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Monday, 5 November 2012

Back to blog

Well hello! It's been a while, dear readers. Months, in fact. The reasons for my absence are:
 1. Lack of motivation. My creative genie that deals with words went on an extended break. Rather than speaking I've been making "ugg ugg" sounds for the last 4 months.
2. Lack of privacy. I had to share my hidey-hole with some IT people for a while.I had to learn not to bristle when they used my favourite pen. I suppose this is the administrator's malaise - doing a sharp intake of breath when someone blithely says "Can I borrow a pen?" and without waiting for me to give them the designated un-favourite pen, they reach out and grab my BEST BIRO. Dealing with this has probably been character-building and good for me. It's just a pen (apparently).

As far as creating things out of felt though, things have never been better. I've given up making jewellery because so many people on Etsy (and I daresay elsewhere, but dealing with one online shop takes up enough of my headspace as it is without looking at other sites) make far more beautiful and authentically crafted jewellery, rather than just bunging beads and charms on to bits of metal which is all that I can do.

Instead I have become a felt addict. I will freely admit that I LOVE FELT. Our living room is becoming a sea of coloured plastic mailing bags, each containing several sheets of beautiful felt in a variety of colours. There is generally a carpet of tiny felt snowflakes on our, well, carpet from where I've snipped off tiny bits while making things. I'm a perfectionist, see. I bet not even Kate Middleton's hairdresser snips with the care and devotion that I do when I'm finishing off the edge of a memory game piece or trimming a nutcracker soldier's hat. I've discovered something finally that I'm good at (the evidence being, very happily, several sales of the games I have made on Etsy) and I love it and it makes me happy.





Monday, 3 September 2012

Sharing the Craftfest Lurve....





 

 Craftfest has arrived! It's a hectic week - well, not so much for me so far, seeing as I can only do stuff on my mobile at the weekends (painstakingly stabbing at my iphone trying to tweet and stumble and all sorts of stuff), so I haven't been able to do my full share of helping to promote Craftfest so far (sorry fellow Craftfesters - *slaps own wrist*) but I promise that I will Do My Best during the rest of this week.

As part of this event, Craftfesters are sharing the love of each other's blogs with an 'I Love Your Blog' award. My award goes to (*drum rolls, ta daaaaaaaaaaaa...*)


because Sharon has done loads to promote Craftfest and her team members' stalls and I also really like her friendly, funny writing style :-) Sharon, Pins and Needles salutes you! 

And I was sent this link by the very lovely Lu of Handmade in Keswick whose Crafestfest stall can be found here

http://creative-connections.ning.com/photo/albums/handmadeinkeswick-s-craftfest-stall

and also by Garreth of Scent Cosmetics, whose fabulous stuff I can personally vouch for, as I have bought some and it's AMAZING, have a peek here:

http://creative-connections.ning.com/photo/albums/scentcosmetics-craftfest

And last but definitely not least, Sharon of the Old Button who makes the most beautiful playmats - have a look:

http://creative-connections.ning.com/photo/albums/the-old-button-s-craftfest-stall

 Now then, here's the science bit.

How to Share the Craftfest Lurve
1. Paste our 'I love your Blog' badge to your page
2. Put a link to the blogger who sent it to you
3. Put a link to the blogger your are awarding the Lurve to
4. List some other blogs you like
5. Inform all the bloggers you have mentioned by commenting on their blogs
6. List 'How to share the Craftfest Lurve'
7. Tell us something you'd like to say, or show us something you'd like to sell

So, some other blogs that I like are....





http://arachaelinwonderland.blogspot.co.uk/
 
 The thing that I'd like to sell is this pair of earrings, just because I think they're really fun and cute!
 
 
 
 
Happy Craftfest everyone!
 
 
 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Back... by popular demand!

Ahem, well, I say 'popular', but Mr Biscuitnose commented that I hadn't blogged for 15 days and he's quite right, I've been SOOOO busy leading my ueber-glamourous lifestyle* that indeed I haven't.

*this fib merely means 'I've been busy at work/ couldn't think of anything exciting to write about'.

So at Pins and Needles Towers, the buzz is that the cat is pulling his hair out (I'm hoping very much that this is just due to a change of diet - he cut his mouth last week and under instruction by the vet was on wet food, which, according to t'internet, can cause cats used to dry food to drink less water which results in them getting heat patches on their back and so yank their fur out - so he's now back on the dry stuff), it's ONE WEEK until the Green Man Festival (WOO HOO! I can't wait!!!!!) and I have sold a second memory game - yay! :-)

I also discovered the other day that I have signed myself up to another craft fair that I'd forgotten all about at the end of this month (note to self: write things in diary and then remember to look at diary), so I should start planning that really. I need to get more organised. Until now my stalls have looked pretty... well.... crap, to be honest, so I need to hone my presentation skills/ nick ideas off other people. I find it quite difficult to find good ways of presenting my necklaces and bracelets in particular, though my home-made necklace stand things (constructed along the finest Blue Peter traditional lines from a Shredded Wheat packet) worked pretty well last time.

Then there's also Craftfest, the online craft fair from 1st-8th September. If you're not a crafty person and you're wondering what the Dickens that is, here's a taster of some of the lovely stalls:

http://creative-connections.ning.com/photo/albums/ello-design-s-craftfest-stall

 http://creative-connections.ning.com/photo/albums/little-creatures-craftfest-stall

 http://creative-connections.ning.com/photo/albums/hannahsmithstone-s-craftfest-stall

 http://creative-connections.ning.com/photo/albums/ruby-loves-flamingos-craftfest

And you can see heaps more if you just go here, dear reader:

 http://craftfest-events.blogspot.co.uk/

As well as being an online craft event, it's a good way for people who love making things to swap ideas and get tips on all sorts of things, not to mention bask in compliments from each other :-) Us artistes love that don't you know.

