DECEMBER Pinterest Board of the Month

As it’s December I had to make this one a Christmas feature! I have chosen a wonderful festive Pinterest board for the month of December called HOLIDAYS…. by Suzi Park and it is packed full of wonderful resources for Christmas baking, cooking, gift wrapping, decorations, table settings and even how to make your dog look festive! I love the choice of nature based styling and rustic traditional ideas with a bit of a Nordic influence coming through.

With Christmas day now only 6 days away, you are probably ready to prepare the final finishing touches for the big day like wrapping presents, cooking chutneys and cake in advance and making a few final decorations for the house and dinner table. This Pinterest board is full of inspiration for all of the above so go get creative and Merry Christmas!


chocolate-pinecones-christmas-cake

How amazing is this Christmas chocolate cake decorated with flaked almond pinecones?! Can’t get over how beautiful it looks. There are lots of other gorgeous looking baking ideas on the board too.

 

Christmas dog decoration hat

I’m a big dog lover, and I know lots of Sky Siouki fans out there are too. This Pinterest board has plenty of adorable festive dog photos on it too. They’re fun to have a laugh at even if you don’t fancy trying to wrestle your dog into a tangle of tinsel yourself on Christmas day.

 

Nigel Slater Christmas Turkey Guide

There are also tips on how best to cook your turkey and make delicious condiments. Plus ideas for interesting side dishes such as braised red cabbage. Prepare to start drooling.

 

Simple effective Kraft Christmas gift wrap

One of my favourite parts of Christmas what with being a creative and all, is the gift wrapping! There’s some great inspiration here for how to make your gifts look extra pretty this year. I love the simple style of this one. Always a fan of using recycled Kraft paper and jazzing it up with rustic twine or natural accessories like leaves as shown here.

This will be my last blog post before Christmas and most likely the new year since I’m about to move house by the end of the month! I have two last Christmas markets in Bristol left to go which are Harbourside Christmas Market on Saturday Dec 23rd and Tobacco Factory Christmas Eve Market on Dec 24th! If I don’t see you there though, a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS to you all and thank you a million for supporting Sky Siouki. See you in 2018!

 

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SKY SIOUKI EVENTS COMING IN 2017

Hello lovely fans and readers!

As you may have noticed Sky Siouki has been attending increasingly more events this year, and it’s been great in fact! So I am keeping myself busy and booking more and more, trying new places and somewhat just seeing where the wind takes me.

So I thought seeing as I can barely keep up with where I’m going to be and when myself, I ought to create an online Sky Siouki events calendar so that you can all head over to the website and easily check if I will be selling near you anytime soon. So if you look to the right-hand section of the screen you should see a new ‘UPCOMING EVENTS’ list where you can also click to see further details and more dates. Alternatively you can go to https://skysiouki.com/events/ which will take you directly to this nifty calendar! Click the calendar image below to scroll through each month for full times and details of all my events this year.

Sky Siouki Events Calendar

So some upcoming events I’ll be doing which I have yet to officially announce are…

Bath Artisan Market on Queen Square on August 27th and October 29th.

Springfest Maker’s Fair in Brislington presented by Made In Bristol on July 8th.

A craft showcase at National Trust site Lytes Cary Manor as part of the Somerset Art Weeks Festival on September 23rd & 24th!

Keep reading for details of each below.

 

Springfest will be the first ever to take place this July in Brislington as part of a community initiative to enhance this area of Bristol. Run by Made In Bristol who organise the ever popular Christmas Gift Fairs at Colston Hall, I was excited to get on board as I’m sure it’ll be a very well put together event. Along with the Maker’s Fair held at St. Cuthbert’s Church there will also be a Love Food Market and special offers from local businesses taking place all day!

Sky Siouki Events - Springfest Brislington Bristol

 

The Bath Artisan at Queen Square is a new event this year on the last Sunday of each month and looks like a fantastic day out. It’s in an ideal outdoor setting in central Bath and will be full of independent artists, designer-makers, vintage sellers and local food producers! More photos and details of each market day can be found via the Facebook page here.

Sky Siouki Events - Bath Artisan Queen Square

 

Finally, the Craft Showcase weekend at Lytes Cary is a once per year event and I was flattered to be contacted by the organisers and asked to take part. There will be a theme of ‘A Landscape of Objects’ meaning the weekend will include a series of installations, workshops and talks that tie in with the theme of nature and all things botanical. I will have a maker’s pop-up stand where I will be selling my work. Can’t wait to see what other nature inspired creatives will be there!

