Saturday, 26 September 2009

A Wee Blog Break

Just a brief post today before I take a little blogging break for a week or two to recharge my batteries. I've a trip to the mainland planned for next weekend (just me, hehe - no hubby or boys!) and I'm going to take some time out before the onset of the busier season (you know the one I mean, but I won't say IT out loud yet!). I leave you with a picture of some lovely Harris Tweed to drool over while I'm gone in case you get 'tweedie' withdrawal symptoms!

Hope I won't get lost in the big smoke of Glasgow - looking forward to seeing my Big Sisters and breathing in some good old polluted city air - smashing!

Cheerio an Drasda :)

P.S. Don't be surprised to see me 'lurking' over on Twitter before or after my weekend break - that would be too much of a wrench to abandon it completely!

P.P.S. (My online shops will be closed from Sunday 27th September to Wednesday 7th October - Byeeee!)

Thursday, 24 September 2009

my creative space . . .

Unfortunately I won't be being very creative today because I will be standing beside this lamp post which you can just see in the middle of the picture, waiting to catch a bus to town. To get to the bus stop, I have to leg it down the croft (often in my heels - just because I live on the croft doesn't mean I like to wear wellies all the time, hehe!!), climb over the stile, over the fence, and step down a small incline to the roadside - Voila, I'm there! (not forgetting to dodge the sheep droppings on the way, of course!).

Living in the countryside of course means you can stand anywhere along the road you like and the bus will stop for you anyway! There has to be some benefits to living in the middle of nowhere. Just thought you might find this little piece of my 'lifestyle' a bit entertaining! I probably cut a rather comical figure as I'm racing down the croft (I'm always late) but it's so quiet round here, there's not very many people about to see me - just as well! I have alternative arrangements for posting my 'tweedie' packages, in case you're wondering, dear customers!! (They travel in style by car, thankfully!)

If I was going to be at home I might be having another play around with this lovely wool I purchased from Mariana (Florcita) last weekend - isn't it beautiful? Hand-spun, hand-dyed loveliness! It didn't take me long to want to start experimenting with it and I've knitted up a couple of little squares just to try it out - it's fabulous stuff. I think it's called 'tangerine and cherries' in the description - the photograph doesn't really do it justice, because the depth of colour in it is amazing. She popped a couple of other little goodies in the package too, which were fantastic - a lovely parcel to open after a long day at the office last Friday! It's the little things in life which bring the most joy, I find.

Some more creative peeps over this way.

Off to catch my bus now - Eeeek, I'm late! :)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Good to Go!

Pheeew, I feel as though I've toiled over my gadget pouches for quite some time now, but today finally - Tah Dah!!!! I've just added a Custom Order listing for both sizes of pouches - cell phone/mobile phone cozies and gadget pouches. Both are available to order in all of my bright colours of Harris Tweed and on request, there is a small selection of plaids/checks and neutral colours too - Pheeew, that's all I can say!!

I took some time to find the type/quality of felt I wanted to use to line the pouches (some felt tends to go a bit fuzzy, which I don't like!!) and I'm pleased that I tried out the cell phone pouches in a few different colours, as the tweeds all tend to be slightly different weights. Who'd have thought that Tweed Delights would go all 'gadgety' and sleek - not me for one, haha!!

Thanks to my lovely customer, Jan, who gave me a little nudge towards making these - sometimes you need a bit of a kick up the backside to move in a different direction! Both sizes of pouch are now available in my Tweed Plush Etsy shop but if you'd rather pay in British pounds, I can always add a custom listing on my own website :)

After all that exertion, I'm off for a cuppa - Cheerio an Drasda!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sunday Plod

. . . the long and winding road out towards the moor, a few yards from my home

. . . rather sad looking sheep

. . . and a woolly fence!

Happy Sunday :)

Saturday, 19 September 2009

C'est Moi!

Ouch!! Three years of being a dedicated 'crafter' have taken their toll! This week I decided it was time to update my Profile pic - that sweet little photo (slightly soft-focus, mind!) was no longer representative of the real me. I coaxed the boys into taking many, many, photos of me - "No, I groaned - that's not right! too fat, too jowly, too tight-lipped!!" Then I tried, many, many, times to take one of myself. There were so many photos eventually, I thought I might as well turn them into a piece of 'fun' artwork.

