Sunday, 30 November 2008

Creative Sketchbooks Module 2

I've just sent off the work for the second module of my Creative Sketchbooks course. I did most of the work for it on holiday, surrounded by gorgeous Welsh landscapes. It was nice to have the time to scan it in and send it off.

Creative Sketchbooks Module 2 Mosaic 1

Creative Sketchbooks Module 2 Mosaic 2

This module was all about colour, blending and mixing, and making colour wheels.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Big Knit Certificate

I got home last night to find a certificate from nnocent, commending me for my Big Knit efforts

Big Knit Certificate Mosaic


Thursday, 27 November 2008

Gigs and Markets: Oysterband Weekend

Last weekend, my mum visited and we went to the Oysterband 30th Anniversary gig at Birmingham Town Hall, which we'd been looking forward to since Big Session in June.

The German Christmas market was on in Victoria Square next to the Town Hall, so we went there before the gig for a bite to eat and a look round the stalls

Birmingham German Market Food Mosaic

There were many stalls selling all sorts of food and drinks, and I hope to go back a couple of times over the next month to try more of the treats on offer!

Birmingham German Market Lights Mosaic

As well as the markets, the Christmas lights were up, and the tree had been decorated, producing beautiful reflections in the Floozy's pool. The Town Hall looked very grand lit up at night.

German Market Fairground Market

I took lots of photos, and tried to capture some typical fairground shots of the lights blurring, and I think I did well with quite a few of them! We went on the carousel and I went down the helter skelter, which gave great views over the whole square. Mum bought a strawberry hat, and I tried on lots of the wonderfully daft hats available.

More German Christmas Market photos are here

After that, we went over to the Town Hall for the gig. I picked up a copy of their new CD and a tour t-shirt, and we got a good spot right at the front.

Edward II Mosaic

The support act were Edward II, who I'd not heard of. This was their 1st gig after a nine year break, and they were fantastic, playing a mix of Reggae & Folk, which really worked. The audience were all dancing and having a great time. More Edward II pics here

Then the main event. Oysterband opened the gig with 'Over The Water', and spent about 2 hours playing wonderful tracks, with an audience who were really enjoying it. At one point, John and Chopper got down and walked around the audience singing. I love Oysterband shows so much, as they enjoy playing, and it is always an amazing evening.

Oysterband Mosaic

They finished the show with 'Put Out The Lights' acoustic, like they did at Big Session. I was hoping to be able to record all of the song, as it is magical, but my memory card ran out part way through, so I can only share the first minute or so with you:

After the gig I got to chat to the guys in the foyer, and recommended Frank Turner to them for booking at Big Session 2009. They signed my CD and we talked about lots of things. More Oysterband pics here

Saturday dawned bright and early, but chilly, and Mum & I went to Moseley Farmers Market. I was hoping to pick up some Christmas gifts, but the stall I wanted to buy them from wasn't there, so instead we looked at lots of stalls on the Arts Market, and were there for the Bromsgrove Town Crier ringing the official market bell to announce that Moseley is the best UK Farmers Market for 2009:

Moseley Farmers Market (6)

I also got to take some nice photos of vegetables:

Moseley Farmers Market Vegetables

More Farmers Market pics here

St Marys Church was having a little Christmas fair, so I bought some bric a brac and breakfast (2 slices of toast with Marmite and a fairy cake!), before taking some photos of the church & churchyard.

St Mary's Church Mosaic

This weekend is far less exciting - haircut and making Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Hurrah! Folksy Shop Live!

My Folksy shop is now open, and can be found here:, and for stock updates, etc, you can follow me on Twitter here:

Happy days!

And here's a shiny button link to it:


Monday, 24 November 2008

Love Graffiti

Seen on a wall at the main gate to the University:



It made me smile!

Five Go Adventuring

Hannah, Jim, Helen / Anna (my mum), Rikk, me!

