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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Morning Glory

Sunday was my first class teaching wet felting. We did a started a simple cord/necklace, then made a morning glory. Um, ya, that was ambitious.

In all the excitement I only remembered to take pictures at the very end, when one student remained. Here's her's, a lovely white with yellow radiating out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

Today's dabbling Wednesday project was taken from the book 100 applique motifs by Deborah 'Ismoyo' Green. There's lots of really cute fabric applique ideas in there. I picked a little cat design because it didn't require sewing with a machine (as you can see why in the next picture).

You're supposed to trace the template, then enlarge it but since I didn't know what I'd be doing with the end product I just kept the cat design super small.

Here's the cat pattern cut out, and the background square machine-sewn (I'll get that sewing in a straight line thing down some day :)

Then I pinned down the cat figure, and hand-sewed it in place.
I still haven't figured out what I'll do about the eyes. The book has the cat with little Xs for the eyes, but it just made the cat look like it expired. Maybe I'll do French Knots?

In any case I think I'll have another go at sewing that square...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Weekend goings on

On Sunday we went to Ikea to pick up a few things for the felting class I’m teaching next week. We also went because they have a super cheap Full Breakfast and hot chocolate at their restaurant. It doesn’t take much to make us happy. I think it might have been the opening weekend of their cafe because they had a jazz/ragtime band there!

Monday was a bank holiday in Edinburgh, so J had the day off work and we decided to take another of the walks in one of our walks around Edinburgh books. We started off at St Cuthbert’s church. It’s a relatively new church (1894) but supposedly there’s been a religious building there since the 7th century.

The walk took us around the graveyard.


We passed a watchtower which was constructed to prevent bodysnatchers from coming in.

We also passed an interesting entryway to a bank:

Thrifty is blessing

Then the walk took us to the Union Canal!

We had no idea there was a canal here. The canal was built from 1818 to 1822 to transport coal to Edinburgh and stretches 31 miles. The walk also took us to the campus of Napier University, where, at one end of the campus, still stands Mershiston Castle, built around 1454 and was the birthplace of John Napier, mathematician and inventor of logarithms.

After we finished our walk we went back home, ate some lunch, then went to the grand opening of a big Tesco nearby (we mainly only have little versions of chain stores near us right now, the big one closed 6 months ago). We expected to see balloons outside at least, but all they had were crowds and very long check-out lines. I'm wondering if baloons is just an American thing?

I’ve decided to work on my pastry-making skills, since I've made some pies in the last months with yummy fillings but disappointing home-made pastry shells. So last night I made some tomato and goat cheese “galettes” from Delia’s How to Cook book and it was my best pastry yet! So perhaps this week I’ll try to make plum pie again, this time with a decent pastry shell.

How was your weekend? I hope you had a nice one?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Not OK Computer

You might have noticed my posts have been a little less frequent, and possibly shorter, in the past two weekend. That's because my computer is very ill, and in need of a heart transplant, if you excuse the odd comparison.

Essentially we've been having problems with the power cord not connecting properly to the computer for months now, and finally the computer decided that it didn't want to accept any power unless we continually and forcefully held the cord into the computer, which was of course was physically tiring and akin to rubbing your belly and patting your head while trying to concentrate on something across the room. Now though even that won't work, so we're left with a computer that works but can't be turned on.

We have a new battery (the current one only holds a charge for about 10 minutes), and a battery charger that will plug into the AC socket on order from America, so hopefully things will get a little better soon. Though we're not sure how long a battery's charge will last, hopefully it's longer than an hour... Right now I just get an hour on the library computer, two if I want to feel like Oliver. Please, sir, I want another hour. And really, that's not nearly enough.

J doesn't seem to mind the lack of computer, but I find the whole situation really very sad. We don't have a TV, so the computer was our primary source of entertainment. And unlike J, I don't think British radio game shows are a decent replacement for old Doctor Who episodes on DVD. Not to mention that facebook and twitter are not on the list of priorities when I do get on the computer.

