Plants and Herbs and Little Bits…

Today it hasn’t rained! In fact, it’s the 2nd day in a row where it hasn’t rained and even better, the sky has been blue all morning and not a cloud in sight!

It feels like summer has arrived. Finally!

I repotted some plants the other day, my big cactus that I call Mr Whippy (that was the name of an ice cream van that used to come round when I was little…a Whippy ice cream is one that is soft and squirted into a cone in the UK, or at least it was where I am…haven’t had one in a while).

Mr Whippy is a type of cactus called a Cereus Forbesii Spiralis and comes in all kinds of funky swirls. It has grown by about half in the last month or so after a year of nothing. The one in the foreground is a Christmas Cactus, I forget the proper name for it.

Just look at this big boy!

And my Dracaena has suddenly sprouted up too, even growing a little side shoot…it’s had a baby!

In the garden the potatoes are reaching for the sky…and things like chives, mint, thyme etc. are all growing strong. No idea what the flowers are but they’re pretty!

And the pink carnations from last week are still alive!

It was Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary yesterday and he got her the most gorgeous bunch of flowers…

Everything looks brighter now in the bright sunlight…

It’s a Bank Holiday Weekend in the UK. I think there is one more in August sometime and then that’s it until Christmas. So, people are out and about, the traffic is very loud today – lots of motorbikes!

I love it when it’s like this, you can hear people mowing their lawn, there’s lots of noisy birds hopping on your garden fence watching you (how dare you sit in THEIR garden?!!) and even though it’s busy outside (we live next to a busy main road) the day still has an air of lazy holiday about it.

My brother came round today and we sat in the garden and had bacon butties (Dad’s are the best in the world- fried bacon in a toasted ciabatta bun with lots of butter). So typically English with my bacon butty and cup of tea – haha!

He brought his dog round too, a mix of Labrador and Spaniel…she didn’t know where to look or who to pester for a bit of bacon with 4 people munching away!!

So far, I managed to get only one row of knitting done on my orange jumper…but it’s something!

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend! x

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I need a change…

Update:

I have been writing like a mad woman on Medium this week, finishing a mini blog series which, honestly, wasn’t the best written piece I’ve ever done. But it’s done and now I’m looking at writing other articles.

I got my first claps for an article on Medium today too – yay! That’s kind of like a ‘like’ here on WordPress…but since I don’t pay the monthly subscription on Medium, everything has to go the long way round…*sigh*.

I also created pins to go with the series and pinned them to my @woollyorbit Pinterest account.

And I’ve created quite a few printables on Canva for the upcoming Etsy shop. They’re just drafts at the moment, it’s more a way for me to plan out the content in a more visual way. Monday I created 15 pages!

I gotta say it’s all taking me WAY longer than I originally planned, and I think part of that is the fact I can’t physically work on things in front of my computer for hours straight – I need a change!

As well as all of the above, I’ve been uploading quite a few new designs bit to my RedBubble account (WoollyOrbit2000) and I think it may be time to switch to my new Spoonflower or Society 6 accounts. Although they have different file uploading requirements so that’s going to be a headache.

I’ve been so tired the last couple of days, that I can’t concentrate, so I think tomorrow will only have the bare minimum in front of the screen.

I did manage to cut out some denim fabric pieces today for a backpack I want to sew. I got it free with a magazine a few months ago and just have to cut out the lining for it and then get sewing!

Things to do tomorrow:

YOGA DVD – I haven’t done any Yoga for ages! I’m all stiff from sitting at a desk all day and I get episodes of bad back pain every so often so I want to start taking care of my body a bit more from now on.

SOMETHING CRAFTY -Maybe cut out the lining for the bag and MAYBE start to sew it. I think, I want to try to do a bit more cross- stitch too. And if all I manage is one more row of knitting, then I’ll take it.

READ– It’s been a few months since I last read anything for pleasure and I still have The Testament’s by Margaret Atwood to start. (Only now as an adult do I realise the irony of having had an English teacher called Mr Atwood).

GO OUTSIDE! – I haven’t gone for a walk for awhile. And let’s face it, I’m not the running sort of person! 😉 But I will go for a walk tomorrow, maybe walk to the next village along down the country lanes and see what I can see.

PICK UP! – Have you heard of a guy called Jordan Peterson? I’m going to clean my room…and if you know who he is, you’ll know what I mean!

And finally, I think I might try to complete a listing in its entirety. Product photos and everything, I already have one ready to go. But maybe try and get a 2nd completely done and dusted. And finish a Medium article which is half written.

Sometimes a change is as good a rest…is that the saying?!

