Hello and welcome to my little section of the cyber world! I'm a working girl who spends most of her spare time surrounded by beads and wire, and when I'm not doing that I'm probably reading or baking... or wedding planning... I have an online shop where I sell my beaded creations, and this is a place for me to talk about anything that strikes me!

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Google Analytics

Does anyone get obsessed by google analytics? As soon as I turn my computer on in the morning I first check my email and then look at analytics to see how many people have been to my site (haven't worked out how to link my blog up to it yet, so it's just looking at my shop).

It can be really interesting to see days where there are a lot of views and days where there are very few (or none :-S) and to try and figure out what you did differently those days to promote your shop well or not...

But it can also be a very good way to waste rather a lot of time wondering:

1) who the one person in the Netherlands is that found my shop

2) why the search 'hatastic' should have led two people to my shop

3) why I should care that 8 people who visited my shop in the last month used a dial up internet connection and 174 people used DSL

4) why apparently Firefox is the second most popular internet program after Internet Explorer

5) why over half the people who visit my shop stay there less than 10 seconds :-S oh dear!

Hehe ah well, it keeps me amused!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Interview with Odd Sox

Time for another Folksy interview, so who is my victim *ahem* shop owner today?

This week I am talking to Shaz, the brains behind OddSox. I love this shop, it's full of sock monkeys! And sock elephants, sock monsters, sock owls... and they're all so cute!

Before I go getting too carried away, I'll let Shaz speak for herself...
If you were an animal, what would you be?

Definitely a domestic cat (and yes I do have one). I love the way they expect to get their own way with everything – and then do. I regularly tell my cat I wish I was him – especially on a Monday morning!

What is your favourite meal?

I love Indian food - we do quite a lot of Indian cooking at home. Occasionally we’ll make a special effort and do homemade onion bhajis, red onion raita & lentil dhal to go with the main meal – gorgeous!

Hot weather or cold weather?

Hot – a bit of summer heat in the garden, perfect.

What’s your favourite colour?

The kind of turquoise the sea is on a Greek island.

And now about your work.

How did you get started?

I’ve always been a dabbler in crafty stuff. My Mum & Gran did lots of knitting and dressmaking so there was always ‘making’ stuff around for me and my sis to mess about with. I remember being very impressed with the French Knitting woolly tails that appeared from our homemade wooden 4-nailed bobbins!

My Sock creatures started a few years ago after getting a fabulous book from my sister called 'Sock Monkeys'. It's crammed full of nutty monkey mugshots and gave me the sock creature bug. I then got a book called ‘Stupid Sock Creatures’ which is a brilliant place to start – it gives you all the basics to set your imagination running riot with your sock drawer! Since then I’ve discovered all kinds of other craft interests because I just can’t stay away from the craft sections in the library and bookshops!

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

I find making sock creatures is endlessly satisfying because I don’t use patterns. I normally take the sock straight to the sewing machine with an idea in my head, which means they’re all a little bit different. So the end result is always a surprise! But… I also love making Amigurumi creatures (Japanese style crochet) it’s relaxing to do and they are sooo cute!

Is there anyone in your life who has particularly inspired you?

If I could apply my My Mum’s determination to my life I think I’d get a lot more done!

What’s your best crafty tip?

Don’t throw anything away until you’ve answered ‘No’ to ‘Can I recycle that?’

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

It’s normally an Amigurumi creature, Clover is my current favourite – it’s always the sad ones I like the best!

Here are Shaz's other links:

Folksy shop http://www.oddsox.folksy.com

Blogsite http://thesockgarden.wordpress.com/

Twitter http://twitter.com/thesockgarden

Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/oddsoxuk/

Thanks Shaz! :)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Hat Pattern!

I've been crocheting a lot the last couple of weeks, and the other day I made a lovely snuggly hat! I had bought six balls of emu snowball wool off ebay in a gorgeous dark brown colour, and have decided to turn it into a series of small items instead of one big thing.

This wool is really chunky which makes it lovely to work with as the piece grows so fast! Here is me modelling my lovely new hat :) which is keeping my head warm today.

