Thursday, 23 December 2010

Happy Christmas

I would like to say thank you to everyone who has ordered from me, bought something from me, followed my blog, FB page, posted comments, etc (I'm sure there are more things!) over the past year.  It has been a good year and I hope the next one will be as good.

I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year!

(P.S. the knitted Happy Christmas was made into cards a couple of years ago and I am wondering about getting them reprinted and adding more to the range next year - what do you think?)

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Alternative Christmas Cards

I usually try to make my Christmas cards every year, even though that means I am always last minute when posting them. 

This year I got business cards printed at, punched a hole in one end, strung a red ribbon through and tied it in a knot so it can be hung up:

I borrowed a piece of festive-coloured fair-isle from Wendy of Burra Bears and took a photo of it (thanks Wendy!).  I then made this into an image for the front of the card and made another image with our message on it on the back, picking a colour from the fair-isle for the background colour.

They were very easy to make and it is something different, I'm sure you could think up many other variations!

I only posted them yesterday in tiny brown envelopes (I did say I was last minute) so any of you that normally gets a card from us, they are on their way!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Snow on snow on snow

There seems to be no sign of the thaw, and while I love the snow and the beauty it brings I also feel sorry for the folk that are stuck in airports and are trying to travel for Christmas. 

When I was out earlier today with Tib the border collie, I took the camera, the colours were so beautiful and it was so still.  The photo above shows the mussel ropes at the bottom of the croft.

The stones on the dyke looked fluffy:

The long grass looks like tiny feathers:

I think the sheep must be getting fed up with this weather:

Other animals are having fun in this weather - we have seen otter tracks every day in the snow and we have seen tracks where the otters have been sledging!  The tracks below changed into the sledge tracks:

The otter sledged all the way down the hill through the fence and over the banks into the sea:

The wild rabbits must have had a dance party in our drive last night:

This is the view from the house - its lovely when it like this but also glad to be warm inside!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas is coming....

Christmas isn't far away now - most of my work is done (expect for one or two little things I forgotten about, paperwork, etc), and the house is more or less decorated.

The dockin (dock) wreath below made by Jeanette Nowak has been hung on my favourite cupboard, with one of my spotty felt decorations which I hope will be for sale next Christmas......

 I have already made many mince pies, and will probably make many more (last year I made over 100)....

They are great when guests come around, as a pudding with ice cream and to give as presents.....

We have still got plenty of snow making it feel festive - this was the view out the sitting room window at one point on Saturday - a "blind moorie" as we would say in Shetland.

It's looking pretty likely that we will have a white Christmas, but then again, who knows?!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Feeling Festive

This year I have been determined to enjoy the run-up to Christmas, or at least be aware it's happening.  In previous years I have been so busy making things, packing, going to the Post Office, sometimes the decorations have only gone up on Christmas Eve night and the mince pies have been made after Christmas. 

I set a final date for web orders and while I have a backlog of orders waiting to go out it is manageable and I have done some festive things already - we have already polished off one batch of mincemeat pies.  I have started putting some decorations up in the house:

Nothing beats several sets of fairy lights scattered around.  The picture below is a string of fairy lights in a vase with some aubergine baubles and is sitting in the place of the usual lamp.

The Christmas has just gone up with an aubergine theme:

I have managed to make my Christmas cake - I know that purists would frown on making a cake last minute, but this is a really good recipe from Delia Smith -  Last Minute Sherry Christmas cake.  Click the recipe title for the link to the recipe.

I use stout instead of sherry as I think it gives a milder flavour (this year I used Unst Brewery's sjolmet stout), and tweak some of the other ingredients depending how I feel.

There is still lots to do, but this year I AM going to enjoy it!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend x

Monday, 29 November 2010

Snowy Shetland

I love the snow and have been feeling like a bairn all weekend, the thought of being snowed in is so exciting but it doesn't really work when you work from home!  Its very beautiful though, when the showers subside and the sun comes out we can see for miles.

Looking NE from the house:

Looking E from the house:

We have all enjoyed a few wintery walks to the nearby beach:

These frilly icicles were formed by water dripping off the marram grass

I think I am going to get a lot of good out of my survival suit this year!

Meanwhile, you have until 9 a.m. tomorrow morning to enter the prize draw in where the prize is a £30 gift voucher to spend on my website (could be handy this time of year!)  All you have to do is sign up to my mailing list by entering your email address on the form on my website - click here for the link.

 Good luck and keep warm!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Christmas Exhibitions

I have work in a few Christmas Exhibitions this year, I was delighted to be asked to design new bags for the festive exhibition "Sprickle and Peester" at the Bonhoga Gallery in Weisdale, Shetland.  This exhibition runs until Christmas and features work from over 30 artists including several from Shetland.  Read more about it here.

Sprickle and Peester are dialect words meaning "to wriggle and squeal with delight", I love the poster, it reflects the title really well.  There is a large version of the phrase on the wall of the stairs landing, which leads you into the gallery.

The poster was designed by Jono Sandilands using his paper cutting technique to reflect the handmade qualities of the exhibition.  You can read about the design process on his blog by clicking here.

Two of the bags in the show are below, I had to take the photos in the half dark as the bags had to be handed in the next day, so they aren't the best!  You can see the more photos on my facebook page.

