Friday, February 22

A Gorey Update

Last week I made some good progress on my Edward Gorey Stitch Along piece. I was a bit worried about embroidering on the seam where I joined the 'wallpaper' to the 'floor' but that went ok. Except that you still can see the line through the Doubtful Guest's fur. I think I will just make him a bit more furry to cover it up. :)

Some of the other stitchers are already (nearly) finished with their pieces! How about this little skeleton guy beautifully embroidered on a pillowcase by Sophie?

Read all about her Gorey project here.

It's not too late to join us in the Stitch along group on Flickr and make your own Gorey Piece. Or maybe you'd rather wait for the next SAL (starting in April) which has the work of Tim Burton as theme.

P.S. Brie, one of the other Stitch-along-ers, pointed this Edward Gorey Google illustration out to me, in honour of his 88th birthday yesterday:

Tuesday, February 19

Surprise in the mail

I received the most wonderful package in the mail today sent by the very lovely Julie.  Julie is a crafty friend (follow her crafty adventures on her blog and she also writes regularly on the &Stitches blog !) and designer of beautiful embroidery and knitting patterns. As I'm terrible at knitting, Julie offered to make Pindsvin a scarf. It suits him so well and multi-coloured scarfs are his most favourite kind of scarf!  As you can tell from the photo I'm still not quite finished with adding Pindsvin's quills to his head but he just had to pose with his new scarf.  Once Pindsvin's quills are done I will write a post about the idea I launched last year. I was a little busy in the past few months but I'm hoping to do more with the plans I had for Pindsvin this Spring/Summer.

These are the other goodies Julie sent me:

Recently we had discussed Nancy Drew books on Twitter because of this awesome redwork piece based on a Nancy Drew illustration. I am not familiar with the Nancy Drew books (although I found out later some of them were released here about 10 years ago) and I was delighted to find a copy  in the package alongside some cute stickers, a pen, card and bookmark. :)

Now to plot a surprise (?) package for Julie, which is almost as much fun as receiving one!

Sunday, February 17

Another scrappy quilt top done

Another scrappy quilt top done! This time it's the High Five quilt from the Sunday Morning Quilts book. I didn't follow the pattern exactly: the original pattern has some large blocks added to all these small (5") blocks and is much larger than this one. Mine ended up about 47 by 65".

I made the 5" blocks from my (rather large) scrap stash and worked on this quilt top on and off in the past winter months. I'm very happy with the end result.

Friday, February 15

Vase with Spring flowers

Vase with Spring flowers (1975) by me!

We have a lovely old cupboard in our kitchen that is a bit of a nightmare when you open it. It's jam-packed with unsorted small stuff like glasses for 3D movies, sun lotion, hair clips but mostly it's filled with paper. Magazines, mail and lots and lots of kids' drawings and kid's school stuff like writing books they have finished etc. Elsewhere in the house I have boxes full of their drawings, math books etc from previous school years. I feel kind of bad about throwing their stuff away so it just sits there collecting dust and taking up space...

Yesterday I happened to find some of my own old school stuff: two small project/drawing books from Kindergarten and one little writing book from first grade. Actually that's about all there is left my school things and I'm rather glad there isn't much more! I hope my girls will feel the same in 30 years time because I'm quite determined to only save a selection of their drawings and school work. If anyone has a good tip on how to select from the big heap of stuff that doesn't include making photos of the drawings (because that's creating a whole new problem) than please let me know!

Wednesday, February 13

My Bunny Valentine Sale!

So... if you've been ogling one (or more) of my patterns this might be the time to actually purchase it! Today and tomorrow I have a My Bunny Valentine Sale in the FTWB shop only. Enter code MYBUNNYVALENTINE and receive 14% off all patterns and package deals. Further more I'm going to close the shop in a few days time for a short break so there's another reason to hop over to the shop right now!  xoxo

Monday, February 11

No need for speed: Slow Craft

For some time I had a rather large embroidery (it's a secret project, more about that later this year) in my large Qsnap frame. Well I call it my large frame (it's 11" square I think) but they make them much, much bigger than that! But now that project is finished (well the embroidery bit anyway) I have put my beloved Bear & Fish project in the Qsnap again. Yesterday I added the green leaves. Not really my finest shading work, but it looks ok from a distance. :) I really enjoy doing working on this piece. It's not for a pattern, not for a book and there is no deadline, it's just for me! Which brings me to this blog post by Lisa. She did a fabulous job stitching this organic fruit & veg themed piece, and, just like me, she stitched it for fun.

To me it seems that crafters often feel the need to hurry or produce lots of things (for whatever reason: deadlines, new projects on the horizon, demand etc) and many (myself included) have several projects in progress at the same time. It's a paradox really: making things by hand (which is a relatively slow process) but it better not take too much time! Why not make at least one of your projects a 'slow craft' project*. Something you make just for fun or which will help you develop and practice new skills. Are you ready to be a 'slow crafter'? Or maybe you already are? Let me know!

*after I had written most of this post I found out that there is actually such a thing called the 'slow revolution' and 'slow crafts'!

Thursday, February 7

Running a Crafty Shop: on Originality

Embroidery by Georgia McDonald
Recently I got a mail from a customer who was in the process of setting up an Etsy shop, asking for advice. Once I started writing my reply I thought it was something that others might be interested in as well. I'm not saying I know all about running a crafty online shops but I do have some idea and learned from my experiences of running a small online shop for the past 4 years. This first post is all about Originality. Because if the things you are trying to sell are very similar to the shop 'next door' then what reason is there for customers to buy your stuff?

Originality could be described as 'the quality of being special and interesting and not the same as anything or anyone else'. One of the reasons I started making patterns was because there was nothing out there like the ideas I had for embroidery patterns.  So...the image you see above was the very first embroidery pattern I put in my shop. Actually it was the only pattern I had in my shop for a while. Lucky for me I had some sweet people I 'knew' from Flickr that bought my pattern and that gave me the confidence to make another! Well the second pattern turned out to be a big hit. It was the Princess and the Pea, and the wonderful version that Georgia made really helped in getting attention on big crafty blogs (and later magazines as well).

Originality doesn't mean you can't be inspired by stuff that is already out there. With the Princess and the Pea pattern, I combined a popular fairytale (I didn't know it was that popular at the time!) with a new take on an traditional form (the Sampler). This was not something I planned, it was a combination of things that led me to make an original pattern. I think I only embroidered for a year when I made that pattern and was (and still am, it's a never ending process!) in the process of learning and perfecting my stitches. I vaguely knew about traditional embroidery samplers and the rows of stitches reminded me of the stacked mattresses of the Princess and the Pea. I have two daughters and love to read fairy tales and folk tales so I re-read the fairytale, counted the mattresses and started making my pattern.

In my opinion 'original' also means: 'staying close to your origins'. I'm convinced that if you are creative and stay close to your personal preferences and experiences, you will make original work. I take much inspiration from books I read, music I listen to and art and illustrations I love. However while ideally you want to make things that are close to your heart it is nice to sell your items as well of course. There are things from current trends you could 'weave' into your own designs. Some subjects (in case of embroidery patterns) or items (in case of knitted items for example) may prove to be more popular than others. Also seasons and holidays are things to consider (this is actually something that is not my strongest point!)

Hope this post is helpful and do leave a comment if you have some wise words on this subject to share!