Thursday 31 January 2013

Wren Embroidery Pattern for &Stitches Zine

Ugh, I have been ill with a horrid cold/flu thing this week so things have been a bit quiet round here... but I'm feeling much better now (hurrah!) and have some nice news to share with you guys...

... I'm the featured designer in the new issue of &Stitches Zine! Yay!

In case you've not heard of it, &Stitches is a quarterly e-zine about embroidery and other hand stitching. I was thrilled to be asked to contribute to their Woodland-themed issue. They've interviewed me about my work....

... and I've designed an embroidery pattern for the zine: a sweet little wren. Regular readers might remember me choosing new threads and doing some research involving bird books at the end of last year... well, this is what I was working on :)

Issue 5 also includes interviews with Abby Glassenberg, Mother Eagle and Trish Burr, plus several woodland themed projects: embroidery patterns, an appliqué pattern, woodland-inspired stitch combinations and an "owl girl" softie.

You can find this issue in the &Stitches shop HERE... and you can get 10% off Issue 5 with the discount code TEALOVER until Feb. 3rd. Hurrah!

UPDATE: My wren embroidery pattern is now available directly from my shop! Visit my shop to see all my printable PDF patterns

Monday 28 January 2013

More Threads, More Scraps

I'm still working on a whole bunch of projects behind the scenes that I just can't show you yet... so here are yet more photos of felt scraps and sewing threads. I love the oranges and turquoise together, so pretty.

In other news, I had a very stressful afternoon over the weekend when I turned on the computer and... well, it just didn't turn on. Ugh. I eventually managed to get it started a few hours later (phew!) and backed up all my most recent files but, eek, that was NOT a fun few hours... especially as I am currently on a deadline! These things always seem to happen when you're already super busy and a bit stressed out, don't they?

Also, I can hardly believe it's going to be February later this week. This month has just zipped by!

You've got a few more days to enjoy the mega low prices in my January sale and it's also your last chance to grab a bargain ad space on my blog, as the 50% discount code will expire at the end of the month. If you're interested in buying an ad, click here for all the info.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Coming soon... So Pretty! Felt

I got a lovely parcel this week - a copy of So Pretty! Felt, which is due to be published in April.

Why did I get a copy of this book so early? Well, it's because I designed two of the projects in it! Yay! 

It's being published by Chronicle Books & it's the follow up to So Pretty! Crochet, which came out last year. I'll be sharing some more details about the book (and my two projects) closer to the release date, all I can say at the moment is that it is LOVELY :)

So Pretty! Felt: 24 Stylish Projects to Make with Felt is available for pre-order on Amazon USA & Amazon UK & lots of other book stores. 

[P.S. Just to let you know, the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links]

Saturday 26 January 2013

Getting Organised

I was listening to this interview with craft blogger Haley Pierson-Cox a few weeks ago and among lots of other very interesting discussions about blogging, Haley talked about how she organises her tutorial ideas. Apparently she writes every idea she gets down onto an index card and then files it by season or type of material so she always has a file full of project ideas ready to go. Such a simple idea but so brilliant!

I am forever scribbling down ideas for possible tutorials on scraps of paper which get a bit lost in my studio, or thinking up a great idea for a project out of season and forgetting about it by the time the right season rolls round... so I find the idea of a neatly organised box full of project ideas very appealing.

Index cards are so perfect as you can re-organise them as you like (unlike a notebook, or a long list that becomes a bit useless when you've done some of the projects but not others) and they cards are just the right size for a quick sketch and a few scribbled notes about the tutorial. Plus filing them neatly appeals to the side of me that likes nice storage boxes and a place for everything & everything in its place (I don't always succeed in keeping things tidy... but I do dream of tidiness!).

Basically, I love this idea, can you tell? :)

I immediately wrote down "buy index cards" on my to do list before I'd even finished listening to the interview and then last week I bought myself some blank cards and a box to store them in from Ryman's:

(Click on the images for the individual product links)

So my tutorial ideas will go on index cards... and any random doodles I do will get stuck in my  "ideas scrapbook". No more messy piles of paper for me, hurrah! Hopefully this new "system" will lead to lots more crafty goodness here on my blog :)

Friday 25 January 2013

Felt Hearts

Another project in my "work-in-progress" pile at the moment involves these felt hearts...

... I had a small bit of super thick handmade felt in my stash, left over from another project, and the bright pink just seemed so perfect for making something heart-themed.

P.S. Looking for crafty ideas for Valentine's Day? Check out the round-up I shared earlier this month of all my past Valentine's-inspired projects. 

