Posted in Giving

Cute Crochet Competition!

 

One last bundle of giveaway goodies to go, and this time it’s crochet-tastic. I can’t crochet. I tried once and it basically looked like I had just tied a bunch of knots in a bit of wool. These books are all WAY beyond my skills, so it’s time for them to go. Amigurumi – who am I kidding?!

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Want to win? Click over to my Not On The High Street shop and tell me what your favourite item of mine is there. Leave a comment below to let me know!

Leave your comment by 12 noon on Thursday 4th December and remember to check back to see if you’ve won!

I think that might be it…for now! But do remember to come back for winner info. And also, just to see me, you know. Let’s be pals.

 

Posted in Giving

A Million Things To Give Away

I’ve been such a bad blogger this year. I’ve just been flat out busy and I haven’t had time to devote to the frivolity of chronicling my life. Lately, I’ve been working a lot, helping my friends open their new business venture in Glasgow, travelling, doing custom work… despite ostensibly closing up my business in July, I’ve actually been busier than ever!

One thing though that I have been quietly doing in small stages is shedding extraneous possessions – a whole car load went off to the charity shop last month and I’ve been ebaying clothes and books and all sorts of fancy unguents I’ve never used. I find it quite cathartic.

Whilst I’ve been parting with things, I’ve found quite a large stash of stuff I’ve been saving to give as gifts, or things people have given me that I couldn’t bear to part with but have come to realise I am never going to use (please don’t be offended if  you gave me any of these things, I just want to pass them on to someone who will use them rather than hoard them magpie-like, as I do). To this end, I have a whole series of giveaways lined up and this is numero uno!

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The first prize pot is pictured here, and includes:

  • Knitted Cakes and Everything Oz books.
  • Jonathan Adler bee notebook.
  • Kawaii burger cross stitch by me.
  • Anthropologie push pins.
  • An array of stickers, badges and sewing notions.
  • Tiny sugar/trinket pot

Would you like a little parcel of joy in the mail? This could all be yours – just leave me a comment below and I’ll add your name into the hat. I’ll draw a winner once I return from the States – I am going to spend Thanksgiving with my family there, exciting!

Leave your comment by 12 noon on Thursday 4th December and remember to check back to see if you’ve won!

Do feel free to Twitter about the giveaways – the more, the merrier! And I have a bunch of other giveaways lined up in the coming weeks – so stay tuned!

Posted in Making

Imagination Admin

My colleague Chris got married to a beautiful lady called Zenobia recently. It was a lovely day and a really fun wedding to attend. We danced to an amazing proper disco band and laughed lots.

I wanted to make them a sampler to commemorate their day, but was pretty short on time to design something myself, so I took to the internet and found Imagination Admin.

il_570xN.617671852_dge3I thought this was particularly fitting because the bride is a librarian, so I bought the chart, which the lovely Ashley customised for me and sent over really quickly. Great service! I tweaked it a bit to fit the frame I had chosen (I knew they were having a gold theme for the wedding which fitted well with my classic frames) and came up with this:

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I added a wee Issued By bit, too:

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I’m pleased to say that the happy couple seemed to love it! Hooray for love. And cross stitch.

Posted in Good Reads

Review: Sewing With Letters

CALLING ALL TYPE FANS! In my parcel of booky loveliness from Ivy Press, I was rather pleased to find this tome by Nicola Tedman and Sarah Skeate – Sewing With Letters.

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My first thought obviously was ‘I’d never have the patience to knit the jumper big enough to fit my dog,’ but I quickly got over that and plunged right in.

There are some lovely projects in this book, but I’d say they are geared towards those with slightly more experience – you wouldn’t want to jump cold into these bad boys.

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I really liked this washbag project using the Futura font – so simple and stylish. Reminds me of Jonathan Adler.

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I also love the Santa Fe font, and this calligraphic table runner would be super-styling in a contemporary kitchen. I really want to have a go at calligraphy again, I used to be right into it when I was a kid.

