Sunday, 29 June 2008

Bold as brass?

I went to a real life auction last week and bid on a mixed lot of brass. I particularly wanted the chestnut roaster as we have an open fire and had to improvise with a frying pan last year when my son bought chestnuts!

I'm gradually working out what to do with the other items, some will go to ebay but others are destined to be upcycled.

So far I have a few pots of flowers which used to be ashtrays!

I have 5 or 6 similar mystery items. They clearly are a set, and have a wrong and right side. They look as if they're intended to have something threaded through them (right hand pic) yet they also have a place to attach a "something" on the right side (left hand pic)
Anyone know what they are? They're around 3" in diameter, and around an inch deep, rising to a point. At the moment I see them as miniature hanging baskets!
Just realised I forgot to mention what I paid...£5!!! ($10)

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Another morning, another prize...

Have I mentioned I love those Etsy competitions?

This morning a package came from , a fantastic selection of vintage knitting and crochet patterns to add to my collection. I always find them fascinating, they're a real glimpse of life in the past, and a reminder that there's very little new under the sun. I've already spotted a very nice little shrug, which people are telling us is brand new fashion!
To win the prize I had to tell a silly story...if you want to read the entries, go and have a look at

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

I've won AGAIN!!!

I love those Etsy promotions!

The postman brought me a package this morning from Sara at Sara'sTextureCrafts.

I'd won first prize in her blog competition!
My entry had commented on her felt scene earrings, which I love. They have a real feel of the ocean about them. Anyway - back to my prize!! Here it is: a lovely felted embellished heart filled with lavender - gorgeous and very calming. Thanks Sara! I've got those earrings in my sights....

Monday, 23 June 2008


Goodness what a day! I can't imagine how the actual stallholders kept going all day, the euphoria of meeting minikezz and buying from Birchtree

was almost too much for me...
Roll on the next wemake!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

piggy tails...

You know those farm animals I was making? (ok, so that means you're NOT a loyal reader if you don't...go back and look at the pic LOL)

Well, the piggy tails got me thinking

and then I thought of the lovely yarn my son and DiL gave me for my birthday...

and here is the result...

I really like the result - anyone at Wemake the same time as me tomorrow will be able to recognise me by it!!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam

Who else can sing along to the Python folk's wonderful Spam song?

*bloody vikings*

Well, today's spam is slightly different. I was wondering what to blog about and checked my work email whilst pondering...problem solved. btw...I haven't deleted my name for privacy, I was simply addressed as "Dear Mr" (and I always thought I was a girly!)

Dear Mr

I have the honour to request from your valuable personality.
In fact I come from the Ivory Coast (Abidjan) and I appoint HUBERSON I gained a very good foundation in the field of football through the center of high-level training IMPERIAL FOOTBALL CLUB with whom I have evolved over six years. I am now looking for someone who can help me and with whom I would like to take new steps, discover new horizons.
I am but preferably versatile defender and attacker (No. 5 & 11).
I am a fairly complete player, and you would have the opportunity to discover all my athletic qualities. I am ready to give the best of myself and put all my skills at your disposal if you give me the opportunity. By informing you that I am somewhat put you in touch with my training centre for further information.
My performances:
Field of view games
Masters Ball
Good edge speed
You can write me.


Please accept the spirit of my highest consideration and hope to meet with you.


Noted: I am a very good player and available for the evolution of your team thank you.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Create an Inexpensive Photography Lightbox - wikiHow

My task for Friday is to create a lightbox - and this is how I'm going to do it.

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Good jewelry and close-up photography requires good lighting. However, being able to light a piece properly to show the true color and beauty of it can be difficult. A light box is a great solution. It provides light diffusion and a uniform background against which to place your piece. They can be expensive though. There is a solution, costing as little as $2 (or free if you already have all the materials), using a cardboard box, poster board and some tissue paper. This light box can be used with any light source, and even outdoors.


