30 Apr 2008

So, Tarzan walks into an Estate Agents and says....

... I'd like to purchase a house please.

Hello and good afternoon readers!
Continuing on this week's theme of trees, I've spent a while today, sitting on the bed, remembering all the times I had wanted a tree house and never got one, or when my granddad would give me 3 small planks, 4 nails, a hammer, a saw and a length of rope, and I would say that I was off to make a tree house. More often than not however, I would just nail the wood together, cut my hand on the saw, pretend the rope was a snake trying to kill me, and try to see the biggest hole I could make in the ground with the hammer. Thankfully however,I'm an "adult" now, and as one of the advantages of being an adult is the fact that you can do all the things you wanted to as a kid, but were never allowed or you could never afford to, I thought I had better start looking for my wooden palace in the sky!

The only thing I don't like about some tree houses, are the ones that simply look like someone has glued a shed that they bought down the garden centre, onto a tree. I want a tree house with zip lines, trap doors and secret cubby holes, not one that my mum would store her gardening gloves, spade and runner bean seeds in!

Magical Play from Squirrel Designs . This woody creation is brought to you by the powers of Squirrel Designs, a Wiltshire UK based family run company who specialise in making "romantic style outdoor structures using natural materials which empathise with their surroundings". It sounds like the perfect thing to have and take your loved one off to for some "quality 'us' time".

Tree Houses from Rob Rowe look quite damn fine to me, as well as being only 'down the road' from us in Wales. He has over 20 years experience in making tree houses and other outdoor wooden structures so sounds like just the man and I'm sure he will have a plan!

The Lord of the Rings tree house from High Life Tree Houses is just one in a wide range of treehouses, "Hobbit Holes", Summer houses/ sheds and play areas that this company makes. Although, one thing that surprises is that this company is based in London - London doesn't have many green spaces to build treehouses in! If it were up to me, all the non descript, generic, soulless corporate buildings would be torn down and replaced with HUGE treehouses, complete with zip lines and slides!

A creation from "Alister Orme" for his kids. All together now; "Ahhhhhhhh!". This is without a doubt my favourite treehouse that I found today. It was built by one man, for his kids, and he has added to it over the years. It originally was going to just be a standard treehouse for his kids, but now has a 120' (yes, one hundred and twenty foot!) long zip line from the main house to the the treehouse, a slide, an extra building attached to the original treehouse by a suspended bridge and it even as a squirrel house/box thingy to attract squirrels to live nearby. Apparently a squirrel called "Burt" has taken up residence there.

A concept of the next generation of treehouses, as seen over here on Gizmodo. To be honest, the whiteness implies more cold metal than anything, and Im much more of a woody person myself. Its not that it doesnt look good, its more that it just looks a bit more generic and plain, rather than the character that wood gives.

Now gimmie my wooden palace in the sky!

29 Apr 2008


As it's tree week, I'm about to share with you my love of willow sculptures. The first time I remember becoming aware there was such a thing as willow sculptures was at one of the Womad festivals where I saw a large pagoda that twinkled in the sunlight due to bits of glass, mirror and beads hanging down from the intricately woven archways that allowed you to get inside the sculpture. It was a boiling hot weekend and, as is typical at a lot of festivals, finding somewhere to get out of the sun at midday was difficult, but this beautiful sculpture was like a cool haven inside protecting us from the strength of the noon day sun. I was so in awe of the skill needed to build the structure that I did a little searching on the net when I got home and found that the domed pagoda was really rather simple compared to the sculptures I subsequently found and I was wowed all over again by the beauty these artists were creating with simple pliable willow withies.

Kim Creswell created this gorgeous oinky pig. Jon thinks he wouldn't be very good at finding truffles and his bacon won't be very tasty,but I think he is fantabulous!

This is called Sprouting seed and was created by Worral Hood for the National Forestry Commission, Leicestershire. It was made from living willow, so there is every chance it could sprout and grow.

For someone that's never seen male hares fighting it out to see who gets to be the boss this sculpture could look like hares dancing but Sara Holmes has perfectly caught the moment of a hares boxing match in the spring.

Patrick Dougherty created this amazing installation of houses nestled in amongst the trees. How brilliant would it be if we could just weave a living home out of willow. Maybe I should try that instead of a tyre house.

I found this fabulous spider using google image search. I can't seem to track down the willow artist or the name of the photographer, but I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you. If you are either the photographer or the artist let me know and I'll link and credit you.

I hope you guys like my choices and are inspired to maybe have a go yourself at creating a sculpture from willow. I'd love to see the results if you do!

