Saturday 12 December 2009

The Owl and the Pussycat

Hiya everybody!
I hope you're all looking forward to Christmas, I know I am... I love the run-up to Christmas when all the lights are up in the streets and houses, and you get to ogle all the gorgeous Christmas ornaments in shops and on places like Etsy.

I've done my first ever Christmas craft fair the other week, which was organised by Craft Candy. The Craft Candy fairs are always a lovely way to spend a few hours looking at wonderful handmade things, and a great chance to buy some unique gifts. Me and my friend Claire of The Pin Factory shared a stall (click here: to look at photos of our stall) and the centrepieces of our wares were some things which we had collaborated on.

As we both like cute things, we decided to make a couple of owl and pussycat in a pea-green boat sets (which you've just seen in the picture above!). Claire made the boats, and I made the owl with his little mandolin and the cat (the ones pictured here includes Tototl the owl with Minoo the white pussycat, the other set was sold at the fair and included a green owl and pink pussycat. Very cute if I say so myself!)

This is a close-up of the tiny mandolin:
We also made a couple of sailor foxes in blue boats, the fox pictured below is called Kai; the other fox is called Sorley. I'm really pleased with this because the fox's tail is "jointed", meaning that you can move it to different positions.
I will be listing the sets pictured above in my Etsy shop very very soon, so watch this space!
Have a happy weekend!
Joey x

Thursday 5 November 2009

I'm In a Magazine!!

I've been waiting and waiting for months to talk about this, so I'm so pleased to be able to share it with you! This is the first issue of Making Gifts Magazine, which features my ballooning bunnies cushion cover, amongst loads and loads of varied craft projects.
I was approached by the magazine's Craft Editor Amanda Fowler back in the summer to do some projects for her new magazine, and it's been really exciting to create original ideas for people to re-create at home. So if you'd like to make a cushion like this one, pop down to your nearest Hobbycraft store or craft shop (check first that they stock this magazine) or go online to buy the first issue (P&P is FREE if you buy online!).
Hopefully future issues will feature more of my projects, so watch this space!

Who is Amelie? I know, and you might do too...

Do you like their little pink-starry cheeks? :D

Please get in touch if you have a go at making the cushion, or anything else from Making Gifts Magazine, because I'd love to know! The magazine also has an online forum where you can post pictures of your finished items.

Best wishes
Joey x

Thursday 15 October 2009

Christmas is Coming!

This Etsy treasury was created by my friend Claire of The Pin Factory; isn't it great?! I love the cosy homespun feeling you get from it, and all the objects look so lovingly created. It features my advent calendar garland with Fuyumi the bunny brooch (see below) too. Handmade decorations are far nicer than factory-made, and especially at Christmas, when it feels better for your soul to steer far away from all the bustling shops packed with harassed shoppers. Stay at home and make your own (with recycled materials if possible) decorations instead! Or if your talents lie elsewhere than the sphere of crafts, remember you can buy wonderful handcrafted and artist-designed objects of beauty (at great prices too!) on the wonderful Etsy!
I made an awful mess of our office where I work by making our team have a recycled Christmas... it would have been better I think if I didn't have such a large area to decorate. I used the empty capsules from Kinder toys and strung them on threads to make garlands; paper cranes; other plastic odds and ends decorated with sequins and stuff... it was quite eclectic!
Yes, Christmas isn't far away! The first signs have been around for a couple of months in the high street though of course (tins of chocolates and biscuits on ridiculous offers, tempting you to buy to "put away for Christmas"... haha! yeh right!) but now that seasonal feeling has come to our own house; I have finished and listed my second advent calendar garland with a bunny brooch on Etsy! The idea is that you put the bunny in the appropriate star pocket (each is numbered 18 to 24 - the seven days before Christmas) and then the next day, move her to the next pocket, and so on!
I made one last year and sold it on Etsy, and the one I've made this year is in shades of red and green with cream. It's on sale on Etsy now...

Click the picture below to see it on Etsy:
I hope this post has filled you with warm and cosy feelings, and not of apprehension and fear of the annual family get-together and the usual arguments...
It's 10 weeks tomorrow! :D
Joey xx

A Night Full of Stars - Etsy Treasury

Well, it's that time of year again when the days are getting shorter and shorter, and the night falls so quickly. In some ways, autumn and winter aren't my favourite times of the year, but they do have their advantages: beautiful autumnal trees in red and orange; Halloween; bonfire night; Christmas... and when the night sky is clear, you get to see the beautiful stars earlier in the evening.

All the wonderful handmade items in the treasury above remind me of the magical feeling I get when I gaze up at Orion (my favourite constellation... because I can actually find and recognise it!!), and make me wonder at how tiny this world is in the universe, and strangely, makes me feel quite safe and calm.

The treasury is on Etsy until Saturday, so please quickly click the picture above to see it for real!

Stay warm!
Joey xx

Tuesday 6 October 2009

G h o s t s . . .

As its approaching Halloween (can you believe it?? Minutes ago it was still summer!!) I thought I'd indulge myself and go for a truly scary ghost theme for my next treasury. Click on the picture above to see the treasury for real, until Thursday 8th Oct when it will disappear forever). I love reading ghost stories and I went for images that evoked that feeling of chilliness I get when I reading, or listening to on audiobook, a story like M.R. James' "Oh Whistle And I'll Come To You, My Lad" or Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman's "The South-West Chamber". Both of these stories involve bedrooms as the scene of horror which I find particulary effective because its something everyone can relate to; sleeping in a room with another (empty) bed in it (which I have done, and didn't like), and sleeping in a bed in which you know someone has recently died (which I haven't done, and I don't think I ever could).

The Literary Gothic is a great site; a guide "to all things concerned with literary Gothicism, which includes ghost stories, "classic" Gothic novels and Gothic fiction (1764-1820), and related pre- and post-Gothic and supernaturalist literature written prior to the mid-C20"

Thursday 1 October 2009

Spiders Infest!

This is my latest treasury (which you see here if you're really quick! It will disappear forever on Saturday...) and despite it's spidery theme, I'm not a particularly big spider fan. I don't hate spiders like I used to, and I can just about take a photo of one if it's not too big (and definitely NOT like The Marvelous A's massive spider!!). I do love cobwebs, especially the ones like in Damaged's photo, glittering with droplets of dew or rain.

I do generally like all insects, even though I'm not keen on getting close to many of them. I appreciate them, and especially the pretty ones like ladybirds and shiny beetles! If you care about insects too, you may like to join in with a Bug Hunt - organised by Buglife, the UK conservation charity. Click here for details:
... but you'll have to be quick, it's taking place this weekend, Friday 2 October - Sunday 4 October 2009!

The photo below was taken by Mathew, my partner, who isn't scared to pick up spiders at all, and he wanted to get a pic of this one so he's the photographer as well (thank you Mathew!). However, this isn't really a true spider.

It's called a harvestman, or harvester spider, or daddy-long-legs (but not to be confused with craneflies which are also referred to as daddy-long-legs, but they are completely different... they've got wings!). The harvestman differs from spiders in a few ways but the most notable is that it only has two eyes, mounted on a tiny little "turret" called an ocularium. And neither do they spin webs. These things used to creep me out when I was a kid, and they still do!
More information on harvestmen on UK Safari:
Sweet dreams (ie not of giant spiders!)
Joey xx

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Pussies Galore! Etsy treasury-west

I love cats. But I don't think I've ever done a feline-themed treasury... until now! Don't you think these are a bunch of cute kitties? This treasury on Etsy will be visible until Thursday, so go take a closer look now!

Saturday 12 September 2009

September Sunset Etsy Treasury

I'm back with the treasuries! A few nights ago there was a spectacular sunset, the sort which seem to be commoner in late summer, and it made me want to make a treasury of similar-coloured items. I like these things because they have something unusual or special about them. What do you think?

Sellers, left to right: dakota fire, Dotty Lotty, Apak, Leaves of Glass, Quercus Silver, Nonesuch Garden, Arts in RI, Lux Imagery, The Nebulous Kingdom, Bionic Unicorn, Jessica Doyle, Dirt Road South.
See you soon!
Joey x

Monday 31 August 2009

A Bunny-centric Birthday

It was my birthday yesterday; it was a quiet but pleasant day, consisting of sewing, watching lots of episodes of Flight of the Conchords and eating naughty treats! But I thought I'd share with you some pictures of some of the lovely books I got for presents. Oh, and do you like the fantastic picture above? It's a portrait of me (uncanny likeness) drawn by my 7-year-old friend Elliot. It was drawn in pencil but I thought it'd look rather jolly in orange. It's brilliant, isn't it?! :D

I have been wanting "Fluffy" for ages since seeing another book called "Both" in the Sheffield Central Library, jointly drawn by the illustrating partners Simone Lia and Tom Gauld . Fluffy is a little boy bunny who lives with a single man. Michael, and Fluffy thinks that Michael is his daddy. But Michael tells Fluffy that he's not, even though he treats Fluffy with the same love and attention that a caring parent would show their own child. I haven't finished reading the book yet, but so far, it's an affectionate and funny story, beautifully drawn in Simone's simple and cute style.

I used to cut pictures out of books too. Did you? I think it's a natural thing to do, innocent and not naughty at all.

Fluffy is a an energetic and irrepressible bunny!

Like all bunnies, Fluffy leaves little presents everywhere. :-)

I hope this story doesn't have a sad ending...

Another book I've longed for, for a while is the Aranzi Aronzo book "Cute Stuff" in which a couple of very cute bunnies show us how to make various simple accessories and decorate them with cute appliqués. I think I really need to make something with the happy train appliqué...
Aranzi Aronzo is actually the collective/company name for a couple of very talented crafty ladies who write and illustrate all the Aranzi Aronzo books. Their catch phrase is "cute, strange, cool, silly, a little bit horrible, stupid and comfortable ARANZI ARONZO"! Visit their official website for more information: A Message From Mr. Aranzi and Mr. Aronzo

As well as very clear and engaging diagrams, there are photos of the finished projects, with large bunny toys modelling them with great style!

The bunnies are very knowledgeable and helpful!

Of course, all rabbits are ecological, but I think this bunny just wants to try to push the idea to humans. Reduce, reuse, recycle - it's the bunny way!

Yes, lets! I always take reusable shopping bags with me, but they are bought ones... maybe time for an Aranzi Aronzo bag!

Rabbits are gentle creatures, and always try to encourage and reassure you.

Bunnies don't make fun of anyone. They have a high level of emotional intelligence, you see.

Crafty friends!

Mathew got me this Grange Hill annual from the Oxfam charity bookshop in Bradford. Thank you, Mathew! <3>This is Todd Carty (in the water-filled bin), who played everyone's favourite Tucker Jenkins, in comic strip form! I think they've drawn him a bit curmudgeonly... if I were Todd Carty, I think I'd be rather annoyed! He's not THAT funny-looking!
Oh, but here's a very young Todd Carty (he's the one wearing the blue jumper I think) in a Green Cross Code public information film with Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who). So remember... SPLINK!

Sunday 2 August 2009

Etsy in Wonderland Part Two - Treasury

I promised there would be another Alice in Wonderland-themed treasury, so here it is! The amount of beautiful handmade things inspired by Alice in Wonderland is amazing. I've chosen a mix of obvious Alice things and other things which I love, and remind me of the motifs from the story. Here's the list of sellers so you can explore their other wares, from left to right:

Nu Nuveau, Elsita, Migoto Chou, Sugar and Flour, SAEE Designs, Naokosstoop, Fathom Glass, The Nebulous Kingdom, Tsuru Bride, Sarah Maloney, Starving Art Student, Frog With Wings.

This will be my last treasury for a while, maybe until September as I've got a few big projects that I have to pull my finger out to complete! Unfortunately, procrastination is my forte, so the less distractions, the better.

I hope you've enjoyed exploring Etsy's many, many talented artists through my treasuries! I'll be back to them soon, so watch this space!

Joey xx

Thursday 30 July 2009

Etsy in Wonderland - Treasury

The treasury I made last night was inspired by themes from Alice In Wonderland.
There are so many lovely handmade items on Etsy which have been inspired by Alice in Wonderland, I will be doing another treasury with the same theme... so watch this space if you like this!
I did read the book many many years ago when I was a nipper, but about 15 years ago (when I was a very moody teenager) I came across and became a big fan of Jan Svankmajer's "Alice". If you haven't heard of it, you really need to watch it (see below, first of nine parts). It's a fantastically imaginiative, dark and memorable stop-motion film based on Alice in Wonderland. In my opinion, it's the best version in film, both for children and adults alike.

Joey x

Monday 27 July 2009

Bunnigami! Simple Origami with Bunnies Part 5

Hello! As always, bunnigami is just slightly late... whoops! This time, you can learn how to make a crane. This is perhaps the most widely-recognised origami model, and there is a tradition in Japan that if you make a thousand cranes, you will be granted a wish.

You will need to know how to make the preliminary base first; this is covered in the instructions on how to make the waterbomb.

Click on the two pictures below to make them larger.

Now you've made one crane, you only have another 999 to make until your wish can be granted...
Good luck and happy folding!
Joey x

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Camera Camaraderie: Treasury

Last week we went to the National Media Museum (NMM) in Bradford, which has inspired this treasury.

Sellers above , from left to right: Majesty Inc, Yaelfran, Japonicas, Ura Star House, CB78, Little Big Pants, Two Guitars, Moy Toys, Vivienne Strauss, Artsy, Sewn by Blythe, Roberta Grove.

Don't read the next paragraph if you would rather not read about morbid things. Just skip to the next paragraph after the photo of the television.

I had been to the museum before about 13 years ago, when it was still known as the National Photography, Film and Television Museum. The main thing I can remember from that first visit was a special exhibition of Victorian photographs of the recently deceased. It was very moving, although more than a little disturbing to me and others I was with, as this isn't a concept we're used to these days. Even though we hear about violence and death all the time through television, internet and the press, we aren't generally shown dead people because it's considered in bad taste to do so, therefore I found it quite surprising to see such a large collection of "death portraits" (often babies and children in their parents arms or in coffins, as if peacefully sleeping) from a time I perceived to have far more taboos about death than we have today. Seeing those photographs made me feel sad, not just because they commemorated the death rather than life of that person, but also because their family wanted to remember the moment of their death, and that they will keep that photograph to look at again.

Anyway, the NMM these days has a variety of interactive displays to entertain children and extensive collections of photographic and televisual equipment and memorabilia for all us geeks! I really enjoyed looking at vintage and antique camera designs, and I took quite a lot of pictures which you can see on my flickr stream: pictures of National Media Museum. I particularly liked the tiny Sony portable television which comes in it's very own cute little case! How cool is that? I really like it's minimal design, sleek but clunky at the same time. And I just happen to have a photograph of an advert for this exact model, which was in an early 1970s tourist guide to Japan.
Cheers for reading!
Joey :-)

Monday 20 July 2009

Button Up!

If you are a sewer, embroiderer, knitter or like making all sorts of crafty things, then like me, you're probably obsessed with buttons and will happily spend all your pocket money on them, whether you actually need them or intend to ever use them, or not! Well, if this is you, then it's likely that you'll like this treasury! Link

Sellers, from left to right:
Made for Fun, The Black Apple, Chanchke Designs, Jilliann's, Hand Knitted Things, Soap Store, Sweetgum Handbags, Brandywine, Veronica Buttons, Sugar Inc, Hydra Heart, Namolio.

Joey xx

Saturday 18 July 2009

NEW! Joey's Dream Garden Badges!

Bowls of Badges!, originally uploaded by Joey 7.

Yippee! My badges came this morning, which only took 2 days for the brilliant Brilliant Badges to make! I recommend them.

I wanted a way to enable more people to own my designs without me having to sew night & day to make enough things & make my fingers bleed... so there are sets of four cute little badges available in my Etsy shop now!

If you are in the Sheffield or Derbyshire area you may be interested to visit the little picturesque village of Tissington on either 8th or 9th August where i'll be doing the Tissington Village Hall craft fair on both days. It's opposite the duck pond, and opening times are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Joey x

Friday 17 July 2009

Bunnigami! Simple Origami with Bunnies Part 4

Oh whoops! A bit late again I'm afraid, I was very busy yesterday! Lame excuse... Here's what I'm making at the moment, bunny pouches embroidered with my bunny drawings. This is the first one:

Here is the next part of the bunnigami series, a waterbomb this time. Click on the pictures to get a bigger and clearer view of the text.

Good luck with the waterbomb, I hope you enjoy making it!
Best wishes
Joey x

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Pinky Olives Etsy Treasury

This is my current treasury west list, what do you think? I really like these colours together, but I didn't know that until I came across Pirilampo Riscardo's super-sweet and unusual seed pod choker in salmon, olive, chocolate and cream (imagine THAT as the foodstuffs all together! Maybe not so good!). This inspired me to find more things with the same colour combination and these are the fruits of my labours!

Featured Etsy sellers, from left to right:
Uncommon, Pirlampo Riscardo, Lic Gifts, 5 Gardenias, Stash/Mariforssell, Pen Felt, Circs, Thumble, Amanda Archer, Jazz Baby 1920, Utile Mud, Golly Bard

Joey x

Saturday 11 July 2009

I'm Likin' this Lichen...

This is my latest Etsy treasury west. What do you think to it?
Take a closer look at the treasury items above in the Etsy shops, from left to right:
I really love lichen and mosses, because although they're usually very tiny, their little details are quite beautiful when you get very close, which I love to do by taking pictures with the super-macro facility on my camera, like this:

I hope this inspires you to look more closely when you see a bit of insignificant-looking lichen... a natural work of art!

Joey xx

Bunnigami! Simple Origami with Bunnies Part 3

If you've been following this series, you'll have noticed that I'm a couple of days late this posting part 3. Whoops, sorry! I don't know what happened actually. I think I was cooking lentil dhal when I usually remember...

Anyway, here is the latest part, this time you can make a masu box. This is a traditional Japanese model which is meant to resemble a square wooden box which was originally used to measure rice, and later used to drink sake (rice wine) from. I don't recommend using yours to drink wine from though!

You may need to click on the image of the instructions above to get a clearer view. If you get stuck, just leave a comment below.

You can use any sort of paper, but it needs to be precisely square. If you want to make a small box, you will need to use lightweight paper, like cheap printer paper or cheap wrapping paper. If you want to make a very large box, you will find that it holds its shape better if you use thick paper like sugar paper (contruction paper in the US) or even wallpaper.

Have fun!
Joey x

Next Thurs 16th July: a waterbomb!

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Rudo Y Cursi - film review

Rudo Y Cursi is a comedy about two half-brothers in Mexico who are spotted by a talent scout and rise from rural obscurity to become professional footballers. I'm not into football at all but I really liked this film. It was great for a Friday night; very funny and I don't think i've read as many subtitled swear-words before! Which is entertaining in itself, in a juvenile sort of way. I do like Gael Garcia Bernal (who played Tato, nicknamed Cursi, above left) which is one of the reasons I wanted to see the film.

The story starts with them working on their banana plantation, with Cursi playing his accordion in any spare moment he gets, and Rudo (played by Diego Luna) struggling to make ends meet to support his family. From desperate poverty, they are lifted to stardom as professional footballers (Cursi was a striker and Beto/Rudo a goalkeeper) in different teams, which adds fuel to their ongoing resentments with each other. However, their rise to fame isn't long-lived or simple, and they each go through their own life-changing journeys.

What I think was particularly good about this film was some great acting, from Bernal and Luna and also Guillermo Francella who played Baton, the talent scout (Francella is apparently big in his home country, Argentina). I really warmed to Tato and Beto because like many of us, they have high goals, but their human weaknesses (lust for one, gambling for another) quickly and cruelly bring them back down to earth.

I'd recommend Rudo Y Cursi for anyone's Friday night entertainment, football fanatic or not.

Sunday 5 July 2009

Now I'm Just Being Greedy!

Etsy treasuries are like buses, you wait ages for one to come along and then two turn up at once.
But that's part of the pleasure of putting them together, it's a game of chance... ;-)

Here's the two treasuries I created (above was made in 'treasury west', the second is in the 'main' treasury):
First treasury (theme: ladybirds)
Etsy shops, from left to right:
Mad Tea Party Furniture, Queen Artist, Mama Runs With Scissors, Bohtieque, Lucky 17, Elizabeth Jewelry, Owlishly, Lagoa Designs, Amber Alexander, Elvyess, Agatka, The Fetching Hound

Second treasury, no theme just things I like
Etsy shops, from left to right:
Louise Broomhead, Tim's Sally, Green Post, Ninainvorm, Sugar Elf, Hydra Heart, Owlishly, Tree for You, The Secret Nest

I hope you liked looking at all the lovely items!
Joey x


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