Friday, 28 September 2012

Friday Finds : Knitwear

There are 2 reasons why I've chosen knitting/ Knitwear for this weeks Friday Finds.

1) I have started to knit. Well, actually I started about a month ago, and finished my first scarf about a week ago. I've started another ruffle scarf, although it's been a few days since I've picked it up having been busy with work, a craft Fair next Thursday (at Bungalows and Bears on Division Street, Sheffield from 3-9pm). I would love to knit something bigger next, like a jumper or a cardigan...

2) It's cold. The weather has definitely turned for winter, so it's time to start retrieving hats scarfs and thick woolly jumpers to snuggle down in, and peruse shops for new warmth giving additions to our winter wardrobes. So without further ado, here are a few fabulous knitted items!

Wrap up warm with this subtle geometric lacey over sized shawl by  The Feminine Touch. I can just imagine snuggling up with it in front of the TV, or wrapping it tighter against the cold on winter strolls.

I love these frilly fingerless gloves by jarg0n. They are sassy and eye catching, and available in a range of colours! While you're visiting  her online Etsy shop, take time to check out all of the other fabulous items available, such as her animal hats, headbands, and cute and cuddly knitted toys.


 The Sequinned Sheep keep the frill theme going with this beautiful hand knitted Ruffle Scarf. I love the mauve and purple colours, making it a perfect accessory for any cold day.

 Knitwear is not all for women however, as this chunky masculine cowl by madmum knits goes to show, so you can keep him warm and cosy when you venture outside too.

There's something for babies too thanks to Sixit who has knitted these cute stripey socks. Your little one won't get nippy toes with these gorgeous woollen socks. If only they were in adult sizes too...

Anyway, with that I think I'd best get knitting!

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

All a flutter

It's been so rainy and miserable lately that I decided to cheer myself up by making a Treasury filled with beautiful reminders of the summer, Butterflies!

'Beautiful Butterfly Jewellery' by yousewshould

Something fun flirty and summery, to help forget the rain...

Blue Butterfly Cross Stitch ...
Hot Pink Earrings Butterfly ...
Butterfly Brooch Wood Access...
Butterfly Earrings - Golden ...
Fabric Brooch Butterfly: Lar...
butterfly cuff bracelet, nat...
Brilliant Red Acrylic Butter...
Vintage Find - Silver and Gr...
Wood decoupage FREE SHIPPING...
Glass Tile Post Earrings-But...
Butterfly Sapphire Blue Oval...
Butterfly wings earrings 9
Teal Butterfly Necklace, Han...
CAMEO BROOCH / PIN - Pink & ...
Autumn red script butterfly ...
Blue Butterflies Bracelet, R...

What do you think of these flirty flutterbys?

On other news, I'm busy stitching away on plastic canvas to make 3D earrings for my stall at a craft fair a week on Thursday, (hence the quick post!). If you're around Sheffield on The 6th October then head to Bungalows and Bears on Division street for a look at my goodies!

Sneak Previews coming soon!

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Friday, 21 September 2012

Friday Finds: Autumn Leaves

I love Autumn, it's my favourite season. The days are light and reasonably long, warm but not too hot or cold. The trees look fabulous in their autumn clothes, and fruits and vegetables are fresh and plentiful.

Not so far this year though. Today in Sheffield it's grey and rainy, and I fear that the rainy summer which lead me to hope for a good Autumn, will just merge into a cold and bitter Winter, with barely a hint of lovely autumn days. So, to cheer me up, and remind myself that Autumn colours the beautiful leaves that symbolise the season can still be found, I have chosen it as the theme for this weeks Friday Find blog.

First up is this beautifully bright and seductively simple red maple leaf brooch. The vintage brooch from hurdyburdy contains a real leaf, and is a perfect accessories to brighten up any Autumn Outfit.

As the nights draw in we all think about hibernating, after all, what is more cosy and inviting that a nice warm bed as the nights draw in? This hand painted bedding set by Urban Accent Home is perfect for snuggling up under.

For additional cosiness, add some soft lighting. When I was a child I remember fighting for space in front of our wood burning stove for warmth, and to get lost in the fascinating flames (I still do when I visit). Not all of us can have a fire, but Hannah Nunn's personalised tree of life lamps will add a warming glow to any room.

The colours used in this cross stitch chart by Purple Stitching are so vibrant that I could almost be there, walking along the meandering river under the shade of the brightly leaved trees.

For a wedding/ engagement ring that's a little bit more leafy, look no further than the beautiful collection by Bandscapes. The rings are very intricate, and are obviously made with plenty of skill.

Cat and Wolf Designs have coupled sewing skills with bold bright, leaf patterned fabric to create this handy little bag, perfect for the few essentials needed when out and about.

Happy browsing!

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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A Little Bit Dicey!

