Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Blog break!

Right I have closed my Etsy and Tuggle shops for the upcoming Christmas holidays so I am going to take a blog break too! For part of Christmas we are going away to a part of France that has terrible phone reception and the house has no internet connection so I'm going to be uncontactable - how nice is that going to be!! I'm planning on spending quality time with the girls and Matt, reading books and I'm going to try and teach myself to crochet. I have different sized crochet hooks and the Ladybird Teach Yourself to Crochet book. We will see how that goes!
Anyway I know it is a bit early but have a great Christmas and I will see you in the New Year :)

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Kitch-en art gallery

So something good did come out of the craft fair that I did a couple of weeks ago. I got talking to some other stall holders and one of them Jayne, works in a gallery in Middlesbrough. She was taken with my chicken doorstops and told me about a exhibition that she was curating and suggested that I send some of my things in to them. So of course I did! Here's the website for the gallery - none of my stuff is in the photographs because it didn't get there until the day of the open evening! We are planning on calling in one day next week as Matt's mum and Dad live nearby so I'll hopefully get photos then.

When I was at the craft fair I bought one of Jayne's rings and it's fab! Please excuse the bad photo!

Friday, 14 December 2007

New items

Here are a couple of new items I have been making over at Swirly HQ - chicken items obviously! The first was inspired by this item that I made many months ago - I was searching through my Flickr Photos and it jumped out at me. Notice that the wedding stationery hasn't been made yet that the photo was a prototype for!

These are little price tags I have made that will be useful for when I send my things off to galleries and may be useful at craft fairs.

The second kind of leads on from this and is an individual gift tag - it is WIP (work in progress) so the item you see isn't the finished product. I was playing around yesterday!

I can see this developing into a product for next Christmas - did I actually say that!!! We haven't even had this years yet :)

I've also had time to do some sorting out of my stash and I've made up some paper and ephemera packs. There are two listed on Etsy at the moment with two more coming soon. Hopefully I will have chance to sort through some of my wallpaper selections too! Here's a sneaky peek of the two paper packs already on there.

You do actually get more than shown here but it was a bit windy this morning and I didn't want to risk the paper blowing all over the garden! I lost a couple of postage stamps and nearly some fingers because it was so cold out there and it's tricky to take photos in gloves!

I nearly forgot to say too - if you buy one of the paper packs on Etsy and mention this blog you will get an extra treat in the post!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Cute pie!!

Tara is growing up so fast! She has already had a mini conversation with me the other night!

The conversation went like this (just after she had finished her bottle)

Tara - 'More'
Me - 'It's all gone sweetheart'
Tara - 'Where?'
Me - 'Into your tummy'
Tara - (looks at tummy) 'oh'

Anya thought it was fascinating and was very excited that Tara was talking! Since then she has put two words together and said 'Where Bo' which means 'Where is Boris' - her teddy bear and 'My drink' pointing to her drink. Ok she doesn't pronounce the words correctly (she's not yet 18 months) but I think the idea is there. I think she gets this chattiness from her sister and not mummy :)

She also has enough hair to put up into a ponytail although it does look a bit daft! She looks better with pigtails.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Two treasuries!

Ok I curated one of them but I am in the other one!

The one I curated is based on bandits, thieves and pirates although there is only one pirate thing in there! I was inspired by my own bandit chicken but it is frowned upon to include your own work in a treasury so I chose some other things instead.

And I am featured in a last minute Christmas gifts treasury with my London underground badges - spot them at the bottom!

If you can't see the detail enough then they can be seen properly in my Flickr group devoted to Etsy tresuries!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007


Now it's a well documented fact that I like recycling and in fact I try to reuse many things before they get to the recycling bin. Well I came across a site today where a guy and his family have built their own eco home for less than 3 grand - and it's fab!! Look here to see the site - I haven't put any pictures in here of it because I wasn't sure if it would be allowed but you can see pics of the house if you go to the site.

It got me thinking too - I do re-use a lot of stuff, recycle anything that can possibly be recycled, buy from charity shops (and donate unwanted things there too) , turn lights off (much to Matt's annoyance!) get friends to give me magazines they don't need (Hi Ruth and Simon) and lots, lots more but I always wonder what else I could be doing. I am guilty of leaving the radio playing to itself in the kitchen - and that's one thing I am trying to stop and I guess we could have the heating on a bit lower but the girls get cold easily. Should wrap them up warmer I suppose!

Anyway if any of you can think of other things that are easy to do (or even not so easy to do) then let me know in the comments! And because I try not to do posts with words only here's a picture of one of my favourite recycled things I make!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Delay - sorry!!

