Friday, October 29, 2010

Can you craft whilst hungover?

This is a question that is at the front of my mind today! I had planned to go home tonight and spend one more evening making Christmas stuffs, before Hubby and I depart for our Anniversary trip, however as I was a touch naughty last night and indulged too much, I am not convinced that handling anything sharp is wise!!

I am very excited about next week, I get to sell my Christmas cards at work - a good trial run before the Craft fair on Saturday - it will hopefully put my mind at ease about the cards I have been busy making in isolation for several months!

I am also excited about celebrating our first anniversary this weekend in Camber Sands and decided that today's picture would be of the beautiful dunes at Camber, which Hubby and I are going to spend our afternoon's walking across.

Happy weekend crafters, I'll be back on Tuesday.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The joys of married life!

Image from ink'n'rubba
Ooh as an early Anniversary present, Hubby bought me 4 sets of Letraset Promarkers! What a lovely gift and they are so delicious I could eat them.

I tried them out with a pretty stamp and they work so well, they make my colouring in, look really professional. I think I will use them to make all our Christmas thank you's. It will be a nice project after the intense Christmas period.
The colours are fab and the 4 sets I have cover a wide spectrum of colour, but I am now going to become totally addicted, as I am convinced I am going to want quite a few more of the colours!

Uh oh here comes another obsession, they come in so many colours and Letraset naughtily supply a colour chart with each set and so now I can see all the other glorious colours and I WANT THEM!

So today's picture is a nicely geeky one courtesy of the ink'n'rubba blog, I love this blog and want to thank Annie, as I love her blog and this chart is a great idea - I have seen quite a few other people do this, but not as well and it is a really good idea to create your own chart, using your own Letraset Promarkers or Copic, as I believe that some people use both, so they can find exactly the colour they want.

Enjoy! I am off to scour the internet for the best price on promarkers!


P.s Letraset if you are reading, I'd quite like the cool grey set - thanks!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Introducing the Polzeath 2010 Range

So, way back in July when Hubby and I were in Cornwall on the Halley / Grantham family holiday, my brother-in-law Stu made an off the cuff comment that stuck.

Hubby was busy drawing the Ham 'n' Mule in the sand and Stu said 'that can form part of the Ham'n'Mule Designs Polzeath 2010 range!

Anyway about 5 weeks ago, I came across a sock filled with all these beautiful pebbles and stones and then I remembered that Hubby and I had spent an afternoon chilling on Polzeath beach and had collected all these pebbles. However we didn't have a bag with us, so Hubby gave me one of his trainer socks to put them in! (true love right?).

It triggered a reminder of what Stu had said and I started wondering how I could incorporate them into my crafting. Then I found these beautiful little jars and I got an idea. I made the tags tags, filled the jars and attached the tag - voila! Paperweight!

I've already sold one to someone, he proposed to his wife near Polzeath and is giving it to her as an anniversary gift - sweet.

I think they look really good and they are unique - as no 2 pebbles are alike, unfortunately my picture was taken with my Blackberry, so you can't see the riot of colours, there are reds, deep blues, creams and greys - really pretty.

The great thing about these are they are so easy to make and if you collected pebbles/stones from every holibobs you went on, you'd have a really pretty and useful keepsake.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Yummy, yummy, yummy for my tummy!


Hope you all had a super weekend! I had lots of fun, dinner with some friends and hubby on Friday, lunch and theatre with Hubby on Saturday - which was excellent, and yesterday was spent food shopping, baking and relaxing.

Today's picture is of the cupcakes I made using the Hummingbird Bakery book I was given as a birthday gift (thanks Lemon). These bad boys are Chocolate and Banana and they are totally yummy and really really bad for you!

I also managed to squeeze in some crafting, although I might need to review some of the things I made over the weekend - too much vino tinto means some of the items might be a bit crazy and have to re-locate to the sale box!

Which leads in nicely to a top tip - the first craft fair I did was run by an amazing woman, she gave me these 2 tips:

1 - give a free gift - no matter how small, people getting excited (at Christmas I give Candy Canes)
2 - have a sale box - people LOVE a sale box - it is also a good place, for selling the items that are not quite right - be it broken, damaged or just weird, they ALWAYS sell if they are in the sale box. Which is great, as you don't waste things that aren't quite right.

