Thursday, 29 April 2010

Custom Order and Clothes Swap!

Hey there! I spent a good amount of Monday making cards for a special order from my grandma - she wanted ten! I'm taking them over to her house today - she's enlisted me to clean her windows (gotta love working part time, eh?!), amongst other jobs - so I thought I'd share them with you. Some of them are a little...erm...classic, shall we say? By request! Fingers crossed they're suitable - my grandma will tell me in no uncertain terms if they're not! I'd love to know what you think!

First of all she wanted a mixed bunch of six (six?! I'll probably see one of these back in a few weeks - it'd better be a colourful one haha!) birthday cards:

And then one for a little boy called Sam - she wasn't certain if he was 2 or 3 so we decided to miss his age out just in case! I love this one, I wish I was turning 3! Those eagle-eyed paper fans out there may notice that the letters in his name have been sneakily cut from a Paper Mill Shop box...reduce, reuse, recycle, kids!

And then three get well soon cards (oh dear...!), which I made to be a bit more demure:

What do you think? I must apologise for the slightly out-of-focus images - it was getting dark by the time I'd finished them so I had to use the flash on my camera, which doesn't really show them at their best but I thought you might like to see anyway!

Later this evening I'm off to a charity clothes swish - I'm taking a few bits and bobs I don't wear any more in the hope of swapping them for some lovely new additions to my (pretty unspectacular!) wardrobe! I'll let you know how it goes! I've been to one before, organised by Big Wardrobe. It was held in a bar in Leeds and it wasn't particularly great - there were people elbowing each other out of the way and stuffing piles of clothes into bags, which isn't really in the spirit of it, so I just ended up getting a couple of bits of clothing and some jewellery and coming away feeling cross, but apparently tonight's will be a far more civilised affair (I think I'm getting old!)! Have you ever been to a swish? Was it a success?

Don't forget to enter my 100 Followers Giveaway! All you have to do is comment on the giveaway post - just one little comment!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

100 Followers Giveaway!

Hello everyone! Today is a little thank you to all my followers - for following, for your lovely comments and especially for all your help you gave on the Why Do You Blog?! post a couple of weeks ago - you gave some brilliant ideas! So what better way to say thank you but by way of a giveaway?!

I thought I'd support some of my fellow crafters and bought a couple of the goodies from the Leeds Pannier Market at the weekend, so up for grabs (the winner takes it all, a la Abba!) are...

...four vegan soaps in Groovy Grape, Apricot, Bananas Banana and Calming Camomile from a very nice stallholder who I didn't catch the name of!

...a beautiful lavendar hanging heart cushion from The Sulky Cat - who's written her own post about the Pannier Market here!

...and three Wrapped Up With String bird notecards (and envelopes, obviously!) made by my own fair hand!

Currently the notecards have space on their fronts for a little note to be added, so to enter the giveaway, all you have to do is to comment on this post with what you'd write on the front of your notecards! Perhaps a little 'You look lovely today!'? Or 'Can't wait to see you!'? Maybe just 'Hello!'?

The giveaway closes on Monday 10th May (that's in two weeks!), when I'll be choosing the winner at random - I'll announce the winner on Tuesday 11th May's post!

Good luck!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Leeds Pannier Market Finds!

Hiya! This is just a little post to show you some of the lovely things I found at the Leeds Pannier Market yesterday...

Mmmm! How could you make raspberry jam nicer than it already is? ...add some Amaretto! Yum yum yum! Made in Leeds by Perfectly Preserved!

I wish wish wish I'd come up with this idea...these cards have biodegradable, plantable images of vegetables, with seeds of the vegetable inside! Adorable! They also do flower cards, recipe cards, bookmarks and gift tags - aww! Made from recycled and biodegradable materials in the UK by big tree little tree.

This might be my actual necklace of dreams. I adore semi-precious stones set in silver, and I've been working on obtaining a full set of turquoise jewellery (I had two sets of earrings, a ring and a bracelet so far)...and this completes it! This was originally £49.50, reduced to...£ it! Thank you, Oliver! This is fairly traded from Turquoise Bear in Rothwell!

The market was quite small, but there were a lot of lovely stalls (37 apparently!) with really high quality handmade things for sale (and one selling the most amazing cheese I've ever eaten - I'm currently on a mission to lose half a stone, however, so I had to resist actually buying some...tasting was allowed, obviously!). The wind was a bit of a pain for the stallholders, but once the sun got above the buildings, it was really nice. Hopefully it'll grow in popularity over the summer as more and more people find out about it!

I bought a couple of other treats, too, but I'm saving those for you in my next giveaway - check back on Tuesday to enter!

