Wednesday, June 30

folksy finds ... flowers

well, as our lovely sunny weather is still with us, the garden is in full bloom now. so to celebrate all things floral, here's a wee selection of flowers from the lovely folksy folk. happy browsing :)

flower pendant from DanielMusselwhite

flower bookmark from MorriganCrafts

flower brooch from greanbea

flower ring from licklekisses

flower cards from BroomheadDesigns

Monday, June 28

meet a maker

this week we're chatting with kate from bluebell and rosie who makes beautiful textile items, my faves are the floral and gingham cushions :)

Please introduce yourself …
I’m Kate from Bluebell and Rosie on Folksy. I’m 27 and I live in Norfolk with my boyfriend, cats and chickens.

Do you have a website or blog address?
You can find my blog at

I don’t currently have a website as I’m not producing enough work to warrant one, but just in case I have the domain name ready!

How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?
I’m relatively new to the world of Folksy and blogging (the two sit well together!) but originally I used to make cards for family and friends, about 6 years ago (that makes me feel old!) and then when things got busy with work, moving home etc I didn’t have enough time and only made them occasionally. Last year I decided to have a bash at making candles and decided I quite liked it! My mother in law then gave me her sewing machine which I was terrified of using – it took me 2 or 3 months to pluck up the courage to start using it! The internet is an amazing place and anything I do now that’s craft related is generally inspired (or taught!) via articles and blogs.

How would you describe your work / style? I’m relatively new to the world of making and I’m still finding and developing my style. I have an eclectic mix of things I make. Years ago I started making cards and that faded in to the background. Around about June/July last year I started making candles and then my mother in law gave me her old sewing machine – it took me 2 or 3 months to pluck up the courage to try using it!

Who, or what, inspires you?
There’s a great site called oneprettything that I have been known to spend hours reading. It links to various craft projects, advice and articles and you can see what people create. Some of the things are pretty amazing!

Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?
I’d love to be able to paint. I’m hopeless at drawing but I recently brought some paints, just to try. Like the sewing machine, I’m yet to pick the brush up ...... I also want to learn to knit and crochet but despite numerous attempts that may be a lost cause.

thanks for taking the time to chat and best of luck with your folksy shop kate :)

Wednesday, June 23

midsummer's weekend

well in the end we decided to stay home, we weren't quite sure which direction to head: we'd thought about getting onto one of the islands but didn't really fancy that much of a drive and the ferry prices still seem pretty steep, then there's hayfever and midges to contend with depending on which direction we went! so we were tourists in our own town instead. but that doesn't mean we didn't have a great time, which was much needed.

on friday we popped in to an cnoc, a new shop in crieff which has been opened by the lovely mandy moore and ... this is the first shop to stock my work! more about that later though.

then we headed to flanders moss, it's not really that far from us and we'd been planning to go for a while, we certainly picked a great day for it! although it was really sunny there was still lots to see. the viewing tower is great for getting a view across the whole moss but to see what's out there, it's best to wander around. we saw: the biggest dragonflies we've seen for ages; lots of damselflies; a female sparrowhawk being chased and harrassed by a thrush(!); a redshank on the nest; a big fluffy chick which could have been a gull chick, its parents weren't around so we couldn't tell!; lots of bog cotton glinting in the sun and just at the last minute on the way back to the car park, i got my prize spot ... a lizard.

then on the way home we went to lake of menteith to get the boat across to inchmaholm priory. we had tried to visit last year but just as we got to the jetty, a thunder and lightning storm started so the boat wasn't running! this time, the weather was perfect and waiting for the boat we were watching more damselflies, and even got to spot an eagle! on the way over to the island, the chap driving the boat pointed out where the ospreys hang out so we got a great spot of one being mobbed by crows. the island is really lovely, with lots of great trees and spots for picnics. as we were wandering round we spotted a few pairs of crested grebe and lots of very vocal mallards.

we took the scenic route home and were rewarded with a great view of a red kite!

on saturday, it was so hot that we just lazed around in the garden and sunday we caught up with housework as we needed a rest from the sun (yes, this is scotland we're talking about!)

