Thursday, 30 June 2011

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

Quick quick, Blogger is working again... fingers crossed this will post this time, have been trying all day! Anyway is just a flying visit to show you my project this month for Crafts Beautiful magazine (August issue 230) which is out now...

The brief was for a set of summery kids-themed cards with a beach/seaside vibe. 

I really enjoyed doing this project as it's a little different to what I usually do (it's got no sewing in it at all!) Plus I got to delve into my box of sequins and jewels which is always fun, and I discovered the delights of glitter card - oh yes I am easily pleased!

Anyway, hope you're having a great week, will be back soon with a granny square update! xxx

Monday, 27 June 2011

Star spangled!

I realised yesterday that I haven't posted much about my work in a while (too much crocheting going on to fill my posts instead!) Have been making up stock as and when it's been needed for orders, but a lot of my time over the last few weeks has been taken up with a few new commissions. I've also been adding to my Pingg collection over the last month or two. Pingg is based in the US, so there will be lots of 4th July parties and events being planned in the next couple of weeks...

By the way if you are wondering what Pingg is, as I've explained in some of my previous posts, it is an online invitation and e-card service, which people use when they want to plan parties and events such as weddings, baby showers, birthday parties...etc. I am part of the Pingg Plus scheme, so I have designed a range of invitations for them, and if people want to use them for their event(s), they pay a small fee for each use, of which I then get a share. It's basically a great way of supporting artists and designers, as well as making sure the designs they are offering are of a really high standard. They are always on the lookout for new designers, so if you are interested, you should take a look here...

Anyway, as I was saying, my red, white and blue designs have been really popular over the last few weeks. It is kind of weird designing for the American market, as obviously our national holidays vary quite a bit and it is easy to overlook certain key dates and events over there. (Last year I did absolutely no thanksgiving designs whatsoever, which I know I missed out on - though in my defence this was mainly as I was so busy on the run up to Christmas I didn't have time to do any!)

Other recent designs include...

... beach hut and bunting - for all those beach parties being planned!

...cupcakes - which can be used for all sorts of occasions and events!

...and a few 'Save the Date' wedding-y ones too!

I am always adding to them when I get the time... click here if you would like to see the rest of my collection.

Also, I've been meaning to mention for the last month or so a fab new craft e-magazine called The Craft Tonic. If you haven't heard of it yet, it really is beautifully put together with gorgeous styling - and I am honoured to be featured in the second issue.

If you want to read this interview I did for them, if you click on the pictures they should enlarge enough for you to read the text. Otherwise do go and have a browse through the whole magazine - it's completely free - (all you need to do is create a log-in username etc) and it has some really wonderful articles and features in. This second issue has been out a while though so be quick if you want to catch it, I think issue 3 will be on the way shortly!

Anyway, hope you all enjoyed the sunshine this weekend - it has been a mixed blessing for me as it's meant my hayfever's  flared up again which is really very annoying! Has been very nice to do a little pottering in the garden though and actually be too hot for a change! (Last night was one of only nights this year that my hot water bottle did not make an appearance - it was 26 degrees in the house as we were going to bed so I thought on balance I probably didn't need it!)

Have a great week xxx

Friday, 24 June 2011

10 things about me!

As I mentioned a little while ago, I was recently given the Kreativ Blogger award by the lovely Maria at Dinki Dots... Thank you again Maria - I am really honoured to receive it though I have to say that I don't find writing the '10 things about me' type posts that go with them that easy... but anyway, you hopefully may learn something you didn't know about me if you read on!

* I would love, love, love to live by the sea. I have lived in a lot of places but all of them inland. One of those creative, higgldy piggldy Cornish villages would suit me just fine thank you… oh how I would love to be able to stroll to the seafront, paddle in the waves, and smell the sea air every day. I am so very envious of anyone who is living this dream already.

* I do have quite a controlling and frankly obsessive personality (bordering on OCD). It's not that I compulsively feel the need to clean/wash/tidy etc (though I don't like living in a mess), I just need to be the one who decides where everything goes. I don't like things being out of place, and am constantly moving/re-arranging things which have been left out or put down. I can imagine I am highly irritating to live with!

