Happy Birthday Mini C!

Today is my stepson’s 6th birthday! Let’s hope he has had a good day at school today and enjoys his party at the weekend – but more importantly lets hope he enjoys his new remote control car! Looking forward to a lovely meal out tonight!

You are probably wondering why I haven’t made him something for his birthday? Well as much as he likes my stuff (upon seeing the blue fleece dog I made for my nephew he told me he thought it was the best thing I had ever made) he’s just not all that into cuddly toys. He has a few old favourites like his Tweety Pie and a bear but is far more interested in cars and Lego and bike rides (and occasionally dressing up as a Princess but there we go).

Yesterday I did my second fair of the year at my nieces school, it was a ladies shopping evening and went quite well and I made a fair few sales – started a little slow but picked up towards the end. Then I have another one tomorrow in the daytime and I have been invited along to another local Christmas fair next Saturday just up the road from us so that is handy. Then I have one more which will be the Christmas Fair at my nieces school on 14th December.

I made a couple more giraffes this week, another yellow spotty one and another yellow bird pattern one. Just trying to source more of the spotty fabric as I only had a little bit of it and I rather like it!

I am now all sold out of angels and christmas puddings, robins and my fleecy dinosaur has winged its way over to Northern Ireland this week. If you fancy something a bit different for Christmas this year then why not head over to the shop and take a look!

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Christmas is coming!

I’ve been a bit quiet of late, after the craft fair I felt a bit worn out – possibly the strains of the glandular fever I had earlier in the year still trying to put the boot in with the fatigue! Then at the weekend I started coming down with a cold – so this week I have been feeling pretty rough and still not feeling too special!

Today I finally got round to putting all my Christmas items in my Etsy shop! It took me most of the afternoon and evening – including taking some new photos of some of last year’s stock too.

Imagine my surprise that little under an hour after listing the new things did I sell two lots of decorations and my little seascape heart hanging decoration! Pleased as punch!

So if you fancy some lovely handmade Christmas decorations or some toys and gifts for your loved ones then head on over to the shop!

I also recently made another little giraffe to give to my new niece for her Christmas present – I hope she likes it!

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Also – my nephew seems to really like the puppy I made him for his birthday – has decided to call it ‘Doggay’ and whisked him off somewhere by his ears so that’s all good!

So all I need to do is make another angel to replace the one sold last week to make up a set of three again and I will be listing them in the shop and I plan to make another giraffe too as they seem to be going down well!

Then I have two craft fairs next week – a Christmas shopping evening at my nieces school and one at a nursery next Saturday – then it is quiet for a couple of weeks until another one at my nieces school – a Christmas Fair. However next weekend is also my stepson’s birthday – he will be the grand old age of 6! Woot!

A final flurry!

Well tonight is the night of my first craft fair this year. A Christmas shopping evening at my stepson’s school.

I’ve been making a few more bits and bobs and done a final table mock up – I decided to do away with the black set of shelves I had been toying with as I felt they took up too much room on the stall and I was struggling for space! I think everything is all sorted out now!

I went and got some change for the cash float yesterday, and was slightly taken aback at the brusque nature of the manager of the local Post Office, she barely said a word to me as she practically threw the bags of change at me. No idea what the matter was!

I was pleasantly surprised to find I still had a healthy stock of 20p’s and 10p’s and 5p’s from last year as I had only got £1 coins and 50p’s and some notes this time around.

All my signs are made up, price tags on, bags sorted out and business cards all stocked up.

I also had to get some bits together for a raffle prize to give, so here is my offering – a keychain clip, set of hairgrips and a badge…

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To go with my moustaches on sticks I also made a moustache brooch – I will be selling them tonight with £1 from each sale going to support Movember.

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So along with that here are the few other bits and bobs I have made over the last few days. Starting with a butterly hanging decoration!

Butterfly Hanger

ImageImageThe heart keyring has two contrasting sides

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Blue Star Magnet

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Buttony Heart Keyring

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Another crocodile as I sold the last one earlier in the week!

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A fleecy dino!

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A Spotty Giraffe

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Green Mitten Decorations

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Heart / Jammy Dodger Magnet

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A Mouse Rattle (with offset ear…) backed with teal fleece

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Rabbit Rattle backed with Red Fleece

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Penguin Decorations

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Star Keyring

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One side of the rhino

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The other side of the rhino!

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Robin Decorations

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Scribbling Magnet

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Hairgrips

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Zoom Magnet

I also tweaked a couple of things I already had – like some new ribbon for my peacock hanging decorations and some bells for my bird decorations…

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Not long to go now!

Fleeced by an eBay seller…

Last week I ordered a fleece scarf on eBay with a view to use it to make things. I had opted for a nice teal / turquoise kind of colour and was looking forward to receiving it. So imagine my surprise (several days later and much longer than I was expecting to have to wait) when a dark navy blue scarf greeted me when I opened the package. I immediately contacted the seller to let them know I had been sent the wrong colour and asked if they wanted me to return the incorrect item. (The listing itself had a drop down box for colour but this only contained the option ‘scarf’ which is most helpful but when I paid I stated the colour I wanted.) Several days later and I had no reply and I was about to contact eBay about it (as my contact about the incorrect item had automatically opened an eBay case) when I had an email informing me I had been refunded. No communication at all from the seller, so I didn’t end up with the item I wanted, but at least now I had some navy blue fleece for free. It wasn’t exactly a colour I thought of getting. It was so dark that I was mulling over what I could make with it.

