Saturday, 30 April 2011

Oops I've done it again!

Well, I've just realised I have yet again forgotten to keep my blog updated! Honestly, if I was still at school I'd be in detention several times over for not doing my homework.

In my defence, I have been quite busy (excuses, excuses!). I spent three days at a big country fair over Easter. The weather was glorious - in fact, every time its lovely I seem to spend the time in a marquee (last July and last weekend for example), still I tend to just go red and freckly anyway so perhaps somebody is trying to tell me something.

From my point of view, the fair was fairly successful. It had been quite expensive to book a stall in the first place but I told myself I would easily cover that - hmmm ... or maybe not. I guess the current economic climate coupled with the fact that people were being charged an arm and a leg to come in, meant that not much money was changing hands.

In fact, most of the stallholders were bemoaning the fact that people just didn't seem to be buying, which made me feel slightly better as I was beginning to think that what I was selling wasn't up to scratch.

So, after much consideration and deliberation, I have come to the decision that maybe fairs aren't for me and I should concentrate more on the market side of things. So, in a couple of days I will be standing at one of the biggest bank holiday markets in my area - wish me luck!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Google rating

Well, after my website has been live for over 8 months and from its start on page 6 of Google, yesterday it finally made page one! YAY!!!!!!!!

Quite how long it will stay there I don't know, but I was so surprised when I checked last night.

At first I thought my computer had got it wrong so I also checked on my middle daughter's personal laptop and my mobile phone via the internet before I announced it to everyone.

Apparently, whenever anyone searches on Google for something to buy, they will inevitably buy from one of the websites on the first page, so I'm really hoping my web based sales will be boosted by being on page one.

Since I started my nappy cake business, the amount of listings of other people also making them now has probably quadrupled. It is certainly an up and coming craft. Bearing in mind there are thousands upon thousands of babies born every day in the UK, there should certainly be enough business to go round.

So, I'm waiting with bated breath for the orders to come flooding in (if you don't hear from me for a while its because I'm still holding my breath!!!!!).

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A Nice Surprise

As I explained in yesterday's post, I have pretty much made up my mind to start attending markets as opposed to events and fairs, but obviously I have to go to the ones I have already booked.

So, today I travelled up to Peterborough for a baby and toddler show.

I'm not sure whether it was because the weather has been so glorious and everybody had rushed off to the beach or were having bbqs in the garden, but footfall wasn't great.

I did, however, manage to sell a few bits and pieces and by 1pm had thought that was it for the days sales, then a couple rushed in and said they had seen my nappy cakes on the advertising for the show and were looking to buy for some friends.

What a lovely surprise - just when all the exhibitors thought that was it for the day, this couple bought 3 x nappy cakes and a memory box!

Don't you just love it when that happens.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

All good things come to those who wait

Like everyone who runs their own business (be it part-time like me or full-time) that dreaded time of year has just come round which involves you sitting at your computer frantically trying to work out how to finalise your book-keeping and wondering whether you have managed to keep everything up to date and in order over the previous 12 months.

As the beginning of April marked the end of my first year of trading, I duly sat down to try and work out what I had to do - not helped by a very nice package from the Government which plopped through my letterbox yesterday!

To be honest, I have been pretty good about keeping my books up to date. All my receipts are in date order and now I just need to figure out how to fill in those pesky forms.

So, as its the start of my second year, I am going to make the effort to try and get things running on a more professional basis (I did say this was all a pipe dream didn't I?!!!). I am going to start looking for other outlets that want to stock my nappy cakes and try out different markets until I find one which works.

Fingers crossed that its onwards and upwards from hereon in.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sorry .....!

Oh good grief - it only occurred to me tonight that I haven't blogged for an age so huge apologies for those of you who have been waiting with bated breath for the next installment (I'm not actually sure there is anybody out there reading this but we can all dream can't we!).

I promised my family that I wouldn't book so many weekend events in 2011 and I was very good to a point, but then people kept contacting me asking if I could attend a fair/event they were organising and I found myself saying yes to everybody - oops!

Since I started making my nappy cakes, I have found there is no rhyme or reason to how many things I can sell on a day. No matter what sort of fair I have a stall at, some days nothing will sell and others I'm busy. However, last weekend I decided it was worth experimenting at a town market.

I knew from previously walking through this town on a Saturday that plenty of people were expected and they didn't disappoint. Apart from the fact that the wind tried its best to blow everything away, the footfall past my stall was high and I did a very good trade.

So, decision now is that I am going to start looking at more local markets and see whether it is worth concentrating on them more than fairs and events. In the current economic climate I know everyone is reigning in their spending, but as babies are constantly being born, I'm optimistic for my little fledgling business.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Losing an hour (or my mind!)

Is it just me, or does losing an hour when the clocks go forward totally throw you out?

As I had a show to go to today, I deliberately altered all the clocks in the house before I went to bed, but still woke up in a mad panic! I was convinced I was late and hadn't changed the clocks or my alarm correctly, leapt out of bed checking my watch, mobile and hubby's alarm clock before realising that I was in fact early!

Why can't the powers that be just leave the blasted clocks alone! A friend of mine texted threatening to inflict her children on the idiot who originally thought up the idea of losing an hour in spring and gaining it back in October as it completely disrupts them for days.

After some consideration over the past few weeks, I came to the conclusion that I needed to offer other things at my events as well as my nappy cakes, so have now added to my collection. Knitted items are definitely back in fashion so I now also have baby hightop boots, baby "hug" boots as well as some gorgeous little cardigans. I also have a couple of other things in the back of my mind, but have yet to implement the idea.

As soon as I get a chance, I will be adding these items to my website, so please take a look and let me know what you think or if you have any other ideas for expanding my nappy cake empire please let me know.

Have a good week x

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

More Hours Please

Can anybody explain to me exactly where the hours go in a day? Like most people, I seem to get up, run around like a headless chicken, then go to bed!

Mind you, I shouldn't moan - I absolutely love being busy. There's nothing worse than sitting around staring into space, although I would like to get a little time to read a book occasionally.

