charity, craft, crochet, knitting, Uncategorized, yarn

Works in Progress

I’ve been rather lax in writing my blog recently, work has been so manic and I’ve had little time or energy to do much crafting, let alone write about it!

Crafting has always been a stress reliever for me and I have really missed it…  Thankfully things are starting to get back on track and I’ve been getting out some projects to enjoy…

One thing I did make time for was some squares for the fabulous craft community project Jenny’s Blanket of Hugs.  Organised by the brilliant Just Pootling this was a wonderfully supportive idea.

IMG_20160804_191258

Jenny is the daughter of Amanda from Little Box of Crochet and has been battling multiple tumours with grace, style and strength.  I’m so pleased to have been a small part of the crafty effort to make something beautiful, but also useful, for Jenny.

Hundreds of crafters across the world made enough squares to make seven large blankets, some of which will now be raffled for various good causes!

Apart from my squares, I have actually managed to finish a couple of things – firstly this Flower Shawl which is now for sale on my Etsy shop.

I’ve also started making some eco-friendly cotton shoppers – since we have to pay 5p a bag now in any shop we may as well shop in style!

Next up is a new ripple scarf I am designing in a gorgeous variegated Artesano superfine DK Alpaca – lovely to work with, but a bit hard on the eyes sometimes!

IMG_20160812_173753

Apart from these I have several other little bits that I am working on – but they have to remain secret for now…  I will leave you with a gorgeous basket of Noro yarn which I picked up for a bargain during my recent visit to Worthing to visit Mum and Dad.

I haven’t got any plans for these yet…  But that may soon change…

IMG_20160829_165019

Standard
charity, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized

Project Linus, Proud Daughter

My crafting inspiration has always been my Mum.  She is able to do pretty much everything with apparent ease…

She has consummate skills as a quilter – all hand pieced and quilted, although she’s also a dab hand at sewing anything.  She can also knit and turn her hand to pretty much anything (except crochet, don’t ask her about crochet!)

She has made some really cute and kooky things, which appeals to my random sense of humour, such as my kitty knitting/crochet project bag and the bunny bags with added felted carrot!  But she can also do pretty things like these hearts with lovely batiks, cottons with beautiful ribbons and trimmings.

Mum often makes things for my craft fairs and for my Etsy shop such as these lovely Japanese-style Origami Bags.

But what I really want to draw attention to in this post are the amazing quilts made by Mum and her ‘Sew and Sew’ group for Project Linus – this is a wonderful charity which provides quilts and blankets for sick and disabled children at Hospitals, Hospices and at home.  They distribute around 2,000 quilts a month in the UK alone.

Here’s Mum with two of her amazing creations.  The work that has gone into these is phenomenal.

And here are some of the ‘Sew and Sew’ ladies with their gorgeous offerings.  All in all the small group of ladies made 14 quilts in 5 months.  I am so proud of my Mum and her friends in doing something so selfless and kind and have such an appreciation of the time and love put into each one of these quilts.

The look on the Project Linus lady’s face says it all – she was amazed at how much they had produced in such a short time frame!  I hope the joy and love put into these creations will give the children who receive them a boost in their time of need.

IMG_1221.JPG

Standard
art, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, yarn

Selling Vintage and Craft Goods

I like to joke that I have enough patterns and ideas (not to mention stash) to retire now and be able to do at least 5 years worth of full-time crafting!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working out how best to tinker with all of the crafts that I enjoy, sort out my stash and have come up with a few options…

I’m going to streamline my Etsy shop and focus on accessories – bags, scarves, wraps, gloves and maybe the occasional hat.

Surprisingly, I have missed doing Craft Fairs, I enjoy talking to people, once I get over my initial shyness!  However, I find that the number of people attending, and the current financial situation, for most of us, can mean that there isn’t much profit in it.

I have been looking into some local fairs, where you can sell your goods and clear your stash by selling trimmings, notions, wool and fabric.  Sounds like the perfect fit for me…

This morning I was at my beloved Car Boot Sale (surprise…) and found another stash of vintage magazines.  My friend Anna and I had great fun making up names and stories for each of the slightly cheesy models.  My particular favourite is the ‘hello sailor’ one!

The interesting thing about the 1960s patterns in the below are that the majority of the women’s designs are still very wearable – there are some gorgeous knitted dresses and coats.  Most of the male patterns are not quite so classic and wearable though…

I also found a few 1970s/1980s Vogue and Good Housekeeping materials and a great book on knitting design, which I may have to keep to refer to…

There is also a Vintage Market where I may sell some of my vintage finds and I will just have to shut my eyes and avoid looking at the other stalls (like that is going to happen!)

