Monday, 29 June 2009

And now for something completely different . . .

Today was a bit of a hot, sunny day for making a draught excluder!! But strike while the iron's hot and I had a notion to make one, so here it is. I found a way to use some of my fabric buttons which I've been making recently as a bit of a decorative feature. The raw materials (toy stuffing and tweed) are so expensive that I wanted to keep it to a simple design.

Trying to photograph it proved as much of a challenge as making it - I have them in mind for being used in some swanky Scottish ancestral home with large expanses of wooden flooring, beautiful panelled doors etc. My, ahem, slightly less, swanky little Hebridean home, with barely enough room to swing a cat, never mind two children, proved a challenge for photographing it! So, I resorted to the great outdoors - which we have in bucketfuls!

This tweed is super-duper gorgeous and I've been resisting cutting into it (my stockpiles are slowly diminishing, now that the local mill in Stornoway has ceased to operate), but I thought it would be just the job and I'm really pleased with how it looks. I had a lovely conversation today with a local Harris Tweed weaver who is selling his own tweed independently which is very exciting, so there's hope for the old industry yet! I was told about him at the craft fair, so there you go!

I'm off to find a more swanky house to photograph my 'draught excluder' - know any nice castles I can rumble??

I will be making these available on my own website, as and when I make them (perhaps when the weather gets a bit cooler!)

Cheerio an Drasda!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Craft Fair Update

Sorry - very blurry pic!!

Well, I made it to the craft fair (and back obviously!) The craft-fair venue is an indoors one (Town Hall) and it turned out to be gloriously sunny outside - not that I could see (no windows inside!) Quite a number of visitors turned out in short bursts and seemed to enjoy browsing round the stalls. There was a lot of browsing, however, and not so much purchasing!!

I really pushed the boat out to be well organised for this craft fair as it's the first one I've done since April 2008, just over a year ago and I was a little rusty to say the least about setting up, etc. It felt pretty much like going back to the beginning, hence the military-like precision of the whole operation! I did a wee practice at home with arranging my stall, and I was glad I did, as it paid off when I got there and I had a fair idea of how I was going to lay everything out.

Ooops - one of my price cards has fallen over!

As I've said the visitors were there and if children had bank accounts I'd probably have done quite well! There were a number of kids who came by, and on expressing delight, were quickly whipped off by anxious parents who were wary of being coaxed into a sale! I'm a parent and I know what it's like myself.

View of the Town Hall from my stall (that's my little nephew in the foreground who kindly came to visit, with his Mom, Dad and sis - thank you folks!)

Was it worth all the effort I put into it? From a sales point of view - not really. For gleaning some knowledge of what's been happening locally craft-wise - Yes, and also for getting some useful contact numbers for other craft fair organisers. And for a little networking with other craftsfolk - yes. Well, that's a result if nothing else! Next time, I would probably have a lot more of smaller items to sell, I think that's the key to sales at craft fairs, but just for now I'm going to go and put my feet up!

Cheerio an Drasda!

P.S. Teenage son lasted all of one hour with me - hence the empty chair beside me in the top pic. So much for my helper!

P.P.S. Green tweedie moon-monster accompanied me in his fragile state, and is now free of his dangly threads! (I took my sewing needle with me). Still looks a little blank though!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Six Unimportant Things I Love

I was tagged with this fun me-me by Jenifir whose blog I've enjoyed reading over the past few months (via My Creative Space). She is a very thrifty lady, with a busy family life - how she finds time to create and blog fills me with awe!! I'm keeping this short and sweet as I've just recently done another 'me-me' and this might be a bit of over-kill but wanted to participate as I was delighted to be chosen by this industrious crafty lady!

I must choose six unimportant things I love (my interpretation of this is 6 things which I love but are of no great consequence in the greater scheme of things!) and link back to my fellow blogger. Here are my 6 things I love, of no great importance to anyone but me!

1. The sound of the cuckoo at the end of our road - it was as clear as a bell this year, I feel quite priveleged to hear it as I understand they are now becoming more rare.
2. The smell of Harris Tweed - the woolly, warm, earthy smell - I also like it when you find twiggy bits in it, makes it feel even more 'organic', as if it's not 'organic' enough!!
3. Watching my youngest cycling off to school on a sunny day - he looks so carefree. The road is very quiet with very little traffic and the school is so close, I can practically see him arriving there!
4. The smell of fresh strawberries off my fingers after chopping them up (the strawberries, that is, not my fingers!!) - don't know why, it's just a yummy, natural smell!
5. Eating freshly made crepes with my boys, pouring on loads of maple syrup and lemon and sugar and . . . (I think there's a growing slant towards food here!)
6. Having fresh flowers on my kitchen table - I'm such a messy tike, it also has the added incentive for me to tidy up my kitchen to enjoy them!!

