Friday 31 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day seventeen - cards as far as the eye can see...

... well, almost:

I thought it was high time I actually finished making all the sheet music notecards (to match the envelopes I finished the other day) and got them out of my "in progress" pile and into my finished stash. I have basically run out of glue now, haha. Sooo many cards!

Oh, and I got the giftwrap envelopes finished too (destined for my own personal stationery box) and glued together a few map notecards & envelopes. All these cards need to dry and then have my shop details written on the back and then finally they will be parcelled up into neat little sets. And then they will be finished, hurrah! I do love finishing things, it makes me feel all efficient - no matter how long the thing in question has been "in progress" for.

I am going to try not to think about how many other half-finished projects I have lying about the place... Not having a dedicated studio space means I spend my life getting a project out, working on it for a bit and putting it away again. I have developed many elaborate storage systems for all these in-progress bits and pieces but really the whole thing is just a big mess of clutter and the moment things go in a box they get forgotten about and remain half-finished seemingly forever. Ah well. One project down, many many many to go...

Thursday 30 August 2007

Crafting 365 - days fifteen and sixteen - supplies, shopping, some crafting too

Wednesday's trip to Hobbycraft was very dull. They didn't even have what I wanted! Rubbish! I didn't do anything even remotely crafty all day until about 11.30 that night when I cut out a few more map pieces before going to bed. Really not thrilling at all.

I did however get some EXCELLENT post on Wednesday morning. I'd ordered a gorgeous bag from CharlotteNarunsky and traded for some lush postcards from Gilfling, and they both arrived beautifully wrapped and looking even more delicious than they did in the pictures. I also got a very lovely surprise parcel of books (made even more enjoyable cos the boyf got out of bed to answer the door thinking it was going to be his parcel arriving and instead it was suprises for me, hurrah, I gloated sooo much) one of which even has cover art by one of my favourite illustrators, Tom Gauld. There really are few things nicer than surprise books arriving through the post.

Here is my lovely post, pictured with the cute Etsy dot com badges I bought from the EtsyLabs shop the other week. I wanted something with "Etsy" on it to aid with spreading the crafty word, and they fitted the bill beautifully. I love those little scissors, too. So cute.

I have already started spreading the Etsy love thanks to Charlotte's gorgeous bag - I took it into work with me that day and my boss made me look up her Etsy shop on the spot so she could see all the lovely handbags. She ended up sneakily checking out loads of Etsy shops as we had rather a quiet day, and went home planning to buy a print from the very talented Sugarloop. Ah, I do love a nice conversion...

Today (Thursday) I have managed to do some actual crafty things, hurrah! This is what my kitchen table looked like earlier (it was MUCH messier yesterday but I solved that by sweeping the whole mess into a big cardboard box and hiding it in the spare room) :

I have cute out yet more moustaches, ironed some envelope shapes ready for folding and glueing, and finished my first batch of moustache notecards. I need to take much better pictures of these in good light later in the week (oh how often do I say that? I am like a broken record with my bad light photography, far too impatient to wait for the sunlight) and perhaps to make a few more so I can list them as a set ... but I am rather pleased with them. Say it with a moustache! Go on, you know you want to :D

Tuesday 28 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day fourteen - cutting and sticking

Last night I finished a HUGE stack of sheet music envelopes, and spent lots of time drawing round my homemade envelope template. Here are the results:

So many envelopes! There are three different maps ready for me to cut & stick this evening, and also some giftwrap that I decided to turn into envelopes for my own use. I often send handmade birthday and Christmas cards & thought it might be nice to make some fancy envelopes to send them in (a fun handmade card in a dull white envelope is such a shame!)

Today I took some quick pictures of the new moustache colours, and traipsed around town trying to find some supplies. I fear that a trip to Hobbycraft (a big out of town arts & crafts warehouse) will be needed tomorrow. Hobbycraft sells an awful lot of stuff I can't get elsewhere (the busfare there is cheaper than postage I'd pay buying things on the internet) but my goodness it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It is so huge and corporate and without any kind of soul. It is a much nicer experience buying my habedashery supplies from my local market stall, or even from the habedashery sections of department stores like John Lewis (oh to live near a John Lewis!). Ah well.