Now for the pattern.... you can make it longer or shorter easily by adding more or less rows, but I just kept going until the ball of wool was used up! I crocheted it in the round, something I love doing as it means there is no sewing up to do at the end!

ch - chain
dc - double crochet
htr - half treble
tr - treble
ss - slip stitch

Wool: emu snowball
Hook: 9mm

Foundation: ch4, ss into a loop

1st: 3ch, 8tr into loop, ss into 3ch
2nd: 3ch, tr into same stitch as ss, 2tr into each tr on previous row, ss into top of 3ch
3rd: 3ch, into first tr from previous row: 2tr, into second tr from previous row 1tr, continue (2tr, 1tr, 2tr, 1tr) to end of row, ss into top of 3ch
4th: 2ch, 1htr into each tr
5th: 2ch, into first htr from previous row: 2tr, into next 4 htr from previous row 1htr, continue (2htr, 1htr, 1htr, 1htr, 1htr, 2htr...) to end of row, ss into top of 2ch
6th: 3ch, 1tr into each htr on previous row, ss into top of 3ch
7th: 2ch, 1htr into each tr on previous row, ss into top of 2ch
8th: repeat row 7
9th & 10th: repeat row 6
11th: repeat row 7
12th: 1ch, 1dc into each htr on previous row, ss into 1ch and finish off.


This is my own pattern: feel free to recreate it for personal use but please do not use the pattern or products produced from it for commercial purposes or resale, thank you.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

New Bracelet Design :)

I was feeling very crafty this weekend and as a consequence I spent a large part of my time sat on the lounge floor surrounded by beads :)

I wanted to make a bracelet using a spiral rope chain but didn't just want to do a basic design. The spiral rope looks like this (right). There are two main parts to the rope, the core and the outer spiral. When making it, each stitch adds one bead onto the core and one 'layer' onto the spiral (I'm planning to do a proper tutorial for this soon).

I decided this time to vary the design slightly by making the outer spiral very big and floppy, adding a lot more beads than I normally would. I finished it off with a sterling silver toggle and fell in love with my pretty purple bracelet. It was so nice that I made a second one in blue the next day (which is in my Folksy shop) but the purple one is all mine!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Folksy Favourites!

I haven't posted about my new favourites on Folksy this week, and I feel this needs correcting as I've seen some absolute gems.

The first one is a wedding item from Dottie Designs. I stumbled across a mention of this wedding guest book in the forums and I absolutely love it! I haven't got round to sorting out that sort of detail for my wedding yet but when I do I may well be paying Dottie Designs a call...

My second item is from Buttercup Boutique, a gorgeous little shop selling all cute things fabric. My current favourite item is this adorable brooch, I can see it looking perfect on a jumper or a handbag.
My third and final item for this week is a pair of earrings from Cinnamon Jewellery. This shop is full of gorgeous metal and bead jewellery, and I love the curly shape of these earrings.

So that's this week! I'll be trawling Folksy again next week for some more handmade gorgeousness.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


I'm going to deviate from my usual topics of craft, folksy, weddings and food for today and talk about something else; namely Lent.

When I was at school it was always a big discussion every February: What are you giving up for Lent? The most common things were chocolate, sweets, ice cream etc. (interestingly almost always food, except for the person every year who would announce their intention of giving up school - needless to say this one failed!). It all seemed like a big game, and it was a challenge to get to the end of the 40 days without slipping up - telling anyone who would listen that you couldn't eat that, you had given it up for Lent.

However as time has gone on, my views towards the season of Lent have undergone a shift. I now see it more as about changing something in my life to benefit myself and others, and as a time to recognise that while I am one of God's children and loved by Him, so is everyone around me.

It's no longer a 'challenge' to get to the end of Lent 'successfully'; there is no 'good' or 'bad', but it is a chance to learn more about myself and my life and how I relate to the world around me. For example, if I had given up chocolate for Lent and I went round to a friend's for dinner who didn't know but who, knowing I liked chocolate, had baked a chocolate dessert, it would seem a greater lesson to accept the dessert and the love that had gone into it gratefully than to turn it down, announcing loudly that I had given up chocolate for Lent.

It's not about getting to Easter having not eaten chocolate for 40 days, it's about getting to Easter with a greater awareness of your life, of those around you, and of your relationship with God.

