Monday, 29 March 2010

Mini Review: Craftrak


I ran (well, half-ran,'s a bit of a tale!) a half-marathon yesterday, and I'm still feeling rather out of it, so I thought I'd do a little post about a card that popped through the letterbox last week!

Isn't it cute? I had no idea where it had come from, until I turned it around, saw the code on the back, and remembered that a couple of weeks before, I'd signed up to Craftrak, 'a handmade card trading system which allows cardmakers to send and track their cards all over the world, and automatically receive a card in return for every one they send' - sort of like a business card trading system for cardmakers!

It's a great idea, encouraging cardmakers to make and trade cards with each other to get their work known within the crafty world, and using the code on the back, you can also track where your cards have reached. However, the reason I haven't yet sent any of my own out is that you have to buy the A7 cards with the tracking codes on in order to join in, which works out at around 25p/card and 4p/envelope plus a stamp to send it with, which does seem pretty expensive (and a bit wasteful) when I have reams of spare card I could use to make my own for free, and write the tracking code on the back myself if the website allowed.

I like the principle of it, but not the cost, so I probably won't be purchasing any of the tracking cards just yet. However, if you would like to join in, it does seem like a friendly, supportive online community, and all you have to do is:

- Buy the blank tracking cards
- Design and make your card
- Photograph and log the card on the website
- Send your card!
- Track all your cards through automatic alerts
- Make new friends and share ideas

Have any of you joined Craftrak? What have been your experiences of it? If you haven't joined, what do you think about it?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Bits and Bobs!

Hello! Today I wanted to show you a couple of custom orders I've made for a friend - I haven't had much time to make anything new recently, so today was a lovely escape, and I'm glad my friend gave me the motivation to get making again - it would have been very very easy to have a duvet day with a book (and maybe Cool Runnings...ha!)!

Anyway - just a couple! The first is a variation on the Mother's Day card I made, which was really successful, and I used up most of my supplies, so (naturally) I had to purchase some more...!

And the second is a bright Easter card - can you see the similarities?? I tend to find if I'm designing and making a few different things on the same day, they all end up being a variation on a theme - I guess it's inevitable once you've got one lot of supplies out! I really like the little eggs on this, even though it took a few attempts to get them the right shape!

What do you think?

I mentioned the other day that a (different!) friend had made me some beautiful earrings and here they are! They're paper beads on copper wire, and I love them! Although I am currently terrified of losing earrings, since my pain of a scarf keeps catching them, and I've lost loads of single earrings over the winter, boo! Earring backs, here I come!

Aren't they lovely? I've told her I may steal her paper beads idea to make some out of the insides of envelopes, which I currently have stacks of - watch this space!

I also wanted to show you these little stamps Oliver found for me!

Because I make cards, which are pretty disposable (after the event, hopefully!), whenever I give or sell a card, I do wonder what happens to it once it comes down from the mantelpiece. I'd be much happier knowing it was going to be recycled or turned into another card (no card escapes in our house - if I don't turn it into something, my mum will!), so I thought I might stamp a little 'recycle me' note on the back of the card to remind receivers to think about where their cards go.

I need to get some mounts for these stamps before I can use them, but I thought I'd share my idea and see what you thought of it - would you think twice about what happened to your card if it said 'recycle me' (or hug a tree!) on the back, or on the envelope? I'd love to know what you think!

Sunday, 21 March 2010


Hello! I hope you've all had a lovely weekend - this is just a really quick post to share some photos we took over our weekend in Edinburgh! I've explained before (here!) about my slight obsession with animals, so we visited Edinburgh zoo - all credit to Oliver for the lovely photos!

And we also climbed Arthur's Seat in some surprise sunshine!

...though it was ridiculously windy! Flattering, eh?

I've also got some beautiful handmade earrings to share with you that my lovely friend made for me, but I'll take some photos in the daylight to do them justice!

I'm off to an environmental conference in Bangor tomorrow (three countries in 24 hours, phew!) so I won't be posting for a couple of days but I'll hopefully be back on Thursday with some lovely things to share! How was your weekend? What did you get up to?

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Change the World in Your Pyjamas!

Hello! Today I thought I'd share the website Help From Home, which promotes 'easy home based micro volunteer actions that benefit so many worthy causes'! Their mission is to inspire people to volunteer their time for worthy causes from the comfort of their own home - sounds good, yes?

You can choose from 'charity', 'green' or 'advocacy' volunteering, and each volunteer action is listed by the time-taken to complete, the impact it has and the cost (everything I've seen is free!) and given a pyjama-rating, indicating how much effort is required to complete it - most of the actions have a 100% pyjama-rating! You can track your actions, and also print off 'Do Good Cards' to pass around and inspire others to give their spare time!

So go on, have a click! Here are some of my favourite green actions:

- Morsbags - make reusable bags to handout, encouraging people to use fewer plastic bags - you can even print out cute labels to sew in them!

- Read It Swap It - set up a 'My Books' list and 'Wishlist', and start swapping your books for new ones!

- The PB&J Campaign - this one fits in well with Meat Free Mondays!

