Monday, August 30, 2010

Rolleston Market's first birthday bash

I think it's time I did a pictorial blog post! Here is a picture of my stall just after I finished setting up.
Some pics of the stalls and shoppers.

I was lucky enough to won one of the raffle draws, and chose this gorgeous book from Tessa Warburton as my prize. My neighbour wrote me out a list of some of the shows and fairs on in Canterbury that would be worth doing. So I might apply for some of them and see how I go. Watch this space for more details!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rolleston Market's 1st Birthday Bash

Rolleston Community Market turns one this Sunday, and there will be plenty of ways to celebrate. There will be balloons and face painting for the kids, a $2 raffle with prizes drawn every half hour and 200 cupcakes to be given away. This is in addition to the usual array of stalls selling fresh produce and handmade goods. You'll find a selection of organic fruit, cheese, bread, meats, fresh flowers, candles, clothing, children's toys, jewellery and art. There will also be hot food, coffee and a bouncy castle. So if you've been thinking of coming along to check it out, Sunday would be the perfect day!

I'll have my full range of candles, including the teacup candles and soy tins, and some new starfish rattles. Don't forget to bring along your old candles to recycle for a 10% discount, or take advantage of my August special, and bring along an empty Rose in Thorns candle tin for a 20% off your purchase.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The gluten free bread recipe

It does become apparent your life maybe a little boring when you get excited about perfecting a recipe for bread. In my defence though, I think it is an accomplishment to create a loaf of gluten free bread that tastes as good as any 'normal' bread. I'll even go as far to say that it's better than some other bread.

The main purpose of this challenge was to create a tasty loaf of gluten free bread without breaking the budget. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that six months ago I lost my job two weeks after I was diagnosed with coeliac disease. As you can imagine, I was quite pleased to see the end of February. I decided to pursue self-employment, which wasn't so compatible with the added cost of gluten free food.

I started ordering food through the coeliac prescription service, which has saved money on things like flour and pasta. So I have based this recipe primarily on the products that are available to me to keep the costs down. These products are also available at most supermarkets, so don't panic if you can't get them via prescription! I have adapted it from a recipe in Gluten Free bread and cakes from your breadmaker which is a fantastic book if you're gluten intolerant and have a breadmaker.

The Recipe:

1 egg
450mL water
4T oil (I used olive oil, but just use whatever is in the cupboard)
4T milk powder
1T clear honey
75g Buckwheat flour
1 tsp xantham gum (I imagine guar gum would work too)
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast


1. Beat together the eggs and water, then pour into the breadmaker pan.
2. Add the oil, vinegar, milk powder and honey.
3. Add the flours, gum, sugar and salt, then sprinkle the yeast on top.
4. Set the machine to Basic, 700g/medium (my breadmaker doesn't have this setting, but it doesn't seem to matter), medium crust.
5. When cooked, switch off the machine, sprinkle the bread immediately with a little buckwhat flour (optional) and leave in the breadmaker for 10 minutes.
6. Turn the bread out of the pan onto a wire rack. When cool enough to handle, remove the paddle, if necessary.
7. When cold, store in the bread bin for up to four days, or slice and freeze.

Some notes: The buckwheat flour can be found at Binn Inn stores, and probably your local wholefood store. I get mine from Piko's. I have used a Breville breadmaker which doesn't have a gluten free setting. Use an active yeast, such as this Edmond's one. I have used Mauripan yeast, but I know some breadmakers don't like it, and I'm not sure where to get it from, I buy it from Nelson!

Feel free to leave any comments if you try this recipe yourself, I'd love to know if anyone else likes it as much as I do. I'm sure it could be made without a breadmaker, I'm just not sure on things like rising time, oven temperature or baking time. If you do figure this out, please share below in the comments. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Great goodies up for grabs, and a part-time job

There are often so many fantastic giveaways happening around the place, I thought it was high time I started sharing them with my blog readers!

Firstly, The China Cabinet has a giveaway that runs until the 22nd August. It is at the Bridal Expo that is currently running at Northlands Mall in Christchurch. Go along and check out her stand, and enter the draw to win this gorgeous prize pack, which includes: two trios; Royal Albert Enchantment (I LOVE this one!) and Lavender Rose. There are also some very special teas from Harney & Sons Wedding Tea Range, a voucher for delicious cupcakes from The Cupcake Parlour and lots of other treats. The hamper is valued at $350! I've already entered, so if you don't get the chance to pop down and enter, that's totally fine with me...

Next up is a beautiful children's hat by Alison of Green Jean. Alison makes gorgeous children's clothes from recycled jeans. The hats are brand new, so pop over to her facebook page to check them out, and enter her competition to win one! Entries close on the 30th August.

Ana Aceves makes gorgeous prints, illustrations and dioramas. She is also having a giveaway, you can enter the draw to win this print by leaving a comment on her blog. You have until the 30th August to get your entry in.

If you live in Wellington, and fancy a part-time job helping out the lovely (and very busy) Colleen from Dear Colleen, pop over to her blog right now to find out how to apply for it. The deadline for applications is the 26th August. If you don't live in Wellington, or don't need a job, you can still get in on the action that is Dear Colleen. She has recently launched her first charity project, a tote bag designed to raise funds for a very worth cause, the Oxfam Gulf Oil Spill fund. If that's not enough, she has also made her 'spoil' logo available for download for other people to use in their own fundraising projects. Find out more about it here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Op-shop finds

I went on an Op-shop mission yesterday to find some more teacups for a wholesale order. Here is a pic of some of my new goodies. I found some great shops on my travels. I went to Woolston first – a great desitination for any avid op-shopper or retro fan! I found a vintage candlebra in a secondhand shop a couple of doors down from the Salvation Army Family store. It will be great to use on my stall to display candles – the other one I've used was hired. On my way back to the car, I noticed a bike shop that specialises in buying, selling and restoring classic/retro bikes and parts. I mentioned a rather large stash of bicycles in this post that needed a new home, and I just might have found it! The shop is at 618 Ferry Road, worth checking out if you're in the market for a retro bike, or some parts.

