Saturday, July 31, 2010


Wedding No. 232
Originally uploaded by The Small Object

How gorgeous is this little family made by The Small Object? "Very" is the answer you are looking for, I think. Would it be wrong to get married just so you could commission a Small Object wedding topper? I'm sure there are worse reasons!

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in and let any concerned readers (well, there MAY be some - I have been awol for over a week, after all) know that I'm still alive and well. I'm rather tired today after the crazy late night booze fuelled market last night and I've spent all afternoon and evening cleaning and tidying (I'm now at the lovely bask-in-the-newly-created-space stage) so I'm not really in any state of mind to string proper sentences together. I'm planning to come back tomorrow, though, to blog a bit more properly about how the two markets went. Just to entice you (ha!) one was great and the other was, er, interesting!

Friday, July 23, 2010

bobbie busts a move

Just a wee spot of musical entertainment for us all as I frantically get ready for the Made In The Shade Summertime Hop tomorrow. I've been listening to Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell on spotify this morning as I attach brooches to playing cards and put felt backings on embroideries. I would love to wear an outfit like Bobbie's but would probably get arrested (or make some poor innocent go blind) if I did.

Graham has the day off today too, which doesn't happen too often, so I'm going to take a foolhardy break and go out for lunch and to visit just one (or maybe about four) charity shops. I'll be back for some hard graft this afternoon and evening, though.

I had a rather unfortunate freak accident this morning and am all bandaged and bleeding, but struggling on ;) I might share the story later on, but it does involve photos of cats again and I do fear for my reputation... Suffice to say, I may have to invest in a tranquiliser dart gun for Poppy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I actually didn't watch that much TV as a child!

Behold how the robots mock the lowly potato!
I thought my test card girl embroidery might look a bit lost on my stall all on her own, so I made a mini range of teeny tiny TV (t)embroideries. (I'm pretty sure I can't get away with calling these tapestries just to satisfy my penchant for alliteration...)
I'm not sure whether anybody else will feel as affectionate as I do towards the Thames logo, but this reminds me of the TV of my childhood more than just about anything else, I think.
If my fingers weren't on strike, I'd love to make a little Mr Spoon/Button Moon embroidery to round off the set.

I've actually just remembered that I have a vital piece of sewing to do before this weekend's market. I sold the second-last Ethel and Willie embroidery recently (to a customer who sent me the most lovely thank you email afterwards, which really made my day/week) and the final Ethel embroidery is not quite finished. She very nearly is, but I did cry and bleed a lot when I sewed one lousy brooch last night, so I don't relish the thought of completing her. I'm not ready to do a market without her, though. I need my Walford posse for moral support! Last night, I also discovered it is not possible to sew while wearing gloves. Oh, well, worth a try, right? I think tonight I'll try sewing while wearing ten plasters... and then look for a new obsession. I don't think I'll have to look very hard, actually. A friend was ordering himself some gocco supplies this week and offered to get me a few exciting (to me) colours of ink while he was at it. None of my new print ideas (yes, I do have some already!) have quite come together yet, but the oily smell of the inks has made me really excited to gocco again, so I am going to seriously focus my energies on that soon. Exciting!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

go dine with kate

If I was anywhere near London between now and the 3rd of August, I would definitely be going to see Come Dine With Kate, featuring the brilliant (and sometimes totally barmy) crocheted (and knitted?) foodstuffs by Kate Jenkins. These sequinned prawns are very Marguerite Patten! If you are in the London area, click on the link for details and please visit on my behalf.

Monday, July 19, 2010

when good crafters turn bad...

It's official - I have lost my crafting mojo. I just spent the last couple of hours tinkering with a hot air balloon idea I've been hatching for a few months and these abominations are the result! You can see (from left to right) that they did improve as I went on, but they did not improve quite enough and are now being abandoned. Hopefully a few more months of this idea rattling around in my head will enable me to come back to it and do something (much, much) better, but we will have to wait and see.
I'm going to send the third attempt to a friend in the post, because all (personal) mail is good mail, even if it is officially a reject card, right? Scrabbling around for positives, I do like the fact you can put a secret extra letter in the balloon's basket... but that is about all I can come up with!

