Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mmm, crafty books.

I've been thoroughly sated on the crafty book front in the past couple of months. My Secret Santa gift off Sheldon in the office (everyone fessed up who had bought what about 5 minutes after everyone had opened their gifts) was a fantastic book called Knitted Icons, which clearly comes from the mind of a twisted genius. It is surely enough of a reason even for me to dust down my much maligned knitting needles - even if it's just so I can make the knitted Gandhi.

The Crochet Me book was sent into the Shiny offices for the Crafty Crafty team, so I've commandeered it and promised to write up a review. But since all my craft-related possessions are in storage, I haven't had a chance to do much more than pore longingly over the pages and read the biogs of the craftsters.

And, finally, my first issue of Craft magazine has arrived and I've been carrying it everywhere with me, and lovingly leafing through it whenever a spare moment appears. I'm not actually sure it has much in it that I'll ever even think about making, but it's been so beautifully designed, laid out and published, that it's just a lovely thing to hold in your hand. After years of working in magazines I thought my love for them had entirely gone, but this little publication has reminded me how great it is when you find a mag that makes you want to join its club (which is the key to any good magazine).

Not entirely crafty, but one of those great "inspiration" books, nonetheless, "Recycled Home" was in my pile of Christmas presents this year, and it's already driven me to give an old table a bit of a makeover. Since I was going to throw it away or flog it, I'm now feeling all good inside about my recycling job. I wish I'd taken "before" shots so I could put up a post about it's transformation, but I didn't think about it for some reason.

Anyway, I think it's fair to say that I'm booked up to the eyeballs for the time being!

Why I'm not making any more presents for anyone ever again... maybe.

It's been a long time, I know, but it's been a busy old year and although the crafting has continued, the blogging has gone sadly astray. We have been having our flat done up, and it's been a much bigger upheaval than we expected (thanks, lady project manager!!!! We *loved* being homeless). Because of that, my wool has been put into storage and I only have one size 6 crochet hook that somehow missed being boxed away. I haven't managed to fulfil my usual ambition of making everyone a present for Christmas, but I don't think anyone's too cut up about it, since my sister's tea cosy sits unused and unloved in her spare bedroom, Al's grandma has hidden the cosy I made her in her kitchen drawer and uses a different one, and I've never seen any evidence of the little bag I made my niece being put to use (in fact, I've never seen it since that fateful day it was unwrapped with much false glee.) As for Lia and her various gifts. Well, the least said about those the better.

Screw them, that's what I say. If they can't appreciate the genius of my ugly creations, then I'm just going to keep all that crafty crochet goodness to myself. Ungrateful wretches. Apart from the hat I made my niece (same as my Petrol hat - this is now the third time I've made this hat since I lost my first one), the two hats I've made for my new baby niece-in-law (which I will get round to posting about some day... when I've found the pictures), and the skull and cross bone placemat I made for my skull-loving friend (post about this one coming imminently). Apart from all those gifts, I'm not making gifts any more... OK, that's probably a lie - making things for other people is more fun. Even if they do just quietly secrete them into a bottom drawer for the moths to enjoy. The buggers.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm in a Crafty Crafty video!

So, part of the reason that I haven't been blogging recently is because I haven't actually been crafting. I made a couple of tomato hats for babies, which I've yet to get decent pictures of - babies tend to be ungrateful that way - and I've also made some curtains for my camper van. But aside from that, my crochet hooks and sewing machine have been gathering dust. I always think it's best not to beat yourself up too much if you run out of crafty juice. Sometimes there are craft droughts that last for years, but this craft drought feels like it will be over any day now - I can feel the juices flowing once more. Mmm, juices.

So, I've done hardly anything of late, *EXCEPT* for this hat I started making ages ago and still haven't finished. You can see it here in this video I shot for Shiny Media's craft blog, Crafty Crafty (if you haven't visited, please do - and let me know what you think!). I've got some work in progress shots I took, that I'll pop up once I get round to actually finishing the hat off.

Keep watching for Isabelle's info on how she customised a man's shirt and what she did to her shoes to make them lovable again.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Shiny Media launches Crafty Crafty - a blog for crafty types

It started as a bit of an in-joke between me and Gemma (Shiny Media's excellent Fashion Editor and fellow crafty type). If Shiny Media, creator of Shiny Shiny, were to start a craft blog, what would it be called? After sniggering at the simple genius of the name Crafty Crafty, we kept on mentioning it to the boys as if it were a fait accompli, even going as far as to stick up some sample posts on a test blog for our own enjoyment. And somehow, we managed to reach the stage where it was actually happening for real. Now Gemma and I just have to hope that it works out - since we're the fools who sold it to the others.

