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A view on life…. – Crafty Pixy style of course

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I live in a little town in County Down called Comber, its close to Castle Espie, Ireland’s largest collection of native and exotic waterbirds, bats and migrant birds it has stunning views from the shore of Strangford Lough. It’s ringed by hills and mountains in the distance. Comber is probably most famous for potatoes, Comber early potatoes have been granted protected geographical indication(PGI) status under European law. The potatoes are prized for their distinctive flavour, its earthy and nutty and has soft smooth skin. New season Comber potatoes join an elite group products, including Parma ham, Champagne wine and Stilton cheese. They are gorgeous!!!!  They grow in the fields around me and I drive past these fields daily, or the tractors carrying these little beauties drive past me! (or hold me back on the local roads)

From my little craft room I have the most spectacular views towards the Castlereagh Hills with the Mourne’s to the left and Belfast and the Black Mountain to the right.  If I had eyes in the back of my head I would see Scrabo Tower too.

With all this to look at its a miracle that I ever get anything made so please be kind and indulge me when I share these views or get excited about sunsets and sunrises and all things imaginable.

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2017 is shaping up nicely, I’m just finishing my March design team projects for Crafters Companion, 3 projects posted on Friday and the last one is at hand stitching and embellishments so well on target,  oh I forgot, I have another tutorial to write as well!   I am one of life’s procrastinators and this has certainly made for interesting stories in my head.  It’s me and a calendar no backchat allowed.  I’ve no one to blame but me but sure I can put up a good argument anyway.  I’ve lost and won the same battle on the same day and never gone beyond the garden.  

Change of tack planned as I move forward this year….I’m tacking all things Baby,  having made quilts, big,big, quilts, with the challenge of needing a space as big as a ball room to spread out quilt tops for layering, tacking and quilting,  it will be such a pleasant change to be able to craft on a table top instead of taking over several rooms!  I think it will be liberating!  I am also committing to making at least one bag or quilt or picture a week, well at least one a month in the hope I reduce my stress levels  trying to ensure I have sufficient stock for Craft Fairs.  Well that’s the plan.

Now, I don’t know how storage works at your house but it is always a bone of contention,  (am I kidding myself that I am going to make that much!) at my house, storage is always a big problem…….. one that will occupy my little grey cells for more than a second or two.    I have to bargain for every nook and cranny of crafting space but I have to hold my hands up,  I hoard,  and I can’t go past a bargain so I am my own worst enemy.  I have far too fabric, notions, wadding and general craft making products I could start a shop! But I’m very happy cause I’m a crafting butterfly flitting between projects. (Actually I’m terrified of butterflies why did I ever use that analogy?  Its Lepidoptera (screams very loudly)!

 Here’s a sneaky peek of one of March’s projects  … big reveal when I’m allowed.    I don’t think you will guess what it is 

I’ve started playing with paint and inks and stencil and multi media and I’m having such a good time, hours are flying round and I’m so genuinely engrossed, trying this and that, and testing for colourfastness and wash and ironing.  Whole new world…..whatever have I started.  I will be hoarding the washing up liquid bottles and the toilet roll tubes…

🤔 ever….. 

Posted in crafting, Folk Art, sewing, sewing, Uncategorized

I’m The Crafty Pixy, And I’m here to help you?

That’s me, I’m here to help you make your Christmas special…

It’s the crazy season, you know the time of the year when no one knows what they are doing, but they do it twice as fast as usual. And everyone gets that aggressive tone in their voice and look in their eye, and,  all anyone really wants to do is sit down with a nice fresh cuppa, stretch out their toes, take a deep and contented sigh and be left alone for a few moments (or hours)……
It’s been like that at TheCraftyPixy HQ; messages, emails, texts, calls; can you, have you, will you, why don’t you, but you must have, seriously.