* I absolutely hate bright artificial lights (unless I’m in the supermarket or something and then it really annoys me if it is too dim and I can’t see anything!) My favourite lights at the minute are my star fairy lights. I have them on all day every day and just love the warm glow they give off, so much nicer than an overhead light… (and don’t even get me started on strip lights!)

* I have a major phobia of big black spiders. I can deal with little ones ok, but the biggies bring me out in a cold sweat and absolute panic if I find them. I heard a few years ago that spiders were scared of/don't like conkers (something to do with the smell I think??) so last year I had Karl searching under all the bushes on his way home from work each night to fill his pockets with conkers. We now have them placed strategically all around the house. I have to say that it has worked so far. Though of course now I have written that I expect they will come out from their hiding places in droves.

* I really want to start collecting glass cake stands. I have a few now but really want to start a proper collection. The main reason (apart from the fact that I think pressed glass is just so pretty) is that I recently bought a gorgeous new dresser, but cannot decide what I want to display on it. I have come to the conclusion that nothing I currently own looks very good on it. Whereas a lovely collection of glass cake stands would be just the thing...

* I would love to learn the art of stained glass. I really want to make a stained glass door or window (am aiming big, no little sun catchers for me!)

* I find art galleries boring. OK that’s not strictly true – I have been to some really amazing exhibitions that I have very much enjoyed. What I think I mean is that I find (most) ‘fine art’ galleries boring. I remember traipsing round some of London’s most prestigious and famous galleries on various school/Uni trips, looking at room upon room of portrait paintings in big ornate frames, not being able to talk in more than a whisper, and just being utterly bored and totally not inspired. How very glad am I that I chose to go down the ‘creative’ art route as opposed to the ‘art history’ route, which I was considering at one point.

* I am constantly cold. I have not yet put my winter coat away (well the weathers been rubbish lately hasn’t it) and I always sleep with a hot water bottle – even in the summer! Even if I am hot when I go to bed, I know by 5 in the morning, I will wake up shivering and will be glad of the little warmth it is still giving out.

* I like reading but only really ‘chic lit’ that is easy to pick up at a moment’s notice… no real concentration or thought required. I read my favourite books over and over. Actually it is weird, considering what a perfectionist and overall super neat, tidy, careful person I am, I make a real mess of my books. I read them in the bath so the pages get all stuck together and wrinkly, I bend the spine back and somehow half my books end up with pages missing where they just fall out. Whereas Karl’s books still look like they should be in a shop even when he has read them cover to cover. 

* I appear to have a ‘cup’ obsession. We have far more cups than we will ever use, even when we have visitors over. But yet I still will keep on buying more. I also seemed to have developed a polka dot obsession – nearly everything I have bought/drooled over recently has been spotty!

So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed learning some random facts about me! Now I know this is the point that I'm supposed to pass the award along...

It's always so difficult to know who to forward it too as I've discovered so many lovely new shiny blogs lately (plus I know some people prefer not to do the whole 'blog award' thing at all). 

A couple of my favourites that I always read though are Button Box Cards and Chipper Nelly. So ladies, the Kreativ Blogger award is hereby passed to you :) 

Anyway hope you all have a lovely weekend... I think I am off to Bath in the morning as I need to do a little fabric/ribbon shop for a couple of projects I've got on (such a chore I know!) Hope you have fun whatever you are doing xxx

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Lucky me!

My recent string of good luck continued this week when I was on twitter late on Tuesday evening. I was about to go to bed when I noticed a retweet saying that the 300th follower of the Janet Bell Gallery page would receive a surprise bag of goodies. I recognised Janet's beautiful work right away as I had been given one of her beach hut cards by a friend a while back (as it was so nice I've kept it and was planning on framing it at some point, just not got around to it yet). Anyway, as luck would have it, when I clicked on to her page, it was on 299 followers. It seemed like fate so I clicked 'follow' and yippee, I was the 300th follower! 