Its been a strange sort of a week so far - no orders have come in via the website or over the phone but cos I've been running around its only just dawned on me. I do think I maybe haven't been giving the nappy cakes the time they deserve and I really need to rectify that or there's a good chance I'm going to lose the business altogether.

I need to spend some time on my website, my advertising and well ... just everything really. Unfortunately I'm going to have to sit down and actually timetable some of this into my week otherwise I'm just not going to get it done.

I've got a meeting tomorrow at midday so that's going to cut into the day and then Friday I've got another appointment. Sunday is my mum's birthday so all the family are getting together so I've made the decision ... Saturday is "nappy cake" day.

I'll let you know whether I actually keep the date. Watch this space.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

When space becomes an issue

Well, as I explained in my last post, I now have a bit of a glut of nappy cakes taking up residence in my living room.

On and off all weekend I have been trying to move them around so they don't take up as much room as they seem to be doing at the moment, but I think I'm just making things worse!

I think I'm going to have to seriously consider some sort of special offer to entice the customers to buy as I don't have another show until 27th March, which means things are going to remain a little crowded.

It does seem strange that whenever I did a stock swap at the hospital shop, somebody would then place an order for the exact nappy cake on the website that I had just left 10 miles away, but as soon as they are all waiting for new homes nobody seems to be ordering. Where are all those Spring babies?

Now I'm going to sound quite odd, but having so many already made up means I don't have any reason to sit and make some more which is one thing I really love to do. Sitting and creating a new nappy cake gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside (sad eh?!) and as each one is so unique from my previous creations, the joy of seeing it come together is something I have always loved.

So, if you know anyone who is looking for a bargain please contact me and I promise to offer them a good deal on buying a nappy cake (just so I can have my living room back!).

Friday, 11 March 2011

A sad day :0(

The title of this blog is due to the fact that I went to one of the shops that stocked my nappy cakes and removed them all today.

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't just in a mood, there really was a genuine reason and I thought long and hard and then even longer before I actually went ahead and did it.

This particular shop has stocked my nappy cakes practically since I started making them, but unfortunately there is a huge amount of building work going on around it and the main door through which everybody came in and subsequently meant they walked straight past the window of the shop, has now been closed up because of the construction and therefore people don't have to walk past, which naturally means nothing is selling :0(

Each of the shops that stock my items work on a slightly different basis but this particular one rented me the shelving space and I have been paying out more than I've been getting in as hardly anything was selling. I had to take the decision, that until the building work is completed, sales were going to be slow to non existent and I am better off putting my money into some fairs and events.

Mind you, my living room is now absolutely full to bursting with nappy cakes. Eldest daughter goes way for 6 months at the end of April so I plan on utilising her room then but until that happens I'm going to have to hope and pray that some orders come in and so my stock starts to downsize!

Maybe a special offer is in order?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Making notes

Do you know how some days you just seem to have everything going round and round in your head? Well that's how today has been for me.

I really really need to start writing things down and then remembering to actually check back at what I have written as I completely forgot I had made an appointment to see somebody this afternoon.

It was only when I checked my mobile (which was on silent) and saw I had 5 missed calls that it dawned on me I was meant to be at home - oops!

Luckily the lady concerned had gotten lost driving to my house and so we practically met on my driveway. We had a very interesting chat and I now have yet more ideas to add to my portfolio for the future of my nappy cake business.

I attended two separate shows over the weekend and only managed to sell one thing on Saturday and nothing at all on Sunday - however things do seem to go like that and I did manage to hand out an awful lot of leaflets so I'm hoping business will come in from them.

Mind you, I've lost count of the number of times I've been told somebody will definitely be ordering a nappy cake when their friend/relative/work colleague has their baby only to see the birth announcements made on various social networking sites but no order is forthcoming.

The amount of people now making nappy cakes is amazing - if you search for the term on any search engine more and more businesses seem to be springing up every day - I guess the goal is to create something that is better, more unusual and also cheaper than anybody else and keep your fingers crossed.

So, I'm off to have a bit more of a think about what I discussed during my afternoon meeting and how I can use it to enhance my business.

Have a great week x

Thursday, 3 March 2011

And the season starts again ....

Well, the 2011 show season is well and truly under way now.

I attended a baby and toddler show last Sunday and despite the fact that the weather fairy did her very best to keep people away (it bucketed down all day) people still came out for a wander and I sold two nappy cakes, a keepsake box and two scan mounts - so a pretty good show really.

I'm starting to get back into the swing of things with regards to what I need to pack in the car and with hubby helping it even all fits! Mind you, at the end of the show when I'm desperate to get home and put my feet up, things just never seem to go back in the car as well as when they arrived.

Its been a bit of a strange week as only one order has come through from the website and nothing via the phone but then some weeks are like that.

This coming weekend is going to be pretty busy as I have a craft fair on Saturday and another baby and toddler show on Sunday so I'm going to spend tomorrow frantically making sure I have enough supplies to cover me for both days just in case there's a sudden rush (chance would be a fine thing!).

I'm also looking to get a regular stall at a local market and have applied for one but apparently there's a bit of a list so it may be a wait. Mind you, with how cold its been again this week, I won't mind too much if nothing comes of it until the spring. Standing outside in all weathers doesn't appeal too much but if that's what I have to do to get myself a bit more well known and get those much needed orders then so be it.

Well, I'm off to have a look and see what the wholesalers are offering this week as I'm rapidly running out of teddies.

Have a good one x

Friday, 25 February 2011

Where does the time go?

I can't believe its Friday again and I haven't posted anything on my blog for a few days. Where does the time go?

I find it hard to believe I used to work full-time, keep up with all the nappy cake orders, keep my website updated and my blog etc etc. For the last six weeks since I finished work, I am having trouble keeping everything up to date - not helped by my loving family giving me "things" to do every day. Their current saying is "well, you're home all day ...." which apparently gives them free rein to give me lists of items which they require me to do!

Things haven't been helped this week by the fact that my eldest daughter is still using my car as and when she pleases. She wasn't very impressed by my announcement this evening that I needed the car all this weekend - a quick reminder that it is my car soon sorted that out.