So: a trip to Hobbycraft tomorrow, and tonight some more cutting and sticking as I shall be continuing with my envelope-making frenzy...

Monday 27 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day thirteen - finishing things and fun with glue

Last night I finished almost all the moustaches I had in-progress (only 2 disguises left to do). Here they all are in a big heap:
My goodness that is a satisfying picture! Later this week I shall take some pictures of the new colours of the pins & the disguises and add them to my etsy listings... it's a bit too overcast now and tomorrow I shall be expending my daylight hours working & then going to the Post Office. I am a bit shattered from work today, actually. Definitely a good evening to do something simple and repetive - like drawing round envelope templates, for example...

I have lots of maps waiting to be turned into notecards:
... after cutting out lots of shapes I shall be wielding my glue stick lots and making a start on putting them all together (those music notecards need finishing too). I will also be getting out the oh-so-useful pot of craft glue and making my first moustache cards ("say it with a moustache", haha). First though I shall be drinking lots of tea!
(detail from a sketch by heidiburton who draws awesome things and understands the importance of TEA).

Sunday 26 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day twelve - more accounts, more moustaches

Here are the moustaches I made last night ... some moustache disguises and some moustaches soon-to-be-stuck-on-cards:
The flocked wonder they have been photographed on is my accounts book. Accounts may be dull but my accounts book itself is a thing of beauty (on the outside at least!). I used to spend far too much money in Paperchase but boy was it worth it :)

My mother-in-law came round for lunch today. I was making moustaches. She now thinks me even more crazy than she did before, but she bought some of my recycled envelopes so I guess I can forgive her. Yet more moustaches this evening as I shall be zoning out in front of a Hercule Poirot mystery or two and unable to begin exciting new things. Zzzz...

Saturday 25 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day eleven - stocking up

Wowzers it is so hot here. Full-on heatwave going on, far to hot to venture outdoors so I have been doing my accounts instead! Not the most fun I've ever had but I was falling behind on my expenses etc and it really needed doing. I think my brain is about to explode from it all though, so I am going to cook some dinner and curl up with some sewing instead.

I shall be working on the Battenburg pins I started yesterday and trying to finish some moustaches (pins and also wearable disguises) cos I need to stock up having actually sold some, hurrah! I want to offer more colour options, too. At the moment I only have brown and black moustache disguises listed but I'm working on getting grey and ginger ones ready. I also want to try out some ideas for moustache notecards, but that may have to wait for another day as all these need finishing first:

Friday 24 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day ten - battenburg

Tonight I am cutting out small pieces of felt to make battenburg brooches like this one which sold last night:
I have also been dancing around the room a little as my lucky pants badges were on the Etsy front page this evening! So many front pages, it it all getting a little overwhelming. They were part of a lovely "your inner child" themed treasury. My inner child is well pleased :D

Tomorrow I have to package up lots of things and go to the Post Office... I am also hoping to sit down and turn the felt pieces into actual finished brooches, and maybe do some other crafting too. Most of my free time today was spent doing my accounts which was no fun at all, so some nice soothing crafting would be very lovely (esp if I have to queue in the Post Office beforehand!).

I think doing those accounts has frazzled my brain a little. I have totally run out of things to say! Oh well.

Thursday 23 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day nine - parcels in the mail

I have to get this out of my system before I can write a sensible blog post - my moustaches are on the Etsy front page! Hurrah!!! I am just so, so pleased. My family members are starting not to believe me when I say being on the front page is special and supremely exciting, cos this is the 4th time it's happened to me in about a fortnight (only the 4th time ever, I might add). I actually let out a small yelp when I saw them there today - loads of lovely felt things on the front page with them, too. I do rather love felt & all the awesome felty things on Etsy are just so inspiring.

Right, now I can get on with my blog post :)

Today I have been doing efficient and purposeful crafting in order to get some things finished and in the mail. I had a custom order for a notecard (made from a map of a particular place in France) and also had to finish two moustache disguises to finally be able to send them to my volunteer models (the lovely gemmafactrix and lazerbeanz). Here is the card atop the parcelled-up moustaches...

