Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sofa Studio

Yesterday it was boiling hot and we went to the Tall Ships Festival at the Gloucester docks. The festival this year was timed to coincide with with "Gloucester Through the Ages" which basically involves an army of historical societies taking over the city with their re-enactments. There was a whole camp surrounding the cathedral, with dancing and archery and a medieval tournament and small groups of soldiers from throughout the ages marched around the city throughout the day. Totally mad and lots of fun, but quite exhausting especially with the heat.

(I rather typically forgot to take my camera but if you're interested there are some great ones over on Flickr here, here and here).

Today it is just as hot (if not hotter) but I have been quite determined to put my feet up! I've been sitting on the sofa, listening to the radio and using the other half of the sofa as my workspace:I started out by finishing my butterfly-flower pieces (to be photographed & listed soon, I promise!) & working on some frog & bird masks - long languishing in my work-in-progress box.

I planned to make some eyepatches after that but a quick rummage in the wip box then led to sewing ear details onto tiger masks, and finding a whole load of very long-neglected floral pieces. Somehow despite being perfectly happy to leave them untouched for months on end I had to work on them immediately, and they're now destined to be cute badges and large hairbands.

Since taking that picture I've been even further distracted and started work on a new flower design! Haha. I'll post some pictures of them soon if I manage to get them finished and not be distracted by something else in the meantime!

Friday, 29 May 2009

A Lazy Sunny Afternoon

It has been absolutely boiling hot here today - a very rare thing for the UK as I'm sure all my British readers would agree!

Our house stays lovely and cool during the morning and only really starts to warm up after about 2pm as the hot afternoon sun starts streaming through our windows. This does lead to strange wardrobe choices like sweaters indoors on hot days, but means I can get work and chores done perfectly happily in the mornings and then crash out in the heat of the afternoon.

This afternoon I've been making pretty little thankyou cards to send with my orders...
... and I'm just about to go have a nice cup of tea (it's never too hot for a cup of tea) and do some simple & relaxing sewing.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Putting up prices...

One of the least fun tasks that goes along with selling your work online (and in multiple currencies), is having to keep an eye on the various exchange rates and adjust all your prices when the rate changes. I like to keep my pricing as accurate as possible across all my websites but oh! what a faff!

It was nice being able to put my Etsy prices down this spring with the plummet of the pound against the dollar - making my pieces more of a bargain for my US shoppers. But now the pound is regaining strength and I'm starting to make less money for my work, so they all have to go back up again.

BUT I'm putting this task off until tomorrow, so if you want to shop before the price rise now's your chance! :)

My Etsy shop can be found HERE.

UPDATE: prices have now been updated & I'm off to have a well-earned cup of tea!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Snapshots of Crafty Chaos

I am quite worn out from a massive crafting session today (so much crafting!) and am about to go and put my feet up... Just time for a glimpse of the big felty mess created by all my craftiness:Our kitchen table is under there somewhere! :)

Monday, 25 May 2009

Christmas? Already?

Believe it or not, I've actually been playing around with ideas for Christmas today!

This feels especially weird after the deliciously hot and sunny day we had yesterday (with not a cloud in the bright blue sky) ... and I think the warm weather might be affecting my colour choices, hehe:

Sunday, 24 May 2009

A butterfly will be flying off to...

... lucky commenter number 74, Feral Moon who said "I love the blue butterfly!"
(All the butterflies can be found in my Etsy shop and also on Folksy, if pounds are your thing)

Sorry for the short post today, I'm spending the day with my sister. Normal service will be resumed soon! :)

Saturday, 23 May 2009

It's starting to feel like summer...

I managed to make it to the Post Office today, hurrah! Always a lovely feeling, getting things posted, and today's trip had the added bonus of an ice lolly on the way home ... yum yum.

It has been lovely and sunny here so like any true Brit I have immediately spent the whole day outside and have totally neglected my work. I'll get back to it soon, honest!

Psst: there's still time to enter my May giveaway - the comments close tonight at midnight (British Summer Time)

EDIT: comments are now closed! I'll announce the winner tomorrow...

Friday, 22 May 2009

(Almost) Finished Foxes

I'd been planning to go to the Post Office today, but felt quite exhausted and decided it would be better to go tomorrow when I have had more sleep (and am less likely to make a mistake packaging up orders, etc).

While taking it a bit easier-than-planned this afternoon I sat in the afternoon sun and started sewing the almost-finished foxes together: Did you know that a group of foxes is known as a skulk? Skulk is also the collective noun for a group of thieves, so I think I'd better keep my eye on this lot!

The foxes are available from my Etsy, Folksy or DaWanda shops and also on my website.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

A Felt Invasion

Despite attempts to tidy up and keep my sewing confined to neat little work-in-progress trays and boxes, it does tend to spread...