  1. Choose a box appropriate for the size of the objects you will photograph. You may find that you need to make boxes in various sizes.
  2. Secure the bottom of the box with packing tape. Use more packing tape to secure the bottom flaps inside. This will keep them out of the way.
  3. Lay the box on its side, with the opening facing you.
  4. Mark lines about 1 inch (2.54 cm) inside each edge of the box on each side and on the top. A standard 12" (30 cm) ruler makes the perfect straight edge and is the right width.
  5. Using the box cutter, carefully cut along the lines you drew. You can use the ruler as a straight edge to guide your cut. It is not necessary to get the cuts absolutely straight. Notice that the flaps on the front of the box have been left on for now to add stability and make it easier to cut. You may find that taping the front flaps shut makes it easier to cut.
  6. Cut the front flaps off with a box cutter.
  7. Cut a section of tissue paper large enough to fit over each of the openings you cut. Then tape it to the outside of the box using cellophane tape. Start with one layer of tissue paper. After completing the box and making some test shots, you may find that you need additional layers of tissue paper to achieve the right lighting.
  8. Use your box cutter and scissors to remove any stray pieces of cardboard from the front edge of the box.
  9. Cut a piece of matte white poster board to fit the inside of your box. The piece should be in the shape of a rectangle, with the width being the same as a side of the box, but the length being twice as long.
  10. Insert the poster board into the box, curving it up towards the top of the box. Curve it gently; don't crease it. Trim it if necessary. This will create an infinite, edgeless look for the background of your shots.
  11. Cut matte black poster board in sections large enough to cover the tissue paper areas. This will allow you to block light from certain directions when taking photographs.
  12. Add your lighting. Photo lights, flashes, and even standard desk lamps can be placed on either side or above the box to produce the desired lighting effect.
  13. Take some test shots as you go to see how well your tissue paper filters and diffuses the light. Add layers of tissue paper as needed. This photo was taken in the example light box, and is not retouched (other than cropping). Now go start taking great photos!


  • Make sure to use matte and not glossy poster board. Glossy poster board can reflect the light and cause glare.
  • Try other colors of poster board and even fabric to achieve the desired effect.
  • You may find that removing the bottom of the box makes it easier to just drop the light box over your subject.
  • If you take shots straight down from above, cut the bottom of the box like the sides and top, and cover with tissue paper. Then set the box open side down and cut a lens sized hole in what is now the top of the box. That way you can lay out your subject on a piece of white matte cardboard, then drop the box over it, and shoot the photograph through the hole.
  • If your camera has one, learn how to use its "custom white balance" (WB) feature--this can make all the difference when shooting items in this fashion.


  • Be careful with the box cutter. It's hard to take photos without fingers! Always cut away from yourself and from your hands.
  • Make sure lights don't start a fire!

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard box (size will depend on what you are shooting)
  • 2-4 sheets of white tissue paper
  • 1 piece of matte white poster board
  • 1 piece of matte black poster board
  • Scotch tape
  • Packing tape
  • 12" (30 cm) ruler
  • pencil or pen
  • Scissors
  • Box cutter

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Create an Inexpensive Photography Lightbox. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Farm shop time?

I'm still working on being brave enough to go to the local organic farm (just down the lane from me) and ask them for space to sell my toys. They have diversified into butchery and sell their own meat, sausages (which are absolutely scrummy) and even make cheese, and do have a few other complementary items for sale such as local honey.

So...I've been building a stock of farm-compatible knits. I didn't want to be in the position of them saying yes, and me replying "Ok, I'll just go and knit something!"

So - pigs, cows, sheep, dogs, cats ... and for the non-Kent-dwellers, those little cylindrical things are Oast houses.

Some of the animals featured in the photos of my scarecrow (listed yesterday) cos it seemed apt! Maybe I'll ask if they'd like one of him.

Now I just have to work out what to go for - consignment or wholesale?
There was a really useful thread on Etsy about this dilemma, lots of great info especially from CricketsCreations.

So many helpful folk on Etsy, aren't there? I thought it would be a good idea to put a different range in the farmshop (if indeed they'll take anything at all!) then there won't be a pricing issue. I can pop a card in with each toy so people can check out my other stuff if they want to.

*fingers crossed!*

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The postman has cometh!

I finally gave in and bought keepsakekatie's lovely meadow bracelet a few days ago. I'd been admiring it for AGES and she wasn't helping by using it as her avatar!

When I discovered that she was offering a prize to her 20th customer I was, of course, completely sunk and the purchase was made. It came today and is absolutely gorgeous. I won't demean it with one of my own photos - look at it here.