A couple of weeks ago I entered a giveaway competition on Etsy by Anna from Blackmarket Jewels. We had to create a treasury using one of her gorgeous items of jewellery, I chose this pair of earrings.

Aren't they fabulous?! Unfortunately I didn't win, but Anna liked my treasury and very generously sent me a prize too. I wasn't expecting much, so naturally I was very pleasantly surprised when I opened an envelope to this lovely stash!

Aren't they beautiful beads! As delighted as I was, it took a little while to decide what to make using them. I normally make cross stitch jewellery, (although I have had a go at making seed bead jewellery from a kit in the past) so I wasn't quite sure where to start.

After a bit more thinking, I decided to try making something I'd been thinking about for a while, 3D earrings using plastic canvas! i chose to make dice, as the pattern is pretty straightforward, and I decided to use the brown seed beads for the spots. Unfortunately it took a little longer to make than I anticipated, mostly because I had to buy more thread as I ran out, but they are now finished finally and available for sale here on my Etsy Shop.

What do you think?

It didn't stop there though. I decided to stitch some beaded earrings using some of the pale pink and clear beads, with this result. (Sorry about the blurred photo)

I like the way the colours go together, they give these earrings a bit of a vintage feel. I think I'll give them to my sister (it's her birthday soon) and try some earrings using the green/turquoise beads next!

Happy making!

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Friday, 14 September 2012

Friday Finds: For Charity

This weeks Friday Finds theme is a little bit different. Rather than picking something to base the products around (e.g. sunflowers) I have decided to feature items by crafters who donate some of the proceeds to Charity.

I've been thinking a more about Charities recently, as I'm helping to organise a Charity night at Shakespeares Pub on Friday 12th October in aid of St Lukes Hospice, who care for adults with life limiting illnesses. For more information, please check out our event page.

Charity is a bit of a funny one, we all see the adverts of children suffering during a famine in Africa, sleek posters and websites all designed to guilt you into signing up to £2 a month for this charity. But then you see another, equally important Charity raising money for another worthy cause, such as race for life. Do you do that too? Another day you could be shopping and be approached by a friendly face asking you to sign up for their charity. And what about all of the small local Charity's, such as the local air ambulance or hospices. Where do you start, how do you decide which cause is most worthy of you're hard earned cash, and where does it all go anyway? It can be so overwhelming to decide who to support, and who to say no too. However, some crafters on Etsy have cleverly helped make that decision easier. With these great products, you don't need to support just one Charity, you could support several as well as spread awareness about them.

Can you guess the Charity supported by jcudesigns? The pink and the ribbon are a dead giveaway. It's simple, cute and raises awareness subtly. Added to that, 50% of the proceeds are donated to Cancer Research UK.

If you like creepy crawlies, then check out this dish by Seaurchin. I love the colours used. The whole price of the dish (£5) is in support of The Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal which raises money for Bristol Children's Hospital and High dependency Neo natal Unit.

I love the boldness of these bobby pins in aid of the Royal British Legion Riders. All the profits are donated by the designer, Adorn jewels to help ex service men and their families. it is a cause we should not forget, service men sacrifice a lot for their job.

Angel Silver is behind the beautiful personalised silver pendant of your childs footprint. Every necklace sold raises money for Project sweet pea, a charity founded by parents whose children were in intensive care, to help others like themselves.

These quirky 'vandalised British Flag' cards by the Nosuch Disco help spread the word about the Lancaster charity, Alexandra House, that provides short break care for children and young adults with additional needs.

I will be donating a Gold Anchor on a black background earring, ring and necklace set to the raffle for Shake rattle and Roll Charity Night for St Lukes Hospice. If you are interested in donating, or want more information then please check out our event page, or email us at

Happy Shopping!

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Monday, 10 September 2012

Peak District and New Stitches...

For a long time now, I've wanted a new project. A big project for myself. While I love making cross stitch jewellery to sell on Etsy, the items are small and I can make several things in an evening, so I just can't get stuck into them in the same way that I can a big project.

I've thought about several things, I'd love to do a monotone cross stitch, and a fairytale cross stitch (I'm a bit of fan) and have thought about combining the two. The trouble is, I'm fussy. There are hundreds if not thousands of kits and charts that encompass these things, but I lack the time to search through so many for the perfect one. The more I stitch, the fussier I've become.

The other problem is that while I could buy a kit, I do have the Royal School of Needlework's cross stitch software DVD. I have used this to create all of my cross stitch jewellery and keyring/magnet designs, as well as a few cards and bookmarks, but I feel that it's time to challenge myself, time for something bigger. In short, I'd like to create my chart to stitch.

