Tuesday, 29 November 2011

I'm on a mission to buy all handmade for gifts this holidays.
My main source of inspiration as ever is Etsy. Throughout the year I have marked a lot of gorgeous things that I have had my eye on for gifts and now I've started purchasing.
It's such fun!

As an Etsy seller, I know the thrill of selling handmade as I am aware that most customers are looking for something a little different and special, so it is always where I head to when I am looking for something a little different and special.

As an extended family we have 15 nieces and nephews and as a consequence we have a £15 limit, which makes selecting even more fun. We also stick to gifts just for the children.
So here's what I have found so far...

Pretty gold necklaces for the teenage girls (I'm quite eager to get one of these for me too...) from the immensely talented Cindy of Edor Jewellery.

The teenage fellas are all getting a pair of cufflinks from Zinc White. I first met Paul and Lidia at Saltaire Fair and I love their quirky jewellery, particularly these Initial Cufflinks. I have bought a lot of these for gifts over the months since i met them!

The pre-teen girls are all getting a goodie box of one of my notebooks, pencil pouches and a brooch similar to this one below by Elizabeth Pawle.
I'm ear-marking one of these for me too ;-)

The challenging remaining is the pre-teen boys...I'm really stuck on this one so if you have any bright ideas and can point me in the right direction, I'd be really grateful. I'm determined to succeed in getting everyone a handmade gift this year.

I think I've done pretty darn well and hopefully the recipients will be equally delighted. There really is an amazing selection of handmade gifts out there, so I open up the challenge to you...

Can you do a handmade gift list?

Friday, 25 November 2011

Christmas shopping officially starts today, so to kick start yours enjoy 20% off everything in my Etsy shop until midnight GMT tonight! Simply enter BLACKFRIDAY in the coupon section at the checkout.

And watch out because I may be restocking as the day goes on...

Don't say i'm not nice to you...

...and speaking of being nice, don't forget to enter my giveaway too...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

A giveaway...and a new toy...

...actually the new toy is the reason for the giveaway.

A couple of weeks ago I invested in a Big Shot machine. I'd been after finding a way to cut fabric shapes out for ages, for the particular purpose of cutting flowers for my Flower Brooch Kits. My Flower Brooch Kits are far and away my most popular kits and up until now I have been buying cut flowers (not of the fresh fragrant variety) from a lovely lady in US.

But I have been wanting to make my own for obvious reasons and up until now any cutting machines weren't suitable for fabric.
Enter the new Big Shot machine...

The Big Shot has revolutionised my kits by the fact that I am in control of my stock of flowers, cutting as I need and not having to worry about temporarily making the kits out of stock while I wait for more flowers to arrive from across the pond.

And it's so darn quick and easy to use!

If i haven't lost you yet, here's the fun bit...the giveaway...

I obviously needed something to cut and coincidentally just at that point Courtney from Seamstar came along and almost the very same day sent me a swatch card of all the delicious new felts she was carrying. They are 30% wool and really beautifully soft and vibrant.
I put together an order for the ones I thought would work well for my kits and a day later I was cutting and combining to my heart's content.

Courtney was so taken with the selection that she decided it would be perfect to make a specific bundle with this selection of fabrics. And here's the giveaway part...Courtney has very generously offered one of you, my lovely readers the opportunity to win a set of this bundle, here on my blog. All you have to do is leave a comment here on my blog and you will be in the draw to win a fat 1/8 of each of these 6 luscious felts. I'll be leaving the draw open until next Friday 2 Dec so if you fancy some felt, just leave me a comment and a contact email and you will be in with a shot.*


...as i was cutting out all my flowers I was left with all these. Now I am known for my inability to discard anything and am convinced there is something that can be done with these 'stencils'. But, for once, I am going to resist the temptation to hoard them. Unless someone thinks they can do something wonderful with them they are going in the bin. If you can't bear the thought of that and know exactly what you would do with them let me know and they are all yours! The first person to say they want them can have them! Again, just make sure you have an email that I can get hold of you via.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

With all the sewing I've been doing of late, It's hardly surprising that I am left with copious amounts of scraps.
Altho it would be a misnomer to call this a bag of scraps.

Leftovers it is but, apart from the few strips on the top, the smallest piece is about 20 x 20cm...hardly a scrap! And the largest is probably about 25 x 30cm. And not only that, together there must be almost half a metre of fabric here in total.