So, without further ado, please allow me to introduce you to Shiny Media's new craft blog, Crafty Crafty. Let me know what you think, won't you! And if you fancy writing for it, you can contact me on

Sunday, April 15, 2007

*Slightly* off-topic, but look what I just bought!

OK, I've got a couple of crochet projects I've been working on recently that I just *have* to post up, but before I do that, I needed to share with the world my joy and excitement at the frivolous purchase I just made. I bought me a campervan! Yes, I'm the proud owner of a 1980s VW Westfalia Camper. None of those shonky old 70s buses for me. They may look good, there's no denying that, but my childhood memories of holidaying in the 80s Devon Moonrakers and Holdsworth Kampers my dad used to sell has left me slightly dewy-eyed for these more modern VWs. They have a charm all of their own (at least I think they do) and this particular beauty has everything I wanted - round headlights, Westfalia interior and (most importantly) the green paint job.

I got it from the lovely boys at Eastfalia, down in Surrey yesterday. I knew I was doomed to make the purchase before I even got there - all the other vans I'd seen for sale had something that wasn't quite right, not to mention the fact that the 80s vans seem to be snapped up faster than the older models at the moment.

The one downer for me was the slightly grotty interior. My childhood memories are of brand new vans with spankingly clean interiors, but this one not only had a fair few dinks and frayed edges, it also had 25 years' worth of grot and a mouldy ceiling (which the previous owner had made worse by painting over the flocked finish, preserving the mildew AND ruining the fluffy feel).

But I can't help being ever so slightly pleased that the interior needs a spruce up. I know that keeping the original features is important for campervans and I don't want to be responsible for ruining the 80s interior in the same way that Victorian home interiors were ruined by people in the 80s (a pox on whoever decided to rip out the best bits from my flat and Artex the walls), but I reckon I can get the place looking like (mobile) home without making any irreversible changes. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. If I get too carried away, I'll just have to hide it from Antony at Eastfalia who will probably be appalled at the sacrilege.

I smell a Campervan blog on the horizon...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

You can never have enough squares

Yet more squares, this time of the itty bitty variety. These ones were my attempt at making something a little less garish than normal, but I soon got bored of the teeny tininess, which involves far too much scissor action for my liking. How can I concentrate on Boston Legal if I'm constantly having to start off new colours? I can't, that's how. So, they too have been retired indefinitely to the work bag and may or may not make a come back some day in the future. Maybe when there's no more television.

By the way, for some reason these ones came out all bluey and the last lot came out all pinky. To save me the effort of re-taking all the shots, I'd be much obliged if you could just adjust the colour mentally in your own heads (as opposed to anyone else's) to reflect the *actual* colour. Thank you.

Square Eyes

OK, time to play catch up. Here's a selection of squares I made a while back. It all happened in the first throes of energetic blanket-making passion, during which time I was more than ready to create my crochet opus. Unfortunately, the passion was short-lived and after a frenzy of square-making, all production has ceased.

The squares are from the excellent 200 Crochet Blocks, by Jan Eaton. The problem is, I loved them all so much that I couldn't settle on any particular designs or colours, and I ended up with a bit of a mish-mash of half-started colour schemes and half-arsed blanket designs. I'm sure that I'll get round to finishing one rug, eventually, but in the meantime, they languish in my work bag with all the other unfinished masterpieces.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Where have I been?!

Shameful, shameful shameful - there's no other word for it. I have well and truly neglected this site (and I only just found out that lots of people have commented, but this new-fangled Blogger had held them all back for moderating - sorry! I'll get back to the people who asked questions asap) and I have no decent excuse for it. I've actually been crocheting loads recently, but I keep failing to get photos of the stuff I make before I pass them onto the person I made the thing for, which goes *some* way towards explaining my absence.

Anyway, I'm not quite ready to make up for my absence just yet - it's getting late and I have a column I've got to write that's due in tomorrow (boo!) - but here's *one* thing I've made during my blogging leave of absence.

Lia, the girl kindly modelling the mittens for me, is now the owner of these woollen masterpieces, and you may imagine how pleased she is. The pattern is from my lovely Japanese crochet book.