Friday, 26 March 2010

Sewing and Growing

Recently, just when I was thinking about sewing and worrying about whether I'd have enough space to grow all the vegetables that I want to grow this year, I saw this on Etsy:

I had to smile, it fitted my mood and thoughts so perfectly at the time! This print is available to buy from knitalatte / Resurrection Fern - check out the shop for more charming, unique 'still life' photos.

While my seedlings continue to grow (and I continue to be amazed at how they know to lean towards the light!*) I'm planning new things to sew. It's been a long while since I used my sewing machine, and it's become yet another flat surface for pots of pens and pencils, thread bobbins and bizarrely, my glasses cleaning cloth. Soon, I will tidy, dust it off and get to work on New Things...soon.

* My coriander seedlings have got their first proper leaves now...when they first developed they looked a little bit like tiny green hands. In a cute way, not in a freaky alien way...They reach towards the light as if they're trying to grab hold of it)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

So much to do...

After over a month of living in the land of 'destashing', trying to clear out and rejuvenate my supplies boxes, this week I have finally been getting back into just crafting again. It's been a while, so I thought you kind folks might like to see a little sneak peek on some of what's coming for Scatterbox Originals (the other shops haven't been abandoned, I will post about what's to come for Treacle Toffee and JumpUp soon as well)

I have had some interest in some more El Bandido products, namely notecards and moleskines, and this week I finally had both the time and the supplies to get started on these. El Bandido has been a popular fellow, but I'm also interested in developing other 'cat characters'. This week I made two new screens for gocco printing - a new El Bandido one because the old one has given up the ghost, and one with a new character.

Sadly, the El Bandido screen didn't develop properly - I made a misjudgement on how much carbon there was in the photocopy, which meant parts of the image didn't 'burn' completely, leaving a patchy image. I printed several notecards with the patchy screen, since the first few prints often are patchy and it was hard to tell at first that the image just wasn't going to print completely on the cardstock. The notecards I have printed are ok...but they aren't as crisp as I'd like (the edges of the lines look 'nibbled at'), So I think I will list these ones at a discount price...

Very soon, I will make another new El Bandido screen (which can be done no problem but I'll need to get a good photocopy done at the print shop in town) but my other screen luckily came out well, so I got printing...

So here is a first view of my new character, Queen Felicity. Printed in gold ink on black, blue and red notebooks. These will be available to buy in the shop soon, so watch that space!

I'm pleased with how these notebooks turned out - I think the gold ink works well. A very regal way to keep track of all those 'to do' lists, don't you think?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

And the winners are...

A warm thank you to everyone who entered my recent giveaway draw - I had a wonderful response and got lots of tips on spring cleaning, from the practical (Dust from top to bottom! I'm always forgetting that one), and the sensible (Don't wait for spring!), to the sneaky (get the kids to do it!), to the sympathetic (just be messy!), to the inventive and ecological (use vinegar in place of fabric softener! That one has me intrigued...)
All comments were appreciated very much. Entrants, please scroll down the post to see if you won!

Picture I took a while after closing my skylight window after letting in lots of fresh air whilst hoovering (another good tip!) The hand-print looked a little eerie just appearing there in the evening mist...certainly until I realised it was my hand-print!

My big spring clean is going well so far. My own personal tip for spring cleaning is...when you need to clean the wire racks from inside your oven, sit them in the sink or a large tray, cover with hot water and then sprinkle on bicarbonate of soda. It loosens the grease really well, and it's much more eco friendly and economical than buying a specialist spray for the job. Bicarb does so much around the house, from neutralising odours in the fridge, to cleaning and you can of course use it as a raising agent in baking. I've recently discovered that toothpaste is really good for getting a lot of stains off those hard kitchen surfaces, and I'm convinced it's the bicarb in that that does it!

Now...for the winners of my draw...

I printed out and cut up the name of each of the 24 commenters, then put the little pieces of paper into my red beret. I held the hat tight, gave it a shake and then swirled the papers around inside with my hand for a minute or two. Then, with my eyes closed, I picked out Winner number one:
icitea (aka Clare)
and then...
Winner number two:

To those who didn't win, commiserations! Thank you for entering anyway - better luck next time...hmm, yes I think there will be a next time someday ;-)

I published all comments on the blog (aside from accidental duplicates from the same person) so any of the folks who kindly included their email addresses in their posts, you are free to delete your post now if you wish to keep that data off the blog.

I will have new cameo pin brooches available for sale at Scatterbox Originals on Etsy in the near future, so if any of you would like to 'RSS' feed my shop to see my shop's updates more easily, please click here for the page to sign up for the feed.