Matthew 6.16-18

When you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, so that others cannot know that you are fasting, only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Wedding dress

I've ordered my wedding dress! Oh my goodness this is so exciting... and just one more thing ticked off the endless list of things to do before the big day!

Next on the list is florist... making invitations... bridesmaids dresses... finalising guest list...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Interview with Rose Lullaby Dolls

For my interview this week I'm talking to Robyn, who has a really unique range of products. Robyn's shop, Rose Lullaby Dolls, is stocked with lovely handmade dolls each with a their own name and a real character of their own. If dolls aren't your thing, then make sure you check out the beautiful cards also on offer.

Let's hear from Robyn:

If you were a flower, what would you be?

I’ve always loved daisies - I had them painted on my DM’s as a teenager and our wedding colours were white yellow and green like a daisy too. I love how clean and bright, but not garish they are.

What is your favourite meal?

Lasagne, preferably cooked by my mum.

Cadbury’s or Galaxy?

Cadbury’s every time, though these days I’m a bit addicted to my 85% cocoa dark choc...

What’s your favourite colour?

I think green, it can be deep and jewel coloured, or light and springy, its a versatile colour!

And now about your work.

How did you get started?

I’m a set and costume designer for theatre who’s always loved puppets so I started making them for shows Then I started making them as art objects. Now they no longer have rods or strings but they are made in the same way as I make puppets.

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

Fabric. you can do anything with it, sew it, cover it in glue and sculpt it, weave it, shread it, paint it, dye it you name it I’ve done it!

When you need some inspiration, where do you go?

To the park.

What’s the first thing you remember making?

My mum was in charge of the arts and crafts at our playgroup so we usd to try out everything she’d devised first, lots of loo roll and sugar paper creations!

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

My custom puppet dolls, working from photographs I make people into dolls! It’s so much fun and always challenging, i love it!

Thank you Robyn!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Mini Scarf

I've been an on-off knitter for years; I've only ever started two big projects, a poncho which took me about 2 years to make, and a long cardigan which I've been working on for the last 18 months (currently on the sleeves so getting there, albeit slowly!). The trouble is, I have a week or so where I knit every evening and then I get sidetracked by my beads again.

However, recently I stumbled across Creative Open Workshops which are evening craft courses run at the Custard Factory in Birmingham and I've been learning to crochet. The beauty is they're all quick projects than can be completed in one or two evenings, perfect for me!

Doing the courses (I now have a room full of crocheted hats because they're so fun to make!) has got me investigating other quick crochet and knitting projects, and last night I found the quickest of all... In less than an hour I made a mini scarf!

It was so simple to do, and knitting on 12 mm needles meant it grew incredibly fast. I finished it off with a wooden toggle button I found in one of my craft boxes, and I love it! The wool is awesome too, it's made from Rowan Big Wool Tuft which has fluffy bits of wool sticking out all over. Unfortunately I think this wool is discontinued now but I found some on ebay.

Making them is so addictive and so quick though that I got most of the way through a second on the train this morning.... Not sure what I'm going to do with all the spares I can see I'm going to make!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

My Folksy Favourites!

It's Tuesday again (the weeks are going too fast!) and I've been roaming Folksy finding more gems for you to feast your eyes on.

My first item this week comes from Niche, a gorgeous name for a fantastic shop. Stocking a variety of items, from amigurumi dolls to pendants to notebooks, this is the place to go if you're looking for something a little bit different... Being a sucker for stationary, one of my favourite items has to be this funky notebook.
My next item comes from Blue Fish Handmade, a little haven of crochet craft. With bright and funky colours that would brighten up anyone's day, if you're looking for something stylish to keep warm or decorate your home (like the little mice!) then this is certainly the place to go; take a look at these wrist warmers...
My final choice for this week is somewhat appropriate with Valentine's day fast approaching... Molly Moo Designs is a gorgeous gorgeous card shop, fantastic quality, great value and novel designs: what more could you want? My favourite card this week is this Valentine's offering.

I hope you like these, and there's plenty more!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Wedding Invitations :)

I'm currently in the middle of planning my wedding - and boy I never realised quite how much work it was! And it's so easy to get caught up in the little details that you forget what the important things are.

