Monday, September 28, 2009

post market pinks! (the opposite of blues)

I had such a brilliant time at Made In The Shade on Saturday. Here is my stall, all pristine and ready to go before any customers arrived. I was really happy with how it looked. I had laid my wares out on the living room floor for a practice run on Friday night and was really struck by how... cheerful it all looked together. It was nice to see everybody's reactions as they came across my stall: lots of smiles (and laughs) alongside more than a few confused faces! Well, to be fair, I'm not sure why I embroider soap stars either!
Here's a wee close up of the whole stitched Walford gang together.

I made lots of sales and sold at least one of nearly everything on the stall which was really nice. Makes me think I officially have no duff products! Ha! All my new products (I'll share pictures soon) went down a storm and I actually sold out of little red riding hood brooches! I was still sewing pins onto the back of them as the doors to the Lighthouse opened but I'm so glad I managed to get some finished in time. They have been a long time in the making with much experimentation and tweaking to get them to match up with what I had in my head (again, pictures to follow) but I seriously LOVE them and am officially delighted with how they turned out. It was so exciting to see that other people liked them too!

Graham came and helped out on the stall (another gold star for him!) and quite a few friends stopped by. Most exciting of all, my mum and dad made a surprise appearance! They had travelled all the way from Elgin just to see my little stall. How sweet are they? They took Graham and I out for a lovely dinner afterwards and stayed for the rest of the weekend. I can't believe they kept it all top secret :)

So, all in all, a top day! My head is buzzing with ideas (some new ideas and some tweaks on old ideas) and I'm really hoping I'll get to do more markets soon. Come on, Christmas, do your worst! I'll be ready for ya!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Made In The Shade! 12 hours to go!

Originally uploaded by We Are Made In The Shade

Don't forget to come along to Made in the Shade if you are in the Glasgow area tomorrow. I am so far from ready it's not funny but I have bagged myself a glamorous assistant (for the second half of the day, anyway) so at least I won't have to be embarrassed on my own if I don't manage to get it together in time! I've still got a million things on the go but nothing that's finished. I'm wandering from room to room juggling various things and generally making a huge mess. I think I may have been over ambitious... Right, better go and do some damage limitation/get organised. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

all about the schedule

Eep! Two sleeps til made in the shade and I am WAY behind schedule. I've also been dealt a vicious blow in relation to my embroideries - the frames I use have been... DISCONTINUED! So now I am having to reschedule the schedule and make an unscheduled trip to ikea to investigate alternatives. My schedule!! I'm still finding the time to go for a late breakfast in Jaconelli's today though. Yippee! Eggs, chips and beans!

In the absence of available time to take photographs (and the seeming absence of progress to photograph, even though I have been a slave to craft, I swear) please enjoy perusing my latest flickr favourites.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

yee ha!

After much deliberation over how to spell 'yee ha!' (yea ha? yee-ha?) I made this little horse embroidery last night. The fabric is maybe my favourite fabric ever (I bought it to make tiny cupcakes) and I have only got a teeny piece left. It was fun to make an embroidery that didn't take all day, just the duration of the X Factor, pretty much. Well, an X Factor and a half maybe! Not that I was watching the X Factor, oh no...
If I make any more of these, I think I will take them to market. Yee ha!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

missing presumed sewing

Originally uploaded by Tom Messenger

This picture has nothing to do with anything really but I realised I hadn't blogged in almost a week and wanted to pop in and say hello. It's too dark to take photos tonight (my flat has VERY high ceilings with a super dim energy efficient light bulb only if you are lucky!) so I decided to go with my most recent favourite on flickr instead. Isn't it great? I originally found Tom Messenger via grain edit, which is where I find out about many things I end up favouriting.

My absence from the old blog (I actually had no idea I had been away so long) has been due to a flurry of crafty activity, mostly sewing. I went on a three day long Eastenders sewing rampage (a rampage, I tells ya!) which has given me less than a handful of Eastenders portraits... Oh well, at least they look good, if I do say so myself :) I think my stitching is going from strength to strength (go me!) but just is not getting any faster unfortunately. Oh for the day when I can charge a price/sew at a pace that gives me an hourly rate close to half the minimum wage! Ha! Yesterday I gave my eyes and fingers a break and made a zillion (yes, that is correct, a zillion) vintage recipe cards, redesigned their label (looking goo-oo-ood!) and packaged them all up. Today I sewed vintage buttons onto cards and made a good deal of progress towards doing something exciting with my teeny tiny red riding hoods. I am so excited about that and am hoping it will all be done within the next week. There's a fair bit of waiting for things to dry but I guarantee I'll be sharing photos as soon as they're finished because I have a feeling I'm going to be pretty excited about them. Yippee!

Why this flurry of crafty business? Well, firstly, I have a stall at Made in the Shade in just seven days time and I am not at all as prepared as I had hoped to be. I am very scared but also really excited as I have always loved being a customer at Made in the Shade and it IS going ahead in the Lighthouse after all (Saturday 26th September, 10.30-5, please come!). This all feels very pro crafter to me! Secondly, I won the most amazing prize of a year's free shopify shop, courtesy of the wonder that is Super Cute Kawaii! How brilliant is that? So pretty soon I will have two (or maybe even more... mysterious...) online shops. My next goal is to have people buy things from them. Ha!

I am going to try to stay productive in the run up to the market so I may not be blogging as much as usual but I'll try to share projects as I finish them. I'll just have to try to remember to take photos before the daylight fades!

Monday, September 14, 2009

anyone in need of a used car?

Yes, it's the late, great Frank Butcher. It was tough deciding whether to put him in his polo neck and jumper or in his bow tie and birthday suit, both classic Frank looks! I opted for the child friendly version in the end. Frank is the first male character I've managed to draw. I have tried a few others but they were frankly (boom boom!) unrecognisable. I'm pretty pleased with how ladies' man Frank turned out though. He's not staying in this frame, which is why he looks a bit blotchy in these photos - the edges of the material are all bumphled up behind him just now. He will be getting tidied up and transfered to a navy frame (to match his true love, Pat!) once it arrives in the post.
Still on the subject of Eastenders/embroidery, my Dot Cotton embroidery was featured on the fab Cuteable today. Yay! Thanks, Lynsey!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

has anyone seen my willy?

Here he is! I've been wanting to do this embroidered portrait for the longest time.
Here's his owner. Anyone recognise her? She was the second character created for Eastenders and was in it from day one, as was her dog, who was meant to be a yorkshire terrier but was replaced by a pug with greater acting prowess at the last minute.
Together forever, Ethel and her little Willy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

anchors away!

Last night I was experimenting with my prized anchor buttons.
I was hoping to find a way of making a brooch that was quicker than the zip brooches.
These were quicker but not by much. They took much longer than I'd thought.
But they turned out pretty cute so I think I will take them to market at the end of the month :)

("to market" is my new favourite phrase!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

creating a spectacle

Originally uploaded by nerdgirljulie

I've been trying to think of simple embroidery ideas (anything quicker than a full on portrait of a lady with wrinkles would be good!) and so wish I'd come up with this. I love it!

My glasses have a copper coloured frame but have had a big scratch in the middle, right above my nose, for a couple of years. Before my interview, I disguised the scratch by colouring it in with a brown permanent marker. Hee hee! I wish I'd thought of doing that sooner - now I'll get at least another decade's wear out of them!

What can I say? I'm a classy doll.

a veritable meadow of zip brooches!

Zips, zips, zips, zips, as far as the eye can see. And (now) all with backs attached. Yeah! Time to move onto something else but I might return and make more of these if I have time before Made in the Shade. I've been making zip brooch backs since around 8am today, stopping only to play my cello for the first time in about 3 years. That did not help the burgeoning blisters (zip induced) but it was fun and, to my surprise, the cats liked it.

I am still unemployed, unfortunately, but am trying to stay positive and get into a routine with things, hence the 8am sewing start today. Apparently I nearly got my dream job (it was "VERY close" and there was only a "whisker" between me and the person who did get it) which, overall, doesn't make me feel too much better about it :( They did also say they would be in touch if any other positions opened up with them but I think that is pretty unlikely to happen. I just hope I see something else advertised that I really want to do. In the meantime, I plan to buy a lottery ticket :) And I did get to go for a lovely dinner with my friend, Julia, while I was in Edinburgh for the interview so it wasn't a total waste of time.

Right, off to find the next pre-market project. Maybe a trip to my lovely local craft store for some double sided sticky tape?

Monday, September 7, 2009

what I wore yesterday - oh dear...

Despite it being the worst outfit (is it even an outfit?) ever, I couldn't resist trying to illustrate what I wore yesterday. Ta da! The face is not much of a resemblance but I really captured the finer nuances of the attire... :)

Today I am mostly worrying about my interview tomorrow and reading up on Scots language (for the interview). I will also be going into town to find interview appropriate clothes that the new larger Laura (boo!) will fit into. Blogging, therefore, is not part of today's schedule!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

gemma correll (again!)

Originally uploaded by gemma correll

I know I have blogged about Gemma Correll a couple of times before but she just keeps doing things that I love. Recently she has been posting these illustrated journal pages on her flickr and she has also set up the what I wore today (drawings only!) pool which is well worth a look. I really want to draw something for it but maybe not today as I am doing job applications from the comfort of my unglamorous pyjamas, manky old dressing gown and manly looking slippers. I'll try to look gorgeous some other time :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

the mythical beast sweet shoppe

Thanks to the lovely Camilla, my hulder gocco prints are going to be in an exhibition. Yay! I'm really excited about it as I think the exhibition looks completely brilliant. It's called The Mythical Beast Sweet Shoppe and has a whole range of exhibits, all to do with mythical beasts. And alongside all the art, they have jars and jars of lovely looking sweets. Its an art gallery come sweet shop! Well, I did tell you it looked brilliant... The location looks beautiful too, right on the sea front by a lovely looking pier in Weston-Super-Mare. I wish it wasn't so far away from Glasgow because I would love to go. If you live anywhere near there, please go along and make me jealous :) You can get more details if you visit the mythical beast sweet shoppe blog.

Sorry I've not been about on the blog much this week. I've got a job interview to prepare for (for that job I said I reeeeeally wanted - hooray!) and another arduous job application to do. I've also been busy doing some repetitive type crafty activities that don't give me much to blog about. I've been making hundreds of recipe card cards and making paper bags out of recycled materials for when I next do a market. Actually, I could totally have blogged about that! Maybe I will some other day :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

sew your own!

Remember these trees I posted about a while back? Well, thanks to two interested commenters (thanks Daisie and Lofipi!) I decided to make a little tutorial for them so that you can, should you want to, grow sew your own!
This is a really simple and quick project so don't be put off by the possibly excessive number of photos - I was trying to be thorough!

All you will need to make this is:

* a small piece of hessian
(recycle a sack or get it in any fabric shop or upholsterers - I was amazed at my local shop's hessian range, yes, RANGE!)
*some wool/yarn in browns and whatever colours you want for your treetops
*a needle
*a pair of little scissors
(nail scissors would work if you don't have fancy sewing scissors like mine)
First of all, cut your hessian into a square or rectangle using the strands as a guide to keep the edges nice and neat. This particular square measures about 10cm on each side but you can make it pretty much whatever size you like.
Starting about one quarter of the way up your hessian piece, use your little sharp scissors to cut the horizontal strands up to about the halfway point. (The more strands you cut through, the taller your trunks will be.) Cut them in between two of the vertical strands, which you can use as a guide to keep you straight and parallel to the side. You'll want to do this at least a few cm in from the side of your piece.
Cut the same horizontal strands (just look along the line made by the strands to see where to start and stop cutting) at the opposite side of your hessian piece, the same distance in from the edge. You'll end up with two vertical slits, as in the picture above.

As a rough guide for size, allow about five vertical strands for each tree trunk, so if you want to make three trees, make the two slits about 15 strands apart, for five trees, make them about 25 strands apart etc. You don't need to be too precise about that, as you'll see when we get to the making of the trunks :)
See these exposed ends of the horizontal strands?
You want to grab hold of them, one at a time, and pull them out sideways. You could use tweezers but it's easy enough to grab them... as long as you don't have big sausage fingers, that is!
Your hessian square should now look something like this. You'll also probably be covered in bits of hessian. I wish I hadn't used my good black vest as a background for these photos...
Cut yourself a length of brown wool and tie it round the base of a few of vertical strands, knotting it at what is going to be the back. Anything from three to seven strands (maybe even more?) works fine. Leave a little tail on your wool.
Start wrapping the wool round and round and round... Work your way up what will be the first trunk, covering the tail from your wool as you go. You can stop when you get to top, or do a few layers, but finish at the top of the trunk. When you're done, tie the wool at the back of the trunk and trim off the excess, leaving a little tail again. We'll sort that out later.
Do the same thing for the other trunks. It looks nice if you vary the trunks' thickness and use a variety of wools. Something nice and bobbly/lumpy would probably work really well. I didn't have anything like that, myself.
This is the front view of your finished trunks. Now it's time to choose the colour for your leafy tree tops!
I was planning to do a nice autumnal scene, given that it's now September (what? already?) but...
... I was distracted from that plan by these lovely blues.
I always start with the middle tree because the trees overlap and I like the middle one to be the one in front. You need to tie quite a big knot on the end of the wool so that it doesn't slip between the gaps in the hessian, then you just start sewing from the back. I sew over the tail from the trunk as I go.
You can use whatever sort of stitch you like to make the leafy tree tops, really, and the wool is pretty forgiving, especially if you are using quite thick stuff. I've tried doing more fancy/proper embroidery stitches but you can't really see it properly once it's done anyway.
If you're using quite a thick wool, you can just leave it loose and loopy at the front, like in the picture above. Just keep sewing loops until your treetop is the size and shape you want it to be then...
... stitch/weave in the end on the back of your tree.
Then make a start on tree number two. For this one I just did lot of simple, short overlapping stitches, going in lots of different directions.
For this third tree, I backstitched a triangular outline and filled it in with straight horizontal rows of backstitch. Honestly, stitch them in whatever haphazard way takes your fancy - you cannot go wrong!
Once you've finished stitching, there might be a few strands coming loose at the edges. It's not a problem. Just pull a few strands out on each side (see below) for a frayed effect, or give it a quick trim.
Voila! Your very own trees to... do whatever you fancy with?
I hope that all made sense. Let me know if you do make any. I'd love to see them!