- Freecycle - give away your unwanted stuff to people who'll love it all over!

- The Billion Tree Campaign - pledge to plant a tree and help fight climate change!

- EcologyFund - sign yourself up to a free email address - 50% of revenue from site advertising goes towards protecting land.

There are hundreds more in many different areas - have a look here now!

I also wanted to show you my latest crocheted square for the (slowly) developing throw - this one is done in a scallop lace stitch, which is really just chains and treble crochets combined. I didn't really like it at first - it's simple enough and quite nice to create, but it looked a bit 'old-lady' when I began it, especially if I imagined it being any bigger than the square. It's grown on me, though, and I think it'll look quite nice combined with the rest of the squares! With and without flash so you can see the detail - here's the throw so far...!

In other news...I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, it was inevitable, but it's finally got me, I am now a fully paid-up Gleek - I spent Monday crocheting and watching the entire series so far...oh dear!

When I grow up, I want to be as well put-together as Miss Pillsbury!

Let me know if you do any of the volunteer actions at Help From Home!

Monday, 15 March 2010

And the winner is...


Well done you! You've won the crocheted button hair slides from this post, yay!

Email me your address to and I'll post them straight out to you!

In other crochet-related news, issues 2 and 3 of the crochet magazine I subscribed to (in...erm, January - they've apparently had an enormous number of people subscribe and are struggling to print them!) finally arrived over the weekend so I can get on with crochet squares 2 and 3 for my throw (the far left and far right ones, below!) and learn some new stitches! There are also a few other projects in the magazines that I fancy trying, including a scarf and a rag-rug - I'll show you how I get on!

I've also got the pattern for this strawberry hat, which I am DEFINITELY going to try - I don't care that it's for a baby, I'll work a pattern for a grown-up head!

Well done, again, IrishWoolen!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Happy Birthday Lisi!

It's my little sister's birthday today, yay! There she is, dressed as a tomato for work! In her honour, I've found a range of Lisi-inspired handmade goodies for your perusal today - click through to go to their sources!

She love love loves The Wizard of Oz!

She has a little red Clio called Claude who dreams of being a sports car!

Despite being from Leeds, she supports Manchester Utd...

She's a bit of a raver at heart, and if I were to crochet her anything, it would surely be made with this lovely wool!

She's a genuine Twi-Hard...

She has beeeautiful eyes!

Her favourite flowers are poppies!

I also made her this awesome card (seriously, I love it, I would love this card for my birthday...I may even have considered keeping it...shhh!)!

I'll show you her lovely handmade birthday presents once I've given them to her!

Happy Birthday little bee!

Monday, 8 March 2010


What a lovely surprise! A few weeks ago, I posted about my very first blog award and I nominated twelve lovely blogs for a Sunshine Award, but I had a really hard time narrowing it down! Well, the delightful Susie of Bejewelled and Beguiled and Marice of Marice's World have solved this problem in very kindly nominating me for another, so I can share the love with some more of my favourite blogs!

The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blog world (aww!).
The rules for accepting this award:
- Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
- Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

And here are some of my favourites (I'm cheating and nominating the two lovely ladies above, too!) - Bejewelled and Beguiled for her stunning jewellery, inspiring photographs and amazing giveaways (naturally!) and Marice's World for her bright, funny posts and beautiful fabrics!

Today I made... for her simple, ethereal photos and pretty tutorials.

French for Cupcake for her pretty outfit posts, thoughtful musings and thoroughly indulgent recipes...sparkly marshmallow cupcakes? Oh go on then!

Just Something I Made for her generous vintage giveaways and tutorials.

Found on Folksy for their promotion and support of handmade goods on Folksy!

Gin in a Teacup for her funny posts and lovely outfits (and maybe a little because she wants a pug...)!

Teapot for One who's just started blogging but has already managed to include a pretty tasty stew recipe and a pretty pretty outfit post - I also really like her simple, clean layout, it's perfect!

Trains and Sewing Machines for her colourful inspiration posts, regular blogger features and bright creations.

LuliBags for her lovely photography, simple layout and pretty tutorials.

Pretty Much Penniless for her delicious recipes, great advice posts and just general loveliness (oh, and she has a very pretty kitchen!)!

Talk2TheTrees for her beautiful knitted and crocheted hats, including this frankly awesome one for her dog, Mowgli (a dog in a foxy hat? love it):

Skooks' Playground for her pretty tutorials and support of Bloganthropy!

Cupcake Couture for her pretty purchases, fun photos and beauty recommendations!

Who are your sunshine bloggers?

Also! Don't forget to enter my giveaway here to win this pretty pair of crocheted hair slides!

All you need to do is:
- become a follower
- visit my shop (here!) and leave me a comment on the giveaway post letting me know which item is your favourite
- also in your comment, describe what kind of blog articles you like to read most - tutorials, reviews, recipes, general discussions, Folksy and Etsy favourites?
- don't forget to include a way of getting hold of you if you win!
- leave your comments before midnight (GMT) on 14th March

Exchange Links with Wrapped Up With String!

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