Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year's Eve

It's new year's eve and I for one fully intend to celebrate the end of 2010 - good riddance to a rubbish year I say! So who has plans tonight?? I usually end up having pretty disappointing new year's eves but any night that requires these babies has got to be good right?

How pretty are they??? Now I haven't worn shoes close to this high in years but I joined a band and we're singing in an Oscars themed party tonight so I need sparkly heels to keep my swishy dress from trailing on the ground! I even made the flowers that went on the sides to match my brooch and hair slides.

So whatever your plans are tonight I wish you all health and happiness for the New Year. Bring on 2011!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Friday, 24 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 24

He's making a list, he's checking it twice, he's trying to find out who's naughty or nice!

Behind door No. 24 is...

... Santa, Father Christmas, Old St Nic, Kris Kringle. This lovely PDF cross stitch pattern is by bellastitchery. So make sure your stockings are hanging neatly by the mantle, leave out those mince pies, a glass of sherry and a carrot for Rudolph, and get to bed nice and early or he won't come! Merry Christmas.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 23

The snow is showing no sign of thawing and being outside at night in this weather is something special. The stars are out in force and the moon lights up the snow so much we don't even need torches to walk down the lane.

So behind door No. 23 is...

...The Christmas star. Now I tried to make me one of these last year with disastrous effects! But with a little help from Martha Stewart I think it might go a bit better this time round. You can find the tutorial here.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 22

So this year I thought I'd do some festive baking that I'd never tried before. I raided the cupboard, googled a few ingredients and here's what I came up with:

Behind door No. 22 is... gingerbread house. Now not only have I never baked gingerbread before but I've never even tasted it, but I have to say it's lovely! If I'd have been better prepared I'd have bought some jellied sweets and some candy canes to add a little bit of color but it was a bit of a last minute idea so I had to make do with piping icing out of a plastic food bag. For those of you wanting to make your own, you can find the recipe here. Happy baking!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 21

There's something so lovely about using natural products to make Christmas decorations. During the summer we think nothing of bringing some of the outside inside - flowers, fruit and veg from the garden... In the winter sometimes it takes a bit more effort and some foraging but it can be just as comforting.

So behind door No. 21 is...

...Holly. Holly was always a staple decoration when I was growing up. We used to go out collecting it then go to work with a few cans of gold spray pain. Perfect for some lovely centerpieces! This pretty Holly brooch is perfect for Christmas and is made by Buttercup Boutique.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 20

Christmas is coming! T-5 days and counting. I still have quite a few things left on my list of crafty things to do and shamefully I still have rather a lot of Christmas shopping left too. Oops! So I'd best get cracking with this post and get busy with those knitting needles!

Behind door No. 20 is...

This beautiful reindeer by Tone Finnanger. I have rather a few of her books and she has some lovely sewing patterns. Look how sweet her gingerbread men are too! So if you're a bit slow with the decorations this year and still fancy trying your hand at a handmade Christmas, these should sew up in a jiffy!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 19

I wished for snow and snow I got! Very inconveniently whilst I was driving home last night from doing some Christmas shopping. I ended up having to abandon the car half way up a hill and walking to my parents for the night. Luckily I was only half a mile or so away!

Anyway as soon as I got home this morning I grabbed my camera and walked cross the road to the beach. So I'm gonna take a break from the craft stuff today, and behind door No. 19 is...

...Snow! Now last night I was in danger of losing some of my fondness for snow. Sliding all over the road is pretty scary stuff you know! But waking up to this magical wonderland this morning more than made up for it. I've never seen snow on a beach before! And massive sheets of ice. It's remarkable. And I'm a very lucky duck to live in such a beautiful place. :)

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 18

Now one gripe I might have with Christmas is that behind the massive hype and commercialization the reason that we celebrate Christmas is often lost. Sometimes we forget that Christmas is one massive global celebration to commemorate the birth of a baby 2000+ years ago.

So behind door No. 18 is...

...the Nativity. This beautiful knitted Nativity scene is a pattern by Jean Greenhowe that you can knit up yourself. She has a whole host of other Christmas patterns, and you could knit up all of your Christmas decorations near enough so click on over to her website for a look.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 17

One of the many joys of Christmas is the festive food. Warm and delicious and reserved for the very darkest and coldest of days. Stewed fruits and mulled drinks and cold meats and preserves. Bring on the grub!

Behind door No. 17 is...

...a big plate of yummy mince pies. I know quite a few people who don't like mince pies - all the more for me I say! Warmed through with some brandy cream is my favorite I must admit. My granny makes the best mince pies in the world but I think I'd be disowned if I shared the family recipe with you so I'll give you BBC Good Food's one instead. Enjoy.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 16

How long has it been since we've had a white Christmas? The way the weather is shaping up in some parts of the country I'd put money on us having one this year - finger's crossed!

