Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Harris Tweed Boy in Space!

I wasn't really sure what to call this post, but it's self explanatory really!! (Hope you all had a fun festive time by the way, if you were celebrating!). I got back to some crafting yesterday after my Christmas break, maybe to retain my sanity more than anything - I do get a bit tetchy if I haven't been creative! Anyway, I had the idea of making a doll out of tweed as opposed to being dressed IN tweed.

I love the tactile feel of Harris Tweed so wanted to make a simple, soft toy that would be nice to hold and cuddle. I decided to use the dogtooth check for added bizarreness! Anyway to cut a long story short, the doll turned into a space-boy doll with added features, glove, boots, etc. I had fun doing it - and it incorporated all my favourites - hand-stitching and hand-applique, with a bit of humour thrown in! He's really a prototype and might get a few tweaks and twinges yet - he will be joined, of course, by Harris Tweed space-girl, space-rocket, space-dog ...... Hee Hee!

The 'bubble' on his tummy is just asking to be personalised, of course, which I love to do. Harris Tweed space-suits - what could be better. (I wonder if NASA would be interested???).

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Hebridean Living ..... (Last Part!!)

Here's the view from my kitchen window - sheep and some more sheep!! What can I say! They kept turning their heads away every time I tried to take a photo!

So just a quick re-cap: bobban socks, some peats, the Stornoway Gazette, Lewis Chessmen and a few sheep - my Hebridean compilation! Ha Ha! (It's actually a lot more interesting than that but I don't have the time to go into it all right now!).

Hope everyone has a fun-filled festive season and thanks to all the visitors to my blog these past few months. It's been great getting feedback on my crafty creations and sharing some new ideas along the way.

Back to some crafty musings after all the celebrations are over - I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear!

Cheerio an Drasda!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Hebridean Living ..... Part 2

I find myself at home today with a 'poorly' child, so I might as well do another post on my Hebridean Living - seeing as I promised! These two grumpy fellows on my laptop are replicas of the Lewis Chessmen which were discovered in Uig on the West Coast of the Isle of Lewis around 1830. The originals are now on display in the British Museum in London and the National Museum of Scotland. There is some controversy about returning the complete set to Scotland but I'm not a political animal and not much of a historian to boot so I won't go there!!

You can find more info here. I love them just as pieces of history and art - there's something magical about them. These two are from two different sets in our house - they seem to appear and reappear in various parts of the house as the children seem to find them quite fascinating too!! And no .... I'm afraid I don't play chess!! But they are cute!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Hebridean Living ..... (Part 1)

As promised, some posts on Hebridean Living:
Here's a photo montage of our local 'rag' the Stornoway Gazette, a 'bobban' sock and a peat. This is my interpretation of Hebridean Living!! Actually I just had a few items in my head which I thought were quintissentially Hebridean to me! All three of these items are things I was brought up with. There can't be many Hebridean homes without a 'bobban' sock somewhere in a drawer! Peats are not such a common commodity these days but they're coming back into fashion with the rising cost of oil and, well, the Stornoway Gazette is the Stornoway Gazette - what more can I say!! - births, deaths, marriages etc., the usual kind of thing!!

'Bobban' socks are made from locally dyed and spun 'bobban' wool which Harris Tweed is woven from. Great for wearing inside your wellies! Peat was the main source of solid fuel in the islands a few years back and are cut, dried and stacked by hand. We used to cut peats when I was little and it was actually a nice excuse to have a day out on the moor with a flask of tea, some sarnies and some good old fresh air. (It wasn't quite so amusing when I became a teenager though!!!). If we could have bottled the smell of peat smoke (peat reek) it would have been a real money spinner - check out Angus Og cartoons. (Courtesy of An Lanntair website).

Hopefully, I will do some more posts with local images of interest - it's a nice excuse for me to whip out my camera during the hols, if nothing else!!

Cheerio an Drasda!!

N.B. Wikipedia definition of peat here!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Fabric Buttons and a Gale!

I've often admired fabric covered buttons but had no idea how to make them until a kit caught my eye in my local hobby/crafts shop recently. Ahhh, the penny dropped. Anyway, I didn't get back to the shop, so ordered some 'blank' buttons online. Got back from my office job yesterday (decided to give the post Christmas lunch celebrations a miss - I was feeling so knackered I would probably have fallen asleep in the pub!) and there was my button kit in the post box.