So, it has been a busier than usual week as I had 5 orders come in plus had to make and deliver two nappy cakes which were ordered at last week's show. I also had to do a stock swap at one hospital and got an order for 16 more for the other hospital which they wanted asap.

So, I have nappy cakes everywhere at the moment, but once the 16 have been delivered tomorrow, I then need to concentrate on making some for the show I'm attending this Sunday. I've also got a show on both Saturday and Sunday next weekend - yikes!

On that note, I'm off to make more nappy cakes. Have a great weekend one and all. I'll let you know how I get on at the show next week xx

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Just when I was going to get myself organised and get out and about to visit various shops and hospitals in the hope that they would stock my nappy cakes, eldest daughter's car died so she is now using mine to get backwards and forwards to work.

Obviously this means I am having to rely on my two legs to get around which would be fine if I was living somewhere that had miraculous public transport systems, but unfortunately, as much as I love living where I do, our town is surrounded by countryside and yes we do have public transport, but its expensive to use and getting anywhere usually involves a very convuluted journey.

This means I am stuck at home unless I walk the dogs (which I have been doing quite regularly much to their surprise!). Everything is up to date - my website, my orders and I am slowly re-thinking this helpful mum bit.

I guess its a good thing that I don't have a job at the moment, but haven't thought far enough ahead to what we're going to do when I do gain new employment.

Oh well, off to have a bit of a re-think.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

A Rainy Saturday

I got up bright and early so I would arrive at my very first event of 2011 on time (for a change) to find it was absolutely pouring with rain. I know its February, but for goodness sake - the middle of this week was glorious in our area but come the weekend and somebody up there decides to turn teach us all a lesson for trying to go about our business and ensures we arrive wherever we are going in a complete state.

I thought I was so organised last night. After spending quite a while trying to remember exactly what I needed to take with me, I loaded the car and even got all my clothes out so I could shower and get dressed in the en-suite which means my hubby doesn't get woken up by my rummaging around trying to find something to wear.

Then I came downstairs, opened the curtains and realised that nobody with any sort of sense was going to come out and wander round a craft fayre when they could be nice and warm and dry at home.

As I was on my own, I ended up running backwards and forwards to the car to unload at least 5 times and resembled a drowned rat by the time I was ready to set up!

On the plus side, I did sell 2 x nappy cakes, 1 x scan mount with frame and a keepsake box so all in all it was a good day really. Once the rain decided to give it a rest people did venture out and all the funds raised went to the school involved.

Came home to the usual chaos of whole family sitting asking what was for dinner, washing still in machine waiting to be dried and hubby playing PS3 - nice to know nothing much changes in my life!

Friday, 18 February 2011

First Show of 2011

Well, tomorrow sees me attending my first show/event of 2011.

As I haven't been to a show since a couple of weeks before Xmas I had to really sit and think about exactly what I needed to take with me! I got so used to it last year that I practically got everything together each Friday evening without actually being aware of what I was doing, but its amazing how quickly you forget.

I'm sure I've got everything safely stowed in the car but have a horrible feeling I'm going to get to where I'm going tomorrow and realise I've left something at home.

Tomorrow is the first time I'm going to use my new (and hopefully improved) shelving system at the back of the table. Really its just two cheap shoe racks but my idea is to place them end to end across the back of the table I'm allocated then cover with a cloth, but it will mean the nappy cakes will be sitting slightly higher than the ones at the front of the table. This will also mean that people passing by will be able to see all the nappy cakes easily rather than having to lean over the table.

I'm also taking the new scan mounts that I have framed as it should give people a chance to buy something immediately rather than just picking up a leaflet for when the baby is born.

The general concensus of opinion is that all the leaflets you give out during the course of a day - one third will be thrown away, one third will be lost and the other third will keep a hold of them and (hopefully) remember where it is when they want to order.

I'll let you know how I get on tomorrow evening. Meanwhile take a look at the photo above of the framed scan mount - I have got several different frame colours and actual mounts - so if you know of anyone who has just had their 12 or 20 week scan and isn't sure what to do with the photos, why not purchase one of these - they are on my website.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A New Direction?

Today I spend a lovely afternoon putting the world to rights with a fellow crafter over several cups of tea.

We got on to discussing what events/shows/fairs we were going to attend in 2011 and she was totally amazed when I produced my folders (one for 2010 and one for 2011).

Each event has its own plastic wallet with all the documentation in about that show together with a copy of the completed booking form and is then placed in the correct month in date order. After each show I did last year I wrote on the top of my paperwork how many nappy cakes I had sold so I knew which ones would be worth my whole attending in 2011.

As I am a PA by trade, I have learned to be extremely well organised and multi-task really well so now my website is up to date, as is my Folksy page, everything is ready to go for my first show this coming Saturday, my storage problems are sorted, my advertising is done - in fact I am completely and utterly organised.

Anyway, my friend said I should look at maybe offering my services to other crafters, many of whom are completely disorganised (herself included).

So, it got me to thinking whether maybe it was quite a good idea. As much as I love my nappy cake making it currently doesn't pay the bills and offering my services as an organiser/PA for others is certainly an idea worth pursuing.

I'll let you know whether I get any further with it.

In the meantime, check out the photo of a slightly different take on the nappy cake - placing the doll in the middle of the cake rather than on the top.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A very nice day

Its a good job I am not currently employed as eldest daughter's car died last night and she has had to use mine to get backwards and forwards to her job.

Normally I would be quite happy to walk everywhere, but today I had a nappy cake to deliver and I was planning on doing a stock swap in one of the hospital shops (try and say that quickly 3 times!).

Anyway, I told her she could use my car provided she came back to pick me up and we did my two jobs first. Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but she is a nanny and she looks after a 3 year old girl and a one year old boy. I've met the one year old before but not the little girl but have to say they are a credit to her.

They are both such happy, friendly children and I was treated to several renditions of twinkle twinkle little star and incy wincy spider as we were going along. I also had to laugh when the eldest one announced her brother was "her baby and is so squishy!".

