Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Good things come in small packages...

It's funny how television and the media distort your perception of things, particularly when it comes to size. Why am I mentioning this? Last night my sister and I went to see Bryan Adams at the SECC in Glasgow - and he's only little! I always thought he was about 6'.

What a brilliant concert. He must have sang about fifteen songs, all the oldies (Heaven) and a few new ones. We were right at the front and could almost touch him. Ah how I love to scream like a teenager, my voice has almost recovered.

My sister and I have done well for live music this year. We still have Simple Minds to see in December at the ABC in Glasgow - only 1200 tickets so it should be lovely and intimate. I always like to see my pop idols close up.

Some other exciting news - it snowed last night at my sisters in Perthshire, so we can now officially start the countdown to Christmas without feeling too guilty.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Nananananananananana -

This is what I was up to yesterday in preparation for Halloween. Needless to say the boy has all but slept in it - still I think it will hold out for another few days.

I'm also delighted to say I will be exhibiting at the Green Gallery Christmas fair in December, so the pressure is still on. More wool is being delivered next week so I have plenty for new stock.

I must admit it was nice to do a bit of sewing for a change, only a few sheep and robins left to finish then all my hard work will be felted ready for the next stage.

The Wee Green Market in Killearn now has a web site listing the exhibitors. Have a look to see what great products are on offer (including my own).

I can see night falling already and its only four o'clock - when do children understand the clocks changing? I was woken at 5.30am this morning - oh the joys

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Measure twice, cut once.

This week I've been putting together a promotional postcard. I decided not to go down the business card route as I like the idea of being able to do some mail shots also. They are good for displaying a selection of images, rather than just a name and address - what do you think?

I'm onto my sheep now, lots to sew and stuff. Once they are finished I will be lining all my bags and doing all the finishing touches.

I also got the screens from Luci for the CL fair, which means I can now finalise my design. I happily chalked out my display stand size on the garage floor some time ago to give me a better idea of the size of the space I have. Rule number 1 - make sure the garage ceiling is higher than the screens - it's not, only 1.9m high and the screens are 2m - so they are a new fixture in my living room. And to think I used to be an architect!

I have also just found out that the Balfron Primary School Christmas Fair has been cancelled. It has been decided that there should be only one school fair a year - so they have opted for summer. This is a real pity as it has been a great event each year with visits to Santa for the children, lots of activities and a good selection of stalls for the parents to do a bit of shopping. I think it will be missed by the community.

Better go and do some work as my flock is calling!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Country Living Christmas Fair

You can buy tickets to the Christmas Fair at the SECC, Glasgow - 20th-23rd November.

Call 0844 848 0136 and quote code CC2 for special discounted rate of £7.50 per adult (normally £11.00 on the door)

Hope to see you there, I will be exhibiting at Stand G6a. Please come along as say hello, I'd love to meet all you lovely people that take the time to read my blog.


Monday, 20 October 2008

Bunny Boiler

I often get asked if I boil all my knitting to felt it. I don't as I find that its the agitation of the items in the washing machine that cause it to felt and not the temperature. It has been trial and error, and some colours of yarn seem to felt more severely than others. I don't use any detergent either as I have found that it makes no difference other than give my products a more pleasing smell (and it also makes me slightly more environmentally responsible)

When I was designing my knitting kits a friend was the guinea pig for knitting up the patterns and felting the items she had made. I quickly realised that there is no real exact science on felting your work and I decided to alter the patterns so that they are not felted. I would hate for somebody to waste all of their good work by putting it in the machine resulting in a gnarled little knot of wool that is supposed to be a bunny, heart or bag.

I will keep on felting my bunnies as I know exactly how long to wash them for to get the finish I want. They look comical when they come out of the machine as their little arms are raised in horror after being spun at 2000rpm! A quick stretch and they soon take shape, just a bit of trimming to do and the faces to sew on and they will be finished.

If only they would breed like rabbits to save me some time!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

And now for the news....

This week has been a bit of a holiday from making as it's the October mid term break. I've had lots of fun with the boy visiting the Glasgow Science Centre, David Marshal Lodge, Loch Lomond and a special trip to buy some black material to make a Batman cape for Halloween (for the boy).

On the making front I've managed to sew and felt lots of bags, tea cosies and cafetiere cosies. You can't beat the smell of damp wool.

I couldn't resist making a Christmas Hat egg cosy, will definitely be making more once I get back into the swing of things next week.

It's the big count down now to the Country Living Christmas Fair - only a month to go. Get your tickets on line if you haven't already purchased them.

I'm beginning to get the feeling that the next couple of months will be a bit of a haze and I will find myself sitting on Christmas Morning wondering how on earth I got there!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Work In Progress

I've always wanted to type 'WIP'. It took me a while to work out what it stood for. Above is a picture of my WIP - this weeks activity, sewing handbags ready for felting. They look a bit saggy around the edges, that's why I love felting them, it takes them one step closer to the quality that I strive to achieve with every item I make.

It's also good to see the bags as a 'collection'. I think the colours work well together and hopefully there is a style that will suit most tastes.

