To market we shall go

Eek – we’re inside the one-week mark and I’m shattered after a solid day of sewing up purses yesterday. Here is a selection, looking very pretty (in a rather poor photo).

Purses all lined up and ready to go to market

A bit of an ecclectic mix here – we have cross-stitched purses, silk and linen, 100% cotton… All fully lined, each one a touch different to the last. I think they look very pretty and I hope the market-goers like them too!

My space has been confirmed, so I have a 2.4m table to fill – yikes! I had a bit of a play around yesterday with a 1.8m table, practising how I might set it all up. I’m nervous that such a big table is going to look a bit bare with my paltry offering of goodies, so will have to come up with some creative ways to dress the space. This is so exciting and nervous-making at the same time, I’m feeling quite discombobulated (great word!) and giddy with all the thoughts whirring around my head.

I’m also super excited to be receiving my stamp from Sandra Waine – she is hugely talented and has worked wonders with my logo. Once the stamp has arrived I’ll take some pics and post here – I can feel a whole lotta stamping coming on. Check out Sandra’s work on her Facebook and her blog. And for the last little plug – not only is Sandra hugely talented, she is a super nice person and has replied to all of my lengthy emails (who…me?!) with interest and kindness. Big fan right here, just in case you couldn’t tell!

Back to the market stock… Now that alll the sewing is finished I can concentrate on the crochet side of things, so this week the big focus is fingerless gloves, baby hats and baby beanie accessories. Every spare moment will be spent working on these, so with that I’m off to sit in the sun and get hooking on some fingerless gloves with a gorgeous lemon and gray colour way.

Think I might come into Day Job a bit earlier tomorrow so I can have a really good look through Handmade Monday at Handmade Harbour – don’t think I will get a chance this afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by xxx

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From rage to anxiety

So now that I have made the committment to appear at the Birkenhead Artisan Markets on September 15th (NB: haven’t heard back from the organiser if my stall is confirmed, but I’m planning to be there so can continue to build up stock), I’m feeling a little bit of craft anxiety. And I’m not sure if it is actually better than Craft Rage!

Will people like my stuff enough to buy?

What about the price – too high, too low?

Will I have enough to sell?

All I can do for now is craft my little socks off and do my best. This is all part of the fun (I think!) and what will be will be. I’m very lucky to have had a great friend commit to spending the day at the stall to keep me company and help sell, sell, sell. Hurrah!

I’m apprehensive that I have focused too much on my cross-stitch purses – as with the crochet, they’re time consuming and I am worried I’m not going to be able to make enough to make it worthwhile. Instead should I be focusing more on my silk and linen purses? Argh – you could actually go a bit nutty overthinking this stuff. I think I will proceed as I am – here’s my list of what I hope to be selling:

  • Crocheted fingerless gloves (just in time for NZ summer – doh!).
  • Crocheted baby beanies, with flower button attachments as optional extras. Check them out here.
  • Bad ass cross stitch money pouches
  • Appliqued baby onesies
  • Silk & linen purses

I think for the crocheted items, I would be smartest to have a few samples (enough to make the stand look tempting!) made up, but have order forms so that I can give people the option of choosing their colourway. I’ve made a few two-toned gloves for my friends that have been really popular – each side being made of a different colour, so effectively you can wear one pair of gloves two ways. The yarn I use is a beautiful cotton blend and comes in DELICIOUS colours, so I’m hoping they’ll be popular on the stand.

Anyway – I’m excited and nervous about this. Need to sideline the nerves and harness the excitement, and get crafting!

x

Handmade Monday (or Tuesday for me)

Just a quick post today as I covered off my weekend in yesterday’s WIP post. Last night I got home and cut a bunch of rectangles to be sewn into purses. Here is the first of them – I took other photos but they are blurry in the light of day. So is this one, but I think you can see the gist.

All waiting to be sewn up… Cross stitch polka dot purse, fully lined, silk back and chunky zip. Yum!

I have also had a brain wave about how I am going to turn the napkin ring below into a pin cushion. Even though it was an 11pm idea, I must have been satisfied with the potential solution because I was still able to nod off to sleep shortly after the lightbulb moment. Hurrah!