 

 

 

Standard
cats, craft, crochet, knitting, music, Uncategorized, yarn

Top Ten Review of the Year

Well, another prolonged absence due to work – I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but next year I will make more time to post on my blog as I have missed not being able to post so regularly.  Getting organised is half the battle I think…

This year has been an interesting one (in all senses of the word!) – a new addition to my family (OK, so he’s a kitten) and a rebranding of my blog and business as well as opening my Etsy Shop.

Add to that the most manic year of my (full-time) working life and major changes within my working structure – which are all still in a state of flux!

But in many ways a fantastic year, much love and laughter with friends and family, and finding a kindred spirit in crafting in my friend Anna (and her five-year-old Mikey who’s favourite phrase is now “let’s get crafting!”)

So here is my Top Ten Review of the Year on looking back through my blog, I do hope you enjoy it!

One – The arrival of Sir Patrick of Naughtiness

As an Astronomy geek, I managed to persuade Anna and Mikey to name their rescued kitten Professor Brian (Cox) after everyone’s favourite physicist and ex-popstar.  I was amazed they went with it…

IMG_20150712_115127

I was even more amazed that I ended up rescuing his brother, whom I named Sir Patrick (Moore) after the famous and much beloved Astronomer and BBC Presenter (RIP).  It particularly helped that he had a squinty eye in which I could imagine the real Sir  Patrick’s monocle.  I met the real Sir Patrick once, he was absolutely delightful, and was very kind to me when another celebrity was very rude to me (you know who you are, Michael Fish!).

IMG_0078

Two – Opening my Etsy Shop

This was a long-term aim over the year and was delayed many times due to factors outside of my control!  In the end it was opened in October and I had my first sale within 24 hours.

I haven’t quite had the time since then to promote it as much as I would like, and I have exciting plans for my Etsy shop for 2016, so my upcoming week off in February will be spent at home getting things sorted…

IMG_0039 IMG_0025

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three – Vintage Shopping at the Car Booty

Regular readers will know that I love a bargain.  Most Sundays I can be found at Frome Car Boot Sale, rummaging around in other people’s junk.  For several months this year I had an amazing run on vintage notions and patterns and went a bit overboard buying them.

I have now decided to offload some of them in 2016 when I take part in a Craft Fair which also lets you sell related goods.  Some, though, I cannot bear to part with!

IMG_20150208_121059 IMG_20150208_120903

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four – Yarn, lovely Yarn

I wrote about my yarn addiction on several occasions, it has perhaps got a little out of hand, especially after I visited the Kensington Olympia Knitting and Stitching show in March – but I did get some beautiful yarns, including the cashmere / cotton blend to make this lovely shawl on my Etsy Shop.

IMG_20150315_135204 IMG_0095

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five – Devon knows how they make it so lovely

Through my lovely friend Anna, I’ve had the chance to visit Chagford, in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, twice this year for Craft Fairs.  Such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a real treat to visit there.  Bonus treat – the tiny ponies and other cute critters at the Miniature Pony Centre nearby.

IMG_0654 IMG_0655

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six – Holidays-a-go-go!

I’ve been extremely lucky this year with holidays – having a gorgeous week in Marbella in March, with Mum, and then again in Bayeux in June with Mum, Dad and my brother.  The first time we’d all been away together for several years.  Both were fabulous holidays, much needed and much enjoyed, and allowed me to expand my stash even more with some really lovely yarns and notions (as well as some cheeky goats producing the softest mohair)

GetAttachment (20) GetAttachment (19)

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20150724_192608 IMG_20150703_104826

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven – My first giveaway of Crochet Patterns

In October I gave away the pattern for my first designed project, some mini Halloween Treat Baskets – to fill with yummy chocolates.  I had great fun designing the different faces and putting together a beginner’s project which I was happy to share for free.  Although a simple design, it has given me a taste for more!

IMG_0150 IMG_0159

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight – Geek Loveliness

A fabulous year of nerd-dom has been bookended by Star Wars.  In May I posted about my trip to Marbella and the surprise of hearing a youth orchestra starting up with the Star Wars soundtrack – I have never departed a cafe in such a hasty fashion before…  In May I also posted a cheeky geeky guide and then followed up with a visit to the Doctor Who Exhibition in September with my family.  There is an adventure to go through which is rather interactive – I was more scared than the kids!

GetAttachment

 

 

 

IMG_20150905_122616

IMG_20150905_122357

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine – Animals A-Plenty

It never surprises me that my most popular posts tend to be around my two black cats, Ella and Sir Patrick.  After all, they are endless sources of amusement to me!