Our sofa has today been taken over by an army of foxes, sitting next to me as I gradually add their tails, ears, eyes and noses:

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

May Giveaway: Butterfly Brooch

It's giveaway time again! Yay!
This month I'm giving away one of my very latest brooch designs - a butterfly brooch, in pink......blue...... or orange:I'm happy to ship internationally, so anyone can enter. Just leave a comment before midnight BST (British Summer Time) on Saturday 23rd May on this post saying which colour badge is your favourite and I'll pick a winner at random on Sunday (24th May).

Please make sure you leave a name or pseudonym (no anonymous comments please!) and be sure to come back on Sunday to see if you got picked :)

EDIT: commenting is now closed! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Papier Mache Magazine

Checking my website's stats this week - I have to admit to being a bit of a geek over such things! - I was dead chuffed to find my work featured in a sweet new magazine, Papier Mache:
Described as "a very cute childrens magazine", Papier Mache is produced in Sydney and is just adorable! I haven't had a chance to read the articles yet, but the product selections are lovely (I'm so flattered they pickedone of my moustaches) and the photo stories are seriously charming (I especially love the photo of the three girls with the stars). The first issue is totally free and can be found here.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Eurovision tonight...

... and how excited am I? I really love Eurovision, and this year I've even managed to watch the semi-finals (god bless the BBC's iplayer) - so much fun!

I have, of course, been doing a bit of sewing while enjoying all the songs. Nothing too exciting, just finishing a few things from my wip box, sewing on brooch backs, finishing details etc.

Between bouts of delicious Euro-nuttiness I've been doing that oh so rare thing: tidying! While making lots of new things this week the housework got a bit neglected and my piles of supplies spread a little further than they ought (oops). It's great being able to totally focus on crafty things for a few days but afterwards tidying up is pretty important. If nothing else, it's nice to be able to actually eat dinner at the kitchen table for once ;)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Finished Samplers

Despite an incredibly grey and miserable day yesterday, I managed to get my whole batch of sampler brooches photographed. I couldn't resist a nice satisfying pat-on-the-back group shot:The new butterfly badges got their photos taken too:The first few sampler designs are already in my Etsy shop, and I'll be adding the rest & the butterflies gradually over the next few days. I'll be listing lots of the samplers at bargain prices as they're "prototypes" (what a fancy word that is!).

If there's one you're after that hasn't been listed yet just get in touch and I can reserve it for you :)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Success!

Thanks to a great suggestion by the lovely JennyFlower I have finally cracked the butterfly-flower pieces I was having so much angst over a few days ago. She suggested I try using black felt instead of the white and it looks fab:All the colours still look really vibrant, but the black ties the flowers and butterflies together helping them look much more connected and "complete" than before and causing me to do a little happy dance. Hurrah!

Jenny has sweetly refused a thankyou freebie so instead I shall just mention that she sells her pretty corsages and clips in her Folksy shop, she ships worldwide and they are a total bargain :)

Monday, 11 May 2009

Yesterday's Workspace

This is what I was working on yesterday...
... lots of colourful projects including a couple of new & rather yummy giant layered flowers. (Click through to the Flickr photo page for notes!)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Flights of Fancy

Having mentioned yesterday how easily distracted I am from working on new projects, last night I got totally distracted from the task at hand by making these:Sweet and simple brooches, using some more of those pretty embroidered butterfly motifs.

They'll be added to my shops as soon as I get the chance to take some proper photos. I'm going to try and get the sampler brooches finished first though! Focus, Laura, focus...

PS many thanks for all the kind comments about the other butterfly brooches (which are still being mulled over). All much appreciated! I think part of my creative angst is just that I'm not used to adding "extras" to my brooches. It's taking me a while to get used to marrying pretty motifs and buttons (yes, there is some buttony goodness coming soon!) with my felt designs, but I'm sure I'll get there slowly :)

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Mini Sampler Brooches

Quite often I get started on a project, get absorbed with thinking about colours and shapes and design details, and then something happens to distract me and it ends up languishing in one of my "in progress" boxes for weeks or even months.

Yesterday I turned my attention to one of these abandoned projects (started in February) - cross stitch sampler brooches!I knew I wanted to have the needlework "framed" with matching felt but wasn't sure quite how I wanted it to look until yesterday when I suddenly thought: ooh, frilly edges, I wonder...
These are still at the prototype stage and the frills especially need a bit of tweaking but oh what fun it is experimenting! The teal version of "make do and mend" is probably my favourite thus far:

Friday, 8 May 2009

Trial and Error

Lots of sewing last night! And this afternoon, too! Ah, what bliss.

I finished my forget-me-not brooches and found a couple of hairbands in my stash that matched perfectly:
I wasn't sure how it would look but having finished it I think it looks pretty cute. In a flurry of efficiency I've even managed to take lots of photos this morning and get the hairband listed in my Etsy shop.

