Saturday, 23 August 2014

Saturday journal

Just when I thought I was sorted with the wedding - in comes another of over 100 - but I was DETERMINED that I would at least do a little in my journal.

This is a very old trick - but great fun.  Oil Pastels scribbled all over the page - there are a couple of images stamped and embossed in clear on the page first.

You can use baby oil to blend all the colours together.  Really get in between the clear embossing to make the image show as a 'ghost' look

Once the oil soaks into the page - you can go back and doodle - stamp - draw over the top.  This has the images stamped again using Memento - and some metallic pencil flowers.

I might doodle a bit more - and I need a caption.

I love this technique - I use it on A3 water colour papers with loads of added swirls - then I cut the paper into smaller panels and use it to make cards


Monday, 18 August 2014

crafting on a budget

The newest 'designer' kid on the block is the magnetic storage system from Zutter.  the system allows you to keep your metal dies stored in a simple to use - easy to find storage box.  It is based around the A4 size so you can store lots on each of the double sided magnetic sheets.  The basic starter kit is around £20.

Sounds super cool doesn't it ?

Soooooo - all of you that visit me in the shop know my opinion of 'designer' brands and 'unmissable' gadgets.

I have A4 magnetic sheets - they are 75p each - they are self adhesive - so you could always stick 2 together.  The £1 shop sometimes has A4 box folders - but if they don't Home Bargains are around £2.50 with great patterned covers. 

 BUT then the won't have THE 'logo' - guess it all depends on what you want to pay for :-)

So - Here's kitten mouthing off again - but I made a promise to be honest with you - and I always will!


Saturday, 9 August 2014

wedding favor city

It's a bit like playing Jenga - with little boxes!

I have made almost 500 wedding favor boxes this past couple of weeks.  Just waiting on one more list of names and that's the summer rush over.

And you know what happens then ..........


Thursday, 7 August 2014

yarn thickness explained - I hope!

Some of you look at me in disbelief when I say you can put strands of yarn together to make up the different thicknesses so I thought I would try to explain it a little for you.

The names 4 ply - double knitting - chunky etc refer to the thickness of the yarn not the weight of the ball.  The 'ply' term is an industry standard which refers to the thickness of a single strand of spun yarn.
4 ply is 4 tiny individual strands twisted together - double knitting is technically an 8 ply ( although because of the way they make it now you can't still split it into the 8 strands) - so if you use 2 strands of 4 ply together you will make up the double knitting thickness.

Chunky is twice the thickness of double knitting - so it you work 2 strands of double knitting together it is the same knitting thickness as a chunky.  This means (and it took me ages to get my head round this one!) - a 100g ball of double knitting and a 100g ball of chunky is exactly the same thing!  As the double knitting is half the weight - you get twice the length - but using 2 strands together it will work out the same as a chunky thickness.  So if you see a chunky and a double in the same brand of the same yarn - and the chunky costs more - you will pay more for your yarn that you need to.

Super chunky is double the thickness of chunky - so if you use 2 strands of chunky together (or 4 strands of double) you can make the super chunky weight.

All you have to do is hold the strands together and make sure that they all go round the needle and through the loop.

I often mix chunky and double knitting together when I am making hats with motifs on - it's fine.  If it's for a cushion, toy, bag or a hat it won't show - and it will use up your scraps.

Some wools are heavier in weight than acrylic and work and wash differently - I would not recommend you mix wool and acrylic on anything that is going to be work and washed regularly. 

Also the dirt cheap imported yarns that you get from places like The Works can be thinner than you would expect and don't have the give of brands like my Robin - so just be aware of that.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

See my shop

Here's something you don't see very often - my shop floor cleared!

The builders are going to put a cover under the big hole in the ceiling to stop the muck coming down.

Sometime today I hope as they asked me to clear the space.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Saturday's Work

Not a journal page - a re-invention of an old photo frame

Just a tatty old frame from under the stairs - I sanded it down and covered it with 2 different Decoupatch papers.  I used the Decoupatch glue to see  what difference it made to just using PVA.  There is a difference - the Decoupatch branded has a varnish in with it - so the finish is much more shiny.  It still shows as shiny even though I washed over it with black acrylic paint.

I just went mad really.  Loads of stuff going on in the corner - I am making more of an effort to add layers and definition underneath before I start to build out.  There is a die cut trellis, and a bit of mesh before the swirls.