At the day job my building is partly building site/bombsite. I think the builders are getting gradually higher as the week goes on, from the nasty fumes being given off by whatever it is that they are using to seal the windows. They started the week merely whistling a bit, but by this morning it had become full-blown rapping and loud song. I'm expecting a performance of the musical 'Hair' tomorrow, or something similar.

Finally, this week I have mostly been making an owl. I'm not sure why all of my felt creatures come out with slightly wonky eyes. What would Freud say I wonder...?









Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Person fondue

It's so hot. I feel very languid and as if my brain has turned into slushy ice cream. I can't really be bothered to do anything except investigate just how melty my chocolate biscuits in my Important Stuff drawer have got.

It was a beautiful weekend. The children were so happy out in the garden pottering about and I didn't want it to end. The cat loves the sun and capers about trying to one-leggedly catch flies with his front paw. The tortoise still doesn't do a lot, though we were hoping that the sunshine would perk her up a bit, but she does enjoy a warm bath if you put her on the grass and pour water over her shell.

When I took Son down to London on Friday evening there were lots of Olympics-related people stood around idly in Paddington train station with nothing to do. They were wearing orange and purple shirts and I guess they were there to help any visitors to the games or athletes who had lost their way, but it really didn't seem any busier in London than usual. I felt sorry for them having to wear such ugly shirts - who in the hell thought that colour combination up?

Poor Son got his laptop, his ipod, two X Box games and all of the other contents of his rucksack taken from a cinema in Woodgreen. Both he and his Dad neglected to check that they had picked up his bag as they left the cinema after watching Batman and by the time they had realised and gone back to the cinema, it was of course gone. But after the events in Aurora I think he realised that far worse things happen in the world and in the end.... it's all just stuff. Stuff can be replaced, people you love can't.

So anyway, in the interests of helping Son to buy back some of his stuff, I will be donating the proceeds of anything that I sell in the next little while to him. My latest creation is this - another memory game - the last one sold in less than 3 hours, so I have my fingers crossed....









 

Meanwhile Craftfest preparations continue apace (when I am not drinking pear cider in the garden, that is.)

 




Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Little old omnipresent me

So I seem to have got myself involved in an online craft fair. It's a very good idea - in fact it's a great idea - but I am rapidly getting the feeling that technology is leaving me behind. There are so many threads for things on the website and so many ways of promoting yourself and fellow crafters online - many more websites and portals than I ever imagined for selling and showing what you've made. I wrote out a list when I joined up of the ways in which me and my stuff can be found, and it turns out that - my god - I am EVERYWHERE! Have a look under your bed - I'm probably there as well. I am on Etsy, Pinterest, Creative Connections, my own website (http://www.pinsandneedlesworcester.co.uk/ since you asked), Craftjuice, Facebook and this very blog. Which makes it all the more teeny-weeny bit disappointing that I haven't had many sales lately after a bit of a flurry a week or two ago, but hey, never mind. There are many beautiful things on sale from talented crafters and designers from all over the place in the online craft fair and it can be found here - http://creative-connections.ning.com/ - I think. See, I don't really know what I am doing.

In other news, Mr Biscuitnose has bought a wonderful 1950s bike that he is going to restore. It's his new project. Mr B is extremely creative and handy. He has taken it apart and is going to restore what he can, replace what can't be revived and get it all painted/powder coated in lovely vintage colours. It's going to look truly gorgeous and the end result is going to be for me (to ride around on but hopefully not fall off). No one's ever done anything like this for me before and it makes me feel very loved. I'm welling here and it's going to ruin my reputation as the most fearsome receptionist in the West Midlands so I had better stop.

I finished this last night and I'm quite pleased with it as a first attempt at making a multiple bead-string thingy.





Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Responsibility

Taking responsibility for things seems to be a recurring theme for me today.

First of all, I read about a designer called Rachael Taylor whose flower design had mysteriously appeared on a range of T-shirts in Marks and Spencer without her knowledge. It seems to have turned out that this was due to one of their suppliers having ripped off the design - M & S have apologised (on Twitter at least) and are going to withdraw the T-shirt from the shops and recycle them all. But how did they allow this to happen in the first place? How can such a major company just shrug and say "whoops"?

I then read very soon afterwards about an almost identical case where a lady called Kate Davies has had her knitwear design used without her permission by Debenhams. As yet there seems to have been no outcome, but hopefully they will do the same as M & S. I found this case even more sad because the designer depends on the income she makes from her knitting patterns since having a stroke.

These companies are big - in fact, HUGE. Do they really think that no one's going to notice? But that seems to be how things go these days - big companies ripping off the little guy in the belief that they are infallible. It's why the farmers are in London today and why Bob Diamond is 'only' getting his 2 million quid for being incompetent and/or a liar. I sincerely hope that they all get their comeuppance. (Did I spell that right? It's difficult to concentrate on spelling when I'm in Hulk mode.)

Finally I was glared at this afternoon several times by a middle-aged student who arrived five minutes before her essay deadline without having printed it off. I did my bit and told her where she needed to go to print it off and who she could see for IT help when she somehow managed to send her document to some printer in an office far far away..... but I had a strong feeling that she wanted me to hold her hand all the while and then hot-foot it down to the registry section to hand her work in for her. All I can say is sigh.... never mind. It's nearly wine o'clock.



