Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy post-Christmas!

Happy post-Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful and restful Christmas.

So, now I can finally post what I made my mom for Christmas!

A flying hedgehog:
Flying hedgehog

And magnets:
Wool magnets


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Whether you're having a Christmas full of old traditions, or a Christmas full of new ones, I hope you're having a lovely day!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Creating Gift Certificates for your Facebook fan page

I just made a gift certificate for my etsy shop!

It's available on the Fibrous facebook page or on the right hand column of this blog. It's a paypal gift certificate, so it will be easy to use during the etsy checkout.

If you run an online shop and want to make your own gift certificate there's great instructions at Handmade Spark.

There's only a few things I would add to those instructions:

  • one is that you can get to your Facebook admin page by clicking "edit profile", the other is that Static FBML can be found all the way on the bottom of the Applications page. Click "Add Application" to add.

  • Still in Applications, you'll see several links under "FBML". Click "Go to Application". Box title is "Gift Certificates". And the Paypal code goes in the FBML box.

  • You'll be able to find your gift certificate tab by pressing the >> on your page. If you'd like to rearrange your tabs just click and drag.

  • If you'd like a space in between your description and the button code enter this html code: <br>

  • aaaand, if you ever want to amend what's written in that box click on "Go to Application" next to the FBML icon.

Let me know if you need any help!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to add a Santa Hat to your avatar using photoshop

It's festive hat season! And not just any hat - it's Santa Hat time!!

If you have Photoshop it's actually quite easy to make your avatar, like this one.

First, find a Santa Hat. There's plenty of free clipart websites online.

Open the hat image in Photoshop.

Then open the other image, the one you'll be adding the hat to. I think it's easiest at this point to make both images roughly the same size by going to
Image -> Image Size
But don't worry about getting the images exactly the same size.

Now we're going to use the magnetic lasso function.

I usually magnify the image before I use this function. You can do this by pressing CTRL and then the + sign on your keyboard.

The magnetic lasso is easy to use, just click on the outline of the hat, then move your mouse along the outline. Sometimes, especially at sharp turns, you can make a "fastening point" by clicking your mouse. You will have to go all the way around and close the lasso by clicking on the first square you made with this tool. You'll know it's created a complete circle because the line becomes squiggly.

Don't stress about it being too perfect, we can erase the excess white a little later on...

Once you've finished that press CTRL C to copy the hat.

Then click on the non-hat picture and paste the hat.

You can use

to move the hat to the right place. And if the hat's too big you can click
Edit -> Transform -> Scale
and then click and drag one of the corners to make the hat smaller.

If the magnetic lasso hasn't done it's job properly and there's too much white around the hat just right click on the Eraser button and pick the Background Eraser Tool.
And click the white areas to make them disappear into the background!

And there you have it! Some extra festive cheer!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Minor Humbug

As of right now J is on an airplane, off to visit her mom for Christmas. As of right now I'm spending Christmas alone, in a foreign country, without good friends or family around.

It's been less than 48 hours since she'd been out of town and I've already started eating microwave food and have had waaaaay too much chocolate and shortbread. Actually, no wonder I'm already sad. Sugar crash.

This is my first Christmas away from home. Though really I've been a minor humbug for a few years now. Most of my family is into traditions, but I think I'll be ok without watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the 29th time in my life! *ironic*

I've also decided in the past 24 hours that I won't be buying a real Christmas tree for a logical albeit strange reason (totally not going to depress you by going into more detail on that). But that just might be the shortbread talking...

... so, um, Happy Holidays.

*off to eat something healthy so I'll stop being so melodramatic*

We're expecting more snow this weekend so I'll have pretty snow pictures for you soon.

snow on hill with bus stop

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like handmade

I was going to start off this post by bragging that nearly all my presents this year are either made by me or handmade by other people... And then I bought two touristy "I Love Edinburgh" and "I Love Scotland" t-shirt... That's what I get for thinking about bragging :)

Here's one of the things I bought from a fellow etsian:It's called Envy and is from Dyeingforewe (I'm just a tad bit green from jealousy that I can't keep this lovely yarn! :)

And although one of my sisters and I weren't going to exchange gifts, I found out my friend Beadybird was going to be at a craft fair nearby, so I bought this:

It's made from items found on a local beach! I think she'll love it.

My mom requested some of my magnets, so I'll post pics of those after Christmas!