After we had finished the deliveries we ended up in the local garden centre to feed the children and then we went and had a look at the fish in the aquatic centre and the bunnies and gerbils in the pet centre. It was really lovely seeing everything through the eyes of the children and I had a really nice day.

When I got home this afternoon I had various telephone messages on the answerphone and lots of emails too from people asking whether I wanted to attend various shows/events. I started the year with the best of intentions and promised faithfully I would only attend one or two shows a month, but that all seems to have gone out of the window as everytime somebody asks if I'd like to attend, I end up thinking about it!

Note to self - must spend more time with my family this year and not every weekend at shows.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

First fair of 2011 this time next week

This time next week I will be attending my first fair of 2011 and I am really looking forward to it.

The last fair I did was a couple of weeks before Christmas and I had booked in and attended so many during 2010 I was really getting to saturation point, but after taking a much needed break from them, I am now raring to go.

I love everything about them even if I don't make any sales! I enjoy chatting to other crafters about what they do and looking through their creations (as well as buying some I might add). Nine times out of ten the atmosphere at these events is fantastic with everybody supporting one another and exchanging ideas and contacts - in fact I can honestly say crafters are some of the nicest people you could ever meet.

I also enjoy talking to the people who come for a browse - some of the stories I hear are so interesting and I always take on board any feedback or opinions offered.

Because I was just starting my nappy cake business up beginning of last year, I booked to attend fairs/events/shows pretty much every weekend and as I was also working full-time it didn't leave me much time for anything else, so, at my family's insistence, this year I decided to only attend the ones that I felt were beneficial to me (money-wise as well as getting enough footfall to hand out loads of leaflets for future orders), and I did start off with the best of intentions honest!

My plan was just to do one event per month but that seems to have progressed to two a month and sometimes three - oops! Still, I keep telling myself its all for the greater good - just don't tell my family I won't be at home again at weekends for the foreseeable future!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Photos on Website

I'm sure you will have noticed throughout my recent blogs, the recurring theme of my website and I really hope I'm not boring you all to death with it!

However, I got another order today and rather than it just coming through the website, this lady actually gave me a call to ask me a couple of questions before she placed the order. I was quite happy to take the order over the phone, but unfortunately I'm not geared up to take payments that way. If the purchaser wants the nappy cake delivered to their home and its within 10 miles of where I live, then I offer free delivery anyway and am happy to take a cheque or cash from them when I hand it over.

This lady though wanted it delivered to a friend (albeit one living not too far from me) so I had to ask her to put the order through on the website and I would then take it to her friend tomorrow.

She duly put her request through and paid, but what concerns me is the fact that I often wonder if people think they are getting exactly the same nappy cake as is in the photo on my site. My terms and conditions do state that some items such as outfits and soft toys may change due to stock levels, but I know from experience not many people read the "small print" (I know I certainly don't!). The photos tend to be ones I have taken on making a "cake" up.

To be truthful, I very rarely buy the same item twice (unless its something I really love) as I like to have a wide variety of clothing, blankets etc to use and I am frequently tempted whilst out and about. I love browsing round little boutiques and baby shops seeing what I can find that stands out as different as well as being reasonably priced.

Obviously my craft is not something like jewellery where a piece is made and then offered for sale - I don't make nappy cakes up until they are purchased from my website or requested specifically (otherwise I would have them lying around all over the place and even the mini ones take up a certain amount of room!).

I don't want to have to put a statement on every photo saying "items may be subject to change" but maybe that's what I will have to do. So far nobody has phoned me up and moaned that they haven't got exactly what they saw on the website, but there is bound to be a first time and that does worry me slightly.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


While I was out today collecting yet another storage unit, eldest daughter happened to be home and took a message for me from somebody offering advertising.

All my daughters have been advised to take details and telephone numbers for me if I'm not available to answer the phone and have taken this to the ultimate by writing down everything!

So, after gallavanting down the motorway for an hour and a half, I then had to drop off a 3 tier nappy cake. I had offered to deliver it personally rather than via courier as I knew I could come back via their direction. I had to laugh though when I turned up and advised the gentleman that answered the door that I had brought two with me and would he like to choose one. He looked at me and told me not to make him choose as he would undoubtedly get the wrong one! Anyway, I took pity on him and gave him my favourite but told him if his other half wasn't happy to let me know. Well, I haven't heard anything so I guess it was ok.

I also had another order when I got home so I'll be waiting in for the courier again tomorrow as this one has to go further afield.

Anyway, back to the advertising - I duly phoned the lady back and she said she had been given one of my leaflets and would love for my nappy cakes to appear in her magazine which goes out to over 15,000 school children quarterly. She is going to send me some information to look at (I never agree to anything over the phone) and I'm going to see what I think.

However, I have paid for advertising in another magazine which goes out nationally 4 times a year and have never had any orders from it. It got me wondering how much use advertising actually is and whether people are now so reliant on the world wide web that they don't really bother to read anything that drops through their letterbox (or in this case comes home in their child's book bag).

I don't mind paying out for things that will (hopefully) get me some business but sometimes it feels a bit like throwing money into the wind. I'm determined to get my nappy cake business up and running and making a profit and know I will have to put a lot of effort into it, but just wish sometimes things were a little bit easier!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Lovely Day

It always helps when the sun is shining doesn't it, especially after the last few days of howling wind. Today was just glorious and I found myself taking my coat off when I was out and about this afternoon. Okay, its only February but it seemed like just a hint of things to come with the better weather.

I spent a good deal of the morning catching up with various bits and pieces that needed doing round the house and then this afternoon I ventured out and left some of my leaflets at various places around my local city. Not sure whether it will drum up any business but its got to be worth a try hasn't it?

I also took delivery of some new items for my nappy cakes. There are some absolutely gorgeous things out there for babies now and I really enjoy picking them out and imagining which cake I will put them in.

Its very satisfying planning what items you are going to use when somebody orders a nappy cake and then putting the final touches on to make sure it is exactly right. I've got an order to make up this evening so will try and remember to take a photo and post it on here when I next blog for you to see.

In the meantime don't forget where I am if you need to buy a gift for a newborn!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Worrying Addiction!

