Welcome to my blog. I am 'The Bunny Maker' - aka Anna, confuzzled mother of three boys, maker of sock bunnies for Widget and Friends, owner of The Warren Bunny Boarding and artist behind Half an Acre. Come on in and join the madness!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

December Merry Go Round

WOOT WOOT! I'm here! I've remembered - like it's THAT hard to do something once a month - but, that is probably the very reason that I do forget! Today I'm writing my post for the blog Merry Go Round - a group of us who write once a month.
December's topical topic is ..... of course ..

How do you celebrate Christmas/holidays? What traditions do you have?

Hmmmm - how do we celebrate Christmas here at Half an Acre? er ..... *puts brain into gear*. We've not really established many traditions so far but this year I've decided that we need some. So .... we've done two cheesy Christmas jigsaws so far - 1000 pieces each - and due to the wonders of Google Images I can actually show you the one we've just finished! How much do you wish that that was the scene outside your home? We've always done jigsaws - an internal need to sort things and the lack of a tv induces such activities. I'm itchy to start another.

We always put the tree up on December 10th - which is my Father's birthday. Just seems like the right sort of time to do it. Any sooner and the tree would be a heap of needles and sad branches - any later and the kids would have exploded with anticipation. I've always decorated it up until the boys arrived but now I have to grit my teeth whilst they hang everything on the same branch. When they are all in bed I rearrange it all. This year I've invested in a load of festive DVDs which I'm going to put away again until next year after Christmas is over. Scrooge, Oliver, The Snowman, The Sound of Music - all the ones that meant 'Christmas' to me as a child. One thing I do miss, though, are films that used to be on tv when I was young - Ben Hur, Spartacus (I'm Spartacus! No, I'm Spartacus), Jesus of Nazareth - are they still on? Somewhere tucked away on an absure channel hiding behind more 'contemporary' rubbish. Now I'm talking like a true parent!

We sprinkle Reindeer food all round the garden before bed and then the stockings go on the end of the boys' beds (tonight!!!). When they wake up and wiggle their toes they can hear crunchy wrappings and see sparkly bits poking out of the top. I loved that when I was young. All the things in the stockings are wrapped to prolong the excitement. The eldest is always awake first - we then have to wake up the other two! The only kids in the country needing to be roused on Christmas morning. They stagger into our room and open the stockings on our bed. After we've staggered past the paper pile we hare downstairs to see what's under the tree. The boys then have to wait until we've made some coffee. They take turns to hand the presents out. One for each person to open at a time. I refuse to do the mad 'grab and rip' approach - it seems rude and greedy to me. We don't have a Christmas lunch - as that would mean I'm chasing the gravy round the kitchen when the others are 'doing presents'. This year we're going to my parents after lunch and we'll do the turkey thing in the evening. Boxing Day is a quiet one this year - just at 'granny's' - we'll have turkey sandwiches and flop around with the dog infront of the fire. Some year's we go to either of my brothers' families for a big get together but this year it's not working out that way - they all have their own families and sets of grannies etc to go and see. I'm ready for a quiet one.
One Christmas Day I shall also raise a glass to myself (tee hee) because I've made exactly 100 online sales since I started in June of this year. I am thrilled. It's been bloomin' hard work - and I'm sure my eyesight is the worse for it.

My New Years Resolution is to stop using so many !!!s and ----s and ......s when I type, to do all my paperwork up to date ready for the next tax return, to try to get back to that size 8 I used to be (hahahahhaaaaaaaaaaa dream on girile) and get rid of that tub trug of slop which has sat in my kitchen for the last 5 weeks waiting to be made into paper - it doesn't even smell yet - I thought it would grow mould. Oh yes, and to finish The Fish - I just need a bathymetric map to cover it.

All done!

More Merry Go Round posts to read:

Saturday, 20 December 2008

The house looks great but the fridge is empty!

.... and failed again with my Shopping List Saturday feature - so sorry FancyPicnic! Can I have the 'it is Christmas' excuse, please?
We've been getting back to basics here in the Half an Acre household - picture right is my middle son doing the stamping for our paperchains. We started off with Christmassy stars but have graduted to hearts, dragonflies and fish. Basically the sum total of my rubber stamp collection. It's a good job we never bought that nice, new kitchen table. The other picture shows the constant state of the table - and I'm not kidding - even though I have a workroom in the house things usually graduate to the kitchen. My eldest son had to make a working toy with a CAM mechanism for school and most of that heap on the table is balsa wood and paper instructions, tools and dust. All mixed in with some very safe scalpels, sharp bits and lethal glue. I like to expose the kids to an element of danger during tea - alert the services - sloppy mother alert! The kiddies are in their usuall postition - squashed at one end trying to eat something cobbled together - no wonder they are all so skinny! Certain things have priority in our house - 'making a wooden toy and christmas paper chains' takes the lead over 'food shopping' - therefore our house looks great but we are all starving! When my husband came home 'famished' and opened the fridge to see er ... nothing .... I quickly wafted him into the hallway "LOOK! the boys made paperchains!" as if that would go some way to easing his hunger. Sometimes I use the "Look! I hoovered" approach as though this quickly de-crumbing explains my inability to get in the car and go to Sainsbuys. I hate food shopping almost as much as I hate selotape. But selotape hates me more than the food shopping hates me. I am so sick of getting it suck in my hair, stuck to bits it shouldn't be and then looking all unprofessional that I've come to realise I am in need of a bulk order of jiffy bags. Having used up all my recycled ones I'm onto the 'traditional brownpaper looks nice idea - but it needs too much selotape. I hate selotape almost as much as I hate coathangers ... but don't get me started on them!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Waffle, waffle, waffle... and not the Belgian kind...

