Sunday, 30 March 2008

Meet Maud

I managed to finish that little mini-project I grumbled about in my last blog entry. It was intended to be a little keyring to replace the almost (but not quite) ripped-all-the-way-through leather keyfob attached to my car keys.

The mini-project turned into Maud:

Maud is a very proper, kind and lovely lady, who keeps an eye on my driving and helps me find parking spaces. While she disapproves of any unladylike behaviour from me, she does (if she thinks nobody's paying attention) mutter rude words about inconsiderate drivers under her breath.

Maud is very light and deliciously squidgy. I have finally hit on the optimum amount of stuffing to retain form and squidyness. (Some of my previous softies haven't been particularly soft, due to over-enthusisatic stuffing.)

More news - I have made a new cross stitch pattern for Etsy, which I hope will do ok - AND, no sooner than I had re-posted the Kokeshi Doll pattern than it sold again! That's TWO patterns sold this weekend! (I still haven't broken even though -due to the Etsy fees to post the patterns and the money I paid for a showcase slot that got me no new viewings at all because I did it wrong!)

I still haven't repaired my sewing machine. I may have to look at that during the week, I don't think I have the inclination to pull it all apart this evening.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Time for a break...

All the house-stuff has been taking my precious "making-stuff" time over the past few weeks. I've done next to nothing on my Kewpie cross stitch...

I really must crack on and try to finish her - I've spent too much time and effort to risk letting her become an unfinished piece gathring dust in the back of a cupboard. (I have many of those, there are two one in particular that I keep being reminded of with a twinge of guilt... I might blog about them another time.)

Before the living room disaster last weekend I had tried to make a start on a little mini-project, with the intention that if it turned out ok I might make some more to put on Etsy. Unfortunately my sewing machine kept chewing up the fabric (the dust created by all the DIY-ing must have gotten in there - I need to give it a good clean, oiling and general overhaul, I reckon), so I resorted to some hand stitching. I only managed a couple of inches before I was called away to home-imprevement related duties. This is it so far:

Fantasic, eh? My one and only task this weekend is to complete this mini project. I won't be able to today, though - because we're off to Devon, nor tonight because my parents are visiting in Cardiff this weekend, and I hope to see them tonight. I'm sure I'll manage a couple of hours with needle and thread on Sunday, though. Touch wood.

Exciting news!! I sold a pattern on Etsy! It's my first Etsy sale, and I'm thrilled! I'm desperately keen to have some other things in my Etsy shop though - perhaps some new patterns, but I definitely want some "stuff" up there too.

A little bit of tastiness to finish off - a jar of salt butter caramel sauce my parents brought over from Britanny. Yum! It has to be eaten before this September - sounds like a silly challenge to me. (And look how pretty the jar is, too!)

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Ever wish you hadn't started?

The house is coming on fabulously - the hall, stairs and landing are all painted, and the carpet ready to be laid. The kitchen is finished, except for new upvc window surrounds which will be put in next week. The bathroom looks tidy. All in all we're just about ready to have it re-valued.

Yesterday morning we decided that the lounge could do with a quick freshen-up, so we started to paint over the wallpaper with white emulsion. A couple of hours with a roller and paintbrush would brighten up the front room and tie it in with the newly fresh-and-bright downstairs.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. Certain areas of the existing wallpaper were a little bit bubbly. White paint being somewhat cruel and unforgiving, the wallpaper bubbles became much more visible, larger-looking and (I swear) more numerous. It looked terrible - do you remember that Aero advert from ages ago, with the annoying little kid pointing out all the bubbles in the newly hung wallpaper to his dad? Well, it looked like that - except with patchy paint because we'd only put up one coat of white over a dark yellow, and it was much bubblier than in the advert.

We hoped that it looked worse because the paper had stretched from getting wet, and that it would dry flat. It didn't.

So then we decided that we had no choice but to strip the room and re-paper it.

One of the glories of wallpaper is that you can't see the state of the walls underneath. As it turns out, this is also a bit of a drawback - especially when removing the wallpaper also removes half the wall...

So far it's taken us two days to strip of the paper (much of which had to be hacked away with a chisel), and tomorrow will be spent with the polyfilla and sandpaper.

With any luck we'll be able to paper by Monday. In hindsight, maybe we should have left well alone - but I suppose we weren't to know, and I'm certain that it'll look lovely when it's done.

At least we hadn't planned to do anything interesting with our Easter weekend ....

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Cross stitch patterns

I've gone cross stitch crazy since opening my little Etsy shop yesterday, and have added two new Cross stitch patterns - Little Kokeshi Doll and Sir Terry Wogan. Seriously - Terry Wogan - I'm so excited! I really, really hope somebody buys it and stitches it, and if they do, I really really hope they send me a picture of the finished item!

I've had to drag myself away from the cross stitch software now, because I have to do my Japanese coursework. But my mind is a-buzz with cross stitch ideas... They're mostly based on my own photos, so I don't need to worry about copyright - but I really ought to read up on copyright law if I'm likely to want to use anybody else's images.

Can anyone recommend a good, concise and easy to understand guide to international copyright law?

Here's a free cross stitch pattern to download. I made it, but the image belongs to Nintendo so I can't take any credit for that!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

I have a shop!!!!!

Look - I have an Etsy shop! There's a button / widgetty-thing over there on the right, if you fancy having a bit of a nosey.