Thanks all!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Slowly springing up...

Woke up this morning, feelin' fine...

Had homemade luncheon on my mind...

Went to the window, to check on my seedlings and stood...

Wow, they've grown much faster than I thought they would...

Something tells me I'm into growing food

(Something tells me I'm into growing...)

Yeah, something tells me I'm into growing food!

Random bursting into song aside, I thought you kind folks would like to see my little set of seedlings. I sowed these 8 days ago, and some are doing very well, some are taking their time a little bit. The tall ones you see here are spring onions - scallions to my American friends - the two-leafed ones (in a nifty container I made by cutting an old plastic milk bottle in half lengthways) are lettuce, the smallest seedling you see is an aubergine seed (again, translation for American readers - eggplant)

I'm also going to try my hand at growing potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, mini carrots, coriander, chives and basil (some are sown already but nothing interesting to photograph yet, some I can't plant until I get more soil) Next week a kind friend is going to help me out with getting compost from the DIY shop (as I can't drive) and also some spawn for button mushrooms, which I am going to grow under my sink. Can't wait!

It's been a long time since I tried gardening, having so little space here I thought I wouldn't manage much...but it's amazing what you can actually grow in a small space. I'm hoping this will be a more eco friendly, healthy and economical way to feed myself.

The bowl of soup above is made with frozen veggies and a small chopped potato, boiled in stock and then made smooth with my hand-blender. I garnished my soup with seeded bread that had started to go stale - I spritzed it with some olive oil 'low calorie' spray, before toasting, and it came out delicious. I don't know if this is peculiar to the UK, but I call these strips of toasted bread for dunking 'soldiers' odd expression, but one I've grown up with!

Like my slower growing seedlings, I am very slowly making progress with my latest handmade things. The Great Ebay Clearout is gradually getting done, and I'm itching to spend more of my time creating. Tonight's job is to get some black and white images ready for use in my gocco printer, and then I think I'll do some hand-sewing for the new Etsy shop...

Things are coming together for 'JumpUp' aka Etsy Shop Number Three. I have found some great materials to recycle and I hope I will have some things ready to show you all soon. In the meantime, I just have to show off these:

They're going to play a starring role as props in my new shop's photos!

Thanks to all who've entered my blog giveaway so far - the spring cleaning tips are all very useful - and the Messy Person Syndrome sympathies are much appreciated too! I'm going to close the giveaway for entries tomorrow, Wednesday 10th March, at around 9pm UK time. If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning one of the two Apple Cameo brooches, click here to see the post and info on how to enter - one entry per person (with two chances to win per entry) and remember, this is open to entrants worldwide!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Cameo appearance - and a Scatterbox giveaway!

Lately, I have been having a big clearout - a sort of 'Spring clean'. I've been selling off a lot of my older craft supplies on Ebay (check them out, UK folks!) to try to make more space, and it has felt like I haven't actually made anything in a long time! Yesterday, I took some time out from the measuring, counting, photographing and listing on Ebay, to make a start on a new batch of cameo brooches. I'm part-way through making some El Bandido, Blush Bear and Bluebird pins...

At the stage right now of cutting out the felt pieces and the cotton that I printed my artwork onto. Please ignore the errant hair among the bluebirds...I seem to be moulting, it really must be Spring!

It will be a while before these are all done, since the Great Big Clearout must be finished...but right here I have two completed Apple cameo brooches...and they're up for grabs, in my first ever Spring Has Sprung Hip Hip Hooray Giveaway!

Oh yes indeedy, one of these apple pins can be yours - free of charge, wherever you may be in the world. All you need to do is post a comment on this blog, telling me your name and your favourite tip for 'Spring Cleaning' (or tell me how messy you are if you like, make me feel better!) Once I have a fair few entries (I think I'll leave this open for entries until Wednesday March 10th, my sister's birthday as it happens! EDIT - entries are now closed) I will draw two names and tips, and post these on the blog after the closing date - the winning entries will need to contact me and provide me with their address for posting the brooch - don't worry, I will keep your details private!

These pins are roughly the same as this one here (link) - but the felt is a brighter green and the brooches are slightly smaller as I over-trimmed the felt a tad in my 'yay I'm sewing again!' fervour.

If you want to comment on this post, but don't want to enter the giveaway, let me know in the post.

EDIT TO ADD: I'm going to keep this at one entry per person, sorry I forgot to say this earlier!
I'm moderating comments on this blog so they won't show up right away. If you don't want to post your email address in the comment, that's ok, my contact details will be available in my blogger profile for the two winners.

Good luck!