Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Following in the Footsteps of Samuel Pepys...

Diary writing homework, after Samuel Pepys, originally uploaded by fancypicnic.

Nothing from me to show you today - for several days now I've been happily sanding and peeling away in the workshop, getting more logs and tipi poles ready with the woodcutter.
I just thought I'd share with you a little bit of the colour that is in my life, in abundance! Don't you just love the way a five year old brandishes felt pens?

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Shopping List Saturday

Where did Saturday go?
We've had a very busy weekend, but I'm so pleased to finally show you this week's Shopping treasures.

1)Antoinette Black And Gray Feather Hair Clip Fascinator/ BaroqueAndRoll - beautiful. Curlicued feathers...gorgeously decadent.
2)CAMILLE Bolero/ toccata - made from a pineapple fibre (!), this is so feminine. I'm fascinated by the architectural quality of the pleating.
3)Do You Know Who I Am Print/ dottylotty - I love the bold colouring, the contrasting printed textures - and the sultry mask!!
4)Flora, 5x5 print/ Unravelling - conjuring up summer days spent enjoying the sunshine al fresco with friends. So pretty.
5)Being Antoinette/ ImagineStudio - I love the seductive drama of this print. It draws me in each time I look at it. Gorgeous.
6)MILANO WAVE necklace in grey/ giia - this is so stunning. Incredibly unusual, stylish, sculptural and with wonderful movement. Every item in her store is a fabulous statement piece!

For more Shopping Lists from fellow Etsy sellers, click on the Shopping List Saturday links in the sidebar. It's amazing what's out there!
If you would like to join in with your own lists, just let me know. Happy shopping handmade!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Merry Go Round

Jump on and join a group of artists/crafts-women as they link around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

Our question for this month is: Your favourite recipe is...?

Well, this is interesting...because I can't cook - if I have to cook for anyone, I simply go to pieces. Many friends will testify to that! Which makes writing this post a trifle (no pun intended!) difficult, so here's our favourite, incredibly simple treat...courtesy of that kitchen goddess, Nigella Lawson (but we swap her pistachios for crumbled digestive biscuits...now you have a clue for how simple this is!!)
Take one lazy Saturday morning, add to that two willing little girls, a mass of chocolate (no-one said it was good for you...after all, it is a treat!) and a woodcutter who adores anything sweet (usually cake, but this is an equal first in the favourite stakes), and we're ready.

350g/12oz dark chocolate, at least 70 per cent cocoa solids, chopped
1 x 397g/14oz can condensed milk
30g/1oz butter
pinch salt
150g/5¼oz unsalted pistachios, shells removed (or biscuits!)

Firstly, pop all of the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, butter and salt into a heavy-based pan over a low heat and stir until fully melted and thoroughly mixed.
Whilst the chocolate mix is melting, stick the nuts (or biscuits) into a freezer bag and crush them with a rolling pin, until broken up into some large and some small pieces (memories of Home Ec classes come flooding back every time). Remember to stir the mixture in the pan every now and again.
Tip the nuts (biscuits) into the melted chocolate mixture and stir well.
Dollop the mixture into a 23cm/9in square tray, smoothing the top with a wet palette knife.
After cooling, pop it into the fridge until set.
Cut into small pieces approximately 1.5cms square.

Once cut, the fudge can be kept in the freezer - there's no need to thaw, just eat straight away.
I told you it was simple! That bit in red? That's the best bit! It's fab straight from the freezer - in fact, you really must keep it in there - and this recipe makes such a mountain of fudge, you'll have a lovely store of it to enjoy for ages. I guess you could just make less in the first place, but to be honest, our families love it so much that after we've had some and bagged up some more for them, it's all gone!

Please pop in on my friends (this week we're pleased to welcome Nikki, Jenny and Wendren to the team) who are part of the Merry Go Round meme - everyone's links are in the sidebar - and see what they enjoy cooking up! We're all posting from different time zones, so do pop back if necessary. Thank you!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

On My Desk Wednesday

I'm hoping that this will pass muster as to what's on my desk today...it is sitting there, right next to me....
As promised yesterday, here's the collar to co-ordinate with the Rochester wrist cuff made last week. It isn't an exact match - I like to live dangerously! What is it called, when you have a matching set of jewellery? I'm sure there's a name for it...would it be 'wardrobe'?

