Monday 31 March 2008

365 / 223 & 224 - Lots of Labels to choose from

A quick catch up on the past couple of days craftiness: lots of different label badges to choose from!
I've got a whole series of these planned, embroidering them is so much fun... The "coffee addict" was stitched in rather a rush and turned out a bit wonky, so I've listed it at a bargain price.

Also bargainous, the lovely little bowl I bought today...
... I'm trying to get rid of things at the moment not aquire more but I just couldn't resist the fab 1950s Homemaker pattern.

Sunday 30 March 2008

The Power of the Etsy Front Page

It was a glorious day today, the first proper day of spring, sunny and mild and generally rather cheering. I took full advantage of the weather and spent the day tinkering with plants, having a bit of a spring clean and flinging all the windows open so I could do some pungent DIY: mucking about with primer and varnish and making a terrible mess in the process :)

I did however neglect to take my 365 photo, so it shall have to wait for tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a screenshot from yesterday of one of my moustache disguises on the Etsy front page...
... for anyone who has ever wondered about the "front page effect": they were viewed about 600 times while they were up there! The exposure also led to 19 people marking them a favourite (and 34 marking my shop as a favourite) and caused a flurry of convos and a couple of sales. Many thanks are due to missbeahaven for curating such a stylish treasury and for being kind enough to add my item, and to gemmafactrix for being such a great model!

Saturday 29 March 2008

365 / 222 - Hundreds of Circles

I was a bit sleepy yesterday and spent the whole evening curled up on the sofa watching videos, and cutting out teeny felt circles from my stash of felt scraps...
... colour therapy at its finest! In other colour-related news, I bought some delicious plants yesterday to add a bit more colour to our balcony and am most annoyed at the rain we're having today cos I can't get outside and plant them... plus: we're busy picking paint colours, starting with a blue for the bathroom. The bathroom has a blue carpet, so it's going to be blue walls to match. Test patches are drying as I type, and so far we're leaning towards this one, the imaginatively titled "blue sky":
Not too dark, not too pale, looks half-decent with the carpet, etc etc. I rather liked the look of this one... .... but it ends up darker than that and we definitely want the whole room painted one colour, it could be quite oppressive (though it would make a lovely and chic accent colour). Named "stormy sky" it may have similar effects on the emotions as real life stormy weather, and paint colours that seem likely to cause Seasonal Affective Disorder are probably a bad idea, haha. Also the boyfriend thinks it rather revolting and has vetoed it completely! Hopefully we'll have some sunny painting-friendly weather sometime soon - the bathroom does look rather funny at the moment covered in blue patches.

Friday 28 March 2008

365 / 221 - Always Time for Tea

I'm a bit busy, a bit tired, a bit distracted by other things at the moment ... but there is always time for a bit of tea-themed craftiness:
A nice soothing bit of freehand embroidery (accompanied, of course, by a real cuppa), due to be turned into brooches sometime soon. Regular readers will recognise that I'm re-working an old design from last year... and by reworking I mean making it bigger: I did love the old tea addict pins but they were a little bit tiddly!

I've also found time for some tea-themed retail therapy, buying teatowels from Skinnylaminx over on Etsy:
The design is called "Mugs", available in 3 yummy colours (raspberry, blueberry and gooseberry) and features her collection of awesome vintage mugs. As a mug-hoarder and crockery-obssesso this is basically the perfect design for me, and being a teatowel it's so practical. I do like things to be beautiful and useful, and a practical purchase is a largely guilt-free one :)

Thursday 27 March 2008

365 / 220 - Lavender Teabags

Last night I finished my first batch of lavender-filled "teabags"...
... they're larger than normal teabags and almost too large to fit inside the pretty blue teacup I chose for the photo, but they did just fit! The teacup and saucer are part of the same pretty set as the ones in my little teacup pin photos, inherited from my grandmother along with the Poole teapot. I do love to mix and match my crockery.
I also finished my colourful circles artwork - so much stitching went into this one, I'm really rather proud of it... all those colours, too! Yum yum:
PS thanks muchly to everyone who has left a comment suggesting ideas for my April design challenge - some really interesting suggestions, I've already started planning some of them! Great stuff, please keep them coming :)

Wednesday 26 March 2008

365 / 219 - Wips, Beards and a New Challenge

I'm still working on an assortment of odd projects, here are a few of them from yesterday:
I started a pair of felt glasses (soon to be a nerdy glasses disguise), embroidered some labels for my lavender tea bags, and did some work on my big abstract circles piece. I also finished beard disguises in every colour (brown, black, blond and ginger) though forgot to take proper photos before the light went today so the listing is a little sparse looking. Must remember to take some tomorrow...