Also both the free gift and sale box are good talking points, often people will stop and ask what is the free gift - I always say 'you'll only find out if you buy something......' I find that if people stop and talk to you, they will often buy something - so remember to smile and be friendly (and preferably not hungover and smelling of booze!!!)

Short post today, it's a bit busy today, but I promise more on Weds!


Friday, October 22, 2010

It can't all be about Christmas!

Hey there, I am very pleased that I have followed my friend's advice and been more regular with my blogging, it's very rewarding - especially when my friends read it and send me emails to say how much they like it.

Today I thought I'd move away from the Christmas focus that I have had for the last month and talk about what else I am up to.

Obviously Christmas has been a big deal in my craft world this year and whilst I have been making all of the lovely Christmas things, I have realised that I might need some new tools, so here are some pics of the things I want or have already purchased and why I think they are handy.

Good chalks! These are vital, I had been using some cheaper ones, but the colours weren't lasting as long and so I invested in these Dovecraft ones, that come with a handy applicator tools and lots of applicator pom poms!
Dovecraft Chalks Bright

I do have a slice, I do have a sharp craft knife and a ruler, but nothing beats a good quality trimmer or guillotine and I haven't purchased one yet, but from the research I have been doing it would appear that Purple Cows make the best ones and from what I have seen I think I agree and they are reasonably priced.
Purple Cows 2-1 Laminator + Trimmer or Laminator + paper cutter
Whilst I have had lots of fun sourcing paper, etc, I think that next year (or later on this year!) will be investing in one of these lovely digital kits from Funkyhand - the picture below shows all the papers and stamps that come in their 'All I want for xmas' downloadable kit - they have lots of other kits and I am in love with the Papercraft Factory ones. Basically these equal really good value for money and you can use them over and over again and some of the designs below would be suitable for non-Christmas crafts too!

All I Want For Xmas - Downloadable kit
I have also been stamping quite a lot - not just Christmas cards, but other cards, gift tags, wrapping paper etc. Good quality inks are vital, I am a big fan of Inkadinkado inks - but they are hard to get hold of in the UK (eBay is a crafter's best friend!) I recently bought these chalk inks, they are sublime, they have a really nice blended effect and when they are dry they feel like chalks - cool!
Inkadinkado - Chalk Inks
Also if you are doing a fair amount of stamping, good quality marker pens are a must, now the jury is out on which ones are the best - personally I think it's a toss up between Letraset and Copic. I am using Letraset Aquamarkers right now and they are great, if you buy a 12 pack, you get a blending pen too and you can apply them to stamps. Another good tip for watercolour pencils or other waterbased markers is to use a waterbrush pen (this is a brush, that looks like a pen and you fill the handle with water, ink or colour), you can
then blend or paint over and you will get a watercolour effect.

Letraset AquaMarkers
I think my plan to NOT purchase anything craft related in November is not going to happen!

Have a good weekend - I won't be blogging, I'll be at the theatre with Hubby, building new warddrobes and getting on with Christmas.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Which way round does it go?!

So as I mentioned yesterday I have been exploring new things to make.

I've always liked to sew, but have been pretty useless at using patterns, until I got a copy of Sew Magazine - which I now subscribe too.

Not only do they give you a free pattern, but the instructions are really really clear.

I've had quite a few successes this year with their patterns - I made 2 beautiful tops and have modified the pattern to make a longer tunic style version - check me out!

Because of this success, I thought for Christmas it would be nice to try out a new tote bag pattern, it's working really well and I think they will be a hit!

I love Simplicity patterns, they are simple! I have a couple of new ones that I am going to try out over the Christmas break, as they are for dresses and you need a bit more time than I have right now. Also as I mentioned before I don't find sewing that relaxing, so it will be nice to sew when I have oodles of time.

Today's picture is of one of the patterns that I will be trying to make - a touch more advanced than usual, but I am getting braver and braver - especially now that I understand how to use patterns. I really want dress B, that is soooo going to become a wardrobe staple (if I get it right!). Dress b also looks like something I am coverting on the M&S website, so if I can make it for less than the 39.99 they want, I will be dead chuffed!