So if you have been eyeing up my fabrics but want to get a closer inspection, or quite fancy a selection rather than one big piece, this is the bag for you!

It's available right here and as I said, the rate the sewing is going in these parts, I'm pretty sure there will be plenty more pretty soon...

Amendment: Wow, that was quick!...it is now sold, but hopefully be more very soon ;-)

Monday, 21 November 2011

I had a lesson in "Never Ever Give Up" last week...

Out of the blue I got an email from someone who had seen me at BCTF 2 years ago...yes, that's right, 2 YEARS ago!
The lady in question had kept my details all this time and finally was ready to place an order!

At that time my work was quite different to what I offer now, but the thing she was most interested in was my cards. I don't really offer these wholesale anymore but was quite happy to do so for her - I would have felt too guilty not to after all this time.

And because it's been so long since I've done a batch of these I had fun today doing the order.
I pulled out a few of some new fabrics and it actually felt like I was doing something completely new and different - although that could say more about my memory of a goldfish and I'd completely forgotten about ever making them!

I particularly enjoyed using one of the Lotta fabrics that has been sitting on my desk waiting to be used. I'd promised myself that I couldn't cut into any of them until there was no more work waiting ie not before Christmas, but since this was work, I could legitimately use it.

A few finishing touches to the cards is needed and then 2 years later, off the order goes in a matter of days. I just hope she finds the wait was worth it.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Same, but different...

same patterns...

...different products...

My new notebooks with Triangle Mania and Scruffy Daisy are available in the shop now!

And to reward you with your patience for keeping looking at these same patterns, next week, in conjunction with Seamstar, we have a giveaway.

Have a great weekend and see you then!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Ok, you can be forgiven for the sighing, yawning, groaning of Scruffy Daisy and Triangle Mania overkill going on in these parts.

But just bear with me...here's a combo you don't see me using every day...

a little grey...ok, you see plenty of that, but a little red?
And a little grey and red?
(Or at least in the same blog post)

It's getting rather wintery and Christmassy (darn, I said it) around these parts.
Seeing these two together is giving me ideas...and only time will tell whether they are good ideas, or not.
Fancy a little grey and red yourself? (or the accustomed teal and yellow?) head over to my shop where I've made a whole new section for all these lovelies...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

After the busy weekend I spent some time yesterday fulfilling my obligation to Handprinted: a fabric swap, that Leslie over at Maze & Vale had organised.
Calling it an obligation makes it sound like it was unenjoyable, which would be so untrue. It's more that I had signed up, I had committed, I had to fulfil that commitment come what may.

I had so many different ideas with what I wanted to do, but unfortunately time was not on my side. The pieces were supposed to have been mailed yesterday and actually, I'm damned pleased with myself that, only a day late, I am back from the PO having mailed them!

The 'brief' was to produce a Fat Quarter - or thereabouts - of hand printed fabric. Naturally I was planning on screen printing something, but as I said, time won on this one and I didn't manage the time in the studio.

After a failed potato printing experiment I opted for my second favourite fabric printing method - freezer paper.

With my die cut flower to hand I set to work with cutting out flowers on the freezer paper with my new Big Shot machine (more on that another day...including a fab giveaway...watch this space...)

Then it was a question of producing a piece to each of my group's preferred colours. I could have done them all the same. That would have been so much easier.
But when did 'easier' = 'more fun'?

So here we have 4 different panels heading off to Australia, Canada and the US, hopefully to be used in all sorts of crafting projects. I can see them being used as a big pillow front, or maybe cut into individual patches for embellishing.
Who knows? But it's going to be fun waiting to see ;-)

Check out what everyone else has been up to here.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Me and my big mouth...who'd have thought I'd be able to keep it shut all this time?
Way, way back in August I was asked by the lovely peeps at Fat Quarterly to take part in a design challenge.

Obviously, I had to be the sole of discretion and not spill the beans ahead of time what I was up to. I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to be in fat Quarterly and having been given the go ahead today and had a quick sneak at Issue 7, I have to say, it is FAB!
Not only am I really really pleased with how beautifully they have presented my contribution, but it really is a beautiful issue, aptly titled "Colour".
I won't spoil it by telling you too much about it, but you can see the whole article in issue 7.