Behind door No. 16 are...

... These three adorable wee snow men! They look very at home in their snowy surroundings. I'm hoping hoping hoping that I'll be able to build some of my own very soon.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 15

Today's Advent offering is rather a new Christmas tradition for me. I love using them as decorations for my Christmas tree but we never had them when I was a child.

Behind door No. 15 is...

A nice big pot full of Candy Canes! Now I have to admit I'd love them to taste like Strawberries and cream or Cranberries might be a little more festive, but peppermint is still quite Christmassy I suppose. I always used to make peppermint creams at Christmas come to think of it. Anyway here's a link to 10 fun things to do with your leftover candy canes - if you haven't eaten them all up!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 14

So which do you prefer - putting up your Christmas tree as soon as the supermarkets start selling selection boxes, or leaving it as late as Ebenezer Scrooge?? I try and refrain from putting mine up to early but my parents would be happy enough to leave it 'till a couple of days before Christmas. Bah Humbug!

Behind door number 14 is...


...the Christmas Tree! Apparently the tradition of decorating a Fir tree at Christmas dates back to 16th Century Germany & Livonia where trees were adorned with candles and foods meant as gifts for local Children.

I am so enjoying having a real tree this year. For the past few years I've had a nasty fold up one - handy in not having to sweep up the pine needles but I've really missed that amazing real tree smell. You really can't beat it. I think a living tree will have to go on my Grown Up wish list!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 13

I am honored. This year I have been given two extremely important Christmas tasks. I am responsible (gulp!) for making the Christmas cake (double gulp!) and the Christmas pudding(tripple gulp!)! It's getting a little late to start making them now so I'm gonna get cracking with the cake tomorrow. My one gripe is that our house is full of spoilsport marzipan haters so I've had to promise to omit my favorite part!

Anyway - behind door No. 13 is...

...a lovely Christmas pud or two by Bugs and Fishes! Laura has the tutorial for these lovely felty ornaments, as well as lots of other Christmas makes over on her blog. Now I'm off to shop for ingredients for the real thing. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 12

It's been a very long time since I've done any kid crafting. I don't think I've done any since I was a kid myself. I remember making advent calendars out of egg cartons and tissue paper, and Santas out of toilet roll tubes and cotton wool. I'm going to have to borrow someone's kids if I want to do any this year! However if you have any wee people who enjoy paper crafting take a look behind door No 12:

Fantastic Toys sell PDF printables - how sweet is their Candy Cane Gingerbread Cottage Playset Printable?? I remember being thrilled with a paper doll cutout book I got for Christmas one year and it looks like they're back in vogue now. I dare say they'd make a lovely mantle top set for us grown ups too! Either way they're well worth a browse.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 11

There is nothing better than a real Christmas tree. For a couple of years I've had a fake one and even though it does the job, it looks fine and it saves cutting down a tree it really doesn't compare. I absolutely adore the smell of a real tree, and for me it's not truly Christmas until you loll into the living room sleepy eyed of a morning and inhale that beautiful evergreen scent.

So today, behind door No. 11 is...

This beautiful Christmas Elf by Wee Wonderfuls. Imagine this little cutie hanging from your tree! I love the little mini tinsel Hilary has on her tree too. You can never have too much tinsel in my book!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 10

Well the weekend is fast approaching and it's time to put up the Christmas tree! There are so many handmade decorations out there to buy and so many tutorials to make your own we really are spoiled for choice!

Behind door No. 10 is...

...Lizzybeth's Felties. And she managed to whip up this lovely lot in only 3 days. Phew that's some speed stitching! There are lots of felt goodies in both her etsy and folksy shops so click on over to see!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 09

I have been happily hooking away this past few days making crocheted Christmas prezzies. I've thoroughly enjoyed myself actually. Snuggled up in front of a wood burner between lovely balls of wool watching Christmas DVDs. I even have a new friend overseeing my work but I'll introduce you to him later.

But sticking to today's crochet theme, behind door No. 9 is...

... Lucy's lovely star baubles. I love the little bells on the star points - how sweet! If you fancy adorning your tree with these little cuties, pop on over to Attic24 where she has very kindly posted the tutorial for us. Happy hooking!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 8

It's a beautiful day today. Clear blue skies and crisp air. My favorite type of winter weather. I'm quite tempted to pack up my knitting, don my wellies and drive down to the beach. Nearly all the snow has melted by now and it doesn't look too icy either. Although half of the garden hasn't thawed for two weeks so some of these winding country roads might still be a bit slippery.

