Sunday, 30 November 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Bbrrrrrr! Minus 4.5 on the way home
from Gloagburn Farm Shop

The temperature reached -7.5 on the way out to our craft fairs today. There's a spot on our road on the way to Perth that's always the coldest. Dave clocked it at -7.5 (on the way to Edinburgh at 09:30) this morning and my in-car temp gauge read -6 at 10:15. Although the roads were scary slippy and covered in frost & ice the landscape was a wonderful sight. I didn't have time to stop on the way to take pics and it was getting dark on the way home so I stopped and took the picture above. It's all so Christmassy. The tune on the CD player is a mash-up of several recordings of White Christmas including Louie Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross and The Supremes. Very Cool Yule.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Barony Open Day

Wow. It's taken me till to day to get my feet back on the ground after the excitement of Sunday's Open Day. It's only now I can review everything that happened and sum it all up.
At 7am on Sunday morning I looked outside to find an unspoilt fairytale land of peace and quite, glistening whiteness (lovely) with a marquee about to collapse under the weight of snow on its roof (arrrggghh!). I'd managed to pick the only day a freak snow storm rolled into town. It was also the coldest day, I'm sure! However with a silver cloud attitude, it did make my little grotto look all festive and hid the weeds in the garden.

Anyway, this set us back time wise (it took Dave nearly an hour to clear snow from the marquee and fix the roof) and we were very surprised when the first customers came over at 10:10, bright and early. I felt so bad for the first couple of people to look around as I was not as set up as I would've liked to have been. The snow seemed to have everyone talking so it wasn't too bad.
The day was VERY busy and even though I had help from my friend Anne I still could have done with a few more pairs of hands to help out. Dave held the stall as I did wee tours of the workshop but as soon as someone needed a gift box I would be called into action. Anne kept the nibbles stocked up. The nibbles included mulled wine, brie & chutney on French bread and homemade lemon & ginger biscuits made by my friend Linda (gee, they were really good).

Boozy Mulled Wine &
Heavenly Non-Alco Glogg
Linda's Yummy Homemade
Lemon & Ginger Biscuits
I didn't manage to take any pictures during the day as I was so busy but once the last customer went I wizzed round to take some of the aftermath. I should have one of those official observers to take my blog photos. I'm finding that I'm too busy doing something to stop and take an interesting picture for the blog or I think I should have taken a different photo so it ties in with what I want to talk about.


As a first attempt at an Open Day I think it went well but there is now a long list of 'what not to do/must remember to' for the next one. I'm now in the middle of making up all the gift box orders taken on the day. Dave will have to get back into his workshop and make more of our handmade gift boxes for me to fill.
Our next stall is at Tullibannocher on Thursday night and I'm sure our Christmas soaps will go quickly. I can't keep up with the demand for our Tipsy Auntie and Candy Cane. If only I could employ some of Santa's elves to help!

Candy Cane (Pepermint Strawberry & Vanilla)

Tipsy Auntie (Mulled Wine)
Thank you to everyone who was able to brave the weather and make it over to Barony, especially those who came from further afield. I hope you managed to tick a few christmas presents off the list. If you couldn't manage over then there'll be plenty more opportunities to catch us before christmas. Or... give me a call and make an appointment to do your gift buying at a time that suits you.

Finally I want to say a huge THANK YOU to David, Linda, Anne & Peter for all the help.

Friday, 21 November 2008

It's A Sign

We are slowly getting there with prep for the open day.

Signs are now up on the approaches. They are bright green with arrows on them so should be easy to spot and hopefully easier to follow than in the pic!

We've also stocked up on wine and nibbles, with fingers crossed we have enough.

Still lots to do, making more stock tonight so I can spend tomorrow decorating the marquee, once Dave has put it up of course.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

CSTA AGM (and how to avoid eye contact)

Tonight Dave and I attended the Crieff & Strathearn Tourist Association AGM in the Drawing Room of Crieff Hydro Hotel.

Barony joined the CSTA last year mainly because members received a discount on their market stall at the Crieff Monthly Market but we also thought it was an ideal way to keep up to date with what is happening in the area and since Crieff is our nearest market we wanted to become a regular stall holder, we have attended every market (come rain or shine, but mostly rain!) since our first one in July 2007. This had been noticed by the CSTA commitee and mention at a meeting we attended last month. As the AGM was looming large there was a call put out for new commitee members to join the board. Tonight the Chair asked for new board members, and always at these sort of things, all of a sudden the carpet pattern seemed really interesting for most of the room or the more daring delegates nominated other people to get the attention away from themselves. I gazed at the swirls!

