Post-Christmas Chocolate Dilemma

I hope you had a lovely Christmas. Mine was fun and quite hectic, involving lots of different people to visit and huge amounts of food. I received lots of presents featuring zombies, cats and fake fur, and a HUGE amount of chocolate. I'm now feeling extremely unhealthy and am aiming to start eating fruit and veg to get my eczema and energy levels under control, but there's still so much chocolate...

A hugely exciting thing happened on Christmas Day - Christmas Bob was featured on Mr X Stitch! I may have squeeeed extremely loudly for quite a while...

In the run-up to Christmas I decided to actually make some things from my Crafty Creatives Christmas box, rather than getting excited about the contents then leaving it all in a giant pile in my craft room like previous boxes... I made some lip scrub (fun and messy), then made up some felt baubles just using what was in the box. This really challenged me as I would never usually use brown embroidery thread on any colour felt other than brown!

There were some gorgeous heavy Christmas tree beads in the box along with some wreath rings and tiny bells, which I made into a mobile to hang from the lounge light fitting, along with the usual baubles:

Luckily I am short enough not to get it tangled in my hair and set the bells off, others have not been so lucky...

Finally, here is a Ethel Christmas hoop commission I did for Anna Marie - photo by her as it is SOOO much better than the awful ones I took before I posted it off:

See you in 2014 (eeek)!

Happy Christmas!

Wishing you all a happy festive season! I will be back blogging next week - I have spent the last few days feeding a reindeer and making Christmas decorations, and will spend the next few days eating too much and watching bad films.

Things I Did This Week

I'm not getting on particularly well with finishing craft projects. This is my Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Halloween Sampler so far:

I've been doing this since October. I think I'm admitting defeat with linen (I've also only managed a tiny part of January for the 2013 Woodland Sampler ) and going back to Aida. I've signed up for the 2014 Once Upon A Time Sampler and would like to finish it before 2020.

I went to see the Subhumans on Sunday:

And this is what happens when I have too much rum:

Random Stuff

There are some really cute things made from supplies and tutorials sold/written by Laura "Lupin" Howard on her blog, including Phylisss as her wings were made from the super-soft felt that she used to sell.

I went to the First Cut exhibition at Southampton's Sea City museum on Saturday to see a talk by Su Blackwell who is one of my favourite artists (I love the fragility of her work). There are some amazing pieces in the exhibition, and they've reduced the price until Christmas. I haven't been to the actual Sea City museum, but if you're interested in things Titanic-y, entrance to that is also cheaper at the moment. There's a life-size paper motorbike in the art gallery, which is free entry.

There are also a couple of pieces from First Cut at the Tudor House Museum, where I shared a stall at a craft fair yesterday (I have now decided that my "target demographic" isn't to be found at normal Southampton craft fairs, although if children were allowed to spend their parents' money I suspect I would have done much better. I wish Southampton was more like Brighton). I didn't see most of the museum, but it looks quite interesting, and I think it's free to go to the Tudor Garden and the café. Everyone got very excited at one point as a giant container ship sailed past... Sadly something about the building kicked off a 12 hour asthma attack which was a bit alarming. I thought it would go away when I got home but it took another 8 hours to calm down. My asthma is usually completely under control so it's all a bit odd :(

Christmas Monsters

Right, that's all the monsters I am making for 2013 (except for two commissions I agreed to a while ago). Here are the Christmas decorations I have up on Folksy:

And these are the monster hoops:

I've just taken part in an online market on the Bubbling Well  Facebook page, there's lots of lovely stuff there.

I'm looking forward to the Victorian Christmas at the Tudor House Museum in Southampton this Sunday (8th) from 10 - 5, again I am sharing a stall with Naomi and her octopii and other crocheted creatures, tentacled and otherwise. I've never been to the Tudor House Museum so I hope I get time to explore it (also it's free entry for the day, so worth coming for that!). There are various places like this dotted around Southampton - I keep missing the dates when the vaults are open to the public. I must start a list of things I want to do in 2014.

Christmas Monster Mini-Hoops

Bit of a frantic rush to get these up tonight - I hate taking photos in the evening, I really struggle with the lighting (obviously!). I end up using several desk lamps and the daylight lamp I use for embroidery.

Christmas Jeremy is for sale here and Christmas Bob is for sale here.

Only the stocking photos and listings to do then I am done with Folksy Monster Christmas!

Southampton Uni Craft Fair

This is me horribly tired and frazzled after Naomi and I set up our stall at Southampton University Craft Fair this weekend, after much panic and not enough sleep.

I spent most of Friday and Saturday finishing the stockings, while my boyfriend made some fancy brackets to stop my noticeboards from falling over.

I sold Eduardo (hooray!) but it really wasn't the right demographic for our stuff. I suspect my monsters would get a better reception somewhere like Brighton, and certainly at smaller fairs, this one had more than 100 stalls. We were next to a cupcake stall and behind a gourmet marshmallow stall, so all the sugar helped with the extreme energy slump caused by sitting in a hot room for 7 hours while 1000 people looked at my monsters like they were deeply disturbing and I was a Bit Wrong....

