Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Oh Great - They've Changed The Layout

Just as you get used to doing it one way the powers that be "upgrade" and they have done this with blogger so I have just had to search for "create a new page" so I hope this one is worthwhile!

On Saturday I went to a workshop to learn how to make fabric covered baubles.  I have been looking forward to this for some time and it was everything I hoped.  Held by the ineffably energetic Sue from Springwood House Designs the group of lovely ladies gathered there all did the projects they wanted to learn from and several including me made baubles.

This is the first one I attempted and it was the "home spun" look I was aiming for -

The picture is a bit dark but hopefully you can get the idea.  This is the simplest design and works really well with this sore of fabric.  Of course I had to buy more of the fabric before I left and Sue has an Alladin's Cave where you can find all sorts of wonderful items for bauble making and other Christmas decorations.

The second one I tried was of the more traditional glamourous type -

There is something really satisfying about accomplishing these glittery ones.  Sue has many hanging in her shop and they are "wonderous to behold".

On Sunday night I wanted to go on and just sat, without too much thought I finished these.  

I used material I already had and felt they were better just using one design.  I don't know about you but these felt more Victorian than Home Spun but I rather liked that.

Someone at the workshop said they sent one to their grandchild each year so they would have a set to start their own home with later on - what a lovely idea.

Well, that's all my crafting for the moment but I am full of ideas for Christmas and presents.  I hope you are having a fun time too.

Happy Crafting.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A decision had to be made

As long time Granny Crafting followers will know, over the recent year or so I have been looking at how my daughter and I could set up a business using my crafting skills and knowledge.  Out of the original research we decided to set up Katie Chucklemouse and we have had a lot of fun with that.  Unfortunately, as many of my friends and forum friends are aware my mother now needs more of my time.  Add to this the fact that Kate also has some exciting projects which will take up most of her spare time (which with working and a family isn’t much!) I felt it best to end our efforts with Katie Chucklemouse and concentrate in the areas where we are currently needed.
So … we have tucked the little mouse up in a well-padded box and told her it’s time to hibernate.  If Kate finds she has time in the future we will wake her up again and Kate will take over, driving the business forward and I will be readily available to help where I can.
This is not the end of Granny Crafting however.  I will continue to blog my crafting projects, what I learn and whatever I can share with you.
Thank you to all of you who supported us in the enterprise and …
Happy Crafting

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Little Box

I have just added a Personalised Stocking to the shop but at the same time I took photos of a little box I made as a Christmas present for a stitching friend (who doesn't "do" computers, thankfully). 

No stitching for this one just sticking but I did find sticking fabric easier than I have found sticking paper!  It needs filling with scissors and other sewing goodies but I put a thimble in the middle and some needles in just to show how it works.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The start of the workshop season …

and last Saturday I went to my first in lovely Pately Bridge.  My attitude to driving caused more mirth within the family when I explained that I enjoyed the journey back more than the journey there but it made sense to me – there is a big drop on my side of the road on the way there!  It's all worth it though because the countyside is stunning.
I was going to the studio of Kirsty Hopkins and I could see from her website that she is a very talented fabric artist but, of course, with a new subject, you really don’t know what it is all about or how you will take to it.  I had been looking into free motion embroidery and wanted to know more and Mum came up trumps with the offer of the workshop as a birthday present.  I have to say it was a wonderful day.  It is a one to one course, well actually one to two as Kirsty’s lovely mum, Charmian, is part of the business too and her input gives you an extra angle with your learning.  This makes it a concentrated day but you cover an awful lot.  There are some really important things to know about when deciding which course to sign up to so I will cover those first.  The tea/coffee is provided unstintingly – most important.  The atmosphere is quiet and very conducive to learning.  Both Kirsty and Charmian are very encouraging which I found really important as I see myself as much more of a crafter than an artist so being able to using this artistically was a bit of a leap of faith. 
I spent the morning and a little bit of the afternoon learning different stiches which would outline or fill parts of a design.   The concentration needed was intense as this is quite a new way to use your sewing machine so prepare to be very tired by the end of the day if you are doing this course – tired but very pleased with what you have learnt in my case.  Finally I used some of the stiches to see just what I could do when making a picture.  This was what I produced.