Friday, December 03, 2010

How I feel when I leave the house

Have you seen A Christmas Story? The scene where Randy is getting ready to leave the house? Yup, that's how I feel.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It snowed today!! (not my car, btw)
It actually snowed yesterday too, but this was thick, proper snow, and at one point the backyard looked like a snow globe. A cold snow globe.

The holiday carnival has been up and running since Thursday. There's a ferris wheel and other rides, a Highland Market, German Market (I hear there's awesome Christmas markets in Germany, which is why they have them over here too) and the ice skating rink!
I haven't been on yet, but I will!

That last photo was taken just before 4 pm!

I'm not quite ready for all this yet, but the atmosphere is definitely here!

Stay warm everyone.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Craft Fair on Saturday!

I'll be at Drummond High School, Edinburgh, this Saturday to sell my fibrous wares. So if you're in town please stop by!

If you aren't in Edinburgh, as I realize the world does not revolve around this city and most people don't live here... you can buy from me online at I'm having a Black Friday - Cyber Monday sale, 10% off everything when you use the coupon code YAYPRESENTS

And sorry for the short posts the past few days, I've just started a holiday job, and this was a last-minute booking for the craft fair, so my spare time has been spent with frantically making stuff!

PS, Kirsty, if you're reading this, I'll make some sheep tonight for you, and you didn't leave your email in the comment form :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Hope you had/are having a wonderful evening! Yes I mean you, even if you aren't American. And if aren't please have something yummy for dessert to celebrate anyway! We can all use a good dessert sometimes ...

One of the many things I'm grateful for:
That there are people who find me interesting enough to read my blog! So a special hellooo and thank you!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blustery Day Knitting

Today was a blustery day. The sky was dark, rain skipped across the window.

Not a day for rushing about. Or felting it seems. A day maybe for knitting.
I've nearly gotten to the point where I should separate out the armholes from the rest of the body. About time too, because right now the knitting is too large for the circular needles.

It's a bit annoying when the stitches push each other off the needles and need to be rescued, but there's also something satisfying about have too many stitches. It's an overindulgence I don't have to feel guilty about (unlike having three of those pumpkin cupcakes in one evening :)

Pattern: Wicked
Yarn: New Lanark

PS. Very soon I'll leaving this blog and just posting on my new one!

Please change your bookmarks to:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes!

MMMM. Cupcakes. Have I mentioned I like dessert? It's my favorite food group.

These are some yummy cupcakes. Extra bonus that it's not too sweet, in fact the pumpkin almost makes this taste healthy!

The recipe makes 24 cupcakes

280g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
110g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
5 tablespoons brown soft sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
180ml milk
250g pumpkin puree

For icing:
8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 oz./113g) butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' (icing) sugar, sifted
3 to 5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1.Preheat an oven to 190 C / Gas 5. Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin cases. I use silicon cupcake cases. They're great, no greasing or paper cases needed!

2.Sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, salt, baking powder and bicarb. Set aside.

3.Beat 110g of butter, caster sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree.

4.Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Don't overmix! Pour the cupcake mixture into the muffin cases.

5.Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the icing.

6.In a large bowl cream together the butter and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, a quarter at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy.

7.Cover the cupcakes with the icing, either by spreading it with a spoon, or you can put the icing in a small plastic bag and cut a bit off one tip.

Though I don't recommend putting on those little edible ball thingies. Cupcakes shouldn't be so crunchy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mail posting dates

Yup, it's nearing that time of the year where we need to pay attention to Christmas posting dates, so here's the info for any of you who are buyers/sellers:

For packages from the UK:

Monday 6th December South & Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Far East (including Japan), Australia and New Zealand
Friday 10th December for Eastern Europe, USA and Canada
Monday 13th December for packages to Western Europe
Tuesday 21st December for First Class packages within the UK

Items coming from the US:
Monday 20th December for First Class Mail
Tuesday 21st December for Priority Mail
Dec 10 to Canada, Mexico, and Europe

More info on USPS shipping and more info on Royal Mail shipping.

Btw, very soon I'll leaving this blog and starting a new one!

Please change your bookmarks to:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yay electronics!

Tonight at Granny Green's Big Night Out (a weekly craft group I go to) they were holding a Beginning Electronics Workshop hosted by the Edinburgh Hacklab.

I can still remember a little electronic kit I had when I was a kid, and every few years I consider buying myself another one and never end up actually buying it, so I had been looking forward to this workshop all week.

We each got a little kit with directions and a friendly hacklab person was at each table to help us out.

