Saturday, 24 January 2009

Going... going... gone!

In case anyone's looking for me, I'll be in Egypt. See you in a week.



Friday, 23 January 2009


No we're not talking Billy Connolly here!

I have found The Perfect Job in the Local Paper (for Local People). Not telling what it is because I don't want any more competition tee hee, but as a consequence I am ploughing through that most tedious of exercises - filling in a job application form. *yawn*

I've spent one day finidng all the necessary bits of info about past jobs, qualifications, education, etc. Now I'm on to the bit where you have to write some additional information in support of your application. You know the kind of thing - relevant experiences, skills, etc - the bit where you have to sell yourself to them whilst ticking all the boxes on their list of requirements.

If it was just ticking a list it would be fine, but going through and matching up your most relevant experience to one area that they are asking for is a nightmare.

My brain is soup! (Hence this waffly, quickie post.)

Thanks for all the fabbo comments both on the Critters and the quilt yesterday. I had been thinking about sashing the quilt but in pink or green. Hadn't considered black. Or any other colour. But maybe, just maybe it would work. I'll have to have a play when I get back.

Oh well... break over. Better get back to it. Thanks for listening :o)


Thursday, 22 January 2009

Hints and Quilts

God I can never think of funny titles for my blog posts these days. But here comes another one, post that is.

Not content with my speedy turnaround of Katy's FQ swap, I have cracked on with Meridian Ariel's Owl jobbie. I shan't post a full picture of what I've made. That would spoil it for whoever is on the receiving end. That 'whoever' is Janine (aka AngelGurl) in New Zealand. I've made not one but two things for her. Just a few extra little goodies have to go in the parcel then I can get it posted off to her... ...before my hols if I can manage it. :o)

How did I leave you last time... Aaah the prospect of the Musical Extravaganza loomed large. Kiddie performed brilliantly. She did two shows of Saturday then went swimming on Saturda night and was wrecked! We went and watched the show on Sunday and she was a bit upset when she came out because they'd made on wee mistake. It wasn't hugely noticeable and they are all kids so you can't expect perfection, but she was mortified. Until nanny gave her a present anyway :o). Mercenary? My daughter? Never!

I may have mentioned on Facebook this week that I have been played with an old (very old) quilting UFO. Well here it comes. I started this at a workshop at least oooh... 5 years ago. The piecing is abysmal as it was before I'd even heard of a 1/4" foot. It was a colour transformation workshop. We had to pick 8 shades of one colour (pink) and 6 shades of another (green). The make blocks in every permutation of these shades.
The clever part was then to piece them all together to get a sweeping blend of the two colours from light to dark.
HA!! My shade gradation weren't very smooth. A lot of my greens were the same tone just more yellowy or bluey. (Are you bored yet?)
So now I have pieced some of the blocks together to give me 6 strips. My problem is do I just mix them up randomly (as in the first photo),

or do I put them in a more orderd layout like picture 2? The pinks are lightest to darkest from left to right, and the greens are light to dark from bottom to top.

Or my third option is to just chop the whole lot up and forget it. lol You know when something is sitting in the cupboard lurking and laughing at you...?
'Look at all this fabric... If you give up you'll have wasted so much...'

I will NOT be beaten, even if I make cushions out of it. But some advice would be sooooo gratefully received.

I am rapidly approaching my 200th post so I feel a giveaway may be in order. Keep reading, watching, (whatever) once I get back from my hols.
Did I mention I'm going to Egypt? heehee "I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it!.."

Oh and I was feeling a wee bit bored the other day so I went and got my hair cut. Waddaya think? Twitterers/Facebook friends will already know this - when I picked kiddie up from school after getting it done she told me I looked like a pop star. "I know mummy. Sarah!!! From Girls Aloud." How I love that kid o' mine. Must take her to the opticians when we get back...


Friday, 16 January 2009

The Reveal - What I've Been Doing Since Christmas

Well as reported earlier this week I have finally finished the commission I have been working since before Christmas really but in earnest since kiddie went back to school.

