Monday, July 12

meet a maker

this week we meet debs from pipistrelle crochet designs ...

Please introduce yourself …
I'm Debs and I run Pipistrelle Crochet Design.

How would you describe your work / style?
I work all in crochet at the moment, and tend to just design whatever I feel like at the time. I've been doing a lot of hearts, garlands etc, but am looking into freeform crochet and intend to start experimenting in making other items such as more bags and accessories, wall hangings and cushion covers.

Who, or what, inspires you?
It mainly comes down to the yarn. I'm a real yarnaholic! I will see a yarn in the shop, or online, and it will set off a whole train for thought for me, whether it reminds me of the sea, or trees, or flocks of birds, or whatever, and my mind starts working overtime thinking about what would look good made with that yarn, or what effects I could achieve with it. I'm also very inspired by nature and birds.

Where can I buy your work?

Do you have a website or blog address?

How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?
I taught myself to crochet just over a year ago. I was a keen knitter before that, but since discovering crochet have practically abandoned knitting altogether - it just doesn't compare! I have been creating pieces seriously with the intent of selling them since late last year.

Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?
I would really like to get to grips with felting, and as I said before I'm very keen to have a go at freeform crochet.

I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for …
My wonderful family who put up with me enthusing about yarns and designs, and who leave me alone when I need to create.

What do you do to relax?
Spend time with my family out in the countryside.

Marmite … love it or hate it?
Love it!

What animal would you be, and why?
A hare. I've just always had an affinity with them. I quite often have dreams where I turn into a hare. I love the way they live, the family groups and the social organisation of them, and all the mythology, of course.

What’s your weakness?

How do you keep motivated?
By looking at the wonderful things that other people make. When I'm feeling a bit demotivated, one of my tricks is to have a look through all my favourite shops on Folksy, and that usually inspires me to get back and get on with my own designs. I also have a few crochet books, and if I come across a stitch I haven't tried before, I'll have a go at something new like that, to get me back into it.

What question did you hope to be asked but weren't?
Who is your favourite Doctor Who actor?

What would your answer have been?
Tom Baker! Who else? :-)

thanks for taking the time to chat debs, i really like your work. if you're ever in scotland please look me up, perhaps i can teach you to felt if you teach me to crochet - i'd love to learn! oh gosh tom baker, takes me back a bit! when i was young, i remember being really chuffed when my aunt knitted me a 'tom baker dr who' scarf :)

Friday, July 9

very exciting news!!!

for the first time ever, my fatcat felt items are now stocked in a proper bricks-and-mortar shop :)

the lovely mandy moore has opened an cnoc at 31 east high street, crieff, ph7 3af and the shop is fantastic! mandy and her hubby have done wonders with the shop interior and it is a great place to browse the amazing range of work that mandy stocks.

i made the most amount of felt i have ever made in my life thanks to mandy giving me the opportunity to have my work in her brand new shop. this experience has made me even more certain that this is what i want to do as a full-time career.

many thanks also to aileen clarke who very kindly recommended me to mandy when she was looking for new designer-makers.

the website will soon be up and running at:

(pics courtesy of mandy moore)

Thursday, July 8

continuing the food theme ...

(after felting, food is my second favourite thing!)

may i recommend: mango; applewood smoked cheddar; mange tout; rocket and chilli sauce sandwiches on seeded bread?!

i know it sounds like a bit of an odd combination but it is delicious :)

when i'm busy felting away i have such a bad habit of waiting until i get close-to-fainting hungry and then grabbing whatever's closest, which isn't always the healthiest option.

so, as part of my mission to try and get healthier, i've been buying in tempting treats so that i'm more likely to stop for half an hour to eat properly. and this lunch was definitely worth stopping for!

and another favourite, although not quite as healthy, is: crunchy peanut butter; marmite and huge thick chunks of cucumber.

so, what's your favourite unusual sandwich filling combo?

Wednesday, July 7

first crop of strawberries

oh i wish you could smell these! they smell heavenly and are as sweet as strawberry jam :)

i was really chuffed that our strawberry plants produced any berries, let alone such delicious ones. i discovered a strawberry plant growing out of a wall on my way to work a couple of years ago and took a wee cutting, brought it home, rooted it and potted it up but then nothing much happened.

then earlier this year, the plants started putting out runners and have now nearly taken over the herb patch - the poor thyme is being squashed and the oregano is putting up a brave battle for space.

the second batch of berries looks like it might be ready for picking soon, yum!

no that isn't the largest dollop of cream you've ever seen! we were being healthy and added some natural yoghurt, i'm sure my arteries will thank me :)

Monday, July 5

meet a maker

this week we chat with elaine from ellie's treasures who makes gorgeous items using recycled fabrics and wool ...

