Little things

I have been making little things lately for upcoming markets (in particular a school market at  Lorien Novalis (Sydney) on July 23 and Mathilda’s Market (Sydney) on August 27). I thought my market collection needed something small, pretty, useful and wallet-friendly. So I started with pincushions.

















These pincushions didn’t come out as I planned. My plan was to make $5 pincushions that are super, super-fast to make, using scrap fabric I had been hoarding, and hence doesn’t cost me anything. Well, as I started with simple two or three-patch pieces, it got boring. I wanted something prettier, something a little more precious. So I ended up making mini log cabins (or technically, I think they are the beginnings of a pattern called “courthouse steps”). Very pretty!

And then Mark suggested that I scent these, so I thought, why not? I do happen to have an embarrassingly large collection of essential oils from my other (now forgotten) hobbies (making soap, perfume, and natural skincare products, if you must know). And if you were to scent these cushions, how boring would it be to use something so ordinary like lavender. I chose Rosewood Brazil, which is exquisite (and expensive).

I love these pincushions, especially when they look all cozy together in a basket. But I beat myself up afterwards for spending hours and hours on something that is supposed to be super simple and inexpensive. My business brain has been defeated by my creative brain, yet again.

So, to atone for my pincushion indulgence, I also made these popcorn bags, a la Gymbaroo.

















These are the simplest bags, about 6″ x 4″, filled with popcorn. At Gymbaroo they called these bean bags, and use them as a stimulating toy for babies, or for target throwing for older children. You can play with them in a lot of ways basically, which is why I love simple toys. I used popcorn just because the beans I had in my pantry were large and menacing looking. Popcorn seemed more friendly.

I’m happy that I made at least something that’s pretty and wallet-friendly. And useful, too – if your kids are in need of a snack, just rip one of these open and make popcorns!


I had a stall open yesterday at Orange Grove Organic Market. It was my very first market experience ever. For weeks beforehand, I shopped for equipments, thought about how to decorate my shop, and stayed up late at night making things to sell.

People had warned me not to expect much the first time — that it takes 3 or 4 weekends to establish myself, and for customers to start knocking on the door. I have heard from fellow crafters that it’s difficult to make sales at weekend markets.

Nevertheless, despite all that warning, I had looked forward to it like a school girl looking forward to an excursion. I had counted down the days, dreaming of happily chatting with customers browsing my products.

And finally, the day came…. and… it was pouring rain. Heavy rain. All. Day. Long. Ugh. Orange Grove Market – an outdoor market – does not close due to weather conditions. It is open rain or shine. I arrived before 7 am as instructed. There were regular fruit and vegetable stalls already set up despite the rain. Other shopkeepers were waiting out in their cars, debating whether to stay or pack up and go home. And many did go home.

I decided to stay of course. I knew people wouldn’t come in the rain, and that the rain probably wouldn’t stop (the sky looked gloomy all the way to the horizon). But I wanted to do it anyway, I thought it would still be fun. And it was!
































































It was so exciting just to have my shop set up. I was very pleased with myself, that my makeshift shop looked decent and even pretty. So, even though the rain didn’t really stop all day (those locals who braved the weather quickly bought their fresh produce and scurried back home) and I got soaked wet setting up and closing the shop, I still had a great time. Yes, not having my needy children around for a change was a big part of it, I admit, but what I loved the most about the market was other stall holders. They were such kind, friendly, and helpful people. And almost for that reason alone, I plan to go back there again. Well, almost — it would be nice to actually have customers as well…