Sunday, 31 August 2008

Problems - back soon!

I'm having to take a little time out from blogging, as our internet is playing up again (so annoying) and also I've caught some horrid bug and am laid up ill. I shall keep myself busy knitting and doing a few simple crafty things to pass the time, and hopefully be back soon when I'm well rested and our computer problems have been solved (fingers crossed). Take care & happy crafting. Lupin xxx

Thursday, 28 August 2008

View from the Back...

I'm determined to get the last of my applique / embroidery pictures (based on an image by Askey) finished. Lots of sewing still to go, but I'm getting there slowly. Here's a peek at the stitches behind the scenes:

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Finished! (C365/346)

I have finished my accounts! Hurrah hurrah hurrah *happy dance*

I've still got the actual tax return to do, and a few bits of printing and filing to sort out but spreadsheets have been completed, calculations have been made, all bar one receipt has been found and neatly filed. Success!

Also satisfying but in a totally different way, I finished these last night:
Rather embarrasingly you can see them in my work in progress pile way back on day 51!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Best in Show (day 345)

Yesterday was exactly the sort of day when - in the olden days, before my Crafting 365 project - I would've thought myself too busy to do any sewing and a day would have passed without creativity or the satisfaction that comes from making things. But with my 365 project in mind, as it got late I rummaged round for a quick project to do a bit of work on and found three brooches in my wip (work in progress) box waiting to be sewn together...
... a nice quick bit of sewing before bed, and now I have two rosettes and a medal all finished. Hurrah! The boyfriend approves most of the medal, but I am rather in love with the pink rosette. It is bringing out all my most girly pink-loving tendancies: it's "just frilly enough" and so darn cute!
(Please excuse the blue-tinged photos! Taking snaps in a hurry this morning cos my camera battery was about to die. The colour in the top picture is much more accurate).

As ever with new designs, you just don't know how things are going to work out until you actually "try them in felt"... I wasn't sure how to do the stitching on the star & heart shapes so I tried two different ways - I definitely prefer how the heart looks so I'll be sticking with that. Also I need to remember to make sure that the felt "ribbon tails" at the bottom of the rosettes don't disappear into the main body of the brooch as I'm sewing it together (as seems to have happened with the yellow one).

Monday, 25 August 2008

More Tea Love

Yesterday (day 344) the tea-themed craftiness continued: I finished the pink tea badges and made a small batch of embroidered "tea addict" pins. Here are both batches all neatly packed away in their storage bags:
I love those little bags: they help me feel very organised! With tea on the brain, I did some DaWanda window shopping yesterday evening and found some delicious tea-themed treats... lovely greetings cards from I Like Pens: birds + tea = heaven!
... and one of the most charming necklaces I've seen in a very long time, a sweet and simple silver teacup from Tollsten:
How darling is that?? Definitely on my wish list. I'm starting to get the hang of Pinboards over on DaWanda and am enjoying keeping little lists of things I might like to buy in future or just plain think are awesome. So far I've started a Teatime pinboard, a selection of Lovely Birdies and an all-purpose list of Pretty Things (because you can never have too many pretty things), they're quite addictive really. More DaWanda finds no doubt coming soon!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

I Heart Tea (Crafting 365 day 343)

I drink a lot of tea. Many many mugs of the lovely stuff. I am totally addicted and totally obsessed with all the paraphernalia that goes along with it: teacups, teapots, teacosies, even nice teaspoons! So it seemed only right and proper that I got back into sewing after my recent break with a batch of "I love tea" badges:
Sooo many tiny letters to cut out and sew on! Very satisfying finishing that lot, but there are even more to come as I'm finally going to be restocking the other four colours over the next few weeks as well...

Thinking of tea (and you know I often am), did you know that everyday when Eastenders finishes so many British people put the kettle on for a cuppa that it almost overwhelms the National Grid? I learnt this fun little fact from the shopping blog Wee Birdy, which kindly featured some of my tea-themed brooches this month. Hurrah!

Other recent features of my work include a sweet post on I Love Hokey, my "tea taste" pin in a lovely tea-themed Etsy montage on Mon Petit Lapin (I drink plain old builders tea - Fairtrade, of course - black no sugar in case you're wondering) and in a tea themed "treasury" selection by SassaLynne, a mention of my badger brooch by Miss Frugality, kind words on Hazelnut Studio's blog ... and also a little feature on Crafty Crafty.