Friday, 6 July 2012

My potential other life

Looks like the rainy season is here to stay, doesn't it folks? On Wednesday I got soaked to the skin about 4 times. I eventually arrived home and dripped all over the carpet. The cat has been missing since yesterday evening but I'm not too worried this time, I think the trip from one of his other houses to our back door may too much for him in this weather and he doesn't want to ruin his fur-style.

We have a busy weekend lined up. Son is making his dramatic debut (well, to the outside world at least - the actual debut of his dramatics at home was long, long ago) tonight in a production at a local theatre that he's been working on at his drama group and, like a true thespian, he'll be doing it all over again tomorrow night, a two-night run! I have a craft fair tomorrow at the Guildhall in Worcester (as mentioned in my last post, but I'm not above repeating myself in the interest of publicity). The forecast for tomorrow is, more or less, pants, so I don't know how busy it'll be but I'm looking forward to trying out a slightly different kind of event and seeing how it goes.

Hmm. As I sit here typing, someone just walked past and said "You look slightly like Kate Middleton". She stressed the slightly quite a lot though, so I don't think I can quit my day job and take up my new position as Kate Middleton Doppelganger just yet. However, Kate, if ever you get bored of going to those film premieres and posh lunches and you need a stand-in, you know where to find me. Just drop me a line. Okay? Great :-)


                                                                We're practically twins
 


Monday, 2 July 2012

Who needs dignity anyway....

Well, that was a great weekend. Mr Biscuitnose (the character formerly known as Boyfriend) (I should add that he is still Boyfriend but he now has an alias) and I ate, drank, slept, ate, drank, drank some more and generally carried on like that. It was fantastic. We only get these frivolous and mildly debauched weekends once every six weeks when neither of our offspring are at home. At the pub on Saturday there was a wedding party with a 1920s theme to the outfits. They looked great, especially the bride who had on a gorgeous backless white dress - a bit like this one:


with a vintage hair decoration to match. Some of the men were wearing spats and looked like they'd just come from the speakeasy. It was so cool!

On Sunday Mr B and I went for a lovely long bike ride. We live right next to the canal in Worcester and it's a perfect spot for a Sunday jaunt on two wheels. We rode and rode, and got beyond the city limits - we nearly reached the exotic locale of Droitwich! However as we reached those badlands, it all started to go wrong... the towpath gave out and turned into two muddy ruts. I struggled to ride in one rut or the other, but my lack of steering ability failed me dramatically and I did a slow-motion fall off my bike into a ditch full of brambles and stinging nettles. I was more or less the wrong way up and starting to get quite concerned that I was slipping downwards but happily a tree stump saved me and I was manfully rescued by the heroic Mr B. Getting my bike away from the clutches of the brambles was a little more difficult. All the while this Casualty-esque scene was being watched by a middle-aged couple who just stood there and gawped, rather than coming up to help or at least find out if I was alright. How rude! But my laughter probably told them that I was fine, and the most injured part of me was by far and away my dignity..... I seem to have a habit of falling off things. This being upright lark isn't as easy as it looks y'know!

So next weekend it's the craft fair at the Guildhall in Worcester. I'm looking forward to it (it's inside for one thing, so even if it weewees with rain - which looks likely - I won't get wet). I've had such mixed results at this point with selling things at fairs that I've no idea how it will go - all I can do is make as many new pieces this week as I can in the time available and hope for the best. At least it will be a nice chance to meet some other crafty people. Apparently there will be biscuits too :-)

Friday, 29 June 2012

Aaaaaaand relax....

Hip hip hooray, it's Friday, and it hasn't come soon enough. It's been a long and slightly stressy week. I started out tired for no reason at all, and haven't exactly improved as the week went on, and over the course of the week it's become apparent that in the coming months, changes at work mean that I will have to become some sort of campus oracle, only without the perks that us oracles usually get such as jewels and sacrifices being made in my honour.

This will be me pondering a student's question about liability for Council Tax:


This particular Friday is one of those where I undertake the almighty yomp down to London and back for my son to spend the weekend with his Dad. It's not entirely what I feel like doing with my Friday night, but I don't mind the train journeys too much. Staring out of the window with no obligations and nothing in particular to do for a few hours is relaxing and gives good thinking time. I'm not so keen on the trip back again from London though - after Oxford (about half way) the train empties out and gets emptier as it trundles though everywhere with a pub and a post office and Friday night wears on, and that's when the weirdos get on. Luckily they tend to keep themselves to themselves and I haven't yet had an incident worse than the time when I lived down south and unwittingly sat in a carriage with a flasher. As Son and I sat down, I noted that the man opposite us did look rather a lot like Nosferatu, but thought nothing more of it... until I happened to glance at his foot stretched out into the gangway of the carriage. It was yellow with long, revolting toenails.... and both shoeless and sockless. My eyes followed his leg from the ankle up and it became pretty clear that apart from the (in hindsight, obligatory) dirty brown mac the guy was wearing, he was absolutely butt naked. We moved to another carriage pretty quickly with him staring at us all the while....

