wasn't ideal and not the best place for sales.  There was an indoor car boot sale downstairs and most of the customers seemed to think the craft market was also car boot - with the result that they also expected car boot prices.  But I did meet some lovely crafters who have remained friends.

Our original stall at Crafters Alley, The Fish Quay Fair, North Shields
 I was invited to have a stall at a Christmas craft fair in December 2013 - the venue for this was in a shop unit in Manor Walks Shopping Centre in Cramlington.  The shop unit was being used as a community hub and was (and still is) called The Venue.  I went along without any great expectations - and was shocked to find that I sold more cards there in one day than I did in a month down in Crafters Alley.  Because of the success of the craft fair in Cramlington it was decided to go ahead with plans to form a community crafting group - called Lev3l 3 Community Crafters - and I was invited to join them - which I did - and have never regretted.  Until March 2014 Tom (aka Mr Charlie) ran the stall in the Fish Quay and I concentrated on Cramlington.  Coming up to Easter that year we finally decided that the Fish Quay stall was never going to be financially viable and so we left there and now concentrate on Cramlington.  Sadly the Fish Quay Fair closed down in the summer of 2014.

The original Venue

 A bit about Lev3l 3 Crafters

From the time Lev3l 3 Crafters were formed at the end of 2013 membership has grown steadily in number.  We now have approx 30 local crafters who are part of our group.  

Charlie Cards at a Lev3l 3 Crafters Market Day March 2015
 In order to hold craft markets in The Venue we have to also provide community craft sessions/events - most notably for children.  We do this by holding Krafty Kidz sessions regularly - sometimes in the central mall of Manor Walks, and sometimes in The Venue.  Quite often these sessions are also linked to the release of a film at The Vue Cinema in Cramlington.  We had a really excellent turnout for Rio 2 during the summer of 2014.  We have also had events linked to Malificent and Paddington to name but two.  We usually charge just £1 for the kids to participate and the money always goes to our chosen charity for the year.  For 2015 this is The Guide Dog Association.  Part of the remit for joining our Lev3l 3 Crafters group is participating in the community crafting events as we are not a normal "craft fair".

Decorated Parrot for Rio2

Rio 2 finished project

Alice in Wonderland

Teddy Bear's Picnic

Mick, Director of Digital Community Youth under the influence of Malificent!
In addition to the kids' crafting we also have free weekly demo days each Thursday in The Venue.  These are drop in -drop out sessions and currently we have the lovely Sheila from Sewing MANIA who demonstrates patchwork and quilting techniques and more recently I have joined her to show everyone how I make my pop up box cards.  Another of our crafters, Kim from Vimbo Crafts also holds regular free sessions to show people the basics of crochet.

The lovely Sheila at one of the demo days
When Lev3l 3 Crafters were formed The Venue was based in a large double shop unit.  We started out holding one craft market a month but quickly realised that we needed to do more and so until the end of May 2014 we held twice monthly markets with 13 stalls in each.  In June 2014 The Venue had to relocate (a retailer wanted to rent the lovely double unit we were using) and so our current premises are only half the size - a single shop unit.  So from June 2014 we have held weekly craft markets there, with crafters taking turns to have a stall.  The two "fixed" stalls are Rainbow Cakes and Bakes and Charlie Cards (me) who are there every week - Sue from Rainbow Cakes and Bakes was the driving force behind Lev3l 3 Crafters (and is now Craft Director of Digital Community Youth Ltd, the organisation behind The Venue).  I'm not quite sure how it happened but I seem to be joint organiser of our events/crafting sessions and market days.

The (current) Venue on a Market Day
 As you can appreciate I am being kept pretty busy all round, and rarely get a chance to "play" any more, though I am determined to try and rectify that from now on - as well as updating at least one of my blogs!

So if anyone has actually managed to read this epistle, thank you for your patience!

Catherine x


  1. I read it :D Welcome back to Blogland Catherine, not that I get time to read many !!!! xx

    1. Thank Sue - I don't get a lot of time either but am determined to do better hahaha x

  2. Welcome back to blogland! Just read your brilliant post & it does indeed sound likeyour feet haven'ttouched the ground for a while! So glad the venture is a success & long may it continue!
    Dawn xx

    1. Thank you Dawn - feel like I have been on a hamster wheel for the last couple of years - but I have missed my blog and doing challenges etc. x

  3. Andreahorner@btinternet.com3 May 2015 at 23:22

    Glad to see you have settled in the venue at cramlington. Love your cards so unique and well made.

    1. Thank you Andrea - I do try my best to make them different! x