May I introduce Critters. These three designs - 'kitti kat', 'funni bunni' and 'chunki munki' were designed to appear on a range of stationery products by the company elconu.

My brief was to create a set of ten stuffed toys in a range of sizes as promotional/display items for a trade exhibition stand at Frankfurt Paperworld 2009.

First we have 'kitti kat'.

I decded to make them in 7", 14" and 20" sizes.

Look at that little face. How sweet is he?

'Funni bunni' is next up. Again made in the same three sizes excluding ears!

This is a close-up of the 7" little bunni.
And here's a full length shot of him.

Finally we have 'chunki munki'. I made an extra mini munki to make up the required ten.

This is a close-up of the teeny one's face. Aaaahh...

And here are the two littlies monkeying around!

I have loved design and making these babies. It's been a great experience and the response from the company has been brilliant. The office staff have been fighting over them!!

Feedback from Facebook has also been very positive since I posted a few photos on there.
What next? Who knows? I can't wait to see how everything goes at the show. Of course, the main point of that is to promote elconu's stationery ranges. The toys are just window-dressing, but if they generate a lot of interest they could go into production... (Needless to say I wouldn't be making those. lol)
Exciting stuff!
Other stuff? err... Well since I finished them I've been a bit disorganised. Suddenly the structure my days had has gone.
I did spend a whole morning sorting out my car insurance renewal. A lot of time yes, but I did save myself £170!!! Have you all heard of Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert)? You must have. Well anyway I went to his website and followed his steps for tracking down the best price. And it worked!!
I signed up for his weekly email a while ago and, particularly now that The Crunch is really taking hold, it is worth signig up for. He has all kinds of money saving advice from when is the best time to change gas/electric suppliers to vouchers off meals and air tickets. Have a little lookie and see if there's anything that appeals.
I've now signed up for two swaps (see the pretty buttons in the right hand column). Meridian's Owl Swap has now been sorted - partners matched up and notified. I am swapping with a lady in New Zealand where it's hot and sunny at the moment. Lucky Janine!! Jennyflower's sign up deadline was tonight so I'm waiting to hear who I'm playing with for that one.
The third swap I wanted to take part in had such an overwhelming response that Katy had to close the sign-up list before the deadline. It's taken her days to pair everybody up. To help her clear out some of her own stash she offered to do a swap with me. Which I have done - packed up and posted off already. Scarily organised for me. Hope sh'es happy with what I've sent her. :o)
Right I'm off to bed now. No lie-in tomorrow. I've got to perfect a pristine bun hair-do by 10.30. Kiddie is appearing in a dance show at the Garrick Theatre this weekend. Two performances on Saturday and one on Sunday. Surely so much dancing and adrenaline have got to make her sleep better, haven't they?... Here's hoping.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Tree of Happinness

My lovely bloggy friend Daisie has awarded me the Tree of Happiness. She is a happy bunny 'cause her knitted booby just won a prize in a Folksy competition. (Yes I did say knitted booby. Intrigued? - you'll have to go and look at it now won't you lol).
So what happen with this wondrous tree? Well, first I make a link to the person who gave you the award. Done.
Then I have to post the rules on my blog. Done.
Next I have to list six things that make you happy. Finally I have to tag six people at the end of my post, link to them, let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. Oh and to be polite I need to let the person who awarded me know when my entry is up.
So - six things that make me happy:
1. dressing up in loud impractical clothing and dancing and making a show of myself - that just about covers belly dancing, morris dancing and fancy dress parties (of which there are never enough),
2. getting a blinding flash of creative inspiration - that sudden adrenaline rush when you have a brilliant idea that you can't wait to start work on and having the time, materials and opportunity to get cracking with it straightaway,
3. kiddie getting herself up and dressed on a school morning without needing to be nagged and hassled or attacked with a cold, wet flannel or arguments with me and OH,
4. OHs steak with stilton sauce and garlic sauteed potatoes and a nice bottle of red - mmmmm...,
5. Cornwall - anytime, any weather, any part (although a hot sunny day on Holywell beach takes some beating),
6. extreme weather (while I'm tucked up cosy and warm inside watching it through a window)- thunderstorms with BIIIG lightning and torrential rain, overnight snowfall that leave huge drifts in the morning, thick 'pea-souper' fog that makes the world go quiet, lashing gales and massive waves at the coast (this has to be viewed from a cafe's steamy window rather than on board a yacht sailing from Brixham to Dartmouth!!)
Will that do?
Six more people.....
Hmm... These are my Happy Blogs. I chose these because if I need a lift these are the blogs I go to first. I scour my Bloglines updates for them before anyone else.
1. Kate (Beautiful Things) because she needs some happy at the moment and because her Wise Guys always make me smile,
2.Katie (What Katie Did) because her shed is the happiest looking place in the world,
3. Katy (I'm a Ginger Monkey) never fails to make me laugh out loud,
4.Phillipa (Felt at Home)because I love her felt monsters and girlie sculptures - (Isabelle, Gilbert and Mabel is genius),
5.Viv (Hens Teeth)because her work is so beautiful and thought provoking,
6.Lucy (Attic 24) because her house is full of bright happiness and wonderful colour (and one day I will learn to crochet properly).
So there you have it.
Next time I will post pictures of my latest creations. 'Til then,

