Saturday, 25 February 2012

Paper Bead Necklace

Well, this is just going to be a quickie.  I've had these photos on my camera for WEEKS now, and just want to show you.....

My first attempt at making paper beads!  The project is from Kirstie Allsopp's 'Craft' (there will be a review soon, I promise).  It was lots of fun to make - and pretty easy, too.  I thought the cutting out and folding business would be a bit tedious, but it wasn't at all - I just did it while I watched some TV.  

I like it!  I think it's unusual and I love anything 'booky' (the paper beads are made from a 'spare' copy of 'Sense and Sensibility' I had), and it's got some RED in it.  BUT, can I ask you a some questions?  And will you answer me HONESTLY?  What do YOU think of it?  Does it look TOO homemade?  Can I get away with wearing it outside the house?  Now, we're friends, so honest and true answers, please!  ;-)



Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lovely Crafty Friends

Firstly, I wanted to show you a VERY exciting package that I found, waiting for me in the letterbox, when I got home from work last week.....

Look at all those stamps.....  it must have travelled a very, VERY long way to get here..... what COULD it be?

The cutest envelope I’ve ever seen, and a parcel wrapped in pretty, stripy string. 

And what’s inside?

A gorgeous, happy-coloured handmade card.....

..... and a beautiful crocheted coaster/doily/mug rug!!!  Isn’t it gorgeous!?!  Thank you soooo much to my lovely blogging pal Kate (from Signed with an Owl)! 

Receiving such a gorgeous crocheted gift has made me want to learn to crochet myself more than ever!  I discovered that a few of the lovely Stitch & Bitch ladies can crochet.  So, maybe, if I’m good, they’ll teach me one day.....

Our first S&B session was FANTASTIC, by the way!  I LOVED it!  I’d only envisaged staying for an hour or so, but we ended up stitching and bitching (and eating cake) for 4 hours!!!  There were 7 of us there (hello to Catherine, Saffron, Aileen, Claire, Natalie and Johanna, if any of you are reading).  We were knitting, sewing on buttons, cutting out quilt hexagons, cross-stitching, and messing about with a VERY cool paper-embossing machine.  What fun! 

I started knitting a cowl, and did a bit of sewing on some make-up bags I'm working on.  I'll do some show & tell soon.....

Sitting around chatting, drinking tea, eating cake, and crafting – it felt really old-fashioned and ‘proper’.  Secretly, I was enjoying likening myself to the ‘Little Women’ girls! 

I forgot to take my camera along – sorry!  It would have been nice to show you what everyone was up to (and I’m sure you’d have been impressed by the cake assortment).  I’ll make sure I remember to get some snaps next time..... 

We’re already planning our next session – and a ‘field trip’ to the Creativa exhibition (Dortmund, 14th-18th March). 



Saturday, 18 February 2012

Valentine’s Day Presents Part 1

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s day, and were able to spend it with the one you love the best!  I just wanted to show you the picture I made for my Valentine (from some pretty papers I found in my pretty-papers-drawer and an old picture frame I sound in the cellar).

Please excuse the reflections in the photo.  Me and my camera were not best buddies this morning!

What do you think?  HE says he likes it!  :-)

We’re going to put it up in our ‘playroom’ – where I do my crafting and he does his ‘thing’ (I’m trying to be mysterious here, to get you all intrigued.....).  Have a look at his website to see what he does in HIS spare time.....

Part 2 coming soon.....



Saturday, 11 February 2012

New Stock

As promised in my last post, I'm going to show you the bags I’ve been working on for my online stores.

I’ve had a Misi shop for a few months now.  I’ve had a couple of sales (and plenty of views), but have received feedback from customers saying that the site didn’t make it easy for them to make their purchases.  They’d had problems with the site working really slowly, and with making payments for items (the site kept freezing).  

So, last month, I opened an Etsy store too.  I thought I could then test BOTH sites out and see which suits me best.  

I liked the relatively small size of Misi (it makes it easier for people to find my things, and seems more personal).  BUT, of course, I was not happy about the problems I heard about from customers (I worry that it looks bad on me, too).  On the other hand, Etsy is soooooo huge!  I haven’t sold anything on there yet, and each item has only been viewed a couple of times.  However, it seems to be organised and run much more efficiently than Misi.  

What to do???  If you have any experience (good or bad) of either of these sites, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter!  Also, I’d love to hear any tips you may have on making Etsy items more ‘visible’!

Well, here are some photos of my most recently added stock (to Misi AND Etsy):

As I said, I’d be VERY grateful for ANY advice on which online crafty market places you think may work best for me, and/or on how I could improve or market my online stores!

I hope you’re making the most of your Saturday – I’ll be off to my first ‘Stitch & Bitch’ session soon..... 



Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Recent Orders

I have been busy, Busy, BUSY on my sewing machine since Christmas, but I know that I haven’t done many show-and-tell posts of my makes lately.  So, here goes.....

Here are some of the orders I’ve finished over the past month:

I’ve also been making bags for my Misi and Etsy stores (I have both at the moment, while I’m trying to decide which one works best for me).  I’ll show you my latest ‘stock’ in another post, very soon.....

Bye for now!


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Problems Getting Started

I’ve been invited to my first ever ‘Stitch & Bitch’ session next Saturday – yippeeee!!!  A friend of mine (Saffron, who taught me to knit) has organised it as a chance for us girls to get together to craft, chat and eat cake!  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it???

