Saturday, 26 June 2010

I Tried to Learn The Art of Crochet - Part 1


I am afraid I am a frequent victim of additional purchases while queuing at the supermarket - you know what I mean, when they display sweets, magazines, multibuys, gadgets and the like to tempt you while you wait forever in the longest queue that you thought was the shortest...

Last weekend, I fell victim to a craft magazine (not for the first time!), which promised to teach me how to crochet.  This is something that I have always wanted to try, but not having anyone in the family that could show me how as a youngster (my mother made sure I was adept in the arts of sewing, knitting, cross-stitch, embroidery, amongst other ladylike and housewifely pursuits) I had never given it a try.

So here was my chance - an open invitation into the World of Crochet - at a small price, so if I didn't get on with it, well there was no great investment lost.  (By the way, I also bought Hubby a pack of boxer shorts to redress the "treats" balance - how more fair could I be??!)

I got home and excitedly unpacked my goodies - magazine + crochet hook + 6 small balls of sample wool.  As Hubby got up later to go back to work (I send him out twice a day to earn his keep, bless him) he uttered the fateful words "I expect one of those frogs by the time I get home..."  Well, red rag to bull, I never can ignore a challenge!

Let me just say this right from the beginning - how bloody damn foolish of me - afterall, I had never even picked up a crochet hook before, let alone tried the 4 or 5 stitches that were required by this seemingly inoccuous pattern.

I will tell the rest of this story in pictures:

Here is the guilty party, magazine and contents that lured me to my doom...

Here is the article that inspired the glib challenge from Him Indoors - see that cheeky expression on the the little frogs face - he's saying "Ha! - you'll never get it to look like me!!!"

I resort to the internet - and YouTube in particular for a crash course in "How to Crochet, for the uninitiated, and downright MAD!!

After tying my fingers together several times, I finally get on my way to my first Magic Ring!

And if you can get your "magic" ring to work, then it really is magic... of the witchery type!

I soldier on - but the body is shrinking before my very eyes...!

OK, so the further I got the more fiddly it became to juggle my camera one handed, so I gave up on the photo-commentary, partly to spare my blushes...

...and this sorry little fellow was the result of nearly 4 hours HARD LABOUR!
Please don't laugh at him, he's only small!

Anyway, lessons have been learned, and so many of them... just because others can do it, doesn't mean it's easy - patience is a virtue (that I don't possess) - start with something easy - learn and practise the basics - not every challenge can be won - fluffy wool and a big crochet hook are not the friends of a beginner - my husband still loves me, even if you're laughing at my efforts - there are so many gifted crochet-ers out there, that have SOOO much new respect in my eyes.... etc, etc

This weekend I am off to my local aladins cave of fabric, wool and all that jazz, and I am going to buy a proper crochet hook, and some real crochet yarn - of the non-woolly kind!

Yes, you can say it...     CROCHET - I'm HOOKED !!!!!!

(Part 2 will follow, when I have untied my fingers...)

Friday, 25 June 2010

Folksy Friday - Get Yourself A LoveBug!

This week I have chosen Ladybirds as my Folksy Friday theme.  I was inspired by a link I followed on Twitter, showing a beautiful ladybird creation on Folksy - and the number of these curiously wonderful little creatures that inhabit my garden.

As usual, all of these items are for sale on Folksy and if you click on the item name below each picture it will take you directly to the sellers shop page, and give more details about each product.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Just a Quickie Today...

I have been very busy this week, so finding time for my weekly Saturday blog has, I'm afraid, been limited.  As has my inspiration...  I think I have used up my creative juice quota for the week!

To start with I have been working away at producing the ongoing order of vintage tea cup candles for a wedding next month - I'm half way there now; though with my over-strict self-imposed quality control, it could take me right up to the last minute to complete!

Also on the candle front I have been making "Sumptuous Sundaes" - some delightfully tasty looking layered candles in wonderfully kitsch 70's sundae glasses.  For this project I have kind of made it up as I go along... I always work better this way.  I start out with an idea of what the finished product will be, decide where to start, and then re-assess progress at every stage.  The result so far with my sundaes is very pleasing!  We start with a rasberry cream base, followed by a layer of blackberries, followed by a layer of cherries, topped with banana custard, and then cream on top of that!  The finale has yet to be made - I want a cream swirl on top of each, finished off with a cherry...  Yummm!!!  They should look (and smell) good enough to eat!

I have also spent much time networking - Twitter and Facebook (yes, I think I finally cracked it!), keeping in touch with other crafty people and followers everyday.  And I have caught up with some much belated blog reading - there are so many great ones to read - and I have updated the list of my favourites here on the blog.  Each one is thoroughly recommended!

