Saturday, 9 October 2010

Jewellery Giveaway - Result!

Thanks to everyone who joined in my giveaway - there were 25 entries in all, and chose the winner to be Calej.

Congratulations, Calej! Your earrings will be in the post very soon.

Everyone else - don't forget to check out my 20% off sale taking place today as part of the UK Silly Sale. There are some great deals to be had! I offer free postage to the UK, and only $2.00 anywhere else in the world.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

CuddleNum (or The Chicken Formerly Known as Mr Beige)

'CuddleBunny, meet CuddleNum. CuddleNum, meet CuddleBunny. ' If she could speak, Alice would have introduced the two new friends like this.

So, in case you are wondering what all the introductions are about, the lovely Lynsey of SwirlyArts who makes really cute chicken pincushions and doorstops, among other things, and sells them in her etsy store found herself with a grumpy little pincushion Mr Beige who felt he was being supplanted in her affections by newer chicken pincushions. So Lynsey bowed to Mr Beige's demands and set about finding him a new home. Alice and I stumbled across the competition, and she was quite excited by the prospect of a little chicken, so we entered. And we won! And this is the lovely package that arrived this morning -
There were perfectly pleasant introductions all round, and a little cuddle for the newly named CuddleNum from both Alice and CuddleBunny, but then Alice decided that that was enough of the good manners and tried to bite CuddleNum's beak. Naughty Alice!

So CuddleNum has taken up a temporary station on the bookcase along where he can oversee the chaos that is my living room until this round of teething is done. But he isn't alone, because the also-quite-delicate-in-constitution knitted Elefant is also up there and will keep him company and explain what is going on. Alice will be allowed quick cuddles, because she loves the squishyness of CuddleNum, but I am still working on the concept of 'gentle' with her, so she will be properly supervised at all times.

Thanks Lynsey!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Changes to my shop

This week I have changed a couple of elements of my etsy store, hopefully for the better!

First, I have retaken all of my 'first pictures' for my items. I struggle with my photography sometimes (as first mentioned in a previous blog post here) - I never feel I quite get it right. My original pictures mainly had black backgrounds, as I thought you would see the silver of the jewellery better - but lighting is hard, and the silver would often end up with a funny glow.

But after one of my photos, which I'd done on a white instead of a black background, got some compliments in one of the etsy forums, I thought I'd try doing my pictures on white background again, and also be a bit braver with my cropping and close ups. I am (at the moment!) pretty pleased with the results, and also with the fact that for the first time they all have the same colour background!

Here are some before and after pictures -

Second, I decided to try and unify my presentation and packaging of my jewellery. I bought some lovely ribbon in shades of ivory, dove grey and pale blue from etsy seller Overspill, and got some more black pillow boxes ready. When it arrived, I got all over-excited and straight away cut it all up into perfect earring-box sized pieces of ribbon, temporarily forgetting that I don't just make earrings. Ooops.

Still, all the earring listings are updated, and I'll just have to order some more ribbon and get on with the necklaces and bracelets another day.... Overall, I am pretty pleased with this weeks work.

Oh - and I also launched my first blog giveaway! Check it out here - closes October 8th.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Jewellery Giveaway!

Hello! I have reached my 20th blog follower, and also have over 150 twitter followers, which is all quite exciting for me. To celebrate, I'm going to launch my first giveaway!

I am giving away this pair of sterling silver and pearl earrings, made from honey coloured and brown freshwater pearls, handwrapped with sterling silver wire.

There are 3 ways to enter -

1) Leave a comment below

2) If you comment and follow this blog, that's 2 entries.

3) Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway @AneksiDesigns

It's as simple as that! This giveaway is open until 10pm Friday 8th October (to coincide with the UK Etsy Silly Sale!) - it will be drawn on Saturday 9th October, and the winner will get their new earrings posted to them the following Monday. It is open internationally, and the results will be posted on this blog.

It really couldn't be much simpler!


p.s. if you miss out, there is a very similar pair of earrings in my etsy store....

Friday, 24 September 2010

An Experiment in Oxidisation

Recently I found a forum on etsy about how to oxidise sterling silver with a hard boiled egg. 'Really?' I thought, 'Hmm, maybe I should give that a go.' I am always keen on experiments you can do with household objects!

The sensible thing would, of course, have been to try something small and see what it turned out like - however, I don't usually roll like that (impatience).

So, on Monday I finished a necklace (for me, for once) that I liked but thought was just missing a little something.

'Perfect!' I thought. 'Something that has taken me a while and involves a fair amount of silver. Just the thing to experiment on.'

So when Alice decided to save her afternoon nap yesterday for when we got back home from out trip to the British Library (lunch with a friend and a look at the Magna Carta), it seemed like a good time to try it out.

I got all my ingredients, boiled my egg for about 10 minutes (the problem of impatience again), chopped it up with a big knife very quickly, put it in the box with the necklace and closed the box, also quickly (speed is important, I believe).

I waited for the whole 40 minutes the forum recommended, and opened it up.

I don't know what you think, but to me it just looked like I'd left it in a box for a couple of years. Less nicely oxidised and more nastily tarnished. At this point, I began to berate myself for my impatience. Why didn't I try a small pair of earrings first?

