Monday, 30 May 2011

Flower Garden Crowns

I finished my nature-inspired felt crowns - hurrah!


These have been in my WIP box for a while, and on my to-sew list for even longer, so I'm thrilled to have them finished.


I've made seven different crowns, all made from eco friendly felt (which is made from recycled plastic bottles). They're the same size as my princess crowns. I'll be adding them to my shops in a few weeks time, once I've had a chance to take some better photos.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Blanket Colours

I'm not sure exactly why but I have decided that my first crochet blanket (a giant granny square) will be blue and green.

I went yarn shopping and found a gorgeous dark olive green, a lovely turquoise and a bright spring green... and built the rest of the palette around them:


There was much umming and aahing in the shop and swapping of colours until I got the mix "just right" but I got there in the end. I'm rather excited to get started now!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Giveaway: Felt Circles

Many moons ago I used to cut out little felt circles from all my felt scraps... I found a whole bag of them recently while having a clearout:


I don't have any use for them, but it would be a shame for all that lovely colour to go to waste! So I thought one of you lovely folks might like them for your crafty projects :)


One lucky crafter will win all the circles pictured. The largest ones are a mere 2cm (3/4 inch) across, and there are some really tiny ones in there too. They're cut from a mix of acrylic felts and wool/synthetic blend felt. Because of the small size of these circles, please note that they're not suitable for use in crafting with very young children.

Here's a pic with a spool of thread for scale:


They're not completely perfect circles as they were all cut by hand, but you could have lots of spotty dotty fun with these!

As always, I'm happy to ship internationally, so anyone can enter. Just leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win! (If you're reading this on my Facebook page please click through to my blog to leave your comment on the original post).

Leave your comment before 10pm on Saturday 4th June and
I'll pick a winner at random on Sunday 5th June.

Please make sure you leave a name or pseudonym (no anonymous comments please!) and leave a link or email address so I can contact you.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A Short Break

I've decided to take a short break over half term to focus on a bit of creative brainstorming - developing some new designs, planning tutorials for the blog, etc.

I'll still be blogging, but I won't be shipping orders. Any orders placed in my shops between 26th May and 5th June will be shipped asap in the week beginning 6th June.

If you want something shipped before that, please place your order today! (25th May).

P.S. just because it feels wrong publishing a blog post without a picture in it, here's a peek at my granny square progress:


I'm using up scrap yarn to make a giant square... I'll most likely unravel it when I've run out of yarn (is it called frogging in crochet or is that just knitting?) but it's making me quite tempted to buy some nice colours and make a blanket from one giant square.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Mini Rainbows

More lovely colour today!

I've been making up some bundles of mini felt squares...


It goes without saying that seeing all those colours stacked up like that makes me very happy :)

Each bundle now includes 65 felt squares - one square of each colour in my range. They're an affordable way to add a whole rainbow of felt to your stash: perfect if you're trying felt crafting for the first time. I also ship them with a blank colour chart so you can keep a record of all the colours and then easily re-order the ones you love as larger squares.


The mini squares packs are available from my website and from my shops on Etsy, Folksy and DaWanda.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Bundles of Colour

Some bundles of felt waiting to packed up and posted...


Amazing what a bit of colour therapy can do to your mood on a Monday morning! :)

Friday, 20 May 2011

Sunny Brooches

It's not very sunny outside today, but my workbox is full of sunshine!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

My First Granny Square

I know it's a bit wonky, but I'm so proud of this:


A whole granny square, stitched by me. Hurrah!

Whether I can manage a second one unsupervised has yet to be seen, haha.

In the meantime - I need your help! I really want to start following a few crochet-related blogs / crafty blogs with a bit of crochet in the mix, and would love to hear your recommendations for some good blogs to try.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Tea + Sunshine

My working life has two distinct seasons.

The autumn/winter is very very very hectic, my inbox explodes, there's always a million things to get done, proper days off are few and far between and work takes over my life (especially when the Christmas posting deadlines start looming!). This year I was even busier than usual as I was writing my book...

Then the spring/summer (generally) tends to be much quieter, giving me a chance to catch up on jobs like admin and accounts, and to think about big plans & develop new ideas instead of just dealing with day-to-day tasks.

I spend less time at the computer, I have much more time to get creative and I have the freedom to set myself very flexible working hours.