And I have just picked up these wonderful clock, winged heart and key charms - can't find any cogs at reasonable prices yet though - will keep looking

Friday, 18 July 2014

More Posh Dog

There is still not a squeak from the builder's - who were supposed to be starting this week - we are all getting a bit grumpy with them now.  It really effects me the most - I have Christmas shopping to do!  Yes I know - waaaaay to early - but I picked up the entire range of the Tatty Teddy Christmas release - and if you don't get in quick it sells out in about 6 weeks.

We now have a logo - I love setting up all the branding and paper work almost as much as making the products - yes it's a quickie of hubby's that he did for a prom show - I like his quick rough sketches best

I am working on the bandannas - the dining table is piled up with fabric and I am working out the different sizes.  I have some really pretty fabrics - mostly from Faye in the Indoor Market (now I have an excuse to find a fabric wholesaler).

NOTE TO SELF - with RIGHT sides together ;-)


Saturday, 12 July 2014

More photos

Progress with clock

Thought you would like to see how the clock is coming along.

There is still a bit more to do but I really love it.  Thereis so much detail in it and I have used several precious and vintage bits.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Posh Dog Clothing Co

Hi all - the contracts for the builders has been finalized and they 'should' be starting in the next couple of weeks.  Note the caveat 'should' - they have been messing about for months and we have gone from 'hope there is a roof for April' - ' what do we do if they are not finished by September and we have to start the Christmas run up!!!!!'

I am having a good old clear out while I wait - I know they are going to have to empty my back room at least as they have to rebuild the gutters and down pipes which are in the middle of my inside wall.  I shall have to wait to find out if they are going to empty the shop to work on the ceiling joists. - Don't worry though I will only be moving 2 shops up in to the one that they have kept empty - and they are going to give me a man to do all the actual packing and moving.

I have shoved all that to the back of my mind and started a new company.

The Posh Dog Clothing Co.
Building on the success of the dog jumpers - I have taken them over from Izzy and am extending the range.  As well as jumpers I am making bow ties, neck ties, bandannas, proper coats,  bed blankets - all sorts of doggie related bits really.

I am still working on the website and branding - but I have checked and there is not other company with this name - the closest is the Posh Dogs hot dogs from M&S - and I don't think they will get confused with my jumpers.  I have got loads of ideas - but at the moment I am concentrating on the ties and bandannas - and the scarves because they are such fun to knit.


Saturday, 5 July 2014

Saturday is journal day

Well it is supposed to be journal day really - but I cleared the decks this week so that I could work on my clock.

There are going to be 3 clusters of decoration.  A large group bottom left - a small group mid right (where I have added a key hole detail - and a central cluster over the dial based on a pair of wings.

I have to take a bit of a break for all the paints ans glitters to dry properly

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Photo frame makeover

Take one tatty old frame - sand down and decoupatch it in different papers.  Then go mad with the bling.

Must get away from these grotty wedding favors and make more stuff.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Saturday journal page

I wanted to recreate a more scrapbook type layout - snd I wanted to get my paints out and layer up some colours.  I was going to add a photo and doodle - but I found this pretty charm instead.  I think I may have to take the bird off the ring and secure it though.

Monday, 2 June 2014

The annual craft 'trade' awards


the contents of this article are just the personal opinion of a working crafter

OK chaps - you may remember that when I went to the craft trade awards in Feb and I decided that we were going to get the shop on the list to be voted for.

The Mission (and I accepted it) was to find out how to get a voice and be noticed for crafters.

After months of emails - it has taken this long to get a definitive answer - and this is what they said - complete response - 

'With regards to the Shortlist entries these are put together a few months before we open the voting to the public and are made up of companies that are featured in, or work closely with the magazine on a regular basis, and/or are known well to our readers. We always include an 'other' option for each category so that businesses such as yourself can be nominated by our readers and also so that you can encourage your customers to vote for you too – the more votes you receive the more likely you are to be featured on the shortlist the following year.'

Get the point there guys 'companies that are featured in, or work closely with the magazine on a regular basis'

- so basically you have to work for - give stuff to - advertise with - etc - the magazine to get a sniff in.

the 'sweetener' 'We always include an 'other' option' - soooo how on earth do I (and all the other tiny inspirational crafting others) get noticed - jeeps.

Basically I feel sorry for the crafters out there - there is so little room for new designers - new products - new ideas - and yes - us little craft shops serving you! - how sad.

