So, I’ve just dyed a doll’s hair…

Bride crochet toilet roll dollAs you know, I make all sorts of things. Some of the most popular of my creations are the toilet roll covers and toilet roll dolls.

I have been using the same dolls from the same supplier for quite a while now. It can be quite hard to find the right size (at the right price). The dolls are all white and blonde and I’ve just not seen any others.

A couple of weeks ago I had a custom order from my Etsy shop for one of my bridal toilet roll dolls, but a brunette. Well, I searched and searched and managed to find one but the price was ridiculous!

So, I had a sudden flash of inspiration – could I dye the doll’s hair? I tentatively started to Google, thinking I wouldn’t find anything, and low and behold found quite a few links to how to do it. Mainly on how to create a goth doll, but I didn’t let that put me off 🙂

Anyway, a couple of links were suggesting acrylic paint for vinyl dolls and I used to do quite a bit of painting so dug out my acrylics. I chose a raw umber for the dye and gave it a go. The first attempt was a bit wishy-washy, but I tried it again with a bigger blob of paint and less water and it seemed to work quite well. What do you think?

The biggest tips I can think of for doing this is:

  • Pop the doll’s head on something like a pencil if you can – it makes it much easier to handle
  • Pop some vaseline on the dolls face so you don’t dye her face too
  • Use a brush or something similar to do the roots
  • Comb the paint through before it dries, otherwise it clumps and is a pain in the bum to sort out.

I’m really pleased with the results and it wasn’t even difficult to do – every day’s a school day!

Oh Etsy, why?

Quirky Purple EtsyJust a moan really…

Etsy swapped a few menus around a little while ago and I’ve only just got used to them. It just wasn’t as quick to get to my Shop Activity. I don’t know about you but I really like to keep looking at this. I love it when people favourite my things and then someone else favourites it.

I’ve just popped onto Etsy today to add my hot water bottle covers back up now that the weather is getting colder and it’s only gone and bloody changed again!

Arrrgggh, all the menu bits are now on the right-hand side rather than the left so my finger keeps twitching the wrong way for the menu.

Now, don’t get me wrong – those new little icons look really cool and I particularly like how my purple logo is used up there. But, yeah you knew there’d be a ‘but’, right? Now I have to do 2 clicks to see my shopfront?? It’s another thing I like to keep an eye on and change my featured items and I like to look at the shop to do this so I can see it how potential buyers will see it.

Is this just me? I’m not really a computer luddite and over the years I’ve changed enough large websites myself to know that you can’t please everyone all of the time. I guess there’s been a lot of user testing on something as big as this, so it probably is just me 🙂

I’ll shut up now and go and bath the baby…

First sewing projects

Well yesterday I had a play around with my new sewing machine. It’s been years and years since I had a decent machine. For my first project I chopped up an old dress and made a simple skirt.

Today I wanted to try something different. My little girl loves all things ‘taggy’ so I thought I’d have a go at a taggy blankie.

I’ve used soft fleece on one side and cotton on the other. I think all little ones like different sorts of taggies (silky, textured, knotted etc) so I tried to come up with something different to the usual bits of ribbon that you see on them. I’ve noticed at the moment my little girl likes knotted things as she’s teething, so I included a few of those too. Also, as crochet is my usual weapon of choice, I crocheted a few taggies too.

One thing I find useful with toys is to have something to attach them to the pram with. Imagine losing their favourite toy or blankie! So, I made a little strap and I just need to pop the Kam popper onto it. Actually, it will have a dual purpose as my little girl currently has an obsession with all things strap-like. I guess you could also use it to attach a dummy?

Anyway, I also top-stitched it so it has a double set of stitches to keep the taggies safe and I think it makes it look better too. Oh and I had to use a scooter fabric 🙂

What do you think?

I’ve bought a new sewing machine!

Woo-hoo!

I have finally stopped procrastinating and bought myself a new sewing machine! Yes, that was another exclamation mark. Look, there’s another one!

Brother sewing machineDo you get the impression that I might be excited? Yeah, I am just a little bit.

I’ve just finished my first little project on it. I just wanted something simple to get used to the machine. I’ve got a dress that I like the pattern of but never wear it as it just never seems to fit right. I’ve chopped the top off and turned it into a simple skirt. Looks OK too. It’s nothing special, but it’s helped me to get the feel of this fab machine.

Did I mention that it threads the needles for me? Oh, and the geek in me is pleased too as it’s also got a touchscreen. My other half saw it this morning and said “Oooh did you know that it’s got a USB slot?” Dur, yeah, that’s why I bought it 🙂

Anyway, must go and check out some YouTube videos on how to use all the fancy features…

Too busy to post? Put out the bunting!

Yeah, that’s me!

I’m not quite finding the time I used to find to do little things like posting on here. It’s not even that I don’t like doing it, but I just don’t seem to find the time recently!

My little girl seems to have such a busy diary, I have enough on just keeping my Etsy shop open and keeping up with orders, and writing my regular articles for the Nottingham Post.

P1020201The main orders that are keeping me busy at the moment are for my handmade bunting. It’s all crocheted by me, including the letters so it’s quite time-consuming. It would probably be quicker to use felt letters, but I quite like the look of the crocheted letters. They have a much more 3D effect. The first one I did was something for my little girl’s room and I had so many queries I thought I start to make them for the Etsy shop.

And yes, my little girl’s room is purple…. she can’t choose colour schemes at the moment, so I choose them for her 🙂

I’ll post up some pictures of some of the other ones I’ve made as soon as I get around to it. I’m thinking they might work quite nicely for weddings, birthday and housewarming pressies.

 

 

Tell Eric Pickles that allotments must not be sold off!!

Allotment_beforeIf you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I have an allotment. It took a long time on the waiting list to get my allotment and when we did get it the poor things was full (and I do mean full) of brambles and household rubbish.

It’s taken a lot of hard work and love and attention to get our allotment into something that resembles an allotment. We grow a lot of different things there and I even managed to get down there and do a spot of weeding when pregnant. I fully intend for my little girl to come down with us and get cracking on the weeding as soon as she is able. OK, I know this may take a while as she’s only 4 months old…

Well, it insenses me when I see what fat cat Tories like Eric Pickles are trying to do in selling off allotments. There are already massive waiting lists for one of these little plots.

Allotment_afterThe current government keeps releasing information on how people need to get more exercise and eat more vegetables – well isn’t having an allotment the perfect way to do this? Even a small plot can give you a good work out and produce some good quality veg. Not to mention the massive sense of achievement it can give, nurturing and caring for those plants. Growing plants is also used to help people with depression for just this reason.

So, I’ve just signed this e-petition – Tell Eric Pickles that allotments must not be sold off!!

So get on there, sign it, and tell Eric Pickles to “get off our land”!

Right. That’s it. I’ve closed my eBay shop!

Well, I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with eBay over the last few months.

I set up a shop on there about a year ago as I thought it gave a better experience for potential customer to browse sections rather that have all my goodies just lumped together. The fees for the shop weren’t too bad either. The shop itself wasn’t very flexible on look and feel but I managed to give it the flavour of Quirky Purple.

Over the last year eBay have hiked the prices and just made it harder and harder to be a successful seller on there, especially if you are a smaller seller like myself.

eBay buyers are out for a bargain, but hey, who isn’t these days? It does annoy me though when I get people contact me and offer me a couple of quid for something I spent ages making and I think I’ve priced at a reasonable price (which is probably too low anyway for the amount of time I spent making it). It’s been quite a hassle on and off.

You can also seem to get the odd  ‘bad buyer’ on eBay. At the end of last year, I had a lady buy 2 vintage items from me and she bought and paid for them as 2 separate transactions. She then complained I hadn’t combined postage – which is impossible when bought and paid for as 2 separate transactions. Anyway, I offered to do a PayPal refund to combine the postage. She then said that she wanted her money back for the 2 items as she wasn’t happy with them. No worries, says I (gritting my teeth as they were completely as described and she clearly just didn’t want them, but hey ho that happens sometimes), just return and I’ll refund. Oh no, says she, I haven’t got time for that, I’ll just leave you bad feedback. Seriously, that’s what she said, and she did indeed leave me poor feedback. I complained to eBay and they wouldn’t do anything as she said the items weren’t as described… even though I’d offered a return with a full refund. I’d never had poor feedback before and had built up a good reputation as a Top Rated Seller. I’ve always provided a full refund even if something didn’t fit or suit a buyer once they’d received it. I was gutted that eBay couldn’t help with this issue.

Anyway, enough of my rant. I’ve closed the shop. I still have a Quirky Purple account on there and will continue to use eBay for auctions of vintage goodies.

Quirky Purple EtsyI’m now going to concentrate on my Etsy and Folksy shops. They seem to fit my handmade items so much better.

Enquiries from these sites are from genuinely interested buyers. The shops look beautiful too compared to eBay. I love the way you can have a look at a seller/maker’s profile and learn a little about them. Ordering custom items is so much easier too and a lot of my customers are requesting custom items.

I love being able to create treasuries and love seeing my items added into someone else’s treasury.

Sorry if this causes you any issues as a eBay buyer, but they have made it harder and harder for me to make it worth my while selling on there… c’mon over to Etsy where the water is lovely and warm 🙂

Babies are like time sponges

P1020071Crikey, it’s taking me ages to get things done these days!

I’ve currently only opened my Etsy shop, so I can start to get into the swing of things. I’m trying to get used to taking and making orders whilst looking after a 3 month old.

Before Christmas, the only things that really stopped me getting on with orders or coming up with new designs was getting waylaid by social media, or a new episode of the Walking Dead. These days it seems like one small creature can just use up all my time like a cute little time sponge.

I’m sure anyone else with a baby will understand what I mean when I say that I seem to do everything in 10-20 minute blocks. I’ll pop her on her playmat and hopefully have 20 minutes, so I quickly make some zombie eyeballs. Oooh, I think, she’s tired so I pop her in bed and think I’ll make that owl baby hat, only to find she’s awake after 10 minutes. Then I think I’ll feed her and get cracking on the TARDIS coffee cosy, only to find she’ll want to take an hour to eat…

That’s also with trying to fit things around all those new mummy things like Baby Massage, Bumps and Babies, Baby Cinema, Baby Yoga, etc, etc. Oh and let’s not forget constantly filling and emptying the washing machine… oooh that’s reminded me – the washer finished half an hour ago so I’d better get those nappies on the line!

Babies, babies, everywhere!

Well, I’ve not been posting for a little while as I suddenly don’t seem to have much time to do anything. Why, I hear you ask. Well I had a baby a few weeks ago, just a few days before Christmas.

It’s not that before I had her that I didn’t believe friends when they told me to prepare for sleepless nights and days where you don’t get to leave the sofa, apart from to change nappies. It’s just that until it happens I don’t think you grasp the reality.

While I was pregnant, I did make quite a few things for my little bundle and it’s been really nice using them now she’s here. It’s especially nice when people as I’m able to respond with, “Oh that little thing. I made it”. Yeah, I know, sad 🙂

P1000292There was also a little amigurumi panda that I made before Christmas. This was in my Etsy shop, until I closed it over the New Year. Last week I was going through my stock so I could start to re-open my shop and she spotted it. I think it’s the combination of having a big face and being high-contrast black and white. It’s her favourite toy now…

I’m glad I managed to get some crochet stock made up whilst pregnant as that’s allowed me to get the shop opened again now. There are lots of new baby items in there now a I was inspired during pregnancy… I’ll post some of them up on here later this week. Some are already up in my Etsy Children and Babies section.

Anyway, I’m not quite sure how I found the time to write this blog post today, but I’d better go as it’s already bath time…

Vintage crochet shawls

I had a fantastic find a little while ago. A stash of vintage shawls and ponchos. Most of them are hand crocheted too.

They are a real mix of hippy chick style, evening shawls and some 40s 50s style ‘bed jacket’ style. Quite an eclectic mix!

Some of the 70s ponchos sold as soon as I put them online, but I’ve just popped up a more varied selection which would be perfect for the current cooler weather.

They are on the eBay Shop and the Etsy Shop.

Incidentally I have also sourced some cool 70s crocheted shoulder bags. These are in fab bright colours and are just on the Etsy Shop at the moment.

I’ve got a few more shawls to work through at the moment but so far they are looking fab! What do you think?