I should really stay in wrapped up in front of the fire and do some crafting. I bought some of the sweetest Christmas fabric a few months ago and I really should decide what to do with it. Stockings, bunting, place mats??

So behind door No. 8 is...

...Riley Blake's Christmas Collection. I think the snowflake design is my favorite. So suggestions please - if you had your hands on a stash of yummy Christmas fabric, what would you make?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 7

So the time has come to get those Christmas Cards sent! I have spent the past few days writing mine, and I'd say they'd need to get out early this year what with the snow and all. Remember guys that last post for the US and Canada is Friday. Last year I sent my UK cards the day before last posting date and they didn't arrive until after new years! I won't be making that mistake again this year.

So behind door number 7 is...

...this cheeky hand cut card by Storeyshop. I've been a big fan of Helen's work for a while now and she has some beautiful cards available. She'll even personalize them for you too so click on over to her shop for a look see!

Anyway it's back to the fountain pen for me if I want these cards out early. Then back to the knitting needles to get some prezzies made. It's all go!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 6

Well the snow has all but disappeared but the ice is here to stay apparently. The motor of my windscreen wipers cracked in the ice today - it's that cold!! So whilst it's being fixed and I'm stranded in the house I'll be warding off the cabin fever with some Christmas crafting.

So behind door number 6 are...

... these adorable stockings by Ticketty Boo.

Stockings are high on my list of things to make before Christmas. But if you're not handy with a sewing machine or haven't the time to make your own, there are some beautiful handmade lovelies out there waiting to adorn your mantelpieces.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 5

I know I told you on the first day of the advent that I hadn't had a calendar for years, so I thought it's time to correct myself. No I wasn't lying, but that evening my mum decided she would get me one during the grocery shop. I unashamedly grabbed a Twilight chocolate calendar off the shelf and I have to admit the choccies are rather tasty, much like the two beautiful creatures either side of that lucky Mare on the cover. Anyway - I digress!

So today, behind door No. 5 is...

...this cute little Christmas Elves hanging! The pattern is by Jennie from Allsorts, and the instructions for the wall hanging above is found over on My Patchwork. So if you're all for a handmade Christmas, try your hand at making one!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 4

The village Christmas tree is up and the lights are twinkling. I used to love curling up in my bedroom windowsill and watching the lights through the rain (and let's face it, in Wales it rains a lot!) shimmering and blurring.

Now that I'm back in my childhood bedroom (and can still curl up in the windowsill - got to love those 3 foot deep stone walls) I'm disappointed that the tree has been repositioned to a new home up the road and I can't see the lights anymore. Pesky health and safety regulations at work to spoil Christmas again no doubt!

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Behind door No. 4 is...

...Christmas baubles. My mum has a lovely tradition of picking up a Christmas bauble when she goes on holiday or trips away so that the Christmas tree is decorated with little shining memories. It's so inspiring that I'm thinking of abandoning my "everything must match and be even and symmetrical" OCD way of decorating my tree. Yes I know!

I'm have a big stack of felt just waiting to be fashioned into lovely baubles so I'm going to spend a good chunk of this week making my own Christmas decorations. And before I go to doodle and jot down some ideas I'll just draw your attention to the lovely necklace by FunkY Pendants. I haven't come across this shop before but I have my eye on a few of the lovely pieces - pop on over to take a look for yourselves. :)

Friday, 3 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 3

I love rituals and traditions. I love how we as human beings have created this global festival that takes over the dullest, darkest months of the year. And I love how we've adapted traditions to suit the rituals and religions of dominance.

Behind door No. 3 is.....

...the Christmas wreath. After a bit of research it seems like hanging wreaths from doors derives from Roman times, and was adopted as a Christmas tradition when Christianity took over as the dominant religion.

I'm gonna try my hand at making a wreath this year. There's nothing better than donning a pair of wellies on a crisp winter's day and scouring the countryside for holly and fallen pine cones. I might wait until the snow has thawed though before venturing out - those pine cones might be a little hard to find otherwise!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 2

Behind door number two is...

...Christmas lights! When I was little the village Christmas tree used to stand opposite my bedroom window and I used to sit for hours in my old-farm-house windowsill and stare at them.