Not too recently now, (last month) my lovely friends and family went on a holiday to Criccieth, on the North Wales Coast. My astute audience will notice that the title states there were 5 of us, but the roll call (above) includes 6. My sister & her family were staying in another cottage just down the road in Pwlhelli, but had to go home early as Thomas had an ear infection, so my mum joined us in our cottage, rather than be alone in a strange house.

The view from the bedroom window, Shoes in the sunlight, a chcken on the drive, grandfather clock with no minute hand

Our cottage was in the middle of nowhere, a couple of miles from the sea. It had a lovely holiday feel to it, and had nice things like clocks and dressers full of plates, and somewhere to put coats and boots. It was on a farm, so there were chickens.

Railway sign, Rikk & Heather, Train view / Steam Train, view, More Sign!

We spent the Saturday and Sunday settling into the cottage and buying a ridiculous amount of food at Lidl, then on Monday we went on the Welsh Highland Railway. This is a lovely little steam train service, about a 30 minute round trip with a museum at the other end. I took a lot of photos, which sadly my memory card reader ate, so all I have are little photos. Sadly this is the last season the WHR will be able to run trains due to a dispute over track rights.

Criccieth Castle

We went to Criccieth castle, which was very windy, but had beautiful views. When we had a rest on a bench looking out over the bay, there was a little robin flying around, attracting the attention of a lovely Mackerel tabby. They were also having a medieval day, where we got to look at various weapons and Helen struck a coin.

The inaugaral outing for my flowery wellies, Rikk wandering on the beach, a view of the castle, my lovely silly hat, on my lovely silly boyfriend.

Rikk and I had a little afternoon out and went back to Criccieth, where we wandered on the beach. Again, it was cold and windy, so we wrapped up warm, and I proceeded to jump the waves. We had lovely fish and chips in a cafe overlooking the beach, and bought a lovespoon and a painting to decorate our house.

Pumpkins: Rikk, Hannah, Anna, Helen

Halloween came and went in a flurry of quilting for me, while the other cottage denizens carved their pumpkins, which looked very impressive next to the light from the fire.

Sygun and Beddgelert

We spent a nice day over at Sygun Copper mine, looking round the mine at the stalagmites and stalactites which had formed since the mines closed, and learning about the copper processing. Lunch at Beddgelert was provided by a bistro/antique shop, and then there was the cows incident.

Black Rock Sands

We called in on Black Rock Sands on the way home, which is a spectacular wide beach where you can drive right onto the sand. I've taken lots of lovely photos there before, in February, and took lots more this time.

Ice Creams at Cadwaladers

We stopped off at Cadwaladers for ice cream before starting the drive home. I had a coffee/toffee cone, sat looking out over the sea. Right after I took the photo of my cone, it snapped in half and deposited my ice cream in my hand. We had fun tootling ice cream flutes, and enjoying coffees and hot chocolates.

Over the course of the week, I also got a lot of crafting done, finishing Christmas gifts for Dad & my sister & working on Chloë's quilt, as well as gifts for two other friends.

We've already booked the next holiday, so we're off to
Anglesey in Spring, which I can't wait for.

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Sunday, 16 November 2008

Christmas Cards

I've made a lot of these simple but beautiful Christmas cards, so it is fitting that this week's collage should be some of them. They are really quick to make, and I've made a tutorial/template, which you can find here.

I've been selling these at work, with all the proceeds going to CHASE Christopher's Hospice, a fantastic charity who have supported my family. If you find the instructions useful, please consider making a donation to them. Thanks!

Organising bobbins

I thought I'd take some time out from today's craft project to write about how I keep my bobbins tidy. I try to use what I have around the house to keep my craft area tidy, so my sewing bobbins are in a ziploc sandwich bag, rather than buying a new storage solution. This meant they were all getting tangled, something that I'm sure would still happen if I kept them in a box or clipped to the top of a spool:

These are the bobbins I took on holiday with me, they were only in the bag for a week but are already coming unwound and getting tangled.