Sky Siouki Events - Lytes Cary Manor Somerset

 

Next up is my second appearance at the Tobacco Factory Sunday Market on June 25th! Quite intrigued to see how it goes as I have yet to decide if I will be attending more dates at this one or not. I would love to since it is right on my doorstep in sunny Bristol but you’ll have to come along and stock up on coasters if you want to keep seeing me there!

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017 Pop-Up Market

 

As you may well have heard I recently attended the Country Living Spring Fair as part of their pop-up market section for young businesses. There was a competition to be awarded one of these stalls for free for one day of the fair so I was delighted to get chosen to attend! The event was four days long so I was only there for the first day of the event on Thursday, April 27th but the venue was buzzing with people all day and a real joy to take part in.

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017 Pop-Up

Wish I’d managed to take a few more photos but here is one of my stand all set up. I was quite pleased with how it looked as I’m constantly trying to improve on my presentation as I bring out more and more product types. Propping up my pegboard using an easel was particularly handy. My new stone placemats proved really popular all day. Their rustic feel obviously appealed well to the Country Living magazine fans! I also sold lots of cards and coasters as I usually tend to do. It’s interesting how at each event there is always a favourite product that I’ll sell lots of that day.

 

I also took this quick hyperlapse video walking around part of the fair to try to capture a sense of the atmosphere on the day. It was so big and there was so much going on all day making it a really impressive event. They even had little lambs and hens there! I nabbed the photos below from the Country Living Fairs Instagram account just to show how many stands there were in just one of the rooms.

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017

 

Overall I found the Spring Fair to be a really successful day and everything was very well run. It was a pleasure to get to meet some of the magazine’s editors and so flattering to hear how much they liked my work! I hadn’t realised the editors had actually been the ones on the selection panel for the pop-up market and they told me that the competition was really fierce so I felt really proud to have been picked.

Having been lucky enough to attend for free, I’m unsure whether or not to look at doing the event again with a paid stand for now. I certainly think the Christmas Fair would be more worthwhile when paying such a large sum of money so I may just look into it nearer the time! Next up I’m back at The Frome Independent market on May 7th with my suitcase up on Catherine Hill… Come say hi!

 

Spring News Update

Hello and Happy Easter! Just wanted to do a quick little Sky Siouki Spring news update on this wonderful Good Friday.

First up… I’ve recently gained a lovely new stockist in Bradford on Avon called Silver Street Studio! Looking forward to hopefully seeing some photos of my products in this gorgeous designer-maker based shop in Somerset soon. It’s looking like there may be even more Sky Siouki stockists in the pipeline for 2017 but we will have to wait and see for that… watch this space.

Silver Street Studio Shop

 

In other news, my new furnishing fabrics collection is now live online! You may have seen updates about this on it’s way on my Instagram feed but now the wait is over and you can officially order Sky Siouki design fabrics by the metre in either linen union or cotton velvet. They are very specialist luxury fabrics, digitally printed to order and aimed towards soft furnishings and upholstery. Choose linen for a subtler, rustic look and velvet for a more vibrant, decadent style! View all five designs here.

I have also been hard at work this week creating a new online shop which you should be able to see is now fully integrated into my website and blog. So you can now do a quick spot of reading in-between shopping all right here on the same page! You should be able to see a ‘cart’ link in the right of the top menu here as well as new features like creating your own Sky Siouki shop account and wishlist even! Have a little browse via the shop link above.

Alpine - Linen/Velvet Fabric

 

If you subscribe to my newsletter or follow my Instagram you may well have also heard the exciting news that I will be holding a stall at the Country Living Spring Fair pop-up market the week after next on Thursday 27th April! It’s crept up so fast and was such a surprise as I made the application a little while ago and the pop-up market is just a small specialist section especially for young businesses to try the event out for free. I’ll be there just for the one day so if you do visit make sure to come on the Thursday to see me! Not quite sure what to expect but very excited to be taking part so wish me luck! I’ll be sending out leaflets with a 35% off code for tickets with every Sky Siouki order in the run up to it.

Country Living Spring Fair

 

I am making an effort to attend more events and markets throughout the year in general as well. I did the first Frome Independent of the year at the start of the month and it was a beautiful day with thousands of people on the streets of Frome! Here’s a little photo of my suitcase sale stand up on Catherine Hill. I’m booked in to do May, June and July as well, and hopefully more as the year goes on.