28 Apr 2008

Tree Challenge

This weeks Challenge word is Tree. I picked it because Jon had gone to stay with our friend Nick for 2 days to help him plant an orchard of apple tree saplings. Nick is starting up a Cider making business, Ceri Valley Orchards Ltd, and is planting the new orchard so that in years to come he has new trees full of yummy apples. The business is in its infancy so you won't be able to buy the cider yet, but I'll let you know when it's on sale.

Add to this that yesterday I found the gorgeous shop Hi Tree and you can see why I picked the word.

Again it's all for fun and as a bit of inspiration for people to try something new and share it with the rest of us. So all you need to do is create /write /document /photograph something that is related to trees. Either send me a convo on etsy with a picture of your item or a copy of what you have written or comment on this blog entry with a link to your blog article with the tree related item/prose.

This morning I received another entry for the Spider challenge from Buttons 'N Such. What a pretty little leather cuff! Thanks you for joining in Buttons!

27 Apr 2008

Artisan of the week, Rachael of DeDe and Dolores

The artisan this week is a person that I have admired the work of since first finding her shop. Rachael of DeDe and Delores makes the most beautiful dresses, shoes and skirts for the little princesses in all our lives. She combines simple lines with stunning fabrics and produces dresses with twirly whirly skirts that I would have loved to own when I was a small girl.

1.Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?
My name is Rachael and I am based in Penarth, near Cardiff in Wales. I am a mother to two young girls and spend my time, whilst they are at school creating stunning children's dresses, skirts, coats and baby shoes from divine fabrics.

2.What led you to take up your craft?
It all started when I couldn't find any long sleeved dresses in the shops for my eldest. I decided that I could probably make one as I already had a sewing machine.Then I discovered that I could buy wonderful fabrics online ! I taught myself to sew from scratch and with a lot of work began to produce dresses that I was proud for my children to wear. Then I just couldn't stop.. I am a perfectionist and wanted each dress I made to be immaculate.

3.Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
Choosing fabric, opening the parcel of fabric when it arrives and finding it even more glorious than I imagined, lovely emails from delighted customers and watching my girls swirling and twirling in their dresses!

4.Which part do you find hardest?
I thoroughly adore the entire process of making these clothes so I'd have to say that the hardest part is photographing the dresses. It's hard to capture the richness of the colours and the incredible detailing in some of the patterns.

5.Where do you hope to be in 1 year’s time?
At the moment, my youngest is only just in her first year at nursery so there isn't a whole lot of spare time! I'd say in 2 years time, I'd like to be at the stage where once both girls are in school full time, I can devote all my time to launching De-De and Dolores as a fully functional business.

6.What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Always be nice to people on the way up, you never know if you'll meet them on the way down!

7.Name other artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
Tuggle is interesting as is All Things Original
I love Siansburys shop on etsy and adore her sock monkeys!
I've recently discovered flickr too which is a great way to find other crafters .

8.What is your favourite sandwich filling?
ooh...it's got to be sliced mozzarella in a ciabatta roll with sun-blushed tomatoes and pesto...mmmm!

Thank you for participating with our blog Rachael. Your work is so pretty and the flow of your dresses are gorgeous. Perfect for spinning around and around in until you are so dizzy you fall down. Don't you just love doing that? Or is that just me and my love of twirling around with hula hoops? I look forward to seeing the grand launch party for the DeDe and Dolores children's clothes label in 2 years time!

26 Apr 2008


I love Hula Hoops

Last night was my Nephews 18th birthday party. It was held in the local football clubs hall. My sister in law had hired a disco (yep one of those old school wedding discos) that was playing a fair bit of dubious music. Most of the guests were either middle aged family members or teenage friends of my nephew. I think the DJ wasn't sure which crowd to try and please so he played an odd mish mash of tunes that didn't really seem to fit either group.

After about an hour of seeing only my sister and sister in law bother to get up and do a bit of silly dancing and making fools of themselves (in a good way) I thought "enough is enough". I asked Jon to go home and pick up some hula hoops. Within a few minutes of the hula hoops arriving, and me doing a bit of wiggling with one, there were loads of people up and dancing and joining in. People that had never hooped had a go, the DJ of the disco got so excited about it he arranged competitions of boys v girls and a jolly good time was had by all.