I can really see me using the tequniques I learned to enhance the applique I am loving doing at the moment.  Kirsty and her mum also told me of courses local to me where I learn how to use free motion embriodery for traditional quilting.  I have booked for one of these and will be telling you about that next week.  It does feel like full on learning at the moment but it will be such a useful skill taking my sewing forward.
I am putting a "page" on the right hand side listing useful courses.  Again, if you know of any in the area please let me know and I will add them.
Happy crafting!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Great Northern Needlecraft Show

In contrast to the Quilt show the Needlecraft show did not overwhelm me but did cause me to feel quite worn out as I felt I had to do the rounds at least twice and then go back to the important exhibitors.  This again was where an extra year’s worth of knowledge paid off.  There were many exhibitions of Embroidery machines and I did feel I knew what I was looking for when I looked at them … but oh the prices!  I bought a second (or possibly third) hand Brother Embroidery machine during the year and I do feel this is a really good way to find out if it is for you.  I can see the point of paying £4,000, £5,000 or even more if this is your thing and you are a) considerably richer than me or b) using it as a business tool.  They did do beautiful embroidery though …. sigh.
There were a fantastic number of material sellers and it was good to discover a few more with bricks and mortar shops closer to me.  Although I haven’t reached the stage of driving where I design all my trips round only taking left turns yet, as did the elderly father of one of friends in the past; I do now limit the distance I am willing to go and the number of motorways!  I digress – back to the fabric sellers.  I do like to ask if they are online when I buy fabric, in case I need more of the same.  Only one seller I spoke to, the lady from The Shuttle at Baildon Bridge, Shipley, didn’t have a website and she gave me her address and suggested I send a small clipping back to her and they could source it from there.  Well done them.  Running a website is not for everybody and, if it is for sales it can really add to your overheads.  I was impressed they had found a way that worked for them.  I bought some lovely Christmas fabrics from them.
As I said I do take the online information for sellers I am interested in.  One seller – The Bobbin Patch had a lovely selection of Button Angel kits (mainly bags from what I could see)  and Doll kits but I notice there are not as many on their site.  I know it is hard to find time to photograph and list the items but I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t list on particular doll kit I loved as I was going to suggest it as a Christmas present (for me) to my son.  I think it is very difficult for small sellers as they have to be everything within the business but they pay a lot to be at a show like this and it seems a shame to me not to optimise the marketing angle as well as the selling one.
Also selling some really well matched fabric with subtle colour sets which would appeal if I was patch working was Kalsquilt.  There buyer seemed to have a very good eye for colour so I will be visiting that website in the future.
The wonderful Barnyarns were there with some very knowledgeable help being offered.  They are very close to Harrogate as they are based in Ripon and I am hoping to pay them a visit in the future and report back on what I find.   In addition to some lovely patchwork cottons Lady Sew and Sew  also impressed with a range of designer fabrics.  I didn’t see this anywhere else.  It is difficult for dressmakers to find fabric shops these day (many just sell for interior design) so I was really pleased to see this.
Finally I would like to mention two rather different stall holders.   One was demonstrating the Accuquilt which I didn’t manage to see actually working last year.  I was impressed with the ease of use of the machine and think it would be really good for anyone making quilts where they have to do multiples of the same shape.  I still love my Slice Fabrique for applique and think it is the better machine for this purpose but I can see the use of the Accuquilt for basic quilting.  The other stall holder was a local girl, Sue Schofield of Springwood House Designs.  She makes mainly Christmas items and sells kits which would really help inspire you.  I emailed Sue as soon as I got back as she also runs workshops and got a lovely answer back saying basically come along and make the items you want to make.  So I am booking for her October workshop!
All in all it was an exhausting but wonderful day out. 
Happy crafting everyone and speak to you next week.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Great Northern Quilt Show

What a wonderful time I had at the Great Northern Quilt Show and the Great Northern Needlecraft Show at the weekend.  Last year I felt very overwhelmed by the wonderful quilts.  This year I felt I knew a bit more about the whole subject and it helped me to see what and how people where trying to do to achieve their inspired designs.  Although there was a great variety of styles and quilts on show one theme that I picked up on were jewel colours.  One was designed from scratch in a Jacobean style; that idea may help you conjure up the colours used.  However, these colours and even some very Jacobean shapes were used elsewhere.
In total contrast to these I came across one amazing self-coloured quilt (calico coloured) and read the attached label.  The maker said that they were inspired to make this quilt after attending a workshop with Jenny Rayment – oh that workshops with anyone could raise my game to those levels.  Finally, in this section, the other ones that stood out for me where the ones using Suffolk Puffs.  Now these little circles with their gathered edge have left me rather cold up until now but the pictures made with them, mainly of cottage garden flowers put them into the “of course that’s the way to do it” category for me!  Sadly, no photography is allowed but I can assure you these quilts were a real inspiration. 
My forum friend Dina has also reported on her view of the show on her blog  which you may like to read too.  Tomorrow – the other half of the show - the Great Northern Needlecraft Show.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