Photo by Adonyi Gu00e1bor on Pexels.com

Below is a post from Medium with a list of websites/ apps/ software for design and building a small business just to get you started. Use it as a stepping stone to other places…once you see what’s out there, then you’ll be amazed at what you’ve been missing!

https://woollyorbit.medium.com/build-your-small-business-in-a-year-october-7bcd6874db5b

A Quick Catch-Up!

Been a while since I looked at my goals for May and I gotta say I’m well ahead! As of Friday 21st May, this is where I am at…

Etsy

I’ve finished most of the behind the scenes Etsy stuff like FAQs and shop policies and stuff. Just concentrating on creating the listings to go in the shop right now. I’m working my way through chapters I have planned out, as I plan on publishing a paperback through Amazon KDP at the same time as launching the shop properly.

Things will just need to be re-sized and Etsy listing ‘photos’ made. Not super difficult stuff, but SO time consuming.

I have 2 listings mostly made. I want to get 5 -10 ready when I open the shop. And I have the pages ready for another 2 or 3 listings.

RedBubble

RedBubble – I have uploaded 118 designs so far. Which is awesome considering this time last week I had about 79 and last Saturday was a total write off thanks to a bad back, as well as HOURS, literal HOURS spent on upgrading my computer’s operating systems.

I don’t think I’ll make 200 by the end of the month, but 100 was a big goal and I’m glad to have reached that goal!

Medium

I wanted to write and publish 5 articles for Medium. Check! Done! And I have the drafts for 10 more…I’m doing a 12 month post series and I have January – April already published. I just haven’t had the time to finish the rest, but for about 8 or 9 of the posts, I have the lists written out just need to add a bit more content!

And yes…I joined the Partner Program!

I made money too…hold on! 4 CENTS! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

But it works! I wrote 5 articles and left it a week or two. I haven’t really promoted anything or joined any in house publications like you should to get seen on Medium. Basically I did nothing and still made money. So, I’m fired up to get writing in earnest now!

And on the topic of joining things, I joined SkillShare and I’m loving watching the videos on graphic design, especially Procreate and Affinity Designer!

AND I did join up to Spoonflower and another UK fabric Print on Demand supplier, but honestly I haven’t done anything with these either. It’s getting all the files ready in different formats for each site that I can see being a huge headache. But, I suppose once it’s done, that’s it!

General

Did I make another font? Nope!

Did I sign up to Creative Fabrica as a seller? Nope.

Did I make any digital stickers? Nope…but I have ideas for that.

And out of the original 10 things to do in May, did I sign up for my own self hosted website? Yes, but it’s not live and I need to work on it quite a bit more before it is.

AND NOW FOR THE CRAFT GOALS….

I’ll give you a clue…it’s all NOPE!

I did some cross stitch and that’s about it!

Really busy and still loving the creativity that is spewing out of me like a volcano recently. There’s a cool image…a volcano spewing out craft items like fabric, wool, paints…

Music

I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff in the background too. Heard of a group called Sofi Tukker? If you’re in the UK, you’ll recognise a song called Drinkee, it’s in an advert (for the AA I think) with a puppet dog and a fan. I quite like Drinkee, it’s catchy!

There’s also a song called Batshit which I’ve just found, but I’m loving the aesthetic of the costumes in the desert…90s inspired bright colours with a woman basically just singing ‘Batshit…Batshit…Batshit Crazy…’

If you’re bored or want to listen to something new…check it out! 🙂

Nearly Summer

From the pics below, which I took last week, you’d think it was almost summer, with days warm enough to go outside without a coat but cool enough that you still need a cardigan or sweater.

Wrong! The past 3 days it’s rained non stop, even ice raining the other day.

Yup, it hailed down ice in May. And a few mornings ago, I had to scrape off a bit of ice from my car windshield before driving.

In May. That’s crazy!

I can’t wait to get the patio table out and sit out in the summer…if we ever have one!

Saving Fabric Scraps!

Every so often I have a clear out and donate unwanted items to charity shops.

I’m a bit sceptical about donating wool and fabrics because I never see them for sale in the shops (honestly I never even shop in them, I just mean I don’t see them in the super quick 10 seconds when I drop stuff off!) and frankly, I do wonder if they can even use half a ball of yarn and a bag of scrap fabrics.

Usually I put a few bags in my car boot and wait until there is enough to donate in one go but there has been a big bag and a big box of stuff in there for months now due to the pandemic and not being able to drop off stuff.

I did place a bag of scrap fabrics in there, thinking maybe someone could use them…but then, seeing all the eco-friendly crafting and re-purposing posts everywhere, I thought, you know what? I’m going to get them out of there and actually do something with them. And so I went and dug them out of the boot.

