Sunday, 17 August 2014

Slow & Sleepy Days

The past couple of days have been very lazy!

Sadly this wasn't a planned bit of time off but instead a necessary break to fight off a horrid cold.


I have been napping on the sofa, binge-watching episodes of Battlestar Galactica, drinking lots of tea, reading some gorgeous books...


... and doing lots of colouring in!


Being ill is never fun and it's always frustrating to have to press "pause" on your To Do list - especially when it's full of fun and crafty projects - but it's hard to stay grumpy when you have sweet kitties keeping you company while you rest :)

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Meet My Sponsors: August

Time to meet this month's sponsors!

Blooming Felt sells 100% wool felt sheets, colourful fairtrade felt craft supplies like felt flowers and felt purses, plus other crafty goodness including buttons, ribbons, flat pad findings, glue, embroidery floss and craft books:

 http://www.bloomingfelt.co.uk/
 http://www.bloomingfelt.co.uk/


Asking for Trouble sells illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts featuring cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii:

 http://www.askingfortrouble.org/


Little Black Duck sells fun sewing kits and digital sewing patterns:

 http://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleBlackDuck


Joe's Toes sells thick wool felt, punched felt shapes, plus kits and supplies for making things like wool felt & leather slippers, iPad cases and luggage tags:

 http://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleBlackDuck


At Raspberry Creek Fabrics you'll find the latest in designer fabrics, from brands like Moda, Free Spirit and Michael Miller:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RaspberryCreekFabric#


Georgina Giles sells handmade toys including fabric tic tac toe sets and plush animals:

 http://www.etsy.com/shop/georginagiles


At Story Box you can create personalised gifts by filling a 3D frame with mini objects to represent a friend or loved one, or to celebrate a special occasion:

 http://www.storyboxofyou.com/


Laurafallulah sells vintage-inspired jewellery plus lavender sachets, purses and paper confetti:

 http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/laurafallulah


Fox & Star sells modern stationery, including diaries, notebooks and cards, plus lots of washi tape:

 http://www.thefoxandstar.co.uk/

Illustrator and printmaker Debbie Greenaway creates cards, notebooks and jewellery featuring her drawings:

 http://www.debbiegreenaway.com/

And over at Hugs are Fun, crafter Rebecca sells modern cross stitch patterns and blogs about her creative projects:

 http://hugsarefun.com/


P.S. Interested in promoting your shop, company or blog? Ad spaces on my blog start from just $5 for 30 days (that's currently about £3!) and I offer a 25% discount if you buy 3 consecutive months (90 days) of ad space at once. Your site will feature in a sponsor post like this one and I also give new sponsors a shout out over on my Facebook page.

Click here for more info re: rates and my blog's traffic, and to buy an ad.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Crafty Ladies: Meet Mollie Johanson

Don't worry , you're not going crazy, it's not been a fortnight since the last Crafty Ladies post... I've just got so many fabulous creative folks I'd like you to meet that I've decided to make this a weekly series!

This week's Crafty Lady is Mollie Johanson of Wild Olive. Mollie has a lovely blog where she shares lots of cute free printables and tutorials, and a shop where you'll find adorable embroidery patterns.

If you've bought some of the crafty books I've contributed to (like Heart-Felt Holidays and Mollie Makes: Woodland Friends and Felt-o-ween) you may recognise Mollie's work. My projects and hers have rubbed shoulders in quite a few books over the years! :)

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Hi Laura's friends!

I'm Mollie and online I'm often known as Wild Olive. I live near Chicago in a house full of crazy awesome, where I work from home, and where my parents and younger siblings also live and spend most of their time. When people ask me what I do, I go into this awkward list of jobs and roles. It goes something like this:

"Well, I do some freelance graphic design, and I have a blog and a shop that I design embroidery patterns for. Oh, and I write craft tutorials for books, and I have a book coming out soon, and um..."

And that pretty much sums me up. I'm a little all over the place, but I'm okay with that. Ultimately, I draw, I stitch, I write, and I make.

Recently I’ve been making… 

...a lot more quilty things than I usually do. My 50 States Stitching Club is a year-long quilting and embroidery project, and as far as single projects go, it's definitely the biggest, longest thing I've worked on. I've also been making a quilt for my parents' anniversary, and getting some other smaller quilt projects going. Much to my surprise, the process of quilting the layers together on a sewing machine is very relaxing to me. Plus, I think it's been a good complement to my embroidery.