Don't worry, I'm not talking any sort of addiction that I will need hospitalisation for! My addiction seems to be with storage units (weird huh).

After complaining bitterly to my OH since Christmas about the fact that he promised me storage units only to then inform me I'd have to wait up to 6 months for them, I decided to take matters into my own hands. It took me a while, but I finally decided on some from Ikea. They are actually for toys but I didn't see why they couldn't work just as well for all my bits and pieces.

Now comes the addiction bit - I managed to buy a grand total of four last week and drove around and about picking them all up - one took me over an hour and a half to get to although it was free so definitely worth it. I spent a happy afternoon sorting things out and placing them just where I wanted them and you would think that would be the end of that, but no .... I found myself checking out various websites to see what else was available (they come in all shapes and sizes you know) and before my brain managed to engage fully my finger was pressing the "buy it now" button and I'm off for another jaunt this Wednesday to pick up yet another unit.

So, there you have it - my name is Laura, I'm a crafter and I'm addicted to ..... storage units. My excuse if this is the start of my fourth week off work and I am now climbing the walls and to keep myself vaguely sane I have taken to buying pieces of furniture.

Got to wait in for the courier again tomorrow to pick up a nappy cake which was ordered from my website so am going to keep away from the computer so I'm not tempted. Besides which I'm running out of room for any more!

That's it from me for today - I'm off to admire my storage :0)

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Website Woes

After speaking to a friend last night, I decided I really needed to get to grips with my website.

I'm pretty good with a computer, but I am also very picky and it doesn't seem to matter what I do with my website (which I hasten to add I designed myself completely from scratch), I don't ever feel like its quite right.

So, I sat and wrote myself a list of what I thought I could do to improve things and what needed adding etc and then first thing this morning I made a start. Bearing in mind I had to use our laptop which has seen better days, it has taken me most of today and I'm still not happy!

You know how it is - nothing leaps out at you as being wrong, but you just know something's off and for the life of me I can't put my finger on it, so the best thing is going to be to step away from it for the rest of this evening and go back to it fresh tomorrow.

On the plus side, two nappy cakes sold today and I have another one to make up for delivery on Wednesday. I'm really hoping that upgrading and improving my website will encourage more people to buy, but if you have any thoughts on what I can do to make things better please drop me a line and let me know before I drive myself completely out of my mind!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

So Easily Pleased!

After spending two weeks off sick, I thought it was about time I ventured out and about, especially as I needed some new supplies for the nappy cakes.

Somebody had recommended a wholesaler that they thought would be worth my while visiting but hadn't told me exactly where it was so I decided to see if I could find it by myself. Needless to say I couldn't, so I asked a lady in a nearby shop and she pointed out it was just behind her establishment!

In my defence it wasn't immediately obvious from the main road as it is tucked behind some other buildings and I always worry that they will want you to pay exhorbitant amounts to join, but this one didn't - as long as I had some ID on me they were quite happy for me to browse and even pointed out some things they thought would be useful to me.

Trouble is with those places, you always spend more than you intended to and yesterday was no exception. Mind you, I did get everything I needed (and more!) such as ribbons, teddies and cellophane. I also bought some helium foil balloons as I thought I would put those onto the website for purchasers to add to their nappy cake order so when the box is opened a balloon floats up. It just adds that extra something to the gift really.

So, best get on - I've got 3 orders to make up this weekend and sitting here isn't going to get them done is it?! Have a great weekend x

Monday, 31 January 2011

Roll on February

Well, January is officially over tomorrow thank goodness. It seems to have been one thing after another since the start of the New Year so I can't say I'm sorry to see the back of the first month.

Also, I always think moving into February gives us something of a promise of the spring. Okay, it may be wishful thinking as if we are going to get bad weather or even snow its going to be during February, but that dismal time just after all the festivities is now behind us.

I've put some new pictures on for you to look at - although I regularly update my website I always forget you must be fed up of looking at the same old photos on here!

Sorting out all my stock to put into my new storage units, meant I could decide exactly what I wanted to keep and the things I've had hanging around for some while and probably won't use. Its very cathartic getting everything organised and getting rid of those things you don't want or need - I'd highly recommend it if you ever have the time.

Anyway, I'm going away to visit some relatives until this Thursday so I'm afraid there won't be any blogs from me for a couple of days. Hopefully when I come back I'll have lots to tell you.

Take care x

Sunday, 30 January 2011


After sorting through all my nappy cake stock yesterday afternoon in order to get it neatly placed into its new storage units, I suddenly realised I felt very inspired to create some new things.

However, not sure exactly what yet but at least the thoughts are buzzing around my head which is a start!

As well as adding some ideas to my repertoire (check me out with the big words!), I also need to decide which shows/events/fairs I'm going to do this year. 2010 was incredibly hectic as I managed to book something in for lots of weekends which meant I didn't really see my family much but on the other hand got my name out there and showed people what I was doing.

2011 is going to see me being more restrained and only doing the shows that were either worthwhile last year (ie., I sold more than one nappy cake!) or that have been recommended as being worth doing. This means the family won't moan so much that they never see me and I can use my spare time more constructively.

Nappy cakes do seem to be taking off this side of the pond and I really hope I'm doing enough to make sure I get myself known at the early stages. So don't forget, if you know anyone who is having a new baby or a baby shower drop me a line or take a look at my website (link on the right hand side of my blog).

Oh, and while I remember, above is a photo of my bespoke ribbon rack. Have a great rest of the weekend xx

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Yay - storage at last!

Well, you can probably tell from the title of this blog that I have finally got some storage for all my nappy cake stuff. YIPPEE!

As he promised my OH took me out today and we got some Ikea units that are actually meant for toys but work just as well for all the little bits and pieces such as socks, scratch mitts etc.

I had a lovely time this afternoon sorting through everything and putting them in the appropriate drawers complete with little stickers on the front telling me exactly what is in each one. It also meant I could take to charity some of the stuff that I have had and not used or no longer need.

What with my new storage and also my lovely new ribbon rack OH made me, things are definitely looking more sorted - now I just need to get the rest of the house under control!