Here's the first step, a bunch of transistors waiting to be soldered:
Here I am soldering. Apparently it's fascinating... :)
Actually I think she was just making sure I was doing it correctly.

And soon I had a flashy light thingy!

And now the question is, how can I incorporate this with fibre without electrocuting myself...?

Btw, very soon I'll leaving this blog and starting a new one!

Please change your bookmarks to:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Not in Kansas anymore - pizza

I've decided it would be amusing to start regularly posting odd cultural differences between how I was raised in the US and what I've encountered in the UK.

(Yes, I am pointing to the relevant sentence with a knitting needle)
Now I admit I’ve eaten pizza with a knife and fork at a restaurant over here, but I’ve always assumed that people ditched the knife and fork when they were at home! A quick google search tells me it’s pretty fairly common in America too. An inquiring mind want to know – How do you eat your pizza?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Best (and warm) Friend

Yup, I'm talking about a hat!

A hat that looks like I'm wearing a bunny on my head, and kind of impedes my sight, but it's sooo warm! And it's made in the UK (Lee Cooper), and I bought it on sale. So yes, definitely news worthy. BTW, that's my black alpaca owl cowl I'm wearing in the pic too - also super warm!!

And those gloves I'm wearing - not warm enough. Almost ready for the snow, almost.

Btw, very soon I'll leaving this blog and starting a new one!

Please change your bookmarks to:

Friday, November 05, 2010

Trip to the bead shop

Today I went to my Local Bead Shop (LBS?), The Bead Shop Edinburgh.

I don't bead, but I somehow went away with more than just necklace clasps.Lovely, aren't they? I thought they looked fibrous.

It's a nice and friendly store.
They also have wholesale discounts, if you buy enough of one item.

I couldn't help taking pictures of the beads. There were all these colors and shapes saying hey, look at me!

Maybe I should take up beading ...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Lonely Autumn Leaf

I was going to post this at the end of Autumn. But really, my definition of Winter is when I contemplate buying a balaclava. In my heart, winter is already here.

Last month I sent in a little fibre leaf to the Craft House Concept Autumn Leaf competition (Craft House Concept is a neat little store in Edinburgh selling handmade goods). Well, I didn't win (you might have already guessed this as I did not title this post "yay I won").

If you get a chance though, check out the other submissions! I particularly like the leather one by Eleanor Young. It's nice to be reminded that there's so many talented people out there...

Here's my little guy:

Autumn Leaf

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New project!

Yay new project. And nope, not feeling guilty about ignoring the numerous UFOs. Why am I not feeling guilty?

1. Life's too short, and
2. It's a sweater, so it's going to be very useful

Ok, so maybe there's a tiny bit of guilt, but I've never made myself a sweater! Which possibly should add to the guilt, but it's not... Perhaps it's just because the pattern name is Wicked, and I'm feeling a little contradictory... Hmmm.

Yarn: New Lanark
Pattern: Wicked by Rachel Bishop

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cheese and Wool

My two favorite things.

Have I ever mention that during college I was the president of Cheese Lovers United for three years? Not only the president, but the president and founder. And yes, there were other members. Yay liberal arts education! The cheese club is a whole 'nother blog post though.

This time I'll just leave you to ponder the pincushion I just listed:

Cheese Grater Pincushion

mmm. Cheese.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Small World

Well, actually I mean small town!

I was selling at another craft fair yesterday and ran into two people I knew fro craft clubs, one person I took a class with, 2 people who knew me from the bead fair and one who had bought a pincushion from me in the last fair.

It must be crazy for the people who've actually lived in this city for more than a year!

Do you live in a small town? Do you ever get used to running into people you know?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

This is going to be my last Dabbling Wednesday until the new year. I have too much to do, and don't expect to have enough time to ... dabble.

So I thought this week I'd do a bit of cross-stitch. I wanted to do something I could keep by my crafting corner. Something short, something relevant, something that would inspire me and motivate me.

And this is what I came up with:
Turn Twitter Off

Let's see how effective it is :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Craigmillar Castle

Today we hopped on the bus for half an hour and took a visit to Craigmillar Castle. The castle in its original form was built in the 14th century, and up until the 1700s had major additions and changes. It was abandoned in the 1700s and now stands as a surprisingly big castle with an hours worth of rooms to explore and run around in.

Craigmillar Castle

The day started off clear, bright, crisp, and very cold. And then it turned into cloudy and cold. It feels like winter already!