Gah! I've missed my Shopping List Saturday feature by a day AGAIN!!!!! Obviously Sunday is the new Saturday. Or, obviously, it isn't as you will see that there is no feature in this post!

It's been an eventful and expensive week. On Thursday I, and the three boys, hit a big, hard, bumpy thing on the road and destroyed the tyre on my car. Luckily a friend could come and pick the boys up as I then sat, freezing my butt off in the ditch the 2 1/2 hours waiting for the AA man to come. Yes! I will say it again! Two and a half long, freezing hours in the dark on a busy, busy road felling all female and on my ownsome! My car carries no spare tyre as the space is compromised by the back seats which lay down flat into the space it would have taken up. So, I needed to be towed. AND ... AND.... I broke down in the only spot on the road where there is next to no mobile reception. I could only just call the AA - four tries it took. Then I could only sporadically text a friend to get them to chase the AA up. When the AA man arrived he said he'd only got the call 20 mins prior!!! NOT HAPPY WITH THE AA! The man, by the way, was fantastic - just like the adverts!

I've done my last sale event for the year - it was disasterous! Only 7 people came in through the door! But I did sell six sock bunnies. The bunnies have been keeping me going over the last few weeks big time! Something about them is deeply appealing to everyone ...... Do you need one? You can find them all here at The Warren on Folksy. Folksy has really come up trumps over the last two weeks - I've had 9 sales now - two of them today and the same item but in different colours. I've even had three sales through my ill-fated website. If I knew then what I do now I wouldn't have paid out all that money for the site - which, incidentally, I am still paying off. I hadn't discovered all these Etsy, Folksy things back then and everyone kept saying those haunting words "Do you have a website?".
I'm thinking that this might be my last post before Christmas - I kinda want to have a break and just make paperchains with the boys ..... but, we shall see ...... I'll have more time now the events are all done and dusted.
Actually - i've got an idea .. okay, this isn't my last post ........

Monday, 8 December 2008

Something's wrong with the world today .....

On Saturday my cousin's wife, aged 39, was unexpectedly rushed into hospital. She died 4 hours later from a suspected virus. She is a mother to one year old twins.
There are no words.

This post is dedicated to them ...... my heart goes out to them all.

Thank you MidnightOrange

Sunday, 7 December 2008

We Make London Saturday shopping!

My Shopping List Saturday feature this week is going to centre about WeMake as that is where I was on Saturday with my stall! I didn't sell any wooden stuff but sold 17 sock bunnies! The Warren is in full production to keep up with the demand. I bought one of these Ninja fluff balls from Flurogoddess for my son. He loves it beyond belief -he's sitting with it next to him right now. I knew he'd adore it. It's been given it's own personality now. I think I might have to get some more for the other two boys now as they have 'ball envy'.
I REALLY wanted to buy the things picture below - but didn't due to lack of funds! They are all made by Fur Will Fly who has the best quirky humour I've come across the years - ties right in with mine .... anyone who makes a plush red blood cell is a genius in my book.

From left to right: A red blood cell, white blood cells and a stake. A stake! It's still making me chuckle.

I had the wonderful pleasure of having a table next to Jan from ChichiMoi who, amongst things, makes these gorgeous goodies. I don't have any more pictures but she had a range of lovely hand-knitted headbands, hair grips, corsages and the cutest Christmas decorations. She also sells on Not On The High Street.
On the other side of me was the lovely ArtyAllsorts who takes beautiful, beautiful photographs. I've put some of her flower pictures over there on the right as I think they are stunning - simply and of outstanding print quality.

I have to give a special mention to the cakes! Oh the cakes! Simply Scrumbalicious did the cakes ...... *sigh* those cakes .. those cakes were the best damn cakes I have EVER tasted ... EVER! And the nicest coffee I've ever been served at an event! The Scrumbalicious blog is here and they should absolutely, definately go into mail order cakes, or a shop, or .... or..... anything really that means I can get more cakes! They even used Oreos on a cheesecakey thing - Oreos are my favourite biscuits EVER and anything involving then is pure genius. You have no idea how yummy their popcorny, cranberry thingy was either...... I need these cakes in my life and so do you.......... *collapses*

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Launch of Uk Handmade winter issue .... and a whole load of bunnies....

Today sees the launch of the UK Handmade magazine! Click on the homepage picture to download 87 pages of brilliance! To celebrate the launch of the first issue we have a fantastic prize draw - five goodie bags up for grabs full of handmade thingies from a range of UK makers and artists - me included *cough*. To qualify just sign up for our newsetter on the homepage. Entry closes on Thursday 11 December at midnight (GMT). There will be five winners! I am totally thrilled to be part of this - not least because if you look on page 3 of the downloadable magazine you will see me listed as 'Marketing Assistant'!! I know I'm meant to be all grown-up and all but it still makes me un-necessarily excited to see my name listed in print! We hope that soon the magazine will be a paper one - properly for sale ..... it's an awesome thought! So all I can say to you all is SUBSCRIBE!!! Go on ......... we love subscribers and you'll make me ever so happy!

Today (or rather Tuesday) also sees the launch of my new shop 'The Warren" on Folksy. It's bunny madness here again. I sold 17 at a sale on Friday night - sold 5 today to my neighbour - loads of people have asked if they can buy more online SO... due to this mad fervour I have opened this bunnified place. Each comes it it's own sleeping bag and style-able ears! Its amazing what you can do with a sock and I'm not keen on monkeys (sock ones are more of a US thing, I think) and everyone here knows how bunny mad my eldest son is ...... the result is The Warren! I don't have that many in the shop yet but a basket of 28 of them are staring at me right now - with another 20 not yet stitched up -all waiting to have their photo taken and be uploaded. I feel a little mean, though, selling them but comfort myself with thoughts that they will be going to good homes to be loved. Don't burst this bubble with nasty jokes about boiling, shooting or making a nice pair of gloves okay?

