The long lost pin cushion

My last post here was All quiet on the craft front at the end of September. Now almost a month on, I’m reflecting on what I have achieved – sadly, nothing much that is exciting! Oh I have definitely been crafty – trying out a few new ideas but mostly doing what I find hardest… amassing a pile of stock for sale at the markets. I have to say that while I am proud of and love each item I make, this is not my favourite thing to do which is probably why I has taken me so long to get around to selling at markets. For the baby beanies I make, I’ve been delighting in every individual colour combination, for the tiny crocheted flower attachments I enjoy imagining the possibilities of where they will end up and what combinations their eventual owners (right word? I think not but never mind) will come up with. But because I know my patterns inside out, there is not a lot of creativity outside of colour combinations that goes into these items, and my mind starts to wander. This is great news for new products – I’ve come up with several new ideas this week alone while I’ve been making hat after flower after hat. BUT I’m now getting to the point where I am going to have a rather ecclectic collection of goodies at my market stall and am a bit nervous that this will confuse the market goers.

This morning I read a post that really resonated with me over at Knitrun4sanity that spells out eloquently how confusing it can be to have so many ideas whizzing around and not enough hours in the day to implement them. Well said! And on that note I’ll get onto the real point of this post – the long lost pin cushion! Back in August I started work on an idea for upcycled pin cushions – I had a gorgeous wee salt dish that came to fruition without too much drama (yummy, still pleases me to gaze upon the finished product), but the napkin ring presented a few more challenges. Firstly I was bored with the green felting wool so had to wait until I could get to the store and buy a different colour. Then I got sidetracked by the markets. Then I thought I had figured out a new way (fabric instead of wool for the cushion part – fail). Then the napkin ring went into a project bag, which went into a box and remained “lost” for a few weeks. Last week I finally uncovered it and finished the project – phew! Delighted with how it turned out – what do you think?

Napkin ring upcycled into a pin cushion

Napkin ring upcycled into a pin cushion

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All quiet on the craft front

Well after I burst onto (or perhaps off!) the Nz craft market scene, it has all gone rather quiet on the craft front around here. I had a week in (R)Adelaide for a Day Job conference, and then a weekend and week recovering from a hectic fortnight. Inspiration and activity have both been low but I can feel the creative energy regenerating. Good news!

Today I attended a baby shower for an old university friend. I received an incredibly cute Dr Zuess themed invitation and knew immediately that I could make the perfect gift – a Dr Zuess onesie with a matching(ish) beanie.

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I am really loving that lemon and grey colour way at the moment and thought it perfect for a little bubba, gender unknown. I also whipped up the wee card with the pram (perambulator – great word!) which tickled me as well. Then all wrapped up in brown paper, tied with a decadent black bow and voila! A perfect, homemade baby shower gift xox

To market we went

Well the big day has been and gone. It got incredibly hectic over the last 48 hours – nothing like the added pressure of Day Job kicking in at the worst possible time. Here’s a brief (I’ll try, honest!) diary of how it all went down:

Thursday PM – this was supposed to be baby beanie night in the production line. It was not to be. It was freezing here and my hands just couldn’t hit their hooking rhythm. I managed to make two hats in the time I was sure I would be able to knock up at least 5, and went to bed in a serious funk.

Friday AM – Woke up still feeling funky (not the good kind). Emailed the organiser asking if it would be ok for me to downgrade from the 2.4m table I originally requested, to my own 1.2m table. She said fine – I felt instantly better.

Friday PM – My plans of shirking from Day Job early were thwarted – phooey. Didn’t get home, fed and watered until 8pm – double phooey. Funky feeling starts up again – cue procrastination. 9pm I get a fire under me and the production line cranks into gear. Finally get to bed at 2am (!! never again !!) feeling satisfied with my efforts – this is proven by falling asleep instantly and sleeping solidly until 6am.

Saturday – Market day – Wake up at 6 and start putting the finishing touches on everything. This means writing up the prices, packing my market box and loading the car. I cannot believe it when it’s 8.25am (market starts at 9!) and I’m about to set off. I don’t know where that 2.5 hours went.

Get to the market in a few minutes and set up – Toni-maree the market organiser is LOVELY and soothes my nerves instantly. My neighbours are also very kind and friendly, and I’m relieved to see there are others still setting up. My table comes together quickly (glad I practised!) and I’m ready to roll. So is the wind – it is absolutely howling by 10am. It helped build camaraderie I think – everytime a big gust rushed in, we all held onto our gazebos to prevent lift off, amid much hilarity. Here’s how my stand looks – note, a bit skimpy at this point because everything I couldn’t hold onto was likely to blow away in the wind!

Despite the wind, the punters roll in. I’m excited to see my ring-ins show up while it was still sunny, and my friend fell in love with the lemon and grey fingerless gloves. She buys them – my first sale!! A few other punters drifted past, a couple stopping to check out my goods. They don’t buy – instantly I’m worried that I’ve got my price point wrong. The weather is steadily worsening and the flow of punters slows to a trickle. Thankfully I have had a couple of buddies show up to keep me company, and of course my lovely stall neighbours to chat to. A lady comes and buys the cute-as-a-button Dr Zeuss One Fish Two Fish onesie – I’m delighted as I’ve now made back the money on the stall. My last sale is the bargain of the century waterfall crocheted scarf for $10, purchased by a lovely lady. I wonder if she felt sorry for me because of the increasingly nasty weather.

By 11am some of the other outside people are packing up – the weather is looking decidedly grumpy and the rain clouds are rolling in. Between the oncoming rain and the foul wind, a lot of the other stallholders have left and it is really just Janice (I wish I knew her company name so I could plug them), Otello’s, Cachecol, Blackwoods Bakery (I think) and I left.