I'd used plumbers tape (aka Teflon tape) for sealing things before, so already had a reel on hand, and it is perfect for keeping bobbins securely wound. Simply wind your thread tail onto the bobbin, cut a length of tape (10cm or so) and wind it round the bobbin, pressing it to itself to seal it. Plumbers tape is not sticky, it only adheres to itself, so doesn't leave thread or bobbins sticky. It is also easy to remove, just stroke the end of the folded down tape up, roll off & set aside until you finish using that bobbin. It does mean the sides of all the bobbins are white, but you can see what colour they are from the top, and I've started writing the colour code on the top of the bobbin with sharpie marker. There - tidier bobbin bag!

It is also useful for winding round cops. I love the 'COTTY' thread from my local quilting shop, but it doesn't come on a notched spool for keeping the thread tidy, so I simply wrap a strip of tape round the middle keeping the thread end tidy. Here's the box with my spools & cops of thread (stored on thin dowels), bag of bobbins & overlocker cones.

Best of all, the reel of plumbers tape is 12m long, so will go very far, and cost 99p. Hope this helps!
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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Weekly Collage 2008-11-09

Lots of stuff going on this week, it was our 1st week back from holiday. I've not done tonnes of crafting, but did have a lovely weekend visiting friends down South and calling in on Milton Keynes (where I lived until I was 5) on the way back.

This Wednesday the
Innocent Big Knit smoothies appeared in the shops, so I went along an got one for myself, my boss and my two colleagues, as well as one for Rikk. We had lots of nice hats, but I didn't see any of mine in my local Sainsburys. I also took a picture of my tea mug - I take a stacking pot of different loose herbal teas into work, and enjoy a different cuppa with my stripy mug each day. This is the flower which fell out of the big bunch on reception, so I adopted it!

Weekly Collage 2008-10-19 2

Helen popped round on Monday & brought this lovely bread to go with our curried pumpkin soup. The third & 4th pics are sneak peeks of Christmas gifts I've been working on today.

Weekly Collage 2008-10-19 3

There was this nice ivy in Milton Keynes - I liked the lines of the branches and the patterns of the leaves which were still attached. When I was younger, I remember the
Concrete Cows, though I think I more remember people talking about them when I was older. I was surprised to see the cows in the shopping centre. I loved the Lego shop, which had this fab RNLI lifeboat, and I made a lego man - Clive - who has dashing blue hair & a smart suit. He carries a circular saw. We took Clive to Pizza Hut for lunch.

Next week, more Christmas crafting, and I am nearly done with the holiday photos, so hopefully a post about that too!

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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

On my desk this week...

I've not been doing lots of crafting, as I made a load of things on holiday, of that, more later.

What I have been making is stop motion animation videos, inspired by a complicated train of thought which led me to the Photojojo stop motion tutorial.

My first video was this little one with the conkers and pebbles from my nice little shelf:

Conkers And Pebbles from Heather on Vimeo.

I like this one, I think I got the light right, but I learned that I need to make sure that the camera is tight on to the tripod.

This is my second video - I need to make a found object colour wheel for my art course, and I decided it'd be a good idea to animate it!

Buttons from Heather on Vimeo.

I like it, but the lighting in it is inconsistent, and I need much brighter lights, both for future videos, and for general crafting - both my craft lights are not working, so I've borrowed my bedside lamp.

Spot the point where I got the colour wheel a bit wrong!

Then, when I was editing holiday pics this morning, I discovered that I had enough pics of me jumping waves on Criccieth beach to make a tiny vid :)

Jumping in the Waves at Criccieth Beach from Heather on Vimeo.

Hoorah for lots of pictures!

More desk posts here!

Monday, 3 November 2008


No weekly collages/desk posts/other goodness from me, as I've been on holiday! I'm slowly working my way through photos I took of beautiful Wales, a job made easier if more annoying because the memory card reader I bought before we went away ate all my photos of our ride on the Welsh Highland Railway. This was especially annoying as the lovely drivers (Mark and Mark) had let H & I into the cab of the steam train, so I had photos of dials, gauges, and many other fantastic things, plus lots of photos of sheep from the window of the steam train.

So, yes, this is why there is no post. In the mean time, have a video of cows running down the main street through Beddgelert: