Welcome to the Savvy Sister's Blogg

Wendy (my sister) and I had this idea to create an on-line community for like-minded women (both young and old) who wanted to share knowledge, skills, ideas. Generally supporting each other in the same way neigbours would support each other in the days when you knew who lived next door or down the road!

Day by day we are building on this idea - our blog will track our journey and you are welcome to join us.


ps. The photo is of 3 sisters who used to live in our home town - our dad took this photo in the 1960s.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


17kg of Wool Fleece arrived yesterday, 1kg of 17 colours - it was like Christmas all over again.  It took me 5 hours of weighing and rolling to get all 17kg into 50g hanks, it felt like a marathon but it was lovely to handle all of that glorious, soft wool.

The paper bags arrived this afternoon and I have now completed the instructions for a basic flat piece, we've all the ingredients for the Starter Kits!! 

Savvy Sisters Felt Starter Kits
The customer can choose the wool colours - these are just a sample.

I can't believe we are nearly there.  I visited the accountant today and will be setting up Savvy SistersLtd this afternoon.  Wendy is talking to a web designer about our plans for our website - next step is world domination :-)

Saturday, 23 April 2011

My Clever Sister

Wendy and I have been planning our Oakham workshop today, we are so excited - we have 8 people already booked on and 2 possibles.  I've been out to buy some pink swimming noodles (sometimes called water woggles)  for the starter kits - these will be for rolling the flat pieces of felt. The starter kit bags will consist of:
  • 1m bubble wrap
  • 1 bottle of soap
  • 1 bottle of white vinegar
  • 0.6m tuile netting
  • 1 water sprinkler
  • 5x50g dyed merino ops (coloured wool fleece)
  • 40cm swimming noodle
  • 2 legs from a pair of tights
  • Instructions for the bag we are making in the workshop
We've also been designing out website - we want to start simply with felt making, then expanding to other crafts and other areas that interest us and hopefully others.  Neither Wendy or I are particularly girlie - the Savvy Sisters' identity is definately very pink and art deco.

Wendy has sent me a range of photos of her beautiful crafting for our website - she is so talented.  We are very similar in many ways; however, Wendy is far more creative than me, I'm more of a technician and like to work with tools.  Just look at some of Wendy's completed pieces:

Blue Heart Bag - not sure why the photo turned 90 degrees :-)
Rose Book Cover

Silk & Felt Nuno Scarf

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Oakham Workshop - Exciting Planning

The posters for our 1st May workshop only went up at Wendy's work yesterday and we already have 7 attendees - only 3 more for a full house!  I've ordered the wool tops - 17kg in total so that we can make up 'starter kits' for the workshop enthusiast who would like to continue at home.  Heres the poster - we are using a Microsoft Art Deco theme template for the basis of all of our stationery now - what do you think of it?

We're just covering our costs in this workshop but hope to get feedback from the folk who attend as to how much they would be willing to pay if it was a full cost event. 

I'm still studying for my ITIL (IT Service Management) V3 Manager's Bridge course so haven't been able to concentrate fully on Savvy Sisters - so still have loads still to sort out.  I need to set up Savvy Sisters as a limited company, register with Company's House and the Tax Office, find an accountant, arrange insurance - the list is endless.  Scary but exciting!

Nice things first though - I'm meeting with Lesley for lunch today to plan for our Norton Sub Hamden workshop.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Saturday's Felting Session

I had a great felting session at my friend, Lesley's house in Norton Sub Hamden on Saturday.  She made some felt slippers and I made another bag in practice for our felting workshop in Oakham on the 1st May.  We were so engrossed I forgot to take any photos - then I left the bag at Lesley's so will need to take some photos when I next see her and add them retrospectively.  Lesley and I are planning to hold a Felt Workshop in the Norton Sub Hamden village hall sometime in the near future, so watch this space.
Wendy and I have made contact with a wool supplier for wool for our Oakham workshop - its all very exciting, we've had three bookings so far - just 7 more to go!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Melissa's Quilt

My daughter, Melissa, loves anything produced by Cath Kitson - she is always raving about bags, purses, curtains etc. so I decided to make her a Jill Nutton version of a Cath Kitson quilt  and I have finally finished it. 

I loved making it - basically it consists of a 1.5 metres each of 3 complimentary fabrics, a cheap pink fleece for the back and about 70 odd pink buttons.  The longest part was sewing on the buttons - the rest was just plain sewing squares and rectangles together.