Any mention of my work always makes me smile, be it on shopping blogs or little mentions of my felty things on the blogs of fellow crafters (apologies to anyone I forget to mention - I love you all, I'm just forgetful!) but I have to admit to having a little giggle at CraftyCrafty's description that "These fantastic felted goodies are part of the felt 365 project, a spinoff from crafting 365." Felt 365! Heehee! I love how my Crafting 365 group is starting to get mentioned places and take on a life of its own away from me but it did make me laugh all the same :)

Aaachoo!

Yup, you've guessed it: I've got a cold. It's not even autumn yet (though the weather's behaving like early October) and I've got an autumnal sniffle. It's making me feel all "ugh" and I've been putting off working and opting for snuggling up and chilling out instead. I have done a bit of a Folksy shop update, adding a few more brooches and I've been catching up on a few of my favourite blogs (and spotting some lovely features of my work - shout outs and thankyous tomorrow!) ... and I've finally got back into the sewing groove after these days of accounts and filing, so I'll be back tomorrow with crafty pictures (yay!).

Friday, 22 August 2008

Tinkering

I'm still taking a "minibreak" from crafting, though as discussed yesterday I'm still ending up doing crafty things with my day... Today, for example, I have been doing some knitting and also tinkering with my DaWanda and Folksy shops.

Following a suggestion from two of my lovely blog readers (thankyou ladies!) I've added my mini felt squares packs to my Folksy shop so you can now buy felt in good old British pounds if you want to :)

DaWanda meanwhile have announced that "the search for colours will play a bigger role on DaWanda in the future" so I've been playing around selecting the two main colours for each of my listings. Their automated colour picker is pretty cool - and very accurate for many of my listings, though obviously I needed to change some of them like this:Psst: I'm taking part in DaWanda's Olymics-themed "Shopathon", so there will be 11% off in my shop (and any other shops taking part) in the final event this Sunday (24th August) from 12am-3pm (CET) and 8pm-11pm (CET).

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Another Rainbow of Felt...

Technically I'm taking a couple of days off from crafting to catch up with paperwork and other bits and pieces, but I'm still knitting those blanket squares and making up mini squares of felt from big piles like this one:
This crafting lark is a hard habit to break, even when I try!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Nine Hours to Go...

... and then I'll have all my squares finished, yay! I knitted three squares in about 3 hours last night (each square is about 11cm or 4.5 inches) and only have nine more pink squares to go until I can start putting the blanket together. This is absolutely the best thing about putting a project under the bed and forgetting about it - you forget about all those months of hard work and feel like you're finishing something huge in no time at all! Hehe.

Here are all the colours I'm using:
Yummy stuff (though a bit wonky looking, oops).

In other knitting news - perfectly timed for all this autumnal weather and my renewed enthusiasm for knitting - Innocent have just launched this year's Big Knit. I (very shamefully) didn't finish and send in my hats last year as I got ill and then busy (or was it the other way round?) & missed the deadline (much earlier than the year before when I knitted all these) so I am doubly determined to knit lots in time for this year's deadline :)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Trial and Error

Yesterday I turned my attention to the stash of crafty supplies and projects that are not neatly arranged in my little office, but stowed away under the bed or in the spare room long neglected and gathering dust... I'm going to try to be ruthless and clear a few bits out for the UK Etsy supplies swap group and I'm also determined to try to actually finish some projects! First up: an almost-finished blanket that just needs another 12 squares.
Unfortunately, it's been so long since I knitted any squares for this I'd forgotten what size knitting needles to use and just had to guess. I guessed wrong! Oh well.

I'm really not very good at knitting - sewing has always been much more my thing - and get in an awful muddle whenever I try knitting more than just blanket squares. I knitted some scarves once, but the sort that only a mother would love! Knitting simple squares is incredibly relaxing though, and it's an incredible feeling when you have a whole blanket you made yourself. Here's two I made earlier (now owned by my mother & sister) ... the biggest things I've ever made:

Monday, 18 August 2008

Making Space for Crafty Things

Yesterday I finally got my new "office" space tidied up and cleared of junk piles and laundry and other gubbins. It's nothing fancy, just some shelves in a little room off our kitchen (which acts as my main office/workspace) but it means I finally have 90% of my crafty stuff organised and together in one place for ease of sewing / packaging / etc. Click on the photo to see it labelled on Flickr...

Pretty Pictures

Saturday was another "tax day" - it's going quite well, just slowly as I plod my way through my accounts and working out what I'm supposed to be doing! In a way I am sort of enjoying it - I like organising things and writing things up into tables and stuff like that (it's just a shame there are no bar charts involved, I like a nice bar chart). Just a bit more to go and I'll actually be ready to start filling in the forms, haha.