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No craft book is complete without a project to make a doorstop, let’s face it – the obligatory one here is pretty cool though, and again, very much geared towards a contemporary home where the occupants are dressed in Toast and reading the Observer Food Monthly.

There are a bunch of templates at the back of book that you can enlarge to use for some of the projects, with instructions on what percentage to enlarge them by. I’d find this a bit of a faff, I think, so I probably wouldn’t tackle any of these ones, if I am being brutally honest.

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Overall though, it’s a pretty good collection of more difficult projects and again, you can see repeat makes in there. I particularly like that each font that is used has a wee history of it beside it – educational AND fun!

You can find this book on Amazon here.

Thanks to Ivy Press for supplying me with books for free. This is totally my own opinion, by the way. And that’s not an affiliate link, so there.

Posted in Good Reads

Review: Sew Quick Sew Cute

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I was recently sent a lovely parcel of books from Ivy Press to read and review and to my dismay, I am only just getting the chance to write up my findings! It’s been rather a hectic time, but I’ve loved flicking through these crafty tomes and found myself inspired to make things for my actual self, which is no mean feat these days, I can tell you.

First up is Sew Quick Sew Cute by Fiona Goble. Featuring 30 projects which promise to be both simple and speedy, it’s already appealing to me and my limited attention span. The introduction is a little bit sketchy – for example the “buying a sewing machine” bit pretty much just says “buy a mid-priced one” which is a bit of a general statement! However, I do realise that this part of the book is kind of a necessary evil and not one that most people would actually bother to read. No one buys this sort of book for a list of things they should buy to equip a sewing basket, for example – they are all about the projects.

So, how about those projects? Well, I haven’t had time to make anything out of the book myself yet, but it’s a good sign for me that I fully intend to! The one thing that really struck me about this book straight away from first flickage, is that there are loads of great projects that I can totally see being go-to makes for gifts.


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This Valentine envelope project looks super-easy and would be great for all kinds of gifts, all year round.

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And a tablet case would make a great gift for so many people – Mum, I am looking at your birthday here (she won’t read this, don’t worry!).

I also really like the illustrated step-by-step instructions, which give a nice tone to the whole book:

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Is it weird for a book to give you a feeling of serene calm? Somehow, this does inspire you with the confidence that it will all turn out well. I am not sure how, but hats off to you, Fiona Goble! This is like the gazillionth book she has written though, so she’s well-practiced, to be fair.

I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re looking to add some good, solid gift makes to  your repertoire, whether you are well-versed in the art of sewing or not. You’ll find it on Amazon here.  And, I can’t resist one last snap of  my favourite project – who can I make this for?!

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Cute penguins – WINNER.

Thanks to Ivy Press for supplying me with books for free. This is totally my own opinion, by the way. And that’s not an affiliate link, so there.

Posted in Good Reads, Making

Craftydermy

Now, here’s a thing – I don’t think I actually blogged about this previously. It happened in the midst of house shit and I forgot, most like. But behold – Craftydermy:

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I was invited to contribute a project to the book and wanted to do something small and quick – so often with these books, I flick through and get put off by the amount of time the projects take, so whenever I am lucky enough to be asked to contribute, I always pick something small and fast to make!

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I had to nick this photo from the lovely Laura from Bugs & Fishes blog because I am lame -but she has written a nice review of the book which you should read (thanks, Laura!).

Slightly annoyed that they spelled my name incorrectly inside! But I was pleased that they included my wee deer, none the less!

I should probably put together some sort of page with all my stuff like this on – a creative CV! Fancy that.

Posted in Indie Business

If You Got A Problem, Yo, I’ll Solve It

Image courtesy of BBC
Image courtesy of BBC

One of my career goals has always been to write more, and one of the aspects of that I’ve always wanted to do, probably from when I was a teenager, is write an agony aunt column.

