Saturday, 31 December 2011

A crafty round up of 2011 - in pictures!

1. Gene the buttontastic chicken doorstop, 2. New sticker packaging, 3. Lots of mini badges, 4. Upcycled/recycled owl gift tags, 5. Ta_dah. The baby quilt!, 6. Colourful crazy embroidery!, 7. Set of 20 mini envelopes, 8. Janice chicken doorstop, 9. Set of 20 knitting stickers (set 4), 10. Lego gift tags - vehicles, 11. Wreck this Journal July 2011, 12. Bride and groom chickens, 13. Mending leggings, 14. A fun baby quilt, 15. Ruthie the Nana chicken pincushion/paperweight, 16. Kids in Space chicken doorstop, 17. Bright, fun Christmas stickers!, 18. Ziggy the paperweight/pincushion, 19. Eco friendly gift sacks, upcycled too, 20. Paper bunting

You can click on any of the links above to be taken to my Flickr where you will see further details of each item. You can also see a larger version of this mosaic in my Flickr photostream.

Just looking at this I am pleased to see that it is bright and colourful and that lots of the items I have made over the past year have been made from upcycled/thrifted materials :)

Friday, 30 December 2011

A bloggy review!

It's getting to that time of year where we all tend to look back on what has happened in the past 12 months and of course I am no exception. Over the past 12 months I have had 35,605 page views which seems quite a lot to me! I've gone through my analytics and have found the most popular blog posts over the past year. Most weren't written this year but they have been popular over the past 12 months!

Not surprisingly the top spot goes to the post that describes how to make your own padded envelopes. It's not surprising as it has been shared on lots of blogs!

The second spot goes to my post about a local fabric shop. Maybe it's because you can get fabric there for £1 a metre?

The third spot goes to the easy peasy jam recipe using a microwave. Very, very easy!

This next post is from 2007 and isn't it amazing to look back at your progress over the years? It's for a brooch tutorial and I think it was the first ever tutorial I did. I was going to delete it (as it's a bit naff) but if it's the 4th popular post looked at over the past year then it can stay!

Another tutorial and this one uses old Christmas cards to make garlands ready for next year! A good bit of reuse I think!

This post was all about a fair in Clitheroe and showed off my new chicken packaging too!

The next post deals with the raffle I held with Jo on behalf of the Japanese people affected by the earthquake and resulting tsunami.

And the last post (I could go on and on but I'd better not) is all to do with fashion - or my version of fashion anyway! It seems that people agree with me about red and green not being seen together!

So what have I learnt from this? That people like tutorials certainly so hopefully there will be more of those in 2012 :)

Come back tomorrow for a little look at my favourite makes from 2011.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Santa jumper

Or what I wore on Christmas Day :)

And a close up of Santa :)

Cool isn't it?

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!!

If you celebrate Christmas then have a wonderful time and here's hoping that Santa and loved ones bring you all the things you wish for.

Even Robin gift tags get in on the act!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Norad Santa

I'm probably preaching to the converted here and you will probably all know about Norad Santa but just in case you don't then here's the deal!

You can track Santa as he flies around the world delivering presents and if you have kids their excitement grows as he gets closer and closer to where you live! It's great fun and well worth doing :)

Fly well Santa, fly well!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Bargain :)

I spotted this fabulous 'Rainy Day' scarf in Oxfam today.

It is by Donna Wilson but I didn't know that when I spotted it across the shop - I was just drawn to the print and colours. I wandered over to have a look and peeked at the label. It said Donna Wilson and I was sure I knew the name but couldn't think why. I'd forgotten that I had been admiring her creatures for a while! Anyway for the princely sum of £4.99 it was mine. I had a look at her site when I got back and was slightly shocked to see that it retails at £45!! Bargain or what!?

Anya came with me and was very encouraging of my bargain find - she wowed in the right places when I told her how much it should have been. I think we have a future bargain hunter on our hands!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


My glasses (wearing glasses not drinking glasses!) have become scratched and they are getting to the stage where they are quite tricky to see out of. First thing in the new year I will be heading for an eye test so that I can get some new lenses put in some of the frames I thrifted over the summer in America. So be expected to help me choose which frames sometime soon! Anyway if none of the frames are good then I can always get these ones - tapestry frames :)

Aren't they cool?

Monday, 19 December 2011

Random bits and bobs

1. My blogging mojo seems to have disappeared at the moment and I'm not sure where it went! I don't really have anything relevant to share and because I have closed my shops for Christmas I can't bombard you with pretty pictures of things that you can buy from me :)

2. Pretty pictures - I have resisted the lure of Pinterest throughout the whole of this year and fingers crossed I can resist next year as I know it will suck up so much of my time! Here are some pretty pictures I have found elsewhere though.
From here

Isn't this cool? Maybe as a funky tattoo? :)
From here

This is just too pretty (even though I don't like snow!) Maybe now that we have a 4x4 rather than a crappy automatic I will like it a little more!

3. We are getting there with being organised for Christmas and we just have a few presents to wrap up. I haven't, however, written any cards yet. Better crack on with that really!

4. My house, however, is not ready for Christmas. It was beautifully tidy on Friday and then we had a party once school had broken up at 2pm. Lots of good food, very good company and well behaved kids but there are now toys everywhere!! 12 kids + toys = a big mess! I wouldn't hesitate to do it again though as it was such a fun afternoon/evening!

5. I have come to the conclusion that although I love a reasonably tidy house I am in fact, too lazy to tidy it myself. I need a cleaner/tidyer. Any volunteers?

6. I think that is enough random bits and bobs for one day. Byeeeeee!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Peppermint bark

If you saw me prattling on Twitter yesterday you may have seen me mention Peppermint bark. I first saw it on Soule Mama a couple of years ago but resolved to make some this year.