I'm pleased to say that the rest of my commuting life has been a whole lot less unsavoury. I usually like to take something with me to do and it's kind of entertaining seeing people trying to work out what I am making when I'm sitting there with needle and thread and cloth or a pair of pliers and stash of beads. I've made a lot of jewellery lately, so today I'm going to make a monkey out of felt. I made quite a nice choker necklace last night but there are no pictures yet - I think I'm going to have to model it and get Boyfriend to take a picture before I can put it up for sale, but before that happens my pimple has to go.... I'm too old for this stuff! It seems hugely unfair that I have a Cruella de Ville-style rash of grey hairs starting to annexe one part of my hairline but I still get the odd spot that wouldn't look out of place on a teenager. This, in my opinion, is why I still get ID'd trying to buy alchohol. It's nothing to do with youthful good looks, it's all about the spots. C'mon, Nature, what did I ever do to you? Is it because I gave up my membership of Greenpeace?? But they were sending me junk mail...

Anyway, I have coffee to drink and biscuits to eat. (Yep, busy busy busy, I don't know how I cope!)
A splendid weekend to you all :-)



Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Morning blues

It's just before ten in the morning and I think I'm having one of those days where I've really had enough. I think I might get myself a large badge that says "I'm not your bitch". Maybe a neon sign to hang above my desk saying the same thing, as signage in the workplace can never be too obvious, so I've learned. I've just had someone semi-blame me for the fact that they do not have any compliment slips or headed paper with their name on it. It is actually not part of my role to make sure that other people have these things. I also don't have to breathe for them or chew their food and spit it back into their mouth for them like a mother bird, though maybe I should check my job description to make absolutely sure.

While I'm ranting, I also REALLY hate it when people say "Have we heard back from Finance yet about....?" What they mean is: Did you email the Finance office and ring them and fax them and sit on their desk holding a gun to their head until they sorted out my problem? You DIDN'T???? Well what do you  DO all day, you lowly, administrating scum???? And NO, I CANNOT sort out my own problem (even though you explained very carefully and precisely to me last week how I do this), because I am on a higher plain than you, and you are a clerical troglodite who is incapable of thinking about things that do not involve staples or filing cabinets, and the whole thing is beneath me quite frankly.

I think I may go into the loo and have a little cry now.

In other news, I made this the other day. I really like it (which I know is quite big-headed to say) but I do.



Friday, 22 June 2012

100 is the Magic Number....

I've read a couple of times now that 100 is some kind of magic number on Etsy and that when you have 100 items in your shop suddenly sales will rocket and you won't be able to scoot to the post office fast enough to keep up. Hmmmm... now is it me, or does that sound a bit like nonsense? Why 100? If it's true, however, I have a lot of work to do. I did make this last night though:


I dropped all the bloody beads all over the sofa about 4 times having painstakingly threaded them, and hence will be pricing it at a fiver due to mental distress.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Alien Abduction

I have proof that this exists. Number One Son has been tidying his room... or, should I say, his alien replacement has been tidying his room. So if anyone's spotted strange lights in the sky over Worcestershire, don't worry, it was just the mothership dropping off my son's Doppelganger.

I bought my beads. They're very nice beads - and that's all I'll say on the subject, since I would hate to send anyone into a boredom-induced coma.

In between drooling over new beads (NOT LITERALLY I hasten to add, in case anyone reading this who might consider buying anything from me is instantly put off by the thought of receiving something in the post which would require the donning* of Marigolds before removing it from the package) and making dinner (chilli, AGAIN) I was assisting the Alien with sorting out stuff he had ejected from his room. He's parting with some things that really used to mean a lot to him - books from his beloved primary school down south before we moved, Christmas cards from old friends.... this clear-out seems to signal a real shift in him. He's got old enough now to start leaving the past behind - more than that, he's finally old enough to have a past. It's a strange thing to think about, for me.

*is donning a word?


Monday, 18 June 2012

Guilt and beads

I've got something in my eye today - not in a 'Brief Encounter' sort of way - I'm not holding back the tears and maintaining a Stiff Upper Lip for any reason - I really have. A pesky bit of grit most likely. I keep blinking furiously with my right eyelid as if I have a tic - I think Frau Farbissina had something similar going on in The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Anyway. The vintage fair on Friday was fab. I sold approximately a third of my stock which was really quite astonishing to me, never before having had people actually pick up things on my stall, go oooh and ahhh over them, and then actually buy them. I think I may actually have been in mild shock afterwards when lovely Boyfriend kindly picked me up in his van. A few of the vintage items went, but most of what I sold was my own handmade stuff. It felt really nice and has given me back some confidence in myself and my ability to make things that people might actually want.

Something happened that bothered me a bit  though - three other ladies also had vintage stalls at the fair and one of them mentioned that she'd considered doing the Worcester Flea but after reading my blog post about the last one wasn't sure. So I just wanted to put the record straight -  the Worcester Flea is a really good fair for anyone wanting to buy or sell vintage items, and the more people turn out for it, the more popular it will become. I would hate to think that I had put anyone off, as it's great for Worcester to have its own regular vintage fair and I will certainly be visiting it as a buyer. (End of public announcement). Phew. I've been feeling guilty about that all weekend.

Weirdly enough - or not - the Swedish Army hat didn't sell. I think I have figured out the reason for its small size - maybe the Swedish Army recruits people with small heads, as small head = small target. Duh... I don't know why I didn't think of that before! Makes perfect sense when you think about it. Clever old Swedes.

So now I have an excuse to buy more beads and make more jewellery again. Is it really sad to get excited over glass beads? No, don't answer that.







Friday, 15 June 2012

One Woman's Teacups

It's fair day again today. This time it's at my work where they are holding a late Jubilee Street Party (except due to the weather behaving like a 3 year old on a high sugar diet at the moment it's going to be indoors unfortunately). I will be having two stalls, one with my Pins and Needles stuff on it and the other will be a vintage stall, selling (unsuprisingly) vintage items. The word vintage can cover many sins and basically seems to mean 'any old cack that's over 30 years old'. This means that I am vintage - hoorah!

