How are you all doing on this first Thursday of April 2014. It’s crazy to think that we are only a few weeks away from Easter isn’t it? Have you had a hot cross bun yet? Sneaked a little Creme Egg into your handbag? Crocheted something Easter themed? I’m planning on making an Easter wreath this weekend with the goodies I picked up at the Hobbycraft Easter press day. It will be my first time making a wreath and I’m very excited. I’ll do a quick blog post, and post a photo on my Facebook page, to show you what I did. I’m definitely thinking pompoms…
Today I just wanted to show you the three sets of lacy coasters that I made. These are the ones that I made by modifying my Lacy Coaster pattern last week (see my tale of woe and frustration here).
Looking at the photos, I’m really happy with how they turned out. Using a masculine grey for feminine lacy crochet really gives me a kick and I’m loving the gloomy grey contrasting with the bright yellow and pink, and looking stylish against the off-white. There’s just something about grey that I love. It’s a great neutral colour which makes anything else you put with it, “pop” yet it’s not as boring as black or dull like brown.
Navy would be my other Alternative Neutral. Oooh there’s an idea I need to explore! Just the other other day I read that navy has been hailed the new black for interiors and fashion. I may just have to whip up a coaster or two in navy with a colourful border, but for now, here are my Happy And Gloomy coasters.
Technically they are coasters, but I like to think of them as modern mini doilies too. They’re made using Vinnis Nikkim in Slate, Natural, Baby Pink and Sunshine Yellow. I only made one set of four coasters for each colour to sell in my Etsy shop. They’re available at £6 for a set of four, but I’ll be happy to make you one, or more than four.
I’ve just decided: I’ll make a navy and lime green coaster for me to use at work! That will surely liven up any desk and make tea drinking extra special!
On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.
What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!
From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.
I adore this hedgehog swinging from a tree crocheted pendant. It’s cute, crochet and a true work of art. It’s the work of Saffron Johns who lives in Bulgaria and sells her wire art in her Other Worlds Etsy shop. You should have a look at the other amazing pieces of crochet jewelery she makes. I love the Mouse Playing Trumpet double brooch and the Parrot Bird Cage pendant is truly amazing. You definitely wont be able to blend into the crowd when you wear these pieces of crochet art! And it’s sure to make you smile. Perfect for a Tuesday.
Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday.
It’s officially Spring in the UK. The daffodils are out, pink and white blossoms can be seen on the shrubs, bright green new leaves are just about sprouting and ye, my hands were freezing on the walk home from the station last night. Of course I didn’t have any gloves with me – see the first sentence. What I need to carry with me for these in-between seasons is something to keep my hands warm yet not be a full-on woolen glove.
What oh what could that be? Oh, I know! The pair of zigzag wrist warmers that I crocheted on Saturday!
See how great they are for getting on with things like crocheting and drinking coffee? My fingers can roam freely to do all manner of practical things, yet I
look feel super funky while I’m doing it.
I’m a bit obsessed with chevrons lately. I’ve always loved stripes, so a pointy stripe is like striking gold. I love the ups and downs, the zigs and the zags.
Would you like to make a pair of chevron wrist warmers too? You’re in luck. Not only did I make myself a pair on Saturday I also wrote down the pattern and listed it in my Etsy shop! You can buy it for a mere £2.50. Just click on the photo below or on this link to go straight to the pattern. The pattern is downloadable as a .pdf file so you’ll get it straight away.
Just a word of warning. You may end up looking like you have broken your wrist when you try one your first wrist warmer. Don’t let the OnlyOneWristWarmerLook put you off off wristies. Once you’ve made the second one the look comes together beautifuly. Certainly don’t show your husband the first one and ask him how it looks because you will, I guarantee it, be the butt of a Michael Jackson joke.
Meet the lovely Anastasia Bird, owner of JellyBean Etsy shop. I was lucky enough to be paired up with Ana for the Etsy School which was run during February. Ana and I both learned a lot from each other, and about ourselves and our shop, through the four weeks of Etsy School. The final week of Etsy School was all about social media and getting your Etsy shop “out there” so we thought what better way than to interview each other on our blogs!?
1. Tell us a little bit about your business and what you make?
I create handmade wooden home decor and gifts, they’re all completely able to be personalised to suit the customer. We create everything from plaques, to freestanding decorations, to stationery sets.
2. What made you want to work with wood? How did that come about?
I’ve always been creative and have a lot of crafty hobbies, such as cross stitch, crochet and card making… However I really have a passion for wood. It’s so versatile and is essentially a blank canvas. I really feel that wood is a great material to work with :)
3. What inspired you to start your own business?
I used to be a carer for the elderly but sadly had to stop due to injury. I struggled with not working whilst recovering and had to find an output to stop me being so bored and feeling useless. So I got creative and Jellybean was born. The inspiration I suppose was making the most of myself… not allowing myself to just sit and be… I wanted to be something!
4. What dreams do you have for the business? What would you absolutely love to see happen?
Eventually I’d love to have a shop, with a workshop in the back. The shop would have a lovely little cafe and be full of gorgeous handmade items from fellow small business’. Sort of a one stop shop for all gifts, home decor and craft supplies… That’s a long long way in the future but it’s a big dream as it’d be awesome to give back to the community and create jobs. In the short term i’d just love to keep learning, building my portfolio and growing the business at a steady rate.
5. What’s your favourite thing about running a business?
The customers, 100%. I “meet” so many people and from all different walks of life and it’s so interesting! I’ve made some friends for life through Jellybean and I could not be more thankful!
6. What do you feel is the most challenging part about running a business?
Absolutely has to be finding the right balance between home and work… Jellybean is my full time job and I find it really challenging to switch off sometimes. But it’s definately something I’m improving all the time and the business is better off as a result.
7. What part of running your business do you always strive to improve?
My photography. My photos, to me, are never good enough. I’m always learning new things and ways to make my photos the best they can possibly be. It’s so important as a predominately e-commerce business as the photos really need to make the customer know what the product is all about. They can’t touch it, or see it in person until they’ve bought it so it’s really really important we get that right.
8. Do you have a favourite small business other than your own
I have tonnes and tonnes of favourite small business’… Heartstitch, Patricks Pieces, Sew Now, Poppy Rose Embroidery, Playdough Factory… The list can go on and on and on!
10. Whats your inspiration
My customers, my animals, music, colours, trends… Anything and everything can inspire me!
Yes, that’s right, I sell yarn! I’m so excited! My Etsy shop is stocked with Vinni’s Colours Nikkim 100 % cotton DK yarn in white, and four shades of purple. Go on, go have a look. Here is the link that will take you straight to the yarn section of my Etsy shop.
As you’ve probably guessed, my decision to stock white and purple shades is not by accident – these are the colours of the squares for the Crochet for Kidney Research UK blankets we’re making. Now you don’t have to wonder what yarn weight, fibre or shade of purple is best for the squares because I’m supplying you with the perfect yarn. Better still, 25p from each ball of purple and white yarn that I sell, will go straight to Kidney Research UK!
Now you’re probably wondering about the yarn.
- Blend: 100% cotton
- Ball Weight: 50 g
- Ball Length: 119 m
- Tension: 20 stitches; 28 rows to 10 cm on 4 mm needles
- Needle size: 3.25 mm – 4.00 mm
- Crochet hook size: 3.5 mm
- Wash: Machine washable, warm iron, no bleach, dry flat, do not hang
If you don’t live in South Africa there’s a fair chance Vinni’s Colours will be unknown to you. In South Africa however, I dare say it’s the best known and most commonly used yarn around. “Vinni’s” is derived from the owner, Vinni Nielsen’s name. “Nikkim” is made up of the names of Vinni’s children Nikolai and Kim. You’ve already seen Nikkim in action on this blog – it’s the yarn I’ve been using for my Sunset Shades chevron scarf. I’ve had so many questions about the yarn and comments about the amazing shades, that I just knew I had to start selling it to my wonderful blog readers.
There are two things that made me fall in love with this yarn.
Firstly, the colour. All Vinni’s Colours yarn are hand dyed. Yes, dyed by hand. This means that you get an almost marbled, tonal variation in the colour. I’m going try to explain it to you in hair dye terms. Back in the 80’s all home hair dyes gave you flat, solid coloured hair. Nowadays you can’t even tell who had their hair dyed in a fancy shmanshy salon and who bought a home hair dye because the new stuff “works with your natural tones and highlights.” Vinni’s Colours is like the new stuff – interesting, varied and without a mass-produced look to it. Any other cotton yarn looks like a 80’s home hair dye job. Not only is the yarn hand dyed, it’s also skeined and balled by hand and sun dried in the African sunshine on the factory forecourt. I’m positive that it’s that loving human touch and African sunshine that adds a little something extra to the colours. Nikkim is available in 64 solid colour shades and eight variegated, but I’m only stocking five (for now).
Secondly, the feel and drape. It’s soft. Really soft. The yarn gives a beautiful drape. I won’t use it to make crocheted baskets that needs to be sturdy and hold it’s shape, but for baby wear, cardigans, scarfs and blankets it’s perfect. My Sunset Shades chevron scarf is done in SC and HDC stitches which would normally make for a very dense fabric, yet the scarf still drapes and feels soft – I would not have achieved this if I used, for instance, Rowan Handknit Cotton despite both being DK weights. You really have to feel this cotton yarn to believe how soft it is.
Even if you don’t want to use Vinni’s Colours Nikkim to make squares for the Crochet for Kidney Research UK blankets, 25p of each ball of purple and white sold will still go to Kidney Research UK, so you’re supporting a very worthwhile charity just by buying this cotton yarn. Vinni’s Colours also provide a much needed income to the South Africans who are employed to hand dye, skein and ball the yarn. It’s win-win!
Feeding your yarn addiction has never felt this good.
Speaking of win-win…… I’m giving away one ball of each of white, dark purple, lilac, violet and plum to one lucky reader! All you have to do is have a look at the photos below and select four shades that you would want to use for your next project and tell me what that project would be. I had to break up the huge selection of Nikkim (64 shades!) into four colour groups because they wouldn’t all fit into one photo, so don’t think you have to choose a colour from each photo.
The winner will be chosen randomly on Sunday 29 September at 16:00 GMT.
I absolutely love all these amazing shades. Good luck choosing only four! Lime, Avocado and Deep Blue are my favourites. And Peacock and Pale Sage. And Mint and Kingfisher. Geez, I can’t choose! If you have the same problem, feel free to choose more than four shades for the giveaway.
I’m really looking forward to sending out packets of purple and white yarn to my lovely readers, and giving 25p for each ball sold to Kidney Research UK. It really is win-win for me, you and Kidney Research UK.
Mabel is the spokesPug for Three‘s Pug321 campaign. Only a pug can carrry off a crocheted birthday cake hat and gangster chain and still look this cute – choosing Mabel was perfect casting by Weiden & Kennedy London. Three says they used a pug for this campaign because “pugs are charming creatures that embody the spirit of the internet: serious, but with a just a little bit of silliness.” I think I’m going to start calling the internet, Mabel from now on.
If you want to dress up the pug in your life with crocheted birthday cake hat, have a look at PugsnGiggles’ Etsy shop here.