I was pretty lucky they survived as the gales had blown open the lid of the box - I'm not sure if any important letters got blown away but my buttons were there and that's all I was bothered about!! I chose some pale pink Harris Tweed and got to work - I thought the tweed would be too thick and tricky to work with but it was really straightforward and they worked out perfectly. I might add them to my online shops after the festivities are over.

We had a two hour power cut shortly after I got back from work. It was quite nice though as we'd lit the open fire so we just got a few candles out and everyone just got on with doing stuff without electricity. My youngest seemed to find a new found passion for lego again, my oldest son picked up his guitar and strummed away and my husband got to listen to his music loudly (without any protests, for once!) and I got to read my magazine in peace and quiet with a candle. It was a pleasant change without the telly on and I have to say, I quite enjoyed it (telly addict that I am!!).

I thought it might be fun to do a few blog posts on 'living in the Hebrides' while I'm on my hols so keep a look out - I might actually get it together to do it, for once!!

Bye for Now - Christmas shopping awaits!!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Sneaky Little Devil!

Well, I thought I was done with custom orders for this year and meant to shut up shop on Not on the High Street and my own website yesterday. I didn't quite get round to it though and got back from the School Christmas concert last night to a sneaky little order which I didn't expect - not that I'm complaining though!!

Anyway, I've got so much Christmas stuff to do today that as soon as I got up this morning I gathered my tools and materials together in preparation for "one last bumblebee" - (there's a title of a book there somewhere I think!!).

Sorry for the poor quality photo - it's so dark here this morning. I quite like these little still-life compositions though when you get all the tools of your trade together and arrange them in a nice little pile - it's sort of encouraging somehow! Especially when everything else in my house seems so chaotic!!

This is my "To Do" List for today:

1. Complete custom order
2. Tidy Up
3. Wrap presents
4. Tidy Up
5. Write Christmas cards
6. Tidy Up, tidy up, tidy up ...........

The list trails off in a tidy up frenzy!! Better go and .......

Bye for Now :D

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Cute Finds at Work!

Well, it's not often you can say that you did some Christmas shopping at work! Yesterday there was a lovely stall on display at the local college where I work (in the office) and I couldn't resist picking up a few goodies. I'm saying 'Christmas shopping' but I'm not sure that anything except the cards will leave my house - Hey, I've been working hard!!

All the items on display were handmade in the college by the OFTTI project which helps people with special needs gain access to training and employment in the local community. The arts and crafts department make some beautiful Harris Tweed crafts, which really made me drool yesterday!

I bagged this beautiful hand embroidered Harris Tweed cushion and most fab of all this lovely embroidered needle case (which is definitey for me as I'm always losing needles and pins!). They remind me a bit of Kaffe Fassett's colour schemes which I love.

I also bagged these lovely handmade cards (my photograph doesn't do them justice) which will come in very handy to send to some special people!

It's not every day you can say you did your shopping at work! Aren't they lovely? I've been so busy finishing off orders recently that it was nice to buy something that someone else had handcrafted and I really appreciate the work that went into them!!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Odds and Ends ...

This weekend I'm busy trying to tie up all the loose ends in my order list and hope to have them all ready for the beginning of the week. This is what was on my desk this morning and I though the combination of colours looked quite pretty so I took a quick photo. The brown envelope underneath which is my tax bill maybe isn't quite so pretty!! However, I think I've got a handle on self-assessment and all that now so it doesn't seem quite so daunting this year. Another learning curve.

These are all individual orders on my desk ready to be shipped off - it's been fun fulfiling orders especially for items which didn't seem quite so popular earlier on in the year. I'll be closing up my shops by the middle of next week and taking a three week break. Not so sure that I'll manage to keep away from my blog for that long though!! In fact I'm pretty sure I won't - if I'm not crafting I'm sure I'll find something else to blog about, compulsive blogger that I've become!!

I'm hoping to put some more local pics in my blog ..... "Aaaah, Stornoway at Christmas-time" - if I remember, I'll pop my camera into my handbag when I go to my office job and take some photos of our lovely, little town!

Bye for Now and have a nice weekend!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Return of the Dolls!

