Sunday 17 June 2012

A Sky Blanket Update (almost halfway!)

I can't believe my sky blanket will be half-finished in just a couple of weeks! How time flies, eh?

I thought you guys might like to see how it's progressing :)

It's a bit hard to tell from the photos, but because I'm using two strands of DK yarn to knit each square the blanket is quite thick & chunky and reminds me a bit of a cosy quilt. Look how big it's getting!

When it's finished the blanket will be just the right size for keeping on the arm of the sofa, or for using on a single bed- it's hanging over the side a bit in the photos but that's just because the bed's pressed up against a wall & I wanted the whole width of the blanket to be visible in the pics.

This is what the back looks like:

I continue to love the random mix of blues and greys that are developing as the blanket grows, although I am slightly depressed to report that I've got to buy more light grey yarn as I've almost run out! Having lived in England all my life you think I'd have expected this, wouldn't you? Haha.

As I've probably mentioned before, the colours are just a snapshot and often not really representative of what "the day's weather" was like - just the other day my sky blanket square was bright blue and white as that's what the sky looked like at midday, but throughout the rest of the day it was grey and cloudy and it rained pretty heavily. It would be completely impossible to pick two colours to accurately represent the whole day's weather, though, and if you tried you'd end up with something like when the BBC's online weather forecast predicts "light rain" for the day but when you click for more details that prediction turns out to be a sort of averaging out of a sunny day with a thunderstorm at the end of it.

There have been a few days when I've been absorbed in work and forgotten to look at exactly midday, but I try to look at the sky as close to 12 as I can and I remember most of the time. It's actually becoming such a force of habit that if I'm still up at midnight I find myself seeing the clock approach 12 and think "I must look at the sky!" even though, you know, it's the middle of the night. I wonder how long it'll be into 2013 before I stop checking to see what "today's colours" are?

Oh and I've realised that I'm not actually going be able to use it while I'm living with my parents, as their cats would trash it pretty quickly! It's a bit of a shame but I think it may have to get put away when it's finished and kept for when I'm living far away from blanket-loving furry creatures with sharp claws (pesky kitties!)

Friday 15 June 2012

Photos from this week...

So, what have I been up to this week?

I got a new delivery of felt squares and spent some time sorting through it all, making up colour bundles and cutting and sorting squares to make some mini felt rainbows...

I also made up a few bargain bundles of "not quite perfect" squares that I've been collecting for a while, and added to my Etsy shop (at the time of writing this there are two left in stock).

I made a start on catching up with my accounts and other admin...

... normally I like to have all my accounts in order by the summer but this year has been so weird that I'm quite a bit behind with this stuff. I'm determined to get it done soon, though! (not least because I literally won't have the time when the autumn rolls round).

I've also been using bits of spare time here and there to print lots of certificates of posting and return address labels and other boring-but-useful things like that.

And I bought some useful-but-not-at-all-boring new tape for my larger/bulkier parcels:

It's got a lovely design by Hazel Nicholls on it - cute Russian dolls on it that spell out "it's what's inside that counts". I got the red tape from Hazel's Etsy shop, and the blue tape from Of Cabbages & Kings (they also sell the red version). I hope my customers will like it as much as I do!

Crafting-wise I'm still doing lots of knitting in the evenings to relax. My sky blanket is getting bigger and bigger, and I'm continuing to work through all the random balls of yarn in my stash to knit squares which will, eventually, one day, become blankets of some description. I've almost used up my whole stash now - I've used up all the large balls of yarn and now only have an assortment of "leftover" balls that (like the olive green one in the photo below) are just large enough to knit a couple of small moss stitch squares.

Amazingly (after taking an unusually long break from it) I've also done some sewing! I'm still feeling a bit creatively blocked but much more in the mood for just sitting down with some work in progress and slowly stitching my way through one task or another. The next job on my list is to finish sewing a batch of owl masks.

As for the "new things" I mentioned last week, I've been enjoying sharing lots of bits and bobs over on my Facebook page  (thanks to everyone who's "liked" my page recently!) and my attempt to give up caffeine continues to go well, though I'm not sure I'd have the willpower to keep it up if decaf teabags didn't exist!

The "switching off the word verification widget" experiment is going less well. If I moderated comments via my blog's dashboard it would be fine, as about 95% of the new spam is going straight into Blogger's spam folder but alas I prefer to moderate comments via my email inbox as it helps me keep on top of publishing and replying to them.

For some reason Blogger "helpfully" emails me all the spam comments to moderate even when its own anti-spam filters have already categorised the comment as spam, and as far as I can see there's no way to change this: I either get all the comments in my inbox or none. If I have missed an obvious setting, please do let me know folks, otherwise the word verification thingummy may have to come back soon.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Free Tutorial: Felt Moustaches

With Father's Day just around the corner, the lovely folks over at Lark Crafts are giving away my "manly moustaches" tutorial from Heart-Felt Holidays. Felt moustaches for everyone! :)

You can download the felt moustache instructions HERE.

The moustaches make great photo props! Here are some of my favourite shots from back when my Etsy shop was full of moustaches...


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Wednesday 6 June 2012

Jubilee Weekend Bits & Bobs

I hope you guys enjoyed the Jubilee weekend!

Here a few snaps of what I've been up to over the past few days...

I used some pretty tape from Summersville to make lots of mini "thankyou" cards to send out with my orders - this was the perfect task to do while sitting watching coverage of the Jubilee festivities on the telly! I use the same tape when packing my orders, sealing bags and envelopes. 

Following the fine example set by our kitties, I've been spending lots of time curled up with blankets taking it easy (although I haven't gone as far as to have have actual naps yet, haha). The weather has been so cold & miserable here lately that both cats have adopted a very "pro lap" policy this week and I've had lovely purring bundles of fur keeping me company (& keeping me warm!) when watching films in the evening.

Thanks to the chilly weather I've also managed to get caught up with my sky blanket. It's definitely the right sort of weather to sit with a half-finished blanket on your lap, sewing in yarn ends. I've been knitting so many grey squares for it lately, I don't think this blanket is going to be a particularly great advertisement for the charms of the British summertime!

I've also been framing some large prints & posters, the frames for which have been on my "to buy" list since I sorted through my pictures back in January. January! At this rate, I may have actually hung some art on my walls by the end of the year. (The print in this slightly blurry pic is by Hazel Nicholls).

In other news....I'm trying a few new things:

1) I've switched off the word verification widget on my blog's comment form. I keep reading on blogs etc how much people hate them / how they prevent some people from commenting, and I'd hate for that to be happening here on my blog! However, I am a little concerned about getting a sudden influx of spam in my inbox so I'm going to give it a try for a while and see what happens. If there ends up being too much spam it will have to come back again (sorry!).

2) I'm giving up caffeine for a bit, to see what effect it has on my energy levels. I've been trying to cut down on my tea drinking for a while now but it's all too easy to let those tea breaks slip back into my routine (especially with my parents freqently offering to put the kettle on). Today is Day 2. I'll let you know how it goes! :)

and 3) I've resolved to stop neglecting my Facebook page as I have shamefully done pretty much since I first got it. I don't use Facebook very much in my personal life & it's taken me a while to get used to it / work out how I want to use it for my business. I've been linking to my latest blog posts, but really that's not very exciting, is it?

So from here on I'm going to be trying to share some more fun stuff over on Facebook - links to cool projects, tutorials or crafty products I find in my online travels, reviews of my book or nice things people have been making from my tutorials, and other bits and pieces that are great but aren't normally things I blog about... plus I'll keep you up to date about new posts here on the blog & anything new / any special offers in my shops. Sound good? Click here to visit my Facebook page.