August Challenges

asking for trouble

So I seem to have signed up for two daily challenges this month, despite the fact that I will be taking a couple of weeks off. Oh well, I will just do them at my own pace. First up is a month in the life of my business, a daily photo challenge set by Create & Thrive.

ctmonthinthelife

The prompts are quite interesting so it should be fun. Today’s prompt is workspace, and I’ve been shunning my studio recently, partly because it is insanely hot in there when the sun’s out and also so I can watch the Commonwealth Games while I do the boring stuff like cut origami paper and fold gift wrap and package cards.

spoonflower

I also signed up for Spoonflower’s Month of Drawing. I’ve been getting back to my sketchbook recently after a long break and I could do with some motivation to try new things. Chances are I will not be sharing everything, but we’ll see.

Crafty Wish List

vervaco kits

Now that I’ve finished my tapestry, my mind is obviously turning to what I want to make next! I have a couple of my own things I want to stitch up but here’s a few things on my wish list, starting with another Vervaco long stitch cushion. These are all amazing.

pardalote

I think Blackwork is next on my list of crafts to try and Pardalote’s Solar System pattern would be a great place to start. She has an awesome Tumblr too, if you like embroidery and stitching.

dandelyne

I’ve had one of Dandelyne‘s amazing tiny hoop necklace kits on my wish list for ages now. She sells them as different sizes for pendants, brooches and keyrings and you can either stitch your own, choose a pattern or get something custom stitched for you. The hardest thing would be deciding what to put in it, but it would be so nice to have something wearable.

dropcloth

My embroidery skills could probably do with some practice first, so I was interested in this colour wheel sampler by Dropcloth, which I saw on Hugs Are Fun. Lots of things to try out and the colour wheel idea is cool.

kiriko press

Maybe after that, I’d be able to tackle one of the cute animal kits at Kiriki Press. This bear is definitely my favourite but there’s foxes, owls and sloths too!

sake puppets

Sashiko is a Japanese embroidery style I’ve also been interested in. Sake Puppets has lots of patterns, including this handy starter sampler.

the mint house

I’ve still not quite warmed to cross stitch but The Mint House has such amazing designs, I sometimes feel like giving them a go. This animal stamp set is especially fun, though he also has DIY watches!

wooli mochi

And finally, a bunny! Five years ago, I’d have laughed in your face if you’d suggested I would like to do some needle felting, but Japan has led the way and made it much cuter. I really want this sad bunny with some incongruous sandwiches from WooliMochi. Is he sad because he ate your sandwiches? Did he make you sandwiches to apologise for something bad? Did you just tell him he can’t have any sandwiches? I need to know! There are also some super cute tutorials at Maqaroon’s YouTube channel.

Well, now you all know what to buy me for Christmas, and if you see anything else I would like please share!

Tapestry Update

Finished bargello long stitch

One project down! I finished my tapestry and I’m really happy with it. I enjoyed this project a lot and would definitely recommend one of these kits. Long stitch is even easier and quicker than normal tapestry so it’s great for beginners, and it’s easy to pick up for short bursts since the pattern doesn’t change. I especially liked that they cut all the wool into perfect size strands to make things even easier. My new bigger frame was also brilliant, if a little unwieldy, and the finished piece is perfectly straight with no distortion.

Nearly finished! You can see how out of sync the printed pattern is with the fabric too. I don't know why they bother.

Above is minutes before completion – I just wanted to point out how out of sync the pattern was to the actual stitching. I had the same issue with the Anna Maria Horner kit I started tapestry with and I’m starting to wonder why they bother printing on to the fabric if it’s not even useful as a guide. That goes double for this kit which has a completely symmetrical repeat pattern so once you get the hang of it you never need to refer to anything again, just count the stitches.

vervaco

The kit is by Vervaco and I got mine on sale from Stitcher, along with the tapestry frame. I usually order from Sew and So though, who have the kits too and ship really fast and cheaply. I just ordered a cushion back and a cushion from them so it should soon look like the promo image and I can get some use out of it. I will be sure to report back on that.

Weekend Wrap Up

Badges are impossible to photograph without reflections! I'm liking my confetti though.

It’s been so hot this week, I’ve been putting my laptop aside and enjoying the sunshine! What’s the use of being self-employed if you can’t take advantage of sunny days? I took a train over to visit Claire’s country cottage for the first time, which is lovely, and then stopped off in Glasgow on the way back to soak up a bit of the Commonwealth Games atmosphere! I’ve also been experimenting with my Lightcase – it’s pretty great, but doesn’t make reflective badges any easier to photograph. I do like my pastel confetti though so I will persevere.

News, Offers and Reminders

- Free shipping worldwide through Sunday at my Society6 store.
- 20% off at DENY Designs all July with the code STYLEYOURSPACE.
- 20% off my Kawaii Japan book at Lulu through Monday with the code HAMMOCK14.
- 30% off my cross stitch kits at The Bellwether with the code THIRTYKIT.
- 12% off a different category every day at my DaWanda shop until August 4th.
- Win 3 yards of custom printed eco canvas at Spoonflower.

Spoonflower Gift Wrap

Fruit Bowl gift wrap from Spoonflower

The postman handed me a giant tube recently, which contained a roll of my Spoonflower gift wrap! I ordered this on Free Shipping Day as otherwise it’s not really cost-effective. I’ve been wanting to see what it looks like so this was a good chance. After a lot of thought, I went for my Fruit Bowl design.

