Friday, 30 April 2010

OMG I'm a magazine cover girl!

No, not the adorable baby - that's me in the bottom left corner!

I'll show you a pic of the double page spread, but you'll need to buy it to read the article ;-) Doesn't it look brilliant? I'm over the moon - big thanks to Kerry of Popular Crafts!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Caterpillar Cleverness!

Back in September I blogged about some tiny caterpillars I'd seen that seemed to be camping out:

Yesterday we were in the same spot - my how they've grown!

The wardens have now helpfully put up some information posters, so I now know they are Brown Tail Moths who very cleverly lay their eggs in webs so that they can overwinter and be first to nibble the lush spring growth. (They can cause allergic reactions, so be careful when inspecting them!)

The other interesting fact I learnt was that most birds can't eat them, only cuckoos. Ideal for raising baby cuckoos, I thought..and then remembered that cuckoos abandon their eggs to be fostered by other birds...who can't tolerate the caterpillars. So Mother Nature has arranged for greedy neglectful cuckoo parents to feast, whilst foster parents have to raise the baby cuckoos amidst an abundance of food that they can't collect. Bizarre.

I *might* be overthinking this...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Yay me, I won a giveaway! Jordan of The Art of Jordan has sent me two of her lovely Art cards all the way from Australia! It's silly, but somehow it's way more exciting to win from far away, it makes me feel quite exotic!

Jordan can be found here:
and on Etsy - she's got a fabulous style, join me in adding her to your favourites?

I absolutely love the little handstitched "THX!" tag she attached to the package, I wonder if it's copyright? ;-)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Let's catch up with Alchemy

Long long ago, in a galaxy far away (whoops, that's wrong!)

Back in November two little meerkats left Niftyknits in Kent UK for an amazing adventure!

Etta's adventure finished recently, and she's gone to a new home with all her lovely souvenirs.

Treasure's adventure came to rather an impasse - she's lost somewhere in Europe :-(

Her adventure was continued by Alchemy. With me so far?

Alchemy started his adventure with MyMothersGarden in Florida

I was so surprised to hear that while Alchemy helped Karrita at a craft fair they met a customer who ALREADY knew about the world tour! Amazing. Wish I was as famous as those meerkats!

From Florida, Alchemy went to Virginia, to visit TeresasPrimTreasures. They had a lot of fun, and Alchemy left with a new handmade sleeping bag.

Onwards - this time to Michigan. Alchemy went on a sightseeing tour of Detroit with LeapingGazelle

Next stop Minnesota! Alchemy got up to all sorts of mischief at the farm with GloriousHats and even enjoyed maple syrup straight from the farm! Don't you love her fascinator?

Alchemy studied basketmaking with Pamela. The tiny basket she is wearing is also available from PurpleToedGypsy, but that one will be in the giveaway.

By now it was Easter, so Alchemy went Easter egg hunting with KimsCraftyApple

Alchemy's next stop was filled with extreme sports, enough to make a mother's heart quake! Waterrose took him out into the Arizona desert, where even sitting down looked pretty scary!

Right now Alchemy is en route to Las Vegas, to meet up with Fishstikks - goo luck little meerkat! Just a few more stops then it will be time to come home to the UK, for a last hug with Mum before your giveaway.

To make sure you don't miss the giveaway, become a fan of the World Tour Meerkats on facebook or sign up for my newsletter.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Local paper says Goodbye to Etta

Many thanks to Etteam for their support, and to Sandie of ZaftigDelights and KnitzyBlonde for the photo of Etta on her surfboard, taken from her blog post about Etta's Christmas in California.

My next blog post will hopefully catch us up to date with Alchemy's advetures, poor Alchemy has been a little neglected by me!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

This is ... Lauren

of Leaping Gazelle Studios, whose shop leapinggazelle is on

whisper tulip

Favourite colour?

I used to be a very monochromatic person, a “lose myself in the variations of white” kind of person. Then my daughter was born. From little on she gravitated toward color, every color all at once, the more the better! So she added color to my world. And now I can’t imagine being the person I was. Right now I’m really into sea tones... blue, aqua, teal.

glass reflections

Favourite smell?

I love the smell of spring, when the snow is melting and the ground is thawing, after all of the false starts and surprise storms, when you know it’s finally the real deal... so fresh. Close seconds are coffee, chocolate and vanilla.

Favourite place?

Anywhere my family is. As a journalist I covered a lot of tough stories and it really hit home with me how fleeting life is, so I try to take some time each day to really enjoy the moments of now. And that's a challenge for me, to not always be thinking about future plans.

carmel crocus

Favourite way to spend your time?

Creating! That feeling of losing yourself in an idea, not knowing where it will take you. Some of of my best creations have been happy accidents.

deep roots tree

Favourite item in your shop of all time?

Usually whatever I’ve just finished, if that’s possible. Is anything ever really finished? I’m into some of the dreamier looks right now. I love to make focal pieces that someone could design a room around, that might add a pop of color to a very minimalist setting.

Favourite shop that isn’t yours? Christine Lindstrom’s watercolors are so beautiful and elegant to me.

I especially like one entitled “Delicate.”

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

You don’t have to do it all at once! Okay, I’m still learning this one. It can be overwhelming, first to send your work into the world, and then to realize the amount of time spent on business and marketing. I make lists of long term goals, but try to please both sides of my brain. Every day I work on one avenue to forward my business and one new creative idea... if there’s more time and inspiration, that’s great, but one of each is the must-do. I’ve discovered I accomplish more by focusing on small daily goals. I’m a much saner person too.

