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…

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Busy, busy busy!

Well, I’ve not posted on the blog for a while but I do have lots of excuses, erm, I mean reasons!

I’ve actually been pretty busy with a number of things. Firstly, being pregnant has been slowing me down more than I thought it would. The tiredness has been greater than I expected and it’s much easier to get sidetracked 🙂

I also write articles for the Nottingham Post for my other business, Quirky Web, where I help and advise small businesses on the web and social media.

And of course, I’ve been preparing for the Vintage Suitcase vintage and handmade fairs. I’ve been making some new handmade items to preview at the fairs. Also, for some reason I seemed to have been inspired to increase the range of handmade baby items. I can’t imagine why…..

Matlock StallFirst of all was the Matlock Fair in June. The location, right in the middle of Matlock, was excellent. Due to all the lovely traders there, space was a little bit tight, but a little bit of wriggling our stalls around seemed to work. Lots of lovely people came by the stall for a chat and I had a few cusotm orders from people after the fair.

Buxton StallLast weekend was the Buxton Fair. The venue here was just stunning. A big old domed building. Very impressive and lots and lots of room for us stallholders. Lots of people seemed to be milling around all the lovely stalls and having a good time. There was also a big area to sit down and have a brew and a chat. There were over 50 traders and a real selection of vintage, handmade and remade. Just my sort of thing!

Bakewell Fair posterThe next one is at Bakewell on Wednesday 7th August, which is next week. There are details here. This one is taking place at the same time as the Bakewell Show, which will be fab! As usual, it’s only a quid to get in and take advantage of having a mooch around all those lovely vintage and handmade stalls.

Hope to see a few of you there picking up some great bargains!

The sun’s out and so is the denim and check!

Well the sun appears to have finally started to show its face in the UK.

It’s encouraging me to get out all the denim and checked items I’ve been slowly collecting over the recent months. I’ve got a stash of them!

Denim shortsI’m working on levi shorts and other vintage cutoffs. These are being studded and having little extras added to them.

Some will have bleach effects too. I quite like to use bleach to create patterns in the material rather than just to lighten the denim.

Denim waistcoatI’ve also got some denim jackets which are being turned into sleeveless waistcoats.

I studded up a couple of maternity skirts last autumn and they were sold as soon as I put them online, so I have another couple of those to work on. They looked really cool and you won’t find anything like them in the High Street.

Checked shirtOn the shirts side of things I have some more of my popular re-worked checked and denim shirts. Some are going to be sleeveless and some will have roll up sleeves. They’ll also be studded.

These are a cool cowgirl or rockabilly style that can be dressed up or down and are perfect for holiday or festivals.

I couldn’t really get inspired to do these while we had the grey skies, even more so when everywhere kept getting covered in snow. The sun’s out and now these are getting a make over.

They’ll be up on the Etsy and eBay shops soon. Contact me if you want something special.

Market day in the sunshine

Quirky Purple stallWell it was Not the Camden Market again yesterday and I think a good day was had by all again!

Considering the tram works have closed the road by Bartons, people still managed to find their way there. It was also Not the Hay Book Festival so it was a pretty eclectic mix of people there. I think the sunshine encouraged people to get out of the house and come and visit us! It’s amazing how much more smiley people are when the sun finally comes out 🙂

I had some new items on the stall and some of these were the most popular. I sold all of the handmade pacman toilet roll covers. The little scottie and westie dogs I made were also very popular. As usual, my zombie horde found lots of new homes.

This month there were also quite a few new stallholders, so it was lovely having a wander round and chatting to some new people.

TARDIS Kindle coverIt was a fairly quiet start to the day, so I was finishing off a TARDIS Kindle/tablet/iPad mini cover that I’d started the day before. As soon as I’d finished it and popped it onto the stall someone came by and bought it. They have been so popular recently that I can’t make them quick enough!

At the moment I haven’t got any more fairs or markets booked until June, but I’m sure I’ll find another one to slot in for May!

Check out our Events page to see where we are next!

Make do and mend – don’t throw it away!

Make do and mendI hate to throw things away.

I like to think it’s because I was a child before the true throwaway society of the 80s really started to take hold. You know what I mean? Once things started to be made to be replaced…

I’m terrible with clothes. There never seems to be a reason to throw anything away. If a button falls off then use the spare. If there’s not a spare can you re-jig the buttons so you can use a replacement where it won’t be noticed? Like the cuffs – you can get away with using similar or statement buttons there. That’s another thing. I save all my buttons. Spare buttons all get put in a tin. If I have to buy a new set of buttons, I save all the old buttons. Why would you throw them away? There’s nearly always something the salvage from clothing – removing sleeves, turning into a skirt, shortening etc!

It’s the same when I get presents for birthday or Christmas. I save the gift bags and re-use them. I save the trim as I’m sure there’s going to be a use for it. I’ve got another box that’s full of trim and ribbons from all sorts of things (posh chocolate boxes have fab ribbons). Also, I save Christmas cards and cut them into tags to put on pressies at Christmas.

AllotmentWe’ve got an allotment too and it’s full of things we’ve re-used. We bordered the beds from things we salvaged on the plot – and believe me there was a lot of crap including 12 huge gas canisters. The council wouldn’t take anything away so we re-used as much as we could and took the rest down the recycling plant. All the borders shown on  the piccie are made from things we’ve re-used either from the allotment, the house, or when friends have been getting rid of things like bricks. Even old DVDs and CDs (free from Sunday papers) make good pigeon scarers!

When I go to the garden centre the first place I look is that sad little shelf or corner where all the half price plants are left to die. You know the ones I mean? The trays were one plant has died, or the big plant that hasn’t been watered properly and looks half dead. Well they’re the ones I buy. Most of my garden is stocked with plants that weren’t at their best when I bought them. There’s something quite cool about buying these half-dead plants and making them look all lush and healthy again 🙂

What do you save and recycle? What can’t you bear to throw away?

Etsy Nottingham meet

On the 8th March I popped into town to meet up withe some local sellers. It was a lovely day, meeting lots of people making and selling all sorts of things.

When you have an online shop, you are generally working on your own quite a bit, especially if you are crafting. I think some things like vintage get you out and about a bit more as you ae sourcing goodies. That’s why I try to vary my days a little. Some days I do handmade and remade, then other days I’ll go out and about sourcing vintage in my favorite places.

So it was nice to meet up with such and eclectic bunch and swap stories and ideas. Here’s a group piccie of us all:

Etsy Nottm MeetThe picture is courtesy of the Lazy Pineapple who took some amazing pictures!

I wish we’d taken some individual piccies of us holding our business cards as I’m terrible at remembering names and faces. Anyway. here are some of the lovelies that were there – I know as I picked up their business cards and spoke to most bods. Sorry if I’ve missed you. Drop me a note and say hi 🙂

We’re also in the weekend Nottingham post (Saturday 16th March). Here’s a piccie of the article.

Nottingham Post articleNot my best side…. 🙂

Leftlion were also there chatting to people and doing interviews to find out how people find time to make things and how they became Etsy sellers. Can’t wait to see the article as there were some interesting stories that I overheard.

Hopefully we’ll get something similar organised again!

101 things to do with a vintage computer

clockOK maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. There’s not 101 things to do with a vintage computer in this blog, but there are a few really cool things that I found.

My old laptop is really on its last legs now. It gets really warm, which to be honest at the moment is a bit like having  a heated lap blankie, so not terrible. A couple of weeks ago my second power cable started playing up which isn’t useful when the battery only last about 20 minutes. And yes, I have done the usual trick of sticking my battery in the freezer…

To cut a long story short, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and ordered a new laptop. As much as I love nice shiny techie things due to my geeky nature, I do grow very attached to my laptops.

Anyway, it got me thinking. I started working in IT when it was called Computing and desktop computers didn’t exist. OK, I know that really dates me, but wheat the hell. I like technology. I ended up working in IT because I read a lot of science fiction and the guy at the Job Centre made it sound like I’d be working on the Star Ship Enterprise. I ended up delivering print outs to Finance….

I digress, it got me thinking about what happens to all those old computers. In the 1990s one of the hardware guys at work made me a desk clock out of an old floppy disk and I thought it was pretty cool. I like remaking vintage things, so I though I’d so a spot of research. Here are some of  my findings.

Jewellery is pretty popular, and interesting other things to wear. I can’t imagine that any of these are comfortable or practical to wear…

Now, these two together would make just about any party go… a BBQ and a beer dispenser!

In this next gallery, I like the mix of technology and nature. These old bits of technology are now being used to grow things. I’m wondering if I could manage a ‘vintage computer installation’ down at my allotment…

Finally, I couldn’t miss putting these last ones up. It’s a really mixture – a cat bed, a mail box, a sun catcher, a dragonfly and a loo roll holder!

I’m not sure if any of this has given me any inspiration for what I could do with my old laptop. I think I might just keep it as a lap warmer until the summer arrives…