However, all was not lost. I dug out my salt and baking powder, put a lining of foil in the plastic container and boiled the kettle (another 'household' method of cleaning jewellery). You put the jewellery on the foil at the bottom, put a bit of both of the above in (2tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt - or in my case, a shake of both containers) and pour the boiling water on. It goes 'FIZZ', and like magic it cleans your silver.

As you can see, it didn't get my necklace back to it's original condition, but it cleaned the chain up a treat and left the flower with more of the effect I was hoping for.

Overall, then, a qualified success. I will have to wear it a bit and see what I think of it. And maybe try something smaller next time!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

I Knit Weekender

Last Friday Alice and I got the train into London, and the bus to Victoria, to meet my Grandma and go to the I Knit weekender. Alice's favourite part of the whole day was the bus ride (which took in Oxford Street - lots of stops, lots of people). This is how she spent almost the whole ride -

Her conversation isn't great anyway, I tell myself - and at least I got to admire her lovely cardigan (not hand knitted, I'm afraid - from Zara. Not that I usually buy her stuff in Zara, you understand. This was just too nice not to.)

The I Knit weekender itself was in a really interesting venue, The Royal Horticultural Halls and Conference Centre, which was super Art Deco and had an unusual clock -

The Weekender was full of lovely, chatty, people, and gorgeous yarn. We were especially taken with the Illusion Knitting stall. I can't quite believe I'm considering it when I haven't finished the Blanket of Doom yet, but they have an ace pattern for a baby blanket with a teddy bear on it that I would really like to try! Who do I love enough, is the question....

This is my purchase for the day - two skeins of Araucania Toconao in a fabulous purple colour, bought from the Woolfish stall. Yummy. It is so soft and smooth! I have balled it up, and have plans already for it.

I could have bought a lot more, if I hadn't looked at my budget just the day before (boo hoo). There were so many gorgeous colours on display, it was sometimes hard to know where to look.

The only disappointment of the day was that the I Knit design competition, whose entries were supposed to be exhibited at the Weekender, was not in evidence. I wasn't expecting my pattern to win a prize, or anything, but I was looking forward to seeing it on display (as was my Grandma, who had kindly tested it for me). Not sure what happened there.

Overall we had a nice day out, but a bit more information would have been nice.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Work in Progress - The Blanket of Doom #2

So August has been and gone, and as predicted in a previous blog post, Joe and Laura's blanket is not yet done. But it is coming along...

It's just taking me a loooong time. I am even starting to get a bit worried about getting it done in time for Christmas! Especially as I am also trying to make as many Christmas presents as possible this year.

This is a detail of the pattern - I am really pleased with the way it is turning out, even if it is taking me forever!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Not the post I was intending...

Hello! It has been a while since I was one here - we went to Cornwall to see my brother and his girlfriend, and then I got tonsillitis which I haven't had for about 18 years and that was quite nasty. But I am all better now! Hooray for antibiotics.

I was going to blog about the Cornwall trip, but I have realised that in transferring my pictures to my mum's computer to show her, I somehow deleted them from my camera as well. The Cornwall trip post will have to wait. Instead, I want to show you the housewarming present I made them. Obviously, I am still working on the Blanket of Doom, which is now hopefully going to be their Christmas present and is the main present. I just wanted them to have something from us to celebrate their new jobs and new house!

Joe and Lau have just moved into a 3 bedroom place, which happily means that Alice sleeps in her own room when we are there - yay! They have 8 nephews and neices between them, and I decided that, although they don't have a sofa or rugs or even a bedframe at the moment, what they really needed was a name tag to go on the 3rd bedroom door for when the family come to stay! Obviously. Who doesn't need one of those?

So I went to Hobbycraft, and found these bits of wood -

Next I superglued a dowelling peg to the circular backboard, and sketched my ideas out. I am often very bad at planning. I tend to just 'do', and see what happens. This is what happened -

A few nights later (no painting in the day - can you imagine what a 12 month old would do with paint in the living room? I am bad enough, and still ended up with paint on my phone, clothes and me) I was done.

Poor Nadia ended up more brown than purple (an unfortunate consequence of the night time painting) but other than that I am quite pleased! The idea is that the name plates hang off the round backing and you swop them round depending on who is visiting.

My brother has had many years in which to practice his 'Thank you very much for this lovely handmade present' face, and he pulled out a blinder on receipt of the gift ;) Which is mainly what makes it worth it!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Handle with Care Treasury

This Summer we seem to have been here, there and everywhere. I feel very out of touch with all the changes that have gone on in Etsy - new shop layout? Prices in £s?

So I have just spent a bit of time looking around Etsy, and made my first treasury for a while - looking at UK based ceramic/pottery items. It's called Handle with Care - please check it out!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

My lovely new beret!

I always say I never win anything but, you know what? If you don't try, then you certainly won't.

A few weeks ago I saw that stitchywoowoo had found a great 1950s model of a lady's head that needed a name. The prize for the winning suggestion was one of stitchywoowoo's brilliant berets. I thought, it doesn't hurt to try, and you know what, she looks just like a Delores.