Last night I also turned my attention to a butterfly-on-a-flower design I've had in mind for a couple of months after buying some lovely butterfly motifs. This was my first prototype:I then decided that the flower needing a bit more "something" and tried a layered look:
I love how the white really makes the red and aqua "pop" and picks up the white detail on the butterflies... but are they too busy? Umming and aahing about this I ended up making a version of the flowers without any butterflies at all!(I think this is the crafting equivalent of getting up in the morning and planning to wear a certain sweater and by the time you've put together an outfit to match it the sweater is back in the wardrobe and you've somehow ended up wearing something completely different)

I do quite like the butterfly-flowers but I'm still not sure about them. I think I may have stared at them for too long to be able to see them properly! I'm going to put them away for a couple of days and look at them with fresh eyes next week & see if I can make a decision then :)

In the meantime, look out for the red&white and aqua&white flowers in my Etsy shop over the weekend (as brooches and hairbands).

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Tiny Flowers

I finished restocking my moustache disguises this week...... lots of fun to wear, but a bit boring to sew (black and brown are not the most exciting colours).

So after I finished them I quite deliberately picked a sweet, pretty, cheerful project to brighten up my workbox... forget-me-nots:
Those will become brooches like this one, and maybe a hairband or two? (what do you think?)

All those flowers were cut out by hand with a small pair of scissors (no punches or mechanized cutters). It takes a while but it's a lovely relaxing task and only becomes a problem when you're clumsy like me and knock them all onto the floor (oops). I love adding all the stitched details too and am looking forward to finishing these this afternoon...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Tea Love

I'm very excited today, because I finally got my hands on a copy of this month's Sew Hip.
It's been out for a week or so, but only showed up in my local WHSMITH today and I've been itching to get hold of a copy because of THIS:
Eeeeee! How lush does that page look? I will admit to having gazed at it quite a lot today (I am quite chuffed, can you tell?).So thrilling! Especially rubbing shoulders with so many of my fellow tea-obsessed crafters including the lovely Angharad, super talented Marion of Vintage Town (check out her awesome paper sculptures), the always fantastic KirstyFish, biscuit-loving British Cream Tea and (omg for serious) one of my crafty heroines, Poppy Treffry!!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Cute Things

Want to see some cute stuff? Head on over to Cuteable where I'm one of today's guest editors!

It was really hard picking only 5 cute things to feature (how does Lynsey manage it every day?) but it was lots of fun and always exciting seeing my words on someone else's blog. Hope you like my picks :)

P.S. My accounts are finished and I even got some sewing done yesterday. Pictures soon, I promise!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I've almost finished my accounts! Woohoo!

I'm very much looking forward to putting the spreadsheets aside and getting back to the important stuff: making things! I haven't done any sewing for days and it's making me feel a bit weird.

I have at least managed to squeeze in a bit of colour therapy, a.k.a. supplies shopping, buying myself some deliciously colourful new headbands to decorate with felt loveliness:

Saturday, 2 May 2009

A Homemade Home

I meant to write this post yesterday but had one of the strangest days I've had in a very long time, filled with all kinds of distractions and consequently managed to get very little work done! Luckily today was a bit more normal :)

Anyway... You might have noticed that there is a bit of a media buzz happening around crafting these days. It started with the sudden popularity of knitting, and then the increasing visibility of the UK craft scene and the arrival of the "credit crunch" has kicked it into overdrive. The papers are full of articles about the joys of cheap do-it-yourself hobbies, ideas for homemade gifts, pieces on how your crafty hobby can become a vital second income, and columnists like India Knight singing the praises of sites like Etsy.

Very much in tune with all this "craft-chic", is Channel 4's new show Kirstie's Homemade Home. It follows presenter Kirstie Allsopp (previously better known for helping people buy houses on telly during the property boom) as she renovates a holiday cottage, focusing on a different type of room each week.

The program is trying to sell that whole "make your house a home" thing, advertising handmade things as a way of adding character and a truly personal touch, which is aesthetically very refreshing after so many years of being sold clean, white, modern, chic and also a welcome change after a decade of "quick fix" DIY shows packed with MDF and stapleguns.

Each episode is a mix of visits to inspirational spaces, meetings with creative types like Cath Kidston and Kaffe Fassett, a bit of junkshop / reclamation yard / antique shop rummaging plus - oh so importantly - segments where Kirstie visits craftspeople (potters, glassblowers, knitters, etc) who teach her how to make an item for her home.

These bits are completely amazing. Craftspeople! On the telly! Making things! You get to see how much work and real skill goes into making handmade things, and their value and specialness is prized. This isn't a show that says "and you can make one at home for 50p!" but recommends serious workshops and craft courses and suggests commissioning pieces from craftspeople in your area.

I've heard the word "smug" used about this show and it kind of is - in a middle-class "I've got the time and money to make floral arrangements for my giant kitchen table while my children scamper about in Boden and snacking on organic focaccia bread" sort of a way - but I for one am delighted to see this sort of thing on the telly!

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