Thursday 24 January 2013

Spring Things

I thought you might like a peek at some in-progress projects in my workbox at the moment...

... as long as I get the time to finish them (fingers crossed!), you should be seeing all these bits and pieces popping up here on my blog over the next few months as part of some spring-themed tutorials.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Posting Parcels

The snow might be lovely to look at but it is unfortunately causing a bit of disruption to the post here in the UK. I feel very silly saying this to those of you who are used to lots of snow and cold temperatures, but we're just not used to it here!

I am posting orders a.s.a.p. (whenever we can safely get to the Post Office!) as usual... but if you've ordered something from me in the last few days or are planning to order something soon please be patient :)

Pssst - apologies for banging on about it, but my mega January Sale is still on... with loads of items in my main shop, my Etsy shop and my Folksy shop reduced by an extra 50% until the end of the month (e.g. if a sale item was £5 before, it's only £2.50 until the end of January). Lots of bargains to be had, especially over in my Etsy shop which currently has the biggest selection of sale stock...

Tuesday 22 January 2013


It snowed on Friday...

... and then it snowed some more over the weekend, and when I woke up yesterday morning the world looked like this:

Did you spot the hoof print in that last photo? It seems one of the local deer paid us a visit :)

I love this weather, but the cats are not very impressed!

Monday 21 January 2013

Lovely Things

I got a few lovely things for Christmas this year which I have totally failed to blog about... better late than never, right??

My mum bought me a set of "If you're waiting for a sign..." cards from Mr Yen. I am determined to send more cards to friends this year, so these will come in handy. I may have to keep one for myself though as they're rather wonderful.

... and she also got me this Woodpeckers print from Dee Beale, whose work regular readers will know that I just cannot resist!

I also treated myself to a couple of nice things as a sort of "Christmas bonus" for being such a hard-working employee (there are definite perks to being your own boss sometimes, haha!).

A silver coin charm necklace from Mrs Gibson, which I wore throughout the holiday season because a) I am in love with it and b) it is the perfect length for wearing with all my nice frocks.

And a bag from Showpony. I bought a shopper and a purse from Showpony five years ago and have used them regularly ever since, and I'm sure I'll be saying the same about this bag in five years time. It is quite gorgeous.

Treasure tote - Seed Pods in Grey

Of course I bought lots of gifts for other people too... mostly books and DVDs and things like that, but I also got a Charley Harper jigsaw puzzle from Hus & Hem for my mum. I bought her another jigsaw from the same range last year and frankly both of these purchases have been because I secretly want them myself even though I've not done a jigsaw in years.

And - as a late Christmas gift - I bought my mama a Layla Amber fox brooch. This brooch was actually on my Christmas gift this year but my mum fell in love with it when she saw it so I bought it for her instead. It goes very nicely with the hedgehog brooch she "stole" from me last year :)

Sunday 20 January 2013

Crafty Evenings

I'm trying hard to switch off my laptop early in the evening and to properly relax, so that when I go to bed (hopefully nice and early) my brain is no longer buzzing with work stuff or interesting things I've read online, etc. And for me, relaxing = sitting on the sofa doing some simple, slightly mindless crafting.

So this week I've been knitting some blanket squares using some of my leftover sky blanket yarn...

... and also cutting out lots of doodles and sticking them in that ideas scrapbook I blogged about a couple of days ago. I'd take a photo of some of the pages but I don't want to give away all my secrets (!) so here are some of the leftover paper scraps instead:

I think that is possibly the most boring photograph I've ever shared on my blog, haha!

Saturday 19 January 2013

Winter Birds

We had quite a lot of snow here yesterday!

I had to abandon my plans to take parcels to the Post Office and instead stayed indoors in the warm drinking tea and watching the flakes fall (they are quite hypnotic, aren't they?) and dozens of birds flocking to my parents bird feeders.

I took a couple of snaps of some of the visitors soon after the snow began falling:

(Click on the photos if you'd like to view them larger).

We're very lucky to get a wide range of birds visiting my parents garden: blue tits, coal tits, great tits, long tailed tits, green woodpeckers, great spotted woodpeckers, chaffinches, goldfinches, greenfinches, jays, blackbirds, dunnocks, wrens, parakeets, crows, pigeons, sparrows, magpies, nut hatches... there are even a couple of kites nesting nearby that we often see flying overhead.

Perfect for a bird lover like me, and a very nice change from my old flat where we mostly saw lots of pigeons and lots and lots of noisy seagulls.