Having a super flexible working week is one of the big perks of being self-employed... and after the workaholic madness of the busy season it's wonderful being able to slack off a bit and fill my schedule with afternoons spent drinking tea, gossiping and enjoying the sunshine!

Here I am, doing exactly that:


Tea + cake + a lovely cafe garden + not-very-warm-but-still-lovely spring sunshine + catching up with an old friend = happy days :)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Super Cute Felt: the cover

Oooh... the finalised cover of my book, Super Cute Felt, is now up on Amazon. Very exciting!


It's very different to the draft cover, but I love it... it's so bright and colourful (you all know how much I like a nice bit of colour!) and it's fab having a selection of different projects from the book on the cover instead of just one. I hope you like the look of them :)

Super Cute Felt will be published on September 8th by CICO Books. It's currently available for pre-order from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, where you can also go and zoom in on the cover image if you fancy taking a closer look at the projects.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Hooked!

Okay, so I am officially addicted to crochet now.


I'm not doing anything adventurous yet, still just practising the one stitch over and over to get the hang of it... but I think I'm getting there. Even the crochet novices amongst you will probably be able to spot the point at which I cracked it!

More crochet practice is planned for this evening while watching the gloriousness that is Eurovision :)

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Recent Press + A New Favourite Magazine

I've had a lovely flurry of press mentions in the past couple of months...

My sunflower hairband was featured in Knit Magazine:

My website was included in Homestyle Sewing's "Designer Spotlight":


My Royal Wedding Cross Stitch Sampler pattern got a mention in The Guardian online edition's round-up of royal wedding themed craft (so exciting reading the paper and seeing your blog get a namecheck!)



My butterfly flower brooch was featured in new magazine Handmade Living:



And one of my lovely customers used some of my felt to make peacock feather earrings for a tutorial in Sew Hip and kindly mentioned me as a stockist (thanks Sami!)



Most recently, my Etsy shop was featured in an article on "5 Tips for Etsy Success" in the launch issue of MollieMakes which came out today... there's been quite a buzz about this new magazine so I was very interested to see the first issue. I got my copy this afternoon, and am very impressed by how gorgeous it is!



The blurb on their subscription page describes it as "a lifestyle magazine for the generation who make up the handmade revolution" which I think is pretty spot on. I love it, and if you love reading craft blogs, buying handmade and oohing over arty, vintage-filled homes on design blogs I'm sure you'll love it too.

You can get a peek at some of the loveliness inside issue #1 of MollieMakes by clicking here, and there's also a great review of the first issue over on Manda's blog which I agree with 100%.

Oh, and they've got an introductory subscriber offer for UK readers: 3 issues for £5. Bargain!

I'm off to put the kettle on now and have a proper read of my copy...

P.S. in case you're wondering why this post vanished from my blog today / why you're seeing it twice in your RSS reader, Blogger crashed and took lots of blog posts with it! As you can see, this post is back... *fingers crossed* any missing comments from yesterday will return soon too.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

My first attempts at crochet

I tried crochet for the first time today - so exciting!


The lovely lady who is teaching me has the patience of a saint and was sweet enough not to laugh at all the strange faces I pulled while concentrating on stitching this :)

It's very strange getting the hang of how to hold the hook and the yarn, after so many years knitting... but it's lots of fun.

I am slightly worried though that I am now going to spend the whole week practising these stitches and not get any work done!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Robins + Sunflowers

I have a very long list of designs to re-stock before the "busy" season begins again in the autumn. It seems a long way away now but hand sewing takes time and summers always fly by!

Currently in my wip box: lots of robins and sunflowers. The birds always look a bit strange until they get their eyes and beaks added...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Packing, Wrapping, Posting

Packing: getting an order ready to send with a candy stripe paper bag, pretty tape from Summersville (which I also use to seal all my parcels), a colourful business card and a hand-written thankyou note.


Wrapping: sorting a delivery of mini embroidery hoops into bubble-wrapped sets of six before storing them (pre-packing them makes posting days run much more smoothly).


Posting: no posting day can happen without the contents of this basket! It contains (almost) all the kit I need for sorting out orders and packing parcels.


(If you're interested, you can click on the image or this link for detailed notes of what's in the basket)

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Return of the Giant Buttons

I used to sell some gigantic wooden buttons in my shops. They were awesome but I've not been able to get any from my supplier for ages.