On my Bookshelf

I thought that today I would list some of the books I have found useful in my crafting.

The first one is Ribbons and Bows: Step-by-step Instructions for Over 50 Projects by Christine Kingdom.  This is a book I need to spend some more time with as it shows so many techniques.  There is a chapter on weaving which has some lovely project in it including cushions, table mats and coasters.  In the Embroidery chapter there is a beautiful Picture Frame project and a card you would be proud to produce. 
There are also chapters on: Applique and Patchwork, Bow Making, Rose making, Cutting and Glueing
There are well over 40 projects from Christmas Garlands to a Log Cabin Quilt and from a Bridal Head-Dress to a Wall Organiser.  Lots to inspire here!

Next on my shelf comes Stitch with Love: 11 Simple Stitches and Over 20 Easy-to-Sew Projects by Mandy Shaw.  I am a recent convert to Mandy Shaw and she probably focuses more on embroidery than I do.  I find her projects very inspiring, however, and very tastefully done.  Under the chapter headings:
Hearts, Sewing, Cooking, Baby Bunny, Garden, Buttons, Travel

There are about 22 projects.

Both Sew and Patchwork by Cath Kidston are again useful project books and would be great for beginners.
Sew! comes with a kit to make a small bag which, if you are new to sewing, will give you an insight into the techniques involve or, if you have been sewing for some time, gives you and immediate project to make.

The book is divided into "Basics", including Essential Equipment, Sewing Machines, Making the Patterns, Hems and Edges, Seams, Fastenings, Ties & Handles, Applique & Quilting and Decorative Details.  There are also 41 projects and the templates needed to complete these.

Patch! works on very similar lines.  This time the kit included makes a bag with a Dresden Plate patchwork on the front.

Again the book is divided up in a very useable way.  In "Basics" this time there is Essential Equipment, Machine Know-how, Sewing Basics, Traditional Techniques, Hand Applique, Embroidery & Embellishments, Embroidery Stitches and Choosing Fabrics.  Add to this the 33 project and the templates required and this is such a good resource.

In this book, particularly, I feel Cath has shown that lovely combination of age old techniques and her beautiful fabrics.

Heirloom Embroidery: Inspired Designer Projects with Beautiful Stitching Techniques by Jan Constantine is, much as the title says, about embroidery.  However in this book, how the embroidery is used on the projects it the important bit for me.  A quick count gives me 26 separate projects with a little applique and some beautiful embroidery patterns.  Jan's books show an elegance which I would love to think I could reproduce.

I am nothing if not consistent and went for Love Stitching: Iconic appliqué and hand-embroidery designs by Jan too.  This time she majors on felt.  Working with felt can be addictive and the lovely applique and is a really good book to get you started with this.  In addition to felt bases project she has others and a lot of detailed instruction on the top stitching.  It is, again, a beautiful and inspiring book with 20 plus project and the templates required.

My copy of Country Quilts in a Day: Using Strip Quilting and Other Speed Techniques by Fran Roen was first published in 1991 and doesn't look as up to date as some of my others.  However, with the idea of "using strip quilting and other speed Techniques" it hit the nail right on the head for me.  I love the idea of old fashioned quilting but I don't think I have the patience to  produce the amazing works of art that I have seen some people make.  This book has instructions for 18 different quilts.

Simple Sewn Gifts: Stitch 25 Fast and Easy Gifts by Helen Phillips was a book I bought when I first thought about selling what I made.  However it goes much further than that.  To be honest I would have it just for "Bunny Cuddles", one of the 20 plus projects. 

It has good photographs - always helpful - and all the templates you need for the projects.