The map I used for the notecard actually came from the UK Etsy swap group, from the lovely seaurchin and I think the stickers I used on the parcels came from there too (tho I forget who sent them)! I love decorating my post with stickers - dull parcels depress me and the women who work at my Post Office seem to be cheered up by it if nothing else!

Small bit of other news: I have been blogged by the lovely Wildcat Designs, here.

Wednesday 22 August 2007

PS - my moustaches got blogged!

Twice, in fact. The lovely Rosehip71 blogged my moustache disguises here and even went on to draw a special "whiskery tribute" to my moustaches. Very awesome stuff.

I also found my moustache pins on a great little site, Fieltromania. Gosh there are some delicious felt things featured on that blog - I was dead chuffed to find my moustaches amongst them (such lovely comments left, too! incredibly sweet).

Crafting 365 - days seven and eight - sheet music envelopes

I am cheating a little here (already! and only day 7!) and only uploading one photo for today and yesterday... but I *have* been working on the same thing both days :D

Late last night I cut out the rest of my sheet music stash into envelope shapes... and then this morning I folded them all and put them in a pile ready to glue together:
Lots to do! All of those will have matching notecards, too...

Anything else to mention? Oh yes. I have been on a small Etsy spree. Two trades and three purchases. Lovely Etsy treats... I shall blog about some of them soon (some are presents so shhh no telling). Oh and I also treated myself to - gasp! - something not from Etsy. I can't remember the last time I did that, haha, what an addict I have become. I felt a little like a traitor to the cause but I am so pleased with what I bought that who cares? I want very much to say what it was I bought, but I have to keep quiet cos (again) it's a present so I Must Not Breathe A Word until the unwrapping is over and done with.

Nice Etsy news though (I think I forgot to mention this before) - the winners of their Poster competion got announced, and one of my items is in one of the winning posters. Hurrah! The fascinating statistics page informs me that a wonderful 16 people picked my stuff as part of their poster entries and - most magically - my abstract mobile was picked 6 whole times! Wowzers.

My only other piece of news is that my lovely boss gave me a whole bag of wool yesterday, so I now have no excuse not to get started on knitting little hats for Innocent Drinks' Age Concern fundraiser. It used to be called Supergran, now it is called The Big Knit - whatever you call it, is is pretty awesome. I made 150 little hats for it last year - I loved the little stripey ones best, especially as they were the first things I ever knitted with stripes. Here are a few I made last time round, hopefully the first of many little hats to be seen on this blog as I really want to make the time for it again this year.
Such a good cause and such cute and satisfying little things to make! If you knit even the tiniest bit you must join in! :)

Monday 20 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day six - comfort crafting

I am genuinely ill today - explains why I felt so low yesterday at least. Rubbish!

At least I can carry on with some crafting if nothing else... nearly finished my custom order now (it has been going rather slowly cos I am so tired, and half-watching Hitchcock movies at the same time...). Just five biscuit badges to finish and all this lot will be ready to post:

Here's a better shot of the pants badges in all their multicoloured silliness:

Going to crawl back into bed now... zzz...

Sunday 19 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day five - sewing sewing sewing

It is so miserable here! England has somehow skipped two months of the calendar and is nearing the end of OCTOBER. Brr! I was in summer dresses last week, now all my winter woollens are back out from under the bed and I'm drinking tea to warm myself up (instead of normally when I drink tea simply because it is wonderful).

I am exhausted today, feeling generally a bit rubbish, so I am spending the afternoon curled up with my sewing pile. This is what my workspace looks like at the moment, with my little portable moustache factory on the right:
On the left are some in-progress pants badges - part of a custom order but always fun to make, such delicious bright colours! The keen-eyed amongst you may also be able to spot some biscuit badges ready to get sewn together and also the new colours I am trying out for the moustache pins (black and blond).

Right, back to my needle and thread...

