What a great way to lend a festive atmosphere to a celebration without resorting to those plastic, non-recyclable banners.
Lacy mohair rectangular shawl in pale green
Amazingly airy hand knitted mohair shawl in beautiful pale green shade. It will make a great addition to your evening dress as well as to your everyday jeans.
Cranberry Oatmeal with Honey Cold Process Soap
This cold process soap is my favorite. The cranberry fragrance is fresh, sweet, and clean.
Angela Lace Lipstick Red Cloche
Retro styled, hand knitted cloche, in a vibrant lipstick red bamboo/wool yarn.
Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life
“Discovering the pleasures of a handmade life was a longtime dream for urban homesteader Jenna Woginrich. At 24 years old, living in an apartment in Knoxville, Tennessee, and working as a computer designer, Woginrich was nurturing her dream of learning to homestead. Now, at 27, she’s settled on a rented farm in rural Vermont, where she cares for two working sled dogs, chickens, a flock of sheep, honeybees, a couple of geese, fluffy Angora rabbits, and a backyard garden that provides much of her own food.
Part memoir and part how-to manual, Made from Scratch recounts Woginrich’s growing independence and the successes and missteps she experiences as she learns to more fully live off the land. By turns upbeat, dramatic, and sometimes sorrowful, her story embodies the experience of the new homesteader one who is committed to reducing dependence on commercially produced goods while still working a day job to pay the rent. Woven into the narrative, readers will find easy-to-follow instructions for making clothing, playing a musical instrument, preserving fruit, brewing the best pot of coffee imaginable, and much more. Now available in paperback, this new edition features additional material on moving from Idaho to Vermont, a topic that will delight fans of her blog.” → more info
Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause
“It started with a pillowcase dress…and grew into a worldwide movement: crafters using their passion to help those in need. The Craft Hope blog-which organizes crafters to make handmade items for charities-has attracted followers around the world. This book, written by the site’s founder and featuring crafting’s hottest start, celebrates the cause and encourages others to join in.
Each project is matched with a specific charity, with alternative suggestions for local places to contribute the item. The projects-all with beautiful photographs, step-by-step instructions, and templates-include: cheerful quilts for hospitalized children, soft dolls for Nicaraguan orphans, tug toys for animal shelters, knit gloves for homeless shelters, a cloth backpack for schoolchildren in Africa, a stylish purse for women moving out of abusive relationships, and knit scarves for fostercare teens heading off to college. Contributors range from fabric designers Amy Butler and Heather Bailey to popular authors and bloggers such as Amanda Soule (www.soulemama.com, Handmade Home), Karri Meng (French General), Amy Ray (Doodle Stitching), Celine Dupuy (Simple Sewing with a French Twist), Vickie Howell (Craft Corps), Cathie Filian (Creative Juice), Susan Wasinger (Eco Crafts), and Betsy Greer (Knitting for Good).
In addition, there are plenty of helpful tips on how to give locally and globally, how to give thoughtfully and appropriately, and how to empower those you are helping.” → more info
There is something about Hillieballoo, a charming little Folksy shop that sells gorgeous items; kids clothes, pillows, custom made drawstring bags and one of my most favourite things ever: personalised items. I dream about creating in the same way that Hillieballoo does but I know I don’t have the time or energy required – and I think I have about 20 other projects on the back burner, anyway.
So, I’ll stick to buying from people like Hillieballoo (or at least dreaming about buying from) and leave the crafty stuff up to them. But while we’re on the note of kids clothes I just want to say something: I LOVE handmade kids clothes. Of course not just any old handmade and I wouldn’t purchase something that had been poorly made just for the sake of buying handmade.
When I was younger I used to adore going to Remnant Kings in Edinburgh with my Mum so we could pick out fabric for T-shirts, shorts, dresses, trousers; cropped and long leg and she’d sometimes rustle up a hair bobble with the leftover fabric from her creations. I loved picking out my favourite patterns. I loved flicking through the massive knitting pattern books; my little hands searching for the baby knits and cooing at the pudgy baby models dressed in white Arran. I loved the overpowering smell of wool and ladies perfume in the place.
The shop always seemed like a wizard’s lair; it had a magical ambience about it. The women who worked behind the tills were always so polite and helpful (if memory serves me well!). The shop was always bustling with customers; mostly women, who would come in looking for that perfect pattern/fabric/something to top off their own creations.
I loved being amongst it all, being a young observer and thinking to myself ‘one day I’ll be on the look out for my own material for curtains, for clothes.’ But that never seemed to happen.
My Mum had a skill for making T-shirts in particular. She always said that things were easy to make and when I tried my hand at making dolls clothes I didn’t find it easy in the least. That’s why I am a buyer and she is a maker.
My Mum also knits amazing things for her grandchildren. One of the blankets she made for my son when he was newborn led to my husband asking the question; “Where did we get this?” when I responded with the fact my Mum had made it he looked really taken aback. “Oh,” he said. “I thought we got it in a shop or something.”
I know us Westerners have fallen prey to the throwaway fashion trend; buy something, wear it for three months (or less) and then throw it out, replace wardrobe again. I simply don’t understand this way of thinking. For a start, doesn’t it cost people a small fortune? Throwaway fashion wasn’t an option 15 years ago. It was Borrow It, Hand Me Downs, Spend A Small Fortune On It or Make It. We went through variations on all of those themes but mostly it was Make It for my Mum. And I loved this. I love it now that she can create things for my son and I can ‘oooh and ahhh’ at those creations.
Much like I ‘oooh’ and ‘ahh’ at any creation I catch on Folksy, Etsy or crafter blogs. I admire the items, but I don’t think I can reach those heights. A perfect example of my oooh and ahhing is the above image of the Blue Strawberry Dress from Daisy Chains And Grass Stains.
Or this 1950s style dress Daisy Chains And Grass Stains. Perfect.
So, what are you? A buyer, like me, who can’t create clothes as easy as ABC or a maker, who can create everything in a blink of the eye?