Folksy Friday

In view of the fact that I am now becoming thoroughly fed up with my house-bound state, I have decided that todays post should dedicated to keeping calm;
First up, this print is from Hello Monkey. I am lucky enough to already own a few Hello Monkey prints, which I love. I also like to think that eating chocolate might help my measles

This mug can be found here... I think copious amounts of tea could help too

another lovely stamp from skull and cross buns

and finally this from the old lamp shade.

And as for me, I will now try to keep calm, and carry on being blotchy!


new listing

My first cot quilt is finished and is now in my shop

I was in two minds whether to list it, as I was - am - having a real crisis of confidence and worrying whether it looked too handmade ... which I know sounds silly, because after all that's exactly what it is! The Boy tried to run off with it while I was photographing it, which I guess was the vote of approval I was looking for

It's available here.

No other news for today. I'm still spotty and still in quarantine...only 6 long days to go..


all dots

Spots are on the menu today

lots of spots

and why? because I have german measles! Looking on the positive side, I blend in with the household accessories quite nicely.

So, there isn't a great deal of work-in-progress this Wednesday, because of the lethargy and general feeling of rubbishness that comes hand in hand with being dotty. I did try my hand at a bit of machine embroidery this afternoon...

I really like the look, as used by designers such as this and this and this, so I thought I'd try my (spotty) hand at it too. I'm not quite in this league yet, but I was still pleasantly surprised with the results. In fact, all that's left now, is a bit of quilting, some binding, and then it's off to Folksy for this little bus

All aboard!


sick note

I felt quite smug at the weekend, to be the only healthy member of the household, and put the fact that I was feeling fine while the male contingent of the household seemed to be struggling to fight off some kind of summer-coldey thing down to man flu. Clearly the mere fact that this thought crossed my mind, meant that it was inevitable that I would be struck down with the self-same bug, and realise the error of my ways. So here I am, day two on the sofa, thoroughly fed up of feeling rotten, wanting to do something (anything) but not having the energy or concentration. I have however been doing a bit of embroidery on the cot quilt I've been working on..

which is coming along quite nicely

still a bit of work to do yet... but I suspect that may need to wait until my brain is functioning slight better!

On a different note, I'm hugely excited that my bus party set is currently appearing in the Folksy Top Picks.


a tooth, a rucksack, and a missing strap

It's pretty safe to say that you're up a little earlier than you'd like to be on a Sunday Morning, when the children's tv programmes haven't even started. But that's the manner in which this household started the day today. The Boy has a cold and/or a tooth coming, and was definitely not his usual happy self, so large chunks of the day today were spent cuddling on the sofa. Which I guess is the only tiny positive of having a poorly creature, as Boy cuddles are often a rare and one-sided event (there are so many more interesting things to do after all) and should therefore be relished at every opportunity. Thankfully after a couple of long naps and some calpol, he'd picked up enough by the afternoon to go exploring with his new rucksack.

I bought this on Friday, in preparation for weekends away we have planned over the next month. Now that he is very mobile, I decided it would be a good idea to invest in one of these to avoid any running-off type accidents. We tested it walking around the shops, and despite some small protests, it seemed to be fairly well received . Then we got home and the strap was detached.

And has gone missing.

We have turned the whole house upside down. I'm not exaggerating when I say this, every nook and cranny has been explored, the front has even been taken off the piano. But no sign of it. Anywhere. Seriously, I'm starting to wonder if this boy is cunning enough to hide something he doesn't wholly approve of. Can you even be cunning when you're 13 months old?!

I'm hoping it'll turn up soon, preferably before I have to start searching bins. Meanwhile, he's set for adventures with his rucksack, which was clearly the acceptable half of the ensemble!


my space

One of the unanimous pieces of advice in the craft business books I bought recently, was to create an inspiration board. As I don't have a craft room, this was always going to pose a bit of a problem for me, but luck was at hand on this occasion, and I've been able to utilise a rather odd noticeboard in our guest bedroom. I say odd, because it's attached quite thoroughly to the wall, and I've always had a sneaking suspicion that there is some horror lurking behind there that I'd prefer not to uncover, which I suppose is part of the joy of owning a Victorian property. Anyway, I digress, I've now started to stick up a few bits and pieces, and it's definitely helping..

...particularly as I have to pass it to get to my craft cupboard...

which is is proving to be much less of an inspiration, due to the fact that it needs a jolly good tidy up... I guess that's a job for tomorrow then. Perhaps without the assistance of this little helper though!