Thursday Things - Music

I've realised this blog has only reflected my crafting, kitty-cuddling side and not my wearing black, drinking rum and watching punk bands in deconsecrated churches side. To partially remedy this, here are some bands I've been to see this year.

New Model Army (May, Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms)

Wildhearts (June, Bournemouth O2 Academy)

Ricky Warwick (July, Southampton Cellar)

Culture Shock (October, Southampton Talking Heads)

Pussycat and The Dirty Johnsons (November, Southampton Firehouse0

Imperial Leisure (November, Salisbury Arts Centre)

Crafty Christmas Tutorial Link-Up

Here are the other tutorials that were part of the Bug and Fishes Crafty Christmas tutorial link-up (in two parts so keep scrolling down past the second mosaic) - so many adorable things to make! These could keep you busy all the way to next Christmas...

Felt House Gift Tag Holder – I ManuFatti

Christmas Trinket Hoop Mobile – Carina’s Craft Blog

Felt Polar Bear Ornament – La Creature and You

Christmas Hoop – Claire Payne

Embroidered Christmas Mug Rug – Button Button

Polymer Clay Star Ornaments - Saraccino

Knitted Christmas Stockings Garland – Knit Me a Cake

DIY Christmas Ribbon – Adventures & Tea Parties

Embroidered Mistletoe Ornament – Bugs and Fishes

Scented Salt Dough Ornaments – Retro Delicious

Crochet Christmas Tree Decorations – Homemade@MyPlace

Christmas Cross Stitch Raccoon Ornament – Hugs are Fun

Polymer Clay Christmas Tree – Little Creatures

Christmas Wish-List Felt Envelope - Jumbleberries

Felt Christmas Tree Toy – Pinwheels and Stories

Let it Snow Embroidery Pattern – A Little Happy Place

Festive Wanderers Embroidery Pattern – Unexpected Kitty

Festive Felt and Fabric Coasters – Betz White

Holiday Ribbon Pillow – Mrs. Saint Nick

Felt Gingerbread Man Gift Tag – Grace’s Favours

Crochet Christmas Star Jar Covers – Dinki Dots

Edible Christmas Ornaments – Hydrangea Girl

Cross Stitch Christmas Trees – Made by Mrs M

Secret Love Letter Christmas Gift Tag – Crafts of Texture

Applique Love Christmas Card – Halcyon Threads

Christmas Mini Mitts – The Crimson Rabbit

Felt Reindeer Ornament – Pickle-Lily

Christmas Carousel – Aura Verde Crafts

Embroidered Christmas Stocking Ornament - Cocojude

Stencilled Christmas Embroidery Hoop - Angharad

First Ever Unexpected Kitty Embroidery Pattern!

I'm expanding Unexpected Kitty to include embroidery patterns, and here is the first one (am very excited)!

You can download "Festive Wanderers" for free here. If you make it, I would love to see it.

Do you have any tips on using metallic thread, other than "don't bother"? I used it as a single strand blended with white for the snow, which was bearable (ha ha) but the stars led to much swearing. I'd like to try Cosmo Sparkles thread as I've heard it's much easier to use than DMC, but it seems impossible to buy it in the UK.

This is part of a craft tutorial Christmas link-up organised by Bugs and Fishes. Later this week I will put up the details of all the other tutorials.

Update: look here for the rest of the Crafty Christmas tutorials!

Craft Fairs - Panic! Panic!

I have two craft fairs coming up and no idea how to display any of my monsters. I've been frantically looking through Flickr for ideas - I have tried plate stands which looked nice but fell over easily and didn't make the monsters stand out much, even when I put them on different levels by standing them on old books. It would be lovely to have the old hinged shutters that I see in photos of US craft fairs, but I doubt there are many lying around in Eastleigh charity shops. I have bought some cheap fabric-covered notice boards, hinges and bits of wood so hopefully I can come up with something that won't collapse.

I've got plans for monster-related Christmas things - I think I have to spend every spare minute of the next fortnight sewing and hoover up all the tiny bits of felt next month....

If you're in the Southampton area, I will be at Southampton University's craft fair on 24th November and Tudor House's Victorian Christmas fair on 8 December.

Meet The Monsters - Maximilian

Maximilian enjoys archery and hanging around shopping centres in an intimidating manner.

5" hoop with appliqued and embroidered felt and floss "fluff".
His portrait is for sale here

Wordless Wednesday

Phat Quarter "Five" Swap

For the fifth anniversary of Mr X Stitch, this Fifth Friday Festival of Fabulousness swap theme on the Flickr Phat Quarter group was "Five".

This was probably the hardest theme so far for me, it took me ages to think up something. This is my piece for kirstymcguiness:

(because starfish have 5 legs/tentacles/whatever and wood is the present for fifth wedding anniversaries....).
I tried to just glue the wooden star buttons onto the hoop, but after a huge amount of swearing I wrapped the hoop in green/blue wool and sewed the buttons on instead.

