Monday, 29 November 2010

Cyber Monday

Have been reading all the hype about "Cyber Monday", allegedly the busiest internet trading day of the year.... apart from "Black friday" and apparently next Monday.... so have to admit to being somewhat confuzzled :-)

But the appeal of internet shopping is growing and lets face it, there's little chance of being queue barged, attacked by little old ladies and their fearsome shopping trollies and I don't need to fit air horns and a "people plough" to my wheelchair just to get into the local "mall"..... although the temptation is strong lol!

So for those who's fingers are aching from typing and scrolling, I've had a look through Folksy and selected a range of Christmas gifts for you.... mainly featuring the November Sparks.

I've been doing forays into chunkier yarns and felting as the temperatures drop, so here is a small selection from me:

1. Felted Cowl       2. Chunky Beret     3. Crochet Gloves    4. Corsage

Bits and Bobs CraftsBits and Bobs CraftsBits and Bobs Crafts Bits and Bobs Crafts

And now a selection from the Sparks:

For someone special:

Smoky Quartz Ring, JAusten Jewellery Design

Miss Bohemia - Darkly Romantic Victorian Ring

The Jewellery Lover:

Sp Jewellery, Handmade Sterling Silver and Aventurine Earrings

Labradorite, Quartz and Red Bamboo Necklace

Christmas Decs:

Patchwork Butterfly - Christmas Secret Keeper

Pretty Girly Stocking Fillers

Ickle Imogen - Nautical Ribbon Rose Hair Clips

Keeping Warm:

Uniquely Yours - Red Slouchy Beret

Nofkants Curios - Baby Blue Fingerless Mitts

Something for the boys!

Swirly Arts - Thomas the Tank Engine Recycled Notebook

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Crafting For Charity

As some of you may have realised I have some free patterns to download on this site for a charity. the Pulmonary Hypertension Association seeks to both support sufferers of this rare condition and raise awareness of it.
I've got involved in supporting the charity because a friend has PH and was very fortunate to be diagnosed at all, let alone survive it! I have an unusual spinal condition and when I was going through the whole process of being assessed, diagnosed etc this lady kept me sane!! She also has the condition and I would sometimes ring her in tears because the Dr's wouldn't believe what I was saying as it doesn't show up on scans etc as its more of a chemical and inflamattory problem - at one stage I was actually told I was potentially insane - which to be fair is probably technically true being the mother of a teenager :-) She listened, shared her experiences, which were pretty similar, got me lots of info and really nagged me to push for a pain clinic referral - and at that point it all changed! They knew what I was saying and believed it and even better could explain it! And whilst there's no cure - except maybe a new spine if anyone has a spare please lol! - they got me living again which has been brilliant.
So when my friend got ill with PH too I really wanted to do something to help and with parachute drops and abseiling being out of the question on soooo many levels I thought I'd get clicking. The following items are all available in my Folksy Shop and between 75 and 100% of the cost goes to PHA:

1. Blue Lips Handbag    2. Blue lips keychain coin purse 
      3. Blue lips child's novelty neck purse

 The keychain and neck purses would make ideal stocking fillers and am prepared to knit them in other colours if requested :-)


I would like to thank all those who have ordered Glittensover the weekend - this has increased the total donation I am currently able to make to Children in Need to £2.90. Obviously it would be lovely to have a few more sales before midnight so I can donate just a little bit more, so am looking to all my lovely Blog Followers, Twitter Followers and Facebook Fans to help out a little and spread the word that my customers can both treat themselves and feel good!

Am also going to do my first Sunday ShowCase on Facebook and have chosen to feature a Charity Crafter from Folksy - Zygote Gifts. The owner is offering a lovely recycled corsage  - and donates another corsage to Oxfam to sell in their shops each time she sells one. I think this is an inspired way to raise money for charity and it would be lovely to see her needles really flying too!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Folksy Friday - Something for the little ones - Children In Need

Although I don't have any children's items in my store, I thought that I would post a Child friendly FF today in honour of tonight's Children In Need Appeal.

