Friday, 23 April 2010

St. George's Day!

Hello and a Happy St. George's Day to you all.

John and I decided that in order to celebrate our National Day and the Birthday of Shakespeare we should create a public holiday and so Sumptuosity Towers is closed today and the Fairies are flitting about doing their own thing. John is currently in his study (his lair...I think that he will soon put up a sign that states 'John's Study Kee Pout'!). It has definitely become his province just as the 'Living Library' (an amalgamation of Living Room and Library) has become mine!

Anyway, to keep you all up to date with the happenings at Sumptuosity Towers... Sophie's debut into York Open Studio's went very well, with lots of visitor's and lots of comments/reactions. I was very proud of her as she really got into talking to people about her work and her ideas. She has now got added vigor to update her own website and to actively pursue more venues at which to exhibit - go Sophie! go!

We had a successful time at the BCTF trade fair and orders are still continuing to flood in, even some more coming in from Scotland's Spring trade fair that we attended in January. So it is all go at Sumptuosity Towers. John and I are spending some of our 'day off' looking at new designs, as we have had lots of specialised requests from current stockists and potential stockists. It is a very eclectic mix to say the least and I shall be looking at a range of things from the poems of Robert Burns to wild daffodils and Ammonites...

It looks like Spring is finally making a break for it here in York and John and I have had some very nice walks around the City Walls. It is wonderful the number of species of birds that you both see and hear around the city. On one of our last walks I counted 16 different species of birds, including a very fleeting sight of two House Martins. I am looking forward to when the Swifts arrive, as I love to see them flying high above the city. The Bunny is still occasionally seen in the brown field site opposite our flat and is still chasing pidgeons and even the odd Jackdaw off his patch. This he does by running in circles around the said bird until it becomes fed up and flies off...although if this does not work he will also charge directly at the bird! Sophie and John think that 'he (the bunny) is not quite 'right', although I prefer to see him as merely eccentric. If any one else has seen a bunny act in this manner I would love to hear about it.

3 B.T.'s

1: Bird song in the morning - hurrah for the Spring!
2: Bennie the Bunny running circles around pidgeons.
3: John and I have booked a long weekend in Oxford for our wedding anniversary in June and we are having a great time deciding all the places to visit.

Bye for now,
Love Ruth x

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Back from the Trade Fair and Open Studios

It is now Thursday morning and I think that I am a little more awake than I was yesterday as the first day back from a trade fair I always feel like a sleepwalker. We were in the Studio yesterday but I didn't get that much made as I was trying to tidy up and sort out all of our wares from the fair. We also still had some customers come into the shop area, one man was busy looking for a card for his wife's birthday and resorted to going through a box of cards that I had yet to unpack! Needless to say he managed to find a nice card with hens on it, one of a collection that we have just got from our friend Phil at Beamer's Designs. Phil has even given us our very own 'spinner' in which to display the cards and so I spent a pleasant few minutes emptying the box (after the customer had gone) and arranging the designs on it - until I got a look from my hubby that suggested that I stopped 'playing about' and got on with some real work!

Mind you it is still all 'up in the air' at Sumptuosity Towers as this weekend is the York Open Studios and we are hosting Sophie's work. Sophie, as many of you know is a Sumptuosity Fairy by day and at all other times a fine artist (mixed media sculpture). So for the past week or so, work has been appearing in the studio and we have all had to be very careful not to tread, sit on or walk into any of the pieces! On friday morning we will be clearing the shop area and Sophie (who has booked the day off) is spending the time, finishing off the window displays and preparing the main display area. We have also got to finalise the food and drink (always essentials at Sumptuosity Towers!). It is all very exciting and we are all looking forward to the event and seeing the work in it's full glory.

3 B.T.'s

1: We looked out of the window this morning and John said 'is that a Pheasant over there?', I got out the binoculars and lo and behold it was indeed. Now you might not think that the sight of a Pheasant is that strange an occurance and you would be correct except that we live in the middle of a city!
2: Yesterday morning I spotted 'Bennie the bunny' on the brown field site across from our flat, I haven't seen him for a while and so was pleased to see that he was back and still chasing pigeons - go for it Bennie!
3: Alanna (Banana) had made some cakes for Sophie's birthday and had saved a couple of them for when we got back from the show - what a sweetie!

Bye for now,

Love Ruth xx

Monday, 12 April 2010

Day Two of the BCTF


Well, we are just back from day two at the BCTF (British Craft Trade Fair) and to say that John and I are tired would be an understatement! There is something that is just so peculiarly mentally exhausting about a trade fair unlike any other type of work I have ever done. Firstly, there is the standing in one spot all day (except of course when I sneak off to buy coffee or to look at 'pretty things'), smiling all day, talking to people (or not depending upon the footfall at the show) and trying to not be 'away with the fairies' as a potential stockist can appear at any time - in fact we had our last buyer today right in the last minutes of the show! It is not the same as doing a craft fair (although that can also be very tiring), because there you get to count money at the end of the day and at a trade fair it is orders (hopefully) or simply the amount of information given out that you hope will eventually become orders! No, a trade fair is on a level all of it's own.

