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Sunday, 12 May 2013

Children and crafting supplies do not mix. Unless your craft involves cement, in which case mix away!

Ah, children. Got to love them. Apart from when they steal your crafting supplies. So far this weekend, my one daughter has taken a whole roll of ribbon. She then proceeded to wrap lengths of it from one door handle to another - great move Molly!! I finally managed to untie it all but then left it on the side where the dogs soon decided it was a new chew toy. Sigh.

Molly then moved on to my (extensive) stash of Fimo. 'I make lollipops, Mummy' she said. She left out 'I make lollipops with as much of your Fimo as my pudgy little paws can carry, blend it all until it is a fetching sludge brown and then feed it to the dogs'. Double sigh.

Evie has also been attacking the Fimo. She has been making Japanese figures all afternoon and very cute they are too. I've also made her some Fimo marshmallow 'flumps' for one of my small glass jars that she has 'acquired'. Going in to her bedroom is like entering HobbyCraft - 'Oh that's where my pinking shears/soldering iron/dangerous chemicals [delete as appropriate] went!' Her response to me waving said items around in front of her and shrieking, 'What on earth is THIS doing under your quilt, Evie?!' is always the same, 'I was keeping them safe, Mummy'. Oh. Thanks.

So anyway, from the supplies I managed to hide away from Evil 1 and Evil 2, I made the following, see what you think:

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Things I am stressed about...

Where to start? Currently we are having a new bathroom put in. Not a re-fit, a whole new bathroom where one did not exist before. This means playing musical bedrooms. We have moved out of our normal bedroom into the attic and Evil 2 has been moved temporarily into Evil 1's bedroom. This is not going well.

Evil 1 wakes up Evil 2. Evil 2 wakes up Evil 1. And, more importantly, us. 4.30am last night, 12.30 the night before, 3am the night before that. Need I go on?

So, my life sucks.

Plus, my builder is a Buddhist. This means he is attempting to build the new bathroom without killing any living thing. Including trees*

Anyway, I'm self soothing by playing with clay. Here are my first attempts:

Flower brooch -



Silver necklace -



*This may not strictly be true, but as he told me off today for not emptying the bedroom enough I'm feeling in the mood to slander him here. His exact words were 'It's not just me that you've let down, more importantly, you've let yourself down'. I feel shame :D

He is however, a very good carpenter and has made a fab job of our downstairs bathroom, kitchen, living room, and a beautiful toy box/window seat (hopes for hefty discount when he reads this)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

What can I say? We were not meant to win quizzes :( Well I am, but my team sucked :D

So, hard drinking and partying 'crew' that we are, we headed off to a local parish quiz night on Friday night. No loud nightclubs for us, oh no, in fact not even a pub. The quiz is held at a village hall twice a year, and, to my shame, is the highlight of my life since having children :D

With a combined age in the room of 1,000,000 million, million, million, we were the 'youngsters' destined to win. No other table in the room could possibly compete with our exhaustive knowledge of Ant and Dec's 'Let's Get Ready to Rumble' or our encyclopedic familiarity with the cast of Towie 2011-2013.

And, to be fair, the octogenarians probably couldn't contend with that. Unfortunately, the questions all revolved around actual knowledge, like real er stuff, that happened in the world aeons ago (when most of the other teams were probably in their twenties, jiving across the Jurassic landscape).

Still, we had a plan. Not necessarily a good plan, but a plan at least. Think Baldrick's level of 'plan' here. It was thus - Answer every question with 'The Great Wall of China'. Surprisingly, this didn't help. In fact, even when we actually thought the answer was The Great Wall of China, it turned out to be something to do with damn dingoes. Dingoes?? I ask you!



Great Dingo Fence - apparently the biggest man made thingy ma jig in the world. Who knew?



Don't let it fool you - The Great Wall of China is NEVER the answer!

Anyway, I performed magnificently, Phil just about redeemed himself after burning my roses last week, and Martin was scarily accurate when it came to musicals. What can I say about the other 3? Well, they kept the seats warm :D

I'm now running from my remaining team 'mates' as when they read that ^^^^ they'll be after me. Although with a collective IQ of 1, I need not fear too much :D

Saturday, 20 April 2013

A (more) boring post... no death, just photographs

So, I keep being asked how I make my photographs 'pop' out so much, how I get them so stunningly beautiful, awesome and all round wonderful. Ok, I may have made up some of those accolades but you get the gist.

First up, a confession - I know nothing about cameras. In fact I'm not even sure what make my camera is. I do know that it's red, if that's any help? I can see you all furiously scribbling notes now - 'buy red camera'. Perhaps not. It says 'coolpix' on the front. Anyway, the point is I don't think it matters that much. It cost me around £70, no big flashy things here :D

The most important thing is to shoot your pictures using natural light, preferably outside. If you use the flash or have a lightbulb on, I find it really distorts the picture and colours. There may very well be a way around this but my basic knowledge does not stretch that far!!