Saturday 18 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day four - moustache madness! also owls

Today was a good day. I made a moustache disguise (one of my handmade felt moustaches attached to elastic) and pranced about the house giggling to myself at how hilarious I looked. For a limited time only you can have a giggle too over at my Flickr

Last night & this morning I finished all my little owls - here they are with the prototype disguise:
Thinking about the wearable moustaches (and in the middle of cutting out lots of felt pieces to make some more) I thought how the listing would need someone modelling them... but I am so not putting my own pics in my Etsy listings where they will be preserved forever should the listing sell... So: I asked in the forums for models instead. The lovely people who volunteered will be getting the moustache disguise of their choice through the post very soon, and then I shall give their Etsy shops a mention in the listing when I use their photos. I am totally excited by the thought of people modelling my stuff :D

Oh, and thinking of Etsy: I was on the front page last night for the THIRD time in about 10 days (this time it was my London Map Notecard). Etsy front pages are clearly like buses... you wait around for ages and three turn up all at once. Very awesome stuff. All these front pages have had a huge impact on my shop views - and my "hearts" (people marking my shop as a favourite) have gone up by over 100 this week. I was delighted last week at hitting the 400 mark and then today I passed the 500 mark. LOTS of grinning going on here today...

What else? what else? Oh yes - I emailed Etsy Labs about the very first UK Street Team retreat which is happening as I type this (gosh I am so jealous) and they were lovely and posted about it here. I think that's all - if there was owt else I shall just have to remember it tomorrow, I guess...

Friday 17 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day three - admin and wips

Lots of dull admin to do today. Shopping, cleaning, queuing, filing, tidying, all that dull stuff. Etsy-wise I posted some parcels and listed a couple of things... and took some better photos of the moustache pins:
Crafting itself has been pushed back and back all day, so this evening I shall be giving it my full attention. I have an assortment of works in progress to be getting on with: moustaches (including experimenting with the elastic I bought today), owls (they need brooch backs and then stuffing) and then if I've got the time there's a big stack of sheet music that needs cutting into envelope-shaped pieces...
In honour of the moustaches, my DVD of choice will be something directed by Hitchcock, or maybe an Agatha Christie adaptation :D

Thursday 16 August 2007

Crafting 365 - day two - penguins, envelopes and moustaches

So today was another rainy day, and I was also super-tired... so curling up in a corner with my sewing seemed like the way to go :)

The rain did let up for long enough to give me time to pop out and buy double-sided tape, so I finished the rest of the recycled envelope sets:
I did a little more work on my selection of owls but they're very much still a work in progress (just wips with eyes and beaks firmly attached). I did manage to finish 2 penguins though - fat little guys, these two:Oh, and I designed and made (and sold!) moustache pins too. Ah how I love felt, such a great instant-gratification medium. I wanted to make some felt moustaches, so I sat down and made them and there they were, hurrah! It was dark when I finished them though so the pictures are terrible, but I listed them anyways and one of my fellow UK Etsy types bought one - my fastest ever sale (and bringing me up to 160 items sold, rather a nice number). Three colours at the moment, though I may make some more... brown (The Colonel), grey (The Retired Colonel) an red (Colonel Mustard (must think up another name for this one lol!). This is The Colonel:

I am thinking about buying some thin elastic at the market tomorrow and experimenting with making moustaches you can wear on your face instead of pinning to your sweater... but for the moment these will have to do :)

Crafting 365 - day one (yesterday!)

(Long post, sorry!)

I have decided that I am absoltutely fed up with letting dull everyday things like chores and paperwork and paid employment get in the way of making lovely stuff. It cheers me up so much when I make even a tiny small thing, and it's so satisfying to have a big heap of stuff that I've made ready to list on Etsy or to give to friends.

So: I am going to do my utmost to do some crafting everyday, and record it here on this blog. I am unlikely to finish something everyday, but even if I just do a few rows of knitting or glue some envelopes together that will do.

All full of this enthusiasm, I had a great crafty day yesterday. It did rather help that it absolutely threw it down with rain the whole day so I was stuck in doors and in need of things to do!