Friday 18 January 2013

Paper Work

Lots of my tasks this week have involved paper.

I've been drawing, making pattern pieces, writing notes, processing orders, ticking things off to do lists... and sorting receipts & printing out lots of spreadsheets for my accounts ready for filing my tax return (yawn).

I've also been doing some cutting and sticking, which is always fun (and rather relaxing, too).

Whenever I design something new I do a lot of brainstorming and doodling of random ideas until I settle on one that I want to develop, so I've built up quite a stash of doodled-on scraps of paper over the years. Looking through them can be great for sparking new ideas, and often a drawing that wasn't quite right for one project becomes the seed for something completely different months or even years later.

But my stash of scribbled-on paper scraps was starting to get out of hand, so I thought I'd tidy up a bit by cutting out all the "useful" doodles and sticking them in a blank notebook. So eventually (when I've finished all this cutting and sticking) I'll have a sort of ideas scrapbook that I can  flick through next time I need a bit of crafty inspiration.

Thursday 17 January 2013

Happy Colour

It's been such a grey, dark day today but luckily even though it's grey outside it's always bright and colourful in my studio - especially when I'm packing up bundles of felt squares.

These are some of the ribbons I'm using at the moment to tie the bundles together...

... such cheerful colours! I have a particular fondness for that vivid turquoise (yum).

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Leftover Yarn

One of the most difficult things about making a sky blanket was deciding how many balls of each colour I'd need to make it. I could work out how much actual yarn was going to be needed without much trouble... but guessing what colours might show up in the sky the most during the year, well that was pretty tricky. I worked out how much yarn I needed for the blanket, divided that up into what I thought was a likely balance of colours and then ordered an extra ball of each shade just in case.

I knew I was going to end up with lots of extra yarn left over (especially when I ended up having to order more light grey thanks to the gloomy weather - I massively underestimated how many grey days we were going to have!) but I also knew I was bound to find a use for the DK yarn I was using so I didn't mind too much.

All the same though, look at all this yarn! Eek.

(I've yet not counted up exactly how many balls of each shade I did use, but I'll be sure to do so before I do my final sky blanket blog post ... which will hopefully be sometime soon.)

As you can see from the photos, I've started using the leftovers to knit some simple garter stitch blanket squares. Originally I'd planned on adding these to one of the "random leftovers" blankets I've been gradually knitting squares for but actually I've got so much of this yarn left over that I think I'm going to end up with another sky blanket. Well, a blanket in sky colours anyway! Luckily, I really like how these colours look together.

I'm also using some of the yarn to make a pair of mittens for my sister - using a pattern from Learn to Knit, Love to Knit by Anna Wilkinson.  I was going to make these in just two colours (which I'd planned to let her choose from my leftover sky stash) but it turns out she likes the colour blocked effect I got when using up small leftover balls of yarn to knit the first test mitten, so I'll be carefully counting rows and making the second mitten to match :)

Tuesday 15 January 2013

January Sponsors

Say hello to all my lovely current sponsors!

Miso Funky sells cross stitch samplers with a modern twist (and a bit of spicy language!) Their range includes wall art, coasters, embroidery kits, charts & accessories and stitch-able iPhone cases.

Little Grey Clouds sells custom handmade stamps, plus ink pads and other supplies:

The Little Peeps Emporium sells handmade beaded jewelry for kids & little girls, women's copper jewelry, Argentium sterling silver earrings and wrap bracelets.

Pumora sells original knitting and embroidery patterns, embroidered artwork and unique crafting supplies:

All Tea Towels sells a wide range of linen and cotton tea towels:

Lucky Cat Handmade sells handmade key fobs, glasses cases, pencil pouches and purses:  

BuTTerfLypie sells quirky handmade jewellery and accessories:

Reloved Preloved sells handmade goodies made using vintage sheets and embroidery:

Slightly Triangle sells decorations, embroideries and mixed media paintings inspired by the natural world and folk art.

CranberryLime sells brooches, handbag charms, name banners, embroidery hoops and keepsake hearts:

And - last but by no means least - A Home for All Seasons sells homewares "inspired by a desire to make home the only place you want to be, whatever the weather/season":

P.S. Interested in promoting your shop, company or blog? Sidebar ad spaces on my blog start from just $10 (about £6.20) for 30 days... and you can use the promo code HURRAH to get 50% off any ads bought in January. Your shop will feature in a sponsor post like this one and I also give new sponsors a shout out over on my Facebook page. Click here for more info re: rates and my blog's traffic.