If you are a subscriber you may already have had a flick and seen my little piece, as well as all the other gorgeous contributions, but in case you aren't a subscriber, I can highly recommend you go straight here and get yourself a copy.

Although you will have to have an ounce of patience as it isn't available until tomorrow. But hey, if I can show patience all these months, you can for one more day!

I'm rather pleased to have this weekend over with to tell you the truth.

Arts Trail was really lovely to be part of even thought sales weren't as I would have liked.
And the same goes to Otley Courthouse. It's always great to catch up with fellow makers, but the whole weekend, in preparation and execution has taken it's toll - along with the rest of crazy life - and I'm feeling rather run down to say the least.

However no rest for the wicked at this crazy time of year and my next big thing to get ready for is We Make London Christmas Fair. I'm really honoured to have been accepted on this and very excited about being there. There will be quite a few new products I'll be taking with there - including my new stitched screen printed notebooks - and hopefully some of you southerners may make it. Would be great to meet you.

First on the agenda this week is getting fabric printing and more covers for the notebooks printed, but if you like yellow (who doesn't?) these are in the shop now.

Friday, 11 November 2011

It's that time of year when I can hardly breathe. I know I haven't helped myself with all the swaps I signed up to in October but, quite frankly, when Mr Postie delivers such a beauty as this, it makes it all worth it.

This week I received this fab pillow from the wonderful Siobhan, all the way from Sydney.
And how perfect is it?
Siobhan pieced together a fab wonky star with her own fabrics in such a perfect way...
...the teal is the exact same shade as my new curtains, not to mention the front door...
...the grey links in with the walls (see a sneak below the windowsill)...
...and what about the shot of pink to pull in my planters outside.

And if the pillow itself and the gorgeous plump feather filled inner wasn't enough, check out these fabric pieces Siobhan sent with the pillow.

Just as soon as I start breathing again I'll be playing with these.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

How was your weekend?
Mine was rather fab.
I spent it with these 3 lovely ladies below walking up and down the beautiful Northumberland beaches in the amazing November sunshine.
35 years ago, almost to the day, we all met and spending weekends together is oh so special.

And it's set me up good and proper for the week ahead.
I have not one, but 2 events this weekend and consequently will be busy, busy, busy making pieces to take with me.

The first event is a 2 day event...The Headingley Arts Trail, run by The Bowery. I'm going to be at number 4, 5 Victoria Terrace with 8 other artists. I'm really looking to meeting the other artists. I'd love to see the rest of the trail, but I'm not sure I'll get around.

On Sunday I am at The Otley Courthouse at their Designer Craft Fair. There is due to be a wide range of bespoke handmade products gathered at this fair.
If you find yourself in the area this weekend, do pop along to one (or both!) of these venues. It's a perfect opportunity to do some unique christmas shopping and do stop and say hi - I'd love to see you!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

My Creative Space...

My creative space, as is of no surprise to you I am sure, is full of my screen printed fabrics, various lining fabrics, pouches in progress, made up pouches and last but not least...scraps.

I have several big fairs coming up and consequently there is a lot of pouch action going on. I love coordinating my screen printed outers with various lining fabrics. I had a big delivery this week from my lovely aunt in US, who always acts as my go-between for bringing me fabric over. More of that another time, but one fabric is just perfect for linings...Cloud 9's The Banks in Ocean is just beautiful. Like all Michelle's fabrics, they look and feel even better in real life and this one is no exception. Simply love it.

Anna Maria Horner's PAstry Line Voiles are another fave at the moment that I've told you about recently. not only are they so exquisitely buttery soft, but the colours are so perfectly beautiful.

I particularly love the yellow (well, duh!) but the pink is equally gorgeous.

I had a commission this week for a larger pouch "big enough for my knitting whilst on the move" requested the customer. Hope this does the job! Because it is so large (about 40cm across the top) I put a wrist handle on it...I quite like the feature.

And when all the cutting and making is done, this pile of scraps is what I'm left with. I'm really not sure what to do with them, but I definitely know I can't bear to put them in the bin.

Want to see more Creative Spaces? Head over here...

p.s. i meant to say, for all you lovely people who have expressed an interest in purchasing some of my fabric, I'm listing some bit-smaller-than-fat-quarter panels in my Etsy shop and there will be more added as i go... so head over here to see if anything takes your fancy...thanks for your encouragement, lovely peeps x