All posts by lookingglass12

About lookingglass12

Mum to one little boy, chef, crafter, wife....

A Thank you…

I can’t believe a year has gone by already since i got those flowers. I still look at the photos of them on my Desktop all the time and remember.

Through The Looking Glass

I recently sent out 5 keepsake cushions made from old T-shirts for a client. They were pretty ratty and well-worn and made quite large ones – 3 -24″ and 2 – 22″ keepsake cushions.

I sent out the cushions in 3 shipments, due to the size of the cushions, and the combined weight. On last Monday, I sent the last 2 out. I send all of them by Special Delivery or by Courier if they are over 3KG (which they may very well be by the time I box them up).

On Wednesday, I heard a knock on the door about 10AM. It was a delivery driver with a bouquet of flowers, addressed to me. When I opened the card, it was from my client! She thanked me for the keepsake cushions on behalf of her family. It was a lovely bouquet of peach roses, hot pink gerberas, nigellas, and…

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Guest Blog Post – Cord Necklace Tutorial by Heather Barber

Here’s Heather’s Tutorial on making a cord necklace!

Through The Looking Glass

This is a guest blog post from Heather Barber from Moosethemint on Etsy. She offers quirky eco-friendly gifts she makes from upcycled materials. Her guest blog post today is a Cord Necklace Tutorial. She recently made one for me for my ill-fated attempts at buying a blue agate pendant….

Cord Necklace Tutorial

1. Gather your tools – 2 set of pliers, scissors, ruler.
Tools Tools
2. And your equipment – wax coated cotton cord, 2 jump rings, 2 cord ends, 1 lobster
clasp and whatever you are going to put on the cord – I’m using a music pendant.

Cord and findings Cord and findings
3. There are a variety of different kinds of cord ends, often called bead caps, and
these ones have 2 fold over ends like a tri-fold wallet.

Crimpers Crimpers
4. Cut the cord to a suitable length, I normally go for 18 inches. The cord is easy
to cut with…

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Snickerdoodles

These are my favourite cookie. I could eat the whole batch, so I rarely make them. However…. Son’s school has a cookbook fundraiser and they’ve asked for 1 from each family. This will be ours.

They are a plain cookie, but that’s an understatement. They are soft in the middle, and rolled in cinnamon sugar,so they are crisp on the outside, and should be a little wrinkled.

Ready to eat

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1.5 cups caster sugar
2 eggs
2.75 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Method: Preheat oven to 160’C. Cream butter and sugar together, then add in eggs one at a time. Add in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, and mix until it all comes together. Roll into walnut-sized (1″) balls and chill for 5- 10 minutes. I usually manage to make about 3 dozen from this recipe.

Mix the 3 tbsp caster sugar and cinnamon together, roll the balls in it then place, well-spaced out, on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove immediately from the sheet and place on racks to cool – they will be soft. Allow to cool for a few minutes before inhaling all of them at once. 😉 They will be thick, and wrinkled, crisp on the outside but soft in the middle once cool. If you can wait that long….

Ready to go in the oven
Just out
Ready to eat

Easter Holidays

My son has a long Easter Holiday break at his school, so he’s been off almost a full month now. I’ve managed to get my orders out, and a few new items started and finished but haven’t managed to get photos done yet.

We have made some cookies, and a chocolate nut butter (recipe soon!) and had several playdates with new friends and old. Son had holiday orchestra for 4 days but I volunteered on 1 day. We went out together several days too, but we didn’t go away anywhere. For most parents when you have a child in private school, holidays are few and far between! Day trips are what we usually do, and we have some good friends who treated us to a day at Audley End House and were willing to drive closer to us to meet up for dog walk & picnic because my car is still not reliable and I don’t want to drive too far from home.

Son took a crochet class at a local yarn shop – The Sheep Shop, where he met Ruth and she taught him how to crochet over a couple of hours. He created a bookmark, and we have a headband pattern for him to try at home. He really enjoyed it, especially the biscuits, Sarah, the owner supplied… lol. Do check out The Sheep Shop – Sarah has regular knitting groups and offers lots of classes as well. There are several more children’s crochet classes available! He also learned to purl and started an easy rainbow winter hat.

We had some disruption too – our boiler died and needed to be replaced, so that was 2 days of pretty much no work getting done, along with no heat/gas or hot water. Trying to knit in a freezing cold house is not conducive to getting much done!