This is Lizzibabe's piece for me - I love it!

You can see the rest of the swap pieces in this Mr X Stitch post.

Thursday Things - Halloweenie special

Noddy says "Be especially nice to black kitties this Halloween!"

Now I'm going to scream in a corner about all the people that didn't pin their amazing Halloween pictures so they actually went anywhere. AARRGGHH!

My 100th post!

I never thought I'd manage to get this far with my blog - I'm very proud of myself  :)

*dances around with balloons and streamers*


Announcing the opening of my MONSTER SHOP!!!!!!

My Folksy shop is now live - you can purchase handmade textile portraits of Phylisss, Castiel, Clarissa and Eduardo.

Meet The Monsters - Phylisss

Phylisss has an extensive and meticulously labelled beetle collection, is proficient at glass blowing and enjoys watching ice hockey.

5" hoop, felt and fake fur fabric applique with hand embroidery.
Phylisss's portrait is for sale here

Knitting & Stitching Show 2013

Last Saturday I went to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. I saw some amazing exhibits, most of which I can't remember the creator or wasn't allowed to take photos. I loved Sally Spink's tiny insect knitted clothing and was very moved by Mary Fisher's Messages exhibition.

The Carnaby Street's Crazy Cab Cozy was awesome, I loved all the tiny details:

I especially liked the bird on the wing mirror. I had sparrows perching on my wing mirror most of the summer, occasionally looking in the mirror and pooping on my car.

I was also fascinated with Nicola Jarvis's exhibition inspired by William Morris, the bird below is from "Birds In The Strawberry Bed" by Nicola Jarvis and Michele Hill:

The show was crazily busy, I spent a lot of time being completely stuck in crowds, unable to move and panicking. I missed a huge amount of the retail stalls as there were so many people (which was probably good for my bank balance). I definitely won't visit again on a Saturday.

Luckily I had booked on a workshop with Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective which prevented me having a full-scale meltdown. We made mini protest banners - I still need to find somewhere to hang mine (pic below) where it won't get ripped down/set fire to within 10 minutes. Check their website out, it is full of ideas to raise consciousness through crafting rather than more in-your-face activism.

Alexandra Palace itself is strangely grand yet run down. Lots of it seems boarded up but it has some beautiful features. This is the roof above the picnic area (something else that saved my sanity):

This is the outside view of the giant stained glass - it was far too busy inside to take a photo of the main side. I developed a slight obsession with the statue on the roof, it reminded me of the angels from Doctor Who. I expected it to come to life and start smiting people...

Attempting Watercolours

I'm getting better at drawing (am quite good at copying existing images), but I can't paint at all. I am very jealous of those that can, so I took an afternoon watercolour class with Kate Woodley-Smith. I am totally in awe of her flower and butterfly paintings. It was a lot of fun, I still can't paint, but I can make pretty textured backgrounds using lemon, tea and salt.

We had to choose colours to paint a cut onion - mine is far too dark but is a basic onion shape... The purple thing at the bottom is supposed to be a sea creature/monster thing.

I can't remember how I did this background, probably with salt to make the textured areas and lemon to bleach bits out. I'm pleased with the trees and the spots on the creature thing, and the "flicking" technique for the splatters came out quite well. This is probably my favourite.

I didn't really think the resist through when I added it which is why the bird is missing some of its face. It's supposed to sort of signify wind, I guess.

I had time left over so I painted some flowers and drew over them with biro. My comparey-monster had thoroughly kicked in by this point as some other people in the class did some stunning work.

I'm booked in with Kate for an ink class next week - I am frantically practising sketching so I can get some ideas beforehand. I should be able to make an impressive mess with inks...

Shops I Love Part Two: FionaT

I have bought a ridiculous amount of stuff from Fiona T's Folksy shop over the last few years. She makes intricate machine embroidered items (often involving zombies and ninjas, but also occasionally birds and flowers) based on drawings by Little Black Heart (I also own a huge amount of stuff from her shop, she is awesome).
Most of my friends have received embroidered zombie bookmarks, and I have several of her zombie canvases:

Most recently, I bought Tammy, a zombie Halloween kitten.

Noddy does not want to be friends with Tammy...

It's worth keeping an eye on her Facebook page, as many of her items sell out almost as soon as they're put in the shop. Make sure you don't buy the things I want....

Thursday Things - Halloween Craft Special

If you're not a Queen Of Procrastination (like me) there's still time to get some Halloween crafting done. My Frosted Pumpkin Halloween Sampler currently just says "HA" with a tiny bit of haunted house, so maybe I should accept it won't be done until Halloween 2014 and try some of these quicker crafts instead.

Phat Quarter "Living In the 80s" Partner Swap Piece

This was the piece Devin sent me for the 80's Phat Quarter swap - I love it! My Lost Boys obsession has never gone away, looking back it seems to have been a huge influence on everything from my fashion sense (mostly black) to my choice of boyfriends...

 Check out her Flickr stream here and her Etsy shop StitchCulture here - I love the vintage owls "Who's Yo' Daddy?" hoop.