Well, now they're back! Button lovers rejoice!


The buttons are a massive 8cms wide (just over 3 inches). They're available in pairs from my Etsy and Folksy shops, or you can buy them individually from my website.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

How To: Felt Flower Hairband

With summer just around the corner (and with all this summery weather we've been having lately) I've got flowers on the brain!

I've got a brand new flower-themed tutorial planned for later this month but in the meantime I thought you might enjoy this project to make a felt flower hairband, which I designed last year. The tutorial originally appeared in issue 5 of Cloth Magazine, a fab quarterly sewing magazine.
 


To make the hairband you will need:

- Plum and burgundy felt (or any two co-ordinating shades of your choosing, one light and one dark). I used 100% wool felt to make the hairband shown in the photos, but any craft felt will be suitable.
- Purple yarn and seed beads (to match the lighter felt)
- Green felt
- Matching sewing threads
- An elastic “bando” style hairband
- Scissors, pins, and two sewing needles (one large, one small)
- Pattern pieces, which can be found at the bottom of this post

1) Using the pattern pieces provided cut out one large leaf shape and two small circles from the green felt, plus two flower shapes from the dark burgundy felt.

If the felt you're using is thin or very soft, you may want to cut two leaf shapes instead of one, and sew them together using running stitch or whip stitch and matching green thread. This will prevent the leaves from flopping.


2) Pin one of the burgundy flower shapes to the light plum felt and carefully cut around it, cutting out a slightly larger shape to create a decorative light edging to the dark petals. Repeat this with the second burgundy shape, making four flower shapes in total.

 


3) Arrange the flower shapes on top of each other so you’re happy with them and make a “sandwich” of the flower pieces and one of the green circles with the large leaf shape in the middle. Use a few small stitches in the centre of the flower to secure all these together.

 

4) Thread a large, sharp needle with a length of yarn and knot it at one end. Starting from the back (the centre of the green circle) sew a starburst of stitches to decorate the flower. Sew two stitches per petal and one short stitch in between, varying the stitch lengths for a more natural look and making sure that all your stitches stay within the circumference of the backing circle.

 

5) Now thread a standard sewing needle with a double thickness of burgundy thread and sew a cluster of seed beads into the centre of the flower. Using one stitch per bead sew one bead in the centre and two circles of beads around it.





6) Re-thread your needle with green thread and sew your elastic hairband securely onto the green circle at the back of your flower.





7) Finally, place the second green circle on top of the first (hiding all your stitches in the middle) and use a whip stitch to sew the edges of the circles together.




You could make one of these to match all your favourite dresses, or to match a special outfit. I think it would be a lovely accessory for bridesmaids at a summer wedding.




Here are the pattern pieces for this project - click on the image to view it, then click again to view at full size and print out. If you print at 100% your flower will be the same size as mine.


This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it to make as many hairbands as you like for yourself or as gifts for friends but please don't make any for sale. Please feel free to borrow 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 tutorial or the templates on your site. Thanks!

Want to make felt flowers to sell at craft fairs or in your Etsy shop? A PDF version of this tutorial is now available. Easy to print (on A4 paper), buying the PDF allows you to sell as many flowers as you like as long as you make them by hand yourself (no mass manufacturing) and credit me as the designer on the label or in the shop listing. You can also use the templates to teach a sewing class if you want to. The Felt Flower Headband PDF Pattern is now available from my main shop and as an instant download from my Etsy shop

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Red, White & Turquoise

These are a couple of custom flower brooches I made last month - now safely delivered to a happy customer.


I usually make these in lilac and purple with a turquoise button in the centre... they look so different in the custom colours!

I've written before about the joys of custom orders but honestly it's just so much fun re-working things in custom colours, especially when you know they're destined for a special occasion :)

Monday, 2 May 2011

Bigger Rainbows

I added an extra 5 felt colours to my range last year, but neglected to update my rainbow felt packs to include the extra colours (tsk, tsk).


I sell two rainbow packs: a pack of mini squares, and a giant rainbow of full size squares. The mini rainbows will still include just 60 colours for a while (until I use up my current stock of 60-square packs) but the giant rainbows have now been updated to include all 65 colours! Hurrah!

They're available from my website, or my Etsy, Folksy or DaWanda shops.

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