And it tastes delicious! I made double the amount and there was enough for 6 gift bags full (4 have been given away to friends already) with a bit left over for us. And 24 hours after making it there is some left - amazing!

*for UK readers the heavy cream in the recipe is the same as double cream in the UK :) Oh and I would recommend keeping it it the fridge - the middle layer melted a bit when left on the side.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

One goal reached :)

I had said I would try and get 100 items in each of my shops by Christmas. I've just got there in my Etsy shop - whooop!

See, there is photo evidence! With a handy red circle to help you see :) I'm nowhere near in my Folksy shop (71 items) so I'm giving up hitting the target there. But hopefully with the 'list all your things from Flickr pledge' yesterday I may well get there in January!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A pledge for January :)

I don't know about you but I never make New Years Resolutions as they are just too easy to break and then if you are anything like me the idea is given up all together! I will however make a pledge for January (and I know it's only  January tends to be slower for me in sales in my shops and therefore less making is needed so I will be going through my Flickr and finding the items I have taken photographs of and not got round to listing yet and yep, you guessed it, listing them!

This chicken has been waiting to be listed since March 2010!

These fairy tale gift tags have been waiting since April 2010.

I also have things waiting to be listed from 2009 :( Better have my listing hat on come January!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Snowman Decoration

Here's a little snowman decoration I whipped up last night :)

The photographs are terrible as the light is awful here but you get the general idea! His hat and scarf are made from a tank top that shrunk when I washed it!

His cute face - Tara chose the 'carrot' button for his nose.

He needed sparkly buttons and these fabulous Fimo ones (with beads embedded) were made by my friend Ruth.

The embroidery hoop snowman idea isn't mine - I saw it a few years ago over on Betz Whites blog but forgot about it and then I saw a variation on Eco Karen this weekend! He just needs a name - any ideas?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Friday, 9 December 2011

Eco friendly gift wrapping :)

As you know I like to try to be green and eco friendly over here at Chez Swirly and I was dreading the inevitable piles of wrapping paper that come along at this time of year. So I was very pleased when I remembered an idea I had seen on Soule Mama about making present wrapping from fabric. I've cheated and didn't make them from scratch but you may well want to do that (and I may well in the future!)

Ta da - fabric gift sacks/bags :)

This one is made from an Ikea pillowcase (folded in half lengthways) with some fabric additions - oh with buttons of course! This one holds lots of Mr Potato heads*

This used to be Matt's jumper (until I shrunk it - ahem!) I prettied it up with a chicken :) It's holding a rectangular box*.

This gift sack used to be a skirt that I made for the girls - it's not good enough to be handed down so I sewed the bottom up and voila - it's a gift bag! This one holds a paperback book and some playmobil*.

If you don't want to sew at all then do what I did with this last one and just use a pillowcase tied with some lace! This one holds a towel*

All the sacks have been tied with lace or ribbon but you could turn the sacks into drawstring bags or use velcro. Do let me know if you make anything like this - I'd love to see :)

*not actual presents just examples :)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My stall in Ilkley

The overview of my stall. Everything in it's usual place but with my Swirly Specials basket off on the left. Oh and did you spy something on the wall?

That would be my new bunting! These are samples only but it is something I am going to explore more in the new year. They are paper bunting rather than fabric and it will help me to use up the quite extensive pile of damaged books I have waiting around to be used!

The top bunting is made from Peter and Jane books and has been stitched onto bias binding.

And the bottom one is regular pages with some paper buttons stuck on. This one was destined to be name bunting but my wooden letters have disappeared somewhere! It's certainly the beginning of an idea and fits the upcycled/recycled ethos of Swirlyarts which I like a lot!

Monday, 5 December 2011

I'm still here :)

You may not have thought so by the lack of posts on my blog but I am still here! I had two fairs this past weekend and I had lots of stock to get ready for them. I really shouldn't have bothered with the second one as it was awful! But hey, looking forward now :)

For the next couple of days I will be chopping up nana linens to make chickens for Birdcage Vintage. They aren't going to the shop (yet) but are going to a fair in Otley next weekend on behalf of Birdcage. I will also be tidying my house like mad as it has been neglected for the past few weeks! I have a huge pile of clothes waiting to be put away and the house needs a deep clean.

Back tomorrow hopefully!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

This weekend!

Today I will be at the gorgeous Riddings Hall in Ilkley.

Come down as there will be lots of great handmade goods, carol singers (they were really good last year) great food by Trufood and even a tombola!

And you can come and see me on Sunday as I will be at the magnificent Townley Hall in Burnley which is only down the road from me :) It's part of a Magic of Christmas event that includes festive music, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and there will even be a visit from Santa himself!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Big Hamish, Little Hamish, Cardboard box!

Big Hamish - he's a doorstop.

Little Hamish - he's a paperweight/pincushion. And he's new to Swirlyarts!

And there is no cardboard box but my title refers to this iconic song by Bob the Builder!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Fabulous fabric

I spotted a bolt of this fabric in a charity shop on a shopping day out with my mum. A huge bolt! And this was only the second charity shop we had gone into and it was 9.45am! I knew I didn't want to carry it around with us all day (my poor arms!) but I really wanted it. Alas the shop shut at 4.45pm and we weren't sure we could get back in time to collect it if I paid for it there and then.

Luckily we managed to get back in time and it was still sat on the shelf looking back at me longingly! So  for quite a few English pounds it was mine :)

I carried back to the train (15 mins walk with other shopping) and lugged it round Leeds train station whilst waiting for my connecting train.

Today I decided to see just exactly how much there was on the bolt (it still had the original shop tags on it!) There are 22 metres of fabric on the bolt - yep really, 22 metres! I won't use it all by a long shot so there is some for sale in my Anya's Attic shop :)