On the subject of blogs - yes, I have changed my look yet again!  But I am happy with it now, so I think (I hope!) this look is here to stay for a while... In addition I have added a couple of new features:
I have added a link to my Facebook page...
I now have an Etsy Store Preview - a revolving gallery of items in my Etsy shop...
I have added new buttons for links to other sites...
I have a great new toolbar feature at the bottom there...
Oh, and countless other little tweaks...

I do hope you like the new look!

Other activities this week have included a grand clear out, finding many things to list on Ebay - my addiction spreads to selling as well as buying! - tackling our Monster Meadow of a garden (talking about the state of it, not the size) and finally getting to grips with the Great Washing Mountain.

In between this there has been physio sessions, dog walking, mosaic making, sewing, charity shop browsing, compiling statistics, photography, baking, reading... 

God, I love my life!!!!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Folksy Friday - Turquoise-tastic Bumper Edition...

I have been feeling very summery this week, and nothing shouts summer to me more than than the colour turquoise. It is bright and yet cool, vivid and yet fresh; it says clear blue skies and inviting aqua seas. So I couldn't resist finding out what gorgeous items were for sale in the Folksy shops in this beautiful colour.

I was totally bowled over by the sheer number of items and the diverse range of things available, so I have put together this marvellous super-selcetion; which I hope you will like too...

(As usual, click on the item name below the picture for more details and to be taken to the seller's shop on Folksy.)

And finally, after that exhausting but thoroughly wonderful tour of Folksy - a big thank you to all who agreed to participate in my Folksy Friday this week!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Bonus Blog - Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining


For those of you who have not heard already, after publishing Friday's "Folksy Friday" blog, showcasing some beautiful internationally themed items that can all be bought on Folksy - I received a threat of court action from one of the seller's whose product I was promoting...

Yes, believe it, what is the world coming to!

Despite having asked their permission to feature their item, and not hearing any objection, I was then severely reprimanded for "misuse of copyright" - being asked who the hell I was, and that I had no authority to show an image of their item.  Well, it is clear that they have no idea exactly what "Folksy Friday" is, and are not up for a bit of free advertising, or the redirected traffic they will have received to their shop from readers of my blog.  Hey ho, their loss!

Anyway, when I first read their message, I was shocked, upset and angry - in that order - and wanted to vent my spleen.  I posted a warning notice on the Folksy Forum - politely worded, and not naming the individual concerned (yes, it took a lot of restraint), hoping that at least someone would read it and sympathise.

Well, it has had nearly 1800 (!!!) views, at the last count  - and to date I have had 110 (!!!) responses - all messages of support, shock and horror... and the baying for blood was loUd and clear - most people wanted me to name the seller - but again I didn't - how good is that?!

I also twittered my frustration... receiving equally supportive replies - and the number of visitors to this blog, my website and my online shops - HAS ABSOLUTELY ROCKETED !!!!

So finally, I am drawing a line under this unfortunate incident - thank you very much Ms Anonymous for inadvertantly giving me such great exposure - but much much more importantly than that...


Saturday, 12 June 2010

My Favourite Designer - Matthew Williamson

I was chuffed to pieces when I opened my Mail on Sunday last weekend, to find that they had a short feature on Matthew Williamson...  I mentioned this to several other people, and they said ...who??

I first came across MW (sorry for the abbreviation - love you, but your name is rather long to keep typing) only a couple of years ago when I was looking for a new handbag.  Those who know me will know of my ebay addiction, and so won't be surprised to hear that this is where I fell head over heals with this MW butterfly bag....

It's totally gorgeous - slouchy, purpley, sequinned - and totally me!
(In case anyone is feeling overly generous, I still don't own one of this design - and being an impoverished crafter, I just don't have the pennies at the moment.....  any offers...??? no...?? oh well, worth a try!)

Anyway, having found this little beauty, and found out who this wonderful designer was, I cried "Where have you been all my life!"  because THIS is how I have been feeling I should be for all my adult life...  (make sense?)

In fact, and some of you will already be screaming this, MW has been around the fashion design world for some time now, and is well established and well regarded.  His designs and products encompass not just clothes (men as well as women), but accessories and perfume too.  His vibe is all hippy-chick / bohochic - and he rates the much boho-ed Sienna Miller (ask anyone to name a bohochic icon, and they will invariable name Ms Miller) as one of his close friends.

He has spent time designing for Monsoon, and his style is very much influenced by a indian / gypsy theme, and he is also closely associated (perhaps inaccurately) with the Ibiza scene.

Having designed collections for Debenhams and H&M, as well as having stores in London, New York, Dubai and Kuwait, plus his own online store ( - he is very hip, very with it, very happening, very now - and very, very busy!

He is definitely one of my Favourite People, and easily wins a seat at my All Time Fantasy Dinner Party table, and I could ramble on for ages singing his praises.  But instead I will leave you with this link to the article that pleased me so much:

and this link to Wikipedia, for more MW facts:

and if you want any more information, well, you'll just have to google him yourself!