Badges, badges, badges and a Christmas market!

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Westcountry badge set anyone?  I just had a lovely time at the Magdalen Road Christmas Market in Exeter where I sold some of these, as well as these:

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but you don’t HAVE to wear them all at the same time either:

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or maybe you’d prefer a set with a torch:

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or a bear:

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The mountains and bears they keep on coming!

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as well as these little guys, who come individually, as I think they will make nice stocking fillers:

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These would be available in my Etsy shop but I have sold out, so as soon as I make some more they will be there.  I am making the hats customisable in case you should want a copy of your best loved hat to pin to your jumper.  I also just made a custom ‘Tis Ansom magnet for a nice lady I met at the market and a few mountain necklaces as well.  It’s a lovely Christmassy event and I will definitely be going again next year.  Just let me know if you want something.

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Above is my ‘Zoe Did It’ array and here’s me manning the Arrietty stall, look at all Laurel’s lovely things!  There’s still time to pop in to the shop before Christmas if you’re in or around Exeter and get yourself a special handmade present.

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And I couldn’t have done it without these guys of course:

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Now best get on with the family and friends presents!  I’m a bit behind . . .

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. . . the only problem is that now I have an early riser, I don’t have enough hours in the day, it’s make or sleep, hmmm . . .  probably settle for crochet in bed with Mad Men tonight – I know I should have watched this a long time ago, but I’m very much enjoying working my way through season 5 (slowly!).

Perfect Strangers Project, Oh Comely Magazine

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I love ‘Oh Comely’ magazine. I am in fact hoping a certain someone is going to buy me a subscription to it for Christmas, if you haven’t seen it I recommend you check it out.  The folks there run an annual parcel project called Perfect Strangers where you can connect with a stranger via package swapping, snail mail style.  When I read about my swapper, it wasn’t too hard to decide to make her a handmade parcel; in a nutshell it seems she is as crazy about handmade stuff as I am.  It seems like we would get along really well!

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Here is what ‘Oh Comely’ suggest as a starting point for your package:

Dear Perfect Stranger,

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create a parcel full of trinkets and treats for your swapper. Inside could be anything from sweets, a poem, to samples of your favourite tea.

If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s an inspiration list to get you going.

1. A wintry treat

The nights are drawing in, so get something to warm the cockles. The choice is yours, but how about scrumptious hot chocolate, a mini hot water bottle or a small hamster. Just kidding: definitely do not post hamsters. The price guide is £10.

2. A modern-day message in a bottle

For this, you will need an empty spice jar and a memory stick. Record something on the memory stick that you’d like to share: a mixtape, photographs you love, a film. Think about the songs or photos from your collection that you recommend time and again. Pop the memory stick in the jar, and seal it up ready to send into the world.

2. ‘What’s in my bag?’, photocopy edition

Pop into your local copy shop or accomplish this covertly at work. Empty the contents of your handbag, rucksack or favourite pocket onto the photocopier. Remove anything scratchy first, like your keys. Other than that, no cheating. That stray piece of chewing gum stays in, you hear? Make a copy. Now pick a colourful pen and annotate the objects as if you were writing a children’s science book. Lighters with sentimental value, bus tickets to see your Nan: tell ’em all about it.

If you don’t have access to a copier, you could send something you always keep in your bag instead, such as a fresh tube of your favourite hand cream.

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So here is what I put in the parcel:

1. A handmade wintry warmer cowl in black and white chunky knit

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2.  My other passion is music, so the memory stick is full of all time favourite songs along with some tunes to craft to!

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3.  My handbag contents is always ridiculous (thanks for letting me scan it Molly!)

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I thought she would definitely need some of these:

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And also one of these:

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The package would not be the same without these either:

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I’m getting a touch of the Christmas about me already, and yes I do know I’ve really got to keep that urge under control until December!

I also added some chocolate, of course, some cinnamon tea and some sparkly apple Christmas decorations.

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I really hope she liked it and I’d almost forgotten that I would be receiving a parcel too!  It’s a lovely way to get to know someone and this package from Stephanie really cheered up a grey day today, can’t wait to listen to the mix tape:

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Thank you so much for all the lovely things! Hopefully we’ll get to have a cuppa one day soon.

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I’m already in love with this fabric:

 

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She even put in little gifts for my boys:

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This was such a great idea from Oh Comely, I thoroughly recommend that you look out for it and take part next year, I know I definitely will.

Little Mountain Bear Cub

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So, all has been a bit quiet over here as I have been beginning to prepare for the Magdalen Road Christmas market in Exeter,  it’s on December 6th so I haven’t got that long before I need to have things ready!  I’m doing it with my friend Laurel from Arrietty who has a stall there every year.  Laurel has been knitting up some soft and lovely lambswool into beautiful patterns and she has kindly donated me a few bits for creature making:

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I used Laurel’s lambswool, linen and felt and the little bear cubs aren’t too big, they look like little totems.

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Im also working on some dinos and trying out some embroidery, I like the little touches of detail.  As well as being on sale at the Magdalen Road market on the 6th, they are available in my Etsy shop.   I’m sure they would make lovely Christmas presents, remember it’s great to shop handmade if you can, support small businesses and avoid mass production.  Everyone wins!

Winter Mountain Mobile

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I’m just a little bit obsessed with mountains at the moment, they are popping up everywhere over at our place.

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Oh and bears, bears feature heavily too.

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I have been meaning to make Roo a mobile since he was born, but it’s taken me a while!  Anyway, I was forced into it yesterday as at the weekend he destroyed his swallows mobile, which was my fault really as I should have moved them before he could get his paws on them.  They were still attached to the cot, from when he was very small, now that he is moving around and grabbing etc it was only going to be a matter of time before they got it.  They ‘got it’ after nap time two days ago when I walked in to find one of the birds crumpled in his hand.

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So yesterday afternoon I sewed the trees, mountains and bears:

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I spent the evening assembling the rest.  If you would like to have a go at making a mobile like this you will need the following:

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I knotted the fishing wire, and used a needle with a large eye to thread on the shapes and felt beads.  I tied each length of wire onto the inner circle from the embroidery hoop as well as some lengths for hanging and then tightened the outer circle over the top.

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I like the muted colours of the shapes with the brighter colours of the felt beads and the different lengths of wire.  I am going to add one of these on a ‘made to order’ basis to my Etsy, as well as some hanging decorations just in time for Christmas.

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Anouk

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Here is a project I did with my friend Laurel from the lovely shop Arrietty in Exeter.  We actually did this for Christmas last year and as we head into mid-October,Christmas is starting to feel just around the corner.

We screen printed Anouk and her friends onto tea-towels which could then be used as they are, coloured in, fabric painted, embroidered and cut up and sewn into toys.

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We made one side customisable and the other in negative:

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Anouk is quite a serious little soul but her friends the fox and swedish chicken keep her light-hearted enough, luckily the fox only eats ducks so this chicken is safe.

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The lovely Laurel working hard on her beautiful Anouk:

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Schnuggle-uppagus schnood!

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I remember one of my best friends, Faye, telling me about how her sister has been known to talk in her sleep, which can be embarrassing if you ever share a bed with friends or siblings, especially as you get older.  Thanks to Claire for coining the expression schnuggle-uppagus in dreamland, it’s the best way I can think of to describe this scarf.  I just want to crawl in as soon as the weather turns cold!

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I made this for myself really as it’s the kind of thing I want to wear in the cold, but a few friends and family now have them too.  They have been quite popular, it’s always extra special when you know gifts are very happily received.  I didn’t really want to model this myself, but it was too big for my baby boy and there was no one else around!  I managed to get one ‘normal’ (isn) face’ shot before I could no longer take myself seriously.

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I used a super chunky yarn and a pretty stitch which gives it a nice close weave, sometimes I find crochet can be a little too holey!

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It is a combination of a crocheted shell with a faux fur inner lining which really gives it a luxurious, wintry feel.

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It is completely reversible as well and I kind of like it both ways, you can choose which way to wear it depending on your mood or the air temperature.

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These will be available in two colours, scarlet and navy in my Etsy shop throughout the Autumn and Winter season.

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Fox and Badger join the party

 

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Hooray, the set is complete! I’ve had a lot of fun making these little lovelies!  It was a fun challenge to set myself as there were tricky parts and I just really enjoyed designing them from scratch.

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I like the way they fit nicely into this time of year.  We’ve been so lucky, it’s still really warm here, but the evenings and early morning are definitely turning more autumnal.These creatures make me think of England in Autumn, woodland walks and blankets.

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Roo even has a blackberry stain on his top just to add some English hedgerow bounty to the picture.

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Little Cornish Jumper

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This is actually the second one of these that I have made.  The first one is testament to the fact that you really should make necklines very generous on baby jumpers to avoid:

1) not getting said jumper over baby’s head

2) annoying baby A LOT!  Oops!

In a nutshell, for younger babies buttons are good, likewise for not pulling stuff over the head.

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It reminds me of jumpers I used to wear when I was growing up in Cornwall which is why I’ve called it a ‘Cornish’ jumper, although technically it was made in Devon.  Hopefully this won’t cause as much controversy as the great jam and cream debate.  Of course, it is jam first.  

I love the nautical feel, it would be nice with some little anchor buttons at the neck, or even with a stripe.

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I used this basic pattern without the bumpy bits and adapted it slightly with contrasting ribbing at the neck, hem and cuffs.

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I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran wool, which is lovely for babies and quite chunky too.  It took three balls to make this jumper.

 

 

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I also began at one of the V stitches in order to leave the neck open, joining under the arms instead.  You could of course leave it open all the way down and adapt into a wrap cardigan.

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My Feltidermy Friend

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Here is the first of my attempts at taxidermy without the actual dermy! Animal heads are great, but personally I think I prefer them made from felt and small enough to be sociable in a 30s terrace. I’ve been working on these little fellas for a while now and I think I’m finally happy with the outcome.

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I was inspired by the many antlers and paper mache animal heads I saw on a trip to New York a couple of years ago.  On my return I made some prototypes but I wasn’t happy with my initial attempts until I eventually settled on working with felt which made me much happier.  It’s lovely to sew with and makes nice defined shapes.

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I think it could be sweet to have on the wall in a child’s bedroom as the face is friendly and could make for a good discussion point as they grow.

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This guy is particularly friendly, look at that little nose!

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He is currently available to buy in my Zoe Did It ETSY shop and will soon be joined by this little guy:

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We’re going on a bear hunt . . .

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So I’ve been playing around with iDraw since I was lucky enough to be gifted an iPad for my birthday from Matt. I’ve been working on some designs for possible screen prints or maybe cards?

This drawing was inspired by the book ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury which I’ve been reading to my son. We both love the story and the illustrations, but I always end up feeling a bit sorry for the poor old bear who gets disturbed, is lured out of his cave but then has to traipse home alone and possibly hungry. Did the bear really want to eat them or was he just hoping for some company? I mean it looked pretty lonely in that cave.