I have enough bigger pieces to cut up if there aren’t enough in this tiny bag, but I thought either a patchwork blanket or something small, like a bag. I already have MILLIONS of both knitted and sewn Christmas stockings from last year, so I don’t need any more of those. Quite a few of the scraps are Christmas fabrics.

After a week or so of really warm, almost summer weather, the weather took a drastic turn for the worse – it snowed and tiny ice-hailed yesterday! It was like regressing back into winter and when I got up today the water in the bird bath had frozen over! Poor lil birdies!

BUT…I did manage to find a use for the fabric scraps after all – wrapped around my plants as insulation on my windowsill!!!

I re-potted them that day too…so you can see a bit of dirt on the spikes, I’ll knock that off later. Hopefully it wasn’t too much of a shock to their systems!

Knot Pillows

I came across these really funky, cool knot pillows on Etsy and I can’t figure them out.

I bet they are the easiest thing in the world to make and yet I can’t figure out they did it!

Here are the search results on Etsy, have a look and see for yourself or just search for ‘knot pillow’…maybe they could be a good way to use up fabric scraps/ stash?

Not sure how comfy they would actually be though…

https://www.etsy.com/uk/search?q=knot%20pillow

Printing My Own Design On Fabric

In the last couple of weeks my creativity regarding designing and using Photoshop has just exploded.

I have a better understanding of Photoshop and have been able to create repeating patterns. So, naturally I thought, why not get one printed onto fabric?

The first website that springs to mind for this is Spoonflower, a company from the USA but which has a manufacturing centre in Germany.

I uploaded one of my designs and yes, in hindsight I probably should have waited because I have since created other designs that I like better than this one! But this one is special because it’s the first ever one that I had moved all the pieces into place and created layers and figured out shortcuts…it’s special, you know?!

So, I received it in the post today (Tuesday) after ordering last Wednesday, which to create and ship and have it delivered in the space of a week in these pandemic and Brexit trying times I think is pretty good!

The fabric was a cotton, I can’t remember the exact name of it, but it feels quite nice and the print quality is pretty good, the lines will never be as crisp and clear as when you print onto paper because that’s how it goes with fabric, but overall the colours are pretty true to my design and it looks good. There is only one real downside…

The print is MASSIVE!!!!!!!

I hold my hand up, I think that’s my fault for missing the part about sizing (although I’m pretty sure I read it through before I ordered) anyway, I think I know where I went wrong, aside from ordering the biggest piece of fabric as a test piece. It’s all in the pixels and how many and what size canvas etc. Oh well, I know for next time and to be frank, for figuring out everything in a fortnight, it’s all still pretty good!

Here we go:

I drew these pictures on Procreate…they are MASSIVE on the fabric though!!

I still have a lot to learn about pattern placing and making good patterns that are specifically for fabric but overall, it’s not bad for a first go! 🙂

As a comparison, this is what it looks like when it’s small, as on my RedBubble shop…it looks WAY better as a tiny design! I guess size really DOES matter!!

tiny pattern!

But seriously…what the heck do I do with such a HUGE pattern?

Patchwork is mostly out because the squares would need to be huge. Maybe a cushion, of which I have a million already, or a tote bag? I haven’t made a proper tote in years…oh dear!! What should I do with it?!!!

DAY #27 – Halloween Makes or not?

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY#27

DAY #27 – Halloween Makes or not?

I don’t normally make a lot for Halloween (being British and having no children) but last year I did make one thing.

I used the pattern for a Christmas bauble just with bright orange yarn instead. The face isn’t the best ever, but it was just a little project to use up some spare yarn. I think it’s the eyes that are weird?

Halloween knitted bauble
LOL…JUST LOL!

DAY #26 – First Make of 2021- FIRST EVER DRESS

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #26

DAY #26 – First Make of 2021 – FIRST EVER DRESS

My first ever sewn dress! I did this in early January this year and before you say anything, yes! It’s only a practice!!

I wanted to see how it was put together and just practice using the machine really, understanding the construction, seeing how it was put together, that sort of thing.

The fabric was cheap and naff nylon/ polyester mix but was cheap, like £2 or £3 a metre. It feels cheap and horrible. The pattern was a free pattern – I think it was from Simply Sewing magazine?

I should note I haven’t sewn up the sleeve edges properly, I just pinned them for this photo, which is why they look at a funny angle, and I didn’t sew the neck edging down properly either.

It kind of looks like an unshapely blob in the pic, but it does look a lot better on (believe it or not!).