Beautiful, isn't it? Katie also sent me a goodybag with another bracelet, a ring and a pair of earrings, and some lovely tiny heart beads. I wonder what she'll offer for her 50th sale? ;-)

I love ETSY!!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Blog list

I've added the beginnings of a blog list today. I often read people's blogs when they link to them on the forums, but then never remember where they were! Perhaps this'll help me to be more systematic. Please send me a link if you think yours would be of interest to me :-)

Saturday, 14 June 2008

YaY! My prize has arrived!

I'm a great fan of competitions, and always enter the ones I find on Etsy's Promotions threads. The lovely BecharmedStudio ran one recently see entries here and I was the lucky winner! I've put the pendant on an adaptable silver plated chain so that I can wear it any length I choose. It also looks great on a ribbon *choices choices*. The silver puss is set on a coloured glass background, and looks lovely with the light on it.

Actually, I don't know why I'm encouraging you all to enter competitions - I'm reducing my chances of winning! If you're quick you can catch my Cat treasury in honour of my prize and my ex-cat, Tom.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Big bird...

No, not the yellow one on Sesame Street!

We like feeding the birds - but I must admit when I saw this one from my window I really hoped she did NOT try to land on the bird table!
We've often heard peacocks in the area, and had previously seen a male displaying from a garage roof, but hadn't seen his albino wife before.
Daft, but I hadn't realised they flew...though I suppose she could have climbed?
And no...I am NOT going to knit one!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

I've won!

Yes, I'm the proud winner of an Etsy promotion. I selected this week's featured items in The Woody Nook, I'm so excited! I can't wait to receive my prize :-)

I'm really pleased to have my selection chosen, because I do feel they show off Woody Nook's range (and I specially love the colours in that Renaissance Necklace)

Looking back at just over a month of Etsy-ness, I'm quite staggered at how many new (to me) crafts I've learnt about. I've discovered an entirely new genre of Jewelry (well, unknown to me):Steampunk (see earlier blogs), a shop specialising in making wondrous things from sweet wrappers Candy Calamity
a seller making funky jewelry from teeny tiny light bulbs (or so it seems to me!)
Strawberry Anarchy and the most fantastic not-artificial-at-all french beaded flowers from Forever Flowers.

I wonder I've got time to knit!

Friday, 6 June 2008

A window closes, a new door opens...

A good friend quoted that to me yesterday when I told her I'd resigned my teaching post. I've been off sick for ages and thought I was about to go back...but no. The moment I went through the door, the stress returned and I started shaking.

So - where's that door?

I'm hoping that my knitting will open a few doors.

Here's one:
I was thrilled (and scared stiff!) to be asked for wholesale prices recently by a store in the USA, and this has made me determined to approach some local shops.

You may remember a previous blog where I said a local paper were going to feature me? Well, I put that on hold because I didn't think it would go down too well with my day job employer...but I don't have a day job now, so I will get back in touch with the paper.

And of course - the wonderful ETSY

I was just checking out the ETSY forums and read Spiffing Jewelry's blog , a very funny story about a random person in an internet cafe (read her blog to find out more!)

This reminded me of my sinful past knitting certain TV inspired toys ;-) and one day finding one when googling - OMG that's MINE I shrieked. (You were probably wondering what you'd heard?)

So here it is!

Monday, 2 June 2008

More steampunk :-D

With all the excitement of my birthday pics I forgot to tell you about my pressies!
Number one son and his lovely girlfriend added to my yarn stash with some fine rainbow yarn, not sure what I'm ging to do with it yet but it crochets well. They also scoured etsy for a new steampunk necklace YAY!
Isn't it cute? I love dragonflies, so dragonfly + steampunk is awesome.

Number two son is a musician, so he compiled me a cd of lots of favourites including a track by his band
A Scandal in Bohemia which we listened to all the way home from Brighton.

My baby girl is studying for her uni finals, so her pressie will wait until she's finished (Yay, another birthday!)

And Mr Nifty bought me a huge box of Thorntons Continental - we've finally found a box of chockies with minimal nuts - I'm not allergic, I just don't like them, so usually everyone else gets to eat most of my chockies.
Not fair :-(

Update on my young footballing neighbour...still no banging on the fence. Best £7 ever spent!