I am in luuuurve with these photos – they turned out much better than the fabric rectangles and my jumble of zips that I also attempted to photograph.

Hello little napkin ring. Hard to make napkin rings look exciting, although the geometric print fabric in the background is rather snazzy. I have some polystyrene and foam board at home – I need to cut into a circle to fit the bottom of the napkin ring, which will form the base. I think plan on cutting a circle of fabric to cover the base, and will glue it all into place. I’ve never done these before so will be interesting to see how they turn out!

I have no idea what this little guy was originally – perhaps a little salt dish? Anyway – his new purpose is to be filled with fluffy stuff, have a gorgeous little fabric top put in there, and voila – repurposed into a pin cushion. Gorg!

Now to skive off from Day Job for just a little bit longer and check out the other crafty folk over at Handmade Monday.

Five tikis down, one to go

Weekend craft update

We had some wild weather in Auckland over the weekend. Saturday was actually stunning, so I enjoyed a day out in the city checking out the Auckland Craft Fair then lunching at the Northern Steamship Co in Britomart. Thoroughly enjoyed both – the Craft Fair was packed with people, so didn’t get to see quite as much as I would have liked, but hey! Great to see so many people out in support of handmade.

I also popped into The Embroiderer in Birkenhead for some help on my blackwork. I have to give a big shout out to these guys – the lady was so very helpful and reassured me that I was doing well and had indeed come a long way with my technique, from the first tiki I attempted. Hurrah! She showed me a beautiful book (Made in France: Blackwork by Sonia Lucano) which of course I had to have. The lady – darn, wish I had gotten her name – was really kind – she showed me the book as an example of how a stitch should go, then I think might have thought I felt pressured to buy, so we did a little dance of “I want it” “You don’t have to buy it” before she finally succumbed. I have a bit of an obsession for crafty books – some people like cook books and can’t walk past them, and I am like that with craft books. Made in France: Blackwork doesn’t have a lot of words – just lots of beautiful, inspiring pictures and the helpful charts at the back so you can get started on the various projects. In light of it being light on words, I think I will focus on this book in my first book review, later today.

Sunday brought rain and wind, so a perfect day to nestle down and get stuck into some crafty pursuits. First on the list was my pukeko applique that I’ve been procrastinating on, mainly because I haven’t been able to find a pukeko template to have a go at. I am wanting to applique this into a onesie for a friend’s 1 year old baby, so revisited this project yesterday afternoon. It certainly doesn’t look like a pukeko, so has now morphed into another bird of indeterminable species. I’ve never done anything like this before so am enjoying the tiny little stitches – need to redo that beak though, it’s looking very clumsy!

The pukeko that wasn't

The pukeko that wasn’t

Then of course it was Tiki-time. Finished all of the white ones and think I could possibly knock off the first and only black version tonight. Must remember to take a photo!

When crafts go bad

So I’ve spoken previously about my newfound craft-crush on needlework, and a purse I’d made for a friends birthday that I was really chuffed with.

Here is that purse. Note how I was pleased enough with it to drop it into a montage thingy, write some text and bung a makeshift logo on there. Haha.

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Well there is a dark side to crafting, and that has been well documented on sites like craftfail.com. I’ve never been brave enough to fess up to failure in that forum but here is a different story.

See:

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It all started off well enough. Here’s my thought process:

Cross stitch polka dots looking neat and happy? Check.

Happy with selection of lining and silk backing? Check.

Time to sew it together!

Oh crap I haven’t left enough seam allowance around the dots. I’ll just have to sew over them, it’s ok it will be cute and petite.

Hey I wonder if now is a good time to test out my pinking shears!? (the answer was no, this was not a good time.)

Hmm my metal zip is a bit chunky for this teeny little purse, and how the hell are you supposed to trim excess zip when it’s metal? Hack hack hack.

This is a disaster, I can’t possibly give this as a gift! What a waste of time, a couple of evenings spent doing the polka dots, choosing perfect fabrics and then the cutting and sewing. Myeh!