I've made a few of these ragdolls in the past but decided to remove them from my website shop as they were so time consuming to make and therefore difficult to price - I now make them on request. I hate having to charge extortionate prices for children's toys so it's a bit of a dilemma! I think my way around the problem is to have a few pre-made (at my leisure) so they're ready to dress and personalise, etc.

This is exactly what happened with this doll as I had the body ready and just had to add the clothing and the personalisation details - for that reason it's been a pleasure to do. In the photo it's not actually finished but this is what it looked like a couple of hours ago.

I hand embroidered the child's name on to the hand-knitted aran bonnet. There is a lot of work involved in these but I love the end result. It's a very leggy rag doll made to my own design - I really do make a rod for my own back sometimes!! Just as well I enjoy it!

P.S. I started 'twittering' last night - "Ha Ha!", I hear you cry - "thought you were doing that anyway!!". Well, probably, but 'twittering' is another social networking system which I thought I wouldn't take up but there you go. It's quite fun if you're working away on your own at home and ... SOB, SOB .... don't have many conversations!! (and are living in the Outer Hebrides!)

But apart from that it's a quick way of updating folk about what you're up to through the day - my comments may be full of mundane things like 'having a cup of tea now' or 'off to make the dinner' - so if you see anything like this in the sidebar of my blog, you'll know I'm just "twittering" - you can join in if you like!! I might occasionally have some interesting news too! Like an Etsy sale last night - Ha Ha!!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Have a Heart

I'm going to be making some of these today, which are featured in my own website, so I'd better get cracking! I've put my cut off date for Christmas orders as today, 10th December and I've got a little pile on my desk to get through so "Cheerio an Drasda!"

P.S. I got a lovely e-mail yesterday from Rose asking if she could feature my Christmas baubles in a blog which she writes for called Autonomous Artists. I accepted .... of course!! Rose has some pretty lovely, tweedy items herself!

P.P.S. The 'gaol' lettering refers to the Gaelic word for 'love', not any reference to public prison!! - no, it's not some bizarre, welcoming present for prison inmates - how sweet if it was though - Oh Dear - I'm laughing so much now, I've got to go .....

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Wonky Tree

Every year our Christmas tree looks more wonky than the last - my excuse for this is I usually let my kids put up the decs with a minimal amount of guidance. If anyone comes in and observes on its wonkiness - I'll just say "Oh, the kids did it!". (This has a double whammy effect of making me look like a "wonderfully creative hands-on mummy" - whereas it was just a really good excuse for keeping the kids amused and getting the tree up in a hurry - Ha Ha! - while I had a cuppa!!!)

But I do like a little chaotic decoration and symmetry and perfection aren't my cup of tea where Christmas trees are concerned. I've had these cute little wooden toy decorations for a couple of years now. I love having the same ones year after year, taking them out of the box and going - Aaaaah, remember these, picking up a slightly dog-eared old santa or crumpled red crepe paper ribbon. Well, that's my excuse for not getting new X-mas decs and I'm sticking to it! If I have any of my own Harris Tweed baubles left at the end of the week I'll sneak them on! (my wee boy was against me putting them on - they're too 'Harris Tweed' he seemed to be suggesting - kids!!)

I'm busy with orders this week which is great. This is my first Christmas with my online shops so it's been a fab (if sometimes slightly hectic) experience - big learning curve!! I think I've had a good balance of a reasonable amount of orders to keep me ticking over and to get a handle on the whole online experience. Maybe I'm just easily pleased but ..... I'm happy!!

(Oh! and "Big Grrrrrr!" has left the building - I hope he has a safe journey down South!!)

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Spot the ladybird!!

Famous at last - well not really!! My little Harris Tweed ladybird appeared in Grazia magazine's gift guide this week - Hee Hee! It's a little small and dark- looking, but it's there (No. 37). Not on the High Street contacted me a while back to send a sample to this magazine, but I never thought it would really make it! Anyhow, I was doing my weekly shopping during my office job lunch hour yesterday, feeling a bit weary, and decided to pick up a copy 'just in case' - and there he was, nestled in the corner of the pic. I think some kind soul sneaked him in at the last minute :-)!

Busy with orders this weekend so I'd better get my head down - I'm trying not to let my new found fame go to my head - Ha Ha!!

Cheerio an Drasda!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Toys, toys, toys ....

Yesterday was a busy day for me and the few days leading up to yesterday in prepraration (if that makes sense!). I was asked a while back if I would be interested in giving a talk to some schoolchildren about my soft toy making business - yikes!! So armed with my box of toys as props, off I went ...