The list of things on my stall consists of the following and gets more random the further down you go:
-Two sets of matching teacups, saucers and cake plates
-A glass cake stand/thing that would look nice with grapes on it or even better with bonbons (but then bonbons can improve many things)
-A silver-plated toast rack (which has not seen action since my parents last visited - they liked things to be done properly).
-A green pressed glass dish with a lid which is very nice but as the lid doesn't stay put, is not actually very useful.
-Two volumes of poetry, one WH Auden from 1966 and one Louis MacNeice from 1964 - my favourite poem in it is 'Snow'.
-A 1937 coronation mug with very unflattering images of George VI and the Queen Mother on it
-Two small gold and glass tumblers
-Four small glasses with blue stems. I think they might be for quaffing sherry. Or whatever it is that you do with sherry.
-Two Victorian silver spoons for sprinkling sugar on fruit. These are my favourite items. I love the way that the Victorians felt the need to have a special spoon for this purpose. I once saw a pair of Victorian scissors specifically for cutting grape stalks in an antique shop. Life in Victorian times must have been one long opportunity for committing horrendous social fauxs pas by using the wrong implement. I would probably have ended up incarcerated for being terminally uncouth. Or something.
-A Swedish army hat for a person with an extremely small head. I wonder if they had a big body??
-A polaroid camera which may or may not work. I remember polaroid cameras from when I was a kid and how COOL it looked when a photo came sliding out. I guess having that instant picture is the same as using a digital camera now, but with the added frisson of not knowing whether you'd put your thumb over the lens until it was too late. My Dad never approved of polaroid cameras. I think he actually liked fretting over the light meter and different lenses and twiddling dials and switches while his subject invariably ran/flew away or got bored.
-A slide rule. For those measuring emergencies - I never leave home without mine!*

*This is a lie.

So we shall see what I do and don't come home with......

Friday, 8 June 2012

Yippee yippee!



Despite the rain, and despite the fact that the heel on both of my work shoes has disintegrated through being worn mercilessly (it seems to be quite a challenge buying shoes that are up to such crazy and left-field challenges such as being walked on) (but I digress....) it has been a good day.

First of all, I've had my first Etsy sale - hoorah! Ok, it wasn't for something I'd made - I decided to list a gorgeous little vintage teacup and saucer as they were, rather than bugger about with them and turn them into a teacup candle, and a lady from Arizona, bless her cotton socks, bought it. So I packed it up in as much bubble wrap as humanly possible and sent it on its way at lunchtime today.

The other lovely thing was that Mythillogical (who makes delightful characters such as this one - http://www.etsy.com/listing/100996512/sunny-bunny-beach-babe-rabbit-needle ) included me in her list of nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award. It's SO exciting! I've never been nominated for anything! (Well, I did win awards at school when I was in Upper Sixth for French and German, but there wasn't too much competition as no one else was studying French and German.) I haven't been blogging for very long and for ages I didn't think anyone was even reading it, so thank you Mythillogical, you have made my day!

Once you've received a nomination, this is what you do -

The rules:
1. Add the award to your blog - check
2. Thank the blogger(s) who gave it to you - check
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself - I'll get to that in a minute
4. List the rules - yep, here they are!
5. Award to 15 bloggers - coming right up....
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog - okie dokie....

Ok, 7 random things about myself. Ummmm....

1. I was far more interesting as a baby. I crawled backwards, wore dolls' clothes for my first few weeks as I was very small and my first word uttered was 'Cheeky'. I like to start as I mean to go on.
2. My cat only has 3 legs. He lost one in a mysterious accident, though Boyfriend reckons that he may well have got hungry and chomped it off himself, and it's quite true to say that he's a bit of a greedy old sausage.
3. I have a thing about prawns - they really, really creep me out. Ugh!
4. I snort when I laugh! It's become quite serious, I sound like Peppa Pig (not that there's anything wrong with that.)
5. I once sent my Mum into hysterics by asking if a pillock was a type of sheep.
6. My 15 minutes of fame was spent tap dancing in wellies while dressed as Father Christmas at the New Theatre, Cardiff. (I was also the Pink Toothbrush to my friend Sophie's Blue Toothbrush during the same performance. Pity the parents that had to sit through this rubbish.)
7. This isn't so much of a random fact as a pearl of wisdom that I have discovered this week. Chocolate covered malted milk biscuits (available in Co-op, or the Coop as I like to call it) don't fall to bits when you dunk them in your coffee. Huzzah!

Right then, drum roll.... my nominees for this prestigious award (*opens gold envelope*) are:

1. http://crackyouwhip.blogspot.co.uk/

2. http://the-western-front.blogspot.co.uk/

3. http://thebloggess.com/

4. http://mothersofbrothersblog.blogspot.co.uk/

5. http://blueskiessunnydays.blogspot.co.uk/

6. http://southernfriedchildren.blogspot.co.uk/

7. http://lilytequila.blogspot.co.uk/

8.  http://cheeseblarg.blogspot.co.uk/

9. http://workingwomansguidetodinner.blogspot.co.uk/

10. http://yonksnews.blogspot.co.uk/

11. http://www.justinappropriate.com/

12. http://www.claybaboons.com/

13.http://lucykatecrafts.blogspot.co.uk/

14. http://redbirdjewellery.blogspot.co.uk/

15. http://thisisnotthatblog.com/

These are all MIGHTY bloggers and blow me away with their awesomeness and brilliance. (My son says I am too old to use the word 'awesome'. Tuh. What would he know.)