Ah well I’ve learned a few things and that’s really what it’s all about I suppose. And it’s not so bad, is it?

Craft hiatus in favour of DIY

So once again things have gone quiet on the blog – no surprises there for anyone that knows me. (Not the quiet part – I am very rarely “quiet”. But the falling off various wagons – that happens all.the.time.)

I wish that I could claim I had been busy doing this and that, but I really haven’t – day-job has been busy, I’ve been on a conference/holiday to Melbourne and in the background I have of course been crafting. But nothing really to write home about. Oh I LIE! I have recently discovered cross-stitch and am addicted. I made a cute little coin purse that I gave to a friend who wasn’t quite as excited as I was, but never mind – maybe she was “yippeeing” on the inside. Will eventually post some pics of said purse, or other similar varieties. Since the cross-stitch discovery, I then moved into blackwork, something that I had never heard of – again, addicted. I started with these groovy guys and I just love them. I’m working my way through the white aida cloth backgrounds and am enjoying seeing the progression of my stitching – my current attempt is by far the best. Again, will post pics once they are finished. Last craft obsession is needlework (are you sensing a pattern here?), actually I don’t know if that is the correct term for it. I guess decorative stitches might sum it up best. Recently I bought another Cath Kidston book, “Patch” to try and help me get into patchwork stuff – I find her projects easy to follow and just the right size to get a feel for something. Anyway – there is a crazy patch pattern in there I’m going to have a go at a stool cover (see DIY ravings below) and it requires some really pretty stitches. So last night I set about learning a feather stitch, double feather stitch and others. Looking forward to starting this weekend!

But the purpose of this post – which I realise it has taken me two paragraphs to get to! – is a new found love of DIY. Last time we went down this path I was a self-confessed DIY disaster. Not lacking in skills as such (I confident in wielding a hammer or paint brush), but SERIOUSLY lacking in motivation. Now I have previously bragged about my dedicated craft room, which is a haven – I love it. But since we moved in earlier this year the room has been dominated by hideous dark green shelves that I have found oppressive. A couple of weekends ago in a burst of motivation I made a start on sorting out these shelves and a week later, voila! I am so pleased with the results. Here’s how it went down:

  1. Roughly sand all wood covered in green paint
  2. Apply one coat of primer
  3. Apply three coats of semi-gloss white paint to wooden surfaces
  4. Measure the size of the backspace (??) of the shelves. Note: some fool previously covered this in loose hessian sacking – a NIGHTMARE to paint over. You will see from the before photo (actually a mid-photo, but hey!) that I quickly lost interest in attempting to paint the backspaces.
  5. Using a jigsaw, cut MDF shapes to fit.
  6. Rigourously sand the wooden shapes until they fit the spaces. 6a – try not to loose interest at this point. 6b – make a note to be more precise at point 5, if you ever embark on this journey again!
  7. Cut polyester wadding to size of shape. You can afford to cut smaller in order to use less of the wadding – it is stretchy.
  8. Cut various fabrics to size of shape. Allow a minimum of 1.5cm “seam” (?) allowance around all edges.
  9. Starting on a short edge, sandwich wadding between wood and fabric, pull fabric around to wrong side of wood and gun staple into place. Repeat along all edges, making sure to fold corners in as required.
  10. Carefully flip over to admire your handiwork. Be careful! At this stage you will have the two sharp points for every staple applied poking through the right side of the fabric.
  11. Take a hammer and knock each point down as flat as possible. This doesn’t have to be perfect – once they’re in your shelves, they won’t really be a problem – unless of course your shelves are in a child’s bedroom and sticky little fingers could reach them. In that case you may want to be very careful!
  12. Knock your shapes into their corresponding shapes, stand back and go “Aaaahhhh”. If you have been pretty accurate with your measuring and cutting with the jigsaw, knocking into place should be sufficient. A couple of mine will need to be fixed to the wall – I plan to try this with Velcro dots first so I don’t have anything (nails!) showing through my lovely fabric.

What do you think?

Now I just need to paint the rest of the room (laaaaaater, I’m done with painting for now) and move back in all of my books and equipment. Can’t wait!