Take a white sheet of paper outside and put your object on it. You need the light to be bright but not direct sunlight because if it is too bright you will get deep shadows.

Use the macro button on your camera to take detailed close ups - on my camera it is a 'tulip'.

Make sure your flash is off.

Take your picture.

Upload your picture to your computer and use a program such as Picasa, which can be downloaded for free here.

Upload your photo in to Picasa. Using the 'commonly used fixes' tab, choose to 'crop' your photo. One of the options is 'square', use this to make your photos the right size for Etsy so that when you upload them to Etsy nothing gets chopped off.

On the same tab click both Autocontrast and Autocolour.

Then switch to the 'Finely-tuned lighting and colour fixes' tab. On this tab put the 'highlights' slider up as far as it goes while keeping the true colours of your picture. It should make the white background really pop.

Then do the same with the 'shadows' slider, not too far, just enough to give the depth back to your picture. This bit is trial and error, you'll soon learn what looks best.

And that's ermm it :D

Here is a picture before Picasa:




Here is the same picture after Picasa:




You can also use the 'retouch' button on the 'commonly used fixes' tab to take out any fluff or fingermarks on the background paper etc.

If you have no outside space then there are many tutorials on how to make a light box on the internet, try this one.

Hope that helps all you Etsians!


Monday, 15 April 2013

A new Etsy team launched today and... I also cooked a meal - What a day!!

So today a new Etsy team that I am proud to be part of launched - PickedbyhandEU. The team pages can be found here.

The team all work hard to promote each other on and off Etsy and there are some truly beautiful shops involved.

One of my personal favourites is Mielasiela Who makes stunning wooden toys, here is an example:



I've fallen in love with the bags on offer from GabardineCouture Here are some of their gorgeous items:



Also really enjoying the illustrations available here at KAmyrafts

This is one of my favourites:



There are many more lovely shops in the team so come and have a look at the team page

I'm going to feature several of the shops each week so you can get a taste for all of the lovely items.

And, in other news... I cooked a meal. No one has yet died from food poisoning. However, when I was musing to myself whether I had left an ingredient out by accident as the taste seemed different to normal (although tis hard to remember as the last time I cooked was roughly 15 years ago), my darling daughter piped up "Yes Mummy, you forgot the ingredient with the taste"! Why thank you, darling :D

I also 'forced' Evil 2 to clean the skirting boards today while I watched Jeremy Kyle. But let's skip over that before my mother and father see this and forcibly take my children from me. Actually... :D

Saturday, 13 April 2013

If you don't want to lose the next 3 weeks of your life... don't read this

You know how you start looking at something on the Internet and one click leads to another to another to another and before you know it 4 days have passed and you're sitting in a puddle of your own wee? Well, perhaps not the last bit but you get the general gist? If you have the fear just thinking about this then do not type this into your search bar.

I've been selling on Etsy.com for quite a while now but hadn't stumbled upon Regretsy until recently. It now wastes hours and hours of my time when I could be interacting with Evil 1 and 2 or, more importantly, sewing. The main concept is that they share listings from Etsy that are either quite clearly not what they are tagged to be, eg something called 'steampunk' which is actually closer related to Disney, or are, quite frankly, rubbish.

So, it is a little mean. But incredibly funny and you can spend hours and hours on there. I'll give you some examples...

This is quite clearly the epitome of Steampunk, not:




This, on the other hand, is the actual living embodiment of steampunk. Oh. No it's not:



Anyway, enough of that. Let's get back to business. I finally got round to listing my two new hairclip sets today, neither you will be relieved to see have the tag 'steampunk'. And if either of these listings end up on Regretsy I will not be responsible for my actions :D



Friday, 12 April 2013

Top tip - Hobbits and needles do not mix!

Well we finally got round to watching The Hobbit last night after non-sleeping children put the kybosh on it the previous 3 nights - yes I'm looking at YOU, Molly! Anyway,I was very excited as I'd just spent the last week re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy with my elder daughter. Although with all the explaining that had to be done the 3 films took around 400 hours to get through but never mind!

We settled down to watch and I started needle felting at the same time. I wanted to try some new ideas to make a set of needle felted necklaces. And this brings me to my top tip - DO NOT attempt needle felting while engrossed in a film! The soundtrack to The Hobbit was not the dwarves singing but me screaming in pain every 2 minutes! Eventually I decided that the necklaces would have to wait until today if my hands were to survive the night :)

We enjoyed The Hobbit immensely and are now excitedly looking forward to the next installment. It has also given us new nicknames for the Evil Ones (aka the children) - Mini-Orc and Mini-Troll.



Quite clearly Daughter 1



Quite clearly Daughter 2

The necklaces I completed today, they are hand needle felted (a little too literally last night!) and have then been embroidered and beaded:



I will list these lovelies in my etsy shop tonight