Friday, 20 August 2010

Good times follow bad times...

Everything seems to be swings and roundabouts at the moment - some days go really well, with good milestones met, others have been really upsetting and sad. The roller coaster is making me very tired I must admit.

Well... The bad... I was walking through the City centre here in Cardiff and some kids came up to me and spat at me, called me a "crip" and tried to kick my stick away. I was really sad - I can handle most of it - it has happened to me before, but I had spit on my trousers and foot (I was wearing sandals) - and had to go back to the office and clean it off. It was really horrible and I got quite upset. Stew my husband called me to cheer me up, and I was OK, but frustrated. I'm a successful businesswoman, I hold down a 4 day a week job in a busy office, I work hard to juggle my business, marriage, social life and creative outlets, I'm smart and I'm a nice person!

I decided to chat to the Etsy community about my experiences in the forums, and I was flooded with kind words and positive thoughts - it was so sweet! It really cheered me up, and affirmed to me that even though I might be different in some people's eyes, on Etsy I'm still an equal. You never know, one day I might be able to feel like that everywhere I go.

Someone pointed me in the direction of the Createability group on Etsy, made up of disabled sellers from around the globe. I got really excited and had a great time chatting to the members in the forums - it felt good to chat to people who knew how I felt.

To celebrate this, I thought I'd create a themed treasury celebrating diversity - I've called it Inspired-ability:

I hope you enjoy it!

For the good news, I'm off to visit my in-laws over in Norfolk for the week for a well deserved holiday, I finally got my tax return sent off (despite being convinced I got it wrong!) and I was included in 2 really cool treasuries - one Bumble Bees and one Ladybirds - so cute!

Coming up in the next few posts, I will be blogging about my week away, and thinking about the start of Autumn, and the slippery slope down to the Christmas rush!!


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Fun and frolics on a Paddle Steamer

Yesterday I had a fun day out with my husband Stew and our friend Sarah (alas Sarah's dog Alf the westie wasn't allowed on the boat so he had to stay at home...)

The weather forecast was terrible... it was supposed to be stormy and rainy all day - so we were pleasantly surprised when the Balmoral pulled up at Penarth harbour with no rain - a welcome reprieve!

So we got on and set off on the 2.5hr crossing from South Wales across the Bristol Channel to North Devon, and the pretty town of Illfracombe. I managed to get some knitting done on the journey - and see some of the great sites along the way. You can see I needed one of my knitted slouch hats to keep my ears warm!

After a longish period on the boat we finally arrived in Illfracombe - I was quite glad to get on dry land at this point! We had about 2 hours to pootle around the sleepy seaside town before we had to make the return journey

 We wandered up past a stunning handmade fudge shop, stopping off for some butterscotch fudge, and Stew and I hiked it up the hill to the town on a bit of a mission - to find the Illfracombe Chocolate Emporium!

This place of wonder had many cool things to see - including a chocolate museum, a shop selling handmade chocolate and local treats like home made wine and liqueurs - and this GIANT chocolate button!

We went upstairs and sat down for a rest - the view from the window was gorgeous - and by this point the sun decided to poke it's head out from all the clouds

We enjoyed a "mini cream tea" consisting of a scone with jam and Devonshire cream, and a pot of tea each. I was extra chuffed as they did gluten free scones - so I could actually eat one this time and not just watch Stew stuff his face!

Soooo yummy! After this we didn't have that long before we had to be back on the boat to go home, so we went for a walk along the sea front to look at the harbour, and enjoy the fleeting sunshine

Gorgeous eh? So our trip drew to an end, and we headed back. Another few hours on the boat going back rounded off a great trip. It rained a bit on the way home - the boat is covered so we were OK... except the roof had a leak above our seat!

We pulled back into Penarth at about 7.30pm, to dry but cloudy scenes:

All in all a great day out! and we did nearly miss all of the rain, except as we were about 100 yards from the car the heavens opened and it absolutely chucked it down in a very heavy shower! Soaked driving home but at least it was dry whilst we were out.

Even better, I got home to 3 order enquiries in my store! Bonus! It seems I always seem to get orders when out and about - maybe I need to take more boat trips!


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Competition entry update!

Since my last post, I've been working like a busy beaver, knitting away and designing my competition entry to go off to the I Knit Design competition - The closing date is the 20th August, and I only started work on the weekend, so I haven't done too badly for 4 days work - I give you the Helter Skelter Leg Warmers!

The yarn is really cool - called Peru by Sirdar, and is an alpaca and wool blend which is super soft. The colour is a lovely inky blue caller Blanket Blue colour 305. The cables are lovely and chunky, and I've designed the pattern so that the cables go in one direction on one leg and the other direction on the other - adds a little design touch to quite a simple looking accessory. It was not simple working out the pattern - it took me AGES!! 

