Monday, 5 December 2011

Sudbury Christmas Market - some lovely things!

This weekend I was at Sudbury Hall - a National Trust property near Uttoxeter - where they held a Christmas market over the weekend. Luckily for me, it turned out to be nicely busy!
 I usually display a range of products - some are bought-in wholesale gifts and others are my own handmade items (I don't think I could make enough stock to fill a whole table!) and I have to say that it was the 'bought-in' things that sold more than anything else. I do think that it has a lot to do with the fact that people seem to be being quite careful with their money this year and the imported, mass produced goods are obviously much cheaper than good quality handmade ones. However, it's not all doom and gloom - I did sell a good few of my wooden plaques, knitted boots, crochet toys etc. so I'm happy :-)

I was lucky enough to share the marquee with some very talented and lovely crafters so I thought I'd share some photos with you. Sorry that the quality of the photos is so awful - I used my phone, and I blame the fact that it was so cold that my hands must have been shaking too much!

Well, you know what a fan I am of cute needlefelted critters - imagine how inspiring it was to find these on the stall next to mine! They are amazing aren't they? All made by the very clever Sarah at Two Fat Hens

Needlefelted teddy bears
 It was also lovely to catch up with Naomi from Doveridge Crafts who sells Decopatch materials and also makes her own gorgeous items - check out this chair!

Decopatch chair in progress
 I love the way the paper blends so well with the colour of the wood - what a lovely way to make a piece of furniture really special. I couldn't resist a closer shot...!

Love the knitted hearts too!
 Being a birdwatcher in a previous life, it didn't take me long to spot these little lovelies - which I recognised from HWR Designs because I've admired them on Etsy! It was so nice to meet Helen, and I can now put a face to all the tweets (no pun intended!). I know what I'm going to be saving up for now... a whole menagerie of these little birds!

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!
 And last but not least, here are some beautiful wooden ornaments from Diane at An Eggcup Full of Whiskers - sorry but I don't have a website address for her! These are made from reclaimed wood - can you guess what they were in a previous life?

Lovely, simple wooden ornaments
 Well, believe it or not Diane gets a lot of her wood from old pallets!! What a great way to recycle an everyday (and let's be honest, rather ugly) piece of wood.

So there you are - a lovely, inspiring weekend. Thank you to everyone who chatted to me, and especially to the stallholders who let me take photos of their fabulous products!
Now go and visit Handmade Monday to see what everyone else has been up to - see you next time :-)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Sock Monster completion!!

Just a quick post today - I finished my latest knitted sock monster! Hooray!!
I know, I know... she took absolutely ages (I don't know why, but this one feels like a female) but to be fair, I was working on other projects in between.

I made a concerted effort over the weekend to finish knitting the final arm while I was at a craft event at a local shopping centre. Then the evening was spent stuffing and sewing...
and finally this morning, came the last (and rather cruel) part - sticking her little monster mouth onto her face.
Here's a photo of the torture in progess!

I know it looks cruel - but it was worth it!
And last but not least, here is the new sock monster (at the back on the right) making friends with the original 'Sock' (my little boy's bedtime companion) and my other recent monster.

They make quite a cute little family don't they?

I should mention here that the monsters are designed by the very clever Rebecca Danger, and if you want to make your own you can buy the patterns here.

As always, do pop over to 1st Unique Gifts and see what's been going on for Handmade Monday this week.

See you next time :-)

Monday, 14 November 2011

A busy month of knitting and crochet

Oh dear! It's been rather a long time since my last post - I don't know where the time has gone!

So what have I been up to? Well, after my little foray into felting I bought some needlefelting equipment and have had a little play around - and made these little felt hearts as a starter project. They are lovely and squishy, but I'm not really sure they have much use!!

Little needlefelted hearts

Perhaps I'll hang on to them until Valentines Day and they can be used as little table decorations - or can you think of any uses for them?

I also knitted and then felted a little table mat for my daughter, then decorated it with some needlefelted flowers and twirly bits - it was a bit of an experiment (as always!) but she loves it, and it really brightens up her bedside table.

Daughter's bright colourful felted mat!

I've been busy with lots of orders for crocheted baby bootees too!
I have them listed in my Giftwrapped and Gorgeous online store, from which I get a steady flow of orders. I also went along to a couple of local 'Babysensory' classes to set up a display of my goodies (both my handmade bits and my baby castings) and got LOADS of orders from there!

