A handy pouch!

My laptop is on the brink of death: sad but true.  It’s okay; I have a new (/reconditioned) laptop ready to step into the breach, but I’m not allowed to play with it just yet, because it’s my birthday quite soon.  No problem, I don’t mind waiting; but in the meantime, I really didn’t want to put my poor old ailling laptop under any more duress than necessary.  Cue a little device that the lovely Corey bought for me months ago and I duly ignored because I’m not really very into technology…  It’s mobile phone-sized, and will allow me to check my email while out & about.  Don’t need anything fancy, so now I’m in laptop preservation-mode, it’s perfect!  Only problem is, Corey had an identical one & smashed the screen of his within weeks.  Oops.  So having dug mine out of its (unopened) box this morning, I knew that I would also need to devise some form of protection for it.

Easy!  I remembered a little ‘handy pouch’ I made earlier this year, when I was still high on last year’s felt/fabric stocking success!  It didn’t turn out to be quite as handy as I had hoped, at the time, due to being just the wrong size for everything I could think of.  However with an extra fold of felt tucked inside for added protection, it turns out to be a perfect fit for the aforementioned email-checking device (I’m sure the device does lots of other clever things as well, but with the exception of a little web-browsing, I assure you all those other functionalities will be entirely under-utilised!).  Without further ado, here it is:

I loved the blue/brown paisley fabric when I acquired it & was determined to make something I could actually use with it – so I’m really happy now that I’ll be able to use & see it on a daily basis. 😀

I will definitely not be making multiple ‘handy pouches’ for the TangleStore, as sewing is very much a means to an end for me, and really not my favourite way to pass time.  But TangleClub members, watch out!  I actually remembered to take step-by-step pics as I was making the pouch, so I’m going to put together a tutorial for you (in the freebie archive) very soon (remember I am very much a novice at sewing, so it is very much a beginners’ project!).  I also thought of a potential good use for all the fabrics I’ve been stockpiling but never using – would anybody be interested in a ‘handy pouch’ kit?  I’m going to give it some thought…

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Crafty resolutions

Since my Christmas stocking project last week, my fingers have been getting all twitchy to do more crafty/stitchy things.  So I just created this treasury of DIY craft kits over on Etsy, which is full of crafty ideas for inspiration – but also the materials necessary to get started straight away.  As procrastinators will agree, not having the necessary materials to hand is the best excuse not to begin a new project, so these kits leave you with no excuses! 😉

Being totally honest, the packaging often attracts me just as much as the projects themselves, and is often just as original.  The DIY Instant Comfort Boxes by Kim Welling are a case in point; although I also have a huge soft spot for Pupurin’s Little Kitty Kit.  Those with a mildly sick sense of humour (who me?) may enjoy the 1/2 splat kit (must click to discover what this is, although the title is quite accurate!); while any embroiderers looking for a creative challenge should take a look at the wonderful Crafting Shelves kit from This Tiny Existence.  Well, take a look at the whole treasury: there are all kinds of craft kits from all kinds of crafters so hopefully something will inspire you!

My own crafty plans for the new year include a return to weaving, thanks to my lovely hubby buying me ‘The Ultimate Bead Loom’ from Fred Aldous for Christmas.  I’ve already constructed it (yes, I did in fact sit & construct it on Christmas morning), but the next stage is on hold while I figure out whether I’ll be using beads or yarn, and what I actually want to make.  My current impulse is to make a big mess of colour…  But what I love about this loom is the fact that it can just sit on a worksurface in front of me and the weaving area is (sloped) upright so that I don’t have to bend over it as I work.  I love using bead looms for small-scale weaving, but most have a horizontal working surface which my back does not enjoy.  😦  I will let you know how I get on as and when any projects emerge. 🙂

Besides that, I have a freshly acquired small stash of funky fabrics and wool felts that I am itching to play with, and lots of ideas in mind.  I can’t resist all the patterns, and the combinations of colours; and after my stocking project, I really got a feel for having a needle in my hand again.  My mother has claimed the unenviable task of teaching me to use a sewing machine, but this will be another slow-burner due to not living in the same city, not to mention my reluctance mainly concerning the noise of the thing.   I really just prefer having space to hear my own thoughts, but then again, I’m generally very good at tuning out sounds from the real world that attempt to permeate my inner world (how dare they!), so maybe I can tune out the sewing machine, too…  Again, I will keep you posted.