In the afternoon we did a short workshop on puppet making with the children and I think they did pretty well in the short turnaround of an hour or so. Lots of glue and glitter ensued and they came up with some pretty colourful work! (Being the dork that I am, I forgot to take my camera to document their wonderful creations!!). They all managed to make a finished puppet which I think was pretty good going in the short time they had. Pheeeew!

Anyhow, now back to crafting, orders, (Oh, I think I'm supposed to squeeze my own Christmas shopping in somewhere!!) and all the other stuff that everyone has to do at this time of year! How many days till Christmas??!!*

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Hot Choccie anyone?

My little boy made a request for hot chocolate the other day - fair enough I thought and proceeded to get the tin out of the cupboard. "And can I have marshmallows on the top please?", he proceeded. Well I'd never thought of doing such a thing but he'd had such a confection in a local cafe recently and obviously wanted to relive the moment!

We had some marshmallows left in the cupboard left over from Halloween (an unopened packet I might add!). So if you're looking for something extremely calorific and extravagant, pop a couple of marshamllows on the top of your hot chocolate - yummmmmmm! He made the request again yesterday when he had a pal in to play so I took this photo of the finished confection offering!!

I completed a set of these little fellows yesterday which will hopefully be brightening up someone's wall pretty soon. One of a number of orders from "Not on the High Street" - more to do!!

Have a good weekend and enjoy your hot choccie if you have one!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Jack Frost

It's frosty, frosty here in the Western Isles today and my kids are on half term hols. Lots to do - how to fit it all in??!! Hope you like this frosty pic anyway!

I'm planning to make some of these little fellows today - well that's the plan, as I have four of them to do - better get buzzzzzy! (sorry that was such a lame joke!).

Hope you are having a lovely day wherever you are (and if not, I hope my little bumblebee cheers you up!!)

Cheerio an Drasda!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Felt, glorious felt!

Given that I titled my blog "Tweed Thoughts", it probably doesn't look like there's a lot of thinking going on at the moment! My posts will probably be a bit more sparse leading up to Christmas as there is a lot more 'doing' than 'thinking' going on! I am still being kept busy with the British website Not on the High Street, which is great as its my first Christmas with them and really encouraging. Meanwhile my Etsy shop sits quietly, but Rome wasn't built in a day and I know it needs a lot more attention than I'm able to give it at the moment.

I really enjoyed making my "Grrrrr!" monsters - I'm holding off showing a pic of the large version until my 'customer' sees it first. I was pretty pleased with it, and may use it as a new pattern. I haven't decided the fate of the smaller versions and may try it out locally first. I received this lovely felt in the post on Saturday from a website called Myriadonline which is a great site for toys and crafts in natural materials.

I wanted to use 100% wool felt on the "Grrrrr !" monsters as there's quite a lot of felt decoration and I want it to be of good quality and hard wearing. I ordered some sheets in the colours I need at the moment but will probably get some more colours later as the quality is superb and feels fantastic to use. I love to use felt in conjunction with Harris Tweed as they both have such a different tactile quality.

Sorry this is a bit of an 'uneventful' post but there's a lot going on behind the scenes (honest!!!). I'm off to get my hair cut now - well you've got to look your best while you're toiling away at home over a needle and thread!!

Cheerio an Drasda!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Christmas Doodles!

Last year was the first year in I can't remember how many years that I DIDN'T make my own handmade Christmas cards. I was deeply mortified when I went to purchase the very last, cheesiest, cheapest ones off the shelf in a local store! I was highly embarrassed to send them out. The reason I bought them was that I was so busy trying to get my creative business off the ground, I didn't have time to make my own!! I'll never live it down. My other half actually started the family tradition of making our own Christmas cards, with lino cuts, potato prints etc. - all very creative stuff.

Anyway, I hope it doesn't happen again this year, so I started doodling a couple of weeks ago - I hope to make some with my youngest son and get the sequins and glue stick out - or maybe get him into doing some doodles of his own. I like the idea of sending out one of HIS designs out this year. Are you doing your own cards this year?

P.S. My scribbly doodles say Merry Christmas in Gaelic, by the way!!

P.P.S. The sequins are some I ordered in error for my Christmas baubles - I'll be covering everything in sequins to use them up!! (I'll be using the correct ones for my baubles!!).