I also hope to begin selling at a few Tobacco Factory Sunday markets in Bristol soon. This isn’t one I’ve tried before so I shall have to see how it goes but it’s right on my doorstep so fingers crossed I may soon become a regular there too! To start with you can find Sky Siouki at Tobacco Factory on 28th May and 25th June!

Frome Independent April 2017

That’s all of my news for now. Thank you very much for reading and continuing to support Sky Siouki and I hope to see some of you at my next event perhaps. X

 

NOT ON THE HIGH STREET Pitch Up 2017

Last weekend I made a trip up to London for the Not On The High Street Pitch Up 2017 event where, similarly to Liberty’s Best of British Open Call, they open up their headquarters to lots of hopeful designers to pitch their products! Not On The High Street is such a popular online shopping destination these days, especially for gifts and unique design, so this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

I signed up to NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 back in December via EventBrite which is open to anyone but there are limited slots. It crept up fast and all of a sudden February came and I realised I’d better get myself prepared and so I created a little handmade booklet to show my product photography to the panel. I knew from having done the Liberty Open Call that the 10 minute slot would fly by fast and what really matters is the quality of my products so I didn’t prepare a speech or anything. I know that over rehearsing will most likely only make me panicky and that I’m passionate enough about my brand that I can speak about it quite freely without needing to practice.

Not On The High Street HQ

NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 Preparation

I stayed with a friend in London the night before so I could get the train to Richmond the next morning without any faff. I’d signed up to be seen between 11am-12pm but I think this is just a general guideline since I arrived early but didn’t get seen until around 11:45pm. When you sign in there is a waiting room next to the reception where you are given a number and wait to be called upstairs in groups of about ten. There seemed to be quite a lot of people attending which felt competitive at first but a nice and friendly atmosphere developed thankfully.

NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 Waiting Room

Once I was upstairs I had to let them know what products I had brought with me which meant I needed to see potentially three different panels which I didn’t expect. I waited at the side of the room to be called over which didn’t take long at all and at first met two lovely ladies from the Home & Garden department. They were very complimentary and even had some great ideas for developments I could make. They were undecided however if my products were right for the very trend-led, contemporary style of NOTHS and so said they would decide together with the lady from the Art & Prints department after I’d seen her.

So I headed back to my chair at the side and waited to be called over once more, at this point preparing myself for disappointment. I was kicking myself for only bringing one A4 print with me since the email had said to only bring about 5 products and I hadn’t expected them to have time to look at a lot. Thank goodness I had my iPad with me and so I got my online shop loaded at the ready to show them my full range of prints online. The head of the department loved my work, and having unpackaged my print to examine the quality she handed over a Congratulations card without even discussing with the ladies from Home first! She asked that I’d post a couple of my A3 prints to her just to see them for real but said she’d put me through nevertheless! I was so overwhelmed at this point having expected to have to wait nervously while the two departments came to an agreement.

NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 Celebrations After

NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 Congratulations Card

After that they send you through to another room where someone takes your details and signs you up then and there which was really nice because it made the whole thing feel concrete having received an email confirming my membership already. So afterwards I went for some obligatory celebration lunch at Wahaca and then visited the new Switch House viewing terrace at Tate Modern. (Wahaca is delicious by the way and I was suitably hungry for the occasion.) What a day, I’m so overjoyed to have reached a new milestone for Sky Siouki!

 

For anyone thinking of attending the next NOTHS Pitch Up event I would say absolutely go for it! There is nothing to lose really bar a few travel expenses, plus the joining fee is half price if you do get through. It was very well run, dare I say better than Liberty’s Open Call since the allotted time slots mean everyone arrives at a staggered pace and I really wasn’t waiting very long at all. It felt like they had time for you, even bothering to ask where I was from and what I had planned for the afternoon to make me feel more at ease rather than rushing through it.

My biggest regret is of course not taking more prints with me, but thankfully I still got through! I would advise having a good look at the website and thinking about how or if your work will stand out as there is a lot of choice on there already and they did mention how mugs and cards in particular are a very saturated market where it can be hard to stand out. The reason they liked my prints so much was because of my unique contrast of painting against detailed sketches and exciting colour use. They mentioned trends quite a lot and whether products were gift-able so there are a few points so to bear in mind to anyone who goes to the next Pitch Up! Now I’m off to get adding my products to the website!

SKY SIOUKI 2017 EVENTS

I’ve got a few new 2017 events in place now so here is a little update of where you can find me and buy from Sky Siouki in the coming months. I’m making an effort to try to push myself to do more events so I can meet more customers, learn what you like and of course keep Sky Siouki thriving so hopefully all of the events will bring lots of good things!