IMG_0162 IMG_0186

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves – art and crafts.  In April I visited Standen, a home filled with delights from the Arts and Craft movement which I so admire.  Moving on to June I waxed lyrical about Salvator Rosa, one of my favourite artists, and in July I wrote about the beautiful lace that I encountered on my goaty adventures in Bayeux (and of course the famous Tapestry).

Dante_Gabriel_Rossetti_-_The_Day_Dream_-_Google_Art_Project

dsc_0049_sm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

download (4)

And finally, throughout the year I have been extolling the virtues of crafting, thank you for joining me on my journey this year, and here’s to 2016!

Standard
craft, crochet, knitting, yarn

Works in Progress…

Just a quick update whilst I am incapacitated – had a little accident today whilst cleaning my carpets – I didn’t realise how wet my feet were and walked off the carpet into the kitchen and went down with a slap bang, onto my knee.

Massive bruising and swelling – luckily I can recall some of my nursing basics – just need to get some RICE…

Rest

Ice

Compression

Elevation

Also a bit of Arnica cream which brings out the bruise but also helps reduce swelling and pain.

So whilst RICE-ing I have had a look at (some of) my works in progress…  As always I have got many things on the go…

These little orange treat baskets are the foundations of my recent posts regarding Halloween Crochet Patterns – I am going to take these into work for an order I have received from a colleague.  She has yet to decide whether they are going to be spiders, cats, bats or skeletons.

I will be making a few extras for others at work as they always go down a treat (see what I did then!!)

IMG_0223

IMG_0150 IMG_0159

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My second work in progress is my annual fundraising by selling crocheted poppies for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal (find the pattern here).  These just need the backs sewn onto them and they are ready to go!

 

IMG_0222

 

I have a piece for my Etsy shop nearly finished – a few adjustments to be made before I put it up for sale though!  Lovely yarn – Katia Peru – very easy and enjoyable to crochet with.

 

IMG_0221

 

Finally I have some lovely yarn (Katia again!) this time Katia Azteca – in a lovely soft variegated colourway.  I bought this with a view to making a present, but again I may pinch it for my shop, as I have had another spend-up at my local yarn store to replace it already…

 

IMG_0220 IMG_0219

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fingers crossed I get some of these finished!  Have a great weekend all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

My First Week on Etsy

Well, this week has certainly been a learning curve…

I spent quite a lot of time prior to signing up with Etsy, planning and preparing my site…  And it seems like the work has not been in vain…

Within my first 24 hours on Etsy I had my first sale – one of my scarves (see below!).  I so enjoyed packaging it up prettily and sending it off within a day, that I didn’t give a thought to photographing my packaging.

IMG_0038

However, I had a few issues with sending the scarf out via the Post Office (confirming my belief that the Post Office and Royal Mail should never have been privatised) when they delivered my package back to me as the sender.  Normally a very calm person, I was spitting feathers!  I assumed that they would rectify the situation for me, but apparently now the Post Office and Royal Mail are two separate companies, who barely talk to each other, despite working in close proximity.

I had a vague apology from the Royal Mail (whose fault it was) but I must admit I am not impressed and am going to look into the alternatives.  In the UK we have a lot of couriers but the Post Office/Royal Mail are our main delivery route so my options may be limited.

This did not dampen my good spirits for long, as I had a lovely email from my customer saying that she was thrilled with her scarf and the little extra treat which I had put in there.  Thankfully when ‘reposted’ it arrived the next day, so no harm done, but not the best way to start…

I have signed up for an Etsy email class on making the best of my shop and have some work to do on my Halloween and Christmas items, so I had better cracking…

Happy weekend everyone!

 

Standard

Very exciting news…

My Etsy shop is now open for business…  Visit me here!

Here are a small selection of some of the items you will find on there.  I would very much welcome any feedback on Etsy from shoppers and sellers alike!

A selection of hand knitted and crocheted scarves and wraps in beautiful yarns…

IMG_0031

IMG_0030

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0095

IMG_0041

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand quilted Japanese-style patchwork bags in gorgeous colourways…

IMG_0141

IMG_0134

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0130

IMG_0121

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scandi-style bunting in soft muted grey/blue, red and white.  Ideal for Christmas but lovely for all year round!

IMG_0118

 

 

I’m off for a rest now – very excited but also exhausted from the effort of uploading all of the pictures, finalising the policies and working out all of the measurements!

Happy snoozing!

 

Lou x

Uncategorized

My Etsy Shop is now open for business!

Image
Uncategorized

Unexpected Absence

Well, that was a rather extended absence, it’s been a challenging, and at times difficult three weeks.