Folksy Friday

In a shameless exercise in self-publicity, my subject for today's Folksy Friday is Party, and that's because I have finally listed 5 of my party sets in my shop

There are still a few more designs to be listed (bus, safari and diggers) which I hope will be up tomorrow. I'm feeling quite relieved to have got these 5 sets added though, as I guess I hadn't anticipated how difficult I'd find it to (i) try and photograph the designs and (ii) how long it would take me to list things. I think that's a bit of a learning curve thing though, and now that I've done it, I suppose I'm a bit further along that curve.


Work In Progress Wednesday

Well, I got a little bit ahead of myself with my post yesterday, as today is officially (for alliterations sake) work-in-progress Wednesday. Last night my dining room table - which for the time being is doubling up as my craft room - was a hive of printing activity. And this evening it's time for cutting out, ready for a bit of a fashion shoot.

I'm finding it much more difficult than I'd anticipated trying to get good pictures of my printed designs to start listing them. I'm all too aware of the importance of getting this bit right, so if anyone out there has any suggestions, they'd be gratefully received. If anyone else out there is having the same problems as me, I'm using this as my starting point. If you haven't come across the Folksy blog and discussion group on Facebook, I definitely recommend calling by, as there really is a wealth of information there.


progress at last

This evening is a momentous occasion. I am under way with printing party stationery, ready to be photographed and added to my shop (sorry about the terrible quality of the photographs, but I'm just so excited!)

three for a girl

I currently have 8 designs for children's party ware that I'm working on and lots more ideas for the future. The party packs will be lovingly tailored to the requirements of anyone who is nice enough to buy one and consists of pdfs to print your very own invitations, thank you letters, party decorations and goody bag bits for the special little person in your life. Please feel free to leave me a message here if you'd like more information before they go live in the shop.

four for a boy

I'm hugely excited about how they're going so far... I'm going to have a lot of work over the next few evenings cutting things out assembling ready for listing, but that really won't be a hardship. And just in case you were under the impression that it's all about the stationery, getting these items listed will mean it's time to focus back on textiles, and sewing some cot quilts.

It really is progress at last!


Something to look forward to...

This book is due out in September and I can't wait! As it may have already become apparent, I'm a huge Orla Kiely fan; I just love the simplicity but distinctiveness of her designs. And while my budget can't stretch to one of these....
I'd be perfectly happy to sit and look at them for a while!


The best laid plans..

Today I had a bit of a - thankfully metaphorical - stumble. I set myself a hugely ambitious (read:completely unachievable) target yesterday of what I would get done today. And somehow life got in the way ... as it often does when you have a 13 month old boy around .. and reminded me not to run before I can walk. I had planned to get a zillion items listed in my shop, without really thinking about how much work would be involved in creating an individual pack of products for 9 different stationery designs, and that was even before printing or photographing anything, which would be an issue in itself because of the gloomy horrible light we've had here today.

After becoming thoroughly disheartened by it all, I had a bit of a break, had a chat with The Frenchman, who pointed out that I actually ought to be pleased, and that having a lot of work to get on with today was the result of a very creative and successful day yesterday, then got back on with it...with a slightly more realistic expectation of what was achievable.

So, I'm a little bit further ahead now, not only in terms of my work, but also in ensuring that I set myself realistic goals in the future. So still no pics of my work in progress, but here is the yummy harvest from my garden this afternoon.. grown from little seedlings, and proof in question that things will take as long as they take to happen


gone..but I'll forgive those pudgy little wrists anything

Let's just hope there will be some left for dinner!


Lots of little Os

I had quite a successful day today. Not only did I manage to source some more materials for forthcoming twoforjoy projects, but I also picked up the two little gems in my picture (the boy is a little gem I made earlier) I've been looking at this Greg Lamarche canvas from Habitat for absolutely ages, but could never quite justify the £85 price tag. I'm sure that you can imagine my glee then, to stroll in today and find it reduced to a much more palatable £25. It didn't take long for me to make a grab for it and hot foot my way to the till, let me tell you! The little vintage shape stacker on the left was a £3 bargain I picked up at my local second hand shop. I just love it's battered and much-loved appearance.

The other exciting news for today (just in case you were getting the impression that I spend all of my time shopping), is that I have been working on a couple of new stationery designs, which I'm really really happy with and hope to finally be adding to my Folksy shop in the next few days. I'll keep you posted!