I created a little owl hat to go with some boots too - here you go!

Crocheted baby owl hat and bootees

Next on the list is going to be a little hat with teddy bear ears I think - they still seem to be popular this autumn.

I've also made myself a cowl - it's not often I get time to make something just for me! Luckily, it's made in such a way that you can do it piece by piece so it was a case of doing little and often - I love the way the colours blend from one to another.

The new project for me (or rather our home) is going to be a crocheted throw! The pattern is out of a magazine I bought a while back, and I'm hoping it's going to be a good way to use up all my odds and ends of wool. Here's an idea of what I hope it will look like and here are the few squares I've done so far.

5 down, 94 to go!!

Finally, I also got round to using up some of my ever-growing stash of yarn - I made a second monster! If you missed the first one, you can read about him here.
This one is really cuddly and soft, and made from hand-dyed wool which has sat in my wool-bag for about a year. Here it is :)

The greeny coloured one is still in progress by the way - just one more arm to go!

Well, that's enought rambling from me - don't forget to check out the other blogs taking part in Handmade Monday.

See you next time - I will try and post something sooner rather than later! xx

Monday, 26 September 2011

Something New - Felting!

It's a lovely sunny morning here in Staffordshire, so a very happy Handmade Monday to you all!
Please do check out the other crafters taking part because there is always something lovely to discover. Thanks again to Wendy at 1st Unique Gifts for hosting this for us.

Well, you might remember that it was my birthday over the summer (you can read what I got up to in this post) and one of my lovely prezzies from hubby was a gift voucher to go on a felting course. It's something I had been hinting about quite heavily so I was amazed, thrilled even, that he actually noticed!!

Anyway, on Saturday I spent the day felting with a lovely lady, Lisa Marie Olson, who runs Tigerlily Makes - a felt-making boutique. I have to say, we all had a wonderful time - lots of coffee and cake was involved,

Cake is very important in crafting, isn't it?!

as well as a surprising amount of soap, water and lots (and lots and lots) of rubbing and agitating the fibres. I didn't realise how much effort it takes to make felt from wool fibres - our arms were quite tired by the end of it all and I think Lisa's catchphrase of the day was "nearly there.... just another 5 minutes!"

Once we had made our felt - we were making cushion covers - we then had even more fun embellishing them with whatever we fancied. I had a go at needlefelting and LOVED it!! I can feel a new hobby starting (and hear my husband sighing in resignation!). Basically, you get a really sharp needle, and stab at bits of carefully placed wool until they embed themselves into your fabric - and hopefully not your fingers....

So.... do you want to see the finished result?

My handfelted cushion!

Ta daaa! My first ever felted project - and probably the first of many! I am really pleased with how it came out - it makes me think of windy, autumnal days. Here are some close-ups of my favourite bits:

I love this little swirly bit!

I'm pleased with how this leaf turned out too!

Another swirly bit!

 So there you are! If you are thinking about trying a new craft, I would say 'Go for it!' because you never know what wonderful new ideas it will give you. Felting is great fun, and of course you don't just have to make cushions. I'm just trying to decide which felting course I want to try next - a wall hanging? a vase? a lovely new handbag.... maybe I'll have to do them all!

Better go before husband disconnects me from the internet...

See you next time! xx

Monday, 12 September 2011

Handmade Monday - Like Mother Like Daughter!

Hi again! Here's another Handmade Monday post - this week with some items made by my rather talented daughter - well, I would say that because I'm biased aren't I?
(I also have to say a quick thank you to a lady called Lucy from Attic 24 who inspired me by writing this post about her daughter's craft creations)

One of the best things about being a 'crafty' mum, is that the house is always full of bits and bobs of thread, beads, bits of fabric, leftover knitting wool etc. etc. It drives my poor husband to distraction by messing up the place and generally not leaving him anywhere to sit down and read the paper!

Fortunately (my husband would say 'unfortunately'), our daughter - age 10 - seems to have inherited a very arty/crafty streak and she spotted this book which I bought a while ago.

I have to say, it's a lovely book full of wonderful little motifs which aren't too tricky, and leave lots of room for extra inspiration! It came with a CD of the motifs as pdf files too, so you can spend ages playing about on the computer making up your own designs - a great way to spend far too many hours!!

Anyway, I am going off on a tangent - back to Daughter's efforts.

