Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sunday's Nature Watch

Wow - another sunny day here! A pic of a wildflower growing by the roadside, (a Northern Marsh-orchid according to the books and this website) which I took this morning. We're having a lazy Sunday today and enjoying that rare thing called sunshine - we do get it sometimes you know!

Hope you're having a relaxing Sunday wherever you are - back with more crafty 'nonsense' through the week!

Cheerio an Drasda

(The flower is called 'Mogairlean Purpaidh' in Gaelic, if you can get your tongue round that one!)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

my creative space . . .

A day earlier than scheduled (I've jiggled my working week due to school stuff), and more like an abandoned creative space today! Some Harris Tweed ready to be cut into panels for 'beach balls'. I love choosing the colours and they're now all cut out and ready to be sewn together on my sewing machine at the weekend. They were supposed to be done during this week (or last!), but I kept getting distracted by other creative ideas, which I couldn't ignore. You know how it is!!

. . . and perhaps more interesting, here's 'Little S' winning streaks ahead at the 'egg and spoon' race at his School Sports Day today! He was absolutely delighted with himself, and why not? So the yummy Harris Tweed panels were abandoned for yet another day. I WILL get these pesky beach-balls finished this weekend!! More creative yumminess over at kootoyoo's.

Bye for Now!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Eye Candy

Woo hoo!! At last I've found a use for my lovely but small stash of printed fabrics. Having got the shape of the birdie softie sorted on Saturday, I decided to make a few yesterday in different fabrics. I'm really pleased with the results as I've been playing around with the idea of mixing printed cottons with Harris Tweed for a while now. I think the lavender-filled birdies have worked best so far. I'm loving seeing all the different prints together!

They are all backed with different colours of Harris Tweed and although designed to be viewed from the printed side, I quite like the birdie silhouette on the tweed reverse. It's quite nice when an idea comes together eventually!! These will be bound for the craft fairs and are a possibility for Etsy too, if I get the time to do so.

Enough designing, back to cutting out Harris Tweed 'Beach Ball' panels now - it's so tempting to go off on these experimental projects - eeeks!

Edited to add: I have added the softie-birds to my own website here!

Monday, 25 May 2009

A poem

I've been inspired for the last week or so by a series of TV programmes called 'Poetry Season', so I thought I'd post one of my own for a bit of a laugh on a Monday morning! McGonagall eat your heart out!

Ode to Housework
Housework is constant,
it never goes away,
It ebbs, and it flows,
like the rippling tide,
bringing flotsam and jetsam
in its never-ending stride.

It’s there in the morning,
It’s there in the evening,
Like my best buddy,
It’s always by my side,
Like an unwanted house-guest,
It stubbornly resides.

It never runs out,
there’s a constant supply,
of laundry and dishes and
litter and . . . . “sigh”,
. . . housework.

. . . and a snapshot of some of my 'housework' this morning - yes, I will throw out the mug with the chip on it as soon as I can bring myself to do it, such a cute kitty though!!

Cheerio an Drasda and Happy Monday!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Watch the Birdie

I'm not sure if it's our new bird-feeder that inspired my final attempt at the baby-softie project - it certainly attracted lots of little birds around the house, which was nice to see. We've had one little bird which keeps appearing just outside our patio-window, on a daily basis.

I decided to have one last attempt at adding a more organic shape to my trio of 'baby-softies'. I liked the boat, but it didn't fit in so well with the fish and the bone shapes. An earlier visit yesterday, from my older brother whose feedback I always appreciate (being an Art teacher, and all!), led me to looking at the project again.

After a few, squiggly shapes, I came up with this simple bird outline, which I was quite pleased with and the curves tie in much better with the other 2 shapes, in fact they actually link together, almost like a jigsaw! I topped this one up with lavender and think I'll make a few in different printed fabrics for the craft fairs (which I'm hoping to do at least one! - fingers crossed).

The reverse is in Harris Tweed, of course!

Hope you're having a relaxing Sunday - tweet, tweet!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

my creative space . . .

Not so much 'my creative space' today, so much as a 'snapshot' of some fervent crafting earlier on in the week! I should have been catching up on some other stuff that day, so today I'm paying for it and will have to be running around like a lunatic, getting my house in order, before my 'other half' completely disowns me!! It's a hard life being a crafter!

