26 Feb 2011

Feeling Irish

I was feeling rather patriotic last night after I went to the polling station to vote so I came home and made this Irish themed treasury. I'm not feeling very optimistic about the outcome, or that their will be any great change in the near future...but I voted anyway. It's feeling all very doom and gloom in Ireland at the moment, I'm surprised a lynch mob hasn't started with all the things that have been happening here.

I've also been meaning to make some specialised items for St.Paddy's day, mostly because Irish sellers get featured so often in treasuries over the next two weeks. But also so I can sell them at the market. After looking for a while on google I could only come up with 4 images for Paddy's Day earrings. I think my favourite is the pint of Guinness, and I will definitely make myself a pair to wear to the pub. Click here to see them in my shop.
I need to come up with some more designs but my brain is making a charming tumbleweed sound instead of coming up with fab ideas...grumble.

24 Feb 2011

New Needle Books

I'm so delighted with my photography studio, I just finished making these needle books tonight and I was able to take photos of the straight away and list them in my Etsy shop, oh the joy of lamps and a tripod!
I've been meaning to make these for ages, and I've had loads of requests for them at the stall. They are really handy for using up scraps of ribbon and odd buttons. I used rectagles of felt that I had already cut to make my iphone cases. I just added a bit of embellishment with some nice material and ribbon to the front. I also made the 'pages' double layered, in two different colours of felt, as it would make the book sturdier. So far I've only listed the green ones in my etsy shop, in an effort to have some listings for St.Paddys Day themed treasuries. They are really fun to make, albeit more time consuming than you would think. If they go well at the stall this weekend I'll definitely make lots more.

23 Feb 2011

Thanks a Bunch:Set on Notecards

I've been sending nice thank you cards with some of my larger orders lately, and I made one for my friend Branden yesterday when he made his second Etsy sale in his shop. It was only when I saw how impressed he was with the little note card that i thought I might make some sets of them to sell. They are smaller than my regular cards, at 10cm (4") squared. I had originally bought these to make RSVP for my friends wedding and I had some left over.

I used some lovely paper I bought recently in Cork, and my new paper punch, then added images and text with some stamps that matched the mood of the paper. I've wrapped them up in brown ribbon to sell at the market, and I've also listed a set in my Etsy shop. There are 5 in the set for €10.

22 Feb 2011

New Clothes Order Sent Off

Here are some quick snapshots of some clothes that I just sent to Roisins Boutique in Inistioge, Co.Kilkenny. I'm having fun playing with nice pockets and clashing patterns. I've loads more work to do for the shop this week, and if I get time I'll post more pictures here.

21 Feb 2011

Dead Button Press

I'm so frustrated!! My badge maker has decided to die, it's being collected today and is being sent to Germany to be fixed. This has meant that I've had to deactivate all of my badge listings in my shop, and also half of my mirror designs too. Within about a week I'm not going to have enough stock for my stall either!

I wish there was a magic want I could wave over it to get it fixed instantaneously. I'm really hoping I have it back really soon so I can firstly complete some orders, and then also start selling my St.Patricks Day badges. I'm hoping they'll be as successful as my valentines Facebook badge.

18 Feb 2011

Short But Sweet Movie Reviews

I've been doing some brooch sewing this week while watching some dvds. Firstly can I just say 6 old movies for €10 from Moviedrome on Henry Street is quite the deal! On top of that you get great service and advice unlike in evil Xtravision. It's also an added bonus as I don't have tv, so if I decide I want to veg out it's either: rent a film, or faff online.
This week I watched:

This is about a lobbyist who works for the tobacco companies in the US, and all the moral grey areas and acrobatics that would go along with this job. A film I should have liked but I was a little bored to be honest. There was nothing wrong with the performances or script, but it was just a little flat. Maybe it was a case it was a better book than film.
Wow that was a ...em...well interesting! I only rented it because it has Julianne Moore, who is a fantastic actress who never fails to deliver. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but prepared to be a little shocked. Aside from the shocker, I thought it was a stunningly shot film, with beautiful and subtle performances. It was quite evocative of it's era, with all it's money and privilege. I was quite surprised when I looked on rotten tomatoes to read the reviews, it got a very low percentage, it was like people didn't really get it.
Even though my housemate said she wasn't made about this film I really enjoyed it. It's about a food blogger taking on the challenge of cooking a crazy amount of complicated dishes in one year. Maybe I liked the familiarity of watching a film about a blogger, I don't know. I thought the performances from Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, were really believable.

