Sunday, 30 March 2008

Silly Girls and Secrets

Time for a change I think - a new template for my bloggywog. I've read lots of articles and forum posts recently and the general concensus is that 'less is more'. All the best blogs are based on very simple templates without loads of colour and funky fonts to emphasise the craft work. Well who am I to argue? I must agree it does look better. I like the way with Minima (this template) the photos are framed and the info bar (or whatever it's called) is on the left for a change. What does anybody else think?

So was it just me or did anyone else forget all about the clocks altering? Despite the stuff all over Google and the forum about Earth Hour I forgot that too!! I am useless. Evie has her first sleepover last night and I had to pick her up at 10.30 this morning. The church bells woke me up at 8.45 and I couldn't work out why. The bells ALWAYS ring at around 1/4 to 10 for the 10 o'clock service??? Aaarrgghh! The hour!!! It really was 1/4 to 10. All I can say is thank Heaven for the church bells.

Well I've been a busy bunny since I got back from Devon. And here are some of the fruits of my labours. The bag is the one I've been working on for my littlest niece for Easter (?!). I quite like it now it's finished but felt it could have done with something more so...

...I got out my dolly patterns. This one is 'Silly Girl' - a free pattern from the fab blog of Missy Ballance which I have had kicking around for ages and have never got around to using. Reading up on others who've used it , it seemed to be a real quickie so I thought I'd give it a go. And while I was making one I may as well make FIVE!!!

The one in the middle is called Pinky Rose. She was meant to be an Easter bunny (to go with Mathilda's bag) but I just wasn't sure... then Evie spotted her and wanted her so that was a done deal! She is wearing a red gingham apron over her stripey dress as we went to make cakes after the dolls were all dressed and Pinky had to join in.
The other two pale pinkish ones are prezzies for my friend's daughters later in the month and they have bags (which I'm just finishing) to match.

The two darker ones Evie has christened The Coffee Girls. Now can you guess why???? She says they stink and doesn't like 'em; which is great cuz I want to keep 'em for myself. My OH was laughing at me last night playing with my dolls. He was miffed really cuz he wanted me to take up a pair of his work trousers and I didn't want to do it. He can't understand why I don't relish mending and repairs when I like stitching. Can someone please explain it to him?
There is a Flickr group showcasing work from the Silly Girl and Missy's other free pattern (although it's a while since anyone submitted anything to it)and I will add all my pictures to it shortly. I'm quite proud of them and they were really quite quick to make. I started these yesterday afternoon and - with MANY interuptions - they were all done by lunchtime today.
So - the "secrets" bit - well OH's comment about dolls got me thinking. He's probably quite right but pleeease don't tell him. I do wonder at times if maybe making dolls is akin to playing with them? And my real guilty secret is that I still buy dolls for myself too. Quirky little handmade craft dolls, rag dolls like Holly Hobbie, and Barbies from my childhood.
I long for a Mary Quant Daisy doll like I used to have as a girlie. As a collection you understand, but I do love brushing their hair and changing their clothes... **gulp** Does that make me a bit weird? Or am I just fighting the growing old thing? It's trendy to collect 'softies' or 'plushies' or whatever you want to call 'em so why can't I set a new trend and be into 'dollies'? You heard it here first. :0)

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Aaarrgghh!! I hate coathangers!!!!

I spent most of this morning wrestling with hundreds of the damn things and I just hate the way they fight back. Sorry - to explain. We are going to swap bedrooms. Kiddie is going in the back where it's quieter and we are having the bigger front bedroom. I started today by emptying her wardrobe (no mean feat in itself). After throwing out everything she'd outgrown (for eBay I hasten to add), the leaftover hangers had to go in a carrier bag and that's when the trouble started. Grrr! Tomorrow Phase 2 begins. Dismantling furniture and moving it to the other room. Luckily kiddie has a sleepover from 4pm so she will be out of the way and unable to "help".
I have finally finished the bag I was making for littlest niece's (or should I say ONLY niece's) Easter present. Better late than never, I suppose. I have nearly finished the other two that I have also been working on. I will upload pictures to Flickr and create a link tomorrow as it is now 10 to 1. Got stuck into BBCiPlayer - watching the Mighty Boosh documentary that was on last week. I didn't realise I'd missed it. It was fab to see the early footage of them all and to see just how many other people are fans. Catch it if you can before it's too late!

Now I must away to beddie-byes. Need to get my head around the next projects on the list:-

  1. belly dancing doll for Maria (whose 40th will be here before I know it);
  2. seaside-flavoured interior stuff for the shop in Brixham;
  3. ideas for the Truly Handmade craft fayre in Sutton (OK it's not til July but I need to get truly sorted in plenty of time);
  4. PLUS serious investigations into what is the most likely way to be profitable through being creative (answers on a postcard please :0) he he). If we are ever going to relocate to the coast I NEED to be able to actually make a profit, and the best time to build up a SERIOUS business is now - while I'm not reliant upon the money.
Ha! If only it was that easy... Do you think I'll actually get any sleep with all that going round in my head???? :0)

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Catching Up

Oops! My blog's gone a bit disjointed while I've been playing around with Flickr and stuff. On the whole it's easier to create a post and add photos the old way, (this after fretting for ages about being able to blog pictures straight from Flickr and now I don't want to use it!!).

