Wednesday 29 May 2013

Crafty Flashbacks

I was looking through a few old blog posts and I thought it'd be fun to look back through my archives to see what I was making this time last year, and the year before that... all the way back to 2007!

I had creative block this time last year (not fun), but I was doing a bit of knitting for my sky blanket - and I had a lovely new bag to keep my in progress knitting in.

In 2011 I was making flower crowns, cutting up felt squares for some rainbow bundles, learning how to crochet and choosing the colours for my first crochet blanket (which was SO much fun to make!).

In 2010 I was enjoying some very sunny weather, planning a knitting picnic and making an abstract mobile.

In 2009 we seem to have been enjoying another May heatwave! I was doing some restful sewing on the sofa, making some thank you cards to send out with my orders, making a big old crafty mess, and planning ahead by starting work on some Christmas things.

In 2008 I was making lots of flowers - designing new ones ones and finishing up lots of flowers from my wip box - as well as sewing a cafetiere cosy as a gift and finishing a slightly bonkers felt necklace.

And then back in 2007 I was making a beaded brooch, sewing some abstract brooches, and working at my kitchen table sewing some felt mobiles.

I hope you've enjoyed this little bit of crafty time-travelling :)

Monday 27 May 2013

OMG! Sunshine!

After a seriously gloomy spring it has been wonderful to finally get some proper sunshine these past few days. Even though I've been (mostly) busy working, what a difference it makes to look out of the window and see a blue sky!

There's nothing quite like being able to take alfresco tea & knitting breaks - although I have to admit that it does make it much harder to get back to work afterwards. It's just soooo tempting to spend the whole afternoon lying on a blanket reading a book. 

I've been knitting some mittens from Learn to Knit, Love to Knit, and also knitting up a tension swatch to see if some yarn I've got in my stash is a good match for one of the other projects in the book (fingers crossed!). 

And my furry studio assistant has, as usual, been keeping me company wherever I go...

... he seems to be quite happy about the weather, too!

Saturday 25 May 2013

Lots of Crafty Goodness in my Shop!

Pssst - I've added a whole bunch of stuff over in the Craft Supplies section of my shop...

There are wheels of rainbow pins in leaf, heart and flower designs:

Bundles of colourful ribbons I'm clearing out from my craft stash, including lots of pretty polkadot ribbon:

Some fun sheets of printed felt - in camouflage & zebra prints:

And remember when I was making all those felt buttons back in March...?

Well, I've finally got them photographed & added to my shop, hurrah!

There's also one last set of "not quite perfect" giant buttons (and lots of "perfect" giant buttons too)...

 ... and a whole bunch of other "destash" listings, including buttons, hat elastic and grip seal bags (which are super useful for packaging or for storing small supplies or pattern pieces).

And remember, there are still lots of handmade goodies available in my SALE section... sale prices start from just £1. Click here to see the full range of treats in stock.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Goodbye 30, Hello 31

Crikey, I can't believe it's almost been a whole year since I turned 30! (My birthday is in early June) Where does the time go, huh?

Turning 30 last year inspired me to dig out a whole bunch of photos to make a collage with one photo for each of my 30 years...

It was so much fun, I thought it'd be nice to keep on adding to it as the years go by. So I sorted through my recent photos last week, and picked a fun picture from Christmas...

... me playing board games with my sister. The game being played? Jungle Ludo! This was a much beloved game in our house when we were growing up, we even developed our own version of the rules :)

It's the perfect photo to represent this past year, I think, as this past year has been all about spending time with my family. I moved back in with my parents unexpectedly but have decided to stay for a bit to save up some money, and I've been very much enjoying stuff like kitty cuddles, home cooked meals (yum!), getting to see my sisters more often and helping my youngest sister plan her wedding.

Work-wise there have been some ups (a new book) and some downs (closing my supplies shop) this year. Mostly though I have been working fewer hours - keeping things ticking over and putting bigger plans on hold - so I could spend more time with my mum, who was diagnosed with breast cancer early last spring. If you read my blog regularly you may remember how I was a bit absent from my blog this time last year because of "family stuff" - well, this is what that was about!

We were very lucky that the cancer was caught early, but as anyone who has experienced cancer in their family will know, it's been a scary and stressful time. My mum (who is a very tough cookie) has gone through surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy and come out the other side smiling, and with as close to an "all clear" as I think it's possible to get at this point. Best birthday present ever.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Coming Soon - Mollie Makes: Feathered Friends

I've got some fun news to share with you guys today... there's a lovely new craft book coming out soon, and it's got some projects by me in it :)

Following on from their Christmas craft book, the team at Mollie Makes have put together a book of bird-themed crafts: Mollie Makes: Feathered Friends.

