Friday, 26 February 2010

Merry Go Round - February

This month, I am jumping on the Merry Go Round with a small group of ten like-minded craftswomen/artists, linking arms in friendship around the world. On the last Friday of each month we will post our individual responses to a chosen topic. Please check the links to the rest of the group's responses, under the clock in my Sidebar :)

This month the topic is "What do we hope to learn/achieve this year?"

Pheeeeew, I don't know where to start with this one - there's so much I hope to learn and achieve. Primarily this year I hope to gain complete artistic independence, (3 years ago I was awarded some local funding to set up my business which helped me purchase my Harris Tweed stocks, laptop, etc) and this October will be the end of my obligation to my 'grant provider' - Hooray! I'll be free to follow which ever path I choose then, but I'm guessing it will be a very similar 'tweedie' path - just no strings attached :)

Having said that, this year, it would be great to achieve some more commercial success - wouldn't we all! But mostly I want to continue experimenting with new designs, maybe looking into creating more 'softie/soft toy kits', having some fun with my 'art dolls' and continuing with some more embroidery ideas. I learn so much all the time, simply through experimenting and looking at craft books, blogs, etc. Soft-sculpture is a real passion for me.

Some of my earlier 'softie' dinosaur designs.

No major plans in terms of 'world domination through tweed' or anything like that, hehe! Just continuing to learn, experiment and have fun with my craft. Over and above that I hope to carry on with my 'home decor' range and continue with some new ideas/designs. My own 'craft-room' would be nice but that just ain't going to happen with two boys wanting their own space!

(Continuing with my Home Decor range would mean that I am supporting the local Harris Tweed industry to a greater extent than with the rest of my smaller items - it's something I hope to achieve but we'll have to wait and see how it pans out. There's only so much one person can do, especially on a part-time basis)

In conclusion, to carry on creating with Harris Tweed in ways which which will delight, stimulate and entertain - I just love to use it! As long as I have my tweed, fabrics, and some polyfil (toy stuffing), that's all I need :) In business terms - keep on keeping on, I love what I do, so . . .

Here's some pieces I loved doing this year, and which I hope to do more of:

More experimental embroidery (eg. Harris Tweed amulets) . . .

More Art-Dolls . . .

More 'home-decor'designs . . .

Just more of everything really!! (if only there was more time too!). Whether I end up focusing on one particular area is yet to be seen. You can check out all the responses to the same topic from the rest of the group - under the clock in my sidebar :)

P.S. Depending on world time zones the group members may be posting at different times throughout the day!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

my creative space(s)

in a cloud of stuffing . . .

body parts, limbs, and other ghoulish things . . .

a tweed-clad, belly-dancing, art-doll? . . .

. . . who knows? I found these copper discs I've had from years ago when I 'trifled' with jewellery making (I've never gone back there!)

Who knows the fate of my yet undetermined art-dolls . . . I don't, but I'm looking forward to finding out!

More mysterious creative spaces over at Kirsty's (our very gracious host)

P.S. Did I mention my Giveaway? ;-) It's open till Monday 1st March - worldwide, of course!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Testing, Testing!

Calling all crafters! I am looking for TWO willing participants to 'test drive' my ladybird 'soft-toy'/softie kit. Due to time restrictions I will have to limit this request to residents in the UK (huge apologies to my international 'bloggie' friends!) If you are interested in test-driving my 'softie' kit and giving some feedback ie. answering a few brief questions on the kit eg. ease of use, packaging, contents, instructions, etc. please contact me TODAY (before midnight British time) by e-mail (e-mail feedback on the kit would need to be received by 15th March BTW).

First TWO e-mail enquiries I receive today will receive a FREE kit for evaluation purposes (I will carry over the request tomorrow if I don't get enough response today). Otherwise I'll put a notice on my blog tomorrow if I have my 'testers' in place) There'll be a mystery tweedie 'freebie' gift for the two 'testers' as soon as I receive your feedback! Just state your interest in the kit in the e-mail and I'll get back to you if you've won. Offer for TODAY only - interested? The skill level of the kit is aimed at those with good basic handsewing skills and some (but not absolutely necessary) basic embroidery skills. NOT suitable for a complete beginner to sewing - intermediate level.

P.S. This is completely separate from my Giveaway which you are still entitled to enter as well! Many thanks :)

Added Later: 4.20 pm - I now have two lovely peeps to test-drive my kits! Many thanks for response :)

Pink Glow . . .

