Thursday, 31 January 2013

Marketing Road Trip - week 1

As is typical of January months we all reflect on the trials and tribulations of the past year and its time to make promises we can't keep. Of course my thoughts were dwelling on the highs and lows of I Heart Art's second year of existence - we had a super crazy busy (for us) start of the year and we really felt like we were establishing our brand in the Aberdeen social scene. We did some fun things like the Aberdeen Art Fair, the eco day at Ashley Road school, the Randox Polo Match supported by Princes Trust and of course we won our award at the start of the year.

But then the summer ended and everything went to pot, we moved shop which was all consuming with months of packing, moving and unpacking and still trying to run the business at the same time. Every single moment felt like we were moving heavy boxes to and from the car. Our flat was like an episode of serial hoarders - box upon box upon box. Not to mention we were still mega busy in the run up to Christmas with fairs and events. I think if you had encountered me during this time I may have came across as some crazy headless chicken wifey. But now im feeling all rejunvenated and motivated and my head is semi screwed back on in that I may be able to string together coherent sentences. So having had this time to reflect I feel that the past 6 months have been such a stresshead time that I didnt give I Heart Art the love and attention it needed and I feel it has suffered. Poor ol heart! I need to defib it back to life - stat!

So part of my action plan was to head out with my new neighbour Alex of Bead Pop and head oot to the country to leaflet and flyer unsuspecting town halls, community centres and other businesses. You never know who is out there that might just be interested and need a crafty fix. We finally took that step last Tuesday where we headed south to stonehaven with our first stop being the most mouth-watering of sweet shops.

Giulianotti just off the town square is heaven with rows and rows of tradtional glass jars filled with bright sugary treats. Just the type of sweet shop that has become lost over time but still brings back so many happy memories. We spoke to the lovely shopkeeper whilst we were in there and it was amazing to find out that the shop has been there since 1899!! whoa that is over 100 years and it's still there, not to mention that the same family that has run the shop since the 1920's. That is no mean feat and we truly need to keep supporting businesses like this to ensure their survival! Definatly worth a visit to fill your boots with lucky tatties and fizzy saucers on the next summery day.
We did a round of the square, leaving a cheeky flyer or two in the town hall then having an awkward moment in a fish n chip shop we jumped back into the car and took the next exit. However, taking the next nearest exit left us in a pickle as to which side of the motorway we were on UH OH!!! woman drivers!! (ps you are a great and careful driver alex). we soon found out we were most definately on the wrong side heading back to Aberdeen. Oh well when life hands you lemons you make lemonade so I suggested we should head to the cults area as it has a few local shoppies that might be friendly.
To cults we go! I love the community spirit in cults and many of our customers come from this area so I knew there were a couple of places that we could put up our posters.
We had success in Terroir, a delicatessen and coffee shop with a delicious home-cooked food and tantalising smells. It looked great too with its vintage singers for display, piled up wicker baskets, chunky chopping boards and cosy bistro feel. I had the french onion soup which was delish and was served up with the cutest little basket for my butters and cutlery. I also loved the wee teapot salt and pepper shakers! 

loving the use of vintage singers for displays and the cutest teapot shakers.

Never one to pass up the opportunity for thrifting, I was rewarded by my final visit of the day to the Chest, Heart and Stroke boutique charity shop. It has gorgeous displays and good quality stock. Unfortunately I didnt find anything to take home but it was still a treat and good inspiration for vintage styling. 

the gorgeous, inspirational, displays of the Chest Heart and Stroke shop in Cults.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

knitting challenge - the finale

soooooo it appears I'm a month past my target of Christmas day to finish my self-inflicted knitting challenge - whoopsies. but there were times when i got a little fed up of toting my bag o scraps about so i may have digressed and knitted two hats along the way. Since October I have made mini-hats, mini-stockings, christmas puds, reindeers, EDF energy dancing peanuts, a tea cosy, chicken and duck egg cozies,  and lots and lots of mini-hearts and mini-stars. I feel mini is theme here!

You have already seen the stockings, puds and reindeers so now its time to show you the crochet minis and other cuties i made.

crocheted mini-hearts, I think these will be getting sold in the studio as embellishments for card-making. You can find out how here

Crocheted stars - Also will be sold in the studio, great for garlands. You can find the pattern here

The crochet mini hearts and stars are amazing, I can work them up in 2 minutes, uses up the smallest of balls. I think I will be making loads and loads of these to put into the etsy shop and studio to sell as embellishments or cute things to make into garlands.

EDF energy dancing peanuts - still need to add their eyes. The pattern is my own.

chicks and ducks, still to be completed so watch this space in time for easter! You can find a pattern for them here

How much of the bag is left?? only two wee balls, one hairy blue stuff I haven't decided what i can feasibly do with yet. and one wee ball of red which will become the frilly head bits on my chicks. so proud of myself!! Now i finally get to knit some fun stuff just for me now, have just started on a hat in the round which is coming along nicely.

Its amazing that one £1 bag from the carbooter has resulted in so many makes!!

only two wee balls left!! YAY!!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

hello scotland.

Havent blogged in a while - oopsies. But i have a good excuse, there was the crazy whirlwind of christmas fairs and party bookings at the shop. Then i had a very special visitor for lands afar that I had to take some time out and show her the luvverly sights of bonnie bonnie scotland.

We only had 3 days to cram in as much of scottishness as possible so much planning was needed and first stop was Stonehaven and the Ship Inn for some good ol grub followed by a trek up to dunnottar and its pretty amazing views of the coastline. purty.

Dunottar Castle 

A quick drive up north brings us to the sleepy town of Grantown-on-Spey which is a great base for visiting Aviemore and the Cairngorms. And thus day 2 begins with a big, greasy but amazing breakfast at the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore. They have french toast that look like steaks!! We also have dilemma of what to do, visit the reindeers, ride the funicular to the top of the cairngorms, visit a distillery, drive up to inverness and try and catch nessie at play?? The guide at the tourist office suggested we do one thing and stick to that as we didnt have time but we thought bugger it, lets try and get up to the top o the mountain and zoom back down and squeeze in the glenfiddich distillery on our way home to the "deen".

And that is what we did and we were not dissappointed. The mist and pea soup that was cloaking aviemore in a thick foggy cloud was breaking up and the views were pretty sooper dooper. 

Loch Morlich iced over in the gorgeous morning mist


Pretty Totes Amaze views of the Cairngorms up the top

A quick zoom zoom back down the mountain brings us to the glenfiddich distillery and we were just in time to catch the last tour of the day. Which amazingly was free and you got some free shots of whisky too - boom! Besides it was quite mind boggling seeing how the all the whisky in the world is created from that one factory.

some rather large kegs filled with fermenting yeast and stuff

the distillation room - look like giant genies.

All in all a pretty damn good day finished off with a hearty meal at Howies and mind boggling drinks in a church. What us aberdonians have come to accept that most places of worship have now turned into bars and pubs is an alien concept to the rest of the world. c'est la vie.

Our final day was a little more chilled out with some crafting and painting at I Heart Art studios finished off with Nandos (yummers and incidentally was finer than the meal at howies!) and the panto - oh no we didnt, oh yes we did!! and it was brilliant. I have not been to the panto since i was 10 but it was pretty good. Even mitchell was chortling away and our canadian friend got most of the jokes despite all the local references of hobos getting their heads stuck in bins and banjo lady.

And then we had christmas to look forward to - yay!! Unfortunately not much crafting or vintiquing has been happening but its a busy time of year and i have been busy stuffing my face and vegging in my new PJs.