Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Final Curtain Falls....

....on the Craft Matters blog.  It's been fun, but I've decided it's time to move on...

 It's a new month tomorrow (oopsie, today!), and I'm getting a new name and a new blog for the new season....

Here it is:  Very Berry Handmade

Come round and say hello!  There's a Housewarming Giveaway happening very soon...

Monday, 30 August 2010

Long time no see...

I've been really absent recently because I have big plans in progress....

This Craft Matters blog is coming to the end of its life....  Soon Very Berry Handmade will be born!   In preparation of my big revamp I am having a sale in my Etsy shop.  All prices have been reduced by 20%.  Pop round and grab a bargain!

Monday, 2 August 2010

A Big Pink Project/Work-in-Progress Basket

Here's what I've been working on in quieter moments amidst the great wedding outfit crisis that I've been having for the last 6 weeks... (sob).  The yarn is the lovely Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky Tweed, which comes in some gorgeous colours, as you can see here.  I don't think I could wear anything made with it (except maybe a big winter scarf) because it would be far too itchy for me, but it is lovely to use for this kind of housewares project, because it has so much body and texture.  

I am dithering about selling the finished article because I like it so much, and I badly need the storage (most of my stash, yarn and fabric, is in plastic carrier bags...).  I am definitely going to sell the pattern though - as soon as I've got it written up, that is.  

The wedding is on Saturday, so just 4 days to go, but I think I have something to wear... wish me luck as I finish it all off. 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Quite a bit on my plate..

I've got a lot to do over the next week!  I am still in pursuit of a lovely dress to wear for my brother's wedding... I've been dithering about this for days now, and in spite of my plans weeks ago now, I am as disorganised as ever...  So, rushing around at the last minute, I went ahead and bought some absolutely glorious fabric from Ray-Stitch.  I am so delighted with it - it's an organic crossweave cotton in a shade called rust.  I think I am going to pair it with some of this lovely Amy Butler fabric (Martini in grey) - they do look fairly scrumptious together, in fact they look so scrumptious that I am afraid to start in case I mess it up.  Fingers crossed I get it right.  

I'm also crocheting a little cardigan to go with the dress - that's a bit easier because it's a fairly straightforward pattern.  But I have to go and really crack on with it this evening or I am going to be in a serious panic because I have to do all this by next Saturday...  And worse than that next week is a really busy one because we have family visiting on Monday, and then we are off up to London for the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) on Thursday. This will be my boys' 5th GBBF I think - it's a very civilised festival with an ace family area with lots of toys and games for them to play with.  An excuse to include a cute picture of them at the the festival in 2005 - aged around 20 months.  Lovely boys!

I'm also got a swap to do - I couldn't resist Meridien Ariel's Bookish Craft swap.  I haven't really got the time but absolutely couldn't resist this one - books are so important in my life.  My partner is Melanie who likes The Hollows series by Kim Harrison and other urban paranormal books.  Urban paranormal is a totally new phrase to me, so you can see how far this is out of my comfort range!  But that's what these swaps are all about - it's fun to have a challenge.  I have an idea of what I am going to make for her - I just hope it works out ok and that she likes it. And that I get it finished somewhere even close to the deadline!

And on top of all that, today, I get an order for one of my crochet bunnies...  I am delighted to get it - especially as it's from someone who has bought from me before - I love a repeat customer.  My gosh, it couldn't have come at a busier time - but hey!  I can take crochet to the beer festival can't I?  I've breastfed twins there in the past, and no one batted an eyelid - so crochet's not going to cause a stir!

Right, I have to go and tuck my boys in, and then it's time to get to work!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Fabric News

Alexander Henry - Around the World
I've added a couple of new sellers to the Great Big List of UK-based Online Fabric Shops.  First up is Fancy Moon.  Fancy Moon used to be an Ebay seller (I think called Fancy Nancy) and I was really disappointed when the Ebay shop closed because I'd be a huge fan of their selection - especially of very funky Christmas fabrics.  They've  now launched as a stand alone shop and I'm just as impressed.  Having a look round at the moment the main strengths are Alexander Henry and Etsuko Furuya for Kokka (including a brilliant selection of Kokka interior weight fabrics). You can browse the fabrics in stock by designer, manufacturer or by theme (and there's a great choice of themes!) which makes finding just what you need very easy.To celebrate the launch of the new shop there is a 10% discount available on all fabrics until 31 July - just use 'launch' (without the inverted commas) as the coupon code.  