Thursday, 20 November 2008


I made this little fellow earlier today, leading on from my custom dinosaur pattern earlier on in the week. After making the prototype, I really liked the size and shape of it so decided to go along with this simple profile. It feels great to hold, is firmly stuffed and being Harris Tweed is very tactile. So if you're feeling a bit "Grrrrrrr!" today, it could be just the job. It's my slant on the executive stress ball idea! It's also for kids who just like saying ..... "Grrrrrrrrr!"

It's a nice generous size at about 7 inches x 6 inches (18 cm x 16 cm). I think they would be fun in lots of different colours or even checks/patterns. I handstitched him which is my favourite method of crafting, so I hope he'll exude lots of loving, relaxed and calming vibes from the Hebrides! Fun for little hands (and big hands!) to grasp. He's also got that lovely, woolly smell of Harris Tweed!

Guess what I've called him ??!!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

On my floor today ...

I am working my way through a relatively small amount of orders today from a British website, NOTHS (Not on the High Street). It's enough to keep me busy for the moment and hopefully there will be more coming up as I don't think craft fairs are an option for me right now. Yesterday (Tuesday) is the day I'm supposed to set aside for my 'domestics' eg. housework, laundry, etc. but I always stray from the path and end up doing some sneaky crafting. Yesterday was no exception and I decide to launch myself into my custom order for a dinosaur with gusto! This was no small project as I redesigned a new dinosaur from scratch - but it turned out pretty well (at the expense of a messy house!!).

Anyway I passed this pile on my living floor this morning - I was too exhausted after my crafting exertions to put it back in place (I don't have a workroom as such, just the entire house!!). I love this emerald green tweed and use it quite a lot and was the choice of colour for the custom dinosaur. On the top lie my pattern templates for another dinosaur. I've accumulated a number of my own patterns now which is really satisfying. It would be nice to think that someone else might use them some day. After the festivities are over, I hope I'll be adding more items to my Etsy shop and have some ideas for some new products running around in my head as we speak!

(Are all crafters so obsessive as me about finishing projects?!!)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Dddddd .....dinosaur!

Just a quick post, as along with everyone else in craft blogging land, I'm trying to juggle production, fulfilling orders, designing and generally keeping up with everything at this time of year. I was asked by a family friend last week if I could make a dinosaur for her little girl's Christmas present (from Santa!! - no pressure there then!). She had a particular dinosaur in mind from her favourite tv programme, so I had a look last night and decided to do a quick prototype of it. (It's the slightly scary one in the foreground!!)

I was really pleased how it turned out and although it was a supposed to be a smaller version of the final design, I really liked the size as it was. It seems to be a midway ground between my larger dinosaurs and my little dinosaur-tweedies, and has a lovely tactile shape for little hands to grasp. It's too small for a main present though so I may be adapting one of my larger designs for her - she might get a little one thrown in for good measure though!! It's not really a good time to be designing from scratch as it's so near Christmas but it did turn out to be a really good way of coming up with a new design, so Yay! for custom orders! - my first!!

P.S. The prototype was my own interpretation.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Pancakes, Pomegranates and Puppets ...

We made some pancakes/crepes this morning. I didn't get round to taking a photo the last time we made them, so here's one now! We used a recipe from Delia Smith's book and they always turn out pretty good - very yummy with some sugar, lemon and maple syrup - mmmm!

This pomegranate on the kitchen table was just begging to be photographed too. I thought the colours of the lemon beside it looked really nice too (inspiration for something or just plain pretty!):

We woke up to a beautiful, sunny, wintry morning too, with that lovely light you get at this time of year so I rushed out and took a few pics, but I'll just post one or you'll get bored of my landscape photography! This is the view of the moor a few yards up from our home - beautiful in the right light, but pretty bleak in the wind and the rain!

The colours actually reminded me of some swatches of tweed I've had on my desk for the last couple of months. I've been meaning to get more of these shades but haven't got round to it yet. I love the way that Harris Tweed reflects the colours of the landscape.

Ah, yes - puppets. I mentioned in my last post that I had been making hand puppets. I had been asked if I would be interested in showing some schoolchildren how to make puppets. Initially I guessed this would be with young children so set to designing something a child could make easily with some minimal adult supervision. I'm not going to set this out as a tutorial but just a simple project idea to do with a young child.

