Thursday, 31 December 2009

A Crafty Year

One of the many pleasures of blogging is looking back at old posts and realising just how much stuff I've been making! 2009 has been a busy year...

In January I did some knitting, launched my website and made a "credit crunch" sampler inspired by the relationship between the recession & crafting for a Folksy competition:
In February it snowed (quite a novelty here!), I made lots of colourful felt buttons, what felt like a million bird brooches and (for one of my favourite tutorials of the year) a felt butterfly mobile:
In March I repotted lots of plants, got inspired by the 80s, and baked some yummy cakes:
I also officially "quit my day job" and became a full-time crafter, which was quite exciting if a little daunting!

April was quite quiet as I spent two whole weeks without the internet (madness!) and generally taking it easy, but I did manage to rearrange my craft storage thanks to some lovely new shelves:(it has never been that tidy since, haha).

In May it was rather hot (in a very un-British fashion) but I was working on things for Christmas! I also experimented with adding butterflies to some of my brooches and did a little happy dance when my little teacup brooches were featured in Sew Hip:

In June I bought lots of vintage buttons, made a custom mobile in bright modern colours and got inspired by summer flowers - making lots of eco flower brooches and combs from recycled felt:
July ended badly as I came down with the flu and was stuck in bed for two weeks! But before that I made some pretty poppy bracelets for a wedding, and did some alfresco sewing at a picnic:
I re-opened my shops in August thanks to help from my new postal assistant, made lots of giant felt rainbows, became slightly obsessed with pompoms and reminisced about one of my very first sewing projects - proudly displayed by my mum:
In September I made lots of masks (including new tiger masks), did some vintage shopping, and got inspired to write a whole flurry of tutorials starting with a bold button necklace:
In October I got to show off some of the fab things made by my customers (I hope to do lots more of these posts, so if you've bought felt etc from me and want to share pictures of what you've been making please do get in touch!), some of my hairbands appeared in Elle Japan which was rather exciting and I knitted lots of little hats:
November started very badly with our computer crashing (ugh) but definitely improved as the month went on - one of my giftwrap tutorials got a mention in Woman's Day, my Mother-in-Law loved the cafetiere cosy I made for her birthday, I did some Christmas crafting, finished some Christmas gifts, added a new camera design to my shop ... and at the end of the month Fa La La La Felt was published....... featuring four of my projects! In a book! Eeek!! (I may not have entirely got over the excitement of this yet).

And finally... December has (of course) been all about Christmas. I decorated the tree, made paper decorations, finished some gifts at the last minute, did some baking, wrapped some presents, enjoyed the winter issue of UK Handmade, and survived the general madness that is the Christmas shopping season thanks to much help from my boyfriend (what a star).

I also ended the year as I began it, entering a Folksy competition (a strange pair of bookends for 2009!), making a fancy fascinator / cocktail hat from an old wool sweater:
Many, many thanks to everyone who has read my blog, followed me on Twitter/Facebook/Flickr/etc, left me a comment or bought something from my shops this year. Your support is very much appreciated!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A (Not Quite) January Sale!

I'm having a big sale over in my Etsy shop to help make room for all the new things I've got planned for 2010.

Bargains galore, including some discounted Christmas stock and lots of old designs that I'm discontinuing like this violets brooch...
... this tea addict brooch...
... and my range of orange poppy designs:
I'm also having smaller sales on my website, & in my Folksy and DaWanda shops.

Please note I'm still technically on holiday until 11th January (catching up on some much needed sleep!) but all orders will ship asap once I return to work.

Monday, 28 December 2009

December Giveaway - Happy Christmas!

It's time for the last giveaway of the year... and this month YOU get to choose what you win! :)

To enter all you have to do is visit my Etsy shop and choose your favourite item up to a value of $20 ... then come back and leave a comment on this post saying which piece you'd like if you win.

Leave your comment before midnight (UK time) on Sunday 3rd January and I'll pick the winner at random on Monday 4th January. (If the item you choose has sold by then I'll ask you for a second choice). I'm happy to ship internationally, so anyone can enter.

Please make sure you leave a name or pseudonym (no anonymous comments please) and be sure to come back in the New Year to see if you got picked. Good luck!

EDIT: this giveaway is now closed.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Seasons Greetings

Most of my festive shopping, making and wrapping has been done & the baking is going well...
We've got lots of bundles of biscuits ready to give to friends & relations!
I hope you all have a lovely few days however you choose to spend this time of year :)

(Psst be sure to pop back after Christmas for your chance to win a late Christmas present in my December giveaway).