as the weather was still glorious on monday, we went to killin to hire a canadian open canoe - yes, me, afraid of water, afraid of boats, never been in one before! the chap from the shop we hired it from came down to the water with us and was horrified as i went to get in facing the wrong way round - he said he thought we looked like we knew what we were doing as we had our own lifejackets and drybags until he saw me do that! still, he let us out with his boat for three hours and we had a great time.

after we paddled around a bit in the river so that i could get a wee bit more confident we headed out onto the loch for a bit of an explore. it was really amazing to get a perspective of the land from the water like this, and once we had mastered the paddling we could move so quietly through the water that we didn't disturb the wildlife.

we got a great view of the sand martins nesting in the banks and you can just see them perched on the branches here.
we also sat and watched a pair of swans with seven cygnets as they splashed around which was really lovely. and lots of mallards with ducklings paddled close by too.

it was such a hot day that even the cows went for a dip!
lunchtime saw us land on a wee island for a picnic and i even braved the water, although it wasn't really deep enough for a proper swim it was lovely to cool off with a bit of a splash about.

in fact, i had such a great time that i'm now looking for a course to improve my canoeing so we can get away for a few days exploring by canoe (as long as it's sunny!)
so, all in all, not quite what we'd planned, but a great midsummers :)

hope you had a great time too.

Monday, June 21

folksy finds ... summer

well, summer's here at last - by that i mean it hasn't rained here for a wee while, in fact we've even seen the sun for two days in a row!

here's a celebration of summery related items from folksy for you to have a browse through ...

summer bunting from JuicyFig

looking for summer painting from polymerclaybeads

summer flowers handbag from northfieldprimitives

summer seas brooch from natscraftyshack

summer rose cards from BeggarsBowl

summer garden bracelet from whimsicalwrenjewellery

summer rock fairy from rainbowsandfairies

summer travel wallet from BodkinandBead

meet a maker

well, if you've been reading my blog for a little while, you'll have noticed the 'meet a maker monday' feature has now changed! 'meet a maker' gives me a bit more flexibility about when i publish the feature without giving myself a hard time about being 'late'.

same great interview, same great pics, same great makers, just a wee tweak to the name :)

this week, we're meeting birgitta of birgitta designs who makes charming handmade gifts and homeware from wonderful fabrics ...

Please introduce yourself …
My name is Birgitta, I'm a 36 year old single mum of two boys, Connor (10) and Sam (8) . I'm from Holland but moved to England aged 7, I still speak Dutch and consider myself a happy mix of the two cultures. I recently deferred my final year at university to be home more for Connor who is austistic and as such am braving the world of the self-employed designer maker.

How would you describe your work / style?I guess you could describe it as shabby chic, I love traditional prints like Tanya Whelans Darla range but I also love finding more contemporary fabric for my creations such as Amy Butler or Erin Mcmorris. I'm hoping to design my own range of fabrics at some point and they will probably feature a lot of influence from the colourful but clean contemporary design of countries such as Holland and Norway.

Who, or what, inspires you?
I'm inspired by all sorts - photographs, interior magazines, flowers, I love children's book illustrations and would love to do more in that area. I really enjoy making pictures from fabric using bondaweb and applique techniques similar to that of Poppy Treffry.

Do you sell your work? If so, what helped you decide to start selling your work?
I opened my shop on Folksy just before Christmas after much encouragement from friends and family, it’s scary to put what you’ve made out there for people to see, but also such a boost when people like what you do. Before then I was selling mostly through word of mouth recommendations, friends would come and ask can you make this, and either I could or I’d find out how to.

Where can I buy your work?
You can buy my work through my shop at birgittadesigns or if you want have something specific in mind you can email me at

Do you have a website or blog address?
You can find my blog at birgittadesignz
And you can follow me working at I try and post pictures everyday of what I'm making or fabric that I've found.

How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?
I’ve done bits and bobs over the years, card making etc but could never find what I really wanted to make I only knew that I wanted to create so I went back to college to do a part-time course in Visual Arts four years ago. My tutor gave me some books on textile art and I was hooked, I did well on my course and found myself with an unconditional offer for a place at uni to do a degree in Design & Applied Arts specialising in Textiles – I never thought I’d go to uni so was totally overjoyed. I learnt a lot of basic skills in my first year such as creative drawing, pattern repeats, knitting, felting etc and what I didn’t learn at uni I taught myself, read loads of books and googled myself silly looking at what other artists make and do, what kind of products are popular, read blogs, tried tutorials and basically immersed myself in it all.

Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?
I’d love to have a go at everything to be honest and I’m teaching myself to crochet at the moment.

Have you had any work featured in magazines/books/galleries?
Not as yet.

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be …
Probably still be waitressing in a pub, it’s been my saving grace and I feel like I’ve found my ‘thing’.

I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for …
The support of family and friends and in fact I wouldn’t have started on Folksy without their encouragement.

Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day would be a warm sunny spring morning, having taken the boys to school I get home to search through my fabric and have a morning playing at making new things, then lunch with friends and before an afternoon of hunting round the charity shops for bits and pieces vintage fabric, buttons, patterns etc.

Describe your proudest moment.
My proudest moment doesn’t involve craft at all but my son Connor, he has Aspergers and struggles with group activities and speaking or performing in front of people but this Christmas he did what will probably be his last Christmas play at primary school and though he was scared he did it all and joined in, now I’ve been to all his plays and never cried but this one in Year 6 I couldn’t stop my eyes were just streaming...he came and wiped my tears with his t-shirt sleeve and everyone around just went aaaah, proudest moment ever...

What do you do to relax?
What’s that? I forget too, and I do find it very difficult but probably reading – through my vast collection of books and magazines, actually going to the cinema is probably the only way I properly relax because I can lose myself in the film and can’t be distracted or think about anything else.

Marmite … love it or hate it?
Blah hate it but like stuff other people probably hate, like fresh raw herring and chopped onions a Dutch delicacy which I just love...

What’s your weakness?
Fabric, fabric, and more fabric in fact I need to go to fabric rehab, and online shopping for fabric is my biggest weakness of all, that and Dutch liquorice and I’m in heaven.

How do you keep motivated?
Luckily I love what I do but when I do get demotivated the lovely people on the Folksy Forums are incredibly supportive, as are friends and family and sometimes you just have to walk away from it and have a break get out in the fresh air, talk to another human face to face, being at home working on your own can mean you don’t speak to another person for ages and its easy to become isolated.

What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
How much fun this could be and that no matter how scary that there is huge support out there you just need to look for it and ask for it. And that networking really does work and is worth every minute that you spend on it.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Take your time and plan, plan, plan, do lots of market research and know your product and know your market , it can be boring and not what you expect to be doing after all we’re artists but it will stand you in good stead later. Network and become involved in the creative community around you, you'll make lots of likeminded friend. Most of all have confidence in what you do.

What question did you hope to be asked but didn’t?
What do you have for breakfast?

What would your answer have been?
A big bowl of sugar puffs – love them!

thanks for taking the time to chat birgitta, where do you find the time?! what a lovely memory of connor's play, he sounds like such a sweet wee boy :)

Friday, June 18

happy mid-summers!

can you believe it's nearly the longest day already? where has the year gone? either it's a sign i'm getting older or i'm having loads of fun - probably a combination of both, but i'm going with 'time is flying by because i'm having so much fun!'

have you got any plans to celebrate this weekend?

if you're in the area, i can totally recommend the mid-summers event at the crannog centre on loch tay. we went a couple of years ago and it was such a special night, i still get emotional when i think about it. the crannog has a fantastic atmosphere and it was lovely to sit around the fire listening to traditional music. you can get all of the details here: crannog centre events

we're still unsure what direction we're going to head, i think we'll wait to see what the weather is doing first. m has a rare weekend off so i'm going to leave the felt mine behind for four days as we pack up the van and go camping, cycling, walking, wildlife watching ...

hope the sun is shining for you wherever you are :)

Thursday, June 17


is something i continually struggle with.

i was reading an article online recently and it described self-discipline as the ability to take action despite your emotional state. that, i think, is the thing i struggle most with - emotional state!

if i've had a bad day at the day job, all i want to do is come home, put my pj's on and eat junk food while watching eastenders. which doesn't exactly help me get through the 'to-do list' for the felting side of things. however, if i'm feeling great then i can felt right through the night and only notice the time when it's starting to get light again. i don't seem to have a middle ground, i'm an all or nothing person and need to even that out slightly.