Sorry for the delay in posting about what I was making yesterday - Matt went out last night in London and had a considerable amount to drink so he couldn't drive back from the airport this morning, so we had to go and pick him up. He then went straight to bed so I didn't have as much time to sew as I had anticipated! By the time I had finished it was dark (not that it got very light here today) so the photographs are terrible but hopefully soon I will have better light.

Ta da - a Christmas owl pennant!

Ain't it cute? I got it from this tutorial here and she also does some 3D ones that I'm going to try soon! It took longer than I thought it would and I would do things slightly differently next time but all in all I am pleased with how it turned out. The colours of the fabrics I chose look a little muddy and washed out here so next time I think I will go for brighter colours with different wording. The possibilities are endless!

Right best go and sort out things for the craft fair tomorrow like where exactly in Preston it is being held and useful things like that :)

Friday, 7 December 2007

Oooooooh - what is it???

I can hear you asking! Well tomorrow all will be revealed. That is if I can get more than 5 minutes sewing time this evening!
Have a good evening whatever you are doing!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Fabric heaven!!

That would be the scrapstore I visit - it's fab!!!! It has a great fabric room where you can choose fabric off the roll (or even take it with the roll if the cardboard tube is going to be any good to you), offcuts of fabric, bits of felt, wool, knitting patterns, ribbon, thread, leather bits, interfacing and lots more - and that's only one room!! You can also choose those big books that soft furnishing companies have to show you the whole fabric range without actually stocking it. I love those!! The first few pictures are of the fabric I have taken from them. The only trouble is that because I have weak wrists I tend to aggravate them by cutting the fabric out! Oh well, no pain no gain :)

I have an idea for this fabric but I'll have to see if it will work!

This waffle fabric is going to be used for something Christamassy for the Swirl household - just have to get of my bum and make it. And of course you can be assured that there will be pics and details once made!

At Sams they also offer classes - I often look longingly into that room because they have some beautiful children's fabrics that they use. However this week I was very pleased to see some in the fabric room! Two lots - a Noah's Ark fabric and a wonderful piece of travel themed fabric that is just fab!

This is the travel themed fabric - I love the London close up!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Knitting things

Even though I don't knit I seem to have a plethora of knitting items in my Etsy shop. I have made knitting needle bracelets in the past and I now have two new ranges using vintage knitting patterns.

Here's the first one

Mini knitting pattern envelopes! These are very cute and useful on the front of cards or you could use them for putting little notes in your loved one's pockets.

The second thing I've made is another set of knitting envelopes but these are full size, perfect for jazzing up boring post!

And of course these items are all available in my Etsy shop! I'm sure more knitting related items will be coming soon!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Preparation for the craft fair!

I know it's a bit odd to be writing this post after the craft fair but I was just soooo busy before it that I didn't have much time to blog. When Tara went down for her afternoon nap one day Anya decided that she wanted to be like Mummy and make things next to me. There's not enough room at the desk in the craft room so I decided to bring the sewing machine down into the dining room and that way I can sew while the girls play. Here's an action shot of Anya making Christmas cards.

She looks very pleased with herself! Here's an arty picture of the disco chicken being made - he'll be coming to my Etsy shop soon.

And the overall view of the dining room table where I have now located my sewing machine - it'll be so much easier to nip off and make something quickly now whereas before I had to make sure that girls had been to the loo and had drinks etc.

I'm hoping to get some photographs today of the products I made for the fair that aren't yet in my shop. I'll be sure to post when I do!!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Wheee - I'm back!!

From a dreadful craft fair!! Thankfully (sort of) the other crafters didn't do too well either so it wasn't just my stuff although my items were a little too funky for the vast majority of the people who came! I also think that my prices were a little too high for the crowd although they are the same as my Etsy shop and they are doing well on there. Oh well, live and learn!!

Here's a picture of my stall on the first day but it did change around a bit as the 4 days went on! I didn't have my camera with me on those days so you will have to take my word for it that the stall looked better!

This is what's different this time from the other fair I did. The height has been addressed this time with this trellis shelf thingy that I borrowed from my mother in law. It looked great covered in one of the spotty tablecloths with the chickens residing on it. Well I thought they looked good anyway!

As sales were pretty dire I had time to make lots of notes for brand new ideas and I actually made some new products!! They have evolved from my glove monsters so that will give you a vague idea of what they are but no photo's yet - that'll be another post :)

Monday, 26 November 2007


I only have 6 chicken doorstops made and the fair is on Thursday. I've just cut out lots of the felt pieces and I have some bodies cut out so I'm hoping that I can pin together at least 10 and get them sewn on the machine today. Then I can put the zips and eyes on tonight. That's the plan anyway - I've just got to get off here first!!
Photo's of lots of chickens later - hopefully anyway!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

New stuff

Some new tags here that I made yesterday with the paint card ones. Made from some vintage children's books that had a couple of water damaged pages so they couldn't be sold so I had them!!