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Back off holiday in time for Valentine's Day


I have finally completed my plushie commission so can now concentrate on making and selling things again for a while.

As a pre-cursor to this I decided to pop into my etsy and Folksy shops to have a little lookie, and discovered that I have been 'on holiday' from my Folksy shop for...? months!!! Bah!! What a wally!! How many hundreds of sales have I missed? lol

The shop is now back up and trading. Hooray!!

And to give it a little nudge here's a small featurette on one of the items listed.

This little baby is on sale for a small fee ( amere £3.95 plus P&P). A red rosie brooch. Ideal as a little Valentine's gift for someone but could be worn throughout the year.

The flower is hand-embroidered in pure silk ribbon on green felt, which has been free machine-embroidered to give added texture. After the brooch is constructed I stitch tiny red delica beads to the front.
It measures about 38mm across and has a plastic back and metal pin.
If you are interested in this or any of my other goodies - which I am now going to add to my shops on a regular basis - click on the links in the text or the shop buttons in the right hand margin.
I will post again later, all being well...

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Countdown to the Big 4 0 starts with a crack and a thwack!!

Today was a totally fab day when I finally realised an ambition. A New Year's Resolution already ticked off the list.

I am a bit of a patriotic and sentimental old thing at heart. I love British eccentricity and all those things that make is soooo different from any other country. When I heard that one of those things may be under threat - however minor - I felt Ihad to take action. And BOY was there action!!!

In the New Year many people decide to get fit after the festive excesses. They pay a small fortune to join a gym which they will visit for a couple of months. They buy a bike then leave it in the shed til the better weather comes, by which time it's rusty. I am the same as all of these people but not for me Fitness First nor Raleigh. No - I chose The Rabble!!

I love dancing, especially my belly dancing, but that doesn't exactly cause you to break out into a sweat. It firms things up nicely but there is no raise in the heart rate. You don't get out of puff after even the most vigorous of shimmying. So where else can you dress up in loud and lairy clothing, make a noise and shake your booty?? Morris dancing of course.

I have always loved it. The yearly Lichfield Bower procession is always lead by Lichfield Morris Men twirling their branches. The atmosphere of folk festivals when we take kiddie is brillant but being a spectator is not enough for me. So this year life will not begin at 40 but, by the time the big 4-0 arrives life will be well and truly off the blocks. If I survive...

It was the most fantastic fun I've had in ages, but also the hardest physical work I've done in years. I went accompanied by the lovely Maria - my belly dancing teacher and we had a whale of a time. We danced with big birch sticks, crasjhing them togther as part of most dances. Maria certainly made her mark by breaking her stick, no mean feat when you think they were a good 3" in diameter!!! The Rabble were all so friendly and made us feel really welcome, which is defintely an added bonus. And afterwards, in a very civilised fashion, we retired to the pub for refreshments :o).