Quilt’s and cushions and calendars  have been in and out of packaging, measured, remeasured, repacked, pressed, put away, taken out again.  Bags have been walked up and down, posed with in mirrors and windows, opened, closed, packed, refilled, swung over shoulders and wrists, stuffed into other bags and shook out again!

I make things that you don’t find in shops, they don’t come of a production line, each one is individual, some may look the same, or similar, but every single one is hand crafted, hand finished and had at least one last ‘once over’ before it goes from me to you.   It’s been Exhausting!   Fascinating and I wouldn’t have missed or changed a moment!

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Still, that’s what we do, we try to help, to accommodate, so if there is anything that takes your fancy, that fills your boots or that you just can’t live without and it’s here at TCP, I promise to do my best to make it ‘your hearts desire’ at this festive, holiday season, or at anytime.  Gifts aren’t only for Christmas, they are for Birthdays, Weddings, Engagements, for driving tests, exams, for commiserations and cancellations, sometimes they are ‘just because’ and that can be the best gift of all.
Just ask, price, colour, wrapping, posting, delivery whatever.
You see, I love sewing, creating, making things and funding my hobby is for me, like my cycle of life, something has to go out the door before something new can come in; figuratively speaking of course, but you get the drift.  So the more I make people’ happy’, the ‘happier’  I can be.
Let’s spread a little happiness and joy around……. please…

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Have a wonderful Christmas, time is not elastic, you can’t stretch it, come December 25th, that’s end game for most of the shopping until 2017.  But….. it never is….
Scary, isn’t it.

On Boxing Day, December 26th, I have no intention of hitting the sales, I have kids who work in retail so it’s a matter of principle, I would love for them to have another day with their family to enjoy the season so for me, for us… I foresee time to recharge batteries, to plan and scheme and dream for 2017.

There are several quilt blocks that are teasing me and piquing my interest. Loads of new techniques that I have to play with and conquer and my stash needs busted!  I am a fabricaholic. I need to get it under control.

I’m thinking of sewing cards to compliment the gifts that I make.  I also want to stray into new product lines and tempt different markets, I really enjoy working with smaller blocks, smaller quilts, so babies and small children may be an area that I explore.    I know my imagination will be getting a well planned  work out so watch this space for new projects, new themes and new roads to travel.

Some of my recent close encounters; some of this years quilting masterpieces are destined to be heirlooms, other works will start new family traditions and the rest are hopefully being enjoyed doing exactly what they were designed to do!

And these are very new, only sneaky peeks, you probably haven’t a clue what they are… because I don’t wish to spoil anyone’s surprise…..  Right new they are under a Christmas trees 🌲 Somewhere, wrapped 🎁 for the big day on  25th  –  after that I will reveal whatever you need to know  😘

For me TCP, this year has been amazing, I hope it’s had its highs for you too.  Next year is planned, well bits of it are.  I’m moving into new areas of craft and developing further those that I love.

I hope you will join me and help me along, i’d love to hear your suggestions and your criticisms, you rarely can have one without the other.

Whatever your tipple, Cheers, Here’s to 2017, x 💋

Posted in crafting, sewing, sewing, Uncategorized

Christmas is coming and …..

Dobby my ‘Elf on the Shelf’ has returned home after spending the “weekend at the Museum” otherwise known as….. Bangor Heritage Centre.
He is in great form and watching everything!   No sneaking any naughty treats for me. Think his weekend at the museum has given him a whole new lease of life – he even has a big smile on his face.

He is available for sale or on loan. No reasonable offers refused!!! I have no little ones that  Santa  needs a running commentary on, we have grandchildren, they have elves at home…….

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We had a fabulous time at Bangor Christmas Market, starting on Friday evening we  set up and had a quick look at what our fellow crafters brought for sale, over 20 stalls were opened all around the museum, throughout the exhibits and walkways, inside, outside, upstairs and downstairs.

Once the doors opened on Saturday, it was all go!  Crafters really are a lovely bunch, friendly and willing to help each other.  We looked after each others stalls, brought coffee, picked up fallen stock and commented on all the lush handmade items and crafty products available for our wonderful customers.   There was so much choice, hand made wooden turned goods, handmade chainmail  jewellery, chutneys and jams, keyring, knitted hats, aprons, blankets, dolls, bags, christmas decorations, Santa’s, Snowmen, pincushions, and a partridge in a pear tree!  Honestly the choices were wide and varied and the standard of the products very high.  we also had henna tattoo artists and wildlife volunteers showing children how to look after hedgehogs and plant trees.  it was such a diverse group of like minded people it was a privilege to spend time with them.

I enjoyed the preparation, making all those items, quilts and bags, angels and fairies, scottie dog cushions, lavender bags, bracelets and keyrings and then some!

 

So if you have a spare moment, try and visit a craft fair.  And if you can, buy something you fancy from a crafter.  All the thought, love and care that crafters put into their handmade products rubs off onto the buyers and everyone shares the warm fuzzy feeling…. honestly!

 

 

 

Posted in crafting, sewing, Uncategorized

‘That’ season is fast approaching & craft fairs are aplenty

Christmas is looming and there are plenty of craft fairs being advertised and Facebook Pinterest and Etsy are going crazy with all things christmas.

So not wanting to  sit on the fence, I’ve been topping up my own  supplies for the craft fairs that I am going to be selling at.

Thinking back to last year, it was definite that folks are keen to look at want we as crafters make, they love to comment on the colours, the quality of the crafting and the price. Craft Fairs are often mistaken for jumble sales and folks want to buy hand crafted items for pennies, to buy one and get one free, and ask ‘will you take XX for it’  and HOW MUCH?

I read a post on Facebook recently and it went something like this; lady was at a craft fair and was interested in a particular item.  she talked to the crafter and said ‘I will offer you £10 pounds, that takes account of the fabric, the wadding, the thread, the buttons; I think that’s a fair price.  The crafter thought for a moment and said, for that, Yes it is a fair price.  So having chosen her fabric and given her exact specifications, the lady agreed to buy and left her address and paid the £10.    About 2 weeks later the parcel arrived and the lady opened it eagerly.  She was appalled to find fabric, buttons, wadding and thread.  There  also was a card that said; ‘Hope you enjoy; all the items you wanted are included, what is missing is the time and care and expertise the I put into every thing that I make, you hadn’t included it when you decided what was a fair price and I have not included it in the finished product.  Hope you enjoy, best wishes, x’

As the first craft fair draws nearer, its time to take my ‘don’t be so sensitive pills’ and forget all the work, the thought, the time and the creativity  that goes into making every one of my own hand crafted products and I will enjoy the craic and the new friends that come  with every fair.

Hopefully I can empty the boxes of goodies that I have made during the past 12 months, well at least some of them……..

Here are a few pics of current works, ongoing, in progress and ready for sale….

 

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Is it a Tote ?/ Is it Storage ?/ Its just Far To Pretty To Use!

Remember listening to the radio, perhaps to the oldies, now think of all the cheesey songs that you have heard about……. enough, never enough, never having enough, too much is never enough…….  enough love, enough hope, enough peace, enough money, enough whatever … never enough.
My gripe is there is never enough space…………..  space to store ‘things’,
or enough bases or bags or drums, or cases, or cubes, or ……….  goodness I don’t know what,  Storage comes in all shapes and sizes and forms and its fancy and plain and padded, and structured!   I’m always looking for places to store bits!  just somewhere to store all sorts of things, from the tiny clips and embellishments to hugeamongous scissors and dies.
No matter have many storage solutions I buy, or where I buy them from, or how much I seem to pay, I’m left wanting; well, something else……….
There are never enough hours in the day for me to craft and I am a complete addict for topping up my crafty stash and there is never enough storage for  crafty goodies so you can gauge the size of my crafty problem.
Here’s a solution that’s practical and pretty and can be used for non crafty storage as well…..   It ‘could’ make a hole in that crafty stash (but of course it doesn’t have to….)
It’s 100% cotton, can be washed, filled to the brim, folded up into a tiny roll and still looks good…. can’t say that about too many things.  If you are especially crafty you could make it larger, smaller, it is only bound by your imagination, budget and you.
If you get a chance have a look at www.theowlandsewingcat.com, its a fabulous web site and shop and the staff are wonderful, friendly, knowledgeable and willing to help you out!
I used a pattern from The Owl and the Sewing Cat and I have to say it made up easily, the instructions were simple and the result, very pleasing.  (I’m being very controlled…it was too easy, makes me look goooodd ).
This is version 1;     I’m off to commence versions 2,3 4 5 and however many more I can do before I run out of  …   …   …    Probably interfacing…………..
Bring it on; what colour would you like???

Posted in crafting, Uncategorized

Quick catch up….

It’s officially summer but I’m not sure if it is actually here, normally I would be out in the garden, machine set up, fabric spread out music playing in the background and a plethora of craftiness scattered around. This year the inside of the house is like a bomb site there are crafty bits every where, I’veIMG_3588 had craft fairs cancelled, there’s a storm brewing outside and its been, well, different.

My daughter got married in May so that accounted for quite a bit of time and as we did a lot of the wedding staging ourselves. We made the favours, distilled raspberry flavoured gin yummy, made favour bags, invitations, decorated cakes, and the list went on and on but it was great fun and Sara and I will remember the scheming and planning and manic activity for ever.

I’ve discovered a new talent in flower arranging as that was one of our tasks as well. It was great fun, I love flowers in the house and that was the best excuse ever to buy different varieties and arrange them ‘artistically’. IMG_3507We sprayed empty Yankee Candle jars with black satin paint and then decorated then with fancy jute ribbons and antique buttons and filled them with peonies, stocks, roses, lisianthus and carnations. The smell was wonderful and the tables looked gorgeous. We had a wonderful day and made the best memories ever.

My husband officially retired from work after years and years and years of toiling in the NIHE ,vector-illustration-of-a-monochrome-cartoon-character-assiduous-businessman-multitasking_177654836 so I now have company and he has to contend with me and my incessant crafting so think I got the best deal because I have him tortured……what do you think…., would you have a look at that for me…..can you fix this please …. can you reach me that up…… Are you making a cuppa?

 

On the crafting side I’ve been doing some different things, I’ve tried and really enjoyed foundation piecing, tried different products; like Bosal;71u461fZC8L._SL1200_  its a foam product, brilliant for making bags, it stabilises and holds its shape and sews very well, it can be used as a sew in or a fusible and is great to have in your stash, it takes a ‘nice’ bag to a WOW bag. Decided to push myself and found it worth the effort!

I’ve bought some new sewing machines, I know, but I needed them……. One is for taking to classes and retreats, its (a Pfaff passport 3.0) light, perfectly balanced, does everything I need it to. One is for ‘downstairs’ (a Juki), its a workhorse and I use it for everything but primarily decor items and the Big Daddy  (Pfaff performance 5) is permanently located upstairs in the craft room because I can’t move it or lift it because its simply too heavy, brilliant, superb, a beast. It is amazing for quilting and doing heavy sewing and its lots of bells and whistles to keep my happy and satisfy my need to fiddle!

The photo at the top of the blog was of a frame that I made at a Stamping Up workshop.  The sentiment is personal for me as my mum used to wear a necklace with those words on it every day.  The workshop was great fun and there were lots of paper crafters scissor and die cutting, stamping, punching, sticking, inking, swapping, talking, laughing and learning.   Great craic! as they say …

So with my new toys, I thought I would show some photos of my makes over the past weeks, just a few I won’t bore you silly. Until next time, keep crafting and smiling xxx