Sunday, 26 October 2008

Birthdays and Beads

So Friday was my nephew's 18th birthday, which meant a trip up to the Lakes for us so we could go out and celebrate with all the family and friends. Unfortunately we got stuck in traffic on the way - who would have thought a 2 1/2 mile tailback from some small roadworks would take an hour and a half to get through. Luckily mum's tatie pot hadn't burnt, not too much anyway! Then it was a quick change of clothes and off to the party we went. Much food, drink and dancing later we got in at 2.30am - oh how nice it is to have babysitters (aka parents). An extremely wet Saturday left us with not many options for entertainment so we headed off to a craft fair at Rheged and let Erin go to soft play. The craft fair marked the start of my Christmas shopping, a book "Ivver Sen" for my dad. Then visits to family all afternoon and the day passed pretty quickly.

We took a different route home today and we saw the effects of the horrendous rain, lots of flooded roads and some Travelodge guests stranded. Anyway we made it to Harrogate and to the Bead Fair. Soon the plan to 'pick up business cards and make notes over what I liked so I could order in the future' went out of the window and shopping ensued! Strings of pretty beads calling my purse, which luckily didn't have too much money in so I didn't go mad. I got some gorgeous turqoise beads that I can't wait to use. The Tuffnell Glass stall was tempting me with their glass bead making kits but I was sensible, I need to wait a while before moving into that type of thing. I just don't have the time at the moment especially as I can't play with hot glass with an 18 month old running around, that's not a good combination.

Time management probably top of the list when it comes to essential skills of a wahm. I tend to do website updating/accounts/other computer stuff during Erin's nap, crafting in the evening after tea and packing orders...err...ok, so that one I do as soon as I can possibly fit it in, often with litle hands 'helping' me.

Well it was just a quick note today...I'm off to play with my new beads.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Fairs, Festivals & Felting

Well first up is the stall pic from my last craft fair! We didn't sell much but plenty of people were interested in the products and took business cards. So many people commented that the felted soaps would make great Christmas presents.

The necklace I'm wearing was made for me by a lady on Cloth Nappy Addicts and that's what got me into felting. I did a course and now I'm hooked on it. More on that later...

This morning I got an interesting email. An eco festival that I'd enquired about have had a last minute cancellation and wanted to know if I could still do it. Well it's an hour and a half from where I live and a bit of a last minute rush but I'm going for it! It's at Lancaster Town Hall for anyone that's interested.

The other thing that's happened this week is I've booked to go on a felted bags course next Saturday. I'm really looking forward to it. Although I already wet felt, I haven't done it with a resist, so far I've only done scarfs, beads and that sort of thing. My daughter loves handbags, even though she's only 17 months old, so I'm hoping to make something for her on the day. Then I'll probably make myself a tester one before making some to sell.

Anyway, I can't really talk so much about felting without showing some pics!

This is a picture of one of the bracelets I've made. It's done by making a square with two layers of fibre (one of each colour). It's then wet with warm soapy water and rolled into a sausage shape. Then the sausage is rolled until it's felted. I then cut it to produce a number of swirly coloured beads.

I've also made a selection of wet felted beads and made a bracelet out of them. Each bead is rolled by hand. I added grey spots to the pink one by needle felting.

Finally, here is a picture of my felted soaps. The soaps were made by Mandy at Fizz 'n' Suds then wet felted by me.

You can find my soaps on my website Crafty 'n' Clothy or on my Folksy site.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Let's talk about green issues!

Since having my daughter I've become so much more aware of the environment and trying to preserve it for future generations. One thing I try really hard with is cutting out all the chemicals we take for granted. Things like shampoo, cleaning products, washing powder. As far as I can see they aren't necessary. Now I'm not saying we should all be dirty, just that there are natural alternatives.

Take laundry for example, I use Soapnuts. They are a natural sustainable product, which can be composted after use. They naturally soften clothes so you don't need a fabric conditioner. Not only can they be used for laundry, they can be used for washing up, you can make a multi-surface cleaner from them and use it as screenwash in your car. How much does it cost? Well, it's actually CHEAPER than washing powder.

That's the other thing I've found about going green, there's this myth that it's expensive. Most of the time it saves money. By buying soapnuts, I don't need to buy washing powder or cleaning products. Similarly by using a Mooncup and/or washable pads rather than buying disposable sanitary pads or tampons also saves money. Okay so you have to spend a bit more this month to buy enough of them but in the long run it saves a small fortune!

Why doesn't everyone start making these changes? Well to be honest with you, I have no idea. I can't understand it, surely everyone wants to save money and help the environment at the same time. I guess they're sceptical..."Does it really work?" is one of the most-asked questions when I do fairs. So, does it?

Well, the Mooncup/Jam Sponge/washable pads one is a definite thumbs up. They work so well and are so much more comfy. I'd never go back to those plasticky disposable things again. As for the soapnuts - they're different. Your washing will not come out of the washer smelling of 'white diamonds' (anyone know what they smell of?) but that's because they are just clean. It's that simple. If you can't get used to that add a bit of bicarbonate of soda and a few drops of a gorgeous essential oil to the softener drawer. These products work, they just don't have huge advertising budgets. Stop listening to the people who pay for your custom and start listening to those who use that money to source a green, natural, cheap product that does the same job!

Oh and for those of you who are wondering about my hair - check out my Virgin Organic Coconut Oil (great intensive hair conditioner) and African Black Soap (great all over bosy & hair soap) over on Folksy!



Folksy is the UK equivalent of Etsy. If you haven't heard of either, where have you been?????!!! Anyway, they're both sites showcasing and selling handmade products. So if you're fed up of the mass-produced stuff on our high streets and are looking for something a bit more unique then these are the sites to check out!

Click the pic above to view my store!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Eek! My house is being taken over...

by my craft stuff!

As if it wasn't enough to take up 3 huge shelves & a baby changing unit in the bedroom, a huge desk in the living room, a set of drawers in the kitchen and a big box in Erin's room, I've now got a huge set of shelves in the living room. They go either side of the sofa and will have 3 shelves above the sofa when Ikea get those back in stock. Now I just have to sort out all my craft bits onto the shelves, which is easier said than done.

At the same time, I'm trying to get ready for Eccleshill Art & Craft Fair this Saturday. I have soaps to felt and felted jewellery to finish. I'll also be taking along my eco-friendly toiletries, including organic virgin coconut oil, shea butter & african black soap - yummy goodiness!

Hope to see you there!