First, she decided to turn an old t-shirt (which was far too small) into a little cuddly cushion. She cut out the shapes and I showed her how to stitch the pieces together, then she stuffed it with polyfibre filling and sewed up the hole. Finally she chose a sweet cherry motif which she sketched onto the fabric, and then embroidered over it - and voila! Her very own snuggly cushion which she has by her pillow in bed.

Made from an old t-shirt!

Boosted by the success of this project, we found some leftover aida fabric and transferred a couple more motifs onto it - Daughter stitched them and we bought an embroidery hoop to act as a pretty little frame - wrapped in purple ribbon, her favourite colour!

Another little project!

Finally, here is her latest creation - inspired by the sock animals which we saw at a craft fair yesterday! This is Floppy Dog, the sock puppy - made from a very old pair of (sort of clean) socks!!

A little sock puppy - so sweet :-)

So there you are - I did ask Daughter if she wanted to write this post herself, but she has too much homework tonight and I secretly think she would rather finish knitting the little bag that she's started.

Please don't forget to look at the Handmade Monday blog by Wendy, and see what the other lovely crafters have been up to.
Until next time, keep safe and snug! x

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Handmade Monday - all the way from Jersey

This week I have been on holiday in my favourite place, Jersey in the Channel Islands. We are here for two weeks, which is a real treat - mainly because I celebrated my 40th birthday yesterday, so now am officially 'old' I guess!!

Of course, since I love crafts I couldn't resist visiting a local craft market here, so yesterday I dragged along a friend and my daughter round this lovely little lot of stalls. They were set up in St Aubins, which is a beautiful little part of the island.

St Aubins Farmers and Craft Market
Many of the stallholders belong to an association called Genuine Jersey which promotes locally produced goods on the island - what a wonderful way to keep people buying local to support their economy. 
First stop was a lovely stall Dangly Hearts which had some lovely fabric hearts, bunting, doorstops, cushions and many other pretty things. It was too busy to get a decent photo, but here is what I bought!

Handmade by Dangly Hearts :)
Next stop was a lovely, bright stall with painted pebbles and aromatic gifts. The stall was called 'On The Beach' but I can't find a website for them, so sorry I can't add a link!

Gorgeous brightly painted stones

There were some fabulous smells coming from this stall - The Soap Mill - so we just had to buy some soaps didn't we?!

Shame you can't smell things over the internet!

Finally, this was the stall that my daughter couldn't wait to get to - she literally dragged me across the square to get to it! We had a nice chat and bought a pencil case. My daughter is really pleased with the fact that hers will be different to anyone else's at school - a girl after my own heart!! Do have a look at
Nanette Regan - her products are really unique and great quality!

Lovely bright fabrics by Nanette Regan
 We met so many lovely stallholders - all of them were so friendly and chatty, it made it a lovely morning for us all so thank you!

We've got a few more days in Jersey, so hopefully there will be some sunshine and days on the beach. Then it's back home, and back to work - but don't worry, I have brought my knitting/crochet with me so hopefully there will be something of my own making to share next time :)

Don't forget to visit 1st Unique Gifts to see what the other Handmade Mondayers have been up to :)

Happy Bank Holiday! x

Monday, 1 August 2011

Photo Frames and Famous Footprints! - Handmade Monday #27

My goodness, how can it be August already?! I hope you're all enjoying some nice weather, and that you will find time to visit the 1st Unique Gifts blog to look at other crafters who are taking part in this 27th (!) Handmade Monday.

The summer holidays have descended upon us here, so I now have to fit my work/crafting in around my two children for the next six and a half weeks - oh dear!

My handmade efforts have mainly been these two personalised photo frames.

As usual, I've been crocheting some more baby boots - I'm trying to build up some stock for winter!

I also run a baby casting business - a franchise called Little Impressions - so have been busy finishing off little hands and feet too. I love the detail that my casts capture - all down to using the right sort of clay and plaster, and usually some luck too (babies can be extremely wriggly!).

I love all the detail on this cast!