Anyhow, my 'notion' for making some simple soft toys with Morag Lloyds fabrics took a hold of me on Tuesday and I made some simple templates, then decided to add a hanging cord so that they could be used decoratively too.

I quite like the way you get different snapshots of the images on each shape - a bit of a house here and a bit of a sheep there! (they are all about 5-6 inches in size)

I'm undecided about the results - I like the organic shapes of the 'bone' and the 'fish' (not sure that these are really baby themes!!), but the 'boat', I'm not sure about. It's a kind of 'paper-boat' shape but does it work? - I don't know. I wanted to make tactile shapes for a baby to hold, and thought the pattern would be good for visual stimulation, etc. What do you think?

I backed them with some yummy Harris Tweed, of course!

I might just 'sit on them' for a bit (at least they're out of my system for the moment!) - more creativity over at the lovely 'kootoyoo' blog.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Shop Update

Earlier today, I had a bit of a brainstorm and decided to add 'International Shipping' to my own website! ( Given that I offer this on my Etsy and Folksy shops, it suddenly seemed a bit daft not to! It's quite a big step in some ways, but seems like a natural progression and one I feel more comfortable doing now, than I would have done a year ago.

I hope to be making a couple of these 'beach-balls' this week to go into the local Gallery shop. It's quite nice making them for the shop, as I can choose the colours myself and exercise a bit of artistic licence! The 'beach balls' are the size of a smallish football and would make a nice decorative feature or a simple soft toy for a child. It's a while since I've made some, so I'm looking forward to choosing the colours and getting sewing and stuffing!

They are also available on my own website in two different colourways to order, and if you live outside the UK you can now order them too! We visited this same beach, where I photographed the ball, this weekend, and it was just as beautiful as before. It's only about 2 miles from our house and we should really get down there more often - the boys enjoyed a good old fashioned game of cricket (or was it baseball - 'Little S''s rules seemed a bit confusing!!). Some more artistic/creative licence at play, I think!!

Cheerio an Drasda!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sunday's Nature Walk

Along the road today I came across . . .

Cuckoo Flower (or Lady's Smock), so called as it flowers at the same time as the cuckoo starts to call. I love these wild flowers as they remind me of my childhood - my late mother knew all the names of the local wild flowers (also in Gaelic). I do have a lovely book with the names of wild flowers in Gaelic - somewhere!!

Our family croft is very boggy and wet but was a perfect habitat for wildflowers like Ragged Robins, Marsh Marigolds and Lady's Smock. I'm not sure that people now know the names of wildflowers as the previous generation were far more in tune with nature than we are now, which is a pity.

There's a nice resource here of wildflowers in the Western Isles which I've just come across! (some with the Gaelic translation)

Have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Morag Lloyds Lovely Fabrics!

On my little blogging break recently, I purchased some lovely new designer fabric from Morag Lloyds new range. This was her first print run of fabrics and I was really excited when I was told that they were finally on sale in her Etsy shop. I had vaguely followed Morag's journey from having her illustrations transferred to fabric, via her Twitter stream. So, when the final fabric arrived, I almost felt as though I'd followed the whole process from start to finish.

It was really exciting to have original fabric designed by an artist I admired, delivered to my doorstep. I felt very priveleged, and was almost too terrified to cut into my fabric swatches! I had previously purchased a small piece of artwork from Morag - I really love her West Coast/Hebridean themes. (See needle-felted hanging below)

So far, I have only managed a couple of experimental pieces, using Morag's fabrics, both items available in my Etsy shop:

I added a Harris Tweed fabric button as an extra embellishment onto the second pincushion design:

I really enjoyed using the fabrics with my Harris Tweed and the themes of the print worked really well. I think the illustrations are fabulous and I love her use of colour and her humorous and quirky themes - fantastic! It's great for us crafters that talented artists are now allowing us to share in their creativity by transferring their work onto fabric - very exciting times!

I think these fabrics would also look lovely if used to make small purses, clutches, etc. For fabric addicts everywhere, you can purchase her fabrics here and here.

Her needle-felted pieces are available in her other Etsy shop here.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Buzzing around . . . my creative space

It's been such lovely weather here in the Hebrides this week - I took this pic last weekend, along the road from where I live.