Making clothes is something I would love to do more, but it does require a bit more time than I generally have. I remember a really good piece of advice about not starting too many projects at once, as you can get overwhelmed with all the 'work in progress'.

The other good thing about using patterns is that you don't get so much waste, as you know exactly how much fabric you need. I have some really beautiful fabrics, that I am going to use to make the Cynthia Rowley dress b.

I love fabric so much and one of my favourite places is Gaga Fabrics, check out their store - their stuff is AMAZING! They sell Robert Kaufman fabric, Japanese imports, Amy Butler patterns (my summer tops were an Amy Butler pattern) and lots more. They aren't the cheapest, but price is not always the key - their range is so great and their shop is really easy to use and these things often make me happier than a bargain (geek).


p.s a final shout out to Pam from Chicks of a Feather, her blog has been my solace for such a long time, it fills me with joy to know that she reads mine and likes it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

November Craft Fairs

So November is going to be a busy one for me - first my friend's Mum is hosting a mini craft fair at her house (with me as the only seller), then I go on the photography course that Hubby bought me for my birthday, then on the 21st and the 28th I am doing 2 more craft fairs!

I really enjoy craft fairs, I like talking to people and it makes me feel so chuffed when people compliment me on my items - it's a lot of work to create enough stuff to sell, so it's nice to get positive feedback.

The picture today is the poster for the fair on the 28th November in Leicester, I am looking forward to that one a lot, as I will be heading to Melton Mowbray on the Friday night, so we can spend the weekend with my in-laws and Hubby's godmother - we haven't seen them in forever, so it will be nice to catch-up before a big day of selling!

I realised the other day that whilst it is nice to specialise in certain craft items, it's always nice to mix it up a bit and I have used Christmas as the perfect opportunity to try out new things and test my skills.

I have made paperweights using the stones I brought back from the beach in Cornwall, they are gorgeous - I must take a picture for you. I enjoyed making these, quick, easy and the results far outweigh the effort required! I have loved making the felt decorations, but I haven't loved painting the wooden ones, so I don't think I'll be doing that again.

All the Christmas crafting has also given me an excuse to buy new tools and I did finally buy a Sizzix Texture Boutique, which I love - it's so easy to use and you can use Cuttlebug embossing folders too - just check the size, as the Texture Boutique has a smaller apperture!

I am going to attempt not to spend any money in November on my stash, but I'm not sure if I can actually manage this! In my lunch hour today, I went to the art supply shop and spent £6 - no will power! I can't resist craft stuff!


Monday, October 18, 2010

I love the sunshine!

Bah humbug!

I am back from my lovely trip with my girls - Tenerife was hot hot hot and we had fun fun fun. More pics to follow.

I managed to craft whilst away and made brooches, Christmas decorations and continued to crochet my lovely scarf - which my Ma said is actually looking ok, she says I've improved greatly - so A+ for me.

It was so nice to be away, not to work, to feel the sun on my body and wear flip flops like it was summer! I am totally bummed about being home - but it has been lovely to see my gorgeous Hubby and of course the mewling fur children.

Do you remember the wedding I went to in Rye and I mentioned I had helped out with the favours, well the picture above is the favours that I put together - the bride sent me a pic, don't they look gorgeous! I am so pleased and that has relieved some of my misery at returning home to the cold dark winter.

Perhaps next year, I'll just stay there all winter............


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friendly advice


Today I have been thinking about good advice. Mainly because I have needed to dish some out! And partly because of my friend JJ.

JJ and I haven't been friends that long, but she has become a pretty good friend - she is also my friendly advisor on all things craft! She knits and stuff, but she is also a designer, so has a pretty good eye. She is also very frank.

Earlier this week she was telling me how much she liked my blog and mentioned that the last post was in August - tsk tsk. It made me realise, I HAVE to make time for my precious blog and not let it slide into obscurity!

So thank you JJ for reminding me not to half finish a project!

In honor of JJ's contributions to my craft world, I thought I would talk about crochet (she knits, I can't.So crochet it is)

So I literally only learnt how to crochet 2 weeks ago, I am starting out small and making a scarf (?) unfortunately I am not convinced that I completely have the hang of it all yet and whilst the stitches all look lovely, the scarf is a rather unusual shape, it looks a bit like a Cobra! I was aiming for something like the picture below (pattern is from Idiots Guide to Knitting and Crochet), but I am not yet convinced that it's ever going to look like that.