I bought a couple of old ring binders from the Super Shed to re-cover with some handmade paper I bought from the Drawing Room earlier in the week. I've noticed they are never in short supply at op-shops, and decided earlier in the year to buy them second-hand from now on. The paper wasn't quite as large as I'd hoped, it was the exact width of the folder. I had to tape along the edges instead of folding them over, but I'm still quite pleased with how they turned out. I might even file away my receipts more often now!

I have been slowly working away on my business plan, and have finished the marketing section. I worked through the Business Growth Planner from Crafting an MBA which I can recommend. It's designed for crafters, and helps you to turn your goals into a plan you can follow to help them become a reality. To get some numbers to work with, I figured out the minimum income I require to pay for living expenses etc, and added on an approximate weekly amount to cover overheads. This got me my starting figure. Then I took the amount I'd like to be earning in a years time, added on the same overhead amount to get my target for the next year. A simple way to get incremental targets that bridge the gap between the two is to subtract the first number from the second, divide it by twelve, and increase you monthly target by this amount each month. I hope that makes sense! So now I have some numbers, I just need to try and hit them. I'll keep you posted every now and then with how that goes, and what I did to get there.

My first step is to start improving the copy in my listings on Felt. I have taken some advice from this post from the Craft Venture Series on the Paper n Stich blog. I have started with the listings for my soy tin candles, and will work through them all over the next few weeks. I'm hoping this will increase my conversion rate from views to sales.

I have also been working on refining my budget friendly breadmaker recipe for tasty gluten free bread. It might sound like an impossible feat, but today's version is tasting very good. I think I might be almost there with perfecting it. I'll post up the recipe when I've got it just right.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Special offer for August

At the last two markets I have attended, the soy tin candles have proved very popular. Both times I had hoped to promote my recycling offer, but got too busy making the candles to make any flyers. The deal is, if you bring back an empty Rose in Thorns candle tin, I will give you a 10% discount on your next purchase. Since I hadn't told anyone this, I am going to do a special offer till the end of August:
If that's not an awesome enough deal already, if you make a purchase from Felt before the 20th of August, you go in the draw to win the latest copy of Peppermint magazine. It would be perfect for reading while you relax in the bath with your new gorgeous smelling candles going...
image courtesy of Felt

If you wish to redeem your discount on a purchase via Felt, just send me a message via Felt first detailing what you would like to buy, and I will put up a custom listing for you with the discount included. If you live out of town and need to post back the empty tin, I can also include a credit in the postage to cover the cost of sending it back.

*discount only applies to full priced items.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday catch up

I just noticed when I went to start this post that it's my 50th post! That's quite a milestone, half a century. It also suggests I've been neglecting it from time to time – it's over a year old, so that's less that one per week.
A few months back I asked Mum for her crochet dishcloth pattern. I was getting tired of throwing synthetic dishcloths into landfill once they were worn out, and wanted to make one out of cotton so I could put in into the compost once it had reached the end of it's useful life. Mum has always made her own, so I knew they were good from my years of doing the dishes at home! I made a start when I first got the pattern, but due to the fact I was using a thicker thread than what Mum had used, it looked way too big, and seemed to be taking forever. I finally finished it yesterday – after pulling it apart and starting again from scratch! I made it about two-thirds of the original size, and it was much quicker to make this time! It may be a little on the small side now, but I'll find that out once I've started using it. You can see me working on it the first time round in the picture in this blog.
I think the new month has inspired me – I started working on my business plan today! I have been collecting information about starting a business for years, these books are just a snapshot of what I have. While I was studying Graphic Design, I had an idea for a product which some people suggested I try my hand at making and selling. I looked into it, but going from an idea, to figuring out how to manufacture and market it while worrying about patents and finance was too complex for my 19 year old self. Which is where the first lot of planning books came from. I still have that idea, and might adapt it to something that can be sewn, hence removing the need for mass production! So watch this space for that one...

The marketing book was from an evening class I did that my first employer was kind enough to pay for. My last employer paid for me to do an advertising class last year too, I was obviously good at finding nice people to work for! So this whole self-employment thing definitely wasn't a spur of the moment decision, it's something I've been thinking about for years. Now I just need to turn it into a source of reliable income. I'll keep you posted on how the planning goes.

Also today, I have successfully made a Gluten Free loaf of bread that actually has most, if not all the desirable characteristics of bread. This is no mean feat! Since I have been diagnosed as a Coeliac, I am able to get some gluten free items on prescription at a subsidised price. This come in very handy after I lost my job and had to start watching my pennies. I can buy pasta, flour mixes and bread mixes through this scheme, and make bread a lot cheaper than I can buy it. One of the bread mixes is rather terrible on it's own, so I've started experimenting with mixing it with other mixes and flours to try and improve it. This was my first attempt, adapting a recipe from Gluten Free Bread and Cakes from your Breadmaker. It came out really well, but I'm hoping to hone it a bit and include less eggs, as three really doesn't quite fit with keeping it budget friendly. Once I have got the recipe right I will share it here on the blog.