i'm great at putting together lists and planning my time but then it pretty quickly goes out of the window and i get behind. maybe i need to get better at the planning stage? sometimes i wonder if i'm too hard on myself and i should be happy with what i'm acheiving but then i know i want to achieve more and i'm not going to do that if i keep ignoring the schedule i've drawn up.

i'm not sure if i set my goals too low and then don't see it as enough of a challenge or sometimes i set the bar too high and then fall at the first hurdle.

two areas i really need to focus on are looking after myself better and not neglecting friends and family. we had a week's hol recently and i got really sick. i'd been working so hard, staying up late to get things finished before we went away and it had a knock-on effect for my immune system. and my friends and family are being really patient with me but i know i've been neglecting them and that doesn’t make me happy.

i’m finding just now that all i want to do is felt to the exclusion of everything else. the housework doesn’t get done, the gardening doesn’t get done, m gets frustrated as the house disappears under a pile of felt, i get more and more tired …

so, it stops now! i’ve drawn up a schedule which should give me time to felt, time to do the housework, time to work in the garden, time with friends and family and time to get seven hours of sleep each night and also some time for exercise which is sorely lacking at the moment.

i honestly believe that balance is the trick to a happy, healthy life but it’s something i find very hard to maintain. hopefully my daily schedule (sadly, i’ve been influenced by watching too much supernanny!) will help me to achieve that balance, although i fear that the housework will still be the one area that gets neglected!

Wednesday, June 16

the bead fairy has visited

and left a fantastic amount of broken jewellery for me to upcycle (as they call it these days!)

m has been slightly bemused by my total joy as i rake through the bag, every now and then he has to feign excitement as i show him a new discovery!

i predict a new phase of beaded feltmaking :)

Tuesday, June 15

bumbbelly bees

we have a patch of chives in our herb garden which the bees really seem to love and it's usually covered with a few different types of bees at a time.

i'm not sure if the chive pollen makes them sleepy or they just feel safe surrounded by the flowers but they seem to sleep here too. at least i think that's what they're doing, they seem fine and do fly off after a while but they sit with their wings folded for ages.

this one sat and posed for ages as i took photos. they're really gorgeous little things close up, he/she looked really fuzzy and temptingly strokeable (although i did resist the urge!)

Monday, June 14

meet a maker monday

today we meet nikki from nikkis knits who makes lovely knitted items ...

Please introduce yourself …
I am Nikki and I am a teacher. I love to knit. I make up my own patterns mostly or adapt others as I always want my work to be as I see it not as somebody else does.

Who, or what, inspires you?
I'm inspired by everything and often just seeing a colour or a ball of wool gets the ideas going.

Do you sell your work? If so, what helped you decide to start selling your work?
I had been selling to friends and family for a while and just found Folksy so joined. You can buy my work on Folksy:
or on my website:

How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?
My nan taught me at the age of 8 and I have been designing ever since. I used to make clothes and blankets for my toys!!

Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?
I would like to improve my limited crochet skills.

Anything exciting planned for 2010 you’d like to share?
I am thinking of opening a shop on another website and maybe having a bears only shop!

Has your work won any prizes/competitions?
I have won some school fair competitions.

What motivates you?
If I didn't knit I would crack up!

Describe your proudest moment.
My proudest moment was completing my degree after falling pregnant half way through it!

Marmite … love it or hate it?
I love marmite and my husband hates it.

What do you do to relax?
I relax best with a glass of wine and some knitting.

What animal would you be, and why?
I would love to be an eagle and soar above the world.

What’s your weakness?
My weakness is wool!

What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
I wish I'd known how hard it was to promote!

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
I would tell somebody starting not to take it personally when they do not have sales.

What question did you hope to be asked but didn’t and what would answer have been?
I wish somebody would ask me to supply their little shop and I would say yes!

thanks for taking the time to chat nikki, best of luck with finding shops to supply.

Friday, June 11

folksy finds ... father's day

just in case you need some inspiration for the perfect father's day gift, here is a small selection from folksy ... happy shopping :)

i was really taken with these cufflinks from alibalijewellery, they have the fingerprint of your loved one at the core of the design ...

and loved the idea of these map coasters from

and this handknitted formula 1 racing fan meerkat from NiftyKnits is just so cute

or how about this really sweet and practical love you daddy keyring from JupiterRocks

and then there's this gorgeous shaving set from soapure

or this wonderfully unusual memory stick from TreeGems