BUT I haven’t done any knitting since before Christmas, I’m not doing any hand-sewing at the moment, I’m not having much luck with learning to crochet, AND I didn’t think the other ladies would appreciate the noise of my sewing machine interfering with their ‘bitching’.  So, a dilemma!  What to take to work on.....

I really want to do some more knitting, and increase my arsenal of skills.  So far, I’ve only knitted things that use knits and purls in different combos.  So, I decided to look on Ravely for a hat, scarf or cowl pattern (it’s COLD here!!!) that would force me to try out something new.  Then, if I came across any difficulties, I could get some help on Saturday.  Good plan!  I found a super-cute pixie hood hat, and a gorgeous spiral-patterned cowl.  I wrote out a shopping list yesterday morning, and eagerly dragged poor S to my favourite department store’s crafty department. 

That was where the problems began!  It turns out that German yarn labels don’t have the same information on them as ours.  They have a little gauge diagram, and NO equivalent of things like ‘DK’ or ‘chunky’.  So, I had no idea what to get for the patterns I wanted to work on, and everything I found that I thought MIGHT be okay was really itchy (I am terrible for this – things that other people think are wonderfully soft feel like barbed wire to me!).  So, I left the shop with nothing, feeling like we’d had a wasted afternoon.
Then, when we got home, I looked online for some yarns.  I found a GORGEOUS bulky turquoise cotton one (which I hope won't be itchy), and ordered a few skeins.  I think it'll be great for the pixie hood.  I hope it’ll arrive before next weekend – fingers crossed!!!

[Rico Big Cotton Super Chunky - Turquoise]

BUT, that didn’t solve my most pressing issue.  S was going out to meet his man-friends (I couldn't complain after the afternoon's shopping trauma), and I would be home-alone.  I wanted to amuse myself with some knitting and start on something to take on Saturday (just in case my new yarn doesn’t come in time).  The pattern for the cowl required 4mm circular needles, which I had (my ONLY pair).  And I had some red yarn that I wanted to use for the project.  I spent a two hours watching YouTube videos before I started, looking up how to use circular needles, researching what ‘knitting 2 together’ means, learning now to do a picot edge..... So, I was ready to go!  I cast on my 128 stitches..... 

THEN realised that the needles were much too long (60cm, when I needed 40cm) – AAARGH!!!  I might have said a naughty word or two and stamped my foot!  So, everything got shoved back into my knitting bag, and I did some more internet shopping (this time for some new needles)!

So, I can’t get started on anything knitty yet!  I’m just waiting for the postie to come.....

If my gear doesn’t come in time, I’ll just have to make some more of my little knot brooches – they’re quick and easy and I KNOW I have everything I need!!!

Does anyone else ever have days like this where you try SO hard to be productive, but end up just chasing your own tail and getting NOTHING done???

I’ll keep you up-to-date with progress on these two projects when I manage to get started on them.....



Thursday, 2 February 2012

Crafty Podcast Addiction

My name’s Carly and I’m a crafty-podcast-oholic!!! 

Does anyone else LOVE listening to podcasts while they’re crafting?  Before last summer (embarrassingly), I didn’t even know what a podcast was.  But I am now officially addicted to them!  What could be better than crafting away, while listening to a friendly voice sharing their crafty exploits, offering hints and tips, or interviewing ‘celebrity’ crafters?!?  If you haven’t tried it, I really think you should!  You might just end up joining me at crafty-podcast-listeners-anonymous..... 

I’ve been meaning to write a post on podcasts for ages, but haven’t got around to it (I’m too busy listening to them)!!!  Better late than never, though, I guess???

When I started writing this post, it was going to be a list of my favourite podcasts, with links.  But, as I was writing & deleting, writing & deleting, I thought it might be nice to write more about each podcast, and tell you WHY they’re on my list of favourites.  So, instead of giving you a list, I’ve decided to do a few separate posts, telling you in a bit more depth about some of them.....      

I’m writing about this now, as I’m EXTREMELY excited about a recent podcast find.  It’s called CraftLit, and it combines crafty talk with readings of some great books (my dream combination). 

The lovely, funny, velvety-voiced host (Heather) advertises her show as ‘the podcast for readers whose hands are too busy to hold a book’, and ‘an audiobook-with-benefits’.  Each episode starts with some crafty chat (mainly of a yarny nature).  Then Heather talks a bit about the chapters that will be covered that week (she’s VERY knowledgeable – an English teacher, no less), before the chapters are read aloud.  What an ingenious idea for a crafty podcast!  Imagine sewing or knitting or crocheting or gluing while someone reads you a story!!!  I’ve just finished (today) the final episode on the first book – ‘Pride and Prejudice’.  Aaaah!!!  SIGH!!!  A girl can never read (or hear) about Mr Darcy too many times, can she?  Some other books that Heather has covered and I’m excited about listening to are ‘The Turn of the Screw’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Little Women’, ‘The Woman in White’ and ‘Dracula’.

I hope my description has done the podcast justice – it really is brilliant!  If you love books and crafting, and want to give Heather a try, visit the CraftLit website.  If you do, I'd love to hear what you think.  Also, if you've discovered any podcast treasure, please share.....  

If you’re in this part of the world, I hope you’re keeping warm and well (staying indoors and listening to podcasts works)!  It has been -9° here in Düsseldorf today.  Brrrrr!!!  I’m waiting for some snow.....

Until next time.....


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