I will donate 10% of the cost of any items bought from my Folksy store tonight to  the Children in Need Appeal

Other Folksy Stores also supporting Children in Need include:

The Crafty Bride        Unique Beaded Gems    Pauline R (offline Party)

Made with Love Designs  Pirate Treasures Jewellery TSJ Jewellery Designs

The Sequinned Sheep   Goblin Market  April Is Forever Jewellery

Rowan Jade Jewellery  Blue Forest Jewellery - offline auction

Off the Hook

Folksy Friday - in my Child's Stocking....

1. Uniquely Yours     2. Eccentric Ella                  3. Haptree   
4. Sew Flair             5. Giggles Animal Gifts        4. Birdcage Creatives

Uniquely Yours Eccentric Ella
Haptree Sew Flair
giggles animal gifts Birdcage Creative

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Testing out "Glittens"

What is a glitten? Well that took a little research as it seemed to depend on where in the world you lived. In the UK a glitten is a flip top mitten over a fingerless or half fingered glove - the advantage being you can flip the top off and still have the use of your fingers for those darn fiddly jobs. However in some parts of the USA it appears a "glitten" is a 3 fingered mitten - a thumb, the first 2 fingers and the last finger - designed to allow you to shoot things without getting your fingers cold..... must admit I prefer the idea of deer running free in the forest rather than being persued by men in strange hats wearing weird glove things - but each to their own I suppose.

I then struggled to find a pattern  - I could find mittens, gloves with fingers, gloves with half fingers, gloves with no fingers etc. So I got to cutting and pasting in my head and ended up with the idea of making a pair of gloves with the thumb complete and half fingers. I've knitted the first one on a circular needle using the magic loop method. I started them at a craft fair and the technique was definitely a conversation starter :-)

I decided to use cable rib and a contrasting trim to break up the cream and give them a bit of a girlish lift as they've been designed for us girls with smaller hands. I don't know about you but I get really annoyed with the half inch of glove that always seems to be surplus to requirements..

I then developed a pattern for a mitten top - I wanted it to curve slightly more than the patterns I had to hand and also needed a "straight top" so I could crochet on the button loop. So after a few false starts I finally got the top looking as I wanted it too. The fiddliest bit so far has been lining up the flip top mitten so it looks straight and as if its meant to be "growing out of the hand".

The next glitch came with the buttons.... I couldn't find any to match but I did have 2 white plastic shanked buttons in my button drawer - need to remember to try and raid my Dad's button tin next time I manage to drive down to Devon ! So having heard of people covering their own buttons, I crocheted a small circle and fitted it to the button and have now got a really lovely bespoke twist to the design.

Am planning to list these in my Folksy shop in the coming days but also want to offer them as a bespoke item - they can easily be adapted to fit larger hands or colours changed to match your favourite winter outfits. But am also wondering about either sharing the pattern for free or maybe having a go at selling my first pattern.... just because there are so few "Glittens Patterns" out there..... what do you think?

Have also been browsing Folksy and have found these lovely mitts and gloves to keep your hands warm:

Little Things - Fingerless Mittens

Over The Rainbow - Wool Mittens

Sourcery and Sparkle - Glamour Gloves

Mouthy Mitts - Emoticon Gloves

A Knit 4 all seasons - Black Striped Flip Top Gloves

Bits and Bobs Crafts - Deco Squares Mitts

Sunday, 14 November 2010

All the fun of the (CRAFT) Fair

I attended a brilliant craft fair yesterday, which was superbly well organised and publicised by Jacqueline of JAustenJewelleryDesign, in Kingsclere Hants. In a previous life I used to have to recruit people for courses and that involved alot of work publicising them - so I take my hat off to anyone who has worked as hard as Jacqueline and her family obviously did in getting the word out there!
It was also a fantastic intro to other members of the Folksy team, notably Gemma from DamselflyGemma who kindly provided transport for me and her friend Jen, who's shop name escapes me, and is waiting for all her lovely stock to be uploaded :-) (very red faced here) who helped with all the fetching and carrying. I also finally got to meet Natalie from Nofkants Curio's who showed me her beautiful piece of fordite and raised £17 for RBL and Help for Heroes selling corsages - this will continue in her online shop for the rest of November, so if you've not bought your poppy yet or just want to give a bit more to the brave men and women who are fighting overseas, stop by and buy one!! Marie from Mushy Makes, brought along a huge range of gorgeous Christmas decs and gifts. And last but by no means least, Jessies from Jessie's Crafty Corner, who drove all the way from Plymouth to support her Mum at her first craft fair.There were also some lovely ladies who were running stalls for Naomi House and Cancer Research who I really enjoyed chatting to :-).
Having previously had a negative experience at my first fair somewhere out in the New Forest, I was really nervous the night before, but I had learned from the last time and made sure I was better organised by:

  • Making a table skirt and name plate
  • Pricing and labelling all items in advance - and of course putting a note on the back re their life stories, hence the large luggage labels
  • Having some display boards for the smaller stuff
  • Stuffing some of the bags so they were shown off in all their glory
  • Using different heights
  • Taking something to make that would start a conversation - gloves knitted using the magic loop method :-)

So all in all I had a very successful day and actually made a profit and made another small amount for Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK :-)by selling more of the charity makes - if you're interested in getting involved in their fundraising campaign you can find them HERE

I thought you might like to "share in the experience" - albeit without the lovely coffee and cakes Jacqueline and her family kept us all topped up with :-) and see some of the work that was featured yesterday :-)

1. JAusten Jewellery Design      2. Mushy Makes   3. Damselfly Gemma    4. Nofkants Curio's  
5. Jessie's Crafty Corner            6. Bits and Bobs Crafts

J Austen Jewellery Design Mushy Makes
Damselfly Gemma Nofkants Curio's
Jesse's Crafty Corner Bits and Bobs Crafts

Tomorrow will be a photo's day so will be listing some new stock. Am also going to be busy with an exciting art project this week

Monday, 8 November 2010

Vintage inspirations

I've been having a look around the internet and in books recently at the styles of the lates 30's and early 40's. As the theme of my business is to recycle, upcycle or use of end of line items, I've got to wondering how women managed this in the war years. My Great Aunt and her friend used to tell me about recycling old children's jumpers and creating new ones by doing alot of Fairisle. I've also remembered how women were more likely to make their own clothers, including accessories - have heard many stories of how old things were updated for example. And with the colder months approaching I got to thinking about hats - what did these ladies wear on their heads? On my wanderings through the internet I found a fab post on another blog - Found in Mom's Basement - of a 1930's vintage style catalogue from Sears Dept Store. From this I started to look at ideas for the hats I liked and came up with this style board:

I then started to try out various crocheted shapes to get the crown of the hat right. I found that aiming for an oval wouldn't work - I prefer to use Crochet when working out a design from scratch as I find its much easier to structure and see an immediate result. Eventually I decided to start that hat off like a standard "beanine" - so that I could at least get the crown right. I then thought about shaping the hat using variable height stitches - so building from a dc to a htr to a tr as I came down the sides - this would help shape the hat and the brim. Once I was happy with the length, I started experimenting with the brim - this took quite a bit of getting right and I had to step back from my original idea of a medium sided brim with lace effect covering in a contrasting shade of blue to a sdmaller brim. Once I was satisfied with the brim size, I started wondering how to pull it up at the sides and get it to stay in shape - so after a few false starts I found that doing a contrasting row of dc sts around the brim using a smaller hook did the job perfectly.

Here is the result of my design process - have added a Rennie Mackintosh style hat "badge" which I crocheted with fine beading wire and contrasting seed beads.

I got really inspired with this hat and have actually completed a whole range of accessories in a similar style which I will share as the week goes on.
Now for a small feature for some of today's November Sparks, over at Folksy, based of course on the theme of HATS!:

This one is from Uniquely Yours

Another vintage feel from Eccentric Ella

And finally an offering from Nofkants Curios

Friday, 5 November 2010

Folksy Friday - Sparkling New!

I thought I'd feature new sellers to November Sparks in today's FF blog post. Don't know about where you live but at the moment its somewhat explosive here! Am hoping to go to watch the display at the docks tomorrow night - love the reflection of colours across the water :-)

Would also like to say a big thank you to NoodleBubble and NofKants Curios for mentioning 2 of my makes on their blogs today:

Bits and Bobs Crafts - autumn shades bag Bits and Bobs Crafts - deco sqaures mitts

And for today's show case:

Handmade Accessories Poppy Sparkles
Putting on the Charms Eccentric Ella
Alicia's Stones Madam CC