Cute little Beatrix Potter tags - I might give some to my sister as a presnt at Christmas cos she hates Beatrix Potter! Only kidding Sarah if you are reading :)

I was also featured in a treasury on Etsy yesterday so I obviously grabbed a screenshot of it for my Flickr group. A nice Christmas themed treasury.

Did you spot the mini chickens? Did you? Did you?! I'm going out this afternoon to spend an afternoon crafting with my friend Alex and our children (not hers and mine just our combined children!) so I will hopefully have some piles of envelopes to show you later!

Edited to say - bugger!! I'd forgotten that I had put the Beatrix Potter tags in yesterdays post. Oh well, good job they are pretty :)

Wednesday, 21 November 2007


..........again - I really do need to think up some new titles for these posts! I've been very busy with orders and have hardly had any time to prepare for the craft fair that is only 1 week away - eeeeekkkkkk. I'm not complaining though as sales are sales although a little extra time for craft fair related stuff would be good too! I've also been making some gift tags because that's what I've sold most of recently and all my stuff was downstairs. These ones are my favourites - I love the bright colours and the fact that they are mostly recycled!

I've also made some from a couple of old children's books. Quite cute I think! They will be going up onto Etsy this afternoon :)

That's all for the moment - I'm sure I'll be back soon though!

Monday, 19 November 2007

I'm back!!

I know you missed me :) Don't you just hate it when you come back from being away and you have loads and loads of washing to do, lots of tidying and sorting to do and when you panic when your mum and dad (and husband) point out that the big 4 day craft fair is only a week and a half away - AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!

I will try and get on here to post but they may be very sparse posts as I really do need to crack on with making more stock - you would have thought I would have learned from last time when I was rushing around at the last minute but it doesn't look like it!!

I don't have any new photo's of my work (or bargains!) to show you so here is a photo of the thank you cards that Anya made for her friends to say thanks for her pressies.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Things that aren't chickens

Well one thing but more will be coming soon! Meet Henry the glove monster. He's very cute but he has a complex about his mismatched eyes - people pick on him at monster school - poor chap. He also doesn't like his beauty spot as monsters aren't supposed to be beautiful - but it adds to his character.

Here he is climbing his favourite tree in the garden.

And here he is having a chat with his friend Gordon the Gnome.

And he went shopping the other day and couldn't decide which hat to buy! Hats are from innocent smoothies - go buy some at Sainsbury's on their little bottles.

This was made for all the people on the forum who think I only make chickens!!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Drowning in apples

But in a good way! Here's one pot of apple starting to bubble on the hob to turn magically into stewed apples perfect for pies and crumbles that Matt is very good at making. He added some Weetabix to the crumble topping last weekend and it tasted delicious.

The top photo is one of the boxes of apples that arrived at the weekend from Matt's dad. We got two and the bubbling pot is one of them!! I'm trying to hunt out some recipes for apple chutney/jam/pickle etc so if you know of any then let me know.

I was busy on the computer this morning and Tara was very quiet in the corner - this is why!!

Luckily it was a Crayola brand pen and it washed off very easily - the lesson there is to make sure you have cleared away all the pens - check under the front of the sofa, behind the toy box etc because wherever there is a pen Tara will find it!

And I promised a photo of me dancing at Anya's party so here you go! I'm doing musical statues with Emily but I didn't win :( I was enjoying myself though!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Handmade goodies for Anya!

I love it when people take the time to think about presents and Anya got loads of really nice presents yesterday that she loves (lots of Disney Princess stuff!) But she also got (and I really love them) some gorgeous handmade things from my friend Alex. First up the presents arrived in this gorgeous handmade bag - fab colour and wipeable too - what more could a girl want - oh apart from ballerina fabric!

Next she opened this - a fab chicken hot water bottle cover - she thought it was very cute!

And then the card!! I thought this was such a good idea and they can be personalised with hair, eyes etc! Anya hasn't played with the finger puppet yet but she will do soon I'm sure!

Speaking of cards - we bought a gorgeous one from Amanda at colourart! I've pinched the photo of the card that she put onto the forum but I'm sure she won't mind as we haven't taken one yet. Anya was thrilled with it, as was I, and the customer service was fab!

More photo's of the actual party later I'm sure - including one of me dancing to Superman!! Ooooh - I meant to say too that if you want to buy/commission any of the items that Alex made for Anya then let me know and I'll put you in touch with her :)

Sunday, 11 November 2007

My baby is 4!

Can you believe it?? Expect some gratuitous baby photo's here!!

Anya at birth

Anya when she was 1

Anya when she was 2

Anya at her 3rd birthday party

And of course the birthday girl today on her 4th birthday!!

And of course a handmade badge for the birthday girl - made from recycled fabrics naturally!!

Have a fun day whatever you are doing and more pics later :)