Wednesday, 22 December 2010

2010 - a sum up and celebration!

So it's the end of 2010, and some pretty significant milestones have been met:

1. I got married to my fiance of 5 years Stewart in May
2. I managed to hold down a good job at the same place for nearly a year - the longest so far!
3. I've managed to get to 100 sales in my Etsy shop - thank you Andy from Ontario, Canada!
4. My health is starting to improve in small but steady steps...

Debs and Stew enjoying Cornwall in 2010
It's been a funny kind of year - I'm really pleased that I kept my head and didn't turn into bridezilla at any point before or during my wedding - it was a fantastic day enjoyed by all - and showcase some amazing handmade items - see my blog post for full details!

Our Wedding Day in Cardiff May 2010, St Davids Hotel
My knitting skills have really improved - I've gone from a hesitant knitter who couldn't knit in the round, and wasn't much past knitting, purling and different kinds of rib. Now I'm able to cable, do lace stitches and have mastered knitting on magic loop needles. For 2011 my next skill to master is knitting on double pointed needles. I'm sure if I sat down with my super talented knitting friend Linda I'd pick it up after a few attempts, but it is beyond me at present. One of my big musts is to learn how to crochet by this time next year. I've been trying for years without success! My friend Zoe taught Sarah, a complete novice, how to do it in one evening. There again, Sarah seems to be able to pick things up SUPER quickly. She mastered knitting in a weekend... I'm not green with envy... well maybe a little!

One of my new range of hats launched Spring 2010
Our Craft Night set up between local friends (and with visits by their dogs) has been a major success - meeting once a fortnight on alternate Tuesdays and Wednesdays (I know...) we have been able to relax, eat good food, drink plenty of tea and make projects just for us - as well as having a good gossip and a moan!

My Etsy shop is looking much more cohesive - I'm really happy with the branding on my shop banner and blog - i think they match in well. I've had business cards made up with the same branding (thank you free premium business cards on Vistaprint!) - and I've tried to keep up with Twitter and Facebook to keep interest (although with the office being really busy this month it has slipped a bit - but I'm not beating myself up about it.)

New Handmade & Found branding designed in 2010 by me!
My goals for 2011 are pretty straight forward:
1. Keeping myself in work for another year 
2. Build on the success of my Etsy shop, working on new products and designs
3. Treat my long suffering husband in little ways throughout the year (maybe with cake...)

So have a very Merry Christmas / Festive Season, and a happy New Year! 

Want to celebrate in style...? Use discount code NEWYEAR15 for 15% off across my Etsy store until 31st January 2011(including custom orders) - as a big thank you to everyone who has got me this far. 


Saturday, 11 December 2010

Return of the Knitter...

I vowed to myself that I would be blogging at least once a week... I failed  this last week sorry - I've been really busy at my office job organising conferences and working all hours under the sun, so today I'm making my triumphant return to you all this week - Yay!

I'm celebrating a few things this week:

1. I managed to pull off a big local event with work 
2. I'm at 98 sales in my etsy shop!
3. My knitwear is being sold in a local shop in Pontypool (!)
3. It is exactly 2 weeks until Christmas!

We went out for our office Christmas party last night - I've promised not to share the pictures on my blog, but rest assured everyone had a great time and ate and drank plenty of tasty things...

I'm feeling pretty festive; and now that the Christmas rush in store is calming down, I'm knitting Christmas presents for family and friends - I never stop knitting!!

Here are some of the projects I've been working on:

This is a lovely custom tea cosy order for a customer to match her retro melamine kitchen - dark blue, cream and aqua - looked great!

Another custom order on a brown kitty set - I changed the way I embroidered the paws and I think it really looks great!

These fab mittens have extra long cuffs - in a gorgeous deep red colour - they look fantastic on and will keep your arms nice and warm!

This was a gorgeous navy wool ribbed beanie hat for a local customer - wide rib to the edge with a larger rib pattern to the rest of the hat & a lovely soft wool yarn too.

So as you can see I've been keeping busy! Some of these new custom designs and ideas will be making their way in store over the next weeks; I really like it when a customer gives you a great idea for a new stock product - it really comes from demand!


Sunday, 28 November 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

This week the coldest November temperatures ever in Wales were recorded in Powys (Mid Wales up in the Mountains...) minus 18 degrees Celsius (-18C!!!) - that's about 0 degrees in Fahrenheit I think... Either way it was VERY VERY Cold!

Being in the City meant that it only dropped to -6C, but it was still cold enough to experience a decent amount of snow and ice. Saturday I went for a walk with Stew my husband to get some supplies, and walked through one of our local parks, Victoria Park. It looks pretty all covered in ice and snow

To warm up, we called into our local cafe called Waffles - it is a great little place (you can tell it's good as it was packed when we got there!) - they serve all sorts of baked delights, which included waffles! Even better, they do a gluten free option (I've got coeliacs disease which is a wheat and gluten intolerance) so I munched through 2 big hot chocolates with mini marshmallows, and waffles with cheese, mushrooms and bacon - SO yummy! Stew had apple, raisins, cinnamon and cream on his - it looked lovely apart from the icky raisins...