This way, I should be able to tell much easier what I need to replace and/or I'm running out of rather than waiting until an order comes in and then realising I don't have what I need.

As soon as I get a photo of my newly organised room I'll post it on here so you can see exactly what I'm so excited about.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Finally ....

my OH has agreed that I am unlikely to get my shiny new storage unit much before the summer!

I wasn't holding out too much hope when he promised me that he would make me something to put all my nappy cake stock in over Christmas, but really didn't appreciate that it would take quite that long to come to fruition!

Obviously I can't moan too much as he did bring me home a very nice ribbon storage rack last night but I had to go and ask him whether he now seemed to be on a roll how was my unit coming along to which he answered that it wasn't.

So, he has obviously got sick and tired of my asking as he has promised to take me out tomorrow to buy me one - YIPPEE!!!!!

If we do actually get anything tomorrow I'll try and put a pic on here so you can see what it looks like but I'm not overly optimistic - his attention span when shopping usually lasts approx 10 minutes so if I don't find something very quickly in the first shop we go in, I'm likely to end up with nothing.

Watch this space for further developments.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A ribbon holder

Since I have been at home poorly, the chaos that is my nappy cake stock has been driving me mad as I'm just sitting and looking at it all day.

Unfortunately it is situated at one end of my living room and has progressively taken over more and more room. Since I started making the nappy cakes, I have tried and tried to get things organised but it just doesn't seem to be possible.

One of the main things I have a problem with is my reels of ribbon which are just stuffed in a box. So, after moaning at hubby he promised he would see if he could make me something to keep them all in line.

When he got home from work this evening, he announced he had a surprise to cheer me up and produced a wooden box with holes drilled for dowels. The idea being the dowels can be pushed through the middle of the ribbon reels and the dowels can then be hung in the box so all the ribbons hang down separately. Brilliant idea and it really works - he got all my ribbon reels out and lined them all up in their new storage box for me.

Now I've just got to wait for the storage unit he promised me for everything else!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Still waiting

For anyone who is following my blog, you probably remember my telling you that my other half had promised to try and get a unit made for me to safely store all my nappy cake stuff as it is currently taking up all sorts of room in the house and drove us all mad over the holidays.

Anyway, just to let you know ... I'm still waiting. Being at home I keep looking at the boxes and bags and wishing there was a way of putting it all in some semblance of order.

My idea is to put everything of one type in a separate box which would make it much easier to know what I need to get more of and in what colour. Each box would then slot into its own space in my new super duper unit with maybe a label on the front so I know whats in each box.

I don't want anything made out of expensive materials - just a bit of plywood would be ok after all I could paint it to make it look better and it will go down the far end of the living room so wouldn't be too obvious.

These sorts of units are so expensive to buy and my hubby certainly knows enough people who could make me some quite easily but it still hasn't arrived home with him from work!

Oh well, I'll keep dropping hints and hope for the best. I'll let you know if I get anywhere.

Monday, 17 January 2011

At home

I have to admit I've never been one for sitting at home - in fact I'm really not a very good patient at all!

I am so used to buzzing around being busy busy busy that my brain doesn't know what to do with itself when I suddenly stop. There are only so many times you can walk the dog and I'm now even fed up of reading which is something I have always really enjoyed.

The weather doesn't help - its so miserable today and has just rained non-stop - looking out of the window is quite depressing. To top it all off my tumble dryer decided to give up the ghost on the day when it would be impossible to hang any washing out and I could really do with not having to spend out any money.

Hopefully 2011 isn't going to continue in the way it has started so please keep your fingers crossed for me that things will get better.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Not Feeling Great :0(

After promising myself I would blog every day I went and missed yesterday.

Unfortunately I've been signed off sick by my doctor for the next two weeks but am hoping normality will resume shortly.

I'll update you again as soon as I'm feeling better.

Take care x

Thursday, 13 January 2011


I got another order tonight for a pram nappy cake but unfortunately the person who bought it from the website didn't specify whether they wanted blue or pink so I've had to email them and ask them which colour as it would be awful if I sent the wrong one!

I also think that when I next take stock into the local hospital I might include some pram and crib shaped ones but maybe make them slightly smaller in size which would mean they would be cheaper as the larger ones tend not to sell - maybe because people want something in a slightly smaller budget range when they are just visiting at the hospital but purchase something more expensive later on?

Also just found out that something that one lady was urgently waiting for is out of stock and the retailer won't be getting any more so I am going to have to try and source them elsewhere. Bless her, she's been waiting for it for the past 2 weeks although I am keeping her up to date with the problems I'm having. She saw one of the memory boxes at a show I did but by the time she contacted me and wanted one I had sold out (typical!).

I really hope the lady who ordered the pram gets in contact sooner rather than later as otherwise I won't get it done in time for the courier to collect.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that she checks her emails soon.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Midweek catch up

Don't know about where you live, but its been raining non-stop here and I do mean non-stop. Not sure which I prefer - the rain or the snow? At least the snow is pretty when you look out the window and the sun was shining a bit too.

Not sure what's going on with the post lately - ever since the snow arrived and then Christmas the postal system seems to have gone completely to pot. Every day when I arrive home I'm hopefully looking for a postcard from my postman to say he's tried to deliver some of the items I'm waiting for but nothing :0(

I really want to put my new finds on my website but can't until they arrive with me. Its all part of my plan to try and push my fledgling business forward for 2011. I've got the new pages all set up on my website ready to publish but can't until the goods arrive and I take some photos.

I don't like to keep chasing people but I think if nothing arrives with me by the end of this week I'm going to have to get on the phone Saturday morning to find out what's going on. Either that or pop down to the local sorting office and rummage through the piles of parcels and post that apparently built up because of the bad weather!

Have had one order this week but that's all - I'm guessing all those new babies are waiting for some signs of spring before they decide to come out.

See you same time tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

An apology

This blog is actually an apology to my full-time work colleagues. Apparently somebody found and read my blog (which is a surprise to me as I thought there were only one or two people who even knew it existed!) and were upset by what I had written.