Beautiful pink skies here in the Hebrides this morning . . . and more snow! But it's pretty snow, so that's OK :)

Happy Monday!

P.S. You have a whole week to enter my Giveaway - did I mention it, hehe??!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Dolls, Dolls, Dolls!

Just in the process of making one of my art dolls this weekend, so I thought I'd show some work by talented doll-artists I admire from Flickr:

1. óculos cor-de-rosa, 2. wip's, 3. Little Mi (helping Haiti), 4. Nanà Papillon, 5. Handmade Doll "Audrey", 6. Chloe & Nola, 7. Little People Doll РGirl, 8. Os dois, 9. strawberry blonde

I'm too 'scared' to start on my one now, hehe! Have a great weekend! :)

Friday, 19 February 2010

Giveaway Time!

This morning I posted off my first 'prototype' soft-toy kit to a good crafting friend (who very generously passes on some of her Selvedge magazines to me from time to time). So I guess this is a good a time as any to post pics of the final 'softie-kit'. I decided to start with the ladybird 'tweedie' as it's got quite a lot of interesting features but a nice simple body shape.

I packaged the kit in a similar way to my 'tweedies' soft toys and used some postcards of my 'beastie' tweedies which I got from Vistaprint a very long time ago. I was really pleased with the image at the time so thought it would be a nice idea to get postcards printed from the photograph and use them at craft fairs and to pop in with orders as a little 'freebie'. I only have a few of the postcards left so while I'm waiting for some more to arrive, it seems like a good idea to do a Giveaway!

Sorry, but the 'softie' ladybird is NOT included in the kit - you have to make him yourself!! I changed some of the elements of the original design to adapt it to kit form. The skill level is aimed at those with good basic handsewing skills and maybe a little embroidery knowledge if you wish to sew the features on, rather than using fabric glue. (Toy stuffing is included with the kit, by the way)

So here's the deal - I'm offering one of my NEW ladybird 'softie' kits up for grabs. In addition to the the softie-kit, I will pop a Harris Tweed patchwork cushion in too (pick a colour!).

To enter the Giveaway, just leave me a comment saying which is your most favourite item from either my Etsy shops (there are 2!) or my Folksy shop. I'll leave the Giveaway open until mid-day (British time) on Monday 1st March. Winner to be announced by 3 pm on the same day.

Pheeeeeeew!:) Hope I didn't miss anything out! Cheerio an Drasda :)

Oooops! - it's open to anyone in the world, of course!! :D

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

my creative space . . .

Scribbling notes at the kitchen table, for my ladybird 'tweedie' soft-toy kit, with a bowl of home-made chicken soup (it was very nice, just thought I'd tell you that!). This project is moving pretty fast this week so I hope to have a final product very soon - these notes are now all typed up into a little booklet, and the packaging is more or less finished. I decided to use the little hessian bags I've used in the past which I purchased from a local company.

I seem to be showing a lot of scribbles and doodles this week . . . never mind, some product pictures soon I promise! And maybe even a Giveaway (sssshhhhhh, nobody really heard me saying that, did they? - pheeeeew!)

More creative peeps over this way:)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

'Softie' Kit in Progress

The aforementioned 'softie' kit idea (soft-toys to us Brits!) is taking shape. The ladybird 'tweedie' is the one which seems to have been chosen to be dissected, analysed, deconstructed, reconstructed - we CAN rebuild you! Funny how easy (almost!) it is to make one of your own creations, but try explaining to someone else how to do it - well there's a challenge. I've had to adjust some of the aspects of the design to make it easier to adapt to a kit format, it's all a learning curve I guess!

There's the instructions, the drawings, the packaging - Oooooh, it's making my mouth water, hehe! Will keep you up to date with progress this week hopefully :)

Monday, 15 February 2010

Thinking aloud again . . .

I was taking a photo of this envelope which 'Little S' handed to me yesterday (actually he sellotaped it to a paper plane and 'flew' it into the living room, to be exact!) I like how he wrote 'to Alison' on it, instead of Mum - he doesn't usually call me by my first name so I think he was trying to be 'grown up', very sweet! I loved the stamp too :)

Underneath, the scribbles on my note book . . .

I've had it in the back of my mind for quite a while to make one or two of my 'tiny-tweedies' into soft-toy kits - the ones which are less fiddly to make, ie. possibly the ladybird and the froggie. These doodles were a quick note to myself which I'd forgotten about until I took the pic of the envelope on top - now my blog is reminding me what I'm supposed to be doing - cool!!

