Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Getting organised . . . . . or how much of your workspace to show!

I can't believe how the Summer holidays have flown past!  We have split our holidays this summer, having a week at the start of the school break and just about to have another week and a half  to round things off!  In between we've had some lovely visits from family so not so much time for intensive crafting.  Instead I've ended up tweaking my new website and organising my workspace in preparation for some serious work as soon as the school summer break is over.

Here's  a few pics of some of my favourite things in my workspace . .

(Vintage Singer Sewing machine, knitting swatches, the family button tin, sock knitting books, etc . . . )

my 'modern' sewing machine surrounded by WIPs all ready to go!

My 'new' craft unit, still to have some shelving added, but just perfick!

I still love to have things in baskets for easy viewing though :)

Some doilies on display and a little embroidery piece - for inspiration.

You can tell I like my new shelving unit!  So good I showed it twice :)

Some sock yarn - oh, the possibilities!
That's all folks, hehe!
Actually the last image of one of my tweed babushkas is added because I've been retaking some images for the shop.  My big sis informed me my background photography was a bit well, er . . . . 'pants'!  You can always rely on family to be honest, haha!! :) :)  I'm beginning to realise/remember how many 'hats' you have to wear to run a crafts business - photographer, IT person, marketing manager, etc, etc. - yikes!

Hope you're enjoying a lovely summer break if you are having one.  We had to take Ji-ji, our new kitten for her vaccines a couple of weeks ago and will be taking her back for the next one while we're on our hols.  She's been such a pleasure to have around - I added her to my profile pic, she's so cute!

I'll report back when we're all holidayed out :) :)  (My Shop is still open though!)
Alison x

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Griddle scones anyone?

Last Sunday evening we had a major disaster- no snacks in the house, and my oven for some reason has just given up the ghost, so no quick bakes either!  What to do - two grumpy teenagers looking for any kind of snack - Oh Dear!

I remembered my old griddle pan lying dormant in the back of the cupboard - I've not used it that much but it suddenly came into its own.  I told my youngest triumphantly that I would make some griddle (or girdle) scones.  I had no clue how to make girdle scones but after a quick Google search it seemed that your usual oven scone recipe (which I make regularly) woud do the trick - pheeeew :)

Here they are in all their glory . . .

They don't rise as much as oven scones and they are more crisp on the top and bottom due to the dry heat of the griddle pan.

They didn't lie around for long . . .

What a life saver, hehe!  Two hungry teenagers appeased :)

Think I might be using the griddle pan again quite soon. Thinking about the scones reminded me of the old Rayburn cookery book I rescued from the family home before it was sold a few years ago.  Most Hebridean houses had a Rayburn stove - it wasn't a status thing, like the 'Aga' is today, it was just a household essential - a kitchen didn't seem the same without a stove in it!  We burned peat in it mostly and it was ''banked' up every evening, to be easier lit the next day.

This book is almost as old as me . . . ahem!

I think this must have been a favourite page - a few splashes here and there . . .

I don't ever remember having 'Bakewell Tart' - that sounds a bit too 'posh'! but I'm sure we had plenty butterfly or fairy cakes.

Here's the last page . . .

Our rayburn stove was a sort of light blue colour - it was very good for pancakes too I seem to remember (made on top of the stove) - ah, I'm getting all nostalgic!  I must make time to look through the book sometime :)

I've been busy sock-making (you can see the finished wellington socks in the side bar) and generally getting back into crafty mode.  A little techy stuff with my Big Cartel store has been taking up a little time - but I'm pleased how it's going and I think it's looking OK - their customer service/support is excellent by the way.  I've still to get stuff into Etsy but I will! (sorry, but I put the socks in my Big Cartel store in the end - I had to make an executive decision, hehe!).

Anyhow it's school hols so we're all a bit more relaxed - Yay! :)  Hope you're enjoying some nice weather - it's all very hit and miss here - never mind!  (more 'miss' than 'hit' -hmmmmmph)

Speak soon
Alison x

P.S.  Note to self - must get the oven fixed, Oh Dear! (the good news is that the grill still works LOL) I should get a Rayburn :)

Friday, 3 July 2015

Making, thinking, planning, playing . . .

I couldn't decide what to call my blog post today, so I tried to call it everything I've been up to over the last two weeks!  Well, 'making' has been as usual the main aim - I'm trying to get some hand-knits in to my Etsy shop (Yarns on the Croft), primarily at the moment a pair of handknit wellington boot socks as they are quintessentially a Hebridean accessory - wellington boots are essential for many purposes here on the Isle of Lewis - from crofters, to gardeners, to just general mucking about - we all have wellies!

Here's the start of the pair I'm working on - a medium/large size mens boot sock - long enough to tuck into your wellies (of course!) . . 

One completed last weekend and hopefully the other after this weekend - it's not really knitting weather at the moment so I'm doing these in the evenings and in between other projects.

As knitting is quite time consuming - I've been 'thinking and planning' about some other textile creations I can make alongside.  Yesterday I made this little tweedie/vintage corsage brooch . . . 

The colours were lovely to work with and I enjoyed rummaging in my doily collection for bits and pieces - it will go in my Etsy shop soon when I have enough items to make it look decent!

A lot of 'thinking and planning' going on but at the end of the day I hadn't taken out the sewing machine so I decided to whip up a little coin purse just to make myself feel productive!  It turned out quite cute though (I embellished it with a crochet flower, handstitched in place)  . . . 

I seem to have picked up on similar colour schemes of blues, browns and greens - as you can see I pulled out some of my older Japanese designer cottons - I like how the little puppy is just peeking out of the zipper there, hehe :)

Sometimes I'm feeling I'm not getting a huge amount of work done especially as both my boys are now on Summer break but I'm sure I'll speed up soon!  We have a very exciting new addition to the family though who is having us all 'playing' and here she is . . . 

Ji-ji (it's a Japanese name seemingly!) arrived last weekend and we all absolutely adore her.  After holding my ground with a list of excuses why we couldn't have a cat for many years I finally caved in and I think I'm as smitten with her as everyone else in the house (even although I'm a little allergic it seems!).  Anyway we love her to bits, but she's not allowed anywhere near my craft-room although she would dearly love to get in there :)  She is adorable though isn't she!

Well, starting a new crafts business and getting a kitten does seem a bit, well - mad!, but I think it will be lovely to have a bit of company when I'm working at home on my own after the Summer break is over.  
She would love to be amongst my yarn and fabrics but sorry 'Ji-ji' it ain't going to happen much as I love you :) :)

You can see in the photo above that she likes a game of Trivial Pursuits - clever cat!

Hope you have a lovely weekend - I'm planning to take it easy, with just a little knitting and crochet here and there (maybe!) - Cheerio!

Alison x