Friday, 29 July 2011

What's in a Heart? = Folksy Friday

For today's Folksy Friday, I'm featuring hearts as my theme. So I got to wondering what the heart symbolises, is the meaning the same now as in the past. What about if hearts are different colours than the traditional red. So I spent an hour or so wandering the internet reviewing info on a wide range of sites - some very informative and interesting and others as clear as mud and gleaned the following info:

What do hearts mean?

We use the heart in many ways to act as a symbol for many words, even though in modern times it is often a symbol for the commercialism of St Valentine:

The simple heart says "I love you" or "I love this" or "Sending you lots of love". Its originis come from ancient times when the heart was thought to be the centre of the soul and controller of all emotions - that's why we "give our heart" to someone or "Put heart and soul" into something.

However change the colour of the heart and you change its meaning:
Black  -  hard heartedness or evil intent

Yellow hearts - lack courage

Purple hearts in America are a symbol for bravery - an award for valour in wartime

White hearts  - purity and innocence

Whilst many believe the green heart is a symbol for envy, in ancient cultures green is the colour of nature, of balance, unconditional love, forgiveness.

The heart with the arrow is taken to mean "love struck", you've been hit with one of "cupid's arrows". However the original symbol has Christian origins - the heart pierced was an ancient symbol for Christ - who gave his heart by chosing to die on the cross. There are many instances where new cultures adopt symbolism from others and perhaps this is one , maybe the heart pierced had a pagan meaning - or perhaps we've taken a Christian symbol and brought it into modern popular culture and changed its meaning? 

Finally this is the broken heart - a sign of sorrow, adandonment, the end of a relationship. Its a powerful symbol that says a lot without words about our state of mind.

What else do hearts say about us?

Doodling hearts is a sign of being in love or having a romantic nature

Dreaming of hearts can be sign of love or stress - it depends what your heart is doing in the dream - racing hearts mean stress. This is giving me images of hearts with trainers on going for a jog lol!

Adding flames to a red heart and gives a symbol for passion

So next time you're doodling a heart...... will you think about what it really means?

I crocheted this heart as a way of acknowledging the work and progress made by myself and a group of other ladies across Hampshire. We did a confidence building course and ended it off with a Gala Night, which we organised. Each lady had a goodie bag - and I crocheted and knitted keyrings. I'm now selling off the surplus ones in my Folksy Shop - to purchase a keying, please click on the photo:

Bits and Bobs Crafts

What do you think the Fabulous Folksy Makers are saying with their hearts?

1. Polly Krafts                2.Clarkie Designs         3.Pants and Paper
4. Sow's Ear, Silk Purse    5.Murano Magic           6. Photography by Gail Griggs

Polly Krafts Clarkie Designs
Pants and Paper Sow's Ear, Silk Purse
Murano Magic Photography by Gail Griggs

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A bit of sunshine!

For most kids the school holidays have finally started today but although there's none of the dreaded wet stuff down in Hampshire, there are no reported sightings of the rare yellow disc in the skies. It seems to be hiding under its big grey duvet again. Its really muggy and humid today and totally energy sapping. I feel I would be much happier laying on a beach somewhere being fanned and served cocktails by a George Clooney lookalike - can't afford the real thing lol!

But the skilled gang at Folksy have been working hard to create all sorts of lovely things that remind us of the sun (click on the photo to visit their shop):

Bits and Bobs Crafts - Sunflower Brooch  

Bedecked Beads - Fimo Sunflower Necklace

Blooms Art - Spring Daisies Print

Today's lack of sun has at least meant I've been working hard - got lots of research sorted this morning that I've been putting off, taught a 1 to 1 lesson and have been off browsing in yarn shops - red yarn for a commission, which lead to a bargain ball of a soft green denim knit yarn. I then wandered into a couple of charity shops and after being fleeced by my daughter for a dress I now have to let out - they never listen do they! - I found a tunisian crochet hook and a technical knitting manual and all for £2.50 total so am quite pleased with myself there. Next step is to start covering some caravan cushions before getting the needles out and starting on the red bolero!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Folksy Friday - "The Wild"