I think people would have got up and danced after a few drinks even if the hoops weren't there but the hoops managed to encourage a few of the people that wouldn't normally dance to get up too and they all had a go at wiggling them. Succeed or fail they all seemed to be smiling after their attempts to hula hoop and the competition winners were treated to a drink by the DJ as prizes. The DJ was so thankful for the hoops breaking the ice that he asked me if he could buy some. Yippee!

I do feel for DJ's when they have to play to a mixed crowd as it can be hard to decide where to pitch your music to especially at family gatherings as you don't want to cause anyone to feel like they want to leave. Well it seemed no matter what age the hoops were a hit. Yay hula hoops!

I've always said they have some kind of magical power of happiness contained in their circular form that's just waiting to cast it's spell on people. All you have to do to get the power out of them is wiggle them around your body. The power is so strong that some of it gets sprayed out onto people standing near by, because you can't hula hoop anywhere without it giving passers by a smile. It's wiggletastic!

(photo to follow)

24 Apr 2008

I just found this...

...and wanted to share it with you. This pretty resin bangle was made by AardvArt and contains real hundreds and thousands as we call them in the uk.

I love them because they make me smile!

So this week's challenge is all about smiles, and because of that I want to share a shop with you that never fails to make me smile. Mixed Species is made up of a group of friends that design amazing, fun, silly, sometimes irreverent, wonderful creations. I've featured items of theirs before on this blog, but I think it needs to be said, all of you people that have never had the good fortune to stumble upon their shop or website, go take a look. Something, if not everything, will make you smile!

This has to be one of my all time favourites of theirs. The colon plushy! Sheer genius!

Congratulations on hitting the big 700 sales mark guys! Your designs are brilliant and you deserve every last one of those sales. Thank you for making me smile and laugh so many times. Oh and you do know I'm only being nice about you so you don't send Elephant power saw man after me don't you...

... hehehe

23 Apr 2008

And in the beginning...

Everyone has to start somewhere and often when starting out in business it's really hard to get your footing so I thought I'd give a few new comers to Etsy a bit of publicity on my blog. The first month after opening your shop on Etsy is often the hardest. You fret about your photos, descriptions, prices and products. You wonder how often to list and re-list and you worry that no one likes what you make. When that first sale comes in it makes your heart leap and from then on each new sale makes you feel wonderful. I just want to help a few people get one of those moments of delight when the email box delivers you the fabulous news that you've has a sale.

Have you ever felt being a bit more glam when you are doing the housework? DivineAprons has just the package for you if you have. Gloves, apron and utensil flower bouquet will allow you to clean up in style.

In contrast SmileMoon makes gorgeous wooden goods. From 3D puzzles to stunning picture frames, pen holders and custom made wooden mail box name toppers. If you like wooden goods this is your man to visit.

SoClaudia makes beautiful lampwork pendants to sell. She has a whole range of designs and colours in her shop, so check them out. I picked this one to show you because I liked the simple curved round shape of the bead and the flowers remind me of my grandma, who had a love of daisies.

Yesterday, whilst watching Jon clear up the garden I pulled up a few dandelions. None of them as yet had the seed heads like this one. Isn't this a stunning picture? Hiedi Herrera has other stunningly gorgeous photos in her shop. Well worth a visit. I look forward to seeing more of her work.

Naturallygoddess maked these yummy looking bars. They are actually soap, but they look good enough to eat. She uses the cold press method of making soaps and uses lots of natural products like oats and honey in them.

This pretty pendant picture is drawn on the back of a domino. This is one of a collection called "down under trees" by WeDesigns. She also makes pretty woven bead pendants too.

I belong to 2 pretty black and white kitties... (yes that's right readers, cats really own you, not the other way around)... so I couldn't pass by TwentyPoundTaddy without taking a little peek inside her shop. I'm glad I did. It is full of bright colourful gorgeous items like this purple and blue cat ornament.

I know a lot of you readers have your own Etsy shops and you know just how hard it is when you start out, so please take a look around their shops and show them your support. I was pleasantly pleased to see the high standard of goods that I saw in these new sellers shops. I believe handmade usually means made with love and care and these sellers prove that theory. Great job all of you. I wish you luck for the future and may you all have many sales!

22 Apr 2008

Naughty me!

Well Jon didn't get around to making one, so I South Parked him.

I guess I should add a photo of him to prove he doesn't look like that. Ermmmm... thats not so helpful either is it. the strange thing it I can't remember why he is dressed like that or what I have in my cheek (I'm the one walking through the back of the shot).

Now if this one of him spinning flags doesn't make you smile nothing will... well it makes me smile. He's just sooooo buff! Phwoar!

Smile some more!