I was feeling really tired on the day I took the pics but then, that's real life isn't it? Sometimes tired, sometimes not, sometimes bubbly, sometimes grumpy, sometimes pensive, sometimes frivolous. I kinda like them all now - in a 'sharp intake of breath' kind of way! Bare-faced 'crafter' (well just a lick of the usual eye make-up, and even that didn't seem to help much!)

Well, now you know :) Eeeeek!

(Photo mosaic created using fd's Flickr Toys)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

my creative space . . .

Some lovely flowers on my kitchen table . . .

. . . some old biscuit tins stuffed to the brim with my crafting and sewing 'notions':

Dictionary definition of 'notion': concept or idea, vague view or opinion, understanding or inclination, intention.

I like that definition of the word 'notion' - must use it more often, hehe! More creative peeps here! Off to be a bit less 'vague' now and get going with 'stuff'!!

Bye for Now :)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Lighting Effects

I love the light you get first thing in the morning at this time of year. We had mist yesterday morning and today, that fantastic light that seems to magnify all the colours of the landscape - the sheep across the road look positively glowing!

The work on the 'tweedie' i-phone cover has been going well (thanks for all the encouragement!) and yesterday I completed a finished version, and while I was in full swing attempted a smaller version for use as a mobile phone/cell phone cover. And, amazingly it worked! Well, it fits my phone perfectly and can always be adjusted to fit different sizes.

I've been busy taking some pics of my current stocks of Harris Tweed this morning. Many of the bright primary colours, you will probably be familar with, as I use them in my 'softies'. I also have a very small stock of plaids/checks which would be attractive for using in my phone/gadget pouches. I've already been using these in my soft furnishings, where I think they look really effective.

I'll probably be popping the gadget pouches (in two sizes) into my Etsy shop, where they will be listed as a custom order. The colours of tweed available will hopefully be illustrated in the listing - well that's the plan!!

The price of the gadget pouches are probably going to be higher than I would have wished for, but there is a considerable amount of handsewing involved (I like to make a rod for my own back!). I would consider them as being a very opulent kind of pouch, that might get a few Oooohs and Ahhhhs of approval at the Dinner table! They both feel lovely to handle though, and the simple shape makes the most of the texture of the fabric. Well, that's Harris Tweed for you :)

P.S. My supply of button blanks have arrived and are now available to order in my Tweed Delights Etsy shop.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Getting There!

I've been working on a design for an i-phone cover for the last couple of weeks, on and off. The idea was put to me by a customer, as I don't even own an i-phone myself, and wouldn't have thought of making one otherwise! Not being a seamstress, it's not something which came naturally to me to make, but I'm quite happy with the end result now and it's more or less finished as a design.

It's a stream-lined pouch, lined with black felt (12.5 x 8.5 cm) and made from Harris Tweed of course! I added the fabric button as a design feature and then thought it was crying out for further embellishment, so out came the embroidery kit! It's also very tactile, being tweed. (The bulk of the cover is mostly handsewn apart from the actual side seams - as it's my preferred method of working).

I'm in two minds as to whether to keep the design feature relatively simple as shown or whether to go completely mad with surface detail design - perhaps I'll do both! Not quite yet in my Etsy shop but perhaps very soon, after I've pounced on an i-phone user or two, to do a test-drive for me!

P.S. The gadget featured in the pics is a toy plastic one belonging to 'Little S' which I discovered after making the design. It's probably as close to an i-phone as I'll ever get!! (same dimensions as a real one though!)

Cheerio an Drasda!

Friday, 11 September 2009

my creative space . . . (Hebridean Time)

Well, here's a fine 'how-de-do', I hear you say. At least 2 days late, but I'm going to 'submit' my post anyhow 'cos I'm feeling a bit 'bolshie', so there, hehe! It's using that RED Harris Tweed that did it m'Lord - honest!!

I thought it was high time to post some unadulterated Harris Tweed after my 'shenanigans' with embroidery and what have you. I'm only able to show a segment of my creative space for a couple of reasons: (1) The item I'm making is in mid-progress (and awaiting approval/instructions) and will hopefully be in the post soon for the certain person and (2) it involves a custom order from a lovely customer who gave me the impetus to design an item, but at the moment is still in the prototype version. I could show the finished item which looks lovely in the photos, but I think there's still a little work to be done before it is sent out into wide open 'Blogland'!!