I escaped the accounts madness for a bit by popping into town to buy a few "bits" - some more parcel tape, some black felt, some prittstick and a few picture frames. Nothing too exciting but it did allow me to make a start on getting this lot framed and ready to go on the wall:
Please excuse the grainy photos... dark rainy days + trying to take pictures of glass (so you can't turn the indoor lights on) = very bad photos. The two groups of pictures are going up in my (slightly retro) kitchen, either side of this poster from Present&Correct. Two advertising posters from my grandparents' village Post Office, three pages from "The Good Housewife's Enyclopedia" (published in 1963), and six delightful bird prints from the lovely and super-talented Geninne (my birthday present to myself earlier this year). I am still umming and ahhing about which order to hang the birds in, but I can always change my mind once they're up, I guess!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Tax Time

I am currently attending to my accounts in preparation for filling out my tax return, covering half the house in paperwork in the process. After a long day staring at numbers yesterday I was a bit too spaced out to sew anything, so I treated myself to some yummy chocolate biscuits and curled up to read a bit of "Penguin by Design" - a gorgeous book, with lots of lovely pictures to soothe my frazzled brain!

Friday, 15 August 2008

A Week Away

I didn't manage to do much crafting while I was away, but I still managed to squeeze in a little bit here and there (though I did admittedly skip a couple of days inbetween!). My main crafty activity was embroidering these:
They're felt artworks based on illustrations by Jo Askey, and though I finished the first one well over a year ago the batch as a whole remains unfinished and languishing most neglectedly in my "work in progress" box. I am quite determined to finish them all this month, but I feel sure I've said something similar before!

In general though, it was quite nice to take a break away from large piles of sewing and things "to do" and to laze about a bit. I read a whole book from cover to cover (pretty rare for me these days as I usually prefer to be sewing) and spent a wonderful afternoon working my way through a couple of issues of Creative Review, one of my favourite design magazines:
When I thought about what I'd been up to creatively this week, I thought that was all I'd done but then I remembered that I'd managed to squeeze in a bit of supply shopping too! I made a trip to John Lewis - the branch where I bought all my supplies for school sewing projects and my Textiles GCSE coursework many moons ago - and stocked up on black seed beads:
The last time I was back home I bought my first tube of these Gutermann seed beads and fell in love with them almost instantly. I use them for my poppies and as eyes for badgers, squirrels and foxes (I actually tend to refer to them not as seed beads but as "squirrel eyes" which sort of freaks my boyfriend out) ... and the tube was starting to run a little low!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Back Tomorrow

Apologies for the unannounced absence of blogposts!

I have been neglecting my blog shamefully whilst on my hols, and then have returned to a large to do list and much chaos. Back tomorrow I promise...

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Inspirational Crafter: Lisa of Lilfishstudios

One of my very favourite Flickr contacts is Lisa of Lilfishstudios - I click on her new photos almost every time they show up in "recent photos from your contacts" and am impressed without fail every single time I do.

I got to know her work through my Crafting 365 group (she's on Day 191) and can always spot her images with their mix of felt she's made herself from old wool sweaters in warm rustic colours...
... leaves & wooden bowls as the perfect props...
... and more vintage buttons than I've ever seen:
If I ever decide to get married, one of her button bouquets (with mini bouquets for bridesmaids and matching buttonholes for the gents) would be at the very top of my wedding must haves list:Her work is always charming, always exquisitely detailed and always perfectly finished. Everything about these apples is delicious, but the the cream detailing in the middle makes them just amazing:
Her work in progress shots are fantastic, a gradual reveal of the final item as she crafts a little bit each day, and everything from work in progress to finished, packaged piece is always beautifully and evocatively photographed.

As if this all wasn't great enough her packaging is inspirational in its own right: it always suits her aesthetic, it always seems handmade with love and a great deal of care, and it adds that extra special cherry-on-the-top of awesomeness that makes me so glad I discovered her work.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Absence Makes the Heart...

I'm taking a small break from my 365photo updates to go away for a few days (leaving my totally non-green-fingered boyfriend in charge of my plants... doom!) so instead this week I'll be blogging about a few crafty people who inspire me.