Thank you Lauren! I want to close by quoting from Lauren's Etsy profile, as I think it explains her Art:

things I love:

the stillness of morning
the color of autumn
reflections in water
words that resonate through time
hands that have lived and worked and loved
a good cup of coffee
the smell of vanilla
my children's giggles

Find Lauren's shop here:leapinggazelle

Friday, 23 April 2010

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Fan mail!

Remember the Harry Hill show? One of my younger fans honoured me with a request for an autograph - how could I refuse?

I got home today after a stressful few days away to find this (click the image to enlarge):

Isn't that great? Turns out my young friend is in the online selling business himself, designing greeting cards for his mum's shop.

Thank YOU Tom, you made my day!

Monday, 19 April 2010

So who are you voting for?

Yes, it's that time again.

The UK will vote!

But who for?

We asked our leading politicians to share a few soundbites:

My Guest blogger yesterday started up a campaign group for Harry Hill Meerkat, check it out here.

If you have a question for one of the meerkat politicians, please leave it in a comment and I will try to persuade them to answer ;-)

Or if you'd like your own politician, find them in my Zibbet shop

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Guest blogger "Sewheather" and Harry Hill Meerkat for PM!

Another first for Niftyknits - my very first Guest Blogger: may I introduce SewHeather who I met through her Folksy Shop Heather (I should point out it's not essential to be named Heather to post here!) also has her own blog here. Over to SewHeather:

I've been an avid follower of NiftyKnits for a little while now, I followed heart in mouth, as Harry Hill Meerkat was pipped to the post - and yes I did vote. I still think that HHM was the coolest knitted creature. Anyhow no sour grapes, knitted or otherwise.

I'm a relative newbie to both knitting and blogging and I came across Heather's blog via her Folksy page. I'm not sure whether Heathers navigate together because of some magnetic force, or whether we're just a crafty bunch and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

I was introduced to knitting aged 7 by my maternal grandmother, who guided me through a rather moth eaten scarf with pom poms, which ended up on my teddy. Well at least he was warm! Since then I've tended to gravitate towards sewn goods, until lately when my passion for knitting was reignited by a rather lovely Martha Stewart pattern for a knitted scarflette, you can see the finished article here

A lovely colleague held my hand, knitting along with me and ribbing me (pun intended) for referring to 'sew one, pearl one' instead of 'knit one, pear one'. Old habits die hard!

I'm happy to report that my scarflette contains no holes and is only mildly wonky. My confidence is much boosted and I already have my next project in mind, a lovely knitted tea cosy from Prima (link)

Since my passion has been reignited I've discovered that I love the way simple stitches can be used to create beautiful forms, I've dug out some photos of knitted sculptural peices to illustrate my point:

Patricia Brown,
Knitted installation:

Knitted urchins:

Shane Waltener:
Installation at the V&A

Ruth Lee:
Knitted sponge:

Finally I hope that I've lived up to my duties as guest blogger, in honour of my host I've set up a Facebook group, as I'd like to nominate Harry Hill Meerkat for PM: the link is!/group.php?gid=110088975693847

Back to NiftyKnits: Thank you Heather, it's been fun having you here! I love the installations, they are completely new to me. I have of course joined the group. Just to remind you all, Heather's folksy shop is here and her blog is here.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Niftyknits in Yarn Forward magazine!

I was browsing magazines while Mr Nifty bought a paper - Yarn Forward caught my eye.

I looked inside...

I know those sheep!

Yarn Forward commissioned the pattern a while ago, the very first NiftyKnits pattern to be published - doesn't it look fab? It's the June issue, available now (as I can prove!) If you can't wait, I have lambs available from my shops on Etsy, Folksy and Zibbet.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Bye bye Etta

One last hug from Mum, then off she goes into her travelling box to her new home, with all the other lovely goodies.

Congratulations to Quincifer of Purple Schmurple Jewellery

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

World Tour Meerkat Giveaway

Etta is home!

If you haven't caught up yet, here's Etta's map

Here are all her souvenirs that you could win :-)

Now just come over to our Etteam blog and enter the giveaway: Click Here

Monday, 5 April 2010

Meerkat World Tour Giveaway!

Finally, little Etta has arrived home from her epic adventure and we are ready for the GIVEAWAY!

Although Etta was very pleased to see her Mum again, after her adventures she's eager to set off travelling again, this time to a new permanent home!

One lucky winner, to be decided by, will win not just Etta but every single one of her souvenirs, pictured and listed below!

Etta is peeping out from her Travel bag from KnitzyBlonde and modelling a pair of human earrings from ZaftigDelights

Etta loves a bedtime story, so here is a vintage Peter Rabbit book and apron from ByTheWayside

Etta will bring her surfboard and bikini from ZaftigDelights for when you visit the beach.

You always need greeting cards, so Etta will bring you these cards from LamaWorks

Etta helped make this beaded pincushion from ValentineFiberArts

Doesn't Etta look stunning in her Tutu from GocksFrocks?

Etta painted this adorable Watercolour, which comes with an easel from Mozo

Etta is wearing beautiful disc beads from LindenAvenueDesigns, but you could use them in *human* jewellery.
This lovely Toad bead from Beadstylin’ seems to be whispering secrets!

Etta is hiding behind 3 fabulous ACEOs (miniprints) from Lori411

Although Etta seemed to think these might be edible, they are in fact beautifully textured stoneware charms from Midnightcoiler

Doesn't Etta look quite the Texan in her Rhinestone cowboy hat from Lindesigns?

Etta models a sweet little Fabric brooch from CrazyDaisiesDesigns

With her Silver heart and Ya’ll and Hook ’em Horns signs from LindenLeafStudio Etta disguises herself as a Texan!

All these gorgeous souvenirs...and of course Etta herself (from NiftyKnits) can be yours! Enter our international giveaway which starts tomorrow, on Etteam's blog