Well... where to begin? Went down to Devon full of cold (or was it man-flu - well why can't we have it too?). I took my needlefelting stuff thinking that like usual I wouldn't get anything creative done while I was down there but how wrong I was. I showed the boys my half-done Yoda and that was it. He had to be finished straightaway for #1 nephew. Then I had to do something for 'littley' to make it fair. So along came Cookie Monster.

Of course, then everyone else wanted something - big kids as well as little ones! So I then churned out a mermaid, a black cat, a bunny (well a head at least) and a heart (for me!!! shock horror!). I even got my totally not-crafty sister having a go and she made a beautiful snake!!

Easter Sunday was very cold but even so the kids wanted to go outside and hunt for whatever the Easter bunny might have left for them. Nanny and Auntie NikNak went out to help them look. Suitable attire was donned before they commenced the hunt - Easter bonnets for the kids; nightwear and wellies for the Auntie. I took the photos so I could keep popping back inside to warm up. Later on, when much chocolate had been eaten for breakfast, we went to watch big one nephew (aged 6) play rugby. At the end of the match, cold and wet and muddy (and that was just the spectators) we retired to the club bar for elevenses - half a Guinness and leftover hot dog. Yum!!

Monday was my sister's birthday - 21 again! Yeah right! She had decided weeks before that she definitely wanted to go somewhere and not just spend the day lozzing around at home. So we went to on a jolly day out to Bigbury-on-Sea. We had a HUGE pub lunch first at The Royal Oak in Bigbury then drove down and parked by the beach. Nanny had an afternoon snooze in the car while we all walked across the beach to Burgh Island. It probably means nothing to you until you see the picture but it's the island that has a perfectly preserved Art Deco hotel on it (which costs an arm and a leg to stay in). At low water you can walk across to it but as soon as the tide comes in (which happens VERY quickly) you have to ride back on the sea tractor. This is one of those quirky things that you would only ever find in the UK. It's fab!

Tuesday was our last day and the weather was the best we'd had, so I really didn't want to pack up and just drive home. We hadn't been for a walk down to the beach so it seemed like the ideal opportunity. It's flipping hard going with all those steps and the prospect of the return journey being even harder isn't great, but it's worth it when you're down there. The added bonus being that not that many people attempt it so the beach never gets really crowded. I gathered a few little bits of treasure along the way. I always come back with my pockets full of bits of sea glass, smoothed chunks of plastic and odds bits of fishing net.

This is a photo montage I made of St Mary's beach taken at Christmas 2006. I've always been quite pleased with how it came out. Spot the kiddie trying to get in on the action!!

Bag in Close-up.

Bag in Close-up.
Originally uploaded by ethel and edna
This is the bag as a 'work in progress' . I somehow managed to get it done in time - just a bit of hand embroidery needed finishing after I gave it to sis all wrapped up.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Easter Holls Here I Come!!!

Hooray! Work is finished 'til after Easter. Now I can concentrate on getting sorted for going to Devon. I need to finish sorting out sis's birthday prezzies and Easter eggs for everyone. Can also do a bit more creating, only problem is I feel like pants!! I am full of cold ready for the hols and I can't settle to anything. Grrr! I'm making sis a bag to take her stuff in to work - uniform and sarnie box. Also a couple of wooden door plaques. Would like to do more but the time is just running away and feeling so yucky doesn't help at all.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Organised? Me?

Oh it's so true - if I was organised I'd be dangerous. Likewise if I could make a decision and stick to it!! I ended up NOT going to Sewing for Pleasure. Took incy's advice and ordered my wool roving off the 'net, saving myself at least £17 in the process. Felt a bit icky anyway today so couldn't face the treck up the M42!! Instead I put the hands onto my dolls and started giving them all boob jobs! Can't have belly dancers without something to shimmy! :0)

Have washed my lovely lot of goodies from yesterday and will post photos as soon as they are all ironed.

Lots of work at college this week - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Just means not much time for creative work. Will have to make the most of every spare minute.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Reduce Reuse Recycle or Spend Spend Spend!!

This morning I did something I've not done for ages... went to a JUMBLE sale!!! I'd forgotten just how fab they are. This was a fill-a-bag-for-a-quid type sale. I bought two carriers crammed to bursting for £2.00 and my stash is great. Some lovely things to wear everyday,

some for belly dancing in

and stuff to chop up and 're-purpose'.

Oh and a portable typewriter!