We went out for dinner on day 1 of the boiler replacement, to a newly opened restaurant. It was very disappointing, my chicken burger had cold meat that was cut oddly so it kept falling out of the burger bun and the guacamole was off. I ended up eating english muffins with peanut butter for dinner when we got home.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get my head down on work come Wednesday when son’s back at school and I have the house to myself again. I have plans for yarn, old quilts, and these scarves!

Scarf Photo 1
Scarf Photo 2
Scarf photo 3
Scarf photo 4

Made with Love Designs – Guest Blog Post

I had a little break from blogging, but now I’m back and the first post is a Guest Blog Post by Anne-Marie , AKA Handmade With Love Designs. I love her work, the stamped bookmark she made from an old spoon for my son is gorgeous, and he loves it. Take it away, Anne-Marie!

Anne-Marie

I’m Anne-Marie Wainwright, aged 30. Ive got 2 kids (2 natural, one step daughter) and my amazing husband. I’ve been crafting all my life and finally found something I have a passion for – metalwork.

I decided on my business name “Handmade With Love Designs” because my mother-in-law used to make and bake with the kids and she said to them – “that was handmade with love.” The name had meaning in more ways than one and it felt right.

Stamped Bangles

I started jewellery making after my M-I-L passed away. The kids had this idea to make the nurses a bracelet to say ‘thank you’, they loved them and suggested fundraising. That lead to a year of raising money for Macmillan, and a new love for making jewellery. I enjoyed the making so much I decided to do it full time. I’ve always crafted with my Nanna, and after the fundraising I just wanted to continue, I found something I loved and that I could do around my kids.

Storybook Keyrings

My shop has been going for 5 years almost, but the stamping had been for around 4 years. My absolute favourite item to make has to be my book keyrings, they are so sweet and can be fully personalised. I take inspiration from everywhere, I take things I see and hear and try and make them come alive. My Nan was telling me about Ivy climbing up her walls, so I googled ivy and know it represents close families, so I hand-cut some ivy leaves and made a pendant.

Russian Doll Keyring

As my own boss, I love being able to wear my Pj’s, I love getting dressed up too, but doing it for work on a daily basis is exhausting. Its nice to sit in my Onesie and work away with the music blaring. However doing my accounts and admin has to be the least favourite aspect of running my own business – it’s so laborious and tedious, but it has to be done.

When I’m not working on my business, I craft a lot with my daughter Courtney, she is my mini-me in every way, completely craft obsessed. I like experimenting with hair colours, and love going for long walks in the summer.

Skyline of New York

If you would like to start your own handmade business — RESEARCH!!! Check everything, quality of materials, new suppliers, Legalities & Laws around what you plan to do. Look into trademarks and copyright and see if will affect you.
Read consumer contract regulations and make sure you’re 100% complying with laws.
Then go for it, build your business slowly and steadily.

Stamped Bar Keyrings

You can find Anne-Marie and her gorgeous work at:

Facebook: Handmade With Love
Etsy: HWLD
Website: Handmade With Love Designs
Instagram: HWLDesigns

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions….

I’ve been offering this Grey Lace Stole almost since I opened my shop on Etsy and it’s been a decent seller for me. The yarn is now discontinued and I have to decide whether to source another yarn for the pattern or find a different yarn and pattern combo to offer. I have enough yarn left for 1 more stole.

Grey Lace Stole

I base what I offer for sale on several things; what yarn I can get and what I want to make to sell in my shop are two. I have tended to go for thicker/chunkier yarns as they knit up faster, and how long something takes to make is a factor in whether or not I’ll make it to sell.

Some knit/crochet items I find don’t sell well, and I sell a few then stop listing it, other items sell very well only at certain times of the year. (My Herringbone Handwarmers come to mind here!)

Herringbone Handwarmers

I prefer to use natural fibres and blends and not just 100% acrylic – they tend to be nicer to knit with, and can last longer without pilling. As I now have a knitting machine, I’m hoping to offer items using finer luxury yarns and bigger items such as larger lace stoles and wraps. I have to master the machine first!

I don’t tend to jump on trends like the ‘pussy hats’ or the polo neck rectangular ponchos with cables and large buttons for toddlers, I am careful about ending up with (more) yarns and materials that I won’t use if they don’t sell.