 

The Frome Independent 2017 Events

THE FROME INDEPENDENT

When: Sunday 5th March, Sunday 2nd April, Sunday 7th May

Where: Frome, Somerset

What: If you haven’t been to the Frome Independent before then I’d highly recommend a visit! On the first Sunday of every month, as they put it – something wonderful will happen! The whole town is taken over with an amazing array of handmade wares, artisan food, vintage treasures and family friendly entertainment. I’m excited to be selling at the market again with my new Flight collection this time having missed out last year.

All being well, I’ll be back in Frome in April and May throughout Spring with my mini-stall on Catherine Hill. Waiting for confirmation on the Summer markets for June, July and August still but hoping this one may just become a regular thing each month.

 

The Bristol Artisan 2017 Events

THE BRISTOL ARTISAN

When: Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th March

Where: The Arnolfini, Bristol

What: Brought to you by Designers / Makers, you may have already seen my previous post announcing that I would be selling at this exciting new event in Bristol where you can read more about it. With 50 designer makers taking part and taking place across Mother’s Day weekend it’ll be the perfect thing to do in Bristol with your mum!

 

 

Top Drawer 2017 Events

TOP DRAWER

When: Sunday 10th – Tuesday 12th September

Where: Olympia, London

What: This one is just for looking I’m afraid as it’s a big London trade show for those who aren’t familiar with it. It really is huge though and it’s been a long time goal of mine to attend so I am SO ecstatic to reveal that I’m going to be there with my very own stand in the Spotted section this September! So nervous and excited at the same time, still doesn’t quite seem real!

 

That’s all of my 2017 events for now but there may well be even more things to come. Although I’m trying my best not to overdo it or you may find me without any hair left by Christmas! Keep following the blog and join the mailing list to stay updated with what Sky Siouki has planned next!

 

The Bristol Artisan

Some exciting news I’ve been waiting to announce for 2017! Designers/Makers who organise The London Artisan have chosen Bristol as their second city to branch out into which I couldn’t be happier about. Following a successful Christmas market in Bristol at the end of last year they are going to be holding a larger event this year in March at the Arnolfini and I am going to be taking part!

The Bristol Artisan

So on March 25th & 26th The Bristol Artisan will be taking place at the Arnolfini, with 40 designer makers exhibiting including Sky Siouki! The event will be free to visit and open to the public as well as trade. See who else is taking part here.

I’m going to have my own little white walled shell stand to fill so I’m super excited about planning this out. Think it’s about time I purchased a power drill! The event is also ideally timed for me as a stepping stone towards potentially exhibiting at Top Drawer this September. The January edition of Top Drawer opened yesterday and it’s been really exciting to see lots of photos of everyone’s beautiful stands popping up on Instagram and so I feel really motivated to apply now.

In other news this January, I recently did a Meet The Maker interview for my digital fabric printers BeFab Be Creative giving you a little insight into my business and how I work. Have a read here if you’re interested. I’ve had some lovely responses about it which is of course always really nice to hear!

I’m expecting to be taking part in The Frome Independent market again this year too but can’t announce which dates yet so keep your eyes peeled for that!

HOW TO… be a go-getter!

After sharing my best year planner for 2017 on Instagram last week and getting a wonderful response I suddenly realised perhaps I have a lot more tips and advice to give then I thought. I’ve learnt an awful lot since starting up Sky Siouki and, although I’m most definitely still learning all the time, I guess it might be helpful to some of you out there to hear what I’ve learnt in case you can learn from it too. I’ve definitely learnt a lot of things the hard way so if I can prevent anyone from having to learn it the hard way too then that in itself would be achieving something! So I’m going to be trying to do a few ‘How To…’ posts like this now and then this year and we’ll see how it goes down. Please go ahead and comment if you have any questions or a suggestion for my next topic even!

So in this post I just wanted to highlight some of the best practices and tips that I’ve learnt through workbook and business planner ‘Your Best Year’ by Lisa Jacobs which I bought half way through 2016 and am now starting a whole year afresh with for 2017. It’s a really brilliant book that I can’t recommend enough.Your Best Year 2017 BookTime Your Tasks!

