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)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sea glass and superglue

I went to a craft fair yesterday, and got chatting to a lovely lady with a stall.  She had lots of sea glass, and all sorts of clever wirework baskets holding the pieces in place on pendants.  Really beautiful stuff, it inspired me to go straight back to the inch-deep pile of materials on my desk and dig out the sea glass.

Not being much inclined to copy, or for that matter too clever, I didn't bother with wirework baskets but resumed the direct approach that I'd adopted before to make this:

Essentially, wrap with thin gauge wire and superglue.  I gave up last time because I'd managed to successfully attach two pieces of glass to wire and the rest fell apart. This time I persevered and have now produced no less than 6 pendants and a bracelet.  The answer? More glue.

Happy days!

Today's planned experiments, if I can get away with not cleaning or tidying, include trying to make man bracelets and cracking out my new resin.  I can't see what could possibly go wrong.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Your favourite, my favourite - some Folksy goodies

Right, this is a second attempt.  Following some formatting mishaps and a minor meltdown of the computer, we can continue.

I asked the good folk of Folksy to tell me what their favourite item is, and then went to their shops and found things I like better - just to be difficult.  I couldn't include everyone, so I've given preference to stuff I really, really like or shops I hadn't heard of before. 

I keep being surprised by different people's preferences - things sell that took five minutes to make and that you weren't really sure about, and labours of love sit gathering dust on the shelves.  I suppose it's just sheer chance, with the right person spotting the right thing and thinking it's perfect.  I reckon you can analyse and work on keywords and publicise as much as you like - and these things may help - but at the end of the day a lot of it is just dumb luck.

Sermon over, here goes!

Orange Blossom Felt

Cinnamon Jewellery

Eccentric Ella

Astrid's Garden

With the next two, I completely agreed.  Love these:

Clockwork Curves 

Sugar Mice

The beginning of the Fat Cat blog

Feels strange, writing this.  I know noone is reading it... yet.

I must confess I've never really quite understood the whole blogging thing.  It always seemed, well, odd.  Like taking pages of your diary and showing them to everyone you meet.  Is that a normal thing to want to do?

Then again, since joining the online craft world, I'm beginning to get it.  It's about publicity, publicity, publicity - filling as much of that endless whirlpool of the ether that we call the Internet with what you want people to see (and buy) as possible.  With that in mind:

There's also the community thing, an extension of the online forum and maybe an equivalent of a realworld invitation to your friends to come round for a cuppa.  If the forum is a loud and busy marketplace where your voice can be so easily lost (like the original forum of antiquity), then the blog becomes your cosy front room.  This, my friends, is my territory, and if you want to come round for a virtual cuppa then you will be taking off your shoes and using a coaster, thanks.

So here I am, writing gibberish.  I put it off for so very long, but thanks to a Polish man on the M1 I have more time on my hands this week than expected. And whiplash.

Thanks for your attention.

Tinsel's Thought of the Day

Mmmm, tuna.