Saturday, 27 February 2010

Meerkats and Flutterbutts like to party!

We didn't really need an excuse, but we had two:
It was nearly time for Tzipi to move on to her next host Nathalie and of course it's results night for Harry Hill Meerkat, we decided it was definitely time to party!



Tzipi was thrilled when she discovered another flutterbutt guest, and was pleased to meet some more new friends: Mermaid, Froglet and TinyTweet.
Chef Meerkat had prepared a feast with the help of our good friend PaisleyChainsaw, ably assisted by the Pilgrim Father who discovered hidden talents as a waiter.

Soon though, it was time to settle down in front of the TV to watch Harry Hill's TV Burp. It was time to discover whether Harry Hill Meerkat had been voted through to the not-live finals of the K Factor!

Tzipi gave Harry a final "good luck" hug (she had to stand on a box because he's 10" tall!)...



...and then they all watched the show. The meerkat mob completely forgot their manners, so it was a good thing Tzipi was still on her box!



So who will go through?



Which knitted Harry Hill is going to the not-live final?



WOOHOO!

Harry Hill Meerkat #1 is still at theTV studio, but if you'd like your own 10" tall TV star, he's available in Niftyknits.folksy and Niftyknits.etsy

Friday, 26 February 2010

Harry Hill Meerkat in the paper!

I can only apologise for what the scanner does to your eyesight! Click on the pics to enlarge the text to readable proportions, and see if you can find three factual errors! (I'll give you a hint: my clock must have stopped!)





Thursday, 25 February 2010

Tzipi goes to the seaside



Tzipi went to Historic Deal, on the south coast of England. Deal is famous for many reasons, not least for being the birthplace of NiftyKnits. Deal's motto (Nifty didn't know this!) is appropriately : "ADJUVATE ADVENAS" which means "Befriend the Stranger".



As a child Nifty liked to explore the dark tunnels in Deal Castle and climb on the cannons, so that's where we went.



In these days of health and safety the tunnels are probably floodlit now, and the cannons barricaded off, so it's maybe just as well that the castle is still closed for winter!



We headed down to the beach after snapping some souvenir pics. It was pretty windy so Tzipi was glad of her new sweater.

Another of Nifty's favourite childhood pastimes was hunting for emeralds and diamonds on the beach, so we were very pleased when Tzipi spotted an emerald. It matches her eyes, look! (Adults sometimes call these beach finds sea-glass, but children and flutterbutts know better)



We walked along the beach until we came to the Time Ball. I've mentioned before that I used to think all towns had a time ball, but in fact they're very rare.



No trip to Deal is complete without a walk along the pier, so that's where we headed next.



Look out! Is this another Health and Safety opportunity?





We ended our day with a cuppa at Nifty's aunty's house. We'd had Health and Safety risks enough by now, but even remembering that Tzipi's mother Sharona of Raisinlike.etsy had warned that flutterbutts were a wolf delicacy, we decided to risk a snuggle with the toy dog!



Tzipi is staying with Niftyknits for a few days more, she wants to be at her side when watching Harry Hill's TV show on Saturday - will knitted Harry Hill Meerkat get through to the final???? Keep track of her adventures at Sharona's blog.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Tzipi has arrived!

Following hot on the heels of the Meerkat World Tour is Tzipi the World Travelling Flutterbutt!

I was thrilled to be chosen to be Tzipi's first host, and even more thrilled when she arrived yesterday! She was immediately the centre of attention:



The girls would not tolerate being shoved aside by the boys (actually, I think they were a little jealous) so they took Tzipi outside for a kickabout.



Wonderwoman played on oblivious as poor Tzipi whispered in Alice's ear that she didn't feel well. Alice and Pat took her in to see Matron:



but the prognosis was good. Young Flutterbutts need their sleep, especially after travelling, so Matron prescribed a good night's sleep - but only after selecting some yarn for her new sweater, ready for tomorrow's adventure. I wonder which colour she chose?



Don't miss tomorrow's installment: Tzipi's trip to the seaside!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

This is ... Kirsten Miller



of QuernusCrafts.co.uk and www.QuernusCrafts.folksy.com

Favourite colour?

Can I have more than one? Blues and purples and all shades in between.

Favourite smell?

Honeysuckle c.1975 (I’ve never found a honeysuckle plant that smells as good as it did then…)

Favourite place?

A beautiful retreat centre in the heart of the North California redwood forests. It’s the most magical place on the planet.



Favourite sound?

The drone of bees and the far away hum of a lawnmower on a lazy summer afternoon

Favourite way to spend your time?

Sitting at the kitchen table trying out new designs, and seeing what, or who, wants to be created next!

Favourite item in your shop of all time?

So many of my favourite things haven’t actually made it to my shop as they have been commissions received direct through my website! So, the favourite item in my shop is Valentine Kitten



and the favourite item on my website (so far) is Wee Donk



(I’m also very fond of my custom wee horses



– I started making these in December 2009 when I was asked if I could make up a horse to look like a real one. These wee horses made an appearance on a horsey forum, and since then I’ve had a constant stream of people ordering wee horses!)

Why?

Valentine Kitten has just a cute expression on his face that you just can’t help falling in love with him! And as for Wee Donk, I used a blending technique to get the airbrushed effect for the grey and white clays, and this gives him such a soft, fuzzy look! And the way he looks at you with his head tilted to one side – he’s just too cute!


I'd have to agree with you there (says Nifty)


Favourite shop that isn’t yours?

Oooh, this is a difficult one – there are so many beautiful shops out there! I love Aileen Clarke Crafts, and I also think that Selki’s shop, I Belong To Turtle is just fab!

Why?

Aileen Clarke’s felt landscapes are just gorgeous, with her shop is full of beautiful rich colours and stunning photographs. She also has loads more pictures of her work on Flickr.

Nifty adds: Aileen's shop was new to me. the landscapes are gorgeous, but I could gaze at her Textile Seascape for ages!



As for It Belongs To Turtle, I love the narrative, the simple but gorgeous pictures, and visiting this shop always makes me smile! How can anyone resist this cute little giraffe?



What has been the most useful lesson you’ve learnt so far that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

It’s so important to have good photographs of your work – invest in a daylight simulation bulb (you can buy low energy ones for under £10) and free photo editing software (Picasa is very easy to use) to do this cheaply and effectively.

Also, when writing up a description of your work, of course you’ve got to include the technical stuff, but make sure your own personality shines through as well – a great example of this is Sakura Jewellery who is just so good at writing beguiling and enticing descriptions which beautifully match her jewellery.

Thirdly, don’t undervalue your work. Price it at a realistic level and people will respect that. Too cheap, and your work just won’t be valued as much as it deserves.

Wow - great interview Kirsten. I love how you've been so generous with the name-dropping, I'm sure I'm not the only one who now has several new stores to check out!

Most important links today though are:


QuernusCrafts.co.uk and www.QuernusCrafts.folksy.com

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Meerkat Harry Hill on UK TV!



Finally my secret is out! Harry Hill's TV show is holding a knitting competition - the K factor.

This is what they said: "If you think you’ve got the K Factor, email in a photo of your knitted item and we’ll choose our favourites to feature on the show each week.
You’ll be able to vote for your favourite each week and the overall winner of the K Factor Final at the end of the series will take home 8 balls of wool, a TV Burp book and DVD, a bag of Harry’s Nuts, your very own knitted character and the coveted K Factor Trophy. "

I sent in a photo of my Harry Hill Meerkat, designed and knitted by me:



Last week's winner was the fabulous Tommy Trundle, designed by Alan Dart, this week they chose to feature just knitted Harry Hills...and I received a request to send in my little knitted chappy! Here he is on the sofa with lots of other knitted Harry Hills and knitted Holly Willoughby.



I'm told the video is only viewable by UK residents, but as soon as I spot it on youtube I will post a link!


Please vote for me, Heather Leavers! Voting closes on Tuesday 23rd.

I've already received requests from fans of Harry Hill and meerkats, so expect to see him coming to my shops soon!

Niftyknits.etsy.com
Niftyknits.folksy.com

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Meerkat World Tour Update!

Guest blogger today is Jaci, from ByTheWay, Etta's latest host.

Etta Meerkat finally arrived at the crossroad of America - Indiana! After a good night’s sleep to recover from the trip here, Etta and I headed to the gym to work out our kinks!



big weights for a tiny meerkat!



Good view from up here!



This wall sitting is giving me the shakes!



finally - relaxing!

After we went grocery shopping, we looked through a box of doll clothes from my childhood that my dad had sent home with me. We found a half finished skirt that had been used for my Midge doll (Barbie’s best friend) and cut it up to make a vintage apron. Etta needed one for the evening ahead!

As I spent the afternoon working on getting my listings done, Etta went exploring in my ‘stash’.



She found my dishes and knickknacks and was very careful to not knock anything over. Next, like any good woman, she checked out the shoes,



then played for a while in the boxes.



Then it was time for a nap before heading out for the evening.

We were in charge of cooking pancakes and sausages for 75 people! Etta was really looking forward to seeing all the kids, but we were so busy in the kitchen that she never got out into the dining room.



Doesn't Etta look cute in her apron?



After dinner, Etta assisted me at the piano for choir rehearsal . She was so happy to find something in the choir room from her homeland ! I had to explain to her that it wasn’t *from* London, but she was still happy.



After reading one of her favorite bedtime stories (a vintage copy of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”), Etta got a good night’s rest before taking off on the next leg of her journey – to the great state of New York! Stay tuned for further adventures!

Thanks Jaci -another great adventure for a tiny meerkat! Find more on the Meerkat World Tour Facebook page

and don't forget if you liked the look of something you spotted in Jaci's cupboard, her shops can be found here:
bytheway
bythewayside
bytheby

Friday, 19 February 2010

This is…

Quite Contrary Crafts



Favourite colour?

Aquaramarine blue – love the green hints in it!

Favourite smell?

Chocolate brownie baking in the oven



Favourite place?

Thailand, on a deserted island beach at sunset

Favourite sound?

the waves at night when you’re going to sleep

Favourite way to spend your time?



Creating at ‘Craft Corner’ bent over my cutting board…perhaps with boyfriend on hand with cups of tea (I wish, hehe), or out and about in the great outdoors!

Favourite item in your shop of all time?

My cupcake card



Why?

It just makes me feel cheery whenever I see it at the end of creation, think it’s the combination of bright colours…and cake!

Favourite shop that isn’t yours?

This is such a hard question!

Lauren Ceramics' Handmade Ceramic Cupcake Pin Cushion



Why?

I’ve totally fallen in love with her ceramic cupcake; not only is it beautiful, but it’s functional too as a needle cushion! Her other items are really interesting too – different twists on normal items, such as her pen holders with little buttons as details. A lot of hard work obviously goes into it all, and I’m in awe basically! Just waiting for the right ‘icing’ on the cupcake to come along and then I’ll be grabbing myself a treat! I just find it really interesting to see how vast a span Folksy covers on all things handmade, ranging from stationery like myself, to jewellery, wooden delights, lovely warm knitted nick-nacks and kiln creations – I love it, and you never get bored browsing!

What has been the most useful lesson you’ve learnt so far that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Promote, promote and promote! Never give up, and you’ll reap the benefits in the future (I’m hoping!)



I couldn't agree more - so let's check out these links:

Quite Contrary Crafts at Folksy

www.facebook.com/quitecontrarycrafts

and

www.twitter.com/quitecontrarym

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Live and let live?

After two upbeat blog posts about the power of the forums yesterday and Tuesday and the amazing Twitter response to the Paperchase debacle last weekend I am changing tack somewhat!

Viewers of a nervous disposition might want to hide behind the sofa ;-)



Back in another lifetime I was a teacher, moving between a number of schools on temporary contracts. Time after time, at the end of a particular topic a colleague would say something like "Oh, didn't you use the *super-deluxe-resource-that-we-forgot-to-tell-you-about*?"

No I didn't.

Why not?

Because I didn't know it existed.

Why didn't you ask where it was?

Because I didn't know the school had one.

Why didn't you ask if the school had one?

Because I didn't know there was such a thing.



This is why I, and many others, continue to offer unsolicited advice on the forums. Not because we're the folksy forum police, not because we want to be supernanny, but because we want to help even when (and maybe especially when) people don't know the questions.

Why throw out the baby with the bathwater?

I'm not expecting any comments today, but please don't push people away who are trying to help Folksy grow into a more productive marketplace.