Running your own business is challenging and one the biggest challenges is being your own boss and motivating yourself. Everyone has jobs they like doing and jobs they don’t. When you’re your own boss it’s all too easy to just avoid the ones you dislike or to let yourself get ever-so sidetracked when before you know it the whole day is gone and the only one suffering from your lack of productivity is yourself. So something Lisa suggests in order to stay on task and get things done is to time each task. Estimate how long something ought to take, set a timer and then do nothing but that task during that time – no emails, no Instagram, no snacking, just a solid 20 minutes filing loose paperwork or scheduling social media posts for example. I’ve taken this a stage further by making a to do list at the start of each day, allocating a time limit per task, putting them in order and then setting to it! This way I know if my day’s tasks realistically fill the amount of time I have available and feel the need to complete each task within the limit so that the later tasks don’t have to get dropped.

Timed Tasks

Measure Your Goals

I must have set myself so many vague intangible goals in the past such as ‘By June next year I need to be doing substantially better in my business if I want to continue on this path.’ That’s just crazy. For one thing, WRITE IT DOWN! But secondly, how the hell was I going to compare if I was doing ‘better’ if I didn’t even know exactly where I was at the time of setting the goal… whenever that even was, I couldn’t tell you! I actually feel like a full-blown moron even admitting to the nonsense of a goal I just wrote above, but that’s the truth, I honestly said that to myself. Now with Lisa Jacob’s planner I have a place to write my goals and track them. I can look back at how many Instagram followers I had last month for example and see that I’ve gained 100 since. In the new book she has included a monthly ‘abundance tracker’ where you set yourself a monthly income target and ideas to attain it which is so great because it is so undeniably measurable!

Create New Habits

Something from the 2016 planner which doesn’t seem to be in the 2017 book but I plan to add in to mine. Each month give yourself a new habit to adopt. Maybe the first month you won’t manage to keep it up very well, in which case when you come to review the month work out why you didn’t and revise your method for adopting it instead of starting a new one. Then once you’ve got it down you can move on to a new habit. Making something habitual is super useful for me. I’ve used this to become consistent with my Instagram posts and it’s really worked. I seldom miss a day now. The key is that when you decide on the habit to also decide on a strategy to implement it into your routine. So for my Instagram posts I decided I would always post at lunchtime, but sometimes I forgot so I changed it to mornings first things when I have my tea and that worked! I then got an app to make adding my hashtags quicker, and started keeping up a good stock of photos available so I’d rarely be short of material to post.

Instagram Posts

Plan Week by Week

I’m all about lists and I know I’m not alone in that as a small business owner. This is something Lisa’s book is really great for. Each month there are sections to fill in with what the key goals for the month are and then sections to break down tasks for each week in order to reach those main goals. Sometimes I have so much I know I need to do that it’s really overwhelming so by putting it into a timescale I feel so much better for having worked out what needs doing now and what can wait. I then refer to this page most days when creating my daily task list so I can tick off the week’s tasks as I go and see if there’s any little jobs I’d forgotten about which can often happen.

Treat Yourself!

This is obviously the best one! Lisa’s idea, not mine I promise! As part of the monthly abundance tracker page she suggests that when you set yourself your monetary target that you also set yourself a treat that you can have IF you reach the target. So simple but I just love this because having written down my treat and seeing it there whenever I turn back to this page really does make me want to get the target all the more. It makes achieving it feel more real and without it I think it’d seem less significant. So if I reach my goal this month I’m going to apply for Top Drawer September AND get a big fruity flapjack from my favourite bakery… because my tummy needs treat just as much as my business does.

I think I’ve blabbed on enough for now. I really hope some of these tips are handy to some of you! A lot of things I’ve touched on are expanded on much more in the book. I’m not an affiliate or anything just to be clear, I genuinely just think it’s a brilliant planner. Comment below if you’d like to ask anything!

JANUARY SALE TIME!

30% OFF EVERYTHING

Yes you heard me! We all know January can be tough. It’s cold out and all the festivities, bright lights and excuses for eating your weight in mince pies and practically dousing yourself in mulled wine are gone. Boo! I swear getting up in the morning has never felt as hard as it did this week, am I right?! So… because I love you all so much and I just hate the thought of any of my fans struggling with the January blues, I’m treating you all to 30% off everything in my online shop this month!

I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling down something beautiful and new arriving in the post always perks me up. How about a barn owl mug or perhaps a jackal buzzard cushion? My new mugs are nice and big so you can be sure you’ll have plenty of hot tea to warm you up, and my linen cushions feel luxuriously soft and are filled with duck feather pads so you’ll feel ultra cosy snuggling up on the sofa with one.

Whatever your heart desires, the choice is all yours. Simply use the code BLUEJAN at the checkout to get your discount. Minimum spend of £10 applies. Make the most of the deal now as it’ll expire at midnight on January 31st!