Monday, 28 February 2011

Dr Who Giveaway

"Escape from the neighbours" plan#1 is underway, and I am tidying/chucking stuff like a madwoman, ready to get the house valued and hopefully sold.

So - here's where you help!

Leave me a comment with your top "house moving" tip - for whatever stage of the process you wish. How to impress potential buyers, how to keep my sanity, how to make moving-day itself go smoothly - anything. You can enter as many times as you wish, but each *DIFFERENT* tip has to be in a separate comment. Telling me to brew fresh coffee 98 times will only get you one entry! *Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you*

Prize is two fab AUDIO CDs of new Dr Who stories that were given away with my newspaper last weekend, and I'll throw in a DVD of the cult 70s film "Abigail's party" in case you're not a Dr Who fan. (Sadly, all the way through the film MrNifty and I were recognising ourselves and our furniture and decor from the 70s!)

"The Hounds of Artemis" is read by Matt Smith and Clare Corbett (Dr Who and Amy) and "The Ring of Steel" is read by Arthur Darvill (Rory)

Being "of a certain age", I am also discovering lots of hidden treasures which are being added to my vintage shop, so check it out here!

Giveaway winner will be randomly selected next Monday 7th March *Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you*


Saturday, 26 February 2011

Spring lambs!

Walking through local fields on a footpath yesterday we spotted the first spring lambs out at pasture with their mums. "What a shame they're so far away" I said...but one lamb wanted to make friends!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Elusive frogs

Click on the pic to find him!

There were lots of frogs visible from the window, but of course the moment I got out there with the they swam. So funny, seeing them swim away still paired up.

Much more spawn than yesterday.

It's definitely spring now - the trees are full of catkins so my hay fever has started :-( I shall be on meds till August now.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Seascapes: new work in progress

I love the sea. Mr Nifty and I plan to move to live by the sea one day, but for now we're just visitors, walking along the shore looking for doubloons and other treasures (what is a doubloon, anyway? I expect I'll recognise one when I find it)

Last week we picked up weathered driftwood from the high tide line at Rye (seen here on my kitchen tablecloth!)

I'm not *quite* sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I've been knitting seascapes (well, why not?) and I'm considering making a frame with pieces of the wood ad then somehow lacing the knit between the wood - in my head, it'll be like the way a trampoline mat is suspended between the metal supports (but vertcial!)

My other idea is to make (or buy) some box frames and fit the knit into a box. This box isn't the right size (owing to not having planned this in advance!) but I'm imagining extending the "beach" section along the bottom "shelf" and maybe making it more 3D. What do you think?

*finally discovered why I bought those tiny sea beads!*

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Frog babies!

The frogs all started arriving in our garden pond yesterday - and the maternity ward was busy over night!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Undiscovered on zibbet...

Adrienne of DancingRainbows makes beautiful rainbows to wear and sparkly sun catchers. She also has a second shop, Treasures from Nature where she sells her fabulous scenic photo cards.

Rainbow Bridge

You may recall I posted some photos from recently of her Sales Fairy Meerkat she won in my giveaway?

Whilst the sales fairy works her magic, let's get to know Dancing Rainbows:

Do you have a favourite colour?

Color is powerful. My favorite color is what ever color makes you feel special and beautiful. Some days it might be pink, sometimes green...or it could be a purple day.

Pretty in Pinks

What's your favourite item in your shop of all time?

Creating a Sun Catcher that catches as much light as possible is such a treat and challenge. I think Sea Shell is my favorite Sun Catcher.

Jewellery is a crowded marketplace - how do you make your work stand out from the crowd?

I wear my designs all the time. I always get compliments. I price my jewelry very fairly...mainly because I enjoy the craft and the beauty. I enjoy creating something special for you.

Connect the dots

Do you have a favourite shop?

WOW, do I have to have a favorite shop? The problem is, I have several for different reasons.
I love the creativity that each artist brings to Zibbet. Each shop is very special on it's own and you can feel the energy and love that each artist puts into their work. Whether it's Niftyknits and those wonderful Meerkats or Becky West and her yummy soaps or Daresa and her Clay Art, or Judy with her Portable Graffiti..., I couldn't say which one I like best; and those are just a few that come to mind.

What you learned about selling online that you would like to share with us?