In other news: I am starting an exciting new challenge next week!!

Excuse the double exclamation marks, but I really am rather excited about this one: through the whole month of April I will be doing a "design a day" challenge, making (at least) one completely new thing every day and blogging about it right here.

I have so many ideas I'm itching to try out, and designs half-sketched on scraps of paper stuck in drawers and folders... and next month I will be taking them out of my brain and turning them into an assortment of felty treats. Even if I just get a prototype made and rework it later, it will be so great to be making new things and seeing my ideas "in the felt", as it were. Here are just a few of the ideas floating round my brain at the moment - as doodled during my "proper job" last week:You can join in the fun, too! If you've got an idea for a brooch design, leave me a blog comment this week letting me know - if I use your idea I'll give you a discount code for use in my shop during April (so make sure there's a way for me to get in touch with you - I can't give you a code if you post anonymously!) ... oh, and if several people suggest the same thing it'll be the first person to suggest it who gets the discount :)

UPDATE: no more suggestions please as the challenge has now begun! :D

Tuesday 25 March 2008

365 / 218 - The Return of The Beards

Yesterday was one of those days when you end up doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that and never really settling on one task or another. One of the projects I started and then put down again was this lot:
Beard disguises! Hurrah! I got two brown ones finished, but realised I still hadn't bought any black thread (so no black beards yet) or any white elastic (so no ginger or blond beards either) ... and moved on to sewing some other things. However, I've been out today and purchased both black thread and white elastic so I shall have no more excuses and there should be finished beards ready for the shop tomorrow.

It's very exciting to have the beards (almost) back, they are just too much fun, and I do so love confusing the staff at my local haberdashers who cannot figure out why I keep coming in and buying yet more elastic!

Monday 24 March 2008

365 / 217 - An Assortment of Circles

I neglected to adjust my camera's white balance whilst taking photos today, and by the end the light had changed completely and so today's Crafting 365 photo is rather yellow:
As unsatisfactory as that photograph is, it will have to do because it is effing freezing today and I'm not going outside again to take more photos! Brrr! Instead I am warming my hands up with a nice mug of hot tea and shall tell you about yesterday's crafty efforts...

Yesterday was all about circles: stitching together the pink and blue textile art pieces ready for backing another day; starting work on the pastel mobile I cut out last week; and stuffing the remaining pincushions. I've used up a fair bit of the felt scraps I was hoarding (I maintain that I am "tidying" by making these pincushions but the boyfriend is having none of it), but there's still plenty lying about the place so there will no doubt be more to come. Here's the finished collection:So many circles! They'll all be listed in the shop this week - one is already parcelled up to go to a new home when the Post Office reopens tomorrow. I'm trying to work out the best way to adapt the circles-within-circles idea for a textile art piece but I've not yet settled on an idea I'm happy with so it'll have to wait. I'll let the idea percolate for a while and come back to it another time. Plenty to keep me busy in the meantime...

Sunday 23 March 2008

365 / 216 - Stuffing Pincushions

Ah, stuffing pincushions is such an enjoyable task! Look how chunky they are:I finished four pincushions yesterday (whilst rather gorging myself on Poirot dvds) ...
... and have four waiting to be stuffed...
My favourite is probably the navy blue & teal one, but it's so difficult to decide. Note to self: I must remember to take some pictures of the pincushions actually with pins in them! It helps so much in judging the scale of them (they're a massive 8.5cm in diameter - that's just under 3 1/2 inches). I also finished the green textile art piece, giving it a backing piece of felt and photographing it nicely for the shop. Here's a shot including my hand to give you a good idea of the scale of it:
We went out to an Easter lunch today (lovely) and I wore one of my felt brooches and chatting to someone was asked if I sell my work "oh yes, I have a little online shop" "cool, have you ever thought about listing on Etsy?", rather amusing! I am finding that more and more people have heard of Etsy, though I have yet to randomly meet another seller... no doubt that time will come!