However, it is proving to be a good fair and we have taken a number of orders and got some interesting new commissions, for example work for the National Trust for Scotland in relation to Robert Burns. I also have to embroider 30 crabs for a gallery in Cromer as there is a crab festival going on there at the moment - never a dull moment at Sumptuosity Towers! I have also been having a lot of fun placing some orders with other crafts people for items for our little studio shop. I have been given strict instructions by John that it is not simply about 'pretty things' that I like (although the orders I have placed are indeed for things that I think are pretty but that is another issue). We are also going to be having a lot more cards in the shop area, as these are always popular and there are just so many gorgeous cards at the fair this year. Our new Alice in Wonderland cards are also going down a bomb and I can't to get them into the Studio shop and on-line - we will of course keep you posted!

3 B.T's

1: There is one section of road on our way to Harrogate, where the roadside banks are full of primroses - beautiful.

2: I ate my sandwich on the steps outside of the venue in the warm Spring sunshine, looking at the lovely Yorkshire countryside and listening to birdsong.

3: John has made a lovely curry for dinner, after a long day what more could I want?

bye for now,

love Ruth x

p.s. John has purchased a Mi Fi (mobile internet thingy) and so if you are 'down with the kids' you can follow our adventures at the BCTF on Facebook, as we are updating through the day.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Bats in the Belfry

Back to work at Sumptuosity Towers after the Easter break. I always find that I am a little confused as to what a day it is after a bank holiday, although there are probably many who doubt that I know what day of the week it is at the best of times!

The Sumptuosity fairies had fun this after with an order from the Museum of London, we had to design and sew 'Bowler Hats' brooches. We all had ago, Sophie's were rather like Steed's hat (from The Avenger's), while mine were more like Mr. Ben's. We came up with something that we were happy with in the end (John has put some pictures up on Facebook - are we down with the kids or what!!!). We also had to sew 50 'Egg & Chips' designs, it made us all hungry, nothing new there.

Sophie and Alanna have been telling me about the Easter Eggs that they had had this Sunday, they weren't too happy about be thought of as 'too old' by many members of their families to be given Easter Eggs. Mind you we all ate so many chocolate crunchy nest cakes (some made with corn flakes and some with rice crispies) that we were all a bit 'hyper' by the end of last week, so goodness knows what the fairies would have been like if they had had even MORE chocolate...

So home to our flat at the end of the day - it seemed to fly! While John and I were eating our dinner, I noticed something flash (or should I say flitter?) past the window...and again. It was too fast and erratic in movements to be a bird so I went to have a closer look and discovered that the BATS are back. Hurrah - does this mean that Spring is finally here??? We live right next to the river Foss and the bats (there were two of them) were flying up and down the river. It was great. I'm not sure what type they are - I know more about birds than bats. Spring watch in York...


1: Talking with Sophie and Alanna (Banana) about chocolate.

2: Pasta, Pesto, artichoke hearts and cheese and herb bread from The Hairy Fig - Scrummy.

3: Seeing Bats flitting about outside the living room window.

Bye for now,

Love Ruthie xx

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Adventures of Nellie the Netbook

We have been having some real fun in the Studio this week with Nellie the Netbook, although she sits on John's desk rather than on my work table. This is because Nellie needs to be plugged into the router in order to gain connection to the Internet, although I also think that John likes to keep an eye on me and check that I am not on 'LibraryThing' rather than doing 'proper' Sumptuosity related work! (As if I would....). We have been updating the Facebook site on a regular basis over the last couple of days and Sophie has been especially enjoying herself by bossing John about and making sure that he has photographed any new designs that we have made.

I have enlisted Sophie and Alanna (Banana) in my mission to get fans on Facebook, this has been inspired as Alanna (Banana) is is real Facebook girl and has been contacting all her chums and invited them to the Sumptuosity page. John was really amazed when he first saw the numbers shoot up and wondered how I was doing it. Just like George Washington I cannot tell a lie (unless it is about my book buying habits) and admitted that it wasn't me but the lovely Alanna.

If you are on Facebook, why not join us as a Fan and not only will you be helping me in my 'Facebook Challenge' but we will be putting all our fans into a prize draw at the end of April and fifty lucky winners will receive a Sumptuosity item (brooch, bookmark or mirror) of their choice - this was John's idea and coming from a Yorkshire man that is pretty impressive as normally "if you are going to do owt for nowt do it for thy sen".

We are busy preparing for next weekend's trade fair - the wonderful British Craft Trade Fair. This is my absolute favourite show, as it is wonderful to meet up with people that we know and look at the lovely work that British artists and craftspeople make. It is (of course) very tempting and John is always reminding me that 'we are at the fair to sell our wares not for me to buy pretty things'. It doesn't stop be doing a little bartering at the end of the show...

The weekend after this is York Open Studios and this year we have sponsored Sophie to participate. We will be emptying the Studio shop area, window space etc and letting Sophie have free range with her sculpture. Wild and crazy items have been appearing over the last couple of weeks and Sophie is now sure (just about) that she has enough work for this exhibition. However, she is now worried that no one will come and see her work - that girl is just a born worrier! I have told her that it will be a brilliant event and that she should 'trust me because I'm a doctor'...

3 B.T's

1: The river next to where we live has a variety of birdlife but one of my favourites is a little wren that can be seen scuttling around the walls and has the loudest and most beautiful song.
2: On the way to the Studio this morning we saw a family of pretty little goslings bobbing about on the river (John took a picture and put it on Facebook).
3: John and I watched the new episode of Dr. Who tonight and I must admit that even though I loved David Tennent and was ready to not enjoy it - I really liked it in spite of myself.

Bye for now,

Love Ruthie xx