In the meantime though check out Crafty Synergy, a blog filled with interviews with all sorts of awesome crafters like Inleaf Design who make the most charming items by printing with real leaves (I love leaves) and quite a few lovely people I recognise from my Etsy travels.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Felt Brainstorming

Last night (crafting 365 day 331) I sat down with a big pile of felt (two big piles, actually) and tried out a few ideas that have been bouncing round my head for a while. Just like getting ideas "down on paper" it's great to get things "down in felt" and on their way from being a vague notion in my mind to an actual finished product.

Waiting to finish one thing properly when you've got lots of ideas bubbling can be a bit disruptive when you're in the "zone", so I just stitched the pieces together roughly at the end of the evening (so they can be put away and stitched properly later). Please ignore the random bright pink stitching!I'm working on a prototype crown (and a girly "princess" version), a medal, rosettes, and a large floral corsage and floral crown. The crowns - like all my "dressing up" items - are not really designed with children in mind, but instead designed to fit people like me who have difficulty thinking of themselves as "grown ups" :)

In other news, I picked the first ripe strawberry today from our little balcony "garden" and am feeling very proud:

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Disguise Yourself

There's a bit of a disguise theme going on with my crafting this week, first finishing a batch of moustache disguises on Sunday...
... and then cutting out pieces for making masks on Monday evening:
I was just planning on starting a few "spares" of the masks I've currently got listed on Etsy, but when I went looking for the appropriate felt colours in my stash I discovered some much neglected patterned felt sheets and decided to put them to use! I'm trying out a camouflage version of the bandit and a leopard-print version of the cat mask. The camouflage felt was originally bought to make this little guy:
A couple of sweet mentions to, er, mention today: one of my circles pincushions was featured on a nice-looking blog called One Part Whimsy; and my newly-established Folksy shop got a lovely mention on the always awesome I Like. Hurrah!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Oops

Today I totally meant to take my crafting 365 snap before going to work... and then I totally meant to take it before going out for tea with a friend... and both times I totally forgot and now I have no photo to share :(

To be honest though, it wasn't going to be that exciting as all I stitched last night was a batch of black moustache disguises which though awesome and fun to wear do not look even remotely interesting piled in a heap together!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

A Box of Oddments (C365/328)

Last night I was out babysitting for some friends, so I took a box of sewing to keep me entertained...
I finished a batch of ginger moustache disguises, worked on some more battenburg pincushions, finished the last of the tree brooches, and beaded a few poppies destined to be hairbands. It's always nice to finish things and I always have things lying around that need to be finished! :)

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Leaning Towers of Felt (C365, day 327)

Last night I pottered about doing a few bits and pieces and then curled up on the sofa to cut up some felt squares:
It's always a bad sign when my craft work ends up covering the sofa simply because there's no room for it on the coffee table - lots of tidying up to do this weekend I think :)

In other news: I can't believe it's August already! Where have all those months gone? I'm thinking a lot at the moment about what I've made and acheived in the past year, as August last year was when I decided to start my 365 project (15th August to be exact) and started to really get stuck into this crafting lark. 18 months ago I was ill and unemployed and a bit depressed about it all and now I make stuff every day and I'm starting to feel really genuinely proud of my craftwork and I'm getting all misty eyed and nostalgic about my first year of "serious" crafting. So much felty goodness! So many photos! So much wittering on about the likes of Etsy and Flickr! And so many cups of tea! Never underestimate the power of a nice cup of tea...

Friday, 1 August 2008

Tiny Trees and Crafty Cakes

Last night was one of those evenings when I was hugely tempted to stay up past my bedtime to finish my sewing because almost finishing things is just not the same as actually having a row of finished lovelies in front of you. However, I was very good and went to bed at a sensible hour leaving all this work in progress:I almost finished my prototype battenburg pincushions (they just need stuffing) and also a little batch (a small forest, if you like) of tree brooches. Cutting out all those tiny leaves is rather fiddly, but the end result is totally worth it I think. I am very pleased with how the battenburg is turning out - they have a real satisfyingly chunky feel to them already and they've not even been stuffed yet.

Lots of fun news today... My blond moustache disguise (modelled by superstar Louie) got a mention over on ConversationPieces and has also been popping up at the bottom of the Etsy front page linking to an article on the Etsy blog as part of their Handmade Kids series:
Also I was delighted to spot my little teacup brooches on one of my favourite blogs, Modish, yesterday and even more chuffed today when I saw they'd been included in the "Modish's top DaWanda picks" feature that's just gone live on the DaWanda homepage. Jena from Modish is running a competition - vote for your favourite item from her list by leaving a comment HERE before August 10th to take part. I have my fingers crossed that at least one person will vote for my little teacups but will be trying very hard not to check the comments obsessively just in case!

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