I was delighted to be asked to contribute a couple of felt projects to this book - I'm really looking forward to showing you a sneak peek of them when the book comes out in a few weeks time.

Mollie Makes: Feathered Friends will be published here in the UK by Collins & Brown on 6th June. It'll be available direct from Collins & Brown at Love Crafts, or you can pre-order it from Amazon UK.

For those of you outside the UK... the US edition (published by Interweave) is available for pre-order from Amazon USA (though the publication date in the US is a bit later this summer, I think) and I've spotted a Dutch language edition that's been published too (called Mollie Makes: Birds). Lots of birdie goodness!

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

Saturday 18 May 2013

A Lovely Tea & Biscuit Tin

Check out the new addition to my growing collection of yummy tins from M&S:

Such a nice design, huh? Perfect for a tea and biscuit fan like me :)

It's by Kate Wilson of Little Doodles, whose work I love - I bought one of her birdie prints years ago, I unfortunately don't currently have the space for it but it used to hang in my old kitchen & made me happy whenever I saw it.

Plus the biscuits inside were pretty tasty too! Om nom nom.

Friday 17 May 2013

Photos From This Week - Craft Supplies & Cats

Crikey, this week has been super busy! I have been ticking things off To Do lists like crazy, but I've mostly been working on secret stuff I can't show you guys yet though (boo). I can show you some of the yummy, colourful supplies I've been using though :)

Pretty glass beads (I especially love those turquoise blue ones, so lush) ...

... and lovely spring shades of thread. Pink and orange together? Yum!

Thanks to the bad weather we've been having, our cats have been spending lots of time snoozing indoors and keeping us company this week.

Our big cat likes sleeping on the sofa while I'm working in the lounge (how he manages to sleep upside down like that, I have no idea). He is sitting next to me on the sofa as I type this, actually! He likes having a whole seat of the sofa all to himself and gets very grumpy if he finds a person sitting in what he regards as "his" seat.

And our small cat is always very happy to find me sitting on the sofa with the laptop as it means she can yowl at me until I put the laptop down and let her sit on my lap instead :)

She doesn't always choose the most convenient times (pesky kitty!) but I think being able to rearrange my workday around "kitty cuddle breaks" has to be one of the great perks of being self-employed.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

May Sponsors

Say hello to my current sponsors!

Blooming Felt sells 100% wool felt sheets, colourful fairtrade felt craft supplies like felt beads and felt purses, plus a whole bunch of other crafty goodness like buttons, ribbons, flat pad findings, embroidery floss and fabric:

The Bellwether (formerly known as Miso Funky) sells cross stitch samplers with a modern twist (and a bit of spicy language!) along with coasters, needlework kits, cards, and stitch-able stuff like iPhone cases:

Asking for Trouble sells illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii:

Mason Bee sells detailed hand embroidered pieces and embroidery patterns, often featuring bees!

Cherry and Cinnamon is the work of Bridgeen Gillespie, a freelance illustrator who sells kitsch and cute embroidery patterns & and fabric:

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

And The Dusty Attic sells handmade felt brooches and other accessories:

P.S. Interested in promoting your shop, company or blog? I've recently reduced the price of my ads, so ad spaces on my blog start from the bargain price of just $5 for 30 days (that's about £3.25! BARGAIN). 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, and to buy an ad.

Monday 13 May 2013

Book Review: Felt Sew Good

To finish up my Book Week, I've got a lovely felt-y book to review (you guys know how much I love felt, gotta save the best material 'til last, right?).

Felt Sew Good by Christine Leech contains "30 simple & stylish felt projects" divided into chapters of gifts, decorations and items from the home.

The designs are all pretty simple, accessible projects you could make in an afternoon or a couple of evenings - perfect for beginners or people who just want to squeeze a bit of relaxing crafting into their week

There are some cute projects like this elephant mobile (so adorable)...

... and these sweet woodland animal finger puppets:

And some very stylish, more "grown up" projects, like these decorative baubles...

... this geometric mat...

... and these pretty feather napkin rings:

Other projects in the book include winged baby booties, a pear doorstop,circus-inspired egg cosies, and an autumnal garland.

Each project has step-by-step instructions but only the more complicated steps are illustrated with drawings or step-by-step photos. All the templates are included full size though, which is something I love to see in a craft book!

Felt Sew Good would be a great book to add to your collection if you want some fun and pretty projects that are relatively quick and easy to make. I think this would also be a great book to use when sewing things with younger children, or to give as a gift to a teenage crafter - I would have loved to make lots of the designs in this book to decorate my room as a teen, or to give as gifts to my friends.

Felt Sew Good is published by Quadrille. RRP £12.99. It's available from Amazon UK, The Book Depository and many other bookshops.

[Disclaimer: Quadrille sent me a free review copy of this book. The Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links]