I don't know about you - but I am always on a learning curve - I eat up any new inspiration that helps me grow in my craft work.  I feel My learning has been 'chopped off' because all the choice I get is Joanna Sheen and her CD images - that's not my style of crafting.

so - when the lists come out I will let you all know so you can put me as the 'other' - let's see if we can turn the tides!


Saturday, 31 May 2014

Saturday journal page

I bet you do the washing up with your washing up sponge - I don't ;-)

Sponges make the most fantastic background texture - the best ones are the big yellow car washing sponges with the big uneven holes - they look fantastic.

I covered the page with some border peel offs and sponged a green and turquoise ink over the top - then you take off the peel offs to reveal the pattern. 

The papers are from the cover of the santoro paper pack - I only ever seem to get the left overs these days - so I make good use of them.

The lines are stardust lime green gel pen

Monday, 26 May 2014

Bank Hoilday

Day off - NO!!!! 

The Lamb Chop and I have been doing serious mucking out - living room getting better - look out the rest of the house ;-)


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Saturday journal page

I didn't forget - honest - I splattered crackle paint through the sequin waste for a new look and it took ages to dry.  It is a really pretty effect though - it was white, but has picked up the Lettuce colour from the Adirondack spritz and has tiny little cracking all over it.  I have the original Adirondack ink sprays - donkey's years old now - you don't get bottles that big now days!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

What's on your work top Wednesday

I don't know what happened!  I only cleared and polished it last week!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Saturday is journal day

When we were at school- the last day of school we were always given graph paper to colour in pretty patterns.

There you go you see -you never thought that things you did at school would be useful ;-)

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Saturday journal page

Saturday has always been my quietest day of the week - so today I have had a good old clear up this morning.  I actually got one of the boxes that was full of bits left over from the move sorted and emptied - only 2 boxes of bits left now - and we have been here 2 years!

This afternoon I got my journal page done.  Izzy always asks me  what I am going to do on the page - and I never really know what I am going to do when I start out - don't think she really understands that ;-)

I have been experimenting with H2Os and spritzing.  A small bottle is defiantly much better than a larger one - personally I find that the Radiant Rain bottles are too big for me - but it could just be that I am working on a very small page and H2O is best made up in small batches.

This one is called ' Set yourself free' - the dolphin is stenciled with my calligraphy ink and the 'sea' is Memento Inks just the side of the Dew Drop pressed on


Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Tando - heart shaped printer tray

Now - just because something starts out life with a purpose - does not mean that it will end up being used for that.

You know me - never do what I am told.

This is one of the layers from a Tando printer's tray kit.

I wanted to experiment with some of the new Decoupatch papers - and remind myself how their glue behaved against the normal PVA - so I had the daft idea of wrapping the lattice work in strips of the papers.  Just as well I like being mucky - you should have seen the mess I got myself into.

I wanted to make a hanger with all sorts of wires wrapped and beads and dangle bits

The centre of the flowers are the new sparkly 'fruit pastilles' looking things - they look really yummie - the paper flowers are the Dove Craft little boxed ones - and the rest is bits and bobs out of my beads tray


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

New dog coat

What a beautiful day today - let's hope it carries on forever ;-)

Someone gifted me a couple of sacks of unused yarns - scraps, half balls, bit of left overs.  And in among it all there was a couple of sleeves that had obviously been knitted for a jumper - and never had the rest done.

so - what do you do with an odd knitted sleeve  (or 2)

You add a button - and a belly band


Baby's got a brand new coat

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Saturday Journal page

It's Saturday - and I am having a go a bash at Zen tangles for my journal page.  I have a feeling  that it won't be finished today - but it's great fun.

I am getting more confident the more I do and I have just added all the loopy lines.

Also in the pipeline - a crochet kit for all of you who are asking for more crochet.

This is the prototype - it's a heart hanger with a bit of flower decoration.  Just got to make sure the pattern has no missed bits it ;-) - should be ready for next weekend.

Also - I concocted this - had it in my head for ages

It is knitted - building on the colour change work we have been doing - and a new technique to get the tops matching.  Not decided if it will be a cushion or a hanger yet - still working on the pattern.


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

new illustrator - Dave Livingstone

We have a new  artist - Dave Livingstone - with us for the next month.  He has a very 'illustrator' type style of working that I like very much.

He is up for taking commissions more than selling the pictures that he has left with me - so drop in for a look and pick up his details.