And well, I could go on like that, but you probably don't really want to listen to me whining (or whinging as they say here), and more to the point, I have 5 minutes left on the library computer. I hope whoever and wherever you are your computer is alive and well and is happy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Pope drove by ...

Guess who I saw today? And no, I won't be directly talking about religion. This post was originally verbose, but sometime between writing it and typing this I've become moody and the phrase "who cares" and "why would anyone want to read about my musings about secret service" popped into my mind. So instead, here's some pictures and a bit of text.

Today is St. Ninian's Day (Scotland's first saint). A parade was planned, and the pope had a scheduled appearance.

The atmosphere was very similar to the queen's silver jubilee a few years ago. There were people selling souvenirs, police everywhere, and mini flags being handed out. Except this time the souvenirs didn't have the queen on them and the flag being waved was the Scottish flag.

The St. Ninian's Parade was very Scottish. Tons of bagpipes, a primary school child dressed up as what I'm assuming was supposed to be the pope (wish I had taken a picture of that), drums, kilts, kids from local catholic schools yelling "Hurrah for Scotland!", and people dressed up as famous Scotsmen. Even I, a visitor, felt patriotic.


45 minutes later I could see bright police motorcycles in the distance. Behind the motorcycles were two trucks, one of which had a large, menacing camera on top recording the crowd. I could see, just a few feet behind the truck, security men with large earpieces, jogging and looking tensely alert. Suddenly the pope's vehicle came into view from behind the truck. Torn between just looking and looking through the eye of the camera I managed to take a picture.
And now I have my privately sponsored flag as a souvenir

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

Dabbling Wednesday very nearly didn't happen this week! I don't really have internet connection at home (more on that another day). So I really wasn't sure what I'd make.

This morning I remembered seeing on our bookshelves a library book about paper crafts, Paper Celebrations by Jane Alford to be exact.

Now me, paper, glue and tape are not the best of friends. And except for a brief time making collages as a teenager I've stuck to textile arts, probably because it doesn't involve glue (though I'd like to think it's just because I don't have the proper glue). In fact, now that I think about it sewing is the textile art that I find the most annoying, often because it involves doing cutting and measuring in straight lines. Yes another skill I should have mastered in kindergarten...

Back to the actual dabbling... Although the book had cute little hobby ACTS (including a bit of knitting on toothpicks!) I decided to go with the more practical pyramid box. Here's the box cut out using the template in the book (I made it out of a cereal box, which admittedly was not the easiest or best materials to work with, but it's free), and the tools I had used thus far. That white thing is a wonderful tool, a bone folder (belongs to J).

Unfortunately I didn't have a hole punch to make proper holes in the top of the box. I thought I was being brilliant when I remembered the unopened eyelet kit I bought a few months ago in a moment of weakness (no idea why I bought that since I don't sew). Turns out the cardboard was too thick for that to work :(
So the main lesson I learned today is that I really should go and buy a hole punch...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Craft Fair Tips

On Saturday I showed off my fibrous goodies at a craft fair. I had done a few craft shows back in the yarn store days, but this was the first one I had done for my Fibrous items.

Just in case you have a craft fair coming up here's a few tips, some of which I had gathered from doing some research about it before hand, some of which I jotted down as a note to self while still at the show!

  • Have a sign with your store name (possibly logo too) and why your shop is special, ie items made in the small town of yadayada or one-of-a-kind wool creations. Some of the other stalls had a very large picture of what they sold by their stall, though I'm not convinced that's necessary.
  • Know the details about product. I had overheard someone asking a jewelry seller about one of the materials used, and she didn't know. I have to admit I did something similar too. I had two hanks of hand-dyed yarn for sale and embarringly didn't know the yardage for them!
  • Make sure that at least your inexpensive items have a price tag. Either as a tag directly on the item or a slip of paper (in nice handwriting or computer printed) close to the group of similarly priced items. Peronally I think that every iten/group should have a price tag clearly written. I'm one of those people who won't ask a seller for the price!
  • Have plenty of change! Both in coins and bills.
  • Make sure you keep your money on you at all times.
  • Put your business cards at both corners of your table.
  • Create layers on your table. If you're doing this on a budget you could put boxes underneath your tablecloth. Or purchase something to hang your items on so that they are closer to eye level.
  • Create a 30 second advertisement for yourself that you can tell to people who seem interested in knowing more about your business.
  • Bring a pen, papers, scissors, and tape!
  • Have your name stamped or stickered onto your shopping bags.

