Friday, 18 April 2008

In the meantime...

I'm still stuck without the internet for 99% of my day (sob!) but I just wanted to mention that there's an interview with me over on IndieFixx today, hurrah!

I am rather pining for the pretty colours and fantastic inspiration offered by lovely design blogs like IndieFixx... particularly Poppytalk (and so many of the great blogs linked to on there) and (my current favourite) Print & Pattern - always so much lush stuff to look at, and so much colour! I may have to go out and buy a glossy magazine to tide me over, but it just won't be the same...

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Back Next Month

Aaaargh! My broadband provider has informed me that I'm getting my connection back in MAY.
I am trying to work out some wireless piggybacking off my neighbours connections but it's quite likely that I won't be blogging again until next month :(

I'll still be sending out orders from Etsy etc, and will try to reply to messages as quickly as possible. Be sure to check back in May for a big update on what I've been up to, and for lots of new items in the shop :)

Monday, 14 April 2008

Problems

I'm having a few problems with my internet connection. Nothing too drastic and hopefully back to normal soon, but I am taking this as an opportunity to turn the computer off for a bit and make some stuff! :)

Sunday, 13 April 2008

365 / 237 - Success and Failure

My bracelet experiments were a success last night - hurrah!
The elastic makes it slightly adjustable, and easy to take on and off. I tweaked the orchid design a little, too, and accidentally used the wrong shade of pink for the background so this bracelet has a different look to it than the last white one. I think I prefer the delicacy of a softer pink, but we shall see.

Unfortunately, I went babysitting last night and had to take a small kit of sewing with me so I had no materials with me for making new designs... so yet again I have failed in the "design a day" stakes. Tsk tsk. I really need to get my act together with this!

365 / 236 - Experiments with Bracelets

I've been wanting to make felt bracelets for a while now, and yesterday I finally sat down and made some prototypes....
I thought first of all to try using a snap fastener to, er, fasten the bracelet and with a bit of wishful thinking dreamt of using some of my inherited supplies for them. Unfortunately the vintage snaps won't even un-snap from their cards - I shall just have to keep them in their packaging and frame them or something: oh well :) - and a modern snap fastener is still a little too stiff to work well with the softness of the felt. I was rather pleased with the look of the thing though! I think the orchids are so sweet and romantic-looking, I can't wait to wear one of these during the summer ...
Then I tried using velcro - softer fastening, slightly adjustable, great, right? Unfortunately it turned out to be a bit chunkier than the look I was going for (more a solid cuff than a delicate floral bracelet).
So today (day 237) I am trying out more ideas (this time experimenting with elastic) and my two "not quite right" prototypes will get listed in the shop at bargain prices... I just wish my hands didn't look so rough at the moment! All this decorating, etc, has made them so dry. Note to self: moisturise like crazy and keep my fingers crossed my skin becomes baby soft and lovely looking in time for the next bracelet-modelling session...

Oh, and late last night I made a quick attempt at a viola, in the same sort of style as my orchids. I didn't have time to turn it into a brooch, but here it is anyway:It's about 1 1/2 inches high. Here are the violas which inspired it. There are even more of them now than when I took that picture and they make me smile every time I see them!

Friday, 11 April 2008

365 / 235 - Orchids

The lovely x-stitcher suggested making orchids as part of my design-a-day challenge and after much pouring over photos, and sketching feverishly I eventually worked out how to make them:
I couldn't decide whether to make a pink one or a white one so I made both. Much more fun to make two, I reckon! They're about 7cms (2 3/4 inches) across, so quite a nice size.

As with the day before, I didn't have time to get them quite finished (no brooch backs etc yet) and the photos are rather grey... we went to IKEA today and missed the decent light in the process (oh well). I will try to get all these new designs finished, properly photographed and listed over on Etsy by the end of the weekend: so keep an eye out if you're interested. It will be lovely to freshen up my shop a little! I have rather been neglecting it with all this decorating, etc. Must try harder...

Thursday, 10 April 2008

365 / 234 - Catching Up (aka Cheating!)

I was supposed to be tidying the house yesterday but instead I spent the entire evening making stuff out of felt. Much more fun!Abstract poppies, a daffodil (or technically a narcissus), a tudor rose, bluebells, lily of the valley, a space rocket, a sunflower and a tulip. They all need to be properly finished - their brooch backs added and the front and back pieces stitched together - but the actual designing (patterns, pieces, sewing) was done all in the one evening.

This veritable crafting binge was brought on by my annoyance at missing out so many days of my design a day challenge. I am totally cheating by making lots of "catch up" designs in one day, but I don't care! Most of these designs have been floating around my head for just ages, and appearing in my sketches over and over... it's great to finally see them "in the felt", even though some of them are definitely just prototypes and need some work. The space rocket was suggested by one of my blog readers, the lovely Clothcat. Such a sweet idea, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

As you may have noticed from the photo, I've already started to rework some of the designs a little... the stitching on the bluebells was highly unsatisfactory and the colour just wasn't screaming bluebell strongly enough, so I made a second version straight away and I'm much happier with it. The third version is actually lily of the valley - though the flowers need to be a little rounder and fatter I love how crisp they look against the greens:

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The best laid plans... (365 days 229 - 233)

Sometimes things just don't work out how you plan them. I did a little too much last week, and rather knackered myself out... so I have had to abandon my "design a day" project (temporarily) until I am awake enough to actually, you know, design stuff!