I thought I got away with it pretty well until our track record was mentioned and all of a sudden I found myself being nominated to help in a working group to suggest ways the monthly market could move forward and improve (as I've seen it from the side of a stall holder and not the market organisers). I was shocked but secretly quite excited. I hope I've time to do my duty to the best I can. Still quite glad I'm not on a commitee.

Oh, and the oatcakes & cheese were lovely too.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

My brother-in-law is the Stig!

It's been another busy weekend at Barony with the Lanark Christmas Market and The Angus Craft Association Craft Fair in the Perth Concert Hall both on.
This gave us a bit of a logistics problem. Lanark is nearly 2hrs away meaning a 6am start for Dave (who gets all the good jobs). There was no option to set up in Perth on Friday leaving me with two problems. Although I can manage smaller shows in my wee 2-seater car taking all of the kit needed for bigger shows is impossible, and given that our backing is 7 feet tall and I'm not setting it all up is also impossible on my own (why else do you think I married 6' 2" Dave!). Luckily Dave has a brother, Sandy, with a big 4x4 to fit all the stuff into and tall enough to build the stand.
Due to the lack of parking at the concert hall everyone was given an offloading time, ours was 7:40. When we arrived it was the usual pandamonium with cars and vans parked everywhere. Not that this bothered Sandy, who without a second thought reversed his 4x4 (which has no rear window) through the abandoned vehicles, using his mirrors and only one hand, right up to the loading bay. I was very impressed, especially as I had a lot less carrying to do than expected.
If you are still wondering about the title of this post... I was watching TopGear (Ok, I'm a BIT of a Richard Hammond fan) tonight where the Stig used the exact same reversing technique as Sandy had used. I'm sure Sandy is the Stig!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Don't Blame Us...

We were at a 3D2D craft fair in Glasgow this weekend with some of our new Christmas range.
We had quite a bit of interest in our new candles in pots and mugs made by the award winning potter John Maguire, but by far the biggest hit was our Typsie Auntie soap. This has a lovely mulled wine fragrance, but judging by the giggles and titters heard around the stall I think the name had a lot to do with it's popularity. Most bars were intended as presents for friends or relatives who could associate with the name, so if you receive one in your stocking this Christmas please don't be offended and remember we only thought of the name, not of you!!!!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Cash Flow Woes

I find this time of year such a worry. I know that I need to start building up my stock for the Christmas craft fairs and I've worked hard up to now to make sure that we are booked into craft fairs every weekend right up to 20th December but I have little money to actually buy supplies to make everything. We've recently joined the Federation of Small Businesses and the membership and joining fee is nearing on £200. Product and Public Liability insurance costs a fortune & there're many more hidden payments that the customer never see. I'm really excited about my Christmas range of soaps and new candles, I just hope that I can somehow manage to buy all the essential oils needed. The list includes litres of Cinnamon Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Clove Oil and our Tipsy Auntie fragrance. The first big show of the season is on Saturday and Sunday at the Glasgow Concert Hall and at the moment I'm trying to design my Christmas-ified stall as well as finding enough space on the table for all the new Christmas products I have. I'll post the photos next week. Until then here is a photo of me in the workshop batch numbering my soap (excuse the dodgy hair net and lab coat!).

Monday, 3 November 2008

Trick or Treat



Once Upon A Midnight Dreary...

Quoth the Raven 'Nevermore.'
It's been a busy weekend and not soap making. David & I decided not to do any shows on the weekend of Halloween. We LOVE Halloween and are quite well known around these parts for putting on a show for the kids in the village.
Friday night at 7pm (sharp) there was a rapping at the door and the first of the kids presented their costumes and did their little turns. As the second lad (a F1 driver in liveried boiler suit with a bandaged bloody head and 'missing' arm) started his joke when the door went again - 3 more kids. The door goes again - even more kids. Turns out we're the prefered starting point.

I'll explain... David does a convincing Grim Reaper complete with scythe, Dave also rigs up the front door to open 'on it's own' and kids have to cross the smoking skull & severed dragons head to get to the booty. I've been told that all the children from Madderty talk about coming to our Halloween house.

The village hall committee had a Halloween party on the Saturday night some people missed the guising on Friday night so asked to see our house after the party. That turned into nearly everyone coming around to our house (I think the parents wanted to see for themselves what the fuss was about). An impromtu fancy dress halloween party took place by candlelight with lots of high spirits.
Graveyard at the front of the house