Sorry for the very cryptic post - it may have a little to do with the unfortunate encounter I had earlier this week which involved a folding chair and me flying into the air and landing flat on my back on said folded chair - Ouch! Hence the reason I've been a bit quiet the last few days, nursing my wounded pride and a few bumps and brusies in places I can't really mention politely! The moral of the story is never to stand on a wobbly folding chair wearing your wedge-heels, while trying to touch the ceiling - but then you knew that, didn't you??!

More creative (and perhaps a little more sensible!!) peeps here.

Cheerio an Drasda :)

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Cute Tags

I just got these lovely tags in the mail yesterday from the very creative Lynsey of Swirly Arts. Being the canny Scot that I am I took the opportunity of purchasing them during her tag sale over the last few days. I think they're such a great idea and really well made. The whole package was beautifully put together, from her recycled envelope to her handcrafted business cards - fantastic! I loved the little matchbook notelets too, you can see them in the foreground.

I've spent many an hour poring over ordnance maps with my Other Half, in the years before children, when we were planning camping or fishing trips. Perhaps it was the nostalgia of these days that drew me to them - Ahhhh, remember when . . .

Thanks Lynsey, for a lovely shopping experience :) . . . and the little extras too!

Teaching Myself Embroidery . . . (Part 2 or is it 3?)

I feel as though I'm blabbing on about embroidery a lot lately but hey, it's my newly acquired 'skill'. I use the term 'skill' loosely, you understand! As an amateur though, I just like sharing my progress as I get awfully 'chuffed' with myself whenever I master a new aspect of it. I get my stitches wrong sometimes, and my methods are probably a bit crude, my stitching tension looks a bit wonky, but I don't care - it's good fun!

This weekend I had a go at transferring an image from 'the new crewel' embroidery book to have a practice. I used the 'light window' method as shown below. This involved tracing the image from the book (I didn't have any tracing paper in and used photocopier paper which was thin enough to see through). I followed the instructions in the book and taped the traced image onto a sunny window, then taped the fabric (linen union) on top. I used a fabric marker (air soluble) to trace the image. A word of warning - I used my air soluble marker on some natural linen a couple of weeks ago, and the marks disappeared so quickly I had to 'abandon' the design and make it up as I went along! Perhaps it was the loose weave of the fabric, I don't know?

Anyhow, the tracing of the design went fine - I might try a water soluble pen next time. The marks didn't fade so quickly on this fabric but as a safety measure I went over them again, a couple of hours into the embroidery.

I was using my crewel embroidery wool for this project. I found it quite strange embroidering with wool - it's really fine (two ply) but the colours are lovely to use. The design only used satin stitch and french knots, so was quite straightforward once you master these two stitches. The design asks for 9 inch square linen twill - one thing I find with using a hoop is that there seems to be a lot of wastage of fabric around the design (my linen union cost £6 for a fat quarter, pretty pricey I thought). So I'm a bit miffed at the wastage!!

Here's a pic of some of my ... em less than perfect stitches:

and a close-up shot of some 'wobbly' satin stitches and half-decent french knots (I went a bit wonky with my 'split-stitch on the first edge too!)

Using the crewel wool gives the embroidery a nice raised texture and I like the matt wool colours. You can see how the initial fabric marks are fading, I'm not sure how long they would have lasted as I sped on with the work, in a bit of a panic!

You could use ordinary embroidery thread for this just as easily. I enjoyed it as an experiment. I've now tried ordinary embroidery thread, crewel embroidery thread and the last book I bought is entitled 'Woolly Embroidery' which uses woollen tapestry thread, along with the other two. I'm half-thinking of making a linen cushion cover embroidered using tapestry wool, as I thought the cover image of this book was fab.

Hope this is of use if you're starting out and thinking of using designs from a book as this is the first time I've tried it. Quite enjoyable but you need a few hours spare time!! (So I don't know why I was doing it!)

Back to my 'tweedie' work for now though :)

Monday, 7 September 2009

Bye, Bye Buttons

These buttons are bound for San Francisco today - how cool is that! I believe they're to be used in connection with a wedding and I made them here in the Outer Hebrides from genuine handwoven Harris Tweed, and I'm quite proud of it! I was really pleased to oblige the customer with what they wanted (via my Etsy shop), and was able to set up a custom order for them over the weekend.

I feel like a real 'Etsian' now and a proud Hebridean to boot! I really hope they arrive safe and well and that they add that extra special touch for whatever garment or item they are used for.