One of the most wonderful things about this crafting lark is that I can carry on "getting stuff done" even when I am totally exhausted and crashed out on the sofa gazing into space a little gormlessly. I suffer from M.E. (most annoying) so this does happen more often than I would like, and it's always great to be able to make stuff even when I'm otherwise "useless" - not awake enough to write emails, do the washing up, etc etc.

So, thanks to my crafting 365 project instead of just watching lots of videos over the past few days I watched lots of videos and also...

... cut up a couple of vintage books (bought cheap in charity shops) to make thankyou cards for my orders. A book of birds (I love birds so much) and the most darling kids book from 1955 - check out the end paper with all the animals reading their bedtime stories. The owl is particularly awesome:
... appliqued a big batch of poppy shapes to their black backgrounds ready for making poppy brooches:... dug out some yummy vintage snap fasteners from my stash ready for a new (currently top secret) design:
... and then yesterday, after the courier showed up with my delivery of felt (all 60 colours back in stock! hurrah!), I started to make up lots of bundles of mini squares, cutting them out and wrapping them in tissue paper so they can be stored neatly until posting time:
Every time I make up a big batch of those I worry that no-one will buy them and I'll be stuck with all these parcels of felt, but I rather like felt so I wouldn't really be that upset... and it's such fantastic colour therapy making all those little rainbows.

In other news: thanks to lovely Curiosity, my pink poppy pin made an appearance on the Etsy front page at the weekend, amongst lots of UK Etsy lovelies. It snowed that weekend, but spring had sprung on Etsy at least!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Friday, 4 April 2008

365 / 228 - Sailboats and Cupcakes

Last night I watch some episodes of Doctor Who (very excited about the new series!) and made sailboats and cupcakes...
The little seagulls were my mother's suggestion. My mother is not only good at suggesting things like that, she is also a tea-fuelled painting machine! This is very lucky as the bathroom we're painting is large (almost as big as my previous flat, haha), none of the walls are flat (very old house) and the room is full of fiddly bits, weird doors, edges, pipes, all kinds of funny things to paint very very slowly... but it's pretty much finished now, hurrah:
The white looks lovely and crisp against the light wedgwood blue (it is a wedgwood blue, I promise! the photo isn't great) - how I thought it would in my head (phew) and perhaps even better. For my first ever bit of decorating it has gone quite well, I think. Now if only we can get rid of that awful frilly lightshade! It looks like the skirts of those frilly women people put over their loo rool and it is sort of welded onto the fitting having been there for (literally) decades. It will not budge. I may throw a small party to celebrate when we finally manage to get rid of it!

I am of course now itching to paint everything in the house, and am already casting my eyes over aspirational design blogs and delicious shops like H is for Home for just the right accessories for my dream retro-modern look... Shopping aside, an important part of this look is having much less junk than I do now: so I am doing my best to spring clean, giving things away and swapping them via the UK Etsy swap group. It's great clearing stuff out and knowing it's going to a new life in another crafty home! Ooh, and thinking of swapping things, before I sign off I must show you the truly delightful bird brooch I got in a trade from fellow Etsian Guerilla Embroidery:
I can't wait for the warmer weather so I can wear it out on my spring jacket. Too awesome for words.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

365 / 227 - A Possible Felt Shortage! Argh!

Panic! Panic! Everybody panic! :P

I had a huge number of people buy felt from me this week, so the wholesale order I was planning to put in "at some point" suddenly became rather more urgent. I thought I'd put an order in last night, would get a call from the wholesaler today to confirm stock levels etc, and then get it by courier on Friday: perfect. But for some reason the order never went through! And I didn't even realise until after business hours today so now it's gonna be Monday at the earliest for my felt. Gosh I feel dim.

I've still got 58 colours in stock (phew), but without the missing two colours I can't make up any more mini packs of squares and there are only a few left (4 or 5 maybe? I counted them this morning but I forgot already). Felt really should not be this stressful!

Day two of my design-a-day project produced a little icecream, perfect for inducing nostalgic conversations about trips to the seaside and the relative merits of a Mr Whippy or a FAB ...
... and we started painting the bathroom today, here's a bad photo of the test corner:
The light greenish-blue is the old colour, the very pale patch is a rejected tester and the Wedgwood-ish blue is the one we're busy applying (I'm taking a break to write this blog post and hope very much that I've not got paint all over the computer chair in the process!).

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

365 / 226 - A House and some Mushrooms

A good start to my "design a day" challenge - two designs in one evening! Hurrah!
You can see my original sketches for them in this post if you're interested in such things. I also cut out lots of pretty coloured bits of felt for pink poppies and purple dahlias:
My mother is visiting at the moment to help me paint the house (she has painting skills and also owns handy things like ladders!). She approves of the mushrooms :)

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

365 / 225 - Pinkness and a Nice Start to April

Last night's craftiness: a pink version of my little poppy pin...
... my very favourite shade of pink! Medium and large pink poppies to follow. I wear a lot of pink and purple so I think these will become staples of my wardrobe before long.

Today is the first day of my "Design a day" challenge - thanks for all your great suggestions (no more, please!) - so hopefully there'll be lots of fun new things to show off to you all everyday this month. April has certainly started off well, with my rainbow circles artwork turning up on the Etsy front page today and getting about 1200 views in the process! Just staggering. Thanks so much to SarahLousieDesigns for the screenshot.

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