Saturday, 30 April 2011

New banner!

So I obtained myself a new banner for my etsy shop and thought you'd like to hear the story behind it. Like most things I seem to buy these days I heard about it first on Twitter. An art student called Mia made it for me, she is charging a dollar a word to write anything within reason in chalk on the pavement. Just click here if you'd like something of your very own. All proceeds go towards paying off her student loans and having finally cleared my (twelve year old) student debt a couple of months ago, I am all for helping someone else on her way to early repayment.

Mia also sells her art through this page on her website. I love her style and there are lots of purposeful and beautiful things to pick from. I particularly like her handmade yet practical playing cards set. Gorgeous!

I'm very tempted to get another message for a very unique birthday greeting for my husband next month, or my little girl's name to frame and put on her bedroom door. Oh the possibilities!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Break out the bunting, I'm unstoppable!

I'm really ploughing through a whole lot of unfinished projects at the moment, and feeling pretty chuffed with myself. I've updated the shop with three new products this week, and the latest is timed to tie in with Royal Wedding Fever!

For years I've been putting little hearts in my knitting as a little kind of 'trademark', especially when I was making hats for Innocent's big knit. And of course there's almost a whole section of my etsy shop dedicated to confetti hearts. I've wanted to make miniature bunting for ooh, ages, and with my recent wedding-related cross-stitching project, all these ideas collided in a big flash of inspiration and here's the result:

I wish I was back at my day job at the moment so I could pop a string of this bunting on my desk in time for Friday. However, I am also aware of the fact that I would have to be doing work if I were sitting at my desk, so I'm kind of glad I don't have to be back for another three months!

Of course, this bunting is endlessly customisable, in different colours and even with letters spelling out 'bride', 'groom', 'wedding', the date of the wedding or the names of the happy couple. Or all of these things! Each square is 2cm by 2cm, uses dmc threads and the aida is backed with a layer of fluffy felt, to keep it in good shape. Luckily my stitching is pretty neat, even on the back, but I felt (ahem!) that the layer of felt just finished it off nicely.

Head over the shop now to pick some up - if you're in the UK, I'll even rush it out to you in time for Friday!

Monday, 25 April 2011

More useful offcuts

In an attempt to make the most of the card I'd bought to go with my handmade envelopes, I saved even the littlest slivers in the hope of giving them new life.

So here in my shop is a limited edition set of bookmarks or gift tags with a teeny heart cutout and the ever popular bakers' twine.

When I was looking for a contrasting book to lay the bookmarks against, I was very pleased with myself to remember this little piece of history, my gran's diary from her days as a Justice of the Peace in Manchester. Not just the ideal colour and size for these photos, but a great trip down memory lane as I'd never got around to looking through it properly after I inherited it when I was a student and living away from home in France. I was surprised to learn that in 1978 (the year after we all went to Russia together when I was only a couple of months old) my Gran also visited Israel and spent Christmas in Spain - exciting times! My gran would have been celebrating her 99th birthday today if she was still with us, what a milestone.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Upgrade your envelopes

New in my shop is an envelope upgrade, big 5 inch (12.5cm) square envelopes with co-ordinating flat cards. Each new set will be added individually because my cardstock is all rescued from fellow crafters overstock via Etsy's much-missed Alchemy feature. Making these sets extremely limited edition because I don't know when I can get more... Each set costs $10 and is available by clicking here. They're particularly handy as wedding thank yous, you can even pop a CD of your photos in with your thank you note, it fits perfectly!

I've been playing around with stamping up offcuts, for thank you notes and enclosures with orders. This makes me wonder whether I should add some co-ordinating designs onto one side of the flat cards, or if part of their appeal is their simplicity. Any thoughts welcomed on that front!

In the meantime, here is a suggestion for co-ordinating stationery to complement my envelopes from a fellow Etsy seller...

or how about some lovely handmade paper - this stuff is so smooth you can even run it through your printer!

p.s. I had intended to include a whole selection of different notepapers but I am sensing a serious gap in the market here.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Washday browns

My neighbours are going to think I'm mad. But me and my rotary cutter have big plans for this gorgeous floral print!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Lavender cats are back!