I don't quite know what I'm going to make to sell there yet - I suppose that'll be whatever I'm fadding about at the time...

I have many, many fantasitc ideas... and I'm excited!

I've already put up one of my cross stitch patterns to sell (a Kewpie pattern, naturally) - the same pattern in two versions (b&w for easy printing, or colour for easy reading).

I haven't done a banner yet. But that'll be awesome, too.

From now until October, all income generated from my shop sales will be donated to my sister's Patagonia Trek in aid of Mencap (a UK learning disability charity).

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Oooh, I've had the lurgy...

And it was bad.... I was near enough on death's door. I was so ill that, at one point on Monday, I PUT DOWN MY CROSS STITCH...

(Pause for dramatic effect)
It's true. But fear not, I have recovered and am well again.

I don't have a huge amount to report - except I had a parcel from Amazon through the post today... the new Craft: magazine. Yay! Here's a picture, along with that cross stitch again.

There are many exciting things in there that I want to make. But there are many exciting things everywhere that I want to make, and I can't possibly make everything I fancy. The worry is that I won't get to make anything.... but I suppose that's fairly unlikely.
Other news - Blue Pointy Kitty has gone to her new home.
The cross stitch is looking good, don't you think? I'm just about half way there (there are a LOT of strawberry leaves to stitch) - so, by my reckoning I have another 3 months of green stitching until I finish it. But it'll be awesome when it's done!

Friday, 7 March 2008

No more kitties

In addition to the two promised Pointy Kitties for my Mum and colleague, I had intended to make one for myself. But I can't be bothered any more.

I love making things according to instruction. I can spend happy, contented hours with colouring-in books, building pre-printed paper automaton, following recipes and making toys according to clever people's patterns, but there comes a time when you want to draw your own pictures, design your own automaton, invent your own cakes and make your own patterns. This is the point at which I have arrived today.

I think this is the right thing for me to do. Of all the little toys I've stitched over the past couple of weeks, the one that makes me the smiliest is pretty, lumpy, badly stitched but beautiful Manon, because she's mine and I made her.

In the meantime, though, and because it will probably take me a very long time to gather the courage to design and make a proper toy, I would like to introduce you to Blue-Pointy-Kitty.

(I decided to go for a high-fashion, heroin-chic style photo shoot this afternoon, making use of the un-carpeted stairs).

Blue-Pointy-Kitty has no nose, mouth or whiskers. This is a deliberate design choice, intended to give her a more graphic, stylistic quality. It has nothing to do with me getting bored.

This is Blue-Pointy-Kitty looking all feeble and pathetic and lost. She's singing quietly to herself - "Halfway down the stairs is a stair where I sit..."

And here are Blue-Pointy-Kitty and Pretty-Green-Pointy-Kitty, both posing for the camera. There will be no more Pointy Kitties after today.



It's all in the eyes

I have a day off work today! Hurrah! I have many fun things planned, including meeting with a friend for lunch, playing with the sewing machine, maybe some cross stitch (if I'm feeling feisty), and, of course, NOT BEING IN WORK (hahahahahaaaaaa!)

But - first things first.

I've been wracked with guilt over poor Green-Pointy-Kitty's eyes. She was inconsolable when she saw the eyes I gave her. We had tears and tantrums. There were accusations and recriminations. It was terrible. I've been feeling wretched over the entire episode.

I have, however, since been shopping and purchased some replacement eyes, along with a shiny bell as a gift of apology.

For documentation purposes only, Green-Pointy-Kitty agreed to let me photograph the offending features....

Seriously - have you ever seen anything more frightening in your life? Even now, I can't look at the photo without swearing aloud and laughing.

I suppose it was an easy mistake - I went to the fabric shop last weekend, and they didn't have the little buttons from the market, but I saw these - green shell buttons, and I thought they'd make perfect little cat eyes. They were a little bit dearer too at 48p each, and I (mistakenly) equated expensiveness to appropriateness. Silly me.

Happily I managed to get to the market during the week, and bought a load of the little brown buttons (3p each - bargain!). This morning Green-Pointy-Kitty and I sat down with scissors and thread, and started putting things to right. Following some lengthy discussion the three of us (me, Green-Pointy-Kitty and Lovely J) decided that it was also necessary to replace her mustachio-stylie black and droopy whiskers with some daintier, more feminine white ones.

We now have a much happier Green-Pointy-Kitty, who will hereafter be known as Pretty-Green-Pointy-Kitty.

(Note: Pretty-Green-Pointy-Kitty was made from the free download pattern at Wee Wonderfuls.)

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


A prety picture of pretty daffodils - because they're pretty and I like them. I bought them on Friday in the hope that they'd be open for St David's day - but they only really opened up today. Aren't they lovely and beautiful and cheerful? (Please don't pay any attention to the grubby window and the pots in the back garden - the house is still a work in progress...)

... And a quick update on my cross stitch, which I picked up again recently after a bit of a break. I have a lot of green stitching ahead of me. A LOT of green stitching.

Standing over the Kewpie cross stitch is a new little Pointy Kitty. She will also be a gift, so will not be named today. She's very interested in the cross stitch, but is also a little camera shy, because neither of us is convinced by the choice of buttons used for her eyes. She has agreed to pose prettily for the camera only when I've been to the market to get some of the black buttons the previous Pointy Kitty had for eyes.

Edit to add: the buttons in the market are actually brown, not black. This is important.