Unfortunately our local town has had a Christmas light disaster - It's even made the news! Needless to say the big switch on tonight was rather dark, although Mince pies and carols were still had in abundance. It takes more than a little health and safety overkill to quash the Christmas spirit in Cardigan!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Virtual Advent Calendar: Day 1

It's December the 1st! Pinch punch and all that. So I guess it's time to well and truly crank up the Christmas spirit! I was sitting last night wondering whether to start up my Folksy Friday posts again and wondered whether it would be fine to have them all Christmas themed for the next few weeks. Then I started to play with the idea of a crafty advent calendar. A feature to showcase one Christmassy crafty item every day until the big day. I don't know why but I've never done real advent calendars. I don't think I've had one of the chocolate ones since I was 16. I had intended on sewing one for this year but the series of unfortunate events put a halt to that idea. So here's my first offering for my Virtual Advent Calendar.

Behind door No. 1 is....

...Felt Me Up Designs' Christmas ensemble! I am a big fan of Mel's needle felted birdies and even have one perched atop my chest of drawers. Those little Santa hats are beyond adorable! You can get one of your very own here. (Psssst! If you use the discount code CHRISTMASPUDDING at etsy checkout you can get 10% off in Felt Me Up Designs and Ink Me Up Designs - Merry Christmas!)

Come back tomorrow to see what's behind door No. 2!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Weekend Fun

The world always seems a better place with good music and good company, and both was had in abundance on Saturday night. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to a gig in aid of the Colonel's Fund Grenadier Guards. Opening the set were Cariad:

the lovely Becky and my big sis Nia...

...and front man Stephen. They sing a three part harmony version of Ride On by Christy Moore that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Bootiful!

Then Whisky Business brought the house down with an amazing set. The Gig was recorded and a live album will be released in a few months. I'll be saving my pennies for that one!

Even the sound technician got up to have a bash.

I definitely intend to go listen to more live music from now on. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time and now I've moved my local bar has an open mic night every week. Roll on Thursday nights!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Let it Snow!

I can't help it. I know that practically it's very inconvenient. That driving in it is a bit of a nightmare. But my gosh I just love snow! There's something so magical about it. I love it best when it's thick and deep and undisturbed. Before anyone's big lolloping feet have trudged big trenches through it.

Today it looks like someone has dropped million a tiny crystals over everything.

I have to admit that, although Christmas is my favorite time of year, I've been lacking in the festive spirit this year. I think the only time I've gotten the least bit excited about it was seeing the council putting up the Christmas decorations in our local town. Hopefully if this snow continues for a little while longer it might just gear me up for the festivities.

I've been yearning for cold weather since the end of August pretty much. And this week certainly hasn't disappointed! So I'm about to head out, wrapped up with scarf, hat and gloves, then I'll be back to curl up in front of a log fire with a big mug of tea and some sewing to do. I'm feeling brighter just talking about it - it just might be working already! :)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends! I am very green-eyed (as in envious - the fact that I do in fact have green eyes kinda complicates the expression but there we are) thinking of everyone tucking into large slices of pumpkin pie - I'd make it all the time if we had a longer pumpkin harvest here in the UK!

I'm glad that I decided to do a post on thanksgiving. It's been all to easy to focus on the negative recently, but thinking of things to be thankful for has brightened my outlook on life somewhat.

I'm thankful for the friendships I've made in recent years and months. I'm thankful that I have a roof over my head, enough food to eat and enough money to get by. I'm thankful that I have a large stash of fabric and yarn and plenty of Christmassy ideas up my sleeve to keep me busy over the Holidays!

What are you thankful for??

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Getting to Know You: Eve Barnes

Ok so my second crafter interview was scheduled to come far far sooner than this but there we are - it's here now and it's good! This time it's the turn of Eve from Minifelts - tea and biccies at the ready and I'll hand you over. Take it away Eve!

Introduce yourself:

Hello, my name is Eve, I'm from the Isle of Wight and I make Minifelts. I run my own website and have a shop on Folksy selling handmade animal themed accessories all made from felt.

Tell us a bit about your creative background:

When I left school I studied music at University and hae played the drums for several years. I've been in many different bands and had quite a lot of success as a musician, playing big festivals and having my music played on the radio. When I finished University and struggled to find a job, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and randomly stumbled across the Folksy website. I was really inspired by the wonderful things people were creating, so I decided to teach myself to sew. I started making things from felt as it was easy to work with, and now I'm completely hooked!

Who / what inspires you?

As you can probably tell from my shop I love animals and cute things! I'm also addicted to reading craft blogs and endlessly browsing Etsy an d Folksy. I really enjoy reading about people's different creative processes, and looking at other people's creations really motivates me to create my own.

Tell us about your creative space:

Unfortunately I don't really have a creative space at the moment, as I'm currently flat hunting, so my sewing tends to just follow me wherever I go! In the summer I really love sewing outside, and on more gloomy days I tend to completely cover the sofa with my sewing and sew whilst watching DVDs or listening to music.

