Friday, 21 October 2011

Feeling Festive!

Hello, hope you are well on this chilly Friday! With the weather turning colder, I'm definitely feeling quite Christmassy at the moment... I've said before, I'm not a huge fan of the Autumnal months, although I do appreciate the beautiful colours that Autumn brings. But really I would quite happily skip from September straight to the beginning of December and the run up to Christmas, which is one of my favourite times of the year!

Despite my festive mood, I have refrained from actually putting up any xmas decorations you'll be glad to hear, (won't do that until beginning of December) but I did buy the Prima Christmas Makes magazine this week. I'd seen it blogged about several times and a few of the projects, these sweet little mice in particular, seemed right up my street. 

I've still got to make time and have a proper sit down read of it, but I have been dipping in and out all week, gazing at all the lovely pictures. I think I want to try and do a red and white Christmas theme this year - I love this Christmas tree!! I've definitely been seduced by all the Nordic inspired decorations around at the moment...

It also has lots of Christmas gift ideas which are great. I particularly love this little pop up nativity set by Roger la Borde, but can't find anywhere that stocks it... just think it is so sweet!

Anyway, it is a lovely mag all in all.

Continuing on the festive theme, these Christmas projects of mine were in last month's Xmas Special Crafts Beautiful magazine. It is lovely to see them in print at last, as I did them months ago in early Summer, before we had even moved house and been on holiday! Seems like a very long time ago really!

For more crafting ideas go to

I really enjoyed doing these projects, especially the cards. I don't do much card making for myself anymore, just never seem to have the time or inspiration so it is nice to work on card commissions instead!

This week, I've also been putting together a Christmassy trade order for Andrea of Andrea Willis Designs - you'll probably know her blog and lovely design work already. Andrea has a lovely shop in Scarborough, selling her own work alongside some of other designers too. 

It looks so inviting, doesn't it, I love the colour of the shop front! I did live in North Yorkshire for much of my childhood, but now I've moved to Somerset, it's a little bit too far for me to visit unfortunately. If you are ever up in Scarborough though, make sure you pay her a visit! Anyway, Andrea's been stocking my work since the beginning of the year, and I've just packaged up some  more festive goodies that will be on the way to her soon :)

Thanks for all the lovely comments you left on my last post by the way - they really cheered me up! Luckily, I left the Monday blues behind and the rest of the week has gone past OK - a little bit quiet but I've been busy working on bits and pieces so it has gone reasonably quickly in the end. One thing I have actually been doing this week is finally sorting out a Folksy shop and adding some bits to it including some of my new Christmas buttons...

It's been on my 'to-do' list for ages, but it's always seemed too big a job and one of those things that I've just been putting off! Anyway, finally got it up and running this week at last! Do pop over and let me know what you think :) Hopefully will be adding more to it soon, it is looking a little sparse at the moment.

I do also want to open an Etsy shop too. My NOTHS shop does well for me, but I guess it can't hurt having more outlets for my work, so hopefully will get around to that sometime soon too. If anyone has any advice/opinions on either Folksy or Etsy by the way, I'd be really interested to hear it. I did pose the question on my facebook page recently and got some interesting and helpful feedback on both sites... feel free to add to it!!!

Anyway, that's about all for today, but hope you are staying warm and have a lovely weekend! I'm looking forward to Karl getting home later and hopefully working on my blanket a little bit more too, perfect! Oh, I do promise I will have my giveaway next week too - sorry, have just been slow on the organising front this week! Back soon xxx

Monday, 17 October 2011

Monday blues...

I've been feeling a bit down today. Karl has had to go away for work this week so am home alone. I do usually spend a lot of time by myself and normally I'm pretty good with my own company but somehow it's different when you know that there is no one coming home at the end of the day!