Yesterday I was driving home from a fair and noticed that our local council had left over half of each verge at the roadside "wild" - but had cut a strip of grass along the roadside I assume to improve visibility. It was really beautiful seeing the wild flowers and grasses - very meadow like. Having grown up in the country and spent many an hour picking flowers - when it was still legal, seeing this natural abundance gives me alot of pleasure. And brings back lots of lovely memories of walks with Mum and Dad - many of which ended up with Dad being sent up hedges to pick the "perfect primrose" for Mum.... am sure it was some cunning plan of hers lol. But apart from gathering the flowers my brother and I really learned to appreciate the natural world - as well as picking flowers, we were taught about what they were, were always encouraged to leave some behind for the next person etc. And of course there was the rest of nature to enjoy - birds, the joy of being lifted up to peer into a nest! Hunting for small mammal tracks, pond dipping, hanging over bridges to find fish, wandering across Dartmoor - Dad knew all the local tracks really well so we rarely went to anywhere touristy unless there was a need for icecream... mmmm! Swimming in local rivers in the summer was another pleasure. I remember taking my daughter in a few times when she was small and I could still manage it. And I hope I've passed some of this down to my daughter by taking her out into the New Forest and around the local trails. i know my nephew spends alot of time out on the moors cycling with my brother too. Looking back although we never had all the electronics our kids have today, I sometimes think our childhoods were much richer for it.

Having crocheted and listed this lovely camomile brooch in my Folksy store:

Bits and Bobs Crafts.

I'm featuring items inspired by "The Wild" for my Folksy Friday. Please click on the picture to visit the makers store

1. Violetta Handmade 2. Nofkants Curios 3. Blooms Art 4. The Whimsical Wren 5. Bedecked Beads 6. JewellFelt

Vioetta Handmade Nofkants Curios
Blooms Art The Whimsical Wren
Bedecked Beads JewellFelt

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Patching it Up

Have been really pondering over my blog post today - do I choose colours or another theme. The quandry has arisen because my latest offering is a crazy patchwork crochet cushion. The patches were inspired by dianthus flowers and I soon realised I had a bit of a problem. The finished patch was a pentagon.

As I tried to work out how to put them together I quickly realised that patchworkers use hexagons and 4 sided shapes for a reason - its much simpler to join them up! However am never one to shy away from a challenge so I got experimenting with freestyle patches to fill up the gaps and "square" the cover off. Which lead to this:

So then it was simply a case of sewing in the ends - of which there were millions - well it felt that way lol - and add them to my "stuffing bucket" for the next patch of pincushions and sew on some buttons and I was done. All in all it took me 2 -3 evenings to crochet the patches and the back - sorting out the connecting pieces and the sewing took somewhat longer. In fact the sewing in lead to the poor cushion spending at least 2 weeks on the "procrastination pile" - where anything that demands much end sewing resides from time to time. I think all crafty people have one - but the trick I've found is to keep it in plain sight!

The July Jewels over on Folksy are talented patchworkers too, in a wide variety of media and here's a selection of this weeks offerings :

Please click on the photo to visit the store

1. Pants and Paper           2. Polly Krafts    3. Nofkants Curios
4. With Hugs and Kisses   5. Jewellfelt       6. Cherrytree Handmade

Pants and Paper Polly Krafts
NofKants Curios With Hugs and KIsses
Jewellfelt Cherry tree Handmade

Monday, 11 July 2011

Sari Silk

I've been going through my stock preparing for fairs and discovered a gorgeous bag I knitted from recycled sari silk. The word "recycled" might sound a little off putting to some - we can all develop mental images of sari's that have be worn to the extent the silk's decaying - but here, that's not the case! What happens is that when silk garments are woven "thrums" are left over. A thrum is the left over warp threads from silk weaving. Skilled local women then take these thrums and spin them into a silken thread which is then plyed and wound into balls.