Sewing in No Time by Emma Hardy follows the theme of quick and fairly easy project.  There are the necessary chapters on Techniques and Templates but this book is a hit when it comes to projects.  They come under the headings:
Relaxation Spaces (9 projects)
Kitchen and Dining Rooms (8 projects)
Bedrooms (10 projects)
Work and Play Spaces (9 projects)
Laundry and Bathrooms (8 projects)
Outer Spaces (6 projects)
(The book has been republished with a different cover picture since I bought this one but both versions seem to be the same)

Country Cottage Quilting: 15 Quilt Projects Combining Stitchery with Patchwork by Lynette Anderson gives more information on combining applique, embroidery and patchwork with 15 projects from small to large.  I felt this showed some very clever designs under the headings:
Cottage Garden (3 projects)
Vintage flowers (2 projects)
Birdhouse Garden (2 projects)
Walnut Tree Cottage (2 projects)
Flowers for Bees (2 projects)
My Favorite Garden (2 projects)
Go Wild Garden (2 projects)

I will copy this blog to its own page eventually so, if anyone has a book they would like to share please email me at  mailboxblue26-katiechucklemouse@yahoo.co.uk with a brief description of why you have found it useful.

The links are to Amazon as, in many cases, you get the opportunity to "Look inside".  which I find helpful.

Happy Crafting

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Work on the blog

This time there are no pictures as I have been updating and, hopefully, upgrading the blog. 

So, what have I been up to?  Firstly, I have upgraded the "pages" on the right hand side.  You can still see old projects by going down to the "labels" area and we still have the Video area (more to be added over the next year).  There are also two new pages – one suggested by a forum friend shows Highlights from the Katie Chucklemouse Etsy Shop.  This will just have links of recent items but if you click through on any one of them you will be able to see any items we have for sale online.  We still intend to go to local fairs too.   

One additional page I have added it “Craft dates of interest in and around Harrogate”.  We are so lucky to be close to many shows that I am going to try (notice the try) and share these with you in real time via Twitter.  The first one is the Great Northern Needlecraft Show and the Great Northern Quilt Show on the last weekend in August so I need to learn fast!

Finally I have added our Facebook address http://www.facebook.com/KatieChucklemouse to the profile on the right hand side.  Do visit and we love to be "liked" and you can also "share" any "posts" your crafty friends may enjoy.  I hope you are suitably impressed with my new knowledge of social media - I have a good teacher in my daughter!  I know I may eventually become blasé about this in the future but, at the moment, I'm quite pleased with myself.

I'm off to do more crafting now and wish you a happy crafting week too.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A graduation, teddy bears and a new tea cosy.

Well, we have had an exciting couple of weeks.  My darling daughter's graduation took place in the wonderful setting of York Minster.  Even though the weather was of almost biblical proportions we actually managed very well and only got really wet as we left.

We were in a lovely position to see the whole ceremony and admire the stunning cathedral thanks mainly to mum's wheelchair.

Since I last blogged I have been making progress on the craft front too.  First in line were more bears!  There are now three and more in the making.

As you can see Gregory, the prototype bear is on the left.  I have not named the other two as I will be selling them so feel they need to tell their owners what their names are.  I am also making another one in the same material as Gregory.  I have learned so much making these and am looking seriously at trying jointed bears.  These are not suitable for small children as their joints are attached by buttons to their bodies but I think they are very decorative and full of personality.

I am also having great fun with my Slice Fabrique.  You do need to do what they tell you, ensuring it is stuck evenly to the mat and that you have ironed on you backing but this helps you place all the pieces.  My sewing machine has a lot of embroidery stitches but I need to learn how to use them for applique.  I did very much enjoy doing the blanket stitching by hand however.  My first project has been a cottage style tea cosy.

This cosy fits my 2 pint pot but would easily fit a 3 pint one.  I like the style so I think I will try something similar but with different applique.  One thing I have realised is that although I didn't think I wanted to do "quilting" I love the techniques involved.  This is made up in much the same way as a panel for quilting would be and most of the information I have found about applique comes from the quilting world.  Do remember, if I can help in any way I will try to so questions are always welcome.

Till next time - Happy crafting.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Good people can win!