What did you get up to at the weekend? Have you made any lovely purchases recently?

Friday, 23 April 2010

The Big Blog Card Swap!

Helloooo everyone! The Big Blog Card Swap is now closed! Thank you so much to everyone who's emailed in their details - you should be getting an email soon with your recipient's details!

Don't forget to let us know if you post on a blog about the card you receive - we'd love to see pictures, and link to everyone's posts and photos at the end.

Now the Card Swap really begins! Exciting!!

I also wanted to share something new that I've just discovered is beginning in Leeds over the weekend - I thought some of you might be interested in visiting if you're around! The first of a season of Granary Wharf Pannier Markets are to be held on the new square between the railway arches (the Dark Arches!) and the docks. They start this coming Saturday (the 24th April) and will be held on the last Saturday of each month between April-September.

From the Creative Boom Leeds website: 'The Pannier Markets are designed to attract stalls from a broad range of independent traders including fashion and jewellery designers, specialist food producers, artists, antique dealers – anyone with original, unusual and good quality products for sale is encouraged to apply for a stall'.

Good news for the urban arts and crafts community! Leeds has been sorely lacking in crafty markets since the redevelopment (and stagnation) of the Corn Exchange, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how the Pannier Markets work!

As well as over 35 stalls, pop artist Mark Wigan will also be producing a new piece of illustrative art on a specially built 3D structure and local storyteller Joe Collins will be there to introduce a new series of urban story walks, initially based around Granary Wharf and the Dark Arches.

Sound good? Have a peek this Saturday! I'll certainly be having a nosey around - let me know if you're going!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Mini Tutorial: Recycled Envelope Paper Beads!

Hey there! I hope you all had a lovely weekend in the sun! I did plenty of lazing around and not enough making, but I've been wanting to try making these little paper beads since my lovely friend Jem made me these pretties:

...and I thought I'd share the process with you! I've made the following out of used envelopes, as their insides tend to be heavily patterned, which is perfect for making tiny things like these...and also because we have hundreds of them hanging around waiting for me to do something with them! But obviously you could use any paper you like - thin paper seems to be the best as it curls really easily; tougher paper tends to fold instead of roll.

All you need is:
- some tough card
- patterned paper
- a fine cylindrical object that you don't mind getting glue on (I used the inside of a biro that's never worked and the end of a crochet hook!)
- some PVA
- a pen, ruler and scissors!

I wanted to try making a few differently-shaped beads, so I made a few different templates out of some old card (previously used as a glue-board!) - these are all cut from a roughly 1"(2.5cm) x 4"(10cm) rectangle, but you can make them any size you like.

Once you've decided what shape template you're going to use, trace around it onto your envelope (it's best to do it on the unpatterned side, as I realised when I was rubbing out pencil marks...!) and cut out. Tesselating shapes like triangles are excellent for making the most of your paper, too!

Once you've got a few shapes cut out, spread glue onto the whole of the unpatterned side (I used ordinary PVA at first, then watered it down, which was much easier to use!) and start to roll it around your biro / crochet hook / whatever!

Curl it right round to the end, and then slide the bead off the biro.

Template A makes an oval bead:

Template B makes a bit of a cone shape (not a big fan of this one!):

Template C makes a smaller, rounded bead:

Template D makes a sort of hour-glass shape:

Template E was my favourite, it makes this lovely rounded hour-glass shape (goodness knows where the template went...!):

Slide the beads onto thread (I used old necklace wire - nothing is thrown away in our house, haha!), hang over a bowl and varnish with some watered-down PVA or clear nail varnish to harden them (yes, that is the rest of the broken biro - frugal or what?):

And that's it! Simple, eh? I made this little pile in about an hour, including working out the templates, but you could make hundreds really quickly once you've worked out what shape you want to make your beads!

I'd also like to say a massive THANK YOU! to everybody who helped out with my last post - your answers were really interesting to read, inspired me with my own blog and got a great response at work, so thank you, you lovely lot! I have a treat in store for you all as a thank you :)

And a final reminder about the Big Blog Card Swap! If you want to join in (all you have to do is make one card!), send an email with your name and address to by this Thursday lunchtime!

Let me know if you try making paper beads!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Why Do You Blog?!

Hello! Today I'm asking for your words of wisdom, pretty pretty please! With a cherry on top?

For work, I've been asked to give a presentation selling something - idea, a concept or an actual thing itself, and after many suggestions (bins? a pen?) and many polite refusals (!), I've decided to sell blogging!