First up yesterday I finished some recycled envelope sets - I've had these lying around for ages unfinished and it was very satisfying to get them finished. Unfortunately I ran out of double-sided tape (which I use to make a peel&seal type strip on the envelope flaps) so only managed to make up three full sets, but there are lots more glued and ready for when I've been to the stationers. I am really pleased with how these sets turned out - one set was made from the giftwrap my birthday presents were wrapped in this year, and the others from the insides of A4 envelopes.
We get a LOT of those envelopes through the door as the boyf is on a lot of committees and things, so it was great to find a use for them other than just chucking them in the recycling. Also brown paper is just gorgeous and I cannot get enough of those soft blue patterns. The backs of the envelopes are turned into envelopes for sale and the fronts (with our address) are turned into envelopes for our own post. I've even started wrapping my envelope sets with strips of leftover paper - they look much neater than the ribbon I was using before, I think.

This is half-way through taking my photos yesterday - note my very hi-tech photo studio, complete with tomatoes (homegrown!)

Then in the afternoon - rather inspired by the new Studio Shot Tuesday group over on Flickr causing me to think about my crafty storage - I cleared out a clothes cupboard to make way for my fabric and assorted other supplies:
Most of the clothes in this cupboard are out of season things or clothes which I had shut away to see if I ever wore them (if that makes sense) as part of my attempt to massively slim down my wardrobe... so they will be perfectly happy in the suitcases under the bed that formerly housed all this yummy fabric etc.
Top shelf: folded fabrics and old clothes /vintage embroidery pieces I plan to use in crafty projects.
Bottom shelf: box of fabric scraps, piles of vintage books and old maps and two half-finished blankets in bags.
Top drawer: polyester stuffing, a half-finished quilt, some wool, a cushion insert and the pedal of my sewing machine. Soon to be joined by some felted wool sweaters.
Bottom drawer: the clothes that wouldn't fit in the suitcases :)

As I don't have a dedicated work room, my craft stuff is rather beginning to take over the house... I have my printer in the boyf's office (which is also our lounge), my sewing machine, some supplies, my works-in-progress and my finished items all tucked under the breakfast bar in our kitchen, and so many things in the spare room! All kinds of boxes of things and also:

Packing materials (normally tucked under a coat-rack)

Two lovely boxes of supplies...
One has fabric paints, beads and buttons (2 drawers), poster paint and velcro, chandelier crystals, vintage trim and knitting needles...
The other has assorted useful sewing bits (bobbins, needles, measuring tape etc), green & yellow thread, blue & white & black thread, embroidery floss and odd bits of wool, orange & brown thread, and a big drawer of ribbon, trim, cord, embellishments, glitter and all sorts of oddments that don't have a home of their own. The colourful drawers of thread are particularly pleasing - the rest of them only look neat when the drawers are firmly closed!
... and then finally yesterday evening I sat and listened to the radio while doing a bit of sewing. I finished two little Ninja baby brooches (left unfinished after I realised I had no safety pins left) and cut out lots of beaks and eyes for some half-finished owls and penguins.
I love when you add their faces, they suddenly have these great little personalities. I can't wait to get them finished :)

Saturday 11 August 2007

Eek, what a neglected blog!

Okay so first I was busy sewing things... and then our whole county got flooded and we had no electricity for 24 hours and no running water for about 2 weeks (all fixed now though, hurrah!) ... and then I had to help my Mother-in-Law move house (not fun)... and then our neighbourhood hosted a massive choral festival... and now I am recovering from all this! Basically I have been a little busy and muchly neglecting my blogging and crafting :(

Hopefully things will be back to normal soon and I shall have lots of new pretty treats to photograph and blog about! I have been greatly inspired to Get Crafting this week cos I have been on the Etsy front page on a most miraculous TWO occasions.

First up my "I love TEA" pins were featured - very exciting, my first ever bit of Etsy front page glory - thanks to the lovely heidiburton picking them in her treasury list.

This is a rubbish screenshot I took of my front page moment:

And these are the pins themselves - they are first up on my To Sew list this week as a couple of them very happily sold :)

Then today I logged on during my tea-break (a small break from dull Saturday chores like ironing and washing-up) to find myself on the front page again, along with lots of my fellow workers-in-felt from the UK street team! (Screenshot courtesy of Siansburys and lovely felt treasury selection thanks to KoolKookyKreatures).

The abstract mobile got over 1000 new views during the time it was featured on the front page and my "hearts" (people marking my shop and/or items as a favourite) have rocketed accordingly which is most flattering. Hurrah for lovely Etsy!

I'm off to get started on the sewing now...