Today was the day the scammer was due to call on my Mum.  Yesterday  there was a knock on the door and it was our local police checking that I was OK with the whole thing, making sure I had the numbers for Trading Standards and to offer me advice on Mum staying safe.  No sooner had he left than the phone rang and it was the police woman who covers Mum’s area again offering help and reassurance.  This morning came and I got over to Mum’s for 9.00 a.m., ready to send the chap on his way when he arrived between 10.00 a.m.  and 11.00 a.m.   Time passed and several cups of tea later the engineer still hadn’t arrived.  I decided he wasn’t coming and I would go home.  Before I did I explained to Mum’s neighbour what was going on.   She was horrified and said they would keep a look out.  I said I had hoped to find out which company he worked for and the police had asked for the vehicle licence number if I could get it.  Off I went and, as I arrived back home and was walking through the door the phone was ringing; it was the next door neighbour.  The man had arrived about 15 minutes after I had gone – about an hour late for the appointment – and she had dashed out.  She got his name and the company details and said we were very concerned about the appointment.  He said he knew nothing about this and only went where he was told to go.  The lovely neighbour then followed him down to his van and took the number.  She was very kind – Mum didn’t even have to come to the door – and very brave.
I rang the police to update them and then the Trading Standards people.  I couldn’t talk to the person “dealing” with this as he was tied up but I noticed how excited the two people I did talk to sounded.  Within five minutes the right chap called back.  I started to give him the information and could hear his excitement too.  He thanked me and said they had been having complaints about these people for some time but because of the type of people they scammed and the way they did it they had no details of the company.  They would now be contacting them to deal with it and, if they didn’t stop, they would be prosecuted.   
So hopefully, thanks to the help of a lovely neighbour, we may have achieved something good today!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

If you go down to the woods today …

I have made my first teddy bear and I have a feeling it could be addictive.  Here he is:

As he is pink and flowery I am not sure why I think he is a “he” but it feels as if he is.  He is just a prototype so I could learn about making him.  He isn’t a jointed bear but is joined through the arms and legs by linen thread which goes through the buttons.  I have learned so much making him.  Firstly, I now covet a rather lovely carved stuffing stick.  However, at the moment, the blunt end of a pencil will do!  I also learned about massaging the stuffing once I had filled the bear – particularly the head.  I used this on a heart I have been making and it really improved the finished look.   I also watched a really useful YouTube video about stuffing into points and small spaces; it was very useful and there are loads of tutorials out there.  I did think it seemed a bit spooky putting “how to sew a bear’s head to its body” into Google and this is when all the information about making jointed bears came up.  I think I may have to try it ... 
Can I, while I am chatting, draw your attention to Joanna Sheen’s blog “County Days”   It’s not about her sales side of things but more the diary of a country crafter.  It has made me think about telling you more about lovely North Yorkshire so you may find odd things coming up in my blogs.
Joanna loves gardening while I, it must be said, love gardens.  I decided to get out on Sunday and make a move towards the new design I have planned for my garden.  The garden at Granny Crafting Cottage is very small but can take quite a bit of work or it becomes overgrown.   I am going to make it as low maintenance as possible to allow for future inability to do as much.  Did I say future inability?  Gardening seemed a long way away by the time I had finished as I was cleaning the drive.  Unfortunately it was long overdue and very mossy so I ended the day with no wafting scent of roses or extra baskets and pots of flowers but very, very stiff joints and a lingering smell of Jeyes fluid!
Have a happy crafting week (or gardening or even drive cleaning)
Can I just add a PS to this weeks blog.  Yesterday my mother was called by "Dyson" to arrange a service for her cleaner.  She thought it odd because it is only a couple of months old but they insisted in making an appointment so she put them off until next week.  Well done Mum!  They said it would cost £15 which seemed very odd indeed.  I rang Dyson and they said they had been on Watch Dog on TV and advertised in the papers but these people were still able to approach vunerable Dyson owners and, saying they were from Dyson and capitalise on the name.  She said they would charge the £15 but often they would put other parts on the cleaner, saying it needed them and charge anything up to £90 and also negate the Dyson warrenty.  They have also, recently, been signing people up to a monthly payment scheme to cover the cleaner.  The lady I spoke to - who was extremely helpful - said Dyson would never cold call.  They have a free phone number and a very good warrenty so you ring them is there is a problem.  I just thought you might want to warn anyone you know who is vurerable to this sort of thing.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Difficulty with Blog Spot

Hi all, I am really sorry I haven't blogged for such a long time but I have had difficulty getting onto the site since I changed the look!  I have now changed it again and I have the driver's buttons back that I need to update things ... is it technology or is it me ... answers on a postcard please, etc.