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Fuzzy Felt and the Bulldog Spirit

So I've been thinking, and my last post was rally rather miserable and a bit self-pitying, embarrassingly enough. I would take it down, but I'm going to leave it up there to remind myself what a big wet lettuce I can be at times.

The only sure way that people won't ever buy my stuff is to give up making it and trying to sell it, and since I love it, I'm going to carry on regardless. I've switched direction a bit this weekend and am making a memory game. It's all made out of felt and will have felt flowers, bees, hearts, fish, kites and other simple things on it. After I'd made a few squares I realised that it's a lot like Fuzzy Felt and that's probably why I was enjoying making it so much. Fuzzy Felt was (is? Can you still get Fuzzy Felt?) a great toy - no need for batteries or controllers, just your imagination. Lovely!

We made lasagne for 4 last night and ate it between 2 of us. I think I may have broken my tummy. Tonight's madras will have to be a bit more on the petite side I think in order to try to shrink my stomach back to its normal size. My backside is a lost cause however and I am just going to have to learn to live as a human/beachball hybrid. It's that or give up chocolate..... no chance :-)


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Doubt

I was awoken on Sunday morning by the cat biting my knee and that kind of summed up the day.

The flea market was an absolute washout. I sat there for four and half chilly hours watching my hands go blue. In June. I didn't sell a thing. Since I also have barely sold anything online either, I'm starting to think, well... am I wasting my time? I love making things, but I can't just go on accumulating piles of necklaces and teacup candles  if I can't get rid of them, in the nicest possible way. Maybe it's just not good enough or different enough? Again people were picking things up and admiring them, but not liking them enough to buy. I'm not going to do the flea market again, I think. In reality it is largely for people selling vintage items and also it's a shame it's not in a great spot. It lies in a street between the bus station, generally full of drunks and those who've been chucked out of the night shelter and are just biding their time until they can go back in again, and a busy thoroughfare. The street contains a fancy dress costume shop, the public toilets and a closed down pound shop. You know a place is in bad straits when the pound shop closes. The spot isn't the organisers' fault, but the city of Worcester council type folks really could do with taking a good hard look at the market place and smartening it up a bit (or a lot).

Anyway, by 2.30pm I'd had enough and packed up to go home. The cake stall lady next to me left about half an hour in, which was a shame as her cakes looked gorgeous and I think she might have done better than all the rest of the stands put together. One woman came along and asked where the cake stall had gone, as she'd been at the cemetery and had decided to pick up come cakes on her way back. Going to the cemetery seems an unusual way to work up an appetite but each to their own, eh.

The day improved however with a truly splendid Sunday dinner produced by Boyfriend. He surpassed himself, he really did. There was great danger of my exploding but I would certainly have died happy.

I've just noticed on TV how painfully thin Kate Middleton is. She needs to have a word with the Grandma-in-Law and get some swan down her, I reckon.




Friday, 1 June 2012

Jubilation

So, the British weather strikes again and we are in for a wet weekend. This does not bode too well for the flea market on Sunday and I'm not entirely relishing the prospect of sitting there getting soggy for six hours. When I signed up to have the stall the last period of hot, sunny days had just begun and I was envisaging happy groups of day trippers from Brum pouring into Worcester for the day, full of celebratory cheer and up for parting with their cash. Instead, if we get any trippers on Sunday, they'll be sheltering in coffee shops and lurking around the cathedral in dripping, chilly groups waiting for the good people to finish worshipping and bugger off so that they can go in there to dry out.

On t'other hand though, maybe if the weather's going to be bad, people in Worcester who might have planned days out will cancel them and head into town instead (this makes it sound like I relish the thought of disappointed kiddies being told that instead of going to West Midlands Safari Park they're going to spend the day at B & Q - I'm not that nasty!), after all, shopping is a good rainy day activity for those who are into that sort of thing. So all might not be lost, and I am kind of looking forward to it really. Last time was a bit of a wash-out, not the in the literal sense as the weather was perfectly alright, but in that I only sold two items, but just having people pick things up and admire them was lovely in itself. So we shall see how it goes.

I was under the impression that the Queen isn't much of a smiler, but I've just found evidence to the contrary. In this picture, she looks like she's just pinched someone's bum:


And in this one she has clearly been at the whiskey and she's just about to say to the person next to her "I love you - no, I do, I love you, you're my best friend... buuuuuurp!"


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Cake scoffer

One very good thing about my job is the amount of cake I get. Barely a week passes by without a yummy slice of something or other being gently pressed upon me. I think it must be an admin thing and it's definitely a public sector thing... it pays to be the gal who orders the envelopes sometimes. (Well, it pays in cake anyway).

Excitement is building in the household (I say 'in the household' - it's just me really - it merely means that I have gone into mess-making overdrive) with the approach of the Jubilee Worcester Flea - hoorah! I have a stash of jewellery and random items to sell that has grown like a big scruffy mushroom over the last few weeks and grand plans for making a beautiful cloth for my stall (if I can do beautiful in the limited time I have left before Sunday) and making myself some bunting, naturellement.

I had a bit of a quandry about whether to make jubilee-themed items or not. I'm not a royallist and not a fan of the Union Jack and many of the sentiments that go with it. But it seems sort of churlish not to get into the spirit of the thing and have nothing jubilatory (yes, that is a word - it is now, anyway) on my stall. Boyfriend came to the rescue and suggested making red, white and blue items that can be cunningly sold separately and not look like left-overs at all if they don't go. He has all the best ideas :-)




Thursday, 24 May 2012

It's all happening in Worcester today....