In no way was it ever meant to be against them - in fact the people I work with are one of the main reasons I go into work each day. I can honestly say that even when I've been really down on my job in general, my work colleagues can always be guaranteed to brighten things up.

Its a very close knit team and I'm mortified that they felt I was getting at them. My comments re the presentation were just how I felt at losing the time in the office when we are so very busy and I am sure others felt the same.

I do admit to dreaming about one day being able to solely concentrate on my nappy cakes (in the same way we all dream about escaping from the 9 to 5) but I can't see finances ever allowing that - however don't the say everyone should have a dream? well, that's mine!

You would think I would be old enough to stop my mouth (or in this case fingers!) running away with me before I engage my brain, but maybe I am a bit too long in the tooth for that. You can't teach old dogs new tricks and I certainly count as old.

So, not sure whether they will accept my apology, but it is genuinely meant.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Why does Monday keep coming round?

Apologies to those of you who took a look at my blog this evening and realised I hadn't actually got round to posting anything. Still, better late than never I guess.

The reason my blog is late this evening is that I got caught up in a meeting at full-time job and despite the fact that I was meant to leave the office at 5pm, the fact that it over-ran meant I didn't get out until 5.45pm. Don't tell anybody, but end of day meetings aren't the best as I tend to zone out and be thinking about what I'm going to cook when I get home and then what nappy cakes I'm going to make and/or thinking up new designs :0)

To top the day off, I woke up with a vicious headache this morning and it has stayed with me pretty much all day. First thing I did when I walked through the door was take two of the strong painkillers I keep for emergency situations and after managing some of my evening meal, my brain feels less like its being squeezed by a vice.

I played around with my website a little last night so if you get a chance please take a look. I've added a new page for some nappy cakes I put together yesterday. I've called them teddy cakes as I've combined a mini nappy cake together with a really huge teddy. That way the purchaser gets the best of both worlds. The neutral one has a Me To You Bear (a large one!) so for any fans it may be worth a look. I'll post a pic on here too.

So, worst day of the week over and done with - countdown to weekend starts here!

Have a good one.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

On the Phone

I promised myself that 2011 would be better and I would get my act together enough to try and get my nappy cake business well and truly up and running and ultimately making a profit which has to be my main goal.

I made a list of hospitals with maternity units and have been sitting all morning making phone calls to try and establish whether I can get them to stock my nappy cakes. Mind you, I hadn't realised quite how many hospital shops had closed - mainly due to the economic climate I would imagine, but many of them no longer have any sort of facility to buy things on site.

Some of them do have the little ladies who push their trolley round selling newspapers and sweets but that's about it.

Amongst all the phone calls I've made this morning (and I have to say I'm dreading the phone bill this month!) I have managed to get one or two phone numbers of the people in charge so at some point tomorrow I'm going to be using the office phone (joke) to give them a call and use all my powers of persuasion.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

My poor bank account

Well, following on from this morning's post, I duly took my daughter to a shop recommended by a work colleague as being one of the less expensive places to buy a prom dress.

Elz was convinced she wanted a blue dress and we duly wandered round the shop picking out all the ones she liked and putting them on a rail for her to try on. Eight dresses later and she found one she really liked but the shop assistant thought it may be worth her trying it on in one size bigger to see whether she felt more comfortable (a size 8 instead of a 6).

She had exactly the same dress in a size 8 but in a very pale lemon instead of the original blue the size 6 one was in. Well, she tried in on and we both fell in love with it instantly. It looked like it had been made especially for her. It really is the most gorgeous dress ever.

While we were on a roll, we also got the shoes and a tiara. It then suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't asked any prices! Are you sitting down cos I certainly had to when the woman announced she had chosen the most expensive dress in the shop - eekk!!!

So, deposit put down and payment in installments from now on. I know what you are saying - I should have said no, but ultimately its only actually £20 more expensive than both the elder daughters' dresses and what you do for one you have to do for the others.

The prom isn't actually until June time so I'm afraid you will have to wait for then to see the photos but now I need your help - if you or anyone you knows needs a gift for a newborn or a baby shower please please get in contact as it looks like I need all the money I can get!


Well, today I am off out shopping for a prom dress. Youngest daughter wants to get out and about before everybody else so she gets the pick of the dresses and I can't say I blame her. They didn't do proms in my day but I still have a yearning to buy a dress with a huge skirt and float about in it - sad or what!

OH has strategically announced he is going to be very busy today - doing what I'm not quite sure - so its just me and Elz. We're going to venture slightly further afield to a shop somebody at work has recommended and secretly I'm quite looking forward to it although not so looking forward to parting with the money involved!

I am going to have to sell a lot more nappy cakes and things from my website to pay for all this you know so please please help me out by forwarding and recommending my link to anyone you think could use it or needs a gift for a newborn baby - just think of it as aiding and abetting a mother of 3 daughters who are steadily draining her bank account! :0)

I'm also holding out for the postman as I'm still waiting for some deliveries of new items I want to put on my website - its a bit like watching a kettle boil - nothing ever arrives when you're waiting for it. All I ever seem to get in the post is bills and more bills.

So, apart from the things I want to add to the collection, I also have some other plans afoot but I'm going to save those and tell you about them when I've got them straight in my mind and they have (hopefully) moved on a bit.

Keep reading to find out more.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Friday at last

Okay, I've only been at work at my full-time job for the last two days but it already feels like a lifetime!

Its frantically busy but I do sometimes feel its all a bit deja vu if you know what I mean? You end up doing the same things over and over again - there just doesn't seem to be any end to it.

Still, I've got the weekend to recover from the shock of being back to the grindstone. I'm off to look at prom dresses with my youngest daughter tomorrow. The prom isn't actually until June but apparently if you don't get in nice and early all the good stuff gets snapped up and nobody wants to be seen in the same dress as anybody else do they!

It hasn't been a bad week for nappy cakes. I had one website sale and 3 phone calls for various shapes and sizes. I haven't heard from the hospital shops yet - I must do that after I've finished here.