I started out by drawing a simple teddy-bear shape on an A4 piece of paper. After the first attempt, I realised that the arms had to be oustretched to accommodate the shape of an outstretched hand - the pinky finger and thumb will go into each arm (pretty obvious probably, but it took my seven year old boy to demonstrate this to me as he modeled the first attempt!!). I made the puppet out of felt for ease of use.

I think the photo is pretty much the shape of the A4 sheet to give you an idea of the dimensions of the shape. Once you have this basic shape of pattern you can adapt it to different variations:

Once you've decided on your pattern, simply cut out the shape (Im sorry I don't have a PDF version or pattern for this but I think you can see the basic dimensions on the A4 sheet) and draw around it on a double thickness of felt fabric. You can then simply handstitch about 0.75 cm in from the edge all around the shape. This doesn't take long and you could do it on a sewing machine for even more speed. I used simple running stitch which a child could attempt if patient enough! (You don't have to turn it inside out or anything, just use matching thread).

There's lots of scope for creativity with this and lots of yummy surface decoration ideas you could use - felt, sequins, buttons, ribbon, just about anything - so go to town with it! As long as you use the basic outstretched arms pattern shape, there are countless possibilities with head shape, design - and it only took half an hour to get going with it. Voila!! One for a rainy day, I think!

Later ..... S. decorated a white felt glove puppet we'd made, adapted to a human shape. He was a bit lazy and simply drew his design with pen (I think that's tight underpants he's wearing!!). I loved they way he draw the mouth from one ear to the other! You can see how we stitiched around the shape. I wish I could draw in this fashion - I'll have to start paying him soon!

Hee Hee!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

At last ..... !

At last, the baubles are in my Etsy shop. I'm so exhausted now I'll have to go and lie down! I'm sure I took the long way round in the way I listed them but I did want to have them for individual sale and as a set of 3. I think it's nice to see the exact colours, so I hope I achieved this!

We made some fun glove puppets at home yesterday with my kids so I'll maybe post a pic of them later on today as I'm sure you've seen enough of the baubles by now! A chance e-mail forced me into designing some glove/hand puppets which I'd been meaning to do for a while. We made them out of felt, and were more of a fun project for kids really. Well I'd better go and lie down now - exhausted!!

P.S. I'll try and list them in my original website later on, when I've recovered!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Harris Tweed Bling

This is just a quick post as we have been hit by winter bug syndrome (again!) and my son is off sick today, but here are are my pics of my Christmas tree baubles as promised. I will try and get them into my Etsy shop this weekend (and hopefully my original website, too). I settled on two different colours/patterns for the panels and some glitzy sequins for a bit of Christmas bling!

I'm quite pleased with the effect, overall - a bit of an ethnic, Outer Hebrides meets India thing going on. I've done these in traditional festive colours but will probably make them in less traditional colour combinations too with mutlicoloured panels.

And here's some green ...

And a whole bunch of them .....

Ooooh, I've come over all Christmassy! Well, not quite as I'm one of these people that doesn't acknowledge Christmas until at least the end of November!! ... And then panic!

If you have time, why not pop over to Kim's blog, where she is doing a lovely giveaway of a wonderful, woolly, Christmas tree (beautifully handsewn, of course!) I am a big fan of her work and I think we have a mutual (cross Atlantic) obsession .... of tweed!

Cheerio an Drasda!
I'm off to mop a fevered brow (well not quite!)

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Bonfire Night

We had a fun bonfire last night, which was not quite on November 5th which is traditionally Guy Fawkes night, but we managed to slot it in at the weekend. The weather held out too, which was pretty amazing. It was just a family affair and we had some fireworks left over from last year, so it was all quite spontaneous, which is usually the best way in my experience! We had some marshmallows left over from Halloween too - so all in all a cheap and cheerful affair.

Some old palettes did the job!

The boys enjoyed their sparklers.

I've been diligently working on my Christmas tree baubles (the pressure's on now!) over the weekend, in between making up some online orders. I will post some pics at the beginning of the week and hopefully put some on Etsy and my own website too.

Bye for Now! (busy, busy!!)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Christmas Bauble Prototype!

This is a very quick post as I managed to do a very speedy prototype of my Harris Tweed Christmas Bauble earlier on today. It was one of these things - I made a quick sketch of the bauble panel, hoping it would be the right size and lo and behold it was! It's the size of a golf ball approximately and I think it has a lot of potential for some lovely embellishments.