It turns out the Fates agreed with me!

Delores was the name that was pulled from the hat, and I got back from my holiday to find this lovely package in the post!

Please excuse the photo. I am 0% photogenic, and also really tired. But the hat is great! I checked with Delores for the right way to wear it, and I think I've got it nearly right. I can't shake the feeling she wears it a bit better than me, but practice makes perfect, don'tchaknow.

Stitchywoowoo doesn't just make great berets, though - check out her etsy shops stitchywoowoo and woowootwo for lots of different unique textile and art creations - including cushions, wrist cuffs and art dolls, plus a great selection of vintage supplies.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Flower Brooches Galore!

I was trying to work out what to do with what I thought was the teeny final bit of my lovely SkeinQueen yarn. So I found a little flower pattern and thought I would make a couple of those and make them into brooches. This is what happened next -

I wasn't expecting to get quite that many of them! Undeterred, I rifled through my sewing box, and found some pretty buttons I bought a couple of years ago from creamrose on etsy (who doesn't seem to trade on there anymore, or else I'd give you the link), some brooch backs, and some felt.

Two episodes of Cold Case and one episode of GhostWhisper later (OH helpfully being out at cricket for a long time yesterday), and I was done! Flower brooches all over the place. One is already winging its way to a friend of mine, leaving 7 to find new homes somewhere else.

This post is part of the I Made It Blog Party at Everything Etsy - go check out lots of other lovely things people have made this week!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

New lovelies from etsy

These are my two latest etsy purchases. That's the trouble with spending time on etsy - too many lovely things to look at! I am not supposed to be spending money....

This is a cute fabric brooch from Sabeena who makes brooches, bags and cushions, as well as unique paintings.

This is a really gorgeous silver lily pendant from somethingxtraspecial who makes really beautiful silver jewellery.

Do check them both out - you won't regret it!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Boot Fair Bargain

Look what I got at a boot fair yesterday - matching Daddy and Alice Green Flash trainers! The cutest thing ever! This, combined with my first etsy sale on Friday, made for a very satisfying weekend. Simple things.....

I got other good stuff at the boot fair too - baby clothes, toys and books - all for less than £10. I haven't been to one for ages, but it was really good. Guess where I'll be spending my Sunday mornings from now on......

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Showcase - bookity

bookity is my new favourite shop on etsy.

It is a great UK based store which makes lovely things out of books! And don't worry - it specifically says on the store that (I quote)"All my items are made from damaged, unwanted or unsaleable books." Phew.

This is what arrived in the post for me last week, with really cute packaging as well:

There is lots of awesome stuff though - romance novels made into wedding confetti, room ornaments, and amazing handbags made out of books as well. I am saving up for one of those.

Do go check it out!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

I Can Read You Like A Book Treasury

I bought into my first BNR treasury today on etsy (Buy and Replace - you buy an item, and it gets replaced with one from your own shop). I hadn't really planned to, I just saw some hair pins that (fingers crossed) will go perfectly with a dress I plan to wear to wedding in September.

Having said that, I do feel slightly glum that it hasn't resulted in a sale. It is going pretty well otherwise! I wonder again if it is my photos, but I just don't know what to do about that. Will have to have a good think.

On the upside, it reminded me to make a treasury I have been thinking about for a while. Called I Can Read You Like A Book - Almost it features gorgeous hand made notebooks and clever things made from books, all from UK-based etsy sellers.

I love books. One wall of our living room is pretty much filled with books. As well as a wall in Alice's room. And one in our bedroom. And there are boxes of my books beyond count in my parent's loft! I really must get up there one day soon and check them out....

I Knit Weekender Design Competition

Oh my gosh! One month to go before the I Knit Design Competition closes.

I Knit is a great shop in Waterloo which is really much much more than a shop - it is more like a knitting community centre, really. They run the I Knit Weekender Event (10-11 September 2010) which this year includes a design competition, with an exhibition of entries at the event and prizes of £250/£100/£50 - plus yarn! Further details can be found on their website.

I have been working on my design, which uses this lovely Rowan wool, for a while now -

Not because it is especially complicated, but because I am also working on the Blanket of Doom, and that is taking me forever. But I'd better get a wriggle on if I'm going to get in completed and sent off in time!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Flickr Themed Challenge - Graveyards!

The UK Etsy Challenge has been opened up! It has become the Flickr Themed Challenge Group and it is open to anyone, anywhere in the world, with an online shop or craft blog to promote - so get those thinking hats on, people, because the new challenge is here.

The challenges are pulled out of a hat by the lovely c-urchin from a big pile of suggestions, and this quarters challenge is Graveyards. Yes, really. It even finishes on Sunday 17th October - just in time for Halloween.

Work in progress photos are welcome, but you are only allowed to enter one item into the competition. There is no prize except pride, but it's a fun competition to enter.

And finally - I always like to throw pictures into my blog, so here are two picture of graveyards from my photo library, both coincidentally taken from the battlements of a castle. Funny, that (have I mentioned my castle obsession before?). The first is from the Isle of Wight, and the second is from Jordan - they are not very clear photos, but hey, sometimes you got to work with what you got!