I'm trying not to let this day of craft failure affect my confidence as I have serious market fear and am looking at all my stuff and going, "Not good enough!" However, I did make more miniature bunting yesterday and today, which frankly made me feel like a bona fide crafting genius! Thank goodness for miniature bunting - crafting is so much more fun when you actually love the thing you've made :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

judy for girls

I'm loving this old Judy annual. I saw it in a charity shop many months ago, but thought it was a bit overpriced. There was lots of writing over the pictures that I liked plus I'm trying to resist more purchases in general. Recently, though, I picked the same annual up and found it had been reduced to a much more reasonable price. This time, resistance was futile!
I love these two pictures from the inside cover, so I scanned them and photoshopped out all the felt penning. Apparently this annual belonged to a girl called Jane Fairgrieve and apparently Jane Fairgrieve liked to write her name in VERY LARGE LETTERS.
Ta-da! Judy For Girls! And just where did those two extra balls appear from...?

I'm busy being productive this morning and touching wood that I don't get called into work.* The Summertime Hop in Edinburgh (where I have a stall - please come and visit!) is now only 6 days away. Eep! I've been sidetracked by embroidery, which has eaten into way too much of my crafting time, so I haven't managed to make all the ideas in my head come to fruition. Some of them may have to wait until after the markets, unfortunately. All this embroidering has also confirmed to myself that sewing definitely is what I'm allergic to (or sewing needles, at least) as my hands are very painful and are bleeding a lot again. It's very frustrating as I spent about 4 weeks putting on lotions and potions every half hour or so to get my hands to the (somewhat improved) stage they were at. I obviously like sewing a lot as I know the most sensible thing would be to stop doing it, but I just can't bring myself to do that. Why oh why? This crafting life is really a mystery to me...

Right, off to try to do things other than embroidery (though I hear it calling me).

* It may surprise you to learn that subtitlers, just like doctors and other people with the world's most important jobs (ha!) are often on call. Talking of my job, I did the subtitles for tomorrow night's EastEnders and I do recommend that you watch if you have been looking forward to Adam getting his comeuppance. It's a classic scene!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

my magical mini commute

two of hearts
Originally uploaded by lesley barnes

Yesterday I was in a bad grump before I left for work and stomped all the way to the underground feeling very down in the dumps. As I was sitting on the train reading my book, I noticed that the young man next to me was practising shuffling a pack of cards. I sneakily watched him in the reflection in the window and it was all very impressive until we got to Govan and he dropped the whole pack of cards all over the floor and my feet. Everyone else was getting off the train at this point and we ended up chatting as he picked the cards up. He asked me if I would like to see a trick and I said yes. He gave the cards a high-speed shuffle and in the blink of an eye, spread them into a perfect fan and asked me to choose a card. I chose a card and put it back in the pack. He gave the cards another high speed shuffle, tapped them and said that if he'd done it right, my card should be at the top of the pack. He picked up the top card, the seven of diamonds, and I had to confess it wasn't my card. "Hold that a second," he said and passed me the seven of diamonds. He tapped the pack again. Still not my card. He tried again, beginning to look a bit sheepish. Still not my card. After two more failed attempts, I was beginning to feel very awkward - this man clearly could not do magic. "OK, I give up. Tell me what your card was," he said. I told him it was the three of hearts. "But you said that wasn't your card!" he exclaimed, pointing at the card in my hand. I looked at the card I was holding and it had turned from the seven of diamonds into my card, the three of hearts. I was amazed! The train pulled into Ibrox and the magician said goodbye and got off the train. By the time I got to work, I had a big smile on my face. Hooray for the good kind of random strangers :)

ps The picture I've used is one of (bookmark maker extraordinaire) Lesley Barnes' cards. She's been making a whole pack and you can see them here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

see what I meant about miniaturisation?

Roll up, roll up! Allow me to present to you, the miraculously miniaturised bunting in a box! Yes, this bunting is so teeny tiny that it fits inside your averagely miniscule matchbox. I am in love with this bunting. I was going to save it for the forthcoming markets, but couldn't resist using it to make my etsy shop look a bit more lively. I'll be adding it to my shopify soon, too, but for now, you can find it here. I really enjoyed designing the packaging for this and it turned out just how I had imagined plus a little bit better. Don't you love it when that happens?
Today's act of miniaturisation was a revisit to something I was toying with a couple of weeks ago. Yes, I have upgraded from black and white to colour television and here is the new and improved test card girl and clown to prove it.
Still as tiny as ever, she is totally stitched by hand this time around and has also had some colouring pencil excitement in her life - ooh la la. (Like the bunting, she is also in my etsy shop just now and should be up in shopify soon too.) I am really liking her, but am curious to see how she goes down with other people when I take her to markets. When I showed this to Graham earlier, he said, "That's crazy." I took that to mean crazy in a good way, crazy that I had stitched something so small and detailed etc. Sadly, he then clarified his comment with, "It's like something a crazy person would make." Ha! Well, as most crafters seem to, I do often question myself as to why I make any of the things I do and I cannot think of a single reason why I made (and love) this embroidery... Fetch the straightjacket!
Also added to my etsy shop tonight are some kits to make your own pinwheel brooch, rather like this personal favourite of mine, here. I've made a big bag of pinwheel brooches to take to markets (and they look so summery and jaunty in all their beautiful colours and patterns!) and a big bag of make-your-own kits too.
Again, I am so pleased with how my illustrated instructions turned out, and my packaging too. I don't think I had realised how much I actually like designing things with a notepad/pencil and a computer. Like I said last night, the EastEnders ban seems to have been a good idea!