It would be fun to do a tutorial on this cos I think it's a really simple idea and could be achieved by most crafty folk, but has the scope to become a really elaborate piece if you used embroidery skills, etc. Not being such an accomplished embroiderer (is that a word??), I think I'll leave that to the professionals! I threaded some raffia through the completed ball to give it a natural looking finish. I'm thinking: sewn on silver/gold sequins, pretty ribbon tied round the middle, applique decoration - the list is endless!! Lots of possibilities. Decorate with french knots?

This is just the basic model, but I think there's scope for some fun with this! Ah well, back to fulfilling my orders - it would be fun to spend all my time inventing new ideas. This one might have to wait a couple of weeks before I manage to take it further. (I think it would be lovely in different fabric too).

I hung it on a fir tree outside to get the basic idea, but it's difficult to get a good view of it - there's four panels in four different colours (not very traditional colours, I know!).

Craft Blog Inspiration!

I love the way that reading other people's craft blogs can inspire you do go and create - be it along the same lines, or something completely different. I've sort of resisted doing seasonal crafts directly, but having just seen some fab "soft sculpture Christmas trees" on a lovely lady's blog, it started me thinking of Christmas decorations.

I make soft balls in various sizes out of Harris Tweed and it suddenly struck me, why don't I try making Christmas baubles in the same way. I like the idea of working on a very small scale, so these may be fun to do and maybe embellish them with little images in felt. All handsewn, of course, which would be my favourite way of tackling them. I have no idea yet how this would turn out, I just thought I'd share my flash of inspiration with you!!

So many ideas .....

Here's my Harris Tweed 'juggling balls' which has given me the idea of going a lot smaller and trying to make a bauble, in the same way. This may never come to fruition but I'll find it hard to resist, now that the idea is in my head!!

Ooops - I lost my pics!

I just accidentally lost my entire post on Halloween - so here are the pics again! They are mostly of my little boys Halloween drawings and design for a pumpkin - I've edited one of the pics as I had reservations about posting photos of him on my blog. I think this is a purely personal choice - but the element of doubt was still there, for me. I was really proud of his drawings and designs though and was a bit gutted when I managed to delete the entire post! He may appear in profile or in another subtle form yet (as above) - it's difficult to keep my little ray of inspiration out of my blog altogether :-) Hope you understand the predicament!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Please, please, let me craft!

Do you ever feel that outside forces are permanently conspiring against you to prevent you from sitting down and getting on with some much loved crafting and creating!!? Tee Hee! I can't really complain as I've just had a couple of orders come in from a British website I joined earlier this year. It's a bit like watching the kettle boil - I always seem to get an order or interesting e-mail the days I'm out at work at my office job which I do two days a week. Nothing happens for days and days until I go to work, then the little elves come out to play in my e-mail inbox! (which remains deathly silent while I'm at home!).

I've just had an order for some of my Harris Tweed ladybirds (ladybugs), which I love to make. I'm thinking of putting a couple or so in my Etsy shop but maybe I'll experiment with stuffing them with pure sheep's wool which is something I've played around with before. I love the idea of making an entirely natural product. This pure red Harris Tweed is so gorgeous and rich that I've decided to reserve it for making smaller items as I probably won't be able to get it again (due to changes in the Harris Tweed industry, there is not the same variety of colours and patterns being produced - but that's another story for another post!)

I also got an order for one of my Harris Tweed Beach Balls which I love to make too. This is all great news but this week is my in-laws 50th Wedding Anniversary and we have the much loved uncles (my brothers-in-law) home from their adopted home of Austria (it's a long story - Outer Hebrides to Austria) to celebrate, and a favourite Auntie from Inverness (my sister-in-law). All in all, things seem to be conspiring against me from sitting down peacefully and making/creating in a leisurely and enjoyable fashion - Aaaargh!

Anyone else have the 'outside forces conspiring against my creativity' syndrome??!* :-)

Sunday, 2 November 2008

.... and the winner is!

And now the nerve wracking moment of announcing the winner of the Giveaway - I used the number generator thingy and it came up with the number (2). I hope my screenshot looks OK:

(Sorry if it's a bit small! - you'll just have to take my word for it!!)