Just Seventeen never did call and Dear Deidre is not really my style, but I got to thinking – what do I know about? Craft and indie business. What do I get loads of? Unsolicited emails, Tweets and messages asking me for advice and help.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

So, if you’re a crafter looking to set up your own business, or perhaps you’re established but wondering how to select which craft fair to attend, or maybe you just have a dilemma you want to talk over but are in your own studio, alone, staring at the walls and feeling sick – get in touch!

You can email me at hello@thebellwether.co.uk with your question and I’ll scour my brainbox for a solution for you. Sometimes this will be from my own noggin and sometimes I’ll point you in the direction of another great article written by one of the community of awesome people there are in the indie craft/design business here on our fair shores.

Hopefully, at least one of you has something you want to talk about and will be in touch! And if not, well, you can still read my dronings on the matter anyway.

Bet you’ve got this in your head now, too:

Posted in Making

Crafty Blog Sale

If moving house teaches you one thing, it’s that you have too much stuff. It’s only when you have to carry all your belongings, every last one, into a new house that you realise you need to thin it out. Starting with some of the extraneous stuff in my studio/office, I’m clearing out some stuff. I started over on Instagram the other day and some of it’s already gone, but here’s what’s left. Instructions at the end for how to purchase! Please spread the word.

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SOLD! 1. Big reel of vintage style “admit one” cinema tickets in mint green. I brought these back from USA a few years ago and never did anything with them. £10 for the lot including UK P&P. I’d rather not split these into smaller lots.

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SOLD! 2. 2 x 9cm diameter wooden cross stitch blanks. These are priced at £5 each, including UK P&P.

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3. Wee sampler that I never did anything with – £6 inc UK P&P.

cakeribbon

SOLD! 4. 15ft roll of cupcake ribbon, approx 1cm wide. £2 inc UK P&P.

evenweave

5. This is two seperate lots – both are ecru/grey evenweave linen aida type fabric borders – one is 7cm wide and the bigger is 16cm wide. Both are approximately 1m long. £5 for the bigger and £3.50 for the smaller, both including UK P&P. (Specify which width you’d like). £8 for both.

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SOLD! 6. Wee pair of folding mini scissors in a plastic case – £2 inc UK P&P.

gluesticks

7. Glue sticks – wrong size for my glue gun – new and unused. £2.50 including UKP&P.

HELLOSTICKERS

8. Set of 10 Hello, my name is… stickers in red and white – £1.50 including UK P&P (I have more than one of these).

hoops

SOLD! 9. 1 pink 3″ flexihoop and 1 white flexihoop – both for £4 including UK P&P.

islice

10. iSlice paper cutter – £2.25 including UK P&P. Unwrapped and new.

keychains

11. Set of 2 mini cross stitch aida keychains – £3.50 including UK P&P.

monkeyfab

12. Approx 1m squared of sock monkey cotton fabric from reprodepot, few years back – £5 including UK P&P.

needles

SOLD! 13. Pack of double-ended cross stitch and tapestry needles. I have opened the pack – couldn’t get to grips with them, personally. £1.50 including UK P&P.

portraitwood

14. 7.75cm x 5.75cm portrait wooden cross stitch blank with jump ring. £8 including UK P&P.

ricrac15. Sticky ric-rac strips approx 30cm long – £1.75 including UK P&P.

roundpc

SOLD! 16. Set of 8 round plastic canvas blanks, approximately 4 inches in diameter – £2 including UK P&P.

skeins17. Set of 36 skeins of craft thread for making friendship bracelets, macrame, crochet, embroidery. £2.50 including UK P&P.

squarepcSOLD! 18. Set of 8 square plastic canvas blanks – approximately 4inches square – £2 including UK P&P.

stampSOLD! 19. Small “meet me at…” clock rubber stamp. Please excuse my hideous thumb in this photo. £2 including UK P&P.

string

20. 5m of red and white baker twine/butcher string/whatever you call it. £2 including UK P&P. Longer lengths are available, let me know.

tapemeasure

21. Vintage style tape measures – I have 2 blue and 2 yellow. £1.50 each including UK P&P, or if you want all 4, you can have them for £4 including UK P&P.

totes22. 3 cotton tote bags – 2 black, 1 cream. I am not sure where these came from, but perfect for embroidering on. A bit crumpled. £5 including UK P&P for all 3.

widewood23. 7.75cm x 5.75cm horizontal wooden cross stitch blank with jump ring. £8 including UK P&P.