Fruit Bowl gift wrap from Spoonflower

It was so well packaged that I actually had a lot of trouble opening it as the plastic tube ends were stapled on and my pathetically weak RSI hands were barely up to the job. I did get it open eventually and everything was perfect.

I went with a matte finish for a change, which looks and feels nice, though it does also seem a little boring with this colourful design – I would probably recommend the gloss finish for the colourful stuff and matte for more muted colours. The paper is good quality too, but not quite as nice as my own gift wrap. It’s also a bit less professional as there’s some weird stretching at the very edges and a border with print details (like a selvedge!) at the bottom. It’s not really a big deal though, unless you were planning on selling it in bulk.

spoonflower gift wrap

The colour printing was pretty accurate to my design, and to the printed fabric I’ve ordered previously (the photo above is probably the most accurate, colour-wise). Since they use the same printers as they use to print the fabric, it definitely looks similar, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on the design. For something detailed like my kawaii characters, it does look a little fuzzy close up.

Fruit Bowl gift wrap from Spoonflower

Overall, I would definitely recommend it if you’re in the US as it’s not really more expensive than buying gift wrap direct from me, and you get to choose from 49 of my designs! Outside the US, the shipping and quality make my own wrap a better deal, unless you really want a specific design.

Have you ordered Spoonflower gift wrap, or the wallpaper? Any thoughts?

Perler Bead Arecibo

perler bead arecibo

So, re-hanging this on my wall made me realise I never posted any photos of the final framed and matted piece! Probably because it’s a nightmare to photograph so apologies for reflections.

If you weren’t around at the time, this is my perler bead recreation of the Arecibo message, sent in 1974 to a far off galaxy with all the details an alien might like to know about Earth. I wrote about why I made this in the original post and I am so happy with how it turned out. It’s one of my favourite things I’ve ever made and I’m glad I went to effort of framing it properly.

perler bead arecibo

Perler (Hama) beads were a really good choice for this project as it gives it such a colourful retro futuristic look, much like the space technology of 1974. It wasn’t altogether fun though, and I sold all my beads and boards shortly afterwards, having no wish to make anything else with them (well, after I made a bunch of ghoasters!). I’m super-happy to have it up on my studio wall now.

Finally got some pictures up at the weekend!

This was part of my foray into grid-based crafts, which has also taken in tapestry and cross stitch. I’m still open to suggestions for more to try, though tapestry has been the clear winner.

Crafts Amnesty

long stitch bargello pattern

I follow a lot of crafty people on Instagram and I’ve been feeling guilty over their progress shots, knowing that I have a bunch of unfinished projects on the go. I decided to take some pics of where I am now so I’ll be encouraged to finish them.

bargello

#1 – Bargello Long Stitch Cushion
The top photo is when I started it in February, and I managed to get about a third of the way through the pattern before I started moving house and put it aside. I picked it up a few days ago and I’m already into the last third – the end is just around the roller on the right. I definitely think I can finish this soon. It’s a pretty big piece (16″ square), but it stitches up quite fast, and they also sell pre-made cushion backings to match so I will hopefully be able to use it in the near future.

miette

#2 – Miette Skirt
Did I even ever mention this? It’s a super cute wrap skirt by Tilly and the Buttons which I bought at the height of my ‘WHY NO POCKETS skirt makers’ trauma. I cut out all the pieces last October and then got derailed by Renegade and Christmas. I actually planned to get back to this sooner but I couldn’t find my tins of dressmaking pins after I moved. I eventually found them two months later at the bottom of a tin of thread. And then I had to buy an iron and an ironing board (the IKEA tabletop one is AMAZING and £4 btw) because I had been using my flatmates’ so now I can finally get back to this! I really want Tilly’s sewing book as well, but I am not allowing myself to buy it until I finish this skirt.

IMG_4356

#3 – My Sort-of Quilt
I started this a year ago, and then never touched again. It would be nice to have this done for winter so I ordered some more fabric as part of my Spoonflower swatching and will try to get the sewing machine set up.

Obviously, I have way more than 3 projects on the go, but these are the main ones that I want to get done. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see how I’m getting on.

Japan Zines

japan zines treasury

I made another International Zine Month treasury on Etsy to promote some of the awesome zines and comics about Japan. Again, this was extremely easy as I regularly check Etsy for new Japan zines and wishlist them for a shopping spree later. Click through for all the details.

This also reminds me that I have a few Japan-related zines to review so I will bump that up my list.

Weekend Wrap Up

Happening right now - KitKat Bakeable Pudding! We're reviewing a load of crazy Japanese candy for SCK.

My sister was visiting last weekend so we had lots of fun trying a box full of crazy Japanese sweets and DIY candy kits! These Bakeable Pudding Kit Kats were a definite highlight, others not so much… You can read our reviews at Super Cute Kawaii. This weekend looks like being pretty exciting too, as my new glasses should be arriving and it’s the Helensburgh Summer Festival. Roller derby! Sand Sculptures! Vintage Tearoom! Probably terrible Craft “Fayre”! It’s on next weekend too, if you fancy a day out.

On My Wish List

Barruntando tofu cute

Little Ceramic Seal | Puccho Candy Tissue Box Holder

News, Offers and Reminders

- 30% off my Sew Cute rain boots at Ready For Rain through Sunday with the code R4GLENDA.
- 20% off at DENY Designs all July with the code STYLEYOURSPACE.
- 30% off my cross stitch kits at The Bellwether with the code THIRTYKIT.