Sunday, 3 April 2011

Books. Beautiful books.

I have a friend whose birthday came round at the start of March. As she's one of the friends who's always been supportive of my craft-based endeavours she has also had the misfortune of receiving many,ahem, experimental gifts. Kate, you never fail to be enthusiastic about the crap I give you, and I love you for it.

Anyway, this year I thought the limit had been reached, so I hit folksy to see what I could find that wasn't knitted or bead-based, and I found the definitive answer in the shape of one Kate Bowles and her fantastically beautiful books.

I love these books for two reasons: firstly because of the elegant reuse of beer mats and old shirts, and secondly for the pride in her craft that Kate shows by making the binding visible. There's something beautiful in laying out the mechanism by which a thing is held together, particularly when that mechanism is so attractive in it's own right.

Her shop can be found here:

Saturday, 2 April 2011

March excuses for making nothing

I seem to be losing time. Buckets of the stuff. Blink and another month has gone by.

I have a lot of intentions, plans, half-formed ideas of things I'm going to make. But none of it has been happening lately - it has been suggested that I might be trying to spread myself too thin and this may be true... Why not decide for yourselves with a few little snippets of the month gone by, by way of apology for the paucity of craft-based activity:

2nd: Racing Demon at Sheffield's Crucible theatre was a play by David Hare (he's written loads of screenplays as well, good bloke worth googling) about four clergymen with very different religious methodologies. It had a broader application though - the evangelical youngster could have been a fiery idealist newly entered into any profession.
Link to the Sheffield theatres blurb

5th: Chesterfield Beadshop! A veritable bead and stone mecca ( although I do love my little local Jam Jar Beads) with some fantastic semi-precious cabochons. I picked up a big bit of turquoise for probably my most valuable make yet.
Details here...

8th: Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies gig at the Rude Shipyard in Sheffield. I've seen these guys and enjoyed their idiosyncratic brand of contemporary folk a number of times now. Originally recommended by my Madrid-based brother, it ultimately transpired that one Welly was in fact the Sheffield-born brother of my good friend Gill. Small small world.
Their website's here

19th: Snowdon ascent and camping. If you feel the cold, don't camp in march, especially not in Wales. It's cold and if the fog descends you don't get much of a view from the top. Our great campsite did allow fires though, which is always a bonus. Also, wet gloves will give you fat hands.

23rd: Kelham Island brewery tour. This place produces 30,000 pints a week to supply the alehouses of Sheffield and environs, all in a space with about the same floor area as a ubiquitous Sheffield terrace. How they do it, I still don't really know. They gave us some cracking chilli next door in the Far Cat pub too.

31st: Cocoa Knit Club just sneaks in. This place is my favourite chocolate shop slash cafe, and the monthly knit club is an orgy of chocolate and knitting good fun. I love the enthusiasm of the girls that run it, and the fact that they managed to go to Grenada to visit their favourite cocoa plantation last year is just plain cool. Makes me want to give up the day job and do something equally life-affirming.

April I want you to be quieter. I have things to do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The triumphal return. And a footstool.

I've been away a while. I'm sorry. Life pulled some pretty hefty punches on me and things slid a little. But I'm back, making stuff again and talking...

So, the footstool. After an unfortunate incident involving damp cardboard and a crate of beer, I found myself with a cheap footstool from a certain ubiquitous Swedish furniture shop sans cushion and cover. The answer- my trusty sewing machine, a few buttons and ribbon and a much improved stool as a result. I am really rather happy with it so far.

Here's a little picture, and I'm off to play with resin.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A roaring fire... a belated Folksy Friday and a good weekend

I didn't get my surprise trip.  Our flights were cancelled as we suspected they would be.  Instead I got a night in a cosy country pub, with a roaring log fire, a fine meal and maybe a little too much ale.  It was a good substitute.

With this in mind, and because I had some rather nice lavastone items hanging around, my theme for this week is fire.  A bit of an elemental contrast with last week's ice... (links below the pictures)

Fat Cat Designs (me!) -
That fuzzy feeling -

Lou Lou's Luxuries -

Audrey's Cat -

Unique Beaded Gems -

Bit of a short one this week, what with birthday busy-ness, but some really good stuff I think you'll agree.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Grumpy blogging... but I promise I'll cheer up once it's out!