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas Baking

Our kitchen has been taken over today by a frenzy of festive baking! So much fun.

(I wanted to take some pictures as I went along to record some of the madness but my camera batteries died after the second photo. Sorry!)

I've been making yummy muesli brownies (a staple treat in our house), my first batch of mince pies of the season and lots of lovely rich chocolate biscuits - "Granny Boyd's Biscuits" from Nigella Lawson's fab book How To Be A Domestic Goddess. Some of them have already been eaten (nom nom nom) but most are destined to be Christmas gifts.

I've been hoarding little plastic containers for a few weeks (from things like supermarket cherry tomatoes) and each one will be filled with baked goodness then wrapped in clingfilm, tied with ribbon and finally topped with a tag detailing the contents including all the ingredients in case of allergies.

There's a bit more baking to be done first though - and so much washing up....

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Gift Wrap Idea: Buttons

With all my business parcels packed and posted for the year it's time to turn my attention to my own Christmas gifts!

I'm using lots of yarn and pompoms (perfect for making use of the leftover yarn from the scarves I've been knitting) but I'm also trying out a few other ideas including one I'd like to share with you today... decorating your gifts with lovely buttons.


 

If you've got any crafty friends I think using craft supplies like buttons (or beads) and ribbon is a fab way to personalise their gifts. And because they'll be able to add the trimmings to their supplies stash and use them to make new things it's eco friendly too.

Start with a simple wrapped parcel (regular readers will know I'm a big fan of brown paper!) and tie ric rac, ribbon, yarn, lace or any other trims you fancy round it.

You can keep it simple with one striking trim like this ric rac...


... or use lots of co-ordinating trims together:


 

Then you need to add the buttons - this is a bit fiddly but well worth it. Thread an assortment of buttons onto a length of embroidery thread or yarn, and then weave the string around the ribbon so the button string becomes intertwined and the buttons are evenly spaced.

You don't need buttons for the underside of the parcel so I'd recommend tying one button string top to bottom around the parcel and a second string left to right (instead of using one long piece as you would with a normal bit of ribbon) leaving the ends of each string empty and tying the ends together on the underside of the parcel.

 

Another way to use buttons in your wrapping (and fewer of them!) is to make a button tag.

You can make a homemade tag easily with some cardstock, a holepunch and some embroidery thread or yarn as a string, or raid your stationery supplies if you've got some! Use a needle to pole the holes you'll need and then sew your buttons onto the tag using a double thickness of thread or some embroidery thread.


 

Use some sticky tape to secure the end of the thread and cover your sewing with a large address label or use craft glue to stick down a piece of paper or card.

 

Then write your tag and tie it to your parcel. Lovely.

 


PS if you'd like to add a vintage crafty feel to your gift wrapping without any of this messing around with buttons check out these lovely downloadable tags from doe-c-doe - button cards and vintage trims.

Please feel free to borrow one or two photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire post on your site. Thanks!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Closing Up Shop

I've decided to shut up shop for Christmas a little earlier than planned - partly because it's started snowing!

So today is the last day to order if you'd like your parcel posted before I return from work in mid January after a few weeks of hibernation /putting my feet up / recharging my creative batteries.

(Psst - my Etsy shop will remain open but all orders will be posted the week of 11th Jan).

Thursday, 17 December 2009

By Popular Demand...

... here's a quick snap of our Christmas tree :)I'm really pleased with how the felt ball garland turned out - such yummy drops of colour!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Deck the halls

My mum came to visit today, and brought a little Christmas tree with her as a lovely early Christmas present. So of course we had to decorate it this evening!

Our tree has some lights (of course), lots of small sparkly ornaments like these mini gems from Paperchase...... sweet glass birdies I bought last year...... and a bit of colour from a garland made with fab felt balls (from BigFish) like these, strung onto some black embroidery thread:

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Knit Knit Purl Purl

I'll be doing lots of knitting this week as several of my Christmas-gift-scarves are still very much works in progress:
Lots of chunky man-friendly knitting on the go at the moment!

Not sure I'm going to get round to knitting anything with these in time for Christmas... ... but I'm really looking forward to trying out the soft grey yarn as I've not knitted with anything that chunky before & I'm loving the muted colours in the other (though it's not quite the colour I thought it was when I was in the shop!). Mmm... yarn...

Sunday, 13 December 2009

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas...