I have a few good ideas - the different ways it can be used for marketing yourself, or as a log of what you've been up to, or a way of keeping in touch with friends and family (or customers!) perhaps - but I'd really like input from you lovely people too! I'd be eternally grateful (there may even be a giveaway in the making - oh, bribery!) if you could answer a couple of the questions below about your experiences with blogging! Don't worry if you don't have a blog, I'd love to hear about the blogs you read!

Go on, help a blogger in need!

- why do you read blogs?
- what kind of blogs are your favourite? fashion/lifestyle/business/beauty/photographic/crafty blogs?
- why do you write your blog?
- which are your favourite blogs? why?

Thank you ever so much in advance!

And don't forget about the Big Blog Card Swap - email your details to by the 22nd April! That's only a week away, eee!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Crochet Throw Update!

Hello! How was your weekend? Wasn't the sun lovely?! I went to stay with Oliver up near York and I burned my face whilst feeding goats ha! We also saw some newborn lambs (aww!) and the most beautiful spaniel puppy, which I wanted to steal - I think the puppy's owner knew it, too! He looked just like the grey ones in this photo (I daren't take a photo of the actual puppy, I think his owner already thought I was going to run off with him!), and made me long for a dog even more!

I managed to do plenty of crocheting in the evenings, too - whilst watching Ratatouille, in fact (I loved it, I am such a child)! I finished another two squares of my throw, though I have to admit I'm not that impressed with the designs...

The tension was perfect and the squares themselves are really neat, but the cross-stitch looks a bit naff, especially on the white one - it looks like it's a bit drunk (or I was when I made it...I wasn't, promise!). It was a bit annoying to do; I pulled it out and re-started it a few times, and this was by far the best attempt, so I'm not sure if I can be bothered to try again - I might just hide it in the throw beside some nicer squares!

Anyway, here's the throw so far!

I love the granny square more and more each time I look at it - I might try crafting some other items using the granny square technique, although with the beautiful weather I'm not really in the mood for warm clothes! Perhaps a crochet bikini?

Perhaps not...

What did you get up to over the weekend?

Don't forget to take part in our Big Blog Card Swap! Send your emails to now!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Big Blog Card Swap!

Hello! Today I have something fun to share with you, which I hope lots of you will join in with! After my post on Craftrak last week (in a nutshell - I liked the idea, but not the cost!), Naomi of Leaves In The Spring emailed me with a great suggestion - our very own bloggers' card swap, and we'd love you to be a part of it!

All you have to do to join in is to email your name and the address you'd like the card to be sent to to (don't worry, we won't share your information with anyone outside the Big Blog Card Swap!), by midday (GMT) on Thursday 22nd of April - that's two weeks away! Then myself and Naomi will draw the names and email you the name and address of another Swapper, you'll make them a card and send it by Thursday 6th of May!

What we want to do it to share inspiration and ideas, so we would love it if you keep us updated and photograph your cards, and we'll share them on our blogs for everyone to see!

So - if you want to get involved, please email us at! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask us, and if you'd like to share this with your own readers, please post the info on your own blog, linking back to here or Naomi's blog!

You don't have to be a blogger to join in, you don't even have to make cards very often - just this one! So go on, get your creative juices flowing and join in!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Long Weekends...

Hello! What did the Easter bunny bring you all? I think this Easter must have been a record - I have eaten a ridiculous amount of chocolate, and there's a whole lot more to go...oh dear!

Here's what was waiting for me at the end of my Easter egg hunt (yes, I convinced Oliver ha!) - he was hiding underneath the garden table! And daffodils, aww!

Although on Thursday night the prospect of a long crafty weekend stretched out before me, I have (inevitably) managed to create not a thing to show you over the last four days, oops! Have you had slightly more productive Easter weekends?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Happy Easter!

Hiya! Today I thought I'd show you a couple of things I've been making recently!

First a little Easter card for my friend and her children - I think it's a bit busy (I decided this after I'd stuck everything down...) but I do really like the colours!

And then the next square for my throw! A granny square this time - I love how it turned out!

So here's my throw so far...I don't really like the pink one in the middle; I don't think I got the tension quite right, and I'll probably pull it out and redo it in the future, but it took such a long time I just can't bear to yet!

We're off to Liverpool for the weekend, which will hopefully involve seeing some friends, plenty of snoozing, eating some chocolate, a nice spring jog or two and an Easter egg hunt if I can convince Oliver to embrace his inner child!

I also might have a look at getting a bike, ready to cycle to and from work to make the most of any nice weather! Something nice and ladylike (to keep up the pretence that I am ladylike, obviously!) like these lovelies (click photos to go to source)...

I imagine this must be from a film, given his bloody nose, suit, and determined look in his eye, but I'd love to think Harrison Ford rides around on a pink flowery bike!

What are you up to for Easter?

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