So earlier today the postman comes knocking and he has brought me my parcel! Inside were so many gorgeous things all wrapped up in turquoise tissue paper, including...

...four lovely coasters featuring Janet's paintings

...and a selection of cards featuring Janet's gorgeous seaside designs

There were also lots of other little treats in the package too including...
...this sweet little badge by Stockwell Ceramics

...this little cutie from The Black Rabbit (love the stripes!)

as well as two gorgeous seaside-y teatowels...

 ...the lighthouse one is by Charlotte Fleming and the beach huts one is by The English Seaside company

... and last but not least was this pretty candle in a blue and white spotty cupcake case, so sweet!!

As you may expect, I am delighted with all my goodies and am thanking my lucky stars that I did not go to bed early that night;)
If you would like to see more of Janet's lovely work, pop across to her website. I'm sure you will recognise her bright and cheery seaside style and like it as much as I do. You can also follow her on twitter.

Janet's designs have been turned into many different products including cards, prints, coasters, place mats and also these rather wonderful cross stitch kits...

Love them!

The Janet Bell Gallery is located in Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey, and also stocks the work of lots of other talented artists too including Andy Povey and Hannah Nunn, so if you are in the area, definitely pop in for a visit.

Well that's about it from me today, but I hope you are all having a nice weekend despite the super soggy weather! It has been raining here ALL day so I'm looking forward to having a nice cosy evening in (may even get some grannies done!) 

Jenny x

Thursday, 16 June 2011

'Granny corner'

Karl has now nicknamed part of the lounge 'granny corner'. In this particular corner, I have my sweet little button back chair, my yarn basket and all the squares I've made so far laid out all pretty beside it. Oh and a tapestry cushion on the chair too - to be honest it does look like it belongs to a little old granny but I don't care one bit, I love my little corner!!

Anyway I have slowly been making progress with the granny squares and am getting very slightly quicker at each one, though they still take me quite a while to do. I haven't had that much time this week to be spending on it though, but have managed at least one a day for the last week (Sunday I did three!!) That's my target, one a day, as I don't think realistically I will be able to find more free time than that at the moment! I have to admire my willpower actually because I'm still at that 'just starting' a project phase that I want to be doing it all the time... but I have to have time to earn some pennies too!

So I now have 11 squares, whoop! My colours are completely random, I'm just putting colours together as I go, but then I think for this sort of blanket, it suits that kind of approach. I don't want it to be too regimented and as long as the colours overall go well together I think it'll turn out good! As you will see, I'm doing 6 round granny squares, including the edging which is an aqua colour.  My tension naturally seems to be quite tight so they don't look too big which I thought they might by adding the edging...

The thought has crossed my mind that I probably have enough for a small cushion cover now... but no, I am going to continue until I have enough for my blanket! I'm guessing at the rate I'm going it will be a good 3 or 4 months before I am anywhere near finished, though I'm hoping to be able to get going with it a bit more when I go on my hols in August (depends how much yarn I am able to squish into my suitcase though!)

Also, in other news this week, I have been awarded the Kreativ Blogger award by the lovely Maria at Dinki Dots Craft, thank you so much, I really do apprectiate it! Apparently I need to tell you 10 more things about myself for this one... will take a few days thinking of them if you don't mind, not sure I can rattle them off the top of my head! 

I also won Artwork by Angie's giveaway this week too :) I'm hoping people don't start to think there is something fishy going on - it is my sixth  blog giveaway win of the year!! I honestly don't enter that many giveaways (though when I see a good one, of course I'm going to enter!) but am just on a lucky roll I guess!

Anyway, who I am to complain with lots of lovely goodies being sent my way, it's fab! By the way if you don't know of Angie yet, make sure you go check out her blog - her designs are lovely and she also does lots of re-branding so if you want a new look for your blog/wesbite, she is the lady to call on :)

So I think that's about it for today, but I do hope you like my granny squares so far (please be nice, since it's only my first project!) Have a super weekend, I will be back soon with my 'interesting' facts! x

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Happy birthday little blog!