The highlight of my week (even my year, actually) was that Little Impressions as a whole, was invited to the Eurostar Terminal at St. Pancras to take part in an Olympics '1 Year to Go' event. We took footprints from some famous sportsmen, and also footprints of some lucky competition winners from all over Europe. The prints are going to be turned into paving slabs (a bit like the Hollywood Boulevard thing) and will be placed at the station, leading everyone to the Olympics next year.
I'm afraid I didn't get to take prints of anyone famous, but my colleagues took prints from Lord Coe, and also Colin Jackson who was so nice and posed for lots of photos for us :)

Here are a few photos of our very busy morning - all these are courtesy of Little Impressions - thanks guys!

Lord Coe and Colin Jackson having their footprints taken

The Sports Minister, Lord Coe & Colin Jackson with their prints

Me in action (holding the bin!) - with a lady from Paris
who won a competition to take part.
We all had a great time - although it was hard work preparing all those slabs of clay. My arms were aching the next day!

Anyway, it's back to normality now - trying to get on top of my baby casting orders before we go away on our holidays - not that we're counting the days or anything.

Oh, and the sock monster has hardly grown at all - I've been too busy :(
Maybe next time....

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Handmade Monday - sort of!

Since my last post was rather long, this is a very quick and nearly late Handmade Monday.
As always, many thanks to Wendy at 1st Unique Gifts for hosting this. Please have a look at her blog and click through some of the other handmade links on there :)

So, this week I have been painting and decoupaging lots of wooden letters - so here are a few!

I have also made a start on my daughter's Sock Monster - she chose a lovely yarn with shades of brown, green and aqua, so maybe it will be a sea monster! Here it is in progress...

Sock Monster in progress!

That's all for now - I must get on with some 'proper' work!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

My Blog Awards!

I have been so lucky this week - two lovely ladies decided (for some unknown reason!) that I should get awards for my blog. First was the One Lovely Blog award from Dorset Girl

and then there was a Versatile Blogger award from With U in mind

so thank you both very much! I'm afraid I'm going to cheat and combine the two into one post, mainly because I'll never find the time to do them both separately!

And now the tricky bit.... because I have to think of 7 random things about myself to tell you, which is really difficult because I don't want to bore you all to death. Anyway, here we go....
  1. I am addicted to my iphone - my husband must be cursing the day he bought me an ipod touch!
  2. I am currently reading 'The Girl Who Played With Fire'.
  3. I once reversed into my husband's car on our own driveway - wasn't I popular that day! Not one, but two lots of insurance to sort out!
  4. I love eating peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches.
  5. Before I had the kids, hubby and I used to travel all over the country birdwatching.
  6. I have a degree in classical music, and play the oboe and piano.
  7. I taught myself to crochet about 18 months ago.
There you are - so now you know a little bit more about me!
Now for 7 of my favourite blogs - all of them are recent discoveries really, since I only started blogging this year and am still finding so many good reads...

  1. The Lime Garden - Anna makes gorgeous things, and blogs about other things including books and health stuff.
  2. LottyBlue - my friend has recently rediscovered her love of vintage and mid-century items, so her blog is full of lovely items and tales of times gone by.
  3. The Linen Cat - Beth used to know my hubby when they lived up in Yorkshire, and we discovered her again via twitter! Her creations are gorgeous!
  4. Grace Marshall is an amazing lady - a wonderful life and business coach. Her blog is full of great advice on anything from combining business with family life, growing confidence, setting goals, how to survive the summer hols etc. etc.
  5. Growing Spirit - a lovely lady who has recently discovered her artistic side, and blogs about her family and her healing business.
  6. Views from my Garden Gate - if you live in a town or city like me, then this blog will transport you to the Staffordshire countryside! Angela is also a talented jewellery maker.
  7. Feltmeup Designs - it's amazing what you can make from wool! These creations are just adorable, and the markings on the birds are very true to life, which I really admire.
So there they are - not all crafty blogs, because there are so many other sides to life than just creativity. Many of us are also in business trying to sell our wares, we have other interests, and families that need looking after, houses that need cleaning, meals to cook.... the list goes on doesn't it?!

I hope you find time to have a look at the lovely blogs listed above - I shall hopefully be back tomorrow for a Handmade Monday post so see you then!
Jenny x

Monday, 4 July 2011

Apologies for lack of blogging... and a sock monster!

Well, I don't know where the last couple of months went... well, actually I do. It seems to have passed by in a blur of baby impressions and wooden letters. Oh, and we also fitted in a week in Turkey!