Ann had one which she used loads during the last year of our HND and the effect is great. If you iron freezer paper onto fabric you can feed it into the typewriter and type directly onto the material. It looks more... hmm... 'authentic' than writing or photo transfer. (Don't know if authentic is quite the word I'm after but it'll do!)
My thrifting splurge started yesterday when I hit the charity shops. Got a great pair of jeans, a Polly Pocket set for kiddie
and a Boyd's Bear called Beezley from Acorns Hospice shop. Usually this has the best clothes of all the charity shops in Lichfield, but my haul from the St Giles Hospice Shop was much better this time. Two Per Una skirts - one green tweedy with layered skirts,
and one ikat type print in reds,
a black and green sequinned ethnic skirt for dancing (size 10!!!!?),
a black top with floaty sleeves for dancing,
and a pink/purple crochet cardi (like Nan used to make).
All a bit more expensive than the jumble but great quality stuff and a nice donation to the Hospice who looked after dad so well. Can't complain at that now can I?
My "web world" is ever expanding. I am blogging, Flickring (including being moderator on one group - Pins and Needles), UK Crafts Forum-ing, and now Craftjuicing. Beck the felted Bunny is entered into the Easter Competition so please take a look and vote for him. He would be SOOO pleased. Thanks. To further my needlefelting education I AM going to Sewing for Pleasure. I waivered due to lack of funds but having seen Creative Bumble Bee's blog of her visit to the show, I am now all excited again!! Thanks Bumble.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

I've arrived!!!!!

Ooh I'm scared now... I have been blogged by incywincytogs and I'm also on cuteable. That's 'proper' craft business that is. I'm seriously going to have to get organised now and MAKE some stuff with a view to actually selling it!! Thanks so much to incy and swirly for including this 'wet-behind-the-ears-newbie' on your sites.
As a reaction to this publicity I have actually got the latest 3 dolls out and started attaching limbs, heads and so on. I'm pencilled in for a local craft fair at the start of July so that will now be my focus. If I can make some sample dolls to take orders from it will make my stand look nice and full. Then I can make some more embroidered badges, cards and possibly needle felted 'things' which will sell more reasonably and generate cashflow.
I'm going to have to start to investigate etsy, craftjuice and the like now. I don't think I'll ever be off the computer long enough to make anything!!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Where has CF gone? :0(

How terrible! It's the end of the world! I'm bereft! What's happened? The forum is down!! Is is the terrible weather? Is is sabotage? Is it 'someone' making me go and do something creative instead of sitting at the computer for hours on end? Maybe it's the skinny bum fairy making me get up to try and prevent further spreading in THAT department!! Whatever has happened I've never spent so long on Flickr or had so many people looking at my pix as a result! Cool.
I've also been looking through more blogs and found a great link on incys blog - it's the craft blog school on feeling stitchy and I only wish I'd found it sooner. It tells you all you need to know to set up a crafty blog properly rather than winging it like I have. Will have to work my way through each lesson and see if I can improve things...
Another benefit of being forum-less is that I've actually been creating stuff. My new obsession is needlefelting. On one of my many browses
through Flickr I found made by moxie and fell in love with her bunnies. As I had all the pertinent bits of material and equipment I decided to have a go. I ended up making a whole bunny - not just the head. What do you think for my first attempt?

After this little attempt I went on to make a carrot for the bunny, a duck, a ladybird, a spider, a pea (!) and I began a mermaid but the flesh colour is all wrong. Check them all out on my Flickr pages. I think I really need to buy more wool to stop her looking quite so red. I also need a proper chunk of foam as the cheap decorating sponge I've been using is now starting to disintegrate, unless anybody out there knows of a cheaper shortcut?... Luckily it's Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC starting on Thursday. I just need to sell something so I have some spending money to take with me!!! Anybody want to buy a kidney?.....

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Oh my goodness! Worldwide WEB is right - I feel like a fly caught by a spider and I can't get out. I have become lost in Flickr-world after I joined the new Crafts Forum group. I uploaded a stack of photos as a new month = another 100mb allowance. I sent these to various groups, then I uploaded more pix. Then I thought of other groups to look for. It's an endless circle and I MUST STOP!! I'm getting nothing else done.

I have actually cracked on well with my belly dolly. (More photos are available on Flickr!!!) I'm just scared to tackle her face as I don't want to spoil her by doing too much. So far I've just stitched on the eye beads and that's it. Think I may have to quickly make a few more heads to practise on.

Went to work yesterday and one student was really struggling with what to do next. Found a Maggie Grey book in the library and showed it to her. Now she's all excited about stitching on paper and getting the gold wax out. I must admit it has fired my imagination too. A bit of crunchy, creative embroidery would be great to do. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I've been a proper wifey today - Spring cleaning no less!!! Have cleaned windows inside and out, Hoovered and tidied front and back rooms and done 3 loads of washing!! I feel so virtuous now that I reckon I'm entitled to a bit of stitching as a reward. Only problem is it's nearly time to do school run. I've got about an hour...... Better use it productively.... Wouldn't want to waste it....