Please introduce yourself …
I'm Elaine and I sell handmade treasures for my shop, Ellie's Treasures. I live in a rural village in Lincolnshire and truly love the peace and beauty that is around me. Life is busy, but I'm not one to stay still for long - I love a challenge!

How would you describe your work / style?Most of my craft items are hand-sewn using recycled fabrics, buttons and decorations where possible. I also sell little woollen ponies for which I use donated wool.

Who, or what, inspires you?
I am constantly looking at crafts in magazines, blogs and from other sellers to get inspiration and to just completely admire each person's individual style.

Do you sell your work? If so, what helped you decide to start selling your work?
I sell my crafts through my online shop with Folksy, it's called Ellie's Treasures. I planned to start my own website for Ellie's Treasures perhaps a year and a half ago, but it was taking far too long to get going with far too many other commitments getting in the way. Just before Christmas 2009, I decided to look into opening a shop through an established shopping site and came across Folksy through Zoe's blog. Zoe owns Top Floor Treasures.

Where can I buy your work?
You can purchase my crafts from Ellie's Treasures on Folksy, the direct website is elliestreasures. I'm more than happy to do custom makes too, just contact me through the shop.

Do you have a website or blog address?
As yet I don't have my own website but I do enjoy blogging and currently have three active blogs! One is about daily life, another for my garden, chickens and veggie plot and my third for my crafts and shop. The main web address is: elliestreasurescrafts

How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?
I think I've picked up the sewing bug from my Mum. She's always enjoyed mending and altering her clothes and has always hand-sewn too. Sewing for me goes back to senior school years when I starting sewing classes at year 7. Sadly, my fear of sewing machines also came from these lessons, but I remember having to make a skirt at school and longing to make a pair of shorts at home using a second-hand electric Singer sewing machine. It was a total disaster as the material Mum gave me to use as practise was a pair of old curtains that turned out to be rotten! The sewing machine kept smoking and sparking and my love of sewing went out of the window for several years.Having said that, "make do and mend" has always come naturally to me. Making things for pleasure and later to sell is a relatively new thing. The idea of the Patchy Pockets keepsake wallet came to me one night and I made a couple to see how they came together. A few months later a friend suggested running a stall at the local Christmas craft fair and that pushed me into making more Patchies and other pretty seasonal things.

Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?
I'd love to do weaving. Again, I remember having a quick go at this at school and really enjoying it. Also, I'd like to try encaustic art as a blog friend is very skilled in this and produces the most amazing pieces.

Anything exciting planned for 2010 you’d like to share?
On the craft front, I'd like to do some craft fairs this year, perhaps around Christmas time to give me a few months to build up some stock.

I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for …
My husband. It was his idea that we look into starting Ellie's Treasures online and spent the next year and a half really pushing that I do something with all the crafts I was making and storing away! Also my friend who initially suggested the craft fair - that sparked off the interest in selling I guess.

Describe your perfect day.
Having a morning lie-in would be a real luxury followed by a relaxing day of pottering about the house and garden finishing off with a meal at my favourite Indian restaurant in the evening.

Describe your proudest moment.
Oh, that's difficult. Proudest craft moment - my first sale I think!

What do you do to relax?
Potter about, enjoying the animals and tending to the veggie plot.

Marmite … love it or hate it?
Absolutely hate it!

What animal would you be, and why?
A cat. I have three and could quite easily have plenty more. If I was going to be a cat though, it would have to be in a happy home so I could sleep for as long as my cats sleep for, just waking for attention and food!

What’s your weakness?
Chocolate. I hide it away from others so only I can get to it when I desperately need it (which is often).

How do you keep motivated?
Good question. Friendly messages left on my blog or through my shop really boost my confidence as does seeing that people are adding my crafts to their favourite list. The mega motivator of course is when I get a sale, this really makes me want to keep going! I put everything I have into each item I make and I'm very critical of everything I do, but the idea that perhaps someone else will enjoy that item too is the top thing that keeps me happy in what I'm doing.

What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
That there's such a lot of work that's needed to run a tiny business like mine, it's not just making and selling! I spend more time marketing than making I think.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Persevere. When you think how many wonderful hand-made crafters there are out there selling in cyberland, just to get one sale is truly marvellous, to get more is fantastic. Don't give up, believe in yourself, learn from others and tell everyone about your goods as much as possible.

Friday, July 2

wee horses

i have what could be called a healthy respect for horses ... well, to be totally honest, i'm kind of scared of them. i don't think it's unnatural to be a bit afraid of anything that's bigger than you and is prone to kicking, headbutting and biting!

but these wee ones are just too cute to be afraid of!

there's a field of mini horses in the village next to us and they've not long had foals, they must be about the size of a labrador dog and seem to be really sweet-natured.