I'm also waiting for some stock so I can add some things to my website - its really coming together quite nicely but it never hurts to keep re-arranging and updating to keep it fresh - nobody wants to sit and look at the same old things each time they check it out.

If you have any suggestions or even want to buy a nappy cake - give me a call and mention my blog and I will make sure I do you a very good deal.

Have a good Friday evening.

Thursday, 6 January 2011


The title of this blog is due to the fact that I had to go back to full-time work today - boring, boring, boring. Not only did I go back to 190 emails but the whole of our office had to leave and go to a director's presentation (yawn) just after lunch.

Honestly, we are up to our eyes in it and they want us to down tools and listen to them drone on about facts and figures!

Anyway, on the plus side, I got two more orders today for nappy cakes. I just need to figure out how to get loads more orders a week and then I can give up the job I dislike and start concentrating on what I love - nappy cakes!

The presentation didn't finish until much later than they originally told us so I have had to rush home and make one nappy cake for the courier to pick up tomorrow, answer several answerphone messages, emails and texts from customers and find time to have something to eat and get myself organised for another day in the office tomorrow. I just need more hours in my day (about another 4 or 5 would do!).

Still, I have promised myself I am going to be more optimistic and realise my glass is actually more than half full most of the time. I might make myself a poster and stick it up somewhere prominent to remind me.

Hope your day was better than mine. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Oh no - back to work!

Oh well, it had to end some time didn't it? My Xmas hols are officially over as over first thing tomorrow morning when I am due back at my full-time job :0(

Why does time go so much more quickly when you are enjoying things than it does when you are stuck doing something you really don't want to?!

On the plus side, I have decided to expand the website part of my business and am now going to start selling baby baskets. They are really sweet as the basket is lined with gingham in either pink, blue or lemon and the basket itself has two handles on. I'm going to be putting a bodysuit, romper, teddy and then a "baby's first shoes" box, photo album and birth certificate holder. I thought it would appeal to somebody who didn't fancy buying an actual nappy cake. We shall have to see how it plays out.

I am also going to be stocking cufflinks for new dads and maybe "new dad" t-shirts although I need to source a good wholesaler for these.

If anybody reading this can think of anything else that would help boost sales I am always up for suggestions.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Rushing around as usual

Seeing as I'm due back at my fulltime job this coming Thursday, I thought today would be an ideal day to relax and finish up those little jobs I didn't get round to. No such luck!

I got a text from one of the hospital shops I supply asking me if I could bring in some new nappy cakes for them to put on the shelves, so I thought whilst I was making those I may as well make some for the other hospital shop and do a bit of stock swapping as I think it never hurts to change stock around a bit to keep people coming back and interested.

So, first things first and I went and got my hair cut this morning, then after a quick cup of coffee it was loading the car up ready to go. Now the unfortunate thing about one of the hospitals is that the shop is at the front entrance which is great I hear you say, but a couple of weeks ago work started on a huge extension which means they have blocked the entrance off and I now have to walk the length of the hospital to deliver the nappy cakes. I do have a trolley but am very self-conscious as the wheels squeak away as I'm walking along the corridors.

Mission accomplished there, it was then back in the car to deliver to the other hospital which is approximately 50 minutes in the opposite direction. A very long day by the time I got home but very satisfying to know that everybody has new stock and hopefully they will generate some more sales.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about some new ideas I have had for the website. Ta ta for now!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Getting Organised

As I explained in yesterday's blog, I am trying desperately to get myself more organised for 2011 than I ever was in 2010.

When I first started my nappy cake business my eldest daughter was out of the country for the summer so I utilised her bedroom, but then she came back and me and my nappy cakes were evicted as she, quite rightly, wanted her room back! Fortunately we have quite a largish living room so by moving the furniture around a bit and using a settee we managed to section off one end and I went out and bought a lot of plastic boxes to store everything in.

Then along came Christmas and if you have ever seen the film National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation well .... our Xmas tree pretty much resembled theirs! Why do they always look smaller when you pick one out in the lot than when they arrive back at your house?! Anyway, off we went again with the furniture moving and currently all my nappy cake stock (including the few prepared nappy cakes I always have lying around just in case of an order) is bundled on top of each other higgledy piggledy.

I know things will look better once the tree is gone and my room is back to normality, but after moaning on about the mess for the last few days my OH announced that when he gets back to work this week he will get someone on site to make me a unit where all my boxes etc can live tidily. YAY! Mind you, I can see me having to remind him a few times before it happens but if it does it will be fantastic.

I'll keep you updated on progress but in the meantime, if you are bored, take a look at my website and see the new ideas I'm trying out and let me know what you think (the link is on the right hand side of my blog).

Sunday, 2 January 2011

2011 Plans

Okay, I'm the first to admit it - I have been useless at keeping this blog up to date. With everything that's been going on in 2010 - starting up the business, still working full-time, writing my weekly articles for an online magazine - this blog has been the main casualty.

Thanks to a thread posted on the craft forum I belong to, the challenge has been issued to try and write something on my blog every day. I have to be honest with you, I'm not sure I can manage every day but I'm going to try. However, please forgive me if I slip up but I promise to let you know more of what's going on more often that I did last year!

So, how was your Christmas? Even though its only 2nd January it seems like a bit of a distant memory. All the planning and rushing around for what is essentially two day - as lovely as they are.

The nappy cakes have taken a bit of a back seat for me over the festive period. The two hospitals I supply to have been very quiet and my website hasn't generated any sales but I imagine people have had to pay out enough during December without having to diminish their bank balance even further!

The good thing about having the time off from my full-time job though means I had sat down and had a bit of a think about how I am hoping 2011 will pan out. I've decided having a stall at shows every weekend is going to have to stop. I kept a detailed record of everything I sold at each show/event I attended and that has given me a good insight into which shows are worth attending this year.

So far, it looks like I'll be doing a show a month but March and August are looking like they could have two or three. My new 2011 filofax (Xmas gift!) is already filled in as are the booking forms and deposit cheques all sat ready in their envelopes to be posted out.

I've got lots more to tell you, but I think I may make you wait until tomorrow. Have a great evening.