 Here is the quilt ably modelled by husband, Bob. 
A closer look - the colours are much better in this photo

Thursday, 14 April 2011

First Workshop in the Pipeline

Wendy and I are planning our first Felt Making Workshop - its going to be in Oakham, our home town on 1st May.  We are using Wendy's work colleagues as guinea pigs and plan on making the bag below:

We'll start by showing how to produce two basic flat pieces for the flower petals, moving onto 3 dimensional felting for the bag itself, then creating a roll for the handle and finally a ball for the centre of the flower.

We want the workshop to be fun and relaxing, a time for sharing and chatting while 'doing'.  I'll update my blog afterwards and tell you how we get on.

I'm meeting up with my friend, Lesley at the weekend, we are also planning to hold a felting workshop in her village, Norton Sub Hamden.  On Saturday, I'll show Lesley the steps to make the bag, hopefully videoing and photoing the different stages so that we can also produce a video to compliment the workshop. 

I just love all of this craft!!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Tax Necessities & Wonderful Craft

Tax - the necessity of working life - Last Thursday morning I attended the 'Newly Self Employed -The Basics' course at our local Tax office.  Wendy and I are thinking of starting off as a limited company so although not strictly relevant this course still provided some valuable information.

The course covered such things as - the date your business technically starts, registration, VAT rules, National Insurance, the importance of record keeping, turnover, accounting period and expenses.  If you are thinking of starting your own business, then this free course is very useful and it leads onto other free courses.

Time For Play - On Friday, Mum and I went to the Stitch & Creative Craft show at the Bath & West Show Grounds - it was our time to play and for me to pick the brains of other crafters.  Wendy was particularly cheesed off as she had to work and couldn't come with us.

 There were loads of paper craft, embroidery and quilting stalls but in between these were a couple of really interesting stalls.  One stall sold alpaca wool - Barton Alpaca (www.bartonaplacas.co.uk) the exhibitors spread out whole fleeces across their tables, what a great product.  Of course I had to buy some for our felt making efforts, its sooooo soft!

We attended an inspirational workshop on Free Motion Machine Embroidery given by Jan Tillett (www.jantillett.co.uk).  This is a fascinating and absorbing textile craft - we machine stitched randomly over scraps of voile and netting sandwiched between two layers of water soluble film until the whole surface was covered in stitching.  The next step was to dunk it in a jug of water until the water soluble film had desolved, then spread the resulting lace over a bowl to dry.  Once dried it became a beautiful fabric bowl - how simple and effective! 

You do need a sewing machine that can do free motion embroidery, some of the older machines can't handle the continuous sewing or have the ability to remove the feeder foot.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Mum's Come to Visit

Mum has come down to sunny Somerset to visit for the week.  Now in her 80s, our Mum Jean started teaching us crafts almost before we could walk.  First showing us how to sew - we made all our own dollies' clothes when we were about 3, followed by knitting before we went to school, then crochet at 6. 

Each year she bought us novel crafts for Christmas - from Plasticraft, enamel craft, stone polishing to clay.  As we were a large family, my Mum's idea behind these gifts was to keep us busy so she could get on with the Christmas dinner. Older family members were enlisted into helping us decipher the instructions.  All completed items (or often uncompleted items in my case) were proudly displayed.

                                                                        We're baking!

Mum gave us our love of making and learning, this handing down of crafts is going to to be the basis of our business.  Mum is sat beside me at the moment - suggesting items for our blog, she will always be at the heart of all we do. 

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Great Coaching Session!

When I knew that I was leaving work I signed up to the Screw Work Lets Play Programme (SWLP) - http://www.screwworkletsplay.com/    Both of us had read John William's book of the same name and he had inspired us to get cracking with our ideas.  Much to Wendy's envy (she still has a job)  I now have more time to 'play'.

Selina is my SWLP coach - and yesterday I had my second telephone coaching session.  She is the voice of support and sanity. Wendy and I are brimming with ideas, we spark off each other but we have a tendency to go off at tangents.  Selina listened to my ramblings and randomness and here are some of her suggestions:

  • Be clear and specific about what Savvy Sisters is - think of one sentence to describe what our business/website is about
  • Focus on our aims and values - what is it about our business/website that we want our customers/audience to take away with them
  • Start off small, simple and stick to what we love, we can always grow at a later date
  • Structure & plan my day and make sure I have 'down' (non-work) time
This is such sensible advice, its a similar message that I've heard during all the various management courses that I've attended over the years yet ...  I always forget!  Thank you for reminding me Selina!