My fiance and I have gone on and off the idea of making our own invitations over the last few months; I love making cards (I love any craft in fact!) so liked the idea of doing it, but thought the work involved might be a bit too much. Though seeing how much we were likely to spend getting all our wedding stationary done professionally did make it seem a more attractive prospect!

Today we decided to have a go at producing some prototypes. We went out to a craft shop and bought a selection of card, a heart shaped cutter and some ribbon and set to work. After playing around with a few ideas, lots of double sided sticky tape and giggles and a lot of fun, we produced four lovely designs we couldn't separate...

Having seen the fun involved we're now going to round up our friends and have a weekend invitation making :) A lot more fun than going to a shop to order invites and a chance to get all our friends involved in our wedding, something we would love to do.

And as for the four designs, we couldn't decide between them so we're not going to, we're going to use them all :)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Interview with Evie George

The time has come for another Folksy interview! This time I'm talking to Anna who is the creative genius behind the shop Evie George, a little haven of papercraft. In addition to running her Folksy shop, Anna is also the brains behind Folksy Weddings, a complete guide to where to find handmade items for your wedding!

We would like to get to know a bit more about the person behind Evie George.

If you were a flower, what would you be?

I’d probably be one of the little purple flowers on Lavender.

What is your favourite meal?

Beer Butt Chicken!! It’s so good- you put a delicious rub over the chicken then you put an open can of beer (or coke) up the chickens *ahem* butt and cook it standing up and it all the flavour steams the meat. I love comfort food and big English meals.

Cadbury’s or Galaxy?

Cadburys every time- I really hope Kraft don’t change the recipe!

What’s your favourite colour?


And now about your work.

How did you get started?

I have always made all the cards I send and presents for friends and family, they kept telling me I should sell the things I make so I thought I’d give it a go!

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

I love paper. All types of paper- I love old books and the smell of brand new paper in it’s box. My favourite month always used to be September when you would get to buy new stationery ready for school- I still treat myself to a lovely new journal or notepad in September!

When you need some inspiration, where do you go?

I like to go to my local knitting shop- I can’t knit but they have a whole wall of ribbons and buttons and the ladies in there are so lovely!

I also find lots of inspiration on lots of blogs- there are so many creative people out there in blog-land.

What’s the first thing you remember making?

I vividly remember making daffodils out of egg cups at primary school and being covered in yellow poster paint. I am still a very messy maker!!!

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

My favourite items are my prayer frames. I sell lots of these in church shops and local cafes but they don’t sell so well on Folksy. I really enjoy making these.

Thanks Anna!

Thursday, 4 February 2010


In April, I'm doing a swimathon to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Research.

The swimathon is a national event taking place in April, with around 500 pools up and down the country taking part. Individuals and teams will be swimming a variety of distances in an effort to beat the 2009 fundraising total of £1.5 million for cancer research!

This year, three friends and I have decided to do our bit to help, and together we're going to swim 5k (about 200 lengths) to raise as much as we can.

Almost everyone's lives have been touched by cancer in some way, whether it's them personally, a relative or a friend, and many families have been left with an unfillable hole. But diagnosis and treatment is improving all the time, and with more funding the prognosis will get better and better.

If you can, please help us in our fundraising efforts and donate £1 on my fundraising page, and I will love you forever!

Thank you!


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Folksy Favourites!

Once again it's time for me to pick some of my favourite items on folksy; always a hard choice, but the more I look around the harder it gets!

In the folksy forums this week my attention was drawn to a shop I'd never seen before, but once found I just kept going back to have another look. Fleurs De Perles is an amazing shop, full of flowers made from beads! And these really do look fantastic, just take a look at this 'Romantic Rose Bud', perfect for upcoming Valentine's day.

Moving on from romance and valentines now, another shop which I've only recently stumbled across is boxio. As the name suggests this shop specialises in boxes. What's so special about that you may ask? Well just take a look at the picture below, these aren't just any old boxes, they are made from wood in lovely flowing shapes, perfect for keeping your trinkets in or just for decoration.For my final choice today I'm heading to Sian Bostwick Jewellery. Here I found some absolutely stunning handmade jewellery; the worksmanship really speaks for itself and there's not a lot more I can say except take a look for yourself.

That's this weeks picks, and there's plenty more where they came from!