This was another shot in the dark, just renting it having never heard of it. It's the story of a radio hosts relationship over the phone with a young boy with AIDS. There is a turn half way into the film that changes the film into a mystery. I enjoyed the later half of the film, but in the end it's kind of forgettable. Interesting to know it's a true story though.

This is another film that I looked up on rotten tomatoes, it got an amazing review, which I'm not entirely convinced it deserved. It's a really enjoyable thrilling chase film, with good casting, but I wouldn't mark it down as my favourite film any time soon. Think Russian cops, drugs, a train, tourists and you get the idea of where the film is going.
I found this film one of the more interesting out my selection. It set around a guy in his late teens who has been released from prison after committing murder. It shows a journey he takes with a young girl, all the while being followed by a cop played by Russell Crowe. This film raised interesting questions, in a story that could have otherwise been flat. I enjoyed the tone and performances especially from Sophie Traub.

17 Feb 2011

To Die for Diecutter: The Cuttlebug

I have fallen in love with another crafting tool! Recently I've been toying with the idea of buying a die cutting machine since my production of cards has stepped up a gear. I was was hampered by a non existent budget, but also tempted to splurge money that I don't have on a super posh die cutter that cuts 10 layers of fabric at a time. I had to choose the sensible option and buy a trial run crafty housewife version. After some research online I came up with this, the Cuttlebug, partly it was the super cheesy infomercial that sold it to me, go check it out here.

I wanted to buy it locally so I made a trip to Cork Art Supplies and picked up my wonderous machine, along with some dies. It was hard to gauge what I would need, and I was rather miffed when I discovered I needed to order an extra plate (plate C) to use the dies I had bought. So after a frantic search on ebay, waiting a week very impatiently I was able to use my Cuttlebug.
I wasn't sure if it would cut material or felt, but it was a risk I wanted to take, the infomercial said it would cut fabric paper..whatever that is. The verdict is that it doesn't cut material very well but it can cut two layers of wool felt very easily. With the thicker synthetic felt it can only cut one layer at a time. This is great news for me as I've been ordering my die cut felt flowers for years online, and I always have to wait about 8 weeks for them to arrive. I'm looking forward to getting more dies so I make new flower designs for my brooches.
As you can see here I went crazy cutting all my felt, then I spent a while co-ordinating them into little bags, which I then bring with me to the market. This is so I can get some work done while it's quiet. Or sometimes when I want to chill out and watch a film I bring my box of prepped brooches.

I'm also looking forward to using this machine for card making. Since I've put out my card rail at the stall my sales in handmade cards has hugely increased, so this means I'm making much more of them than I used to. It's an expensive craft though, especially for things like embellishments, so it will be nice to make my own from the large collection of nice paper that I have. Especially as my die collection grows the Cuttlebug will become a much more versatile tool.

In the near future I'm hoping to post a video showing how I use the Cuttlebug in my work.

16 Feb 2011

Broaching Photos of Brooches

I had previously listed some brooches in my etsy shop, but I was never that happy with the photography as they were just sitting on a white background. This morning I played with using a mannequin and a scarf. I'm still not totally happy with the pictures, but I wanted to get them listed, so I put them in the shop. I figure I can play with some other set ups down the line, but for the moment they will have to do.
Have any of you had to photograph brooches before? It's kind of a tough one to make them look interesting. Next time I might try a better background, I would like something bright, but not as overpowering as the stripes.

15 Feb 2011

A Nice Ring To It

As I've mentioned on the blog before I'm in love with the work of Amelie Gagne, her paintings are amazing and hopefully one day soon I'll be able to spoil myself and buy one to add to my growing art collection. In the meantime she has set up a new Etsy shop selling her prints, and these fantastic rings.
We did a bit of a swap and I received my ring the other day, along with this beautiful magnet. I wore my ring the other day and I got endless compliments on it, not just passing ones, but people asked me to take it off so they could try it on. It's really great to be able to wear her art and it made me smile all day long when I looked at it. I think I might have to treat myself to one of her pendants too, as her palette matches all of my wardrobe, and they are just so sunny and playful.
Amelie is originally a native of Quebec, Canada but has been living in Kilarney in Co.Kerry since 2001, she is also one of the new members of the fast growing Etsy Ireland Team.
To see more of her work here are some useful links.

14 Feb 2011

Happy Love Day

I got boobs for Valentines from my boyfriend and I'm delighted!

Well rather I got this pin-up a day calender from Taschen, it's fantastic and it's got loads of pin-ups that I've never seen before. It's also useful as I can write little reminders for myself and it comes with a holder so I can sit it on my desk. Is it strange that John bought me what is essentially vintage porn rather than me buying it for him? I also got a very pretty necklace and a book about boxes...strange, but very interesting as I'm a design nerd. I'm chuffed that he knows me well enough not to buy boring things like chocolates and roses, it's also our 4 year anniversary this week, sadly he will be on a college trip in Dublin, but we had a lovely weekend so I don't mind too much.

13 Feb 2011

Learning to Drive

HE7224-001, Hulton Collection /Hulton Archive
For a long time now I've been saying I need to learn how to drive, but I had nearly become something I was saying like a parrot but not actually doing anything about it. I'm 28 years of age and I got behind a drivers wheel for the first time the other day. I was a little terrified but I knew I was in good hands with my friend Branden, which is a confident driver, but is also patient and understanding. I was really surprised at how quickly I took to it, as my parents are not the worlds best drivers, and none of my siblings learned before the age of 30 to drive. After a few spins around the house, and after getting used to not having power steering I was happy handling the car.

Later that evening we went for more lessons around a local car park, which was nice to let loose a little. I got into second gear, did some reversing and even practiced parallel parking. Now I can't wait to go do my theory test and get my previsional licence so I can get out on the road. Before I felt I should learn to drive, rather than actually feeling a real excitement for it. Now I just need to win the lotto so I can buy a car/van and pay for insurance!

12 Feb 2011

Shopping Spree for Me

I went on a bit of a shopping spree during the week in Claires accessories. A friend works in there and she told me about their sewing themed jewellery that they just got in, this necklace for €10 and earrings for €5. I had to have them, especially since they match my tattoo.

As always happens in Claires I ended up spending more than I intended, I got one of their great lucky bags for only €4, which had these really bright gloves, which I'll definitely use at the market. In the bag I also got these two necklaces, the one on the left I'm more likely to wear, and I'll probably give the other one to my sister as it suits her wardrobe more. I also got these great bunch on earrings and clips. I've worn the bow clips loads already, and they've been the perfect rescue for a bad hair day. I also LOVE the little vampire studs,I know they are very teen goth, but feck it! I'm not sure what I'll do with the alien neon studs, but I'm sure I'll find a home for them.
Oh and I also got this cute scarf for only €2.50, a total bargain and I love the colours!

3 Feb 2011

Photography Studio Investment

I bought this home photography studio the other day in Maplin, if you are looking for one online click here. With the horrible dark weather lately and the short amount of daylight hours I was finding taking photos for my etsy shops very difficult. I found I was having to photoshop the pictures too much, which was both time consuming and also it was starting to disrupt the image quality. I heard through word of mouth about this great offer in Maplin and I went halves on the cost with my friend Branden.
It was €65.95 and worth every penny as it comes with a tripod and two daylight lamps, the lightbox is fantastic as it can be used at any time of the day. I was very frustrated by only being able to do my photography early in the morning, which sometimes is really inconvenient. Now it can be 10pm and I can still take perfect shots.
So far I've only used it once, but I'm sure as I get more used to it I'll get better and better shots. These ones were taken using a very basic camera, the Canon IXUS 95 IS, I was surprised to see such good results, I'm looking forward to using my housemates camera and seeing the difference in quality.
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