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24. Matroyshka deco tape £2.50 including UK P&P.

How To Purchase

Send an email to hello@thebellwether.co.uk stating the item number(s) you wish to purchase.

Once you receive confirmation from me that you can have it (to make sure of no duplicate sales!), send funds to same email address via Paypal.

Items will be dispatched by Second Class Royal Mail post shortly afterwards. Proof of posting will be retained. In the event of any missing items, I will provide you with the proof of postage for you to make a claim directly.

Contact me with any questions at the same email address.

Have at it! I’ll likely add more things at a later date. Spread the word far and wide.

Posted in Living

House Update #BEDM

I’m not sure I could write about today’s topic, Best Friends – I am lucky to have a great many friends, some near, some far. Let’s leave it at that.

Instead, I am delighted to say that there is an end in sight to our house woes. For in just a few weeks’ time, we’ll be moving here!

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It’s just a couple of miles away from where we are currently and it’s a lovely big old farmhouse with six, count ’em, bedrooms. As this is a long-term let, we’re thinking to the future and considering opening a B&B. There are lots of opportunities with this house that we’re excited about – the potential is awesome. Craft classes – maybe even residential retreats? Opening a farm shop? Cookery classes (with my ex-chef mum)? EEEEEEEK!

The other really exciting thing is that the house backs on to 25 acres of woodland, planted by the owner. The dog is going to LOVE it.

This is all very timely, as the house we are currently renting is finally being repossessed, with papers being served this past week. We’re getting out at the right time, it seems.

Wish us luck!

I’m blogging every day in May as part of BEDM. Find out more here.

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Posted in Making

Bank Holiday Fun

Bank holiday fun has been thin on the ground today, so instead, here is what I have done.

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Finished making and written up this tutorial on how to make a plastic canvas gift tag. It’s part of a blog hop being organised by Diane of Crafty Pod. I’m quite honoured to have been asked to not only contribute to it but open the whole series.

Eaten some Comte cheese and Sperlonga bread for breakfast/lunch. I went to Whole Foods yesterday.

Played with Max for a bit. It’s his birthday today. He got a new collar and a Frisbee.

Took some quick snaps of my new exciting product and listed them for sale on my lunch break:

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They are now available to pre-order, for dispatch next week, here.

Worked.

FIN.

I’m blogging every day in May as part of BEDM. Find out more here.

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Posted in Indie Business, Random Utterings

Lately

Several things to note:

The winner of my embroidery giveaway has not been in touch, so I’ve picked another one. You snooze, you lose.  The second winner is Jules. Drop me a line, I’ll post out your loot.

I’m going to be doing a (birth)day in the life on Monday 11th March. Do join in if you can. Here’s what it’s all about.

And last but not least, I’ve killed off Miso Funky. The Bellwether is where it’s at now. Check me one time.

Enter The Bellwether's Facebook Competition!

As you can see, you can win large with a simple Facebook like. Click to it.

Posted in Making

Stitchy Giveaway

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I’ve been doing a bit of clearing out lately and over the weekend, I gathered together a bunch of embroidery and cross stitch stuff that I have no need of. Rather than list it on eBay, I thought I’d amass it into one package of awesomeness and give it away!

There are loads of iron on vintage cross stitch and embroidery transfers, some mini kits, a yellow 5 inch hoop, a thread cutter, some doilies for stitching on to and a whole bunch of other stuff, too. If you’re into recreational needlework, you should totally leave a comment on this post and I’ll pick one lucky winner to receive it all in a swag bag. Do it before the end of Sunday 10th February and I’ll stick your name in the hat.  Have at it!