I did learn a few things from this though:

  1. The pockets in the pattern were not deep enough and give the dress a funny shape. In future, leave the pockets out or make them bigger.
  2. Sleeve bands are HORRIBLE to affix to the raw sleeves – so fiddly!
  3. The neck edging might have looked better with some kind of bias binding reinforcement.
  4. It needs a belt or something extra around the middle.
  5. DON’T SKIMP ON THE FABRIC!!!!!!!!

At this point, I am just shocked it fits…but it’s one for the back of the wardrobe…or for when literally all of my clothes are in the wash and the only alternative is to go out naked.

dress

DAY #24 – Favourite Place to Craft Away

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #24

DAY #24 – Favourite Place to Craft Away

The photos below are pictures I took on a train to Edinburgh in 2019. What do you do on a long train journey? Knitting or crochet of course!

I really don’t have a favourite place to knit, I can do it anywhere! It’s portable and easy to shove in a bag, and, whilst I couldn’t do it in a car because of motion sickness, you can even knit on the go.

Day #14 – Making for Children

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #14

Day #14 – Making for Children

I have to say, I haven’t knitted or crocheted a lot for children in the past. 

But last year I made 2 baby blankets (and donated 2 more to charity), a baby jumper, a hat and a cardigan. 

knitted boy baby jumper
knitted baby jumper

I like doing baby blankets as they are quite small (or as big as you want really) and you can get some really nice yarn to make them out of. 

I have always liked the idea of knitting rompers and diaper covers and I have yet to knit a pair of bootees or mittens for babies. 

The blankets I just crocheted from my head, I think they were corner to corner blankets. I bought the pattern for the jumper (in picture above) from Etsy, it was OK, but some parts of the pattern could have been explained better. 

I HATE the way in some (adult or baby) patterns it just says ‘increase’ for sleeves – how? Should I use a right or left leaning increase and where should I put said increases? I had to work it out in the end and figure out sewing the top together, but I don’t think I’ll do that pattern again. Even though I quite like the finished outcome. 

The cardigan was from a knitting magazine. So was the hat. 

Baby knits are supposed to be quick…the cardigan took me almost a month!! :O

Thank goodness I don’t have any more lined up in the near future. 🙂

WIP’s Progress – Feb 2021

I haven’t really done a lot of crafting lately. The beginning of January was quite busy because I still felt in Christmas-Making-Mode.

That was when I sewed a practice dress (from cheap horrible fabric just to see the construction of it and to practice measuring and fitting) and half a pair of pj shorts which I gave up on when I couldn’t get them up my chunky thighs!!

I also tie-dyed a turmeric cushion at the beginning of January and that was pretty much it.

I did manage to read Robots and Empire last week and I am about to start Prelude to Foundation (both by Isaac Asimov).

KNITTING

I’ve worked a bit more on my Christmas jumper, but I’m finding this last bit a bit of a slog. I have to do 38cm in stocking stitch before I start to shape the armholes and I am up to 28.5cm. It just seems so slow going! I think it’s because I’m only doing it in the evenings and the light isn’t perfect, so it hurts my eyes after a while – I sound so old saying that don’t I?!!

But, I have made some progress – last night I did 5 rows, that’s something at least!

knitted christmas jumper

I am aiming to have it done this month and then get back to my orange jumper. Yay! First sweaters!!

CROSS-STITCH

I was looking through my stash drawers and found a small bag full of anchor stranded cotton skeins from previous cross-stick projects. They are all half or full skeins with their labels still on and everything and since I have loads of Aida fabric leftover too, I thought I would have a look on Etsy and see if any patterns caught my eye.

I had saved some patterns from a shop called Stitchrovia a while back and thought that was a good place to start, they do lots of typed patterns (like sayings and mottos etc.) and what I would call chunky designs (see the day and night yin and yang design). I hate doing sampler-type patterns, I prefer big ones to little tiny kits. I never do flowers or birds or that kind of thing either…I prefer big, bold, chunky, simple patterns.

Since I have been in a bit of a rut lately I found a pattern that says ‘Fortune Favours The Bold’ so I am going to have a a go at that. Being all motivational and crafty at the same time and all that. I bought the pattern, printed it off, stuck it together in a folder with some Aida and then chose some colours out of what I already had. They won’t match up to the pattern exactly, but who cares about that? This way, I can make it my own and use up my stash a bit. I don’t need to buy more skeins that will only get half-used. 