Friday, 28 November 2008

We all need a Pink-bellied Yowl - trust me.....

I've been shopping for Christmas on Etsy! I promised myself I would and I'm finding some wonderful little things - and all from the comfort of my sofa and fuzzy blanket. I can shop with a glass of wine in one hand! So, for this week's Shopping List Saturday I'm featuring four things I've bought lately.
First we have a little colouring book from Chichiboulie - its stocking filler sized and that is exactly where it will be going! Second is the Pink-bellied Yowl from KarensMonsters - bought er..... for me *cough*.... had to have him! So cute... you need one too - trust me, you do!
The Santa Stop Here hanging sachet if from my first Sneak Attack victim Dainty Doris - I've bought loads to give as gifts - they are for hanging on coathangers to de-stink your wardrobe or, like this one, festive and small enough to hang on the tree. Last up are some gorgeous green fingerless gloves from Ginaminda.
That is not all I've bought but I don't want to face up to the rest of it so I'm not showing you anymore! I"ve also just realised that saying 'to de-stink your wardrobe' is not the best sales pitch for DaintyDoris! She makes little felt sachets full of lavender, you see ....... I'm just not poetic today! So -that's it for today! For other Shopping List Saturday features check out FancyPicnic's blog - she has the whole list in the sidebar!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Paper, paper everywhere .......

Goodness me! It's been one of those weeks indeed! I've made a stack of handmade paper - for christmas cards and for the boys' advent calendar - I'll show you pics of that later - I'm going to make 24 weeny paper bags with little bits and pieces in for each day. All the paper is ready and it just needs folding.

I've added some pics of all the paper making - the first looks like some wierd biscuit making thing going on but is actually me trying to be all clever with cookie cutters and paper pulp. Second is the papermache fish (previously torso, seal, whale, submarine) - I've decided that its final coating will be a bathymetric (hope that is the word!) map of the oceans i.e what lies under the water. I thought that might be suitably fishy for it instead of the Telegraph doom and gloom credit crunch stuff which forms his skin at the moment. Third picture is my kitchen table set up for a massive papermaking session and, fourth, the results of that session - enough paper for the 24 bags for the advent calendar.

I did a sale today - at a school - it was heaving with kids and parents - I sold some stuff, not a great deal, but enough - sold all my sock bunnies and pigs! I've been shopping since and bought loads of fantabulous stripey socks .... is Half an Acre going to do a bit of a swerve and become a multi-million pound sock bunny empire? Might be indeed!

I have also totally missed the Shopping List Saturday feature this week ... what can I do but grovel. As I said - I've been busy!!! UK Handmade launches soon! *claps wildly* But until it does you can have a nosey at the blog ... the latest feature (written by me .. teehee) is very interesting indeed especially if you are a knitter ..... linky dinky here.

I've also decided to update my facebook page. Which threw me into a state of confusion as I seem to have an 'Anna Hull' profile with a 'Half an Acre page' attached as well as a 'Half an Acre' profile page with nothing attached. Too confusing. I deactivated the H an A profile page and am in the midst of renovating the rest. All this was sparked by getting a message from an old school pal. *waves at Tilly* Now I'm seaching for any name of any person I've ever known - right old time waster - GAH! the internet can be so absorbing! Apparently this is the Half an Acre page (become a fan, go on, make me feel popular!) and this is my 'Me' profile - apparently.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Busy busy!

I've been a busy girlie today and completed my entry for the Folksy Angels competition. You know Folksy? The British answer to Etsy! It is still in Beta phase (ie not launched yet) and promises to be fantastic. Folksy are tying this competition in the WeMake Christmas on Saturday 6th December at The American Church, Tottenham Court Road. WeMake is a group of fabulous UK crafts people (including myself *beams at everyone*) who are trying to promote wonderful handmade British stuff. There are various sales around the country but the next one is this one above. Please come along if you can - there are 46 sellers attending and it will be a great, busy event. Don't forget you need to buy all your Christmas presents!!!! The winning entry will be given away at the event. The winner also receives a free Folksy shop and NO commission on sales for the whole of 2009 - WOOT WOOT! The Folksy Angels flickr group, where its all happening, is here click! This is my entry below. The brief was to make a Christmas decoration using only recycled or upcycled bits and pieces - in other words, you can't buy anything and you can't use any of your nicely pre-bought supplies! Ha ha!

So - I used these fabric scraps, which I've been keeping in a irritatingly-in-the-way plastic bag for the last year, and tied each little bit onto a piece of garden wire. I made a whole heap of paper over the weekend and used a bit of the pulp to make the heart in the middle. The string is from my stash of kept pieces that I rescue from presents we've all been given. So, there you have it - a fabric, credit crunch beating decoration!
Here's my Folksy shop www.folksy.com/shop/halfanacre - go see.... quick! the elves are coming with their spoons...

Friday, 14 November 2008

Drizzle, paper and pants.

Its been a funny old week. Gloomy, dank, drizzly and depressing. I have felt that way too. We are covered in oak leaves, rotting pumpkins and mud. So, on that grim note I shall introduce some retail therapy as it is indeed time for the Shopping List Saturday feature!

The lovely little brooches are from Seapod and are from amoebas and microbes seen under the microscope - how cute is that? The gorgeous books are by KreativeLink and are fantastic value for any UK shoppers - I am sorely tempted.

Today seems me separating all my waste paper into piles. Paper for shredding (to make new paper) - white paper (for making my advent calendar for the boys) - newspaper (for papermache) - magazines (for recycling at the dump) - junk mail (for the dump also). I feel virtuous. I have put several more layers onto the papermache fish and he has lost that seal/whale/torse look which creeped me somewhat.