We finally packed it in at the scheduled closing time of 1pm. I am knackered – in fairness, definitely more because of the mad panic last night than the rigours of the market today – but really, really proud of myself. This was a huge personal goal for the year and I’m so chuffed to have ticked the box. So thanks for having me Birkenhead Artisan Market – I’m hoping to be back in November and December, and in the meantime have also applied to hit the Devonport Craft Market in early November. I am absolutely fizzing with ideas on how to better dress my stand and feel like I could even be ready to start up a Facebook page for my efforts to try and drum up a bit more business.

And you know what the first job is? Making a plan for the next 6 weeks so I don’t end up hand stitching at 2am again next time around!

Tomorrow Day Job will take me to Adelaide, Australia for a week. I’m presenting at a Tertiary Education Conference with my boss and strangely I’m really looking forward to it. Now that the market madness has subsided, I can focus my energy on something else for the next few days.

Hope you’re all well and the weather is better for you, wherever you are in the world.

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

WIP it…

WIP it good. (That is one of the strangest music videos I’ve seen – but I do love that song.)

This was quite a busy weekend – Saturday was a craft write-off after my time in the gym, hair appointment and then dinner out. Sunday was a bit more fruitful – I started and finished my upcycled cotton reel holder, finally finished my salt dish pin cushion and cut yet more fabric for purses. It was Father’s Day here (everywhere?) yesterday so I made Dad a card using Vintage Funnies comic strips and my Cameo Silhouette.

Still no sewn together purses – next weekend is completely free and I’ve decided that will be my big day for sewing up. I can just get a production line going so I don’t have to keep changing the sewing machine feet when I’m doing the zippers. Also a handy excuse for my procrastination – clearly other things have held my attentionmore than the sewing this week!

Absolutely horrendous day here today, and I’m actually kinda enjoying it. Rainy as anything outside and very blustery – a perfect way to start Spring, and a perfect day to go checkout everything going on at Handmade Monday.

x

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.

Quick weekend W.I.P

I’ve had one of those whirlwind weekends that has left me feeling unsure if I am coming or going. Saturday was a craft write-off in the nicest sense of the word – I had my nephew’s 2nd birthday party. The morning saw me “slaving” over mini cupcakes which were a great success, and we weren’t home until late in the afternoon. My husband set off to do some remote control car racing and I was left with the gift of an evening at home alone (something that rarely happens, despite my hopes). I thought: I’ll do this, and that, and then some more of this! Did I?

No.

Instead I sat on the couch watching Bridezillas and then the NZ vs. Australia rugby match, while finishing some cross-stitch. By the time my husband came home I was feeling very lonely and sorry for myself, and more than a little annoyed for sitting on my chuff for the duration of his absense. Oh well.

Sunday was much better. I had a coffee and a walk along the beach with girlfriends in the morning, then a nice looooong rummage around Junk & Disorderly, the most heavenly of second hand shops. I walked out with a wooden L-shaped box that I’m going to have a go at decoupaging, some vintage comic strips and a silver napkin ring that I shall attempt to turn into a pin cushion. Delightful. I got all my wares home and set about sanding the wooden box back, and while I was on the sanding buzz I dragged out a sewing table I bought over a year ago, that has sat in our shed. Husband was very pleased to see that work had commenced on that particular project!

Then more craft shopping in the afternoon, a visit with my parents and a healthy dinner of chicken wraps… Just one more day in the weekend would have been ideal, but mostly I feel pretty content with my lot and I think that is a good way to start the week.

Will take some photos tonight of other works in progress and write my Handmade Harbour blog post. Now back to Day Job!

xox

Craft rage

When it happens, it isn’t pretty. You can usually feel it coming – starts with eye-rubbing (a certain indicator that it is time to put down your tools), progresses into swearing at your tools, and occasionally escalates into a full blown craft tanty.

This happened to me last night.

I’ve been working on the crazy patch stool cushion for the last couple of nights. You can tell my enthusiasm for this project by my evening dedication – after 8+ hours at Day Job, I am often not inclined to craft in the evenings. But I really want this project finished (I admit that my key motivator is to post the photos up here) so have been beavering away. Last night I thought I would definitely finish – I completed all my decorative top stitches, pressed the finished product nicely and went to gun-staple the fabric to my cushion base/pad.

(I should mention here that I am the proud and diligent guardian of the gun-stapler at Day Job. I don’t know how this came to pass, but I take my responsibility seriously. The perk of this is that I am free to take it home whenever my crafts demand it. Others are welcome to use it – they just have to ask for it and return it immediately after use.)

So here I am: gun-stapler primed for action, I squeezed the trigger and …. nothing. I looked inside and sure enough the last person that used it hadn’t replenished the staples, and of course I had not thought to bring the staples home with me. Cue the mother of all craft rage tantrums. Stomping, swearing, thumping. I even attempted a work around! No, a regular stapler will not do the trick here.

(I should also mention here that I am aware there are legitimate excuses to be made and some personal responsibility to be taken here. 1) The previous user may not have realised they’d used the last staple. It could happen. 2) I could have checked the stapler before I brought it home. 3) I could have brought the staples home as well. I know all of this. But you would have been a crazy person to try and apply that logic last night when I was mid-rant.)

Incidentally, I calmed down almost immediately and began my next project, which is a felt box for my nephew’s second birthday. Phase one was cutting a whole in the paper mache box and painting the whole thing white. I’ve been photographing as I’ve gone and will post a tutorial afterwards if it turns out halfway decent.

And in the night of night-time (i.e. couch and TV o’clock) I finally picked up my hook again and began my granny square throw. I’m two squares in – this is going to be a slow process!