Back in the Girl Industries etsy shop and new to the folksy shop, too! New colourways will be coming soon, as I'm down to my last dozen of these handy little scented cats.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Recycling... almost as much fun as upcycling!

After spending the last 12 weeks getting my flat ready to go on the market, I finally have Mondays and Tuesdays free to work on crafty things (and my dissertation, which I'm determined to finish before I go back to work in July). We have a lovely childminder called Tina who will be looking after Amelia when I go back to work and with all the work I needed to do on the flat and our house, it made sense to start her off a couple of days a week now. Especially before that magical time (around 9 months) when separation anxiety is due to set in. Providing I'm not too tired, I also have time to work in the evenings now, so blogging should be back on track, and tweeting, too.

I'm dying to show you what I'm working on today, but the weather outside is terrible, which means the light in here is awful. I have a lot of unfinished projects that I started when I was pregnant and I'm trying to get them done in some kind of order. I also really want to finish off my zine project as I put so much work into it during 2009 and 2010, as did my interviewees, that this really is my top priority. However, I have to work on it on the computer in my craft room, where all the responses are saved and my scanner/printer is set up. It's a little bit too old to be wireless, unfortunately. And my craft room is not exactly in its most hospitable state at the moment, as you'll know from recent posts.

I'm currently of the frame of mind that Mondays will be happy crafting Mondays, and Tuesdays will be slightly more dull home admin/housework, physio and dissertation days. I will see if I manage to stick to that and don't just find myself pottering in the craft room. Our house is finally starting to come together a little bit more, especially as my husband had a week off last week and we managed a trip to IKEA and to get quite a few jobs around the house done. I'm particularly pleased with him for removing the integrated fridge from our kitchen (never worked properly since we moved in) and replacing it with a recycling centre so that a) I don't have to run out in the rain every ten minutes with a used newspaper or food packaging and b) Little Miss Inquisitive can be kept out of the composting caddy once she gets a bit more mobile! What's particularly pleasing is that now we have somewhere to keep our jute and canvas shopping bags, instead of 'wherever they land'.

New things are on their way for the shop, too, we just need a bit more of last weekend's sunshine before I can get things photographed nicely.

Before: After:

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

In good company...

I'm feeling really tranquil and calm this week, so it's apt that a set of my upcycled envelopes have been selected for this lovely treasury by Erinle. Click through here for a bit of a zen interlude.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Are you in Exeter or Dudley?

I'm a keen follower of the Tea Towels and Sheets project, by Edinburgh-based artist Cassandra Harrison and wish I could get along to one of the legs of her travelling exhibition, The Connecting Thread. The exhibition has just visited Newcastle, and is off to Exeter and Dudley in June, but help is required for setting up the exhibition.

If you know someone who would like to be involved, particularly an art student looking for experience of the behind-the-scenes, real-life aspects of having your own touring exhibition, please point them in the direction of this blog post, which gives full details, including dates and locations.

In the meantime, have a look at some of the beautiful work Cassandra has produced over at her blog and flickr, home of the image at the top of this post.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Handmade is best

Oh sad face.
But wait, here's Monkey.

Do you like Monkey?

My Monkey.

Monkey monkey monkey monkey monkey monkey monkey!

Monkey monkey.


Yeah, definitely bedtime now.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

It was my birthday on Tuesday, and I got some great presents, which goes some way to making up for being the ripe old age of 34.

Here's a snapshot of a few of them, one of which was requested (the Kaffe Fassett book, for inspiration to go as offroad as possible with colour combinations!), but the rest were lovely surprises.

There's another big present in my craft room but I haven't done a photo yet because it's still depressingly untidy. I'll get there...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Something lovely in the post

I'm getting more and more keen to try and make my own recycled paper from the offcuts of paper I generate in my crafting. I try to be as practical as possible with getting the most from my supplies, but I'd love to take it one step further and be super-green about it. Especially so when I receive handmade paper items like this beautiful card from my good friend (and bridesmaid!) Jen, who's currently living and working in Nepal.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Motivational issues

It's hard to want to tidy this:

When you can have a nice cuppa and look out of the window at this:

What helps motivate you?