Tuesday 25 June 2013

Zines, Zines, Zines

I'm having a bit of a tidy up this week - sorting through lots of old boxes and folders, clearing out old paperwork and other bits and pieces I've accumulated over the years and trying to get the good / important / useful stuff a bit better organised.

In one of the boxes, I found a pile of old zines written back when I was a student. It seems wrong to just recycle them, so I wondered if any of you lovely folks fancied a copy?

UPDATE - all the zines have now been posted! :) 

There are a couple of issues of my personal zine "Bugs and Fishes" (which is where the name of my blog came from!). Bugs and Fishes is lighthearted and whimsical, ranty and opinionated, and obsessed with things like baking, advertising, strangely named foodstuffs, and misheard song-lyrics. The zine ran from 1999-2005 and is packed with my articles about whatever was on my mind when I wrote the issue!

Issue 17 is from 2004 and includes articles about essay-writing, rain, things spotted in Sainsburys, the Olympics, the spider scale of scariness, announcements on trains, the word "chav", grapefruit juice, and warnings found on medication.

Issue 18 is from 2005 and includes articles about colouring-in, cups of tea, new year's resolutions, the Gap, strange signs in the university library, the UK government's slogans for immunisation, graffiti, place names, and TV listings.

There are also some copies of "My Library Project: A Short Investigation into Graffiti Left in University Library Books". This is a zine documenting my obsession with the various scribblings left by other students in my University Library. These vary from the helpful to the annoying to the downright insane and a selection of them are compiled here for your entertainment.

Sample categories include 1) Random Underlining, 3) Dissent and Sarcasm, 5) Cussing, 15) Staggering Stupidity, and 17) Scary Nutters. Beware: this zine does include some swears!

My Library Project is perfect for anyone who has ever been annoyed by this sort of thing, or for people who (like me) spend far too much time in libraries.

Saturday 22 June 2013

Photos from This Week

This has been a bit of a weird, sad week as my grandmother died on Monday. She was 96, and much loved.

In between spending time with family, this week I have been testing out felt & thread combinations for a secret project...

... shopping for more threads...

... buying some new pinking shears (they look rather different to the black vintage pair that used to belong to my grandmother, don't they?)...

... sorting out some in-progress knitting projects...

... and sitting on the sofa doing some sewing with the blue felt, threads & ribbons I blogged about yesterday.

I've also been writing some stuff for a deadline & drinking lots of tea but I don't have a photo of that! :)

Friday 21 June 2013

Blue, Blue, Blue and More Blue

This week I've been working on a project involving lots of blues.

I've been choosing blue ribbons...

... cutting & sewing with blue felt, and pinning things with pins from that lovely blue tin...

... and shopping for blue threads (and more ribbons).

Even my relaxing- evening-knitting is blue at the moment!

Sunday 16 June 2013

My New Pinboard

After wanting one for ages I finally got a pinboard for my studio last month. I took some photos of it a few weeks ago to show you guys and when I was editing them I realised there were a whole load of projects in shot that I'm not allowed to share yet! Oops. So, finally, here's a photo:

It's so good to get all that paper off my desk! My lovely red desk is next to the window (you can just see the corner of it on the left in that photo) so no room for a pinboard there, but this is the next best thing as I face this wall as I work.

I've also found new homes for the bits and pieces I was keeping on the top of that small shelf unit, so I can use the space as a sort of extension of my desk, with "in progress" piles of paperwork. It's great to have a dedicated space for this stuff instead of just having it cluttering up my desk or the coffee table or (being honest with you here, folks) in a messy heap on the floor.

It's also nice to have a space to pin up a few pretty postcards - though the board itself is currently mostly taken up with boring work stuff like to do lists and bills I need to pay, I've used some polkadot washi tape to stick up some postcards along the side of the tall shelf unit.

I bought these on days out last summer, choosing a postcard or two from each place I visited as a memento, it's nice to have some of them on display instead of stuck in a drawer somewhere...

... and they're a great reminder that I need to plan some more days out this summer!

Saturday 15 June 2013

June Sponsors

It's time to meet 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:

Little Dorrit & Co. sells literary-themed embroidery patterns, with designs inspired by fairy tales and beloved books like Pride & Prejudice:

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 featuring cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii:

Love Paper Fish sells colourful buttons in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, felt beads, acrylic and wool blend felt and lots of other crafty stuff

Loulalalou sells handmade crochet jewellery, bags, homewares and other lovely things:

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

The Dusty Attic sells handmade felt brooches and other accessories:

And Byvala sells a whole mix of crafty creations - from bags to cushions to phone cases to hair accessories:

P.S. Interested in promoting your shop, company or blog? Ad spaces on my blog start from just $5 for 30 days (that's about £3.20!). 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.

Mollie Makes: Feathered Friends - Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway to win a copy of Mollie Makes: Feathered Friends!

The winner is.... Debora who said "Looking forward to have my book... I'll be the lucky one!" -  the power of positive thinking, huh? :)

Psst - The lovely folks at Mollie Makes are giving away 25 copies of Feathered Friends this week, so if you missed out in my giveaway, don't be sad! (the Mollie Makes giveaway closes on June 20th).

Friday 14 June 2013

Catching Up

I'm slowly catching up on some work - gradually replying to emails from the past week, sending out all my shop orders, and writing some blog posts with "help" from this little lady!

I'm also working on a whole bunch of tutorials (for a couple of projects I, alas, can't talk about yet). I find it helpful when I'm working on lots of tutorials at once to make a chart instead of writing lots of to do lists. It works pretty well even if the tutorials are all for very different things as they all involve the same basic steps to get from idea to finished tutorial. Ticking each small task off as I work through them I can see the progress I'm making and can see at a glance what tasks still need doing. 

This is my current chart. Lots done, but quite a bit still to do! 

I made a gigantic "to do chart" when I was working on my new book and it really helped keep me organised during a very hectic time.

For each design I worked on I needed to sketch it, design the templates, (maybe) sew a prototype, write notes on how to make it, sew it, take step by step photos, edit the photos, resize and label the photos, take final reference photos of the finished piece, type up my notes, draft the tutorial, proofread it, make final changes, draw the templates out neatly, make copies of the templates, pack up the project, and then post the project & templates and email the tutorial & accompanying photos. 

Multiply that by all the different projects that make up a book and, well, you can see why the chart was so useful! :)

Thursday 13 June 2013

Taking it Easy

I have been stuck in bed ill for a few days this week, which is never fun! I'm starting to feel a bit better now but I'm still taking it easy, trying to rest as much as possible in between replying to a few emails / doing some work towards a looming deadline / etc.

As ever, my assistant is keeping me company!

P.S. With Google Reader soon to shut down, I thought I'd mention that you can now follow my blog on Bloglovin' if you want! You can find (and follow) my blog HERE.

You can also use Bloglovin' to discover lots of lovely new DIY & Craft blogs - via their lists of popular posts and popular blogs.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Made in Felt Magazine

Attention felt fans! Have you seen Made in Felt?

This felt-themed magazine (sister mag to Made in Paper) came out this week...

... and it includes a project designed by me! Yay!

Long-time followers of my blog might remember that I used to sell large felt flower brooches that looked like this:

Well, know you can learn how to sew your own :)

You can make the corsages with a button in the centre...

... or with lots of sparkly seed beads:

When I made these for sale I used eco felt (made from recycled plastic bottles) and used vintage buttons for the centres, but you can use any felt or buttons you fancy. I also made smaller flowers (with fewer petals) and used them to decorate hair combs:

They're a lot of fun to make!

The magazine includes 33 different felt projects - some of these are specially designed for the magazine, and others are selected from craft books (like Stash Happy Felt, Zombie Felties and So Pretty! Felt) and magazines like Mollie Makes, so you might spot some projects you recognise but over 30 projects for £7.99 is great value, I think, even if you've already got a few of the projects. And it's a great way to sample projects from different craft books.

It also includes tips on sewing with felt, interviews with some felt-loving designers and some felt-themed shopping guides - I was delighted to see my teapot rosette brooches got a mention here:

Made in Felt is available now from WHSmiths and other newsagents in the UK. If you live outside the UK or can't find the magazine in a store near you you can buy it online here.

[P.S. the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links]

UPDATE: My large felt flower design is now available as a sewing pattern! Visit my shop to see all my printable PDF patterns:

Friday 7 June 2013

Giveaway: Mollie Makes: Feathered Friends

As I mentioned yesterday, I've got a copy of Mollie Makes: Feathered Friends (published by Collins & Brown) to give away!

And you don't have to be in the UK to enter - the publisher is happy to send it internationally :)

Just leave a comment on this blog post for your chance to win! Leave your comment before 10pm on Friday 14th June, and I'll pick the winners at random on Saturday 15th June.

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

If I'm unable to contact the winner within two weeks, I will pick someone else. If you're leaving a comment with your Blogger profile, please remember that you need to have your profile set to public for me to be able to get in touch with you. If you have problems leaving a comment here on my blog, you can enter via my shop's contact form instead.

Update: this giveaway is now closed.

Thursday 6 June 2013

My Projects from Mollie Makes Feathered Friends

Mollie Makes: Feathered Friends is published today in the UK, hurrah!

As you've probably guessed from the title, all the projects in the book are bird-themed. There are 20 projects, covering a mix of different crafts - sewing, knitting, crochet, paper-crafting, etc.

I was delighted to be asked to contribute a couple of felt-y projects to the book. Those of you with super memories might remember me working on a colourful secret project last summer... well, I was working on my projects for this book :)

The finished book is lovely, and includes designs by loads of designers & crafters I really admire, including Clare Youngs, Eline Pellinkhof, Mollie Johanson, Kirsty Elson, and Emily Peacock. I'm thrilled to find my work in such great company!

Wanna see my projects in the book?

There's a trio of "3D Felt Flying Parrots" to hang on your wall - I think the parrots would also look great sewn onto things like cushions.

And there's a "Felt Applique Cockerel Cosy", with a trio of matching coasters - inspired by the traditional Polish craft of paper cutting. (Again, if you didn't want to make a coffee cosy and coasters you could use the motifs to decorate lots of other things!). 

I'm so pleased with how both these projects turned out (I hope you guys like them too!).

As well as the tutorials in the book (which all have step by step instructions and photos) there are also a couple of sections with ideas and inspiration for other birdie projects and though the templates in the book need enlarging it also includes info on where you can get the full size versions to download and print which I think is a great idea.

Each designer is also introduced with a photo and a bit of info about them, so you can check out their website or blog and discover even more crafty goodness. Look! It's me! :)

Mollie Makes: Feathered Friends is published by Collins & Brown, and is available from Love Crafts, Amazon UK and lots of other bookshops. (The US edition is due to be published later this summer).

And guess what, Collins & Brown have offered me a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! Woohoo! Check back here tomorrow for the giveaway post...

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