I did think this Girl’s Spring Poncho/Capelette would sell, but while the pattern does, the actual item doesn’t.

Girl’s Spring Capelette

And back to the original question – to find a new yarn for this pattern? Hmmmm…. I’ll have to let you know.

Yarn, yarn and a bit more Yarn….

I have a yarn website that you can get packs of yarn at great prices – less than retail! I’ve never had a poor quality yarn from Ice Yarns, some are a little thinner than the website states but the luxury yarns are gorgeous. The bulky alpaca is scrumptious, soft and squishy.

Alpaca Bulky in Black
Alpaca Bulky in Black

I made this Handkerchief Scarflette from it, you can get one in my etsy shop if you don’t want to make your own.

Alpaca Handkerchief Scarflette
Alpaca Handkerchief Scarflette

if you like self-striping yarns, there are hundreds on my site. One I plan on trying soon is this one – Primadonna, a 50% wool/50% acrylic yarn with a fabulous texture and great colour combos.

Primadonna Yarn
Primadonna Yarn

Cake yarns are also popular right now and there are several available, including some with 100% acrylic like this one, simply called Cakes There are 5 colours in each cake.

Cakes
Cakes

Take a peek and tell me which yarn you’d like to try!

Grey Buttoned Cable Cowl

I finally managed to get decent photos of this warm and cosy cabled cowl – the weather hasn’t been very co-operative lately. This a lovely grey cowl made from a worsted weight acrylic yarn. The buttons add a pop of colour and you can do up all 3 or not as the mood takes you. It’s listed now in my etsy shop here

Grey Cabled Cowl
Grey Cabled Cowl
Closeup
Closeup

img_0373

img_0375

If you’d like this cowl in another colour, let me know!

Clothes moths

Do you ever wonder about moths?

thesheepshop

On WI visits, a question which always gets asked is “what’s the best way to stop clothes moths?”  As yarn is a prime target for moths and I need it in perfect condition to sell, this is what I’ve learnt over the years from pest control experts, other shopkeepers and the internet.

A dreaded clothes moth A dreaded clothes moth CC BY-SA 3.0 by Aiwok

In the UK there are three main culprits who chomp away at your natural fibres: common (aka webbing) clothes moths, case-making clothes moths and carpet beetles.  The adults themselves do not eat yarn but they lay eggs on it and when those eggs hatch, the larvae do the damage.  The warmer months – May to September – are prime moth season but due to central heating and mild winters, they can now party all year in your cupboards.  Their lifecycles are flexible, and can completed within a month…

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Camera Scarf Straps

Here’s a quick post about a few more camera scarf straps available in my Etsy Shop.

There’s a pretty blue patterned one – not quite sure what to call this pattern, it reminds me of Christmas tree baubles somehow….

Close-up of Blue & White Camera Scarf Strap
Close-up of Blue & White Camera Scarf Strap
Blue & White Camera Scarf Strap
Blue & White Camera Scarf Strap

This Turquoise one is a lovely bright and cheerful colour, perfect to brighten up anyone’s day.

Turquoise Scarf Strap
Turquoise Scarf Strap
Turquoise Adjustable Strap
Turquoise Adjustable Camera Strap

I had 2 of this shimmery scarf straps, and I sent one off for a Christmas Present in December so have one left for a lucky recipient!

Gold Shimmer Scarf Strap
Gold Shimmer Scarf Strap

img_2486

This is a new Scarf Strap, it will be listed this week in my etsy shop, very retro…

Brown Roses Scarf Strap
Brown Roses Scarf Strap
Close up of Brown Roses
Close up of Brown Roses

If you prefer a more funky Camera Scarf Strap, you can’t go wrong with this print, it’s so colourful! It’s listed in my etsy shop here.

Abstract Print Scarf Strap
Abstract Print Scarf Strap
Floral Print Strap
Floral Print Strap

This is another Camera Scarf Strap that will be listed this week – soft and pretty, perfect for spring!

Pink & Yellow Floral Camera  Strap
Pink & Yellow Floral Camera Strap
Close up of Pink & Yellow Adjustable Strap
Close up of Pink & Yellow Adjustable Strap

If you’d like a camera scarf strap made just for you, let me know through my etsy shop!