There's more tips at etsy. Tons of tips at Mermaids Closet. And lots of info on folksy.

Good luck with your craft fair!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Fibrous' Craft Fair Debut is this Saturday!

I'm a little nervous. Just a little :)

11th of September, 2010
10am - 4pm

147 - 149 High Street
EH15 1AF

If you're in Edinburgh please stop by and say hi!

Map to the venue.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

This week I tried painting with wool. I had seen the finished product of this technique a few times before, but hadn't come across any instructions. And then I saw some rather simple instructions in a book called Creative Felt.

The first thing I did was draw a sketch on some cardboard.

Then I layed down the outline of the tree, branches, leaves, moon, and stars with wet wool. The main portion of the tree was made with dry fiber.
I covered the back with dry wool. Then felted the whole thing very carefully.

I'm very pleased with how it came out.
Earlier today I found a cool little frame at a charity shop, so hopefully tomorrow it will up on my etsy shop and on sale!
Anyone else do some dabbling this week?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Adding an etsy mini to your blogger blog

What's an etsy mini? It's like a little treasury, but it only contains your etsy items. You can also make one with your etsy favorites by other sellers. I have one on this blog, it's in the box titled "My creations for sale".

Go to and sign in. Click on "Your etsy" on the top of the page. On the left hand side click "Etsy Mini" (it's under Promote). Click "Items from my shop" and then "Thumbnail" or "Gallery". Choose layout (I think most people go with the default).

Scroll down to where it says "Copy this code for the javascript version" and copy the code that's in the box.

Then sign into your blogger/blogspot account. Click "Layout". You'll see on the right side a link in a little box saying "Add a Gadget". Click that. A window should pop up.

Click "HTML/JavaScript" which is the 4th one down. You can add a title like "My Etsy Store" or leave it blank. Paste the code that you copies earlier into the "Content" part.

Click Save. The pop up window should close and you'll be back to your layout page.

Important: Now click the big orange "save button".

Under the "Add a Gadget" link you'll now see a box that says HTML/JavaScript. That's your etsy mini.

Hope this helps!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Knitting with Toothpicks

Have you ever looked at your knitting and thought it looked like you were knitting with toothpicks?
Knitting gloves

I have, so I made a little knitting magnet.
Knitting Magnet

It's also available as a kit on etsy.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Empty(ish) streets

The Fringe Festival has officially been over for a few days now.

The great big banner on the Royal Mile has been taken down, and the billboards have been dismantled.

I have to say I'm a little bit sad to see the crowds go. Just a little. But I'm not sad to see the leafletters go. All those poor trees...

One of the good things about the decrease in crowds is that I can take pictures without someone walking in front of the camera. Like this one - look! there's cones of yarn in the display!
We can also finally get a seat at a coffee shop. It was J's birthday yesterday, so we went out for breakfast.
Scottish veggie breakfast
That was a vegetarian full breakfast (we split it).

I'll leave you with one last picture, which kind of sums up the whole festival.
This Belongs to Lionel Richie

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

Today I did some simple weaving. I had found this YouTube video from Craft about weaving using wool and index cards:

It was very simple, and as you can probably see from the pic I learned a lot.

For the first few inches I was just passing the weft yarn (green one) back and forth, only tightening it every few rows (are they called rows in weaving?). Then I realized it looked much better after pushing down and tightening the stitches after every row. I also found out that the piece will get wider if the index card that's holding the warp stitches is left stationary, so I started to move the index card back after each inch or so for a more even width. I also found out that the stitches looked funky if the warp yarn wasn't kept very taut.

The yarn I used is some nice Artesano alpaca yarn called inca cloud. I'm very curious to see what it looks like felted... But that will have to wait for another day. It's too late to run the washing machine now, plus it feels like I might be getting a cold! So I should get an early night's rest. Night night.