Sunday, 24 March 2013

Many ways to use a catfish

A little bit of doodling lead to the creation of the rather cute little catfish. 
Adjusting the size with the printer to the pattern I made some keyrings from leopard print felt (what else could I use for catfish?)

 The keyrings were so sweet I thought the same pattern would look lovely as an applique on tote bags.


I have some lovely floral fabrics that I feel will work well.  The first bag I used a red cotton with yellow spots, and I have started a couple more with this vintage check fabric.

Part finished bags - hand stitched faces and the applique done in black by machine.  To highlight the design,
  The completed bags have cotton handles with sweet mini heart button detail. There is a useful back pocket with a button fastening.  And like the keyrings the catfish on the bags have a lucky fin which gives a 3D effect. 

 Bright sunshine colours to banish the winter blues.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


With the first day of spring only two days away we went in search of signs it might be on it's way.  The winter has felt so long and although I have enjoyed curling up in front of the log burner now I am eagerly waiting for the warmer days to arrive.

We went to Fowlmead, a country park created on the site of Betteshanger Colliery, it has been a while since we were there last and we wanted to see if the plants and wildlife had developed further.  To be honest unless you wish to cycle around it midweek is, the best time to visit as it is promoted as the perfect place for family cycling

This play area for children is new and includes a zipline and all kinds of slides, slopes and climbing equipment.

 The first of the ponds still has a green tinge to the water and apart from the reed bed around the edge no visable plants or waterbirds.  Just beyond the parks boundries there is marshland and ducks, lots of ducks.

The first flowers we saw.  I don't think they are true primroses.

Looking across dykes and farmland in the direction of the sea.

 A fallen log becomes a thing of beauty and decay.  And the last pond we came to is the only one which shows sign of supporting life.  The highest pond on site which claims to have great creasted newts always has a very bleak look to it.

Pines and conifers on the shale - not as much sign of squirrel activity on this visit.

Promising location for lizzards and other wildlife.

            SWELLING BUDS

 We were near the end of our walk before we found the violets.

Blue skies looking to the east.

Sunday, 17 March 2013


SEWING IS MY FIRST LOVE from the beginning of my crafting life,the toys, through the weird and (I think) wonderful dressmaking explosion of my twenties, the you can sew come and join our re-enactment group to now when I am just seeing where my imagination takes me hoping that people will like my creations and buy them.

My hand made creations and their inspiration - sometimes I get the smallest thought pop into my brain and that starts a whirlwind of forgotten housework and stitching,  my recent purchase of a bias tape maker has lead to these cute little potholders, an old picture of a collection of little felt dolls is reponsible for the burlesque keyrings that I am enjoying the creation of, and a piece of beautiful fabric found while buying some nets for my mother has triggered the desire to make aprons for children.
not the best or clearest picture but it is old
This small photo shows a small part of the collection of mini dolls I made years ago. A mix of bears, hula dancers and frothy skirts. I made a huge pile of bodies first and then had a wonderful time dressing them.

The new generation of mini dolls two finished burlesque dancers and one ready for costume and make-up.


A stunning little dancer ready to start her routine

A new idea taking shape - my sketch before making the pattern and begining work.  My task for today.  There are quite a few different voodoo pin cushion styles

Sewn up, stuffed and ready to give life to.

http://pinterest./pin/55521007878201545/     This is my take on a current trend - I quite like the idea of voodoo pincushions.

Although these ones seem to have a zombie feel to them.
 Catfish laying on the material I will be using for the next 'catch'.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Creative writting for online sales

SO I HAVE MADE some unique and original items, opened several on-line shops, read the magazines and on-line selling guides, studied the market and tried my best - but here is the bottom line.  This on-line selling game is not as easy as it is made out to be.

I truly believe in the products that I have been making, Most of them I would like to keep for my very own.  I am certain that I am not alone in my desire not to be a department store clone and that my products have a widespread appeal.  Items that I have worn to work have received very positive feedback.  

I feel that my problems may stem from the overwhelming shyness that has been the bane of my life from childhood which is now manifesting as the reluctance to 'blow my own trumpet' I realise how lame this sounds - for example I know I should try doing a Craft Fair, I have enough stock, but the thought convincing strangers to buy my products fills me with dread. 

So, here I am using the Internet as a sales medium and this is my problem - how to write awe inspiring descriptions to ensure people part with their hard earned cash (just so I can have the joy of creating more beautiful things).  As I have said I read the sellers guides, I have even purchased one.  An excellent ebook whose author took the time to look at my listings and give advice.  I am in the process of restocking my FOLKSY shop and then I will begin work to stock ETSY

I am currently re-writting product discriptions, this time with more tags and better descriptions, in the hope this time I will achieve success.   There are a lot of crafts I still NEED to experience.  

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

cover gifts from magazines

There have been times when I have purchased a magazine because of the cover gift only to be rather disappointed either by the magazine or the gift.  Or although the gift is good I have had no idea what to do with it. 

The gift on the current issue of MOLLIE MAKES (issue 24) is one of the exceptions to this rule.  An oilcloth coin purse complete with clasp.  I have several clasps (larger than this one) but I haven't been too sure what to do with them.

cigar box bag and needlefelt broaches etc
After reading through the instructions I decided to stop making items for my shop at CREATIVE STORES  and have a go at making the purse so that if it went well others would still be able to buy the magazine.
 When I first took the kit out of the pack I was a little confused as to what the paper twine was for, the instructions in the magazine were really clear and very easy to follow.
 This was the first time I had used oilcloth and I found it an easy fabric to sew and very quickly I was ready to attach the clasp.  So far the hardest bit was turning the purse right sides out - stiff fabric/small purse.  The instructions said that attaching the clasp was fiddly and they were right.  Fiddly but not to difficult and the little bit of glue that oozed out rubbed off the clasp and fabric without any problems.

It felt as hardly any time had past and I had a completed coin purse.  My only problem with it is that it is a little too pink for my taste - having said that I am really proud of myself and can't wait to start using it.
And now the purse is made I can go back to making catfish keyrings.