Talking of EastEnders (I am still allowed to talk about it!) I have been rather traumatised by the turn of events this week. Have you? I won't say any more in case (like me) you're having to catch up on i player a lot thanks to the schedule being all over the place, but suffice to say I don't like the way things are going...

Right, I'm off to drink a couple of gin and tonics and hopefully watch The IT Crowd that I taped earlier. I'm aiming to eke the evening out as much as possible because I don't really want to go to work tomorrow. There are no opportunities for miniaturisation at work, you see, whereas at home, the possibilities are endless :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

pussies galore (indulge me... or just skip to the end!)

Apparently I have only mentioned my cats in 26 of my 331 blog posts (which is not so bad) so I am not going to apologise for this bona fide cat lady (cat bore) blog post. Just look how cute they were being today. Aw...
This is Poppy - small but tough.
Here is Lola - made of fluff.
(Oh dear, I just wrote a poem about them. Maybe I should apologise after all...)
And lastly, Lola's tufty paw. Sigh...
OK, enough cat ladying (for now).
In the midst of all this cat gushing (and not much blogging) of late, I have actually been productive in the extreme! Yes, extreme productivity - I've become the Bear Grylls of the craft world. Well, nearly... I still don't think I've found a new 'direction' to fill the EastEnders shaped hole in my life (unless, possibly, that new direction is miniaturisation...) but I have had a lot of fun and have come up with a few new products. Here's a wee sneaky peak of one that I was working on today, but I'll have to come back when I have more decent photos to share because this does not do it justice at all. I've been so excited about this one that I literally have not been able to sleep some nights! That makes me think the EastEnders ban has been a good idea :)

All these new products are coming at a very good time as I have a stall at two very exciting events later this month and it will be good to see people's reactions to the new stuff first hand. The first event is the Made In The Shade Summertime Hop in Edinburgh on July 24th. This will be my very first market outside Glasgow and I'm really excited to be dragging my wares to meet a whole new audience in the capital! The second is the Pin Up Nights Festival in The Flying Duck (Glasgow) on July 30th. It's on from 9pm-3am, which is very exciting and rock and roll for a homebody/early-to-bed type like me! Mind you, I'm working till 8 that day and then heading straight there, so there is a chance I will embarrass myself by falling asleep behind my stall... Not so rock and roll! I'll try to start getting some half-decent photos of my progress and preparations to share with you here. More crafts, less cats - I promise!

Friday, July 2, 2010

exciting interweb activity

Just dropping in to share a few exciting interweb discoveries.
Firstly, Super Cute Kawaii is having a spectacular sale and has reduced 50 items to just £1! I'm afraid we were all too slow to snap up this great little robot patch, but there are many other wondrous bargains still available.
Secondly, brutalist weaver (I wish I could call myself that!) Emma Shannon got in touch to say she has set up a blog where she is posting some of her awesome textiles. (She didn't say they were awesome, that was me!) She was the person whose work I loved at the Glasgow School of Art degree show, but couldn't find any examples of to share. Here is one example, but you should visit her blog (where I pinched this image from) to see more. So good, but not exactly helping to keep a lid on my weaving hankerings...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

fun post! for me! for real!

I just got a surprise package in the post. Hooray! This lovely bag was inside. My friend, Bernadette, found it when she was charity shopping recently and very kindly sent it to me. I love it! Thanks, Bernie.
Here's a close up of the buttons for all you button lovers. The bag is a bit of a strange shape with a rather small opening, leading Bernie to speculate it could be a knitting bag. However, I have thin arms and small hands, so intend to use it as a handbag. I'll get a reputation as being the button lady, but there are worse reputations a girl could have!
Totally unrelated, here's a wee picture of Poppy snoozing in the sunshine that I snapped a couple of days ago. Aw. She's so cute, I even forgive her for puking on our clean bedsheets this morning.