However on a more positive note I am totally made up that I have learnt to crochet and even if my scarf never ever looks like a scarf, at least I made it.

The one unfortunate thing about learning to crochet is that I now have another craft stash requirement - wool! Ooh wool is so yummy - check out the main picture, I can feel an obsession coming on and a large sigh from Hubby!


p.s JJ just incase you didn't realise this posting is dedicated to you!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Christmas has exploded in my room!

Ha ha, not quite, but I've attached a picture of the drying area in my craft room and I think you can see there is quite alot going on! There is also a picture of one of the cards on the shelf, close-up!

I have hit the 300 card mark with the Christmas cards - so yay for me, but there is still a long way to go - gotta hit 500 before November the 6th.

I have a reason for this. If I have 500 cards (= 50 sets) and I sell a reasonable amount on Nov 6th, then I will only have to make a small amount to cover my work sales and the Nov 28th fair! Logical right?

I am finally loving the wooden Christmas decorations, they have been a bit of trial and error to be honest and I am still not 100% in love, but I can be a bit like this about the things I make, I get a bit insecure! Especially if they have taken awhile to get right!

The felt Christmas decorations are my fave, as I get to use felt, hand sew and use my button collection.

I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I've enjoyed the Christmas crafting this year and I think that I owe that to my fellow crafters and their handy tips - start early, pace yourself, take a break - wise words indeed.

On a slightly different note I noticed last night that one of our cats is covered in glitter! She did run off with a rather expensive Magenta Stickles a couple of weeks ago, so I am assuming this is why!

Whilst I am mentioning Stickles, I have to say, I thought they were going to be an expensive waste of money, but they have brought me only joy! I love using them, they add so much to my projects and are easy to use and best of all seem to go a long way. Papermania have brought out some similar products this year for Christmas and they are a cheap alternative to Stickles and ok, but not as good.

Lastly a bit shout out to Pam at Chicks of a Feather - who left me a really sweet message a few weeks ago, I totally love her blog, it's an inspiration.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Where did September go?

Ok, so I need to up my game right?

It's been over a month since I last brought you up to speed on all that is going on in HamnMule world and that's just poor!

So, let's recap -

The new kitchen is complete and a thing of total beauty, I'm not going to show you a picture, but I will say that after 3 painful, take-away fuelled weeks, I could have cried when the builders told us they were finished (on time and slightly over-budget).

Amsterdam was fantastic as ever and I managed to buy all kinds of random craft goodies, which I have stashed for post-Christmas crafting!

Christmas crafts are progressing nicely - I'll have a pic of some of the goodies for you tomorrow (I promise), I am now in the final card making push, I have nearly painted all of the the Christmas decorations, the felt ones are all cut out and half are sewn, the rest will be done next week in Tenerife! I am just going to start putting together the advent calendars, but that's a pretty quick job, as I am creating quite basic, but pretty ones. I am slightly concerned that I haven't started the make-up bag, clutch bag sewing yet - but sewing is difficult, I have to be totally in the zone!

One of my friend's mothers is hosting a mini-craft fair for me on November the 6th - it's so lovely of her to do that and I am working hard to make sure that all my products live up to her marketing of me! I have also accepted another craft fair on the 21st of November, but that is more about my scarves and bags, good to have variety and a mini break from Christmas before the big fair in Leicester on the 28th.

I have had Laryngitis, so hubby was overjoyed to have me silent for a week! I recovered sufficiently to celebrate my birthday in style. Today's pic is of the beautiful Thank You cards I have made for all the people that gave me gifts.

I almost forgot to mention that my Ma taught me how to crochet as my birthday gift and I am busy making a scarf in the morning on the way to work, as an L-Plates project!

We have just spent the weekend in Rye at a wedding and the second pic today is of me at the wedding in the cutdown version of my wedding dress - thrifty!

So, I am pretty busy and not sure exactly how I am managing all of this, plus spending time with my friends and family, but I love it, so it makes it all worth while and this year has been a very successful one for Ham'n'Mule, so I can see my hard work paying off!