I'm following my other fellow-blogger's lead, the very talented Muddlepud, who left her 'me-me' open to all which I think is a great idea, and a good way of linking up blogs too! If you want to join in this 'me-me' you could leave a comment so we can find you - there, everyone's happy! (she said, smugly!!) Job done!

A mosaic of some of the things I love - didn't have pics of all the things and there's 9 here, but it's more of a general overview of some things I love from my Flickr photostream! (I know, there's 3 pictures of food - that's a third of my choices, Yikes!)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

my creative space . . .

I'm sorry Doctor, I can't feel a pulse - I think we're losing him! He's fading away fast . . .

This poorly Tweedie Moon Monster was destined for this Saturday's Craft Fair, but his chances of survival are looking slim. Some dangly threads, a blank expression - all lead me to the diagnosis that he just ain't ready.

Tune in next week to see if he pulled through : )

For more creative lunacy, check out Kootoyoo's place.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Buttons Galore!

This is probably the last post in my series of 'the frantic stock-building' mission! I didn't actually expect to get these done at the weekend, so they're an extra little bonus for me. I had some fabric-covered (Harris Tweed, of course) buttons already made up but not packaged, so I managed to make up a few more in checks/plaids, which - I think look really effective.

I'm trying to make sure that I'm using all my craft supplies too eg. button shanks, which I bought a while back, with the notion of conquering the world with Harris Tweed fabric-covered buttons - alas! I've packaged them all up now using recycled cardboard and some little doodles for that extra touch - very rustic, but I think they would make quite nice gifts presented like this.

All that's left now is to speak to 'hubby' nicely (who has been working 12 hour shifts for the last two weeks!) to get up early on Saturday morning, his first day off work, and drive me to the craft fair - Ouch!! (he has been pre-warned though!)

I'll be spending the rest of the week, mostly finishing off stuff, adding labels, pricing, etc - better phone the craft fair lady and confirm my booking, before I go any further!

Cheerio an Drasda!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Honest Scrap Award

Yikes - I've been passed/nominated or something'd a blog award - Don't panic!! OK - panic!

Well, the lovely lady who passed this award on to me is a fellow Twitterer, which is a great way to meet up with some great crafters/artists. Janet from The Empty Nest sounds like a great lady and her blog is a veritable hive of creativity! To accept the award I have to list 10 honest things about myself and link back to and thank the person who nominated me. Also I have to pass the award onto 7 other blogs of my choice.

Thanks Janet - I am truly honoured!! Here are 10 honest things about myself, in no particular order:
(1) I am the youngest of six children (four girls and two boys). There are only 8 years between the youngest and the eldest in the family, so we are all close.
(2)When I was 10, I jumped off a trampoline at school, landed on my elbow and dislocated/fractured my arm - my wrist never really set properly so I'm not a very good typist (although I work part-time as one!)
(3)I have a very sweet tooth and love eating Jelly Babies!
(4) My two children (both boys, 7 & 13) are six years apart in age but bizarrely were both born at precisely the same time of day - 4.25 am, to be exact.
(5)I have been married for 19 years to the same man and deserve another award for that fact!! (just kidding hubby!) We got married on a Friday 13th, so I'm not superstitious!
(6)I love all forms of art and was brought up with other family members who have trained as Artists/Art Teachers or connected to Art in some way.
(7)I am a bit of a wanna-be movie buff and could honestly spend all day watching films (if only I could!)

(8)I was born in the Outer Hebrides and was brought up in a Gaelic speaking household - however I don't speak Gaelic as much as I should!
(9)I dye my own hair as I wouldn't have the patience to sit still in a hairdressers for 2 hours.
(10)I was very close to my mother who sadly passed away 4 years ago. She taught me how to knit and sew, for which I am eternally grateful - she was a wonderful mother and a very gentle natured person.

Here are the 7 blogs I have chosen to pass this award onto:

Have a Happy Sunday!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Website Update

Just a quick add-on post today to say that I've set up a new category on my own website,, to accommodate custom orders/commissions. I've had a few requests/enquiries in the past to make items which either differ slightly from my current shop offering or ideas for Harris Tweed 'softies/soft-toys', which are quite specific.

So, if you have an idea for a 'tweedie' or just want something made which is a little different from the items in my shop, I can now list it as a specific item for you here. It's all a bit of an experiment really - but hopefully a fun one!