When I knitted as a hobby I would experiment with different styles and colour combinations, (you can see this on my gallery page on my website) making every bag different. However I think having too many styles and colours would be confusing for a buyer, especially if I want my CL stand to have a bit of an impact. Less is definitely more.

A neighbour had mentioned seeing a shop window in Glasgow last week where they only displayed one handbag in the window. I cant afford to have just one item on show at CL, but hopefully reducing the colours I use to a limited pallet will create a more refined image. I also like the idea of having a collection, sounds very professional!

I'm increasingly realising that making lots of different things in the hope that one of the items will be a hit isn't the way to go. I'm much happier making styles that I know are well received and ensure that I am making them to the highest quality I can.

Practice makes perfect!

(incidentally WIP is also Women In Property - a networking forum for women in property and construction, from my previous life as an architect)

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

What's in a word?

No pictures today, just some words.

I've had a productive couple of days knitting mostly tea and coffee pot cosies. Although I finally had to admit defeat and phone the shop where I bought my knitting machine and explain that the tension control had broken - Superglue just ain't what it used to be.

So it was packed and sent off to Edinburgh today and hopefully a replacement will be winging its way to me in the next week or so. David Drummond on Haymarket Terrace was the retailer, and he even offered to refund my postage, what a good service.

So today was spent sewing some of the items I have been frantically knitting. I get a real sense of satisfaction when I see things begin to take shape.

Yesterday I visited the school nursery to meet with one of the primary teachers to discuss the nursery 'values'. Myself, another parent and the nursery staff were to list five values that were important to us. Thinking of five words doesn't seem too difficult but when put on the spot the pressure of saying the right thing can mean the difference of sounding a good or a bad mother.

In the end I felt it was a bit of a 'tick box' exercise to keep the dreaded Inspectors happy, as we ended up using the 'values' of the primary school and simplified them so a three year old could grasp their meaning:-

Working together
Looking after each other
Listening to each other

Although the way my darling boy was behaving today I don't think he has a grasp on any of the above!

The joys of parenting.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Tell me why I don't like Mondays....

Today has been a comedy of errors and it has tainted my festive mood somewhat.

After achieving only one sale at the Wee Green Market on Saturday, I managed to knit a fair amount of stock yesterday, even with a bit of a hangover.

Then Monday morning came around. I opened the curtains to check the weather and noticed my vegetable patch and herb garden looked very tidy. My husband did some tidying up yesterday and has lifted half of my perennial herbs.

Strike one.

Then the telephone rang and it was the Nursery teacher enquiring if I had compiled my list of 'Things to Do' for the Balfron Nursery News Letter - "No problem" I said, "it's finished and I'll pop it onto my memory stick and you can down load it at school when I come to pick the boy up." However my husband managed to delete it, never to be found again.

Strike two.

The mums were round this morning and we had tea from my bargain buy '"What a lovely set" they all said. Next minute I hear the dishes being dried in the kitchen, lo and behold my husband manages to chip the lid of the milk jug.

Strike three.

So off I huff to do some knitting. I'm whizzing away on my machine when all of a sudden the tension dial pops off. I now think my world has ended.

Four strikes and I'm out.

OK, I managed to fix the machine so all is not lost. The husband is making dinner and he will be off to start his night shift soon, out of harms (and my) way.

Above is a picture of one of my Christmas Tree decorations - maybe it is too early for the 'C' word.

Friday, 3 October 2008

The 'C' word

I mean 'Christmas' of course - the cold mornings are starting to get me in the mood for mulled wine and fairy lights.

These love hearts are off to Karen for her kitchen. I think if I have time I will make some more. I'm also sending the bunnies below off to Homer, along with star, heart and cup cake tea cosies.

This weekend will be spent socialising, pizza tonight at Doyles in Balfron, a Phoenix Card party tonight at Vals, then dinner at friends tomorrow night.

Remember it's the Wee Green Market at Killearn tomorrow - 10-2pm, please come by and say hello (you could also make a start on your Christmas Shopping!) I'm looking forward to the WGM tomorrow, I think a few of us will be brave enough to put out some Christmas goods for sale, how exciting!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Technology and tatties

I'm being a thoroughly modern mum and typing this on the lap top as I watch over the dinner bubbling away on the cooker - thank goodness for modern technology.

This week has been a bit quiet on the making front as husband is on day shift and I am on child duties. So it has been a few grabbed hours of work here and there.

I managed to deliver my order of Baboo bears, sheep and knitting kits to the PostHouse Gallery on Tuesday. They are starting to put their Christmas stock out and I couldn't resist an old fashioned box of Tiddly Winks for the boy. They had also just received an order of biscuit jewellery - custard cream necklaces and Jammie Dodger cuff links - fab.

Today I spent helping Luci decrypt her sewing machine (without instructions). It has a digital display which threw me immediately, but we were delighted when the correct button was pressed and a chain of flowers was produced. Much more technical than my machine which you could drop from a high bridge and it would still work.

I allowed myself ten minutes of sitting in the sunshine (at present its chucking down hail stones) this afternoon after the nursery run.

The tatties are boiling so I'm off to give my four year old eating machine his dinner, don't you feel all the better for knowing that? - The joys of blogging.