My First School Fete

Disclaimer: This post is a repost from my old blog, which was more personal and less crafty. I don’t use that blog anymore, but thought I’d share some of the craft-related posts from there. This one was from June 2015.


After the semi-success of my first craft fayre, I went looking for other places to sell my wares.  I came up with a nice list of places, but decided to settle only on one to start off with.  I picked the summer fete at Four Lanes School in Chineham.

And I’d learned a lot of lessons from the craft fayre. I narrowed down the stock that would work well for the venue, and didn’t take absolutely everything I’ve made. And I pre-prepped. I did the price labels, I pre-attached the magnets to the trays, I pre-strung the earrings on the display. I made sure I had a proper tool kit with everything I might need. And as a result, I was ready 30 minutes into the 2 hour set up time.

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But if you know me, you know that I’d much rather be way way way too early for something than even a second late. So I happily sat there with my crochet and watching everyone else set up.

I had a prime location, right next to a very large cake stall. And we were inside, which is just as well as it was absolutely scorching and horrible outside.

The fete opened at 2pm, and by 2.15 our room was still empty. I had bought and eaten some cakes, and knew that everyone would be caught up in all the stuff going on outside, and they’d get to us eventually.

By 2.45 though, I’d only had one or two lookers. I had a smile plastered on my face, but I was starting to fall apart in my head. Seconds after that, I had my first sale. A little boy bought one of my not-so-mini aliens.

A few minutes after that I sold another not-so-mini alien, and then all of a sudden I was having a rush of sales.  There was a queue!  A queue!!

And that triggered a great day 🙂  I made back the cost of the table, plus a LOT more.  I was coming down with a cold and not feeling all that great, but the shock and joy managed to keep me going 🙂

I will definitely be going back next year, and I’m hoping to be at their Christmas fete too 🙂

Platonic Doodle Date #2

Last week I wrote about me and my friend Cayden using three different challenges from the Arty Games app by YouTuber Draw With Jazza.  We were too over-confident and decided that 10 minutes was plenty because we had very simplistic styles.  We were wrong.


Cayden had a better time with the colouring (on the left) than I did because he used a sensible sized sketchbook, unlike me.  He used an A5 pad, and I used an A4 one.  I did not learn my lesson.

We decided to have another go, but with 20 minutes instead.  We generated our colour palette (using my handy Copic Conversions)…


…we generated our scribble…

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… we laid out our pencils, erasers, inking pens and markers.  We set the 20 minute timer and off we went.

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20 minutes was definitely a lot easier.  But it was still stressful – in a fun kinda way.  Again, Cayden managed a better colouring job than me because of his proper sized sketchbook.  I also had issues with the purple running out.  Guess which one is mine…


This is another piece we’re going to redo with no time limit.  Although I think Cayden’s looks pretty damn good as it is. He even managed to add a shadow!

I’m not sure why I keep drawing birds for these. Next time I will make an effort to draw something else.  And I will use a sensible size sketchbook.



Disclaimer: This post is a repost from my old blog, which was more personal and less crafty. I don’t use that blog anymore, but thought I’d share some of the craft-related posts from there. This one was from June 2015.

So, a while ago I got really frustrated and couldn’t focus on any of the projects I had going. So I sat at my computer and sulked for a while, and then I opened Paint.

Do you remember the Paint program? It’s what we all used before Adobe Photoshop. We all used to play around with it, and pretend we were artists. And I’m fairly sure that we’ve all done one of these at some point of another…


But that was just the start of my playing around.


In fact, because I’m me, I got a little carried away.





I even tried to be semi-artistic, instead of just making pretty patterns.

My freehand isn’t too great, especially using a laptop mousepad – most of this is copy and paste.


I wonder how I’d do with a proper mouse, or one of those electronic sketchpad thingies.

I did make this though…


…which I think is pretty cool.

I ended up back at my old favourite though.


Platonic Doodle Dates

One of my favourite YouTube channels is Doodle Date, with adorable couple Adam and Steph who do many arty challenges and activities together.  More than a few of the challenges have appealed to me and been added to my list of things to do.  When my friend Cayden was scheduled to come stay with me for my birthday weekend I decided that we should take on a Doodle Date challenge, but since we’re not a couple it would be a Platonic Doodle Date.

When we sat down to decide what to do, another favourite YouTube channel Draw With Jazza had just posted a video that we loved the idea of, so we ended up having a Platonic Doodle Date that wasn’t actually on Doodle Date.

In the video Jazza uses his Arty Games app to pick a bunch of challenges at once.  I happen to have the Arty Games app, and it’s really useful when you don’t know what to draw.  Not to mention a bundle of fun.  Jazza chooses a time challenge, a colour challenge, an environment prompt, a character prompt and a scribble.  Cayden and I are both relative new to drawing so we decided to skip the environment and character prompts for our first attempt.

So, for the timed portion.  We decided that since we both have quite simplistic styles at the moment, ten minutes would be plenty.

Next up, the colour selection.  We wanted as many colours as possible so we set the app to pick five.

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And finally, the scribble…

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However….  isn’t there always a “however” with me?  I got out my box of markers and went to pick out the right colours.  I don’t have a full set of very expensive Copic markers.  I have a small amount of Copics, a small amount of Promarkers, some Ohuhu, some DoCrafts and some TouchFive markers.  So I tried swatching a lot to get the same colours and it just wasn’t happening.

Which lead to the Platonic Doodle Date being delayed for a few hours.

Jazza’s app lets you add the type of pen set you have, except that it doesn’t have any of my other markers.  So I decided it would be a good idea to swatch all my markers and attempt to colour match them to Copic numbers. I did look for a conversion chart online first, but couldn’t find anything.

It took several hours, and lots of scrolling through websites selling Copic markers.  It was fun, but difficult.  There may be 358 Copic colours, but that isn’t enough!  So many of my markers didn’t fit any Copics, and there were more than a couple of times where two differently coloured markers ended up with the same Copic number.  But I finally had a set of “Copic” colours.

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And so we re-generated the colours…

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Then we decided that black shouldn’t really count, since we’d be inking in black anyway.  So we picked an additional colour…

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The eagle-eyed among you might notice that B16 appeared already.  Luckily B16 was one of those Copic colours that had a couple of my markers attached to it.  So we ended up with the following colour palette…

So we swatched, we drew out our scribble into our sketchbooks…

…we set out our pencils, erasers, inking pens and markers, we set up the timer and off we went!

Ten minutes is not enough.

We sketched okay, and we inked okay…

…and then lost all sense of sanity during the colouring.

Cayden (the green haired character) did a better job at the colouring than me (the bird) because he was sensible and used an A5 sketchbook instead of a huge A4 one like I did.

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It was hectic, and adrenaline-filled, and a LOT of fun. We both agreed that we should have done 20 minutes. And we both plan to redo our pieces without the time limit, just to show how good we really are.




My First Craft Fayre

Disclaimer: This post is a repost from my old blog, which was more personal and less crafty. I don’t use that blog anymore, but thought I’d share some of the craft-related posts from there. This one was from April 2015.


One of the things on my bucket list was to sell my wares at a craft fayre.  Yesterday I did that.

I booked the table a month or so ago, and I spent all the time since then stressing about it.  Because that’s how I roll.  I’ve been making lots and lots of stock.  I took 668 products.  And I’ve been making decorations too…

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I prepared a box with everything I would need. Notebook, custom order receipt book, blu tac, cellotape, pens, price labels, gift bags, cash tin, cash tin key (I quadruple checked that one)…

We turned up a tiny bit late. My sister Jennie was selling some of her chutneys too and she needed to be picked up from the rail station a couple of towns over because of replacement buses and things.

Vendors were allowed to arrive at 9am, an hour before the start, to set up. Turns out that is not nearly enough time. Or that I really need to streamline my process. Even with Mum and Cayden’s help, I was not ready by the time we opened. At ten o’clock I was almost at panic attack state. Not all the stock was out, there were no labels, everything was a bit of a mess, and I felt like a total failure. It took a while for me to get over that crappy feeling, but I did.

It was a success. For me at least. I sold three whole items and took a custom order too! It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was for me. And I made enough to cover my half of the table fee. My sister paid me for her half in chutney and cheesy bites. I’m happy with that.

I have a lot to learn, and some changes to make to my process, but I had a good time. And now I’m researching trying to find more fayres for us to attend.

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Desert Bus Rides Again

Two years ago I wrote about Desert Bus, a week-ish long nerdy fundraiser on Twitch.  Since then I’ve found that they’ve done a cool little “What is Desert Bus” video that explains it a whole lot better than I could…


In 2016 I made some place mats for their craft-along, which raised $444.44 for the Child’s Play charity.


(Photo by the Desert Bus team)

I did submit something for the 2017 Desert Bus but they were inundated with submissions and mine didn’t get accepted.  This year though!  This year my submission was accepted and I spent a good couple of months earlier this year making this (badly photographed) TARDIS pixel quilt.

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It was supposed to have been a bit wider, but something went wrong with my math somewhere along the line.  But I’m really pleased with it, and I’m excited to see how much it’ll raise.

Here’s the description I wrote to go along with it – complete with multiple themed puns…

This Tardis won’t take you travelling through time and space, but it will keep you cosy and warm, not to mention that it will look absolutely FANTASTIC in your home.

The “Treasured (future)-Antique Represented Delicately In Stitches” is made from 100% premium acrylic yarn, and the fabric (of time) is warm and cosy.

It measures approximately 50 x 81 inches, which is plenty big enough to curl up and regenerate underneath with your companion. It could also be used to decorate the sofa in your local Torchwood office.

Now, we all know that the Tardis can get dirty. Sometimes you’ll spill your fish fingers and custard, sometimes you get bits of exploded Slitheen everywhere. No matter what gunk you get on this Tardis, it can easily be washed in the machine and tumbled dried at a cool temperature.

The Chameleon Circuit is broken, unfortunately, but the Tardis was made by hand in the Gallifreyan outpost of Hampshire, England. It took more than 120 hours to make and its construction was lovingly watched by three fluffy suPURRvisors.

In 2016 my friend Sam made a couple of things for the craft-along too and raised much much money.  The dice tower was a donation drive – people donated in multiples of a certain amount to go into a draw.  That raised a LOT.  And The Thorn gun thing (I don’t really know what it is but I’m told it’s from Destiny, which I’m told is a video game) raised $2200 in silent auction.  Sam tells me it was the second highest raising silent auction of the year.  The highest was the “donation of a keg for the Desert Bus wrap up party” that always raises a LOT of money, so it doesn’t count really.




He’s sent another massive parcel over to Canada this year containing one of these…

Here’s the equally punny description that he wrote…

There’s donations coming outta’ the bus-damned walls! If you want to have a chance to claim this film-accurate replica of the M41A Pulse Rifle from the 1986 sci-fi classic Aliens then you’d better drop a donation-nuke on it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure!

This 1:1 scale prop is made from 3D printed PLA plastic, plaster, and acrylic and measures 76x27x8cm. Electronics are powered by a PicAxe 20m2 microcontroller that lights up the working ammo counter and plays sound effects taken straight from the movie. Not only that, but the microcontroller is fully re-programmable thanks to a download port on the reverse side. Put your own code and/or sound effects onto it and make it do whatever you like! (Source code and wiring diagrams included)

Just remember, the donators mostly come out at night, mostly.

You can see more pictures of this masterpiece here, and while you’re there have a look at the rest of Sam’s brilliant work.

Desert Bus for Hope 2018 starts at 6pm GMT tonight, and will last for approximately a week. You can find all the details, including the schedule and the wonderful things in the craft-along at their website here, and you can watch the fun and games (and complete insanity) on Twitch here.

My quilt will be a donation drive, sometime between 10pm GMT November 14th and 2am GMT November 15th.  Sam’s pulse rifle will also be a donation drive, sometime between 6pm GMT and 10pm GMT November 10th.

3D Hama Attempts

Disclaimer: This post is a repost from my old blog, which was more personal and less crafty.  I don’t use that blog anymore, but thought I’d share some of the craft-related posts from there.  This one was from October 2015.


I started making pieces for a 3D Tardis…

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One of the parts fit at least.

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But after that they didn’t really go. I guess the pattern I copied from was wrong. It’s gone on the back burner for now, but I hope to continue it at some point.

I did have another 3D attempt, which went a little bit better.

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It fit together properly…

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But then it started falling apart.

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So that one needs a little bit more work too.


This is something that is still on my to do list.  I have quite a long to do list.  I’ll get around to it.  Maybe.

Hobbycraft’s Make of the Month Competition

Disclaimer: This post is a repost from my old blog, which was more personal and less crafty.  I don’t use that blog anymore, but thought I’d share some of the craft-related posts from there.  This one was from October 2015.


Whilst browsing the Hobbycraft blog this weekend, I found a Make of the Month competition.  It’s very simple: you upload a photograph of your project, and tell them what inspired you or how you made it.

I submitted this bracelet I made recently:

colette horsburgh halloween wrap bracelet

I made it for my store, but it got bought by a friend before I could even upload it properly.  I do love it.  I’m tempted to make another one for me 🙂

The Make of the Month entry page says a selection will be showcased on the blog.  At the time of writing this post I’m not on the October page, but that might change.  I’ll keep an eye out 🙂

People are invited to comment and share and so forth, so I’m gonna go have a flip through and see if I can find some inspiration.

There are prizes for Make of the Month: £100 Hobbycraft gift card for the winner, and ten runner up prizes of a £10 gift card.  And winning a prize would be great, but I’m loving just entering.


I did make another one.  I didn’t win the competition, then I completely forgot about entering again.  I’ll have to check if they still do them.

A Cute Skirt For a Cute Niece

Disclaimer: This post is a repost from my old blog, which was more personal and less crafty.  I don’t use that blog anymore, but thought I’d share some of the craft-related posts from there.  This one was from January 2016.


With the success of the Great British Bake Off, the BBC decided to add to the “Great British” series with the Great British Sewing Bee.   I liked this show as much as the Bake Off, because I am a fledgling seamstress.

One of the challenges they do every episode is to give the contestants a plain item of clothing which they must completely and utterly alter. For instance, in one episode they were all given a plain blue shapeless t-shirt to transform.


My favourite was this beautiful technique.


In another episode they all got to pick an 80’s power suit to transform.



I decided that it was something I wanted to try. If nothing else, it’s a good exercise for practicing my skills. However, I am quite large. So I knew it would be difficult to find something big enough to make something for me, so I settled on making something for my little niece.

With that in mind, I picked up this stripy shirt…

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And I knew what I wanted to do with it. The first step however was unpicking this rouching (not the technical term) on the back so I could use as much of the fabric as possible.

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Luckily that was just a case of cutting the elastic on the inside in a few places.

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Next step, trim the shirt to reveal the fabric I had to work with. I needed two pieces. Fold each piece into quarters and cut out a circle waist. The internet told me the average waist size of an 18 month old, and I found something that was approximately the right size.

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Cut out the circles from both pieces of fabric…

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…and overlay the two pieces, with the points at angles with each other.

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You could tack around the circle here, just to keep them in place.

The next step is the waistband. I cut a piece of elastic to just a bit smaller than my niece’s waist, pinned it together and marked the ends with pins.  I marked the halfway points as well, and then the quarter marks of the circle on the fabric. I aligned the elastic with the skirt, pinning in place.

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Next up, sew the elastic to the skirt. I knew that when sewing elastic you’re meant to use a zig zag stitch, but I couldn’t remember if you were supposed to stretch the fabric as you sew or not. I erred on the side of not, and still managed to get some give in there.

My cutting skills need a bit of work. My sewing skills still leave a lot to be desired too, but it works.

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I somehow managed to mess up joining the ends of the elastic, and had an ugly little bump.

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But I am a creative genius! And I figured out how to solve the problem.

Isn’t it cute?

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Waterbrush Experiments

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Things I have learned in the last hour..

One… do not outline in paint.

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Two… be patient and wait for one colour to dry before adding another colour right next to it.

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Three… I have one good brush and a bunch of crappy ones.

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Four… while the wide brush makes great rainbows when held sideways…

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… it does not work for details and small areas.

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Five… gradients are pretty (this is a cheat really cos I already knew this).

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Six… my unknown-brand watercolours are less pigmented than my Reeves pan.

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Seven… the cheap waterbrush I got from AliExpress leaks when you squeeze it.  I need a proper one.