Speaking of creepy - have any of you seen the film Pan's Labyrinth? Well, don't. Actually, do. Although it is a cert 15 I still thought it was a nice fantasy with cute gobliny things - instead the Hubby and I switched it off before the end because it was so graphic and horrific! Now I HAVE to know how it ends!!! Its been bothering me all night and morning - damn it! Just DO NOT SHOW IT TO YOUR KIDS. This is an ADULT film hiding behind nice words like 'Pan' which makes you think of Peter Pan (lovely) and Labyrinth (exciting attractive underground maze). Compelling? Yup. Gorey? Oh yes. Disturbing? Hugely. And I still haven't seen the ending. I don't want to but I need to. Verdict: Don't watch it. Actually, do.

Summary: Torture, fatal childbirth, blood, graphic beating, menace, faceless creatures, creepy creatures, driving rain, greyness, fairies, a big book, sadness, hopelessness, death, shooting, a little girl, horrific knife action ...... Ugh, it goes on ...... all wrapped up in a fantasy wrapping of the nasty kind.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Happy desk!

This is my desk - as of Sunday night - right now. I'm painting up an order for a bunch of fish for Not On The High Street and trying to make some wooden birds look festive! I'm also stocking up on some lizards as Lasso The Moon goes live soon and a load of my stuff is on the site. Lasso The Moon is a showcase of 26 of the best Uk handmade designers, crafters and artists - and I'm one of them! How I managed to be picked is a fantastic mystery - I'm keeping quiet in case I'm rumbled as not being 'best' in the UK!! That's it! a wee postette ....

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Half an Acre comes over all smug ...

I'm feeling smug. Those envelopes? Those are made with oak leaves out of my garden. Half an acre leaves - except it isn't - half an acre, that is. See? Smug! Smug because I'm feeling all craftsy and eco-friendly. They even have a strip on the back saying "handmade using Ifold oak leaves" just to drive the smug 'look what I made' thing home! I want to slap the grin off my own face! Actually its not 100% oak leaves but about 85% added to some paper shreddings (bank statements etc). The leaves need to be soaked and then boiled. The boiling is meant to break them down - but it doesn't really- so you have to whizz it all in the a blender for extra time. The plan is to make my own Christmas cards. So this weeks Shopping List Saturday post is going to be combined with my Christmas Quest - my search for simple and natural festive things.

I've found that paint stamps wonderfully onto handmade paper. This year is going to be all about simplicity and economy and this is going to be echoed in my cards. Handmade with simple stamped designs on them. So for my Shopping List Saturday feature I went off to Etsy and this what I found ...

I know that some of them aren't very festive but I got bored of the christmas ones and got diverted!

Also this week, I've been featured on two blogs Cinnamon and honey and Pennydog - Thank you ladies indeed! I'm thrilled when I'm featured anywhere - so important to get yourself 'out there'. I am totally addicted to Twitter now - I've made a few twitter pals who I see there most days - I love the easy chattiness of it - and the immediate responses you can get from your fellow tweeters. Tiny Fig 'tweeted' for opinions on her new website layout and immediately got a whole barrage of opinions for colour schemes - whether this has helped or just confused the hell out of her is out for debate!

The other exciting thing this week is the saga of my paper mache fish/whale/seal/dead baby. It came to me the other day that what the house needed was a large paper mache fish hanging over out kitchen table. Doesn't eveyone need one? So, armed with spiky chicken wire, I made the frame work. So far so good. Mixed up wallpaper paste - got newspapers out of the garage - and started to cover it. Half done - great - leave it to dry - turn off lights - go into living room for evening. La la la time passes. Thirsty. Go into the half-light of the kitchen "AHHHHHHHHHHHGH"!!!! Out of the corner of my eye there is a dead baby on my table!!! It's horrible! Be still, my imagination! In a desparate need to fix this abomination I quickly add some fins - only I put them on the side (what is up with me? perhaps a sketch first might have helped) and I now have a bloody seal! "Its a seal!" I wail to my husband and children. I then attacked it with scissors. Severing its nasty sealy flippers - Mwhahahhahahahahaahaaaaa. It is now a shark (apparently) - but that's because I haven't put the bottom fin on yet. Soon it will be a glorious fish - swooshing above my table. It's main colours, I think, will be black and white stripes. The jury's out.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Two new colours for you.....

Just a little, quick post to show you my two new house colours! Then I shall mention mass-produced items no more! No more tainting of my blog! I won't be able to get the red-roofed ones after my stock of it has gone so these two, pink and blue, are the replacements. What do you think?

Monday, 3 November 2008

Half an Acre 'fesses up, gets a bit festive and features herself AGAIN!

*Stands up and faces assembled crowd* - "My name is Half an Acre, and I sell some mass-produced products" - *sits down trembling* - moving swiftly along now .....

Today I woke up to two sales on Not on the high street - a UK based boutique website where I have a little shop set up. They have just started shipping internationally so all you lovely people can buy through them too. I have several things in my shop that is not handmade - purely because its nice to sell something is not time-consuming and these things seem to keep the wolves from the door - so to speak. So I'm going to feature myself today! *cracks up laughing* - my non-handmade stuff. I try and only stock things which I haven't seen anywhere else - for instance I am the only person in the UK stocking the two below:

Pretty adorable, huh? You can order all of these from Not on the high street but I'd rather you did it through my website Half an Acre because you like me and you'd like to be nice to me and save me from the commission!
I've just received my newest order for the houses in two new colour ways - haven't taken the pictures yet but I will do as soon as this dull, dreary weather lifts a bit.