So, that is one way to be a sustainable crafter…to use what I already have!

embroidery threads

This is the pattern I bought:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/673748154/fortune-favours-the-bold-cross-stitch?ref=hp_rf-1

STASH

I also found a big block of candle wax and some supplies. I am going to use this up and make a big candle I think, and then after that choose only to use eco-friendly waxes such as beeswax and soy wax. I know that there are supposed to be a lot of particulates and harmful chemicals in normal paraffin wax, so I am going to change to natural waxes in crafting (and purchases) from now on. I should say though, that I don’t burn candles all the time, and mainly downstairs in the lounge, where there is a bot more ventilation, but still…

And of course, there’s lots of fabric to be sewn up, but for now at least, I seem to be all sewn out for a while.

Day #11 Favourite Colour Palettes

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #11

Day #11 Favourite Colour Palettes

Neon!! It’s got to be neon with black to make them stand out more! I love primary, bright colours and on the opposite end of the spectrum I love autumnal colours too, like burnt oranges, dark purples and greys.

I hate pastels though. They look nice when other people make pastel coloured items, but they are just not me!

I couldn’t find any examples of neons, at least not without repeating photos I’ve already shared…that neon blanket I made…SOOOO I thought I would try something different and give you an example of the brightness I love (ironically with the burnt orange colour at the same time!!) and show you my ugly mug!! (Ignore the weird hair…it’s lockdown and I cut it myself :O )

How does this make me look 10 years younger?!!! You see…the power of neon!!

(Guess it can’t make me smile though…) 🙂

DAY #3 Favourite Thing I Have Ever Made

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #3

Favourite thing I have ever made

Well, where do I start with this one? I have made so many things from so many different materials. Also, what are the exact judging criteria?!!

I generally go for easy, quick-ish knits and bits. I like to knit and crochet blankets, cowls and hats. I am only just now starting with the sweater knitting after about 5 or 6 years of knitting. I am late to that party.

One of my all time crochet faves is this shawl I made with Stylecraft Cabaret DK, I don’t know the shades but I did 2 balls of a multi-coloured shade and then 2 balls of a grey/ blue shade.

It is so soft and snuggly and I used up yarn I had already and best of all…I crocheted it in the sun last year during lockdown 2020. Something beautiful and practical out of being stuck at home. Pattern from a book called Shabby Chic Crochet designed by Agnieszka Strycharska.

Another of my all-time favourite (non knitting or crochet related) makes was this recipe design I cross-stitched at university. As if I didn’t have enough to do then!!

I have kept it hidden away for all these years until last year, when I got out my hot glue gun and stuck it to the front of a spare notebook I had and it is now my hand-written recipe book. Of course, it doesn’t look as glamorous inside…

The pattern was from a cross stitching magazine with a free calendar and the pattern was in the calendar, I can’t remember anything else about it than that!! Possibly Cross Stitcher or World of Cross-Stitching magazines??

I also love this granny blanket I made last year using up Double Knitting scraps. It’s bright and funky coloured and eye-catching and is currently on my bed on top of my duvet as it’s getting cold here. Last night was -3C BRRRR!!

crochet granny square blanket
crochet granny square blanket

As for knitting? It’s hard to pick a favourite. Probably all of the mini Christmas makes I did last year. I bought 3 volumes of pattern books from a website called Deramores. They were called Christmas Knits by King Cole Yarns. And I knitted baubles, stockings, a Christmas pudding tea cosy, Christmas hanging trees…so much festive goodness!

knitted stocking
mini knitted stocking
tea cosy
knitted bauble
knitted bauble

So, yeah, that’s a few of my favourite makes. I realised when writing this post, I don’t actually have a lot of pics of things I have made. Every so often I have to make more memory space available and I go through and delete photos, but also I just don’t take many pics! I am not the best photographer in the world…

Also, a lot of the favourites have been given away to friends and family.

What are your favourite makes?

DAY #1 Last Project I Worked On

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #1

The last project I worked on

That would have to be my Christmas jumper which I started in September 2020. I tried my damnedest to get it finished by Christmas Day 2020, but after lots of knitting and crochet throughout the year and suddenly a massive sewing inspiration, I felt a bit knitted out and slowed down.

I started with the sleeves to shake things up a bit, then did the front and am now working on the back. I am about a third of the way done, just need to get to 39cm in length and then start shaping the armholes. It is a fairly simple stocking stitch so I don’t have to think about it, but it seems to be taking FOREVER.

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming…

The yarn is by King Cole, I think it’s called Glitz and is a DK weight acrylic yarn.

christmas knitted jumper

(I know it’s a dark photo…it’s always dark when I want to take pics!)

I did another 3 rows today…if I aim to get the part before the armhole shaping finished this week, then in theory the rest of it should go quicker as the rows get shorter.

It’s dragging though!!

End of Feb done and dusted for definite! 🙂