Bye for Now!

(The same applies for my Etsy shop where I would be happy to list individual requests too!)

my creative space . . .

Eeeeks! - more like an avalanche of 'tweedieness'! This isn't so much my creative space, as much as my growing 'stock-pile' of creations which I hope will make it as far as the 'craft-fair' very soon.

The tweedie 'moon-monsters' (as my eldest son has dubbed them) are this week's concentrated effort - they look a little inebriated, or maybe it's just the shock of their chaotic surroundings! I think they must be the culmination of watching too many monster cartoons/films with my kids over the years - it's all spilling out into my creations (it's got to go somewhere!!).

A jumble of prototypes, unfinished WIPs, tweedie-fish, etc - the list goes on. Here's the finished, embroidered fish below in close-up - I'm almost sorry to split them up to sell individually - perhaps I should keep them in their little shoal - they look kind of cosy all together!

More creativity spilling out all over the place over at kootoyoo's fab place (errr . . . some might be a little tidier than this one!)

Bye for Now!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Fishy Goings-On

Continuing on my stock-building mission (and perhaps inspired by all that fresh herring we've been eating lately!) I made up some of these little tweedy-fish at the weekend. They're just ready for hand-embroidering and I intend to add some scale details onto these ones (the original one, shown on top, was kept more simple as a possible 'kitty-toy'). I thought they would make fun tweedy-souvenir gifts for the 'kiddies' or even the 'big-kiddies'!

A lovely family friend lent me her copies of 'Selvedge' this weekend, so I've been drooling over the sumptuous articles and photos in this amazing textile publication. I'm not trained in textiles/fabrics, in any way (one year in Art College plus a couple of months of second year in the Printmaking Department - well I did manage a couple of lino prints and an etching before I left!!) so this magazine is a bit of an education too.

Well, every day is an education, isn't it! That's my philosophical ramblings over for today, you'll be glad to know!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Our Little Town . . . and some herring!

I finally remembered to pop my camera into my bag this week, so I could take a photo of our little town, Stornoway. It looks very quiet and serene here, but it's very much like any other small Scottish coastal town. I quite like this pic of it though, and if I were an artist, I'd probably do a drawing or a painting of it. Think I'll stick to my Harris Tweed creations though!

And for some more local culture, we've been eating quite a lot of these recently - fresh herring! Fried in oatmeal, with some boiled potoatoes - very yummy!

I'm off to make some little Harris Tweed 'softie' fish now, for the craft fairs - hope I haven't made you too hungry!

Cheerio an Drasda!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

my creative space . . .

A lot of 'tweedieness' going on this week: hammering, cutting, fraying, glueing, tyeing . . .

. . . all for the sake of some decorative tweedy gift tags - more crafty goings-on over at kootoyoo!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Through the Keyhole

I think I mentioned I'd started on some handmade 'aperture' cards at the weekend. As with everything that looks absolutely simple to make, there was a lot more effort in them than might initially appear! Suffice to say, there was a lot of cutting, glueing, double-sided tape(ing!) involved to make them look effortlessly simple!

I had to devise a way of sealing the tweed fabric inside a second layer of card so they look nice and tidy from the inner of the card - sheesh! My simple, relaxing project wasn't quite so straightforward after all - never mind, I was quite pleased with the results.

Mostly, I just like how they show off the fabric to its best advantage and of course, being Harris Tweed, they are very 'touchy/feely'!

I like a bit of 'kitsch' so was quite pleased with the 'Scottie' dogs.

. . . some dragon flies (which I was delighted to get blanks for, as they are a native species)

. . . and some simple hearts (not much I can say about them!!).

Sorry some of the pics are a bit dark, you can't really see the richness of the fabric, particularly the plaid/checks - the colours are really beautiful.

Off to continue with my stock-building mission!

Bye for Now

Monday, 8 June 2009

Cookie Merger!

We made these cookies yesterday - and cheated as they were from a packet mix. I forgot to space them out on the tray so they sort of merged together, but they still looked pretty good! My boys must have very discerning palettes though, because they wouldn't touch them - I can only guess that it's because they weren't made from scratch (or that they were a bit chewy!). It's a pity their mother doesn't have such a discerning palette - hmmmmm!

Busy this week getting down to some crafting and more crafting - I wrote up a list of all the stock I'd like to get ready for the craft fair yesterday. It's probably a bit unrealistic but what the heck, aim high!!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Making the Most of Stuff . . .

My 'Other Half' is a great one for 'making the most of stuff' or in other words, bringing heaps of junk home! Wooden palettes have been used for a number of uses around the house such as garden fences, a garden bench (see the one with the beach balls in a previous post) and a 'den' for the boys - see below.