I was at the Shoreham Airshow with my family last weekend, when the Hawker Hunter jet crashed.  It was a huge shock and we were all very upset and horrified, even more so later finding out that 11 people had died as the jet crashed over the main A27 road.  It has taken a bit of time to reflect and reconcile what happened, but after a while you have to put it aside.

Good news regarding my new charge, Patrick, the seriously cute but cheeky kitten, he is doing really well.  He has put on 50% of his bodyweight (considering he was previously neglected, this is a particular relief) and his latest vet check up has been very positive.  So he’s gone from this slightly anxious kitten…

 

IMG_0078IMG_20150814_144851

 

 

 

 

 

 

To this super-confident little chap with a lovely glossy, sleek coat – apologies for the quality of the photos – took these on my phone as he rarely stays still!  It’s amazing how quickly they grow – he is clearly going to be very tall and is very solid and muscly.  All that has been built up in the three weeks he has had good nutrition and most of all, lots of love and care.

 

IMG_20150829_095846 IMG_20150825_232616

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week I was away for a few days with work, which was a very exciting challenge.  As a Nurse it is strange to be based in an office and advising patients over the phone.  I had the opportunity to travel to Kent, the other side of the South of England, to train staff at a Hospital on our feeding pumps.  I really enjoyed the challenge, but it was quite exhausting!

So now I’m home, everything is settled and back on track, and I hope to get on with some lovely crafting this Bank Holiday weekend (which I can only do when Patrick is sleeping!) and open up my Etsy shop soon…  It seems to have been a long time coming.

Happy crafting

 

Lou x

Standard
Uncategorized

You Have To Be Kitting!

What a week I’ve had, best laid plans and all that!

On Thursday I had an early finish from work and was planning to finish a few items ready for my Etsy shop.  I was having a little mooch around the garden, planning for my fences to be put up.

Suddenly I saw this cute little black kitten strolling up the garden path, and he walked straight over and threw himself at my feet.  I knew that he ‘belonged’ to a neighbour due to a recent incident of neglect we witnessed, regarding him and his siblings.  He was outside without being vaccinated, microchipped and neutered, too young (only 12 weeks old) and the neighbours’ children said that he was unhappy at home.

With help from my friend, we managed to get him rehomed with me.  By this time I had to go out to complete a Dementia Friends talk and so I borrowed some kitten food and left him with a bowl, some water and Ella’s litter tray (much to her chagrin!)

 

IMG_0072

IMG_0078

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ella is not keen on other cats and I had always planned to keep to a one-cat household.  Of course all of that is up the swanny as he has bonded so strongly with me within minutes.  I can’t imagine life without him now, he is so tiny, sweet-natured and gentle.

I used to work for Cats Protection so have followed their excellent guidelines about introducing him into the house and taking it slowly, to ensure long-term happiness for all inhabitants!  I got a Feliway diffuser which relieves tension in cats, for Ella’s benefit more than his…

 

IMG_0063

IMG_0065

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ella is a bit put-out at the moment, but has at least not been aggressive or overly anxious, as these piccies attest to!

 

IMG_0059

IMG_0061

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we will (hopefully!) be a happy cat household, he has had a check-up at the vets and his first immunisations, soon he will be free to go out into the garden, safely this time.  He is only 1.2kg but not too underweight for his age, and otherwise the vet gave him a clean bill of health.  Phew!

The only thing left was to pick a name for him, and since his brother is named Brian after the wonderful physicist Professor Brian Cox, my first idea was immediately to name him Patrick after Sir Patrick Moore (the late, great amateur astronomer and TV Presenter of The Sky At Night).

So welcome to Patrick – and lots of fuss and hugs for Ella, to hopefully smooth the transition so that she comes to terms with the interloper and they can live together in harmony.

Hopefully next week I’ll have more time to get on to other priorities including my delayed Etsy shop!

Happy catting!

 

Lou x

Standard
Uncategorized

Etsy Countdown Revisited… 3!

My Etsy plans are finally back on track…

After a longer than expected hiatus due to illness, I am raring to go and very excited about restarting my Etsy Countdown!

I have begun taking some photos with my fancy new camera and coming up with descriptive and accurate details for my sewn, knitted and crocheted goods – there’s certainly more to it than I expected when I initially came up with the idea to sell my wares online.

So whilst I’m working hard on this I will leave you with a short and sweet post with some of my tester photos, trying to offer different views of the products.  Any feedback would be gratefully received, but be sure there is a bit of cropping and other tricks to be applied before they go live!

IMG_0043 IMG_0005 IMG_0006

IMG_0036 IMG_0009 IMG_0033 IMG_0032

IMG_0025 IMG_0028

IMG_0039 IMG_0037 IMG_0038

Happy crafting!

Lou x

Standard