I'm not good on patterns - I tend to make things up as I go along - and this time I had to come up with a pattern that was easy to follow, used all the correct abbreviations, and used charts to show how the cables were made, and how it tapers slightly from the knee to the ankle. Luckily I have found a really good knitting chart generator online where you can get the image just right - saved me drawing it out in Photoshop!

So I'll post this off tomorrow, and hopefully I will be down in London for the I Knit Weekender on Saturday 11th September to see my entry on display to the public, and hopefully once the competition is over I will put these babies in my shop for you to order!


(writing this whilst hubby is on his way to A&E after getting a black eye playing football/soccer at the park...sigh... 9pm at the main A&E department in the capital city - that's not a fun place to be...)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Time stops for no knitter....

Time seems to be my biggest enemy at the moment - time to spend improving my store, time to knit up the orders that have all come in at once (a happy problem), time to spend on my blog and in the Etsy forums chatting to other crafty folk, time to eat and sleep.... working full time and running a business is just getting crazy!

One thing I am determined to find time for is knitting a competition entry for the I Knit Design Competition - 3 different categories of entries, each category having 3 prizes ranging from £50 to £250 plus YARN - not sure which is more exciting, the cash or the yarn, maybe the cash so that I can buy more yarn....

I'm thinking about a project I've had in mind for a while - it can't be anything I've got in my store or sole anywhere... I'm thinking leg warmers in a cool Sirdar yarn called PERU, a wool/alpaca blend which is really soft:

I think a cable design could look really cool - maybe to make them a bit different have them so that they come all the way over the knee.... will have to see how much of the yarn I have!!

Writing the pattern will be the hardest part - I don't really DO patterns - i tend to just knit and see what happens! 

So I have about 10 days to get it all done so I can get it posted to London in time... 

The best part is that all the entries will be displayed at the I Knit Weekender on 10th and 11th September which I'm hoping to make the trip to London to visit:

The Weekender will be packed with classes and workshops from some of the best UK designers including Alice Starmore!

They will include classes by Martin Story, Marie Wallin, Erika Knight, Wooly Wormhead and The Dutch Knitters - with topics such as icelandic lopi, lace, crochet etc

I'm most excited at the yarn sellers who will be attending - all that gorgeous YARN!! 

Tickets are £8 for a day pass - so if I can find a cheap bus or train to the Big Smoke I will be there - and reporting back on the events for you all!


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Blog Feature: Thecuriouscupcake

Another cool Etsy store I  have come across which I wanted to feature: thecuriouscupcake, a team creating cool and unusual jewellery in different styles and materials, utilizing different techniques in the process.

Q: Why thecuriouscupcake?

We are always getting asked 'Why The Curious Cupcake?' Well, that's easy, we like cupcakes and we're curious. It really is that simple, just like the things we make and the whole reason we got started in this direction in the first place. We love learning new things and love creating, what better way to put the two things together than with making jewelry and beaded flowers?

Q: What materials and styles do you work with?

Kelly's favorite things to work with are wire and crystals. Wire has a mountain of potential. Between the kinds, the sizes, the colors - it could go on and on. Wire can be the focal point, the background piece or sometimes just the guts. It's completely versatile. At the other end she loves working with crystals. She loves color and sparkle and using Swarovski crystals combines both. Color can almost set a mood for a piece and there's no better way to get true, vibrant colors than with crystals. She has made pieces using only crystals and she has used them as accents. It doesn't matter how they're used they always bring more life to any piece.

Angela, on the other hand, has taught herself the different techniques to create beaded flowers. She started off with the Victorian method, which is weaving two ends of wire through seed beads to create rows. French beaded flowers were intimidating at first but has now become the major focus of her work. Rings, pendants, hair clips and home decor are the main pieces she focuses on, but earrings and bracelets are something that will be coming in the very near future. Her dream is to be able to create custom bouquets and corsages for weddings, prom, homecoming or any other formal event. It just takes getting noticed!

Q: Do you have any goals you are working towards?

Angela is working on rings, pendants, hair clips and home decor as the main pieces she focuses on, but earrings and bracelets are something that will be coming in the very near future. Her dream is to be able to create custom bouquets and corsages for weddings, prom, homecoming or any other formal event. It just takes getting noticed!

Q: Why do you create your work?

People often find it amusing that we rarely wear any of the pieces we make. Save for a few select things we have designed for ourselves, almost everything is not really our style. It may seem odd but that's not why we do this. We make our creations because we like it; it's amazing how good it feels to see someone wearing something that we created with our own hands. On top of that we try very hard to keep our creations affordable. You shouldn't have to break the bank to wear something fun that brings a smile to your face. That's what we're trying to do in the long run - spread the smiles and add a little sparkle to the world.

Check out their store at and the team are offering FREE shipping on ALL items in store if you mention this blog post when ordering - how cool is that?!