Sooo, my back hurts, still.  It's been two weeks to the day since my minor accident on the M1, and it still bloody well hurts.  This is apparently perfectly normal, but I find this cold comfort.

Speaking of cold... two feet of snow now sit on the ground in Sheffield.  It started last night and has continued, on and endlessly on.  I'm suppose to be going away this weekend, on a mystery birthday trip to, well, somewhere.  It's a mystery.  We're supposed to be flying out of Gatwick, one of the two airports currently closed.  And that's if we can even get there - did I mention the two feet of snow?

So I'm annoyed.  My birthday is cursed. I'm in pain and I don't get my holiday, probably. So I'm complaining.  There it is.

On the plus side....
- I'm not at work, not struggling home through the snow (no five hour commutes like some are reporting!)
- I'm indoors, nice and warm
- It's my birthday tomorrow, which means pressies and cards and phone calls (let's just ignore the fact that the post has stopped - snow)
- We are now into December, so I get a chocolate a day :)
- I've nearly finished knitting a nice chunky bag, just need a gusset/strap, a lining and sewing up.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Baby it's cold online - an ice cold Folksy Friday

Right then, morning all.  Hands up if you've got three layers on, plus scarf, hat, and hot water bottle (or cat, used as such)!
Good, that's most of us then.

In celebration of this unusually cold end to November, I asked the good people of Folksy to show me what wintry, icy items they had in their shops. And they delivered....

First off, a couple of literal snowflakes:

Bespoke Cards has these cute cupcake wraps:

While 100 per cent delicate has some you can stick on your wall:

Ellie's Treasures provided this fluffy little horse, which is just so quirky.  I love that it comes with a book of 'likes', and really appeals to the grown-up who sort of still wants to play My Little Pony... that's not me, of course, absolutely not:

Then we have a boa from the Crafty Bride for the freezing cold glamour puss....

...who may also be a fan of this sparkly, Olympic-inspired (!), Snow Queen's delight:

I really love that one. It's sort of fairytale-y.

Then there are the cold-looking snowy things that will help to keep you and yours warm.  I love these little booties from NOfkantsCurious - restrained and tasteful fluffiness:

And from Ginger Nut this simple but beautiful pompom hat.  It reminds me of a snowflake too :)

And finally... I nearly forgot my own little goodies, which started this, a whole set of icy items:
Visit the Fat Cat's shop on Folksy!

That's all folks.  You can go back under the duvet now.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Sisyphus had it easy... elasticated beaded bracelets

Stay with me - I am going somewhere with this!

I have a little extra time on my hands, as already mentioned, so after a number of suggestions that I make something more suitable for men, I decided to have a go at making elasticated bracelets. 

Most men are not too keen on wearing jewellery, but if they do it tends to be something no-nonsense with wooden beads that they've picked up travelling or at a festival, and they don't want to mess around with silly little clasps, so elastic seemed the way forward...

...until it comes to holding the flipping things closed.  The elastic I bought doesn't stay in a knot, so I had to improvise with crimps (beads that you squash to hold wire or cord in place, for non-jewellers). The trouble started here, and went something like this:

1. Finish stringing beads onto bracelet, to desired length, hold up and admire.
2. Try to hold both ends while fishing around for a crimp/trying to get crimp onto both ends/trying to squash crimp/answering the door.
3. Drop one end, scattering beads to the winds.
4. Pick up beads and re-string.
5. Repeat, ad infinitum.

Sisyphus was a bit of a smart-arse, and according to Greek mythology the gods (probably Zeus) punished him for this by condemning him to roll a stone up a hill, only for it to roll down again, for all eternity.  But in my view at least he was getting exercise, keeping in shape, maybe seeing a bit of a view from the hilltop.  At least it was a punishment and he could rail against his persecutors, not just plain and simple clumsiness with the only culprit himself.

I might have a little break from these things now.  I did myself no favours by making four...
(and yes, I know the last two won't particularly appeal to blokes... most of them anyway)