What do you think about soft toy kits - any thoughts?

Off now to put the washing machine on. The good news is I got a new one last week (I've been trying to break the old one for 8 years - I hated it!!) The bad news is that I've got a week and a half of laundry to catch up on since the old one clapped out! :(

Happy Monday!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Just a little crafting . . .

Yesterday (in between the 'lemon meringue pie' saga!) I managed just a little bit of crafting, well more experimenting really! I had a brief encounter with 'jewelery making' using tweed, a very long time ago. The other morning I awoke with a similar idea in my head (Yes, the 'Idreamoftweed' blog URL is in fact true - eeeeks!!)

I only managed a little piece of similar work, but might pick it up later today as a fun, relaxing project. I've photographed the pendant style pieces on top of my newly acquired business cards which came with their own free 'silver' card holder - very 'James Bond' looking, hehe! You might be able to see a slight reflection of blond(ish!) hair in the pic - my new choppy bob 'hair-do'! A change is as good as . . .

Happy Valentine's! (my youngest has been given a reprieve (after the 'pie incident) as I received a cute homemade card from him - he knows the way to my heart, hehe!!)

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Nom Nom - No??

After seeing a cookery programme with 'Little S' a couple of weeks ago, based on favourite family recipes (the 'Hairy Bikers', just for info!) I promised that I'd make a lemon meringue pie as I hadn't made one in a very long time - perhaps a decade even!! Two weekends have passed - the first one, I forgot to buy the cornflour for the recipe and 'Little S' tucked into the Digestive biscuits we'd bought for the crumb base.

This weekend, being half-term hols, I gave into the constant requests for the pie so I got stuck in.

We cracked the eggs . . .

We squeezed and grated the rind of 3 lemons . . .

We cooked and stirred the yummy filling (bear in mind I'm using valuable Saturday afternoon crafting time here!) . . .

bashed the biscuits for the crumb base (mixed with melted butter, of course, nom, nom!) . . .

and finally, ta raaaaaah!! . . . (OK, it's a little burnt, but . . )

And what was my 'little darling's response to such a great gastronomic success?? "Hmmmmmm, I don't really like it" - ??????????????? Don't kids just say the funniest little things - Aaaaaaaargh!! Think he was feeling a little under the weather today so we'll leave it at that!

We're on our school half-term hols this weekend so much apologies for not getting back to all the lovely comments on 'My Creative Space' this week, hope to catch up soon!

Bye for Now :)

P.S. Lemon meringue pie anyone? - there's plenty to go round, grrrrrrrr!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

my creative space . . .

My 'Office Job' (the one that pays the bills!!) takes up most of my time towards the end of the week (my 'day off' in between on Thursday is quite often taken up with other errands or chores, which is the case this week) so I'm showing my 'creative space' from Tuesday.

My youngest was at home from school, so no frenetic crafting this week! Continuing the 'patchwork' theme, I finished a Harris Tweed mini-cushion at the weekend which you can see in the pic. I'm all ready to cut out squares for another one here, using my new stash of tweed - I'm almost terrified to cut into it because it's so gorgeous!! Here goes - dare me? :)

More passionately crafty folk over here at Kirsty's.

P.S. The completed patchwork pincushions are now in the shop.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Oh Dear!

Yesterday was a bit of a disaster 'craftwise' - you know the kind I mean, you have a great idea to make something and it just doesn't turn out quite how you expected! I did plan to make some more items for my 'home decor' range, but with my youngest off poorly I decided to make something less time consuming. I thought, "how about a 'one-off' handcrafted Valentine's card for one of my online shops" - I've seen some lovely ones recently.

Well, it just didn't work out how I'd planned and looks more like a card which Charlie Brown would have given to 'the little red-haired girl' in 'Peanuts'!

I think I'll leave the handcrafted Valentine's cards to the experts in future! My heart obviously wasn't into this project and I have to say that it's not really my cup of tea, but I did try! I think it looks a bit better in 'real life' as the texture of the Harris Tweed itself is lovely of course, and I did hand-embroider the heart, lettering and sequins - Oh Dear, I'm really not convincing myself!!

If anyone would like this slightly 'cookie', handcrafted, tweedie Valentine card, I'll gladly post it off free-of-charge - I never want to see it again!! Just leave a comment to say if you'd like to receive the card (if there's more than one request, I'll do a quick draw around about tea-time (that's about 5-6 pm in our house!) TODAY - British time). I'll pop it in the post on Thursday at the very latest to the, em . . . lucky recipient! (if there is one!)