Saturday 22 March 2008

365 / 215 - Scrap Pincushions

Staying true to my tendancy to be easily distracted by shiny new projects, last night I temporarily abandoned the textile art to begin some pincushions...
... I'm appliqueing large circles with little circles cut from the "waste" felt from my other projects. Small scraps become circles and the teeny tiny scraps will become pincushion stuffing! I made a start on this at Christmas, but have totally neglected it and with all the felt I've cut out this week I was starting to get overrun with scraps "to be used at some point"... so it seemed a good time to get started on them.
I'm very happy with how they're turning out so far - they're just how I pictured them in my mind, and the different sizes of the scraps mean the circles are turning out pleasingly random sizes which makes for a very natural looking scatter across the pincushion top. It's lovely to be able to put all that delicious colour to some use at last.

Friday 21 March 2008

365 / 214 - Taking over the Lounge

I continue to be completely absorbed by abstract shapes and the pleasures of pure colour, and yesterday completed a green textile art piece:
So many different shades of green, yum yum. It still needs trimming and backing neatly, but the creative part is finished... I've also cut out the pieces for blue and pink/purple versions - you can just see them on the table in this photo:
This is what happens when I get absorbed in my work, you see... I neglect to tidy up and the felt starts to take over our living room! I'm trying to get all the pieces I've cut out neatly pinned (or even stitched) together so I can pack them all up and take them out one project at a time and be a bit more tidy... but I don't know that this will actually happen. Most likely, tidying these things away will just make room for some more mess. Oh well.

Today I have been blessed with another of my pictures showing up in Explore...
... and also with just enough sunshine to take a few pictures of the mobile I finished last week:
It's designed to be used as a mobile, but because the reverse is plain it's perfect for use as a wall-hanging. I may have to re-take the photos soon, as they're still a little dark, but for the moment they will suffice.

Thursday 20 March 2008

365 / 213 - A spring in my step

After the deliciousness of being featured on Craft yesterday, my most recent Crafting 365 pic showed up in Flickr's Explore today! So very very exciting... it's been viewed1,823 times since I uploaded it yesterday! Craziness.
"One of my Crafting 365 pictures is in Explore on Flickr" is unfortunately one of those sentences it's impossible to say to my friends and neighbours without them getting very confused indeed (your what is where in the what now?), so I think they're attributing my good mood to the arrival of spring, haha. It has been pleasingly spring-like here, as it happens. My spring bulbs are looking rather lovely (though I forgot to take pictures of the crocuses before they went over) ...... I love how zing-y the colours are. So fresh and, er, springlike! Lots of colour in the crafting, too, as I've started work on a new series of textile art pieces:
I ran out of black thread, so it's not finished yet but you get the idea. More soon!

Wednesday 19 March 2008

365 / 212 - 320 Pieces of Felt

As I was feeling a bit under the weather last night (better now, hurrah), I decided to sit and watch some Poirot dvds and cut out some felt for new projects...
... rather a lot of felt, in fact! 160 pieces for one mobile, another 160 for another mobile, and a few more pieces ready for other projects. Every single piece was cut out freehand, no patterns and no fancy cutting machines, just me and my eyes and a pair of scissors. I had meant to only cut out 96 pieces for the second mobile (making it one-sided only) but I was rather half-asleep and kept accidentally cutting out two of all the pieces so I just went with it :)

Some fun and happy news:
I hit my 700th item sold over on Etsy last night - such a huge number. I keep thinking about it and grinning... and then thinking about the amount of hours I must have spent in the post office over the past year, and grinning slightly less! My little poppy was apparently on the Etsy front page yesterday morning - thanks so much to Saysie for letting me know, and also for this sweet mention of my Felt Fancy pincushions. My bluetit is proving popular over on the French version of Dawanda, even showing up on their little front page widget for most popular items...
... and a couple of my flower brooches were picked for Dawanda's (English) spring accessories feature. I was also dead chuffed this morning to see that my ribbon brooch get a mention over on the Craft blog. A few other sweet people have mentioned my work recently, but I have temporarily misplaced the list I wrote! It's probably buried under pile of felt. Oh well, I'm sure it'll turn up. All these nice features and it's sunny today. Wonderful stuff.