As for tools and materials I really love working with felt, as it's so versatile and comes in such a wonderful array of colours. I've never learned to use a sewing machine so all my creations are made completely by hand.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

I think my greatest achievement in terms of Minifelts is quite simply how much I've learned in such a short period of time! Before setting up my own website I knew nothing about web design, or anything about how to take a good product photo, or how to get my shop to come up near the top of a Google search.

But over the past few months I've worked really hard to make my online shop and website look as professional as possible. I'm now really pleased with my photographs and I'm starting to get the hang of blogging, branding, marketing and loads of things I knew nothing about before! When I first set up my shop on Folksy, my photos really didn't do justice to the products, but I have put a lot of time and effort into improving them and I'm really happy with the results. I also now find my work regularly featured on the folksy front page which lead to me being offered the chance to have my work stocked in a gallery in Lincoln, which all happened not long after I'd updated my photos, which just goes to show how important they are when selling online!

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

I have so many big ideas that I don't know where to start! Minifelts has only been up and running for less than a year, so I really want to expand the business, firstly by making a new range of products (I'm currently working on camera and Nintendo DS cases). I'm planning to open a shop on Etsy to try and attract more international buyers, as well as getting my Minifelts stocked in more "bricks and mortar" galleries and shops.

I also really want to get my work featured in magazines, so I'm working on that at the moment, and of course I'm sure like a lot of fellow crafters my ultimate goal is to make a living doing something I love!

Thanks a lot Eve - I love to find out a bit more about my fellow crafters. Eve's story is really similar to mine actually (minus the drumming success that is).

You can find Eve on facebook and twitter, check out her shop, blog, website, or contact her at eve(at)minifelts(dot)com

Monday, 22 November 2010

Shiny New Toy

So my return to blogging hasn't gone quite according to plan. My 6 year old laptop wasn't being very co-operative if I dared to ask it to do more than one thing at a time, so I've bitten the bullet and gotten myself a shiny new toy to play with. If only my health was as easily fixed! Not sure that I'm still fit enough to be let lose behind a sewing machine but needs must. If your in North Pembs and hear a rattling noise coming from an old farmhouse that'll be me!

I'm loving being back in the countryside I have to admit. It's so beautiful here! I can't believe it's been a whole 6 years since I lived here last - I'm not that old surely?? I only just finished school didn't I??

Anyway I actually do have plenty of blog posts for your enjoyment this week - they're written and all! So I'll leave you with these pics of my lovely new surroundings and I'll be back with a crafty instillation soon - pinky swear!

Monday, 15 November 2010


Testing, testing, one, two, three. Does this thing still work?? It seems like all I've done recently is apologise for my lack of blogging. I'm back now I promise! I can't believe it's been a whole month since my last post. Without launching into a 12 hour explanation of events let's just say that things haven't exactly gone to plan lately and I've found myself moved back to Pembrokeshire for the foreseeable future. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! You really can't complain when you live minutes away from views like this though can you?

Anyways I can't tell you how much I've missed being my usual crafty self - I haven't done more than a wee bit of knitting for weeks! There's so much to share with you - I have a couple of friends to introduce to you, a few books to review and lots of sewing to be getting on with. As soon as I dig out my sewing machine from the piles of boxes I have to unpack! And I haven't told you about my trip to Canada at all - here's a sneaky peak of things to come:

Before I go I just need to say a mahoosive thanks to my amazing friends who've helped over the past few weeks - you know who you are!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Wish List Wednesday: Wool

So this week it's national wool week. I didn't actually know that until today but I've seen a few tweets flying around twitter and decided to have a look see. It's part of the Campaign for Wool headed up by HRH Prince Charles and is a worthy cause indeed.

My childhood is documented by the various hand knitted jumpers my mother and grandmother made for us, by woolen toys made by relatives- the more I think about it the more wool played a massive part in my life before I even started knitting myself!

Now I use wool for knitting, crochet and felting, and most of the crafts that I enjoy use some form of felt. So for this post I thought I'd mix my wish list items with a showcase of woolen lovelies that I've admired in the blogosphere.

Lucy's hooky makes over at Attic 24.

Claire's felt accessories over at The Rainbow Room

Pompoms galore over at HonestlyWTF.

Eskimimi Knits' hand dyed yarns

Betz White's felt flowers.

The "knitting is for grannies" school of thought is well and truly over - it's cool to crochet and I am enjoying wool's new found vogue. Especially all the fair isle that's around this autumn. So get those needles going, reach for your roving and get working on those winter woollies!