Anyway, I wanted to get out and get a bit of fresh air this morning so got bundled up in my winter coat and gloves (it's got really cold!) and took a little walk to town with my weekend orders, passing Bruton's one little charity shop on the High street as I went. I had a little glance in the window as I always do and what did I see looking back at me... a lovely retro looking enamel bread bin... oooh I thought, that's nice! Not that I need another bread bin, I have a perfectly lovely one already... I couldn't see the price tag through the window but I knew it would probably be expensive. So off to the post office I went, but on my way back, I just couldn't resist popping in to check the price. I told myself that if it was anymore than £10, it wasn't meant to be. It was £12.00. I picked it up, walked about with it a bit, put it down again, picked it back up...

I think it was the mood I was in but I found myself reasoning with myself as to why I deserved a little treat in the shape of an enamel vintage looking bread bin! I knew that it was one of those things that if I walked away it would be gone tomorrow. The little tag on it said it had only been put out today and since it was only just gone 10, then it can't have been there very long. Also, there is a very nice antique/junk/vintage shop right opposite and I know the ladies who run that would have snapped it up in an instant if they had seen it first. I didn't want to regret it if I had gone home without it, so home with me it came :)

Now that I have it home, I'm not entirely sure if I will use it for bread or not! As I said already, I have a perfectly good bread bin, which also matches some of my other kitchen tins so I don't want to replace that one. And our work surface isn't really big enough to have it on display. It was 100% an impulse purchase, (most unlike me, I am normally super careful with money!)... BUT I am sure it will come in handy, and in the meantime, it is looking nice on top of the fridge! It is a really good size and a really good heavy weight too. Actually, it also has this on the bottom...

So I assume it can be used for cooking bread too?? Does anybody know anything about making bread in something like this? My breadmaker and I aren't really the best of friends, and I can usually never be bothered to make it by hand so I don't tend to bake bread much anymore. But I do love bread, so it might be worth an experimental go if anyone has any advice or knowledge on the subject? :)

Anyway, enough on the bread bin for now! As I knew Karl was going to be away this week, I told myself that I really shouldn't spend the weekend working away upstairs in my studio but instead, should spend it lazily on the sofa working on my new blanket! This was a good plan in theory, and we did have a really nice weekend, but I did also feel horribly guilty at times for spending so long on it. I'm not very good at taking time off from thinking about my work and commissions (though I am getting better). As my 'work' is essentially my hobby too, if I don't have another project to concentrate on, I do tend to be thinking about it and working on things all the time. Because I work from home, 'work' life and 'home' life aren't really separated for me as they are for a lot of people with normal 9-5 jobs. It does have a lot of bonuses too, but I am trying to keep them a little more separate at the moment and have proper time off in the evenings and weekends, to relax and work on projects just for me....

Anyway so back to the blanket, it is growing so fast I can hardly believe it!! So many stripes... but I can't tell you how much I am enjoying this one. I originally was going to make it the same size as my other one (approx 100cm x 150cm), but now I think it is going to be slightly larger, one for snuggling in bed! It isn't quite big enough to go over the whole bed, as since I planned for it to be smaller, my initial chain wasn't really long enough - but this is probably OK... I am the only one who really gets cold in bed, so it will be fine for just covering my side!

 Isn't it pretty?

Ahhhhhh.... it does make me happy to see it all lovely and colourful laid out like that. Every time I catch a glimpse of it, it makes me smile! I like the fact that it's bright but not garish, just nice and rich and warm and cosy. Though it kind of reminds me of the seaside for some reason - think I am thinking of sticks of rock! I am quite relieved actually that I've decided to make it bigger than originally planned, as I really don't want to finish it! As I've worked on it pretty much solidly for two whole weekends now, it has really grown, and I need to eek it out a bit more I think! I think from looking at it, I must be a third of the way there though on the stripe front. I must order some more yarn soon!

On a different note, earlier in the week, before my blanket become all consuming, my new Christmas fabrics eventually arrived, so I did a little more festive mirror making!

I also completed a new magazine commission and did some Thanksgiving  invitation Pingg designs too (see I do actually do some work, I don't just crochet all the time, though it may seem like that if you read my blog!)

I found these Thanksgiving designs quite challenging actually. Maybe it's because we don't celebrate it over here, and also the Autumnal colourway is really not my cup of tea. I just found it hard to come up with ideas, and equally hard to execute them, but in the end I am happy with the few designs I did manage to do! 