I have got some new crafted goodies to show you but at the moment my main theme is de-cluttering.  I have had a clearout and this

was the result!  Currently an auction on Ebay.  I am sad to part with many of the stamps but you will see how many say new and unused (tut tut) and I really don't have the time now I am doing more sewing (and knitting, etc., etc.,)

I will be back soon with Katie Chucklemouse items to show you.

Happy Crafting

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Waiting for my legs to come...
Well the table legs to be honest.  I couldn't work out how to fit a decent work table into the bedroom which is to be my work room/spare room.  The problem has been solved by a kind person on our local Freecycle offering an Ikea table top.  It was just the top and there are loads of different types of legs I can get and they are not at all expensive.  The best bit wasn't that it was free - although that's good - but that it solved my problem.  I can now take it down and have the beds out when I need to or put the beds away and use the room as a craft room.  So thank you Freecycle - the solver of problems as well as a good system for stopping things going into landfill. 

We have made great progress with our packaging now I have got the hand of stamping on fabric (not exactly difficult once you have done it once!). 

These are bags with Ewenice Teacosies in ready to be sent out but I thought I would photograph them so you could see how we are progressing.

We were pleased with our tags too and felt they were very Katie Chucklemouse!

Have a good crafty week!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Playing? No it's research.

My new sewing machine arrived with its beautiful new feet and lovely stitches so I have been "training".  Going through the stitches I decided to make myself a bag for my tights.  I have been wanting one for ages and it gave me a chance to check out the blanket stitch on the appliqued hearts.  I found I need to make sure the tension is right and the machine went on being oily for longer than I expected but I got me bag and my tights will be tidy at last.

I am off to sort out more appliques and make some letters so I can add names to our standard bags!

Happy crafting.

Just adding a quick P.S. to say this machine is going back as I am really not happy with it.  I have ordered another one so will see where that takes me.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Just a quick post to introduce you to ...

Ewephemia - never Effie if you don't mind. 

Ewephemia is a door stop and will do stirling duty in the summer when we want those doors to stay open.  She will be available shortly at our Etsy Shop  She will be sent out with an empty tummy which will need filling with rice and this is safely held in her lining which is sealed with a hook and loop fastening.  Ewenice and Ewestace are very happy indeed to have a new playmate.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

I am so excited ...

I know some of those who saw the little horse last week were disappointed that I hadn’t a pattern I could offer (I’m working on that one) but I hope we will have made up for it.  We have searched hard for modern patterns that could be used with the lovely fabrics that are available these days.  We then discovered these lovely ones – and hope you like them as much as we do.  We have brought them into the UK and they are now in our Katie Chucklemouse Etsy shop.  You can read more about us on our Facebook page too at http://www.facebook.com/KatieChucklemouse

The first is a Love Birds pattern and we think it would suit all levels of skill, from beginner to advanced.

The next is a pattern called Under the sea and it just makes me giggle - and I find I am already thinking of the material in my "stash" that would work well for this one.

Dawn, the little fawn is our third offering - I know one little person who would love this ... and maybe I ought to make two because I can think of a bigger person who would love it too!

Again, little girl, teenager or just someone who likes to have fun, this lovely bag called Little Garden could appeal to all of them.

 Last, but by no means least, we have Phoebe,  in my minds eye I can see her being walked across the floor and becoming an important character in children's games.

I do hope you like them as much as we do.  We have had to think hard about importing them because we knew they would cost a little more but I think it is worth it to get some really exciting patterns.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

From Sheep to Horses ...

I have been looking for a patterns I can convert and will let you know into what as soon as I have some success.  This weekend I made this little horse.  I discovered it won't work for my new project but I thought you might like to see it as it is really sweet.

Making the mane was very intesting and I need to make a tail just to finish him off.  I think she would look lovely in any nursery!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Another member of the flock

If you are knitting away creating your own Ewestace or Ewenice then meet one already skipping round his own field (or kitchen as he is a tea cosy).  Jan, one of the first people to knit the kit, sent me the photo of her the sheep she knitted.  He definitely has his own personality; Jan has done the eyes slightly differently so you may want to check them out to see which you prefer.