I have learned to never give up and attention to detail is extremely important.
If something doesn't seem to be working, then find a way to work it. If that means new photos in your shop or new wording for your items, you do what you have to.

Thank you - I agree. There is always something else we can do to improve the appearance and desirability of our products.

Why not head over to DancingRainbows and Treasures from Nature and see what catches your eye?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Happy Easter - my just-in-time gift to you!

Easter Meerkats

I had such fun knitting these teeny weeny eggs for the meerkats that I thought you might like to have a go too! I used two different methods, one using short row shaping, the other uses K2tog to decrease. By using garter stitch, stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch I got various different results.

***Please note - edited on 27th March, I'd typed the numbers the wrong way around in the short row pattern. Sorry *blush*

As you can see, they really are tiny, only about an inch (2.5cm) so you only need tiny scraps of yarn (I used double knitting which is apparently between sports and worsted in US, but it really doesn't matter - they haven't got to "fit" and bits and pieces of embellishments. I used UK size 10 needles (US 3 or 3.25 mm) but again - it really doesn't matter too much)

Red and purple garter stitch eggs using short row decreases.

If you haven't used short row decreasing before, there are many good video instructions available by googling. Basically, instead of knitting to the end of a row, you stop partway, turn and work back - in effect, a short row. Easy! Slipping the next stitch and passing the yarn around tightens up the work and prevents a tiny hole - but again, it doesn't matter too much for this project.

Cast on 7 stitches
1st row: knit 3 (slip next stitch across on to your right hand needle, pass yarn around, return stitch to left hand needle, turn) knit 3
2nd row: knit 4 (slip next stitch across on to your right hand needle, pass yarn around, return stitch to left hand needle, turn) knit 4
3rd row: knit 5 (slip next stitch across on to your right hand needle, pass yarn around, return stitch to left hand needle, turn) knit 5
4th row: knit 6 (slip next stitch across on to your right hand needle, pass yarn around, return stitch to left hand needle, turn) knit 6

You're halfway there - you should have a triangular shaped piece. The cast on edge is on the left of my picture:


5th row: knit 5 (slip next stitch across on to your right hand needle, pass yarn around, return stitch to left hand needle, turn) knit 5
6th row: knit 4 (slip next stitch across on to your right hand needle, pass yarn around, return stitch to left hand needle, turn) knit 4
7th row: knit 3 (slip next stitch across on to your right hand needle, pass yarn around, return stitch to left hand needle, turn) knit 3
Cast off, cut yarn leaving a long end for sewing up.

Sew the diagonal edges together, stuff (I used toy filling but a scrap of cotton wool would be fine) and then pass your needle through the row ends on the base and draw through. If your egg is a bit carrot-shaped at this point, just make a few stitches through from top to bottom.

The green red and yellow eggs below were worked to this pattern, the pink and turquoise eggs were worked to the same pattern but in stocking stitch (right side row knit, wrong side row purl)

Striped eggs
Each of these are knitted to the same pattern. The blue and yellow egg is knit side out, the other two are purl side out.

Cast on 9 stitches in blue, work 1st row knit, 2nd row purl
Change to yellow yarn (but don't break blue)
3rd row: K3, K2tog, K4 (8 stitches)
4th row (and every even row): purl
Change back to blue yarn (but don't break yellow)
5th row: K3, K2 tog, K3 (7 stitches)
6th row: purl
Change to yellow yarn (but don't break blue)
7th row: K3, K2 tog, K2 (6 stitches)
8th row: purl
Change back to blue yarn, cut yellow
9th row K2, K2tog, K2 (5 stitches)
Purl back, cut yarn leaving a long end and pull yarn through all stitches.

You'll have a triangle - the first picture is knit side to the front

but it also gives a good effect using the purl side as the front.

Sew diagonals together, stuff lightly and draw through edges at base. As before, if your egg is rather more carrot-shaped than you'd like, pass a few stitches through top to bottom and squish it into shape.

Have fun! Please don't copy my pattern to sell, but feel free to share the link. My designs are not to be resold, either as patterns or as the finished object.

More patterns available here

Monday, 14 February 2011

Will I ever take my own advice?

Not likely, is it... ;-)

A few days ago, I had a message from someone, saying she thought she'd met me on a forum run by one of her friends. I didn't remember, but said it was entirely possible because I belong to so many...she replied that she couldn't remember which forum it was either.

And that reminded me...

Way back in January 2010 I blogged about Waggleforce. I'd listened to a free hour's talk by an American motivational speaker - not my usual pastime. Sadly the link to the talk is broken, but you can read my key points back on my blog here and here and here.

The absolute bottom line was to STOP rushing around spreading myself too thinly, spraying little promotions across lots and lots of networks. Instead, the speaker suggested finding three that work for ME and dig deep, really network with people.

So what have I done since then?

I now have four online shops
Niftyknits on Zibbet,
NiftyVintage on Zibbet,
Niftyknits on Etsy, Niftyknits on Folksy
facebook (three pages LOL)
I've been active in the Zibbet community and Zibbet facebook group and since the latest changes on Etsy forums I've joined several (not saying!!) new teams (I'm even a leader on one!) and still add my voice to the forums.
I use youtube
I know I belong to several other forums, but only remember them when I get messages saying someone wants to be my "friend"
somewhere there is a myspace page with my name on it...
Then of course there is my blog (funnily enough, I haven't found so much time for it lately)
and my newsletter
micromanaging my Project wonderful adverts

So - this is me...

Something has to give...I've realised that among other things I didn't include "design and knit my creations" in that list! Neither did I add sleeping, eating, enjoying being with my husband and family and all-round LIVING.

So - watch this space! Tomorrow I'm going to give you a knitting pattern :-)

Friday, 11 February 2011

Ross Meerkat on holiday

in Disneyland Paris!

All of my meerkats go to great new homes, naturally - but little Ross goes on so many holidays! Sarah from VeeDubz just sent me some new photos:

It's amazing, he *still* hasn't eaten that cake!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Superbowl adverts - which was your favourite?

Superbowl Sunday yesterday! I'm not known as a sports fan, so didn't pay too much attention when the husband recorded the BBC coverage to watch today. My friend Sandie had told me to watch out for the adverts...but of course the BBC cut them all out!

According to our paper yesterday the advertisers pay $100,000 per SECOND!

(Instead we were treated to opinions from pundits every time there was a break. *yawn*)

Thankfully, my other good friend Google found the adverts for me here (all 61 of them LOL)

My personal favourite is the cute little Darth Vader.

Christina Aguilera had to apologise for fumbling the words of the National Anthem. Personally I thought she should also have apologised for making the song so twiddly and all about her, rather than about her country.

It reminded me of this memorable UK political moment though - do you remember this? The Secretary of State for Wales presumably hadn't realised he might one day be at an event when the Welsh National Anthem might be sung...


Friday, 4 February 2011

Stand by to feel hungry!

May I introduce Zibbet seller BAKING SUPPLIES GALORE who is your one-stop-shop if you're a home-baker! There are cake accessories here that I didn't know existed, I can feel my waistline spreading whilst I read.

sanding sugar

rubber duckies


Be Mine

Cupcake liners

Just don't blame me if you fall off your diet! BAKING SUPPLIES GALORE
Read more about this seller in Zibbet's blog Inspire (Thank you Judy for the link)

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Best of the web *woohoo*

I had a treat yesterday :-)

My blog was included in a Best of the Web feature in Be@Home

Be@Home is a home and activities blog which covers everything from interior design to arts and crafts activities. They try to have a little something for everybody, even occasional posts for gardening enthusiasts. Be@Home likes to feature blogs and bloggers who would interest our readers, and particularly likes to acknowledge bloggers who showcase their unique creations.

I was especially pleased with the photo as it showcases my favourite online venue, Zibbet!

It was interesting to me in another way, as I've been pondering changing direction slightly with my blog. Being featured at this time is almost like when someone compliments you on how nice your hair looks...when it's driving you scatty and you're actually on your way to the hairdresser!

What do you think? I'd love to hear your ideas of how you'd like to see my blog develop - after all, I don't only write it for myself! Whether you're one of Be@Home's 3,300 readers (wow!) or one of my regulars (smooch!) I'd be very interested in what you have to say!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Looking for love?

Oh dear - am I letting myself in for major spam with a title like that?

My girly side is out in force with Valentines Day coming up soon:

Fairy of lurve