That makes the lucky winner: Micaela, from the State of Maine in the US. I will be in touch by e-mail to get your address details, Micaela, and hopefully your little green dino will be with you very soon!

Thanks to everyone who took part in my Giveaway - it was fun to do and fantastic to think of my little dino going all the way across the Atlantic.

Next week I will be back to some serious crafting as I have been nursing a sore finger all week (suffice to say: never try to break the seal on a bottle of wine with a sharp knife - lesson learned! Ouch!!*)

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Hebridean Giveaway!

At last .... I am getting it together to do my first every giveaway! I think I've acrrued enough reasons this month to justify my Giveaway. This month was the start of my commitment to regular blogging (did I just say that out loud!!) as opposed to the "start/stop" affair of previous months. I think it's quite a difficult thing to undertake and to continue with. Getting used to showcasing your work to the rest of the planet and revealing a little (or a lot!) of your personality, lifestyle, thoughts, etc. is something I really had to battle with initially.

In addition to blogging, this month I decided to grab the bull by the horns and start to stock my Etsy shop (albeit in a small way). I'm a huge fan of Etsy so this is quite a big leap for me and quite an exciting one. I'm in awe of all the talent out there.

Lastly, this week I joined the "Crafting in Colour Etsy Team". I'd been looking for a relevant team to join, for a bit of interaction and support - so this seemed like a good choice for me! So far, it's looking pretty good, with some really talented members - I hope to rise to the challenge of becoming a worthy member and to showcase the work of this colourful team!

OK! Here's the Giveaway! I'm giving away one of my little Tiny-Tweedies dinosaurs made from Harris Tweed, with felt trim - approx 5 inches in length. A cute desk top decoration or a fun gift for a child (or adult!), presented on a little hessian bag, with a Harris Tweed card label attached. I'll pop in a Harris Tweed collage card and bookmark set for good measure (this will be a random colour selection). The little dinosaur is two dimensional and entirely handstitched, stuffed with soft polyester fibre - the spiky fins are made from two layers of felt to give them a nice spiky silhouette.

Just leave a comment, saying which colour of Dinosaur you would prefer. It might be fun if you state which part of the world you live in, but only if you want to!! Please leave an e-mail address with your comment if you don't have your own blog so I can contact you. The Closing Time for entries will be Saturday 1st November - 12pm midnight (GMT). It's open to anyone in the world - I will announce the winner on Sunday evening (GMT) 2nd November. (I will use the Random Number Generator which I will have to practice with this week!). I hope you will join in and have fun!

P.S. I just managed to do my first Etsy Treasury so that's another reason to do a giveaway!!

Thursday, 23 October 2008


I've just managed to add my little Harris Tweed teddies to my Etsy shop - Hurrah! It took quite a lot longer than I thought, about an hour longer! Anyway they're up there now and no doubt I will get a little faster (and a little more accomplished) as time goes on?!** I won't be posting any crafting photos today, so here's one of my get out clauses - another in my series of the scenic Hebrides! (Rocks at Gary Beach, Isle of Lewis)

I hope to do a giveaway, possibly over the weekend, so keep in touch!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Ready for Etsy?

We've just had hailstones here in the Outer Hebrides. Brrrrrr .... it seemed like the middle of winter all of a sudden. Anyway, as promised here's the completed little teddies which I was working on during my October break. The plan is to get them up and listed in my Etsy shop in the next couple of days, to get the ball rolling, and hopefully then gradually add a few more items. I enjoy making handmade cards, so I hope they will feature amongst other items. These are some which I designed in the summer to accompany my seaside-tweedies collection.

I really enjoyed making these and used a nice quality felt with a high wool content which was a dream to use. (I think it came from E-bay and was orignally from Japan). Harris Tweed background of course!

I was working on some 'freebies' yesterday, so I hope to get it together and do a giveaway by the end of the week, or at least over the weekend. I've been looking forward to doing this as I love the idea of my little tweedie 'creations' winging their way across the world somewhere, or maybe even across the Minch (that's the strip of sea that separates the Isle of Lewis from mainland Scotland!). But I don't mind if they end up in the Outer Hebrides either!

Well, my kids are still on their school holidays so I'd better go and do some 'mummy' things with them ..... like feeding them!! Bye for now.

P.S. I've figured out why my images were appearing half the size on my last post so hopefully back to better, bigger images now!