Today I ended up looking through some of my craft books and found my copy of Make Your Own Soft Toys by Rob Merrett and there was one toy in there – Ruby the Daschund which got me thinking (if you look on the Amazon page and do ‘Look Inside’ a picture is on the second preview page.) So I did a rough sketch as the pattern pieces were pretty big and I didn’t want to make something as big as that. I wasn’t sure whether or not to do the rounded base but glad I did in the end.

I have made this to give to my lovely nephew who will be three next week, so lets hope he likes it! The arms and legs are nice and floppy and he is nice and soft!

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I have now ordered some turquoise (and some lime green) fleece from another source so watch this space for some other items!

The appeal of dinosaurs and maybe crabs?

I think it is a well known fact that most children (and some adults) really like dinosaurs. Some like their dinosaurs to be factually correct in terms of their physical structure while others (mainly small children) are not so fussed.

Last year I bought some great little chunky fair trade ceramic hand painted stegosaurus buttons from a local craft shop and spent some time wondering what I could do with them and eventually settled on making a badge with them. I decided to do them made to order so you could have them flat or padded and either have the word “Roar” or Rawr” sewn onto it. (Rawr being the often preferred method of language of most dinosaurs.)

I have been scrabbling about trying to find the last of the remaining buttons I have of these, I know I should have two left from a packet of five, but sadly can only find one now.

At the start of this week I had another order for one of these badges – it’s been a while since I last made one and I was pretty pleased with this one!

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I have also been thinking for a few days about making a little crab out of a red fleece scarf I bought from a charity shop earlier in the year. It has been used in things like my lady pirate and the first cat rattle I made. So yesterday I quickly sketched up an oval and some shapes for the legs and the claws and whipped up this little fella with a rather happy little face!

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Not so sure that crabs have quite the same appeal as dinosaurs, but I think his cute little face might help win some people over.

Today I am probably going to be making some more christmas decorations, probably some robins and maybe penguins. I make no promises.

I might also take a moment to plug my Facebook page. I tend to use it to put details about forthcoming items, links to my shop listings, any giveaways I might be doing, craft fairs I’m selling at and the like. So if you fancy it – pop along and ‘like’ it and it would make me ever so happy to have some new followers!

Avoiding RSI and Not Avoiding Bats

RSI – or Repetitive Strain Injury is a common problem caused by overuse of keyboards and mice while working on computers, along with Carpal Tunnel. I cannot sing the praises more highly of a really good wrist rest. I’ve tried the gel type ones that usually get handed out in offices, usually covered in the same material that mouse mats are, and seem to get pretty grimy pretty quick.

Last year I made myself two wrist rests – one for home and one for work. Both made out of cool tape measure/ruler type fabric in different colours. Now both of them reside on my home desk and my husband quite prefers having two. They are just so tactile, filled with split peas they smoosh around and mould really well. I made one for my Mum last Christmas out of some really cute oriental style fabric. My Mum has always liked Chinese and Japanese style fabrics and pictures.

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This weekend I had an order in for a wrist rest and one of my little bat ornaments, the customer picked a really nice fabric and it is now on it’s way to her – fingers crossed that she likes it.

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The bats have gone down really well, I’ve sold four so far. Although for some reason last night I couldn’t really sleep despite being utterly shattered and hardly able to keep my eyes open. I’ve had insomnia for about 15 years now and find it very hard to switch off, some nights I get a few hours but on bad nights none at all or perhaps an hour just before the alarm goes off. Last night was full of very repetitive things popping round my head – mostly bats. I had big plans to start my day down in town sitting in Costa with a latte and a paper and then popping over to the post office at 8am. But I just couldn’t face that this morning when the alarm went off at 6am. My lovely husband took my parcels with him to work to post for me, I am so exhausted that I might have to crawl into bed shortly!

But should you ever fancy a nice comfy wrist rest or indeed a cute little bat – then pop on over to the shop!

Fireworks in the rain and mulled cider

Tonight my husband and I decided to walk down to the local fireworks display to stand by the roadside to watch them rather than head into the midst of the fairground. We looked a right pair stood there getting rather wet and blown about as the winds were gusting and the heavens opened on us, but miraculously died down just in time for the display to start.

The local display is usually a fairly bog standard affair, we’ve been to it for a few years now, usually taking my stepson along (the first year we took him he spent the entire thing with his hands over his ears and his face buried into the back of his Dad’s head to avoid the whole lot.) He went with his Mum tonight so we just toddled off together.

On the way back we popped to the shop to get a few bits and bobs for sausage baguettes for dinner (I like mine with some smoked chilli jelly and some fresh coriander leaves in.) We also made sure we had some supplies for making mulled cider as by this point the heavens had reopened on us on our way back. So once home, my husband grilled the sausages while I set to on the mulled cider.

I used some bottles of Magners cider but usually I prefer to use a nice big bottle of Thatchers Gold but they don’t stock that in our local little Tesco Express. I already had all the spices in the cupboard so just needed an orange which we duly purchased.

To make the mulled cider – put the cider in a saucepan, put in some orange peel (try not to get much of the white pith as this will give a more bitter taste), add a generous sprinkling of cloves, whole star anise, a cinnamon stick, some slices of ginger root, grated nutmeg and a vanilla pod (split and the seeds scraped out and then put the pod into the pan too.) Use the juice from the orange too and bring to the boil and simmer. I tend to also add some sugar to taste. This time I used some dark brown soft sugar for a deeper flavour. Make sure you take some out with a ladle and strain through a sieve or tea strainer into a glass to taste as you go to make sure you get a taste that you like. Then strain into glasses or mugs and enjoy!

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And in case you are wondering – no I am not slowly becoming a food blog!