As a result of the request, I'm hoping to set up a custom listing in my home decor Etsy shop this week, for fabric covered buttons in various colours - just waiting for the supplies to arrive :)

(I also have a few gift-wrapped sets to list too, which would make lovely gift ideas, so I'd better get on with it!)

Added to Note: Fabric covered button gift sets added here - pheeeew!

Saturday, 5 September 2009


If I ever see another marshmallow it'll be too soon! Actually, I lie - cos I'm still nibbling the little devils left over from 'Little S's' party today even though I know I've eaten more than my fair share! Well, what are parties for if not for over-indulging a little bit (or even a big bit!)

It was a very little party - just 4 boys, but they kept themselves entertained running outside in between bouts on the new console (did we really need another one? - but it proved to be a great hit!).

Back to crafting as usual next week, I might even get to write a "To-Do" list on Monday, which I haven't managed for the last two weeks. Anyhow 'Little S' seemed to be quite delighted with his day all round - what a relief! There's always the fear that they'll be emotionally scarred for life if the birthday isn't quite right!!

Bye for Now :) (Bleeuuuurgh!)

Friday, 4 September 2009

Crewel Thoughts

Got home from work early today to find my crewel wool in the post - is it sad when you get excited by embroidery wool? OK, don't answer that, hehe!!

The fabric in the background is the linen union fabric I mentioned previously. My 'crewel' embroidery book uses 'linen twill' but I'd read that it was difficult to obtain and that 'linen union' was next best. Who am I to argue - I have no idea! The colours of the wool are fab though and I understand that William Morris was a great pioneer of this craft, although it goes back hundreds of years to the time of the Bayeux Tapestry. I hope you're suitably impressed by all this knowledge, hehe!!

Anyhow, when I get some 'spare-time', I'll have a go with this. Crewel wool is 100% English wool, two-ply. I bought mine here and the linen union fabric here. When I've finished my Hebridean Tapestry, I'll tell you! Och, that's just given me another idea - should probably start with some simple designs from this book first though!

Off to get ready for THE PARTY - back later, if I survive the whole event :)

P.S. Re-read my book intro - cruel embroidery came of age in 17th Century England - that'll teach me to be mouthy!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

calculating my creative space . . .

Doesn't look very creative today - but it's all going on up there, believe me! Swatches of tweed, calculating, scribbling, doodling - trying to figure it all out. An e-mail yesterday for a request for fabric covered buttons in brown tweed to go across the Atlantic. I love these earthy colours - they really reflect the colours of the landscape here in the Hebrides.

Off to buy a birthday cake this morning and to get my hair cut - neither of which will require any calculating, apart from deciding which bus to catch into town!

Cheerio an Drasda :)

(Ooops - how rude of me! I forgot to link to all the other lovely creative peeps over here at Kirsty's) Sorted now - enjoy :)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Embroidery Practice

I did mention that I was doing a wee bit more experimenting with my embroidery at the weekend. I'm really enjoying the books I bought and I'm now looking at 'the new crewel' embroidery one (lots of scope for daft play on words with that one!). I admit I've ordered some crewel wool and a small piece of white linen union to practice some of the lovely designs in the book. The fabric is very pricey, but I thought it might be worth it as there are great ideas for making handmade cards with the designs - save me a few bob on birthday cards maybe!

I had a go on Saturday at doing a little embroidery design on a pincushion made from linen and backed with black Harris Tweed. The design was inspired by some of my wild flower photos (and my embroidery books, I think!). Quite grown-up, not my usual style!

It took me most of the afternoon to embroider these 4 little flowers! I added the little dots after noticing them in my flower photos afterwards. I love the way it adds texture to a project, here's a more close up shot:

I used a french knot for the flower heads and stem stitch for the stems! It's a very time consuming pastime but quite rewarding to see the end results. I embroidered the finished pincushion as opposed to using a hoop. I'm enjoying it as a recreational pastime which I'm trying to make more time for - it's great trying out new crafts too, just for the fun of it.

'Little S''s birthday at the weekend so I'm going to be busy getting ready for that this week - off to sort out my little house so that it's fit for a birthday party, not that 8 year old boys are really bothered about that kind of thing!

Yesterday I was working on a custom order which I will post pics of at the weekend - definitely out of my 'comfort zone'. It was a bit of a challenge for me - as a clue, it involved electrical gadgets, which I know 'zilch' about!!

Bye for Now:)