I can't wait for next week. I'm just dreading tomorrow morning. How stiff am I going to be??

Having shown you a few of the kiddie's prezzies I realised that I have not dazzled you with any of mine.

My lovely sis produced a fabulous bag of goodies - sales, charity shops, car boot sales - as much as you can get for £15. This little cutie is now firmly attached to my keys. She had a whole piece written about her and she symbolises colour and creativity (or something similar). Very apt for me anyhoo...
And sis went back to Totnes and bought this baby to add to my mini Moomin collection.

Now I can have pop with my own special curly straw. :o) Thank you little sis xxxx

This next little beaut was from the highly talented and very lovely Sam (incywincy). I wore it all day on Christmas Day. She also enclosed a little bag of buttons she had covered plus some blanks so I can have a go myself. Thanks again hun xx

I took part in my first online Secret Santa this, sorry last year via Crafter...oo. We had to write a personal profile about likes and dislikes, fave colours, etc that could be forwarded to our swap partner to give them help and inspiration. My partner Debs, gave me loads of info which really helped me to make this for her. I think she liked it. :o)

In return I received an amazing parcel of handmade glass goodies. She is soooooo talented. There were not 1 but 2 gift boxes. First up was this fab snowman necklace (which I aslo wore of the 25th) and the polka dots earrings (they completed the Xmas Day ensemble). Aren't they gorgeous?? (OK you can only see one earring in this photo but they were a matching pair - sack the photographer)

In the second box Debs had made this gorgeous phone charm and you can just see the corner of the gorgeous keyring, in my favourite shades of blues and turquoises. How lucky am I? They are fantastic. Thanks so much xx.
The last present in my Gift Gallery is from my BDB, Julia. She doesn't blog (although she should) but she does make amazing beaded jewellery (which she should sell) and she loves to stitch. This was one of the prezzies she gave me.

'Tis me in my red belly dancing stuff with my pre-pink hair. Isn't it ace?! Just the place to stash my other precious little goodies. Cheers mate xx.

In fact, thank you everyone who sent me cards, prezzies, who has been a swap partner in 2008 or whose giveaway I may have won. It was a fab crafting year. Let's hope 2009 is just as good.

Sadly it's not off to a great start in other respects. Today we lost another member of our close family to "the big C". Yet another husband and dad taken before his time, leaving a wife and 2 daughters. Thinking of you J, E and A. All love xxxx

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

A REAL dinosaur and a talking cactus.

Ah haa! So Blogger wants to be friends this morning...? Here is the revised, edited blog post then, with pictures.

So glad that you liked the look of the Fancy Silk Store. I can't wait to crack on with some crafting of my own. I really want to pop back and browse for a few days. Maybe I could sign up for Katy's swap...

Work continues apace(sp?) on the commission. I have cut out all the pattern pieces (thank Heavens for freezer paper!), all the fabric pieces and I'm now starting to put them together. Once they are all stitched and stuffed, and if I'm given the OK, I'll post some piccies.

In the meantime here are some catch-up pics of kiddie's birthday and Christmas.

I think I added a link about her birthday prezzie when I mentioned it previously. May I now introduce you to Cleo the Pleo. She is sooooo cute. Kiddie was over the moon when she opened the present on her birthday. "Oh you haven't?!", she squealed. Bless... I wish you could have seen her face. (I suppose uploaded video clips will be out of the question Blogger...?)

When you first switch Cleo on she is curled up asleep but gradually she begins to lift her head and open her eyes and come to life. Think Bambi when he's just been born only not quite as spindly.
As she 'grows up' she learns more; making noises and refining her movements, walking and that kind of thing. Eventually she will have mood swings (OMG - a teenaged dinosaur!!) and you can upload different themes onto an SD card. We have had festive Cleo singing Christmassy songs and there's Halloween Cleo who makes spooky ghost noises and screams like a witch's cat! Kiddie's fave is T Rex Cleo where she pretends to be Godzilla roaring and growling. She has chased numerous princess mini figures into caves. :o)

She did cost a small fortune but she was definitely worth it.