P.S. I have some lovey 'home-decor' items in my shop here - honest! Patchwork pincushions, coasters and mini-cushions are all added - now that's more my style, hehe :)

"Love is" knowing when to stop - Cheerio an Drasda!! :) I'd love to hear your interpretations of what "Love is"!

Edited to Add (5 pm): Sorry, time's up!! It was a long shot - my poor crafting disaster will have to remain so, and be added to the 'Crafting Disasters Hall of Fame'! :)

Monday, 8 February 2010

Much Tweedieness

Lots of 'tweedieness' going on at the weekend - I thought I'd post a pic of these coasters I made, however, as they're nice and cheerful for a Monday morning. I'd had some blank coasters in from 'way back when' and decided to use them up at the weekend while the 'tweedie' frenzy was in full force! The hand-appliqued tweedie-flower pics are sealed in a plastic casing (hence the dodgy-looking reflective pics!) - perhaps not very environmentally friendly but hygienic (wipe clean) and should last a lifetime, you'll never need another coaster again!! Quite a nice way to use up tweed oddments too.

Lots of listing now of patch-work pincushions, coasters and even a little patchwork mini-cushion (or two, if I get my act together today!). More pics tomorow once the listings are up in my 'Home Decor' shop on Etsy. My youngest is keeping me company at home today with a case of the sniffles, so I'd better get on and spoil him a bit! :)

Happy Monday :)

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Beauty and the Beast

This is the interior of a horrible looking 'shack'/eyesore (I couldn't bring myself to show it in its entirety, it's so ugly!!) which has stood in our back garden since my boys were very little. It's the amalgamation of lots of old palettes knocked together by my Other Half, sometimes with instructions from the kids for particular 'design features'. It's a bit of a 'beast' in my view . . . .

has a beautiful outlook, however . . .

. . . stunning sea views

. . . and can be driven anywhere you like in your imagination (which would probably be to the dump, if I had my way!!). If nothing else, it's taught them the 'rough and tumble' ways of being boys in the rural countryside!

I guess I should be grateful for that fact and try not to focus on the absolute hideousness of it as a piece of . . . ahem, architecture!

Happy Sunday :)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Just a Quickie!

Just a few quick pics of the finished pincushion which I hope to do in different colour ranges ie. this one is from the 'greens range'. Hopefully, I will be able to do some in 'pink/red range', 'blues range' and any other ones I can come up with! Thanks to all who expressed interest in these - I hope to post some very soon in my Tweed Delights shop on Etsy.

I will try and pop this green one into the shop over the weekend and add some more next week - better get chopping up some little 'tweedie' squares!

Cheerio an Drasda :)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

my creative space(s) . . .

I've been working on various projects this week, so I've been taking pics of them as I went along, knowing that by Wednesday evening I would have to stop crafting, and clear up the mess I've left behind! So here are the week's activities in pictures:

Sunday: embellishing my tweedie seahorses with sequins which was fun! (Oh, and some buttons too!)

Monday: a brainwave idea to create Harris Tweed amulets/charms in little pebble shapes, decorated with doodles, symbols and squiggles - I've added these to my Folksy shop, but more about them later!

Tuesday: I'd been wanting to try to make some little patchwork pincushions (and use a similar design for other home decor items) for a while now, so I did, and I loved how it worked out - finished pics to follow.

Today: I have a 'helluva' mess to tidy up after all that crafting, and I ain't going to show you any pictures of it - believe me, you don't want to see it!!

Some lovely 'messy' and 'not-so-messy' creative peeps over at Kirsty's place:)

Monday, 1 February 2010

Cute or What!

Is that snowman cute or what? 'Little S' was enjoying the snow at the weekend and I loved this snowy creation he made, complete with grass 'hair' - isn't he gorgeous in the sunshine, hehe!

The embroidered buttons are now listed in my Folksy shop along with some 'tweedie' seahorses which I really enjoyed making. An older idea given new life with the addition of some sequins!

Lots more 'tweedie' ideas and creations going on at the moment - I think I must have eaten something at the weekend to induce creativity! Pity I couldn't bottle it and keep it for these 'lost my mojo' days :)

I'll be back later in the week with some other stuff I've been working on - got to keep crafting now while the 'creativity' potion is still working!

P.S. I ordered some new stocks of Harris Tweed at the weekend - perhaps that's the magic potion!!