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, 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!