This is another favourite prezzie that we gave kiddie for Christmas. Right at the other end of the financial spectrum cuz I made it. It's Oucho. Who? - you ask. If you have children of a certain age and you watch CBBC at teatime you'll know exactly who Oucho is. He's the cactus sidekick of Ed Petrie, TV presenter, and kidlet loves him. I just happened to have a few teeny flower pots kicking around my workroom (as you do) and it came to me in a flash.

I have to say he went down even better than I expected. He went down to Devon with us on Boxing Day and now sits by her bed every night.

While we're on a creative catch-up, here is my hat. I made my hat! I managed to get another ball of the Rowan wool I was searching for so I knitted something functional!! Whoop! Whoop! Next stop it's socks! lol

And that's it for now. I'm pondering a giveaway in the not too distant future. I'm gradually approaching 200 posts (can you believe that?!) and have now had over 10000 hits. Once I have completed 'The Commission' I'll start to give it some thought.


Monday, 5 January 2009

Fluffy Stuff and Seventh Heaven

So, as I Tweeted, today I went to Brum, (sorry Birmingham).

And this is the latest addition to my workroom menagerie. Meet Wedgehead. He is an Uglydoll. Apparently they were 'all the rage' last summer and highly collectible. Completely passed me by I must admit but they are quite cute.

Anyhoo, I am currently working on my first profeshniull commission and these 'dolls' were kind of what the company I'm working for had in mind. Can't tell you any more than that as I don't know if I'm sworn to secrecy.

My trip wasn't just to buy Wedgie but also to visit this textile Mecca.

OH!! MY!! GOODNESS!!! It's sooooooo long since I've visited this shop as I tend to use recycled fabrics where I can, but I was like a kid in a sweet shop. There are three (or is it four?) floors of fabric. The bolts are stacked from floor to ceiling on all four walls of each room. Against each huge cutting table on each floor are stacked yet more bolts and rolls of fabric. Everywhere you turn there is fabric. Truly it is an Aladdin's Cave. It's just a good thing that my time was limited and I had to get back to do the school run.
I came away with the hugest bagful of material which I am now going to sit and stroke, before chopping it all up tomorrow.
If you are ever in Birmingham with a few hours to spare, head for Selfridges but then nip out of the Bull Ring towards the markets, turn left at St Martins church and cross over. There it is!!! Simple.
Right. I'm going to wrestle my child and husband from the arms of a big-busted, raven-haired, gun-toting lovely who has dragged them into her underground lair. Lara has taken over our Wii and their lives, and she only arrived today!! Aaaaaarrrgh!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Wittering and Twittering

I've done it! I've signed up with Twitter. There's a little linkie on the right so if you're already on there please come and follow me. If I've got followers it might make me actually do something worth Twittering about.


Does my bum look big in this?

Without doubt my favourite fashion craze that didn't take off in 2008 was this one from Japan...

Cheeky!! ;o)
(Photos courtesy of Yorkshire Divers Forum)


Friday, 2 January 2009

Happy New Blog

Happy Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Blog!

Yeah! Yeah! I've been really lax with my posting over the last few weeks. Well, OK months. But with the New Year come new plans and resolutions.

As you can see I've been playing with the layout of my blog. I'm toying with the idea of making other changes too. But for now I'm going to be playing with templates, colours, fonts and photos. Sorry if it gives you a bit of a headache but I feel the need for a Spring clean - all be it a bit premature.

The Christmas decs are coming down today and while I'm in that kind of mood I'm sprucing up my cyber home too.

I'm also thinking about Twitter, crafting 365 on Flickr, photographing and selling work on a regular basis on etsy and Folksy.

This is all sounding a bit random and disjointed but I wanted to get it 'out there' so I'm on record about doing these things, and can be reminded of them in a few months when none of them have happened!! lol

Right. I'd better go as the rest of the family are huffing and puffing about me having been on the PC all morning. Role on Monday - back to school and work. ;o) Having said that I too have my commission to finish and it needs to be delivered by Friday at the latest. One week to go. Eeeek!!