 

I’ve been working on…

...finalizing my book, Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small. It's set to be released in January, so we're currently proofing and getting everything just right. This has been in the works for just over two years now, so reaching this point makes it especially exciting and satisfying.

 

I’ve been blogging about…

...fruit! And belugas! And new stitches! I love a good theme, and adding them into my blog posts helps me organize my thoughts and I think it gives my readers an idea of what to expect. For example, in July, I did a series of posts on how to make fruit placemats. Now for August, I'm making some fun beluga whale projects, starting with my free embroidery pattern. To go with that, I'm introducing folks to a stitch I don't use very often: coral stitch. It's fun for under the sea sorts of things!

 

I’ve been reading…

...a large mix of blog posts, thanks to Pinterest. I like that, but I also kinda don't. My blog reading list goes unread as I skim. In books, I've been poring over Vintage Quilt Revival, Little Quilts, and Stitch Along (I have a few projects in here, and seeing everyone else's work is so inspiring). In non-crafty and non-light reading, I've just started Bonhoeffer. Good stuff so far!

 

While I stitch, I’ve been watching / listening to… 

...all the Netflix and lots of TV on DVD. I enjoy lots of genres and shows, and often I'm stitching while my sister and I watch together. Shows with some crime or mystery are a favorite, and we just finished The Glades (spoiler: the last episode is a terrible ending), and are waiting for the next season of Person of Interest. I also like some good British television, and I'm nearly done with The Paradise. When I'm working at my computer and drawing embroidery patterns, I listen to Andrew Bird, The Welcome Wagon, and my favorite, Sufjan Stevens.



Mollie’s 3 Top Tips for Embroidery

1. Start simply. Learn 2-3 stitches and you're on your way!

2. Practice spacing. Well spaced, even stitches will make your work shine!

3. Get creative. Using different materials for your embroidery (think yarn, ribbon, etc.) can do fun things for your stitching! 

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Click here to visit Mollie's blog. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.  

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Fabric Shopping at the Festival of Quilts

On my two previous visits to the Festival of Quilts I'd just been for the day. This was lots of fun, but totally exhausting and each time I left realising that there was still a ton of stuff I'd not had a chance to see. So this year I decided to treat myself to a two day visit... which was lovely, and a lot more relaxing than the previous years, but not good news for my bank balance as I had lots more time to shop!

Here are the goodies I came home with...

 

... a roll of freezer paper, a stack of fat quarters, a mini roll of wool felt (because it's always nice to try a different range of felt), some buttons and bits, and a free copy of Love Patchwork & Quilting which made for a lovely read on my train journey home.

The roll of freezer paper is a new-to-me craft supply - it's often used by crafters when cutting out fabric and felt pieces, but I've never tried it myself. It's widely available in US grocery stores but here in the UK I've only ever seen it in online sewing shops and at quilting shows. I'm nerdishly excited about trying it out for the first time!

I also bought a few mini wooden spools, an adorable bear button and some teeny tiny acorn buttons which were part of a wonderful range of wooden buttons all the way from Hungary.


To give you an idea of scale, those mini spools are just half an inch (13 mm) high. I'm planning on using the spools to make a sewing-themed necklace and the mini acorns will probably end up as part of a woodland-themed brooch. I have no idea what I'm going to use the bear for but he was too lovely to resist (I also almost bought one of these bunny buttons - so cute!).

I don't have any specific projects in mind for any of the fabric I bought, but I've got lots of little sewing projects I want to try out so these will all be very useful additions to my currently-not-very-big fabric stash.

A pretty mini floral print by Tea & Sympathy, plus the super-cute "ABC Menagerie" from Moda.

 

A couple of stylish Cotton & Steel fabrics, plus a scrap of my favourite Liberty print.

 

Eggs and feathers from Makower's "Chicken & Egg" collection


Some kitties! Cute "Dashwood Novelties" cats and adorable little cats in jumpers, playing with balls of yarn ("Knitty Kitty" by Greta Lynn).


A couple of cotton/linen blends from Kokka - I especially love those insects!


A pair of cute Christmas designs (Makower "Christmas 2014 Mini Novelties").

 

And - last but by no means least - two yummy festive prints from Moda's Folk Holiday collection. Aren't those birds just so lovely?


I can't wait to start stitching with all these pretties... but maybe I ought to go to the Festival for just one day next year for the sake of my bank balance??

P.S. I'll be blogging about the stuff I saw at the Festival and the people I met later this week :)

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