Folksy Friday

In a shameless copy - which, after all, is the greatest form of flattery - of the Folksy blog, I'm declaring today to be Folksy Friday. Here are a few things that are currently catching my beady little eye...

A medium I definitely intend to learn more about is screen printing. I went on a day long course a few years ago, and absolutely loved the process and my (albeit rather amateur) results. Looking, as I frequently do, at all the amazing prints that are available has inspired me to try and find a course in my area. In the mean time, I'm quite happy to continue perusing the offerings on Folksy, particularly Dee Beale's amazing prints.

The only thing that has stopped me from buying one of these lovely little chicks from Prince Design already, is trying to choose which design I like the most

Finally, I've been speaking to Emily at Skull and Cross Buns about customing a stamp with the twoforjoy logo for me to use on my paperwork. To keep with the bird theme in the mean time, here's a lovely little owl, who I'm also rather fond of!

I'm very excited to be visiting not one but two craft fairs tomorrow AND a vintage sale.. so I hope my next post will be looking at the goodies I've found. Clearly my interest is purely for research purposes you understand ... or that's what I like to tell the Frenchman anyway!


Oooh, parcels

I got home from work this evening to find not one, but two packages waiting for me! They weren't entirely unexpected, as they were both things I'd bought after all, but nevertheless it was still exciting.

Firstly, some Cath Kidston fabric I bought to back a cot quilt that I've designed and am currently working on. It's a heavier weight cotton than I was expecting, so I may very well have a rethink about it's use for that project. Particularly as there was a certain little someone who seemed to be rather taken by it!

He also seemed to enjoy playing with the contents of my second parcel, which I was pretty excited about too..

Labels for when I start making products to sell.


Back to work Wednesday.

The only downside to having a 5 day break from work is that sinking feeling when the alarm sounds at 5:55 and you know you're back to the grindstone.

In the spirit of remaining positive, I feel that I've made a huge amount of progress in the past few days; not only in terms of starting to develop a cohesive brand and image for my business, but also psychologically. Everywhere I go and everything I do is starting to build my inspiration for products and designs, which I know is where I need to be in order to make my business work. My immediate issue now is understanding how to bridge the gap between what I want to be able to do, and what I realistically can do in the time I have available, without becoming disheartened and loosing any enthusiasm in the process. The words eating and elephant spring to mind! So as well as being back-to-work Wednesday, today's post will also be work-in-progress Wednesday, and my bite of elephant today is in lovely linen blocks!


Fabric and things

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent the weekend visiting friends in Brighton, so decided to take yesterday and today off of work to spend time with my family. Yesterday I took the opportunity to visit a local fabric store, but was more than a little bit disappointed to leave empty handed. Is it just me, or does anyone else find the choice of fabric that can be available frustratingly limiting? Had I wanted chintzy patterns or playing cats printed all over it then I'd have been fine, but there did not seem to be anything available to cater for ... I guess younger tastes. I know that there are a wealth of on-line stores available (I've found Fabric rehab and Saints and Pinners both to be very good) but there is nothing like being able to see and touch the material before you buy.

Feeling that it would have been a shame to come home empty handed, I made a detour to ikea and picked up some linen blend fabric (I'm also having difficulty finding reasonably priced but good quality linen mixes)

I was also in luck, as it was the tail end of their sale, so I picked up some cream tin plates, being sold at the bargain price of 65p which I became very over-excited about, much to the bemusement of the Frenchman ("but they're white plates?!"). I love the matt finish of the paint and I just know that I'm going to wish I picked up a few more of them..

and finally this lovely little fellow, who seems to be enjoying sitting in the window ledge in my dining room...

Oooh, and I forgot to mention yesterday, but I've finished my quilt now, woo hoo! Now to bind!


It's been a while

It's been nearly two months now that I've been back at work, following a years maternity leave. We don't live very close to family or friends, so towards the end of the year I found myself craving some adult company and looking forward to switching my brain back on again. Two months in, and I absolutely know that this isn't how I want life to be any more. As well as feeling desperately detached from the Boys day to day life, my priorities and values have completely changed, and I find myself yearning to design and draw and stitch. With this in mind, I've treated myself..

I had a fantastic weekend meeting up with some old school friends in Brigton. During the 3 hour train journey, I had the rare opportunity to immerse myself in books, and have not only come out the other side thoroughly inspired, but also feeling that perhaps it's not such an impossibility after all...