What I love about using spun sari silk for bag making, is the rich colours and rich textures it produces. Each bag then becomes totally unique, with a style all of its own. Its also relatively quick to work with as its not a yarn that demands pattern - it looks its best in stocking stitch, as the wide variety of hues are shown to their best. I also like to think that this provide income for women in India and Nepal - although its not easy to find out how much they get paid relative to the cost of the finished product. And even though India is becoming one of the worlds richer nations, many of its people still live in absolute poverty, often without homes or in shanty towns and I suppose any pay is better than none - although it would be good to know that the women receive a fair percentage of the sales cost as spinning all day has to be a pretty back breaking job, leaning over the wheel etc.

Here's the bag:

Bits and Bobs Crafts - Recycled Sari Silk Bag

And now for some equally "jewel tones" offerings from the July Jewels:

Amyurgumis - Fiery Phoenix

Adien Crafts - Green Glass and Wood Necklace

J Austen Jewellery - Lapis Lazuli Necklace

Diomo Glass - A Rainbow of Spiders

Court and Spark - Liberty Print Coin Purse

Becky Leigh - Beaded Silver Hair Comb

Friday, 8 July 2011

Folksy Friday - Beautiful Brooches

Have made quite a few brooches of late to take along to community fayres etc and have decided to list them for sale on Folksy too as they look lovely! So for today's Folksy Friday, I'm featuring a selection of brooches available from the July Jewels

My listing today is a Folk Art inspired flower - I love Folk Art, its simplistic in style and translates well into yarn crafts. I also like the way it takes its influences from the past but with a bit of imagination you can make the flowers relevant to today. Please click on the photo to visit my shop

And now for the July Jewels beautiful brooches:

1. Beadesk Crafts 2. Carols Crafts 3. Cherry Tree Handmades 4. Juniper Spools
5. Merry Berry and the Little Panda 6. Lynwood Crafts

Beadesk Crafts Carols Crafts
Cherry Tree Handmades Juniper Spools
Merry Berry and the Little Panda Lynwood Crafts

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Not just jumpers

As I've been doing lots of small pieces of late for community fairs and also commissions for hair sets etc, its got me thinking about the wide range of ways we use yarn. Having a look through the July Jewels today has been really inspiring so here's a small selection of the goodies available that are yarn based but definitely not a jumper!


Anna King Jewellery - Plum Felt Necklace

Hair Accessories

Bits and Bobs Crafts - Girls Hair Accessories Gift Set


Imogen's Imagination - Lilac Felt and Crochet Flower Fascinator


PollyKrafts - Greetings Card with Detachable Brooch

Booties By Dannie - Baby Loafers

Phone Cosies

JewelFelts - Woof Felted Blackberry Cover

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Girls and Curls

Have been asked to do quite a few girly hair bits at present, from slides and bun holders to scrunchies. The interesting thing is that all the Mum's have asked they are made in school colours.... so I did the dangerous thing called thinking and have decided to develop 3 custom made lines.

I then started to think back to when I was little and the pharmacy in the village started selling hair grips with little flowers on. I remember Mum buying them for me and being really thrilled with them as they were so pretty and no one else in my class at school had them. I'm sure I drove the family mad showing them all my pretty slides - but I can't exactly remember what they were now.... except they were pink and white.

Please click on the image to go to my shop and order.

1. Bun Holders and slides / grips

2. Slides / grips only


 Gift packs will also be available with  2 Scrunchies with Slides / Grips or  2 Scrunchies, 2 slides or grips and 1 bun holder.

All you need to do is contact me via my website contact forms with your requirements - colour, type of flower, number of items / gift packs required. I'll get the needles out and whip a set up. Once completed I'll email you the link where they'll be listed  in my shop as a custom order. Once the order is porcessed I'll post them to you!

The gift packs will be a perfect present for little ones going up to "big school" and individual items would make a beautiful gift for teachers to give to pupils at the end of year or for Christmas. Please note bulk orders need 10 days notice.

July Jewels 

And if scrunchies aren't your thing,  here's a mini showcase of the July Jewels who have created some fab accessories for your hair. One seller I really wanted to :

GlitterRT - Pretty Hair Pin

NofKants Curio's - Japan Appeal Full Bloom

Laura Faye Crafts - Pearl and Rose Quartz Tiara

Damselfly Gemma - Filigree Copper Coloured Hair Clip

SteamPunk Storm - Steampunk Bee Hair Comb

Tickled Pink Sheep - Floral Headband