Friday, 29 October 2010

Felting heaven

This is my latest addition to my etsy shop. I managed to remember to pick up felting needles when I was out shopping recently. The first needle I had bought a few months ago had suddenly gone blunt and I hasn't realised. My new ones came in a pack of three so that should keep me going for a while. Apparently they go blunt quite quickly which is understandable with the amount of use they get when stabbing wool repeatedly...or perhaps I am just heavy handed?!

Either way I found some keychains I bought last year and finally thought of something to attach to them. I felted three balls from some pink wool roving and attached some sequins on with some (very useful) invisible thread. I love the look of felted balls...they are so soft yet so firm. I hope to progress with needle felting as I really love the feeling that you can mould the wool into any shape imaginable.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Pumpkin delight

Photo source

With Halloween at the weekend I thought I would round up some vegan/vegetarian recipes available for free on the web. I think my favourite has to be the sounds delicious but the other two vegan ones are very tempting. Unfortunately if you are a meat eater you will have to do your own google search - it's my way of gently admonishing the politest possible way of course. If you're not vegan or veggie why not try one of the recipes out, you may be surprised.

Vegan Pumpkin Soup from The Vegan Family

Vegan Pumpkin and Poppy Seed Muffins

Vegan Pumpkin Curry

Vegetarian Pumpkin Pie

Monday, 25 October 2010

Dark Horse

Yesterday I bought this lovely horse from cross stitch queen 'sewingseed' on etsy. I was in heaven when I came across her shop! Such funky animals and designs. I don't cross stitch as much as I used to but still indulge occasionally. You can also buy the actual designs made up. It's now in my top 10 favourite shops on etsy!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Cornish Organic Wool

My Cornish Organic Wool arrived from, you guessed it, Cornwall this week. It looked very pretty in its hank and I was very excited as I had never tried organic wool before. After I had done all the calculations I realised I was getting two of my normal knitting balls in one hank so didn't feel so bad about the price. I started to unwind it and roll it into one massive ball with someone to help me with their arms outstretched!

As I had just put some knitting down using my usual Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran the wool felt quite rough in comparison but I think it was because it had been hand dyed. Once I had started to knit with it it felt wonderful. It's very resilient wool and is just a different look to my Debbie Bliss yarn. It's also beautifully gradiated with different shades of purple throughout the wool. It does look quite different from the picture on their website but you always have to be flexible with small wool businesses and it didn't bother me as purple is my favourite colour.

Above all it's lovely to knit with wool which has been soil association accredited and it's a symbol I could put on the label of what I'm making so I'm happy.

You can look at the website here.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Nothing to fear but fear itself?

'Handmade Gift Tags - Wish Upon A Star' by "EdgeInspired" on etsy

Well...I promised to keep you updated on how things are going offline as I try and sell at craft shows while having a limited budget and jobhunting.

I had the second of my monthly meetings with my Prince's Trust mentor which brought mixed news. Firstly I was told my application for a grant had been successful and I was glad I hadn't had it returned to me for more information as a lot of them have to be apparently!

I had submitted some of my handmade items to a very well established traditional craft show who had offered me a reduced price stand but I was told my items wouldn't fit with the show. This didn't surprise me as I thought it was a tall order. I have only really been crafting for a couple of years and couldn't see myself retaining my confidence or selling really well alongside artists who have regional reputations and cash boxes to match.

But all is not lost and I am investigating more craft shows to sell at as this is a condition of my grant. I have to seal a deal with a craft show and buy all my materials as quickly as possible and get making so I can ask for the grant via a refund.

So here is the issue. Nerves. I've never sold before at a craft show and it feels so much more serious than selling online. After all, I never hear any catty comments when someone clicks on to my shop - just the hearts, which thankfully are increasing every day now (probably due to me becoming a member of two teams but hopefully not just because of this).

It's a big step. I've practiced what I would say in response to horrible comments and I know I won't be offended now if someone picks up some mittens and asks what they are...after all online customers can see my hand in them and offline customers can't.

Overall I think the grant will entice me and push me over the nerves. I will be able to order a huge injection of craft materials just at a time when I have taken a huge cut in my income. I hope you will see the benefits of this in the online shop too. There have been so many occasions when I have wanted to make an item in a few colours but the budget hasn't stretched and I haven't wanted to take the risk after not selling.

I'd love to hear any tips for my first ever craft show/fair : )

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Taunton Carnival

I had a great time at the Taunton carnival last night. There were many brilliant floats but this one stood out as the best one for me.

Carnival is a very traditional part of life in the south west of england. Some would say it's a bit tacky but I think it's gloriously kawaii!

Such cuteness and kitsch...

Here's the front of the float I loved with Geppetto's wonderful expression...

I also thought this float was brilliantly designed and the head on the jokers moved eerily : )

Friday, 15 October 2010

UK Wool Week: Cornish Organic Wool

Wow! This is the reason why I rummage in charity shops all week. I've treated myself to a lovely hank of this cornish organic wool to celebrate UK Wool Week. I was delighted to find such an array of beautiful colours whilst being soil association accredited. Julia has 20% off her range until Saturday 16th October. I don't think I've ever been so overjoyed to buy online - all my boxes ticked and a lovely package on its way to me in the post from Cornwall.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Beatrix Potter & Flowers

I went shopping in a charity shop this morning and found some lovely craft books hiding away at the back of the shop.

This journal is certainly something I wouldn't have had the money for ordinarily. It's a very pretty place to keep all your notes on your garden. I've just been allocated an allotment about a month ago and I was starting to see articles on gardening in magazines but didn't bother to tear them out so next time I see one it will go in here!

It even has a grid so you can enter your fruit and veg...

I also found a lovely cross stitch book for another pound...

I couldn't resist this one - all the flowers are kept simple and elegant without any additions you sometimes see...

All in all a good shopping trip and only £2 spent. Happiness : )

Happy bargain hunting!

Friday, 8 October 2010

UK & Irish sellers on Etsy

I've been a member of the european street team on etsy for a fair few months now so I thought it was about time I did a blog feature on some of their members. Today's theme is bags:

'Harris Tweed Tote - made in Scotland' by 'LifeCovers':

'Maeve hand knitted bag' by Scottish seller 'Bluebelldesign':

'iPhone 4/3G/iPod classic/Cellphone/Camera Cover Cozy' by Birmingham/UK-based 'pomella':

'Handmade whimsical Cats Mobile Phone Cover' by Irish seller 'PatchworkDelights':

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