These prams are adorable, I know! The top slides up and over to form the pram. Little girls LOVE them - actually everyone does - even the boys! I won't be continuing to stock there much longer as the company has changed the numbers I need to order and I can't finance such large numbers so get them whilst I've got them!
I have also just started stocking the below - I have seen them elsewhere BUT I love them sooooooo much that I don't care!Seriously, you know you know someone who would love one of those! I've had to hide the all here as my boys keep taking them!
What do you think? I feel such a traitor selling non-handmade stuff - but the painting is time-consuming - if I worked out the actual time each thing took and priced accordingly they'd be, like, £60 or something made like that! So - its nice to have somethings that are 'ready-made' and don't cost me any time at all. That's my justification and i'm sticking to it! So there!

Also today - thank you to Martha Hughes for featuring me on her blog The Dancing Monkey Jewellery Chronicles - I love being featured! And I also had a mail from Crafter...ooo saying they wanted to use my hag stone round picture in their advent calendar - thanks guys!

Here's the picture! I'd love people to see from it that you don't have to buy all those naff glittery decorations that the shops stock up on for Christmas - just look around you - use the natural object you find. These hag stones were found on the beach on the Isle of Wight - where we always holiday - they have naturally made holes in them. I strung them on wire with some beads which I already had and ended up with this wreath. Its one of many I've made over the course of the year - each one going to a new home somewhere in the world - which I love the idea of. I've also started featuring some sellers who are making natural and lovely decorative things for christmas as part of my Christmas Quest - one of those being Makalewakan - check out her Etsy shop - I featured her in an earlier post but I like to keep referring back to these great shops. I keep featuring these wreaths on my blog here - please excuse the repetition - i just really like some of my own stuff!! Hope you do too!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Half an Acre proves something .....

Yes I do indeed! I have just proved that posting on the Etsy forums can bring you a sale. I was reading away when I saw an avatar that really caught my eye - so I clicked on it - and arrived at Jurphy who will be the centre of my Shopping List Saturday feature this week. Within 5 minutes I'd bought three of her items!! So - this is the banner showing the avatar that did it - it was one of those little houses there ......

So - all Jurphy did was post one comment in one topic and she got three things sold! See - proof!
Now, her shop also make me realise a few things about myself and my shop - I need to re-write all my descriptions. I need to evoke .... This is what did it for me in Jurphy's shop .... are you ready?

"Quaint little saltbox house which I have sculpted from local rock and hand painted to bring the history all around me to life. These houses dot the landscape all over this island I call home, and were the inspiration for my many collections of homes, stages, churches and schools. Many are over a century old and still stand in all their splendor high on the hilltops, down in the valleys and even on the edge of rocky cliffs all over Newfoundland".

So I bought the three that she had in her shop!
I've only show you two because the third picture messes up the composition of my post! Such a prima donna, me!

To me, in overcast England, Newfoundland sounds inpossibly romantic - another reason I ended up at WillyWaw's shop, she of Rhode Island. They sound full of long, wild, empty beaches and driftwood and types of fish I haven't heard of .... and so I want a little part of that life ..... I also love to have things that have a little story - my home if full of them - a seed pod from the south of france which looks like skull - a big round old stone from Crackington Haven which I carried for MILES UPHILL because I had to have it - a coil of vine I pulled off a tree in Atlanta after shouting "Stop the car!!" and leaping out to grab it!!

So now I have a bag made specially for me all the way from Rhode Island and now these three little houses made from Newfoundland local rock to add to all the curiosities....

But back to the point - I need to rewrite all my descriptions - because maybe the fact that I live in a little rural hamlet deep in the English countryside might make someone want a little piece of ...er... what? and English fish? Arghghggh! It doesn't quite work, does it! It does for the Hag stone rounds which I make sometimes - they are stones found on the Isle of Wight with natural holes in them - quite evocative, I think ..... Hmmmm .. I need to re-think!

So -the point? Ah yes - the point is that you might have an Etsy shop, a Dawanda one, a Folksy one etc but if you don't put yourself 'out there' then no-one will find you. If people see you around all the time then you will get more sales. There are two sellers who I see EVERYWHERE! Some so much that if I see them signed up to something I think 'okay, this must be worth doing' - and in their honour I shall list them here because I know how they are working their butts off to promote themselves. Here we go... *drum roll* ......

Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh! They both deserve a bit chocolate slice as great examples of what you have to do to make it work. You all inspire me!!

And to prove a little more - today I bought something straight from Twitter - Marceline posted about a new item in her shop Asking for Trouble so I clicked to have a peek - and bought it! Its this cute button bag below. It just so happens that all my buttons are in a nasty plastic bag and this is just what I need (read that as 'want'!).Your buttons need to be cared for in this little bag! Marceline also has an Etsy shop here. So the moral of this is - never underestimate just how much time you need to invest in getting yourself noticed on the internet. So quit reading this and get promoting!! Hint... if you leave a comment I will click on you and check out what you do! Perhaps I might buy something too!
For more Shopping List Saturday lists see FancyPicnics blog!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Halloween Merry-go-round ......

Jump on the merry-go-round and join a group of artists/ crafts-women as they link hands around the world and tell you a little bit about their lives in art and craft.

okay - we've come round a whole month and its once again time for a Merry-go-round post! This one, of course, has a Halloween theme ....... What is the scariest part of your art/craft?

The truth is that I am not scared, nothing has been scary - some things have been disheartening but I'm so bloody minded that it just strengthens my resolve. I'm having a ball - a fabulous time - I'm surrounded by paint - i'm selling my things - I'm meeting lots of people who are inspiring me to try other crafts - I have nothing to lose and everything to gain - I'm happy! So I shall divert to things that scare me in general..... it'll be much more interesting and Halloweeny..

1. I am scared of creepy dolls .....

See? That picture on the left - all those VERY STILL ugly dolls? They are haunted. That pram in the middle? That is a haunted pram! It creaks and rocks in the night in your attic. *shiver*. And as for those dolls on the right ........ I can't even look at them ........ Ronald McDonald also falls into this catagory.

2. I am a little scared of drills - I don't like it - I don't like my soft fingers near its whizzing whirliness. Especially my little hobby one as when I drill something little I have to hold it between said soft pink fingers EWWWWWWWWeughghghghhgh *shudder*. Chain-saws fit in here too. Chain-saws will sever my leg and I will spout arterial blood too quickly and the ambulance will be late.....

3. I am scared of 'Mr Kipling' and his French Fancies ..... It was his voice in
the adverts .... it told me about him and his er.... 'tendancies' and it was always a bit too 'Lewis Carrol' for my liking or WORSE. He creeped the hell out of me but I did like the cakes. They were a real treat when I was a kid - a freaked out kid!
I can still hear him saying "...exceedingly good cakes" in that crumb-filled voice of his and I know he would want me to have sat on his knee .... *shiver* ... moving along swiftly now ......

4. I am scared of Bob Flowerdew. OMG! I've been in google images and there is a picture of him naked with a well-placed leaf!! ARGHGHGGGHHGH! THAT IS HORRIBLE ....... click here if you dare! After that shock I'll put a picture of him here but I'll never be able to look at this post again! I can't explain it really - its that ratty plait he always has draped over his shoulder and his big, big chin and slappy hair - I'm sorry Bob, you are a champion of organic gardening but you scare me with your face .......... It's me, not you, Bob.......

That's enough now - I can't be in this post any longer .. I'm going to leave you with a list of all the other Merry-go-rounders ....

I say, Old Chap ......

Today I've come over all nostalgic and British - my upper lip is stiff and the vicar is coming to tea. I'm featuring Ouissi (I have name envy) from the magnificant BritishCreamTea ..... She makes food out of felt. Love it! The second best thing to the actual pieces are the descriptions of each treat in her Etsy shop - So, pay attention! You are about to have a lesson in British childhood goodies - the backbone of the British Empire.... ........ Read on!

"The Fab ice lolly was based around Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds TV series. Lady Penelope's Rolls Royce number plate was FAB 1. Priced at 6d it consisted of strawberry fruit ice and vanilla ice cream with top dipped in chocolate and coated with 'hundreds and thousands' sugar confectionery. It is rumoured that the hundreds of thousands are added to the lollies by an operative dipping them in a pot, rather than the modern option of machinery. This is said to be done to retain the authenticity of the product, hence the hundreds of thousands sometimes come past the chocolate mark on the lollies".
Fab Icelolly - $18.00 from BritishCreamTea on Etsy

"The party ring was introduced in 1983. It is a circular biscuit with a central finger-sized hole, covered in hard coloured icing with "wiggly" lines in a different colour. The five colour combinations are:
* Orange icing with white lines
* Pink icing with white lines
* Pink icing with yellow lines
* Purple icing with yellow lines
* Yellow icing with pink lines
We loved the bright colours, the hard crisp icing shell and the holes! We used to wear them as rings and eat them off our fingers as well as holding "ring races". These involved each child taking five rings and placing one on each finger of a hand. They would then proceed to eat them as fast as possible, with the inevitable danger of biting a finger a bit too hard. I used to also try to eat along the lines along the base...but then I was, indeed, a strange child...
In the late 1990s Fox's decided to remove the purple and yellow biscuit because the dyes used had been linked to certain health problems. But due to public (and particularly university society...we were all by that stage grown up but with long memories) outcry, they reinstated them using safe dyes and the party finger family was once again complete!"
Purple Party Ring (the best one!) $9.00 from BritishCreamTea on Etsy

"The greatest ice cream treat of our childhood...the original, classic Cornetto.
The idea of selling frozen ice-cream cones had long been a dream of ice-cream makers, but it was not until 1959 that Spica, an Italian ice-cream manufacturer based in Naples (later bought by Walls, a British ice cream company) conquered the problem of the ice-cream making the cone go soggy. Spica invented a process, whereby the inside of the waffle cone was insulated from the ice-cream by a layer of oil, sugar and chocolate.
Smooth vanilla ice cream in a chocolate lined and tipped, square quilted biscuit cornet topped with chocolate and chopped nuts...mmmm...
This cornet was 45p when I was little which made it a VERY special treat and therefore very memorable! That and the television advert with the gondola and the opera..."
Cornetto Classico $40 from BritishCreamTea on Etsy.

And - you've guessed it! Click here to see THAT advert from 1983!

The Jammie Dodger was Ouissi's first one - made whilst she was pregnant and not feeling so great. I had to know more. So, obviously, I just asked her....
Why, why, why did you make a Jammie Dodger out of felt as opposed to all the other things in the world you might have chosen to do?
"I have always been able to sew. My Aunt makes gorgeous bespoke wedding dresses by hand & is trained in corsetry and insisted we all learnt at least the basics. I have also loved embroidery for a long time...so I am good with a needle! I found felt foods here on etsy and elsewhere on the web a while back and fell in love with them but they all seemed to be USA or Chinese or Japanese food...no one was really doing British food in the same way so I thought I would try making some. For some reason Jammie Dodgers always come into my head when I thought about doing something. I think it is the fact that it is iconic and striking in its design.
Then one day I bought some felt and just tried...cut the stuff without a pattern and sewed it together just to see what it would look like... and it sort of started there!!
I still make the patterns afterwards, never before. I just have an image in my head and I cut the felt and sew...".
A Bakewell tart, Jammie Dodge and BOURBONS!!!

I would like to say that during the writing of this post I HAD to get up and have two Jammie Dodgers - hohum.
Now I need tea - yes, a nice up of tea .......... so, whilst I put the kettle on you must all go and look (and read) through BritishCreamTea's shop, buy something and post it to me. Thank you in advance. Over and out.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Attack! Attack! Attack!

That got you here then!
Today's Shopping List Saturday is going to be my Sneak Attack victim DaintyDoris! Sneak attacking is the brilliant idea of Michael Phipps (who, incidentally, has the most amazing website EVER!). A shop is chosen - there is a list of criteria for this but the main one is that they shop has had no sales yet. A thread is started on Etsy the day before to drum up interest and then at the alloted time everyone rushes over to the chosen shop and buys something all at the same time giving the seller a whole heap of excitement when they next login. All the details about 'Sneak Attacking' are here www.handmademovement.com. The 'attacks' are now going to take place on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Come and join in and make someones day!

Amanda from DaintyDoris was on holiday during the attack and came back to 8 new sales from us plus two extra ones that just happened two days before. 10 sales to come home to! How warm and smiley does that make you feel? Amanda sews adorable lavender filled hanging sachets and mini pillows and priced at $6.50 its not surprising that I bought three including the one pictured left. I'm extra pleased as she is from Nottingham in the UK. I got my purchases this morning too! They are perfect little gifts for everyone and anyone. I'm thrilled with them and will definately be getting some more towards Christmas.

This week I have also joined Twitter and Twitpic to which you can add your pictures to a constant stream of updating photos from around the world. I've also installed TwitterFox which means I can keep up with all the 'tweets' and add my own without having to access the website - a pop-up lurks in the bottom corner of my screen. If you want to follow my updates click on me here and click on 'follow'. Right now I'm being followed by Stephen Fry and Santa Claus - the elf updates from the north pole are classic! It does seem like just another thing to keep up with but I think Twitter is a goldmine - everyone is interlinked - who knows who you will meet and who will end up at your shop! Its great to see some familiar names there too.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

7 facts about me...

Oh no! I've been 'tagged'!! Arghhhhh! By Fancypicnic too. Honestly! Some people! So - it seems I have to list seven facts about myself - oh dear! Do I list flippant and faintly amusing ones, or deep and slightly unsettling ones? Hmmmmm. And again - Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Perhaps I'll do a mix of both ..... er ..... *goes away for several hours to thing up something true and interesting* .

RIGHT - here goes - 7 facts all about MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

1. When I'm stressed I go to Waterstones. They have a great cafe in my local one and I have a bagel and fab coffee. I then spend hours soothing myself wafting round the shelves and dipping into book after book - anything that catches my eye. I have a small collection of signed first editions of books I've loved reading. Also one signed, to me, from Roald Dahl- its worth £700 plus and I really want to sell it but daren't! I don't like his writing much but I feel I ought to keep it for some higher purpose. I love good coffee. Instant stuff is a different drink. When I come for coffee please do me real stuff.

2. I have no television and have no idea who anyone on TV is. It's been nine years now! We get letters from the licencing people all the time because they can't quite understand it. I so want an 'inspection'. One time someone turned up when we were out and left a card. I called up to say that if they'd let us know when they were coming next we could be in. It only occured to me a bit later what an INCREDIBLY DUMB thing that was to say!!!! Inspite of this every saturday hubby, three boys and I run over to my friend and neighbours house for wine, olives, crisps and the X-factor!!! Its the highlight of our week/ year! How sad is that. We place bets on who is going to win - loser buys the curry. I also consume Heat magazine with startling enthusiasm even though I have no idea who anyone is. I feel fat and ugly and old afterwards.

3. My honeymoon was three weeks hiking in Utah - sleeping in a tent, eating campfire slop washed down with Jack Daniels, getting knackered everyday and very, very grubby. It was fab. I used to be super-fit. Not anymore. Moving swiftly along then ....

4. I secretly hate people who's houses are a pastiche of beige. So if your house is that please don't take it personally! Oh okay! its hard not to really, I know, but what can I do - its how I feel! I like to be visually stimulated! (I wouldn't really hate you .......). And I don't understand people who have no 'stuff'. 'Stuff' makes you interesting.

5. I want to live in a house made almost entirely of wood built with my own hands. So there! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, as my mother used to say!

6. I have the most boring pets in the world. 11 Indian stick insects. They don't smell, don't make a noise, hardly need cleaning out, only eat ivy which stays fresh in water for weeks and are nocturnal. Boring boring boring. They also only live for a year and in the latter stages of that small life they give up eating, lose their legs and dehydrate until they collapse in a crispy, legless heap on the cage floor. Nice.

7. I could never buy a house that didn't have a fireplace. FACT. I simply can't live without an open fire. We have one EVERY single night from the first vaguely chilly evening that comes along after the summer. We don't have the heating on much! I was brought up to 'put a jumper on'!!

I wrote three deeply personal ones and then got all shy and decided that too much info wasn't a good thing!
Would have made sensational reading but .........

Now I have to tag seven other people - thing is, most of my regular reading blogs have been tagged already so .... *rummage.....rummage* here we go ..... a few that haven't been tagged already ....

On a different note - I have also been featured! ..... I am a Partner in Crime! Claire Laraine champions the handmade and has a blog full of loveliness here. Thank you Claire!

Here endeth my post. It looks a bit odd without any pictures. Never mind, eh!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Pleeeeeese buy me this! Pleeeeeeese ......

My Saturday Shopping List this week is not from Etsy or any other place but is a seller I came across when I had a stall at possibly the WORST sale I've EVER done. I was promised riches beyond belief and I sold .....er...ZIP! It was a ladies lunch/shopping affair and unbeknown to me they all went off for a three hour lunch in the middle!!!! So we were all stuck there with nothing to do for all that time! I even got back in the car and drove off to get a newspaper - then I had a little snooze too! BUT I did meet Naive there - and bought a few things - as you do in times of need and weakness!
The mother and daughter team handmake all the gorgeous things using found materials which they then knit, stitch or felt and transform them into magical items.
Jewellery cones, chocolate box ring trays, beehive pincushions, lavender filled sweets ....... a veritable tea-room of goodies!
I need one of those beautiful cones on the left there - my necklaces are all of a jumble and I hate those wire body in a frilly dress things you can buy all over for hanging them on. I'm just not a frilly dress jewellery hangy person - therefore I need said knitted cone in the picture ... NEEEEEEEEEED it. So, if you could all chip in together that would be great.
So .. now you know where to get some yummy presents - Linky dink is here in case you missed it the first time round (you really must pay attention) www.naive.biz - off you go, away with you and your credit card...

You can see all the other Shopping List Saturday features by whooshing off to FancyPicnics place or checking out the sidebar here .... remember Christmas is coming!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Bunny madness hits...

I've created a monster! Arghghghghhghggh!
I made a sock bunny - then my three boys all wanted one, then my neighbours daughter wanted one too. THEN my other neighbours three kids wanted them - and the two school friends that came for tea wanted them .... it's sock bunny madness! The bunnies are LONELY ... and now everyone needs TWO bunnies. So i've made TWO bunnies for some of them but that's NOT ENOUGH ... they want BUNNY FAMILIES!!!! HELP! The bunnies now have CLOTHES .... yup! Little skirts made from the cut off cuff of the socks. I have just dropped something at my neighbours house and her daughter has made a wardbrobe out of a box complete with hanging rail and a notebook on how to look after your sock bunny. My son is beseiged with "Can your mum make me a sock bunny?". RIGHT! That's it! I'm charging from now on! I am now in high bunny production as you can see from the picture below! I'm going to sell some at my kids school fair - all their friends now want them so its an ideal place! Oh dear! I was in the bookshop today - I know all the craft books they have because I check them at least twice a week - but today they had, in pride of place, a book "Stray Sock Animals". They had four copies just staring at me! Obviously new in - how did they know?!!!! Had to buy it. So now i'm making sock pigs. Oh man, what have I done? Everyone under the age of 10 round here has gone doolally. Luckily I've got my sewing machine back from the friend who borrowed it so I can stitch them much faster ......

Sunday, 12 October 2008

The amazing power of socks.....

Its been a busy weekend! My old pal Ruth has been here and we've been a-crafting and a-creating our little hearts out! This is why we need to live next door to each other! Our ideas just spill out and we need a big studio full of every tools, material whatever on hand, in nice labelled, neatly stacked shelves stretching from floor to ceiling .... *dreams*...

So - for starters - Ruth made this sock horse from one ladies knee sock - no pattern - just her brilliant crafty mind. I made the sausage dog from the other sock - modelled on my son's favourite manky toy one. We also made sock bunnies! They are the easiest and cutest little things to make.

We also made handmade paper (right hand picture) using my lovely neighbour's in-tray paper shreddings (as you do!) - I'm going to make it into a notebook and give it back to her! I took my 'shrunk-by-mistake-and-felted' favourite tatty jumper and made a glasses case.

The glasses case was useless! No it was fantastic if you wear glasses! But I don't! I guess it could have been a little pouch but another use presented itself .... it is now the sleeping bag home of a little sock bunny (made at the same time as the doggy and horse).
Now, isn't that possibly one of the cutest things you've ever seen? I'm not good sewing - just can't be bothered - but those two things were so easy and so enjoyable - trust me - if I can do it ...... I never realised that socks were so versatile! I knew about sock monkeys but I'm not a monkey fan so they never appealed to me.
Now Ruth has gone home .... I'm a bit lonelier and I have three boys all demanding sock bunnies ... ho hum!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Swirly whirly trees and I need to stop spending!

Okay - I'm going to ignore my plans for my Shopping List Saturday feature ! No new Etsy seller today - no Christmas Quest - except that I'd like any of the items below under my tree! - I was searching for both and found something that I simply have to show you. I neeeeeeeeeeeed these trees in my life.
Jordanka Yaretz is 'the tree artist'- her Etsy shop is here. She has won a load of awards and has bunches of exhibitions under her belt across Canada and the USA. The bit I like best is that eight of her paintings have been reproduced as UNICEF Christmas cards. I seriously love these trees - dreamy, magical, evocative. I really shouldn't do these features anymore as I can only do them on people whos things I want to buy and that invariably leads to me doing just that!.
Speaking of buying - this is my latest purchase - from one of my favourite sellers Birdland Creations.
How cute is that bunny? My eldest son is totally into them so I bought it to have in memory of him. I'd like one for each boy, relating to their fabourite toys. I'm always putting together charm bracelets and necklaces and can't wait to make something very cute with these. I've spent all day today making some Christmas decorations - wooden hearts painted red then with white and gold stas and posts added.
OOOh! What happened in that last sentence? I've just come back to add some more and saw it - yikes! That's what happens when you do your posts at 1am! I'm not sure what 'posts added' means either! If you hold on I'll post some pics of my decorations ....... *rummage*

There you go! Not the greatest of product shots but .... hey it is Sunday! If you click on the picture it'll take you to a bigger one and you can see the detail - the white bits are little whirly things - quite cute. Those dotty bits are in fact gold - nice, shiny gold - so it all looks very festive indeed. Oh yes, the size - er...... 32cm long - its painted on both sides and will have a hanging string when i've put one on! I'm not putting these in my shop so if you'd like one - just ask!