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!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Pale Green Fingers and the Orange Tree

I got married just over a year ago and my siblings bought my husband and me this beautiful orange tree as a gift -

It is totally lovely, but I was really worried that they had obviously had a brief moment of madness, and forgotton how I can kill anything pot-based in a matter of months! The omens weren't good when it started to wilt and drop leaves a few weeks later.....

However, a move to the kitchen did wonders for our little tree and this is how it looks today -

A little bit sparser than the same time last year, but definately still alive, and even with a few new oranges! Though somehow they aren't as orange as they were the first time around.

While I am pretty pleased with myself for getting the orange tree this far, I am not really sure what to do next with it. I was wondering if there was anyone out there with some proper green fingers who could give me advice?

Do I prune? Do I never prune? When do I take the oranges off? Should I replant (this is something that has never gone well for me before)? What next????

All thoughts gratefully received!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Bees Go Buzz.... My first etsy treasury

I seem to be a bit insect obsessed at the moment!

I have finally got round to curating a treasury on etsy, and it is all bees, butterflies, dragonflies and ladybirds! I know insects are funny things that inspire a great deal of fear sometimes - personally, I have a spider-thing (shiver down my spine just thinking about it), but I know plenty of people with bee, wasp, and ladybird things too - still, some of these items are really lovely, so if you can bear it, check it out!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Backlinking - a good idea

I just read about this in an etsy forum post, and it makes a lot of sense - backlinking at the bottom of an item, to help viewers find relevant items. It might be obvious to you, but it has just never occurred to me before!

For example, I make some Swing Earrings with pearls, and list them.

A few days later I make the same style earrings but with turquoise, and list them.

If I put at the bottom of the listing 'I also make these earrings with pearls', and add a link to the earrings directly, then people can check them out directly if they want to without going through 3 other links to find them.

Clever. See an example here

I am off to go through all my listings and backlink where appropriate!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Showcase - Butterflies

I don't know about where you all are, but the sun has gone in today, and the sky is grey grey grey. So I decided to cheer myself up by looking for some lovely stuff on etsy. I was reading a caterpillar book to Alice earlier and they all turn into beautiful pop up butterflies at the end which she loved - so I decided to search for some other beautiful butterflies to cheer all of us up too. These are my favourites:

A gorgeous silver and titanium butterfly locket by anitacurtis

A bright and cheerful felt brooch by lupin

A lovely silver pendant by AliBaliJewellery (I love love her coral pieces)
And some cute and dainty cards by RUBYrecycled

Mmm, lovely. Once I've done all the data entry I am currently supposed to be ploughing through, I might even be able to buy myself one of these lovely things!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Work in Progress - Alice's Silver Box

Work continues on Alice's silver box - all the soldering is done, and now I just need to 'finish it off' - on a project like this, that is at least half the work! There is filing and sanding and polishing, and maybe a bit of hammering to try and harden the gold wire that forms the branch and the spiral (in the photo below) that stops the lid from spinning round and round. And then there is some platinol to paint on and polish off. I've got three and a half weeks to get it finished!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Free Knitting Pattern - Zig and Zag Snakes

These are two dinky snakes I knitted using some yarn I had left over from socks. Zig is the plainer snake with the sewn on pattern and Zag the stripy one. They are a perfect size for little baby hands to grab, and light enough to be waved around. They also appear to be a hit with kittens!

Size: approximately 22cm long

Yarn used: Rowan 4ply Soft in 2 colours. This pattern used Cream and Linseed. It is best to use this pattern to finish up left over wool as you don’t need much of each colour – each snake uses around 10g of yarn.

3.75mm needles

Tension: 25 stitches and 30 rows of stocking stitch = 10cm²


S1 = Slip one stitch
PSO = Pass slipped stitch over knit stitch
K2tog = Knit 2 stitches together
M1 = Make 1 stitch


Both snakes – CO 10 stitches with Main Colour (M).

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: (and all even rows): Purl
Row 3: K1, M1, K3, M1, K2, M1, K3, M1, K1 (14 st)
Row 5: K1, M1, K4, M1, K4, M1, K4. M1, K1 (18 st)
Row 7: K1, M1, K5, M1, K6, M1, K5, M1, K1 (22 st)
Row 9: K1, M1, K6, M1, K8, M1, K6, M1, K1 (26 st)
Row 11: K1, M1, K24, M1, K1 (28 st)
Row 13: Knit
Row 15: K1, S1, K1, PSO, K7, S1, K1, PSO, K4, K2tog, K7, K2tog, K1 (24 st)
Row 17: K1, S1, K1, PSO, K6, S1, K1, PSO, K2, K2tog, K6, K2tog, K1 (20 st)
Row 19: K8, S1, K1, PSO, K2tog, K8 (18 st)
Row 21: Knit

Zig Snake – continue using M
Zag Snake – Row 23, join in Contrast Colour (CC) and then alternate colours every 2 rows.

Pattern block A:

Row 23: K4, M1, K9, K2tog, K3
Row 25, 27, 29: Repeat Row 23

Pattern block B:

Row 31: K3, S1, K1 PSO, K9, M1, K4
Row 33, 35, 37: Repeat Row 31

Rows 39-46 : Repeat pattern block B.

Rows 47-62: Repeat pattern block A twice.

Rows 63-70: Repeat pattern block B.

Row 71: Knit
Row 73: K1, S1, K1, PSO, K12, K2tog, K1 (16 st)
Row 75: K1, S1, K1, PSO, K10, K2tog, K1 (14 st)
Row 77: K1, S1, K1, PSO, K8, K2tog, K1 (12 st)
Row 79: K1, S1, K1, PSO, K6, K2tog, K1 (10 st)
Row 81: K1, S1, K1, PSO, K4, K2tog, K1 (8 st)
Row 83: K1, S1, K1, PSO, K2, K2tog, K1 (6 st)

Break off yarn with a c.40 cm tail. Thread yarn through remaining 6 stitches,and sew up snake body seam to head, and then stuff the body. I used Minicraft Supersoft Toy Filling (100% HiLoft Polyester). Sew up the head to the mouth and stuff the head, finish by sewing up the mouth.

Zig Snake: using CC sew eyes on either side of head, and also make body pattern at random points by sewing over individual stitches.

Zag Snake: using CC sew eyes on either side of head.