Sunday, 26 February 2012

Decorated notebooks

Stars and Stripes
Sometimes your 'stash' can turn up untold wonders. There are bits and bobs in mine that haven't seen the light of day for years, tucked away in a box or drawer but purchased because they held 'distinct possibilities' for use...........nothing definite, just distinct possibilities.

About 5 years ago I bought a couple of yards of this material.

It has a look of organza about it but appears to have what seems like 'hairy tinsel' stitched in straight lines throughout. I did use some of it to make a bag that was completely covered in colourless transparent pvc but that was all and there was quite a lot left over.

I also had a packet of rainbow coloured metallic sticky stars.

Against a dark background these show up really well underneath the organza material........ I used them to decorate an otherwise very plain black A5 journal.

I randomly attached the stickers to the front and back covers.

The organza material was added to the outside so that the coloured tinsel stripes ran across horizontally, and then the edges were attached to the inside of the cover.

As a finishing touch I attached a co-ordinated page marker ribbon with bead decoration........


.......and there you have it, one decorated A5 'Stars and Stripes' notebook/journal with page marker.

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Stars and circles
Whilst I was on a roll, and having discovered some handmade paper tucked away in a packet with several others (another 'distinct possibilities' purchase!), I thought I would use it to decorate another plain black A5 notebook/journal.

This time I glued the paper straight on to the cover  - admittedly this was a lot easier than attaching the material!

Although the notebook looked fine on it's own, it definitely needed something more. I am a big fan of 'seeing the unseen' - features or aspects of something that are not initially apparent an until you take another look or see them from a different angle. Using a medium sized star-shaped stamp and a silver ink pad, I randomly added textured star prints to the surface of the paper. On first appearance the stars are not all that obvious but when you hold the notebook on angle they magically appear!

Extra stars (in the form of small gold stickers) were added to the remaining backround circles that had not been overprinted by the silver stars.

To finish I added a white ribbon page marker with an antique bronze-effect leaf attached.

All in all quite a productive crafts weekend!!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A purchase, a sale and a make!

I have been trying so hard to find enough hours to do everything this week. Most of my Etsy creations have to wait until I am home of an evening (although crocheting on the train has not been unknown!) and my iPad isn’t 3G so the internet side of things has wait until then too.

However, despite all of this it has been a really good week and I have actually managed to purchase some fabulous new yarn, sell a print and start a crochet project that I haven’t tried for years…..a granny-square scarf!

First, the yarn.

I was creating a Treasury in Etsy and came across a seller, Nancy in Wisconsin, who owns the shop ‘goldenonetoo’.  As well as making her own items she is also a former weaver and spinner, selling all sorts of different fabrics, fibres and yarns for use in crochet, knitting, weaving etc. The yarn I bought is 100% sari silk and is so soft. It has the most fabulous jewel-like colours and at just over £5 a skein seemed quite reasonable. I chose a skein of mixed colours and a skein of cobalt blue/turquoise and the items were delivered 4 days later.

This silk yarn is truly beautiful and I can’t wait to use it. I am hoping to create something similar to the limpet shell scarf and add it for sale on Etsy. Then again I may change my mind completely and try something else – possibly construct a crocheted grid  with the multi-coloured yarn and then weave the cobalt through it – watch this space!!!

Then on Tuesday, I made my second Etsy sale!
A schoolfriend of over 40 years, who I am now in touch with via Facebook, bought my A4 print of Anglesey Pebbles. I have the same (but larger) print on the wall in my living room so it is nice to know that someone else likes this picture too.

Anyway, the print went out in the post yesterday so she should receive it today.

Finally, I was trying to think of how to make a different type of scarf for sale on Etsy and realised that it is years since I made anything using crocheted granny squares. A quick check in my stash produced some suitable shades of sufficient quantity.

After checking out a few online tutorials the know-how came back (a bit like riding a bike I suppose – it never leaves you) and I had created several multi-coloured squares in next to no time.

This style of crochet fell out of favour for quite a while but now seems to be very ‘in’, particularly sewn together to make bags and scarves. Lucy from Attic 24 creates some excellent examples of blankets using various styles of granny squares but I am a loooooong way off  achieving anything like that – lots of practice will be needed first. 

Also, I have yet to see anyone wearing one of those granny-square tops that remind me so much of the 70s ……..but you never know, they might make a comeback too!

EDIT 20 Feb: All the squares are now finished and I am crocheting them together. They actually look quite good!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Wee mouse

Due to my having been otherwise occupied this week, I thought I would back-track a bit with this post and show you the pics of 'Wee Mouse' from the end of last year.

The knitting group I belong to in work is a great help to those of us who are not familiar with the most basic of knitting and crochet terms, giving folk a chance to put questions of those 'in the know' without feeling too self conscious or stupid. Being more of a crochet person myself, I though it might be a good time to experiment with learning something a little more complicated knitting-wise whilst being able to get some suitable guidance from my colleague Happy Knitter.