Anyway, last week brought a couple of exciting events so I thought it would be a good idea to get me motivated and blogging again, and I also wanted to share a finished project with you, which was half done last time!
As always, do have a browse through the other Handmade Monday blogs please, courtesy of 1st Unique Gifts

The first bit of excitement came from Giftwrapped & Gorgeous who told me that my crochet bootees had been picked to be in a shopping guide in a magazine. This is the first time I've had my crafty things in the press - very exciting! So, you can find them in the current edition of Popular Crafts' current edition called 'Kids Crafts'

My baby boots in a magazine!!

I've also just finished a pair of these in pink - I'm really pleased with the way they turned out :) Luckily I spotted some more of the same wool on ebay - it's been discontinued, so I bought LOADS to keep me going over winter!

Pink bootees, made from organic merino wool

And the second bit of exciting news was that I finally finished the knitted Sock Monster! Here he is - my son has decided to call him 'Sock'! (Apologies that my son is slightly lacking in imagination! lol!)

Knitted Sock Monster

That's all for now - I will try my best to blog again soon!
Thanks for sticking with me so far :)

Monday, 25 April 2011

Handmade Monday No.13

This week's post is going to be short and sweet - mainly because I've been out today at a craft fair and it's getting late!

Firstly, many thanks again to Wendy at 1st Unique Gifts for hosting this again - do have a look at the other entries, there is always something lovely to look at :)

Today I've been at a local craft fair at Aston Marina which is a lovely place for a short walk and nice meal or coffee. They had a small craft marquee and I was lucky enough to be given a spot in one of their 'cedar huts' - so here's my little setup.

It's not a great photo - just a quick one that I grabbed while no-one was in the way! It was a lovely, sunny day and it was nice to hear peoples' comments and feedback.

Here is the cushion that I ordered from Made By Emma for my parents' Ruby Anniversary - I took the children down to Bedford to see them on Easter Saturday and we gave them the cushion (better late than never because I didn't order it until after their anniversary!!). They were thrilled with it!

I've also been busy crocheting - I made these little baby 'pumps', and then Emma (as in 'Made By Emma') promptly bought them for a friend before I could take a decent photo - so I grabbed them back and quickly snapped them on my phone. They are so sweet and made from a cotton/acrylic mix yarn, so nice and cool but also washable. I will get some listed on my website or Folksy shop when I get the chance!

Crochet baby pumps

I also had an order for these cute bootees from my Giftwrapped & Gorgeous store which was an unexpected surprise since it's been rather neglected lately!

Finally, I have made a start on the sock monster I mentioned last time - I took the children to a wool shop and they chose some wool each. I'm amazed they agreed to come along since I can spend literally hours in there! My son chose some lovely bright, colourful wool - and here's his monster so far....

I know it looks like a big, baggy sock at the moment but I will try and photo it as it progresses, so you can see it take shape. My son is very excited, and keeps asking me when it will be finished - as if I need an excuse to knit!

That's it for now - definitely past my bedtime! Hope you've all had a lovely Easter x

Monday, 11 April 2011

Handmade Monday 11 - more knitted bunnies!

It's Handmade Monday again - yay! Many thanks as always to Wendy at 1st Unique Gifts for hosting this. Do please visit her and the other crafters' links - there are some lovely things!

This week, it's been the usual mix of personalised gifts...

Personalised Photo Frames
 ... baby castings....

A teeny, weeny hand cast!
... and, of course, knitted bunnies!

Work in progress...

Bunny Nuggets - new colours!
The one on the right is about the same colour as my son! We all spent all day Saturday out in the sunshine at Clumber Park (near Chesterfield) where we met up with some relatives and had a great time - but didn't realise how strong the sun was :(

Next on my knitting list (apart from lots more Bunny Nuggets) is this Sock Monster!

Sock Monster by Danger Crafts
He's been designed by the same lady who designed the Bunnies, and when my son saw this he literally begged me to make him one - he even wants one instead of an easter egg (that really shows how much he wants it!!) The pattern for these, and lots more cute knitted toys is available to buy from Rebecca Danger's Etsy store.

This week I've also done my bit by ordering a custom item from Made by Emma. She is a lovely local lady, who is making a personalised cushion for me, for my parents' Ruby Anniversary - I'm looking forward to seeing it!

Last but not least, here's the knitted chicken that didn't make it into last week's blog:

I'm not 100% happy with the beak, but as a first attempt it's ok - I will probably tweak the pattern to suit me next time!
See you next week, if not before :)