This is a wonderful doorway!
The coat of arms on the top is of a unicorn and two lions.
Really I think everyone should have their own coat of arms. Mine perhaps would be a hedgehog and a piece of cheese.

It's amazing to think that people once lived here.

Queen of Scots stayed at Craigmillar a few times! Though once you visit a few castles though you realize that nearly all of the surviving castles had housed royalty at one point or another.

Huge fireplaces!
No idea what I was doing here, I just like the picture.

Am I the only one who thinks old latrines are fascinating?
Ya, I thought as much.

This is the inside of a dovecot:
It's where they kept the pigeons. Nope, not as pets, but as food.

So that was Craigmillar Castle! Where to next?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

Apparently today was cupcake day at my house! If there isn't already a national cupcake day, there really should be one.

The other day I saw these individual silicone cupcake molds at Pound Land (and for my American friends who are wondering - yes, it really is called Pound Land). I haven't made cupcakes in ages. Or at least I don't remember making them. I do oddly enough remember having cupcake liners at one point, but I don't actually remember making them. Perhaps I didn't make them with icing (why would I bother to remember naked cupcakes?) ...

In any case, I poo-poohed any concerns I had about getting cancer from baking in 99 pence silicone and made some cupcakes this evening!

Apparently mixing coco powder and green food coloring in your butter icing produces yoda cupcakes! (cupcakes I like)
As you can see I was too eager to consume it to actually apply the icing in a neat and pleasing manner. Tasted good though.

And then I made a little pincushion, one with considerably neater icing. And sprinkles. And it's full of fibre. And I don't have to actively ignore it's fat content (or lack thereof).
(it will be on sale on etsy tomorrow).

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Autumn Leaves

I recently made a felted leaf for a competition. The theme was "Autumn Leaves".

My first attempt looked brown and withered. I'm a California girl. Back where I'm from we have green alive leaves and brown dead ones.

And really, when Autumn arrives here I'm usually too obsessed with the change of temperature than the change in trees.


Leaves and Sky


But the leaves are quite pretty, aren't they?

Leaves on the Ground

Do you notice the changes in season?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Back from a long sleep

My battery charger has arrived!! And it's working! And I'm on the computer at home right now! Phew! That was a long month...

And I wasn't completely idle and bored for all of that time.

Here's a few of the things I made:

And I read a book (Oliver Sacks) and I'm half-way through two others (another Oliver Sacks and Subversive Stitch (it's about the history of embroidery and femininity)) and I'm a bit better at the ukulele.

So now, looking back, I'm wondering what all that whining was about. Um, no, wait. In half an hour I'll have to recharge this battery and won't be able to use the computer for a few hours. *whine*.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to checking out everyone's blogs again, and see what I've missed these past few weeks!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

The crafting narrative that I've formed about myself has, up until today, started with a latch rug kit around the age of 10.

But today's dabbling made me realize that wasn't correct.

Before the latch rug I must have started with a knitting spool.

And I can vaguely remember what it looks like too - a mushroom with a white stem and red top.

I got this little spool at a charity shop on Tuesday, and after 5 minutes of the normal thing you do with these (I was surprised that it really was knitting! but with metal loops instead of knitting needles, which, you know, makes sense since it's called a knitting spool ...) I decided it might be a little more interesting to try and knit around one of my felted cords with sewing thread.

I'm not sure what I expected, but this isn't it:

Hmmm. Looks a little like some worm from another planet.

But I suppose you never know until you try!

Monday, October 04, 2010

It's the little things

I don't know why, but it's often the tiny little changes in life that interests me.

The other day I noticed that the biggest grocery store chain in the UK has updated their grocery bag. Assuming this is a Scotish-wide change this couldn't have been just a whim on their part.

One side is largely the same, with the same text, but a little more spaced out and a best before date! I've checked, and the old bags have one too, but it was in such a small text I never bothered reading it. But apparently the store thinks this more important than the possibility of children suffocating on it.

The other side now has a Saint Andrew's Cross! (Scotland's flag)
Very interesting.

And just a little update - nope, I still do not have a computer, which might actually explain why I'm now finding plastic bags to be fascinating and blog-worthy...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

Yes, I know it's Thursday, but I'm still having computer issues. This week I made a little capelet out of a t-shirt. It was inspired by the book Generation T my mother bought for me many years ago. It's a bit like wearing a pillow case, but heh, it's a prototype.