The 'den' is not a thing of beauty, in fact I would go so far as to say it's a bit of an eye-sore! But it's evolved over the years with a window added here, a mezanine level there, a floored roof so you can stand on it - and jump off it, of course. I think there's an old wheel attached to the wall inside to serve as a ship's wheel, so it has many functions for various imaginary games (and not for the faint-hearted!). Looks like I'm stuck with it for another few years!!

Sometimes we have a bit of a 'palette-overload', mostly ones which have deteriorated over the years - so they serve well to make a big bonfire, which is what is happening with the ones in the top pic - my 'other half's' task this afternoon. Not sure if this will stay unlit until 'bonfire-night' but it made a good furnace last year anyhow!

Nice and sunny today to be scrabbling about outside but it was a bit too cold for me so I decided just to document it and run back inside again! I had hoped to be doing some work on these 'aperture' cards - a simple idea for selling at the craft fair. More assembly than craft, but the tweed looks lovely poking out of the pre-cut shapes! The baby-grow or 'onesie' on the right is the only one I've done, but I like the simplicity of it.

However, I ended up packing 'Big S's' bag for his school trip next week - his first time away from home - Aaaaargh!! Hope he manages without his guitar, mountain of snacks, TV, music system and er .... um, his Mum!! Ooops! We won't know what has hit us without the strain of his electric guitar through the house - well it's only 4 nights!

Bye for Now!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

All Done!

Well, my little stock-pile is ready at last to be sent off to my local Gallery shop - hooray! That means I'm now free to spend time on building up stock for local craft-fairs (I have one booked for June 27th). Well that's the master plan for the moment - and we all know what happens to master plans - they have a tendency to go a bit wobbly and askew!!

Well, mine do anyway!

my creative space . . .

. . . . a selection of books (mine and 'Little S's') - his is the joke book!! (mine arrived in the post this week to much excitement!)

. . . my tweedie-bumblebees in progress, stuffing stick, threads, etc.

. . . the little heart which you have to find (too easy, I know!) is from a set of blank aperture cards I ordered - they left the 'cutty-out' bits in the parcel which I thought was generous of them!

. . . also some airmail stickers - I don't know why they are there!! (but they do match the blue thread don't you think?)

The finished bumblebees will be going to the Gallery Shop along with the 'beach-balls' - see below. And then, hopefully, I will be free to prepare for the 'craft fair' at the end of the month - here goes!!

(All in all, going by this picture, I should be reading children's jokes, while reciting poetry, as I stuff Harris Tweed bumblebees - voila!!) Doesn't seem too far from the truth sometimes!

More "multi-tasking creative spaces" over at kootoyoo!

Cheerio an Drasda!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Beach Balls in Progress

A quick pic of the beach-balls in progress, from Monday - it was such a lovely day, and prompted by someone on Twitter (Hen from Heart and Soil baskets) who was showing her workspace outside on the bench (via Twitpic), I took this shot of mine. It was nice to compare our creative spaces on such a nice, sunny day - the wonders of technology!!

(The balls are now complete as you can see below).

ACEOs - Oh, Oh!!

The penny finally dropped at the weekend at what ACEOs are all about. I'd seen them listed on Etsy, but didn't really pay them much attention and was a bit befuddled about their purpose. After receiving some blank ACEOs in the post, I realised the reference to 'trading cards' and could understand their collectable nature.

Before I go any further ACEO stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. The only stipulation is that they are artworks of 2.5" x 3.5" in size - miniature art basically. After a brief foray on Etsy, I decided I had to order a couple to start off my new-found collection of affordable artwork. I'm planning to store my ACEOs in a nice decorative box so that I can browse through them at any time - like having a little tour around an Art Gallery, without having to leave home! My own little stash of art work - all mine - Muhahaha!! Enough of the evil laughter, I'd better sell these 'beach-balls' below which I eventually completed yesterday, if I'm going to fund my new hobby!

P.S. You can buy ACEOs for as little as £4 ($6) upwards to £20($35) or more (try Etsy), depending upon the artist, intricacy of the piece, quality of artwork, etc. They are available in all mediums - oil, watercolour, textile, embroidery, mixed media, etc. Also limited edition prints, which I personally don't find so appealing. (ACEO producers can correct me on any of this info if it's not quite right!)

P.P.S. That nice lady from Cuteable has a lovely blog specifically about ACEOs here! What a lovely idea they are and quite kind to your wallet too - affordable original art, what's not to love!! I'd better get crafting!