Chainsaw Days

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Spent a happy hour or two yesterday under the car port processing some newly acquired timber.  Some Hornbeam, Beech, Cherry and Monkey Puzzle.  One piece of the Beech is nicely spalted and some of the Hornbeam is showing the start of spalting – so I think I’ll just lay those down the bottom of the garden for a month or two and see what nature can do.  The Monkey Puzzle should be interesting – I’ve not turned it before so watch this space.

A White Christmas

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Very much so.  woke up to heavy snowfall this morning so decided to make my way to the market early before the roads became clogged.  wonderful picture of the Cathedral as I arrived, and the snow certainly adds to the atmosphere.  All looked very seasonal.  Had a text on the way over to say that the market would be open as usual, so glad I made an early start.  However, no sooner had I unpacked my bags and put the light on, I was told the market would remain closed for the day so faced a great journey home through the traffic I had done so well to avoid earlier!!

So apologies to anyone who was coming to see me today.  Hopefully, business as usual tomorrow.

And apologies for the quality of the photos – my phone camera is on its way out!

Final touches

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Just added a few finishing touches to the stall to make it a bit more festive.  I picked up some greenery on the way in yesterday (off-cuts from Christmas trees) and fixed these under the canopy.  I also had a Christmas message inside the stall which was a bit lost, so I’ve now moved that outside where it can be better seen.

I’m hearing a lot of comments from ‘regular’ visitors, about the market being better this year.  Although it is slightly smaller, there is a much better atmosphere and less stalls with, for want of a better description, cheap imported tat.  If you like what you see, and I certainly think they have it just about right this year, then please say so by writing to the Herts Advertiser, as the market has had very mixed publicity over the last few years.  It will help ensure the continuation of the market and will encourage those who put so much effort into the running of it.



Turning Red

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Decided to add a bit more red to make the stall more festive. I might also try to get some more greenery for the canopy tomorrow.

The last couple of days have been really affirming with a good number of people stopping to say that “I bought [whatever] from you last year and we really love it” or similar.  Mostly it’s in respect of salt & pepper mills or clocks, but I’ve also had people say the same about my pens and bowls.  I’m confident that what I make will last, but it’s always good to know that it’s also appreciated.

I’ve Arrived

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I am now ensconced at St. Albans for the start of a 26 day non-stop stint at their Christmas Market. The setup of the market is different again this year, but it still has an entertainment tepee and Santa’s Grotto.  There is also a snow globe, which is new for this year and looks fun!

I shall be there every day up to and including 23rd December, so why not come along and see me.  I will be demonstrating every day – assuming I can keep the blood circulating in my fingers. It was pretty nippy today and I forgot my thermals.  Definitely a full set tomorrow!



Frosty Start

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Well, here we are – my first day at the Hatfield House Christmas Frost Fair.  I’ve not done this event before, so I have no idea what to expect.  Markets are very strange things.  Some may be busy but just be the wrong market for me and I struggle to cover my costs.  Others may be quiet with other traders complaining, and I do really well.  You never can tell in advance and even the same fair may be totally different from one year to another.  I could have a quiet 4 days building up a bit more stock for St.Albans, or I may be run off my feet and go to St.Albans empty-handed.  Either way, I have my glamorous assistant with me today so that I can keep turning.  It’ll be a different glamorous assistant tomorrow, a third on Saturday and yet another on Sunday.  Aren’t I blessed!


St. Albans here we come…

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I’ve finally made the decision – I’m going to be there!  St. Albans Christmas Market will run from 25th November right through until Saturday 23rd December and I’d held back on booking for family reasons.  However, the decision is now made.  I can’t make the first 3 days but will be there from Tuesday 28th November for the remaining 26 days.  I’m not quite sure where my pitch will be (this is a picture from last year) but, as you can see, it’s a wonderful setting.  This will be the third year that I’ve done this market and one that I really enjoy being part of, so it’s great knowing that I’m going to be there again this year.

Hopefully see you there!


Christmas has started!

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The Christmas Fair at Knebworth House is now well under way, and with about 200 stalls there’s something for everybody including crafts, clothing, food and Christmas decorations.  Had a young boy at the stall today who was really taken by the wood and seemed to love its natural feel and touch.  He loved the pens and kept coming back throughout the afternoon, but obviously couldn’t afford one out of his pocket-money.  I had one that was slightly sub-standard and made his day by giving it to him.  It’s just wonderful to see youngsters engaging with something that isn’t electronic and he (and his mum) also seemed keen on the idea of one-to-one tuition, so hopefully I’ll see him again after Christmas.

If you want to come along, tomorrow is the last day!

Episcopal Mistake

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Sometimes mistakes can be expensive, waste a lot of time or be a real frustration.  At other times they can be fortuitous, as is the case here.  I had intended that this pair of spalted Hornbeam salt and pepper mills would be finished with swept tops (my most popular style), but I was tired and made a cut in the wrong place.  Aargh!  But what to do?  Do I consign both to the flames, or do I have a single mill and consign just one to the fire?  I decided the timber was too good to waste, so decided to try a new shape and this is the result – a pair of bishops, so-called because of the resemblance of the top to a bishop’s mitre.

Just one pair at the moment, so not enough for a bench or psalter, but I’m working on it.

And I suppose the moral of this tale is that whatever the mistake, we can always learn from it!

PS. If you are interested in this particular pair, then they’ll be ion sale at Knebworth House this weekend.

Up and running again

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Hooray!!  My old faithful is back up and running.  The small demo lathe that I was using was great for fairs, but is does have its limitations.  Many thanks to S G Webb & Sons for a grand job, and for actually completing the repair earlier than promised.  I must confess that i was in a bit of a panic with Christmas fairs looming and a stack of half-finished pepper mills that were as good as useless.  Now I just need to finish them – that’s the first on the lathe with all the drilling done and ready to shape.  They won’t be ready for my first Christmas fair at Knebworth House, which is now only 2 days away, but there’s a reasonable chance that I’ll have them done for the following weekend at Hatfield House.  Still no decision yet about St. Albans, but watch this space.

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