Anyway, so that was pretty much my week! Oh, I also reached 1000 likers on my facebook page over the weekend... a good reason for a giveaway I think!! Actually I've been promising a giveaway since I reached 300 blog followers a while ago too, so hopefully I will get myself organised this week and there will be a giveaway post coming shortly!

Thanks for popping into my little bit of blog space as always, I love reading all your comments, they really do cheer me up if I am feeling a little low! Back soon xxx

Monday, 10 October 2011

Another Christmas and crochet post!

I can't quite believe it is Monday morning again! Time seems to be absolutely whizzing by at the moment... We had quite a lazy and relaxed weekend here, which was nice as my week had been quite busy with various things. 

Had a lovely trip to Bath on Monday for a spot of fabric shopping (my favourite kind of shopping) and a general wander round the shops. It was the last day of the beautiful weather and wearing a t-shirt and flip flops it felt like July rather than October... just gorgeous! Sadly it is now cold, grey and miserable here, Summer has definitely gone for this year!

I do like shopping by myself. I can spend as long as I want pondering over fabric choices, umming and ahhing to my hearts content, no one looking bored or chivveying me along. I stocked up on lots of basic colours, some fabric for a new commission, and some lovely Christmassy fabrics too (more about those in a bit).

I then had a quick trip to the indoor market to the haberdashery stall - where I bought up a load more of their Christmas red and white twisted cord....

It's not the same as normal baker's twine, it is thicker and made of a man-made fiber but it is so very festive I love it. I'd bought a small amount a few weeks ago and was really relieved they still had some left. Not sure what exactly it will be used for but it will be fab for Christmas decorations and garlands I'm sure!

I also treated myself to my first Christmas decoration of the year... I really wasn't intending to, but Rossiter's already had their Christmas shop open and I couldn't resist this little one...

a cute little Gingerbread House for the tree...

...these tins also found themselves a new home too :) I can never have enough tins, especially such pretty ones!

Lastly these bargain paper chains also came home with me...
I'd seen them here before but at £6.95 plus delivery they were a bit pricey. So when I saw them for only £3 at the market, I snapped them up!! Going to have lots of fun making these up in a couple of months, I remember doing them with my brother when we were small!

So apart from shopping, I also was working hard last week on more Christmas products using some of the new festive fabrics I got in Bath... 

 Little fabric covered buttons for all those Christmas sewing projects! They come in sets of two like so...

and are £2.95 plus delivery per set, or £8.00 for all three sets. You can find them here :)

Also, matching handbag mirrors! How cute is the reindeer fabric? I am in love!

They are sold individually for £2.75 each, or both for £5.00 :) Find them here... I loved making these - so hopefully they will be popular over the next couple of months!

I'll be doing a couple more designs too similar to these very soon - just waiting on some more fabric to arrive in the post! Ordered it last Monday so I'm really hoping it hasn't got lost somewhere, I'm impatient to get going on them.

Gosh this is turning into a super long post isn't it??!! Last thing to tell you, I promise... is that I also started blanket number 2 on Friday evening. I'd put it off all week, one as I had lots of work to concentrate on, but also, I was dreading the first couple of tricky rows of my granny stripe. I was following Lucy of Attic 24's pattern, and taking her advice, did attempt a little practise piece at first. Glad I did as something just wasn't clicking... I couldn't understand why I didn't have enough stitches, when I know I made my starting chain the right length! Frustration and lots of it occurred, but then suddenly, it all became clear (somehow)! After only two rows of my tiny practise piece though I became impatient and decided just to go for it.

Miraculously, it seemed to work, the count was right and my new blanket was born :) All weekend I worked away on it, stripe upon stripe, ignoring all my other work and household chores completely! I am well and truly loving this blanket already, even more so than my granny squares. It seems much simpler for a start. Less ends to weave in, and I like the way there is no joining needed, you can get a feel of what the blanket will be from the start. It is very quick. Each double stripe takes me just under an hour so it will definitely be a faster project than my last.