Tuesday 18 March 2008

365 / 211 - Neat little rows

I have a horrible headache this evening and looking at the computer screen is making me go all squinty, so just a quick post for today. I (almost) finished my brooch batches last night - the acorns, the umbrellas and (almost) the tree stumps:
Lining them up like that is very satisfying. I'm off to listen to the radio now (with my eyes shut) ... hopefully I won't forget overnight all the things I had wanted to blog about today!

Monday 17 March 2008

365 / 210 - Still in progress

I'm still working on those brooch batches - acorns, umbrellas and tree stumps. I was thinking about how I'm gradually creating a little felt universe, and this somehow led to the taking of this picture:
That's going to be one fat squirrel... (I love how he looks like he's rubbing his little hands with glee at having such a big stash of acorns).

Meanwhile, over on Etsy: the lovely Heidi Burton, a fellow tea-obsessive and a creater of wonderful whimsical things is one of the entrants in an Etsy "design face-off". All the entries are pretty awesome, please do go and vote for your favourite! No prizes for guessing whose work I'll be voting for, haha.

Oh, and I went to the Post Office today and picked up a leaflet about their price increases (due at the start of April) and ouch! Some of them are really rather steep. I'm not looking forward to having to re-work all my shipping prices but I'm going to have to. Bah.

Sunday 16 March 2008

365 / 209 - Bits and Pieces

Oops, almost forgot to blog today. Tsk tsk. I have been busy doing lots of things, which is almost a good excuse but really I just forgot!

Lots of sewing yesterday:
Finished a batch of battenburg brooches (two slightly wonky ones, being listed at a reduced price cos they turned out a bit "homebaked" looking!) and another stripey ribbon brooch... and then got started on a few more batches of things. Lots of designs in need of restocking at the moment, and my wip box is full of pieces I've cut out and not yet sewn together. So: made a start on sewing some acorns, some tree stumps and some cute little red umbrellas. Fingers crossed that I get them finished soon and they don't just end up back in my wip box!

In non-crafty news today I've been doing some housework (quite out of character) and tending to my Dawanda shop. I'm gradually filling up my shop, and making a start on properly translating my listings into German. You can list in English, French and German on Dawanda and at the moment my French & German listings are a bit of a cheat - simple English with a couple of translated phrases like "Felt brooch" - which will not do at all in the long term. The German listings are getting a makeover first, and then I'll turn my attention to the French (definitely my weaker language!). I'm rather excitedly planning a couple of "Dawanda vocab" sheets full of categoriesed words and phrases for use in my future listings, because I am a NERD and I like that sort of thing :)

Saturday 15 March 2008

365 / 208 - Colour Therapy

Ugh, the weather is so horrible at the moment... I have been cheering myself up by indulging in some colour therapy courtesy of my ribbon stash and making stripey brooches. Here's the first one finished:
(seven different ribbons on soft blue felt, stuffed with a teeny bit of polyfill to give it some shape)
I adore stripey things, and these brooches are proving a great way to use small leftover bits of ribbon. Tiny bits of colourful ribbon are like tiny bits of beautiful paper, just impossible to throw away so I end up with quite a stash of teeny scraps. I'm very much enjoying putting lots of my favourite colours together, and have a series of these little stripey brooches planned. I'll be careful not to repeat myself though, and keep each colourway strictly one of a kind.

I am also loving making up my bundles of 60 mini felt squares - all those colours together! so delicious. Colour therapy at its simplest and best. One of my very first felt-buying customers has been fantastically sweet and blogged about her purchase: check out the great felt rainbow photo she's taken. Nothing beats a nice bit of customer appreciation! I can't wait for the first photo of something made with the felt I've sold someone. To encourage such pics, anyone who buys felt from my little shop and then sends me a picture of something they made with it will get a free 9" x 9" square of felt with their second order. Hurrah!

Friday 14 March 2008

365 / 207 - Rainclouds...