There's been some crafting going on - a three-eyed Harris Tweed monster has been taking shape! - an idea from way-back-when in my sketchbook which reared it's head this week. It seems to have been a week for resurrecting old ideas for some reasons - a creative streak? I'd better roll with it!

This tweedy-monster may make an appearance at upcoming craft-fairs (some start at the end of next month). A visit to the Gallery Shop today brought a request for some of my beach balls which I love to make and haven't done some for a while, so time to get the sewing machine out!

I've been swanning it around in the local town today doing girly stuff like getting my hair cut and buying shoes (which doesn't happen very often!), so not a very creative day! I tested out my new 'air soluble' pen (I've had these before) on the scrap of tweed fabric beside my monster. You can just see a ghostly image of a chessman (see last post).

That's the sum total of my creativity today! (the monster was a very frantic creation from Tuesday), still with some pins in though, for some extra seams, decorative stitching, etc.

Today was a 'swanning about' day and I enjoyed it! More creativity over at 'kootoyoo'.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Weekend Project

Don't believe a word I say - I had no intention of doing any sewing work this weekend, but then I say that every weekend! I was having a little dabble with a very simple idea for making baby toys with some of my new printed fabric - it went so frustratingly wrong that I turned to an older project in my sketchbook to prove to myself that I wasn't completely useless!! This idea was taken from a quick couple of sketches in my notebook of Lewis Chesspieces, with the intention of making them into simple wall decorations (in Harris Tweed, of course!)

Yesterday, I set to the idea with ghusto, and was quite pleased with my rudimentary efforts. I really enjoyed the process of transferring my own simple image into an embroidered piece and would love to do more of this. These are really designed with the local market in mind so may appear in my own website or simply pop up at a craft fair. Very much tied in with local culture so whether I would add them to Etsy or not, I'm undecided. I'm saying 'they' as I do hope to make further pieces! This one is approx 3.5 inches x 2.5 inches.

This particular one shows the uppermost part of a chesspiece, so there's lots of scope to make a longer, full-body version or to elaborate further with more detail. It's a nice diversion from my usual way of working where I design an item then reproduce it in different colourways - these would all be completely individually designed pieces, but could be made to order too. The chesspieces were used as the inspiration and this is not an accurate representation of the piece itself (for the benefit of any smart historians out there!).

Shorter posts?? - what shorter posts!!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Back to 'Blogland' - yum!

OK, my two week 'sabbatical' from blogging isn't quite up, but I decided to return at the weekend, which is the time I feel most disposed to blogging! One definition of 'sabbatical' according to Wikipedia is: "In recent times, a sabbatical has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something. In the modern sense, one takes a sabbatical typically to fulfill some goal, e.g., writing a book or traveling extensively for research." I'm liking this term, sabbatical - I think we all deserve one on a regular basis!

Well, I didn't write a book and I didn't travel (unfortunately!), but I did manage to step back from my blog in order to decide how to continue with it - well that's an 'achievement' in my book! After a week or so of 'dodgy back' syndrome, a couple of larger custom orders on the cards, and a close eldery relative recuperating from a fairly major operation, I decided to lay down my 'blogging pen' for a little while. (Just for the record, my offer of 'domestic help' to my in-laws, was met with much good-natured guffaws of laughter - I can't think why??!!!).

Anyhow, I was surpised at how much I missed my blog, even for that short period, but it's made me decide that I may possibly have to cut back on my posts or even just abbreviate them in order to make time to build up my stock and just get down to making, making and more making!! I've accumulated some lovely fabrics and other materials recently which I'm really looking forward to utilising - I will write up a post soon, as I had a lovely experience using Morag Lloyds new designer fabrics, which I'll show in my next post. You can see a quick preview of one of the pincushions I made using her super fabric (shown above) - such cute illustrations! This one's in my Etsy shop.

For this weekend, I'm going to drool over these lovely embroidery threads that came in the post yesterday and browse through my recent copy of 'Sew Hip' (I'm not actually going to do any embroidery, I'm just going to look at them!!) - Yum!

Have a lovely weekend!

(Perhaps longer, more meaningful posts on a weekly basis are the answer - ooops, I think I hear "zzzzzzz's!!")