So, how about you?  Any crafty plans and/or resolutions for the new year?
Please share & inspire/motivate the rest of us!

Owls! (& some other stuff)

Yesterday evening, I partook of a local Etsy ‘Make & Mingle’ get-together.

(That’s me in the middle, Britta left & Corey right.  Picture taken by Gina of Lulu and You – you can read her blog post about our evening here.)

There were only a few of us, but it was good fun, and included a felt brooch tutorial with the lovely Britta Jarvis of Jaguar Snail.  My wonderful-yet-decidedly-non-crafty hubby Corey also decided to get stuck in, and Britta was very patient guiding him through the processes involved, such as…um…threading a needle…  I should not be mean, though, as he did actually very successfully add beads & brooch back to felt to create this personalised (see the ‘S’ bead, in the middle?) flower brooch for me. 🙂

There were flowers, hearts & owls to choose from template-wise, and those who have read my blog previously will not be surprised to learn that I opted for the bird-themed option.  I’ve not stitched anything for a while but really enjoyed doing something different, for a change.  Mine is the owl shown above right.  My friend B also made an owl but made the inspired choice of a light blue thread for the blanket stitch border, and I was quite jealous that I hadn’t thought of it!  Britta herself went beading crazy on a tiny purple heart, and managed a huge amount of pretty, sparkly, intricate detail in a very short time!

Despite lack of blue edging, I am very fond of my little beady-eyed owl brooch (and of course Corey’s flower, too!) but don’t worry, you will not be finding a new line of felt brooches in my Etsy store – this was strictly a one-off for me!  Instead – for something a little more professional! – do check out the Jaguar Snail Etsy Store, for Britta’s gorgeous family of hand-stitched owl brooches.  Each one has its own unique personality & funky fabric awesomeness, and look – they even have tiny feet embroidered on the bottom! How cute?  Very cute!

Back on the production line…

As you will no doubt have noticed, after moving house in February, I suffered a small bout of creative ennui which lasted throughout March and early April (hence lack of posts or activity in Etsy store).  So I took a break & read lots of books, instead!  Thankfully, in time for the May update, the creative impulse returned and I have been working on various coming-soon projects over the last few weeks.  

Today, I have had my nose to the grindstone, and finally prepared a decent-sized print run of the long overdue Valley of Dolls zine, complete with DIY Intuition Doll kit.  It is my first real collaborative zine, and is full of creative contributions from my crafty friends – very different to anything I have done before!   Please check out the resurrected listings in the Etsy store for more pics & full list of contents.

Oh, and in my role as emissary between realms, I also added another new item to the Etsy store a few days ago: a booklet of the latest TangleStamps, Dandelion Smile.  This is the first time the Local Post of Tangledom has made its wares available to the outer realms, but will hopefully not be the last.  Please note that while useful for decoration of correspondence and/or as envelope seals, TangleStamps are not valid as postage outside of the Realm of Tangledom.

New Craft Leftovers Monthly!

Where would we be without a monthly issue of Craft Leftovers Monthly to look forward to?  I’ve just received my copies of the October (‘Falling into Fall’) issue, and it’s full of awesomeness, as always.  Autumn is my favourite season anyway, but reading this issue really reminded me of all the cosy things the colder weather, and darker nights make possible.    What will you find within its pages?  Here’s a little taster:

  • an interview with me, about the history of TangleCrafts, the way I work, and an introduction to Tangledom
  • an exclusive reprint of my very first mini-zine, ‘Small Ways to Save the World’ (by craftily re-purposing)
  • lots of projects – how to dry gourds, knit mittens, crochet a scarf, sew a ‘coffee cuff’ for your mug, build a birdhouse!
  • Productive & Smiling a feature article by zen master Mary Jaksch
  • how to plan your Christmas crafting
  • recipes for Tortilla Stew of Awesomeness, Absolutely Lentil Soup, and an Oat Straw Infusion
  • Crafty Life cartoon by Fanie Gregoire
  • fun stuff – a colouring page, a wordsearch
  • and more!

Available now, in the TangleCrafts Etsy Store! 🙂

Friends & Faux – the first wanderers return!

It was with complete lack of prescience that I opened two envelopes that dropped onto my doormat, this morning.  They were both from overseas, but I receive letters and mail art of all kinds, every day, so I had no reason to believe that these particular envelopes held anything of especial significance (beyond the usual happiness at receiving interesting mail).  So to say I was somewhat excited when I opened the first envelope to discover the completed face of Friends & Faux Postcard #1 is something of an understatement!  It has travelled from the UK to Australia, back to the UK, to the U.S.A. to Argentina and finally home, with wonderful artistamps added at every step of the journey. The back of the postcard is almost as interesting, with the over-labelled addresses, plus postage stamps and postmarks from the various countries it has visited en route:I was thrilled enough at the prospect of documenting the return of Postcard #1, but my happy mail day did not end there – oh no!  Upon opening the second envelope, in a state of equal unawareness as I had the first, I was amazed to see the return home of a second Friends & Faux postcard, this time #8! How curious/coincidental that I should receive them both on the same day, later in the same week that I had posted my first update on the project.  Both cards must, of course, have been mailed before my update post which just intensifies the level of happy coincidence.

I was even more surprised by the return of Postcard #8 than #1, as I had received no updates on its progress whatsoever, since it left my hands.  I know it first travelled to the U.S.A.  and returned home via Australia, but where did it stop off, in between?  Here I acknowledge the failure in my postcard design –
I have spaces for names and dates, but not locations (or means of contact).  D’oh!  So if you are reading this & happen to know the locations of Kit Gonzales-Moore, ASKA, T-Lea or Pete Spence, please do drop me a line to let me know, so that I can update the Postcard Log accordingly.

But regardless of my shortcomings in logging the in-transit progress of these postcards, I am very grateful to all who contributed to them en route!  Thank you for your creative additions and for keeping the cards moving. 🙂  I really didn’t expect any of the cards to make it home so soon, so I am super-pleased with this result, and now even more eagerly awaiting the return of more.

There is currently no deadline on joining the Friends & Faux project, so if you would like your very own postcard to add your very own artistamp, please get in touch, and I will set the wheels in motion. I’m so excited about this project now! Can you tell? 😀

New zines, old zines, something for everyone!

There has recently been a little flurry of activity in my Etsy store with all sorts of interesting new arrivals!  Time for an overview:

First up, I am thrilled to offer copies of Kristin Roach’s latest issue of Craft Leftovers Monthly.  Inside there is a bounty of crafty goodness, including a ZineBomb mini-zine (by me!) and a Postal Travel Kit guest article (also by me!).  The best part is the accompanying pattern for a fantastic Postal Clutch that Kristin has designed with pockets to fit all your mail art essentials. Click here for more details and to buy your copy from my Etsy store, where I’m offering two FREE mini-zines with every copy sold!  It’s such an honour to be included in this awesome zine. 🙂

My own latest zine is called ‘The Thief of Time‘ – very apt considering how time has been escaping me of late!  It is a collection of blank to-do lists for you to fill in, to help organise your own time, combined with an overview of 7 crafty days of my life – projects, pics and points of view.  It covers everything from doodle-stitching to artistamps, mini-zines to stamp-carving, and it also includes a free copy of Going Postal mini-zine, Volume 6.  Thief of Time is available with the usual plain kraft paper cover, or a special edition with a funky fabric cover, instead – check the Etsy Store now to choose your copy!

Yes, there’s more!  I am about to retire one of the old TangleCrafts favourites, Leftover Lavender.  Inspired by the lavender currently in bloom in my garden, I have put together 3 final copies, each with a bundle of beautiful overdyed embroidery threads in greens and purples.  Buy it now, while you still can (located in the Special Editions category)!

…and even more from the Special Editions category, I have  put together a bumper edition of the ultimate guide to Tangledom’s mythology and customs, the Mulberry Digest. This is lots of fun for the eco-romantics out there, with the creation myth of a land that was dreamed into being, free mulberry seeds for a spot of guerilla mulberry activism, an exploration of the symbolism of Tangledom’s arts and crafts, and two free cross stitch charts.  The Mulberry Digest is printed on A5 (half-size) mulberry pulp paper, with a ‘unique’ hand-stitched binding of my own devising!

Last but not least, we have yet another issue of Going Postal, which has now reached the giddy heights of Volume 7! Click here to find out more about the Going Postal project, and how to take part.  If you’re feeling inspired, your artwork could be included in the very next volume!

Well, I do think that’s all for now (isn’t that enough?!).  Please browse through at your leisure, and remember, you will get FREE membership to the TangleClub with any order, which then entitles you to discounts on future orders, as well as access to the TangleClub Archive with a new free project or printable available online, every month!