Well, today we have the Olympic torch passing through Worcester. Apparently there will be thousands of people lining the streets to see it. (They must all still have been in bed when I was walking to work this morning, or perhaps at home doing star jumps in their living rooms to psych themselves up for this tremendous event!) I know I'm going to sound like a right miserable bugger saying this, but I'm just not excited about the Olympics. I've never been the sporty type. Years of being shouted at by short, manly - indeed one reminded me rather of a well-established tree - female PE teachers to stop being so lazy and stop slouching round the edge of the boggy sports field more than put me off. The only enjoyable moment I can recall from PE lessons was almost spearing one of said teachers with a javelin. It was an accident though - honest!!

The other excitement of the day, for me personally at least, is that I have an interview this afternoon for an admin job with the fire service. I say excitement - terror would be more accurate. I HATE interviews - I turn from being a competent, efficient administrator into a gibbering, verbal diahorrea spouting (apologies if you're eating) wreck. I only passed the interview for the job I'm in now because I was so depressed beforehand having failed lots of interviews that I just didn't have it in me to be nervous. It seems that the giving-up-before-I'd-even-started attitude actually worked for me.

On the creative front, the green silk dress is coming on a storm - I'm really pleased with it. It's going to have a number of strange, slightly sticky-outy bits but for a first attempt at dress making it's not too bad at all I'd say. I don't think Vivienne Westwood needs to get worried yet though. (Saw her on the news last night - she is FAB!)


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Summer

Summer seems to have arrived - myself, I suspect it's only temporary. Very negative of me I know, but I've been fooled too many times by the flirtatious summer days that lead you up the garden path, tempt you to throw away your old winter coat and then they leave, just like that.

Talking of seasonal clothes, I have discovered that none of my summer clothes fit - none! I'm still in corduroy and thick cotton, just with the sleeves rolled up. I've expanded from being a slip of a thing last year to having the figure of a slightly weedy hourglass. It's a good thing (even though it doesn't sound like it). So since money is tight this month (sometimes it feels like this lifetime) I've decided to turn my creative 'talents' (cough cough) to dress making. I have a large piece of beautiful green silk at home just begging to be hacked up, destroyed and reconstructed into something beautiful. I hope.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Unfinished business

I'm getting rather bad at finishing my projects. I have such a large stash at home of beautiful materials, beads, charms for bracelets and all sorts of stuff that I keep on starting things and then get so excited over a new idea that I leave things when they're about three-quarters of the way through and start something else (with the exception of the snakes and ladders board which is such a lengthy project that I've picked it up and put it down numerous times over the last few months, and it's still nowhere near finished!) I think I need to enforce some discipline on myself, make a written list (very important, this, writing things down - makes them official in my head!!) of the things that I need to complete and just get on with it.

The lady in Florida has asked me to make her another teapot necklace!! I'm so chuffed - it's so lovely to know that someone likes my stuff that much :-)

We have no children around this weekend - I've gingerly asked my long-suffering boyfriend if we can go for a poke around in some charity shops nearby for pretty plates that I can use for displaying my stuff at the next flea market/fairs. I feel kind of bad - I spend so much of our evenings stitching and cutting and bending wires and making a terrible mess while he sits next to me and tries to hug me - poor guy. I must lavish some attention on him this weekend as he is great and he more than deserves it :-)

Have just noticed that I have spilled coffee and also wet biscuit crumbs down my white blouse. Oops - never mind, it's Friday!


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Zzzzzzzz.......

I'm a sleeeeeeepy bunny today.... some weeks seem to go so slowly. Isn't it Friday yet? Really? Haven't we had about 18 days of this week already?

The black grosgrain ribbon did indeed make a nice brooch - here it is....


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

My cat thinks he's Rocky

The ginger ninja has been at the vet's again, third time since we got him in June. Despite having only three legs he seems to be under the impression that he is some sort of prize fighter. It was just a scratch on the cheek this time, but I took him along anyway as these things to tend to turn nasty with cats. He gets around pretty well most of the time with a funny sort of loping/bobbing motion, apart from when his invisible enemies are out to get him and he races up the stairs like a greyhound before looking around him wildly and racing back down again. Our cat is wonderful, but utterly unhinged.

I put up a brooch for sale yesterday - here it is - http://www.etsy.com/listing/99873846/rosette-ribbon-brooch?ref=sr_gallery_1&ga_search_query=rosette+ribbon+brooch&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=handmaderosette+ribbon+brooch

I was in two minds about whether to put it up really - it just seems so simple that it almost feels wrong to try to sell it, but on the other hand I really like it and I would wear it myself, so I figure that maybe someone else will like it too. One of my friends spotted it and said she loved it which was so sweet of her and made me really happy - yay!

Having looked around the site a bit at other people's similar items, I have to say that I think some folk really do charge a lot for them... they really aren't that hard or expensive to make. I suppose, though, that if you price something too cheaply you risk making people think that your items cannot be that good. It's a dilemma alright. I'm too unsure of my talent and too modest (even though that sounds big headed!!) to slap a big price on anything I make. Besides, I'm not in it for the money, I just like making stuff :-)

It's all kicked off (in a good way) day job-wise. I can't say too much, but suffice to say it's all looking good for at least the next year. It's a big relief and I'm very lucky given the state we are all in right now. I've been unemployed enough times to know how miserable it is and how soul-destroying job hunting can be.