Sadly though, I have to limit it to a weekend/evening only project even though I would love to work on it all the time. Still I am really surprised how quick I managed to do what I have so far... 16 stripes in total, love love love it! :)

Anyway, that's about all from me for today, though just before I go, I must mention a couple of wonderful giveaways that are going on at the moment. Firstly is Heather's from The Patchwork Heart who is holding a scraps giveaway - what a great idea, I could do with doing a similar one myself!!! If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a parcel of fabric scraps and sewing bits and bobs, pop over to her blog to read more :)

Also, Andrea from Fin and Gabs is holding a wonderful Halloween giveaway... a set of three fab handmade decorations to decorate your home this Halloween so make sure you also pop across to her lovely blog and enter too!

OK, right I'm definitely off now to get on with something useful... have a lovely week all of you, thanks for visiting as always - and for making it to the end of this super long post - back soon xx

p.s apologies for some of the rubbishy pictures in this post, the light today is awful!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

a crafty week...

I couldn't help it... I've ordered more yarn for my next project....

I had told myself that I should leave it a few months before I even started thinking of the next project, especially if it was to be one of the blanket variety. I have just finished one after all. But it seems I have no self restraint and this week saw me ordering another load of Stylecraft Special DK this time for my very own granny stripe. (Actually I didn't have to order that much because I still had quite a bit left over from my first project which I will be using up.)

The colours in this one will be slightly different from the granny square. No green for a start. The granny square was very green, especially that aqua, and I need a change for this one. This time sees the introduction of yellow - which is funny as yellow is usually a colour I am not too fond of... but in this mix, it works so well. I think this saffron shade is really lovely actually, not too 'in your face' but nice and rich all the same.

There will also be quite a lot of blue and purple shades, alongside red, pink, yellow and white. My colour choice was made quite quickly off the Internet, which could have been a recipe for disaster, but I am actually really happy with how they all work together... there isn't one shade that I would leave out. 

I haven't actually made a start yet... Firstly cos I've been really busy this week and secondly as I'm not sure which colour to use first! I'm also not sure whether to create a colour run and repeat it over and over or just go for the random approach. I'm thinking the random approach will be best... But then I am conscious of making wrong decisions in terms of colour choices - unlike the granny square I can't just discard squares that I don't like so much, so I don't want to make any mistakes... I do worry too much don't I?? 

So... the colours I will be using this time are...

Sherbert (1034)
Denim (1302)
Aster (1003)
Midnight (1011)
Cloud Blue (1019)
Turquoise (1068)

Clematis (1390)
Wisteria (1432)
Grape (1067)
Plum (1061)

Pomegranite (1083)
Lipstick (1246)

Fondant (1241)
Candyfloss (1130)

Lemon (1020)
Saffron (1081)

White (1001)

17 in all... I've tried to pick a mixture of dark and lights to add contrast as well as just choosing colours I liked. Hopefully they will look good together when they are all striped up next to one another! Anyway, I'll let you know when I have plucked up the courage to begin :)

So apart from admiring my newly stocked yarn basket, I've been busy sewing away this week. I've been making up more stock of my butterfly mirrors...

and lots of flower ones too...

I've also been working on some new Christmassy designs...

These are some of my new button designs - they are so tiny -the small ones are less than 3cm in diameter, so pretty fiddly to work on, but I do love it! Will also be revealing new xmas mirrors and badges quite soon too :)

This week I also tried some ideas out for a new product but frustratingly it just didn't work out so in the end I abandoned it. I know it's part of the process but I hate spending time working on things which don't work out.... it feels like such a waste of time if I spend all day working and trying but not actually getting anywhere... but heyho, my Christmas designs I've been doing have worked out well, so can't complain too much!

Anyway, better go but hope you have all been enjoying the lovely Indian summer...It's been so lovely hasn't it? Better than the actual Summer! Have been sewing barefoot and everything, windows and doors wide open, sun streaming in... I've actually been too hot for a change. Long may it last :) Back soon xx
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