I didn't want to start with a project that was going to take ages so, since 'the group' had recently discussed making knitted animals, I went searching on the internet and found Wee Mouse on Ravelry (a pattern by Raynor Gellatly). Wee Mouse certainly seemed small enough ....and he was.... but I learned all sorts of things about 'increasing' to make a rounded body and head (an unknown to me!)  and knitting an 'I-cord' for the arms and tail (nothing to do with Apple either!).

Starting with the head first, the shape came together surprisingly easily, probably due to the good instructions more than anything else, which I did print it out (rather than working with them online) so that I could make notes on the sheet and cross off the rows etc. Eyes and nose were best added before the stuffing so that it was easier to stitch from the inside (although I am sure others who are more adept at this would be fine leaving the details until the end).

I stitched the nose with pink wool and use small black rocaille beads for the eyes (which would obviously need to be substituted for something safer if the finished item was intended for a child).The ears were quite fiddly and are actually small triangular shapes that fold in on themselves. The body is made in much the same way as the head, and the legs are small squares, rolled and stitched to make a tube. Here is Wee Mouse (looking a little vulnerable under the spotlight) with his first leg - just one more leg, two arms and a tail to go!
His little arms and tail are I-cords which are made knitting backwards and forwards on double ended needles. This creates a narrow tube that looks a bit like French knitting and is ideal for something this small.

I added a nice little bow as a finishing touch...... and Wee Mouse was complete. Then he headed out into the garden, down past the herbs and under the ivy, off on his travels and looking for adventure!!!!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

New additions for Etsy

With the weather being so horrible, this weekend seemed like a good time to catch up with making some more jewellery to put on my Etsy site. I have been using a mixture of my 'vintage' items, plus a few new bits and bobs (including some rather fab little teapots) to make earrings and necklaces that I hope might provide me with a chance of some sales.

I love the whole process really - choosing the items and the putting them together is so therapeutic and relaxing! I have been looking online to try and become more aware of what is currently 'on-trend' as well searching for what might be in the pipeline for next season (ha ha!......soooo not me, but this really needs to be done in order to create and provide what fashion says is going to be the next big thing!).

Photographing the finished items is great fun too, especially if there is plenty of natural daylight. At this time of year it is something that can only be done at weekends because, by the time I get home of an evening during the week, it is much too dark - roll on the spring!!!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Talking of yarnbombing.......

Re yesterday's post and my last comment about the possibility of yarnbombing Clitheroe Castle, the Mail Online featured an article, back in August 2011 on yarnbombing artist 'Babukatorium' and the work that she had done in Hungary decorating trees with woollen stripes and cobwebs. All appearing as if from nowhere overnight, the whole thing looks like a bit of a weird dream (think HR Puffnstuff crossed with the The Banana Splits?) but it really does attract attention and certainly brightens things up!

Picture courtesy of Mail Online
Picture courtesy of Mail Online

Presumably some sort of measuring must also have gone on beforehand but I imagine it is also quite handy if you can climb trees in the dark, have a vast stash of brightly-coloured wool........and 3 months to spare!

See the whole article HERE

Friday, 3 February 2012

In need of a day out....

Well, apparently there is a LOT of snow on the way. It doesn't usually touch Liverpool unless it is heading in from the west but the forecast is for a fairly widespread UK 'covering' during the weekend.

In need of a change of scenery, and despite the extremely cold weather (-3 locally), we decided to try and get out and about before we are snowed-in and went on our first trip out this year (not been anywhere really since Anglesey at Christmas). With bright and clear blue skies we headed northwards and ended up in Clitheroe, Lancashire. It’s a lovely little town full of interesting shops but having Syd the border terrier with us meant that is was best to head towards the castle that overlooks the surrounding countryside. Clitheroe Castle Museum

Built in approx 1186 it did at one time have moats or ditches but these have since been filled in (with houses and roads by the looks of it!!!). It is thought that the name 'Clitheroe' came from the Anglo-Saxon for ‘Rocky Hill’

You can walk around the castle and surrounding area without going in (again, a dog issue for us) whilst enjoying the fantastic views of the local area. It was EXTREMELY cold up by the castle so hats, gloves and scarves were definitely a good idea! You can see for miles from up there, all the way over to Pendle and Barnoldswick on one side and towards the Forest of Bowland on the other - fabulous on such a clear day and plenty of photographic opportunites too.

Also, for those interested in 'Yarn Bombing' (please see the following link) I have just discovered that it has been suggested Clitheroe Castle "could be ‘knitted out’ in woolly gear as part of a new global craze that is about to hit East Lancashire".

Now THAT would be interesting....but it would take an awful lot of wool!!! :)