See you next Tuesday.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Last week I was the Marketing Department

... well the administrator really because Kate is the Marketing and Profiling guru.  I did learn what "bitty-links" are so I am feeling very proud of myself. 

This week I have become "Accounts".  We are rapidly approaching the end of the financial year so I have to get down to this side of setting up a business.  At least with this area, having already run (and continuing in a smaller way) my book selling business I don't feel quite so out of my depth.  Last week I was definitely a granny Face Booker!

As Katie Chucklemouse is about crafting I thought I would show you something I have been learning to use.  I cannot paint for all the tea in China.  This has always been a sadness but the wonderful Sheena Douglas has produced transfers, updating the old ones we tried in the past and kept them in her recently released Paint Fusion range, an updating of the folk art many are familiar with.

My first try left a lot to be desired -

I did not get the adhesion I needed at the edges.  This could be overcome by distressing the edges but I also didn't pay enough attention to the bubbles in the centre so some went missing there too when I rubbed off the backing paper.

My next try was an improvement thankfully!

Again, these are unfinished and the edges could be treated in many different ways but progress was made in making sure the transfer became part of the paint background.  I still need to continue rubbing the backing paper away but I am sure I will be happy with the finished item.  This is definitely something you have to learn but once you have the technique it will be so useful.  I have trays and waste paper bins waiting for the treatment.

Well, off now to fight with the figures but will fit in more crafting during the week.  See you next Tuesday and have a lovely crafty week.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The next stage of Katie Chucklemouse – the Facebook page!

No photos of crafty makes this week as, our steps along the “how to start a crafty business” route have centred round promoting the business.  As it's half-term Kate has been able to set up a Face Book page for Katie Chucklemouse.  I’m sure some of you know all about Face Book but it is a bit of a mystery to me so it’s a good thing one of us knows what we are doing.  I can see that, as a business we will want to communicate with those people “walking” past our shop and looking in to see what we are offering.
First Kate set up the page and then I needed to “like” it so that she could make me an administrator.  She also put in the “info” bit and the first photo’s which I sent over to her.  This may sound simple to many of you but instead of the older generation taking the young by the hand this is definitely the young (forget that big birthday KateJ) leading the older generation. 
This is a really interesting side to internet selling.  I think when businesses first started this form of selling they just put a catalogue on line.  However, you do need (if only for your own sanity when often working alone) a dialogue with your customers and prospective customers.   Do pop over and see what you think – just search for “Katie Chucklemouse” on Facebook.  There are a few things to finish yet – there is no picture of me as I am writing.  They are not quite a rare as hen’s teeth but they are pretty thin on the ground!  We are also setting up an email address so you can email - Katie may be a Chucklemouse but she would love to hear from you.  I would certainly like to hear what kits you would like us to look at putting together. (We will be releasing a new one shortly.)  If you like what you see please click the “like” button.  For those setting up a business and thinking of doing your own Facebook page, 27 “likes” move the page up a level.  I know I will learn more about why that is important over the next few weeks and I will try and share what I can with any of my crafty friends thinking moving into the internet trading scene.
I will keep you up to date with our next steps – although I need to do some sewing and knitting this week too!
Happy crafting to you all and I’ll hope to see you again next Tuesday

Katie Chucklemouse Facebook Page

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Apparently I'm a WEARY!

A Working, Entrepreneurial and Active Retiree appparently.  Nothing for the "Y" although I am sure that you, dear reader, could suggest something.

Such an exciting week last week after my blog with the "sheeps".  Ewestace and Ewenice seem to have struck a cord and the feedback I had was lovely.  The are now staring on Etsy but the originals are both still sitting, looking rather sweet, in my sitting room.  I must return the borrowed teapot to my daughter though!  Although they hadn't been advertised on Etsy at that point, two kits are now on their way to happy knitters and I have been commissioned to make two more up.  This has given me lots of confidence to carry on building Katie Chucklemouse.

On to the object of this week's blog - at last I can show you the mini-pinnies as promised.  This is the little girls version:

And the slightly squarer one for the boys:

They have been designed for little people the squarer on being approximately 18" long (46 cms) and the little girls one approximately 20" long (51 cms).

As you can see I braved the snow to get the photos and it was really lovely to be out in the garden in the sunshine.

Well ... this WEARY person (often in both senses of the word!) is off to make a cup of tea and then get on with more sewing.  See you next Tuesday.