The problem with that is where to start. Do I design a whole kit myself from scratch? while part of me would love to, I am a just a little bit scared of the notion. I have little confidence in my skill to do such a thing, as there are smaller designs that I have struggled to design. Part of the trouble is that those designs have to be small, and in fact something larger may be easier, but to get the level of detail required I would need to be able to design from a very zoomed in level. I simply don't have the time to try and create my own chart from scratch, and I have absolutely no idea where to start.

Luckily (perhaps) I would also like to stitch something a bit more personal to me. I love landscapes, but often struggle to find ones that I like from the kits commonly available, yet I go walking regularly, especially in the Peak District, and have plenty of beautiful photos that I could convert. The trouble is, detail is lost in cross stitch, so a photograph of a beautiful view loses it's impact. I need a picture with a beautiful view, and something beautiful in the foreground. In short, I need to be looking for a scene to stitch when out walking.

This happened on Sunday. I was walking with Chris and some of our friends near Langsett Reservoir wen we stopped for lunch on the river bank. It was perfect. The rocky river bed and blue pool (thanks to the skies reflection, then water was actually brown, stained by the peat it of the moors). There was a few trees in the mid-ground, and hills in the background, all complimented by bracken and beautiful flowering heather. However, now I've just sat and looked through all of the photos I've narrowed it down to four, and here's where I need your help. Please comment below with your favourite and I'll use the overall favourite!

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Thanks for looking!

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Friday, 7 September 2012

Friday Finds: Science Geekery!

In my day job I am a scientist. I either call myself a cell biologist(as I grow up cells in a clean room) or a Production Assistant (which is actually my job title, as we're a production lab and have created cell banks - frozen vials of cells - for potential clinic therapeutics developed either by academic researchers, or more likely, by pharmaceutical companies). I really like growing cells for a living, it's very satisfying when they are growing well (although equally disheartening when they aren't). Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about work recently as one of my colleagues in our close knit team (we're more like friends really) is leaving soon for a new job in NHS. Naturally we're all sad to see her go, yet happy for her as her new job is a good opportunity, and is permanent (we are all on contracts based on grant money). All of this has inspired me to base today's Friday Finds blog post on Science geekery, especially biology/ chemistry, as that's what we all do! Anyway, here's some of my favourites!

One of the tests we do for our cells is Karyotyping (looking at the chromosomes to check that the genetics are normal), which is why I love this pillow by dirtsa studio. Don't forget to check out the female version too!

If it's chemistry that gets you going, (or chocolate) then check out Off The Wall Expression's periodic table wall art. With a range of colours and styles you can choose the perfect word and style for your room.

Yes, the science geekery joke makes all us scientists groan, but that doesn't stop us enjoying all the daft science jokes there are! This magnet by PiTHiTuDE is a fabulous geeky adornment for fridges in science labs everywhere!
 Show off some scientific girl power with this gorgeous vintage coloured set of coasters by Eaves Made, portraying 6 women who have made breakthroughs, or are very important in the scientific world for the work they've done.

I love these conical flask vases from Barawen Vintage. It's a different take on a piece of kit every lab based scientist has used, and will brighten up any windowsill.

If you're one of those people whose experiments always seem to go wrong (that'll be most of us, then) check out Crazy Dog Tshirts before you go and try science! After all, that's what us scientists are constantly doing!

Happy Shopping

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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Hardanger Finish!

A while ago I decided to try my skills at hardanger, an embroidery technique that involves leaving cut out squares. In my previous post Stitches past, I mentioned that I was busy working on Purple Delight, a kit which my sister gave me for Christmas last year. Having spend a lot of time designing and making jewellery and accessories for my Etsy Shop, I haven't had much time to fit in my own personal projects, but I am very pleased to announce the completion of one of them! What do you think?

It was nice learning new stitches as my experience is mostly with cross stitch and back stitch, but this piece encompassed embroidery techniques, such as the tulip, along with new stitches such as the Algerian eye and spider stitch. I really enjoyed working on this, and I love how the bead detail adds a touch of shine.

It was, however, fairly fiddly to cut out the even weave threads having completed the panel stitching around it. it would probably have been easier if I'd bought special hardanger scissors, rather than struggling and persevering with my embroidery scissors, but I am pleased with the effect overall.

The fabric I used was 22 count (stitches per inch) even weave, and this was the first time I stitched onto anything that wasn't Aida. As the cross stitches are over 2 threads it equates to an 11count Aida(the smallest I've worked on to date is 18count Aida). It has given me a strong desire to try a cross stitch piece on an even smaller count, and I'm currently considering whether to buy another kit or convert a photograph/picture to make my own chart.

The threads were also DMC Perle threads, rather than embroidery floss. They were thicker and spun in a way more similar to wool, although they were as smooth as embroidery floss. I really enjoyed working with new materials, stitches, and techniques. It has defiantly inspired me try out more new things!

Happy Stitching

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