You can also see my work at the Newashgate Gallery, Farnham, Surrey in their Winter Contemporary Textiles exhibition which runs until January 31st.

If you are near West Kilbride, pop over to the Craft Town Gallery currently located in Happyhills, Main Street, where I am exhibiting in the Alternative Giving exhibition until 24th December.

For other places to buy have a look at the stockists page on my website.

I can't believe how fast these Christmas exhibitions have arrived, now I need to think about summer exhibitions!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Prize Draw

At the Craft fair last weekend I held a prize draw, where people had the chance of winning a £30 gift voucher to spend on my website by signing up to my mailing list.

And the lucky winner is Margaret Irvine.  Congratulations!

Now you can have a chance to win another £30 gift voucher.  All you have to do is sign up to my mailing list: you can do this very simply by going to the page" mailing list" on my website and entering your email address (click on the grey text to get there!).  You will be asked to confirm by clicking on a link on an email that will be sent to you - it is really very easy!

By doing this I will send you my occasional newsletter updating you on new products, special offers, exibitions, etc.
Anyone that entered their details at the craft fair don't need to do it again, you will be automatically entered in the draw.

The second winner will be chosen at 9 a.m. next Tuesday, 30th November using a random number generator programme.

Good luck!!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Crafts sold, crafts bought

The Shetland Arts and Crafts Christmas fair last weekend went very well, I sold lots, met lots of people (got a sore throat from speaking!) and generally had a good time.

It always takes a while recovering from an event like this, putting all the display equipment away, sorting out orders and just generally getting back to normal; that's why I am a week late in writing this post!


I also managed to spend some money (it wasn't hard!), there is always such amazing work available at this show and I think it gets better every year.

1 & 2  Baby bib and Christmas decoration by Phatsheep Textiles.  Suzanne designs the fabric she uses to sew many items.  You can read about her work on her blog

3.  Christmas wreath by Jeanette Nowak.  This wreath has been made out of dockins (docks), I had to have it as I couldn't believe that something we consider to be ugly and a prolific weed (I have a never ending fight with them every summer) can be made into something so beautiful. 

4.  These gorgeous ceramic Christmas decorations were made by Kitt Mouat.  "Moorie Cavie" is a Shetland dialect phrase meanng blizzard.  Kitt doesn't have a website, but exhibits every year at the craft fair.

5.  Tablet by Boannie Isles.  I was glad to be across from the tablet stall but they were so busy I had to grab a few bags before they were sold out!  These sweet treats are handmade in Burra, the same Island I live on. 

6.  Cardigan by Neila Nell.  Neil makes striking contemporary knitted textiles.  I'm thinking I will make a denim dress to go under the cardigan, if I find a pattern I like.

For more information on the full members of the Shetland Arts and Crafts Association have a look at the website:

This weekend was the first time I hadn't been flat out making for a while so I spent Saturday shopping interspaced with the obligatory lunch and stop for tea, then headed North on Sunday.  It was a beautiful day, not a breath of wind (unusual in Shetland!), the loch at Gunnister looked like a mirror.

It was hard to tell where the land stopped and the water started.

We also headed up to Eshaness

The rain was never very far away....

Shetland always has the ability to relax and inspire, now its back to normal work, getting out more orders.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

New Product - Flowerpot Brooches

I have never been very good at looking after house plants.  My Mam can't understand it because I completed some courses in plant biology at university.  I might have been able to tell you about photosynthesis or transpiration at one time but it doesn't mean that I can keep them alive.

I don't need to worry about these felt flowerpots, these are my newest creation, felt pots with felt flowers on wire stems.  They are around 7.5 cm high, retail at £9.95 and the pink and lime green one looks great on my new Boden cordorouy dress.

They will be available at the Shetland Arts and Crafts Christmas fair in Lerwick this weekend, or email me if you would like one before I get them uploaded onto the website.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Shetland Arts & Crafts Christmas Fair - this weekend

I've not had much time to blog lately, as well as working on the usual orders, I have been making stock for the annual craft fair in the Clickimin Centre where I am exhibiting this weekend (as well as setting up as I am a member of the Shetland Arts and Crafts Committee).  Life has had to be timetabled, every waking minute is spent making where I can, the house has been neglected - there is a film of fluff over everything and there is tumbleweed in the corners.   This morning I was up at the crack of dawn painting display boards for my Christmas decorations and jewellery.

Mr Smith is very good at making things and last year he whipped up these display boards.  We didn't have time to paint the backs of them, and I, as usual have again left it to the last minute even though I have had a whole year!

Sometimes people ask me if all the effort is worth it.  Well, I think it is, as well as providing a welcome pre-Christmas boost to my bank account, it is a great weekend all round meeting lots of people, many you only ever see at the craft fair and spending time with the other exhibitors.  The feeling you get once everything has been done and set up can't really be beat.

I have several new products that will be on sale this year including Christmas decorations and brooches, which are always popular to give as Christmas presents.

I will also be running a prize draw at the fair - all you have to do is enter it when you are there. 

So, if you are in Shetland this weekend, drop along the Clickimin Centre, the food festival is also there this weekend so you will be able to pick up loads of pressies and inspiration - I look forward to seeing you!