So I've not slept too well, and I get up at 6 am, after hours of staring at the ceiling, I make myself a pot of tea and some toast and sign into my blog. Who should be waiting there for me to see?

This gorgeous smiley lion from Rachel of Red Thread Plushies and

This smiley South Park picture of the ever so fabulous Baldylocks

So life's not so bad after all, even though I'm running on 3 1/2 hours sleep, you fabulous online buddies can still get me to raise a smile. Thank you!

Ok so here is me as a South Park pirate. I'm very sleepy now, hence the eyes. I couldn't find the old one I had of me so I made this one. Jon says he will make one later to post. He didn't like the one I made... hehehehe I wonder why? *evil grin*

21 Apr 2008

The Smile Challenge

So last week I was very slack and only managed a doodle for the spider challenge. I promise this week I will try harder. The topic is "Smile". So all you need to do is create /write /document /photograph something that will make the readers smile. Either put it on your blog and put a link in the comments in this post or send it to me via the etsy mail to user name Skully and I will post it up here on this blog for you. It's all just for fun, so join in if you feel able.

For starters I'd like to share a recipe with you that should, once made and eaten, make you smile a lot.

Chocolate Truffles

1 lb (450g) Good dark chocolate.
6 fl oz (175ml) Double cream.
1 oz (28.35g) Ground almonds.
1 oz (28.35g) Cocoa powder.
Small amount of flavourings of your choice. eg 2 tablespoons of rum/brandy or 3-4 drops of vanilla /lemon/orange flavouring.

1. Break chocolate into small pieces.
2. Gently heat Dbl Cream in a saucepan until it begins to come to the boil. (DO NOT BOIL)
3. Remove pan from the heat and stir in chocolate pieces until melted and smooth.
4. Now its time to flavour the mix. Split the mix into smaller amounts and flavour. Examples of flavourings, vanilla, rum, brandy, lemon, orange, mint, chopped nuts. Don't over do it when you add the flavour especially with the citrus as they can cause the mix to curdle.
5. Add the ground almonds and stir in.
6. chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
7. remove from the fridge and using a teaspoon scoop out a small amount of the mix. Dust your palms with the cocoa powder and roll the truffle into a ball. place in a paper truffle case or onto a tray.
8. Decorate the tops of the truffles with curls of chocolate , chopped nuts or citrus zest.
9. Store the truffles in the refrigerator and eat within 7 days.

If they last 7 days you and yours must have more will power than me and mine :)

Parallaxphotography has added a beautiful picture to her blog that defiantly made me smile as did Debs, such a pretty smile! High Desert Diva has written a great blog entry for the smile challenge. MissFire has also added some really lovely photos to her blog today that made me smile a lot. Thank you for joining in!

20 Apr 2008

Artisan of the Week, Jodie of Meringue

This week I can finally publish this article from Jodie of Meringue. I've had this interview ready for some time, but was sadly unable to publish due to poor Jodie being unwell. I'm glad to say that Jodie is back making and selling her beautiful bags. In her time out to recover, she was much missed. Welcome back Jodie! I'll let her explain in her own words all about her work.

1. Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?
I'm Jodie and most people refer to me as The Bag lady, which is pretty accurate! I design and make handbags for my label, Meringue.

2. What led you to take up your craft?
I was working with ceramics but the overheads were unbelievable and I found my disposable income shrinking by the week. I realised I couldn't afford to buy all the little luxuries I had been able to in the past, so one day, I pulled apart an old handbag of mine to see how it was made. Then, with the help of my sister, I learnt how to sew.

3. Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
I love the last part of making the bag, when I put the pleat in. I love seeing the bag finished, the way the pattern sits and how it has all come together. I also really love buying the fabrics, rummaging through piles of rolls at the fabric store, discovering new prints is pretty cool.

4. Which part do you find hardest?
The photography for my listings. In many cases, it can take as long to take and adjust photos for one bag as it does to make that actual bag. I find the photography part really frustrating but it is a necessary evil.

5. Where do you hope to be in 1 years time?
My goal is to have more US stockists and to have released my other two lines, as well as new Meringue designs that I have been working on. There will hopefully be a US trip in there as well.

6. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Do your research. Back when I did my business course (certificate IV in Small Business Management), the trainer constantly impressed upon us the need to continually research your craft, promotional ideas and general business strategies. I have spent countless hours on the computer, looking for ways to do everything better. I ask questions, I talk to people. It has taught me a hell of a lot, more than I ever could have imagined.