It was a lovely little walk - this weather is here to stay me thinks, so I've ordered in some more yarn so that I can make some knitted goodies to keep me warm! The first thing I worked on is this gorgeous slouch hat made of cream roving 100% wool yarn (it feels like wearing candy floss!)

Anyone following me on Twitter has witness the anguish this hat has put me through - this was attempt 15 (yes - 15) to get it right - the ribbing is simple, but the spiral lacy pattern involves a sequence of knits, yarn overs and slip slip knit wise - sounds fine, but if you mess it up even a little bit there is no way back - you've got to start it over. PAIN! It look 2 hours of talking through the stitches out loud one by one, sitting in my lounge on my own and missing my fave TV show just to get it right. I'm glad I persevered - it looks gorgeous! (the pic isn't great, but on it is FAB)

I'm thinking I need to get better at getting this pattern right before this one gets put in my shop, and it works best with chunkier weight yarn in simple unpatterned colours, but it's getting lots and lots of compliments already!


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Black Friday is upon us...

So it's getting darker, snow has been forecast here in Wales and the Christmas lights are up in the city centre - this can only mean one thing - the holiday season is fast approaching!

Check out Stew in a custom knitted Santa Hat!

 Black Friday - Wikipedia describes it as:

Black Friday (sometimes Green Friday) is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

As we don't have Thanksgiving here in the UK, this kind of went unnoticed by me here - blissfully knitting through my orders ticking down the time down to Christmas - then I hit the online shops to stock up on presents - and there it is - Black Friday!

In store, I'm utilising the new Coupon facility that Etsy have launched - I'm offering a Black Friday promotion offering 10% off to all customers in store for Blog readers and Facebook  fans - a little Christmas gift from me to you all!

Enter the discount code BLACKFRIDAY10 between now and 23.00 GMT on Monday 29th December 2010 - and let me know your feedback on how you found the process!

Another cool new feature just launched on Etsy is being able to list and being paid in your own currency. I'm intrigued to find out opinions on this one - I'd find it SO much easier to list and sell in £ pounds, but I'm not sure if it would put off my large international fan base... mmm... 

Let me know your thoughts on this too!


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Feature: Shawl Pins from WireDreamsDesign

I was browsing on Etsy recently and stumbled across  these gorgeous handmade shawl pins by WireDreamsDesign

Amy lives in the Orlando, FL area but used to live in Texas and hopes to one day move back there. This is her story:

"I'm a cartographer (map maker) by day and artisan by night with a 4 year old and a totally supportive husband that does what he can to help out when I need it. I'm a music and somewhat of a techie geek. 

I'm not sure what I would do without my Pandora app when I'm at work. I do a lot of knitting and crocheting but apparently not enough finishing. We won't discuss how many unfinished, ongoing, projects I have right now..."
"I do most of my work on the a section of countertop that I have set up sepcifcially for as my workspace. Each one is rolled out individually, cut out and any additional pices that are needed are also cut out. I usually bake all of the pieces individually and assemble after. Just in case something happens during the baking process I only have to remake one part instead of the whole piece. After they are assembled they are glazed and left to dry.

I started making pins because I got tired of all the wooden ones at the time that were at the yarn shop I frequent the most. To me, they were boring and didn't add anything to the shawl. I started off making just plain shaped pins and from there the sun, turtle and lady bug were the first "themed" pins I made. They sort of happened by accident by just playing with the clay and shapes. I get requests now and then for different animals or things which is where the cat came from and usually will spark some other animal or pin idea."

"While I consider myself a bit of a techie I just can't get into the social networking thing. I do have a website that I use somewhat of a gallery":

Amy also have a personal blog which usually deals more with knitting things and general things going on:

Aren't these pins fantastic! I think they make brilliant presents for the knitter or fashion adict who has everything - they come in lots of different shapes and designs, so there is one for everyone, no matter your tastes. This one is my fave - it's so cute!

Take a look in Amy's shop to find more cool pins!


Sunday, 14 November 2010



What a FANTASTIC giveaway! This has been the best one so far - well over 100 entries!!

Thank you for all your entries - The winner was picked by a random number generator at 3pm GMT. Our winner is....

Damla! (Sweepstake Lover)

Congratulations - your prize will be making its way out to you soon.
As a big thank you to everyone who entered, all entrants will receive FREE shipping in store from today (14th November) until 1st December 2010  - Quote BLOGNOV10 on ordering along with your blog ID so I can check your entry.