With the end of the Christmas shopping season in sight (last order dates for UK orders = 18th December) and the onset of some chilly weather (brr!) I'm starting to really get in the mood for Christmas. I can't wait to feel well enough to start decorating, baking & wrapping gifts but I'm having to take it easy and put my feet up in front of some festive films instead.

In the meantime I'm getting lots of Christmas inspiration catching up on all my favourite blogs (lovely to see my Snowflake Curtain from last year getting a few mentions!) and I was quite delighted to find an email from my November giveaway winner Jo linking me to a snap of my baubles on her fab sparkly Christmas tree:Have you started your Christmas decorating yet?

Friday, 11 December 2009

Folksy Post

I'm stuck in bed feeling sorry for myself today thanks to some horrid winter bug. All orders are still being shipped on time thanks to the efforts of my boyfriend (what a star!) but it may take me a bit longer to reply to emails etc.

In other news, I got a copy of the Folksy Festive Sampler through the post yesterday.
The Festive Sampler is a little newspaper Folksy have published to celebrate the end of the year, with a gift guide, some site stats and a few other bits and pieces. It's being sent out to Folksy sellers like me and bundles are being distributed at craft fairs etc.

A very simple idea but a bloody good one, I think! I was also quite chuffed to discover I'm the "most popular" seller on Folksy - though I think this has more to do with me being the 12th person to sign up to the site than anything else :)All images borrowed from the Folksy blog. You can download a pdf of the sampler here.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Place Your Bids...

The winners of the Upcycle Christmas competition have been announced and all the entries are now up for auction here - including my cocktail hat:All the proceeds for the auction will go to Sue Ryder Care, a fantastic charity that provides care for people living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, stroke and brain injury. A seriously good cause!

Update: It seems that the items in the auction have all been set to ship to the UK only. Apologies to my international readers!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Simple Pleasures

I've been making some Christmas decorations this weekend - lovely traditional paper chains plus some of these ornaments, all from gorgeous sugar paper (construction paper). I love this sort of absorbing crafty task - perfect for winter afternoons watching Poirot and other good stuff on the telly - and I'm gradually building up quite an explosion of colour to use in my holiday decor!

In other news, I was really chuffed to learn that one of my bow hairbands is featured in the current issue of Crea Magazine (through one of my stockists, Abi Loves). How cute is that picture?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

This used to be a sweater...

... but I don't think it'll keep you very warm now! :)
This is my entry for Folksy's Upcycle Christmas competition - listed in my Folksy Shop with just a few hours to spare before the deadline. Phew!

It's a vintage-inspired cocktail hat / fancy fascinator made from wool felt and decorated with lots of sparkly beads:It started life as an old sweater that shrank in the wash (a kind gift from a neighbour) and a couple of bracelets that have been languishing in my jewellery box since I was a teenager (many years ago now!)You can read more about it & see more photos HERE and if you're a member of Folksy please add it to your favourites if you like it - the item with the most votes by Thursday evening will win the "peoples choice" prize. It's not currently for sale but will be included along with all the other Upcycle Christmas entries in an online auction being held to raise money for Sue Ryder Care. The auction begins on December 7th, I'll post details as soon as I know them so you can go bid on any of the entries that have caught your eye...

Friday, 4 December 2009

An Upcycling Update

You may have heard about the Upcycle Christmas competition being run by the good people at Folksy (I blogged about it a while back).

Well, the closing date is tomorrow at 5pm and I'd been planning on blogging about some of my fave picks from all the entries and writing something sorrowful about not having time to think up my own entry... and then I had a sudden bit of inspiration this morning and have spent this afternoon working on my own upcycled piece :)

Here's a quick snap of the offcuts:
More pics tomorrow - hope there's decent light as I'm cutting it rather fine!!

In the meantime, here are three "before and after" photos from some of the entries which have really charmed me. It's so much fun seeing the transformation from second hand materials into brand new crafty loveliness.

The Cotton Potter
used these vintage linens and second hand clothes...... to make this pretty Jug shaped slip cover for a wine bottle:
Through The Round Window
used an assortment of second hand glass...... to make this gorgeous stained glass panel called "Winter Girl" (love the frosted glass!)

And Rose Lullaby Dolls used a Barbie doll and some other finds...... to make Ingrid, a doll with real personality:
What I've made is in no way as awesome as that lot, but I'm still pleased I got struck by some inspiration in the nick of time! Make sure you check out all the entries here and if you're a member of Folksy you can mark the ones you like as a favourite and help determine who wins the"peoples choice" prize.

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