I'm going to make another ribbon brooch tonight - I have some lovely black grosgrain ribbon that will make a very elegant one I think. And get some more antibiotics into the cat.



Friday, 11 May 2012

Mild excitement

Bit happier today. A very nice lady (actually I don't know whether she's nice or not - but judging by her artwork, I'd say that she is probably lovely) included me in her circle on Etsy this morning, only the second person to do so. I've been adding people to my 'circle' with grim determination in the hope that one of them will look at my shop and say "WOW"! Anyway, the lady in question is called Linda and here's her shop:

http://www.etsy.com/people/cloudberry

I absolutely love her illustrations. When I get rich, having made my fortune with felt bunnies etc, I'm going to buy myself some of her watercolour dioramas, starting with this one

http://www.etsy.com/listing/95312198/watercolor-diorama-cafe-belle-comme-toi?ref=pr_shop

Is it me or does adding people to 'circles' sound a bit spooky? It could be though that I am mixing up 'circles' with 'covens' in my head. Or thinking of the Magic Circle or something.

 This weekend, there will not be much production going on as we've got all of the children with us, so instead I think I will be mostly separating squabbling ankle-biters and getting the tortoise out into the sunshine - she's been a bit peaky, bless her.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

I'm a little concerned about my future.....

I watched 'The Graduate' with my boyfriend at the weekend. I love 'The Graduate' and I really wanted him to see it. Unfortunately he fell asleep, though I wasn't sorry that he missed the bit with the nipple tassles. He did wake up in time for my favourite moment though - the beautiful scene at the end where Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross (soooo gorgeous) are sitting on the bus - they're laughing as they sit down, and then they seem to get lost in thought.

Like Ben, I'm a little worried about my future. My job (my day job, that is) comes to an end in six weeks' time. At the moment, since I can't afford to work part time, I can't find anything else. I'm looking, oh I'm looking, and I'm not even that picky - I just can't find anything, even though my requirements are pretty bog-stand and my office skills boringly transferable.

What I really want to do is to make and sell things, all day long. I'm just not sure how to make this happen. I get the joy and satisfaction from making things that I've always wanted from a job - even when I see that someone has viewed something I've made in my Etsy shop I get a small glow of pleasure. It's hard to explain - I feel like I'm sharing something with the world.

At the moment I am making a big, beautiful cloth cube toy for a small child, which will have a tinkly bell in the middle. It's going to be awesome :-)



Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A sticky issue

If there is anyone out there (unlikely), and if so, if there is anyone out there who, like me, enjoys sticking glass and metal together (even more unlikely... but hey, you never know), I have a question. What's the best way to do this? I have found that my beloved glue gun makes too much mess and I inevitably end up pulling strands of rubbery glue away from the objects I'm trying to fix together and end up smearing them and myself with it. Superglue is just too damn runny and leaves and nasty rough film over the surfaces which will not come off no matter how much you scratch at it with your fingernail. And PVA, as wonderful as it is, is as useful as a chocolate teapot in this kind of serious, grown-up type sticking situation. Quelle dilemma!


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A slight hiatus

It's been a while. This is because I actually feel a bit shy about blogging. Silly eh? I'm not very likely ever to meet anyone who will read this (as far as I know....) and I am still keen to share my excitement over making stuff with the world.

Talking of which, I have made my first international sale.Woo hoo! A blue teapot necklace will be winging its way to Florida this afternoon after a delightful lady saw it on Etsy and was so keen to buy it that she ignored the ineptitude that led me to set up my shop wrongly so that she couldn't pay first off. It's such a good feeling that someone has not only seen something I've made and liked it, but even more than that, liked it enough to buy. Nothing but nothing would please me more than to make my living like this. To sit in my nice, peaceful living room every day sewing, fiddling with buttons, stabbing myself in the hand with bits of wire and trying to stop my cat eating various jewellery bits.

Friday, 16 March 2012

My creative bent

At last - I've discovered something good at - and it's only taken me 36 years! And while I'm at it I thought I would enter the digital age and start a blog about it too.

I was taken with the idea of sewing bags and purses for a Christmas fair at my son's school last year, after making a patchwork bag for my boyfriend's daughter and realising how much I'd enjoyed it. At the same time I deicdded that I wanted to raise some money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research in memory of my Mum - just sending off a cheque with no effort involved didn't feel like a way in whcih I wanted to make a donation. So I spent weeks and weeks sewing, buying material, cutting fabric, bleeding on said fabric (oops, don't tell anyone) after repeatedly stabbing myself with sewing needles and generally making a huge mess at home. The end result was in the region of 25 bags, purses and dangly gingham hearts, ready for the fair.

The fair went... badly. I sold four gingham hearts and only shifted a couple of purses because my boyfriend and father felt sorry for me, bless them. But was I down? No! Sitting there all day having people pick things up and not buy them wasn't great, but the number of comments I got about how lovely everything was really encouraged me. So after a few weeks' hiatus spent tidying up, reading, speaking to my loved ones again (instead of steadily focussing on a needles and thread and mumbling the odd comment) and behaving like a human being once more, I took up my needle once more. I started a snakes and ladders board on coloured felt squares, which is a work in progress (I think I'm up to around 48). But slightly more excitingly I completed this bunny:


I've also started making jewellery. Now this (ok, probably just to me...) is REALLY exciting. I get to use TOOLS. I feel like a real, live artisan curling bits of tongs round my pair of round-nosed pliers that I bought specially for the purpose. I don't seem able to post a picture of the first bracelet I made, so maybe I'll quit while I'm ahead and put it up another day.