7. Name other artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
I'm going to keep it all-Australian!
Simone Walsh for amazing jewellery. I own quite a few pieces.
Anna Laura does some great screen print work on her bags. And the coolest retro hand stitched badges
Pepperina Press, Helen has some great designs that I really love.

8. What is your favourite sandwich filling?
I like to keep it simple, plus I'm vegetarian, so.....avocado, tomato, lettuce, cheese and carrot on rye sour dough. But I also love a Vegemite sandwich!

Thank you for joining in with our blog Jodie. This talented lady's bags are sold in many stores in Australia and the USA and she also sells her goods online at DaWanda, Etsy, and Mintd, so go check out her shops. These perfectly formed little bags are flying off the shelves. Don't be the last to own one!

19 Apr 2008

Wind power. No, not that sort of wind!

Alternative power for me is the only way to go. When we finally get the funds together to build our own house, we will be making sure whatever we build will be as eco-friendly as we can make it. I'm looking into heating the house with heat exchange mechanisms, such as underground heat exchange and stale air heat recovery. For heating water I'm looking in to solar heating and for electrical power I think wind turbines is probably the way to go. This will all depend on the land we manage to get to build on of course. Today I thought I'd find goods that portray wind power.

FeralGirl's T-Shirt was the first to catch my eye, with it's beautiful modern wind turbine silhouette. I personally love the shape of modern wind turbines.

I know many people see them as a blight on the landscape, but I think they are aesthetically pleasing and a small price to pay when compared to the alternatives. ArtifexShirts made this cosy hoodie.

This Print by Brett Beyer is one of a series of pictures trying to project the way cities could look in the future if alternative powers were to be embraced across the world.

This pretty little pendant from Finestra is not only a way to show support for wind power, with its gorgeous photo of a windmill against a morning sky, but 20% of the sale price will go towards your pick of the charities on the listing. Fabulous!

This screen print from Alyoisius Silk Screened prints is of a less conventional looking windmill, but it's still a windmill none the less, so it gets my vote of approval. I like the hansom fellows in the top hat supporting it. I wonder if I can employ 2 strong men to hold up my wind turbine.

I saw this painting by EarthArt and just had to include it in today's selection. Well it's orange! I love windmills and I have a craving for the colour orange most days, so tis picture is perfect... that is apart from the bird, because birds flapping about me freak me out, but I guess as long as it sits still and never leaps off the wire into the air, all is good.

Have a fabulous day all!

18 Apr 2008

Hoopdance Clothing

As some of you might know I'm a bit of a hula hoop fan. I love the centred feeling I get from hooping. I've not been able to hoop for months and it's really getting on my nerves being unable to do it. I've been watching hoop video's on line and chatting with other hoopers here and there, and it just makes me long to get back out there and wiggle my booty. I went looking for some new hooping clothes and found this selection. I'm not sure I'll be wearing some of them as it might show off a bit too much of my not so trim body.

I'm loving these yoga pants from FoatDesign. Such a pretty colour and the lovely blue trims just set them off for me. They look wonderfully comfortable, just right for hooping in.

Hooping against bare flesh is always easier than over bulky clothes, but it can get a little chilly showing off so much skin. These vibrant leg warmers from OsiVinylDoll could be just the thing to keep a bit of warmth in.

When learning kick ups with a hoop I think I could have done with a pair of these socks from mommaknits. They would have offered perfect padding around the ankles and might have saved me from some of the bruises I got.

Bare shoulder flesh is great for hooping. Again this can cause you to get a little chilly, so these glamorous arm sleeves would be a perfect addition to your hooping costume. MsPresto has lots of lovely items to wear in her shop that would look great whilst hooping.

I'm loving this pretty little outfit from CresentWench. If had the figure, I'd make up a glittery gold and green hoop to go with this cute skirt and top and get my wiggletastic mojo on! As soon as I'm fit, I'm going to exercise myself back into shape so I can look good in this.

Until the day I get trim I think I will be wearing something like this gorgeous set from OmMade. It will cover up a bit more of my wobbly bits and look stunning to boot! This lady's shop is full of lovely clothes perfect for hooping or yoga.

I'm not only a fan of hooping, I'm a poi spinner too and whilst looking for hooping clothes I found this fabulous picture in Akaisilks shop. This lady hand dyes silk and makes beautiful items from the resultant fabric. The shop is full of sumptuously coloured silk goods that I adore.

I'm longing to get back out there hooping and poi spinning and with all these great clothes to wear I'm hoping when I do I'll be able to do it in style!

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP