Monday, 21 May 2012

We have a winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway, the woodpecker print will be winging its way to TexasEagle - appropriately enough!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Best Spam ever?

I removed the "word captcha" robot checker this week so that people could enter my giveaway (enter here) more easily and straight away I'm back to lots of daily spam.

Some of it is great fun though, so I'm publishing this one WITHOUT the spammy links. No googling - what do you think they were trying to get me to link to? I'm pasting exactly as it came in...

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To cheer up your skin, test making homemade deal masks. Face masks can typically be made from things you drink round your ancestry and will pass on your crust a ravishing, unartificial glow. Look towards shroud recipes with ingredients like tomato force, sandlewood powder, or oatmeal. All of these things are great representing your gall!

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To allow your hair more book, study bothersome a new haircut with layers. Layers are one of the most crap ways to reckon sum total to fine stagger hair. Balanced if you like to deterioration your hair extensive, you can at rest bear your stylist cut hunger layers into the top after a major supply boost.

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Useful, isn't it? I now know how my " tresses will mephitis major in requital" which is something I've always longed for.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here and PLEASE leave me a comment today telling me what YOU think this spam was intended to link to...I'll give a prize to the one that makes me laugh loudest!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Giveaway time!

I'm a big fan of wildlife artist Stephen Message and proudly display several of his wonderful bird prints on my walls. We were lucky enough to find a stash of them at an auction, but discovered one of our wins was already on the wall - so the duplicate, a beautiful great spotted woodpecker, is what I'm offering as my giveaway prize.

It's ready mounted as you can see in the pic and is signed by the artist. The back is a little grubby (I don't know where it was before it was in the auction) but the front is covered in cellophane which I've left intact. 

The actual picture is 6.25" x 4.5" (16cm x 11.5cm) but including the mount it's 10" x 8" which I found fits perfectly into a standard 11" x 9" frame (not included)

So - what do you need to do to enter? I'd like to you to leave a comment telling me your favourite item from my zibbet shop please. Don't forget to make sure I can contact you. (If your blogger profile is set to private I will not be able to find you). Any contact link is fine, twitter or facebook or shop or email - whatever.

Good luck!! I'll close the giveaway Sunday 20th May and randomly select a winner, ready to send out your print on Monday.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

What does handmade mean to you?

It's a question that often crops up in the forums of my selling venues and often becomes heated!

The answers are usually (in my opinion) based on the responder's own experience. Taken to one extreme there could be an out-and-out individualist who grows her own sheep, shears, spins, designs and knits, packs and ships completely alone.

And then there are those who say even factory-made items are handmade - because there are hands there somewhere, pressing levers or taking part in a production line.

I'm at neither extreme but I'd like to show you a little of what handmade means to me.

I certainly don't grow my own wool, in fact I mostly use acrylic as it is hard-wearing and comes in the bright colours I prefer:

We moved a month ago, that's why the yarns are quite tidy! The bag at top right holds bits of fleece I use for hair and other embellishments, the big wooden box holds all my fancy yarns. 

My patterns are my own, and are rarely written out in much detail which means each meerkat may differ slightly. I think this adds to the nature of "handmade", and have argued fiercely on the forums with those who hold the opinion that this is proof that handmade is "not perfect".

 You can see some of my essentials here - modeling wire, jeweller's pliers and cutters and of course a comfy chair! Did you guess what I was knitting?

What else do I do? I print my signature labels on the computer, though I have to confess MrNifty's computer skills were used to design the original sheet  - but using my photo and text. I sew a label on to each meerkat (except the very tiny ones), usually on their little bottom.

I also designed and print Certificates of Authenticity to go with each meerkat, using my product photos which...who'd have thought?...are taken by me with the aid of lovely photoshop elements which I can't recommend highly enough.

Finally each kat is wrapped in tissue paper and popped in a padded envelope for his or her journey to a new home. Sometimes MrNifty does the post office run for me.

So - is my work handmade? YES! 

Watch this space - I'll be blogging a giveaway and a free shipping discount code early next week.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Jack in the Green

By chance I got chatting with a couple of fellow beach-combers on Sunday, and they told me that it was Jack-in-the-Green weekend, with lots of morris dancing and drumming and a parade...just my type of event!

It turned out to be the home turf of Mad Jacks Morris who I knitted years ago for the Tenterden Folk Festival.

Sadly there were no buses running so I couldn't join the VERY busy drinkers, but I still had fun!

Here are just a few of my 125 photos! I started off standing with the drummers who were waiting to join the procession - yes, it was *LOUD*!

 So many fabulous costumes - mostly featuring green, not surprisingly!

I hadn't realised that the town entered into the spirit of the event so thoroughly and was quite ashamed not to be dressed up myself - next year I will! I did get splodged on the nose though...

Even dogs like to attend - though some of them aren't up to the long walk. I noticed the pram several times during the day, and only once did I see the dog awake, despite the noise! After the procession passed me I followed the crowd to get ahead of them and found a wall to perch on.

There were several giants, I'm guessing these are Autumn and Winter.

Great to see so many kids involved.

I don't know who the ladies below are, they certainly don't look like morris dancers but the crowd loved their flamboyance!

 This is "Jack" himself with his entourage - all green of course!

A giant mermaid (and why not?)

I wondered why there was a big gap before the next person...then I realised...

Not sure who these guys were intended to be - the leader was offering the one behind as a potential husband to the ladies in the crowd!

The end is in sight! This is the view down from the castle mound with the end of the procession and just a few of the spectators. There were great views over the town and sea from the castle, I'll have to go back another day when the weather is a little more friendly.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Rock of Ages

Walking under the cliffs at the aptly named Cliff End

I came across a strange rock:

The "lacework" is part of the rock, it's not seaweed lying on top. This area was once a flooded forest, so I'm choosing to believe that the lacework are fossilized roots, it certainly looks like it.

Weird, isn't it?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Black black black

I'm in the middle of knitting two commissioned meerkats. They're black, with black clothes and black coats.

Guess what the main colour of my reference pictures is?


Guess which colour is the very worst to knit with?


Really difficult to count rows, impossible to photograph the details.

I'm not really complaining though, I enjoy a challenge - and it reminded me of Johnny Painter from the Fast Show, here for you now. I'm not sure if he hates black too, or if he really really likes it!

Don't forget I'm always open to commissions, the dafter the better!