So it was a year ago today that I started my blog! I didn't know what to expect from blogging when I began and really only intended it to be a place to supplement my website where I could add up to date info and news about my products and design work. I hadn't really read any blogs at that point, and really only set up my own because I thought I should have one to promote my business!

But over the past year it's become so much more than that, and I really do like my little bit of blog space now. I love the online friends I have made this year and I really enjoy taking a little peek into the worlds of like minded people every day (I am a nosey one!!!) I also like the task of actually writing each post. I used to write a lot but barely ever do anymore, so it is nice to do something a bit different and spend some time each week preparing a post or two.

I also love to read blogs and have a lovely long reading list which is growing all the time - I've discovered so many talented and creative people out there that I would never have found if it weren't for their blogs. I'm thinking of maybe doing a series of posts on some of my favourites soon, as I'm sure there are lots of you who would also appreciate them too! Just wish I had a bit more free time in my day to spend having a good old catch up, sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day to visit all the blogs I would like!

Anyway over the past year writing this blog, although I have made a conscious effort to keep the focus mainly on my textiles work, I have also found myself writing about my hobbies, inspirations and a little bit of family life too. Although I don't tend to write about anything really personal on here, I do like it when people share a little of themselves as well as just their work - I think it's really nice to get to know the person behind the work/business/blog.

I have also loved reading all the sweet comments that have been left on my blog over the last year. In fact, there are a few of you lovely people who read and leave comments on nearly every post I write... you will know who you are! Thank you so much for continuing to visit me here so often, I really do appreciate your lovely comments, and I also have enjoyed getting to know you through your own blogs too. The blogging community is such a supportive and inspirational one, and I am very glad to be part of it. Working from home with just the radio for company can be a bit lonely so it is really nice to be able to take a little trip to blogland sometimes!

Anyway thanks once again for all the support this year, it is very much appreciated! Hope you are having a lovely week so far (depsite the Autumnal temperatures and lack of sunshine!)

Jenny x

P.s If you are wondering where these gorgeous images are from, they are a set of four greetings cards I purchased from Happy Loves Rosie last week. I discovered her fabulous blog a little while ago and these cards had been calling out to me ever since! Don't you just want to live in these pictures??? I know I do, they are my idea of heaven! They are just the perfect inspiration - I definitely won't be sending them but instead they will be going in my studio so I can admire them every day :)

p.p.s granny squares are also coming on nicely (if a little slowly). Will pop back later in the week to show you my progress so far! x

Friday, 10 June 2011

Addicted already!

I think I may have started another addiction... Oh dear God, what have I done??? My blanket yarn arrived yesterday and I am totally in love with it! It is only super cheap and cheerful acrylic stuff as this is my first project but I am just loving the colours all together, and best of all, I now have a 'wool basket' beside the sofa! OK this may not sound much but I've had serious blog envy of other people's colourful baskets piled high with lovely yarn recently, and now I've got my own!!!

Could not stop taking pictures of the gorgeous colours as soon as it arrived...

Don't the colours just look so scrummy together?? I was a bit nervous before they came as quite often I order fabrics and bits off the Internet only for them not to quite live up to the colours on screen. But I have to say that I am so pleasantly surprised with my purchases this time! Most of the yarn here is Stylecraft Special DK, although there are also a couple of random ones in there too that I picked up last week to practise with.

However... and here comes a really big sigh... after all my excitement, I've had lots of work I've needed to get done before the weekend, so have only had time to make one square so far! Really hoping to be able to sit down this weekend and get a few more done. Although it's still super early days and I've only just picked up the basics, I'm really enjoying learning a new craft, one which is totally different to anything I've ever done before. It's definitely a challenge, especially as it doesn't come easily to me... but I have to say that I am loving it (despite the many comments from other half that I am 'old before my time' etc!)

Anyway, hopefully I will be back next week with some actual crochet to show you (I hope I'm not building this up too much???)
Have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing! x

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