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25 February 2012

Dress making and a lovely song

Here's another one from the archive...my first ever home-made dress. As I'm rather camera shy, there aren't many pics, so I thought I'd vamp them up a bit! :-) Here's a little song to accompany them.

11 February 2012

More craft projects!

Here are some knitting projects I worked on last year for the arrival of my lovely friends' second baby boy. The projects are from the brilliant knitting book 'Purls of Wisdom' by Jenny Lord. In my opinion it's one of the best knitting books out there! I only started knitting over a year ago, by taking a fantastic course at Nest and this book is the one book that I keep by my side, returning to it again and again. It's full of wisdom, with a beautiful introduction all about the history of knitting and has the most clear advice on how to start knitting and how to keep knitting by vanishing any worries away about a tricky stitch. SKP, M1, K2tog - you don't scare me anymore! Knitting in the round, picking up stitches, finishing methods, it's all covered and it doesn't just stop there! The book is filled with yummy knitting patterns! Anyway, as you'll have gathered, I can't recommend this book enough and before I ramble on anymore, here are the two projects I completed.

5 February 2012

Sharing craft projects

I thought I'd start sharing some craft projects I've worked on over the years, which I've made purely for the fun of making, giving as gifts or personal commissions. So, without further ado, here's a cushion I created for my colleague, using his Mum's vintage fabric (the patterned fabric, not the black cotton backing).

I think this has been one of my most stressful projects I've done to-date. Not only was the fabric vintage (so little chance of finding any more of it should a mistake occur in the sewing process!) but it also meant a lot to my colleague as it was given to him by his Mum. No pressure, ha! Oh and there was a very limited amount of fabric for the request of two cushion covers, hence the use of black cotton for the backing. So, basically no room for errors what-so-ever!

If you times this cushion cover by two, then this was pretty much all the patterned fabric I had to work with (each cushion cover measured roughly about 30cm x 30cm). Now I look at these pictures, I'm quite pleased with this project. Although at the time all I could see were errors and ways it could be improved - the problem of creating stuff hey, you always tend to see how the finished piece could be improved rather than appreciating it in full! Or maybe I'm too self-critical?! I'm trying not to be, hence being brave and publicly saying now that I'm pleased with it. Actually maybe that's a British thing? We're too modest per chance? Hmm, who knows! Anyway, a way to over come that is to share more of my craft projects, so stay tuned (I've got a whole computer file full of pics!) and please feel free to post a link to pics of your recent craft projects. I'd love to see them and for more of us to be brave and share our creations! :-)

Adios Amigos,

1 February 2012

Blog Gem - from the imagination of ladysnail

Hello everyone and welcome to Blog Gems! This month I'm very proud to introduce from the imagination of ladysnail. I came across this lovely, creative lady's blog in a competition to win one of her raincloud purses 
and guess what? I won!! 

Not only do I love this raincloud purse but all her other designs too, especially Sneaky Fox!

Right enough from me! Lets say hello and find out about the face behind from the imagination of lady snail.....Hello!

Hello there. My name is Debbie. I am an illustrator and printmaker - recently returned to working full time at home which means lots of radio, drawing time, making mess and trying not to distract myself from work by cleaning or baking. I live in my hometown of Huddersfield.

What's your design space/studio/work area like?
At the moment there are two desks and a table that I use. One is one of them computer/scanner/printer/
magnetic board/bookshelf desks, the other is a huge flat regular desk (2012 goal is to keep it clear as often as possible). This is used for printing, drawing, sewing and that. The table is used for cutting, packing, playing, organising and also doubles up as a print drying area and general 'dump it there' table. More often than not, I use every other surface available - this includes the floor. I have tried to take some photos of it to share with you but they are bit rubbish. My camera is very old and cannot cope unless there is a load of natural light.

If you had to take only one of your crafts to a desert island, what would it be and why?
Printing. I could print loads of beautiful 'Message in a Bottle' notes and pictures using the island as inspiration. Imagine the scenery, animals and colour you could draw inspiration from.

How do you work and/or get inspired?
Never one of my favourite questions but I will try to answer it best I can without rambling on. I try and start by drawing things I like as I have found it easier to make work this way - if you like what you are working on then you tend to create more. But then it is very good to draw something challenging. Something you may not want to draw as you may find a happy accident occurs if you keep at it and work through it. This is what I am trying to do now - draw people more and work with more colour. I also find observational drawing helps best or drawing from reference - makes it easier during while developing ideas - books, telly, magazines, models, animals, photographs, outside, still-life - just sketching at what you can actually see. Sometimes you need to look at things to draw them as drawing from memory doesn't always help.

What top tips would you give to any novice bloggers and/or those thinking of selling their designs/crafts?
I have never been asked to give tips before - bit scary doing so. For bloggers, first off I would say keep your blog template/layout clean and simple as best you can. Make it easy for people to see what you are about and also maybe keep to a theme. For example, if it is is about your work - keep it that way and add personal posts but not too many - keep it professional as you never know who may be reading. Try to update your blog once a week to start with maybe twice a week. Next up photos - keep practising and practising as with your blog and online shops - nice natural light photos often work the best. Start selling on Etsy and Folksy (if you are UK based). These websites are very easy to use. You can also try joining local crafting groups to find out more about the handmade scene in your area and start visiting local handmade fairs. Gather information and talk to the stall holders before giving it a go yourself. From past experiences all markets are different, even the same market but on a different day can be different. There is a lot to learn but all you can do if you want to try is research them, see if they would be right for your type of work and give it a go. If possible, find someone to share a table/stall with as firstly, this helps keep costs low and you can help each other out if it gets busy but also have someone to talk to when it's quiet.

Is there a story behind the name from the imagination of ladysnail?
There is - when I was at college a few people had 'pen names' and I thought 'Oh I would like one of them' but I didn't know what it would be. I came up with snail as I drew and still do - draw slow and I liked drawing snails and taking photos of them. The lady bit was added as I am a girl/woman/female and ladysnail together sounded good. Then when I started my blog in 2006, the other bit just popped in to my head as it was going to be about my work, work from the imagination of ladysnail.

If you could be given an award for your designs by any person/fictional character (dead or alive), who would it be?
It would be amazing if Oliver Jeffers or Raymond Briggs or Rolf Harris could present me with an award.

And finally...book & tea or film & wine? 
All and both! I am useless at choosing. Book and tea I think if I really had to pick.

Thanks so much Debbie! It's been fascinating getting to know how you tick creatively, the processes you go through, and of course meeting the face behind the blog! Thanks also for sharing those blogging and selling tips, so that we can all have a go at making gems of our blogs and craft businesses. I'm totally with you on the practice, practice, practice front and balancing this with happy accidents. I think those two go hand-in-hand. Thanks again! 

For those of you that want to find out more about Debbie and keep up-to-date with her latest designs, here are a few links to keep you in the loop:

Social media sites
website - www.debbiegreenaway.com
blog - www.theimaginationofladysnail.
flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/
twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/

Online shops
folksy - http://www.folksy.com/shops/

Current Stockists.
The Bowery - Leeds
Comma - Oxford
Grundy Art Gallery - Blackpool
Cooper Gallery - Barnsley

I hope you all enjoyed this month's Blog Gem. Stay tuned for more faces behind the blogs and until then, keeeep blogging! :-)

All of the images used in this interview are the copyright of Debbie Greenaway. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.


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