This should be added to my shop later this evening (probably around midnight - don't ask why it's so late!). Update: in the store now.

For more desk activity, do pop in to kootoyoo and take a little peek - while you're there, why not put your name down and join in?!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Sunshine and Flowers

A little splash of colour.

It's so lovely to see colour arriving in the garden again, and to have the sun shining for most of the day. It really spurs me on to get some work done - however, the woodcutter is beckoning. Logs need sanding and tipi poles desperately need peeling. Ah well, needs must...

So, tonight I'm adding this colourful little frondy brooch to my Etsy shop; tomorrow, in between sanding and stripping (the poles!!), I should have finished a collar to co-ordinate with the Rochester white cuff from last week. Watch this space...

Monday, 23 March 2009

GIVEAWAY! Look at these lovelies from Her Library Adventures..

Can you believe it?The fun never stops...another giveaway in blogland!

This time, Sophie (Sophie Isobel Designs) from the beautiful Her Library Adventures blog is hosting a celebratory giveaway in honour of her first Etsy anniversary. Congratulations, Sophie!

Sophie is offering TWO wonderful prizes...nip over here now to take a good long peek, and for your chance to be a lucky recipient. Make sure you read the post to increase your chances! Good luck...

Friday, 20 March 2009

Shopping List Saturday

It's Saturday, and I'm ready to shop - are you?

These are my picks of the week...
2)Original Mixed Media Art---Brooch / brightcolorart - this shop is packed full of quirky and cute items. I love this little lady's eyes...and her friend in her hair!
3)BREAKTHROUGH bright bold and fun acrylic painting / mistflowerstudio - as you know, I'm a big fan of Valerie's work, and I love this painting. It reminds me of shafts of sunlight beaming through stained glass. Lovely.
4)Quince Flower Stack / wireddesign - so pretty and feminine, and I love the colours used here. Made to order in your size, these tiny flowers 'are the perfect bouquet for your finger'!
5)SUPER CHUNKY OVAL RING - 4 lovely choices / leandogpottery - Hmmn. I don't know which one I would choose...maybe the Purple-Yellow Monster? I love 'em all. And all of the jewellery in her store...
6) Blue Danube - Edwardian style Fancy gown by La belle fairy/ labellefairy - this little beauty has been reconstructed from a handmade vintage dress...isn't it gorgeous? Coming from a store that sells custom corsets and Victorian knickers, don't miss it!
For many more handmade treasures, do click on the links in the sidebar to see fellow Etsians lists...you'll be amazed at what's out there!
This week, we are pleased to welcome Heidi from Highland Fairy to our team of Saturday Shoppers. Lovely to have you join us - in fact, I believe Heidi played along last weekend too. Do pop in and take a look at her favourite items from Etsy this week.
Happy weekend everyone!

Gorgeous Ring GIVEAWAY from Chocolate and Steel..

Mmmn. This little beauty is totally irresistible, isn't it? Frankly, I think it has my name written in big letters all over it - but actually, that isn't really very caring and sharing of me, is it??

If you would like a chance to whip this fine silver ring with 3 yellow topaz stones away from me, nip over here and leave a comment for Christine...make sure you read the post carefully to increase your chances!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

On My Desk Wednesday

Things are moving very slowly here this week, for various reasons. Mumble, mumble....

Despite that, my desk today bore some WIP (now completed and waiting to be popped into the shop) that just required a bit of handstitching and of course, a shower of beads. Where would I be without beads??!
This wrist cuff is mainly silk (courtesy of a friend of a friend - thank you! - who creates wedding gowns...mmmnn). The outer silk is embroidered with metallic silver threads, the underside is my favourite silver grey silk, which also forms part of the mini ruffle along the edge. Add to that some taffeta blooms and a bit of sparkle...I call that finished!

Pop on over to kootoyoo for more desk activity. You know you want to....

Monday, 16 March 2009

Wrists At The Ready...

Opera Wrist Cuff side view with lining, originally uploaded by fancypicnic.

This is a first...a matching set!

I so enjoyed creating the Opera Ruffled Collar I couldn't resist running up a co-ordinating wrist cuff. It doesn't match exactly - there are less ruffles for starters, more wandering stitches and a wider sprinkling of shimmery beads.

The taffeta is two-tone, and has proved to be slightly problematic to photograph - different light situations make it appear a slightly different colour each time. I think if it is sunny again tomorrow...*crossing fingers and wishing three times*...I'll retake both Opera pieces, at the same time!!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Something New...

Just time for a super-fast post at the end of a lovely day....sunny, happy and shared with friends.

I managed to finish this ruffled collar and take some new photos of it...in daylight!! The days are changing at last, staying brighter for longer, and it makes it SO much easier to take photos of work. This is the same ruffle as here...only now the colours are much closer to the actual piece, thanks to the sun and the lack of artificial light. The addition of a bit of sparkle by way of a showering of beads has made me much happier.

This should be in my Etsy store tonight.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Shopping List Saturday

Following my mood this week, shopping today has a rather historic twist to it......enjoy!

1)GLASS SLIPPER Wrist Cuffs or Spatts/ tamilyn - don't you just love the name?! Such pretty cuffs...I feel one should be writing letters at one's bureau when sporting them...
2)Felted scarf-collar Tourmaline/ Rudman - everything Rudman does, I love. Beautiful Victorian style neckwear, it's so hard to choose a favourite from her store.
3)19th Century Doll (OOAK) / Middleburg - again, another store I love popping in to. This doll, influenced by a recent lecture on 18th and 19th century clothing, is fabulous.
4)Leah corset - Elizabethan/Renaissance style CUSTOM to your size/ Espalore - now, I'm hooked on Elizabethan style. This corset is amazing. I just need to quote Angela's listing for you:
This corset is truly a work of art! It contains a modesty placket for front or back lacing (your choice), only steel boning (guaranteed never to rust) or historically-accurate reed boning, supportive shoulder straps, waist tabs to prevent discomfort, and triple-reinforced grommets. You also have the option of adding a wooden busk at the front. It features internal boning casings, silk bound edges, and comes with an extra long, sturdy lacing ribbon or string.
How fabulous is that? I want it....
5)corset with short sleeves - xs/ OblivionClothing - love the dark drama of this item. Beautiful ribbon details on the shoulder, and while you're at it, have the skirt to match?!
6)Yellow Dress Yellow Drip - 5x7 Print/ kirby - this print of a painting is inspired by 18th century clothing. Take a look at her store - the quirky, calm personalities of her ladies through time are quite mesmeric, each it seems, with a story to tell. My cottage should be filled with them!!

This week, we welcome two more players to the Shopping List Saturday meme! Hello to Shelby (from shelbyhealey), and also to gretchenmist (gretchenmist)...lovely to have you join us! Do pop in and enjoy their first lists - and don't forget our regular players, too: you can find their links in the sidebar. Take a few minutes to marvel at what Etsy has to offer this weekend!!

Happy shopping!

Friday, 13 March 2009


Ruffle WIP, originally uploaded by fancypicnic.

The time came today, finally, for a bit of ruffle 'action'. I'm addicted to costume and historical fashion books (this one being my current favourite), and I could resist the urge no longer.

I love the crinkled taffeta in this gorgeous blackberry colour, but I want to see something a bit more...worn; I need some frayed edges creeping around somewhere, but maybe not with this one.
This one needs a bit of sparkle...bring on the beads!!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Treehouse Surprise

Birthday treehouse stairs, originally uploaded by fancypicnic.

These are the feet of an over-excited-birthday-girl-newly-nine daughter of mine, exploring her birthday treat.

As if the woodcutter didn't have enough to do, he took time out yesterday to build his baby a treehouse. For those that know him, he has an absolute 'thing' for treehouses. If he had his way, we'd live in one permanently. So, I guess the next best thing was to surprise his offspring with one of her very own. She had absolutely no clue he was building it all.

She is now the rather proud owner of a winding spiral staircase (made from our tipi pole offcuts), which leads to a 'viewing platform', which leads to a room within the 'nest' of the tree complete with a resting bench. At the weekend, there is a plan to extend, and add yet another platform, right at the top of the tree, from where inhabitants can stand and drink in the view of the valley...I didn't have anything like this when I was a little girl...!!

For a couple more images, click here and here.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

On My Desk Wednesday

image created via picnik

I know - not my own work on my desk this morning!

However, I had such a frustrating day yesterday when a bag lining just wouldn't play ball and fit nicely into a silk bag...so I've hidden it away until I can wrestle with it again. I clearly need to remake the lining, but that would be boring, wouldn't it?!

So, I quickly snapped these whilst they sat on my table before heading off to their classrooms. Tudor houses - the exterior, by our littlest, and the interior of a poor person's abode by our eldest (9 today xx), complete with rope strung bed, candle sconces, clay pots and utensils.

Would you like to see more desk activity? Pop on over to kootoyoo and discover something new...why not join in?

Monday, 9 March 2009

'Tis The Month of Giveaways....

Would you like the opportunity to win this little beauty from Christine, Chocolate and Steel? I know, how could you resist!

Pop over here, and leave a comment. You know what they say - if you don't try....

And how about this little stash? Julia from materialised is seeking some help with some market research - pop over here and help her out...your comment could secure these little lovelies for you!
I'm feeling the need to join in with this March madness.....

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Get Your Gaudy Knitted Jumpers On, Because...

...it's time for Noel Edmonds' Multi-Coloured Swap Shop!!!

What am I on about, exactly? Well - trades, actually. Personally, I've never before taken part in one. Until now. And look what I got!!

The delightful 'Let It Snow' polar bear artwork packed full of gorgeousness is by mimilove forever. When I first saw her work last year, I was intrigued by the way that she paints beautiful images of animals in watercolour on canvas, and then goes one step further and embellishes each one with stitchery, sequins and beads. I was hooked. And now look....he's mine!! In reality, in my hands, on my wall, he is simply amazing. We are all in love with him. He is perfection.

Karen (mimilove) gave me a completely free reign to make her anything at all (well, ok, maybe a brooch, she decided). I panicked a bit. Mr Bear arrived very quickly (I wish I'd photographed him in his wrapping - it was such an expert job. A work of art in itself!). What if Karen didn't like what I made for her...? What if she was...disappointed...??

Especially as I was so thrilled with Mr Bear.

Eeek!! Anyhow, I threw myself into a mass of colours and got on with it. Took a deep breath and posted off my fabric jewels. And I think she likes them!! I still think that I got the best deal...thanks, Karen xx It made my week!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Shopping List Saturday

Let's go shopping!!
I've gone mad for colour this week - the sun is shining, pretty little flowers are beginning to emerge in the garden, and these little beauties match my mood. I hope you love them as much as I do....

1)Kitchen/ shelbyhealey - I wish my kitchen looked like this! How happy would you be to make your coffee in it each morning?
2)Grape Lime Multi Beaded Twisted Diamond/ MegHannan - I am fascinated by Meg's work, the process involved, the mass of colour, the vibrancy of each piece. Take a look at her store - you won't be disappointed. Have this as a brooch or a pendant!
3)embroidered disc pendant - cantaloupe/ nectarjewelry - I adore this, totally. I love the stylish subtlety. Beautiful.
4)Felt and zipper brooch/ woollyfabulous - I first saw this over on flickr, and loved the colourful, fun element. It's great, isn't it? (Yes, it is a zip!)
5)Colorful coconut beads/ TuranLoch - I love the tumbling discs of colour here, like a waterfall around your neck.
6)family/ gypsyandtwink - I've admired gypsyandtwink's wooden sculpture characters for some time now. I would love to own one or two...or three! I like the combinations of surface decoration, and the simplicity of the shapes. Lovely!

So, these were some of my favourites from wonderful Etsy sellers this week. Would you like to see more? Please click on the links in the sidebar to see fellow Etsy sellers' choices!
Would you like to join us with this weekly meme? Just let me know!!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Something New for the Weekend

I've added this little wrist cuff to my Etsy store today - crammed full of texture, paraphernalia, and luscious colours.

Again, layers of silk and organza have been collaged together, and adorned with a floral silk motif. Multi-coloured yarn weaves its way around the cuff, over and under bits of organza and velvet trim. A scattering of pretty little beads help to glitter the night away!

Thank Crunchie it's Friday!

mummysam Giveaway

Just have to tell you about this little lovely, Rachel, the rather splendid prize for mummysam's blog giveaway at the moment.

This is what mummysam has to say:

As I approach 150 sales at Etsy, I wanted to extend my thank you to everyone who has been so kind and supportive as I embarked on this mummysam adventure. I can't tell you enough how encouraging you have all been, and as a big thank you I would like to give something to you.

All you need to do is nip over here now and leave a comment for your chance to win! What are you waiting for?

Congratulations, mummysam xx

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Something New

These two items (Flora Pendant and Thalia Brooch) have just been added to my Etsy store...a little bit of colour to welcome the changing of the seasons - more to follow.

I'm developing a bit of a 'thing' for stitching these floral motifs...I'm enjoying working with the silks, and the colours are lifting my mood a little. It's been great to see the sun shining today, and the little drifts of colour in the garden from crocus and snowdrops. Sweet. I can't believe I've just written that....me, someone completely addictd to the depths of winter! Suddenly, I've become aware that it is SO much nicer to be able to work in proper daylight. Clarity is returning with the onset of Spring.

Now, before a certain person mentions it...yes, it IS probably my age - the decline in my eyesight and whatnot. I know, I know...

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

On My Desk Wednesday

Something a little bit special on my desk today...isn't she fabuloso??

Meet Petrova. Here's her story:

There was once a small vaudeville show that traveled the back roads. Such magic as costumes, grease paint and rouge pots jumbled in their trunks as the wagons traveled from place to place.When Petrova performed her Swan vignette to the sepia-like towns, the patrons gazed enchanted, as if Petrova was a doll come to life.

I wish I was Petrova...but that aside...she's my Valentine's gift from the woodcutter. She arrived today and she's amazing, complete with little rouged cheeks and a pursed little mouth. Love her? Visit JunkerJane's Etsy shop for more wonderful monsters and personalities - and check out their stories, too!

So I have a happy desk today - visit kootoyoo's blog to find more. Why not join in?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

How Hard Can It Be...?

Recently, I was asked about how I take my jewellery pics...here's the answer.

During the winter, I find it SO hard to get a reasonable image because the light is so poor most days...usually the days I'm ready with work to photograph! This is my way around it; it works...sometimes.

I move as close to a bright (well, the brightest one in the house at any given time) window as I can, cover the sill and part of the way up the wall with white paper, and then quite often, I end up doing this...stacking a pile of magazines or books up high, then plonking the item down on top - to avoid windowframes casting any slightly dark shadows over the piece. Click to 'macro' on my camera (I only have a point-and-shoot, so nothing very technical) and Bob's your uncle.

Is it awful to admit how amateur one really is?

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Littleloveblue Bunny Giveaway!

Isn't she lovely?

Cary from littleloveblue (beautiful, beautiful things) is celebrating...and is giving her away! This is what she has to say:

i started this blog almost a year ago, after opening my first shop. a lot of things have changed over the past year. it's been a very big learning experience for me, and i'm so grateful for the new friends i have made along the way. i'm almost to 100 sales in my shop now... so to celebrate i'm giving something back.

How about that?! I've already jumped at the chance. Nip over there now and add your comment - good luck!

Congratulations, Cary xx!