This month I am celebrating too - it has been 1 year of my store being open, and 6 months since I started my blog.

Over the last year I've had over 80 sales, met some great fellow crafters, had a great time, and taken one step closer towards knitted world domination!

Check out this super cool map showing all the cities and countries where my knitted creations now call home - that's 9 countries, 4 continents and 25 states in all and counting! (Don't worry - no addresses, just nearest cities/towns)

As you can see, I'm doing pretty OK for one year of sales - but there are quite a few gaps on the map. I'm offering an ongoing promotion, where buyers from states, provinces or cities not yet flagged up on the map will receive 10% off on their order! Quote MAPGAP when ordering to receive the discount.

Finally, check out Christmas posting deadlines for shopping in store on my Facebook Fan Page


Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Big Blog Giveaway!

The time has arrived - finally! I've been so excited about launching this giveaway; I've been planning it for weeks!

The aim was to come up with a giveaway item that could be given to either sex as a good Christmas present - (or a present for yourself if you wish!)

So I've come up with this super cool circular scarf, mittens and beanie set, all in a matching rich moss green yarn. It looks stunning on - perfect for girls or boys!

The hat has been knitted in a rib stitch making it really stretchy - will fit a standard adult head snuggly. 

You can see that the full set looks rather fetching on my husband Stew - he said it was very comfy to wear, and would keep you cosy and warm in the winter time!

The mittens have a ribbed cuff to make them fit snuggly against your wrists, and are fitted around the thumb. They are quite fitted so they will keep you warm, but can still function in them!

I love this cowl - it is very warm. I knitted this on a loom, so it has a great laddered pattern, and has no seam so it is very strong - you can pull it on and off as many times as you like and it will keep its shape!

So here it is - a 3 piece set worth a staggering $50 retail value! I'm feeling very generous with the festive season approaching, so one lucky blog reader will win this great prize!

This giveaway is open worldwide so everyone can enter - it is really simple, no games or catches - a very straightforward giveaway!

You get automatic entry into the competition if you:

a. Leave me a comment under this blog entry saying what you would buy from my Etsy shop if you had a blank cheque…
b. You get another entry if you have left a message and follow my blog.
c. You get another entry for following me on Facebook
d. You will get another entry if you follow me on Twitter
e. Lastly if you tweet or post on your own blog a link back to this blog competition you get another entry.

So maximum of 5 chances to win… - how cool is that!?

Please make sure when you leave your comment on this blog post that you say where I can contact you (Email address, Etsy username, Twitter handle, Facebook page etc)

Winner will be picked at random on Sunday 14th November 2010

Pob Lwc!

(Good Luck!)


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Halloween Post: Double, Double Toil & Trouble...

... It's that time of year again; All Hallows Eve is fast approaching this weekend - and it's also the weekend the clocks go back 1 hour here in the UK, changing from British Summer Time back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), making the 31st extra dark and spooky this year.

"Double, Double Toil and Trouble"; Shakespeare's contribution to the Halloween festivities from the Witches speech in the play Macbeth conjures up thoughts of cauldrons, eyes of newt and frogs tails! (not bubble bubble like you may think, the thought on this is that the collective memory on this has become a bit cloudy, and double has got substituted for bubble...)  Though Halloween is not celebrated with the same fervour here in the UK as it is in the US, we still have a great time!

This year I'm planning to settle in for a night of movies, candlelight, popcorn and plenty of sweets! Which movies are on the play list I'm not sure yet... All suggestions welcome! In Halloweens of past I've enjoyed dressing up and going to a big party, but I am a bit obsessive with costume etc - in 2005 I spent 4 hours painting myself up as a zombie with terrifying results!

(I was at University at the time so had plenty of time to cover myself in green greasepaint and fake burns - and yes that is glow in the dark paint in my hair!)

But Halloween does not have to be all blood guts and gore if you don't want it to! There are some fantastic handmade objects that can be kept out all year to enjoy if it takes your fancy...

I LOVE this hat - I stumbled across it on Folksy recently and I think it would look fantastic to glam up a more classy Halloween outfit. It's made by Janine Basil; the hanging spider is a stroke of genius!

I've also fallen in love with these fantastic candles - we don't really have Candy corn here, but the colours always make me smile, and I'd have these out in my house all year around. They are hand made by Craftasticparties on Etsy and at $11 for a set of 3 they are really good value too!

Throwing your own party? Need some tips? There are so many ideas out there! Bobbing apples, spaghetti meatball guts, haunted house mock-ups (though maybe not for very small kids or those with a nervous disposition!) - and of course you will need a Jack-O-Lantern carved from a big fat pumpkin.

This pumpkin lantern bowl by TheCaramelJar is a great way to enjoy the lantern effect, but keep year on year to display at your parties. And if it is full of sweets all the better!

I really do not like pumpkin. I've tried year on year to try and like it - but I can't stand wasting all that food by just scooping it out and throwing it away either; I've scoured around for a way to use up the flesh from the lantern and have discovered that doesn't fill me with horror (!) is a Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Sage; it's a River Cottage classic recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and mixes the pumpkin in with a creamy rich risotto, and you can hide it under lots and lots of cheese. I think it's one I'm going to give a go this Halloween!

Happy Halloween to you all!

Sunday is also the day I launch my Christmas present to you guys - my blog giveaway! It will make a great present for a loved one, or for yourself! I'm very excited about it already - 1 week to go!


Friday, 15 October 2010

National Wool Week Celebration!

Yes that's right - this week is National Wool week! (admittedly I'm a bit late writing this on Friday this week, but work has been mental - better late than never!)

Here is a little bit of history of where Wool Week came from, written by Laura Smith:

"Back in January 2010, HRH The Prince of Wales announced a cross-industry initiative called The Campaign for Wool.The project aims to promote the versatility and sustainability of this natural fibre with the intention of increasing demand, which has been declining recently. The campaign is supported by many high profile brands including Debenhams, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer. 
One of the higher profile aspects of the campaign is to be National Wool Week. Originally scheduled for September, the dates were changed and now National Wool Week is running from 11th until the 17th October. Many organisations are getting involved and there are numerous events planned throughout the week. However my favourite has to be the Savile Row Field Day where the London street, most famous for world class tailoring, will be closed to traffic and laid to turf in order to allow Exmoor Horn and Bowmoor sheep to graze freely!"

How cool is that?! I really wish I had been there to see that! Wool is a fantastic resource, it is natural - straight off the sheep - and it's sustainable - farmers in the UK are almost giving away fleeces and are seen as waste products!

Wool is also amazingly versatile - think about all the different products can be made from this gorgeous product, from the fabric for Saville Row suits, to the yarn we love to knit with - it is biodegradable, water resistant, hard wearing and dyes really easy, so you can get a wide variety of colours. 

The processed wool can be spun and turned into gorgeous yarns to be knitted, crocheted or weaved, or it can be formed into that wonderful non-woven fabric that we all love - felt!

Check out this gorgeous treasury of knitted delights to celebrate National Wool Week and salute the humble yet wonderful world of wool!

'Homage to National Wool Week!' by debs102

My celebration of UK National Wool week - a celebration of all things woolen!

Chunky Cream Moss S...

Bridal - - - 3 felt...

Lion Brand - Wool-E...

Upcycled Felted Woo...

Undyed Natural Woo...

Fingerfull Warmers ...

Ivory and silver da...

Felted slippers BEI...

Vintage 1950s white...

Sheep Knitted, Wool...

Handmade Crocheted ...

Coco -3 white wool ...

Cream Swirls Headba...

Natural Handspun Ya...

Hand Knit Hat - The...

1CM Felt Balls/24-P...

Enjoy these knitted treasures and get behind the ethos of sustainable wool sources for your projects - it's something I'm really going to investigate for my store


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Autumn Days in a Park in Wales

I do like Autumn as a season; the colours are so pretty, it's cool enough that I can start to get out my cosy knitted goodies out of the wardrobe, but not as drab and dreary as Winter gets here - winter light here in Wales is very dull, flat and grey. It can make you feel very dreary, and want to hibernate away from the world...

... but we aren't there yet! We have a gorgeous little park opposite us called Thompson's Park, which we enjoy going on walks in. 

The sun was out this afternoon, and it was quite mild for October, and I enjoyed a lovely walk with Stew my husband. The colours out were fantastic, and I got some pics on my phone whilst we walked around... 

After having a pretty stressful and busy time recently, it was great to get out in the fresh air and relax before another hectic week at the office kicks off again. It's also given me some great inspiration for some new items in some of these gorgeous colours; greens, golds, reds, russets and browns.

On getting back I turned my inspiration into a Fall themed treasury, featuring some of the work of fellow Etsians who have nailed the Autumn vibe perfectly!

'Autumnal Colours in the Fall' by debs102

Inspired by my walk in the park today, this is my tribute to Autumn!

Genevie the bunny i...

Waving Woods - 184 ...

6 Cranberry Wool Fe...

NEW - Orange Coffee...

Mustard Yellow Fing...

Candy Corn Candles ...


Fall Leaves Necklac...

Cinnamon and Butter...


fall harvest - fuzz...

Little knitted hedg...

Brass Leaf Earrings

The Fairy Forest - ...

Silver Orchid Trio ...

Autumn Tree -- 70.8...

 I hope you enjoy it! 

*** Update - I'm knitting the Christmas giveaway prize as we speak - will launch the competition on 31st October, or sooner if we reach 200 blog followers! It is going to be a fantastic prize! ***