Another fantastic new shop is The Cloth Seller, which specialises in organic and fair trade fabric, and as such, is offering something rather different and new to the UK - ethical fabrics where colour and style are the priority.  The Cloth Seller states that all their fabrics ' have been grown and harvested using sustainable, organic farming practices' and that 'they are woven and dyed without the aid  of dangerous chemicals'.  Good news and definitely to be applauded and supported (an excellent excuse for buying!).  

Geo Grand by Daisy Jainie
They are the UK distributor for a new organic fabric supplier called Daisy Janie Fabrics - the brain child of designer Jan DiCinto, who has produced a lovely graphic collection in very strong colours called Geo Grand.  The Cloth Seller also stocks the lovely, and very practical Westfalenstoffe medium weight cottons and gorgeous heavyweight interior fabrics by Mod Green Pod.

Finally some news about one of my favourite sellers - Julia of Gone to Earth.  The Gone to Earth blog has moved house and you can now find it just here!  So don't forget to pop round there and make sure that you are up to date with all the news.  To celebrate (not sure if that is the right word!) the move, Julia is having a brilliant giveaway of a fab book called Small Stash Sewing... really, what more reason do you need to go and take a peek? 

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Space Invader!

Our rather precipitous return from our camping holiday meant that I had time to put together an entry for the Crafteroo Forum Summer Challenge (there's still time if you can get something made by Friday!). The theme is Space Invaders - which I've interpreted very loosely as anything vaguely alien!  I used Tom's (my youngest twin by 2 minutes) drawing of an alien as my starting point.  Here's the drawing - cute isn't it?!  Tom has just started drawing obsessively after barely picking up a pencil or felt tip before.  We are quite astounded and feeling very proud of him - we love his pictures - they are so full of imagination and verve. I've been wondering if I could try and get them printed up onto T-shirts and maybe even on some fabric.  I'm definitely going to look into that... my son the designer!

I thought about creating a softy with some felt, but in the end decided to turn to my trusty crochet hook, especially as I have lots of lovely new colours of yarn, picked up in the sale at my local wool shop. Here's the finished article - I dithered about adding a trunk-like mouth, but in the end decided I like it how it is.. poor alien is going to have to take in sustenance in some other way!  I also can't decide if it's a male or female, which is hampering any attempt to think of a name.. any suggestions gratefully accepted.  Maybe I should ask Tom...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Holiday Drama!

Well, we have had such a week in our tent in Wales...  Ned and I are pretty seasoned campers by now - we've been camping as a couple since the early 90s, and with the boys since they were 9 months old. As you can seen from our lovely camping set up - we take it all pretty seriously!  We're particularly proud of our tarpaulin... but maybe that's something that only fellow campers will appreciate...

In all our years of camping though, we've never experienced weather as bad as we had last week.  We coped ok in the rain - in fact we rather like sitting in a cosy tent, with hot cups of tea, just spending time with the boys.  And we had some lovely sunny spells too, when we spent time exploring the hills and rivers nearby, and taking a ride on the local narrow gauge steam railway.  It was all going pretty well, in spite of the very damp conditions.  

However, on Thursday night at about 11pm, the wind started to get up very strongly.  We rushed outside and cleared away what we could and then went off to bed, hoping that all would be ok.  I don't know about Ned, but I spent the next 2 hours praying that the tent would not collapse on top of us!  It's hard to describe how scary it is to be inside a tent that is being violently wrenched about in the wind... 

Sadly, at about 1am, a guy rope was ripped away from the tent causing one of the main tent poles to collapse.  All of this was totally fixable, but not in pitch darkness in a howling gale, with rather upset children to sort out.  We dived out of the tent and spent the rest of the night squeezed into our car, trying to get a bit of sleep.  

The next day saw us waking early to more torrential rain and a lot of very wet stuff... For the first time ever we decided to give up on a holiday and come home...  So here we are, back early, but glad to be safe and sound.  We had lovely fish and chips last night and I've made scrumptious Victoria sponge today to cheer us up.   

Some good things on our return: 
An Etsy order from from someone who had actually been waiting for me to turn off my Vacation Mode setting - what a compliment!  
The crochet project that I took with me to work on during the holiday survived all the trauma, and is looking pretty good so far.
Our garden is looking very pretty after some much needed rain.. tomatoes are growing to epic proportions and I harvested 4 courgettes for our pizza tonight.

So it's not too bad to be home (and we are planning to go camping again in September...).