UPDATE: my raincloud design is now available as a sewing pattern over on my Patreon.

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It was a horrible day yesterday. Cold, wet, windy, and generally rather miserable. Appropriately, my crafty task for the evening was sewing lots of rainclouds!
A batch of Cloudy Skies brooches (one of my favourite designs), and also a raincloud needlebook:
The needlebook was a special request from a lovely Etsy lady with whom I shall be trading, and it's only my second ever needlebook. Note to self: make more needlebooks. I adore all those soft blues and greys together! Yum.

Thursday 13 March 2008

365 / 206 - Ribbons and Rollercoasters

Yesterday I started picking ribbons for a new series of one of a kind designs...
It is still miserable weather here, too dark for taking mobile photos (so annoying!). I have been slightly distracted anyway with a rollercoaster of a day... When I got up, my inbox was filled with loveliness. Sweet blog comments to moderate (thankyou!), friendly convos, and a couple of Etsy sales accompanied by charming messages from the buyers (always so nice). Then I sold my violets brooch because it was on the Etsy front page - shame to miss the FP but lovely Kala got a screenshot of it for me:
Unfortunately, it turned out to be some kind of prank purchase as the buyers address was gibberish letters like kdfjyjh3ohhfw, seemingly some malicious person trying to bump me off the front page! Not a nice thing to do at all, it left me with a very sour taste in my mouth. I'm only glad that I've been on Etsy a while and know how nice Etsy people normally are, and how smoothly transactions normally go or I could have been very put off!

Having been put in a grumpy mood because of that, I was then totally delighted to check my email at lunchtime and discover that I'd made my very first sale on Dawanda! Yay! It is so nice to no longer have that zero staring at me, and very interesting to see how their payment process works. The boyfriend says "interesting" is the wrong word to use, but it's interesting to me at any rate, haha. My Dawanda shop still needs a lot of work (and a lot of items adding to it) but it's getting there slowly... off to add another item now, in fact...

Wednesday 12 March 2008

365 / 205 - Still Obsessed with Tea

After making all those teacups, I have tea on the brain! My latest tea-obsessed crafty project? Lavender-filled "teabag" drawer scenters:
Just a quick prototype made in a rush while dinner was in the oven, but I'm still quite pleased with it. It looks how I wanted it to (always good) and the lavender shows through the white felt "bag" just enough to give a real teabag-look to it. It is rather crying out to have a lavender-coloured tag instead of that blue, though! My mother kindly dried lots of lavender from her garden for me this year, so there should be lots of nice smelling things being added to my shop over the coming months.

Last night I also finished a new mobile, but the light was already starting to go when I came to took photos so they'll have to wait. Rather annoying, as I'd hoped to be able to list it this evening. Oh well... Instead, here's a rather random picture of me and my sewing scissors:
For some unknown reason I found it very amusing yesterday that they matched my outfit so perfectly. Simple pleasures, eh?

Tuesday 11 March 2008

365 / 203 & 204 - Getting Better, plus: Buttons Galore!

Thanks to much rest, and many a cup of soothing tea I am starting to feel better. It is most marvellous. While I've been feeling under the weather, my crafty pace slowed rather a lot... all I've managed to get done is sewing the backs onto the teacup brooches:
(Two one day, the rest the next) It's not much, but it's great to see them all finished. As I started the teacups when I needed a "poorly" project, it just goes to show what you can get done even when you're not up to doing much and how a little bit of daily crafting can go a long way! I still haven't decided which brooch to keep for myself, but I've narrowed it down to these two:
While I've been taking time off from chores and work and tiring things like that, I've been enjoying lots of cups of tea whilst reading round a few lovely blogs and catching up on my Flickr contacts' latest photos. The theme this week in the crafty universe seems to be buttons, as they seemed to pop up everywhere I looked! RaspberryFairy blogged about lovely buttons, as did TheBlackApple ... Ladyfort enjoyed some "button therapy" with these lovely glass buttons...
... Memake washed some buttons ...
... Seaurchin made some buttons... and LilfishStudios was working on a gorgeous vintage button bouquet...... such a charming idea for a wedding bouquet, and the thought of that big bowl of buttons makes my brain almost explode with buttony delight! Yum yum.